Real-Time Imaging in… Saltwater?

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Structure-loving fish, like grouper, can certainly be targeted via real-time imaging.

A couple weeks ago a group of outdoor journalists, including yours truly, gathered in Houston for an event put on by Berkley Fishing. They have several new lines of lures (including the Krej, the Finisher, and the Power Switch) which are designed specifically for use with real-time imaging sonar (sometimes called forward facing sonar). Everything was very bass-centric, which makes sense since fishing with this tech has burst onto the professional bass fishing scene like a tsunami. But it got me thinking: just how useful could this tech be for a saltwater angler?


Structure-loving fish, like grouper, can certainly be targeted via real-time imaging.

If you’ve fished with one of these systems, then you already know they really shine when fish are more or less stationary, clustered near structure in relatively shallow water. You can spot them, offer a bait or lure, and watch for their reaction. Will this be of help when Spanish mackerel are chasing bait three miles from the beach? Not one iota. But picture a jetty where you might find grouper,  sheepshead, or snapper. With one of these rigs, instead of blindly flailing the water as you move along the rocks, you could cruise along and “see” where the fish are holding. Then you could hit Spot-Lock, catch those fish, and then move on. There’s no more wasted time “prospecting” because you can literally see the individual fish and know exactly where they’re sitting.

Imagine fishing along mangroves for redfish, or weedbeds for specks. Again, blindly prospecting becomes a thing of the past and instead you can look for the fish as if you could see right through the water. Because you can.

The lures we saw in Houston were freshwater-oriented, though that said they will still prove effective in plenty of saltwater venues. As these real-time imaging systems become more and more popular, however, you can bet that we’ll see more and more of them in saltier waters. And if lure makers continue down this path it won’t be long before we see saltwater-specific lures being designed specifically for use with real-time imaging. Stay tuned…


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