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Am I the last person that doesn't use a flasher?

12/2/19 @ 12:58 PM
User since 2/13/10

In the past few years, I can't remember seeing a person or a group of guys that didn't use flashers.  You see the occasional kid or friend/girlfriend that got dragged along not using one, but everybody with with the ice gear has a flasher.  I heard of guys who forgot their flasher or battery and just turn around and don't go.  I read on here many many times that guys won't fish without one.  I'm not picking a fight, but really just wan't to know if anybody feels like it ruins the fun of it as it does for me.  I fish mostly 12-14' feet of water or less for panfish, but occasionally 18-20' for panfish or walleye.  I don't fish deep water mid-lake basins for suspended crappies.

I stare a computer screen all day, I don't want to stare at a flasher.  It is one more thing to carry out onto the ice.  One more thing to get tangled in the fishing line.  The absolute best thing for me, when ice fishing, is doing the perfect drop or rise with the 1/128th jig and plastic and getting a hit out of nowhere.  Always being ready for the strike and the surprise of it is thrilling.  Just like casting from a boat, that strike is a blast.  A long time ago, before flashers, we used to look down the hole in 6' of water and sight fish. I didn't like that either.  I found that I could catch more fish by not looking down the hole and just concentrating on the perfect presentation.  I see so many guys drop their flasher in, see some gills 1' off the bottom.  rig up a heavy jig or jigging spoon, with 4 waxies or spikes and drop it down to them and then jiggle the heck out of it, and then get frustrated when they don't bite.  Sure there are days when the aggressive presentation is going to work, but they are few and far between in the dead of winter.

Guys tell me flashers can serve two functions. First finding the fish and fish depth and next "working" the fish.  I'm confident in my presentations and "working" the fish because I've caught 10,000+ panfish with it over the years.  And with a light presentations that sinks like food (3-4" per second drop),  you find the suspended fish on the drop.

So, is there anybody else that retired their flasher because they simply prefer to fish without one?

1/1/20 @ 11:06 PM
User since 4/23/15

TheWhipGuy- As we obviously don't know each other's age and experience/knowledge level when it come's to just Ice Fishing, but I was using plastics(with no bait) before the Plastic craze was ever invented or thought of. Probably originated and developed in the Mississippi backwater and without doing some research, the Original Peerless/Purist Jig was my first heavy use of a plastic Ice Fishing Jig. The Rembrant Jig which looked the same had a blade and think it was more commonly used by Minnesota Anglers at the time of it's popularity. My facts/comment's maybe way off, but I still have a box full of those Purist Jigs(Lol, my friend use to buy cards of them when stopping at the tackle shops). The barbless one's were always the one's I liked, but back in the day other companies started pushing and selling barbed Pursist Jigs. I hated them, but the bulk of all my old barbless Purist Jigs are long gone. Think I still have a few though.

From the Purist Jigs I started just using the ends of 1" Mr. Twister Tails on ice jigs, again not tipped with any bait. I never strictly used plastic's back then of course and as many diehards at a young youthful age spending money, had enough jigs to last me the rest of my life! Many moon's ago there was Whitetail Show that I went to and actually had a booth there for my new guide service. Another guy had a booth selling the first wedge type tails I've ever seen, plus he sold custom made rods. Beside's his tails he sold micro plain jig hooks and micro lead split shot. I ordered stuff on and off for a few years from him. All his tails were anise scented also. Years later I talked to the guy and he was on the U.S. Shooting Team and got so busy with that he planned to sell all his molds. I still have some of his wedge tails, hooks and the one rod I bought. I forgot also way back when I used a plastic bait made by the old Falls Bait Co., in Chippewa Falls, WI. Was called "The Hottie". The company was also well known for their Fireball JignMinnow. Had a round orange ball jig with a silver plastic minnow. 

As of my Ice Fishing arsenal today I still am always changing things up. I have more micro plastic's than I'll ever need or use and boxes full of jigs in every shape made(I think). Haven't bought many Tungsten Jigs, basically because I don't need anymore jigs. Bait wise I rarely buy and started using Beavertail last season. I use food coloring to make different colors of it. One piece on a good bite last usually my entire outing.

