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Thread: Ice Fishing Gear Questions

  1. #1

    Default Ice Fishing Gear Questions

    I'm looking at getting "serious" about chasing after lakers and would like to pick the brains of some of you veteran laker guys & gals.

    For electronics, I'm looking at possibly the Marcum LX-7, Showdown 5.6, or Vexilar FL22-HD. If anybody has used these, please let me know the pros and cons of each.

    Also looking at augers. The Strikemaster Lazer Pro looks and sounds good from what I can read, but you know how it goes on the web with opinions about things. Any suggestions are appreciated. I like the looks of the Nils, but can't find a local dealer and am not sure how they do with a 10" blade.

    Thanks much.

  2. #2
    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    For augers I prefer Eskimo mako 4.3
    Had mine for 4 years and it's never let me down



    Release Lake Trout

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Do you really want to associate with those people? Have you lost your morals or your mind?
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    I am a Vexilar guy and have a FL20 and I really like this unit. I really like the 3 color display on this unit. Not so sure I like the looks of the showdown. Some guys do really like them though. When I am fishing my lure goes from green to red and it is usually fish on.
    Also good for seeing fish in different parts of the water column.
    I have an eskimo Auger that has never let me down ever in the 6-8 years I have owned it. I also have 2 Jiffy's and they are good too. my Jiffy's are a bit faster but also have bigger engines than my Eskimo. My Eskimo offers better protection for the throttle and other parts and in an uncovered sled behind my snowmobile the jiffy's tend to get more of these parts covered in snow. Sometimes that can lead to isssues on the ice and you are always cleaning the snow off those before you use it.
    In a covered sled like my Ice shanty it is not a problem.
    People in the L48 who run the nils swear by them. They are the fastest production auger you can buy. Not being available locally and without local parts and service I too would hesitate on purchasing one though.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

  5. #5

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    Thanks guys, this is the kind of information I'm looking for.

    kasilofchrisn: What depth/transducer are you using on your FL20? I'll probably be in lakes that are approaching the 200' mark from the looks of the lake bathymetric charts I've been searching. Does the LCD screen have some sort of heating element to keep it running smooth in the really cold weather?

    dirtofak: I know what you're saying. I need another winter hobby like I need a.....hole in the ice.... Maybe I can combo the fishing with some predator calling. Wouldn't be the first time I've done double hobbies at the same time.
    Last edited by snowcamoman; 10-17-2011 at 18:01. Reason: brain freeze

  6. #6
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowcamoman View Post
    Thanks guys, this is the kind of information I'm looking for.

    dirtofak: I know what you're saying. I need another winter hobby like I need a.....hole in the ice.... Maybe I can combo the fishing with some predator calling. Wouldn't be the first time I've done double hobbies at the same time.
    A winter hobby is important!

    There are a lot of trappers in my area. I figure that if I stay off their trapines and leave their mammals alone, they'll stay off my lake.
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

  7. #7
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowcamoman View Post
    Thanks guys, this is the kind of information I'm looking for.

    kasilofchrisn: What depth/transducer are you using on your FL20? I'll probably be in lakes that are approaching the 200' mark from the looks of the lake bathymetric charts I've been searching. Does the LCD screen have some sort of heating element to keep it running smooth in the really cold weather?

    dirtofak: I know what you're saying. I need another winter hobby like I need a.....hole in the ice.... Maybe I can combo the fishing with some predator calling. Wouldn't be the first time I've done double hobbies at the same time.
    Thats the beauty of a flasher there is no LCD screen so no frozen pixels. And they work in real time unlike a LCD. A LCD screen takes say 1/2 a second to draw the image in pixels on the screen. A flasher is instantaneous. As you move your lure/hook/jig up and down it moves on the screen at the same rate. If it shows a fish that fish is there at that moment.
    Basically it is a circular display dial with colored lights to indicate whats below.
    Mine has a depth range down to 200' and has the 6' and 12' bottom zoom display. Very handy when fishing the bottom in the deep water.
    I believe mine is the standard 12* transducer.
    check it out on this link:http://vexilar.com/pages/support/sup...poster=default
    The showdown is a balck and white LCD made just for icefishing. it shows just a verticle water column on the display.
    The marks on a showdown get darker and lighter where as the Vexilar changes from green to orange to red.Depending on the size of the fish and its proximity to the transducers cone.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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    Member Laker Taker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    A winter hobby is important!

    There are a lot of trappers in my area. I figure that if I stay off their trapines and leave their mammals alone, they'll stay off my lake.
    Not me.... i'm a multitasker....

  9. #9
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laker Taker View Post
    Not me.... i'm a multitasker....
    You need to keep a gun ready. One guy had 3 wolves walk up to the holes he had drilled the day before and scat and piss all over them.

