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IceShanty Main => General Ice Fishing Chit Chat => Topic started by: Ryan V on Feb 07, 2019, 03:01 PM

Title: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 07, 2019, 03:01 PM
I've been getting into ice fishing much more then I used to and I'm tired of not having a flasher-sonar so I finally am going to buy one. I've narrowed it down between two different units although I'm very open to suggestions. The two units are a Vexilar fl 18 and a Lowrance HOOK2 4x All Season Pack. I'm trying to spend $300 or less (so the vexilar would have to be used) I already know that the fl 18 is a great unit what I am really wondering is what your thoughts are on the lowrance and how it can compare to the fl 18. I usually fish for pan fish walleyes and maybe some perch or lake tout.

Any help would be great thanks 
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: profisher on Feb 07, 2019, 03:08 PM
I bought an Hummingbird Ice 35 last season and i love it. Paid 250 or something new.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Scooby31 on Feb 07, 2019, 03:11 PM
The fl -18 has the zoom function which is great for walleye when they are hugging the bottom.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 07, 2019, 06:10 PM
Any one have any experience with the Lowrance?
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: panfishman13 on Feb 07, 2019, 06:59 PM
i've had a very positive experience with the FL-18, but no experience with the lowrance model, sorry. i know lowrance makes solid units though, and you'll probably be pleased with either. honestly for your first flasher, you'll learn a lot about what you like and don't like during the time you use it. pay attention and when the time comes to buy another one (that time will come), you'll be far more prepared to choose a unit you'll get the most use from.

all that said, some advice for a new flasher owner: regular cleaning and maintenance is a must. check your battery regularly, check all your cords and cables, clean any mud and dust out of plugs and knobs, and charge your battery regularly throughout the off season.

Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: icejohn on Feb 07, 2019, 07:02 PM
I used a vex fl8 for 20yrs... I now have a marcum m1/vx1...and love it and it has bottom zoom and sells for around $300
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 07, 2019, 07:18 PM
I used a vex fl8 for 20yrs... I now have a marcum m1/vx1...and love it and it has bottom zoom and sells for around $300

Thanks I'll check it out
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: skifisher on Feb 07, 2019, 08:10 PM
Ryan,
I have a Hook 5 and am very impressed with the performance when compared to my MarCum flasher. The GPS and real time CHIP, as well as the split screen and flasher gives me the choice  to view depth and fish presence in different ways. I donít think youíll be disappointed with either unit. Itís all in what you get used to.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: SLAYERFISH on Feb 07, 2019, 08:24 PM
Some peeps love the Lowrance type open water sonars but I hate the Freekin things. Love my LX-5 for ice fishing.Lowrance you got gps mapping etc. But for mano y pesca  tussles I love a flasher. ;D
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Kevin23 on Feb 07, 2019, 08:32 PM
35
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 08, 2019, 10:02 AM
Thanks for the responses everyone 
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Rugburn on Feb 08, 2019, 10:45 AM
I have a vex FL20 and a lowrance hook 5. For ice I find myself reaching for the Vex most of the time. But my lowrance has GPS, so it goes when I'm searching unfamiliar waters. Plus the hook goes on the boat for open water use. They both work great and will help you put more fish on the ice!
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: 412Damian on Feb 08, 2019, 11:42 AM
Ryan I am on the same hunt for something in the $300 range and cannot make a decision. Allot of what I read is that either Vex, MarCum and Lowrence, even humminbird all are about equal minus little differences here and there.
My two thoughts are, which one can see weed beds and structure best. Also which is best for open water.
Anyone have answeres about that?
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: jsuomi on Feb 08, 2019, 11:52 AM
I bought the Lowrance Elite -5X CHIRP 3 years ago for $200.  I liked it until it died a month ago - it won't power-up.  It had quite a learning curve with all the "bells and whistles".

I replaced the dead Lowrance with a Vexilar FL-18 Genz Pack w/ 12 Degree Ice Ducer.  I found it a Fleet-Farm for $330.  While it's older "analog" technology, it works great!  There's only a few dials to master and the technology is rock-solid.  I'm an electrical engineer / IT administrator who troubleshoots technology everyday.  The last thing I want to do fishing is more work.

I bought the FL-18 specifically for the zoom and depth.  I fish deep (>100') for lake trout and whitefish, but also fish for perch and walleye.  Honestly, once you master the readout (< 1 day), you'll be a believer.  I use my smartphone with the Navionics App for lake charts and GPS.  I don't need it in my sonar too.

Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 08, 2019, 11:58 AM
Another thing I was wondering is how something like a Lowrance functions in shallow water and how well it can read through weeds vs a flasher. The other day when I was out bluegill fishing the only place I could find fish was in 8' and in heavy weeds (I do still know the depths I'm fishing even without a sonar in thanks to Navionics and I know how weedy it was because I snagged some) so how can I expect something like the Lowrace hook2 4x to preform compared to a flasher? 
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 08, 2019, 06:53 PM
Another question I have is how the marcum M1 compares to the vexilar fl 18 both have zoom features which I like but the marcum is about $100 cheaper 
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: big_guy_13021 on Feb 09, 2019, 08:51 AM
Why don't you check out the Garmin striker 4 I'm very impressed I won't use my flasher anymore.i have a marcum m1 the Garmin has a flasher..split screen and regular screen..the flasher works just as good as my marcum.split screen is awesome has lots of features very easy to use I got the portable package for 167 from northern Marine free shipping.you tube it you won't be disappointed  battery charger carry case comes ready to fish..
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Seamonkey84 on Feb 09, 2019, 09:01 AM
I have used a lowrance elite 4 chirp for the last 3 years and itís worked well for me. Though I did upgrade to a garmin panoptix ice this year.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 09, 2019, 09:14 AM
Why don't you check out the Garmin striker 4 I'm very impressed I won't use my flasher anymore.i have a marcum m1 the Garmin has a flasher..split screen and regular screen..the flasher works just as good as my marcum.split screen is awesome has lots of features very easy to use I got the portable package for 167 from northern Marine free shipping.you tube it you won't be disappointed  battery charger carry case comes ready to fish..

Is the 2d graph still usable in shallow weedy water? 
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Flint on Feb 09, 2019, 09:16 AM
For me itís pretty simple. Dedicated ice units for ice fishing and boat units for boats. If it donít have an IR button right on the front itís just a repackaged boat unit that takes forever to boot up and adjustments are so far buried in sub menus itís not worth my time.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: kayl on Feb 09, 2019, 09:35 AM
Last year I had my FLX28 and the Garmin Echomap 73sv CHIRP with the GT10HN-IF 7-16į transducer and I hated using the Garmin due to the fact that gain adjustments took several button presses. This year I upgraded to the Echomap Plus 93sv, which is a touch screen, which made a world of difference. I'm selling my Vexilar and not looking back. Adjusting the range or gain on my Garmin is now just matter of a quick tap of the finger. Panoptix is also incredibly useful  ;D
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Unclegillhunter on Feb 09, 2019, 09:54 AM
For me itís pretty simple. Dedicated ice units for ice fishing and boat units for boats. If it donít have an IR button right on the front itís just a repackaged boat unit that takes forever to boot up and adjustments are so far buried in sub menus itís not worth my time.
For me I used to use my fl-18 in my little boat, just hung the ice ducer over the side. This season I purchased a Helix ice 5 gps/ g2 ice unit. Since it is going to be a portable unit for my little boat the carry bag will work just going to get an open water portable transducer.
Keep it safe! JDL
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: RStock521 on Feb 09, 2019, 11:11 AM
Love my Elite 5HDI.  Seeing the history on the screen is nice, and GPS with the contour maps makes scouting water much easier.  You can download free precision maps on genesismaps.com that other people have created with their data that the software stitches together. 
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 09, 2019, 11:52 AM
Last year I had my FLX28 and the Garmin Echomap 73sv CHIRP with the GT10HN-IF 7-16į transducer and I hated using the Garmin due to the fact that gain adjustments took several button presses. This year I upgraded to the Echomap Plus 93sv, which is a touch screen, which made a world of difference. I'm selling my Vexilar and not looking back. Adjusting the range or gain on my Garmin is now just matter of a quick tap of the finger. Panoptix is also incredibly useful  ;D


I wish I had your budget for sonars I'd have a lot more options  ;D
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: kayl on Feb 09, 2019, 12:14 PM

I wish I had your budget for sonars I'd have a lot more options  ;D

I'm blessed to have a friend who works for Garmin; they're allowed to share their employee discounts ;)
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Flint on Feb 09, 2019, 12:16 PM
Last year I had my FLX28 and the Garmin Echomap 73sv CHIRP with the GT10HN-IF 7-16į transducer and I hated using the Garmin due to the fact that gain adjustments took several button presses. This year I upgraded to the Echomap Plus 93sv, which is a touch screen, which made a world of difference. I'm selling my Vexilar and not looking back. Adjusting the range or gain on my Garmin is now just matter of a quick tap of the finger. Panoptix is also incredibly useful  ;D
I also got a new Garmin 93sv plus for my small boat, but when on the ice itís usually my LX5 or LX7 and a Showdown for a loaner. GPS is a Garmin 62s with chip in it. I prefer not to have a GPS constantly sucking battery power. We fish brush piles in KS so a dual beam is a must IMO. 20 degrees to find em and 9 degrees to cut clutter.

