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Father and Son Bring High-Tech to Fishing

April 7, 1995

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ A Portland father and son are giving new meaning to the phrase ``fish ’n chips.″

Mike Park and Mike Park Jr. have developed a fishing rod that uses a computerized lure to measure conditions such as bait depth, underwater temperature and trolling speed. The information is transmitted through the fiber optic fishing line and displayed on a small screen attached to the rod.

The Parks formed a company, Aquametrics Inc. of Scappoose, to market ``Optic-Trac″ and are negotiating with several companies to bring it into the $2 billion-a-year fishing equipment market. They hope to have the system in stores later this year but do not have a price yet.

The idea came to the Parks one afternoon when they were fishing on Detroit Lake east of Salem. Everyone seemed to be catching fish except for them, even though they were in the same spot and using the same bait.

``We figured that we didn’t know where the hook really was, or what the temperature was and we thought, `What the heck. We can stick some sensors down there and get the information up here,‴ said Park, a former executive at Tektronix Inc. His son works for Seiko, the electronics firm best known for watches.

The system they created may be used with electronic fish finders to help anglers put their bait exactly where the fish are, Aquametrics chief executive Joe Tanous said.

``There’s two parts to fishing: fishing and catching,″ Tanous said. ``Catching is very interactive and lots of fun. Fishing’s not. You throw something in the water and you’re subject to the mysteries of the deep.″

But others think plain old fishing is just fine.

Doug Stewart, a fisherman for 45 years and owner of Stewart’s Fly Shop in Wood Village, says the excitement in fishing comes from planning a trip, learning the sport and the pure challenge of fishing _ not just catching fish.

``Anyone who sees fishing as not exciting unless you can catch fish doesn’t understand what fishing is about,″ he said.

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