The End All Discussion On Ice Fishing Sonar / Flashers

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The End All Discussion On Ice Fishing Sonar / Flashers

Hello ice anglers,

My brother is going to purchase a sonar or flasher for ice fishing.

Normally, I would say Vexilar.  But it is time for me to be fair to other products out there.  I'd really like unbiased (as best as possible) information on the units you are running.  Here's some needs:

A unit that just works.  No glitches.

A fast screen.

One that does not drain the battery horrible.

One that can TAKE A BEATING!!!!!!  That is, bounce around in the back of a towed Polar Sport (now the X something or other Ice Clam) or on a four wheeler and not be babied.

I would say Vexilar all the time but a couple things I do like are having contours readily available.  Also, I guess I'm getting lazy.  Having a digital readout would be nice for depth checking.

But again, I do not want to sacrifice any of the above needs.

Please provide any help guys and gals.  Much appreciated.

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 vexilar has always worked well for me. the best thing about them is the battery life. i have went to lake of the woods on a two and three day trip this year and didnt have to charge my battery or replace. the auto zoom feature also works well 

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Does this site allow it to be done as a poll?

Vex

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 Get an FL-20. Flat screen, 6 and 12ft zoom modes, and you can use it deep (60+FOW), which is what you'll be doing for those Sakakawea saugers. I have one and it's the bomb.



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HDS 5 on the ice. You can have your GPS and map chip available at any time. Great for checking lake contours as well as marking waypoints. Plus you get all the bennies of a graph with the screen memory, different color palettes, etc. If you have the proper ice pack cover for it, it will hold up just fine. Mine got beat pretty good this past weekend with no issues. 

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Pickerel Tamer Said:
 Get an FL-20. Flat screen, 6 and 12ft zoom modes, and you can use it deep (60+FOW), which is what you'll be doing for those Sakakawea saugers. I have one and it's the bomb.

 X2

Neat

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sdwxman Said:
HDS 5 on the ice. You can have your GPS and map chip available at any time. Great for checking lake contours as well as marking waypoints. Plus you get all the bennies of a graph with the screen memory, different color palettes, etc. If you have the proper ice pack cover for it, it will hold up just fine. Mine got beat pretty good this past weekend with no issues. 

If I go away from a flasher and move to a graph @ some point I'll mount a ram ball either on my handlebars or front rack, get a cigarette lighter power cable and have the unit out and running rather than carrying a handheld.  I don't have a really good plan for how to store the transducer yet but I could cypher that when the time came.  Lots less beating/banging having the unit mounted to a ram ball vs. riding in a sled and bouncing around in a 5gal bucket.

For the LX-3 I've been using for 8ish yrs I have some "computer foam" @ the bottom of a 5gal bucket, lay the flasher into the bucket on it's back (battery towards the bottom of the bucket), have a piece of computer foam over the top and then one of the threaded 5gal bucket tops with the rubber gasket.  That seems to work pretty well.  I also cut a small piece of computer foam to cover the transducer face when not in use as I scuffed one up pretty good and it wouldn't track a jig in the water column anymore.

This moment is a paradox, it's the oldest you've ever been as well as the youngest you'll ever be.



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EASY - GEN 1 Lowrance HDS-5. 

$100 Rebate from Lowrance and lots of clearance sales going on right now.  Incredibly sensitive sonar, far more adjustable and capable than a simple flasher type unit.  Built in GPS and mapping.  I had one of the first HDS units on ice and I've pounded mine in the bottom of an Otter sled for many miles with no problems.

Jim Carroll  NPAA #13

 

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I can't grasp how these lowrances work. Is it instantaneous? Is there a video out there that shows how they work icefishing? can you see your buckshot move the exact second you jig it?

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JIM C Said:
EASY - GEN 1 Lowrance HDS-5. 

$100 Rebate from Lowrance and lots of clearance sales going on right now.  Incredibly sensitive sonar, far more adjustable and capable than a simple flasher type unit.  Built in GPS and mapping.  I had one of the first HDS units on ice and I've pounded mine in the bottom of an Otter sled for many miles with no problems.

Jim Carroll  NPAA #13

 

YEAH! I love that picture. That thing saved our rear end this past weekend. It was dark getting off the ice, and with all the pressure ridges around we just followed our trail out knowing it was safe while we traveled in the pitch black dark.

Plus I use it on the boat in the summer, so you have the best for both seasons. 