Iíd say go for the FL18

Guess it all depends on a persons budget, all of my ice units where bought used.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: kayl on Feb 09, 2019, 02:51 PM
I also got a new Garmin 93sv plus for my small boat, but when on the ice itís usually my LX5 or LX7 and a Showdown for a loaner. GPS is a Garmin 62s with chip in it. I prefer not to have a GPS constantly sucking battery power. We fish brush piles in KS so a dual beam is a must IMO. 20 degrees to find em and 9 degrees to cut clutter.

Iíd say go for the FL18

Guess it all depends on a persons budget, all of my ice units where bought used.

I get 8+ hours out of my 93sv and panoptix without changing brightness, etc using a 10aH LiFePO4 battery, so that's plenty for me. I haven't run mine with only the ice ducer, but I'd expect an easy 12-14 hours of life. :)
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: fullThrottle on Feb 09, 2019, 05:41 PM
I have the humming bird flasher with the depth reading,  cheap and works great
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 09, 2019, 05:51 PM
Another thing I was wondering is how something like a Lowrance functions in shallow water and how well it can read through weeds vs a flasher. The other day when I was out bluegill fishing the only place I could find fish was in 8' and in heavy weeds (I do still know the depths I'm fishing even without a sonar in thanks to Navionics and I know how weedy it was because I snagged some) so how can I expect something like the Lowrace hook2 4x to preform compared to a flasher?

I'm still wondering about this 
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 10, 2019, 12:02 PM
Why don't you check out the Garmin striker 4 I'm very impressed I won't use my flasher anymore.i have a marcum m1 the Garmin has a flasher..split screen and regular screen..the flasher works just as good as my marcum.split screen is awesome has lots of features very easy to use I got the portable package for 167 from northern Marine free shipping.you tube it you won't be disappointed  battery charger carry case comes ready to fish..

Do you have the ice transducer or do you still use the one it comes with for open water?
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Hardwater2 on Feb 10, 2019, 12:15 PM
Iíve had the Vexilar FL-18 for years. Itís a solid unit from a solid company. Not one compaint. It does everything I need it for. Panifish, to walleye to Lake Trout. You canít go wrong!
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: woodstock60 on Feb 10, 2019, 12:26 PM
Get the vex, I have that model and love it, also have a hook 7, great for the boat but doesn't compare on the ice.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: SLAYERFISH on Feb 10, 2019, 08:09 PM
Get the vex, I have that model and love it, also have a hook 7, great for the boat but doesn't compare on the ice.

I agree- a buddy showed me his "AMAZING" HDS- something Lowrance on the ice and I tried using it for awhile jigging up perch. It totally sucked. I told him so. 

Call me caveman but i LIKE WHAT WORKS- ;)
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Nuangolasusquehanna on Feb 10, 2019, 08:11 PM
I agree- a buddy showed me his "AMAZING" HDS- something Lowrance on the ice and I tried using it for awhile jigging up perch. It totally sucked. I told him so. 

Call me caveman but i LIKE WHAT WORKS- ;)

SLAYER!!     
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: flyhaven on Feb 11, 2019, 12:06 PM
I use my lowrance hook 7 off my boat and it seems to work well for what I have been doing,but I have not used a flasher yet.If I fished more on the ice I may have to invest in a flasher.The hook 7 has a flasher mode, but I do not think it has a crisp as a display as a good quality  flasher.A flasher seems easier and more convenient for making adjustments.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Fonzie2 on Feb 11, 2019, 12:34 PM
I have a Lowrance Elite 4x Ice Machine. I don't know how it compares to the Lowrance mentioned in the OP.
Anyways, I love my graph for a lot of reasons. Most importantly,with a scrolling graph you have a record of what occurred near your jig. So if you glance away for a second, you'll still see the fish that came and left {until the screen scrolls away off the page}. With a flasher, if you look away for a few seconds, you can miss that blip that sniffed and swam off. A graph lets you see that...
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: SLAYERFISH on Feb 11, 2019, 01:13 PM
With a flasher, if you look away for a few seconds, you can miss that blip that sniffed and swam off.

Who looks away? ??? ???
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Fonzie2 on Feb 11, 2019, 03:51 PM
Who looks away? ??? ???

