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Rick

MarCum LX-3 vs Vexilar Fl-18 - Pro Staff Views

35 posts in this topic

We are starting a thread where FishingMinnesota.com Pro Staff will share their views and answer questions on these 2 units.

The 3 FM Pro Staff will be Derek Johnston, Scott Steil, & myself. We will be the only ones sharing info and answering questions in this thread.

We've had numrous requests to take on this task because many felt that they were getting less than expert answers from other members in the other threads on this subject and were tired of wading through all of it.

Please ask questions with respect to the MarCum LX-3 and Vexilar FL-18 and we three will do our best to answer those questions for you.

Fire away.

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Rick or other Pro Staff, Have you heard anything more about Marcum making additional transducer options? Something Like a 12 degree for deeper water applications to reduce the dead zone on steep breaks?

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great! currently thinking of upgrading from my FL-8.

how does the zoom compare between the 2 units? The FL-18 has a 6' bottom only zoom, correct? Is this in the regular 20' scale?

Does the LX-3 have a 5' or 10' zoom? I know this is adjustable as to where in the water column you zoom, is this zoom available in the 20' scale as well?

Which unit is better for fishing under 30' in all of your opinions?

Is the zoom capability on the LX-3 worth the sacrifice of poor color display?

Both companies seem to market using different target separation definitions. Which has the better target separation? InFisherman seemed to claim the LX-3 had the better target separation.

Thanks!

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Just calculating diameter of area you would be looking at with each transducer using the unit in 20' of water.

12 deg transducer - 4' diameter
20 deg transducer - 7' diameter

The question I have is, do you really want to narrow your visibility to only 4' in 20' of water? The tighter angle will obviously show advantages in deeper water, but I usually fish in 30' or less. Maybe the dual tranducer is the best option??

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I won't answer all the questions here. I'm leaving a few for Scott and Derek to answer.

Rick or other Pro Staff, Have you heard anything more about Marcum making additional transducer options? Something Like a 12 degree for deeper water applications to reduce the dead zone on steep breaks?

MarCum is considering adding a dual beam transducer.

how does the zoom compare between the 2 units? The FL-18 has a 6' bottom only zoom, correct? Does the LX-3 have a 5' or 10' zoom? I know this is adjustable as to where in the water column you zoom, is this zoom available in the 20' scale as well?

Vexilar will give you the bottom only zoom. MarCum will zoom in on either 5' or 10' of water and you can move that zoom anywhere in the water column.

Which unit is better for fishing under 30' in all of your opinions?

On average I would have to say the MarCum has an edge here because the transducer covers more territory. The Vex has the edge with respect to sharp breaks unless you are skilled enough to read the units between the areas where the inside and outside edge of the cone is hitting the bottom.

In other words, it all boils down to the transducer. A 20 degree (MarCum) has a wider cone. A 12 degree (Vex) has a narrower cone.

[This message has been edited by Rick (edited 02-10-2003).]

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"MarCum is considering adding a dual beam transducer."

Is it a fair assumption that if this new dual beam transducer goes to market that it will be compatible with units purchased earlier with the old transducers??

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It is my understanding that MarCum is working on a dual beam transducer. If you are fishing under 20 ft the 20 degree will be perfect for you. As someone mentioned earlier, even at 20 degrees the cone is pretty tight.

The Zoom on the LX-3 is a very nice feature and the targer seperation is excellent. If you want to zoom on the bottom you can. However, you get the option of moving the zoom anywhere you want it. By using the zoom feature the target seperation is increased from 2.5 inches to 1 inch. This is a great feature! The zoom is 5 or 10 ft in the 20 ft mode and gets bigger as the depth setting increases (that should read better now). The Fl-18 zoom will be fixed on the bottom 6 feet. With both units the split screen will allow you to see your bait on both sides of the screen.

The color display on the Fl-18 offers distict difference in color. The LX-3 offers a 3 color display, however there is not as big of differnce in color. This has not been an issue for me at all. Red is still Red and when your gain is adjusted properly seeing your bait and detecting fish is very easy, even in weeds.

I felt the IR feature on the LX-3 was superior to the Fl-18. Any interference I could create with my 18 could be tuned out on the LX-3, however I couldn't do the same on my Vexilar.

[This message has been edited by Scott Steil (edited 02-10-2003).]

[This message has been edited by Scott Steil (edited 02-10-2003).]

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Hey Scott,
Just wondering how you rig your boat up with those flashers. Do you run a clamp off your trolling motor or use the high speed transducer on the transom?

I'd like to be able to use this on the open water as well. That is something that concerns me on the LX-3. I haven't seen accessories anywhere to convert that to an open water unit - as Vexilar has a lot of packages for this. Any ideas on where to look for Marcum accessories of this type - I didn't anything on their site.

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Hard to choose. I fish in so many difering situations.

I am leaning towards the MarCum LX-3, ever so slightly for ice fishing, but have by no means made my mind up yet. I'm a Vex guy and old habits are hard to break.