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sdwxman Said:
 

JIM C Said:
EASY - GEN 1 Lowrance HDS-5. 

$100 Rebate from Lowrance and lots of clearance sales going on right now.  Incredibly sensitive sonar, far more adjustable and capable than a simple flasher type unit.  Built in GPS and mapping.  I had one of the first HDS units on ice and I've pounded mine in the bottom of an Otter sled for many miles with no problems.

Jim Carroll  NPAA #13

 

YEAH! I love that picture. That thing saved our rear end this past weekend. It was dark getting off the ice, and with all the pressure ridges around we just followed our trail out knowing it was safe while we traveled in the pitch black dark.

Plus I use it on the boat in the summer, so you have the best for both seasons. 

Hands down IMHO!

 

Good Luck and Good Fishin'

Eric T

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 I think its all about preference. I have a marcum lx-3 and my buddy who i fish with all the time has a fl-18. I like things about both. I think the vex is easier to read because the lines on the graph are "fatter" whereas my marcums lines are very thin and crisp. My eyes start to bug out a little after staring at mine for awhile especially at night. My marcum seems to have better target seperation because of those fine lines however if you're a real stickler on that, I tend to pick up more fish right on the bottom than he does. The vex lines will blend from green to yellow to red where the marcum will blink from green to yellow to red which im used to so i prefer. Bottom line is we both catch fish. Both our units have takin a beating and i dont think you can go wrong either with either brand. I think as far as gps goes a handheld is just easier especially when on an atv or in the truck. 

 

 "I get what you're saying:  Like a sausage replica featuring a Polander holding a sacred illumination device." 

 

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bowhunter_24 Said:
 Is it instantaneous? can you see your buckshot move the exact second you jig it?

Yes to both.  I jig under my boat's transducers a lot in the summer.  0 lag, it's every bit as fast as a flasher.

This moment is a paradox, it's the oldest you've ever been as well as the youngest you'll ever be.



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Wags86 Said:
 I think as far as gps goes a handheld is just easier especially when on an atv or in the truck. 

That is my thought exactly too. Obviously in a boat the gps is nice to have on the same unit but I would find it very annoying when ice fishing.

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Wags86 Said:
  I think as far as gps goes a handheld is just easier especially when on an atv or in the truck. 



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bowhunter_24 Said:

Wags86 Said:
 I think as far as gps goes a handheld is just easier especially when on an atv or in the truck. 

That is my thought exactly too. Obviously in a boat the gps is nice to have on the same unit but I would find it very annoying when ice fishing.

So a full 5" screen GPS with contours for many lakes when running the ATV/snowmobile mounted to the handlebars or front rack on a ram ball, and then 3 button pushes to have a full 5" graph screen or if you prefer, full 5" flasher screen won't work for you for some reason?  Admittedly, in the truck it does get trickier.


This moment is a paradox, it's the oldest you've ever been as well as the youngest you'll ever be.



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Horsager Said:
 

bowhunter_24 Said:

Wags86 Said:
 I think as far as gps goes a handheld is just easier especially when on an atv or in the truck. 

That is my thought exactly too. Obviously in a boat the gps is nice to have on the same unit but I would find it very annoying when ice fishing.

So a full 5" screen GPS with contours for many lakes when running the ATV/snowmobile mounted to the handlebars or front rack on a ram ball, and then 3 button pushes to have a full 5" graph screen or if you prefer, full 5" flasher screen won't work for you for some reason?  Admittedly, in the truck it does get trickier.


yeah in the pick up is how I use my gps 90% of  the time.

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Tim Sandstrom Said:
Hello ice anglers,

My brother is going to purchase a sonar or flasher for ice fishing.

Normally, I would say Vexilar.  But it is time for me to be fair to other products out there.  I'd really like unbiased (as best as possible) information on the units you are running.  Here's some needs:

A unit that just works.  No glitches.

I think this one is basically a wash. I'm a vexilar guy myself and they haven't let me down yet, but I've heard the same thing from owners of others. I think this one is a tie. 

A fast screen.

If you want to go with a combo such as the HDS-5 or Birds 385ci IMO you need to get used to using it like the Jim's up there mentioned. I have been told that when you use these units in emulator mode (where it will look like a flasher on your screen) there is a little bit of a noticeable lag that will sort of drive you nuts. If you use it like the Jim's show then they're instantaneous.

