Throughout history, we’ve sought to make the job of catching fish easier. To do this we have a huge arsenal of gadgets at our disposal. But how far should we go?
Never mind graphics resembling early 1980s video games, today’s sonar devices reveal an insane world of detail. Beyond shoals of small fish, the most advanced models can also detect individual specimens – to the point where anglers will only stop when they see a 20lb pike or double figure zander! But is it fair game?
Verdict: On huge waters, fish finders are undeniably useful. They don’t guarantee a result, though, and besides the cost, you can spend an awful lot of time staring at a screen rather than fishing.
British anglers buy thousands of them, but bite alarms are still a relatively new tool for anglers. Never originally intended for constant use, Richard Walker made the first models as a way to detect bites after dark. Today’s specimen anglers wouldn’t be without them, and in combination with a self-hooking rig they take a lot of the hard work and constant focus out of targeting large, elusive fish.
Verdict: Very useful for any challenging fishing when bites are few and far between. Just remember, though, other methods exist beyond legered boilies – and for the sake of your fellow anglers, don’t forget the volume control!
Gone are the days when underwater surveillance was the realm of naval intelligence. These days you can pop into Argos and buy a decent waterproof camera! Fish nerds just love positioning them to watch their quarry browsing over bait, or even snatching lures. But do they kill our sense of mystery?
Verdict: Some fantastic insights have come from underwater cameras. But for many of us it’s not high-resolution footage so much as unseen mystery that’s the true magic of fishing.
Match fishing is never without its edges and innovations, but how far will competitors want to stretch things? Quite a long way, if poles are anything to go by! If it wasn’t tricky enough for the club angler to compete against those with 16m of state of the art carbon, some have gone even further, with models that extend to an insane 20m or more!
Verdict: It’s probably for the best that above certain limits, poles become impractical! If it floats, it’ll likely be banned.
Getting your bait into the perfect spot isn’t always easy, even for an experienced angler. What could be better than a radio-controlled boat that will dump your rig and a load of freebies right on the money, even if that happens to be 120yds away, right next to a troublesome overhanging tree?
Verdict: Don’t ask us, see the fishery owner! There’s certainly a case for avoiding lost tackle in awkward swims, but they tend to provoke Brexit-strength debate.
Modern eyes in the sky are a great tool for film-makers, but anglers increasingly use them for fish and feature finding. A tidy sum can buy you a god-like perspective of your local lake, but perhaps not to the delight of other anglers!
Verdict: Drones give undeniably useful perspectives, whether you’re a gravel pit carper or a fishery bailiff. They can be an annoyance though, and should only be used with permission and training.
Struggling to get your 5oz of lead and lugworm bait beyond the 100 yard mark? Why not bring your own cannon and blast them to the horizon? We’re not even joking, because that’s just what some crazies have been trying with rocket launcher style products. Just look out for swimmers, and please don’t tell the local council.
Verdict: Fairly nuts and more than a little dangerous! How are you going to detect bites a mile out? And aren’t you going to feel a bit daft when you spot a big bass four rodlengths out?
The mobile is now our most widespread fishing gadget. Don’t believe us? Well, you probably looked at a weather app today, maybe also checking river levels, before taking impressive pictures and sharing them online!
Verdict: Let’s not be too purist here – phones are fantastically useful. Admit it, though, 24/7 connectivity isn’t healthy, which is why you also love that “no signal” message on your screen.