It is no fun to fish blind through the ice and hope to get lucky. The best way to be sure of a fun day catching lots of fish is to use a fish-finding sonar device. People who don’t use a device like that have to drill hole after hole until they find one with fish. It’s tiring, cold and annoying. One of the best fish finder sonar devices is a Vexilar Flasher. It uses sound waves sent out from a transducer to find fish under the ice.
Step 1: Setting Up the Vexilar
Before going fishing, make sure the Vexilar is fully charged. Once on the ice, drill a hole. Set the Vexilar on the ice next to the hole, and drop the transducer into the hole. The transducer looks like a bell, and there’s a styrofoam sleeve on the transducer cord that sets the bell depth. Set the bell in the water, and slide it down below the bottom of the ice. If not using the styrofoam sleeve, set the slip knot to hold the bell at the desired depth.
Step 2: What the Knobs Are For
First, familiarize yourself with the three knobs on the right. Turn on the Vexilar with the bottom of the three knobs, and set the same knob for the depth you want to fish – 20’, 60’, 80’. Drop a baited hook into the water. The top knob of the three is the “Gain,” which sets the signal strength. Turn the knob until the hook shows up solid green. If it’s turned too far, interference makes the lines start flashing all over, so adjust back. The middle knob is set to daytime or nighttime, changing the brightness. The digital screen on the bottom shows battery life.
Step 3: Learning How to Read the Flasher
After setting the three knobs at the right place, look at the Flasher, the big gage on the left. It shows where things are from the sonar signals. The sonar signals go out in a cone shape. There are two things happening. In the cone, red is in the middle, orange outside that, and green on the far outside. The same colors can also tell how big something is in the cone. The bigger the target, the redder the signal. A medium target is orange, and smaller, like a hook and bait, shows up green.
There are three different sets of colored signal lines on
the Flasher: water surface, hook/fish, and the bottom surface. At 12:00 on the gage, the red and green is water surface clutter. What matters most is the flashing lines at about 5:00 on the circle. It flashes a green line where the hook is, and a thick red line if there is a fish nearby. The lines at about 8:00 are the bottom surface.
Step 4: Tip to Help a Buddy
Tip: there are two posts on the front bottom of the Vexilar.
These are charging posts, black and red. If two people are fishing with Vexilars, and one runs out of power, it can get power from the other Vexilar with mini jumper cables (alligator clips) that can be bought or made separately.
Knowing what is going on in the water from what shows up on the Flasher takes some experience. As the fish comes from the side, it shows up green first, then the lines turn orange, and then red, and then it's time to jig the hookup. Usually, the fish will chase it. If it grabs the hook, set the hook in the fish’s mouth by pulling up on the pole quickly. Start reeling the fish in, and watch the green and red lines on the flasher fly up on the Flasher.
Once you understand how a Vexilar works, you’ll never want to fish without one. You’ll be bringing fish home with you more often than not.