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Great Ice Fishing Sonar Options

Great Ice Fishing Sonar Options

I grew up during ice fishing's old-school days. Trips began by wrestling a rusty hand auger for what seemed like an eternity, just to bore a portal into that magical but mostly fishless frontier beneath my feet. My system for anticipating what awaited under the ice relied mostly on faith. Depths were counted in arm-lengths, and the presence of fish was an unknown. Once the auger battle ended and the slush was cleared, I'd drop some Medieval, heavy-metal lure to bottom, raise it a foot or two, and hope for the best. Nowadays, anglers can scout the underwater world in a heartbeat, thanks to sonar systems that instantly reveal the depth, bottom hardness, and whether or not there are fish down under. We can, with no guesswork, drop lures to the level of the fish, and even watch how they react to our presentations. In appreciation of this amazing technology, we've rounded up a handful of the hottest ice fishing sonar units on the market.

Garmin echoMAP 50s

Click Here to View Product! - Members of Garmin's echo series — such as the reliable and affordable little 150 — have proven themselves in ice fishing applications, which is why we're excited to give the new sonar-GPS echoMAP 50s a try this winter. It features a 5-inch color VGA display; dual-beam HD-ID sonar technology; plus an integrated 10Hz GPS/GLONASS receiver that's able to refresh position and heading up to 10 times per second, which translates into amazing accuracy when marking waypoints and navigating. Tucked into an echo portable kit, it's a compact yet high-power ice-water weapon. The unit is also a fine option for open-water duty, where its sonar recording abilities shine, as does the capacity to coordinate the timing of sonar returns in relation to boat position, for extremely precise waypoint plotting.

Humminbird ICE 597ci HD

Click Here to View Product! - Rolling sonar and GPS navigation into one package, this fine fishfinder sports an easy-to-read color screen spanning 5 inches, with 640 X 640 pixels of resolution and LED backlighting. Features include DualBeam Plus sonar, which tag teams the ping department with 20- and 60-degree beams. The narrow beam provides high-accuracy returns of weeds, structure, and fish eyeballing your bait, while the wider cone hunts for fish floating in the periphery. Plus, Humminbird's SwitchFire technology lets you customize the view according to water depth, turbidity, and other factors. Finally, to help you find the fishing grounds, the unit has a 50-channel internal GPS with built-in UniMap cartography.

Lowrance Elite-4 Ice Machine

Click Here to View Product! - A pioneer in open-water electronics, Lowrance also offers several great options for the hardwater crowd. One of the latest and most noteworthy is the Elite-4 Ice Machine, a sonar/chartplotter combo loaded to the gills with slick features. Assets include a 3.5-inch, 320 X 240-pixel backlit color display; 83/200-KHz dual-beam transducer, kept on keel by a self-leveling float keypad-driven menus; 16-channel GPS+WAAS antenna; and 3,000 enhanced, preloaded lake maps. The Elite-4 accommodates micro-SD memory cards, along with mapping software such as Navionics Gold and Insight Pro. Comes with a Lowrance Ice Pack Kit, which includes a weatherproof nylon case, tackle trays, and handy storage pockets.

MarCum LX-6 Digital Sonar System

Click Here to View Product! - Aptly described by MarCum officials as a pint-sized powerhouse, the LX-6 features a 6-inch, 640 X 480-pixel, high-resolution color flatscreen display, with four color palettes and customizable views. You can also tweak the Dashboard function to reveal digital depth, battery power, range, sensitivity, and interference rejection, for total control of your sonar array — which includes 8- and 20-degree cone angle options. Packaged with a rechargeable 12-volt, 9-amp battery, padded softcase, and Snow Shield faceplate, the LX-6 comes ready for service on the hardwater front.

Vexilar FLX-28

Click Here to View Product! - In many circles, the terms Vexilar and sonar are virtually interchangeable. And, while the company's venerable FL-8 is as relevant as ever in the quest to ice more fish, its new FLX-28 really raises the bar. For starters, the unit's brushless data transfer system yields benefits including digital depth and auto ranging, along with dual zoom zones; five color palettes; five-foot depth range increments starting at 10 feet; and low-power options for shallow water. There's even a 'Weed Mode ' for scanning sunken salad. Available in Pro Pack II and Ultra Pack options.

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