Electronics for “Hard” Water
Bob McNally 02.16.16
Many good open-water anglers are lost on a lake without high-end boat electronics. Sensitive sonar and GPS units have made the search for fish and structure easier, surer, and save a lot of time between strikes.
It’s the same for ice fishing, though not nearly as many winter anglers rely on electronics as they should.
Modern portable flasher-unit fathometers like the popular Vexilar FL-8 readily show suspended fish through the ice, and often those are the targets most likely to strike lures and baits. The Vexilar FL-8 has a three-color display, making it easy to determine structure, depth, fish, and even lures and baits deployed below the ice.
At times fish hugging the bottom must be found through the ice, and sonar with a bottom-zoom feature like the Vexilar FL-18 is helpful.
Some avid ice fishermen successfully employ underwater cameras to help pinpoint fish for exacting lure and bait presentations. Aqua Vu is the best-known brand, and some models are so sophisticated they have underwater floodlights, digital read-outs of how deep a camera is lowered, and in what direction it’s pointed–thus giving an accurate fish-eye view of the chilly world of walleyes, panfish, bass, and pike below hard water.