Is the Abu Garcia Virtual rod the wave of the future for angling?
This rod can actually say it does way more than just catch fish. It pairs up with the popular ANGLR smartphone app to record vital data on the fish you just caught.
This could be the seamless tech integration the fishing gear industry has been anticipating.
The Abu Garcia Virtual rod
Abu Garcia used ICAST 2019 to announce that they were rolling out 10 new variations on the Virtual rod to fit a variety of angling styles. They are releasing spinning rods and casting rods in lengths from 6-feet, 6-inches all the way to 7-feet, 6-inches. These rods are built with 30-ton graphite and stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts.
But the thing that really makes these rods stand out is the incorporation of Bluetooth technology. Now, I can already hear some people complaining: "Why reinvent the wheel? Just give me something to attach my baitcasting or spinning reel to and be done with it!" But this addresses some of the issues ANGLR had encountered in the past.
This is where the ANGLR Bullseye comes into play. If you haven't heard of it before, it's a small Bluetooth device with a single button that you press every time you catch a fish on the water. The Bullseye synchs with the free ANGLR fishing app to record waypoints on where you caught the fish, water temperatures, weather conditions, barometric pressure, moon phases and more.
It also allows you to save a photo and add notes to the information sent to the app later. For instance, you can note that you saw that big bass inhale your swimbait the second it passed over a fallen log. Since ANGLR records the coordinates, you can easily re-find this log on a future trip.
The ANGLR app allows anglers the ability to create a highly detailed log of every fish you catch, and they've whittled it down to a single push-button operation. You aren't fumbling around with your phone or typing longwinded details, you're just pressing the button. The beauty in it is the simplicity.
It seems like a big barrier to get around, but with the Virtual rod, you aren't stopping your fishing to enter info into an app manually.
It all sounds like very useful fishing information doesn't it?
Built right into the rod
Up until now, anglers who did use the ANGLR app and Bullseye were either wearing the Bullseye on a lanyard around their neck or clipping it to the bill of their hat. While both of those work, the Abu Garcia Virtual rod has the Bullseye built right into the butt of the rod.
We like this idea. It gives this tool a low profile that won't interfere with the rod's action or fishing reel. It also guarantees you're never going to misplace it and then waste valuable fishing time digging through the stuff in your boat looking for it.
Abu Garcia and ANGLR were obviously thinking of fishermen and women who like to fish hard and go off the beaten path with this rod. It works even when you're fishing somewhere remote and don't have cellular service.
The Bullseye also has a battery built in that is made to last two years, so you shouldn't need to worry about if it has enough juice to record your trip.
The app can be used with both iPhone and Android and keeps all the data you record private by default, unless you choose to share some of it with a fishing buddy.
You can expect to find these rods on store shelves come spring 2020, the suggested retail price is $130. It's an intriguing concept that promises to deliver some interesting and useful data.
We'll be keeping an eye on Abu Garcia and ANGLR to see if this technology is incorporated into other pieces of fishing gear in the future.