Author Topic: Need help deciding between sonars  (Read 2309 times)

Offline Ryan V

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Need help deciding between sonars
« 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 

Offline profisher

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #1 on: Feb 07, 2019, 03:08 PM »
I bought an Hummingbird Ice 35 last season and i love it. Paid 250 or something new.

Online Scooby31

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #2 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.

Offline Ryan V

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #3 on: Feb 07, 2019, 06:10 PM »
Any one have any experience with the Lowrance?

Offline panfishman13

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #4 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.


Offline icejohn

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #5 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

Offline Ryan V

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #6 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

Offline skifisher

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #7 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.
"Ice fishing...ah, the anticipation! 🎣Ē

Offline SLAYERFISH

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #8 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
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Offline Kevin23

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #9 on: Feb 07, 2019, 08:32 PM »
35

Offline Ryan V

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #10 on: Feb 08, 2019, 10:02 AM »
Thanks for the responses everyone 

Offline Rugburn

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #11 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!

Offline 412Damian

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #12 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?

Offline jsuomi

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #13 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.


Offline Ryan V

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #14 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? 

Offline Ryan V

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #15 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 

Offline big_guy_13021

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #16 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..

Offline Seamonkey84

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #17 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.

Offline Ryan V

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #18 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? 

Offline Flint

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #19 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.

Offline kayl

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #20 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

Offline Unclegillhunter

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #21 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

Offline RStock521

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #22 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. 

Offline Ryan V

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #23 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

Offline kayl

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #24 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 ;)

Offline Flint

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #25 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.

Offline kayl

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #26 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. :)

Offline fullThrottle

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #27 on: Feb 09, 2019, 05:41 PM »
I have the humming bird flasher with the depth reading,  cheap and works great

Offline Ryan V

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #28 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 

Offline Ryan V

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Re: Need help deciding between sonars
« Reply #29 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?

 



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