I'm a old school In-Fisherman fan, some people have Hero's from all walks but mine was always the guy's from when Al and Ron Linder ran the show and owned it. Your right about location, but I still relate to the In-Fisherman's FLP factor. Fish+Location+Presentation=Success. If any Angler really break's fishing down and catching, I truly believe presentation isn't the single most factor to catching fish. That's just my opinion when thinking about it all.



1/1/20 @ 7:20 PM
Geneva Kid
Geneva Kid
MEMBER since 1/1/06

I go light, stick poles, plastic reels and a boat cushion to kneel on or put on my bucket. I do well sometimes fishing in these pressured southeastern WI lakes. Weed or wax, maybe spikes sometimes. Just enough for a meal and am happy.

My 2 cents!

1/1/20 @ 3:06 PM
User since 12/19/11

Well put, WhipMan! While I don't agree with the concept of catching MORE fish without a flasher, you made some valid points and I would go as far as to agree that a flasher isn't going to give you an upper advantage. Which is more than I could say prior to reading this thread!

The easier it is to go fishing, the more you will actually go fishing, the more fish you will catch.  I think this statement is gold.

1/1/20 @ 2:51 PM
User since 2/13/10

Hey MuskyJo1 - Thanks for the post.  I haven't sworn an oath to never use a flasher and just might rig up an old LCD Lawrence I took off a used boat just to check depth... not sure it would even show fish.  However, I did swear an oath 25 years ago to never again use waxies, wigglers, spikes, etc.  I still use fatheads on tipups/tipdowns for walleye, perch & crappies.  I don't consider using a flasher cheating because I don't really think it is an advantage, but I see your point about it being more fun if you know a fish is under your hole. 

A few comments about popping holes until they mark fish on the flasher.  I guess that is one way to do it if the fish are camped in a certain area.  Most of the places I fish the small and sparse schools are moving around, so I drill a bunch of holes in a small area where I know the fish are likely to be or have been before and start fishing.  Sometimes I never leave the first hole, but most times you have to move as the fish move.  A fun trick we learned a long time ago for perch & crappies is to get 3-4 guys in an area and set out 6-8 tipdowns and then also jig.  Drill 2 holes by each tip-down.  When one gets hit, start jigging in the holes next to it and get a few bonus perch or crappies until the school moves again. 

Ice fishing can be very difficult and frustrating.  I used to see other guys catching and I wasn't, I started second guessing my bait and presentation.  It wasn't until I waited for guys to leave because they "quit biting" and then move to that spot and start getting fish that I realized it was location and not presentation.  Sometimes 20' can make all the difference in the world.  Not to mention fishing over a crib (now that is cheating!).  You have to have 100% confidence in what you are using.  I hear guys say they threw everything in their tacklebox at them and couldn't get them to bite.  Why? You can't make a negative fish bite.  Sometimes they will hit one proven color better than another proven color, but you will still get bites.  When the fishing is tough, I stick to my #1 best bait of all time.  If you ever watched a neutral bite on camera, a bluegill will slowly move up to a bait and "blow" on it (really more of a sucking in water past the bait).  I heavy jig will just sit there and you can't hook up.  A light jig with light line will get sucked into the gills mouth enough to get a hook set.  This is what micro-plastics are for.  Some days it doesn't matter when the fish are aggressive.  Watch videos of guys using jigging spoons with 3-4 waxies on them.  The fish aren't biting the spoon, they are biting the waxies in spite of the heavy piece of metal. 

I'll agree flashers have some use for finding depth and even finding fish if you don't want to bother jigging for them at each hole. I don't think that staring at the flasher and "working" an individual fish is better or more effective than assuming fish are there and giving it your best presentation. Just because you caught a fish with the flasher doesn't mean you wouldn't of caught it without the flasher.  

