When I first started fishing long range the vessel had your basic “flasher” depth finder. It would show you how deep the water was below the hull. The improvements in “fish finders” are amazing. Now vessels have color side scanning sonar. You can see what is around the vessel, 360 degrees around the vessel. And not just on the surface but to whatever depth you select. Now it does take a little skill to read what is showing on the video screen but long range skippers all know what they are looking at and what they are looking for.
The next upgrade from old school is GPS location. I will not mention how some skippers found their hotspots before GPS but they all had their secret ways. Each vessel have their notebook on how to locate their hotspots. Now with GPS just punch in the location and drive to it. Its not that easy but you get the idea.
Most fish that were caught were tagged and place on ice in coolers, then the vessels changed to salt brine to keep the fish “fresh frozen” and now days it’s RSW or Raw Salt Water is how the fish are keep on board until you return home. RSW keep the fish just above freezing. The table fare of RSW is great, shades better the “frozen”.
There have improvements in creature comfort as well. Days of sleeping out on the deck are long gone. Air-conditioned stateroom, hot/cold showers and three wonderful meals a day are fleet standards. More recent changes include satellite TV and WiFi. Most anglers enjoy these latest improvement and I’m a big fan of them too but for different reasons. I love spending time on deck even if it’s running from spot to spot. I don’t get to see the ocean as much as I used to, so I miss the salt air. If we are fishing and anglers are in the galley watch a football game or on the internet that’s great for me too, more rail space and less competition for the fish.
So things have changed on long range vessels and they are for the better.