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Mick Jigger

Just curious... Vex vs. Bird vs. Marcum

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Well, I treated myself to an early Christmas present and purchased the LX-5 Marcum unit and have had a chance to use it on the ice. Some comparisons to the FL20; it has a much smaller profile than the 20. The screen is awesome with superior brightness, definition and separation, but it is smaller than the 20 and I still like the flat design of the 20. It comes with a nice case, which I quickly discarded, it just gets in the way. I like the dual beam ducer and the arm that holds it in place. Zoom is also nice because you can set it anywhere in the water column. The Vex, which is probably 7 years old now, seems to have a more durable pack design and the larger dials are easier to adjust, the buttons and dials on the 5 are a bit small. No shallow water setting on the 5, but after speaking with someone at Marcum about this feature it was made very clear to me that more power is better than less, so okay, I guess. We'll have to see. Marcum has a proprietary design battery charger adapter, which is kind of like having an iPhone, so don't lose it. I guess you can use your Vex gator clips if you do :-)

Bottom line, for me, both are great units and it really is about your own personal preference and brand loyalty. I caught just as many fish with the 5 as I did with the 20, just fun to have a new toy. Thanks to everyone for sharing - awesome response to this post!

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Shaking my head... confused

If your having a hard time seeing fish in 35 fow then I think your unit is either defective, low or bad battery, or your not properly hanging your cone angle and adjusting the gain. Ice build on the ducer will also prevent it from reading properly.

Like Essox_Magnum said. The sonar features are near similar. The FL18, FL20 here is not superior to the GSX/VX1/VXR Marcum units.

Nothing wrong with my flasher, I have two batteries for it also. It's just not as powerful as the more expensive models and it shows in deeper water. When I was fishing with my friend, on his FL20 the fish and lure would show up much more pronounced at a lower gain setting. My jig and the fish around it would be very faint lines compared to the nice thick lines on the FL20, at times I would lose sight of the jig. If I turned my gain up too far I would get a lot of clutter. I'm sure the equivalent marcum unit would do just as good as the FL20 was.

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Nothing wrong with my flasher, I have two batteries for it also. It's just not as powerful as the more expensive models and it shows in deeper water. When I was fishing with my friend, on his FL20 the fish and lure would show up much more pronounced at a lower gain setting. My jig and the fish around it would be very faint lines compared to the nice thick lines on the FL20, at times I would lose sight of the jig. If I turned my gain up too far I would get a lot of clutter. I'm sure the equivalent marcum unit would do just as good as the FL20 was.

Once again the other units are not more powerful or better classed. I owned and used VX1 for many years before upgrading for the higher end Marcum models. Fished it many times along FL18, FL20's in deep 30-60fow without any issues. The buddies I fish with still have VX1 they work just fine in deep water without any trouble of seeing jig or lures when properly set.

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Once again the other units are not more powerful or better classed. I owned and used VX1 for many years before upgrading for the higher end Marcum models. Fished it many times along FL18, FL20's in deep 30-60fow without any issues. The buddies I fish with still have VX1 they work just fine in deep water without any trouble of seeing jig or lures when properly set.

Not trying to get into an argument here but you're contradicting yourself. Why would anyone upgrade if the low end models were just as good as something more expensive. There is a noticeable difference between the low end and high end models, mainly when you get into deeper water. Increasing the gain only compensates for so much. The higher wattages and better receivers on more expensive models make them better, plain and simple. 95% of the time my Vx1 will pick up everything but the lines are smaller and generally not as solid of a red color as a higher end model. For what you pay, I like the VX1, but I think I'll also be upgrading to either an LX5 or FL20.

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Not trying to get into an argument here but you're contradicting yourself. Why would anyone upgrade if the low end models were just as good as something more expensive. There is a noticeable difference between the low end and high end models, mainly when you get into deeper water. Increasing the gain only compensates for so much. The higher wattages and better receivers on more expensive models make them better, plain and simple. 95% of the time my Vx1 will pick up everything but the lines are smaller and generally not as solid of a red color as a higher end model. For what you pay, I like the VX1, but I think I'll also be upgrading to either an LX5 or FL20.

You are one very confused person. There is no contradiction here. Upgrading to a higher end Marcum has better features, I wont be going into detail here about this, u can look it up yourself. Your gonna have a hard time with higher end Marcums if you cant see your GSX/VX1. The target ID marks are way smaller and defined. It maybe be even worse for you if this is the case cause your having difficulty already.

The only thing I got out of this is you think the FL18, FL20 has a brighter, crisper, larger target line display in deeper water. There for you think its better? However the features of the GSX(VX1), FL18, FL20 as I has said many times are similar or the same.

Your interpretation or use of "more powerful" or higher wattage & better receiver does not make a unit better. In this case the VX1/GSX,VXR units have 600w, VX1 Pro have 1000w. And the Vexilars generally output 400w. If being more powerful is true then your GSX flasher should be outshining the Vex's here as being more powerful? cry I suggest maybe going with a flat screen flasher like a Vex or Humminbird may be better for you, and there's nothing wrong with that option. One should choose a flasher that best works for you.

