The Top Eight Sonar Minnows For Bass Fishing With Livescope

By: Nolan Pyle

March 5, 2024

Sonar minnow, jig head minnow, damiki rig bait - all names that refer to the bite-sized bass baits that have been dominating national-level tournaments recently. A sonar minnow is a small, baitfish profile bait designed to be rigged on a jig head or hover rig.

Sonar minnow, jig head minnow, damiki rig bait - all names that refer to the bite-sized bass baits that have been dominating national-level tournaments recently. A sonar minnow is a small, baitfish profile bait designed to be rigged on a jig head or hover rig.

Advancements in forward facing sonar (Livescope) technology is a huge reason this style of bait has exploded in popularity. Pelagically behaving bass roaming offshore chasing baitfish were never able to be effectively targeted, but now they can be seen on an angler’s electronics. Casting a sonar minnow at these fish and teasing it above their heads is an incredibly effective way to trick them into biting.

In this article, we’re going to look at the top eight sonar minnow-style baits that have been cashing checks and boating giant bass all over the country.

Table of Contents

  • Our Top Sonar Minnow Picks
  • Berkley PowerBait Power Switch
  • Great Lakes Finesse Drop Minnow
  • Z-Man Scented Jerk ShadZ
  • YUM FF Sonar Minnow
  • Yamamoto Scope Shad
  • 6th Sense Juggle Minnow
  • Rapala Freeloader
  • Deps Sakamata Shad
  • Final Thoughts
  • Products To Up Your Forward Facing Sonar Game

Our Top Sonar Minnow Picks

8. Berkley PowerBait Power Switch

Berkley PowerBait Power Switch - FFS Bait

The Berkley Power Switch made its debut in the late summer of 2023, boating many big, nomadic smallmouth bass for several Berkley Pros in the Bassmaster Elite Series event on Lake Champlain. However, it was designed by National Walleye Tour pro John Hoyer, and is a phenomenal bait for all predatory freshwater species.

Unlike the rest of this list, the Berkley PowerBait Power Switch is a sonar minnow that’s pre-rigged hover rig style. What this means is that the bait is purchased already molded onto a Berkley Fusion 19 hook with the line tie emerging from the top. It’s forward-weighted, which aids in making precise casts and helps it to sink fast, too. The body tapers down to a thin tail, which fattens back up at the very end. This allows the bait to have great action with minimal movements of the rod.

The Power Switch is available in an excellent variety of colors, including many of Berkley’s signature realistic “HD” patterns. The bait is also offered in a plethora of sizes, from tiny 1 ¾” offerings to a large-profiled 5” bait and everything in between.

Berkley PowerBait Power Switch Size comparison
The Berkley PowerBait Power Switch comes in a size for every species or situation

7. Great Lakes Finesse Drop Minnow

Great Lakes Finesse Drop Minnow Rigged on a Great Lakes Finesse Sneaky Underspin
The Great Lakes Finesse Drop Minnow rigged on a Great Lakes Finesse Sneaky Underspin is a deadly combo for fishing with forward facing sonar

Great Lakes Finesse is a relatively new brand that specializes in making baits and lures for targeting trophy smallmouth bass, and a sonar minnow-style bait must be included in any trophy smallmouth angler’s arsenal.

The GLF Drop Minnow is a phenomenal scope minnow bait, but is also very versatile and can be used on a drop shot or ned rig as well. This 2.75” bait is characterized by a ribbed body leading down to a thin tail that is bulbous at the end with a tiny appendage for added action. That bulbous tail allows the bait to have action even when the rod tip is held totally still. It’s also composed of quite durable plastic. As you can see in the photo above, the Drop Minnow is quite chewed up and still holding strong!

Add a little flash to the Drop Minnow by rigging it on a Great Lakes Finesse Sneaky Underspin, throw it above a giant smallie’s head, and hang on!

6. Z-Man Scented Jerk ShadZ

Smallmouth with Sonar Minnow in mouth
This 5lb smallie couldn't resist a Z-Man Scented Jerk ShadZ in "Electric Shad", a color I've found to work very well on sunny days

The Z-Man Scented Jerk ShadZ instantly became famous when Jeff Gustafson won the 2023 Bassmaster Classic on this bait rigged on a Northland Smeltinator Jig Head.

Made from Z-Man's famous ElaZtech plastic, the Scented Jerk ShadZ has the ability to boat an incredible amount of bass before becoming too ripped up to use. ElaZtech also floats, helping the Jerk ShadZ to stay perfectly horizontal and look very natural in the water. As the name implies, the bait also comes pre-lathered in Pro-Cure, making it even more enticing to finicky bass.

