Monday, February 6, 2012

The Rise of the Marcum LX7

This is a tuff blog to write, since the beginning of my days as an ice fisherman, i have always been a Vexilar guy. My first flasher was a Vexilar FL18 and to be honest I did not think I would ever need or want anything else.. but then came along the Marcum LX7. Introduced at Icast 2011 this machine created a pretty large buzz, the expanded feature list included capabilities that took many of the best features from other flashers on the currently market and included them in a revamped and amped up machine.
Features like the ability to turn on/off a traditional Chart style graph, along with the standard Flasher dial and a vertical view... can you say Lowrance, Vexilar, H-bird and Showdown all wrapped into one?  Sure these other flashers have the option to utilize some of these, but none of them give you all, and never at the same time!

The key features that Marcum boasts on the LX7 are the various screen options (Circle Flasher, Vertical Flasher, Vertical Zoom, Chart) a dynamic depth feature, infinitely adjustable zoom, multiple color choices for your flasher and screen, as well as a built in USP port to make the unit fully upgradable in your home, without having to ship it back to Marcum (must have been some foresight here as the first update is already available) Last but not least the LX7 has a giant screen suitable for watching movies or the big game. with any new electronics the LX7 is not with out its share of issues.. hell.. if you look on you will find a 40+ page thread of guys discussing the pros and cons of this $700 flasher, issues like... a jumpy screen, poor battery connections, a poorly placed handle, depth reading issues and the worst of all.. no dynamic zoom, a highly advertised feature. To Marcums credit they have been working hard since the release of the LX7 in Oct, nope Nov, nope a final delay saw it released in December, and since then they have been working on an upgrade to solve some of these launch issues.

Just last week update 2.9 was released on the Marcum website and facebook. The update was quick and painless and took less then 5 minutes to complete (video aid and instructions provided) . Marcum states the Update corrected the Dynamic depth feature as well as improved the anglers control over target size (as well as other changes)

Personal Experience:

I have had my LX7 out on the ice for approximately 40hrs, and there are some things that I fell in love with immediately, the first being the Graph/Chart option, this is something that prior to using I thought I would have no use for, but when I dropped my jig down that first hole and watch a crappie streak up off the bottom to hammer it, I was hooked. This is something you dont get on most traditional flashers

 My favorite screen combo (so far) is the chart and Vertical zoom side by side. I fish using the zoom and monitor the chart for historical data (jigging pattern, and fish movement). This is great when fishing with beginners or just your buddies. After landing (or missing) a streaking fish, I can call a buddy over to show off the streak, or easily show off the jigging cadence/pattern in the water.

Images on the screen are nice and clear and I have little to no issues with target separation. The unit has plenty of power to pick-up micro jigs in 20+ feet of water as well as your buddies jig if he decides to pull up close by. (thats what happens when your catching all the fish, and have a new toy)

The only issues that have really effected me, are some slight markings on the screen, as well as poor battery connection. I have a hard time getting the initial connection at the start of each day and it has taken close to 5 minutes to get the LX7 to turn on, once on I have no issues. The battery charger seems a bit slow, and when fishing back to back days you need to make sure you start charging the battery as soon as you get off the ice if you want it ready for the next morning.

The backside handle is a feature I like and dislike, i like it as is makes for easy grabs when hole hoping on the ice, but due to power/ground wire placement you can easily dislodge your power wire if your not careful. To solve this issue I strapped down the wires under the piece of Velcro provided meant to strap down the battery. As mentioned above the wires are a bit loose as is and I have had issues making a solid connection. to improve this I pulled off the charger clamps so I get a cleaner connection.

After 40 hours on the ice, i will admit I believe the LX7 is worth the price of admission. Sure I was pulling my hair out waiting for its arrival, and sure I was a little frustrated that an update was needed right out of the box to get it working properly, but thats the price you pay when you buy a gen 1 piece of electronics... there will always be bugs, there will always be glitches, but so far, the LX7 was worth the wait.

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