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Sometimes gadgets get in the way

Anglers and gadgets go together like peanut butter and jelly.

The people who market to people who fish have figured out that we are suckers for new toys. Every year, new inventions lure anglers to reach for their wallets with high hopes that they are buying another ticket to fishing success.

Sometimes, however, the gadgets get in the way.

It happened to me earlier this week. The bass were nestled up tight in the cover and precise pitches were required to get the lure into their hideouts.

Breezy conditions threatened to blow the BassCat past the cover — or worse, into it — before I could get the bait into all the nooks and crannies. Fortunately, my boat has sprouted a pair of Power Poles, the hydraulically operated shallow-water anchors that I can deploy with a flick of a switch to steady my pitching platform.

A set of Power Poles is quite the gadget. The system features three options for dropping the anchors: buttons on the dash, buttons on the deck so I can tap them with my toes and buttons on a pendant I can wear as a necklace.

I was never much of a necklace person. Turns out, that’s a good thing.

I’ve been wearing that pendant while fishing for a few years. I admit, however, that I always thought it had the potential to get in the way.

My Power Pole necklace finally did bite me this week — and it came at a most inopportune moment. I was pitching a green pumpkin beaver-style bait into holes in a wall of cattails at Mosquito Lake when I felt the familiar tap indicating a fish had gulped the lure.

That tap is what we bass anglers live for. The sensation is almost electric. It is the moment of truth. The angler who reacts properly will be rewarded with a powerful surge of fishy fury on the hook set.

I felt the tap, but I was unable to respond with a proper pull on the rod because I had a bit of a problem. The cord holding the Power Pole pendant had somehow become tangled with my fishing line.

So I fumbled and fussed and fumed. What the …! How unlucky. I dared not set the hook, but I didn’t want to risk breaking the line in the mess hanging around my neck.

Remarkably, the bass continued tugging, but in a restrained manner. Bass anglers know the vigor with which a fish can move once it has decided to attack a lure. The fish on the hook end of the line tangled in my “necklace” was committed, but not energized.

It probably was only 10 seconds, but it seemed like minutes. Finally, I freed the line and swung the pendant over my shoulder. I jerked the rod and the water boiled as the 3-pound bass fought to hold its own in the cattails.

The outcome was secured. The fish I had no right to actually boat was mine. Sometimes you can botch up a technique or squander an opportunity, yet you still get to call bingo.

You’ve got to love those gadgets. They help make fishing fun. They also can cause a train wreck when they interfere with the basics.

But lesson learned. Experience is the mother of invention. After the tangle this week, I now wear the pendant looped on a short cord from a belt loop.

Jack Wollitz is a writer and angler who has had his share of fishing fumbles throughout northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. He also appreciates emails from readers. Send a note to Jack at jackbbaass@gmail.com.

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