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#12453463 - 10/04/17 07:35 PM Best Budget side scan with charts/gps?
B1TX Offline

Registered: 05/05/17
Posts: 35
I'm sure this topic has been beaten to death, but I've been told it's time for me to upgrade some of my equipment. Other than a basic down-scan I don't have much experience with these fish finders. Based on my limited research I've concluded that a Side Scan with Charts/GPS would be the best overall value and would prevent me from having to upgrade in the future. So, with a budget in the $500-$1500 range, what would you choose and why? I've stumbled across the "Helix 9 Chirp MEGA SI GPS G2N" ( and for the price it seems one of the better options available. Do the charts come with each unit or are subscription-based monthly fees charged for the service?
How about the Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 94sv? Seems to be a tad cheaper and I've heard the user interface is better.

Edited by B1TX (10/04/17 08:24 PM)

#12453466 - 10/04/17 07:40 PM Re: Best Budget side scan with charts/gps? [Re: B1TX]
Bruce's Guide Service Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 4324
Loc: southlake
That is a good unit. I would go with the biggest you can get.
You need to purchase a Lakemaster card or a Navonices card for the charts.

Edited by Bruce's Guide Service (10/04/17 07:42 PM)
Bruce's Sprinkler Repair
49 years experience
State Licensed Irrigation

Fishing Texas lakes one at a time

#12453722 - 10/05/17 06:02 AM Re: Best Budget side scan with charts/gps? [Re: B1TX]
Mat04 Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 10/01/17
Posts: 9
Don't have, but I heard good things about it.

#12453735 - 10/05/17 06:16 AM Re: Best Budget side scan with charts/gps? [Re: B1TX]
ring fry Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/02
Posts: 5716
Loc: Fort Scott, Ks.
The 94SV is loaded with blue water (coastal) maps. If you are fishing inland waters you want the 93SV. Lakemaster or Navionics cards do not work in Garmin units. The mapping is pre loaded into the units. This will show you what lakes are mapped by Garmin. Great unit and so easy to navigate the menus.

SE Kansas grass grower
2008 NCAA Mens Basketball Champions

#12454020 - 10/05/17 09:57 AM Re: Best Budget side scan with charts/gps? [Re: B1TX]
Capt Craig Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 08/25/09
Posts: 1627
Loc: Richland-Chambers
The two best units sold today come from Humminbird and Lowrance. Humminbird has a slightly larger margin of the market. People are pretty divided into preferring this or that based on personal preference of how it looks, how they feel they can operate it, and such.

CHIRP sonar is the new standard and MEGA the best of the best. Ultimately it comes down to your own personal preference. I prefer Humminbird as the menu screens are all under the same section so adjusting settings for me is easier there. Humminbird also offers a few features like the color bar that other makers leave off. The color bar presents all available colors in a particular color palette on the sonar screen so you can always tell whether a echo return is soft or hard and where it falls along the rainbow.

Best thing is to get lots of advice and read all your can. I suggest going to the major makers and actually pulling up the manuals and reading them. After all, that is what you will need to see to know how user friendly the units are.

I suggest avoiding Garmin.

AS far as mapping, Humminbird Lakemaster only works in Humminbird. I prefer Navionics, I like the way it appears on the screen. It is a one time purchase, no updating for lakes is really necessary ever.
Capt. Craig Copeland
Licensed by the US Coast Guard

2013 Nautic Star 2110 Shallow Bay Boat
Nautic Star Boats Pro Staff (
Redneck Fish'n Jigs Pro Staff (

#12454721 - 10/05/17 06:49 PM Re: Best Budget side scan with charts/gps? [Re: B1TX]
B1TX Offline

Registered: 05/05/17
Posts: 35
Thanks to all of you for the information. After looking up the Garmin LakeVU I've found my lake is not covered, so I guess I'll rule that one out. Also, if the Humminbird is top of the line I might as well make the plunge after checking things out. Thanks again!

#12454842 - 10/05/17 08:23 PM Re: Best Budget side scan with charts/gps? [Re: B1TX]
shut-up-and-fish Online   content
TFF Guru

Registered: 02/08/10
Posts: 10550
Loc: Lewisville Tx.

Mega Imaging is producing some of the best images I have ever come across. I like LakeMaster as it allows for me to make adjustments to my map in means of shallow water feature and shallow water highlights. I have both Navionics and LakeMaster. Reason being there are details on specific waters I fish over the other. I prefer LakeMaster.
Humminbird is the only manufacture that allows for you to chart your own waters via Auto Chart and Auto Chart Pro.

Give me a call direct if you have any further questions. I would be happy to visit with you one on one. I will be out of pocket most of the day with an On the Water Education Trip so if you get my voice mail just leave a msg and I will call you back as soon as I get the chance.

Mega Imaging:

From *Sales to *Installation Services too *On the Water Education & Instructional Trips
We have you covered here @ shut-up-and-fish for all of your Humminbird, Lowrance,
Garmin, Minn Kota & Motorguide needs plus much more - Call Now 972 822 9285


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