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I owned a marcum hated that thing an lx5 even. I even drove down to marcum and they switched the battery. I cant remember what was wrong but never again. To me going from a flat screen to tunnel vision is a down grade. I have seen three lx7 in action all 3 are new all 3 the depth jumps around by 2 feet. They all had the latest version downloaded, im not sold on them. From all the vexs and birds i have seen and heard the birds are louder unless comparing to an older vex. I would take any locator over nothing but by choice there is only vexilar.

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Heading to LOTW 12/26 with my buds and will have a chance to compare the 20 and the 5 in shallow and deep houses. I'll post impressions and comparisons when we return. Again, this is all in good fun!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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Welcome to the Marcum scene. Over time you may find yourself reaching for the Marcum more when in tight situations or on schools of fish. The super fine line features will help you distinguish how many fish are below. Bigger fish will appear as bigger fish and smaller fish as small marks on screen even in shallow waters. Congrats on your purchase.

Wow, what a pitch. Did you get this right off their web site! laugh

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Fisherman Andy, sorry for confusion I upgraded back to vexilar. I hope what you say about digital is not going to be an everlasting problem. Digital is the future, but if the bottom jumps around I'll be one of the last to go that route. Hopefully one company can figure it out. I had a lowrance x67 and I don't recall that jumping depth around but it has been awhile since I used that locator.

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No jump on my LX-7, best unit I have used next to my LX-5, I have owned or used about everything out there to...I wouldnt take a step back to Vex unless they someday upgrade to what the competition offers...

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Love my FL 22HD... Great target seperation. Great battery life, used it for three days up on LOW and didnt need a charge. Plus we all know how tough a Vex is!! Perfect for what I use it for, and thats fishin!!!

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Jumping depth as you call it has nothing to do if a unit is digital or not. As was stated the cone is reading a wider area on the bottom so it picks up shallower and deeper areas beneath you. If you use a traditional flasher you won't notice this since there isn't a numeric display showing depth right in your face. All units can and will do this in certain situations but ones with a digital depth readout would be more noticeable because you can see the numbers staring you the face while your eyes cannot perceive the changes on an old school flasher.

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Final result:

After two days on LOTW and moving to and from shallow and deep houses I've decided to stick with the Vex FL20 Ultra Pack. The key differences were ease of use, screen and durability. Both have good zoom features. The LX5 has a nice bright screen, but the hooded screen was difficult to read from a top down angle, especially when in the case. Marcum does seem to have a better IR feature and the dual beam is nice, as is the super fine line feature and do like the design of the transducer positioning arm. Technologically, both a very solid units with their respective bells and whistles.

The LX5 is a good unit with a some great features, but for me the 20 is a more durable unit with an easier screen to view and knobs that are durable and easy to use. I can't imagine the membrane on the LX5 buttons is going to last very long and the buttons and knobs are pretty small, especially with gloves on.

Again, just my personal observations and preferences. Both are great units and help you find fish below the ice. Thanks to everyone for participating!

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Final result:

After two days on LOTW and moving to and from shallow and deep houses I've decided to stick with the Vex FL20 Ultra Pack. The key differences were ease of use, screen and durability. Both have good zoom features. The LX5 has a nice bright screen, but the hooded screen was difficult to read from a top down angle, especially when in the case. Marcum does seem to have a better IR feature and the dual beam is nice, as is the super fine line feature and do like the design of the transducer positioning arm. Technologically, both a very solid units with their respective bells and whistles.

The LX5 is a good unit with a some great features, but for me the 20 is a more durable unit with an easier screen to view and knobs that are durable and easy to use. I can't imagine the membrane on the LX5 buttons is going to last very long and the buttons and knobs are pretty small, especially with gloves on.

Again, just my personal observations and preferences. Both are great units and help you find fish below the ice. Thanks to everyone for participating!

Its pretty typically for most to prefer the larger screen and knobs. Its just feels easier to use. My humminbird ice 55 is the same way. I see that most Vex user dislike the smaller screen and knobs alot as a preference. Some cant get use to the small target line id display. However spend enough time comparing the units and you will find the Marcum is more precise on schools of fish and detecting bottom hugging fish. As well as picking out your lure out of a school of crappies or being able to tell that a larger fish has come into view over smaller. Even though I fish with the bird more often I will reach for the Marcum when finesse & precision is needed.

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All the companies' products do the exact same thing. They just do it in different ways. Its a Chevy-Ford, Mercury-Yamaha, Lund-Alumacraft, St. Croix-Fenwick, Bud Light-Miller Lite argument..

Chevy, Mercury, Lund, St. Croix, and life is too short to drink light beer. Oh yeah, Marcum LX6

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