All that said IMO if a guy has experience with a flasher then it's tough to beat the feel of the Vex/Bird/Marcum flashers. 

One that does not drain the battery horrible.

No long term experience with the others but I know my FL-20 has gone 3 day trips in the shack, only getting turned off when I sleep and was still humming when I left the lake. I've also went on weekend trips and not plugged it in when I came home and went on a quick unplanned trip to realize I didn't charge and it still lasted me the day trip. 

Bit of advice, unplug and remove the battery in the offseason. Discharge it and charge back up once if you get the chance. 

One that can TAKE A BEATING!!!!!!  That is, bounce around in the back of a towed Polar Sport (now the X something or other Ice Clam) or on a four wheeler and not be babied.

Once again, no long term experience with the others but I've been fishing Vexilars and with guys with Vexilars for a long time now and I've seen them take a beating. Fall out of pickups when the doors opened, fall off sled on the move and skid down the ice for a bit, bounce around in sleds and houses and still fire right up and start graphing fish. My FL-20 usually rides tucked away in my sled or in a 5 gallon bucket (Pro-pack and ultra pack fit perfect in a 5 gallon bucket and won't move unless the bucket does)

I would say Vexilar all the time but a couple things I do like are having contours readily available.  Also, I guess I'm getting lazy.  Having a digital readout would be nice for depth checking.

What's the budget? I am seriously considering pickup up a Humminbird ICE 385ci combo to go along with the vexilar. RAM mount to the snowmobile or ATV for running on the ice and then can drop it in a 2nd hole once I get fishing. If I didn't already have an FL-20 I would buy the Humminbird ICE-55/385ci combo which comes with both and can be had for around $850 if you search around; sounds like good chunk of change but not if you look at what you're getting. 

The HDS and Bird thing is really appealing to me because I fish all parts of the year so you really get a good return on investment there.

But again, I do not want to sacrifice any of the above needs.

Please provide any help guys and gals.  Much appreciated.

J

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Horsager Said:
 

bowhunter_24 Said:

Wags86 Said:
 I think as far as gps goes a handheld is just easier especially when on an atv or in the truck. 

That is my thought exactly too. Obviously in a boat the gps is nice to have on the same unit but I would find it very annoying when ice fishing.

So a full 5" screen GPS with contours for many lakes when running the ATV/snowmobile mounted to the handlebars or front rack on a ram ball, and then 3 button pushes to have a full 5" graph screen or if you prefer, full 5" flasher screen won't work for you for some reason?  Admittedly, in the truck it does get trickier.


I run a handheld and have mount for it.  Tuck it in my pocket and I have it when on the go drilling.  Normally I invesigate depths with the handheld and then drill.  The mention of me wanting contours readily available is actually one of the last needs and not sure if it is even necessary.  As I agree, a handheld is nice.

The man reason to all of that mumbo jumbo I just said is I don't want to be limited to having to drive my four wheeler or snowmobile to every single hole.  When I take it seriously, I am moving to a new hole every few seconds to few minutes.  Grabbing and go is the name of the game.  Move to a hole, plop the Vex down hard, drop a jig, clean the hole a bit, close the bail and slowly lift hoping an aggressive fish whacked it as it thumped on the bottom or called one in.

As for beating stuff around I have yet to post photos of my creation.  If I wasn't a lazy man I would start selling but it is a lot of work and requires some sort of assembly line or something to make it feasible.  I built a carpeted platform with seats and with doors for my portable that enables nice structure storage for my poles, flasher, cooler to put fish in, bait, heater, etc.  It keeps things nice and tight in its appropriate place so the "beat up" factor is drastically cut down.

However, I'm still scared of a sharp blow to an LCD screen not just from in a wheeler but from normal use.  That simply does not mix.  That's why I cannot get myself to bite...yet.  I am not kind to things, I don't want to baby anything.  I want to use it without too much worry.

And call me lazy, disconnecting all that electronics from the boat seems like work.  Especially when I FINALLY get my lazy butt into fishing the tailrace.  My boat is always in different spots from my ice gear.  I don't know.  I'm reaching now...ha.


 

 

Kirsch's Outdoor Products | Fargo, ND | 701-261-9017 Garmin GPS Hunting Maps
Liebel's Guide Service | Williston, ND | 701-770-6746 liebelsguideservice.com
Jig-em-Up Guide Service | Grand Forks, ND | 701-739-9198 jig-em-up-guide-service.com

 

 
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the question I got is hds-5 has anything for the interference from other units (ie) vex,lx-3 etc. also does this unit have a flasher. how good is the gps without a external ant.

