MarCum ShowDown Fish Finder Comparison Review: Showdown Ice Troller vs Showdown 5.6 vs Showdown 5.6 Dual Beam

marcum showdown fish finder reviewBelow is our detailed Showdown fish finder review and comparison chart of the MarCum Showdown Ice Troller vs Showdown 5.6 vs Showdown 5.6 Dual Beam digital fish finder. I was watching some guys catch some big walleye through the ice on the In-Fisherman TV show and noticed the portable fish finder they were using had a vertical screen.  Turns out that Showdown Digital Fish Finder is a sponsor for In-Fisherman TV and several versions of the Showdown Fish Finders have been around for several years.

The new Showdown fish finders are available in three models: The Showdown Ice Troller is a palm-size unit that can also fit into the optional Performance Pack (carrying case/charger/docking station), the Showdown 5.6 is a single beam digital sonar unit that includes the charger and carrying case, and the Showdown 5.6 Dual Beam has both a 8 degree and 20 degree capability to optimize for shallow or deep water.

Major Differences Between the Showdown 5.6 Digital Fish Finder vs Typical Ice Flasher

  • Vertical screen –  simple to understand, up is up, down is down
  • Half the foot print
  • Simple 7 button operation
  • Ice mode – heats the LCD screen to prevent freezing to -20 (degrees f)
  • Totally Silent – digital,  no mechanical parts to wear, vibrate or make noise
  • Battery life – lasts for days instead of hours

The fish flashers might use the circular display to save space, but it just seems more intuitive to have a vertical screen that represents the bottom of the lake at the bottom of the screen and the surface at the top, instead of the way it is oriented on a flasher with the 12 o’clock position at the top of the water or the ice, the 3 o’clock position is one third of the water depth, the 6 o’clock position represents two-thirds of the water column and the 9 o’clock position is the bottom.

MarCum Showdown Fish Finders Comparison Chart

Model: ShowDown Ice Troller ShowDown 5.6 ShowDown 5.6 Dual Beam
Display 5-inch Vertical LCD High Contrast, 4 Level Grayscale 5-inch Vertical LCD High Contrast, 4 Level Grayscale 5-inch Vertical LCD High Contrast, 4 Level Grayscale
Display Daylight Viewable Backlit Yes Yes Yes
Internal heater for LCD display Yes Yes Yes
Sonar/ Transducer 20 degree, 200 khz, 40 ping/sec 20 degree, 200 khz, 40 ping/sec Dual beam; 8 and 20 degree, 200 khz, 40 ping/sec
Transducer Cable 6 ft 6 ft 6 ft
Power Output 1,000 Watts RMS, 4,000 Watts Peak to Peak 1,000 Watts RMS, 8,000 Watts Peak to Peak 1,000 Watts RMS, 8,000 Watts Peak to Peak
Max Depth 120 ft 240 ft 240 ft
bottom cross section 10 ft 3.5 ft 3.5 ft 1.4 or 3.5 ft
bottom cross section 40 ft 14.1 ft 14.1 ft 5.6 or 14.1 ft
bottom cross section 120 ft 42.3 ft 42.3 ft 16.8 or 42.3 ft
Target Separation 2½-inch ½-inch ½-inch
Auto Depth Scale Yes Yes Yes
Auto Bottom Lock Zoom No Yes Yes
Moveable Zoom No Yes, 1 foot increments Yes, 1 foot increments
10 level Interference Rejection Yes Yes Yes
Surface clutter elimination No Yes Yes
25 Sensitivity settings Yes Yes Yes
Digital Yes Yes Yes
Manufactured Minn., USA Minn., USA Minn., USA
MSRP Price $199.99 opt Performance Pack $49.99 $349.99 $399.99
Buy Online ShowDown Ice Troller ShowDown 5.6 ShowDown 5.6 Dual Beam

The new Showdown 5.6 digital fish finders are made by Marcum Industries in Minnesota.  The Showdown 5.6 is an upgraded version of the AquaVu Showdown that was available several years ago.  Since the Showdown Troller and Showdown 5.6 are new models, almost all of the online reviews are talking about the older models.

