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Eckie

Vexilar vs. LX3

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Eckie

I've done research on both units, but can't decide which is the one to go with....How about a few pro's and con's from the guys who own them?

Thanks..

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BradB

There are dozens of discussions on this site about that very topic. Do a search and read what folks have to say. You'll find partisan folks on both sides who will detail why one feature is better than the other. Save yourself the time and buy the cheapest one. They're pretty much the same thing for most anglers. What makes them different is minor, IMHO.

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gspman

I have an LX-3 and love it. The only complaint I can come up with is the colors (red, orange, yellow) sometimes can be little difficult to distinguish. I am speaking of the yellow and orange in this case. Other than that I think it is a superior unit. Both the Vex and the Marcum will work but the zoom feature and the higher power on the LX-3 is better than on the Vex. My $.02.

gspman

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Eckie

Thanks guys..like most, I've done all the research, but the 'ol "tried and true" methods from those who have used them make a big difference.

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Surface Tension

Eckie, You can look at the specs for both units. 400 watts vs 1500 watts. Lets start there. The 1500 watt flasher has better target separation. I don't think Vex will argue that.

The 1500 watts has better deep water performance, again Vex won't argue that.

The Vex needs either Low Power mode or a suppression cable to perform in shallow water conditions. MarCum has no need for the LP mode nor a suppression cable because of superior software and hardware. The MarCum performs in deep and shallow water as it should with out a fix.

The MarCum has a crisp clean display, the Vex is gobby and jittery.

MarCum's IR function works with 1, 2, 3, 4 or more flashers in the same area. Vex's IR struggles with more then 2 flashers in the same area. Thats a fact.

The MarCum LX3 has variable zoom, meaning you can zoom the whole water column in 5' or 10' increments. The Vex FL18 can only Zoom the bottom 6'. The LX3 has a Digital Charing System. Plug it in and forget it. You won't be overcharging you battery because the DCS will stop charging your battery when if fully charged. Is the Vex FL 18 a good flasher? Yes it is but its no longer the best. This isn't isn't a Ford vs Chev thing, Its based on facts. If you want to get Dodge involved I can bring up the old Lowrance flashers too as an example of how technology has changed. If Vex wants Top Dog they better get on the ball and revamp their flashers. Hey its your money your spending, you can listen to local big chain salesmen that the Vexilar reps have trained with lies or get the real deal here. What I've just told you is the same thing I'd tell my best friend.

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Eckie

ST...

You've been a huge help.

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CNY Tim

Eckie - I owned both and ran them two years ago and concur with surface tensions post. It's about getting more bang for your buck and if you take the pro pack which I believe is the equivalent in price range to the LX-3 Ice System there is no doubt the LX-3 delivers and more...

A lot of people also like the LX-3 because it's more user friendly for novices. I actually saw an FL-18 up on EBay and the guy was selling it because he couldn't figure it out.

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ScottO

I've really gotten tired of the whole Vex vs. Marcum stuff all over the web, but this latest post really got to me.

1500 vs. 400 means nothing for target separation. Vex uses a more sensitive receiver, Marcum uses a more powerful transmitter. Target separation is based on the display and the ability to separate targets on that display (sonar resolution), not on the wattage of the unit.

The above comments about the low power mode or the suppression cable show a complete lack of understanding for there purpose. Maybe the Marcum's gain adjustment goes lower, or maybe the software is different. All I know is that on the Vex the LP mode can be very useful in shallow water. Imagine you put a size 12 teardrop down in 8 feet of water. At 0 gain it shows up red. I like my jig to be green. By switching to LP mode I may have to turn the gain up to 4 or 5 to see the jig. This allows a lot more options. The Marcum's gain must have a lot more low end built in. If so, great. Have you ever had the gain at 0 on a Marcum and wished you could go lower? Don't cut down a different product because you don't understand it. The LP mode and suppression cable are not any kind of "fix". They allow people like me to have multiple options for using my flasher. Hint for other Vex users - try the 9 degree ducer and LP mode in weeds - you might be suprised at how well it works.