I do regularly... :)
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: SLAYERFISH on Feb 11, 2019, 04:47 PM
Huh. Anyway if the fish is still nearby then you can jig it in. If it doesnt jig in then it doesnt matter anyway its already gone.  And then it didnt matter if you saw it or not. ;)
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 11, 2019, 05:28 PM
I do regularly... :)

Especially when your checking for flags :tipup:
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: SLAYERFISH on Feb 11, 2019, 09:09 PM
Especially when your checking for flags :tipup:

Dont do flags. iN colorado only allowed 2 lines total. So a dead stick and a jigging rod.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: tjk3rd on Feb 11, 2019, 11:16 PM
I have used a lowrance elite 4 chirp for the last 3 years and itís worked well for me. Though I did upgrade to a garmin panoptix ice this year.
Hi Seamonkey84.  I too use an elite 4 chirp and get alot of interference from other lowrance units operating near me.  Any advice you might have or experiences would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: chilly-willy on Feb 12, 2019, 04:43 AM
At ryan v

I was fishing in 4 fow and weeds it works fine..  on my elite 4x and x67c .. some adevise for you there is more postive reason to go with the lowrace over the vex just a heads up!

Like :
1) past info of how fish are responding to your lure presintation..  you know those old polygraph machines they use in movies for lie dectors?  they have a needle that detects your pulse and movements like a nervous twitching?  in your hands etc and transfers it to paper.. as they ask questions the needle jumps as the paper rolls out of machine..  the person giving the exam circles ware it jumped to go over more question about that topic they asked there.. the paper rolling off gives past history just like the lowrace screen .. the very right edge of my lowrance is current data..  like that of a vex flasher so if the fish comes off bottom as your jigging you see a line rising towards ware your jig is .. if you stop and the fish settles back to bottom or leaves  and you jig some more and it moves back in what does that tell ya??  the fish are attracted to movement can't pick this up on this stuff on a vex screen very easy.. all vex screen have is current data no past data.. to look at and think about ..

2)lowrance and man over board way point marking..  we use this to mark rock piles and structure wile in the boat or even a kayak fishing..  as you see it you pass over use the arrow curser to back up to it..  and then push mark to mark the ward abouts of the structure..  perfect for summer fishing ware you need to mark trenches ware salmon lay to cool off..  or even structure crappie get in to in winter..  but not summer high sun days..  and come back to it in  winter.. can't do that on a vex..


3) mapping software of bottom contours.. the gps soft ware of the Stryker 4 sucks truthfully your better of with lowrance then a Stryker 4..   the bottom contours can be show every 1 foot of drop..  to help aid in finding fish  this is a big thing.. you can even pull up on your lap tops a map to inspect for the lake planned to fish..  and look for ware you should try at home according to markings and bottom contours.. before you even fish..  the Stryker 4 don't offer thIs.. all the Stryker 4 has is a blank white screen last I heard and un up dateable.. basically a waste of money but does have a screen like lowrace on the fish finder mode..


Garmin has some really good features but like the vex is a little useless from the out of date technology my only complaint if I don't use in my shanty is the screen slows down on my lowrance in -12*f and similar weather cause its a lcd screen liquid crystal display.. but in a shanty heater on no problems at all..


Also the lowrance has on my x4 versus the x67c.. has a bottom zoom 200khz  versus 86kHz only  basically single mode versus split screen dual screen mode..  shows great detail of bottom  in 200kHz  but shows  mid and surface in 86khz.. same kind of zoom a vex has..


I use a Lowrance ice transducer there are ways you can use the regular boat ducer on ice choice is yours.. the only problem I have with boat ducer is the boat  cable is 15 to 20 foot long ware ice ducer is 5 foot max.. and cable management is much easier..

One of my buddies has a fl8 some times kicks him self for owning it. .  other times he dont.. cause it uses out dated technology..  your buying outdated tech.. for top dollar when he could have for same price got a lowrace.. he don't worry about the screen getting cold on his vex but that's all  he has going for it.. plus don't have the other features the lowrace offers. 


Of course my finder us 10 yrs old the newer lowrace are even better..

Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: RStock521 on Feb 12, 2019, 07:49 AM
Hi Seamonkey84.  I too use an elite 4 chirp and get alot of interference from other lowrance units operating near me.  Any advice you might have or experiences would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.
  Start with both units with No Surface Clarity and No Noise Rejection.  On ONE of the units, begin changing the Surface Clarity and Noise Rejection between low/med/high until you figure out the sweet spot.  I use two Elite 5 HDI's in the same shack all the time.  Also an Elite 5 HDI and a Marcum M1.  While there will still be a little bit of interference, it is perfectly usable.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 12, 2019, 08:05 AM
At ryan v

I was fishing in 4 fow and weeds it works fine..  on my elite 4x and x67c .. some adevise for you there is more postive reason to go with the lowrace over the vex just a heads up!



