Featured Image Credit: Scott Beutjer Fishing
Most folks who look at us in our plastic boats don’t see it as a high tech industry. And to be very honest, a lot of those in kayaks are happy to be in them because of that; happy with the fact that they are just much simpler. If you have a boat, a paddle, and a PFD you are set for fishing or just being offshore and exploring. It doesn’t take a 250 HP motor with the latest electronic fuel injection linked to a system that allows you to know fuel levels, depth, weather, battery life, allows you to order food, etc. to enjoy the water or fish in tournaments; that doesn’t mean there isn’t technology available for the kayaker. Anything made for the boating industry is compatible with kayaks, including kayak fishing technology.
Kayak Fishing Technology: Graphs
Pick any depth finder on the market for the larger bass boats, it will fit on the kayak. Just because you have less boat doesn’t mean you have to settle for less when it comes to finding fish. The size of your craft or the type of kayak fishing you will do is all that should be the consideration. I have a Lowrance Elite TI 7 on my Hobie (wish I had gone with the 9-inch) because it is a multipurpose unit and meets my tournament needs – I am still not the best with it; it keeps me from hitting the bottom, tells me the water temperature, and I have found success by finding fish on the side scan. Now, I will be very upfront about it… a twelve-inch monitor can be similar to a sail for a smaller kayak, so consider that when choosing your electronics, but do not limit yourself by thinking you cannot have side scan, live scans, Lowrance Point 1, or the latest technology.
Kayak Fishing Technology: Apps and Maps
Phones and internet access are the best friends of the kayak tournament angler. They are how we photograph bass, load them into apps like TourneyX or iAngler and how we find our way to the ramps… or to the lakes five states away. If you run into kayak tournament anglers during pre-fishing, you will see many of them head down on their phones. I can assure you it is not because they are trying to avoid you. Most of them will be scouring maps on apps like Google Earth, Navionics, or Hummingbird looking for ramps or just studying the layout of a new body of water. I personally also carry an iPad on (and off) the water; giving me a poor man’s dual-screen setup. Not only does this give me the ability to follow what is being charted (depth, temp, etc.), I then have a larger screen for charts. As I said, I wish I had gone with the 9-inch monitor because my eyes are older; the iPad gives me the ability to add scale to the charts while still looking for fish or structure on the finder.
Apps like ANGLR are also changing the way we look at fishing.
I never kept a fishing journal, I trusted my “gut” to get me to the fish and home. By the time I woke at two in the morning to drive 2-3 hours, fished for 8-10 hours and then back home, the last thing I was interested in was recording what had happened. But the new technology allows it to be a friendlier process so myself and many anglers are beginning to use that data to track patterns in the weather conditions, water conditions, location data, and their relationship to how the fish are acting. By simply pushing a button either on the phone or a Bullseye, you can log a catch using pre-stored lures and gear. It is a new way of thinking when it comes to logging data and planning return trips to a body of water.
Kayak Fishing Technology: Security Devices
One of the big concerns for tournament anglers is keeping your kayak secure while at hotels, VRBO’s, campsites, or at gas stations along the way. More than a few kayaks have fallen prey to thieves because some are very easy to “grab and go” from the back of a truck, and it can be difficult to lock them down. Some anglers have incorporated devices used for bikes as anti-theft systems accompanied by locking straps or cable; many of these devices will link to your phone with Bluetooth to allow notification when someone is tampering with your gear. There are now companies realizing the need who have started to create devices that are better suited to the kayak market, but this is just starting to grow.
Whatever your thoughts on kayak fishing technology (a purist with only a paddle, or a tech junkie), there is no reason to limit yourself just because you are in a smaller boat. I fished out of a regular boat for many years and didn’t have the money invested that I see in most kayaks on the tournament trail.
If you can find the space for a 12-inch depth finder or want to install a stereo system – do it. If you plan to fish tournaments, make sure to invest in a solid phone and a waterproof case; it is one of the most essential items for a tournament angler after the kayak and tackle. And when you load it all on your truck and head all overlooking for bass… consider how to keep it safe from theft.
This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert
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