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Humminbird Helix 5 Review

Kyle W by Kyle W Updated on November 15, 2020. In Boats

The Humminbird Helix 5 series has several fish finders that have been upgraded over the years. The number 5 is an indicator of the size of the screens at 5 inches. All of them have Dual Beam PLUS Sonar, SwitchFire Sonar, and a limited 1-year warranty from Humminbird.

The most advanced of them all is the Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2 Fish Finder. This version has benefited from a number of upgrades since the first Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2 was introduced.

 

Humminbird Helix 5

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It has a 5” TFT color display with 16-bit greyscale and an 800Hx400V pixel matrix. The SwitchFire Sonar is well captured here; it gives you two display modes and lets you dictate how the results will be presented.

The max Mode brings everything on the screen, including the fish, structure, and vegetation, while clear mode allows you to un-see some things that you feel are a distraction.

The screen is LED-backlit, so it can be used at night or in circumstances with poor lighting.

It uses CHIRP Digital Sonar for side imaging and down imaging, enhancing the reading accuracy. You are guaranteed a clear view of your terrain that is free from unnecessary noise.

The Dual Beam PLUS Sonar further enhances clarity and increases coverage scope by combining two beams to get different angles.

It comes with an in-built Humminbird Basemap with more than 10,000 charts covering lakes, rivers, and coastlines in the U.S and parts of Canada. You will hardly get lost, yet you get information on the best fishing spots for free.

GPRS is integrated, so you will know exactly where you are.

Humminbird is a U.S based brand renowned for its great contributions to the fishing community regarding passion for the craft, innovation, and consistency. They are ever revealing the water’s secrets to us as they devise ways to hide our intrusion from the residents of the water. They never back away from challenges and have transitioned with the times, embracing technology into the digital era over the past five decades.

Pros

  • Humminbird Basemap inbuilt for direction
  • GPRS Integrated to confirm position
  • Uses CHIRP Digital Sonar for accurate signals
  • Uses Dual Beam PLUS sonar for more clarity
  • Ability to select from 2 display modes

Cons

  • Pricey in comparison to other 5” fishfinders

How to Determine the Best Fish Finder for Yourself

 

fish hiding in coral

Transducer

It is your ears and eyes in the water as it transmits the signals and deciphers the feedback. The ideal type of transducer is highly linked to the type of fishing you intend to do and the fish finder you are using. Different approaches are needed depending on compatibility and the type of fishing.

For instance, a wide cone angle transducer will be ideal for topwater fishing, while a narrow angle is perfect for deeper angling.

Display

The larger the display, the more you can see, so naturally, you should go for the largest you can accommodate in terms of budget and space. A big one may not fit in your boat or will unnecessarily cram up your vessel.

You should also consider other display elements, like screen resolution, color, and contrast. A backlit display also comes in handy in situations of low visibility.

Portable or Fixed

This choice is also pegged on the kind of fishing you will be engaging in and whether you have a permanent place to fix the fish finder. A fixed fish finder will give more consistent readings, but not all circumstances are ideal for fixing.

GPS Integration

GPS is crucial in navigation as it will enable you to fish even in waters you have never been in. It also keeps you constantly aware of your location so you can trace your way back to where you began or return to the same spot later if it was fruitful. Many fish finders nowadays are integrating GPS because of this convenience, some with built-in maps.

It may not be very critical to have, however, if you are not venturing into the water but are fishing from the shore or waterfront.

Down Scanning vs Side Scanning

  • Down scanning captures what is directly underneath the boat. The angle is narrow, but the pictures are sharper, meaning it is ideal when you have already identified a spot, and when you want to go deep.
  • Side scanning covers the sides of the boat and is more expansive. It captures the general terrain, which is great for shallow water fishing.

Some fish finders have both, which gives them an edge because they can be used for both purposes, separately and concurrently.

Durability

A quality fish finder should last a long time, longer than your other fishing gear, because it is not tackling the fish directly. Indicators of long-lasting fishing gear are water resistance items, especially since the transducer needs to be in the water, the finishing touches, and how easy it is to operate.

You should also peruse the manufacturer’s warranty as it usually reflects on their confidence with their product. The average warranty period for fish finders is one to two years.