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I personally have no desire to have my sonar/gps together.  I like having my handheld mounted on the ATV but yet be able to take it off when I want to walk, etc.  Having my flasher on my ATV would never work how I fish.  So, separate is better for me.  I like the screen size and all of the HDS or 385 but it just doesn't make sense for me.

Regarding flashers, I have Vex units.  But my next units will be BIrds.  The Marcum units are up there too but the Bird 45 or 55 would be it.  I have loved the little time I have used them, display is great, digital readout, it is all very nice.

The other thing to think about is interference.  In my experience Vex units have a tough time dealing with other units, most notably Marcums.  The Vex units can be setup to work well with each other but add in a Marcum and all the Vex guys have to deal with a touch of interference.  I guess you can look at it two ways- if you fish with Vex guys do you want to screw them up or if you fish with other units do you want to deal with the interference?  For me, the Bird takes care of all the issues. 

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” - Albert Einstein

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 Trying not to get sidetracked here, but I run a Garmin handheld that could be mounted to an ATV/snowmobile with a RAM mount. I personally just have it hanging off my neck on a lanyard, I like having it on me at all times. I'm like Tim, I like to check approx. depth before I drill.



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Traxion Said:
I personally have no desire to have my sonar/gps together.  I like having my handheld mounted on the ATV but yet be able to take it off when I want to walk, etc.  Having my flasher on my ATV would never work how I fish.  So, separate is better for me. 

For clarity's sake, I'd have a totally separate pro-pack or similar mount for the HDS when I got where i was going.  No thing to have a male 12V adapter with pigtail ends similar to that of a Vex battery for easy swapping between powering off the ATV and powering off of a Vex battery.

This moment is a paradox, it's the oldest you've ever been as well as the youngest you'll ever be.



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bowhunter_24 Said:
I can't grasp how these lowrances work. Is it instantaneous? Is there a video out there that shows how they work icefishing? can you see your buckshot move the exact second you jig it?

here is the easiest way to explain what you are seeing.... imagine that you take the water column on your flasher and turn it into a vertical line instead of a circular line... now place that vertical picture on the right hand side of the sonar screen shown. the "flasher" is the information you see at the far right hand side of the screen and it is indeed as instantaneous as any modern day video game.  the screen scrolls from right to left... so, everything to the left of the vertical flasher information on the right hand side of the screen is just the recorded "flasher" information from the last 15 seconds or so (depends on how fast jim has his screen scrolling).  in the particular picture that jim is showing, his lure is being held steady a little ways off the bottom and is represented by the solid blue line.  the fish came off of the bottom to take a peak at the lure a few seconds ago and is now staring at the lure. 

Born to hunt and fish... Forced to work!

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Get a vexilar.  I busted mine in half and vexilar fixed it for 50 dollars.  Vexilar customer service is top notch.  Vexilars are like a good pair of binos because you only have to buy them once. 

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I have been useing a vex for years the first fl8 i bought still works fine . I updated to a fl18 a few years ago and this year added the tri beam ducer.
I wouldnt buy anthing without a zoom.
Nobody has mentioned the markum lx7 i almost bought one but i am going to wait for next year but from what i have heard with the 2.9 update they work very well. but i dont think they will be as tough as a flasher and the battery life (larger ampree hour than any other flasher) with the heated screen is questionable.
There are deals to be had on flashers now with the season comeing to the end.
I have my hds7 on the dash of my mini truck and love the gps and contour lines ice fishing, and all my summer marks are on there. Thought about getting a ice kit for it but figured it was too expensive to beat around all winter.

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I have been useing a vex for years the first fl8 i bought still works fine . I updated to a fl18 a few years ago and this year added the tri beam ducer.
I wouldnt buy anthing without a zoom.
Nobody has mentioned the markum lx7 i almost bought one but i am going to wait for next year but from what i have heard with the 2.9 update they work very well. but i dont think they will be as tough as a flasher and the battery life (larger ampree hour than any other flasher) with the heated screen is questionable.
There are deals to be had on flashers now with the season comeing to the end.
I have my hds7 on the dash of my mini truck and love the gps and contour lines ice fishing, and all my summer marks are on there. Thought about getting a ice kit for it but figured it was too expensive to beat around all winter.

