SAYING THAT boating-related technology has come a long way, is a huge understatement. This is especially true when it comes to fishing-related tech.
The last decade alone has seen advances so vast they have literally changed the face of fishing forever. To kick off 2020 we thought we would look at a few items that are having a powerful impact on fishing—some at a simple, practical level, and others virtually space age.
Minn Kota is producing built-In MEGA Side Imaging in its Ultrex and Ulterra trolling motors, allowing anglers to run their boats confidently, while seeing the clearest, most precise images of structure and fish in real-time directly below and to either side of their boat.
MEGA Imaging is the first imaging technology to enter the megahertz range with performance that provides three times greater detail than traditional 455 kHz frequencies. Adding Humminbird’s MEGA Side Imaging to Minn Kota’s trolling motors results in clear, sharp real-time images without the need to run wires, which can compromise the use of the trolling motor’s key features such as Spot-Lock and I-Pilot Link.
Ultrex trolling motors changed the way anglers approach boat control by combining Spot Lock, a GPS anchoring system with unparalleled accuracy, with power steering in an intuitive and responsive heel-toe foot pedal. Ulterra features auto stow/deploy and power trim, allowing anglers to precisely control their motor with unrivaled ease.
“Fishing from the bow with down and side-imaging has been an imperfect practice with anglers having to deal with external transducers and cords,” said Joe Brown, senior director of brand management at Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics.
“Minn Kota’s Built-In MEGA Side Imaging houses the transducer directly inside the trolling motor for ultimate protection. It also relays real-time images from directly underneath and to the side of the boat letting anglers focus entirely on the fish.”
With Built-In MEGA Side Imaging, the transducer is housed in the motor’s lower unit and the wiring runs through the indestructible composite shaft providing clean rigging that is protected from damage over time. In addition, having the transducer integrated into the trolling motors allows anglers to see what is directly below the bow and to the side of the boat rather than the transom.
Anglers wanting to fish both in shallow water and offshore have typically had to buy two boats. That has changed. Anglers wanting to cast along bay shorelines for reds can do it in the same boat as they fish rigs offshore for red snappers.
The Blue Wave 2800 Pure Hybrid, the world’s largest bay boat, is just as comfortable fishing the shallows as fishing blue water. The hull design of 2800 Pure Hybrid delivers a soft and comfortable ride able to stay dry in most conditions. The double-stepped hull gets on top of the waves immediately for peak fuel economy.
Fishing is at the forefront of this boat’s purpose-built design. One standard pressurized livewell aft holding 35 gallons of live bait and a 10 gallon pitch well forward, are standard. An additional 75 gallons of livewell is an option.
Fishing in small craft such as kayaks, whether for pros or the everyday angler, has become increasingly popular in the past few years. Not only are they more cost-effective than traditional boats, they are lightweight and portable, making it much easier to set out and extend your day on the water.
Shallow water fishing in kayaks and paddleboards allows you to sit or stand while fishing, putting you right on top of your target.
Traditional anchors are impractical on these smaller vessels, posing the problem of spooking fish when you drop your anchor. Because they are so lightweight, you can quickly drift away from your spot in fast moving waters, or even come up too fast on the fish, or hit your kayak or board on the shallow water bottom.
The Power-Pole Micro-Driver allows anglers to quietly and quickly stop your paddleboard or kayak. The all-electric Micro-Driver is ultra-compact and drives up to a 10-foot spike into the shallow water bottom. This anchor uses low friction and a soft-drive stealth, along with an all-electric motor that remains silent to avoid disturbing fish when you power-pole down.
It’s certainly not cutting-edge space age technology, but jackplates can net a slight efficiency boost for just about any outboard-powered boat on the water according to TF&G Boating Editor Lenny Rudow.
“To understand why, you need to get a clear picture of what a jackplate allows you to do—raise and lower the outdrive, without changing tilt,” he said.
“Normally, when you trim your outboard up, it not only raises the outdrive in the water column but also changes the angle of the propeller’s thrust,” Rudow added. “The higher you trim, the more it pushes the transom down and the bow up.”
Rudow said savvy boaters will already know that the most efficient cruise is usually attained by trimming your outboard up as far as possible before it starts ventilating. That’s because trimming up minimizes the amount of lower unit in the water, reducing drag.
“But not all boats will be at their most efficient running angle when the engine is trimmed all the way up—in fact, very few will. Trimming the drive up with a jackplate, on the other hand, allows you to minimize the amount of lower unit in the water.”
Rudow said a jackplate moves the point of thrust aft of the transom. This moves the pivot point farther aft as well, enhancing tight turning abilities. It also exaggerates the effects of tilt and trim, since it increases the fulcrum between the propulsive force and the boat’s hull. This has an effect on how high you can trim without ventilating.
“On some boats, particularly tunnel boats and powercats, shifting the prop aft can also help it maintain a better bite on the water. This is true in many cases where the hull itself causes turbulence, which may cause ventilation in certain situations.”
“On top of that, being able to control the prop’s depth at any time, allows you to lower the drive unit when initiating turns or hopping waves. These are the specific times when turbulent water is most problematic for most tunnel and cat boats.”
The latest from Blue Wave Boats… Makaira. Offshore Hybrid.
— TF&G STAFF REPORT