Team Toyota’s Terry “Big Show” Scroggins believes that to keep his illustrious pro career of two decades competitive, having a professor’s level of knowledge regarding forward-facing sonar is imperative. So, he’s been utilizing dozens of crappie fishing trips on his home waters of the St. Johns River to dial in his understanding of “FFS” with great precision.
“When forward-facing sonar first came out, I didn’t pay much attention to it. Early on, I’d say only about 30% of the pros used it, mostly when we went to northern smallmouth fisheries. Now, it’s a player in every region of the country. Whether you’re scanning cypress trees in 4 feet of water in South Carolina or throwing a drop shot 30 feet deep in New York … you’d better be using it,” emphasizes Scroggins.
Recent crappie fishing trips have taught “Big Show” three valuable forward-facing sonar lessons he graciously shares to help all FFS users be more efficient.
Set The Range To 25-Feet When You’re Around Fish
Rather than leave the transducer’s beam to range out 100 feet all the time, or even closer at 50 feet, Scroggins has learned when he knows he’s around fish, to reduce the range down to 25 feet, which in turn provides a far more detailed look at how the fish are behaving, and reacting to his lure.
“When I set the range at 25 feet, not only can I see exactly where my tiny little 1/32 ounce crappie jig is in relation to the fish or brushpile, but I can also literally see their tail fins moving and tell whether they’re swimming toward my jig or away from it,” insist Scroggins.
Choose Your Screen’s Color Schemes Carefully
All brands of modern-day sonar units offer anglers their choice of various color shades on the screen. However, the color one person’s eyes see best may differ from their fishing buddy’s. So, try various shades until you’re confident you see the most detail.
“I like the black emerald color scheme a ton. It’s probably my favorite most days. But I also like midnight blue and orange crawfish. It all depends on your vision, clouds versus sun, and even the lens shade in your sunglasses. So, utilize the color pallet that shows the most detail for your eyes, based on all those factors,” he suggests.
Turn Your Other Sonar Units Off
One of the many peculiar observations Scroggins has made amid his in-depth study of FFS is how too many transducer signals make a “pinging” or “clicking” noise under the water, spooks fish.
“There’s no doubt in my mind when you’ve got two, three, or four sonar units all turned on simultaneously, all that pinging noise from the transducers spooks fish. I’ve watched it happen. So, when I’m working on catching a school of them, I turn all the sonar off, except for the one unit I’m looking at,” says Scroggins.
So, whether you’re still considering adopting forward-facing sonar or simply trying to learn how to use it better, surely Scroggins’ detailed observances while crappie fishing will lead you to catch more bass, too, as it has for him in recent months.