What fishing tech trends stand a chance of changing our sport?
We touched briefly on the subject in December, but we’ve been thinking lately about what sort of sweeping innovations might completely transform the way we fish over the next few years.
From devices that have become commonplace on fishing boats (sonar-equipping GPS units) to items that still haven’t hit the consumer market, the following products and trends are five things that every angler should be paying attention to as time wears on.
View the slideshow to see the fishing tech trends, and leave a comment with any you think we left out.
1. GPS Units
Of all the tech trends currently changing the fishing landscape, none is more pervasive than global positioning technology. It used to be that anglers would have to simply memorize their favorite fishing spots in their heads, or boat around somewhat aimlessly, using trial and error to track down areas with heavy fish numbers.
Nowadays, GPS has simplified the entire process of our sport. The best GPS units are equipped with sonar “fish finders,” which make the process of locating prime fishing spots easier than it has ever been before. Furthermore, modern GPS units actually give you the ability to mark down your favorite fishing spots and save them within the navigation system itself. In other words, a veteran angler’s GPS unit acts like a goldmine of fishing information, and is something that no fisherman ever wants to have falling into the wrong hands.
What the future cold hold for GPS units is hard to say, but we’d like to see improved fish sensors and smart “guide” maps that provide professional-grade information on where the best fishing spots are ahead of time.
2. Fishing Lures
Something else that we will likely see continue to evolve over the next few years are fishing lures. For years, we’ve been watching the market for fishing lures evolve and become more and more interesting.
Nowadays, fishing companies are coming out with lures that not only look incredibly realistic, but which attract fish in new and exciting ways. From lures with blades and spinners that are designed for maximum eye-catching efficiency, to products that are built to catch fish at specific depths, the lure marketplace is becoming more and more fascinating every year. As lures continue to advance in design and craftsmanship, they will likely continue to climb in cost as well, but if the extra money helps you land more fish, we’d say it will be a worthwhile transaction.
3. 3D Printing
Speaking of lures, they might be getting more and more advanced on the product marketplace, but within a few years, that point could quite frankly be moot. When 3D printers finally become a mainstream consumer item, anglers will be able to easily copy their old lures (or design new ones) and then print them out in the comfort of their own home. Different 3D printers can be used to create meticulously rendered copies out of virtually any material. Some printers allow for plastic or fiberglass copies of 3D objects. One company has even developed a culinary-themed 3D printer that can build structures out of hardened sugar or chocolate. In other words, anglers would have some flexibility as to what material they used to render their lure designs – a factor that would be useful for controlling weights, colors, and more.
No one is quite sure when 3D printing will really take off in the consumer realm. Right now, most 3D printer units are quite expensive and aren’t realistically viable for home use. However, as the technology continues to find its fans over the next few years – from NASA astronauts to kitchen chefs – there is no doubt that companies will figure out a way to miniaturize 3D printing and bring it to the consumer market.
4. Satellite Surveillance
Last August, National Geographic published a fascinating article about the negative impacts that unauthorized, unlicensed, and unregulated commercial fishing – referred to in the commercial fishing community as “pirate fishing” – is having on the industry as a whole. The article estimated that pirate fishing was accounting for roughly 20 percent of the worldwide catch – a huge fraction that is worth approximately $23.5 billion per year.
However, rather than being a dismal status report on the crippling effects that illegal activities can have on the fishing industry, the National Geographic article presented a fascinating look at a technology that could feasibly be used to solve the problem. The innovation in question, an Israeli technology called Marint, would allow officials to monitor the high seas and track any ships suspected of suspicious or illegal activity.
Supposedly, this level of unprecedented surveillance has been made possible by the power of modern commercial satellites. The program would even be capable of predicting the movement of vessels and tracing them in their return to port – a factor that could help fishing industry officials to track the whereabouts of “stolen” or illegally fished goods. It all sounds a bit Big Brother, but if it means protecting the fishing industry, it’s hard to write it off.
5. Wearable Technology
Google has been touting its first foray into wearable technology – the Google Glass headset – for roughly a year now, and the device still doesn’t have a proper release date. However, the gadget – which allows for most of the functions of a smartphone on a hands-free basis – could represent a hugely useful innovation to anglers everywhere. Ever wanted to film your own fishing outings? Who needs to mount a camera on their fishing rod when they can film everything with their Google Glass headset? Or snap pictures with little more than the blink of an eye?
Google Glass would undoubtedly have a range of other uses as well, from navigation directions to tips on how to reel in a fish. You would even be able to chat on the phone with a buddy while gutting and cleaning a fish. And that’s all without the apps that tech-minded anglers will surely develop for the device one it’s in the hands of consumers. Suffice to say that we’re excited to see what happens when that day comes.