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Question: There are so many new, cutting edge technologies in bass fishing, especially for tournament fishermen. This cutting edge equipment such as Power-Pole, Humminbird side-imaging fish finder, and HydroWave are very expensive. Almost all average fishermen at the very average income level can not afford to buy these fancy tools. I see only one Elite Series pro that does not seem to have these fancy gadgets on his boat. He still runs a 200hp outboard while his fellow competitors are running 250hp outboards. But he still does very well in his career in the Bassmaster Elite Series. Do you all need these fancy tools to compete in the high level tournaments such as Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour? If KVD did not have these fancy tools, would he start losing tournaments?
All the new, cutting edge technologies are just tools to help catch and/or find fish. Do you need them to compete? I would say that depends on your own personal skill level and how efficient you are at catching and finding fish without these tools. The one Elite pro that you refer to is probably the best angler on the planet. Period. He would most likely kick KVD’s butt across the room on a regular basis IF (1) he had some new tools, and (2) he would focus more on fishing. Yes, he does very well – as long as he catches fish. Since he has few sponsors, though, one bad year when he doesn’t catch them may very well see the end of his “career”.
Good question: The reason most every pro has all the gadgets is the same reason I have them. I don't want to be beat by them. If there is any advantage in having all the latest, I want to make sure they are available to me. The thing is that many people think all this stuff catches fish. It is still the angler who catches the fish. If KVD did not have all the gadgets, he would still be who he is. Your Steve Kennedy reference is an exception to the norm. He is a guy who fishes the moment, very much pure instincts. More anglers need to use their instincts and not rely on info and gadgets to catch fish. For example, about a year or two ago, I had an epiphany concerning fishing deep. I realized that I can find and catch more fish by using a deep diving crankbait than my electronics. I have gotten so now that I can tell what is on a place or in an area by making a few casts with a big plug than idling over it. Sounds funny and old school but it is more effective for me.
In this regard, I picked a bad time to retire. I left the competitive side of the sport with Lowrance down looking sonar. I think I would need the side scanning technology to maximize my ability to search out and catch bass when they are off shore. But....I don't fish this way much now that I can fish where and when I want to. If I still needed to compete, especially at the Elite level, then I would be required by circumstances to utilize the latest and greatest units available. This new technology seems to be very useful in locating small and otherwise invisible underwater features that hold bass. Without it, I would feel very under-gunned in the tournament time frame.
Same thing with Power Pole. I see their value to fishing in many scenarios, but it doesn't seem financially sensible to me now that my living does not depend upon catching the maximum quantity of bass fish.
As to the HydroWave technology, I believe it is just about as valuable as described. I used the old Biosonix units for several years on the leading edge of that technology. I concluded their value was pretty huge in many situations.
In short, I would love to be using these latest technologies, but they seem financially out of the average fisherman's budget. I find myself in this situation nowadays. With the combined cost at around $6k to update my "Old" stuff, I would find it hard to justify. I love new technology and always felt I was open to new ideas and stuff, to a fault at times. After all, that is what really makes this bass fishing business work. We average fishermen want the latest gear so we can beat up on our buddies on Tuesday night. I think every bass nut must find his own balance in spending the kids' college education money on new toys. I think I will probably just go on throwing my spinnerbait at the visible targets because I WANT to.
In order to compete at the Elite level, yes these tools are pretty much a requirement. BUT, the real advantage a bass angler can have is in his head. The angler who wins without believing he can win, is an endangered species.