Like :
1) past info of how fish are responding to your lure presintation..  you know those old polygraph machines they use in movies for lie dectors?  they have a needle that detects your pulse and movements like a nervous twitching?  in your hands etc and transfers it to paper.. as they ask questions the needle jumps as the paper rolls out of machine..  the person giving the exam circles ware it jumped to go over more question about that topic they asked there.. the paper rolling off gives past history just like the lowrace screen .. the very right edge of my lowrance is current data..  like that of a vex flasher so if the fish comes off bottom as your jigging you see a line rising towards ware your jig is .. if you stop and the fish settles back to bottom or leaves  and you jig some more and it moves back in what does that tell ya??  the fish are attracted to movement can't pick this up on this stuff on a vex screen very easy.. all vex screen have is current data no past data.. to look at and think about ..

2)lowrance and man over board way point marking..  we use this to mark rock piles and structure wile in the boat or even a kayak fishing..  as you see it you pass over use the arrow curser to back up to it..  and then push mark to mark the ward abouts of the structure..  perfect for summer fishing ware you need to mark trenches ware salmon lay to cool off..  or even structure crappie get in to in winter..  but not summer high sun days..  and come back to it in  winter.. can't do that on a vex..


3) mapping software of bottom contours.. the gps soft ware of the Stryker 4 sucks truthfully your better of with lowrance then a Stryker 4..   the bottom contours can be show every 1 foot of drop..  to help aid in finding fish  this is a big thing.. you can even pull up on your lap tops a map to inspect for the lake planned to fish..  and look for ware you should try at home according to markings and bottom contours.. before you even fish..  the Stryker 4 don't offer thIs.. all the Stryker 4 has is a blank white screen last I heard and un up dateable.. basically a waste of money but does have a screen like lowrace on the fish finder mode..


Garmin has some really good features but like the vex is a little useless from the out of date technology my only complaint if I don't use in my shanty is the screen slows down on my lowrance in -12*f and similar weather cause its a lcd screen liquid crystal display.. but in a shanty heater on no problems at all..


Also the lowrance has on my x4 versus the x67c.. has a bottom zoom 200khz  versus 86kHz only  basically single mode versus split screen dual screen mode..  shows great detail of bottom  in 200kHz  but shows  mid and surface in 86khz.. same kind of zoom a vex has..


I use a Lowrance ice transducer there are ways you can use the regular boat ducer on ice choice is yours.. the only problem I have with boat ducer is the boat  cable is 15 to 20 foot long ware ice ducer is 5 foot max.. and cable management is much easier..

One of my buddies has a fl8 some times kicks him self for owning it. .  other times he dont.. cause it uses out dated technology..  your buying outdated tech.. for top dollar when he could have for same price got a lowrace.. he don't worry about the screen getting cold on his vex but that's all  he has going for it.. plus don't have the other features the lowrace offers. 


Of course my finder us 10 yrs old the newer lowrace are even better..


Thanks for the detailed response
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: tjk3rd on Feb 12, 2019, 08:09 AM
  Start with both units with No Surface Clarity and No Noise Rejection.  On ONE of the units, begin changing the Surface Clarity and Noise Rejection between low/med/high until you figure out the sweet spot.  I use two Elite 5 HDI's in the same shack all the time.  Also an Elite 5 HDI and a Marcum M1.  While there will still be a little bit of interference, it is perfectly usable.
Thank you RStock521.   I will start as you say next time out.  My son uses a lowrance elite 4 and mine is an elite 4 chirp.  My machine gets far more interference than his.  Do you recommend I use high chirp?  Which do you use for best visibility of my jig and fish?  I appreciate your help.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: SLAYERFISH on Feb 12, 2019, 08:16 AM
When I fire up my LX-5 everyone leaves the area cause their weaker units get all interfered with! ;D

Don't fish in the past. Fish in the NOW!
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Unclegillhunter on Feb 12, 2019, 12:57 PM
So have you decided on a unit yet?
Keep it safe! JDL
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: chilly-willy on Feb 12, 2019, 01:36 PM
Don't jump to buying some times mistakes happen.. best advise I can give get what you want and fits what you want!  Heck my finder is so old it don't have gps I have a hand held gps that goes ware finder goes.  But any way check your pm box..  there was a sales flyer I got today I am sending to you ryan v. Just remember all have their pluses and minuses. 

Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 12, 2019, 01:48 PM
So have you decided on a unit yet?
Keep it safe! JDL


I've got a friend who has a Lowrance he uses for ice fishing that I can see if I like after going out with him. I'm still torn between flashers and LCDs so that should help me decide. My budget is $300 and I'd really like the Lowrance hook2 5x over the hook2 4x for the mapping and split screen options but the hook2 5 is $400 vs the hook2 4x at around $250 without mapping (although it does have GPS) or the split screen options witch is what I really want. And for the flashers I'd like a FL 18 for the zoom and reliability of a vexilar but that's also over my budget. You can find a decent amount of used fl 18s but it's very hard to find any $300 or less. Another option for flashers with the zoom feature is a marcum M1 which I could pick up for about $300 new
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 12, 2019, 01:51 PM
Don't jump to buying some times mistakes happen.. best advise I can give get what you want and fits what you want!  Heck my finder is so old it don't have gps I have a hand held gps that goes ware finder goes.  But any way check your pm box..  there was a sales flyer I got today I am sending to you ryan v. Just remember all have their pluses and minuses.

