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The future of fishing? I hope not

Far too many anglers motor into a new area, glance once or twice at the temperature gauge while dropping the trolling motor, and proceed to leave having drawn the wrong conclusions about temperature's effects on bass. These conclusions are not helped by the fact that in those cases where the thermosensor is mounted to the hull of the boat or to the trolling motor the angler is actually measuring the temperature of the surface water, not the deeper waters where the bass truly dwell.

The angler fails to consider that bass position themselves according to the surrounding water near their bodies. A bass may be perfectly content sitting beneath a warm log, knowing that a short distance away the water is undesirably cold. It has no need to assess the big picture, only the acceptability of its immediate space.

The solution to fix this problem might be to buy good equipment and take plenty of measurements.

As far as taking more measurements goes, until technology advances to the point where detailed, site-specific, environmental maps can be readily had at the push of a button, anglers will have to make a compromise. The main point of bass fishing is, well, to fish, and not to constantly be taking measurements. But if we hope to ever develop more accurate models of how and why bass distribute themselves, keeping closer tabs on the bass' world will become an increasing priority. The split in time spent fishing and watching gauges and screens will, of course, always be a matter of individual choice.

As competitive bass-fishing strategies continue to evolve, they may shift to stress electronic fish-finding over actual hook-and-line time. Bass fishing success hinges on finding active fish and accurately interpreting their moods. Even with run-and-gun strategies like using certain lures for covering lots of water quickly, angling in and of itself is not a very efficient means of locating active bass. The future may well belong to those anglers who have access to continual, up-to-date, detailed synopses and historical perspectives of the surrounding aquatic conditions that are in constant synch with the ever-changing environment. It's not hard to envision the mid-21st century bass angler of the near future standing on the forward deck of his deluxe, dual jet propulsion bass boat, his head covered with a specialized helmet equipped to project across its thermosensitive visor a constant virtual readout.

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