Why don’t many people have the best ice fishing flasher? It’s because they don’t know how to use them. My first purchase of one of these took me well over 10 years for this very reason. They’re simpler in many ways than fish finders today.
The Vexilar GP1812 is my favorite because it features a 12-degree sonar beam, an LCD, and a long battery life. We will explain how to identify these features, how to read them, and what benefits to look for. Grab one if you like coffee, water, beer, or all three. Many of you have been waiting for this guide. Let’s get started!
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Ice Fishing Flasher
Now that we understand how they work, let’s dive into more factors to consider before purchasing the best ice fishing flasher. It’s okay not to understand how they work entirely. You won’t suddenly understand it after reading an article. To understand this, you must use it in person a few times. Let’s look at some factors I considered when choosing my best ice fishing flasher.
The best ice fishing flashers have a unique depth range. The unit will tell you how far you can read and how many levels you can do it at. The best ice fishing flasher differs from a fish finder in this scenario because it continuously transmits sonar waves through the water. As a result, you don’t have to do anything to get the finder to read at various levels.
Using a flasher, you can only take readings at specific depths throughout the water column. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything. Firstly, because you’re limiting yourself to a particular area, it’s generally more accurate. The accuracy of reading increases whenever the range you’re trying to read is narrowed. It decreases accuracy but increases range when spread out wider.
Having a limited number of depths would be a con. An average flasher will read between 20 feet and 200 feet of depth. Some provide more, and some that offer less. I’m looking for a flasher that offers the highest number of depth readings without compromising my budget or other features.
From fish finders to flashers, target separation is something you hear about in most fishing technology. The amount of space between two objects needed to identify them as two objects. Consider this. Does the fish finder know that two fish are swimming through the water if they are on top? Of course not. The same holds for your flasher. The target separation of most flashers is around one inch. Therefore, you need at least one inch between two fish for the unit to detect that there are two fish. When it comes to flashers, there’s a caveat.
Since the most reliable ice fishing flashers can only read vertically, they can identify target separation in the water column on a vertical scale. Consequently, your chart might show two deep red lines under or over your lure. It means your flasher picks up two fish at different depths in the water directly beneath you. Two fish beside each other are not picked up by it, only those above or below.
Okay, I’ve told you my story about the cone angle before, but I want to dive deeper into it. Here it is again for those of you who missed it. You’ll get a less accurate reading with a wider cone angle. However, you’ll cover more ground, allowing you to identify fishing opportunities and then zero in on them. A narrow cone can help you focus on a specific target but isn’t the ideal choice if you’re unsure where the target is.
It’s more complicated than that. Since shallow water has less water to measure, it’s not as essential to be picky about accuracy. You’ll need that extra depth if you’re fishing water of 100 feet or deeper, which means the cone’s angle is far more significant.
Transducer cones are also a problem because they can interfere with people next to you. “Interference rejection” comes into play here. There is a lot of advertising for this as well. A fish-finding sonar reading is more accurate if interference rejection is used. You’d be surprised what can happen when 15 people are on the ice together.
A narrow beam with a 12-14 degree angle would be my choice for ice fishing. In this manner, you can get a thorough grasp of what is going on beneath your feet with the level of accuracy you need.
Ease of Use
We don’t understand how these work. Honesty is the highest policy. The process involves a lot of technical jargon and everything; all we do is place the transducer on the ice. We hope that it will tell us something that will help us catch fish.
Regarding ease of use, I prefer clear instructions, limited colors, fewer knobs and buttons, and no need to sign up for anything to use the device. The Lowrance Striker, Garmin Striker, Marcum LX-7, Helix 5, and Humminbird Ice Helix products require you to register them before you can use them, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. To qualify for the warranty, you’ll need to register it; otherwise, you should be fine.
Vexilar GP1812 FL18 Genz Pack 12 Degree Ice-Ducer Combo
One of the market’s most reliable and stable ice fishing flashers is the Vexilar FL 18. Despite slight modifications every few years, this one has remained the go-to standard for decades.
It offers a 12-degree cone with variable depths at six levels. Please don’t worry if you don’t understand what that means. In the buying guide section below, I break everything down. If you’re confused, head down there. The narrower the cone, the more accurate your reading will be. Sonar works similarly to fish finding.
Aside from the cone, there are six different depth readings. To identify fishing opportunities in different parts of the water column, it is essential to find units with the highest number of readings in this ice fishing flasher review. It’s not easy to handle a flasher, and most people don’t get it, so they move on to ice fishing fish finders instead. The basic three-color system makes this one pretty easy to use.
- The three-color flasher is easy to understand
- The backlit display makes it easy to read
- Providing more accurate readings with a 12-degree cone
- Up to 12 hours of battery life
- There is no digital depth flasher display
Vexilar PP1812D FL18 Pro Pack II 12 Degree Ice-Ducer
Due to two primary factors, the Vexilar PP1812D did not match the GP model. At some point, you’ll discover why it’s so critical that it only offers five-depth ranges. This one doesn’t offer as much versatility and options in identifying fish at various levels in the water column.
The price tag also caused a lower rating. It’s over $150 more expensive without offering much more. This is the flagship product of ice fishermen and the one that drives sales, but I don’t care. This is not the most efficient Vexilar ice fishing flasher on the market. I am concerned about providing you with honest and unbiased information. It’s time to get down to business. With its auto-zoom mode, you can start at the bottom and work your way up or stay at the bottom. Bottom fishing is great because you know you’re right at the bottom six feet.