One last thing and that is about ice fishing in general and keeping it simple. Probably most of you reading this site are pretty into ice fishing.  Going out for a whole day and moving around and "finding" the fish is maybe not a big deal, but sometimes people only have a couple hours to fish in the morning or evening.  I tell people you will catch more fish without a flasher and they think I'm crazy.  Probably true, but consider this.  Look at 90% of the posts for fishing reports this time of year.  They are all "hows the ice", "are they driving atv yet", "are they driving truck out there yet" "how much slush on the ice". Lots of people don't go ice fishing until they can drive atv or trucks because they have too much crap to drag more than 100 yards.  They miss first and last ice when the fishing is the best.  Sure a flasher isn't all the heavy but one thing leads to another.  Gotta have a spare battery, gotta have a ice suit because Im kneeling down looking at my flasher.  Got to have a 8" hole so I can fish with the ducer in the hole, so gotta have a heavier drill to drill the bigger hole so I have to have the biggest otter sled to pull all that and now I need an atv to drag it all and now I need a trailer and pickup truck to haul the atv. But now I need to load the stuff and atv into the truck at home, out of the truck at the lake, back in the truck to go home and so on.  The easier it is to go fishing, the more you will actually go fishing, the more fish you will catch.  And don't forget all this stuff isn't free which means less time fishing, more time working.

Happy new year and good fishing!

1/1/20 @ 1:03 PM
Alternative Reefer
User since 5/4/18

My uncle fishes with me and doesnt use electronics.   I use them.  He outfishes me almost everywhere we go.   When I fish with him a lot of time its 3-4' of water and I just use it for depth.   I did get him to look at a fish camera for a little while the last time out.   I will break him.   I keep telling him he has to get the Panoptix

1/1/20 @ 10:38 AM
MEMBER since 2/16/04

The first time I took my old black and white fish finder from my boat and rigged it for use on the ice, I was glad I did. Walking out the Bay side of Door Co. we set up in over 40 foot depths. There was some current so I had to aim the transducer some to pick up a signal from my drop- shotted minnow. There was no action for a while until I noticed the graph showing a thickening of the bottom line, then I had a tap. Setting the hook on a nice perch, was the first of many fish taken with the assistance of electronics. I think I learned more about my Eagle sonar on the ice than I did bouncing around in my boat.

12/31/19 @ 6:47 PM
User since 6/11/19

Yep ??

12/28/19 @ 6:45 PM
User since 4/23/15

I know someone that promised his dead father that he would never use or buy one. With that said though that same person ranks or might even be a tad higher at their age in his fish numbers compared to you. 

Now I've had a Vexilar since the late 80's. Biggest difference between me using one and you not using one if you and I were to fish a unknown body of water for pan fish, chances are I would strike gold first. Maybe not, maybe I would. Regardless, depending on the time you have on each Ice Fishing outing it sometime's cut's down the time as far as locating the fish species your after. A good GPS can be just as valuable out Ice Fishing because even if your on your favorite body of water things such as structure, weeds and weed line's can change. So marking spots with a GPS eliminates the time you spend drilling holes all over to find that same spot you hammered them the winter before. No, I don't use a GPS myself though for Ice Fishing. Lol.

Many time's if I'm catching pan fish and working a series of hole's, I'll turn off my Vexilar and not use it, but least I verified or caught fish before turning it off. So basically for me since most time's I like to keep moving til I locate fish, it's a time reduction tool. Plus being able to read the fish's reaction to the lure's/bait/plastic's can be a bonus or let you know to try changing your presentation. 

To each is own when it come's to fishing/hunting/recreation period! You stare at a computer screen all day at work, I stare at my Vexilar when I go Ice Fishing. You get your thrill from unknown strike/bite, I get my thrill knowing there's fish below my hole to try to catch!!! The person I know who doesn't use a flasher, graph or camera that promised is dead father never to buy such just enjoys Ice Fishing for pan fish and tell me and others were cheating and to go "NATURAL"!!! Lol. 

12/22/19 @ 5:20 PM
User since 12/20/12

Whipguy, you would be a very enjoyable gentleman to fish with!

