Technology and Angling

by Andrew A. Cox

Technology has had an enormous impact upon fishing. Comparing angling oriented catalogs from the late 20th century to the present illustrates this with equipment, gadgets, and accessories not available even a few years ago. Even with this technology, I still wonder if we catch more fish with such technology. However, it certainly makes fishing more enjoyable.

I am old enough and been around fishing for a lengthy period of time to remember the advent of “depth finders” or “flashers”. These were the early prototypes of today’s fish finders and chartplotters. I also remember the hand operated electric or “trolling” motors that turned on by twisting the handle, had limited speeds, and had to be operated by hand. Temperature gauges in boats or even hand held temperature gauges are another fishing accessory that I remember coming onto the market.

Though the above technology is still around, it certainly has become more sophisticated and usable. I recently installed one of the new generation electric motors on my boat. This motor self deploys using a remote control sensor device, uses an optional high tech foot control, and has an electronic anchoring system that allows you to remain in a certain spot on the water. The motor will also operate itself through deployment of GPS coordinates.

Fish finders/chartplotters have also made great strides in technology. New generation fish finders allow the angler to establish waypoints so that you can return to desired areas, download maps for specific bodies of water or locations, and save desired fishing locations for future days on the water. Unfortunately, I have found that a degree in computer science is needed to operate today’s technology. Such technology takes practice, doesn’t it?

The rods and reels that we use today have been impacted by technology. Rods now have “micro-guides” and high tech rod blanks that increase sensitivity. Casting reels have sophisticated breaking and drag systems to reduce “backlashes”. Spinning reels have skirted spools to reduce “birdnests” and been modified for the use of braided line.

Boating equipment has also evolved.The angler can purchase a multitude of accessories for one’s boat. The “PowerPole” technology has revolutionized boat operation and maneuverability while fishing.

I, like some of you readers, remember the introduction of the internet. The internet now provides a wealth of fishing information. I am exploring fishing a new body of water in Alabama; the internet has provided specific information regarding techniques, boat launch sites, even lodging and restaurant options. This information will reduce some of the trial and error encountered in exploring a new fishing area.
Even though this article has espoused technology and its impact upon fishing, some technology comes and goes. Anyone remember or still use the “Color Selector” system? This was a system for selecting lure and bait colors based upon water conditions. Seemed to be a good idea but apparently didn’t catch on in a big way with anglers.

I anticipate that technology will continue to exert an influence upon the equipment that we use to enjoy our sport. I wonder what fish finders and electric motors will do in ten years? What specialized gadgets and technology will be on the rods and reels that we use in the future? What accessories will be considered essential on the fishing boats of tomorrow? Only time will tell. Good luck in using this technology, and hopefully it results in better success on the water.

Author’s Note: Dr. Andrew Cox is a contributing writer to outdoor publications and newspapers.  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.  Dr. Cox financially supports his fishing habits as Professor Emeritus at Troy University, Phenix City, Alabama. He may be contacted at