In days gone by, Grandpa caught fish and was successful hunting game because he had put his time in. Back in the day, there was no substitute for experience in the woods. Grandpa also knew where the fish were because he’d caught them there before and it made sense to him that certain conditions would bring them back to the same, or similar, locations.
Looking back, most sportsman wouldn’t have a clue how grandpa did it back in the day because we have been able to replace his time and efforts in the woods and on the water with advanced technology. What Grandpa knew instinctively, we now keep up with electronically, using pre-programmed software and data that all but point out where the action is.
Today’s technology allows sportsmen who are pressed for time, or who want to get out in the woods and water more often than Grandpa did, to hit the ground running. The only sin to be confessed should be by those who are not taking advantage.
Doug Goins, Mathews Archery certified bow hunter and owner of J & S Gun Depot & Archery in Easley sets out on foot this time of year to do his scouting. When he hits the ground, he’s not looking for places to hunt. He uses some high tech tools to pattern deer well before opening day.
“I put out remote game cameras that will give me specific data to pattern the deer that are using an area,” said Goins. “I start with the game cameras sometime around the end of July, they will allow me to thoroughly scout the area without bumping and pushing deer.”
The data that Goins wants to collect with his trail cameras is the direction deer are coming from and going to as well as the frequency of travel. He will also get some idea of the number and size deer using the area.
“If I can get an idea of sex ratios, how many does versus how many buck are in this area, I can use that information to plan later hunts when mature bucks will be more interested in the doe herd,” he said.
On subsequent visits to check his cameras, typically done during mid day when deer are more likely not to be in the area, he can adjust the camera locations further up or down the trail. This not only helps him pattern deer for hunting but also for further scouting.
“You’ll quickly learn where and when to scout so you can go in and verify food sources and bedding areas and be confident of not bumping deer,” he said.
Flipping the coin, anglers use just as advanced technology to get real-time information on the world below their boat. One of the ways tournament anglers stay on top of the tournament boards is by mastering the latest tactics and technology.
As an example, Kent Driscoll, pro-staff manager for B’n’M Poles, who lives north of Atlanta, recently fished and won a major crappie fishing tournament in central Georgia that he hadn’t laid eyes on in over 10 years. He and his partner beat a home crowd of local anglers who knew the lake very well. So how do you show up on the home turf of some of the best fishermen in the area and beat them on their home lake? Driscoll has mastered the art of reading side imaging sonar technology.
Using a Humminbird 1197 sonar unit, Driscoll was able to see fish up to 100 feet on either side of his boat and figure out a way to catch them.
“Me and pretty much everyone else in the field knew that big slab crappie would be stacked up on ledges and edges that litter the bottom of the reservoir,” said Driscoll. “We caught a ton of fish but figured out the bigger crappie were holding on little fingers that stuck out into the main channel” he explained. “Then it was just a matter of tracking down those areas—which were clearly visible on my digital mapping software that’s loaded in the unit. Once we got to an area, one pass down the channel with the side imaging and we could see both the stumps the fish were holding on and even the fish themselves.”
It’s safe to say, we no longer live in Grandpa’s world. The question is, if Grandpa lived in our world, would he be sticking to the old ways or taking advantage of our modern electronic advantages.
In Other News
Anthony Gagliardi from Prosperity, SC, fishing on his home waters of Lake Murray, won the FLW's Forrest Wood Cup and its $500,000 first-prize money by a single ounce during last week-end’s highly touted FLW Championship. Gagliardi's final round catch on Sunday of 13 pounds, 14 ounces, gave him a four-day total of 51 pounds, 2 ounces, enough to win the event by one ounce.
Scott Canterbury of Springville, Ala., took second place and $60,000 with a final-day catch of five fish, 13-14 -- for a 51-1 total. Third-round leader Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif, weighed in 11-10 to take third at 50-11, Casey Ashley of Donalds, SC moved up a spot from fifth to fourth with 15-0 for 50-7, and Steve Kennedy of Auburn, AL, had the biggest single day catch of the week, 20 pounds, 2 ounces, to finish at 50-7.