I have fished with a number of Portable units, hands down in my opinion the Vexilar FL-18 is the best single unit for hard water fishing. And I close it by saying the closest runner up is the FL-8 and they have no competition.
I've taken an extra "Piranha 5" graph, built a small box that'll hold it with a couple of six volt batts., put the transducer on a wooden arm that is attached to the end of the box I built and it works GREAT for ice fishin'. On hubbard Lake at the outing last year I was watching my minnow swimming on the bottom in 50' of water !, good enough power for my fishing. Turn the "cartoons" off and use the manual settings. $120.00 total and it kicks butt. Small a package to carry as a "Vex" also.
The Vexilar units seem like the way to go,unfortunately the cost was more then I budgeted for. Instead went with the Lowrance X-65. Compact and 160x160 pixels. Unit and battery fits in a sixpack cooler w/ room for the ducer and wires.Installed the mounting bracket on the outside of the cooler, and a small piece of heavy-duty styrofoam to float the ducer, seems like it should work.Can't wait to use it anyways thanks for all the advise....
I hate to bring it up really so I am not trying to brag, but I picked up my Vex dual transducer pro pack for $230 right before the season (well $330 but you got $100 back in the spring toward fishing stuff). You gotta keep your eyes open. I told the forum about it and only a couple guys bought into it.
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