Thanks for the pm  ;)
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: chilly-willy on Feb 12, 2019, 01:52 PM
No problem will keep a eye peeled for a lowrance 5 if I can find one in time..
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 12, 2019, 02:05 PM
No problem will keep a eye peeled for a lowrance 5 if I can find one in time..

I still don't know if I'll prefer a LCD over a flasher. I've used other people's flashers several times and I liked using them But I've never used a 2d graph style unit so I'm not sure if I'll like that style or not. But I should be going out at some point this week with the friend with the Lowrance so I'll be able to decide after that.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: chilly-willy on Feb 12, 2019, 02:10 PM
I don't like the new advertising of the hook 2 models the only ones that come with the gps mapping is the 5 combo..  model with no x designation.. so  the 5x model has gps but no mapping capeibilty..  according to lowrance Web site..  the 4000 lakes map with split shot sonar is 299.99..  if you can find that model at cabelas??  I have $10 off a $40  on or more purchase.  I will  give thd coupon to  ya ryan v threw pm if you want it? I th8nk it good till some time around febuary 20th?? I am sure if you want it let me know? So I can pm you it.. but try it out first like you were saying earlier see if you like it and want it??

https://www.lowrance.com/lowrance/type/fishfinders-chartplotters/hook2-5-splitshot--us-inland (https://www.lowrance.com/lowrance/type/fishfinders-chartplotters/hook2-5-splitshot--us-inland)

Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 12, 2019, 02:17 PM
I don't like the new advertising of the hook 2 models the only ones that come with the gps mapping is the 5 combo..  model with no x designation.. so  the 5x model has gps but no mapping capeibilty..  according to lowrance Web site..  the 4000 lakes map with split shot sonar is 299.99..  if you can find that model at cabelas??  I have $10 off a $40  on or more purchase.  I will  give thd coupon to  ya ryan v threw pm if you want it? I th8nk it good till some time around febuary 20th?? I am sure if you want it let me know? So I can pm you it.. but try it out first like you were saying earlier see if you like it and want it??

https://www.lowrance.com/lowrance/type/fishfinders-chartplotters/hook2-5-splitshot--us-inland (https://www.lowrance.com/lowrance/type/fishfinders-chartplotters/hook2-5-splitshot--us-inland)

Thanks for the offer I'll keep that in mind. What I was talking about for the prices for the Lowrance was for the all season pack that comes ready for ice fishing with a soft case, battery and both open water and ice transducers
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: chilly-willy on Feb 12, 2019, 03:36 PM
Do you have a kayak or boat etc??  I would get a ram mount my self and either mount it in a bucket or etc..  there are ways to make a boat transduecer work...  till you can buy the ice ducer and adaptor for ice ducer maybe next year pic up the ice ducer and adaptor..

  most people will set there flasher on a bucket any how that's why I mounted mine on the upper rim of a bucket.. now  I can sit in a chair and look at screen wile hole hopping around..  if needed. And if I fish my flip over i use a ram mount rail mount to mount it to a shanty pole. So in my one man I have room on ice for my feet.. I use a 11 sq ft one man so really small on space..

Tell ya the truth you get the 4x or 5x with the plain simple  gps is wasting your money! Reason I say this on their Web site it says you cant up grade the gps mapping..   from the one that have a standard gps.. like the 4x and 5x  to a mapping gps..  trust me those counter lines will save you a lot of time on walleye crappie perch pike etc.. fishing ..


you ever read the book ice fishing secrets ?? In that book it explain how to find the fish by the depth of lakes and contour features..  after a While after reading it fishing become so easy..  and your winter catch rates go up..
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 12, 2019, 03:47 PM
Do you have a kayak or boat etc??  I would get a ram mount my self and either mount it in a bucket or etc..  there are ways to make a boat transduecer work...  till you can buy the ice ducer and adaptor for ice ducer maybe next year pic up the ice ducer and adaptor..

  most people will set there flasher on a bucket any how that's why I mounted mine on the upper rim of a bucket.. now  I can sit in a chair and look at screen wile hole hopping around..  if needed. And if I fish my flip over i use a ram mount rail mount to mount it to a shanty pole. So in my one man I have room on ice for my feet.. I use a 11 sq ft one man so really small on space..

