Allure of high-tech fishing gadgets

Our world spins faster and faster each day, week and year, so it stands to reason the peaceful pastime we call fishing continues to twist in around us at a technological frenzy.

There is no question most of us who fish in 2014 are practicing a sport that we could not envision 30 or more years ago.

Used to be I would grab a rod and stuff my pockets with hooks and sinkers on my way out the door to the creek. I might stop at the bait shop for a cup of crawlers, but I also could make do with an unadorned C.P. Swing or Roostertail.

Then I learned just enough more about fishing to make it a bit more complicated with certain lures for certain species in certain situations. My little tin box became a big Plano satchel.

Soon enough I bought a boat, and things really started to get complicated. The high-tech deal was sealed when I started down the technological path of no return in 1978 with my purchase of a Lowrance flasher.

So it was with considerable reflection Thursday evening that I sat in the cockpit of the BassCat.

I was “fishing,” but the boat was still on its trailer in my driveway. I was fishing in the sense that I was working on putting smallmouth bass in the boat, even though I was more than 50 miles from Lake Erie.

I’m no stranger to fishing electronics, but the technology thing smacked me in the face earlier this week. I’d pulled back the cover, climbed aboard and fired up the Lowrance HD5 combination sonar and GPS. It’s a sophisticated piece of equipment that has become every bit as essential to anglers as their rods, reels and lures.

From my driveway in Poland, I can plug latitudes and longitudes in the GPS portion of the Lowrance unit and save them for detailed exploration today and in the future out on the wide open spaces of Lake Erie.

That’s a far cry more efficient than the old days of trying to mark a paper map with a pencil and triangulate the locations with landmarks. So today, while I’m fishing Lake Erie, I can look at the screen on my dashboard and drive directly to the likely fish-holding humps and drops. Cool.

So is the technology I see working for walleye anglers on my daily crossing of Berlin Reservoir over the U.S. 224 causeway. A dedicated corps of fishermen with modern walleye boats rigged with high-tech electronics troll lures with pinpoint accuracy their fathers and grandfathers could never imagine.

Relying on sonar and GPS, they can set their boats to steer automatically over the depths and contours their experience determines as likely walleye spots.

It would appear the electronics are working.

I’ve noticed more than a few bent rods as I span the causeway. The sophistication of the 21st century meets the walleyes of Northeast Ohio. The same techniques also pull up walleye at Mosquito, Pymatuning, Milton and other local lakes.

When all of our high-tech gadgets synch up perfectly and that big fish of the summer is subdued after it clamped its jaws around our lures, we hoist our trophy to the sky.

And our buddy snaps a photo with his smartphone.

Isn’t technology wonderful?

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