Anyhow, he obviously can catch 'em. Here's what he says about Live sonar, specifically in his case Lowrance
1. How does Active Target cut your practice time in half?
> "I ordered one at the beginning of the year, but I never put it on til the end of the [season]. I had a good year...[so] as long as everything is working and I can put the trolling motor down and beat the bank [he's good]. Then I put it on, the week of ICAST...went on Toho and found fish I'd never found before.
> "I only weighed 3 fish the last day at Norman...but I caught them all because of Active Target. ...all 3 fish were on areas I'd not fished before. ...[day 3] the fish had moved and were roaming, not locked to structure. I'd pull up on a point, with my boat in 25' of water, do a broad scan to see if any fish were sitting on the bottom or suspended off the point...should have done that all day...."
2. Okay but how about using it practice?
> "Back in the day you'd go down an area that looks fishy. You'd have to fish it to know if it was really fishy...spend a few hours or a day of practice to try to break it down. Now all I have to do is run up to it, set Active Target on 60', do a big broad scan, and you can tell if fish are even living there.
> "I'm not a big 'catch them in practice' fan. Even at Norman, I went around and scanned docks that had fish under them – that helped eliminate a lot of unproductive water."
3. What about areas that don't have fish but the fish move in later?
> "That's the thing you have to figure out. When I was fishing Lewis Smith Lake for the Pro Circuit in March...was fishing some underwater trees, not using Active Target. [Another pro] would run in and scan the trees, not see anything...and took off. But after he took off, the fish moved in and I caught 'em.
> "Also, one of worst thing about Active Target is we can see the fish...will stay there longer and try to catch them because you can see them....
> "It's a blessing, but it also can cause you to stay a little longer than you should in an area."
4. How does it help a regular fisherman who spends most of his time fishing 1-3 lakes?
> "It really depends. In FL [where he lives] during the springtime we're not fishing offshore...[Live sonar is] not as big a necessity. Where it comes into play is in the summer...hitting brushpiles. You can aim it at a brushpile and you can tell if there's 1 fish there or 5 fish there.
> "One of the best spots I had on Norman was a deep brushpile – I knew 7 fish were there.... I caught 3 out of that pile [on one day] and I knew 4 more were in there...."
5. Any tournaments this year where you didn't have it and wish you did?
> "Lewis-Smith was one. It's a shallow lake but it has a lot of transitional areas...deep docks. Spencer Shuffield was saying the last day that a dock [was over] 100' and 60' down 2 fish were sitting on a cable.
> "Eufaula...wish I had it...some of the big key fish were on offshore brushpiles.
> "Now I know that if I'm able to put 1-2 extra fish a tournament into the boat, it's worth its weight in gold. And I think that's what it's for.
> "Some guys catch all their fish on it all day long. If you're skipping docks or beating the bank, maybe not as much. But anytime a tournament gets pushed deeper than 7', it's an absolute necessity."