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as far as using the things in a mobile fashion... i started w/ a 68c, got stolen, upgraded to a 522, thing got a crack in it and got wet this summer, now using a buddies 68 again till i decide what i am going to replace my 522 w/.  i fish out of my truck, out of a portable and spend way too much time in my permanent.  i don't ever fish w/o the thing.  when i know i will be fishing out of my truck, i pull the battery from the soft pack, set the thing on the dash and power it w/ my cigarette lighter.  if i move out of the truck to my permanent or to set up my portable, i just stick the battery back in.  it is pretty nice having your map (i actually use my garmin w/ trax and my phone map/app sometimes too to get the best of all worlds) sitting on your dash... and it only takes 2 seconds of pushing 2 different buttons to go from map view to sonar view.  as far as durability goes... if you trust your sonar unit on your boat getting banged around in big waves and crusing down gravel roads, it would be silly not to trust the thing being pulled around on the ice a little bit.  especially if you stick it in a bucket or make some sort of storage system for it. 

Born to hunt and fish... Forced to work!

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Horsager Said:
 

Traxion Said:
I personally have no desire to have my sonar/gps together.  I like having my handheld mounted on the ATV but yet be able to take it off when I want to walk, etc.  Having my flasher on my ATV would never work how I fish.  So, separate is better for me. 

For clarity's sake, I'd have a totally separate pro-pack or similar mount for the HDS when I got where i was going.  No thing to have a male 12V adapter with pigtail ends similar to that of a Vex battery for easy swapping between powering off the ATV and powering off of a Vex battery.

I gathered that.  The only downside I see, other than having to physically having to take off the unit and reattach each time, is having to power off the unit, then power back on and let the GPS initialize again.  Obviously you are in the same spot so it shouldn't take long, but power off and power on would have to happen every time.

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” - Albert Einstein

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the only downfall i see w/ using a graph is that most of them have 20 degree cones that can't be changed.  i don't know bout the newer hd units and the ice ducers they sell w/ them.  but, that is what all of the old school lowrances like the 67, 68, 332, 337, 522, etc... had.  and a 20 degree cone casts a pretty big shadow in 50 plus feet of water.  which can be a good and a bad thing... good... you can spot a fish a long ways away... bad... possibility for sonar dead zones in areas w/ big contour changes.  but, weighing the pros and the cons... there is no question in my mind... go graph and never go back.  i've still got a flasher that gets used by friends who don't have anything and my other friends have everything from fl18s to hummingbirds.  but, they simply don't do what a graph does. 

Born to hunt and fish... Forced to work!

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Pickerel Tamer Said:
 Trying not to get sidetracked here, but I run a Garmin handheld that could be mounted to an ATV/snowmobile with a RAM mount. I personally just have it hanging off my neck on a lanyard, I like having it on me at all times. I'm like Tim, I like to check approx. depth before I drill.

I do the same as you.  I carry a Garmin handheld on me which I love.  In fact it's the rhino, so we can spread out and talk without messing without phones.  And I can't say a bad word about my FL 20

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i've got my fishing crap w/ today.  think i will plop down below the office today and try to make a little video of the antiquated 68 icemachine doing its thing and post it. 

Born to hunt and fish... Forced to work!

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Whoa. If graphs have dead zones they completely are worthless to me. This is for all graphs?


 

 

Kirsch's Outdoor Products | Fargo, ND | 701-261-9017 Garmin GPS Hunting Maps
Liebel's Guide Service | Williston, ND | 701-770-6746 liebelsguideservice.com
Jig-em-Up Guide Service | Grand Forks, ND | 701-739-9198 jig-em-up-guide-service.com

 

 
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And I don't have shocks built into my ice house. Big difference when traveling over hard sharp drifts and ice pack versus waves and down a bumpy road.


 

 

Kirsch's Outdoor Products | Fargo, ND | 701-261-9017 Garmin GPS Hunting Maps
Liebel's Guide Service | Williston, ND | 701-770-6746 liebelsguideservice.com
Jig-em-Up Guide Service | Grand Forks, ND | 701-739-9198 jig-em-up-guide-service.com

 

 
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Tim Sandstrom Said:
Whoa. If graphs have dead zones they completely are worthless to me. This is for all graphs?

Lucky for you, you'll research this to about 2020 by which time global warming will have negated ice fishing anyway.

This moment is a paradox, it's the oldest you've ever been as well as the youngest you'll ever be.



