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Catch FF Sonar Minnow Bass – Without Forward Facing Sonar

Don’t think for a moment that you have to be watching live sonar to succeed with the YUM FF Sonar Minnow. Here are five great ways to catch bass on this bait that DON’T require forward facing sonar.

FF Sonar Minnow rigged for swimmingFF Sonar Minnow rigged for swimming

The YUM FF Sonar Minnow has been a favorite lure of bass anglers since its introduction to the fishing world at the 2022 Bassmaster Classic, where it was one of two baits Jason Christie used to win the world championship event at Lake Hartwell. Matched with FF Sonar Jig Heads, this bait is central to a technique that works spectacularly for coaxing strikes from suspended bass that are visible on Live Sonar.

Although designed for this approach – hence the name FF (for forward facing) Sonar Minnow – this bait’s highly natural baitfish-imitating appearance and subtle motion also make it very well suited for other techniques that don’t require watching live sonar. This is especially true with the addition of larger 4- and 5-inch FF Sonar Minnow sizes to the YUM line-up.

We’ll detail five approaches to fishing the FF Sonar Minow and that do not require watching the on forward facing sonar and that work extremely well through the summer.

Triggering Ledge Attacks

Tennessee River guide and tournament pro Jimmy Mason has added the FF Sonar Minnow to his ledge fishing arsenal this year, using the new 5-inch version in the same way big river specialists have traditionally used a big hair jig during the summer. He throws to known key areas or offshore spots where he has seen fish, but he isn’t targeting individual fish with live sonar. Instead, he is fishing the bait aggressively, close to the structure, to trigger attacks.

Mason rigs an FF Sonar on a 1/2-ouce YUM Scottsboro Recon Swimbait Head, which has a stout sharp hook and a screw lock to hold the bait firmly in position. He makes a long cast to the key area of the structure and lets the bait fall to the bottom.

The action is imparted completely with the reel. Keepiing the rod in what he calls the “hook set position,” which is about a 45-degree upward angle, so he has room for an immediate hook set, he cranks quickly, turning the reel handle four to six turns, and then stops and lets the jig fall back to the bottom. As soon as it hits, he repeats the reeling, and continues this until he is out of the zone. The FF Sonar Minnow racing upward and fluttering back down triggers attacks.

Often when Mason begins to reel again, he will just feel the weight of a fish. When that happens, he keeps reeling and sets the hook with a sweep.

Scrouging the Bottom

bass on FF Sonar Minnow with alternate riggingbass on FF Sonar Minnow with alternate rigging

Another of Mason’s favorite approaches is to rig an FF Sonar Minnow on a Scrounger or similar type of head, which turns it into a moving bait that sways side-to-side like a crankbait but with the natural, narrow profile and wavering movement of an FF Sonar Minnow. Mason uses both the 4- and 5-inch FF Sonars for this approach.

Mason uses this rig to work the river bars, shell beds and other summer structure, working his lure right at the bottom, with a steady, swimming presentation. He starts with a long cast onto the structure and lets the rig sink to the bottom. From there he simply reels steadily, cranking the bait just fast enough to engage a good wobbling action. He adds no rod lifts, snaps or pauses to break up the action, having found steady reeling to work best.

Mason wants to be at the bottom but not quite dragging, so he adjust his reeling speed accordingly. The only time he pauses is when he realizes he has gotten his bait up off the bottom, at which point he’ll stop reeling just long enough to let it sink again.

Completing Offerings

FF Sonar trailer on bladed jigFF Sonar trailer on bladed jig

Mason has also discovered that the FF Sonar Minnow makes an outstanding trailer for a bladed jig, and that the 4- and 5-inch versions vary the action as well as the profile. The 4-inch FF Sonar allows for a wider swing. The 5-inch minnow increases the profile size but tightens the action.

A bladed jig and FF Sonar allow Mason to fish faster to find fish and draw reactions from feeding bass. He’ll fish it over and through edges of vegetation – which Guntersville and other Tennessee River impoundments have a lot of – and over a range of structure types, including bars, channel edges and flats, and near shallow cover of various kinds.

The FF Sonar’s potential as a trailer was actually a big part of the reason Jason Christie wanted 4- and 5-inch versions of this bait. In addition to bladed jigs, the FF Sonar Minnow makes a great trailer for other moving baits, including swim jigs and spinnerbaits.

Jerking & Darting

YUM FF Sonar MinnowsYUM FF Sonar Minnows

The tapering baitfish profile, forked tail and modest flex of an FF Sonar also make ideal for rigging weedless and weightless or lightly weighted to fish as a soft-plastic jerkbait. The FF Sonar flexes just enough to dart sideways with each sweep of the rod tip, and tail quivers subtly as each glide slows.

Designed to imitate baitfish of various sorts, the FF Sonar also comes in ideal colors for fishing it as a jerkbait, which typically imitates a fleeing baitfish and is ideal for prompting attacks from shallow fish that are feeding but won’t quite commit to hitting topwater lures.

While the 5-inch FF Sonar Minnow provides the best match for traditional soft-plastic jerkbait applications, all three sizes fit in different situations, with the 3-inch version offering a great finesse offering for clear water, bright skies and calm conditions.

Intended Approach

Although the FF Sonar Minnow and FF Sonar Jig Head were created to be paired and used to entice strikes from fish that are suspended and visible on forward facing sonar. The same slow-reeling, gentle-shaking retrieve screams “easy meal” without the live view. You just have to be more intentional about experimenting with cast angles, cover types and depth and to pay extra close attention to patterns.

In truth, more “blind” options exist than when the bait was first created because larger sizes allow you to work a bigger range of areas and in a broader spectrum of water colors.

Watch as Jason Christie turns off his LiveScope and continues catching bass, using his FF Sonar Minnow system.