Until this past year I could count on one hand the times I tossed a hook in the water in a vain attempt to catch a fish. Each fishing trip played out the same way – either someone baited my hook with a slimy worm or I used the prettiest lure in the tackle box, I cast until boredom set in or I lost my bait/lure and never, ever would I catch fish.
When I interviewed professional kayak fisherman Christina Weber, I asked her what I was doing wrong and to my surprise she hit me with bunch of questions. What was I fishing for? Was I in fresh or saltwater? When was I fishing? What bait/lure was I using? Geez, no wonder I was catchless. Weber’s advice was to do some research before heading out. Fortunately, I don’t need a master’s degree in Angler Sciences to score a catch. There are plenty of smartphone apps to answer these questions and to share my tale once I finally hook the big one.
One of the first apps I downloaded was FishBrain available for iOS and Android. The app features a map showing where fish are being caught around my current location. When I click on a location I get a list of recent catches. From there I can drill down on a specific catch to see the angler’s picture of the catch along with the weight, length, fishing method and bait used. Further details include information about the weather conditions at the time of the catch, which FishBrain populates after the anglers post their catches. The data is then used to formulate a forecast for specific species, ranking the best time to fish over the next five days. The app also features a My Tackle Box section to help me keep tabs on which bait/lure is working for me. For further analyses of tides, air pressure, and bait, anglers can upgrade to a Premium membership. For now the basic works fine for me. www.fishbrain.com
I came across the International Game Fish Association app while sitting on my boat wondering what the heck I just caught. The IGFA app, for iOS and Android, has a free ‘lite’ version or a full version for $8.99. Trust me; you will not regret springing for the full version. The species section has full-color images and comprehensive descriptions compiled from IGFA’s extensive reference material including habitat information, geographic distribution, and anatomy. This made it easy to identify the crevalle jack I hooked.
The app allows me to log my catches, complete with photo and then compare it against the entire IGFA world record database. Ever dream of being a world record holder? The app lists IGFA weigh stations and rules to help make every catch count. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll see my name on a world record, even if it is for a crevalle jack. www.igfa.org/Resources/IGFA-Mobile.aspx
Now that I’m beginning to catch fish, I want to tell my story to anyone who will listen. Though other apps allow me to upload a photo, Stackfish is the only app I found which allows me to write about my experience without limiting my word count. For a writer that is huge! The app currently available for iOS and coming soon to Android, is easy to use even when I’m bouncing around in a boat. I simply upload a photo, select a species from the pull-down menu and then type my story. The app automatically pulls in the date and geo-location from the photo while still keeping the exact location of my favorite fishing-hole private.
To keep the fun going, Stackfish runs contests based on my overall catches or catches within a species. The app is also searchable by species and location so I can see what other members are catching in my area. For me the best part about this app is their online presence. After a long day at the keyboard I can pull up some fish stories and dream about the next time I’m back on the water. www.stackfish.com
Finally, I have to give a shout-out to an app I simply can’t live without. KnotGuide has helped me keep my lures on my line. The app has a dedicated fishing section featuring five of the most used knots. Pictures easily guide me through every step of the knot. There are 100+ knots and counting, including many knots I need for sailing. Take my advice and spring for the $1.99 app over the free version unless you like video advertisements after every knot you review.
I never thought I would see the day when technology invaded the ageless act of fishing but then again, if it helps get the bite on the hook I’m all for it.
All At Sea’s US editor Terry Boram discovered her passion for writing and photography after leaving corporate America behind ten years ago. She finds many of her inspirations while sailing with her husband Clint in South Florida.