Box of Chocolates
I am, in the words of marketing geeks, an “early adopter.” I like to be on the inside track of cutting edge technology before that subtle trail becomes a well-worn path. I like to be the guy with the newest and coolest. That’s the Jedi upside to my personality.
The dark forces at work - at least as far as the advertisers are concerned - is that I try not to blindly run down the bunny hole. Alice I’m not. To the original equipment magicians, people like me ask disturbing questions such as “Why do I need this?” Or, “Does it really work as good as advertised?”
Even more aggravating is the group on Internet denizens who always seem to be ahead of the curve. Just when I think I’m onto something revolutionary, a Google of the topic results in 5,248 hits. Do these people ever sleep much less work? It appears they spend an inordinate percentage of their waking hours, chatting up or reviewing everything on the planet.
In past columns, I’ve wondered aloud about such things as GPS – technology that is old hat to fishermen but flooding the consciousness of average citizens – which makes me stop to consider the future. We needed GPS. We embraced the concept with open, furtive arms. But is that necessarily the right response for what comes next?
In particular, the cell phone-based information services have me a little worried. Perhaps the most heavily touted of these is the ESPN sports update system that beams an ongoing barrage of up-to-the-minute minutia to the stick-an-ball set.
Do you really need to know the current point spread for Indianapolis or Notre Dame? Or which wide receiver has a slight groin pull? To me, unless you’re a bookmaker, nursing a serious gambling addiction or, worse yet, a fantasy football nerd, this real time connection is a great way to burn money without using a match.
After all, even the most harried business traveler-slash-sports fan has free access to ESPN-televised sports in ever airport, restaurant and topless bar from sea to shining sea – not to mention the Internet where most of this high-level Intel is available for the price of a WiFi hookup. For old schoolers who cut their teeth on more basic technology, there is also something called the “morning newspaper” which offers most of this information at the low, low weekday price of fifty cents.
If mainstream sports goons have convince themselves that life without phone updates is untenable, so be it. I have other fish to release.
While I recognize that fishing is an information-based pursuit, one where weather and lake levels and tide charts and a million other things factor in one’s success or lack thereof, the bottom line is you have to be there. You can’t be an angler by remote control.
From day one, fishing updates have been nothing more than history. It’s what happened, not what will happen or even what is happening right now. Things change and nothing changes faster then the disposition of a bass or a walleye.
It is my hope that getting fishing updates from a distant collector of factoids won’t mean anything to the average angler. Unlike the sports fan who is nothing more than a spectator, we are participants. We have egos and skills that place a giant, in-line filter between what we hear and what we believe.
Certainly, the relationships we create with other anglers are deep and long lasting. No question there. But as much as our partners may mean to us, a cell phone call from the lake isn’t generally the final word on the subject.
First of all, you rarely get a call when things are going badly. If you’re home washing the dog or painting the spare bedroom, the phone call goes something like this: (Whoops and scream in the background) “Dude, (more whoops and screams), you are missing an epic day! (Screams continue followed by insane laughter) Remember the place I got them last year when you painted the kitchen? Same place, bigger fish!!”
If there is a workable definition of “information overload”, this is it.
But even when the bite is off, the information is equally unhelpful. No matter how lovable or kind our fishing partner may be, the fact remains that we weren’t there. We weren’t on hand to get him off his strange preoccupation with crankbaits to find the jig bite we know is there, all the time.
For those who have fishing buddies of this alien tribe, ones who call when the bite sucks, there is no relief. If you weren’t standing in the boat and didn’t experience it for yourself, it is the proverbial tree falling in the forest. You might have changed things. Okay, you would have changed things.
It is this “I recognize your perception of reality and I choose to reject it” mentality that keeps fishermen coming back for more. The simple thought that someone always catches them also travels with a parallel thought that it should’ve been you. Hopefully, it will prevent us from falling in the technology trap that most surely waits just beyond the horizon.
So when the ads start trumpeting the new cell phone satellite uplink to Bassguru.com, I expect most of us will ignore it. After all, fishing is like Mama Gump’s box of chocolates - you never know what you’re gonna get – and neither does anyone else.
Outdoor writer for Bassmasters, Bass Times, Western Outdoor News, and countless other magazines throughout the US. Here are some of my excerpts from Boat and Walley Magazine that just might put a smaile on your face.