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Bass2mouth

First flasher suggestions?

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A couple things come to mind here....does it absolutely have to be brand new? and what features do YOU view to be most important? The reason I say that is that these flashers are pretty sturdy and seem to have a pretty good life span and a lot of times here on LOU guys are selling them to get graph type units or they are quitting ice fishing for various reasons. The upper end flashers run around $600 and they have very desirable features such as good target separation (able to see small jigs and bait etc.), multiple cones angles with the right transducer and especially zoom functions.  You may wish to also think about trying to get an upper end used model for the $400 and be able to do what you need to do than get a brand new model without these features. The zoom is very important and if the model above has it then that may be a good choice. All three of these brands make quality machines.

Edited by Sk8man

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I have a humminbird ice 35, this will be my (hopefully) third season fishing it and I love it. It's pretty bare bones as far as gadgets, just a basic flasher unit but it has great battery life and plenty of power with a big and bright display. Jigged lake trout for the past two winters in 100+ fow and it had plenty of range to get down that deep with a larger profile bait like a tube jig, I believe they retail around 290 to 300 bucks. Worth a look anyhow, best of luck!

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I have owned a humminbird ice 55 for the past 7 seasons and I agree with everything said above with one additional comment. I do not like its shallow water ability. In lakes like Honeoye when fishing gills it is very difficult to get it to mark fish or your jigs through weeds in 12' or less. I fish next to Gator a lot and his Markum is much better in those conditions when comparing the two. From about 15' to 120' it excels in marking your jigs and fish. Up to you. Are you mostly a shallow water gill fisherman or deeper water perch and walleye.

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Pequod makes an excellent point based on experience (and it is coming from an excellent panfisherman). Buying one of these machines is much akin to buying a boat it is nearly always a compromise situation where pros and cons come into play and it does depend on how you mainly intend to use it. It sure doesn't feel great to layout good money for something and then realize that it doesn't do what you either expected or needed it to do. Do  some thorough research before buying; this post is a start but sometimes you can learn a lot from personal reviews about a specific product....like everything on the Internet you have to use some judgment separating out the BS but sometimes  you can avoid major headaches too.

Edited by Sk8man

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I bought a vexlar FL-8 in 1993 and it's still working today, and it's been used a lot! I finally broke down and bought a new FL8 two years ago because my old one was getting hard to see when I was out of the shelter on a sunny day. It also didn't have the transducer on a float, it was on an adjustable arm. Most of my ice fishing is in shallow water, 20 foot or less, and mostly for bluegills and crappies. Though the FL8 is a very basic unit it works fine for my style of fishing. If you like fishing for perch or walleye in deeper water you may want to look for a unit that has the bottom zoom capabilities, and if you plan on jigging for lake trout definitely make sure the depth range is deep enough. The one down side to the vexlars like the Fl8 is if you fish without a shelter, snow does build up in the trough on the screen.

One word of warning though about getting a flasher/sonar for ice fishing- once you start using one you will NOT be able to ice fish without one. If my battery goes dead I'm done for the day now.

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I bought a Vexilar TPod in May. Not really sure if I wanted to or really could afford a flasher but was dying to bring my game to the next level with some sort of sonar device. For those of u not familiar with the TPod, it is basically a floating transducer that connects to ur smart device via its own wi-fi signal. Your phone is the screen. I have never fished with a flasher before, but the information that is available to you when fishing is just amazing.... Display on this by the way is more like a traditional sonar, i.e. Hooks, bait pods, etc. However, to bassandbuck's point I can see how fishing with electronics is a total game changer in your fishing tactics. Awesome stuff.

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I have a fl18 which has a bottom lock feature which i use for open water on my boat , the transducers for this application are varied depending on your use.

I agree , hard to ice fish without one. I bought one years ago when my kids were little thinking it would be like a video game being able to watch fish marks coming to your bait and get the kids fired up. Flashers also work well setting tip ups using it to lower bait right where you want it, above weeds in weeds or structure etc

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G730A using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Vexilar also sells reconditioned models a little cheaper take a look at thier website

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G730A using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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A marcum showdown was my first flasher and worked great for years, then I upgraded. It was a great flasher for sure, very easy to read and change the range and sensitivity settings. Pretty cheap also. I'm not sure on the price of one now but I still own my original one if you're interested.

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hummingbird..get the best the first time

Yup I bought my humminbird 4 seasons ago and it works fantastic. I have the 35 but the 45 is in your budget and has a higher power transducer. 

 

huminbird all the way.

Edited by Chas0218

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Ask anyone who is old enough to remember the days before 3 color flashers, and they will tell you that the first name in ice fishing sonar has always been Vexilar, since it came about in the 80's and bought out Sitek, who had bought out Hondex.  Before then, the first name in ice fishing sonar was the Lowrance Green box.  Vexilar perfected the 3 color flasher way back then, and I have been a Vexilar guy ever since.  There are plenty of brands to choose from but if you want to choose a solid unit that was actually the very first one designed Primarily and specifically for ice fishing, and has the longest history of any sonar in ice fishing, than choose Vexilar.  Okay, I am done with my rant, sorry about that.  I am sure everyone makes a fine unit these days, and there probably are cheaper brands that will do a passable job for you. I suppose the digital versions are better on the battery life and so on.  I am just brand loyal, and if something works great for me, I tend to stick with it.  Always been a Lowrance and Vexilar guy, and will probably never own a Humminbird, even though I have heard good things about them.  Good luck in your decision, and Les (SK8man) has a good point about used units on here, too.  :yes:  :yes:

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Are you getting the bug to ice fish already?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G730A using Lake Ontario United mobile app

Haha, no just bored in my hotel room out of town, and looking for topics to sound smart on!!LOL  :rofl:  :rofl:  :lol:

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WoW!! The Lowrance Green Box!! Now there is a blast from fishing electronics past.....nice reference!!

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hummingbird..get the best the first time

Love my humminbird 35, Could have bought the 45 but no need for the depths I fish. The 35 also has the dual freq. cone.

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I started with a ICE55 and then moved to the ICE688. The non-flasher models have more power than the flasher models. If Lake Trout fishing is something you want to do you can do it with the 45/55, but the ICE 597/688/HELIX units are a lot better for deep water >100'. They just have more power. I've used them both. The ICE HELIX5 is a heck of a unit, and it will give you flasher mode or traditional sonar. Once you ice fish with traditional sonar and use the real time sonar window associated with it you'll never go back to a regular flasher. This unit is $50 outside your range, but you get GPS and the ability to use mapping. 

 

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Humminbird-reg-Ice-Helix-Sonar-GPS-Combo/2136076.uts

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