Fishing Friendly Apps
  |  First Published: July 2011

For many anglers, getting out on the water and wetting a line is just as much about unplugging from everyday life as it is about catching a fish. However, due to advances in mobile phone technology, finding the time to completely disconnect from the outside world is almost impossible as that little ringing, vibrating, machine never seems to be too far away even when out wide on the blue. But now there’s a chance to put all that technology to good use.

While the mobile phone may be our enemy at times, advances in Smart Phone technology especially in the field of Applications (apps) and has seen the development of several excellent online tools that can be extremely helpful in planning and undertaking a fishing trip.

This article will explore a few of the more handy free fishing applications available to smart phone users and hopefully turn that little black box from fishing foe to fishing friend.

Once upon a time checking the tides meant reaching for the tide book, searching for the relevant date, and then calculating the law of twelfths in your head to try and predict what height the water mark would be at a particular time. Fortunately the time for this cumbersome practice is now gone thanks to tide prediction smart phone applications that allow anglers to access up-to-the-minute tidal information at almost any location throughout the world by a simple tap of a screen.

Tide Prediction is one such application that can provide this valuable tidal information. Available to Android users, this application is completely free and is so user-friendly that even your grandmother could use it. All that Tide Prediction requires is for you to simply type in your desired fishing location hit the search button and a segmented 24hour, tide height line graph will appear detailing an hour-to-hour tide height measurement including an overview of the range and severity of tidal run.

Tide Prediction also highlights on this tide line graph sunrise and sunset periods that are distinguished using grey and yellow shading, which is extremely helpful when planning a trip around specific tide heights, run, and times of low light.

What I really love about this app is that you can check the tides months ahead at the tap of a screen; effectively this means that you have a multifunction tide book for thousands of locations sitting in your back pocket and it doesn’t cost a cent! Now you can really live your life by the tides.

For Apple Users, the application Shralp Tide will also provide a similar function for free. However, unlike Tide Prediction, Shralp will only provide information on tides in Australia and only up to four days ahead. One benefit of Shralp is that you don’t need to type in your location as Shralp will use the GPS on your phone to automatically determine where you are and link you to the closest tide stations up to a 300km radius. If you want to check a different location, all you have to do is type in the location in the search box.

While Shralp provides the same line graph style presentation as Tide Prediction it also has the added bonus of a movable vertical line along the tide graph that can be moved backwards or forwards. When moved along the tidal range, the time and tide height is displayed down to the centimetre and minute.

For those fishers like myself who like to fish small windows of time or specific times and tides, these applications are invaluable because they provide informative, easy to interpret, tidal information as opposed to a bunch of tiny numbers on a page. Anglers can easily distinguish between changes in spring and neap runs as well as those special tides that really turn on the fishing at specific hot spots. Every fisher has a particular spot which fires on a certain tide height. Whether it’s GT fishing when the tide begins to run and bait begins to ball or barra fishing when the tide falls over a rock bar or the water falls to expose mangrove overhangs, these apps now make it possible to detail trips down to the very minute of the day when the water level is at its best.

Most fishers will say their GPS chart plotter can provide this data and tidal information, but the reality is that not all anglers have chart plotters and, most importantly, you can’t fit your chart plotter in your back pocket. Having the tides on you all the time is handier then you can imagine; there is no better way to kill a bit of time waiting for that bus or stuck in a line somewhere then checking out the upcoming possibilities.

Tide Apps are not the only applications available to anglers, there are lots of other detailed apps which use a fishing almanac style of data to provide anglers with a diverse range of information on things like moon phases, weather, barometric pressures and some even provide ratings and times when the fishing is supposedly at its best.

For Android Users, one of the better ‘almanac’ style apps is Time2Fish. This app collects and provides real time data on features such as solar and lunar formations, sunrise and sunset times, weather, and tidal information that is all used to calculate a daily and hourly overall fishing forecast displayed using a numbered star scale. Optimum fishing times are also suggested, which is based mostly around tidal runs. There is no need to tell Time2fish which location you want as it uses Google Maps technology to pinpoint your location and then automatically brings up all the relevant fishing data it can muster. Once again Time2Fish is a free app.

For Apple users FishingTimes is a comparable app to Time2Fish and also uses Google Maps to locate your position before providing information on tide heights, lunar fazes, sunrise and sunsets, as well as optimum fishing times. FishingTimes is also a free app and is a useful tool when trying to collect as much information as you can when planning a fishing trip.

These apps are just a few among many that are fisher friendly and even programs such as Google Earth and basic navigational apps like compasses and GPS are readily available and are a good backup if things go wrong with your navigational gear. So before you begin cursing your smart phone for ringing in the middle of a bite, try making it work for you and explore many of the very useful fishing applications available – you may even find it an integral part of your fishing gear.

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