With the advancements in the sport of kayak fishing and the need to have the competitive edge, more anglers are starting to discover technology that bass boat anglers have relied on for decades. One of them specifically is side imaging technology that a lot of new depth finder units are coming standard with. Currently this option is only $100-$200 dollars more compared to a unit with 2D sonar and down imaging…but is it really worth the extra investment?
I have personally used side imaging for the last three seasons and can easily say it’s worth the price of admission for several reasons…
1. You can scan a larger area as opposed to standard sonar or down imaging
Kayak fishing already puts us at a disadvantage since we just don’t cover as much water as a regular bass boat. Side scan opens up an easy way for us to view more water that would normally take us hours to figure out with standard sonar and down imaging.
2. You can find underwater structure easily
Viewing a rock pile or a brush pile is much simpler now with side imaging as it gives you a detailed image of the bottom composition of the lake. If you are lucky enough to go over the same structure with your sonar or downscan imaging you may get an idea of what it is…but without knowing how large it is, what kind of shape it is, and if there are other forms of similar structure in close proximity to it. One quick sweep of your side imaging will give you all of those answers quickly.
3. You can mark way points off of your side imaging
Yes you can do the same thing from your sonar or downscan imaging…but only if you are sitting on top of the target you want to mark. If I see a piece of structure off in the distance I can drop a waypoint mark directly on structure without having to paddle over to it.
4. You can mark fish without spooking them
Being able to locate a ball of shad or fish off in the distance is a huge plus. Kayaks are stealthy as it is but not having to paddle over an area to potentially spook a bedding fish or school of baitfish is another huge advantage.
Now you are probably wondering what options do you have to get side imaging onto your kayak as cheaply as possible? The three most popular options I have personally seen pop up have been the following…
Humminbird Helix SI/GPS
Lowrance Elite TI Chirp/TotalScan
Garmin EchoMap 73SV
All offer their own unique options but sidescan comes standard with all three of the models above for a very budget friendly price. I personally have the Humminbird Helix 7 SI/GPS and will be using it for the 2017 season.
Hope this info helps and gives you the competitive edge that you may have been missing from your kayak!