Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder / Ice Fishing Flasher

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Best Ice Fishing Flasher

What the heck is an ice fishing flasher (ie. ice fishing fish finder)?

So you’re all jazzed up to go ice fishing…but unless you’re into throwing darts blindfolded, I can guarantee you’ll be disappointed.  No ice fishing flasher? The fish will laugh at you.  It’s embarrassing.  Trust me, I was stubborn enough to go through an entire two ice fishing seasons before pulling the trigger and buying the best ice fishing fish finder (ie. an ice fishing flasher) I could afford.  Do yourself a favor a get one of these bad boys.  If you would rather invest a little more heavily in being able to punch holes or upgrade your ice fishing wardrobe, check out our value picks.  And don’t be intimidated if they appear cryptic and complicated – they’re actually very easy to understand and use.

Why do I need the best ice flasher?

The most important thing is that you just get an ice fishing flasher period.  Yes, some are fancier than others, but the bottom line is that any ice flasher is the best ice flasher.  We spent a ton of time talking to guys on the ice and researching all the options out there and these are your best options.
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Product Vexilar FLX 28 Ultra Pack
Marcum LX-5i
Vexilar FL-18 Pro Pack II
Hummingbird ICE-35
Deeper Smart Fishfinder 3.0
Accolades
Star Rating
Price Check Price
Portability Fits inside 5-gallon bucket Carrying case included Fits inside 5-gallon bucket Built-in carry handle Fits in your pocket
Pros Auto zoom at 6ft or 12ft, 300ft max range, low power mode, weed mode, night mode, low battery warning Infinitely Adjustable Zoom, Super Fine Line Technology Depth/battery display, 200ft max rnge, low power mode, bottom lock mode, durability Battery status indicator, shuttle mount for sled, excellent sunlight readability Traditional flasher display, wireless Bluetooth connection, zoom feature
Cons No bottom lock mode, not able to use on open water, heavier Display brightness a minor issue Zoom limited to bottom 6ft No depth display Prone to connectivity issues, reliant on smartphone for display, less discrimination than dedicated units
Verdict A premium unit that really has it all. This is an investment that can pay dividends. Everything you need in a flasher to optimize fishing in shallow or deep water, with zooming at different depths and two transducer options On par with the LX-5i. Nice enough you won't outgrow it and quality enough to last. Compared to the Marcum, somewhat comes down to personal preference. Another solid option, but arguably not the best if you're making the investment Great budget option with year-round functionality
Additional Features Built-in tackle box, adjustable rod-holder, enclosed battery casing, demo mode Soft pack included Built-in tackle box, adjustable rod-holder, soft pack optional Four control buttons - zoom, gain, noise and beam; four depth scales at 20', 40', 80' and 200' Measures water temp, depth finder to 130ft, mapping function to mark fishing spots
Specs
Transducer Pro View Ice Ducer (9 degrees to 30 degrees with gain adjustment) Dual Beam 8/20 degree 12 degree (Also compatible with 19 degree, Pro View, and Tri-beam) 19 degree and 9 degree Scanning resolution separates objects at a distance of up to 0.25ft
Battery & Charger 12 volt 9-amp battery; digital charger; on/off switch 12 volt 9 amp battery; 3-Stage automatic charge 12 volt 9 amp battery; digital charger 12V 7 amp battery Lithium, 3.7V Rechargeable; 6hr non-stop use; recharges in 2hr
Weight 13 lb 11 lb 11 lb 11.9 lb 3.5 oz
MSRP $670 $500 $490 $330 $225

Best Ice Fishing Flasher Money Can Buy

VEXILAR FLX 28

Vexilar FLX 28

 

 

Premium Pick Logo

The Vexilar FLX 28 Ultra Pack is our Premium Pick hands down.  Don’t be confused if you see Vexilar FL 28 listed some places (without the X) – this just refers to the head unit itself without a pack or transducer.  But the Vexilar FLX 28 unit is the best that Vexilar offers without a question. First, it offers a digital depth readout and auto-ranging feature.  This lets you just drop the transducer in the hole and let the flasher do all the work.  Of course, if you want to do it the old-fashioned way, you can still change the settings yourself.

The display is top notch.  The brushless data transfer system allows a huge amount of data to be transferred to the LED display. There are five different color settings, and with quarter inch target ID and 525 lines of resolution, it beats the competition.

Next, let’s talk about flasher interference.  The Vexilar FLX 28 offers 20 IR settings which basically guarantees you won’t have interference issues even when surrounded by everyone elses Marcum ice fishing fish finder, like the Marcum LX-5.  Vexilar interference issues, whether true or not, are an often cited complaint by Marcum fans, but it’s not an issue here.

Next feature of note, the built-in battery status indicator. You’ll never get caught with your pants down and out of battery power.

 

Again, you won’t lose any of the classic features that have been so characteristic of Vexilar flashers either.  The Vexilar FLX 28 has two auto zoom ranges – 6 foot and 12 foot.  Why is this important?  It lets you focus on the part of the water column that really matters (ie. where the fish are).  So if you’re fishing in 40 feet of water with a big group of perch hanging out near the bottom, this shows you the bottom 6 feet of the water column as if you were only fishing in 6 feet of water.

