My regular readers will know that I love gadgets. So, it will come as no big surprise that I was first in line when commercially available fish finders hit the market. I was in. I went out and bought the biggest and flashiest fish finder I could find—and that was one of the more expensive mistakes I’ve made.
I was reeled in by all the cool features. I could check the water temperature and boat speed. What I couldn’t do with it was find fish. All those extra features came at the expense of image quality and separation.
You could see that there was something in the water, but you couldn’t see exactly what. You were just as likely to catch a clump of weeds as a fish. Needless to say, it’s now sitting in the back of my garage as a reminder of one of my more expensive fishing mistakes.
I’ve learned a lot since then. I’ve learned not to be blinded by the flashiest features, and I’d like to save you from making a similar mistake. That’s why I decided to publish this Humminbird Helix 9 review.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Humminbird Helix 9
If you’re looking at this Humminbird Helix 9 SI review, you’ve either heard about or had experience with a fish finder. There’s no question that they can be useful. They can help you identify what’s going on in the water and find out where those elusive fish are.
I understand. There’s nothing quite as soul-destroying as coming up empty after a day of fishing. Especially not when you know that others have been successful in the same spot. A good fish finder can increase the chances that your trips will be fruitful.
They can also help you mark a prime spot and always ensure that you can find your way back to it again. The Humminbird model I’m reviewing will do all that and more, but it isn’t cheap. Is the outlay going to be worth it for you?
First, you should consider how often you’re going to use it. If fishing is an off and on hobby for you, it’s probably not worth the outlay. If you’re out every weekend, it might be a good purchase.
Another aspect to consider is the kind of fishing you’ll be doing. If you’re fishing in a variety of different spots, this dual-beam sonar with adjustable frequencies could prove useful. If you’re fishing in about the same area, and at about the same depth, you could get away with using a cheaper model that is more suited to the type of depths you’re used to.
Our Humminbird Helix 9 Review
The Hummingbird Helix promises unparalleled clarity up to a depth of 200 feet below your boat. The company claims that it will show clearly defined targets and also give you a complete view of the bottom.
This model offers MEGA Down Imaging + sonar. It’s an advancement of the previous MEGA Down Imaging sonar and offers a 20-percent improvement in image clarity and definition. You can adjust the picture to include as much detail as you like.
Humminbird has included GPS navigation and its base maps with this system. You can mark numerous waypoints, obstructions, and so on along the way.
The features are great, but the price is in the upper middle range for these products. If you’re a serious fisherman, like to explore, and want to be able always to hit the mark, this is a good choice.
If you’re more of a hobbyist, and on a tight budget, there are cheaper options out there that will be just fine for you.
- Crystal clear images
- Highly Accurate
- Full GPS + Humminbird base maps
- AutoChart Live allows you to create your own maps
- Nice big screen
- Not a touch screen
- Not the best option if you’re trolling
Features and Benefits
HD Display Screen
You get a 9-inch full-color display that produces images in high definition. That’s great because you’ll never have to worry about chasing down an old boot that reads like a fish. You’ll be able to see exactly what’s going on in the water. Image quality is superb, but the size might be a hindrance in small vessels, like a kayak, in which case there would be something similar but more appropriately sized.
See this in action for yourself here:
True, the radar is not going to help you find fish, but it will mean never getting lost in the mist, or at night again. It’ll also keep you from bumping into other objects in the water as it can detect them up to 24 miles away.
We all need to keep safe on the water. No matter how careful you are when fishing, you can’t account for the actions of others. The radar unit here will give you fair warning if someone or something is heading for your position.
This is one of the best features of this model. SwitchFire technology allows you to adjust to water conditions easily. If the water is choppy, or it’s becoming shallower, hit the Clear Mode to remove the clutter and get a better picture. In ideal conditions, use the Max Mode and don’t miss a single thing.
The transition is as easy as pressing a button, meaning that you get to concentrate more on your fishing.