Deep water? I've used my FL18 in 180 ft + while jigging for lakers. Has anyone, anywhere ever had an LX3 in that deep of water? I really want to know, because the 19 degree ducer is nearly useless in those conditions on the Vex. It is looking at way too big of an area to do any good. To see your jig you need to turn the gain up so high that everything else washes out. With the option of the 9 degree ducer, the FL18 works great. Plus I still have a 6 ft zoom in the 200 ft range, not a 20 ft zoom like on the LX3. Again, has anyone used an LX3 in over 100 ft of water? Please post your experience.

I can fish in 5 ft one day and 150 the next. Of course with the dual beam transducer I can do this with a flip of a switch. Until Marcum comes out with other transducer angles Vex clearly has the edge there.

I regularly fish around 3 or four Vex's. I can tune out IR just fine. Occasionally a small amount remains, but nothing that can't be dealt with. Your "fact" about interference is nothing more than an opinion.

In the 15 years I have been fishing with a flasher, I have never encountered a situation where I wanted to zoom in on anything other than the bottom. If you regulary find that fish are suspending more than 6 ft off the bottom in the areas you fish, get the LX3. I have never had a need for an adjustable zoom. If a fish comes in more than 6 ft up, it is marked on the right side of the display. Also, as stated above I really appreciate the fact that the FL18 zoom stays 6 ft when going to deeper ranges. A 20 ft zoom really doesn't sound as useful in deep water as the 6 ft zoom.

The Vex charger has a light that comes on when the battery is fully charged. You can leave it hooked up for up to 72 hours once this happens with no problem, so you have 3 days to remember to disconnect. The Marcum charger is completely automatic, which is nice. Vex offers a similar automatic chager as an accessory.

Display? Pick whichever one you think looks better. THe Marcum does appear to have thinner lines. The Vex has a better color scheme in my opinion. I like the green. Also, don't forget for the colorblind folks that Vex will convert your unit to blue/purple/red allowing the red/green colorblind to see three colors.

This IS a Ford vs Chevy thing and always will be. Both units will absolutely help you catch more fish. Both units have fanatics that use them.

Pick the one YOU like best, get out on the ice and start catching more fish.

ScottO

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leechlake

I have an fl-18, I bought it last year because the Marcum LX-3 was sold out. It works just fine but isn't what the Marcum is. My main problem is the interference thing which Marcum solves. So my point is both are great tools and fun to use but the Marcum has some better features and I own the Vex. All marcum users should have to give one 16 inch walleyes to anyone using a Vex on the same Lake! Kind of a handicap system to even things out.

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BradB

Great Post, ScottO!

Like I said initially, get the one you can get the best deal on. The pro-Marcum and pro-Vexilar fanatics will come out of the woods to trumpet why insignificant detail A is better than insignificant detail B. Both products are going to help you, and it doesn't really matter which you end up with. Judge them by price.

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Dan Wood

ST provided some very good information on the advantages of the MarCum. I'd just like to give my opinion on some of what I feel are the more important differences between the units..

  • The variable zoom on the MarCum can be adjusted anywhere in the water column vs. the FL18 can only Zoom the bottom of the water column. The variable zoom is a very nice feature to have. It can be extremely useful for suspended fish (particularly when your in deep water). A lot of Vex guys will say this is not needed, and I thought that as well until I had the feature to use. I fish crappies a lot out in 35-70' of water and wouldn't be without this feature in those conditions. As you know, crappies are seldom near the bottom, so the FL18 zoom becomes useless. The deeper the water, the more you will loose in "range of movement" and target separation. Each movement of the rod moves your bait on your flasher a certain amount. How much this "range of movement" is on your flasher depends largely on the scale you are set on. If your flasher is set 0-60', your "range of movement" will be minimal. 2' movement on a 0-60' scale only translates into a little over a 3% movement on your screen. When you move your lure up 2' it will barely be noticeable. Now, zoom in on those crappies (zoom from 30-40 where all the fish are suspended).. Now your range of movement is 0-10'. 2' of movement on your rod tip will now translate into approximately a 20% movement on your screen - the movement is now easily noticeable. Now you can much more easily see your lure movement and the reaction of the fish to your bait. This is what I call "range of movement". Target separtion also improves with the reduced scale in the same manner. The 60' window is now a 10' window - you will see much greater detail and even be able to see your bait on your jig. I can't imagine not having the adjustable zoom under certain conditions. Even in 15' of water I'll use the zoom to reduce the depth scale - improving both target separation and range of motion.