Tell ya the truth you get the 4x or 5x with the plain simple  gps is wasting your money! Reason I say this on their Web site it says you cant up grade the gps mapping..   from the one that have a standard gps.. like the 4x and 5x  to a mapping gps..  trust me those counter lines will save you a lot of time on walleye crappie perch pike etc.. fishing ..


you ever read the book ice fishing secrets ?? In that book it explain how to find the fish by the depth of lakes and contour features..  after a While after reading it fishing become so easy..  and your winter catch rates go up..


I do have a boat I could put it on and I already the Navionics app which gives me maps and GPS from my phone but you have to pay yearly to keep it so I'd definitely prefer to have that all in my sonar. If I do get a flasher I'll probably just keep using the app it's about $15 yearly so it'd be worth it. And I'll have to check out that book.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: hnd on Feb 12, 2019, 04:05 PM
while you can dual purpose an lcd unit, having used a number of them, i prefer the ole trusty mechanical flasher on the ice.   just a more consistant experience for me. 
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: chilly-willy on Feb 12, 2019, 04:27 PM
Play with your Buddis first before you decide on any thing..


I know every one has there phones but tell you the truth having the gps integrated in your finder is way easier then the phone..most of all when on boat and marking  points of intrest in the lake floor with the integrated gps.. like points no one knows about .. I am sure know this  you really don't even need gps you could do it the old way like before gps.. drill holes till you find depth and just fish.. but  it's like river fishing I use the paddle wheel speed/temp probe to tell me what speed I am going..  with the new fish finders it calulates from gps and water speed etc so trolling is a heck of a lot easier to dial in on them..  like in a river trolling when flow changes.. cause of spring thaw and rain etc.. can be a real pain

Now what if you don't have the gps and your drilling along the shore line in a stright line and the contour changes but the shore line is same..  but contour changes so you drill following the shore and loose the trail of the fish any how wasted time fishing.. a lot of modern fishing is aided from modern electronics.. knowing how to use and read them.. you could get by with out that's up to you.. if it were me I would not waste my  money on a unit that's not correct cause its missing part of what's needed.  Then you figure out how to use it and you want it then recouping money trying to sell old to get the latest and greatest version.. why not get the latest and greatest right off batt mainly in gps??


Reason I said get the latest and greatest is cause Maps are like computter software like what happened to  window's xp windows 94??  is that still around??  STuff gets obsolete ..  that's why it's better to buy the gps and it's components.   the soft ware part first..  if going after that if not why why worry??
You can  then piece together the ice  tranduecer and ram mount or ice box etc.. later..but not soft ware I can still find transduecer for my x67c and elite 4x.. but can't buy the lakes soft ware for my garmin venture hc..  I have the us lakes maps..  iam  glad I bought it ..I still want to buy the canada. Lakes maps soft ware..  but that all she wrOTE cause can't buy it now.. just a heads up!! I bouht that around 10 yr ago and all my way points etc are on it and I glad it still loads on my lAp top?? Ware all the way points and data are stored..
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ihawkangler on Feb 13, 2019, 06:31 AM
Hbird gives you the most features as far as screen size and bottom zoom but in my opinion Vexilar makes the best units hands down.  There is a reason they get a half inch target separation and the others have 2 inch target separation.  This is Ford vs. Chevy and I am not saying Hbirds are bad units.  I am stating my opinion that for the money, I think the Fl-18 is the best unit out there.   Yes the display is smaller but I fish with guys who have the Ice 35 and I don't think it is very bright.  I will also mark fish side by side they don't and I spent a day fishing next to a guy with a 35 who was looking at my Fl-18.   The Fl-18 also has bottom lock so you can use it in open water.  I have a two-man Sun Dolphin and I run the ducer down a rod holder and jig under it in open water like I do through the ice.  I have also called Vexilar customer service a number of times and they have always been helpful. 
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Salmonquest on Feb 22, 2019, 09:19 AM
I have used a lowrancre Elite-5 for the last 5-6 years. The knock I hear a lot about graphs v. flasher is that there is a delay. This is false. The large part of the screen shows the past. If you look at it there will of course seem to be a delay. On the right side is a vertical reading in real time that is every bit as sensitive as a flasher. Also the unit has a flasher but why mentally convert round when you have an actual picture of the water column on the main screen. ( I know it's not hard and yes I can easily use a flasher.)

I like the graph option to transfer back and forth on the boat and use way points I found on my boat or transfer a SIM card from a friends unit, etc.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 28, 2019, 02:01 PM
I finally was able to use a Lowrace for a little bit out on the water and I really liked it. I think I've finally decided to go with that style over a flasher. Now I just need to figure out which one to buy....
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: BradGill on Feb 28, 2019, 08:56 PM
I have the Lowrance elite 3x, elite 5x, and a hook2 5 split shot. All are in a ice pack. Below are my comments on all 3.

