ICE FISHING SONAR UNDER $400

11/18/14 @ 8:53 PM
ORIGINAL POST
FishHunt47
FishHunt47
USER since 6/10/14
Hey y'all I've been lookin' at the Vexilar fl-18 Genz Pack. Honest feed back please... Also is it worth going with the Marcum or Humminbird? My whole family has always been a fan of Vexilar. Really leaning towards this, just checking to see if this is the best bang for my dollar. Please under $400 Thanks Smile
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Displaying 1 to 10 of 13 Posts
11/21/14 @ 3:08 PM
cousincarmody
cousincarmody
USER since 2/9/10
I really like my FL-8SE. I've had it for a few years now, does really well up to about 25 feet with smaller jigs after that you need to have a larger jig to get a good signal with minimal noise.

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!

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11/20/14 @ 7:32 PM
Madgill
Madgill
MEMBER since 12/26/01
Vexilar! My old FL8 has performed well since I bought it 15+ years ago and still works well. Bought a new one last year, great quality and reliability, never any issues other than new batteries every 3 years or so. I don't need all the fancy bells and whistles to catch fish.

Edited on 11/20/14 7:33 PM
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11/20/14 @ 1:48 PM
brtn610
brtn610
USER since 12/30/07
If you're trying to get the most bang for your buck, I'd go with the Humminbird ice-35. Huge display, zoom anywhere in the water column, and I've never had an issue picking up small jigs in deep water. In my opinion, as far as bottom of the line units go the ice-35 blows away the vx-1 and fl8 (I've fished with both) and you can normally find it for less than 300$ with a soft sided case. If you're going to try to get a higher end unit used I don't think you can go wrong with with anything out there.

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11/20/14 @ 10:35 AM
BigMusky12
BigMusky12
MEMBER since 12/22/04
I love product specifications....but I truly believe target separation is a bunch of BS just like Dynamic Contrast Ratio on a TV.

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.

Edited on 11/20/14 10:42 AM
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11/20/14 @ 9:07 AM
Robbollio
Robbollio
USER since 10/17/04
I will add that my marcum performance was awesome when it worked! Seemed to never have a problem wIth Interference lIke my pas genz pack vex. I dropped it one to many times though....

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11/19/14 @ 9:32 PM
dell lake
dell lake
USER since 1/17/12
I would recommend the humminbird ice 35. It is a very nice sonar with a big screen and are priced around $300.

Edited on 11/19/14 9:32 PM
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11/19/14 @ 8:46 PM
FALLSWALLEYEGUY
FALLSWALLEYEGUY
USER since 1/1/10
Owned an Fl-12 as my first flasher, switched to marcum. Wish I would have bought the marcum right off the bat. Better clarity, better prices, in my opinion just a better unit overall when talking performance.

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11/19/14 @ 4:37 PM
Animated1
Animated1
USER since 1/20/09
I agree with all things about Marcum. I have an older unit and it runs like a champ and never have any problems.

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11/19/14 @ 4:21 PM
Edward Felcohands
Edward Felcohands
USER since 2/24/09
look at the manufacturer specifications for each model you are considering. with vex fl18 you are getting 2.65" target separation, with marcum lx 3 tc you get 1.5", 1" in zoom mode. there is a big difference between target separation and target identification. If you ever want to fish in weedy areas this becomes a huge deal. if you are sitting in the middle of winnebago it doesn't matter much. vex has a 6 ft window bottom zoom only, the marcum has infinitely adjustable zoom with five or ten foot windows. personally I have found the vexilar transducer foam float system to be clumsy and kind of a pain in the butt if you are moving from hole to hole. the marcum transducer arm system is great for hole hopping, but sometimes i worry about the cable flexing too much and damaging the wires, although after owning an lx3 tc since for at least 6 years(i cant even remember when i got it anymore) I have not noticed any problems. In many years of fishing side by side with vexilars vs my lx3tc, I have found that you have to pay a lot more to get a vexilar that performs as well at this marcum. I have used my marcums effectively in as little as 2.5 feet of water, but I have not seen other units perform well at these depths. I also own a marcum lx5 and to be honest I wish I would have saved myself some money and just bought another lx3tc, as there are few situations where the extra features really make any difference. I do not like the Genz pack. Yes, it fits nicely in a bucket, but what happens when that bucket tips over and bounces around in your sled behind an ATV. The transducer and head unit are exposed to damage at all times. I feel that the marcum cover protects the unit much better during storage, travel, and use.

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.

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11/19/14 @ 3:21 PM
BAK922
BAK922
USER since 11/19/14
I had been using a buddies FL-8 and always liked. I happened to find a used newer version for $200 and picked up and very nice.

Edited on 11/19/14 3:21 PM
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Displaying 1 to 10 of 13 Posts