Monday, 21 July 2014

On the water, no stopping the new technology

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I have finally entered the 21st century. I now have a Lowrance Elite 5 fish finder with GPS and split screens, a Nikon D3200 digital camera and a Samsung Galaxy III smart phone.

I’m so confused!

The advances in these products from my old Humminbird Fish-Finder, my Minolta 7000 camera, my point-and-shoot Fuji 10X and my dumb phone LG A340 are like night and day.

All of these products can do so much more than my former toys that I am confused about how much I can do, and how to find the right buttons to push at the right time. I’m also embarrassed that my grandson can work these machines so fast I can’t keep up.

Now, I’m no slouch when it comes to the older computers, cell phones and cameras of their day. but … wow! What a difference in today’s products. I now know what my mom and dad must have thought about their first television, dial phone, automatic washer and dryer, etc.

So, it may take me time and I may have to reach out to my sons and grandson, but a few years from now I will be a master of these products. Then, of course, the new and better models will show up and I’ll be behind the 8-ball again.


Speaking of these new fishing electronics, I have only been interested in water depth and water temperature for my whole fishing life, as I never trusted these machines to show actual fish.

I understand that these new machines can pick up images of fish that are below my boat but that doesn’t tell me if they are bass, trout, salmon, perch, pickerel or crappies. In the saltwater, there are possibly hundreds of fish species below your boat.

There are some variations, such as size or depth, which would eliminate crappies, perch and pickerel, but that still leaves a bunch of fish that may not be what you are seeking. This can be a waste of time but, because they are on your screen, you have to make a few casts to see what happens.

Of course, if you see a ball of bait on your screen, you should stop immediately and start casting, as fish follow those bait balls. For those of you not familiar with a bait ball, it is hundreds to thousands of minnows, fry or young fish banding together to avoid being eaten by the bigger fish.

Remember safety in numbers? Didn’t your parents tell you to never go out alone after dark? Same thing, except it is burnt into the fishes’ memories from birth.

The predators swim along underneath these bait balls and wait for one of the fish to fall out, and when it does, they swim after it and devour it.

A fisherman will drop his bait into this ball and, when it emerges from underneath it, one of the predators below will grab it. Then, if the fisherman is quick enough and feels the pressure on his line, he will set the hook and bring in his catch to the boat.

Sounds simple, right? Not so, as you have to be using the right size and color bait or the bigger fish will ignore yours and concentrate on the bait ball.


Earthworms have long been considered to be one of the best baits for catching fish. I would think that it is because of their motion and not their delicious taste. Some facts about earthworms:

  • There are more than 2,700 different kinds of earthworms;

  • In one acre of land there can be as many as one million earthworms;

  • The largest earthworm ever found was in South Africa and was over 22 feet long;

  • Earthworms become paralyzed if they stay out in the sun for too long, which is about an hour;

  • Worms can eat their weight every day.

Why do earthworms come out in the rain? Because they would drown if the water filled their homes. Worms spend all of their time digging and eating dirt while creating minute tunnels underground. A heavy rainfall could flood their homes. Unfortunately, many of them are often eaten by various predators once they come out.

So, when you dig in your garden for worms to go fishing, remember that these worms have and will continue to aerate your backyard. Don’t take all of them at once; dig other holes far away from each other so you leave these little creatures room to eat and survive.

Wayne Hooper is a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association and is a lifelong Seacoast resident. He can be reached at


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On the water, no stopping the new technology

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