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shizzy

Portable or flasher?

51 posts in this topic

whats your opinion on this? this will be my second season Ice fishing. last season I tacked up a cheap shanty that worked well but weighed too much for one guy to pull around so it went in the fire pit in the spring. I didnt pick up a flasher last season due to the fact I wasnt sure I would like ice fishing at all.

Im doing much better finacially this season BUT a flasher and a portable just arent in the budget all in the same year.

I have been poking around all the shops checking out portables and found a couple that I liked right around the $300 range which is fine. Also some of the simpler flashers are also in my price range, but not both.

As far as a flasher, Im not really in the mood to buy used. with electronics Id rather pay more and have it work.

Now, two things about me.

#1 I hate the cold. Im a whiney little girl if Im cold.

#2 Im the type of guy who can sit all day with not even a nibble and have just as much fun had I caught my limit.

do I sit in the cold and catch more fish or do I stay warm and catch fewer?

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#2 Im the type of guy who can sit all day with not even a nibble and have just as much fun had I caught my limit.

do I sit in the cold and catch more fish or do I stay warm and catch fewer?

Based on your #2, I think a shelter is what you should get. If you weren't such a #1, I would definitely suggest a flasher. grin

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How often are you going to fish?

Being your a #1, one could assume you might not even go out when it is windy or really cold?

So if you choose your days, you could get the flasher and find fish. Then when you actually catch them you get warmer.

That part is better than blindly setting up somewhere and wasting time.

Buy a flasher and some warm clothes.

Now with #2, then i guess it wouldn't matter if you caught fish and you could buy the porty that you have your eye on and keep moving until you find fish.

It's totally up to you.

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I was in the same boat as you a few years back. I bought a flasher first. Then I got lucky (well, not really...) and a shelter sorta fell into my hands second-hand style 2 years later.

The flasher is key to me. In a shelter, it may be nice enough weather that one probably doesn't mind not getting any bites. But, with a flasher, you don't need to sit around not getting bites. You know if there are fish there. If there aren't any, you move. If they're higher or lower than your bait, you move your bait. If they seem to like an upward or falling presentation, you can tell. It's all about seeing the fish and how they are reacting to your bait. You can tell so much about the fish by having a flasher, there's really no sitting around not doing anything. It's a whole different game.

Without the flasher, it's much harder to tell these things, and that's where you end up sitting all day without getting any bites.

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Why not get all the above? You dont have to go all out this year and if your happy being on the ice and not being cold, why not get the $160 one man shack at Fleet farm, the $40 heater from Northern and ive read on this site that last years VX-1 is being clearanced for 200 or less. Dont forget to ask the local fishing places if they still have last years models sitting on the shelfs somewhere, or hit the cabel's bargan cave.

These units dont have all the bells and whisles but I think you will be happy with all the things together and for 4-500 it would be a great deal. If you have more questions just ask away.

ShawnnyB

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Like the previous post it looks like a new flasher can be had for 200 if you look hard enough (won't be anything fancy but it will definitely get the job done), and then getting a second hand house for under 100 is possible on a certain for sale HSOforum starting with a C... and ending with a ...list. Best of luck! I fished 90% of the time without a house last year but with a flasher and I still stayed plenty worm but I only got skunked once out of a couple dozen trips. I only really NEEDED the house on a few cold and windy nights. (BTW my flasher and house are both hand extremely old but they make it a lot more enjoyable, best of luck on the hunt!)

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I would reconsider trying to find a used flsher as I have never know someone that got one and had problems with them especially vexilars. Then you could save enough money to still get a shelter otherwise look into the VX-1. Being warm is nice but I really cant ice wish without my flasher anymore they are such a valuable tool

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Why not hit the Sportsman show, or check for the sportsman show sales, and or "black friday" sales.

