Breaking News
More () »

HOOKED ON EAST TEXAS: Is technology in your tackle box?

Technology is making fishing appear easier.

TYLER, Texas — Using technology to fish - it's nothing new. 

Depth finders, fish finders and other electronics have been around for decades. But technology has come a long way since simple sonar. Now you can see the fish and if you're really good, you can tell what kind of fish. 

It seems since 2018, the technology has taken off. On a recent outing with Three Nails Guide Mark Standridge, we saw how a Garmin Live Scope. “It’s actually gives us eyes in the water, we can see what's going on, how the fish react to the bait, where they’re at, on a limb, under a limb, just about anything you want to know that machine right there will tell you.”

The big three in modern fishing technology are Humminbird, Garmin's Live Scope and Lowrance's Active Target. Price points differ. It depends how many gadgets and gizmos you want and how sophisticated the set up. Of course, you'll pay more for more features. But the features can be impressive. 

You can see fish and depending on size and reflectivity you can tell whether it's a catfish, bass or crappie. You can also see structures such as tree limbs, sunken boats and other features where fish will hide. You can also tell the difference between your bait, your line and the fish following it.” 

And now you can pair the technology with your phone. We went to Academy Sports and Outdoors to check out what's on the market. And while we were there store director Randy Smiley showed us how his granddaughter rides in the boat and offers fishing suggestions to her grandfather.

“My granddaughter loves to sit in the back of the boat and she can actually see this active target screen on my phone," Smiley said.  

The fishing is definitely easier but is it making fishing too easy?
For instance, the daily limit on crappie is 25 and with electronics it seems a lot of anglers are hitting that limit every time out. So will we see a time when we are overfishing a species of fish, thanks to technology.

We asked assistant District Fisheries Biologist Jake Norman with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Division that question.

“There’s no way we can fish down that population even with the best technology in the world," Norman said.  

Norman told us the crappie in Texas reproduce in large numbers, grow too fast and don't live long enough to impact crappie numbers. However, Norman says it's possible that in the future, if people became interested in catching trophy crappie, crappie bigger than two pounds, that some sort of management practice surrounding crappie could be needed. 

“If there’s a possibility of any changes due to live imaging radar, live scope, maybe reducing the number of trophy fish and there would be ways to adjust regulations if there was interest in trophy Crappie fishers," Norman said. "Fishing guide Kyle Miers isn't worried about overfishing. He says just because you can see the fish, doesn't mean you can catch them. The fish are getting smarter and it’s making fishing harder but at the same time it is making better fisherman.”

One program that is benefitting from electronics is the Texas Sharelunker program. Technology is helping anglers target the legacy class lunkers and catch them. Those anglers donate those fish to the Sharelunker program which in turn helps create bigger, better bass fishing in Texas.

So it appears technology will become a piece of tackle just like your hook or lure. And the way things are going technology isn't going away and will probably only get better from here. 

RELATED: HOOKED ON EAST TEXAS: Battling Giant salvinia at Caddo Lake

RELATED: HOOKED ON EAST TEXAS: You never know who you'll meet while fishing

Before You Leave, Check This Out