I’ve been using forward facing sonar for years now, and seeing what you want or expected to see is easier said than done, but after this article you’ll be able to dial everything to be able to see everything you thought you were going to be able to see when you got you Humminbird Mega Live sonar. Make sure to stay till the end of the article where I’ll share a cheap way to help maximize your ability to see your lure on Humminbird Mega Live.
Everyone thinks that Forward Facing Sonar is like magic, but in reality it’s far from it. It is definitely a tool that can help catch more fish, but seeing fish doesn’t always mean catching fish, and seeing your bait doesn’t always mean catching fish either.
Terminal Tackle and Lure Choice Matters
A combination of choosing the best baits and terminal tackle to show up on forward facing sonar, and having the right settings for your unit will make a tremendous amount of difference on your ability to see your bait on the forward unit. The concepts surrounding the best baits and terminal tackle will work for all different brands of forward facing sonar, but when it comes to settings, I’ll be showing you exactly what my settings are for my Humminbird Mega Live.
Generally bigger bait will show up better on forward facing sonar. They provide a larger return, and in turn make it easier to been seen on your unit. Baits like a jerkbait, drop shot crankbait, spinnerbait, and swimbait are all commonly used on forward facing sonar.
Certain terminal tackle show up better as well. Tungsten shows up better than lead because tungsten is more dense than lead so the tungsten provides a better return. Setting yourself up for the easiest way of seeing your bait will keep you interested, and make for a more pleasurable experience. If you get frustrated by not being able to see your bait, you'll end up giving up and not taking advantage of the investment you made in getting this type of technology.
Settings are Everything
No matter the brand of forward facing sonar you are using, settings are everything. With the wrong settings you can choose the right baits, and terminal tackle, but you still won’t see everything you want to see.
There are general settings you need to account for. The depth and distance you have on your screen make a big difference. The further you look ahead the harder it is to see your baits, and the shorter the distance the closer it is to see your bait. This is also true when it comes to depth. The deeper you’re fishing, the harder it is to see your baits. I recommend having both the distance and depth set to manual. This gives you all the control, and also allows you to keep the same visual perspective. You lose this perspective when the depth and distance are in auto. The distance and depth are constantly changing, and manipulating what you're seeing.
There is no best color palette. This all depends on the place your fishing, and how things show up to you personally. I may love a certain color palette, but it may not show up as well for you based on your own eyes. Play around with the color palette and see what looks best to you.
In most situations the higher sensitivity and higher contrast will give you a better ability to see your bait, to a point. Once you go beyond that point there will be a lot of clutter, and determining what you're seeing will be hard. The same can be said if your settings are too low. You won’t be seeing enough, and your bait and fish won’t show up as well as they could. Playing around with your settings will help you maximize clarity of your screen, and seeing your bait and fish that are around.
Here are my general settings for the Humminbird Mega Live
Forward display mode - 60 degrees
Sensitivity - 14
Contrast - 2
Dynamic Contrast - 1
Forward range - 90
Down range 10-15 feet deeper than the depth I’m fishing.
Mega Live colors- 5
Due to being at 60 egress for display mode the transducer needs to be clicks from the bottom of trolling motor.
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I have a cheap trick to give even more opportunity to see your bait. There's a product called "The Original Fish Formula Bait Pop Live Sonar Intensifier". I don’t have a ton of time using this product nor am I sponsored by this company. It’s a relatively new product to the fishing market, and I recently bought it. It’s $19.99, so I decided $20 was worth the risk. It’s essentially a gel that you apply to your bait, sinker, etc. and it is supposed to make the return on your forward sonar show up better.
Here's a link to the product: https://omnia.direct/edVp0X. If you want to get some for yourself please that link, so I can get credit for the sale. I did a review video on this product, so if you want to see how well it works click here: https://youtu.be/BePHjp-5Iw0
Also, if you want to watch a video version of this article click here: https://youtu.be/4UT5T66QIZE