John Myers column: The ‘Vex Hex,’ mesmerized by ice fishing electronics – Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — I’ve develop into a little bit of an nervous human being in my old age.

Sitting down to view a television exhibit has grow to be virtually unachievable. Almost nothing holds my desire for a lot more than a number of minutes. An entire movie? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Looking at a ebook has been difficult lately. I just can’t get more than a couple of chapters in and I’m prepared for a little something else.

Even observing a hockey sport in particular person has been tougher, my thoughts wandering by the second period. I know, I know. Blasphemy.

But on a few warm December times previous 7 days, I sat in a tent on a frozen lake in Canada, for additional than 4 several hours each time, and stared at an digital box that flashed crimson and green and whirred a hypnotic buzz. And I could not end observing. My eyes did not shift from the display screen. I was captivated. Enthralled. Bewitched.

I call it the “Vex Hex,” the spell forged by a Vexilar fishing depth finder, or any other identical model of machine.

A 16-inch walleye caught Dec. 9 even though applying a Vexilar ice fishing depthfinder.

John Myers / Duluth Information Tribune

Vexilars are potentially extra hexing, or vexing, simply because they develop a faint but audible whirring audio as they flash, exactly where most of the other units are silent. But it’s extra the shades — Christmas-like reds and greens, and the spinning motion of the Vex display — that cast the hex on me. Particularly when that very little purple blip moves up from the base, then will get larger, as it approaches the minimal red blip that represents your fishing entice.

That blip coming up from the bottom is a fish, and you can enjoy in real time as they assume about munching your bait. From time to time they attack instantaneously. Often they feel to be maddeningly undecided. From time to time they leave, unimpressed with your offer you.

That these gadgets assist you capture is not in question. They present you how fish react to distinctive lures, diverse baits, distinctive jigging steps. They also keep you mentally in the game.

For generations, ice fishing meant waiting and wanting to know what, if something, was down there. Now, you know the second you turn on your Vex. If you see absolutely nothing and are impatient, move on to new places. If you are assured in the place, as I was past 7 days, hold out and check out for the minimal pink blips to exhibit up.

Either way, you know if the fish are down there.

But perhaps greatest of all is they give you that split next to get all set. Like the point of a very good pet that tells you a pheasant is keeping shut, you get a 2nd to compose your feelings and make the proper decisions, the proper steps. Of study course, I however overlook as lots of fish as I hook, even with the Vex. But I’m definitely undertaking far better than I at any time did with out them.

Now, to be straightforward, my obsession on this journey may have been in element since this was the initial time out ice fishing for the period. And that the walleyes ended up biting fairly darned effectively. That the snowmobile began and ran. That the 9 inches of ice was extra than more than enough to be harmless. Everything seemed to function out. (Chipmunks experienced stored about 500 acorns in my Otter sled, but that is a different tale.)

People blips are interesting in them selves. What are the kinds that float up from the base and then seemingly vanish at our hole in the ice? Air bubbles? Ghost fish? What about the ones that show up midway down, then vanish quickly? Suspended crappies, maybe? Have you at any time attempted to stare down the hole to see if you can inform what is there? (I tried out. This time the drinking water was as well murky.)

25 inch walleye ice fishing

A 25-inch walleye, following to a 6-inch bobber, caught with assistance of a Vexilar sonar unit, on Dec. 10.

John Myers / Duluth News Tribune

There are substantially additional complex gadgets now than my Vex, models that scan to the facet to convey to you exactly where fish are out there, even yards away from your gap, not just down below. Models that provide photographs so obvious they search like an Hd movie. Superior underwater cameras now, much too, so you can even see what species the fish are, and how large.

I’m not likely there any time quickly. Some items I’d relatively not know, right until I see the significant white spot on the bottom of the tail as the walleye comes close to to the hole. Fishing demands to have some mystery, I feel. And I have invested about as a lot revenue and hard work into the Vex as I’m willing to do for ice fishing — a decrease-finish unit that is effortless to function for a dude who is not an early adapter. I’m trapped someplace among the old-university methods (a chisel and a spear, maybe?) and total-on modern technology.

But I do enjoy my Vexilar, and the Lowrance device that is now my backup. They have produced ice fishing completely tolerable, at times even pleasurable, like past 7 days.

In simple fact, I’m now pondering of getting rid of the flat-display screen Television in the bed room at dwelling and putting in a Vexilar.

I am going to run that one by the spouse 1st.

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