Have you ever been stuck on the water without a bite? Sometimes, it might be because of the barometric pressure, or it might be because of the water temperature. However, it’s usually because you’re casting in the wrong place.
A good fish finder can help with that issue. Instead of simply casting into the murky water of your local lake, you can scan it with high-tech sonar equipment, and you can figure out what you’re actually casting at.
In this article, I’ll be telling you about the Helix 5 fish finder.
What To Look For
Even if you don’t decide to purchase the Helix 5, you need to look at these three key features to determine if a fish finder is good for you or not.
Technically, all a fish finder has to do is tell you where the fish are. Anything beyond that is technically a bonus feature. However, the bonus features that are most common are necessary if you want to fish like the pros.
You want a fish finder that will display the depth that fish are suspending at, and you want one that shows their exact position. You also want a map feature and a thermometer included with your fish finder. Barometric pressure sensors are great, and other advanced features are great, but you don’t really have to have them unless you’re a pro.
It’s pretty obvious that you don’t want a fish finder that only reads 50-feet of water if you frequently fish in deeper lakes. You also don’t want a fish finder that can read hundreds of feet of water when you only fish in shallower lakes. That’s just a waste of money most of the time.
You just want to buy something that has a little more range than you need. That’ll ensure that you get the maximum amount of performance from your fish finder, and it’ll ensure that you don’t spend more than you have to.
Ease of Use
An overly complicated fish finder will be difficult for you to control, and you’ll end up wasting time playing with it instead of fishing. You want something that tells you what you need to know, and you want something that does so without wasting your time.
Look for large buttons, simple menu mechanics, and a screen that you can easily read.
Humminbird Helix 5: The Basics
The Humminbird Helix 5 is a step above other fish finders in its class. It’s a fairly priced unit that has a lot to offer. It’s not the perfect fish finder, but it is pretty close considering its price tag.
This is a fish finder that promises to outperform budget units, and it can rival some of the most expensive fish finders on the market.
There are also multiple variants of this fish finder. The main difference is that the other variants have different button layouts, and they come in different sizes. That’s about it. If you’re looking for a slightly different system than the Helix 5, try out the other variants. I personally believe the best alternative is the Helix 5 SI. It doesn’t change any of the features that make the base unit so useful, but it adds side-imaging sonar for when you’re in the shallows.
There’s a reason that the majority of Humminbird Helix 5 reviews are insanely positive. It does its job, and it does its job well.
Features of the Humminbird Helix 5
The Helix 5 has a few features that really help it compete with high-end fish finders, and I’m going to go over them in the following sections.
The display is five-inches across if you measure it diagonally. While that isn’t very large, it is larger than most of the other units in this price range.
The size of the screen keeps the overall unit compact, but it’s still very easy to read. I didn’t have any problems reading it, and I have the eyesight of an elderly bat. So, you shouldn’t have any problems.
The screen is also a WVGA display. That’s not the best type of display on the market, but it’s better than what you’ll get with other units in this price range.
CHIRP sonar is pretty much the best type of sonar you can buy. It isn’t limited like down-imaging and side-imaging systems are. It scans the water in wide arcs, and that combines the benefits of both traditional sonar systems to create one highly-efficient system.
The Helix 5 doesn’t come with a bunch of pre-loaded maps like other expensive models do, but it does have an advanced GPS system that creates maps on the go. As you travel around the lake, the GPS system will automatically create maps that you can store for later.
That makes it a little harder to fish when you go to a new spot for the first time, but it also encourages you to explore, and it ensures that you aren’t looking at outdated information.
If you want to save a lot of maps, you’ll have to have an external storage option. That’s true for nearly all fish finders. Luckily, the Helix 5 has an SD slot that allows you to put the SD card of your choice into it. You can store as many maps as you want if you have the SD card to hold them all.
Target separation is a common feature when it comes to fish finders. In short, target separation features visually separate fish silhouettes that are close together.
However, the Helix 5 has a better separation system than other fish finders. Other fish finders can only separate fish that are several inches or feet apart. The Helix 5 can separate fish that are less than 2.5-inches apart. That allows you to see individual fish when they’re really close together, and you can use that to pick your target more accurately.
I’ve dug through all of the Humminbird Helix 5 reviews that I possibly could, and all of that research showed one thing. The majority of people love the Helix 5.
They praise it because it’s not overpriced, but it can compete with models that are. While it’s not a fish finder that is specifically built for elite fishermen, it can function exactly like one. However, it’s still accessible to beginners.
That high level of flexibility has made the Helix 5 an instant classic among fishermen in the United States, and it’s unlikely that, that will change within the foreseeable future.
As much as I love the Helix 5, some of you won’t like it. If that’s the case for you, here are some alternatives that might suit you a little better.
The LuckyLaker is a fish finder that you attach to your line. It’s a good alternative if you don’t have a boat, and it’s also a good choice if you like trolling a lot. You can cast it out, set your motor to troll, and scan an entire lake within half an hour.
It doesn’t have the fancy CHIRP sonar of the Helix 5, but its sonar system is more than good enough for most fishermen. Since it works like any other piece of tackle, it’s a lot easier to use, too. You don’t have to mount it to anything, and you don’t have to worry about setting up a transducer. You just clip it onto your line, and you cast it like you would a crankbait or anything else.
Here’s a link to the LuckyLaker if you think it’ll suit you better.
#2 Helix 5 SI
This isn’t a great alternative if you want something completely different than the Helix 5. The Helix 5 SI is almost identical to the standard model, but it has an additional side-imaging system that makes it easier to use in shallow water.
Everything else about the Helix 5 SI is the same. It has a CHIRP sonar system, the same map system, and it has the same ability to increase its map capacity with an SD card.
Here’s the link to the Helix 5 SI if you want side-imaging technology in your Helix 5.
#3 Lowrance Hook2
The Hook2 is a great choice if you need a larger screen. There isn’t much else that’s different between the Hook 2 and the Helix 5.
They both boast comparable sonar systems, their display qualities are the same, and they both have decent map systems. The only real distinguishing trait of the Hook 2 is its seven-inch screen. It’ll allow you to read it more easily, and it’ll allow you to spot smaller details that the sonar system picks up.
If you want a bigger screen, you can find the Hook2 at this link.
The Helix 5 is a fish finder that can please almost anybody. It has a great target separation system, and it displays all of the information that an advanced fisherman needs. The advanced sonar technology allows it to compete with some of the most expensive fish finders, but its map system and menu systems are easy enough for beginners to navigate them with ease. Finally, it can grow with you as you get more experience as a fisherman.
If the Helix 5 sounds like the fish finder that you’ve been looking for, you can click here to get your hands on it.