  • Interference rejection is a difficult thing to measure and test, but from all reports it seems to be superior on the MarCum units. I don't recall hearing any complaints on interference with the MarCum units.

  • The Digital Charging System on the LX-3 is a "must-have" feature on a unit IMO. You'll be charging every time you use it and this is the only way to go. The MarCum system as ST noted is "Plug it in and forget it". You don't have to worry about unplugging the unit in 24 hrs. or ever worry about overcharging again. This also can be used to maintain your battery during the off-season. Just plug it in over the summer and forget about it.

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andy j

Eckie,

You can't go wrong with any of the two. One other thing to consider. THe LX3 has a 20 degree transducer and I could be wrong but I have never seen anything any narrower for their tranducers,(narrower tranducers will perform better in deeper water and if you are on top of a sharp break in structure. The FL-18 comes with a narrower 12 transducer and you have the option of getting the dual cone angle package with a 9/19 degree transducer. THe Marcums are nice units though and will probably be my next flaser. Their underwater camaras are the best out there also.

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Surface Tension

Scott, put what ever spin you want on the LP mode and suppression cable. No misunderstanding here on their purpose, you yourself just said you needed it to in shallow water because your jig showed up bright red. Guess what, in shallow water, weeds show up bright red too without LP mode or a suppression cable. Call it what you want, if have to go out and purchase a suppression cable to fix that problem I don't consider that an added feature, I call it a fix.

"Sonar Resolution"? If we were talking about LCD, VGA or video that might apply but were talking spinning lights. Since you thought the MarCum had a crisper display, I'll take that as better "resolution" then the Vex.

Its MarCum's claim that higher watts equals better target separation but if you ask me superior hardware and software must have something to do with it too. What ever you want to believe I don't think your arguing the fact the MarCum has better target separation.

Lets talk about the 20 degree cone angle. Its a common misunderstanding that in deep water your going to have a huge viewing area of the lake bottom. Thats not true. The strongest part of the transducers signal is in the center of the cone which is directly bellow the transducer. The weaker signal at the outside of the cone angle is called side lob which never reaches the bottom so theres no return signal.

I've used the LX3 in deep water and its performed great. The only bad thing I can say about it is it only goes to 160' which isn't an issue for most.

As far being able to zoom the whole water column, its been very useful on suspended fish like crappies, tulibies and lake trout. If you like jigging lake trout you'll find the MarCum's zoom to be a great help when working fish and depending on your depth can zoom as much as 40'.

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Surface Tension

BradB, whats insignificant to you may not be insignificant to me.

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Ed Carlson

From my experience and knowledge of Vexilar systems, I would say I agree with ScottO's evaluation on the performance characteristics of the Fl-18 and the FL-8.

As for what is best for you, test drive them both and run with the one that suits your needs the best.

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ScottO

ST-

Have you ever had your jig show up red on the Marcum with the gain at zero? That question needs to be answered before any other discussion of the LP mode.

Sonar resolution is a basic property of the unit. It is a function of the sound wavelenght that the unit uses to detect signals. If the display is capable of showing separtion of 0.25 inches, but the transmitter cannot distinguish signals closer together than an inch the display isn't doing the unit any good. (This is strictly an example, I do not know the exact specs on either the Marcum or the Vex.) My point is wattage means nothing to target separation. The construction of the transmitter and reciever and the software on the unit does. Many claim the Marcum has slightly better target separation. But if we're talking about half an inch of separartion I'm not sure it really matters in the real world.