About the time I do, they will have changed the ground rules on me smile.gif

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I can honestly say I don't have much experience with the MarCum unit. I have seen it in action on the ice but haven't fished with it yet. What I can say, I use the FL-18 for a couple of different reasons. One being the bottom lock for open water use. In windy conditions, this can be a big help in reading the dial. The brighter display also helps me in open water on bright sunny days. We see far more sunlight in the summer than we do in the winter. I also like the FL-18 because of it's low power output and high quality receiver it uses. The FL-18 was meant to target fish on bottom or close to bottom. The bottom zoom shows fish with a narrower cone. The smaller cone uses the low power output to increase its sensitivity. I have been using the 12degree and can mark suspended panfish and fish close to bottom. Anglers who fish mainly suspended panfish, might better benefit from the 19 degree or the combo 9/19 degree if they fish both. One advantage of the smaller degree ducer is your less likely to get interference. The units only interfere when the cones cross each other. Each application is different for each anglers use and the species they fish.
There are 5 things I want from my flasher- show me fish targets, show me my bait, show me the bottom, hold the bottom in open water when the boat is bouncing and provide me with excellent customer service. Vexilar gives me these 5 things and everything else is apples and oranges.

------------------
MILLE LACS AREA GUIDE SERVICE
651-271-5459 http://fishingminnesota.com/millelacsguide/
click here

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Scott, Rick, this is from the Marcum HSOforum on the zoom features:
LX-3 is the only system that features an adjustable zoom that allows a 5 to 10 ft. zoom window in the 20 & 40 ft. scale, a 10 to 20 ft. zoom in 80 ft. scale and a 20 to 40 ft. zoom in 160 ft. scale.
I just wanted to be clear on the zoom features,
Thanks.

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Last year I ran an FL-18 off the bow, clamped to the trolling motor and another FL-18 dash mounted with a high speed transducer on the rear. In all the hours fishing I didn't use the bottom lock once. I was always able read the bottom without the feature. I tried a lot of different mounting applications but short of thru hull you will get a lot of interfernce while running. I am a big believer in using these units year around. Having real time feedback is very important to me.

The didn't use the AZ feature much during the summer months either. I am very anxious to try the LX-3 on my dash. Being able to zoom in on my downrigger ball will be a nice addition this year for open water trolling. I will keep you posted.

Yes, MarCum has the different transducers available. I ordered my high speed transducer last week.

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Good point Mykal, for those that are wondering about the variable zoom on the LX-3 it can be varied in depth and size. Many people are aware that it can shifted in the water column, but are not aware that zoom size can be adjusted also. For example, in the 40' mode your zoom window can be as small as 10' and up to 20'. It will be interesting to see how Dereck, Rick, and Scott feel about the products after extesive use on both units.

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Which unit would each of you buy based on your testing and your paticular fishing style?

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I have not had a chance to use the LX-3 on my boat yet, I ran two Fl-18's last year. I use my units year around so how they perform on my boat will be the true test. I will be running an Fl-18 and a LX-3 on my tourament boat this year. This will be the true test for me.

With one inch target seperation and adjustable zoom I would buy the LX-3 for winter use. However, both Vexilar and MarCum can do some things to improve there units. It will be interesting to see how the companies respond.

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Pro Staff, do you know when the new open water transducers will be available for the LX-3 to the public?

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Mykal, the highspeed transducers should be out in a couple weeks for the LX-3. You will have a choice of a puck style for your bow mount or in-hull and a highspeed for transom mount. Both transducers will be the 20 degree, which you will appreciate in open water.

Thanks for clarifying the zoom feature, I reread my post and it wasn't very clear.

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Scott, Rick, Derek. Thanks for all your honest feedback. Keep up the great work.

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Does anything think Marcum or Vex will modify their designs/products for the start of the next ice fishing season? I was debating if I should try to pick one up at the end of this season (hopefully on sale) or wait until the start of the following season.

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My best guess is that it is very likely The MarCum will be improved for next year as they make a strong run at the top dog and I wouldn't be surprised to see Vexilar make some changes as well.

I'll give Scott and Derek a chance to fill you in on what is a possibility for change.

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The FL-8SLT had it's last season this year. It will be replaced by the
FL-8SE next year. The features will be the same, but the performance
will be brought up to the FL-18s level with brighter lights and the
faster wheel speed. The FL-18 will not change. The new FL-10 In-Dash
should be shipping in April.

------------------
MILLE LACS AREA GUIDE SERVICE
651-271-5459 http://fishingminnesota.com/millelacsguide/
click here

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By in-dash do you mean they are going to produce a flasher specifically to be mounted in the dash of boats? Or is the FL-10 going to have different features than the FL-18.

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The FL-10 is designed specifically to go in the dash of a boat. It is like the Lowrance 1240A that is packaged with many boats. The FL-10 will be a three color flasher vs. the 1240A and other units that are only one color. I'm anxious to see the FL-10.

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I have heard several rumors aboot vexilar coming out with a new flasher next year, is any of it true? I have heard several different names thrown around ( X, FL-22)

------------------
"They say tuna is brain food, I guess it's cuz it has so much dolphin in it and you know how smart they are"

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