Gear

Warp-speed technology

One of the most heated issues I’ve covered during my time as an outdoors writer was the fight to legalize crossbows for deer hunting during archery season.

People who hadn’t grown up hunting with compound bows wanted access to the easier-to-use crossbows because it would open up more days of a short, expensive hunting season. But more traditional archery hunters — the self-proclaimed “purists” — argued it would destroy the sanctity of their sport.

Never mind that these purists were using high-priced compound bows that would send arrows flying at 350 feet per second — a far cry from true, traditional longbows.

They wanted their “sanctity.”

They continue to lose that battle on an annual basis, as 28 states now allow crossbows for deer hunting with more considering it every year.

I see the same fruitless argument unfolding all the time with technology in bass fishing.

Everytime a new invention is announced — like Humminbird’s unveiling of MEGA Live Imaging TargetLock in July — the purists sing out in unison.

“Why don’t they just invent something that catches the fish for you?”

“When are they going to make something that reads the mind of a fish and tells you exactly which lure it wants the most?”

People should be careful making jokes like that, because if those things are possible, there’s probably some really smart person sitting in a top-secret lab working on them right now.

Technology doesn’t go backward, folks.

We’re never going back to the three-wheeled motor carriages of the 1890s. None of us are ever going to fly on Wilbur and Orville Wright’s original plane. And as anglers, we’re never going back to rowboats.

I’ve been hearing some version of the “dumb it down” argument since the standard horsepower for a bass boat went from 150 to 250.

“How fast do these guys need to go?”

Well, so far, the answer has been “somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 mph.” But I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s faster someday.

I heard it when rod companies started marketing technique-specific rods and anglers started packing 25 combos in their rod boxes instead of three or four.

“This guy spends more money on fishing tackle than he’ll ever win back in a tournament.”

Maybe. Most guys do. But who cares? It’s their money.

Every time a new invention is announced, social media erupts with more whining than you’ll hear at an office of pediatric dentistry — and I can’t help but wonder why.

The vocal minority never wins those arguments.

When Minn Kota unveiled the Ultrex trolling motor with its amazing Spot-Lock feature, anglers weren’t ashamed to have the extra advantage of staying in place with the simple touch of a button. They bought Ultrexes so quickly that Johnson Outdoors had a hard time keeping up with the demand — and if you’ve ever used one, you know why.

The same thing happened with Garmin LiveScope, Humminbird 360, Power-Poles, Minn Kota Talons and Minn Kota Raptors — and the same thing is already happening with TargetLock.

Still, there are some people who haven’t gotten over anglers using more than two graphs on their boats.

“Why would anybody need four depthfinders to catch a fish?”

They even sometimes go a step further by suggesting pro anglers should be forced to fish with no electronics at all.

Hey, it’s a world dominated by social media. There’s no rule against voicing an opinion. So, comment all you like.

But when you do, just know there’s a better chance of anglers expanding to eight, nine or 10 graphs on their boats than there is of anyone ever holding a pro fishing tournament with no graphs allowed.

The world of technology is not revisiting the past, and it’s not staying frozen in whatever period where you just happen to feel most comfortable.

It’s moving full speed, ever forward — and whether you’re talking cars, airplanes or bass boats, there’s just no slowing it down.