Fishing & Boating News

Tools for Fishing

by: Ed Snyder, Ed Snyder Outdoors

Electronics help locate flats where flounder gather.
Photo by Ed Snyder
Good maps with GPS markings help to pinpoint prime fishing areas.
Photo by Ed Snyder
(Jan. 12, 2011 - Bolivar Peninsula, Gilchrist, TX.) GPS located the fishing hot spot, electronics located the oyster bed, an impregnated lure attracted the redfish bite, my cell-phone snapped an image of the fish, then the cell phone's photo program e-mailed that image to a friend fishing nearby.

Sport fishing today has changed "somewhat" from what it used to be. Years ago, back in the '60s to be exact, I took notice of the first portable depth sounder being advertised. It was Lowrance's LFP-300 "Fish-LO-K-Tor", or the "little green box" as we called it. The LFP-300 was the first portable flasher type fish finder developed for personal use by sport anglers. This amazing little unit would revolutionize sport fishing techniques as we knew it then, and anglers who recognized this fishing fact would soon be reaping the benefits.

Intrigued by this new electronic device I confabbed with my fishing pals about its possibilities. To my surprise they had a very negative view of the contraption, warning that if I bought such a gadget they would never go fishing with me again. They were of the opinion that this "little green box" would ruin fishing as we knew it. So, after some serious thought, I had my wife spend the $169.50 in the guise of being a birthday present for me. But, ALAS, they weren't fooled and they refused to go fishing with me again. At least not until the fishing season opened in spring that is. LOL

In a way, they were right! The new contraption DID change fishing, but in such a way as to open up a whole new world of fishing to the sport angler. The old way was to just go fishing in hopes that you would catch something. But I found that if you teamed up this new device with a topo-map you could locate and catch fish right away. Although it did spot fish for you, the key was to find the type of cover they were holding on first, then start casting for the fish. It was kinda/sorta like having a bird dog in your boat, the unit would spot the cover where they were, but it was still up to you to catch them.

On a Lake Michigan salmon fishing trip back then I managed to prove its worth once and for all to the non believers. The fishing report stated that the salmon were hitting trolled lures at around 18 to 20ft over 60ft of water. We trolled for two hours without a hit and our trip was looking dim. I advised that if they allowed me to hook up the "little green box" that I could read the depth. With some reluctance they allowed me and I soon found that we were trolling in 40ft and advised heading out to the deeper depths. After the unit guided us to 60ft depths we lined out and started trolling five rigs down at the 20ft mark. After only a few minutes the flasher showed multiple blips and I excitedly advised them that the blips were salmon. Their "Gawfaws" were loud and rude until all 5 rods suddenly bent to salmon hits. We managed to boat two Coho salmon of about 6 lbs and one 11 lb Steelhead. Their negatives of using this new fishing gadget quickly faded.

It's now 40 some years after that little green box revolutionized the way we fish, and with all the high tech fishing electronics available on today's market I'm sure my negative attitude fishing buds were forced to give up their old way of fishing as they knew it.

I call fishing without the aid of electronics "bare-footing" and rarely venture out on the bay without my "shoes". Just knowing the depth that you're boating over is well worth the expense and with today's high definition units you immediately know if you're over sand, mud, or oyster reefs, which is very important knowledge to have of your fishing area. It could actually make the difference between putting fish in the boat or not.

High tech gadgetry such as what is on today's market for anglers offers awesome wizardry for those professionals who compete in fishing tournaments as well as for professional guides who use that gadgetry to fill the creels of their customers. Even common anglers, such as myself, can take advantage of this new technology on our everyday fishing trips. But the expense doesn't have to be that "expensive". For us who fish the inshore saltwater bays our needs are simple and less expensive. The old way of fishing is still popular among those who enjoy testing lady luck, but for those of us who prefer improving our luck we rely on these new gadgets to increase the odds. And when fishing the bays in Texas these high tech gadgets will help cut your fishing time down to "catching time'.

My bay rig is an aluminum Skeeter bass boat/Yamaha 40hp outboard with bow mounted Motor-Guide Maxx 55 troll-motor. Locating fishing spots I rely on waterproofed "Hook-N-Line" fishing maps with Global Positioning Satellite markings with a Magellan/Triton 400 GPS unit to guide me to those GPS points. My depth sounders are a stern mounted Lowrance XP LC unit for locating muddy, sandy, grassy, or shell/oyster reefs with a bow mounted Eagle 300HD unit for watching bottom conditions while fishing the bow seat.

Now, you don't have to have a decked out rig to put fish in your boat. A skiff or Jon-Boat big enough to handle bay waters and rigged with a small outboard will do. But you will need a good bay map w/GPS markings and a handheld GPS unit for finding those spots. The maps are around $20 and the handheld GPS units are $300 or less. Easy to use and completely portable depth sounders are now available on the market for under $100. One item that I use when spotting reefs, or for staying on feeding specks or reds is a simple marker buoy at about $10 each which is a floating piece of plastic with a weight and line attached to help mark the fishing area. And don't forget the cell-phone which is used for passing info between anglers as well as alerting to emergency's when on the water.

Even the common fishing lures have evolved into high tech fishing items. Hard plastics are being molded to mimic natural prey with sounds for attracting game fish strikes. For attracting redfish soft plastics also offer newly designed life like lures impregnated with fish attractants that drive fish crazy. My absolute favorites are the Berkley Gulp shrimp, MirrOlure soft plastics, and Saltwater Assassins. I've taken many a grand slam trio of speckled trout, redfish, and flounder on these three scented reaction type lures.

However you choose to enjoy the sport of fishing is up to you. Whether you opt for high tech gadgetry to reel in your fun, or drift leisurely pursuits over bay waters to enjoy your adventures, the Sport of Fishing has changed "somewhat" in a continuous upgrade to provide to the needs of the spending public. Some still say nay, but I say hey, why not!
Important fishing tools include depth sounder- GPS unit- cell-phone- and bouy markers.
Photo by Ed Snyder
The original depth sounder- LFP-300 that started it all.
Photo by Ed Snyder