Its big selling point is its half-inch target separation. There will be a lot of use of that phrase. In radar, target separation refers to the minimum distance between two objects that allows them to be identified as separate objects. A flasher with a high target separation means that two fish must be far apart. This is because the flasher can determine that there are two fish instead of one. It only takes a half inch for the flasher to realize it’s two fish, not one, in this case.
- LED readouts with high speed
- For simplicity, there are three color palettes
- An impressive target separation of less than one inch
- Ducer for ice at 12 degrees
- The price
- The depth ranges are limited to five
MarCum M Series
Despite their strong reputation in the electronics field, I’ve never been a fan of Marcum’s products. My experience with their underwater fishing cameras has not been as good as their competitors. It may be because their prices tend to be lower than the rest. Putting my opinions aside, this is a sturdy, inexpensive flasher for ice fishing.
A split-screen zoom feature makes it stand out from the crowd. You can zoom in on a single target on the LCD screen while keeping a broader view on the other side.
You can identify potential fishing opportunities while fishing a spot where you believe fish are already present. The Marcum’s crisp display and bright colors tell the difference between targets, structures, and vegetation.
I prefer a wide cone, but some prefer a 20-degree ice duster. Especially in shallow water, where pinpoint accuracy may not matter as much as spreading yourself out over the bottom, this gives you an advantage. The target separation is two inches, so despite spreading the reading out, you won’t be able to identify the same number of fish as you would with another unit.
- An affordable price tag
- Zooming in and out on split screens
- The rejection of interference
- It lacks a lot of premium features.
Humminbird ICE-55 Portable Flasher
These features come with some complications. In this review, I will try my finest to be positive. Does this flasher work well for ice fishing? That might be the case. Humminbird is one of my favorite brands. Regarding fishing gear, I stand by the brands I love and am a huge fan of this brand. At a reasonable price, it provides some costly features.
The most impressive feature is the fantastic 6-color fiber optic display with a purple target line. You can set a target depth and stay at it for as long as you want or until you change it. You can do so if you detect a fish at a specific range and want to remain there for the rest of your fishing session. The target would be even better if it rose and fell according to the contour of the bottom, but that would probably add $1,000 to the price.
Dual-frequency sonar is another feature I haven’t seen in an ice fishing flasher, but they probably took a page from fish finders. Dual-beam sonar allows you to narrow or spread your ice fishing sonar cone based on how accurate a reading you need.
- Seven depth ranges are available
- Display in beautiful color
- Transducer with two beams
- It isn’t easy to understand
Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 63cv Ice-Fishing Bundle
Some might call me a hero…but I’m not sure if I would. Those who can’t decide between a flasher and a fish finder can now get both in one suspicious package.
Garmin’s Echomap UHD ice fishing bundle has everything you need in a zipped-up bag to take to the ice hole on your ice fishing sled. The package includes the following. It has a six-inch screen with CHIRP sonar so you can identify fish targets and pinpoint the exact location of fish in comparison to the structure on the flashier side. You can also access over 18,000 lakes across the continental United States with Garmin’s LakeVu base map feature.
In addition to identifying ideal fishing locations, you can save them as waypoints to revisit in cold weather, especially for beginners trying to catch fish in hard water. You’ve got to hang on…wait…there’s more.
Trying to catch a breath (gasping for breath) Echomap also supports SideVu sonar, making it an excellent choice for warm-weather fishing. You can now use it for kayak fishing, a summer fishing trip, and other warm-weather situations in addition to ice fishing. The best part is that it’s about the same price as the best ice fishing flasher in this article. Folks, don’t overthink it. Don’t be afraid to try it.
- The screen size of six inches
- CHIRP transducer built-in
- Over 18,000 US lakes are included with LakeVu G3 maps
Vexilar FLX28 Sonar Flasher Ultra Pack
You don’t have to be on a tight budget if you’re a severe ice fisherman. You don’t need to disconnect the 12V 9A lithium battery from the Vexilar FLX28 Ultra Pack because it is enclosed inside the case. Additionally, it has a five-color display with half-inch target separation and quarter-inch target identification. Would you like me to continue?
Using the 6-12 foot zoom automatically zeros in on targets once they’re identified, and the 20 interference rejection settings ensure other sonars or flashers don’t contaminate your readings. I love the self-leveling ice transducer that ensures you get the most accurate position. It can impact your reading when it’s off, even just a little. If you can think of it, this ice fishing flasher has it. It only lacks an affordable price tag, but believe me, it makes up for it with plenty of features.
- Featuring premium features
- A zoom range of 6-12 feet
- Identification of targets down to 14 inches
- It comes with a carrying case for your other gear as well
1. What made you choose this model of ice fishing flashers?
Knowing what will fit comfortably on an ice fishing flasher is essential due to the differences in size. The best ice fishing flashers companies will offer you the highest level of support. The standard may not be necessary for you.
2. Is it worth spending so much money on ice fishing flashers?
Ice fishing flashers should last you a lifetime. The more you pay, the better the view, the faster the lid will open, and the better quality accuracy you will receive. A new ice fishing flasher costs, on average, between $$ and $$$. There are some luxury features, but the price is higher.
Using the best ice fishing flasher isn’t as difficult as it seems. When it comes to value and quality, you can’t go wrong with the Vexilar GP1812 FL18. It has everything you need at a price that won’t break the bank.
I was swayed by it when I thought more about the Garmin ECHOMAP. Considering that it’s the best ice fishing flasher in one, it’s hard to complain. As a result, you can use it all year round and get the best of both worlds. You won’t get anywhere if you ponder the right choice here. Get out there and catch some fish with your favorite.