ShawnyB

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i got lucky in that i got a free clam jr. from the free things section of this HSOforum a couple years ago, that only need about 15 dollars worth of parts to make it work perfect, and i cant stress how much my fl-8 helped me after i got it last year. it is a lot of fun when you see the fish coming up to the lure and you know exactly when the bite is gonna happen. overall, i'd have to agree with muleshack. if youre not an everyday fisher then get the flasher, and pick the days that are 30, 35 and above and you shouldnt ever get too cold, especially when your hole hopping with your brand new flasher.

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As much as it pains me to say this... From your personality, get the shelter...

I am as far from the same as you can get.. I very seldom put up my shelter, but would not go fishing without my flasher.. Heck I always bring a back up should one go down. If I have a friend with, I always bring 2 back up..

I cant fish without a flasher, I can and often do fish without a fishouse.

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I bought a flasher used and it is great. I too can't afford much but I got a clam 2000 and a FL-8 last year for $250. Not bad huh? I have a hand auger, so that sucks, but I am hoping for a lot of gift cards from one store to get a gas auger. Don't be afraid to get the flasher used.

If you are a chill baby then get the shelter. Set up around a group of people that are catching fish and you won't need the flasher as much. But now that I have one, I can't fish without it.

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2 poles and a blue tarp is all you need! (wind break) but i would wait for black frriday and you can get everything you want for a reasonable price! do you have to get a house bigger than a one man? if not you can get away with a house and flasher for less than 350!

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One thing to keep in mind, portables are priced better during "end of season sales" than flashers. They take up a lot more space and sporting goods stores don't like keeping them around all summer.

That said, Pro Fishing Supply has a close out on the VX-1 right now. Can't go wrong buying from Perch Jerker, very good to deal with!!!

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Keep your eyes on the for sale forums and you can probably get both for about $300 or a little over. Nothing like having your cake and eating too. smile

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I would not go fishing EVER without my flasher but I do not mind how cold it is if there are fish on the flasher but in your case I would get a used shelter and start scouring any and all ads and maybe even hit a few pawn shops and get a used flasher. I still have my Hyundex FL8 as a third backup but it is worth maybe a $100.00 tops but I keep it just in case and I would have no problem going out and fishing with it. It worked great for me 20 years ago and will work just fine now. My LX5 is still my first choice grin

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A Clam 2000 and a FL-8 for $250..Whooo..ya..that was a deal!!

If you going to spend the cash to get a portable, don't blow it on junk. Think long and hard on what you need personally for size and mobility and than buy new. If a smaller pop-up Tent style shack is in your budget this season, this may be an option worth considering, because they will come in handy even for years to come. Even If you buy a larger tub style flip shack next season, pop-up ice tents are handy deals.

Flasher first, look for a deal on a used unit and look it over well. A Vexilar can be sent in for service an refurbished as good as/ or now even better than new in some cases, for only $60...so keep that in mind.

The best New bargain unit for value receivedthat I see out now in a flasher is a NEW LX-1 Marcum selling for $199 at Gander. A pop up tent style hut, best bang for the buck I think is the new Clam BaseCamp for also $199, or the Clam 2000 also for $199. They are both selling FAST!

Yup-yup...Lots of options, and even more opinions on how to spend your money...do what you think fits your needs, not what "smart guys" like me say...only you know best what YOU need.

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I would change your mind on the used flasher. Most of the guys I know have bought used and have never had a problem. I've had my FL8 for three years that I paid $150 for. They are a work horse and last a long time. Check here and on Craig's List. I see them all the time for under $200. I also see one man shelters for as little as $50. You can have your cake and eat it to if you watch sales and go used. I had a house before a flasher, I would do it the other way if I had to start over. Flasher is invaluable. But I hate the cold as well so a house is a must. Find both cheap and you'll be much happier.

