When the temperature starts dropping towards zero, we start thinking about ice fishing – actually, we pretty much always have fishing on the brain. For us, it’s impossible to think of ice fishing without thinking of Vexilar who we’re pretty sure more or less invented the flasher. Today’s review is on the FLX-12, an upgraded version of the FL-12 that’s been in their line for quite a few years. The FLX-12 is a very straightforward flasher; it’s quite basic, and what it does, it does extremely well. This flasher is perfect for anglers who want an affordable flasher and are happy to twist a few knobs to get the settings exactly where they need to be.
- Super Bright Display
- 1" Target Separation
- Auto Zoom
- Low Power Mode (an Low Power Zoom)
- Fantastic Interference Rejection
- Simple Controls
- No CHIRP
- Flasher Only
- Few Features
Technical SpecificationsThis is one of the most stripped down fish finders you’ll find on the market, but that’s not a bad thing. Here’s an analogy for you - you can get a computer with a gigantic case full of flashing lights and interesting start-up noises but if the processor is trash and it doesn’t have a video card, it’s not going to run well regardless. Vexilar honed in on making sure the parts are what you need them to be; the transducers are well constructed and cold-resistant and the unit itself is quite durable and easy to control, while giving you the features you need to catch fish - nothing more. You should know that there are three different transducers and three different cases that you can get with your FLX-12; we’ll delve into the differences between those in their respective sections.
|Max Depth||120 ft.|
|Transducer||12°, 19°, Pro-View|
Display & Interface
The display on the FLX-12 is the pinnacle of simplicity; if you’ve used a flasher before, you probably know exactly how this thing works. You’ve got a flat screen and bright LEDs. This flat screen is incredibly handy when you’ve got a lot of buddies fishing with you because it can be viewed from a variety of different angles. The color scheme is as straightforward as possible: green signals are weak, yellow signals are of medium strength, and red signals are strong.
You’ll see numbers along the perimeter of the flasher and those numbers will tell you how deep down objects are appearing. The numbers range from 1 to 20 and indicate how many feet down things are. We can adjust depth and we’ll talk about that later in the “Features” section. Bottom will usually pop up as a long red line. If you see it at the 12 mark, that means bottom is around 12 feet down. Simple!
There’s one other handy display related feature: night mode. These LEDs are really bright and you’re going to get a headache if you’re using them full blast when it’s dark. Flip to night mode by pressing and holding the gain knob and you’ll save yourself a lot of eye strain – that means you can fish for that much longer.
Now let’s talk about the interface. There are two knobs – one for gain and one for range. There’s also a button that lets you adjust the interference rejection, useful if you’ve got some pals with transducers in the water. That’s it!
There are two knobs, and there are two features. The first one is the gain; adjust it in order to get rid of unnecessary clutter on your flasher. You might also be able to up the gain in order to increase the radius of your transducer, but we’ll talk more about that in the transducer setting.
Interference rejection is super straightforward; you press the button when there are other transducers in the water in order to stop their signals from jumbling up the information you see on your flasher. You’ll have to toy around with it for awhile in order to find the right setting, which is a bit of a pain, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy enough to repeat the process.
Now let’s talk about range. You turn on the system by flipping the range knob to 20; that gives you the standard range array we talked about in the display section. You can then adjust that knob to x2, x3, x4, or x6; that applies a multiplier to all the values you see on the perimeter of the flasher. Here’s an example: if you’re on the x3 setting, then the “1” on the perimeter of the display is actually the first 3 feet of water, the “2” is the next 3 feet, so on and so forth. That’s what gives us our maximum depth of 120 feet.
There’s one more handy setting on the range knob and that’s the low power mode. In this mode, less battery is being consumed but the signal can be a bit weaker and you can only go down to a maximum of 20 feet. You’ll use it when your battery is low or when there are a lot of small, irrelevant targets that are clogging up your view.
You can get three different transducers with your FLX-12: the 12°, the 19°, or the ProView. All three of the transducers are made of barium titanate; Vexilar uses this metal because it’s cold resistant. They also all come with a flotation device that keeps them the right side up when you’re fishing, essential because unlike summertime fishing, there are no handy boat parts to mount the transducer to.
The 12° transducer gives you a 12° cone; no surprise there. This cone is accurate down to about 45 feet, after which the data might be a bit distorted, inaccurate, or incomplete. The 19° transducer, as you can guess, gives you a 19° cone, accurate to about 30 feet down. Now, it should be said that when we’re talking about transducer cones, it’s not exactly an accurate triangle; sound travels in weird ways, especially in the water, so you might “see” some areas quite clearly while other areas at a similar depth aren’t as accurate on the flasher.
The best bet is the ProView transducer. We’ve heard mixed things from other anglers about it but we like it quite a bit and we think with a bit of patience and finesse, you’re going to like it a lot too. The transducer starts as a 9° cone transducer allowing you to get a lot more depth than the other two. It’s specifically designed to work with the gain knob on your FLX-12, and by increasing the gain, you increase the radius of the transducer, allowing you to see further. You’ll want to use a higher gain to search for a spot to fish and the lower gain when you’re actually fishing. We’ve found it quite effective and encourage you to give it a try.
You can get one of three different packs with your FLX-12: the Genz Pack, the Pro Pack, and the Ultra Pack. The Genz Pack is incredibly simple; it’s basically a durable plastic box you can hook the transducer up to and it comes with a 12 volt, 9 amp hour battery. (All three packs come with a battery). The battery is exposed and to turn it off you need to disconnect a wire so it’s very DIY. The pack also doesn’t come with any attachments but you can hook stuff up to it if you’re willing to put in a little elbow grease.
The Pro Pack is a bit more sophisticated than the Genz Pack as it comes with a semi-enclosed (but still mostly exposed) spot for the battery as well as a tackle box and a rod holder. Aesthetically, we find it a bit more pleasing, but it’s nothing to write home about.
The Ultra Pack is a lot like the Pro Pack, except the battery is fully enclosed. It comes with a master on/off switch as well as a digital depth display.
Honestly, we really like the Genz Pack. If you’re not afraid of putting a bit of work in, it’s a lot cheaper and we’re assuming that if you’re getting the FLX-12, you’re not worried about putting in a little extra effort to get the most value out of your flasher.
The Bottom Line
This thing is barebones – and it’s wonderful. Fishers who aren’t looking for a flashy flasher (pun intended) will really like it. No, it doesn’t have digital depth display, it doesn’t have auto zoom, and it doesn’t have a number of color schemes. You’ll basically be using this thing if you’re a shallow water angler and you’ll probably want to step up to the FLX-20 or 28 if you’re looking for deep water angling or a more sophisticated set of features. For those who are just looking to get the most affordable workhorse of a flasher on the market, you can’t go wrong with the FLX-12.