Dual SD Card Slots
One SD card slot means that you can add a fair amount of memory to the device. Two means that you get double the capacity. In this case, the one slot is used for the information that you add, like a custom chart.
The other slot is for you to add mapping programs and use them. Both are on the front to make it easier to switch out the cards as necessary.
See for yourself in this video:
With the simpler fishfinder models, you’ll get a readout of data, but the analysis is left up to you. With the Helix 9, you get the SmartStrike program. This program will analyze data from various sources to find the best place to set up when fishing.
It takes lake data, seasonal data, and the current weather conditions into account. Learn more about SmartStrike here.
Crystal Clear Images
The images that you get are crystal clear, and the larger 9-inch screen means that you don’t have to strain to look over at them. You get to focus on catching the fish with glances at the screen now and then.
With smaller models, you have to drop what you’re doing so that you can move over and scrutinize the screen.
The image quality is something that I still find amazing. It’s almost photorealistic, so you’ll get a unique perspective of what is going on under the boat.
Excellent Navigational System
The navigational system is a big plus if you’re an avid explorer or if you’re a diehard who goes out in any weather. You can safely fish in foggy conditions knowing that the radar will give you early warning of any potential hazards.
Do forget about the “I got lost in the fog excuse” though. You’ll have to find some other reason to explain why you spent so long out on the water.
It’s tough to find bad things to say about this model. Humminbird has really come up with a host of features that you’ll find useful over and over again. In all honesty, I’d say the biggest downside with this model is the price.
It’s not the most expensive model out there, but it is going to set you back a fair amount. That’s to be expected, though. There’s a lot of tech packed in here. Still, that’s not much comfort to someone who’s running on a shoestring budget.
In this respect, though, I do feel that the cost is worth it. I’d advise saving for a bit if you can’t quite afford it right now.
Not Ideal for Trolling
The other issue that we found was that it’s not ideal for when you’re trolling. The beam is focused more on the underside of the boat. This gives it a good range going straight down but is not much help when it comes to what’s going on in the wake.
Overall, this product delivers in spades. If you’re a keen angler, you’re going to love it. Take it with you on vacation and check out new fishing spots. You can get cheaper models for sure, but none with the range of features that you’re getting here.
I like this because it allows you to focus on the reason that you’re there – fishing. You don’t have to spend half your time on the water fiddling with settings or straining to see a tiny screen. You don’t have to make sense of the different blips on the radar – the program will do that for you.
You can even cheat a little and have it analyze the best fishing spots for you. To be honest, I have a sort of love-hate feeling when it comes to the SmartStrike feature. It works well, but it is a shortcut. Sometimes I want it to be me versus the fish, which is why I don’t always hit that little button.
That’s the beauty of this system; you can decide how much help you want it to give you, and it can be your little secret – you never need to tell your mates how you’ve become a fishing guru.
Of course, that’s assuming that you don’t want to make your friends green with envy. I’ve got to be honest here— this is a device that you’ll want to show off.
Is this the last fish finder I’ll ever buy? Don’t be silly now. It’s one of the best models on the market at the moment, but there are always upgrades to think about, and you know how dedicated I am to my readers.
It’s my duty to try out the newest fishing gadgets on the market. It’s hard work, but someone has to do it. Check out this fish finder masterpiece.
Finding the best fishing spots, and then finding your way back to them again can be problematic. If they’re close to shore, it’s simple enough – just pick a landmark and settle on it. Further out, though, one wave looks much like another.
The Helix 9 takes all the guesswork out of identifying a good spot and then finding it again on another day. You’ll get to see what is going on in the water, and the GPS allows you to mark the top spots again accurately.
I can’t guarantee that you’ll hook the fish, but at least you’ll know where they’re biting. Overall, this is an impressive piece of tech that will be an asset to any serious angler.
While we hope this Humminbird Helix 9 review has helped you reach a decision, if you want to see the benefits for yourself, click here.