Among several new boating experts now writing for Boats.com, Lenny Rudow stands out as kind of a renaissance boat guy. Boat design and construction? Check. Systems and maintenance? Check. Marine engines? Check. And marine electronics (the topic of his new monthly column)? Check! But when you dig below the surface with Lenny, it's not really about any of that stuff.
The other day I sent Lenny an e-mail: "What’s your favorite reason to get out in a boat and when do you do it most often?"
Back came a Dr. Seuss-like answer: "I fish. I fish, and fish, and then fish some more. I do it most often today, yesterday, and tomorrow!"
And with that, I bid you welcome to Lenny's world of electronics on boats with a crystal-clear caveat: "It's not about what the electronics can do; it's about what they can do for you."
This month Lenny's survey story "Latest Gadgets: Best New Electronics for 2010" covers a range of cool new products that should be useful no matter what your favorite thing is to do in a boat. Just know that, for Lenny, it's got to pass the "fish filter" first. That is, you can be sure that all of these gadgets will work on boats heading out for the fishing grounds.
Which is not to say that Lenny doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about and looking about for equipment of all sorts. He has a Glacier Bay 22, which he just finished rebuilding it last fall, so there aren't too many holes in it yet, he says, then adds: "Back in the early 90's, I had a 16-foot Apache I drilled so often that, eventually, I had to turn my shed into a fiberglass shop and mold a new console."
I asked him what about his first recollections of using marine electronics and he said: "I can still remember turning knobs on the original Lowrance flashers. You remember those—a blinking light appeared at the bottom's depth, and when you saw other blinks, it was allegedly indicating fish. Even funnier was the first "handheld" GPS I ever got to play with, a toaster-sized Magellan that was so heavy you could have clubbed a bear to death with it."
Marine electronics have sure progressed since then. What's the biggest difference? They're easier to use, Lenny says. "Ten years ago you had to be a brain surgeon to use a basic GPS, and today, you can get from point A to point B with most units, after playing with them for a few minutes."
You can look for Lenny's next electronics column in April. In the meantime, read his blog in the BoaterMouth section of Boats.com, where you'll also find electronics commentary—and fishing commentary, too—by Lenny and several other of the BoaterMouth writers.
Lenny writes for Texas Fish & Game, Marlin, and The Fisherman, and he contributed to Boating for many years. Now he's also got a website, HookedonFishingBoats.com, where among other things you can check out the half a dozen books he's written on subjects—and this will really surprise you—ranging from fishing for flounder and sharks to the equipment and techniques he recommends using.
Welcome to Boats.com, Lenny. And welcome, readers, to Lenny's world.