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Thanks espringers. I understand what I am looking at now.

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well tim your flasher will have them too.  just depends on your cone angle, depth and contour changes that occur w/in said cone angle.  i'm pretty sure you understand how this works cause i thought i remembered you being one of the first ones to comment on this scenario while fishing sak bout 5 or 6 years ago.  the only thing that makes this more of an issue w/ graphs is that most don't have adjustable cone angles (at least the older ones don't) and you are stuck w/ a 20 deg cone which increases the possibility for dead zones in deep water w/ big contour changes. 

as far as damage from riding... i towed my around in a portable behind my buddies 4 wheeler for a couple of years and never had a problem.  and i can't imagine that the shock from some bumps behind a four wheeler or snow mobile are any worse than the abdomen crunching crash that comes after cresting 3 footers in your boat.  if there is a concern, i'd just set the thing in a bucket w/ some foam or cut something out of foam to set it in in the bottom of your house when you tow it around.  long story short... i've never heard of anyone who had their graph go to crap from the abuse it took ice fshing. 

Born to hunt and fish... Forced to work!

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FL-20 tribeam ultra-pak

On sale now at Thorne Bros for $480.

I have two vexilars, one that I drowned, dried out and still worked and the other an FL-20 with a crack in the screen for years now but no sign of slowing down. These units are hard to beat for durability.

When it gets cold...and I mean cold...liquid crystal can be slow until it warms up. I have never seen a graph that hasnt had a lag time. They have to process the image. Maybe they have gotten a bit faster now. The sidebar was always what seemed to be in realtime but that is a relatively small sight picture.

As for the contours, having an independant handheld has much more advantage than the combo ice unit. I dont want to take an HDS into the badlands hunting...unless multiple electronics and the price that comes with them aren't an issue.

I couldnt imagine it would be much fun dismantling the HDS off the handlebars and putting into a icepak everytime you decided to move, especially when its colder than the arctic circle outside.

Best bang for the buck...A vexi FL-20and a handheld GPS. The tribeam allows you to fish the flats and switch to a narrow beam for real sharp cuts without creating that dead zone. Nothing worse than that area!

Dont get the FL-22 because you wont get the depth you need for Sakakawea.


This is my BOOMSTICK!!!

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Tim here is the URL for the vexilar factory outlet store.  These are "refurbished" units.  I called vexilar and they said that most are brand new units that were sent back by the retailer for various reasons.  most haven't even been worked on.  Tell your brother to call vexilar and ask what they have available for "refurbished" units.  Vexilar also backs these units the same as new ones.  Another option is to wait until Dakota Tackle in Bismarck lowers their prices way down to get rid of icefishing inventory.  I have seen prices even lower at Dakota Tackle then at the vexilar outlet store. 

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Horsager Said:
 

Tim Sandstrom Said:
Whoa. If graphs have dead zones they completely are worthless to me. This is for all graphs?

Lucky for you, you'll research this to about 2020 by which time global warming will have negated ice fishing anyway.

Funny.


 

 

Kirsch's Outdoor Products | Fargo, ND | 701-261-9017 Garmin GPS Hunting Maps
Liebel's Guide Service | Williston, ND | 701-770-6746 liebelsguideservice.com
Jig-em-Up Guide Service | Grand Forks, ND | 701-739-9198 jig-em-up-guide-service.com

 

 
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espringers,

I bought a standalone 9 degree a long time ago.  I get dead zones but oh man oh man I really gotta be on a very sharp cut or a big old sandstone rock.  Sometimes now with how the shoreline was eroded and then flooded you get the ledge affect but that isn't too much of an issue.

So no, 98% of the time I do not have a dead zone.  And if I do, it isn't a four or five foot dead zone so is more managable even when I do have one.

I never knew the tri beam existed.  The 8 degree is very intriguing as other angles.  I think I have a winner for myself!  I have a fl-12 I bought for my bow in the boat.  I use for ice fishing now.  Think I'll have that as a loner and one for Dani to use.  Buy a buddy's used fl-18 and get the tri beam.

My brother can make up his own mind.


 

 

Kirsch's Outdoor Products | Fargo, ND | 701-261-9017 Garmin GPS Hunting Maps
Liebel's Guide Service | Williston, ND | 701-770-6746 liebelsguideservice.com
Jig-em-Up Guide Service | Grand Forks, ND | 701-739-9198 jig-em-up-guide-service.com

 

 
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check out reeds sports. i just bought and fl 18 blue box for 339.  heading to LOW this weekend. First time ever. pretty pumped.

