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Vexilar/Flashers Vs. LCD Fish finders

4932 Views 36 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  tommy-n
I keep seeing many posts raveing about the superiority of the Vex/Flashers.
It seems to me to be a step back in time when there are so many great LCD fishfinders out there and they are in most cases less expensive.
I use my Garmin 160 both in my boat and on the ice and I find it works just fine in both applications.
The LCDs, in my opinion do everything a flasher does and lots more. Mine has zoom and fish ID and is easily able to tell depths and show fish.
I just don't understand why more hard water fisherman want to go back to flashers when so many advancements have been made in the LCD units and the cost is less.
Can anyone take a moment and explain what I am missing or not seeing by useing my LCD?????????????????
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Instaneous feedback and target separation is the biggest reason for using the VEX for me. Never could mark 1/80th and 1/64th oz jigs in 40 feet of water and be able to tell if they had bait on them with my boat fish finder. With the VEX I can.

Convenience of use is another. The VEX is made for ice fishing; everything is contained in one unit and it is much easier to use than the rig I made to use my boat's fish finder. (Maybe I'm not very good at riggin' things) Bought the VEX 4 or 5 years ago and I don't think I would ever go back.
Len, I have no idea if my LCD could seperate a tiny jig with or without bait but I suspect NOT.
Since I fish mainly for deep water fish, Lakers and Trout, what I want the fish finder to tell me is, are there fish down there and what depth are they at.
I guess for those who fish the pearch, Crappie and pan fish lakes that the flasher with such great seperation would be the ticket but I have no need for this intricate detailing.
I did make a portable case for my unit that fits the battery and Xducer and unit and it is a sinch to set up and use and easily as portable as any flasher could possibly be.
I have only ever noticed a problem with the read out on extreamly bitter cold days but otherwise the LCD works fine.
Thanks. Gary
LCD screens can freeze and shorten the life or permenatly damage your fish finder.
Just picked up a Lowrance m68 IceMachine last week and it's worked great so far. I had it up on the Saginaw Riv. marking small fish like crazy. Didn't believe what it was tellin' me so I dropped the Aqua-Vu and lo and behold, fish all over the place but almost all in the 8-12" range. It will switch between the traditional graph to a flasher and it does have a split screen zoom for the bottom huggers.

Also took it out to some local panfish spots and was select fishing for specks in an area that is loaded with bluegills. I could tell the difference between the most of the gills and the slab-sided specks on the LCD. I'm really happy with it so far, and it has a fairly detailed GPS built in (real nice for the Bay). I've had it out about 6 times and the battery indicater is still above 3/4, I'm gonna see how long it lasts.

Lots of bells and whistles that I haven't fooled around with yet. Haven't had time, the fish are bitin'.
I have a Lowrance X51 (LCR) portable that I use for icefishing and also attach the transducer to my small boat/canoe with a suction cup during softwater season. I was icefishing with Mark Martin for walleye last winter on Little Bay De Noc, and this was the finder he was using...it was impressive, especially considering the price. When my Humminbird died this summer I bought the X51 as its replacement. I love it!

You want target seperation?

When icefishing, I can easily see my swivel sitting 2' above my jiggin rap in 38' of water. I can also see when my minnow falls off the treble hook. I can split the screen and make the right-half the
entire water column...and the left-half just the bottom 3'. You can very easily watch fish come in low, then rise up to the bait and WHACK! I used it for salmon trolling this past summer in 200' of water no problem. This is a great all-season unit.

Lots of other goodies and easy menus.

Oh, and for you flasher guys, you can change modes and make the screen look and act like a flasher if you want.

