Forward Facing Sonar Making Waves

| March 3, 2024 | 0 Comments

What is FFS?

Have you seen them yet? Two bass chasing youngsters standing side-by-side on the bow of a glitter boat, aka. bass boat, or BA$$ boat, holding their rods tight, lures dangling just off the tip of their rods. And they’re staring intently straight down at a large video screen on the tip of the bow. Gamers, and there’s a new game in town.

It’s the latest video game, called Forward Facing Sonar, and it’s all the rage as well as generating all the rage on the bass pro circuits these days.

-Forward-facing sonar, also known as live imaging or live sonar, is a technology used in professional bass fishing to provide real-time imaging of the underwater environment. It allows anglers to see a detailed view of what is happening below the surface, including fish, structure, and baitfish, as they move through the water. This technology is valuable for locating fish, understanding their behavior, and determining the best approach for catching them. It can be particularly useful in finding fish in deep water or in areas with complex underwater structures.- CHAT GPT

The old school bass pros are up in arms because the natural order of things has been turned on its head by forward facing sonar, and the idealism and mysticism of becoming a bass pro has been filleted from the bones – the almighty dollars. No longer are their dues to pay, there are only dollars to pay for forward facing sonar, and the gamers can have a shot at placing in the money on any given weekend. “Having a shot” is a bit of an understatement. 

From the fly fishing perspective, there has always been a huge gap between the simplicity of a fly fisher’s gear needs and what a competitive, or very active weekend bass fisher needs to create their own luck. That gap amounts to sand kicked in the face of the 90-pound weakling fly fishing economy by the fishing business, and we’re used to it and even relish in our underdog status. 

But this new technology promises to make those conventional fishing bass chasers even more alien to us in this decade. Not that fly fishers want to reach for the stars of a glitter boat, but that gap I mentioned, just grew a lot wider. It is the gap between the art and purity of fly fishing and NOW the bass video gamers who are addicted to “scoring” on a screen. A generation; who forsakes the grind, the learning, the camaraderie formed in the trenches of failure, and the elation of success coming from what is in between their ears. Boiled down, they just got the high score on their video game console, and move on to the next game level – the next lake tournament.

Unfortunately my/our mission to attract a “new generation” to the fly fishing sport just got a whole lot tougher. Feel Free to Think. The age group who has been passionately playing video games indoors? They now have an outdoor video game to play that has real rewards and does exactly what their parents want – get them OUT OF THE HOUSE. And make no mistake, there are parents who will pay a lot of money to get their kids out of the house, or who will indulge their new passions.

Don’t get me wrong though! Plenty of these conventional fishers, young and/or old invest their hard earned money (what $5-thousand at the minimum?) on the new technology. You do the research, you work hard and you pull the trigger on your own forward facing sonar. Maybe you are a weekender, or a semi-serious competitor and you may even be interested in the big time … but now you have the same silver bullet in your chamber. More power to you, all of you who have the means to make your greatest video dreams come true.

I don’t have a real horse in this race, but if you watch the professional bass fishing community, you will see that all the passions that simmer just below the surface on any given lake on any given weekend? They are now boiling over with deeply passionate opinions on what to do about forward facing sonar on the pro tours. Of course it is simple to try and boil it down to a bunch of old men saying, “get off my lawn,” but some who are against forward facing sonar have valid concerns.

I have read that the gamers are:

  • rooting out big fish in deep waters, bass the old guys believe are better left alone
  • completely disengaging from fans onshore, and creating their own alienation
  • they are fueling an industry with demand for this technology with no consideration for the impact

If you really want an insight, meet Gerald Swindle from Alabama. I met him about … well a long time ago on his home lake while assisting on a Mountain Dew photo shoot. He’s pretty a pretty darn down-to-earth bass pro, and that moonshine wasn’t bad either! Here is what Swindle has to say, Alan McGuckin on Gerald Swindle Lake Fork Texas.

What a Fly Fisher Says

Watch the TPWD Texas Lakes waterbody conventional fishing bass records fall. Watch the trending numbers of ShareLunker bass that enter the TPWD breeding system. (I think that program will be put on pause soon.) That’s really all you have to do. Conventional fishing is heading full-speed-ahead into a brand new era in competitive and non-competitive fishing. And I THANK GOD I have no part of that world. What we fly fishers once considered a less thoughtful approach (yeah snobby perhaps) to fishing? It now becomes thoughtless. Just go shopping for your fish, skip over the little bass and pick the one you want right off the screen. Look at those bass bedding up, and pick one out. Correct me if I am wrong, but it really appears to be that simple.

What Can a Fly Fisher Do?

The riff between the two sports is now even wider. Reaching out to a young gamer to try and interest her/him/it in fly fishing is now bordering the impossible. If they want to fish, they want to cut to the chase, just like in their games. So what do we do to reach young fly fishers?

Well, we keep doing it the way we have been doing it – for one. And now we can AND must hone in on youth who have characters that do not conform to the video game addictions. Those young people have their own characteristics. Here are a few I have seen.

The have an:

  • interest in science – being in the outdoors and experiencing the outdoors
  • interest in art – fly tying
  • self identification as “individuals” not necessarily desiring to be in a team sport
  • abundance of patience
  • problems with focus aka. ADD

What else can we do? Maybe you have had success with bringing a generation to the sport of fly fishing for the long haul. How did YOU do it? How else can we hold onto these from the younger generations? Do we need to emphasize, now more than ever, the DIFFERENCES between conventional fishing and fly fishing – instead of going along to get along? I think it’s safe to say, the gamers are gone now.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Body-Mind-Soul, Equipment, Fly Fisher Health and Wellness, Fly Fishing AI ChatGPT, Fly Fishing for Largemouth Bass, Industry, Life Observed, Science and Environmental, TECHNICAL

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

Leave a Reply

Discover more from Flyfishing Texas

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading