FL-8 SLT Possible Upgrade -Vexilar FL-18 & 20 Auto Zoom/Bottom Lock Features - Colorado Fishing Forum

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Old 01-05-2009, 12:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default FL-8 SLT Possible Upgrade -Vexilar FL-18 & 20 Auto Zoom/Bottom Lock Features

I致e owned a FL-8 SLT for over 13 years and never go out on the ice without it, but I知 looking at the possibility of upgrading.

I知 looking for feedback/opinions on the auto zoom and bottom lock features on the FL-18 and FL-20. Additionally, I壇 like to know if anyone has opinions on the dual transducers available for these models.

I fish Taylor, Blue Mesa and Granby for Lakers and have been successful using the FL-8, but it seems to be lacking in reading the bottom in deeper water; hence my inquiry. Does anyone have experience fishing with an FL-8 then a FL-18 or 20? In my experience I know Lakers like to hug the bottom at times and I feel it would be an advantage of being able to lock on the bottom, but I知 not quite ready to spend money I could spend on say a snow machine. I already have a Yukon clam, strike master auger and more rods and tackle for ice fishing than I care to mention, but the FL-18 and 20 have my attention.

My FL-8 has more than proved it self, but just wondering if the additional bells and whistles are worth the $$$$$$. Lowrance and Marcum owners need not reply, because I知 solely a Vexilar man.
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: FL-8 SLT Possible Upgrade -Vexilar FL-18 & 20 Auto Zoom/Bottom Lock Features

If you fish for lakers, I would say yes it is absolutely worth it. I would also recommend a dual cone transducer, or at a minimum the 12 degree. I just bought a new FL-18 with a 12 degree cone. The 9 or 12 ducer is key in deep water. I have also used the Fl-20, and it is a great unit as well

The autozoom feature is great. The FL-18 has the bottom lock feature (for open water) that the 20 doesn't. But, the 20 has a little bit bigger dial so it's easier to see, and the auto zoom on the 20 allows you to go bottom 6 or bottom 12 feet.

Either way, you won't be disappointed.

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Old 01-05-2009, 04:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: FL-8 SLT Possible Upgrade -Vexilar FL-18 & 20 Auto Zoom/Bottom Lock Features

Definitely get the FL-18, I've owned an FL-8 and have the FL-18 for lakers. If the dial is too small to see they sell a magnifier you place over it and it makes it perfect. The upgrade is definitely worth the money.
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: FL-8 SLT Possible Upgrade -Vexilar FL-18 & 20 Auto Zoom/Bottom Lock Features

jclay0429 & Tubejig,

Thanks for the feedback I appreciate it.
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: FL-8 SLT Possible Upgrade -Vexilar FL-18 & 20 Auto Zoom/Bottom Lock Features

Checkers go see Donald at Gander in Aurora and rent an 18 or 20 for a day...to try it out yourself...
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: FL-8 SLT Possible Upgrade -Vexilar FL-18 & 20 Auto Zoom/Bottom Lock Feature

Hey checkers8, hubby had the same make and model (FL8-SLT) for a very long time - and had the 9/19 dual ducer and used it for 2 years or after I met him, when I finally fulfilled his longtime Christmas wish of an FL18. He swapped the transducer over to the FL18 and put the new transducer on the old unit and sold it to a member on the forum.

He had been hankering over the Auto Zoom/Bottom Lock feature for *ever*. We fish Granby, Blue Mesa, and Taylor (not as often as we'd like, sadly!) for macks too. He even got the summer transducer kit and mount for his float tube and uses it for vertical jigging in the summer (was the ticket to nice macks at Jefferson and Granby this past summer).

The display is a lot brighter than on the FL8-SLT. The Interference Rejection is better too. The auto zoom is great - no having to rely on that goofy magnifying lens anymore. You just have to get used to the 'split-screen' display. (We sent our FL8 back to Vexilar for a tune-up before we sold it, and they put new brushes in the motor and got it back into good condition - they said it was in remarkable shape considering that it was as old as it was (12+ years!) We asked if anything could be done to brighten up the display (apparently they can convert a display to 'color blind friendly' colors - different LED's) but the setup/mounts had changed so no luck there, but it still worked great.)

Hope this is helpful to you. Randy drove down from Gunnison in a snowstorm all the way to Valley Country Tackle in Aurora to get the last one she had in 1995. (Everybody else in town was out!) Nice to know that a good unit will last and last and last!
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Old 01-06-2009, 10:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: FL-8 SLT Possible Upgrade -Vexilar FL-18 & 20 Auto Zoom/Bottom Lock Feature

If you like the 8 you'll love the 18 or 20. I originally had an 8, now I have the 18, I want the 20.
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Old 01-06-2009, 10:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: FL-8 SLT Possible Upgrade -Vexilar FL-18 & 20 Auto Zoom/Bottom Lock Feature

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Broeren
If you like the 8 you'll love the 18 or 20. I originally had an 8, now I have the 18, I want the 20.
x2!
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: FL-8 SLT Possible Upgrade -Vexilar FL-18 & 20 Auto Zoom/Bottom Lock Features

I've had an FL8 and now own an FL20. I'd prefer the 18. The arguments for 18 vs. 20 go something like this: the FL20 has a better display (true); the FL20 has night or day operation which dims the display for night (true); the FL20 has both a 6 foot and a 12 foot bottom zoom (true); the FL18 has a 6 foot bottom zoom (true); the FL18 has a bottom lock feature for boat mounts(true); the interference rejection on the FL20 is better (eh, subjective call).

My experience is that I have never used the 12 foot bottom zoom on the FL20.
9/19 Transducer is the way to go though I don't own one (yet).
FL18 can save you some money and give you the same functionality as the FL20.

Zman is right, rent each for a day and discover your own preferences - you now know mine!
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: FL-8 SLT Possible Upgrade -Vexilar FL-18 & 20 Auto Zoom/Bottom Lock Features

Quote:
Originally Posted by zman
Checkers go see Donald at Gander in Aurora and rent an 18 or 20 for a day...to try it out yourself...
Great advice; unfortunately, I live in Pueblo so I'd be pressed for time in just one day.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone for the feedback. It's folks such as yourselves that make this site great!!! I only wish I had more time to fish and contribute more reports. (Don't we all!) Consequently, the hardwater is the only water I hit because I coach my son's ball team during the spring and summer. Hell, I only live 15 minutes from the North Shore of Pueblo Reservoir, but my passion is for the hardwater.

Based on the feedback, I'm sold on the FL-18 & 20's additional features; now, it's just a matter of parting with the money to make it happen! Once again thanks for the feedback.

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