I don't know about the new LCD, but my experience with the X25a tells me the older units lagged a bit. My vexilar shows the movement on the display in "real time" the LCD had to wait..just a bit.
My LCD states the operating temp is -5 to 140*F. I am not too worried about the screen freezing up like the older models used to. I actually have more problems with the batteries not liking the freezing temps then the machine itself.
I have never tried to differentiate my swivel from my bait or seperate two fish side by side in 30 FOW but I see others have and I guess I believe both flashers and LCDs can do it.
The only information I ever really believed from any of the flasher/fishfinders is, #1- is there fish there? #2- What depth are they at? #3- do they move toward my bait/lure or do they appear to be uninterested? I think #3 can be seen with a LCD but with a flasher I would question this translation. I agree there is a bit of lag time on the LCD from when the fish was there to when it is shown on the screen and that it is possible a flasher could be more accurate here but I still don't get the desire to go back in time to flashers when all this neat new stuff is out there.
Don't get me wrong here, I have never even seen a Vex let alone how they work. I have also seen many LCDs and paper graph recorders operated by guys who knew little about the translation of what was being shown.
What I think I am seeing here is the same old story, if you have a VEX then you swear by Vex, if you have a LCD then thats what you go by. I also admit, I don't spend alot of my fishing time watching a screen like I can't get away from the TV for a day!
Have a Vex and love it for icefishing, would never even think about taking my LCD out.
I've used both LCD and a flasher for ice fishing. I even used them side by side this winter in an experiment. Both of them show movement in realtime I just find that the flasher is a lot easier to watch movement of fish and your bait. The vex did a better job at separating my lure from the bottom and objects suspended in the water. Another thing about using the vex is I can tell when fish are moving outside the sonar cone by the way the red bottom signal fluctuates as fish move towards the center of it.
why do we even bother? Let them use the lcr/lcd, and we will continue to smoke them on the ice. Obviously some of them have no need to be able to see fish in real time, along with there bait. Stay away from them Vexilars they're no good I tell ya.;)

You answered your own question, "I've never even seen a Vex let alone how they work"

I've used both on the ice, the flasher wins hands down especially your #3, interperting how the fish is reacting to your bait. Your LCR screen is providing HISTORY on 99% of it's screen, the flasher is providing 100% real time on it's display

The flasher technology is not like going back in time for ice fishing, because it has never gone away. No new technology has been able to replace the instant feedback. The new lowrance unit may have provided an answer for the LCR on the ice, but it's new, I don't know.

Go and find someone using a flasher unit and watch how it works and you won't be asking these questions any longer.

good luck,
The LCR is a paperless chart recorder. You see this type of equipment in the medical environment and laboratories every day. The previous post was entirely correct, the LCR screen shows 99% "history" and 1% current situation. The flasher has no capability to show you "history", only real time. If you are in a moving boat the recording feature is a huge plus because it shows signal trends which are useful in prediction (drawing the shape of the drop-off for example), but sitting stationary on the ice it is not a "plus"....just a neutral. It doesnt hurt you or slow down the signal processing at all. If you want faster visual updates just crank up the scroll speed.

Dont think the LCR isnt showing you whats happening in "real time" just like the flasher....you just need to know where to look on the screen: the incoming side. I thought this was common knowledge. If you get confused by seeing the "history" on your screen just tape some paper over it so you only see the "new" information. The signals (16-levels of grayscale in my case) will be shown in a vertical column instead of a circular arc like the flasher screen. To me this is more desirable, and since I use the same unit for open water (boat) fishing, the LCR is the right unit for me because I dont want to own two units.

If you think flashers are "superior" to LCR then you have been effected by Vexilars abundant marketing and repetition of these same old lines from fisherman-to-fisherman. Think about it, if the fish signal shows up 1/2-second slower from one fishfinder to the next, whats the big deal? None, but Vexilar will have you think otherwise of course ($cha-ching$). Unless youre trying to snag fish it makes little difference.
For icefishing the flashers are superior, end of disscusion. LCD have their place but not on the ice. What makes the flasher so deadly is the real time, not only because it shows fish, but shows how the fish react to jigging presentations. :D
You havent explained how the flasher is superior at all. A decent LCR will display your swivel, jig, minnow, etc...and it certainly will show the fish reacting to your presentation.

A few weeks ago I was fishing Little Bay De Noc. I left my family in the warm shanty and went prospecting for walleye with my LCR and a bucket to sit on. In about 15 minutes I had three walleye and two perch landed, all on a #7 jiggin rap fished just 6" off the bottom in 22' of water. From about 100-yds away the door on a permanent shanty opened and a guy marched quickly over to me to see what I was doing. It turned out to be a local guide who was using a Vex in his shanty. Said he had alot of "lookers but no takers". He stood behind me to watch my LCR display as I jigged up and down. I pointed out my swivel, my rap, and right on cue....a fish moved in and lined up with the bait. We watched my pole tip and saw a slight *tap* and I set the hook on another nice one and landed it.

He was using a Vex and I was using an LCR. You see, having a flasher does not give you an advantage, regardless of what the advertising may say. Get over it.

By the way, if I want to watch a "flasher" display I can change my screen to that mode. Looks and behaves exactly like any other flasher because they are both displaying the sonar pings immediately.

