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To say I’m excited about forward-facing sonar lures would be an understatement. Last month, I had the chance to test out some of the newly released high-tech baits from Berkley Fishing and I was hooked (pun intended). As such, I was inspired to do some digging and find what else is out there in the world of FFS baits. While there isn’t a ton yet, the trend is quickly growing, as more and more anglers like myself see the value in the sophisticated technology.

A slew of new baits have hit the market in recent years, all engineered to work in tandem with FFS. These baits are not only designed for high visibility on sonar displays but also to stay in the strike zone longer so you can ultimately catch more fish.

If you’re as into it as I am, here are a few of the best foward-facing sonar lures. They drive fish wild, whether or not you can see it play out on a high-res touchscreen display.

The Best Forward-Facing Sonar Baits

What is Forward Facing Sonar?

But first, a quick intro—or refresh—to the technology behind it all. Forward facing sonar first made major waves in the angling world when Garmin introduced its revolutionary LiveScope technology in 2017. The groundbreaking tech allowed anglers to see clearly defined underwater structures, their lures, and fish in live action, under and ahead of the boat.

Other manufacturers like Humminbird and Lowrance quickly played catchup, releasing their own versions of FFS. However, “LiveScoping” remains the generic term for fishing with FFS in the same way most of us say “ChapStick” any time we reach for lip balm or “Kleenex” when we need to blow our nose.

Gone are the days of traditional fish-finding sonar, with its highly pixelated recording of what the sonar transducer saw seconds before as it passed over. FFS images are so detailed that you can differentiate the head and tail of the fish, distinguish schools of bait fish, and identify cover and other objects in the water. Experienced FFS users can often determine the size and species of the fish they watch on the display screen.

The detailed differences between old-school fish finders and FFS are like the contrast between dying of dysentery in Oregon Trail on an old Apple II and playing Call of Duty on a PlayStation 4.

While the graphics on LiveScope aren’t quite as good as Warzone (at least not yet—give it a couple of years), they provide enough resolution to see fish move in real-time and observe precisely how they interact with your baits. That immediate visual feedback allows anglers to adjust their baits’ depth, rate of retrieval, and presentation to more effectively drive fish psycho.

Critics of FFS claim it turns fishing into little more than a water-based video game with hunched-over anglers glued to sonar screens. And in a world where screens are almost constant distractions, a little cynicism is understandable. However, the technology has proven its worth for catching more fish, both on the tournament trail and for recreational anglers with enough cash to run it.

Now onto the good stuff: the baits.

Berkley Finisher

Berkley Finisher Crankbait


  • Size: 5, 7, and 9 cm
  • Weight: 1/3, 1/2, and 3/4 oz
  • Colors: 20 patterns
  • Price: $8.99 – $10.99

Berkley Fishing is a company with a history of taking a science-based approach to bait design. The brand’s team of fish biologists and product engineers applied a well-established understanding of fish behavior and blended it with cutting-edge forward-facing science to develop several exciting new FFS-optimized baits released earlier this year.

The Berkley Finisher—a first-of-its-kind hovering fin-less hard bait—came from years in the lab and on the water. But this isn’t your stereotypical hard bait. With its flattened belly and forward-heavy design, this powerhouse lure offers dynamic action.

I was lucky enough to be at the Houston Space Center when Berkley unveiled their new baits, including the Finisher. I also got to fish them in conjunction with FFS in east Texas in January. Although the fishing conditions were terrible, it was hard not to be impressed with the bait’s extreme versatility.

Work it like a jerkbait, and the Finisher darts, flashes, and swims with the tail amplitude of a live minnow. But what really makes this bait deadly is its ability to hang in the water column like a hover bait, moving laterally in the water column with minimal retrieve progression.

Why does the Finisher pair so well with FFS? Once target fish are spotted on the sonar screen, the weight-forward design of the Finisher facilitates ultra-precise casting and fast drop-ins. It also offers a wide range of actions to draw strikes out of temperamental fish, so you can simply switch up presentations without switching up baits.

This thing dominates the entire water column vertically, laterally, backward, and forward. It fishes like a glide bait or a sinking jerk bait. The Finisher produces a realistic meandering swim action with a realistic body quiver on the fall, and it has tons of flash, making this bait downright hard for even the most stubborn fish to resist.

Jewel Bait Live Spin

Jewel Bait Live Spin


  • Size: 2.5 inches
  • Weight: 1 oz
  • Colors: 4 patterns
  • Price: $9.96 – $10.96

It took master bait designer Lyndall Helms eight years to design this bait. While the concept originated before FFS was even a thing, several key features make the Jewel Live Spin perfect for fishing with sonar.

It has a dense, shad-shaped lead body that pings like a hot coal on FFS. That extra weight also makes it easy to cast long distances, dropping the bait like a rock right in front of the fish you’ve spotted on-screen. Once it’s at depth, the bait’s spiral willow-leaf blade emits a barrage of light and vibration that draws bites like a magnet.

The Live Series Spin comes in four realistic baitfish color schemes with 3D eyes. I’m a fan of the Table Rock Secret, which has foil sides, an iridescent purple back, and a faded chartreuse belly. It’s definitely a looker that will tear up bass. Your fishing buddies will be rifling through your tackle box in search of one they can “borrow,” so you’ll want a few backups.