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Based on your original post, I think you make it quite clear that a shelter is probably the best choice for yourself, if you can only buy one. Be careful with that though because next thing you know, you need a snowmobile to pull it around, but then you need a trailer for the snowmobile, then you need something to tow them with, then a place to store it in the offseason. Then once you get running around all over you realize that you need a GPS w/Chip....etc...etc

For me, I would get a flasher first, hands down. With the right type of outerwear, a lot of times a shelter becomes merely a warming house to take a little break, have a seat and a bite to eat and then back out to chase some more fish.

It doesn’t take a whole lot of times on the ice to figure out what you need. I started out with a hand auger and thought I’d be fine. The second or third time out, I was like, “Well...this isn’t going to work”

In the end though it should come down to what makes the experience more enjoyable to you.

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get the flasher and out fish your buddy that your sitting next too in his house. both great tools but catchin fish is a lot better than sitting on a dead spot.

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I agree with most of the other posts. There is nothing wrong with buying a used Vex or Marcum, both companys have great reputations and their customer service is second to none. If you do buy a used flasher make sure the transducer is in working order, if you hold the transducer 2' off the floor and the unit should read about 9', pass your other hand under the ducer and it should show a mark somewhere in between.

I picked up my otter used for 300.00, but you can find used portables for less, most guys are selling for one of two reasons, either they are upgrading or not into ice fishing, the gear is usually in good shape or better. I wouldn't hesatate to go used, you can always upgrade down the line when the cash flow gets better.

I don't always set my house up but won't fish without my vex or lowrance.

You could get a used flasher and Artic Armour then you wouldn't need the portable, My AA is my fishhouse some days. Warmest suit I have ever worn on ice!!!!!!

WW

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If you go shelter - don't forget to included the cost of a heater of some sort. They keep you out of the wind, but they can still get chilly inside without heat.

Definitely agree with those that recommend used (recommend Vex FL-8, ). Get much more for your money - just make sure you go over it carefully.

Most likely issue with used flasher is the transducer or the battery (battery is a cheap replacement for around $20). Here is the tips on checking out the transducer from the Vexilar HSOforum:

"Q: Do transducers go bad?

A: On average, transducers fail more often than the sonar units they are connected to. The biggest "killer" of transducers is impact damage. This is usually evident by severe scratches or dents in the plastic housing.

Q: How can I test to see if my transducer is bad?

A: Try this test: Hold the transducer about 24" above a hard floor. There must be a flat solid floor below, no carpet. Place a hard cover book on the carpet if you need to. If it's an Ice-Ducer style, hold it by the cable. If it's a Puck or High-Speed, butt the top side up against the underside of a table. This is to insure that the transducer will point straight at the floor. Now, turn the flasher on to the first range. With the Gain set to zero, you should see a mark at the 12:00 position indicating the top, or your transducer, and another mark at the 9 foot line indicating the bottom, or floor

Notice how the depth is completely inaccurate. The reason is that the speed of the burst of sound coming out of your transducer is traveling much slower in the air than it would be in the water. So the unit thinks it's deeper. Also the strength of your system is much weaker in air than water. The top line should be mostly red in color. The bottom line may be green, orange, or red (depending on the strength of your system, how straight your transducer is, and the type of floor). If you cannot see the floor mark without having to turn your gain up, try a harder or smoother type of floor. If there is no change, the system has a sensitivity problem. You must see at least a green mark, on a hard floor, with the gain at minimum to pass the test

You can judge the overall sensitivity of the system by doing this "air demo" test, but you can't tell if a weakness is due to the unit or transducer (which is much more common) without replacing one or the other with a known good component. Borrow a friend's transducer or bring your setup into your local Vexilar dealer and ask if you can use one they have in stock for your test.

If your system passes the test, but you are still experiencing trouble seeing your bait out on the ice, clean the transducer face with hot water and a common dish washing detergent. Also, be sure you wet the transducer by rubbing water into the face of it before you start to fish. This insures good acoustical contact with the water.

If your transducer doesn't pass the test, it will have to be replaced. Weak transducers cannot be repaired. The dealer should be happy to help you out. If the flasher itself proves to be the culprit, our service department should be able to solve your problem."

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