Several years, I was scouring the Net for info on mounting an iPad in my boat when I came across this post. On one hand, I felt the electronics in photos accompanying that thread (see below) were a little ridiculous at the time. But on the other, they said a lot about the future of bass fishing. At the time when I found the link, I thought I was doing some cutting edge stuff because I was utilizing a Navionics app that allowed me to run my Ipad on my boat in one window (which gave me instant access to basically everything that I use to physically navigate from on my regular boat-mounted graph), then on the other window I had instant access to Google Earth map close-ups and weather images, which I regularly used and compared. Quite honestly, an Ipad is a tremendous fishing tool I feel many anglers still fail to utilize, plus the Ipad/app/Internet connection combo is pretty inexpensive compared to the cost of many fancy boat graphs.
When I found that post, I said to myself, “How long is it going to be before the entire operation of a boat, and all it’s electronics are operated by one single device?” Whether you work remotely for a big company, or hardly leave a single office, I’ll bet you run off apps and advanced mobile devices most of the time. Even if you’re a trust fund baby and you do whatever the heck you please every day, when you wake up, your daily life is still likelyoperated by small smart devices. Is it really that far-fetched to see a consolidation of these boat systems too? Personally, I’m greatly anticipating it and feel it’s right around the corner.
Imagine one device protected by a single password that’s transportable from boat to truck to home, and connected by one universal plug-n-play wire. This one-stop-shop would have all the internal and download-able software necessary to be used as a phone, tv, camera, video recorder, and web searching tool for everything from Weather.com to finding Yankees scores. A simple touch screen accesses your digital boat controls like on/off, gas gauges, volt readings, tach info, and even your livewell pumps. An easy screen swipe or touch takes you to voice activated navigational assistance including everything from detailed topographical maps, to Google Earth comparison split screens, to remote drone controls that pre-can scan areas right from your boat. But what about old school sonar? No problem. The boat I envision is simply factory pre-equipped with a multi-task transducer. When you plug in the one single device to the main boat control, the software is ready for regular sonar, side finding, down finding, circumnavigating and even Ancestry.com. Even if a submerged object is floating ahead in the direction of where your running, you get a friendly warning telling you danger is near. Then comes the dreaded statement I get from everyone I talk to about this subject: “That all sounds good until the one device breaks and you can’t use anything.” My response, “No worries, just plug in the phone that you have in your pocket. It serves the same functions as that one device, plus as an emergency backup. And, it’s all backed up on “The Fish Cloud.”