Bad decisions make great stories!

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Enslow Said:
Tim here is the URL for the vexilar factory outlet store.  These are "refurbished" units.  I called vexilar and they said that most are brand new units that were sent back by the retailer for various reasons.  most haven't even been worked on.  Tell your brother to call vexilar and ask what they have available for "refurbished" units.  Vexilar also backs these units the same as new ones.  Another option is to wait until Dakota Tackle in Bismarck lowers their prices way down to get rid of icefishing inventory.  I have seen prices even lower at Dakota Tackle then at the vexilar outlet store. 

Ya been to the refurb before.  Vexilar has taken good care of me with customer service on other areas as well.  I feel like I'm cheating on them for even asking opinions but it is always fun to have discussions.


 

 

Kirsch's Outdoor Products | Fargo, ND | 701-261-9017 Garmin GPS Hunting Maps
Liebel's Guide Service | Williston, ND | 701-770-6746 liebelsguideservice.com
Jig-em-Up Guide Service | Grand Forks, ND | 701-739-9198 jig-em-up-guide-service.com

 

 
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Tim Sandstrom Said:

Horsager Said:
 

Tim Sandstrom Said:
Whoa. If graphs have dead zones they completely are worthless to me. This is for all graphs?

Lucky for you, you'll research this to about 2020 by which time global warming will have negated ice fishing anyway.

Funny.

Haha!

I would like to fish with someone that has a graph.  I guess I just don't see what the big advantage is.  IMO, once you use a vex long enough, it gets pretty easy to tell what is going on down there.  Plus, as someone who worked with ultrasonics with much more advanced technology in the industrial industry, there is something to be said about simple flasher type units and the margin of error they don't have.  It's pretty simple, what you see is what you got. 

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I would say HDS.

One issue would be battery life, but if you go to an 10-12 amp hour battery you could be good for a couple days(depending on backlight level).  I used mine for the entire skunk tourney(20 hours) and my battery gauge said 30-50% and the volt meter was at 11.0 at the end. 

As for taking a beating I'm not really sure, but i can fit mine in a 5 gal bucket and put the screen protector on and I'm pretty confident it will be just fine.

It does take a little getting used to(it needs to be set up correctly) but i like being able to see my jig cadence, and then have the gps readily available too.  

Another minor issue is I wish they had a narrow beam transducer, right now all lowrance makes is a 20, but that has worked for me out to 70 feet.  

I have seen some Intereference with other units, my brothers fl18 caused a few problems with mine, but you can set the noise rejection to eliminate that, but then you have to adjust the sensitivity to get the jig back.  My brother has never commented on his vexilar being affected by my hds.  We did have interference when we both had vexilars.  

Lastly I can take it and use it in the boat as well and eliminate the how deep are we question!


Liebel's Guide Service 

Fishing on North Dakota's Beautiful Lake Sakakawea!

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I just recently made the jump to a new machine and did a ton of research before doing so.  I had previously owned the ice-67 that was flasher/graph.  It worked but was far from great.  I did try the graph a few times but liked the flasher better.  After many hours of research I bough the LX-5.  I had my mind set on the hummingbird but quickly changed my mind after looking at some reviews and playing with one in the store.  I also looked at the vex's which have been around for a long time but to me they are like Mathews bows,  too many people shoot em for the name!  I got the lx-5 with adjustable zoom, more power, screen cover, softcase, dual cone angle, and battery for $420 at fleet and a $50 mail in rebate.  So for $370 I got everything the high end vex has for a lot less money only thing it doesn't have is the flat screen but since it runs 3 led's instead of combing 2 it is more crisp than the vex.  Just my 2 cents but after using it for about 1.5 months I would never look the other way.

Hunt today like there may be no tomorrow!

