Modern-day marine electronics have improved safety afloat, provided improved fishing tools and made the voyage more pleasant for the captain.
Before, you had to worry about charts, know where you were and where you were going, and know if something was about to hit you, or vice versa.
Today, marine electronics can handle all those chores and more. Today's captain surrounds himself with gadgetry that makes the trip fun.
One of the more important marine electronic devices is Loran-C.
Today's Loran-C unit is a mixture of receiver and computer. The unit always knows where it is, and if you can tell it where to go, theunit will display your speed, where you are in relation to the desired location or way point and when you will arrive at the way point. Avery neat tool for the serious fisherman.
The Loran-C is an obvious must for anyone who takes fishing seriously. It permits you to mark locations so you can return again and again. Some of these will be permanent, such as an underwater island or deep hole, and some will be temporary, such as a school of bluefish.
The blues may never be at that location again, but right now that spot may be the most important spot in the entire Chesapeake Bay and you want to know how to get back to it.
After you have become more than just familiar with your unit, you will begin to experience another problem -- way point glut.
Way points are, as described earlier, locations. Way point glut is having more way points than can be stored in your machine.
What to do?
The newer Loran-C units hold 100 to 250 way points, while some of the early units held only 50. Why would anyone need more than 50 locations? Well, if you start cataloging lumps for white perchfishing, your 50 way points will be gone in a week or two.
When most fishermen run out of space in our machines, we purchase a little black book and start writing down numbers (slang for way points). This will work, but it doesn't seem real professional.
Also, trying to find the right number when you are bouncing around out there can befrustrating. But Bob Blum of Severna Park has solved the problem.
Bob spends a fair amount of time with a good friend of mine, Capt. Ed Kipp of the Saroma Five. They were trying to find a number one day when Bob told Ed he would write him a computer program to keep track of his way points.
As with most projects, this one grew, and Bob developed a program that is available under Shareware, a service whereyou can try the program before you buy it.
The name of the program is WayPts, and it allows you to type in your way-point numbers and then have them displayed by name, area or Lat/Lon.
The program runs on IBM or IBM-compatible computers and, with a hard disk, permits the boater to store and organize thousands of way points. If you decide to use the program, you are expected to pay $25. Mr. Blum then willcustomize the display with your name and the name of your boat.
Iam currently testing the program and think it is very good.
For more information, contact Bob Blum of Round Bay Research Co., 3 River Road, Severna Park, Md. 21146, or call 301-544-6080.