A majority of fisherman out there have used some type of flasher / sonar while ice fishing. It’s an essential tool that allows the angler to see fish, and to see how the fish are interacting with their bait. Although it is used all the time, a good number of anglers don’t understand how their sonar actual works. Jeremy Smith and Mike Hehner break it down and explain how your sonar cone angle works while ice fishing.
Understanding Sonar Cone Angle
Understanding your sonar cone angle can help you put more fish topside. If you understand what your flasher is actually relaying to you, you can make better decisions when it comes to your presentation/ jig cadence and trigger more fish into biting.
To demonstrate this Jeremy Smith and Mike Hehner cut a straight line in the ice that was about ten feet long. They did this in about twenty five feet of water. They then placed their Humminbird Helix 7 flasher in the middle of the hole, so there was about five feet on each side. That is about the range of your cone angle at twenty five feet.
Then to represent a fish they tied a musky lure onto an ice rod and dropped it down and kept it at the same level to show you what’s actually happening on your flasher.
When they dropped the musky bait down directly below the flasher, the unit gave off the strongest signal. Your transducer sends out a ping and anything down below bounces off and is relayed onto your flasher screen. When the musky bait is directly below it shows up as a bright red mark about a foot off the bottom. It is the clearest and strongest signal you will see as an ice angler. If you see this it means a fish is directly below you and potentially engaging with your bait.
As they begin to move the musky bait away from the hole the mark begins to get smaller and isn’t as strong.
It will change from a thick, red mark to a slimmer, yellow colored mark. As they continue to bring it further away towards the edge of the sonar cone angle the mark will appear too descend and fade out. Even though the mark appears like it is descending towards the bottom the depth level of the bait didn’t change.
This is important to remember because the fish isn’t actually on the bottom. Even though it appears like that on your flasher, the fish (in this case the musky lure) is actually a foot off the bottom and a few feet away.