ALPENA -Technology affects every aspect of people's lives in one form or another. It can provide information, luxury and entertainment. For some of the fishers competing in the Michigan Brown Trout Tournament, though, it offers information, which if used properly can increase catches and accurate navigation.
Larry Sanderson runs a charter boat out of Alpena and has been fishing Thunder Bay for more than 30 years. He said even though he has always caught fish, the development of modern graphs and gauges have made finding and catching fish more efficient.
"Technology is very critical because you have to be smarter than a fish. Finding the right water temperature and the speed are the main things," Sanderson said. "There are different speeds your vessel should be going for different types of fish, and finding the depth you need with the right temperature is a must. The technology makes it simpler to be able to do that. I've been fishing for three decades and I'm still learning. I absolutely catch more fish today with the instruments on the boat than I did without it."
News Photo by Steve Schulwitz
Larry Sanderson shows off some of the electronic on his boat “Bounty Hunter” during the Michigan Brown Trout Festival in Alpena. Sanderson said today’s technology helps fishermen catch more fish, as well as navigate and monitor weather and water temperatures.
Like Sanderson, Ed Retherford spends a great deal of time fishing on Lake Huron. He said when he has a charter scheduled, he begins doing diagnostics on the lake's condition as soon as he gets out of bed. He said the information he gathers is critical to the customers catching fish.
"I get up and check three webpages. We have three buoys in the lake that tell temperature and depth all the way to the bottom," Retherford said. "We check all of those along with the wind direction. Then I turn on another that turns on the satellite information and weather conditions. I do that all before I even leave the house. I started fishing when there wasn't any technology. It makes a big difference on many things and is especially critical in navigation."
Retherford said having a quality Lowrance chart-plotter system on any boat venturing out onto the water is recommended. He said there are times when a GPS may not be able to get the job done.
"A lot of the kids have GPSs now, but if there was dense fog and the GPS went out, they wouldn't have a clue on how to get back to the harbor," Retherford said. "Most of them don't have charts on their boats to help them get around if needed."
Sanderson said today's fish finders are very accurate and believes it helps the fishers catch fish. He said having a radar unit on board also is an important tool to help keep informed as to what is going on around you.
"It will show you islands and even storms. It will show you where they are, what direction they are moving, and allows you time to get off the lake or navigate around it," Sanderson said. "Things sure have changed. We used to have to use a compass."
Kris Werda takes part in several local tournaments, but his boat isn't equipped with many of the bells and whistles as others. He said he still catches fish and is competitive.
"To be honest we really don't have much on board. We have a GPS and a fish graph," Werda said. "The graph doesn't tell you what you're marking anyway, and there are a lot of times we catch fish when there are none on the graph and don't catch any when the graph is full. I do feel that we are at a disadvantage to other boats who have more technology for sure, but we're doing good in the tournament this year. We've lost some big ones or we would be doing better."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.