6 Fishing Sonars for the Ice Angler
October 23, 2017
The growth in sonar technology continues to dazzle anglers. Nearly monthly, we seem to get press releases from sonar companies about new units that offer more and better features, seemingly rendering obsolete a breakthrough announced just months ago. And engineers have not neglected the ice-fishing market. The latest:
Garmin Panoptix Ice Bundle
The new Panoptix PS22 transducer allows anglers to view the under-ice world all around a hole to a distance of 300 feet in LiveVu Forward mode, as well as to watch action below the hole in real time with Panoptix LiveVu Down. The Ice Bundle includes an echoMAP CHIRP 773CV unit, PS22 and GT10HN-IF transducers, rechargeable battery, smart charger, float swivel mount, and carrying case — $1,799.99 for bundle or $399.99 for PS22 transducer only, garmin.com
Humminbird Ice Helix
For this season, Humminbird has produced second-generation versions of the Ice Helix 5 and Ice Helix 7 units. Along with GPS capability and LakeMaster mapping, they have CHIRP Digital Sonar, which improves target separation so anglers can detect bottom-hugging fish and better define baitfish, lures, and fish. Their LED backlit display is easy to read in any light conditions. They include an ice transducer, gimbal mounting bracket, battery, and charger in a portable ice bag. These units allow anglers to select from multiple screen views and show split screens. For example, a flasher display can run alongside 2-D sonar, which lets anglers track the history of lure and fish. And with an alternate transducer and bracket, they function well on boats — $499.99 (Helix 5) to $649.99 (Helix 7), humminbird.com
Marcum Lithium Shuttle
MarCum's Lithium Shuttle is built to extend a sonar unit's continuous run time up to 40 hours. It's designed to power the company's new M-Series and LX-6 and LX-7 units with a 12-volt, 12-amp-hour lithium-ion polymer battery. The battery charges quickly when connected to the 3-amp-hour charger. Other features include LED lighting positioned to illuminate the hole and conveniently charge glow lures; dual USB power ports; battery status indicator; dual rod holders; integrated cable storage; and ports to accommodate additional accessories. The Lithium Shuttle has an articulating handle with locking spokes that adjust to fit most sonar systems, and an inverted transducer pocket that eliminates freeze-ups. It comes with a 5-gallon bucket for safe storage and transport — $299, marcumtech.com
Marcum also offers Shuttle Combo units, pairing the Lithium Shuttle with the new M-Series (M1, M3, and M5) and LX-6s and LX-7 sonar units. M-Series flasher-sonar displays feature superior target separation (down to 3/4-inch in the M5) and brushless, quiet operation with bright and crisp color definition of bottom, fish, baitfish, and lure. Depth ranges are 20, 40, 80, and 160 feet.
Digital LX-6s and LX-7 units offer multiple display options, 5-, 10-, 20- and 40-foot zoom windows, infinitely adjustable zoom, bottom-lock zoom, 12-level interference rejection, dual-beam transducer, and 4,800 watts peak to peak — $699 (M5 Combo); $599 (M3 Combo); $499 (M1 Combo); $799 to $879 (LX Combos).
Sonar is a wonderful winter ally, but transducers and their cords tend to tangle lures and hooked fish. Ez ducer from RST Fishing Innovations tames transducer mayhem by removing the puck from the water and deploying it with the push of a button. The system mounts in a sonar case or pack, where the powerful yet quiet, brushless motor runs on the unit's 12-V battery. When not in use, a 240-degree pivoting hinge system folds it securely behind the sonar unit, so it fits inside a 5-gallon bucket. Features include a Teflon guide paddle for reduced friction on the transducer cord, waterproof construction, two-piece adjustable stop, single-button remote, auto shutoff, and 3-year limited warranty. Compatible with all Vexilar units, and the company splices MarCum, Lowrance, and Humminbird transducers free of charge — $179.99, ezducer.com
Vexilar adds two newly redesigned flasher systems, the FLX-12 and FLX-20. Both use the FLX-28's brushless data transfer technology with brighter, sharper, and more colorful display. Sunlight-readable and designed for cold weather, FLX technology allows an angler to fish for days on a single battery charge. The FLX-12 features the same two knob controls as the FL-12 but now offers a target resolution to 1 inch. The FLX-20 replaces the FL-20 and keeps all its features, but now allows anglers to select between three color palettes and 20 interference rejection settings. It has 1,000 watts of power peak to peak and 1/4-inch target ID with 525 lines of resolution — $399.99 to $449.95 (FLX-12); $539.95 to $589.95 (FLX-20), vexilar.com