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Sneaky Duck

intro to flashers

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Hey, so I found a BUNCH more stuff to sell then I thought I had and may end up with more fishing money then i had originally thought :D  I'm starting to look at flashers and I have some questions.

 

1. Is there a difference between a flasher and a sonar/fish finder?

2. Are there differences between them making 1 better suited for fishing a specific species?

3. What should i be looking for when picking one?

 

I think that's a good start with my questions :)

 

Thanks!

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For the $$ u can't beat the Marcums. I have an LX3-TC. Zoom anywhere in the water column which helps for suspended fish and the soft case is standards. I have many friends with vexilars and they are just as nice too but only zoom on bottom. Can't say I've ever seen a humminbird in action besides my first one, a hand me down from the 80's. No experience with Lowrance ice machines either. Bottom line is if u want to be a better ice fisherman, u need a flasher.

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so, I get that I need one there's no question there.  Are they species specific though in that if I want to go after perch and walleye's I should be looking for specific features?  I've honestly NEVER used one or fished with anyone who has one.  Since I don't have any electronics at all, I was kind of interested in the Humminbird Ice 597ci HD combo.  Looks to me like a standard 597 fish finder/gps but with the case and ice transducer which would be pretty neat were I to be able to put it on a boat come spring and just plug in a different transducer.  Marcum sure has the marketing on their side though.  Everyone I see seams to be using them.

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One issue u might run into with a fish finder instead of flasher is the LCD display might not work properly in extreme cold. I get the dual purpose, more bang for your buck thinking but I don't know anybody that uses anything other than flashers. I saw a vexilar Genz pack someone just listed in the classifieds for $225. Might be able to get it for $200.

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They are not species specific. Higher power (watts) usually means better target separation or ability to use in weeds. That Genz pack would work fine for u and save $100 or more

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Good call on the LCD thing.  Didn't think about that.  So, you'd stay away from the Marcum LX6, 7, and 9 then too?  I'll check out that Genz if it's still available when I go to buy.

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The flashers should be fine. The newer, high end Marcums have LCD but are flashers and really meant for ice, not a fish finder with an ice ducer. That said, I have no experience with them so I really can't say anything good or bad. I ice fish a lot every yr (self employed contractor) so I have $1500 or more invested in my gear. If u only go a few times a yr, don't overspend. Get something used, learn how to read it (comes with experience) then if u want to upgrade, hand it down to your kids or something.

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Sneaky - I've had many flashers over the years including the first Vexilar model ever made and there is one function I would strongly recommend to you no matter which brand you decide on.....get one with a ZOOM function. They have different zoom ranges so that will depend on the type of fishing you intend to do (and species you are after). Basically the zoom magnifies a portion of the water column within the transducers cone coverage. Why is that important? Because you can actually monitor the fishes behavior as they come into the cone coverage area...say for example from the bottom up to12 ft.up from bottom or so and some flashers have more coverage options. As a fish comes into the cone the flasher detects changing signal strength of the object (fish) and as it approaches the center of the cone coverage the flasher converts the signal strength to a color band on the face of the flasher usually going from a weak signal (green at outer edge of cone) to orange or yellow colored band (closer to the center) and red when entering the center of the cone coverage...thus you know when the fish is below you. The width of the color band is also important asit can be an indicator of relative size of the object (fish)You don't always know exactly where though because of the shape of the cone and the way the signal is interpreted. The zoom also allows you to see your bait or jig better when your gain (sensitivity ) is set properly so that you can actually watch fish behavior such as fish movement, an approaching fish to the bait, one getting ready to bite (hopefully) or one becoming disinterested and leaving the area around your bait. You can also learn important things about your jigging technique, how to set your sensitivity to that particular bait or jig,  and how well individual jigs sink, what type of motion imparts a desired action in it to the fish so they strike and a million other "finer points" . You can often also see the condition of your minnow if used (whether alive and swimming or not). There is a learning curve to using them and the more you do it the faster and more completely you figure things out below you....but basically you are interpreting color bands instead of fish marks on the screen and inmany cases it is a much richer "picture" in some respects.

Edited by Sk8man

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I purchased the Lowrance x67c (i think) ice machine a couple years ago and love it.  This unit can be switched from flasher mode to graph mode very easily.  When I purchased my boat this spring I went to Cabelas and bought a transducer to mount to my trolling motor so I could use it off of that for jigging lakers, which I have not done off of my boat yet so I can tell you how well that works yet.  The ice machine is an lcd display but have not had an issue with it.  Most of my fishing is with the kids so I dont venture out too much when it is really cold out.  The only thing it is missing is a gps. 

