I started to respond to another post and started to get a little off topic so I figured I’d start a new one and give a full review since I don’t see much about Humminbirds on this heavily biased site…
For the $$$, and after 2 years of use, I still love my Humminbird ice 45! After staring into a Vexilar for years and developing tunnel vision after a long day of fishin; the large, flat, BRIGHT, non-snow accumulating display on the bird has been great to fish with.
I’ve fished with it a handful of times in shallow, weedy water and it worked fine but after reading some of the responses regarding the Marcum flashers, I’d love to see one in action. However, I’m not sure it’s worth the extra coin for me since I spend most of my time on the ice fishing the basin for perch.
One thing about the Hummingbird in that respect, is it’s no frills fishing. I run it in Auto mode 99% of the time. Turn the knob from off 1 click and you’re fishin. The gain is usually adjusted correctly and interference from another unit is essentially non-existent. It’s got a zoom function which I’ve used a couple times and it works fine, but generally speaking, the sort of fishing I do isn’t rocket science requiring anything fancy. Drop transducer down the hole, hopefully mark fish, watch bait drop down to fish, and hopefully catch fish.
I’ve learned that if I really pay attention to marks on my display, I can read the fishes attitude towards my bait and have been getting pretty good at determining the size of the perch I’m looking at down there (within reason) which I’m sure can be done with the other units as well.. since the perch are seemingly always on the move, I don’t have much time to screw around with buttons, knobs, and different settings while I hole hop like a crackhead searching for his next rock so the unit suits my style of fishing perfectly. I couldn’t even tell you what the target seperation is, but to be perfectly honest, I could care less if the fish is a half inch or 3/4 of an inch away from my bait. If I do my part correctly, It’s going to end up on my bait. If fishing got really tough, I suppose I could zoom in and get a better picture, but i’m not sure that’s going to help me put more fish on the ice anyway.
And lastly, I am still amazed at the battery life. I could probably fish for 5 straight days all day long without having to recharge the thing.
Now for the downside. This thing will NOT read through the ice and that’s a great feature to have for roaming a large basin while looking for fish during early ice without having to drill. Not sure about Marcum, but my Vexilar was great for that. It could just be my unit, but it’s extremely sensitive. If someone walks up to me, my display gets slightly cluttered with each foot step. If someone is drilling holes near me, forget it.. the entire display goes nuts. I plan on looking into this more to see if mine has issues or what because its becoming increasingly more irritating. Early on, guys were complaining they couldn’t pick up their jig with the 45 or 55. As it turns out, the stupid thing they hang the transducer from wasn’t allowing it to hang straight. 90% of the issues they had went away when removing that clip. seemed like a good idea to take the stress off the wire, but the design was flawed.
Like everyone else, I’d love to upgrade to top of the line stuff and wish I had the cash for the ice 55 since or one of the fancy marcums, but at the end of the day, I’m not sure it’s going to help me put any more fish on the ice. and for under $400.00, I thinks it’s a great buy.