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Fish Finders

3818 Views 16 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  bow_dude
If Santa was going to bring you a new fish finder what would you ask for and why. I just put my wish list into Santa's helper. I hoping for a fish finder to use ice fishing this year. I have never owned one before. Also I've been really good this year.-|\\O-
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Get a flasher for ice fishing.

Marcom is the best, though I have a hummingbird and it works just great.
The bottom line is you want to see what's beneath you so you can catch it. Both flashers and LCD units have their advantages and disadvantages for this goal.

The flasher style lets you see in real time what going on so you can gauge the reaction of the fish to you presentation. Often you can set the hook based on the lines (the fish and your lure) meeting. Flashers are also better in the cold though many newer models of LCD graphs have heaters to prevent freezing up. One disadvantage of the flasher is you have no history on the screen to look at so if you are not paying attention and a fish comes in and leaves you may never know it was there. There often is a substantial learning curve to the flasher since structures, fish and lures appear as various lines instead of a picture. You have to learn how to interpret the lines. There are circular and linear flashers. The circular ones seem to be more difficult to interpret for many people. I have the Marcum Ice Troller (a linear style) and I like that it is set up just like the water column. It, however, doesn't have all the colors to help in identifying marks below like the other Marcums and Vexilars do.

The LCD's can be nice since they show a history of the past several seconds and the picture is a little easier to interpret but you still have to figure out what's what. Many LCD units have about a 1/2 to 1 second delay in picture generation so you can actually get bit before you even see the fish on the graph if the fish races in. I use the light on my LCD to help prevent freezing the crystals. If you have a tent you wouldn't normally have any freezing issues anyway.

I'm sure there are other advantages and disadvantages and more discussion that can be had about various models. Tell Santa not to scrimp too much and to get the best he can afford.
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I have a hard time understanding why people have issues with the circular flashers. It's really a non-issue in my mind. I have both types and prefer my circular flasher (Humminbird Ice 55) over the other type...and it's not even close. Granted, I did spend quite a bit more on the Ice 55.
I don't know why some prefer flashers over Lcd type ones that show history, real time jigging and structure. Plus you can use all season. lowrance elite series have some good ones.
I'm just glad we have a responsive market that produces quality products for many personalities, desires and needs. Each type has a quality that is advantageous over the other. B&W, color, history, real time, rechargeable batteries, alkaline batteries, unaffected by cold, $100 vs. $500+. What ever your desire or need, there is something for you. If not, invent it :grin:
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I agree fishnate I didn't realize there was so many make and models to choose from. A lot of bells and whistles. The Hummingbird 110-140 models have caught my eye for the simple fact they look simple to use. Does anyone have any pro or con on hummingbirds. I know its going to be some trial and error until I find one I like.
I haven't looked at any of the new fish finders that are designed for ice fishing but when I purchased mine years ago I found that you need a wide angle transducer to be able or really see anything. The one that I purchased came with a 15 degree one and I ended up getting one with a 45 degree angle.
So you might want to take that into consideration.
I have a Marcum Showdown 5.6 and I love it. It's a hybrid between the two. It's described as a vertical flasher on an LCD screen. As much as I love it, I would buy a Humminbird circular flasher if I could go back again. You're welcome to borrow mine anytime and give it a try.
Has anyone used any of the portable handheld fish finders? I got a lucky wireless for Christmas, but switched to a venterior that is not wireless for ice fishing. I will post after the burbot bash on how it works.
53' angle = width of beam equal to depth. My boat finder has 53' beam. For ice fishing, I use both a finder and a underwater camera... and overall I find the camera 100x more useful than a finder.

53' angle = width of beam equal to depth. My boat finder has 53' beam. For ice fishing, I use both a finder and a underwater camera... and overall I find the camera 100x more useful than a finder.

I feel the exact opposite. I have a camera and it's fun to see how they want lure presentation and even the help with hook set but there are so many more benefits to a fish finder it's not even funny. Main two things would be find fish quickly and being able to fish the entire water column. Good thing is, you can have both a camera and finder.
The real-time argument for flashers is a very old one. Modern fish finders are as close to real-time as my brain can handle. I was using an older Fishin Buddy, primarily to see depth and if any fish were present. Recently I decided to get a better unit and set about looking at what was available. The flashers are very specialized, and do a great job at one thing. Some of them have a very irritating strobe-like display however. The sonar units with color displays are real-time and don't slow down in cold weather like the old LCDs. Humminbird and Lowrance both make nice units for ice fishing and/or boats. They have several different display options including a traditional flasher display. I like the versatility of the color sonar units and ended up buying a Humminbird Helix 5. It's awesome on the ice and I plan to use it on my pontoon during soft water season.
I know nothing about ice fishing.... But the boating world I have knowledge of. I'm networked to two Simrad NSS's linked with the side/downscan transducer as well as a Airmar B260 (1KW) with a Furuno radar pack and Robertson autopilot.

My advice to anyone is if you buy a new unit, make sure it can be networked and added to. Chartplotter and built in GPS also.... Chirp is some pretty cool technology.....
. I like the versatility of the color sonar units and ended up buying a Humminbird Helix 5. It's awesome on the ice and I plan to use it on my pontoon during soft water season.
How did your Humminbird work for you this year? I'm thinking of getting one.

How do you set it up for ice fishing.
I have the Vexlar. I have used it for 15 years or more. Like timex, it just keeps on ticking. I have gone umpteen years not getting skunked since purchasing the Vex. I really can't remember the last time I caught the skunk, I quit counting after 5 years. I would not go ice fishing without it. Simple to use and understand. At 30 feet, I am looking at a 12 ft circle at the bottom. Anything 1/2 inch or bigger that enters the column will show up on the screen. Real time is a huge advantage. Even a 1 second delay would be a disadvantage for me. Being able to see what is in the entire water column is also big advantage over seeing only what is in front of the camera lens. All the guys I fish with put their camera's up after using a flasher. To each his own, but for me, ice fishing and flashers are like bread and butter. They just go well together.
Update... I got a sizable Christmas Bonus so I decided to spend it on a new fish finder. I ended up purchasing the FLX 28 made by Vexilar. Pricy!! It is their top of the line flasher with all the bells and whistles. Supposedly it can determine the size of a fish and show it as a different color so you can know which fish to target when there are several below you. It is a 5 color flasher instead of the standard 3 color. The split screen may be useful, the depth will go to 300 ft. (not sure where I will ever need that kind of depth) The transducer automatic changes from 9 degrees to 12 and 19 degrees depending upon the bottom depth. Probably will not catch any more fish with it than I would with the FL 8. I am excited to give it a try though.
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