What Makes the Humminbird Helix 5 Outstanding?

What are some other features and advantages that really make the Humminbird Helix 5 stand out for anglers?

Dual Beam PLUS Sonar

This refers to combining two beams: a narrow one that focuses on a specific point, giving very detailed and accurate coverage of the terrain, and a wide one that covers a larger surface to help picture the surrounding. You can view the results separately, next to each other, or blend them to get the whole image.

SwitchFire Sonar

It refers to the ability to switch how your returns are displayed, depending on what you want to see. Different display modes will give you various perspectives, enabling you to get a clearer picture of the water’s depth, turbulence, and many other variables.

These two features are enough for a decent fish finder for the bay, shore, or riverbank fishing, such as the Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2, which will be relatively cheap yet functional enough as you won’t be moving around much. It even has a portable version that comes with a custom portable carrying case, the Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2 PT.

The two fish finders are the pioneers in this series and did not even have GPS or any form of navigation features. If you are interested in a reasonably priced fish finder that is portable and has GPS, you can browse this list.

CHIRP Digital Sonar

The newer Helix 5 series models are much more advanced since the introduction of Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse (CHIRP)digital sonar. This covers a wider range of frequencies, giving more elaborate readings and enabling you to see more details than you would with other sonar devices.

The accuracy of CHIRP Digital Sonar has made other improvements to the Humminbird Helix 5 fish finder series possible; The latter models have a built-in Humminbird Basemap, AutoChart Live, are LakeMaster Compatible and Navionics compatible.

 

Map Studying

The Humminbird Basemap

It is in-built in all post CHIRP Digital Sonar Humminbird Helix 5 fish finders. It is based on NOAA data (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under the U.S. Department of Commerce).

The NOAA supports marine commerce, monitors climate and weather patterns, and manages fisheries. This makes it easily the most reliable source of data. The Basemap gives an accurate description of the underwater terrain and points out the areas of interest. The charts cover most of the U.S and parts of Canada.

LakeMaster

This is Humminbird’s improvement to the Basemap, providing higher definition details that are even more exact. Imposing this on the Basemap sharpens the accuracy, and you can better see the contours and estimate water depth.

Navionics

This is a boating app that provides boaters all around the world with electronic cartography for navigation in marine areas, lakes and rivers.

It has been reviewed several as one of the best navigation apps in the market today. It is a definite plus if it is compatible with your fishfinder.

These three enable you to eliminate unproductive water and only focus on the best fishing spots, saving time and resources in the process.

AutoChart Live

It is a feature that lets you create your own maps from experience. You can save the contours encountered, the lay of the underwater terrain, your best fishing spots, and the routes taken. If you combine this intelligence with the Basemap and LakeMaster features, you will greatly eliminate guesswork from your fishing and spend more time actually fishing.

 

CHIRP Side Imaging

A signal is sent with CHIRP Digital Sonar precision on both sides of the boat, covering up to 480 feet. It gives a clear view of the lay of the waterbed surrounding you. Combining side imaging allows you to filter out unnecessary noise and only focus on what is relevant.

 

CHIRP Down Imaging

This time the signal is sent downwards to cover what is beneath your boat. It has the same CHIRP Digital Sonar accuracy that provides clear and precise images while. You can discern between underwater structure, vegetation, and fish. It also lets you know the water depth and shape of contours beneath you.

Related Offers: Alternatives

1. The Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv

The Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv

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Though it is relatively new in the market, we have considered it on the grounds of its relatively fair price for a 7” screen fish finder. It is also a color screen, albeit a WVGA (the Humminbird Helix 5 is a TFT).

It also uses a CHIRP Sonar and has all the usual perks like built-in GPS and mapping software. It is worth checking out.

2. Deeper Pro Smart Sonar Fish Finder

Deeper Pro Smart Sonar Fish Finder

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This one has one of the deepest scans as it reaches 260ft. It syncs with iOS and Android devices via Wi-Fi like a hotspot without needing an internet connection.

It is great for snow and shore fishing.

Our Verdict

Humminbird products are known for their durability. The reviews from users of the Humminbird Helix 5 products are glowing, and we have demonstrated that they have all the functionalities expected of a fish finder. We believe it delivers its worth when all is said and done.

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