A number of fishermen can probably identify with Ed Hope, the father of four daughters.
“I never get a chance to fish, because I’m too busy dealing with their rods,” he says.
About a decade ago, Hope invented a bite detector that could snap onto poles and alert fishermen when they had bites.
Now he’s invented a pole that flashes and beeps or just flashes with each bite, and he says it’s now in more than 500 Wal-Mart stores nationally.
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“It’s called the SmartRod,” Hope says. “It won’t catch the fish for you, but it’ll definitely let you know if you’ve got one.”
Hope says it took “many years to get to it.”
“It was more a progression from that earlier deal,” he says of his invention.
Landing in Wal-Mart took a while, too, and forced him to acquire a patent.
Hope says the rod, which retails for $39.44, also is in some Academy Sports and Outdoors stores.
“It’s a quality rod. It can stand against any rod in its price point,” he says.
However, Hope says, “This is more geared toward the recreational fishermen.”
He says it works well to catch fish such as catfish and walleye.
“Anything that you’re not having to hold the rod.”
Hope says it also works well for drift fishing in a boat and night fishing.
There’s a button for either high, medium or low sensitivity for when fish hit the rods.
Hope’s day job is owner of Audio Visual Services.
If sales of the SmartRod go well, he says, “It will allow me to upgrade some of my equipment.”
Also, he says Wal-Mart would then put it in more stores.
Hope says he may develop other products related to the poles as well.
He says he comes from a long line of fishermen.
“My dad’s dad’s dad fished.”
He says the SmartRod is about making fishing “more family friendly.”
The beeps and flashes are popular with his children.
“They run over there all excited,” Hope says.
“It makes it easier to make sure everybody gets a fish, because you know you want them all to catch one before you leave.”