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Advances in fishing tech 

AS A BOY, I REMEMBER fishing with my grandfather, and each trip he borrowed a plastic foam minnow bucket from his neighbor. There was a broom handle and the minnow bucket with wires leading to something inside. I never knew what was in there. I called it his crystal minnow bucket because when he used it, we always caught some crappie. 

My grandfather was a man of few words, so I never got an explanation of what was in that bucket, but it came to me many years later as I was using a flasher unit to locate fish myself. Flasher units were the first electronic fish finders on the market and used a transducer that returned signals and could show fish or brush in the form of lighted bars at the depth of the fish or brush. 

We began our search for crappie in the brush visible along the shoreline. After a few brush piles, if there was no action, the crystal minnow bucket came out, along with the broom handle. He would stick the broom handle into the water beside the boat and stir it around like stirring a pot of chili. On the end of that broom handle was the transducer mentioned above. My grandfather lived along the river that made the lake we were fishing, and he knew where to look for the brush and the river channel. 

As a kid I would sit in the front of the small aluminum boat chewing on my life jacket strap while my grandfather stared into his crystal minnow bucket. I could barely stay awake listening to the small outboard engine sputter and the water lapping the side of the boat. But I woke up when my grandfather would say, “OK, Ken. Drop your jig right here.” And I did. I always wondered how my grandfather knew there were fish down there, but we seemed to always catch a few. And the crappie we caught on the marabou jig, the only thing we used back then, were big ones.

This was my introduction, without knowing it, to the advancements in fishing that none of us could have ever predicted. Those early flasher units slowly evolved into paper graphs and then electronic screens that could show the presence of fish or when you were over a brush pile. Then came side imaging technology that enables anglers to see the bottom out to 100 feet and more from each side of the boat. This made locating those brush piles much easier. 

Today, a new technology has taken the fishing world by storm. It’s called LiveScope and it enables you to see the brush and the fish in real time. It is amazing. You can see if there are any fish within the brush and see the attitude of the fish by their reaction to your jig or bait. I can’t help but think of those great days with my grandfather and what he would think about the advancements in fishing electronics today.

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