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Is Side Imaging worth it? For walleye on Saginaw Bay?


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Hello Fisherman,

I have a 'new to me' boat that has to be geared up, starting with electronics.

I really like the price point on the Hummingbird Helix 5 SI at $500.

I was talking with a sales rep at Cabela's and was surprised to hear him say that he has a lowrance with 'structurescan' but never turns it on. We both fish walleye on Saginaw Bay, and his contention was that it is mainly for finding structure, and there isn't any on the Bay.

While I won't argue the fact that the bay is largely open flats, I normally fish under 20 of water and often much less than that, which makes sonar rather limited when looking at that little cone under the boat.

If any of you have experience with Side Scan Sonar and would be willing to share your opinion I would greatly appreciate hearing it.

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Hello Fisherman,

I have a 'new to me' boat that has to be geared up, starting with electronics.

I really like the price point on the Hummingbird Helix 5 SI at $500.

I was talking with a sales rep at Cabela's and was surprised to hear him say that he has a lowrance with 'structurescan' but never turns it on. We both fish walleye on Saginaw Bay, and his contention was that it is mainly for finding structure, and there isn't any on the Bay.

While I won't argue the fact that the bay is largely open flats, I normally fish under 20 of water and often much less than that, which makes sonar rather limited when looking at that little cone under the boat.

If any of you have experience with Side Scan Sonar and would be willing to share your opinion I would greatly appreciate hearing it.

Hi Paul,

Dr. Jason Halfin does a lot of training stuff and here is a little snippet of some of it:

http://www.thetechnologicalangler.com/Catching-early-spring-walleyes-rivers-part-1.html

I do have side imaging and find myself using 2 D sonar more then the side imaging. Not necessarily walleye related, this last summer, I was using the side imaging to mark schools of bluegills suspended in the deep water in my favorite bluegill lakes and putting way points on the schools and then going back and fishing them. The fish were suspended over 30 feet of water and around 15 foot down, roughly at the thermocline. I'd suspect if I'd use side imaging it would certainly show suspended walleye. I realize he is more of the Humminbird slant but it would certainly relate. Also, I'm still learning every trip, and I expect it to get more useful.

Here is a little video with the actual structure scan unit:

I've seen some info from Lance Valentine, www.walleye101.com, regarding structure scan also, but couldn't find it. Lance is certainly the smartest Lowrance guy I know. He could probably give you some sound advise.

Guess all I'm trying to say is I'd prefer not to limit myself by not having it.

My thoughts anyway.

Thinks spring!

Paul C.

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I fish the Saginaw Bay a lot. I have two sonar units on my boat a color Garmin and a B/W LMS 350 combo. I mostly use the B/W old as the hills Lowrance Combo. I don't rely on the old combo for GPS rather I use a 13" Toughbook. For some reason that old LMS 350 B/W will pick up those bottom hugging walleye better than other Sonars. The bay is so full of walleye I was marking a ton of fish in the 10-18 FOW and deeper. You can spend the money if you want but it isn't at all necessary. But what the heck us boys and our toys.:)

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