Flasher versus Camera

Yellow Perch going for a lure on an underwater camera

Underwater cameras and sight fishing can help you learn the proper presentation to trigger the bite by watching bait movement and the fish’s reaction.

The times have changed and technology has made itself a must have ally in our chase to put fish on the ice. Fish no longer have a place to run and hide without fisherman hot on their trail. But, as the samurai say, “the sword is only as good as its master.”

I am often approached by fisherman who are just getting into ice fishing or avid fisherman looking to expand into the world of electronics. Either way, the question is always the same. What is better to start off with, a camera, or a flasher?

Growing up in this sport, I often compare what we do now to what we did back then. I have been sight fishing for most of my life and on the rare occasion, toot my own horn as a professional sight fisherman. As a child, there were plenty of trips to the local appliance shops to pick up refrigerator or oven crates and boxes to use as make shift ice shanties so I could see what was going on down there. I still feel today that sight fishing is the most productive, but not the least frustrating, form of ice fishing there is.

When you can actually see what the fish are doing below you, you have an opportunity to study the reactions of the fish to the presentation that you offer. Not only is this a chance to study fish, but you can also study your bait as well. You will learn what triggers the bite and what spooks the fish. Different species react to different presentations, yet some presentations will work for most of the fish you may pursue. Some presentations work great in 4′ of water but need to be more aggressive in deeper water to achieve the same action in your bait due to your line absorbing the turbulence of your jigging action.

A mess of panfish on ice next to an ice fishing flasher

Flashers work great, but only if you know what presentations the fish want in order to trigger the strike.

All of the visual lessons that you learn while sight fishing or using an underwater camera are then transitioned over to using a flasher. Remember, with a flasher, you can only see that there are fish below you. You have no idea what they are until you land them. If you know what presentations to try in order to fire up the bite, you drastically increase your success rate while using a flasher unit. The only way to know what presentations to try is to know what your bait is doing under the ice and how the fish react to it. The best way to learn this is through sight fishing or using an underwater camera.

There are many different brands and types of both flashers and underwater cameras available to fit the needs of most fishermen. The most popular of which are made by Marcum, Aqua View, Humminbird, and Vexilar. All of these brands carry multiple pieces of equipment and price ranges.

In conclusion, if you asked me which is the better electronic device to upgrade to when starting out, an underwater camera and sight fishing is going to be my answer. Good luck out there!

Filed Under: FeaturedIce Fishing Tips

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HARDWATERMANIACS About the Author: Raymond and Mandolyn Tiffany are a professional husband/wife ice fishing circuit duo who live in Kaukauna, WI. Avid conservationists and sports-persons whose primary focus is children and helping them to be involved in the outdoors and ice fishing. K&E Stopper pro staff, Clam Corp pro staff, Strikemaster pro staff. Team quote: "Learn what you can, teach what you know." NAIFC competitors. WIFL competitors. Open to fish with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Let's go fishing and make your new fishing partner a "MANIAC!"

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  1. trkyhunter says:

    A camera is great for light bite fishing but if there is a current or water gets murky you cant beat a flasher. Both are great. I love bringing the camera for the kids. Keeps the interested longer. And to research what works and doesn’t. But for the most part the water I fish isn’t clear and I can’t do without my flasher.

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