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Technology has changed fishing in the modern era

Over the last week or so I have been asked many times, "Where ya going on opener?" I usually reply with, "I am not sure yet." I think many don't believe me and think I don't want to tell them. The truth is, I am not sure yet. I have been known to change my mind even as I leave the bait shop in the morning. Many times the weather that is forecasted and the weather we get are very different. I may change my mind due to wind and weather. I usually end up checking several lakes out. I always stay local.

Those that know me well know there is one lake I will always put some time on during opening weekend. It is not a typical "opener" type lake and can be a challenge, but I just have to check on the bite there.

Since the days of the cell phone, several of us contact each other for updates and can make adjustments accordingly. This age of communication creates a real advantage over the old days. We are more mobile and have instant info available to us now. It does not take long for the word of a hot bite to get out.

Lots of the talk during the opening weekend consists of, "Whereyaat, howdeepyafishin, whatayausin, howmanyyagot, whatsthesize and areyajigginorriggin?" Deer hunters aren't the only ones with a language all their own! This kind of information can help you determine lake, bait, depth and technique. It can help determine if there is a pattern that is working or if no pattern is the pattern.

As much as cell phones have changed fishing in the modern era, they don't come close to what GPS has done to revolutionize the game. The addition of mapping chips to the GPS even takes it to another level of understanding. Having the contours and lake structure on your locator as you are watching your high-resolution sonar is a reminder that there is a God. This technology ups our odds, but sometimes, the fish still win. As much of a blessing as all the electronic age progress has brought to fishing, there is a down side. There are no more secrets.

Many of us put mega hours on the water to figure out some of the lakes. We triangulated locations with0 shoreline markers. You paid your dues to become a good fisherman. With the instant gratification and hurry up world we live in now, it is easy to get caught up in production instead of process. I know better and it still happens to me. I have to be reminded of the importance of just enjoying the journey that fishing is really about. Now it can be as easy as getting coordinates from a buddy, watching a YouTube video to learn how to set up a certain rig, checking Internet sites where many are willing to give all the info you need in the interest of self promotion or ego. The days of giving general info and letting someone put the pieces together seem to be going away. Part of the fun that makes up fishing is figuring those buggers out and what works to catch them. You will get more satisfaction from fishing if you spend the time to really learn how to fish. As much as I have learned I am still amazed at how much more there is to learn. I want to keep getting out and practicing and improving. I hope you are doing the same.

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