Side Imaging does work on a Kayak! Only after using side imaging on a boat did I realize what I was doing wrong on my kayak. I’ve had my Humminbird Helix SI on the Pescador Pilot for the last two seasons but found the side/down images so grainy and noisy they were basically useless. On my first kayak I used a basic Lowrance sonar unit without any bells and whistles. It was easy to use and even easier to understand but it left me wanting more features – specifically the ability to mark way-points and side imaging. After reading all the reviews and watching countless videos I was so excited to get into Side Imaging.
I installed the transducer on my Pescador Pilot using a 1/2” thick piece of HDPE plastic so that the transducer sits lower in the water in order for the Side Imaging to have a clear, unobstructed view.
When I installed my new Helix and took the kayak out I was really disappointed with the results – the images I was getting back were near incomprehensible. I tried adjusting numerous settings but the one thing I didn’t think to adjust was the chart speed.
Recently, I borrowed my Dad’s boat for a couple of weeks and mounted my Humminbird Helix to it. Before ice fishing season I wanted to finish mapping out different areas of Pigeon Lake using Autochart Live. Although I usually do this from my kayak, using a boat is way faster and Pigeon Lake can get windy in a hurry. As I was trolling around mapping at about 10km/h, I flipped the screen to side imaging and discovered crisp and clean images that looked like photographs of the bottom – what a revelation! Turns out I was using my Humminbird all wrong. When I am in sonar mode, I usually use it for jigging, and I have my chart speed cranked way up to Ultra. I discovered in the boat that sonar chart speed and side/down imaging chart speed are controlled by the same overall chart speed selection. The blurry images I was seeing in my kayak were a result of the crazy chart speed I had the sonar screen set to. I’ve read the manual time and again and thought I was familiar with the unit, after another look I did manage to find one section about chart speed for side imaging but it wasn’t clear to me how it worked.
Now that I know I’ve since made it a habit to set my chart speed to around 3, matching the typical cruising speed of my kayak of 3 kph (2 mph) and the results are way clearer.
I have been missing out on Side Imaging for so long due to human error, but now that it’s working for me I am really excited to see what I can find underwater. Anyone know where I can find a sunken boat?