I still disagree with your statement about the 20 degree ducer in deep water. In 100 ft, a 9 degree ducer will be looking at roughly a 16 ft circle. A 20 degree ducer will be looking at rougly 34 ft, or twice as much. If you turn the gain down so you don't see the edges of the cone, do you still have enough gain to see your lure? I have tried both a Vex 19 degree and an old Zercom greyscale unit's 20 degree ducer in 100 + ft of water with no luck at all. To see your lure the gain had to be turned up so high that the whole screen filled with clutter. If this is not the case with the Marcum, you are the first person who has ever told me they have successfully used the unit in 100 + feet of water. Not many of us fish that deep!

I stated in my post above - if you frequently fish for species that suspend over 6 ft off the bottom, buy the LX3. I have never wished for that feature. Even the lakers I target all are tight to the bottom in the areas that I fish. Out in the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior I fished as deep as 187 ft one day, and the fish we marked were on the bottom. Same thing for Big Green Lake in WI. Obviously the lakes you fish have different charachteristics so the lakers are in a different spot in the water column.

I still believe this is Ford vs Chevy and any angler will do better with either of these units rather than none.

As a pro-staff member I would expect you to reccommend the flasher that is a sponsor of this site.

ScottO

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Dan Wood

"As a pro-staff member I would expect you to reccommend the flasher that is a sponsor of this site."

FishingMinnesota prides itself with having top quality sponsors and recommending products to our viewers that are truely the best in their class. MarCum is a prime example. We feel they are the best in their class and have really pushed the entire industry into improving over the last couple years.

Speaking for myself, I'm a tech junkie, if I really thought Vex. was the better unit I'd have one. I went through the same decision as many of you - the decision between the LX-3 and the FL18. I decided that MarCum was the right unit for me. Don't get me wrong, the FL18 is a top quality product. I just feel that the features on the LX-3 make it the best choice for your money.

Just so our readers are aware - Vexilar also has many ProStaff on this site (that is a fact). Some will be up front about it, many will not.

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gspman

I think the finer points have been brought out. Individual opinions differ. The facts are the facts but individual interpretation of the facts may also differ. Everyone is happy with their chosen units. I think Eckie's got enough info in this thread to make a decision. He can also search the site and other sites for oodles more of the same info on the same subject.

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ScottO

Fishing MN is a great site, and no offense was intended by this post. If it was taken that way, I apologize.

For the record, I am not a pro-staffer for Vexilar or any other product. If someone would like to make me one so I could get some deals on gear, let me know grin.gifgrin.gif

ScottO

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Pete Riola

To better analyze this info is it safe to assume that most of the pro Marcum anglers once used FL8's and FL18's? If this is so are they not giving information based on experience? The LX3 is a Cadillac. It does more for anglers in more situations easier. The engineers at Marcum are US military trained engineers they understand how to harness the power so there is no need for suppression cables. If a guy fishes crappies and bluegills a bunch he knows that these species suspend so do catfish and occasionally walleye...these fish don't always suspend within 6 feet of the bottom. Try the LX3 if you don't like it bring it back.

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Surface Tension

ScottO, I've always had to turn my gain up a bit to pick up my jig, even in shallow water. So no you won't have the problem like the Vex has with to hot of a signal.

Theres no need to turn the gain down to not see the edges of the cone angle. How can I explain this to you? The edges of the cone angle are always recorded deeper then the center of the cone angle.

I jig Lake Trout in Superior and inland lakes. Visit the BWCA/Duluth/Range forum and you'll see that while I may fish the bottom for Lake Trout but I don't stay there. I don't let uninterested lakers swim away without trying to pull them off the the bottom. Essentially pulling the bait away and triggering a strike by cranking up in 5' increments. Having that Zoom is an important insignificance. smirk.gif

Do what I've said all along, Get out and use these side by side. I have.

