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By Larry Woody, Outdoors Writer

At first I thought it was a joke.

But after checking out the illustration in the magazine and reading the accompanying cutline, I realized the “iBobber” is no joke. It’s real.

It’s ridiculous, but it’s real. I quote from the article: “The iBobber is a small, lightweight cast-able sonar unit that synchs with the angler’s Smartphone, Google Watch or iWatch to provide up-to-the-minute information about what’s happening below the surface.”

It goes on to say that iBobber can spy on fish up to 135 feet deep.

Submitted photo
This “Bud Plug” caught attention but didn’t catch any fish.

The same article includes information about a “StrikeSiren” that calls fish.

Every time I think fishing technology can’t possibly get any goofier, the techies prove me wrong.

I figure it’s only a matter of time until they come up with a gadget that will swim out, locate a fish, insert a hook in its mouth and haul it into the boat. It comes with an added accessory that will take it home, clean it and cook it for you.

Another option will be a little robot you can program to hang out at the local bait shop and brag about the catch.

We’ve gone tech-crazy. Bill Gates is about to replace Bill Dance.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a computer catching fish for me. I’d rather cast than click.

However, I realize that when it comes to tackle technology, anglers might argue over how much it too much.

For example, I fish with spinning tackle, monofilament line and artificial lures. That’s far advanced from a cane pole, line and hook and can of worms.

I fish primarily from a boat, which allows me to venture into places where fish lurk that I otherwise couldn’t reach. I use a motor to propel the boat, an upgrade over paddling.

My boat is equipped with a depth finder, which also shows underwater structure.

So I suppose I’m guilty of relying on modern technology to an extent. I don’t advocate going back to the days of using a wooden spear or woven-reed fish trap. Besides, some of the low-tech stuff is fun.

My favorite tech tackle example is a “Lightning Bug Plug” my Uncle Herb bought back in the 1950’s. It’s a clear plastic plug, about three inches long, that unscrews in the middle.

According to the instructions, you inserted a lightning bug – aka firefly – inside the lure. As the lure was reeled through the water the lightning bug would blink on and off, and the flickering light would attract fish.

The catch of course, was catching a supply of lightning bugs before you went fishing.

I always suspected the Lightning Bug Plug was just a novelty, as was Uncle Herb’s Bud Plug – a miniature Budweiser beer can equipped with treble hooks.

I cast the Bud Plug a few times to see if it actually worked, and it did, wobbling along with its red-and-white Budweiser sides flashing. However, I never caught anything on the Bud Plug.

Apparently all the fish in the pond were teetotalers.