It’s tournament Saturday, you pull up on a spot that just looks “fishy”. You’ve seen this spot a thousand times. Lay down running down into the water, branches protruding in every direction. There HAS to be a big bass hiding here somewhere! But, is there? 

Time is of a premium on tournament day. You need five fish for a limit and you haven’t even put one on the board yet. You pick up your favorite square bill and give it a fling, bouncing it off every limb coming down that laydown. Nothing! Maybe she’s on the other side? You cast a second time down the other side in the shade, deflecting off branches, nothing. Ten, fifteen more casts. Nothin! Spin around and grab the jig rod. Maybe she’s tight on the cover. Pitch that black and blue jig in the middle of that laydown and work it all the way back to the boat. Again, both sides. Multiple casts. Nothin! Surely a white fluke will bring her out to eat? Multiple casts again. Nothin! 

You’ve just used 30-40 minutes of time picking apart that “fishy” spot, but no “fishies”! 

Therein lies the dilemma. Is FFS (Forward Facing Sonar) really worth it? You just used premium time on a spot that you were certain would hold at least one fish and came up empty. If you had FFS would you have spent that much time in that spot? Or any other spot for that matter? That grassy main lake point? The flat running back to that feeder creek? 

Electronics have come a long way over the years. From flasher in dash units to the most sophisticated live action units that provide real time info. And that question remains. “Is it for you?” 

There really is no (in my humble opinion) correct answer to that question. Is the investment worth the return? Who says there even has to be a return? Regardless it’s a huge topic in todays fishing world, and has caused many a discussion, sometimes heated. Is it “cheating?” Should it be banned? Lets take a look at those two questions. 

  1. Is it cheating? No, as long as the tour or club you fish allows it, its not cheating, and its available to anyone who wants to fork over the ca$h! 
  2. Should it be banned? This is where you’ll get a multitude of opinions, and everyone is entitled to their own. Some say its ruining televised fishing because all you see is an anglers back while he looks at his livescope. But, really, when you think about it you were just looking at their profile before this technology arrived. 

The recent BASSMASTER Elite series on Lake Fork Texas left a lot of guys “scratching their collective heads” and some of those were seasoned veterans only to watch a 19 year old young man get the job done. He and a host of other young guns put FFS to work and put up big bags on all 4 days, with the eventual winner Trey McKinney coming ever so close to putting up another tournament record for weight to go along with being the youngest to ever win an event. 

So, is FFS for you? I’ll admit. I took the bait. I have GARMIN’S Livescope on my FeelFree Dorado kayak. I have the 12” graph. I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been a blast since I finally got it all hooked up and working correctly. But, (there’s always a but) I’d also be lying if I said it wasn’t frustrating. My tournament last week case in point. I was locating fish, but not getting a consistent bite. Its a great tool to have to save time on empty holes like mentioned above, but watching multiple fish follow baits and turn around and go back the other way will make you wanna kick it in the water. Haha! 

So, in closing, here’s to everyone who has decided for or against FFS. I wish you tight lines, and heavy bags for you big boat guys and gals. Til next time.

Jerry Spradling