Sunday, January 31, 2021

FLX-30BB- What's the BIG difference?


This year Vexilar came out with a new unit called the FLX-30BB.  Every few years Vexilar raises the bar a little more on the flasher market, which is designed for ice fishing, dominated by them and Marcum.  The latest upgrade to the Vexilar fleet has made quite a splash thus far.  If you are a Vexilar user, you already know the great things about their products and different models, however I hope this review sheds some light on the all new FLX-30.

Trials- I have used the unit on 12 different lakes/rivers this winter.  My fishing adventures have taken me to two feet of water all the way down to 32 feet of water.  I have fished in and around brush piles at many different depths and weeds from two feet all the way out to 12 feet.  As you can see, I have ran it through many different scenarios and now I feel that I can honestly give a review of the unit and offer you details on why this is the best Vexilar out there.

New Features- The BB stands for Broad-Band, or different settings for your transducer in kHz power.  The settings range from 160kHz to 300kHz and can be changed with the push of a button.  In the 160kHz setting the unit will show you a 15-degree cone angle, and can be adjusted down to an 8-degree cone angle in the 300kHz setting (7 different cones angles in total).  Another new feature is the addition to a third zoom option.  This unit will allow you to zoom to the bottom 18 feet of water, along with the standard 6 foot and 12 foot options available on other models.  Vexilar also added a 15-foot range on the manual range settings for this unit.  Another new feature on the FLX-30 is the ability to choose from normal(high) power, medium power or low power.  In the past, there were only normal and low power options.  Lastly, it comes standard with a 9amh Vexilar Lithium Battery.

Disadvantage-  The Ultra Pack (shown above) is the only option of buying this unit for the 20/21 ice fishing season.  While this is an awesome carrying pack, more options would be nice, and would bring the overall cost of the unit down too.  Hopefully there will be more buying options next winter.

Awesome Upgrades-  The biggest advantage I saw right away is how much smaller the lines on the screen showing your bait and fish are.  This allows for precise jigging, and location of fish.  This has also made fishing brush piles much easier with less clutter on the screen.  Another great upgrade on this unit is the medium power, it has really been great for me while fishing weed beds this year.  Other Vexilar units offer either high or low power, much of the time low power takes away too much of what we can see down below the ice, while the medium power option is a perfect fit in most weedy situations.  Another nice upgrade to the FLX30 is the ability to change zoom settings by pushing the gain button.  On other units you must turn the dial to change zoom settings, which can be cumbersome with gloves on, a small thing I have noticed but has been a very nice difference.  Multiple cone angles is an important part of ice fishing, the previous Pro-View transducer had this capability and when used correctly is a huge advantage to anglers.  This new Broad-Band transducer on the FLX30 is even better.  With a press of a button I can rotate through the seven different cone angles very quickly to see which screen I like.  When searching fish 160kHz is best as it has the largest cone angle of 15-degrees.  However, when fishing near brush, weeds or on top of a large school of fish, the narrower the cone angle the better.  I will be able to pick out my jig and how the fish are reacting to it much easier in a 9-degree cone.  Again, this is done by pressing the gain button and you can cycle through all 7 cone angles in the matter of a few seconds to see which screen looks the best for that particular hole you are fishing.  As you cycle through the different cone angles they narrow down as you push the gain button.  It really is amazing how a small tweak can let you see so much more of what you want to see.  


As you can see there are many advantages to the new FLX30BB.  It is a fantastic system for those that like to visit many different lakes with unique fishing situations.  There has not been one case yet this winter that I have not been able to fine-tune the FLX30 to fit my every need.  It has led to a few more fish, no doubt.  Let me know if you have further questions about this system, I would be happy to answer them for you and compare them to the unit you have right now.  Email:

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Try Something never know what you might find

Ice fishing is in full swing around the state even in the southern half of the state.  This took me south this past weekend to try a lake I have wanted to visit for the last year.  I was able to meet up with several friends to search out some bluegills and crappies.  The five of us worked well together dissecting the water, hopping around with our Vexilars and trying a variety of depths.  We landing on several schools of gills and crappies doing this.  Many of the gills were solid keeper size and the crappies were of good quality too.  As a group we kept some of each species, but released many of the larger crappies.  This is something we have done for the past several years, letting those bigger fish back into the system so they can reproduce for years to come.  Of those bigger fish we decided to release was my largest public water crappie ever, a solid 15inch black crappie that weighed 2 pounds and 1 ounce.  It was a beast, and I just couldn't put it in a bucket.  A few pictures and it was released back down the hole.  We also found some schools of catfish.  In typical fashion the catfish were suspended in the middle of the water column and fell to spoons jigged with meat.  

The key bait for the day was a silver/pink Reins Tungsten Palpuntin Spoon.  If you like spoons, you have to take a look at this tungsten version.  It has a unique fall and drops like a stone.  I love using spoons on the 36-inch Jason Mitchell Dead Meat Stick paired with a Quantum Drive spinning reel with two pound test mono line.  Everything about this combo compliments each other and is perfect for hole hopping and dropping spoons on hungry fish.  

Get out and enjoy the ice, hopefully we still have 6 or so weeks left here in Iowa to hit the ice.  

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Saying Good-Bye to 2020 at Lake Okoboji

 Lake Okoboji has called my name every winter for quite some time.  I tend to hit this body of water around the first of the year when ice isn't that great around the state.  This trip was by far the most difficult in recent years due to the late winter weather.  A lot of the lake was not "safe" to venture out on which limited us to a few areas in Spirit Lake and West Okoboji. Both lakes produced fish, however we ended up sticking to sight fishing on Little Emerson Bay for most of the trip.  The water was very clear and you can see every detail of the bottom of the lake in 9 feet of water, a real treat as it has not been this way in recent years.  Being able to see your jig and how your every movement impacts whether that bluegill below you bites or not can be quite humbling.  This trip provided us with a solid sight bite that was steady enough enough to produce a few dozen good sized keepers each day for our 5 man group.  using small jigs with spikes or small plastics was key to catching most of the fish.  As with any trip to Lake Okoboji many species were caught; bluegills, pumpkin seeds, black crappie, largemouth bass, perch and a northern pike.  

A 13.5 inch Crappie was a big surprise while sight fishing.

If you have never ice fished at the Okoboji Lakes, put it on your list of things to do.

It isn't often that you catch a fish as long as your pole!