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Fishing has seen big changes in equipment

I just recently had a conversation with another fisherman that has many years of angling experience. We reminisced about the "old" days and how angling has changed. Some of the basics have been around and will continue. The changes we noticed the most have been in the development of equipment.

The sophistication of equipment is incredible now. Not just the rods and reels, but lines and tackle also. The most impressive advances in recent years, in my opinion, have been in the advances in fishing electronics. Units available now have high definition graphics, GPS, global maps, lake maps, side scan sonar, and pixel resolution for your depth finder that would make your TV at home jealous. HD units are the hot ticket in fishing electronics now and have almost done away with the liquid crystal display units that impressed us all just a few short years ago.

Boats, motors, electric trolling motors, "kicker" motors, have all made significant advances. Boats are bigger and horsepower is greater than we could have imagined even ten years ago. Electric trolling motors that have the power of grandpa's old tiller have become the norm for modern day angler. Even bait has been revolutionized and can come in re-sealable jars and bags.

I still hang on to some of the "old school" and balance with the new. Yes, I use high-density graphite rods with high quality reels. Yes, I have a sonar/GPS unit with lake map capability. Yes, I have a higher end boat with two electric trolling motors, four batteries, and pushed by a 90hp tiller. OK, maybe I don't hang on to some off the old school, other than the fact that I still much prefer live bait over some of the plastics and artificial bait. Ok, I admit, some of those baits shine at certain times so I buy them too!

I guess what does stay "old school" for me is the joy of being on the water and the challenge of figuring out how to catch fish. It was fun in my first 14-foot boat with my 5 1/2 hp outboard. It is fun now. It will still be fun in 10 years. It is just hard to imagine what advances will take place over the next 10 years.

If we have the advances over the next 10 years that we have had the last 10, watch out fish! No, not really! There will still be days that they will create a significant challenge for us to catch them. In 20 or 30 years when we look back at the "old" days it will be the joy of fishing that we remember most.

(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)