This article comes from the Bent Fishing Podcast’s “Fish News” segment, where hosts Joe Cermele and Miles Nolte go head-to-head to find and report the most interesting and amusing fishy stories across sources far and wide—from respected scientific journals to trashy tabloids.

Joe Cermele keeps Bent listeners well informed of all the “horse shittery coming down the pike in lure gimmickry.” But the Model Zero from Japanese company smartLure might be changing the game for techy lures. “Your animated lure is now a Nokia, it’s already obsolete—this is the iPhone 30,” Cermele said.

The Model Zero is a fat, jerkbait style lure equipped with a hinged fin on the back and a computer in the belly. It’s about 5 inches long and weighs 2 ounces. The angler casts the lure just like any run-of-the-mill crankbait, but as soon as it’s below the surface, a built-in water detection sensor inside turns on, activating the lure’s other sensors. These monitor depth to a maximum of 33 feet, movement patterns, temperature, and sunlight penetration levels.

“The idea for the smartLure came to me after experiencing fishing without catching fish for four months in Hokkaido in winter.” Yuki Okamura, founder of smartLure, said on the company’s Kickstarter page. “The starting point was the question: how do fish feel about the universe, and what can we learn if we bring scientific approaches into fishing?”

The lure stops retrieving data once it’s lifted out of the water. When an angler gets a bite or catches a fish, they can hold the lure next to their smartphone to transfer the data via Bluetooth. The idea is that users will build a database of fishing tactics, conditions, and locations best suited for specific species. Additionally, the associated app will allow multiple Model Zero users to share this data with each other.

The Model Zero can run for five hours per one-hour charge of its lithium ion battery. Because this is such a new technology, every lure is handmade. There are currently three colors available: silver shad, red gold, and Japanese Ayu.

internal structure of model zero

This is still a project in the fundraising period that must reach a certain goal before mass production. People interested can back the project by purchasing a lure. These lures range in prices from $140 to $160, but the estimated delivery isn’t until February 2022.

Videos on their Kickstarter prove that fish will take this big bait, and those fish are bass. As Sam Lungren, MeatEater’s fishing editor, has pointed out, “bass fishing can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.”

So, $150 could get you some cool data on how you caught a fish, or you could spend $1.50 on a loaf of Wonderbread that could effectively catch the same fish. And you could always hypothesize with reliable accuracy what the sunlight looked like hitting that doughball in a few feet of water.

I do plenty of stupid things while fishing. I can forgive myself (eventually) if I lose a big ’bow on a size 16 hook and 5X tippet. But can you imagine breaking a fish off on a $150 lure? Worse, what if you just got snagged up on the bottom? The Model Zero doesn’t have the technology to avoid underwater objects…not yet at least.

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