LIVE versus Traditional

By Perry Hensley

I will start off by mentioning that I use an old Hummingbird 561 unit and have since it was on my boat when I bought it. I must say that I have located and caught a lot of fish with this unit, and I am thankful to have it.

In this article, I will give a run-down of pros and cons of the live sonar units (in my opinion). Also, the effects on the fish population in certain East Tennessee lakes plus the effects on Tournament fishing in general. Before we get started, let me say that I have fished with live sonar on two different occasions, on two different lakes here in Tennessee: one being Cherokee and the other being Douglas.

While at the present time, I do not own a live unit of any kind but was able to get out on the water with Slab Happy Pro Staffer and Crappie Guide, Tobie Cameron of (Cameron’s Guide Service) on Douglas, and Slab Happy Lures Pro Staffer and tournament angler, Chad Cates on Cherokee On two different occasions, I spent one full day on two separate lakes with each of these accomplished anglers and the results of the experience changed my views 100%.

First, let me state in the beginning that I was totally against live sonar on our lakes, period!

My first impression, like that of a lot of the old timers I know, was “Man, this is going to kill the crappie population on our lakes that are already suffering as it is”, such as in Douglas Lake. Another factor that boiled me dry (in my unjust first impression) was the thought of all the long, bitter cold days I put into learning all I could about crappie fishing and how some mediocre fisherman can just swoop in and take my crappie! These guys haven’t paid their dues likeI have!

Again, let me state that was my unjust opinion of live sonar.

Well, let me explain my opinions on those above-mentioned statements and thoughts and correct them. I have seen first-hand that although you may find and see the fish, this does not mean live sonar can make them bite! As a matter of fact, I had the opportunity to test this while fishing both with Tobie Cameron and Chad Cates on two separate lakes (Cherokee and Douglas). It was apparent, right off the bat, that even when we saw schools of fish and cast into these schools that, once the bait got to them, 80% of the time the fish would either turn away or follow the bait up several feet while never committing to a strike. That being said, live sonar will give you an advantage over traditional sonar for locating and seeing the size and school of crappie/fish in an area and help in determining if those fish are active or not, thus saving a tournament angler or guide a lot of precious time. Again, what live sonar will not do is make those fish bite! Furthermore, live sonar will not take away all those memories that you made with those you have loved and cared about and the experiences that you have acquired, if the unit happens to go out.

My final outlook on all of this is that technologies are evolving at such a high rate in today’s world that we must continue to take advantage of each opportunity, and each tool, to make the industry and the sport more competitive, successful, and enjoyable for all anglers!

Tight lines !