There is also a day/night modes – the day mode lets you see the brightest display possible which is great on those sunny days and to combat the glare of snow and ice.  But at night, this brightness is honestly overkill, so the Vexilar FLX 28 lets you dim it down in night mode.

Shallow water/low power mode gives you better, sharper signals in shallow water.  Now here’s one of my favorite parts – the weed mode.  If you aren’t targeting weed lines then you aren’t catching as many fish as you could be.  This mode helps filter out distracting signals from weeds.

The downsides I have found with this ice fishing fish finder are few.  I don’t personally use my flasher during open water season, but the Vexilar FLX 28 is not set up to function in that capacity.  You could look into a conversion kit however.

Overall, if you value quality, like to have some extras, and want to take your ice fishing game to the next level then you can’t go wrong with this ice fishing flasher.

Best Ice Fishing Flasher For The Money

MARCUM LX-5

Marcum LX-5

 

 

 

Top Choice Logo

 

We chose the Marcum LX-5 i as our Top Choice because it offers a full slate of great features that slightly edge out the competitors in this range.  Now, this is a controversial pick, and many Vexilar die-hards will argue for the Vexilar FL-18.  Similar to the Katoolah vs Korker debate. I own the Vexilar FL-18 myself and highly recommend it as well.  It does everything that I need it to and I like the design/functionality of it, but there’s something to be said for the attention to detail and extras that the Marcum LX-5 offers.  Some people feel that you have less interference issues with these units as well, although I have not personally observed a difference.  At the end of the day, everyone is just trying to stay warm and catch fish.

Best Ice Fishing Flasher On A Budget

HUMMINGBIRD ICE-35

Hummingbird ICE-35

 

 

Value Pick Logo

 

The Hummingbird ICE-35 flasher was our Value Pick because you basically get all the benefits of a comparable Vexilar or Marcum unit at a much more competitive price.  I’ll be honest, if you gave the same guy the Hummingbird ICE-35 vs. the Marcum LX-5 or the Vexilar FL-18, the ice fishing flasher is not going to be a major factor in determining ice fishing success.  You will ultimately have to decide which is right for you, but if you don’t think that our other ice fishing fish finder pick is right for you but you can’t quite justify the Marcum LX-5 or Vexilar FL 28, don’t feel like you’re short-changing yourself if you decide to go with this ice fishing flasher.

Best Affordable Ice Fishing Fish Finder

DEEPER SMART FISHFINDER

Deeper Fish Finder 3.0 (ice fishing fish finder)

 

 

Value Pick Logo

 

The Deeper Smart Fishfinder 3.0 was our other Value Pick because it truly is an innovative ice fishing fish finder that works well and is unique amongst an otherwise established market.  If you are looking for a portable fish finder for ice fishing, then this is the pick.  You get the benefit of the traditional flasher circular display that you are used to as well.  And with the resolution of current cell phone technology, you get an unbelievable display that would otherwise cost and arm and a leg.  Now, this ice fishing fish finder can’t fully replace what a flasher provides, but it gets pretty darn close.  For the money, we love this pick and it leaves some change in your pocket to upgrade some other gear.

Should You Upgrade to the Vexilar FLX 28?

Compared to other Vexilar units:

1. Noise Test

The FLX 28 is brushless and runs super smooth with much less noticeable noise.  Not silent, but the quietest of all the units.  The FL-18 definitely has a noticeable hum when running.  This isn’t something that has bothered me when using the unit, but I suppose may be a consideration for others.

2. Size/Housing

The size is basically the same and isn’t a major factor here, in my opinion.  Of note though, the FLX 28 does weight a couple more pounds than the FL-18

3. Face Dial Depth Display

The 5 color LED display gives more information than the 3 color units.  The two zone auto zoom feature of the Vexilar FL 28 is definitely an upgrade.  Within a couple seconds, it clearly displays the depth and even shows you down to 1-inch increments.  Also, the “weeds” setting is great to filter out signals that can make it harder to pick out fish.  Also factor in whether you think night mode, low battery display, and demo mode are worth it.

4. Transducer

Consider whether you would rather buy another transducer for your FL-18 or upgrade to the multifunctional Pro View ice ducer of the Vexilar FL-28

Deciding Between The Vexilar Pro Pack II and Ultra Pack For Your Ice Fishing Flasher?

I’ll run through a few things here.  First, the Ultra Pack has an actual battery on/off switch.  When you turn it off you can be sure that it isn’t using any additional battery or drawing power.  The Pro Pack doesn’t have this switch.

With the Ultra Pack, the battery is enclosed and inaccessible from the back.  There are two battery leads instead located on the front of the unit.  So overall, the casing unit is more square/boxy and then it has a piece that juts out from the back to store the transducer.  The ProPack housing is circular design. Both allow your ice fishing flasher to fit into a 5-gallon bucket.

The battery leads are exposed on the Pro Pack II.  This leaves it vulnerable to a short circuit in the case of rain, but the fact that there isn’t additional plastic casing for the battery means that the back is open and accessible, and lighter in weight.  Furthermore, this becomes a moot point if you just pick up a soft case.

Both have a rod holder, small tackle box, and eyebolt on the front for the transducer holder.  Both great options for a Vexilar FLX 28 or Vexilar FL-18.

What is your favorite ice fishing fish finder?  Is there a different ice fishing fish finder you would like us to review?  If so, comment below!

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