Gary Parsons & Keith Kavajecz
The advancements in technology and equipment being developed these days in the sport of fishing are mind blowing. From lures, to locators, boats, motors and “boat control” systems – it’s all advanced leaps and bounds from where we were just a few years ago. We’ll be the first to tell you that “no”, you don’t NEED every new bell and whistle that comes along to catch more walleyes. But if you’re serious about your walleye fishing … Really serious … then you’ll want to look into the advantages today’s technology and equipment can offer you.
Not surprisingly, some of the biggest advancements have been in the electronics we use to search out and find fish. The folks at Lowrance never cease to amaze with what they bring to the game. The HDS-12 and HDS-9 Gen 2 Touch units are the most advanced fishing electronics we’ve ever seen. From capabilities like StructureScan® giving the angler 180-degree views of structure and fish below the boat, to GoFree™ Wireless that allows you to view and control the fishfinder and chartplotter displays wirelessly using supported tablets and smartphones and the free GoFree app. These units allow us to watch weather radar while out on the water and even act as a monitor for viewing underwater cameras. There’s even an option called Insight Genesis™ that allows you to make your own maps using recorded sonar logs by uploading data to an Insight Genesis™ account. You can then create and view secure custom chart detail online, adjust contour lines, add optional vegetation or bottom-hardness overlays, download that information to an SD card and use it on the water. Just imagine being able to create custom maps of your favorite fishing spots. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Along with the ability to find fish, boat control is one of the key skills a good walleye angler must achieve for consistent success. This is another area where technology and innovation is going above-and-beyond to give anglers the tools to rule the fishing game. Among the most innovative of boat control tools coming out now is MotorGuide’s Xi5 bowmount trolling motor. The Xi5 is a wireless trolling motor that can be fully integrated with the Lowrance HDS units to give you a trolling motor with GPS accuracy allowing anglers to do things like precisely repeat productive trolling routes, and a “anchor” feature that sets the motor to automatically keep the boat in one spot, adjusting for wind and/or current while you concentrate on fishing. From the beginning MotorGuide set out with some specific goals in mind for the Xi5. They wanted super-accurate GPS capability, ultra smooth turning, extremely quiet operation and reliable durability. We are very excited about what this motor is going to do for fishing, and walleye fishing in particular.
Another boat-control tool we are extremely excited about is one you basically only saw on bass boats just a season or so ago; the Power-Pole Shallow Water Anchor System. Now, while a shallow water power anchoring system is awesome for some jigging and casting situations, it’s Power-Pole’s Drift Paddle accessory that has us really excited. This is a paddle you attach to your power-Pole anchor rod that can be lowered into the water when drifting or trolling to help you control speed and direction. For instance, with the Mercury Pro-4 Verado mounted on our Nitro ZV-21’s, we can get the boat to troll down to a speed of about 2.8 to 3 mph. By deploying the Power-Pole with the Drift Paddle attachment, we can get that speed down to 1.7 mph. Now we could get those speeds using the kicker motor, but doing it this way also allows us to operate from the console seat as opposed to standing at the kicker motor all day, which in big waves can be a real advantage and add some comfort as well. Also, when drifting, the Drift Paddle can be utilized to give you a truly “controlled drift”, adjusting speed and direction by adjusting the Drift Paddle’s depth and orientation. Plus, compared to using a conventional drift-sock, the Drift Paddle is much easier to deploy and stow, plus there is no wet mess all over the deck like you get when using the sock.
Innovation in the fishing game doesn’t stop when winter hits. In fact, thanks to our friends at Clam, the sport of ice fishing has advanced miles ahead of where it was just a few short seasons ago. Clam has long been known for their shelters, and the new X1 Thermal is the culmination of years of experience in the ice fishing game. Today’s ice anglers like to be mobile, and the X1 is built for just that purpose. It’s a 1-person shelter built to take on the worst winter can dish out, built from tough 900 Total Denier fabric and incorporating Clam’s Full Thermal Trap™ Technology. The X1 is designed so that 2 of these beauties can fit into a standard 5 ½ foot truck bed without stacking them, and light enough to be pulled wherever you need to go to find fish on the ice.
And Clam doesn’t stop at just shelters for ice anglers. Their new line-up of ice fishing tackle is some of the best we’ve ever use. Our favorite has to be the Bomb Spoon for sure, fished with a minnow head. This little gem really is “the Bomb”, designed by our good friend and fellow Ice Team member, Dave Genz to be fished fast and attract active fish. There’s also the Blade Spoon and Speed Spoon that are awesome walleye catchers.
Like we said before, you don’t NEED all these new innovations to catch walleyes, but technology and innovation in fishing is all about making our time on the water and catching fish more efficient, easier and ultimately more fun, and who doesn’t WANT more fun when going for your Next Bite?
If you have questions or comments on this or other articles from Gary Parsons and Keith Kavajecz, visit their website www.thenextbite.com.