Marcum Showdown Ice Troller Overview

Marcum Showdown 5.6 vs Showdown 5.6 Dual Beam

What Reviewers Liked about the Showdown Digital Fish Finders (Models VPG, 2.0, 3.2 and 5.6)

  • Liked the vertical screen and simple to use
  • Liked the long battery life
  • Liked the fact it was silent, no whirling noise
  • Liked better target separation
  • Liked the price
  • If needed, customer service was great

None of the reviewers of the Showdown fish finders said they didn’t like the vertical screen and nobody said they were harder to use than traditional flasher type fish finders.  To the contrary, they claimed their kids or inexperienced friends preferred using the Showdown to other fish finders.

There are many stories about guys that were able to use the Showdown for ice fishing for several days between battery charges, instead of having to have extra batteries just to get through the day.   Several reviewers mentioned that they liked the fact that the digital Showdown models were totally silent.  One guy joked about using his flasher unit to make the humming noise so he could sleep at night.  That fact that there are no moving parts and therefore no noise has to be part of the reason that the battery life is so long.

Several reviewers remarked about the ability of the Showdown fish finder to separate targets (1/2 inch).  One guy claimed to be able to tell if his hook was baited or not and another claimed to be able to tell the difference between a 1/16 oz and 1/32 oz jig.

Who doesn’t like the price of the Showdown fish finders when compared to the flasher units that are on the market.  One guy joked that he could buy a Showdown fish finder, an ice hut, a case of beer and dinner instead of buying a traditional flasher unit.

And something very import for me to hear, every reviewer that mention that they needed customer service for what-ever reason, only had good things to say.

Criticisms of the Older Showdown Fish Finder – Answered by the New Showdown 5.6

  • Suggested that the LCD screen might freeze  –  The Ice mode heats the LCD screen to prevent freezing to -40 (degrees f).  The Ice mode must shorten battery life, but according to one user, he had been ice fishing eight separate times on a single charge and had used Ice mode the entire time.
  • Interference from other fish finders was a problem – The new Showdown 5.6 software update provides 10 levels of interference rejection.  One ice fishing tournament pro claims he usually needs only 5 levels to tune out all of the interference from all sonars in the area.
  • Couldn’t use in shallow water – Surface clutter issue was fixed with the software update so detection of the bottom and depth readings are accurate.
  • Didn’t think they would like gray screen after using color – Instead of changing colors, the Showdown uses darker or lighter shades of gray.  The back-lit screen is easier to see in bright light where small color differences may be hard to see.  Fish sizes shown by the thickness of the line (one to four bars) and fish moving into the cone become darker (four tones, light gray to black).

The Showdown Brand has a New Owner – Versa Electronics Buys Marcum Technologies

A company called Nature Vision originally made the Aqua-Vu Showdown fish locator and the Aqua-Vu underwater cameras.  MarCum Technologies and the Showdown brand was acquired by Versa Electronics in 2009, who upgraded and manufacture the new Showdown 5.6 today.

Upgrade your Showdown VPG, 2.0 and 3.2 Models

For those of you that have used the older Showdown VPG 2.0 and 3.2 units, the new Showdown 5.6 has some improved functions and upgrades.

  • 1 foot zoom capability – instead of the old 5, 10 and 15 ft windows
  • Interference rejection – tune out the noise from other sonar units so you can still see your jig and fish
  • Eliminates surface clutter – one of the main issue with older models

Another advantage of digital technology, Marcum Industries is offering a software and transducer upgrade for the VPG and 3.2 units to the new 5.6 version for $49.99.  I assume this means the 5.6 versions will also be upgradable in the future, but as of now, they say if you already own a Showdown Troller, 5.6 or 5.6 Dual Beam, no updates are necessary. Showdown VPG and 3.2 Upgrade

Showdown Fish Finder User Manuals

The following Marcum Showdown fish finder manual links are pdf files (must have free adobe acrobat) that open in a new window.

Showdown Fish Troller Manual

Showdown 5.6 Manual

Showdown 5.6 Dual Beam Manual

ShowDown Fish Finders on eBay

Here are current deals on eBay for the Showdown Ice Troller, 5.6 and Showdown Dual Beam fish finders. Just don’t pay more for one then you would at retail stores:

[phpbay]showdown ice fish, 6[/phpbay]

January 18, 2018


  1. Tracy Harrell says:

    Is the performance pack for the showdown 5.6, the same size for the showdown 2.0 troller, or are they unit specific? Also, if you purchase a performance pack does it always include a plug-in battery charger?

  2. Jim Soteriou says:

    I have a 5.6 showdown with a 18 degree cone can that be upgraded to the 8-20 dual beam