The Impact of Modern Equipment
Technology in sports, especially fishing, has garnered a lot of attention over time. Live sonar has significantly impacted the fishing world, especially in the techniques and skills anglers use with it. The real question is: Is technology destroying our fishery populations or is harvesting levels the issue?
When I started fishing in the sixties, we fished from the bank, canoe, or jon boat with bamboo poles, steel rods and reels, sticks for poles and cord for line. Electronics did not play a role in our fishing and catching. We had to use instinct and lessons learned overtime to fit the conditions and the waters we fished. We caught a lot of fish.
Then along came improved boating accessories and equipment, including electronic flashers. And, bam, our world changed. With this new equipment we could tell how deep it was and where the fish were between the boat and the bottom. Our fish catching abilities aided by the technology improved.
Not long after this fishing tool entered the hands of some fishermen came the paper graphs and more detailed screens and maps. At one time, I had spools of paper recordings and again, my techniques changed and catch rates improved. We caught even more fish.
Each time new and improved electronics were released, the time cycles between the improvements got shorter, and our fishing and catching rates improved. It is not surprising that we are now on upgrades and better electronics in increments of months instead of years. Cell phones are a great example of that.
If you are a fisherman that wants to go and fish for the pleasure (fun) of fishing and having some tasty crappie fillets, I recommend using the tools we have to do that without the pressures of trying to be number one. Ninety six percent of anglers don’t want to compete and only catch the biggest ones. Standard size fish still bring smiles, relaxation, food, and the pleasure of experiencing nature.
For those of us that like competition and improving our skills and techniques, having the tools is a must. This is true in any sport. But just when we think we have reached the peak of achievement, records are broken.
As far as the impact of modern electronics on the fisheries, lots of studies are ongoing on this subject but it still comes down to how many we harvest and in what sizes. Even with the prolific spawning of crappie, generations can be taken to their knees in numbers either with electronics or without. I say, let’s be good stewards of our resources and don’t blame the techniques and electronics.
As I see it, stewardship involves following the creel and size limits for the lakes and rivers we fish. It also involves reporting abuses you see to your local fish and game officers so our fisheries are kept in the proper balance.
Just as electronics have improved and keep improving, it is and will be continually important to follow and revise these limits to keep our fisheries in balance from the smallest to the largest fish in any given body of water.
Just my two cents from an old fisherman.
God Bless and Good Fishing,