Ice-fishing is the fastest-growing sector of the fishing industry today—thanks to advancements in technology.
Electronics have many uses in ice-fishing. Anglers can use GPS, underwater cameras, and especially flashers to catch more fish.
I was fortunate last week to spend a few days with some of the guys from MarCum Technologies, a leader in flasher and underwater camera manufacturing.
It was great to ask these guys some questions about how flashers work and why they help anglers catch more fish. If you are not fishing with a flasher on the ice, you are missing out!
The biggest advantage to using a flasher is the efficiency. You can drill a series of holes and check for fish before even dropping a line. By doing this, you are fishing fish instead of fishing blind.
Crappies typically suspend five-10 feet off the bottom so anglers can find holes that are above fish before they drop a line.
Crappies feed by looking up, so when you drop your bait down, stop it a foot or two above the fish and get ready for a bite.
Lake trout can be found anywhere in the water column—from 10 feet beneath the ice to right to bottom. Using a flasher allows anglers to see fish that are suspended and so keep their bait in the same zone as the fish.
Advantages are evident no matter which species you are targeting.
A flasher is such a valuable tool to ice anglers that many would not even go out on the ice without it.
Scott Steil, a hard-core ice angler and MarCum pro-staffer from Minnesota, told me he recently drove for an hour-and-a-half to fish, realized he forgot his flasher, and decided to head back home.
“It’s a tool that once you use it, you can’t live without it” said Steil. “Most anglers would still head out on the ice, but it is such a huge part on my arsenal, that I can’t fish without it.”
Duane Cummings, product engineer for MarCum, explained some of the basics about how a flasher, or sonar, works.
“The transducer sends out a high frequency sound pulse, that fish cannot hear or feel, that bounces off objects in the water, back to the transducer, and the image is displayed on the flasher screen.
“Larger objects will return larger signals and smaller objects will return small signals,” he added. “This is how all sonar works, whether it is through a liquid crystal display on our boats or a flasher on ice.”
Cummings said the difference between a flasher and an LCD screen is the “real-time” display that is shown on a flasher. LCD units use a processor to display data; therefore they are not displaying objects in real time.
“LCD units are great for displaying history and flashers are great for displaying objects [in] real time,” he remarked. “Anglers should use the best tool for the job, and both have great applications.
“Anglers should not be afraid to mount a flasher on their boat for open water applications, especially if they are fishing a lot of deep structure,” Cummings added.
If you are not using a flasher when you go ice-fishing, you are missing out. They are becoming more and more popular every year.
If you want to see for yourself, fish with somebody who has one—I guarantee you will get a lesson, no matter what your target species is.