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Discussion in 'Hard Water Discussions' started by bassman56, Jun 29, 2005.
i gotta buy a sonar any tips on which to buy and how the hell do u use them
ah, a favorite topic.
either a vexilar fl-8se or fl-18 pro or ultra pack.
they show you (on a lighted dial) reflected sound waves. (sound waves reflected off of the bottom, your bait, fish!, etc.)
personally i have used a vex fl-8 se pro pack for a few seasons and ive been extremely pleased with it.
I agree with you HWF. Been using my fl-8 pro-pack for 3 seasons now and love it. Wont leave home without it, except when i'm fishing Presque isle bay. Dont need it there.
they ARE fun!
how do you use them.....
first you turn the unit on and put the transducer in the ice hole. it will stay put in the hole with either a float or a holder.
looking at the screen you will see a thick colored band. at the top of this thick colored band is the bottom of the lake. say for example 10'. you know the depth because the numbers on the dial tell you so.
next you drop your bait down into the hole. you notice on the sonar screen that the sonar is showing you your bait dropping from the surface to the bottom of the lake. the bait is shown as a thin colored band.
eventually your bait comes to rest on the bottom. you know this because the colored band of your bait has merged with the colored band of the bottom of the lake.
next you pick your bait up off the bottom. voila you can see your bait on the sonar, just a few inches off the bottom. the colored band (your bait) moves up and down as you move your bait up and down.
now where it gets good....
theres ANOTHER colored band....hmmm...its not your bait and its not the bottom of the lake. its a FISH!
you excitedly jig your bait near the FISH and as your bait and fish merge into one colored band WHAM you feel the fish hit your bait!!
this is a great (almost disrespectful ) oversimplification, but thats about the gist of it, theres a bit more to it and a lot more you can learn from them.
in this picture, bottom of the lake is 12' deep.
the bait is at 10'
there is also a fish in the area.
the scale to use is the outermost one, it reads from 0' to 20' in 1' increments.
(from 0' to 1' there is color, this is just surface clutter, ignore it)
link to good "how-to" articles from vexilars website.
"How to Ice Fish with a Vexilar Flasher":
anytime. i forgot to mention, besides Vexilar there are 2 other manufacturers that i know of that make ice fishing sonars, Lowrance and Marcum.
Great advice, Vexilar is the way to go. Vexilar also works great mounted on the front trolling motor, gives you a better perspective as you work a weedline or dropoff.
The Vex tech is the same tech as the Hondex and Sitex flashers of old. Same tech, diff owners. Excellent tech, however the Marcum LX-3 deserves a close look. With 1500 watts of power, interference from other flashers will be no prob. The Marcum also has a bottom lock zoom and a "anywhere in the water column" zoom that has application in deep water when fish are suspended. Normal separation between targets is about 2.5 inches, with zoom it's 1 inch.
Replaced my Sitex unit with a Vex maybe 10-12 years ago and have no complaints at all. Next time though, I'll be looking at a Marcum.
One important thing when selecting your unit. Get the Maximum # of Pixels available. This is definitely something that you dont want to skimp on, as the more pixels you have, the more detailed the picture will be.
uhhh----- ice fishing----flashers
dont mean what i done in high school
marcum has completely redone their line up for this upcoming season, check them out.
thats funny, i dont see the new line up on their website. i heard they are changing the colors to make them easier to read. i read they are coming out with an lx-5, lx-2 and some other changes too.
here is their flasher page, im sure they will update it before ice time, maybe its too early or if anyone is interested you could try emailing them.
ive never seen or used any marcum product. ive been completely satisfied with my vex. but they do have their following out there in cyberland.
check out iceleaders.com Lots of excellent info on pretty much everything icefishing. also a lot ot debate between the marcum and vex's. I personally have a vex fl8 and love it. It seems like they lean toward the marcum, but marcum is also one of their sponsors. either way i don't think u can go wrong.
I might add, Bassman, forget about any sonar other than a flasher for ice fishing, (unless you can afford a Genetron). The lcd/graph types don't work well when stationary, as in vert jigging under the ice and sometimes get sluggish when the temps drop real low.
If your serious about ice fishing, you must have a flasher. Once you use one, you'll never want to fish without them. I use mine year around and it's the only sonar I'll use, at least until I can afford a Genetron, (they cost around 3 grand).
I have 2 Vex's that have always served my ice fishing needs extremely well.
Last year I purchased a Lowrance 68C to try out ice fishing and really like it. It has the flasher type screen plus the traditional screen and multiple color selections you can use to suit what you like best.
The primary reason that I selected this unit was because it also has GPS/WAAS with mapping. This feature may not mean much to many that fish only small bodies of water, but finding and marking locations 5 miles out on Erie or Saginaw bay, or even in the middle of mosquito is easy. Also the added safety feature of having a GPS when way out on big lakes was important to me.
I've used this unit during both hard and soft water and it performs very well. The best bang for the buck, with everything it can do well in the fish finder area, plus GPS/WAAS, may well be this 68C unit.
Like everything else, we get what we pay for. The X68c has some issues that need ironing out. The screen and transducer face are fragile. That is, they are damaged easier when compared to the Vex or Marcum. A bump or drop that wouldn't damage a Vex or Marcum will damage the X68c. Also, the Lowrance has a tough time dealing with very cold temps, low teens, single digits and lower. Temp changes, like from a warm truck or shanty to outside, (or vice versa), can cause it to work sluggishly or not at all.
I might add, that if one component croaks, such as the gps, then the whole unit croaks.
Last, but most important, are the interference issues. If used in close proximity to a Vex or Marcum, the X68c will/may, depends on distance from the other units, washout or malefunction.
This is feedback I've received from X68c users who thought they would save a bit of money instead of purchasing the Vex or Marcum.
You may want to give Lowrance a few more seasons to iron out the hitches.
I might add that more power doesn't necessarily equal more sensitivity. For example, the Genetron only uses 15 watts. They believe that high wattage spooks shallow fish. A more sensitive transducer is used instead of more power.
Higher watts is important, when fishing in close proximity to other units, in order to prevent interference probs.
i wonder if the sound or vibrations of transducers clicking away will ever start spooking fish or "condition" the fish to stay away. not for summertime but under the ice where its normally SO quiet.
I don't quite get this one in this instance since the 68C cost around $100 more than an FL-18 or a LX-3.
I've not used the 68C a bunch but when I have I have not experienced any issues with it. That includes -4F on Hubbard lake last year and few times I thrown the entire unit (I need to fix this across the ice stopping the 4-wheeler too fast with no apparent issues. I've not noticed any interference issues, but the closest I've been to another unit was probably 20' away in 45' fow. At that depth I should have seen some I would think, but don't know.
So far it works well, it will do anything my old FL-8's and FL-8 st will do and some things they can't, but it cost a little more.
i got mine in july still have yet to use it but i might take it out and try it in my boat. the only problem is thhat i cant put any pressure on my left foot