Opening Cast

Happy Birthday to me. December 1 is my birthday. I’m officially on Medicare now. Ugh!

In 65 years, I have been on an untold number of fishing trips. Thousands and thousands of my own and hundreds of others with other anglers or guides for a huge variety of species.

However, an October excursion with B’n’M pros Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman was, without a doubt, one of the most educational few hours I’ve ever spent in a boat.

I have been inundated with social media posts and news releases about Garmin’s Panoptix LiveScope, the latest rage in electronics. It hit the market in 2018 when it won the ICAST Best of Show and Best Electronics awards. It has just become a standard accessory on many boats in 2019, but mainly with professional anglers. It does not come cheap and it is just slowly making its way into the recreational market.

I had never seen Garmin’s LiveScope in action personally until hanging out with Capps and Coleman as they practiced for the 2019 American Crappie Trail tournament on Lake Grenada (see the story and an additional “How to” video in this issue of CrappieNOW!).

To say I was impressed would be a huge understatement. It was very clear why LiveScope has, and will continue, to change fishing – especially crappie fishing – from now on. Professional crappie anglers no longer fish for crappie, randomly seeking out structure in hopes it will hold big slabs.

Now they literally hunt directly for the slabs with a live visual image that allows them to see the fish and actually pursue an individual fish – or schools of fish – to properly present a lure. Capps and Coleman admit that they were late to the party. Now that they are there, they also admit they have had to completely reinvent how they have been fishing for decades. But they say they will never go back.

I understand why and rest-assured, this guide and angler is already making plans to dig into his wallet and join the Garmin LiveScope party.

Who knows? Maybe it will be my Birthday present to myself.


Richard Simms, Editor

“The outdoors is not a place, it’s a state of mind.”