Let’s run this up the forward-facing sonar flagpole

I want to run something up the flagpole for all of you.

The discussion of forward-facing sonar continues — ban it, regulate it, keep it open use. There are many opinions and feelings about it out there, but outside of the conversations about banning it or not, I haven’t heard a solution to it brought up.

I came back from the Bassmaster Elite Series Texas events a few weeks ago, and Mark, our warehouse manager at Missile Baits, brought up the topic of giving time limits in tournaments for its use. My initial thought was it would be too hard to police for the organizations.

However, the more I started thinking about it, it hit me these are first and foremost technology companies.  Every one of these devices needs software to run, and they could be programmed to do whatever they need to do.

I did a full brainstorm video on my YouTube channel about it, if you want to watch it.

But here’s the gist of my thoughts:

  • Ask the electronics companies to install a “Tournament Mode” into the units so anglers can have a countdown clock for how long the technology can be used.
  • Have it set up with the ability to select how many hours can be used in a 24-hour period in a drop-down feature on the graph. The individual tournaments can set a time frame anglers can use it for a certain amount of time, and then it will not be able to be used.

I know there would have to be a log that could be checked by the leagues, and there would be a lot to figure out, but it’s something I think is a possibility. I’m not even sure this is the “right” solution, but in a brainstorming session you throw all things out and see what starts to shine as the best idea.

Here’s my concern with where we go with this topic in this sport. We cannot ignore the technological advancements that get developed in our sport. Technology is responsible for better products and manufacturing processes that have helped us in every aspect of the industry. Boats, motors, fishing line, lures, clothing — every aspect. If we begin to ban technology, then where does it stop?

While I am a proponent of technology and the improvement it creates in our lives, careers and hobbies, I am also sensitive to being able to preserve the traditions of our sport. There are decades of learning, skills and applications we have to retain while advancing, so I’m throwing this out there for discussion.

Whatever the ultimate solution is, nothing is going to change midstream in 2024. The season is underway, and we will be using this technology for the rest of the season. What I do know is we need to have an informed, reasoned discussion about it with data that can bring the correct solution to this situation. After we have some solid ideas going forward, we will have to create and run some test events to see which plan works best.

I just thought I’d put this out there and see what further discussion it may generate.