Gadgets and other technology

When you're fishing against the best anglers in the world, it's important to take advantage of every advantage you can. Over the past decade, there have been a lot of advances in fishing from electronics to new baits and more. Not every one of these options is the "magic potion" to win every event, but some of them can lead to a key bite that will win an event. Even if you aren't a tournament angler, taking advantage of these advances can help you catch more fish and make your time on the water more fun.

The other day while I was sitting in a tree stand waiting on a big buck to pass by, I started to contemplate all the details I put into hunting. Then it occurred to me that I do the same thing in fishing. The difference is how I learn about the advances. As a professional angler, every advance in equipment is shown to me, often before it's even available on the market. With hunting, I find out about new products like most hunters do, through the media and marketing and from pro endorsements. For fishing, I am one of the resources companies use to educate the general fishing public, which is why I'm very careful about the products I endorse.

Of course, there is some technology that is illegal in competition, and I would never consider breaking any tournament rules, such as the umbrella rig in Elite Series events. However, there are many options that are legal and should be used by anyone wanting a competitive advantage over the rest of the field.

In many cases, it's not so much an advantage, but simply not missing out on the technology the rest are using. One case in point is side imaging and downscan. By adding high tech electronics to your boat, are you assuring yourself that you will win every event? No, but you can bet that if you use it right, it will help you put yourself in a position to win more often.

I can go on and on about all small advances in technology that I use on the water. Here are some of the advances and reasons I use them:

• Power-Poles - easy anchoring in shallow water

• GPS - locate my fishing spots faster and aid in navigation

• Hydrowave - to get the fish in an active feeding mode

• Gear Grabbar - to organize my tackle and save time on the water

• Scent - I add scent when fish aren't holding on or taking baits well enough to get a good hookset

• Cul-M-Rite - to cull faster and with more reliability

Plus, there are advances in things you might not think of, like clothing. I can't tell you how many times I've been on the water with someone who wasn't prepared for the weather conditions we would encounter. Being comfortable will change the way you fish. If you're too cold or too hot and you're focusing on that instead of catching fish, it will affect your fishing. There are many great advances in rain gear as well as hot weather gear. Take advantage of it.

Lastly, I would be remiss not to mention the advance in baits. UV technology has been a big part of saltwater, steelhead, salmon and other fishing for a long time. Just over the past few years, bass anglers are finally catching on. I believe my relationship with TIghtLines UV products was a major contributor to my success this season. Did it win tournaments for me? No, but I am convinced that it got me many extra bites throughout the year. Just one or two extra bites per event can mean the difference between being Angler of the Year or missing the Bassmaster Classic cut.

The same goes for my relationship with Trokar Hooks. Does a surgically sharp hook win events for me or any of the other Trokar pros? Of course not, but if it puts one more fish in the boat per event that's a big difference. Plus, every time I pull a Trokar Hook out of the package, I know exactly what I'm going to get. I know every hook in the pack is razor sharp and ready to fish.

These are just a few of the gadgets and advances in equipment that I think make a difference. I could write a blog about each of these new products and why I think serious anglers need them. Think about it. One more fish can be the difference between a pretty good day on the water and winning a tournament. As long as they're within the rules, why not use every advantage you can?

Also By This Author