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sometimes i wonder why i even participate in these flasher vs. graph debates.  i don't have a dog in this fight and couldn't give 2 sh7ts what other people fish with.  but, i guess there are still some old misconceptions that apply to graphs vs. flashers that i might as well try to clear up.  the first one... lag time... absolutely none... not "a little"... not "some"... none.  what you have is a sonar that is pinged down just like a sonar signal is sent down w/ a flasher.  in a flasher the response is displayed via mechanical means w/ the little rotating motor that reads the response and displays its depth and signal strength in varying colors.  w/ a graph, that signal is processed electronically in the unit and displayed on your lcd screen.  of course their is a few microseconds of processing time before you see the results on your screen.  but, we are talking time that is imperceptible to the human eye... when you are playing a video game and hit the button or move your joystick, there is certainly a lag time.  but, none that is discernable to humans.  and definitely no more so than the lag time involved in your flasher before it makes one revolution and you see the results processed and displayed in color. 

as far as lcd screens in the cold... not anymore.  i understand this was a problem years back.  but, i have never had to wait for my screen to "warm" up at all.  i can't imagine the technology is any different than your cell phone screens.  take that or your handheld gps out in the cold and start hitting buttons and i am pretty sure you won't notice any lag time on them either.  i am guessing whatever the issue was in the past  has been solved w/ modern electornics, lcd technology and processors.

as far as having handhelds gps units and flashers, i can see that argument.  if you already have a handheld gps, you don't need the one that would come w/ your graph.  but, a guy can find a ton of old lowrances on ebay and the like for the same or less than used vexilars because everyone is updating to hd units these days.  if i can get a used lowrance 332, 522, etc... for $150-250 that comes w/ an internal gps antennae and can take a lakemaster chip, why would i buy a used or new flasher where i would still have to carry my handheld?  why carry both when one unit does both?  keep your handheld for your hunting trips. 

and the kicker here is that a lot of guys already have a graph on their boat.  those guys just need to buy an ice ducer and mount the thing on something.  they sell soft packs made specifically for them.  but, there is nothing preventing you from mounting them on your typical vexilar box.  someone above posted the issue w/ taking it off of a ram mount on your atv, etc... i am confused.  this is no more or less of an issue than w/ a vex.  mount it on your atv if that is how you fish.  if you don't fish exclusively from your atv, put the darn thing in a soft or hard pack, stick it in a bucket or crate on your atv and then set it on the ice when you are fishing just like you would have to do w/ your vexilar. 

fisherman... i've got no idea what you speak of in regards to "margin of error".  please explain. 

Born to hunt and fish... Forced to work!

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bontop... if you had a 67 and were using the flasher mode, you defeated the purpose of having a 67.  imho, if you liked the flasher mode better, its cause someone never taught you how to get your sonar settings locked in right.

Born to hunt and fish... Forced to work!

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espringers Said:
bontop... if you had a 67 and were using the flasher mode, you defeated the purpose of having a 67.  imho, if you liked the flasher mode better, its cause someone never taught you how to get your sonar settings locked in right.

Good point!  Where in the heck do yo find anyone who will explain them to you?  I've bought the videos, went online and looked....nothing that really breaks it down. 

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espringers Said:
bontop... if you had a 67 and were using the flasher mode, you defeated the purpose of having a 67.  imho, if you liked the flasher mode better, its cause someone never taught you how to get your sonar settings locked in right.

I bought it used and it was cheap!  I did use the graph and it does work but maybe just me but liked the flasher better.

Hunt today like there may be no tomorrow!

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trial and error... i might try make a video tonight.  but, it is going to be hard to hold my rod and my phone at the same time and press buttons on my screen. 

generally... first, you've got ping speed and scroll speed.  i have them both maxed at 100% all of the time. 

next you've got depth.  you can have it on "auto depth", or set it on increments of 10, 20, 30, 40, etc.. or set upper and lower limits like 20 ft for the upper limit and 30 feet for the lower limit.  then if you are fishing in 29 feet of water you will see the last 10 feet of the water column.  zoom in 2X and you get the a screen covering 5 ft.... 4X and the screen only shows the bottom 2.5 feet.  in water 25-30 feet or less, i just leave it set at 30 feet.  once i get deeper, i will set an upper and lower limit unless i was dealing w/ suspended fish. 

sensitivity... just like gains... needs to be adjusted each time you change depth and when you use a bigger or smaller jig.  you can use the auto sensitivity setting.  but, i like to get mine dialed in a little better than that.  deeper water and smaller jigs require a higher sensitivity setting to pick up you jig and the fish.

colorline is the setting that decides how the colors will correspond to signal strength.  i generally set the colorline so that the bottom has a litle bit of red in it and my jig is hopefully just a little black line. 

view mode... i just think mine is standard... maybe ice view. can't remember.  but, it looks just like the one jim posted above. 

Born to hunt and fish... Forced to work!

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