I wrote an "old man" blog about not over complicating things, about how simplicity is a good thing. This is what happens when you get older in a world that grows more increasingly complex every day. You yearn for simpler times and simpler things. This can be confused, by the young, with nostalgia.
Nostalgia simply defined is "The younger I was the better things were, the better I was." That is nostalgia in a nutshell. When I look back at my 18 year old self I don't see the reality, I see a near superman, an almost heroic figure that could do anything. Give me a few more years and I will remove the words "near" and "almost" from that sentence - that's how this works.
Jim McFarland responded with an acute observation. While I used examples of how simple things were made more complex he saw examples of hard to use things made simple to use. It's true, and he's right. Some of the hard to use things have been made simple to use by an underlying complexity. This is an advancement.
His example is the baitcasting reel. He says that today's modern (and more complex mechanistically) baitcasting reels are much simper to use than the ones from thirty years or so ago. Not just simpler to use today because of that underlying technology (translate that as fewer backlashes) but also they have greater distance.
Again, he is right. There are many things in my life that are more complicated today, under the surface, but are easier to use. Graphical User Interfaces beat the hell out of DOS - for another example.
So I'll amplify and clarify a bit. I used kayaks as an example, comparing a bare kayak with a kayak that has foot powered pedals (even electric motors), a rudder, a high tech seating system, an equipment platform on the back, a combination fish locator/depth finder/sonar array system complete with GPS. Here's the difference...
I park near a body of water, carry the kayak to the water, put a rod in the rod holder, put on my life jacket/fishing vest, a bottle of water in the cup holder, grab a paddle and off I go.
Compared to parking above a boat ramp, installing the sonar gear, installing a battery, installing the peddler assembly, mounting the multiple rods on the rod holders, assembling the anchor system, putting a milk crate onto the platform, loading that with tackle, backing the kayak trailer down the ramp, launching the kayak, tying it off, driving the truck/trailer up the ramp and parking, walking back to the kayak, remembering whatever it was I forgot (guarantee I will forget something) going back to the truck, getting the forgotten item, walking to the kayak, putting on the life vest (that's what I forgot) and finally getting in and peddling away.
And then, all of that in reverse later. The simple method above the complex method appeals to me a lot more. Perhaps the complicated angler has an edge on locating fish, on maintaining kayak position while fishing, on having multiple rods rigged in various ways - perhaps not. And then the question becomes, what would I give for those slight (if at all) advantages? Not much. I can find fish, I can figure out how to cast to them, I can change the one rod rigging as needed.
I remember my last baitcasting reel. An Ambassadeur 500C. I could cast about three times and then have to untangle a backlash. Casting distance was limited. Accuracy pretty much didn't exist for me. I tried an open face spinning reel and never looked back. I haven't had a baitcaster since. Maybe it's time I tried one of the new ones, see how I like the new simplicity of them.
Just so long as I don't have to take one apart and fix it.
Simplicity or nostaliga? Probably a mixture of each, but simplicity is so much better. One of the reasons I no longer have a motor boat is just that reason - there are simpler ways to fish than to have to deal with a boat - and they are productive ways to fish. You can have your boats, you can sometimes talk me into going with you once or twice a year on your boat - but I like my fishing simple, either wade fishing or bank fishing. I have a kayak but hardly ever use it - even stripped down to nothing more than a seat, a paddle and one rod holder - it just seems to get in my way more than anything. Once in a while I'll get froggy and take it fishing, but those times tend to be about three months or more apart - for a reason.
Jim McFarland is right. Simpler is better. I have to agree.