Fishing in 2014—Thirty-Five Years of Changes

January 21, 2014 by  

by Bob Jensen

Recently I shared some memories of a couple of fishing trips with Al and Ron Lindner.  At that time I mentioned that I had been in the fishing business for thirty-five years.  In those thirty-five years a lot of changes have taken place in regards to the equipment we use.  Let’s take a look at some of those changes.

Let’s start with boats and motors and the accessories that go with them.  In the Midwest, aluminum was the material of choice for boats, and tiller motors were still the way to go.  In the early 80’s, I got my first new rig, a Lund eighteen foot Pro Angler with a fifty horse tiller Mariner motor.  It had a flasher sonar on the back, an electric motor on the transom along with splash guards, and a twelve volt, hand control bow mount electric motor and flasher on the bow.  That was the boat most of us ran back then, and we wondered how a boat could ever get better.  They did get better, and more expensive.  If I remember correctly, I sold that boat after a year of use for six thousand dollars.

Thirty Five Years Fishing Equipment

Modern boats and motors are so much more reliable, powerful, and efficient than those of just a few years ago.

Speaking of sonar units:  Most of us only ran flashers back then because that’s all there was.  There were a few video units out, but they were expensive and fragile.  Then paper graphs came out.  They drew a great picture and it was fun to get such a good look at the structure we were fishing, but the paper needed to be replaced frequently, and it seemed to always be very windy or raining or cold when it needed to be replaced. So much of the time we waited until it wasn’t so windy or rainy or cold to replace the paper.

After just a couple of years, LCD (liquid crystal display) units hit the market.  They were said to be slow in transmitting a signal when compared to a flasher, but it didn’t take long for us to realize that LCD’s were the future.  They didn’t have GPS or mapping or any of the stuff that’s now commonplace, but they sure helped us catch more fish.

When I first started fishing as a youngster, steel or fiberglass rods were the deal.  Then in the late 70’s I think it was, this amazing material called graphite was introduced to rods.  It was expensive and brittle, but those rods were so sensitive.  Skyline was a big name graphite rod manufacturer.  The rods were clubby, but back then, if you had a Skyline rod, you really had something.  Most of those rods cost about seventy bucks.  A seventy dollar rod today is so much better than those first seventy dollar rods.

Selecting a fishing line was a much simpler thing back in the day because there weren’t many choices.  You pretty much chose either a walleye line or a bass line.  Walleye lines were thinner in diameter, bass lines were tougher.  We didn’t have to think too much about which line we were going to use, and that wasn’t such a bad thing.

There is no doubt that we’re fortunate to have such good equipment available to us today, but looking back at the changes in the past thirty-five years, I wonder what the world of fishing equipment will look like in another thirty-five years.

To see all the newest episodes of Fishing the Midwest television, visit Join us at


Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.