Yes, Chief! It was Dick Tracy that led the way for today’s fishing technology

Guess we should have seen this coming — a long, long time ago — maybe as long ago as when Dick Tracy showed up in the Sunday Comics with a 2-way wrist radio.

That wrist radio was Chester Gould’s 1946 idea of making his famous comic-strip detective even more famous. The idea of the wrist radio came before I was born (Yes! There are things in our world older than I). Gould began chronicling Tracy’s adventures in 1931, and, by 1946, it was time for his hero to step it up a notch.

By the time I came along and my Dad read the comics to me, Tracy’s wrist radio was more fact than fiction, at least in those full color pages.

We all read with great anticipation when he cornered the crooks and called in, “Chief, I’ve got them. Send a car over to Broadway and Tenth” or something like that.

Us Sunday Comics devotees reveled when Tracy’s “connectivity” expanded from 500 to 1,000 miles, then to 2,500 miles, then to a 2-way Wrist TV when I was in high school.

And, that was a decade after transistors gave us schoolboys a chance to try to hide a wire from a pocket-sized radio to an ear to listen to the World Series while paying full attention to Sister Rosalie teaching us seventh-grade English.

Sister was wise to us, though. She was from Chicago, and the White Sox were in that World Series. So, about 2:30, she asked the score. It helped all us baseball boys that the Southside Sox were ahead in the fifth inning. With a slight smile, Sister gave us a pass — that day.

How does this relate?

OK, now, and at the risk of going “all old man” on you, how does any of that relate to Louisiana’s outdoors?

Well, unless we were born with a bit of H.G. Wells’ DNA (The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds), there’s no way our then juvenile minds could’ve figured that Tracy’s miniature radio could lead us to where we are today — fishing-wise that is.

How could a wrist radio and those first now-primitive, depth-finding “flashers” lead us to believe any advancement in technology would give us “Live Target.”

If you’re a fisherman, and you’ve paid even a small degree of attention, you know about this combination of ultra-modern integrated circuits connected by a transponder to a digital screen is the newest “must have” especially for bass fishermen.

These new hi-tech devices are much more than the sounders we see on “Wicked Tuna,” the TV show when a handful of bluefin tuna fishermen go wild when the beep-beep-beep triggers a frantic response from captain and crew.

“Live Target” shows fish, shows their depth, shows which way the fish is facing, shows a lure moving near a fish, and even shows a fish attacking the lure. It’s so much more than the arc of previous generations of fish-finders. And, oh yes, sac-a-lait fishermen have their forward facing sonar, too, that shows the same detail and action.

So, now that we have $80,000 rigged-out bass boats with trolling motors beyond the technology that put the first men on the moon, and $60,000 tow vehicles, you can have a choice of these new “fish finders” for somewhere between $2,800 to $4,000.

Don’t know if I like it.

Catching, not fishing

Ah, we’re back to going “all old man” on you if only because we’ve taken that “one small step for man and one giant leap” into making our fishing adventures about having to catch more than really fishing.

The act, and art, of fishing should combine experience, knowledge of the targeted species, understanding weather and water conditions, habitat, the season and a touch of downright luck to catch a fish, any fish.

Somehow, you can get the feeling this new device gives someone with the urge — and, hopefully, not having to take out a second mortgage on the house — to take a shortcut and spend thousands of dollars for a Cliffs Notes version of Izaak Walton’s “The Compleat Angler.”

It’s because this new thing is more than a toy. It’s not your grandson playing video games. This is real stuff and, for some fishing buddies, a real concern. They’re old guys, too.

There’s a prevailing sentiment among these “advanced” anglers about how “mad” they were at the bass, so much so they chased Mr. Largemouth every chance they had.

Today, after learning about, and some witness to, this new technology, these fishing buddies’ sentiments appeared to shift to the bass.

What’s more, to a man and one woman, the prevailing opinion is this new device should be banned from all bass tournaments, that this new technology gives those who can afford it too much an upper hand when it comes to taking home prize money.

I agree — 100 percent.