By Andrew A. Cox
This month you are probably using those angling items and gadgets that were received as gifts over the Christmas season. Some of you probably received traditional fishing items such as lures, rods and reels that have a limited learning curve to use, particularly if you have been fishing for some time. It is likely that you received some gift cards with which you have splurged in purchasing some angling items. Others may have received some high-tech type angling gifts, which seem to be popular today in the fishing world. These include high tech fish finders and trolling motors that virtually operate themselves.
If you fall into the latter camp and have new high tech fishing aides, hopefully you kept the manuals for these items or are adept enough to go to the manufacturer’s website and download instruction manuals and FAQ’s for your particular item. It’s possible your new fishing toy will include some YouTube videos to help you in mastering the use of your new angling item.
Though I have my fair share of angling technology that supposedly assists in making fishing more enjoyable, or in locating and catching more fish, I have recently become rather leery regarding high tech angling gadgetry. A point comes to mind when, last year, I purchased a high tech, top of the line electric motor for my boat that has a multitude of features to include spotlock, to keep you on a particular fishing location -virtually hands-free operation, and a self deploying feature. The latter, I thought, would be very useful in easing stress on my worn-out body joints. The motor comes with either foot pedal operation or remote operation modes, which allows the angler to operate the motor from anywhere in the boat. I took time to read the manual, which was difficult to comprehend with the different operation menus and practiced on the water. I would operate the motor with the manual in one hand and remote in the other. The long story is that the motor’s features are difficult to master and serve as a source of aggravation to this angler, defeating the idea that fishing is supposed to be pleasurable. I have threatened to replace this high-tech electric motor with a good basic foot control motor with simple features and no extravagant bells and whistles. However, I continue to slog along using this motor with the hope that as time proceeds, I will learn to operate this piece of marine equipment effortlessly.
Those anglers with more technology experience who grew up cutting their teeth on using technology may have better success in using such fishing gadgets. I can see how these items can improve your angling skills and boat maneuverability. This month, many of you will spend time practicing and mastering this technology. This can be a good thing, giving you an excuse to get out on the water and practice with these new items at a time of the year when angling success can be slow. Best of luck in learning and enjoying these new angling technology items.
Dr. Andrew Cox is a contributing writer to outdoor publications and newspapers. His writing interests specialize in angling and travel, human interest, and general fishing technique-oriented topics. He is a member of the Georgia Outdoor Writer’s Association. He has been fishing the waters of Georgia, Alabama, and north Florida for over forty years. He enjoys fresh and saltwater fishing for bass, bream, crappie, trout, redfish, and speckled trout using fly, baitcasting, and spinning equipment. Dr. Cox financially supports his fishing habits as Professor Emeritus at Troy University, Phenix City, Alabama. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.