12/22/19 @ 3:53 PM
User since 2/13/10

Thank you for all the feedback on my flasher question.  The scenario about a suspended schools of crappies cruising through 10' off the bottom in 20' ft of water.  Maybe I would miss those.  If they stayed put, without a flasher, I would find them in 5 minutes, because I bring it all the way to the ice every so often and if they were hungry they would hit it falling or rising.  Even with a flasher, if they were cruising through, you may get one.  Then again, you might miss the 10" gill tight to the bottom messing around on the suspended crappies.  ;) And when they are right under the ice, with the cone angle and all, flasher doesn't help unless they are in your hole.  But then again, my experience is when they are right under the ice, its last ice, they are ferocious and they will hit my bait on the drop.  Actually had them turn up the hole to grab it as I was letting it down.

A few recent experiences to add to the conversation.  I was out yesterday on a lake I only fished once before.  Guys everwhere.... beautiful day.  I tried to stay away from the crowds, got a nice perch on a micro rattle rap in 14' then nothing.  Moved closer to where I had fished once before and got a 8" gill in 18' water on bubble-gum color micro-plastic.  Saw a guy on the outskirts of the crowd fishing like me.  he had a flasher but it was sitting by another hole and he wasn't using it.  he was working it up and down.  He left with his limit by 10am.  I jumped in his holes after he was gone around 10:30.  Another group of 4 guys pulled up on snow machines and fished real close to me, actually between the hole I was fishing and a tipdown I had set with a fathead for walleye or perch foot of the bottom.  My tipdown kept getting hit, didn't take any line.  Crappies for sure, so I pulled it.  The flasher gang was pretty excited as they were marking fish and getting some hits. 18' of water... I had my limit in about an hour.  Most of the fish hit 2 to 4 feet off the bottom.  mixed bag of gills, perch, black & white crappies.  I heard the flasher gang say they had 1 crappie on the ice.  I'm not saying the flasher help or hurt, but even in 18' of water, it wasn't necessary.

Last saturday, was up north fishing one of my favorite lakes.  Long hard walk through 6" slush and 12" snow.  -18 F to boot. Stopped short of where I wanted to fish because 6 other guys had beat me to it. Word must be out.  So I layed back in 12' of water not getting any bites.  4 of them were in shelters but the the 2 guys outside were getting them.  By late morning they were hole hopping and talking and getting ready to leave.  4 of them left and heard one say he had 14 , another had 17, but were saying they quite biting.  2 guys in shelters were talking and saying they could see them down there on their flasher but couldn't get them to bite.  I move into the area vacated by the 4 guys who left and tried fishing outside.  With the cold and wind and hole freezing up I couldn't get my 1lb test and 1/100 oz jig down the hole.  Got inside the flipover, started the heater to keep the hole from freezing and now could really concentrate on the bite.  This spot was a small 14' depression, the deepest spot in the area and apparently concentrated the fish. The bite was very light.  9" gills would just barely move the spring bobber 1/8".  The other guys left within 30 minutes but I had a dozen 9" gills on the ice.  I ended up catching 30+ that day.  No flasher.

I guess what I'm saying is in these cases, just because you know the fish are there because you see them on the flasher, and you jiggle a heavy jig with meat on it in front of their face, doesn't make them bite. Go lite (1lb test and #16 #18 jig). Any ice jig you can buy at walmart, Farm and fleet, fleet farm, your hardware store, cabelas, etc... they are all too heavy 99% of the time.  If using Tungsten, 2.5mm max. Fish micro-plastics, concentrate on a slow drop (fish see falling food and come running) all the way to the bottom and raise the bait super slow, stop, raise, until you are 5' off the bottom, repeat.  Every 4-5 times, bring it up and check bait or change color and do a full water column drop.  You will catch any fish that is even remotely thinking about biting.  If they are really smackin it and you are fishing deep and it a pain to get the jig down to them, then go bigger, but if they turn neutral, switch back.

Good Fishing!

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