Flasher or Underwater Camera? A Common Question Answered.
By: Nathan Krusko “Fishman”
Team Panfish Persuders
In todays modern Ice Fishing way there is a whole new way of viewing things. By viewing, I mean the ability to see and locate fish. I read many posts of people wondering which is best to use. Here is the my take on the question. I hope this makes the situation an easier understanding for those interested in getting in to one of these units.
Lets start with the basic principle. Both units are used to determine the fact of the presence of fish. Now with this ability being understood. How do we use this information and which is more efficient are the major factors in the decision?
Lets dig into the Flasher. Brand is not a part of this factor. Basically all give you the same information in slightly different formats or presentation methods. Now when fishing the number one thing that most anglers want to do is catch fish. In the typical fishing situation with out a flasher you are just guessing about the fact of fish being present or are assuming you are in a good spot. Using a flasher gets you these answers before you even wet a line. To give you these answers you will be placing your transducer in the hole and viewing the display instantly. Initially, you will be doing this by viewing the full water column and digging further in a mere second by switching your unit to zoom mode for increased detail. In the ideal situation you will be viewing the bottom as a solid red bar and multiple moving green, yellow or red bars. The more targets above the fixed red bar the better. This is indicating a larger amount of fish within the cone angle below you. If you see just a fixed red bar on the bottom of the display it is time to move to the next hole. All this information is gathered in a matter of seconds and with practice you will be able to interpret it faster. Taking this process you can quickly go from hole to hole and cover literally hundreds of holes in a day with ease and efficiently. Consider this moving and the hard water equivalent to open water casting. If you think of it this way it really puts the whole process into perspective. In the open water you catch more with the more casts you make.
Now, a little bit on the use of cameras. There are many brands and may different monitor types. They too all basically give you the same feed back . Using a camera you are still one step above not using one at all so you will have the added advantage of fishing spots that you only see fish in. The difficulty to doing this efficiently is the camera cable. To check a hole you must uncoil the wire and lower the camera slowly down the hole while watching the monitor for fish. Now this is assuming the water is clear enough for seeing anything in any distance from the camera lens. This is a very slow process for deep water situations. You do still have the ability of hopping around and checking multiple holes in a given day. Fishing only those that you see fish in, and this will still put you step ahead of the rest of the crowd.
Pros and Cons
Pros. Lets start with the fact of the ability to rapidly check for the presence of fish. There is a real time display of your lure and the presence and or reaction of the fish to your bait. They are not affected by stained or dirty water. You may use them to help make decisions on lure changes. If a fish does not come up to see your lure you will immediately notice that. Therefore makeing a decision to switch lures or change your presentation method.
Cons. There are none.
Pros. They are ideal for fine tuning you presentation to the fish and immediately seeing their reaction to that. The are good for seeing the structure of the lake where you are fishing to help evaluate your fishing of that area in reaction to the images that you see. They can be used for sight fishing in the situations where water clarity is good enough to do so.
Cons. Cameras are extremely dependent on the water clarity, if the water is cloudy or stained your sight distance is drastically limited. There is the chance of disrupting the fish by dropping a camera in on them. You cannot cover as much water as efficiently as using a flasher. In bright situations most units are hard to see the screens in the sun.
Hopefully, this comparison helps shed a little bit of information on the subject for you. And aids in your decision to purchase one of the two units. Whichever of the two that you choose you will still be making an improvement on your fishing success. On my recommendation I suggest you go with a flasher first and learn one effectively. After getting very effective with your flasher get a camera later on to compliment the use of it. The flasher will ultimately give you more bang for your buck and you will be able to use it in absolutely all of your fishing situations whether it is in shallow stained or deep clear water. As far as what unit to purchase look at as a long term investment. Purchase the best that you can possibly afford and you will have your unit for many long fish catching years.
Good Luck And Tight Lines