On the Water with ICAST’s Best of Show Winner

ORLANDO, Fla. — The white van rolled to a stop in the parking lot of a secluded marina. Tucked away in a corner of Arnold Palmer’s Club & Lodge, a rendezvous awaited. There, on a nameless cove in a sea of golf greens and cocktails, sat a fleet of bass boats rigged with ICAST’s Best of Show winner, the Garmin Panoptix LiveScope. I boarded with FLW legend Scott Martin and got my hands wet.

You never know how these media events are going to go. Candidly, products can be hit-or-miss. This event was a gamble wedged between ICAST On the Water and the New Product Showcase Reception: an escape from the bustling convention center into the sweltering Central Florida sun. And as Martin and I set off over the grassy waters of Lake Tibet, I had a feeling this gamble was about to pay off.

Martin may be the only man to successful straddle the old school world of angling television and the new school world of YouTube fishing. He’s good in front of a camera, good enough to flash a flawless smile for rip-n-grin photos on instinct; but he’s not good enough to fake the enthusiasm resonating in his voice on this small Florida lake. Lake Tibet is a speck on the Butler Chain of lakes, a one-time home to transcendent stars like Shaquille O’Neal, and Tiger Woods. On Super Tuesday, it was home to a new star—Panoptix LiveScope.

That much was clear from Martin’s voice, which cracked with energy as he sank a wacky rig into the lake. Instantly, the worm was visible via the screen on his bow, its image beaming back in real-time via Panoptix LiveScope. Moments later, three bass made a bee-line for the worm and Martin set the hook.

He laughed the fish all the way to the boat.

For Martin, an early-in on Panoptix LiveScope has already paid dividends in tournaments. Adding the weapon to his arsenal has transformed the way he fishes. Cast after cast, I saw it first hand, in-action. Asked to fish a tournament without it, he said it would be like having one arm tied behind his back.

LiveScope has a hypnotizing affect. Ask any angler who’s fished it, and they’ll tell you that time melts away under its spell. Whether that’s good or bad is an individual opinion. Mount LiveScope, and you’re guaranteed to spend time on the water looking at a screen. Mount LiveScope, and you’re also almost guaranteed to catch more fish. The technology is transformative. Right now, there’s simply nothing on the market like this.

That’s why it won Best of Show.

Garmin’s new technology has the power to transform tournament results in the same way that side-scan sonar did several years ago. It’s no exaggeration to say that LiveScope is a 150-percent improvement on the original Panoptix, itself a wunderkind on the tournament trail.

As Martin continued to hoist bass after bass, I asked him for his five best tips for running LiveScope.

Scott Martin hoists a bass he caught using Panoptix LiveScope

Scott Martin’s 5 Top Tips for Fishing Panoptix LiveScope

1. Turn off auto-depth – “I like to take my bottom off of auto-depth and set it at a certain depth so my screen isn’t moving around. This way, I can constantly keep a reference. If I’m fishing in 17-feet of water, I’ll put it at 20. for example.”

2.  Turn your gain up– “I turn my gain up as high as I can and still see through the clutter. If the gain goes down, you can still see the fish, but I really like them to pop out at me.”

3.  Use it to find sweet spots- “Use it to find the sweet spots by finding the largest group of fish or the biggest fish in the area. With LiveScope, I can learn how the fish react to my bait on different days based on weather conditions. I utilize it to allow me to make good decisions on how fish react to the different baits and colors that I throw at them. You can see them react on the screen.”

4. Find your color palette- “In bright daylight I prefer blue, because I can see greens and other colors pop, but on cloudy days or early morning I like the copper color palette. There are several options to choose from and its really your own personal preference for visibility.”

5. Use it in tandem- “You don’t need the original Panoptix to run LiveScope, but if you have the opportunity to run it, I would use the traditional Panoptix at 100-foot scale to scout with. I run both transducers on one unit, that way, I can get myself in position using the long range of the original. Once I come within 50-feet range, I can see incredibly high detail on Panoptix LiveScope and make the right cast.”