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Author Topic:   Side Scan SONAR
PeteB88 posted 10-20-2007 01:36 AM ET (US)   Profile for PeteB88   Send Email to PeteB88  
I am getting close to my purchase of a Humminbird 787 internal antennae - However one of the 787's has side scan sonar. I watched the company video clips, looks pretty dang cool. Have any of you spent any time with one? Much of the use will be inland lakes and rivers looking for structure etc.


jimh posted 10-20-2007 10:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Please get one so I can see how it works on your boat. The Humminbird side scan SONAR units appear to deliver fabulous detail, but I would like to see some actual screens.
JayR posted 10-20-2007 11:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for JayR  Send Email to JayR     
Jim, a close friend purchased the 979 CI and is in awe of it.
He has yet to host any actual pics of the screen but reports to me that it is as detailed as has been reported.

He's gone so far as to state he can see the mooring lines in the harbor he launches from.

He's found structure to fish that is not on the loaded maps and fish along with them.

The bait clouds are visible as are individual baits. Schools of menhaden appear as individual fish as long as there are a couple inches between the fish.

He went from catching fish like everyone else to out-fishing them all and catching them when no others are...

I'll buy one over the winter based on the reports he has given me. If he's impressed, that's good enough for me.

If I go out fishing with him this fall, I will certainly take my camera with me.

Chuck Tribolet posted 10-20-2007 09:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
I think the 787 is a lesser side scan than the other Hbirds.

At least with the high end unit, there's way to record the
screen on a memory card. No need for camera.

Some friends of mine were supposed to get delivery on a
797 yesterday. They've promised me a demo when it's up.
BTW, SHE got it as a birthday present from him, and is pleased
as punch. It's HER boat (no kidding).


srec1 posted 10-21-2007 08:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for srec1  Send Email to srec1     
I have a 997c on my whaler. The side scanning ability is outstanding. I've seen trees, sunken boats, mooring lines, FISHING LINES, logs, old channels, rock piles, single fish, schools of fish, weeds, reeds, anchor lines, lost anchors, the list just goes on and on. Its like you drained the lake and can see what is in and on the bottom. Simply must be seen to be believed. If you know someone that has one, ask to see it. You will be sold.
PeteB88 posted 10-22-2007 07:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Fishin pals have wide screen 900 series on 36 Tiara rigged for salmon trolling mounted aft on port side. I think it works w/ Cannon downriggers. One said they have not used the side scan feature too much for that application. I see lots of advantages to side scan fishing/running rivers and lakes. Apparently Humminbird is coming out w/ 11 inch wide display for 08. I am going to mount in the 13 so wide screen is not practical.

I will give full report, probably early 08 after ice out the way things are going in Mich.


srec1 posted 10-22-2007 10:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for srec1  Send Email to srec1     
I use the side scanning ability quite extensively in salmon tournaments on lake Michigan. I scan at maximum range, locate a pod of salmon, mark it on the GPS and turn to troll over the fish. Its almost like cheating.
PeteB88 posted 10-24-2007 10:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
What is range - how far out can you see sideways?
srec1 posted 10-24-2007 06:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for srec1  Send Email to srec1     
you can scan 240 feet to each side of the boat simutaneously. Thus you can determine what is in the water column and on the bottom in up to a 480 foot swath if necessary. Go to to check it out.
makoman310 posted 10-28-2007 12:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for makoman310  Send Email to makoman310     
on that sidescan is there a separate transducer for the sidescan or is it one unit can you run that unit and a differant fishfinder at the same time looks like it has differant frequncy than the 50 200 on my 600 fruno thinking of getting one
jimh posted 10-28-2007 01:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Humminbird uses multiple transducers with multiple frequencies to produce their amazing side scan sonar results. The precise configuration varies with the model. Of course, all of the transducers are molded into a single assembly.

If you are interested in the Humminbird products, you will have to carefully study their literature.


These models use 86-degree wide angle 800 kHz side imaging transducers, a 20-degree 200 kHz center transducer, and a 60-degree 83 kHz center transducers


These models use 455 kHz side imaging transducers, 200 kHz center transducer, and 83 kHz center transducer.


These models use an array of six or seven transducers


These models use 83 kHz and 200 kHz center transducers augmented with 455 kHz outer transducers.

It takes 45 pages of catalogue to explain all the variations in their SONAR products, so I will not try to recreate that here. I am still studying it.

