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I have ice fished for about a year now. I went mostly to Dowdy up at red feather and Douglas last yer. I had some good luck and some bad. Well this year I'm gonna go nuts. I'm want to go to all the great places I read about on the forum. I have all the basics rods, hand auger, ect. I'm ready to upgrade a little. I want a gas auger, an ice shelter, an underwater camera, and a vexilar (even though I don' know exactly what it does) My problem is I am only able to buy one of them. So if any of you can recomend one over the others that would be great. Thank You!
 
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Hatchmaster said:
I want a gas auger, an ice shelter, an underwater camera, and a vexilar (even though I don' know exactly what it does)  My problem is I am only able to buy one of them. 
For me, it would come down to a gas auger or a Vexilar. 

I only use a shelter if I'm going to fish all night - so that's not a necessity most of the time.  An underwater camera might be fun, but I've never used one and I can't imagine it is a necessity.  So -  Vexilar or gas auger??

If going primarily for deep water fish like lake trout or walleyes, I would definitely pick the Vexilar.  A Vexilar is a multi-color flasher type fish locator.  It will tell you depth, whether there are fish down there, whether they're interested in your bait, where your bait is relative to the fish, and, with a lot of practice it can give you an indication of what type of bottom is below you (soft, hard, weeds).  Generally your jig or bait will show up as a thin green line.  When a fish first enters the outer edge of the transducer's sonar cone it shows up as a green line, then as it comes closer to the center of the cone (or if it's a bigger fish) the return turns orange, and finally, as it gets to the center of the cone (that is, directly under you!), it turns bright red.  If it's a big fish, it may be a very wide bright red line. The return is real time, so if you move your bait, you can often see the fish move with it.   And if the fish is bright red and at the same depth as your bait, be ready!!!  You can make sure you are fishing where there are fish and adjust your presentation to the depth of the fish.  It's a hoot - kinda like a video game.

On the other hand, if you're fishing primarily for trout or panfish or if you're fishing mostly in water of 20' or less, I would probably go with the gas auger.  I spudded and chipped and drilled enough holes by hand in my first 20 years of ice fishing to last me a lifetime and I really love my gas auger.  I've had one for at least 15 years I guess.  I move around a lot looking for fish when the action slows.  I wouldn't do that if I had to drill all those holes by hand.  And I caught plenty of fish before I ever had a fish locator of any kind.  So unless you're planning on a lot of deep water fishing for lakers and such, I would probably opt for the gas auger myself.  (But the Vexilar sure makes things fun.  It's amazing how long a lake trout will look at a jig, and how it will follow it up and down without actually hitting.  Makes me crazy some days!)

But everything's a matter of personal preference.  If you decide to get a fish locator, the Vexilar FL-18 is a great unit in my opinion.

Hope this helps!
 

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Great post Don, alot of good info. I bought a fl- 18 about 2 months ago, I can't wait to use it. Gander had them on sale for $299. Let the freeze come early this year.

Jeff
 

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I would go for the gas auger, this allows you to move as often as you want and your arm doesnt fall off on the ice, which can be embarrassing at times.
 
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