Flashers are a staple in avid ice anglers’ arsenal of gear. The concept is simple yet the technology has advanced rapidly across a few key brands.
The pioneer of ice-fishing fish flashers is Vexilar, and they managed to pack the best tech into a format that hasn’t changed much over the years.
In this article, I am going to review the top-of-the-line Model that Vexilar offers: the FLX 30 BB.
This unit is great for anglers of all skill levels due to the ability to use it straight out of the box as well as make fine-tune adjustments based on your fishing scenario.
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Pros of the Vexilar FLX 30 BB
This list of features, I feel, are the most beneficial and makes this unit user-friendly for new and advanced anglers alike. These features are fairly simple to utilize and can enhance your fishing experience the more you use them.
Out of the box the FLX 30 will be in Start Mode which is essentially its factory settings. It allows any angler to begin using the unit without having to navigate settings and just start fishing.
The unit will automatically adjust to the depth you’re fishing and give you a great visual on your targets below.
If you’ve never used flasher sonar before this setting is the best way to break the ice and get familiar with how it’s used.
The FLX 30 offers the ability to zoom in on the bottom 6’, 12’ and 18’ of the water column.
When zoom is engaged you will see the screen split showing the full depth of the water column on the right side of the circle and the zoom depth on the left side of the circle.
This feature is best suited in 20 FOW or more, as the resolution of the fish “marks” can be harder to see. You will get a larger more clear visual on your targets in those deep water situations.
Frequency settings are made possible thanks to the broadband transducer that was developed specifically for the FLX 30 BB.
To keep it simple, frequency is translated to the cone angle that the transducer emits below your ice hole. Lower frequency will give a wider cone angle, which gives a visual on any fish in your general area.
Increasing the frequency will begin to isolate the fish directly below your hole as the angle of the cone shrinks.
This feature is the most important to master as it can be used for any and all fishing scenarios you can put yourself in.
The FLX 30 BB offers the ability to set the power of your transducer to Low, Medium or High. Reducing the power will reduce the noise it emits underwater, as well as the clutter you see on your flasher screen.
In shallow weeds this helps eliminate seeing weed stocks and picks up on the more fish in the area as they are a more dense target.
Increasing the power gives you better visibility in water over 40 FOW, any shallower and the screen gets cluttered with excess clutter.
Digital Depth Reading
Having a digital display on your screen helps you quickly find your target depth without having to estimate depth by the tick marks on the round screen.
This sounds menial but in “combat fishing” scenarios where you are moving frequently to corner a pod of fish you need to know the depth they are relating to.
Cons of the Vexilar FLX 30 BB
The list of features below are the minor inconveniences and things that I feel are slightly overcomplicated about the FLX 30 BB.
This is not meant to downgrade the quality of this unit, but just shed light on what may need some research before using it effectively.
Interference is nary an issue with most Vexilars these days but in cases when you’re the only Vexilar around, other brand’s units will cause some minor clutter on your screen.
The IR in the FLX 30 BB is very effective but slightly cumbersome to use. It used to be a small yellow button that you could tap to cycle through the channels until your screen was more clear.
This unit requires you to hold down the gain knob until it flashes on the screen, then you have to quickly start cycling the channels before it disappears from the screen.
This is very annoying when you’re already annoyed by the interference you’re getting.
Color pallet selection
There are 5 color pallets to choose from on the FLX 30 BB, ranging from 2 colors up to 5 colors.
Additional colors will add clarity to the marks on your screen, and it doesn’t seem beneficial to reduce the number of colors.
It may simplify your reading in certain scenarios but you can’t tell if you’re jigging at a minnow or a northern pike if you don’t have the color contrast. Some may find this useful and I think it should be swapped with the IR mode.
Depth Range Mode
Depth range mode on the FLX 30 BB allows you to set the unit to read accurately in shallow water, medium-depth water or deep water.
For the average ice angler, you will never change this from medium depth. This is a necessary feature but it would make more sense if the unit automatically adjusted the screen to the depth the transducer is reading.
The FLX 30 BB is the swiss army knife of ice fishing flasher sonar with fine-tune adjustment and capabilities that only a small percentage of anglers take the time to learn fully.
As an avid angler, it’s an amazing tool that I hate to fish without, but the average angler may be deterred by the multitude of modes and settings.
The platform is what makes the FLX 30 BB so great, but it’s an expensive package to commit to if you’re never going to use more than factory settings.
So, Is the Vexilar FLX 30 BB any good?
Short answer, YES! You won’t find another unit as out of the box user-friendly as the Vexilar FLX 30 BB.
The Vexilar FLX 30 BB is packed with tech for the advanced user, and with a little practice and patience, the full capabilities of this unit will have you catching more fish this winter.
If you are looking for a high-quality and reliable flasher, with all the features to pinpoint fish you won’t be disappointed. It’s that simple.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a Lithium battery for the FLX 30 BB?
A standard lead acid battery will work just fine, however, the longevity is not there. A lithium battery will give you a longer charge and will also reduce the weight of your unit by around 30%.
Will the Proview transducer work with my FLX30?
Yes, but you will lose the ability to change frequencies without the broadband transducer. If you are in a bind (lost or broken BB transducer) and need a temporary replacement the pro view transducer will work.
Can I get just the FLX 30 Head Unit if I already have a Vexilar shuttle?
Yes, however, you will want to be sure to add the BB transducer as well to take full advantage of the FLX 30 BB. I have mine mounted on a customized Genz Pak with auxiliary power ports and rod holders.
The ultrapak is a great shuttle as well as it comes with a protective carrying case and lithium battery.
Can I use my Vexilar FLX 30 BB in the boat?
Many anglers will mount their Vexilar on the bow of their boat as a means to get a quick depth reading! It’s also very effective on calm days when vertical jigging!
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