This fluke-style bait is available in 3 ½”, 4”, and 5” versions. It doesn’t have a ton of action, which is beneficial at times, such as in cold water or when targeting fish that are feeding on baitfish that don’t behave erratically.

5. YUM FF Sonar Minnow

YUM FF Sonar Minnow
Don't let the FF Sonar Minnow's basic look fool you, it's a fish catcher!

The YUM FF Sonar Minnow was one of the first baits to be developed specifically for use Livescope bass fishing. This soft plastic minnow was designed with Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Jason Christie, who won the 2022 Bassmaster Classic on it rigged on a YUM FF Sonar Jig Head.

The Sonar Minnow is a 3” bait with a small forked tail and very realistic baitfish profile. It quivers just like a real minnow and is supercharged with YUM’s signature F2 scent attractant, which helps turn lookers into biters and keeps bass hanging onto your bait for longer.

4. Yamamoto Scope Shad

Spotted Bass on Yamamoto Scope Shad
A big spotted bass that munched a Yamamoto Scope shad in our exclusive "Becker's Grape Juice" color

The Yamamoto Scope Shad has a slightly different profile than the other baits on this list. This sonar minnow has a wider body, which represents what a dying shad would look like silhouetting against the sky from a bass’s point of view looking up.

The Yamamoto Scope Shad has quickly become a favorite of FishUSA Pro Staffer Matt Becker. Matt has even designed two custom colors in this bait that are exclusive only to FishUSA, “Becker’s Grape Juice” and “Becker’s Magic Juice.” These colors have already cashed some checks for Matt on the MLF Bass Pro Tour trail!

"Becker's Magic Juice" (Left) and "Becker's Grape Juice" (Right)

3. 6th Sense Juggle Minnow

The 6th Sense Juggle Minnow has easily become one of the most popular sonar minnow style baits. It’s a 4” bait with a fat head and long, thin tail that leads down to a fork. This design is so that the bait can be fished effectively as both a jig head minnow and on a juggle rig.

6t Sense Juggle Minnow on Juggle Hook
This 6th Sense Juggle Minnow is threaded onto a Juggle Hook

The juggle rig is such that the hook point of a 6th Sense Juggle Shot Hook is inserted into the top of the bait behind the head, then threaded on so that the line tie is exposed where the hook point entered the bait. A nail weight is then inserted into the front of the bait. After this, tie it on and you’re ready to go catch ‘em!

2. Rapala Freeloader

Rapala Freeloader on a chatterbait and VMC Swimbait Head
The Rapala Freeloader doubles as a chatterbait or spinnerbait trailer as well as a sonar minnow

The Rapala CrushCity Freeloader is relatively new, but it did not take it very long to explode into one of the most sought-after baits in the country. The Freeloader is named as such because it was designed to take a “free ride” on a spinnerbait or chatterbait as a trailer. However, this bait has become famous for its incredible success as a sonar minnow.

Rapala pros Jacob Wheeler and Dustin Connell have racked up several tour-level wins using this bait in just the last year alone. It’s 4 ¼” long and has a ribbed body tapering down to a thin tail that takes virtually no rod movement to give a nice, subtle action. There’s no telling how many more wins the Freeloader will be responsible for.

1. Deps Sakamata Shad

Deps Sakamata Shad
Our #1 sonar minnow, the Sakamata Shad

Taking the #1 spot on our list of the top eight sonar minnows is the Deps Sakamata Shad. The Sakamata Shad has been an extremely popular bait for many years, even before forward facing sonar and the sonar minnow craze. It is a soft jerkbait, and has many tournament wins to its credit fished as one. However, several pro anglers have showcased its effectiveness as a bait for bass fishing with livescope. Most recently, Kyoya Fujita dominated the Bassmaster Elite Series on Toledo Bend utilizing the Sakamata Shad as a sonar minnow. Now, they are pretty difficult to get a hold of. Sign up for the “Notify Me When In Stock” on to be the first to know when they’re available.

What makes the Sakamata Shad so effective? The bait is extremely smooth giving it very little water resistance, allowing it to look incredibly natural in the water. It also has keels on both sides of the body giving the bait a very natural jumping and darting action. These keels also function as rudders, allowing the bait to stop on a dime and further trigger a reaction strike. The Deps Sakamata Shad also has a salt content of 10%, just enough to add some bass-attracting scent and flavor while maintaining durability. There isn’t much about a Sakamata Shad that doesn’t make a bass’s predatory instincts flare up!

Final Thoughts

Forward facing sonar has changed the way we look at bass fishing, and sonar minnows are the bait of choice for use with this incredible new technology. You can find all of the sonar minnows featured on this list at as well as jig heads for livescope bass fishing and everything else you’ll need to be successful on the water! Tight lines!

Products To Up Your Forward Facing Sonar Game