There came a dawn
in 1946 when Adams awoke to a day on which splendid ideas were born. The Wine
Institute had installed an IBM tabulating machine to compile the results of a
marketing survey. This gave Adams his cue. Here was the pot in which he could
stew his fish facts, skim off such fatty nonsense as the stage of the moon and
the effects of muddy water, leaving some clear conclusions.
TAKE A CARD
That very night,
with the help of his teen-age sons, Jerry and Brian, Adams began transferring
all his bass lore onto IBM cards.
The transfer to
IBM cards took about two years. Adams divided the area into almost 100
localities, each with a coded number (e.g., the Rio Vista district was
designated 0-4-5; Mission Rock in San Francisco Bay, 0-2-2, etc.). For each of
these localities, he punched a card for each week of the 10-year period during
which they had been studied. The cards noted date, place and other data plus
Adams' own evaluation of the recorded catch (e.g., Grade 1 was no fish; Grade
5, the highest, was three or more fish per man per day).
Then one day in
April 1948, Adams asked his robot where he should fish tomorrow. Out of the
tabulator came the reply: localities 0-1-0 (the San Pablo Bay waters off
Hamilton Field) and 0-5-6.
He chose 0-5-6,
an area around Venice Island in the San Joaquin River. It supported the iron
kibitzer's advice in convincing fashion by yielding seven fish (taken among
three men) including a 15-pounder.
continued to work well. In 1948, to cite a typical year, Adams made a total of
49 trips with an average of 3 4/5 persons aboard. While a four-fifth man is
often a nuisance around a boat, he and the other three caught approximately 9
7/10 bass per trip amounting to an annual total of 474 fish for the Fishfinder.
Also, in one 23? month period, between January 1951 and December 1952, the
Fishfinder made 98 consecutive trips without once being skunked.
unnecessarily bolstered his theoretical findings by tabulating the results of
2,000 party-boat reports which, by law, are made to the California Department
of Fish and Game. Then from all sources he compiled a fish-finding calendar of
the entire Bay delta, showing week by week throughout the year where fishing is
poor, average and good. This is the most popular feature of his book, published
last year, Striped Bass Fishing in California and Oregon
success is not strictly a triumph of either man over the machine or the machine
over fish. While either the tabulator or his fish-finding calendar can tip him
off to the most likely spot in any given week, once there the fish must still
be caught. This means trial and error in anchorages, lures and rigs. To allow
for these variations, he solicits all last-minute local advice. He also looks
for such indexes as tide rips and the activities of gulls, pelicans and
"sea pigeons." Then, if all else fails, he does what you or I would do
and anchors a courteous distance from the nearest excited angler with the
arched rod who is hauling in the fish to beat hell.