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Thread: Helix Sonar

  1. #1
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    Helix Sonar

    In need of a new fishfindsr/GPS/ chartplotter. These look nice and the older (2017) models are cheaper. Center console/ Transome mount. 7 or 9 whichever fits. Opinions and reviews welcome. I fish Dale in the winter, FL in the spring and fall. Also welcome thoughts on the map cards, etc. I should also point out that with my previous Garmin model, or with any other finder Iíve ever used or been around, I have no idea where those fish/blips/ bait balls are in relation to where Iím casting and where my lure or bait ends up. Very much a novice when it comes to using or relying on a sonar with respect to fish. Iím good, obviously, for contour, depth and substrate but sounding a fish or a school of fish and knowing which direction to cast towards is another thing. Thanks in advance.
    V

  2. #2
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    First let me say I have zero experience with what I am about to suggest but it's still going to be my suggestion. I have been getting the itch to update my electronics so I have been doing some research...If I were buying a new sonar for the sole purpose to locate fish then I would look really hard at Garmin Livescope. When Panoptix first hit the market I liked the way in which it shows a live picture but it was hard to for me interpret. The new Panoptix Livescope uses the Panoptix technology but the addition of Livescope changes the picture so you can see a easier to interpret picture of what's going on under the water.

    My second choice would be Humminbird 360. I like that it shows a real time picture but its not live. I know to some that may not make sense so let me explain. The transducer is constantly sending a signal and getting a return. It will update every few seconds with a real time picture so its real time but it has a delay in the picture because it is waiting for a return signal. Plus it's is not live where you can watch fish swim whereas with Panoptix or Livescope it is a real live picture where you see fish actively swimming on the screen.

    As for operation then I say Youtube and Google is your friend. I know when I got side scan I knew nothing about it. Through youtube and google I learned a lot of useful information about sidescan. If you go Panoptix, Livescope or 360 you will have to buy a unit that is capable of using the appropriate transducer. You could always buy the GPS/sonar with traditional sonar and update to the more advance stuff I mentioned later. I am not real sure what Panoptix cost but Livescope is about $1500 and 360 about $1000. You can spend anywhere from $5-700 on a head unit that is compatible but if you want a big screen with tons of other features the price can go up to $2000 for just the head unit. For a ballpark figure of $2-2500 you can get a top of the line new GPS/sonar with any of the three features I mentioned. The price is what's keeping me from pulling the trigger but the more I watch youtube the more my trigger finger gets the itch...Garmin Livescope would be my choice if $ was not an option.

  3. #3
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    Thanks R19. The Garmin looks like a great piece of electronics but very expensive indeed.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ON3 3Y3D WILLI3 View Post
    I should also point out that with my previous Garmin model, or with any other finder I’ve ever used or been around, I have no idea where those fish/blips/ bait balls are in relation to where I’m casting and where my lure or bait ends up. Very much a novice when it comes to using or relying on a sonar with respect to fish. I’m good, obviously, for contour, depth and substrate but sounding a fish or a school of fish and knowing which direction to cast towards is another thing. Thanks in advance.
    V
    Once you see some structure/bait ball on your FF drop a buoy. Turn 180 deg and do the same thing at the same speed. Hit that at another 90 deg increment, then 180 from that one. You should have 4 buoys marked around your structure. Do this a couple of times and you will understand what is on your screen compared to where it is in correlation to the boat. The “cone” that is shot down form the fish finder ranges in size depending on your frequency. Sometimes the “cone” diameter is the same as the depth, sometimes its 3x the depth, it all depends.

    Typically what is on your screen is behind the boat, what is shown on the screen is history of what has passed through the sonar cone. The can all vary from FF to FF though

  5. #5
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    Understanding what you see... No matter what technology you use... is vastly more important that the technology you choose.

    https://doctorsonar.com/ is a fantastic source not just for learning how to use your chosen technology, but also how to choose, install and setup your tools.

    He has a ton of free information as well as paid course material. It's the perfect time of year for anyone and everyone to up their game by becoming more proficient with their eyes under the water.

    I'd start there, increase your knowledge, THEN choose a direction.
    Likes PRO V LE, peter liked this post

  6. #6
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    Here is an idea!

    Install the transducer under the trolling motor and pull the boat into the wind. Have the depth finder screen mounted in front of you where you can reach the buttons or the screen. Throw a marker buoy out as you trolling INTO THE WIND. Throw the marker out in front of the boat about 5 ft or so. That way you won't hit the marker when you are fishing the brush pile.

    Now, remember this. With a 29 deg cone, the size of the cone on the bottom is about 3x the depth of the water. So if you are in 10 ft of water the cone size will be about 30 ft in diameter. It's not really a perfect circle but it helps to think like it is. It's easier to picture inside your head.

