Last Updated on January 28, 2021 by Donnell Henderson
If you are like most fishermen, you don’t want to sit patiently for an entire day without catching any fish. If you have experience with traditional fish finders with their grayscale displays and single frequency sonars, you may also not be overly excited about the idea of paying a lot of money for one.
With modern technology, high-performance fish finders packed with valuable features have started seeing the light of day. One of these products is the Humminbird Helix 5.
In this Humminbird Helix 5 SI review, we will be discussing this fish finder’s features, benefits, and drawbacks to ensure that you don’t waste money on a fish finder that is wrong for your needs.
- Why Should You Buy a Fish Finder?
- My Humminbird Helix 5 Review
- Features and Benefits
- General User Impressions
- Our Opinion
- Final Words
Why Should You Buy a Fish Finder?
A fish finder is an incredibly valuable fishing strategy. These babies not only help you detect fish around your boat, but they also give you information on the bottom structure and allow you to plot your favorite fishing spots for future fishing trips.
Fish finders in the Humminbirds Helix 5 series are perfect for fishers who can’t dish out thousands of dollars for high-end fish finders. Even if you have the financial means for a state-of-the-art fish finder, you may still want to consider one of these 5-inch units especially if you typically fish from a more modest vessel, as they are compact, easy to mount, and lightweight. Check out our reviews of other fish finders for small boats here.
You may also not benefit from a fish finder if you believe that the art of fishing comes down to relying on patience and your skills.
Since you are spending your hard-earned cash on a fish finder, ensure that you buy a unit that meets your individual needs. Before buying, think about your typical fishing setting. If you fish from a boat in a lake or river that doesn’t go deeper than 2,000 feet, and you can benefit from built-in navigational features, a fish finder like a Helix 5 sonar may be perfect for your needs.
My Humminbird Helix 5 Review
The Helix 5 SI is a mid-range, compact fish finder for boat fishers that features a 5-inch 480 x 800 display, a built-in GPS, CHIRP technology for accurate imaging, down-imaging, and high-quality design.
The SI and other models in the Helix 5 series offer, for the most part, the same features as those in the latest series. The most noticeable difference is that the Helix 5 has a smaller screen and is more suited to smaller vessels. This fish finder is compact, and the unit and transducer are easy to mount.
Since the unit has a built-in GPS with waypoint plotting, you can use it to navigate to your favorite fishing spots on a lake or reservoir. The Helix 5 SI also provides you with accurate and detailed information in shallow water, unlike some of the bigger units.
If you fish from large or motorized watercraft, however, the Helix 5 may be too small to cater for your fishing requirements, and you may be better off with a fish finder like The Helix 7 or a bigger model that can accommodate higher speeds, three or more split views, and deeper water.
- Durable construction and IPX7 waterproof rating
- User-friendly with an intuitive interface
- Down and side scanning with detailed imaging
- Built-in GPS with a comprehensive mapping functionality
- CHIRP technology for detailed information display
- Mounting options are limited
- The screen may be too small for some anglers
- Preloaded maps are not detailed
Features and Benefits
The Helix 5 SI comes with a full-color 5-inch LCD screen with a resolution that is high enough to display sonar and navigational information. The screen is optimized to provide you with a lot of information in one view.
The screen allows for side-by-side views to compare sonar information. On the left are readouts like water temperature, depth, and your GPS speed, and on the right-hand side of your screen is your GPS location. You can transfer any of these readouts to full-screen mode for an enhanced view.
DualBeam Plus Sonar
The primary objective of your fish finder is to track fish. The Helix 5 SI features a 4,000-watt DualBeam Plus sonar that provides you with crystal clear underwater information. The sonar emits two beams to provide you with a down and side view.
Tracking fish below and next to your boat will help you find the best fishing spots and optimize your fishing activities.
The Helix 5 SI has a built-in GPS to meet all your navigational needs. With the GPS, you can mark your location, the best fishing spots, and waypoints that you can use as references in the future. With this feature, you don’t have to search around for a vegetation area that you found during a previous trip.
The GPS comes with pre-installed maps. If there is no map for the area you are exploring, you download a map for the area online and import it to your fish finder.
The transducer is the component of your fish finder that you mount to your boat. It emits and receives sonar waves and displays the information it gathers on your screen. The Helix 5 SI features a transom mount transducer that you have to mount to your boat at a point that will be well below the water surface.
Since the transducer you receive with your Helix 5 SI is incredibly powerful, it can detect the bottom structure, fish, and other underwater objects to a depth of up to 1,500 feet.
Conventional fish finders used to measure the response from a signal frequency to create imaging. Nowadays, high-end fish finders feature CHIRP technology that measures the change in response from a frequency pair to provide you with accurate and detailed imagery.
The Helix 5 SI features two different CHIRP settings that you can choose from, depending on your fishing setting. With the 455 kHz range, you can view a large area. If you want a more detailed view, you can switch to the 800 kHz frequency range, which will cover a smaller underwater area.
With the Helix 5 SI, you can also view both frequency ranges in one split view.
General User Impressions
Fishers who have been using the Helix 5 SI are generally pleased with its performance, intuitive interface, and viewing settings. Users also found the built-in GPS with its navigational features to be valuable.
A common complaint from reviewers is that the transducer mounting bracket’s quality is lacking and that it offers limited versatility.
Is the Fish Finder Waterproof?
The unit itself is not waterproof, but its housing has an IPX7 waterproof rating. If the fish finder is in its housing, water splashes and accidental submerging will not damage the unit.
How Long is the Cable Between the Unit and the Transducer?
The cable that is included with your Helix 5 SI has a length of twenty feet. If you have a large watercraft or if the cable is too short, you will have to buy a cable separately.
How Long Does the Battery Last?
If the battery is fully charged, you can use the fish finder continuously for eight hours.
For its size and price, the Humminbird Helix 5 offers incredible value that you are not likely to see with some of the other models in this category. It features all the technology that you can expect from a brand like Humminbird, including CHIRP technology, a built-in GPS, and chart-plotting software.
You can easily upgrade the Helix 5 SI in the future by replacing the transducer or adding maps or software with a MicroSD card. Other high-value features of this fish finder include durable construction, powerful sonar, full-color imaging, down and side scanning, and pre-installed maps.
This fish finder has its drawbacks, but they take nothing away from the value that the product can add to your fishing experience. Issues that the Helix 5 SI has include a small screen and mounting brackets that can be improved.
Deep-sea fisherman or shore anglers may be frustrated by the Helix 5 SI. If you are a small boat fisherman, however, this fish finder can provide you with everything you may need when you are out fishing on a lake, reservoir, or river.
Here’s a video on how to set up this unit.
When you are out fishing, you can’t see below the water surface to find the best fishing spots. You need a high-quality fish finder like the Humminbird Helix 5 SI.
Given the price, this Helix 5 SI may be one of the best buys in fish finders. It features contemporary CHIRP technology, a powerful sonar that can scan depths of up to 1,500 feet in freshwater, and a high-resolution display.
We hope this Humminbird Helix 5 review provided you with enough information so you can make a calculated buying decision.
If you’d like to read about other great fish finders, check out this roundup post.