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BradB

Quote:

Just so our readers are aware - Vexilar also has many ProStaff on this site (that is a fact). Some will be up front about it, many will not.


I wish that the ProStaff members who are employees or representatives for sponsor companies would identify themselves as such. I know you are under no obligation to be up front about it, but I think it is only right that you do this when giving advice on a product. It is your choice to do this or not, but I would like to politely ask you to consider doing so.

To clear the record, I am not a representative of any outdoor company.

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CNY Tim

The bottomline from my tests between both the 18 and the LX-3 in 40' or less is that the LX-3 gives you more. This is what I have found in my personal knowledge and I have owned both.

With the FL-18...

A 6' zoom window is not enough. Not when a 10' window is available on the LX-3 and the perch are running 7 to 9' off to strike.

Having to adjust the FL-18 everytime I switch holes when "hole hopping" for panfish to stay in zoom is a pain in the butt with the FL-18 cause every time you change holes you have to turn the unit off, turn it back on and then switch back from AZ to LP and then back to AZ every time you switch holes. Where's the user friendliness in that?

The interference circuitry in the FL-18 was worse than my FL-8. I'm not the only one that came to that conclusion.

Signal clutter is still an issue with my FL-18 as it was with my FL-8

Now if you don't mind these things than buy an FL-8 or FL-18 it doesn't bother me one bit.

But if you want more for the money and fish waters under 40' the clear choice is the MarCum LX-3.

Do I catch more fish cause I use the LX-3 over the FL-18 probably not who knows but I can clearly and I emphasize clearly see finer detail with the LX-3. It's surgically precisioned to give me the most in and out of zoom and in the end for what I do in waters 40' or less the LX-3 has more bang for my buck. It's quality through and through and I am proud to represent this product.

Sure there are features in this unit that could really broaden it's horizon like 200' depth or a narrower cone or a soft pack that opens a little deeper back for taller fisherman. But there are more people that fish for panfish than most other species I believe. It's the best mechanical 3 color flasher out there. And until a new one comes on and knocks off this one I'm sticking with them.

Vexilars a good unit and it always has been and I am not gonna knock one guys flasher but for what I do right now there is just one better suited for what I do.

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leechlake

I love the passion we all show for the outdoors here on FM. This healthy annual discussion on depth finders reminds me how lucky I am. The only way it would be better would be if I had my vex and my wife bought a marcum and then we could "discuss" it at home. Right now I only have the vex, maybe I should get her an LX-3 for Christmas so we could discuss the two during the new year.

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umdr6

All this talk about the FL-18 vs. LX-3!!!

Can anyone steer me in the right direction regarding the cheaper FL-8 vs. LX-1??? I just bought an LX-1 but haven't used it yet. I want to know opinions on the FL-8 vs. LX-1 before I use it. (maybe I need to return this item???)

I will rarely use it in over 30 feet of water. I usually fish out near Hutchinson and near Duluth. I've never been on Superior for the Lakers though! I, among the rest of you probably, have heard mixed reviews on these two units. I have heard the MarCum LX-1 is more powerful, but the Vex FL-8 is built better.

I bought the LX-1 brand new for $229.00. Is this a quality buy???

Is there another thread that may help me on this, or does someone want to give me their two cents???