PeteB88 posted 10-30-2007 07:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Thanks everyone and Jim.

towboater posted 11-04-2007 01:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for towboater  Send Email to towboater     
My diver buddy has side scan setup for salvage purposes but no boat (his unit is portable). I was busy the day he came by and tried to sell me on the idea of going around on my Tug/Barge/Boom Truck and WHALER looking for salvage since the side scan is far more revealing. Like I dont have anything better to do.

Pete, youve inspired me. Im reconsidering. I mean, I make a living on the water, offering side scan service might become a serious asset. His unit interphased with a laptop and he showed me photos of results but I HAD to leave before I could learn any of the high tech stuff involved with it.

I know one thing, installing a high tech transducer to run my Garmin 545s (high res color) has opened up a whole new world for me compared to my ol digital fathometor. Actually, you think about it, side scan with option of looking fwd or sideways makes more sense than looking straight down all the time. I mean, with vertical scan you know what the depth is AFTER the fact. On the Columbia, depths change quickly.

Is side scan proactive vrs reactive sonar?

Jeez, now I need to put a cabin on my 19.

Chuck Tribolet posted 11-04-2007 03:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Side-scan looks to the side. So by the time you see it on
the side-scan, you're passing or past it.

MMM, good point there. The technology to look to the side
is basically the same as the technology to look ahead, just
pointed in a different direction. It would be interesting
if they built a transducer that had an option to look forward.
It would be two transducers in one block of plastic, but
with some firmware changes, could be very handy.

Prediction: you'll see this in a year or two (yes, I know
Interphase has had something similar for quite some time,
but the've been left in the dust). With today's high-end
fish-finders it would be just a different transducer and
some firmware. And let them jack up the price $200 (over
side-scan) for $30 in mfg. cost.


PeteB88 posted 11-05-2007 08:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
towboater - that's a great idea especially on the Columbia - who knows? you might even find ol' DB Cooper's stash on a snag out there! You could probably make some bucks selling Side Scan Calendars of Sturgeon - who ever gets to see the 1000 pounders?


Richard Quinlivan posted 11-05-2007 09:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Richard Quinlivan  Send Email to Richard Quinlivan     
The side scan sonar is like a sidelooking radar. The scanning is done by the boats's forward motion. you can get a scan to the side and/or down but not forward unless you are moving the boat sideways. If you want to look North turn the boat and go East (or West).


towboater posted 11-06-2007 11:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for towboater  Send Email to towboater     
As mentioned, my Diver pal's side scan setup is portable.
I assumed we could turn the side scan transducer one way or the other but now I am sure...thx.

He packs all of his gear in a trailer incl hardhat, commo & even video. He hires out to jobs as needed...thus he is interested in my BW, Tug and barges as platforms.

I have much to learn about the capabilities, will update.

pglein posted 11-10-2007 10:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     
I have a forward and side-scanning sonar system on the Albin. A waste of space, in my opinion. It provides no useful information whatsoever.
Feejer posted 11-16-2007 02:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer

acseatsri posted 11-24-2007 10:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
I have had the 987C Si Combo for almost 2 fishing seasons now and would strongly recommend it if you fish shallower structure. As someone else noted, you can see mooring lines and lobster pots on the bottom (as well as rocks and other structure on the bottom).

As far as going past the structure when you see it on the screen, I do most of my side scanning at under 6 knots- it seems ineffective at faster speeds. I usually use it for scoping out potential fishing spots and mark interesting formations and rockpiles.

The depth capability for side scanning in my estimation is best below 50 feet, but the combo 50-200 KHZ screen compensates for this. I have literally watched bluefish swim down and take my bait when fishing in close to 100' of water.

The GPS side of the unit is functional and easy to use, a lot easier than my old Sitex Nautilus plotter. The screen update is nearly instantaneous when using the course up mode rather than North up mode.

highanddry posted 12-02-2007 01:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
I have had the 987c now for two seasons and we are very pleased with it's capabilities. The new 997c and 797c are a step up (or down in a few respects but generally up) and can be purchased with preloaded Navionics charts which can be a huge saving for the trailer boater. Here is a link to a forum which discusses the units in detail with good info. Humminbird often realeases updates, there have been three for my unit which I loaded to a SD card and then to the machine via online--"My Humminbird." Best thing is that the standard dual frequency sonar and mapping is excellent and the GPS antenna locks up solid.

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