Winds of Change
Today’s angler has more tools at their disposal than ever before. Tactics and practices have changed. A few years ago, you could look at a boat heading to the lake, and you were sure if the fisherman were off to catch walleye, catfish, or bass. But just like todays cross over musicians, cross over SUVs, there is now cross over anglers and boats and tackle to support them.
Today’s tournament walleye anglers have found that thinking outside of the box has paid dividends. They have also found that bait and tackle companies have taken notice of their needs. Now there are more choices on the shelf of local bait shops and large box stores. Companies are competing by designing special paint schemes on lures, new lines of soft plastics and swim baits, and even designing specialized boats that a few years ago were unheard of.
Yesterday’s choice of boats yielded either a deep V aluminum or a fish and ski refitted to suit. Most boat companies that compete in the angling world, have left the fish and ski out of the catalog and have replaced them with a larger, deeper fiberglass platform. Complete with enormous rod lockers to protect the hundred rods a walleye tournament angler carries today. Huge tackle storage compartments housing up to 50 or more tackle boxes. Net storage and room for multiple units on the helm. Endless battery storage. All in platforms that can take the abuse of big water and travel faster than ever.
Bass anglers have taken notice of today’s changes as well. The new varieties of lures that are catching walleye are catching those big bass as well. Those Oversized stable boats make for better platforms for chasing those monster bronze backed smallies up on Lake Erie. The realistic hard thumping swim baits, impregnated with a fusion of scents and taste to fool the weary eyes and senses of the walleye, are tremendous on bass as well. They have noticed it’s not just jigs and leaches anymore. It’s not trolling endless nautical miles with a 9 rod spread. With tactics similar today and the same tackle on board, bass anglers have found a new species to break the monotony, a new target to master, and don’t let us forget, a tasty bounty to boot.
Walleye tournament anglers have mastered boat control. They have learned lake maps and todays electronics to take them to new levels of angling. Yesterday bass anglers used their electronics for depth and temperature information. I was surprised by the fact that so many didn’t need or care to use a large percentage of instruments that today’s unit’s offer. But that’s beginning to change. From finding subtle contour changes to changes in bottom hardness. Now with a new line of electronics, they can create their own high definition lake maps while they fish.
Today’s changes are making for a better fishing experience. Judging by the costs, it should be helping the economy. Lure companies, boat manufacturers, and tackle designers have taken notice. A whole new line of products are being introduced daily. With tomorrow’s bass and walleye anglers more aligned in the future, the coming years are going to be exciting. Only thing missing in my mind, is a combination tournament series where a team can weigh in both species.