Many of our thoughts are now turning to the Open Water Season. This means reviewing our Tackle and Equipment needs.
There hasn’t been anything particularly noteworthy in the Terminal Tackle department for sometime. Maybe a new twist here and there and some flashy new colors; that in general do a better job of getting us to open our wallets then they do a fish opening their mouths. Nonetheless, it is still great fun acquiring the newest offerings. After all, any true fisherman is just a kid at heart.
Each year, there are some incremental improvements in Rods, Reels, and Line. If you haven’t picked up a new combo in awhile, you owe it to yourself to see what you have been missing.
The most dramatic changes have come in the way of Electronics. Due to the advancements in microprocessors, what was considered to be state of the art just a few short years ago, is now considered archaic.
I have exclusively used Raymarine products the last several years and have found them to be excellent in both function and reliability.
Raymarine’s C and E Series are true Multi-Function units. Depending on how you configure them, they can display information from GPS, Background Maps, Digital Fishfinder, Radar, and Video in Color from a Single Station. The monitors come with screen sizes in excess of twelve inches, making them easily visible from anywhere and any angle in the boat.
Most inland anglers don’t need the Radar and Video choices. The Digital Fishfinder, GPS with Background Maps and Color Screen can prove to be invaluable. These options allow us to see significant details that we have been missing. You can literally pick Gamefish out of a cloud of bait or confidently discern bottom hugging fish. You can also clearly see the Thermocline as a distinct Blue Line. These abilities are extremely important when dealing with Walleye’s in the Missouri River Impoundments.
All of this is accomplished without one single setting change. The Digital capabilities do all of this for us. Even with the better units of the past, most anglers weren’t experienced or savvy enough to get all they could out of them. No technology overload here, just turn it on and go.
The GPS and Background Mapping are a great aid. It is not overkill, as some of you may think. Yes, I realize a lot of the Old-timers can find their way to their favorite spots. This combination offers us much more than that. Probably, the most essential feature is safety.
If you fish Oahe, you are fully aware of the dangers lurking just below the surface. A high speed collision with a Cottonwood Tree can cause serious injury to more than just your Boat and your Pride. It can be Fatal. Even if you are fortunate and just have to replace a Lower Unit, the price for this would easily have bought you a quality Mapping Unit. It is best to avoid this dangerous situation altogether.
Your GPS position will be demonstrated in relation to a Contour Map. We can now confidently run our Boats in the Old Channel while traveling. Slow down once you near your destination and use common sense to navigate through the tree lined sections along the previous banks. Without this, I don’t care how well you think you know where the Channel is, you will not be in it at all times and your chances for disaster increase dramatically.
Is all of this Technology necessary to catch fish? No, it’s not. But it will definitely help make for a more successful and stress free outing.