    And if the fish are not biting then try coming at the brush pile from different angles maybe. Try fishing above the brush pile and then on the sides of the brush pile and then finally use a weedless jig head and fish down into the brush pile. remember to not jerk the bait up and get the hook hung up into the wood. A simple lifting up of the rod tip will snag a crappie and it won't set the hook too deep in the wood. I fish with the 1/4 oz lead on the end of the line and the hook about 18" up the line. That way I can drop the bait and the lead will pull the hook downward and out from the wood if it get's hung up. And don't forget to add scents to the bait. A crappie nibble or some Dr. Juice helps get the fish to bite better every time. And there are all kinds of new fishing scents out there these days. Give them all a try and see if they don't help you catch more fish. And wash your hands before you go fishing expecially after gasing up the boat and truck. A little bit of gasoline on your hands can turn the fish bite off.



    Quote Originally Posted by robertdilbert View Post
    Once you see some structure/bait ball on your FF drop a buoy. Turn 180 deg and do the same thing at the same speed. Hit that at another 90 deg increment, then 180 from that one. You should have 4 buoys marked around your structure. Do this a couple of times and you will understand what is on your screen compared to where it is in correlation to the boat. The ďconeĒ that is shot down form the fish finder ranges in size depending on your frequency. Sometimes the ďconeĒ diameter is the same as the depth, sometimes its 3x the depth, it all depends.

    Typically what is on your screen is behind the boat, what is shown on the screen is the history of what has passed through the sonar cone. The can all vary from FF to FF though

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duayne View Post
    Understanding what you see... No matter what technology you use... is vastly more important that the technology you choose.

    https://doctorsonar.com/ is a fantastic source not just for learning how to use your chosen technology, but also how to choose, install and setup your tools.

    He has a ton of free information as well as paid course material. It's the perfect time of year for anyone and everyone to up their game by becoming more proficient with their eyes under the water.

    I'd start there, increase your knowledge, THEN choose a direction.
    DR Sonar Rocks!

    You have to be really be into learning about the stuff though. He puts a friend of mine to sleep. You know you are.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter View Post
    DR Sonar Rocks!

    You have to be really be into learning about the stuff though. He puts a friend of mine to sleep. You know you are.
    LOL As a geek that fishes I can fully understand how he could put you to sleep. Full disclosure: I've never taken one of his courses. I've learned the hard, long way through research, tons of reading and on the water effort. The way I learn is different than how most would learn so for those that need a fast track, I think Dr Sonar and a bunch of coffee would be the way to go.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duayne View Post
    LOL As a geek that fishes I can fully understand how he could put you to sleep. Full disclosure: I've never taken one of his courses. I've learned the hard, long way through research, tons of reading and on the water effort. The way I learn is different than how most would learn so for those that need a fast track, I think Dr Sonar and a bunch of coffee would be the way to go.
    DR sonar highly recommend by me. I have one of his DVD's and can watch it again and pickup something new. If you want to know what you are looking at on the screen and how it got there you need the DR.'s help. For example, does anybody know what the "dead zone" is as it relates to fish finders? The Dr. does. This is extremely relevant to a like like Cumberland.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter View Post
    I have one of his DVD's and can watch it again and pickup something new. If you want to know what you are looking at on the screen and how it got there you need the DR.'s help. For example, does anybody know what the "dead zone" is as it relates to fish finders? The Dr. does. This is extremely relevant to a like like Cumberland.


    care to recommend a good beginner DVD from him?

  11. #11
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    watch instructional dvd's, watch youtube videos, take a class....do whatever it takes to get your started with good information.
    and then (ive said this many times before) take the boat to the lake....AND LEAVE ALL YOUR FISHING RODS AT HOME...
    this will allow you to pay undivided attention and focus on the graph.
    i spend an enormous amount of time graphing the afternoon before i plan on striper fishing the next morning, during this time i am not only scouting for fish/bait, i am constantly fine tuning and watching how each little change either improves or degrades what im lookig at.
    i guess the short answer is the same as duaynes, there is no substitute for time on the water.

    p.s. lat summer i had to fish for 25 days without a graph while mine was beinng replaced, i felt so uncomfortable and naked without my underwater eyes. but with a lot of help from duayne and years of notes i was able to limit everyday except one.

    that leads me to my next obsession....good notes, they have proven to be the most effective tool on my boat

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter View Post
    DR sonar highly recommend by me. I have one of his DVD's and can watch it again and pickup something new. If you want to know what you are looking at on the screen and how it got there you need the DR.'s help. For example, does anybody know what the "dead zone" is as it relates to fish finders? The Dr. does. This is extremely relevant to a like like Cumberland.
    I do! I do!! I disagree that the dead zone is as much of a factor as some make it out to be. The dead zone can happen when the graph reads a higher contour on the bottom and doesn't return a drop off, crack or crevasse that is lower. It could be a factor with a single frequency sonar and, in my opinion, only if you are settings still. But multi scan, CHIRP, or moving all negate the dead zone. As you move, the deeper area is scanned and all is right with the world again. LOL FYI, I have settled on Medium Chirp and love it. I do not get the finer definition but I've learned to read what is returned. Stripernut hit on another tip... There is no set it and forget it. I use my downlines as my guide. I set my sensitivity and contrast so I can always see my weights and my baits. That's my fastest way of making adjustments. I may fine tune a tad more but that always gets me in the ballpark.

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