Berkley Krej

Berkley Krej Jerkbait


  • Size: 100mm
  • Weight: 1/2 oz
  • Colors: 11 patterns
  • Price: $14.99

Berkley’s new Krej tests the notion that there is nothing new under the sun. This is a funny-looking bait with a backward bill to match its backward name (Krej is “jerk” spelled backward). Jerkbaits have been a favorite for FFS fans from the get-go, but the Krej is something entirely different.

Yes, it’s similar to a traditional jerkbait. But what sets the Krej apart is that funky upturned lip, which allows the bait to work towards the surface. It imitates the natural fleeing motion of a baitfish trying to escape a pursuing predator. The Krej also wobbles on the backslide thanks to some strategically placed internal weights, perfectly mimicking an injured minnow. The forward and rearward movements produce realistic baitfish action from the time the bait hits the water until the second it reaches the boat.

I saw the Krej in action in east Texas, and I firmly believe this thing is a total game-changer. It imitates the natural prey/predator dance with almost eerie realism. It also makes a great partner for FFS because you can instantly respond to a target fish’s response to the bait, working it up and away or letting it tremble rearward to trigger a reaction strike.

The Krej offers plenty of subsurface action, but with a steady retrieve and a tip-up rod angle, it can also works like a topwater plug. This baby gurgles and bubbles better than a lot of the topwater baits I keep in my tackle box. It also sinks and shimmies on the pause and then returns to the surface for more topwater action. The Krej will drive springtime largemouths absolutely crazy.

Bill Lewis Scope Stik 100

Bill Lewis Scope Stik Suspending Jerkbait


  • Size: 100 and 120mm
  • Weight: 1/4 oz – 5/8 oz
  • Colors: 12 patterns
  • Price: $11.99 – $12.99

Speaking of jerkbaits, the Bill Lewis Scope Stik is a unique, suspending jerkbait with drawn-up flat sides that make it light up on-screen like a neon sign. Coupled with the bait’s flared lip design, which produces sharp turns, the Scope Stik looks like it’s waving a flashlight at your transducer as it moves through the water.

The same features that make this lure sparkle on FFS are also designed to draw a fish’s attention. The design’s larger surface area makes it easier for fish to spot in murky water, and the hard turns produce more flash than a 1970s disco club.

The Scope Stik comes in two sizes (the 100 and the 120) and three floating, suspended, and sinking varieties.

It has a smooth-transitioning cast weight that moves to the bait’s tail during the cast. The design launches the bait forward, carrying it forward for longer casts than a traditional jerkbait. Those longer casts are essential for nabbing fish far in front of your transducer, allowing you to get the bait in front of them before boat noise and pinging electronics can spook them.

Berkley PowerBait Power Switch

Berkley PowerBait Power Switch


  • Size: 1.75, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4.25, and 5 in
  • Weight: 1/16, 1/4, 3/8, 5/8, 1, and 1 5/8 oz
  • Colors: 16 patterns
  • Price: $9.99

I have a soft spot for soft baits, so it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Power Switch is my favorite of Berkley’s three new FFS-inspired lures. It is denser than it looks, and with a weight-forward design, pinpoint casting is easy. If you’ve ever struggled to slip a bait into that compact space under low-hanging branches and between crowded cypress knees, this bait is totally up to the task. The Power Switch casts like an absolute dream.

It has a traditional baitfish profile and is packed with Berkley’s signature PowerBait formula, which is a concoction of scents and flavors that drive fish wild. Developed by Berkley scientists, PowerBait makes fish hold onto a bait up to 18 times longer, so you can set the hook on every strike.

The Power Switch is a do-it-all bait capable of enticing panfish, bass, crappie, striper, walleye, pike—maybe even mermaids and water horses. This thing will work on just about anything that swims in the water.

There are also plenty of options for working the Power Switch. It can be bumped along the bottom, jigged vertically, snapped mid-water, twitched, dragged, snatched, or worked with a straight, steady retrieve.

The presentation versatility works wonderfully with FFs, allowing anglers to vary the bait’s action and draw out strikes from even the most finicky fish.

Queen Tackle L.S. Tungsten Jigheads

Queen Tackle L.S. Tungsten Jigheads


  • Size: 3/0 – 5/0 hook
  • Weight: 1/32 – 1 oz
  • Price: $8.99 per pack

Tungsten shook up the turkey hunting world in 2018, with the introduction of highly effective heavyweight TSS loads. Now, it’s shaking up the fishing world.

Tungsten jigheads show up like blazing fireballs on FFS. This exceptionally strong metal is 1.7 times denser than lead. It reflects sonar waves that conventional jig heads absorb, leading to more robust returns at longer ranges.

Another advantage of tungsten is that you can run a smaller head with the same weight for a stealthier presentation. This a serious boon if you’re working clear water where fish can be skittish. The heavier jighead also offers anglers better contact with their lure when using lighter tackle or fishing deep water and heavy currents.

Outfitted with a stinging, sharp, light wire hook, these Tungsten jigheads pair perfectly with your favorite soft plastic worms, grubs, frogs, or minnows.

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