With snow falling in Minnesota and some of my buds around Saginaw Bay telling me the temps were about 26 degrees the other morning, its time to start talking ice fishing. While I know of several companies that are coming out with new gear this year, Vexilar is one of the first that has updated their website for the new ice season on the horizon. This is also the 50th year in the company’s history of making fishing electronics and other great gear.
Like Northland, to be upfront with everyone in this new era of transparency, I am on Vex’s Pro Staff. Its a great company, or I would not have approached them in the first place about gaining sponsorship for my ice fishing tournament team. My philosophy is this, when you compete against the best teams in the country, why be at a disadvantage by fishing with an inferior product. This will be my 9th year fishing one series or another, and although I have had some really good deals thrown my way by the competition, I know what I am getting with the company that was the first to make a flasher designed for ice fishing, and continues to be the best product out there.
You can actually go to their website and check out my pro staff page. Or you can check out others who are on staff, Vexilar Pro Staffers. Its a pretty impressive list of those in the ice fishing world, and those who make their living during the warmer months. Folks who read the blog on a regular basis send me equipment questions all the time, but those who just visit Vexilar’s website can do the same thing through a link that is provided.
Most of the questions focus on which unit should I get? Which transducer option best fits my fishing? Meaning these are the types of lakes I fish, and the depths at which I fish at. Its fun to answer these questions because it also makes me think about what I need to fish on certain lakes through the series.
Ok, much like Washington DC, I am done with transparency for now. Back to Vexilar celebrating 50 years as the leader in the industry. Most of the new units will be carrying the 50 yr stamp to commemorate the achievement.
And this version of my tournament hat has been retooled for the anniversary.
I got an email the other day, and the question was what flasher do I use? Right now I have two FL-20’s, the top of the line up. I also chose the 12 degree cone angle for my transducer. Its a tweener between the 19′ and 9′ ducers, or the dual transducer. 85% of my fishing takes place in 25 fow or less. True my cone angle is going to be a little less than the 19′ option, but I get the better signal once I go over 20 ft. Then when I head off for some deep water fishing in Northern Michigan, the 12 degree transducer is pretty close to the 9′ option. If I was fishing either 20 ft or less all the time, and then went strictly for deep water lakers and salmon, then I would have chosen the dual beam option. The other feature that shines on the FL-20 is the split screen zoom. I can lock down the bottom six foot of the water column in shallower water, and when fishing deeper, I can expand that to 12 feet off the bottom.
Was this the only model I have ever owned, the answer would be no. Like many others who just started out about the same time I did, the FL-8 was the only option. My first models of the venerable 8 was the “SLT” version mounted on Dave Genz’s first model “blue box”, and the next upgrade the “SE” on the new version of Genz’sdesign. I qualified for my first championship fishing the SLT, and two more with the SE. These units are rock solid, and they still are being used today, one by an angler’s son on Saginaw Bay, and another is used chasing perch on Lake St. Clair.
The best thing about all the units available for ice fishing is that they do not have to be put away once the ice leaves in spring. I have the high speed transducer mounted on the back of my Crestliner for trolling, and for jigging in the Detroit River, I have another transducer mounted to my electric trolling motor on the Triton. They tell you things you just can’t see with with a conventional fish finder!
Last year I had one question that asked, ” What accessories do I really need?”. My answer to that was V-410 automatic battery charger. They are really a must have, because more often than not when a problem occurs it is something to do with the battery. Either the angler hasn’t kept the battery charged or he/she ruined it by over charging. The automatic charger solves the issue for you, throw it on, go to bed, and it’s ready the next day.
I have the Coldsnap Suit for ice fishing, and you cannot beat the comfort of this suit for ice fishing in all conditions. Its even better because it won’t cost you and arm and a leg compared to other suits. The one thing I really like though is the Fleece Cadet pullover. I have two of these, one a 2XL for fishing so I can throw on a layer or two underneath, and a regular XL size for going out and just being comfortable and warm. I wore the 2X while fishing last Friday in the high winds on Erie and never got cold with just a mock turtleneck on underneath. Even when the light rain started up, it was enough where I never got the t-neck wet.
Still not sure what unit to get if you are just starting out, Vexilar has that covered. Go to “Ice Fishing Today” and check out the units in action. You can watch shows online that deal with bluegill, crappie, perch and walleyes. Watch as they use the units to their ice catching advantage and choose the unit that best suits you.
If you have any additional questions, go and visit my web page at Vexilar’s website, and follow this link… email me and fill out the bottom section. Or, as always, you can mail me here at the blog firstname.lastname@example.org