Montana > Ice Fishing Montana

Newbie sonar upgrade

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Hey guys glad to finally be joining the forum. I'm looking to upgrade from the Deeper Sonar system that I started with this season. It's worked great but requires charging multiple times a day. Im looking for opinions on if it's worth buying a used vexilar or garmin at the end of this season or just buying new before next season. Specific recommendations welcome, looking to stay under $800.

Vexilar flashers are pretty basic but built like a tank and are all you really need to help you catch a lot of fish.  All of the dedicated flashers are generally the same, except some have a zoom feature that helps you hone in on a certain part of the water column(i.e. bottom hugging bluegills).

I have a Humminbird Helix 5 and love it for the GPS/mapping.  I also love it because I can use it year 'round, whether on ice, boat or kayak.

The best choice may depend on how/where you fish and what you fish for.  You may be best served trying something used, seeing if you like it, and go from there.  I bought a used Vexilar FL8 years ago, and it served me well until I found a good deal on a used Helix 5 with the ice ducer.  I still have the Vexilar in case I have a friend or my son with me on the ice.  For ice purposes I am glad that I upgraded from the FL8, because they do not do so well in shallow water(like less than 5') or in heavy weeds.

How long have you been using the Helix 5? I've actually been looking at the Helix 5 chirp for more multi use, budget friendly too.

I'm on my 3rd winter with it.  I really like that it has a flasher and 2D graph, and that you can have both on the screen simultaneously.  It's also pretty awesome to be able to just hit "Mark" on the unit when you started to catch some fish and want to go back another day.  The base maps aren't great on the unit but you can always load better ones with an SD card.  I haven't done that yet.  I'm pretty content to be able to at least save spots and navigate to them any time of year.

Sounds a lot like the layout my deeper chirp uses. It's been a great system but I run it with a tablet, which needs recharged every 4 hours as well as the actual sonar unit. Becomes a pain when I stay out for 6 or 7 hours. Hows the on ice battery for the helix?


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