    I stay off the traplines. Got yelled at last winter for running over a couple traps. So I told him to be sure to have his name on them so I would know who owes me a new track in case it got damaged.
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

  10. #10
    Member Laker Taker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post

    I stay off the traplines. Got yelled at last winter for running over a couple traps. So I told him to be sure to have his name on them so I would know who owes me a new track in case it got damaged.
    Hate it when that happens....trap.jpg

  11. #11
    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    I have used both a showdown and vexilar flasher. Both units work great and will catch fish. I believe its simply personal preference on the unit. I just sent in my showdown last month back to marcum for an upgraded. The screen is a true vertical, top to bottom display and very easy to read and use. I can isolate depths in the water column with it (zoom in) and it read to a depth of aboth 250 feet. I have no complaints. For about $100 you can get a vexilar model that is equale to the capabilities of a showdown unit. My buddy loves his vexilar, which is a FL-12 propack, and we end up sharing the unit when we fish together. The colors are nice to have has you can tell how close in the zone a fish is to the transducer. The unit reads in a circular flasher style and is not that difficult to understand. Both units have abilities to adjust for interference of other sonar units and clutter in the area. I dont think you can go wrong with either unit.

    Augers cut holes in the ice...I ran a 10 inch strikemaster 3000 for about 9 years, I sold it finally this summer because of issue with a bent blade and it had met its life expectantcy. Preference and price, much like electronics is the same with augers. I had seen a buddy by a shark and it died in 2 seasons. I have seen 2 others that swear by them. I guess you can get a lemon every so often? BigCox found a used strikemaster 10 inch lazer blades for about $150 used, I believe it was a great steal...I have not replaced my auger yet cause I got kids to feed still...haha I would what ever unit you get, make sure you get an extension and I would stay away from hand crank manuel unit myself.

    Good Luck!
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  12. #12

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    Thanks for the good information and first hand accounts of the gear Jedi, I appreciate it. I have an older 3HP Eskimo, but am unsure of the model. I looked at the new Jiffy STX II and the Strikemaster Lazer Pro at Frontier Outfitters. I'm leery of that composite handle on the Strikemasters. Hauling one of those things down a bumpy trail just looks like a recipe for disaster. I'll keep ya'll posted on what I get and how it works out.

    Now I need to find or make a couple of stout Laker rods. I cut down an old Ugly Stik this evening to 42" and plan to make it into a ice rod for a baitcaster type reel. I looked around and the Thorne Bros rods seem to be the favorites in the heavy laker type rods. Pricey guys, but apparently have a cult-like following.

  13. #13
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Early season ice (up to the first foot of thickness) can be conquered light and easy with a good hand auger coupled to a 1/2" lithium powered drill. I use my 18v Makita, which will chew through ice at a very impressive speed. I couple it to my Eskimo 8" hand auger. I've modified the cutting blades by adding several serration cuts to each side (cuts about 3/4" apart and offset from the other blade). This, plus my little Quick-Fish 2, little buddy heater, 2 folding chairs and fishing tackle will all fit neatly into a small kid's type sled from the dept store that is easily pulled by hand out to any foot accessbile lake.

    You really don't need a power auger until late season or if you are fishing with a larger group where you need to punch a bunch a holes to get started.

    As for rods, I've never had a problem with the $15 rod/reel getups that they sell at Trustworthy Hardware. You really don't need anything special for ice fishing. It's just a flippin handle to mount a small reel onto.

    For tackle, just get a bunch of small, plain hooks and use shrimp or single eggs for bait with something flashy above as an attractor. Nothing else works. And I've tried it all. Flashy lures will get the fish to come over and check out your gear, but they just won't eat steel and brass. Bait is what triggers the bite, but they won't see/smell the bait until they get pretty close. Hence a combo of flash plus bait is the killer.
    Winter is Coming...

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  14. #14
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Just a warning... Lake trout fishermen lie. Just sayin!
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    Just a warning... Lake trout fishermen lie. Just sayin!
    I thought all fishermen lie...silly me!

    I would avoid a hand auger if you plan to fish much. I used to drill through upwards of three feet by hand as a kid and it was tough! Good way to warm up when it is cold out though...

    I would also highly recommend a shelter of some sort. My buddy and I have a QuickFish 6 and it definately ups the comfort level when it is cold and windy.

  16. #16
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    I like you last got serious and bought all the gear. Here is what it cost me the prices are estimates I am sure it cost more...............OUCH!

    Quick Fish 3 $209.00
    Eskimo Z-51 10 inch Ice Auger $450.00
    18 inch extension $35.00
    Extra 10 inch blades $35.00
    Showdown digital fish finder $325 I used this first but liked the Vexilar better
    Vexilar FL-12 $450.00
    Little Buddy Heater $89.00 Used for warmer days above 0
    Tank Top Heater $49.00 Used for 0 to -30 days
    2 lake trout rods made localy by Two Rivers Rods. These rods are sold at Sportsmans Warehouse cost $65.00 each
    Reels ABU Revo S Reels they retail for $105.00
    Small Otter Sled and cover $80.00
    A good chair
    Rod Holders
    7 and 7 this helps pass the time..........Makes fish catching real exciting

    Huge trophy class Lake Trout and Arctic Char Priceless!

    I am sure there is more but this will give you an idea or anyone else who is wondering what the basic cost is.

    I upgraded this year I bought a new 2011 Arctic Cat Bearcat 570 fan so that I can explore new Lake Trout fishing areas.

    Harding Big Laker 1.jpg

  17. #17
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    The LX-7 won't be available until Thanksgiving.
    I have an LX-5 that works very well. It has really upped my catch rates.
    It has a dual freq. 'ducer which is another big +.

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