 

I love the unit, but I cant say that it has helped my numbers when ice fishign!!  I think I used to get just as many when I sent my jig down to the bottom and whet at it blind.  At least it gives you and your kids something to look at, almost like a video game at times as you try to intice that strike.  For me more times than not it just frustrates me as I see fish appear then they move on, its probably just me.....

Edited by floatfisher

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I hot a hummingbird last year and I love it mine is the ice-45

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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The Humminbirds are fine and do a good job(my son uses one) but they don't seem as hardy as some others....especially the the transducer and battery life....something to look at....(he has had 2 transducers and 3 batteries while I haven't replaced anything in my Vex and we bought them at the same time and used them together so same usage)

 

Also it was mentioned that high power is good for separating out weeds (such as in shallow areas) but it is actually the opposite...low power to "filter" out weeds...some units (like mine) even have a special low power setting just for that.

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It is the higher power for better target separation. Your vex has a low power because they have had issues with transducer to head unit signaling. The Fl-22 came out in response to Marcums superior resolution and target separation. It has similar power to the Marcums and supposedly 1/16" separation.

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I have used a Vex 8 series for 16 years without the zoom function.I have caught smelt in 90ft. of water with it being able to see the smelt and my tiny jig.I could see the smelt come up and hit my jig with no zoom.I can usually tell in 30' of water if a perch comes up and takes a spike off my jig.I am sure the zoom is a great feature but not totally necessary.As I see it it is like having a scope on your shotgun.Yes I can see my target better but I have sure killed a lot of deer with open sights.All I know is I don't hunt with a blindfold on and I don't fish without electronic.They all have there pros and cons the bottom line is how much do you want to spend to get the job done.Just my opinion       

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The low power setting has nothing to do with any problems with the Vexilar. It is basically because it is TOO powerful at shallow depth where there is a lot of weed growth and the return signal bands are very close together so if the lower power setting is used the signal from the weeds is"muted" or "filtered"  and the signal from a more dense object such as a fish appears stronger and more "distinct" It is a different concept than the Marcum uses (increased power for increased target separation. I should also like say that my recommendation regarding a zoom wasn't intended to make anyone feel that I was disparaging their units for NOT having one...I was merely saying that after owning many units without it I feel that it is a real handy thing to have if you are considering buying a unit for the first time.

Edited by Sk8man

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The low power setting has nothing to do with any problems with the Vexilar. It is basically because it is TOO powerful at shallow depth where there is a lot of weed growth and the return signal bands are very close together so if the lower power setting is used the signal from the weeds is"muted" or "filtered" and the signal from a more dense object such as a fish appears stronger and more "distinct".

That is the problem I was referring to. Not a major problem, and it was temporarily addressed by adding the low power setting. The gain was not adjustable to a low enough output and was having difficulty translating the returns from the transducer when being used in shallow, weedy cover. I read ALOT of reviews on marcum and vex flashers before purchasing my marcum. Three things ultimately influenced my decision. At the time, when fished side by side, the higher power of the Marcum did not have interference from the vexilar because of the Marcums higher output and returns. (Most of my friends have vexilars) The gain had enough range to adjust low enough in weedy situations without needing a low power mode. And the ability to adjust the zoom anywhere in the water column. I believe Vexilars newest units have adjusted with the marcum technology so they are pretty much the same now.

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The only criticism I've ever had with my Fl-20 is that they designed it with too many separate scales on the face. I know from human factors engineering that humans have a great deal of trouble discriminating between and interpreting more than 3 or4 things on an instrument face or panel. I discussed this issue with the design techs at Vexilar and they designed the FL-22 with that in mind....(not just my input but complaints from other users as well). The new digital readout add-on solves that in terms of looking at the screen from a little distance and knowing the specific depth regardless of range setting.

Edited by Sk8man

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Camera are nice when your on the fish and kinda of fun to fish watching your bait or jigs. Also the help on learning how to use jigs right. They cost more then flashers. There are camera that have flashers on them too but they cost well over 1000$ and some have Bluetooth on them so you can watch it from your smart phone. Also you can set cameras up to watch your tip up so you can sit and jig in the shanty without getting up to look for flags all the time.

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So... I'm looking at the Humminbirds and the Marcum's.  Seems like the Marcum's are more accurate by the numbers.  That 3/4 inch separation vs. 2.5 inch... is that kind of like how my rifle is capable of a follow-up shot 15% faster then the competition (which lets be honest... has VERY little real world benefit.)?  I was looking at the difference between the Ice 55 vs the LX-5 which look to be the very top end of the older tech.

 

I'm also interested in buying a unit that'll help me out a bit walleye jigging in open water so if 1 is better for that over another that would play into my decision.

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You want the smallest target separation e.g. 3/4 inch you can get and the highest degree of power is desirable as well. Target separation basically refers to the ability of the signal to differentiate between two separate or distinct objects and to be able to display them as such singly (instead of blending them into one signal.

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