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Humminbird 797C2 SI Combo Fish Finder Review

By Iain Loveman

Sorry This Item Is Out Of Stock Or No Longer Available

Iain Loveman

The Humminbird 797C2 SI Combo Color Fish Finder and GPS Chartplotter is pre loaded with UniMap and is not only for pro anglers but serious recreational fisherman looking for the best.

The 797c2 Combo has everything Humminbird has to offer and with advanced accessories including GPS chartplotter it will revolutionize the way you fish.

The 797c2 SI Combo uses side-imaging sonar with two 86° beams for 180° sideways viewing to 150 ft., and DualBeam PLUS sonar with 20° and 60° beams for both wide coverage and better bottom definition.

This unit includes real-time sonar and echo enhancement technology sensitive enough to track a jig to over 40 feet, to a maximum depth of 1,500 feet, all with a target separation of 2.5".

The 797c2 has a built-in 16-channel WAAS/EGNOS GPS receiver, and 30-meter-per-pixel resolution UniMap of USA inland lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. This unit's high-speed, micro-dynamic transducer is reliable to 70 mph, and includes water temperature and GPS speed.

The 797c2 has an ultra-high-contrast, 5" TFT LCD screen with 640 x 480 lines of resolution in 256 colors for enhanced separation, and an adjustable backlight. This unit features upgrades to WeatherSense, PC accessories, and more, and a memory card expansion slot for optional cartography. Additionally, the 797c2 SI Combo NVB (Navionics Value Bundle) comes pre-loaded with Navionics Gold and HotMaps, yet despite its many functions remains easy to operate.

The 797c2 features real-time flasher performance, Bottom Lock to enhance resolution and separate fish from structure, one-touch zoom with 2x, 4x, 6x and 8x zoom levels, and X-Press Menus so you can access the most important controls with fewer button presses. This fish finder also features both fresh and saltwater options, the ability to choose between TruArch for actual fish returns or selective Fish ID+ with target depth, and Freeze Frame to instantly pause the sonar display, allowing more time to see the details.

The 797c2 comes with a transom mount transducer, and a tilt-and-swivel, quick-disconnect mount system, for Gimbal or in-dash mounting. This unit measures 6.9 x 7.7 x 4.5 inches (W x H x D) as a Gimbal mount, or when in-dash mounted requires three inches of behind-dash clearance. For upgrades, this system is compatible with optional QuadraBeam Bottom Scanning, and WideSide Bank Scanning Transducers. The Humminbird 797c2 Combo is built tough with fully gasketed and waterproof construction so it floats, and is backed by a manufacturer's one-year warranty.

Humminbird 797C2 SI Combo Fishfinder

The graphic below is an actual image captured by the head and transferred to a SD card. We were fishing Head Lake, near Norland, Ontario.

I purchased a Humminbird 797C2 fishfinder awhile ago and have had a couple of outings to familiarize myself with it so I thought I would give you a heads up on what I have found so far.

The fish finder goes together pretty easy, actually it is pretty well plug and play.

After a quick review of the instructions I jerry rigged the unit to work on my boat. I simply mounted the Humminbird 792c transducer to a piece of 1x2 about 3' in length and will mount it to the transom with a C clamp.

I slotted out a piece of 2 x 6 to allow the wires to slide into the hole provided and then inserted them the unit. I then pushed the head into the mounting bracket until it snapped into place and presto, it was ready to go.

I had to strip back the coating on the power cable about 6 inches to allow me to connect to my battery. (If you try this remember to install a fusible link with the proper fuse.)

I should emphasis here if you really want to use the Hummingbird 797C2 to its full potential
read the manual. This unit is loaded with all the bells and whistles and you will be missing out on a lot if you don't.

My first fishing outing was on Kashawigamog Lake, north of Minden, Ontario and I swore there was no fish in the lake, until I realized I hadn't turned on the Fish ID. I did however use my knowledge of bottom and structure to guide me around the areas where my prey would be lurking.

In order to operate the unit it is just a matter of powering it up, hit the menu button, selecting one screen at a time and setting your preferences and then exiting. This will get you into a basic fishing mode. The 700 series uses Side Imaging Sonar which gives you a wide and precise survey of a large area of water, excellent detail of the bottom and structure that attracts fish. The side imaging is viewed like an aerial photograph only underwater. (see below)

Get this! The manual indicates that typically the side imaging sonar searches and area that is
360 ft. wide to each side.
That is 720 feet total side coverage. It will also cover a depth of up to 150 feet. WOW!

One of the options is to snapshot or record what is on the screen. You will need a MMC/SD card and a card reader. The card and reader I purchased at Best Buy but any computer store will carry them.

If you purchase the chart card do not use it to record or snapshot or you will lose your maps. The card I purchased holds 2 GB's of data, plenty for my purposes. I haven't had the chance to explore the GPS section yet, so I will be adding my comments soon.

I recently sold the Humminbird 797C2 to a gentleman in Mississauga, Ontario and he reports ...

"Yes, so far so good - the Humminbird has been working well. I'm still learning how to use it and exploring it's functions.

First trip with it was a week's holiday in Lake Huron north of Sauble Beach around the fishing islands. I'll first mention that I mounted the unit on the starboard side about 15 inches from the centre of the boat. This seemed to be the best happy medium based on reading the instructions (not too close to the prop, yet not too far away from the boat's centre line so as to be out of the water at higher speeds).

