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Changes in Fishing

By Bob Jensen

As we go through life, many of us change the way we do things.  We find a better way, or sometimes just a different way of performing some tasks.  In the past several decades many changes have taken place in the fishing world.  Following are some of those changes.

In walleye country about thirty years ago, the big deal when it came to boats was an eighteen foot aluminum boat and a fifty horsepower motor with tiller steering.  This rig provided lots of room and outstanding trolling control.  Eventually though, some walleye-chasers decided that a boat guided with a steering wheel might be a better idea.  Those tiller boats were wonderful to fish from once you got to your spot, but boats with a steering wheel make getting to your spot so much more comfortable and faster.  They’re also better if you would want to pull a water skier or tuber.

We’ve seen lots of changes in the “fishin’ poles” available to us.  Today’s rods are lighter in weight, more sensitive, and just all around better for fishing.  And there are rods that are “Technique Specific”.  That means that that particular model of rod was designed for a specific use.  Maybe it was designed for flippin’ for bass or trolling for walleyes.  Technique Specific rods do a very good job at what they were designed for.  However, many of us don’t want, don’t need, or can’t have a rod designed for every technique.  There’s good news for us.  There are lots of rods available that are very versatile.  I was looking through my rod rack and came upon a Lew’s Speed Stick that I use for live-bait rigging and jigging for walleyes, slip-bobbering for walleyes and crappies, and jig-worming and drop-shotting for bass.  It’s a tremendously versatile rod.  If a rod for a specific technique is what you want, go for it.  But it’s possible to have a single rod that will perform a variety of techniques very well.

Fish species popularity has certainly changed.  It wasn’t long ago that, in a good number of places, walleyes were the most popular fish.  Walleyes continue to be favored in those places, but fishing for bass has significantly increased in popularity.  Smallmouth bass are abundant in waters where they didn’t used to be abundant, and anglers have discovered that smallmouth and largemouth bass are willing biters when the walleyes are being stubborn.

Along with different species becoming more popular, regulations have made it possible for us to catch bigger fish.  When musky fishing started to become popular, a musky had to be thirty inches long if it was to be kept.  There are a good number of waters today where a musky must be fifty inches if you want to take it home.  We’ve learned that if we want to catch big fish, we need to put some smaller fish back.

There are lots of other changes that are or will take place in fishing.  The important thing to remember is that fishing can be what we want it to be.  Some anglers like to have all the newest and best equipment, the rest of us like to have nice stuff in adequate quantities.  Most of all, we want a place to go fishing where we can enjoy the outdoor experience with another person or alone.  When it comes to fishing, we make it what we want it to be, and that’s why going fishing appeals to so many people.

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