Back in April 2021, Pete Robbins posted a piece about the GPS revolution and how it took over the fishing industry. Today I have another look back to that time period, but with another technology that may have had a chance if not for bad timing.
In the days before GPS, most freshwater anglers relied on their depth finders and visible points on land to line up on offshore structure. But there was another technology that captains of ocean-going vessels had used since the end of World War II. That technology was LORAN, short for LOng RAnge Navigation).
This technology was not only used by large merchant ships, the navy and cruise ships, it was also used by the saltwater sportfishing industry. Those units were big, costly and didn’t offer the pin-point accuracy the bass angler required. For example, accuracy for LORAN was guaranteed to be within 1/4-mile. It suffered in the early morning and evening hours with signal and most of the LORAN-C towers were located close to the Pacific, Atlantic and Great Lakes shorelines. Middle America, sorry.
Then in 1990 a company out of Oregon named 2Morrow Inc. (actual name was IIMorrow) came out with a version of the LORAN-C called the Tigershark LCL. They were targeting the recreational boating market – namely bass anglers – with a low-cost substitution for more expensive LORAN-C units. The unit was sized to fit on a typical bass boat and had all the features that a bass angler would use like a 12-key touch pad, automatic station selection, low power requirements, 100 waypoint memory and navigation displays.
But aside from the problems with LORAN-C mentioned above, there was another glaring problem. Waypoint memory. This unit only had enough storage for 100 waypoints. I know anglers who have 100 waypoints on one lake. I guess for the others you had to either memorize your LAT/LON numbers or write them down on something – typically your map. In the saltwater on a sport boat with a wheelhouse, that’s not a problem as most wheelhouses have a chart table to take all those notes. On a bass boat, all there is is your buddy’s back.
I don’t recall any bass angler ever putting the 2Morrow Inc Tigershark on their boat and I never heard what the retail price was. Most anglers through the mid ’90s still relied on the use of maps and points on land to find their honey holes.
Needless to say, the Tigershark LCL didn’t last too long in the industry. I’ve only found ads for the 1990 year. Had it come out in the early ‘80s, they may have had a better chance at success. But the timing of the 1990 release was unfortunate. GPS would be introduced to the public in 1991 and all of the major electronics companies were selling GPS units by 1995.
Did any of you readers out there ever own one of these units or know of anyone who did?