Elite 5:  This is my go to unit. Split zoom, amplitude scope and good target separation. No undesirable issues that I can think of. It is the best of all 3.
Elite 3:  Decent functional unit. No amplitude scope or split zoom. Target separation not as good as elite 5.
Hook2 5:  Good chart plotter and preloaded lake maps. Amplitude scope and split zoom. I am disappointed with sonar so far. Unit is feels like it lags compared to other units. when hole hopping it sometimes takes a few minutes to find bottom and register my jig and can lock up from time to time. I was really hoping this would be as good as the elite 5. In fairness I am still learning it.

Hope this helps if you decide to purchase a Lowrance unit.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 28, 2019, 09:19 PM
I have the Lowrance elite 3x, elite 5x, and a hook2 5 split shot. All are in a ice pack. Below are my comments on all 3.

Elite 5:  This is my go to unit. Split zoom, amplitude scope and good target separation. No undesirable issues that I can think of. It is the best of all 3.
Elite 3:  Decent functional unit. No amplitude scope or split zoom. Target separation not as good as elite 5.
Hook2 5:  Good chart plotter and preloaded lake maps. Amplitude scope and split zoom. I am disappointed with sonar so far. Unit is feels like it lags compared to other units. when hole hopping it sometimes takes a few minutes to find bottom and register my jig and can lock up from time to time. I was really hoping this would be as good as the elite 5. In fairness I am still learning it.

Hope this helps if you decide to purchase a Lowrance unit.

Thanks, do they still make the Elite series?
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: bobberbill on Feb 28, 2019, 09:47 PM
Nothing is better than a camera. No doubt about what's happening when you can see it. Cameras have their downsides, too. They are the best when used in a shanty, poor when out in the open. Sonar is far superior to a 'flasher'. New sonar units include a flasher mode that is seldom used.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Feb 28, 2019, 09:56 PM
Thanks, do they still make the Elite series?

Fond where the sell them and I'd love to get a elite 5 but I can't spend $500 for my first sonar I've got a budget of $300
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: tjk3rd on Mar 01, 2019, 07:47 AM
Fond where the sell them and I'd love to get a elite 5 but I can't spend $500 for my first sonar I've got a budget of $300
Hey Ryan V, you should be able to find that Elite 5 on ebay for the money you want to spend.  I have an Elite 4 Chirp bought off ebay and it is great.  Mine was used but they also have new ones available.  Worth taking a look.
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Mar 01, 2019, 09:00 AM
Hey Ryan V, you should be able to find that Elite 5 on ebay for the money you want to spend.  I have an Elite 4 Chirp bought off ebay and it is great.  Mine was used but they also have new ones available.  Worth taking a look.


Thanks I've been looking a little and I cant find and used ice kits but I might be able to buy the head of a Elite 5 and buy something like this to put it in.

https://www.cabelas.com/product/NAVICO-UNIV-PORTABLE-PACK/1641223.uts?productVariantId=3327111&WT.tsrc=PPC&WT.mc_id=GoogleProductAds&WT.z_mc_id1=03572231&rid=20&ds_rl=1246549&ds_rl=1246552&ds_rl=1252242&ds_rl=1252079&gclid=Cj0KCQiAzePjBRCRARIsAGkrSm6IKei2TTAtQOuE3OVrDhH8vHg6X3Lo4Cucky6If6FwfUWXCs109lMaAqjzEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: SLAYERFISH on Mar 01, 2019, 09:05 AM
Hey it's been a month. Ice is almost gone- ;)
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: Ryan V on Mar 01, 2019, 09:39 AM
Hey it's been a month. Ice is almost gone- ;)

If I do get a Lowrance I'll use it as much for open water as I will for ice fishing  :)
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: lefty2053 on Mar 01, 2019, 10:08 AM
Hey it's been a month. Ice is almost gone- ;)
Not over at the Blue Mesa. Just broke through in this picture.
(https://i.postimg.cc/SXhcGgsx/IMG-3690.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/SXhcGgsx)
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: SLAYERFISH on Mar 01, 2019, 01:53 PM
Not over at the Blue Mesa. Just broke through in this picture.
(https://i.postimg.cc/SXhcGgsx/IMG-3690.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/SXhcGgsx)

A little too thick for my tastes- ;)
Title: Re: Need help deciding between sonars
Post by: chilly-willy on Mar 01, 2019, 05:50 PM
Michigan got lucky..  we did not have a ice tsunami on our shore recently..


https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155795077951852&id=97098306851&sfnsn=mo (https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155795077951852&id=97098306851&sfnsn=mo)