Is forward-facing sonar a misnomer?

Let me point out that this isn’t another blog bashing or supporting forward-facing sonar (FFS).

However, I do want to set the record straight and deal in facts.

First of all, the name of the new technology that everyone now embraces as “forward-facing sonar” is a misnomer. I don’t know who started calling it that – it could have been Zona or me while discussing it on Bassmaster LIVE. When the equipment became available from the three principle players – Garmin, Humminbird and Lowrance – there wasn’t a generic name so we probably adopted it as forward-facing sonar.

But here’s the deal: The name implies it only looks ahead of the boat, but that’s not true. If the transducer is mounted on the trolling motor or an aftermarket “stick,” you can spin it around and look behind and to the sides of the boat.

In reality, it’s live sonar, hence the name “MEGA Live” that Humminbird labeled its gear and “LiveScope” that Garmin uses as its trade name. Lowrance went a different direction, calling its live sonar “ActiveTarget,” but it all means the same.

This new technology is real-time live, meaning you can watch a fish, follow it and see it literally react to your bait in real time.

When it was first introduced, some anglers said it was the same as forerunner technologies such as those that give you looks to the side or around the boat.

But those are different because they are not real-time. Think of it this way: Those technologies capture a picture and send it back to your graph.

With live sonar, you’re seeing it instantaneously. It’s like the difference between a photograph and a video.

The new technology allows you to see away from the boat in dramatic fashion. You can see fish rise or turn, watch your bait fall and see the fish’s response. That doesn’t happen with other types of sonar.

That’s why live sonar – or FFS if you desire to call it – is such a game changer. It’s the only technology that allows you to literally watch and cast to a fish in real time.

Therefore, it’s important to understand the true capabilities of this technology and the direction it can take us into the future. Also, keep in mind the technology is still in its early beginnings, and manufacturers are working to advance and improve it even more.

Is that a good thing or … ?

One thing is for certain — the impact live sonar has had on the fishing and tackle industry is something everyone is talking about and wondering where it goes from here.

No one has all of the answers, and certainly not me.