End of discussion.
Heated discussions are, at times, a GOOD THING!
As long as we can all get along:D
I posted this thread because I have both a flasher and an LCR.
Not A VEX, but it works in real time and shows all the info.
I have played with both extensively during slow periods and to be 100% honest, I am able to INTERPRATE the LCR much better then the flasher! Thats not to say you flasher guys can't do as well but I am having better success with the LCR.
I do wish I lived closer and did alot of pearch, crappie and pan fishing because I would gladly take you up on the challenge of Flasher Vs. LCD/LCR and fish on the ice!
As far as History Vs. real time, I can't argue this because it does take a moment for the LCR to print a picture I can see. The point is the picture I CAN see is one I can interprate because it is not a bunch of lines that are here now and then gone. My picture remains till the end of the march accross the screen.
As I stated above, this is all a matter of taste and what you learned on, if you are not willing to give new technology a try then I suspect you will miss what is being offered.
I had a vexilar flasher back in the early 1980s on my boat. Then Lowrance offered paper graphs and then all the big MFGs offered LCD/LCRs and they have all made great advancements in technology.
Some of us get stuck in "WHAT WE KNOW" and others move forward and hope others know a bit more.
For those of you who love your flashers, I say, ENJOY!
For those of us who enjoy learning new ideas and new gadgets I
am with you and who knows what next season will bring.
I can't wait to try them all but I also know there is a learning curve we must get past to operate the new fangled gear.
I refuse to get stuck in the ice or frozen in time and if you look at the electronics of the Vex units you will see they have not changed in years. Packaging aside!
I do expect some hate mail but ask yourself this question, If everyone just gives up and settles on the fact that Vexilar Flashers are at the top of the game and it can't get better, why should any other company even try???
Meanwhile, there are alot of companies out here making advancements in gear because they know there will be a market.
I am in and enjoying it.
Actually there have been many advancements made in flasher technology in recent years, not in the good old transducer signal but in the software at the recieving end.

The signal from the transducer is basically the same rather you are using a flasher or a LCR. It's what the unit does with the signal that sets them apart.

A LCR will display the same information as a VEX just as well as a vex with a couple of exceptions. The viewable area on a LCR (incoming side) where real time data is displayed is small compared to the viewable area on a flasher. The LCR (majority) have no way of showing you a change in signal strength (fish coming in on your bait) other than to increase the thinkness of the horizontal line (black and white) on the display. The flasher not only increases the line thickness but also changes colors as the signal increases. The LCR does give you the same information, but not in near as user friendly foremat, they weren't designed for that purpose at all.

The new lowrance LCR with the option for a color, flasher type display, with GPS+WAAS will get a try from me next year on the ice. This is the only LCR (that I know of) that a vex has no advantages over. I watched one work on the ice and was very impressed.

I have zero flashers on my boat during the soft water, all LCR's, but Flashers still offer the best current available technology for ice fishing.

northcountry - what unit / setup do you have ?

Thanks for the post, sounds like you know your stuff and dont just repeat advertising statements. I'm not sure why you said that LCR's dont show relative changes in signal strength, though. There are a large variety of them out there that have at least 16-levels of greyscale. The darker the plot is the stronger the signal is (according to the manual). I can see this represented perfectly at the bottom, where different levels of stratified deposits display in different densities. But it also shows my minnow as gray (flesh) and my jigging rap as black (solid lead). Schools of small minnows...and the tops of the weed beds often display in shades of gray, too. These are low-density targets. And of course, when I crank the sensitivity up I can see the thermocline, etc.

Sidebar note: I *slammed* the perch today on Lake Skegemog using my LCR and jigging a teardrop in 15' of water (smooth bottom). I couldn't help but think about this topic thread as I watched 3 and 4 perch rise up off the bottom to greet my minnow as it was lowered down. When I clicked the bail and held steady, all targets came to the same level and Bam!, another fish. Three times during the morning I watched schools of bait pass through with aggressive (and nice sized) perch hounding them. Beautiful weather and perfect (for me) electronics. Awesome! When I get done typing this I am going out to clean fish.

Almost forgot, watched one target come up off the bottom and slam my swedish pimple (earlier in the morning) and landed it: a 4-1/2 to 5-lb smallmouth. Turned him right around and sent him back home. Fun fight, though!

Johnny White, I have a Lowrance X51. This is basically an entry-level LCR. I think it was around $165.00?? Outstanding value, though! I watched Mark Martin (the walleye pro) using it last winter and figured there might be a good reason. He told me he prefers LCR's over the flashers on the ice. When my old Humminbird croaked this past summer I replaced it with the X51.

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