ICE FISHING SONAR UNDER $400
On the other hand, some of the higher model Vex's with the more powerful transducers can be a pain in shallow water (4-8 ft.) because of the extra power. I mostly fish 4 to 20 feet so the FL-8SE is perfect for me.
On the Marcum side, my wife loves her Showdown. Excellent target separation, easy on the battery and under $400. We did, however, go through 2 units that had defects before getting one that had everything in place. One unit even had screws that were rolling around in the box. Customer service was good about it, as they should have been but it was slightly annoying to go through two returns.
When all is said and done, I believe that you learn to love whatever you get. Good luck!
My only advise would be to look at possible used or reconditioned units to save some money. These things are generally built like tanks, find someone who always need latest features and get one that is only a couple years old.
They do make covers for Genz Packs as an FYI and most people don't use flashers in 3 FOW or less.
All my friends who have vexilars love them, but when you love something you tend to overlook its shortcomings. vexilar was the pioneer in the industry, and i see a lot of 20 year old fl8 units out on the ice still working, albeit at an archaic level of performance. all my friends who have marcums love them. I don't know anybody with a humminbird, but like I said, compare the specs at each price level and go from there. customer service at all three companies is much better than it used to be. it becomes a chevy/ford thing, but from my experience the lx3tc is a much more versatile unit than anything vexilar can offer you for the same price.