When these Humminbird flasher units came out, they created quite a stir. They were taking on big names like Vexilar and Marcum who are two companies who remain politely at each other’s throats within the ice fishing flasher industry. A lot of people poo-poo’d the Humminbird ICE series, but we gave them a try. Of course, they being a new electronic device, presented several issues with the first users of these models. They were very different from the status quo, had a really big screen that was run by fiber optics as opposed to spinning LED’s. The colors were bright and well defined, and the 55 came with a nice case. We shipped one out to a customer and the nylon taffeta lining of the grab-hole (that allows one’s fingers to grab the inside handle) was torn a little. The customer made a huge and unnecessary stink about how the whole unit now could not be trusted because of 2″ internal tear of a piece of nylon was a little shredded. It was absurdly ridiculous at how bent out of shape this guy was. There was absolutely no damage of any kind to the important parts but it was like the world was caving in around him complete with him making threats about ruining our business online if we didn’t -to use the term that is now fortunately fading – “make it right”. Ordinarily, all he’d have to do is call H-bird at their easily provided 800 number but, that wasn’t going to happen so I had to pick it up and send him a new one. As per usual, we ended up making about 10 total cents when this deal was complete.
The fortunate part, in trying to find a silver lining in my working for really close to nothing in this business, was that I got to take that “highly defective” ICE 55 out on the ice with that awful, terrible, end of the world, rip in the grab-handle pocket of the case. I took it out and despite the nightmare of a tiny rip in the nylon, I dragged it around and used it for two whole years with ZERO problems, rip and all! How was that even possible? I dunno, but that ICE 55 was awesome!
I’ll admit it- I was not nice to it, either. It bounced around in my cargo sled behind my Skidoo. I’d leave it outside in -25° F and use it the next day before it warmed up. Once, I hit a bad slush stretch on the ice with the Skidoo and buried the case in rough bumpy solid ice. It worked like a champ every time I went to use it! It would run all day long or about 6-8 hours on a charge – at least I never ran out of power before my day was up. The screen was easy to read even from angles. There was no following little yellow lines and tying them into the depth range buttons to figure out what scale I was operating on. I really liked the additional blue color for the fiesta-like experience and defining bait fish as they passed by. The great on-screen LCD read-outs of the depth the minute the transducer hit the water was also excellent. No guessing or ‘cypherin’. Having the readouts of the battery, the cone/beam size, etc. all added up to a very good unit. The inline zoom is also a great feature and I find it far easier to read than splitting the screen into two halves. Sensitivity and interference rejection are all easy to figure out as well. I like the case with all the pockets and the totally insignificant rip. The completely worthless part on the ICE 55 is the target marker line thing. You get a purple line that you can move anywhere in the water column to mark the depth of fish passing through. You’ll never use it. And the part that I REALLY liked about the ICE 55 was that it plays nice with everybody else. You can literally have Vexilar operating 3 feet from the ICE 55 and neither flasher knows the other is present. The only units who experience interference are other Humminbird ICE series flashers in the 35, 45, and 55. They fight each other being on the same frequency.
What are the differences between the 55, 45, and 35? They all have dual beam and some sort of a battery indicator. They are all the same size. The ICE 35 does not tell you the depth or other details with and LCD monitor as there is none. You have to look at the range lines and match them to the depth of the depth range knob. It only has three colors, red, orange and green and this is the same for the ICE 45. The ICE 45 has the LCD screen like the ICE 55 but does not have the blue color like the ICE 55 and does not have a case. It’s also slightly less powerful than the ICE 55 but customers rave about the ICE 45 doing a bang-up job and I hear the same about the ICE 35. I’ve yet to run into anybody wishing they didn’t order a Humminbird ICE series flasher, but I have run into several people who declare them to be no good because they don’t say Vexilar on the side. These are also people who’ve never really used the Humminbird ICE locators either. Vexilar makes great products, there is no doubt, that the ICE 35, 45, and 55 are solid proven ice flashers as far as I’m concerned. Their extra features run well and are worth it. Humminbird’s warranty department is also top-notch based on my customers’ occasional need for help with problems. I still highly recommend these Humminbird flashers.
Flaws with these units? Some say the knobs came off too easily. I never had that experience – ever. I’m just wondering what the heck they are doing to knock the knobs off when I’ve never knocked one off. It’s hard to access the batter through the case. You are better off pulling the whole thing out of the case to access the battery terminals. The case by itself is too expensive in my opinion although we do sell a few each season. There can be some after-market cases available that will work, and soft sided coolers do a nice job as well. The cord that H-bird uses as float-system because Vexilar owns the patent on putting a piece of foam directly on the transducer cable. Just think about how you could remedy that problem on your own….it’s not hard and all the stuff you need is in the box. Hint, hint.
That’s about it for “cons” with the Humminbird ICE Series of flasher. They are kind of rinky-dink if you ask me.
To order the ICE 55 – Click Here
To order the ICE 45 – Click Here
To order theICE 35 – Click Here