Electronics have revolutionized fishing in so many ways, and ice fishing is no exception. It wasn’t that long ago when we were using landmarks on shore to lineup spots, then drilling dozens of holes to find that “spot on the spot”. It was a lot of work! Today, we have access to a whole host of tools that make the fish finding process quicker and easier than ever before.
These sonar/GPS combo units are not only incredible for ice fishing, but they also double really well for small boat fishing or remote fly-in trips. Their versatility and portability make them great tools to have on-hand in a variety of situations.
One thing that has really changed ice fishing in recent years is GPS mapping technology. Both the Helix 5 and the Helix 7 have micro slots that allow you to insert and use both LakeMaster and Navionics cards. This is BIG TIME when it comes to finding fish because it allows you to take those same contour maps you use in your boat and bring them out onto the ice with you. LakeMaster’s charts are so incredibly detailed, you’ll be able to find a hot fishing hole much more quickly that you would with a standard sonar unit.
There is a feature in both the Helix 5 and the Helix 7 called “Depth Highlight”. This is probably the most powerful tool I’ve seen in fishing, whether you’re fishing through the ice or in open water. It allows your to take your map and select a specific depth range where you want to focus your efforts. For example, if you’re chasing crappies during the wintertime, you might be looking for deeper basins, perhaps you’ve had your best luck in 32 to 34 feet. Simply select that depth range in the Depth Highlight menu and spots will start jumping off the map at you. It’s truly amazing.
Not only do these units have powerful GPS components, they also feature advanced sonar systems that help you see fish more clearly under the ice. Their dual beam technology allows you to view the water column through a narrow or a wide cone depending on the depth of water you’re fishing in. The screen itself can be brilliantly lit, allowing you to see your display in all conditions, even on bright sunny days. You can also dim the screen when you’re fishing after dark or in your ice house.
Both of these units are phenomenal for speeding up the fishing finding process. If you’re trying to decide between the 5 and the 7, know that the only difference is screen size. The Helix 5 has a five inch screen and the Helix 7 boasts an impressive seven inch screen. All the other features are the same!
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Ice anglers who are looking for something more traditional, a “trusted war horse” of sorts, will probably opt for a flasher style unit. For those guys and gals, we recommending checking out Humminbird’s Ice 35.
What we really love about this particular unit is the screen size. Watch the video and you’ll see what I’m talking about — there’s a ton of real estate! Just like the Helix units mentioned above, the Ice 35 has a bright display that’s easy to view on sunny days.
It also features the duel beam 9 and 19 degree cone angles. The 9 degree cone allows you to see with great detail in very deep water. The 19 degree cone comes into play when you’re up in shallower water, as the wider angle allows you to view a larger area around your hole.
Both units are phenomenal tools and are available at Mill’s Fleet Farm!
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