Thanks,

~umdr6 confused.gif

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      The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has issued its annual ice safety warning for lakes with winter aeration systems.  Aeration creates areas of thin ice and open water that are extremely hazardous to people and pets. Open water areas can shift or change shapes depending on weather conditions, and leaks may develop in airlines, creating other areas of weak ice or open water. The updated list of aerated lakes and more information is available at mndnr.gov/eco/lakeaeration. “We’re urging people to use caution anytime they venture onto lake ice, especially at night,” said Amanda Yourd, DNR hydrologist and aeration coordinator. “Extreme care should be taken on aerated lakes. Watch for the large orange and black warning signs at high use public accesses and the required thin ice signs around open water areas.” Aeration systems help prevent winterkill of fish populations by adding oxygen to the lake, and in certain situations to protect shorelines from ice damage. They are generally operated from the time the lakes freeze until the ice breaks up in the spring. About 280 lakes will have aeration systems operating on them this winter. Private hatchery operators also use aeration systems, usually on small lakes without public accesses. A permit from the DNR is required to install and operate an aeration system. Permit holders must publish public notices, post warning signs, and inspect the systems at least once every seven days. Liability insurance is generally required of private groups or citizens operating aeration systems in protected waters. Watch for notices in your local media identifying aerated lakes in your area. DNR staff ensure permittees comply with all requirements and regularly inspect systems for safety. Some municipalities may have ordinances that prohibit entering into the thin ice marked area and/or prohibit the night use of motorized vehicles on lakes with aeration systems in operation.  These local regulations are often posted at accesses where they apply. Questions concerning aeration or thin ice can be answered by calling a regional or area fisheries office or the Department of Natural Resources toll-free at 888-MINNDNR (888-646-6367). Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • Rick
      New definition of portable shelter expands types of structures needing to be licensed       Beginning this ice fishing season, anglers using a wheelhouse type of ice or dark-house shelter are required to purchase a license to place the shelter on the ice, even when occupying it.  A new definition for portable shelters has been provided in law, which states that a portable shelter is one that collapses, folds or is disassembled for transportation. “Wheeled fish houses, which formerly were considered portable – and thus excluded from licensing requirements for shelters – will now need to be licensed,” said Al Stevens, fisheries survey and systems consultant with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “In the past, anglers using wheelhouses could use them without shelter licenses as long as they were occupied, including overnight.” A shelter meeting the new definition of portable only needs a license when a person leaves it unattended, meaning they are farther than 200 feet from the shelter. The change pursued by the DNR and enabled by 2017 legislation accompanied hunting and angling fee increases. An annual resident shelter license is $16. A three-year license is $43. Owners of houses to be rented pay $31 annually or $88 for a three-year license. A valid license tag must be attached to the outside of the fish house in a readily visible location. On border waters, a shelter license is not required on the Minnesota side if the neighboring state doesn’t require a shelter license for its waters. To learn more about the fishing and hunting license dollars are spent, visit mndnr.gov/licensedollarsatwork. Shelter or fishing licenses can be purchased at DNR license agents across Minnesota, by phone at 888-665-4236 or online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • Rick
      The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will offer 17 parcels for sale in three public oral bid auctions in December. Property information, auction instructions and a map of the parcels can be found on the DNR’s land sale webpage.  The properties include unimproved recreational land in Anoka, Beltrami, Big Stone, Houston, Hubbard, Koochiching, Mahnomen, Meeker, Norman, Otter Tail, Pine, Wabasha and Wadena counties and lakeshore property in St. Louis County. Public auction details, parcel information and the latest updates are available online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/landsale/. Call 651-259-5432, (888) MINNDNR or email min.landsale@state.mn.us for more information. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • 1968
      2 hours north of town is ready! Went a ways out drilling my way on two different lakes yesterday. 4 inches on one, 5 on the other, as far as I felt like walking. The 4 inch one was all 4, the 5 incher was 8 near shore and I U turned the car on ice when I left! This is going to be a very long 3 day week.. 
    • JFitz
      I've experienced the same thing - V can be tricky through the ice. There's a ton of structure to choose from and you're pretty limited with how much you can move. We've had the most success just staking out a likely spot during primetime. Drill a bunch of holes and wait for the fish to move up. Tip-ups have helped to cover more ground and locate fish. Like Cliff said, bite windows are real short so you've gotta be out there when it's happening!
    • rainylakefisher
      Did they ever find the two missing boaters from the incident a couple weeks ago?  Haven't seen anything...