Like a kid on Christmas morning, I tore the box open of my new Marcum LX-9. In awe of the shiny screen and all the hype, I wanted to get it wet and really see how it would impact my habits on the ice. Really, could one piece of equipment make that much of a difference?
The best test I could find was hitting a lake I never fished before. I’ve been surfing the net for info on a lake near-by that is under a 100 acres and lacking much obvious structure. Lake X has a max depth of 40+ feet and the shoreline drops from 10 to 25 feet very rapidly. The water clarity was clear to moderate and had slight signs of being very fertile. The only substantial difference I saw in the contour of the basin was two points that projected from 25’ into 30+ and a moderate inside pocket between them.
My strategy was to zig-zag holes from the pocket to the abyss and see what my new LX-9 could do for me. After a few sample holes to find the drop off, it didn’t take long to see some isolated lines hanging 2 to 4 feet off the bottom. As I mentioned, this is a new lake for me and I had no knowledge of color preferences. What I saw in the first 30 seconds got me equally excited as the introduction of the Hummingbird Side Scan. As I lowered an orange tiger Diamond jig with a 1” gulp, it was immediately greeted by a thick line. Well, sort-of…. The flasher view shown the lines as one, but a glance of the graph view I had on shown a very small minor separation. As worked difference cadences with the jig, I could see more distinctly the fishes’ response. More than I ever have been able to use electronics before.
Getting no cooperation, I pulled it up and changed to a Bumble bee Diamond jig with the same 1” gulp. Instant success! An 11’’ crappie rushed up and inhaled it on the fall. As I reeled that fish up, the few other marks beneath it vanished.
So, off to the races with punching holes and searching for a mother-load. That dream didn’t materialize. But I was able to find a few sporadic crappies here and there across the basin and grind out a very good meal.
I did however learn a lot more on what the Marcum can do for me. After about an hour on the ice, I could just about ID the size of the fish I was looking at. Hard to believe after all the years of looking at a “glob” of fish on my green box, super sixty, Si-Tex, and Vexilars. Just for giggles and curiosity, I pulled out my older FL-8 and ran it in the same hole – side-by-side with the LX-9. Not a true comparison by any means, but very interesting to see the differences in separation. In that hole, I marked fish a couple feet off of the bottom on both AND only on the LX-9 a paper thin line on the bottom. I lowered a spoon down tipped with a wax worm and set both units sensitivity to a minimal level of which I could see my spoon. At about 3” off the bottom, the vexilar shown nothing, and on the graph of the LX-9, I could see something tiny rise off the bottom. Moment later I iced a perch that was about 3” long.
Another moment of excitement came when I watched the largest mark of the day enter my cone. I lowered a silver/blue spoon down and with a minimal amount of enticement, I was hooked up. Fun battle on 2#, with one of the custom 42” noodle crappie rods I made. The Quantum Catalyst drag was ultra-smooth in the 10 degree temps as this little 29” pike went nuts.
This was a gem that I came across. Not only the Marcum LX-9, but the lake. Knowing there was an “Area Lakes” fishing jamboree going on, this lake only had about 5 guys on it. Fishing pressure was obviously non-existent. As I made swiss cheese out of the ice, I could see no one had been out punching holes in this area. So that explains why the tight-lip on the lake name, but clearly these mid-winter crappie patterns can be duplicated anywhere!
I’m in the process of compiling a lot more information on my LX-9 and adding a review under the ice-fishing forum in the days to come. I found a lot of Pros, and have a few cons as well. I invite other LX-9 owners to share in that discussion to see how we can get the most from this unit!