The importance of equipment

I’m not sure there’s another sport in existence that is as equipment dependent as professional bass fishing. Everything has to work or you’re at a serious disadvantage, and everything includes the newest forms of technology.

You saw what happened to me when I had mechanical problems the second day of the Classic. On paper, it cost me less than an hour. In reality, is messed up my whole plan for the rest of the day. I needed that time. When you’re fishing against the clock, and the competition is as strong as it is in a Classic, every minute counts.

But that was an obvious problem. You can’t fish at this level without a trolling motor. Less obvious is the electrical and electronic equipment we depend on.

I added an iPad to my boat this week. In the process of installing it, I started looking around. When I’m in the driver’s seat of my boat, it looks like an airplane. I run with two Lowrance units. One is mounted in front, the other to the side. I also have all my gauges in front. And now, on the other side I have the iPad. No matter how much information you have it’s never enough.

We can see under us whenever we want. We know where we are, we can mark spots, see how far we are from somewhere else and map a course to get there, check the water temperature, check the air temperature and check the time with little more than a glance at one of our screens.

But that’s still not enough. We want more. And so I added an iPad. I want to be able to lock into Google Earth and use a new service called Fishidy. Basically, it gives me a new set of data. Why do I need more? The answer is because I can switch my other units over to do something else. This matters more than you might think. More is always better.

If it’s getting late in the day, I can map a milk run and know exactly how long it’ll talk me to get to every spot, and I have no need to have made that run before. I can make the time calculations on the fly. The other thing is that I’ll know exactly how far I am away from the weigh-in ramp at all times.

Back when I was first starting to learn to fish, this kind of information was nonexistent. We couldn’t even think about marking a spot with an electronic device and being able to pull right up to it and fish it efficiently. How many of you remember triangulating (fixing your position using three fixed points) or dropping a sinker down on a string to see how deep the water was? It’s a different world today.

We’re very much dependent upon our equipment and upon technology. I love it. It helps us catch more fish. But it sure can be frustrating when it doesn’t work, or when we don’t know how to make it work.

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.