Since the first introduction by Humminbird in 2005 to the recently Megahertz-capable products, fish finders with side imaging technology for consumer market have caught the attention of anglers. They provide more detailed images, stronger signal compared to older products. But many anglers still find it difficult to operate these advanced finders. This article is in an effort to give them advice and recommendations concerned side imaging fish finder.
How to Install Side Imaging Fish Finders
Without a proper and clean installation, you will cause yourself frustration and confusion.
The placement of your transducer has a significant effect on your final imaging quality. There are several options for transducer mounting, some only use the mounts you bought with the transducer or you can buy alternative mounts available in the markets from third-party manufacturers. The view from either side of your transducer must be clear without any blockages like plates, hull or other mounts.
These are some common position to mount your transducer:
- Transom: the holes must be drilled accurately in the hull to install the brackets.
- Jack Plates: you can mount your unit on the side of the plate – a convenient place or under it if there is a nice area on the hull.
- “Step”: some large boats have a spacious step that you can mount it under.
- Motor: a preferred position of some anglers.
- When mounting to the transom, a shield for your transducer is recommended to preventing it from breaking.
- The blocks made from polyethylene allows your units to be adjusted without drilling holes in the hull.
Install the right fuse for your finder and clean the cable after the installation to make sure that you have strong and clean power to the transducer.
There will a position discrepancy because manufacturers nowadays only use internal receiver built-in.
- If exact location is a must-have, you should consider buying an external receiver.
Scan Objects with Default Options
You should test your finder with default options before adjusting them and get to know what objects underwater look like.
- 4-6 mph is the recommended speed for you to run the imaging.
- You should set 80-100 feet as the range in the first scan.
When first tests have been done, you can change some preferences defined as below:
- Contrast and Sensitivity: the differences between dark and light colors to distinguish fish from other objects.
- Speed: adjust it depending on the speed of your boat.
- Range: the distance imaging on each side.
- Contour Mode: join together the images on the right and left side for a more realistic picture.
- Right Side/Left Side Only: enable only one side of the image.
- Color Palette: apply a palette depending on the signal strength.
Optimize the Sonar Recordings.
Sonar recording writes all the data into records files so you can review them later. You can adjust some settings to get a better record.
Sharpness, Contrast, Speed, and Sensitivity
- Sharpness: this setting improve the objects’ edges to help them have a more detailed look.
- Contracts: you can use this to change the light level of the image, the higher settings will result in amplified colors but washed out detail.
- Speed: Faster speed will cause a smeared or blurry image, on the other hand, not enough detailed images will happen if you set this value too low compared to the speed of the boat.
- Sensitivity: When it’s set too high the image will be washed out or they will lose all the definition when you adjust them too low.
This range should be based on what kind of structure and contours of objects sensors are scanning. More data will be collected into the image if the range goes wider but if you set it narrower, these data could be displayed on a more larger area of pixels.
- Narrow your range if you want to scan ledges and points to avoid wasting your screen space.
1.2 MHz vs 800 vs 455 kHz Frequencies
Traditionally, With 800 kHz you can have sharper images but 455 kHz can give you greater scanning area. But the newly introduced frequency 1.2 MHz can even provide better images.
- 455 kHz: great for a lot of things like imaging huge flats in the weed beds or when trying to scan as much area as possible.
- 800 kHz: great for using as second passes to reveal fish that you have not find in the initial pass.
Background transitions like shell beds, rock, clay point and gravel look differently depending on the palette used. Each of them will display bottom differently, you can change to certain one whey changing background pattern.
You can choose to only view the right or left side of images only to show more sonar data on the screen space.
- Installation: get it right for the first time to get the best images with the proper and clean install.
- Testing: scan objects and background you are already familiar with to ensure your devices are working correctly.
- Sonar Recordings: save sonar data so you can reuse and adjust with settings later.
Finally spending more time with settings and scanning will help you become more experienced and find more success in finding fish with advanced technology devices.