I've noticed that in shallower water (under say 15 feet) I lose the side imaging capability on the port side. Yet, in deeper water, both sides function well.

Test 1: Pike Fishing I used it to locate weed beds in approx 12 feet of water (FOW). The side imaging was excellent at this as it basically showed images that resemble bushes of weeds under water.

At the same time the sonar worked well too indicating the bottom and the weeds on top of it. Only when weeds were very dense did the sonar "think" the bottom was only 4 feet when in reality it was 12 and the weeds were 8 feet high.I did not see any fish marked on the side imaging, yet of course wasn't watching the screen all the time. The sonar marked a few fish.

Test 2: Smallmouth Bass fishing

The key to fishing in this area is finding underwater structure, typically rock piles/shoals in generally flat areas. The side imaging was good at this as I could find some know rock piles quite easily as long as I was trolling near them. The sonar also worked well.

Test 3: Salmon Fishing

This type of fishing I do most often and was able to try it on Lake Ont for the first time last night. Both the SI and the sonar worked great. I was able to mark schools of bait fish in 100 FOW, 80 feet beside the boat.

I'm still learning to decipher the sonar. I'm not sure how it marks bait schools vs. the fish that are often around them.

Next test will be this coming weekend in Georgian Bay trying for Bass, Pike and Salmon in 12 Mile Bay which is fjord like so the images should be interesting."

Customer Review

February 22, 2008
"Side Imaging Quality Works as advertised. With a correct installation, you will get pictures even better than the ones posted at the Hummingbird site.

Unfortunately, this unit will at first hurt your fish catching ratio.

This is because I guarantee you will be looking at the SI more for the first few months then fishing.

After the coolness factor fades a little (for me I still am awed by it) then you will finally get to fish.

Here is where the unit excels. How many times has the mantra "Fish Structure!" been uttered by the pros? Well, this unit lets you find structure in the middle of the lake. If you are like me, you may have fished the high pressure spots along coasts and visible structure.
This unit allows you to easily find those hidden underwater fish goldmines.Ever wonder which bridge pillar is holding the crappie? With the SI unit I can latterly see clouds of fish along one pillar while they may be ignoring the others."

Humminbird 797C2 SI Combo Specifications:

  • Display Size: 5" Diagonal
  • Display Matrix: 640V x 480H
  • Display Type: 256 Color TFT, Sunlight Viewable Hemispherical Viewing
  • Power Output(RMS): 500 Watts
  • Power Output(Peak to Peak): 4000 Watts
  • Operating Frequency: 83kHz, 200kHz & 455kHz
  • Sonar Coverage: Side Imaging: (2) 86°@-10db (180° total coverage);
    DualBeamPLUS: 60° & 20° @ -10db
  • Depth Capability: 150Ft Side Imaging, 1500 Feet DualBeam PLUS
  • Target Separation: 2 1/2 Inches
  • Temperature: Included in Transducer
  • Speed: GPS Speed Included
  • Power Input: 10-20 VDC
  • Standard Transducer: Side Imaging/DualBeam PLUS - XNT 9 SI 180 T
  • Transducer Mounting: Transom Mount Standard - Transducer Exchange outlines other options
  • Unit Mounting: Gimbal or In-Dash
  • Unit Size(Gimbal Mount): 6.9" W x 7.7" H x 4.5" D (min)
  • Unit Size(In-Dash Mount): 6.9" W x 5.4" H x 1.25" D; Required Minimum 3" Behind dash clearance
  • Communication: NMEA O183 Data Output, Humminbird Fishing System Network
  • GPS Receiver: 16 Channel External GPS WAAS/EGNOS
  • Waypoints, Routes & Tracks: 3000 Waypoints, 50 Routes, 50 Tracks with 20000 Points Each
  • Cartography: Built-in 30 meters UniMap; Optional Navionics Gold or HotMaps Premium on MMC or SD Card

  Humminbird 797C2 Fish Finder Comments

Does the Humminbird 797C fish finder come loaded with Canadian Lakes?

Unfortunately not.
The unit is equipped with UNIMap.
"More Humminbird Fishing Systems and fishfinders than ever include a built-in UniMap™ covering the continental U.S.A. coastline and inland lakes and rivers at 30 meters per pixel resolution. On the coast, this clearly shows features as small as canals, and many coastal navigation lights. Inland, the UniMap features virtually all recreational lakes and rivers, plus hundreds of thousands of small lakes that don’t appear on other charts. In other words, your lake is likely to be there! With the UniMap, you have a chart virtually anywhere you travel in the United States."

In order to get Canadian Lakes you would have to purchase Navionics Gold
"Navionics Gold and HotMaps Premium is a huge library of electronic cartography on easy-to-use plug and play memory cards or preloaded on select models. You get paper chart detail, including bottom contours, structure, reefs, and drop-offs that will help you catch more fish. For coastal and Great Lakes anglers there's navigational data, including spot soundings, buoys, beacons and more. Other features include a wreck and diving database, tide and current data and user-selectable depth contours. For the inland angler, HotMaps Premium includes data on more than 8,000 North American lakes including exclusive high-definition surveys."

There are several Humminbird units that do come equipped with the Navionics Gold Such as the 1197c SI Combo NVB, 1157c Combo NVB, 997c SI Combo NVB, 957c Combo NVB, 798c SI Combo NVB, 798ci SI Combo NVB and 788ci Combo NVB.

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