Phone Apps for Kayak Fishing E-mail
Written by J Cambria   
Sunday, 07 August 2011 05:56

Ancient sailors are said to have started fires on the deck of their boat to forecast oncoming weather based on how the smoke would rise (indicating high pressure). Today we only need to reach for our smart phone while on the water to see what conditions are. When it comes to the world of smartphone apps (about 15,000 of them out there) it is really true, like the commercial says “there is an app for that”.  The problem with most of them is that they really don’t do what you need them to do, so you  need to try a bunch to see what works best for you.

Lets take a look at some of the available apps that might help you in your kayak fishing pursuits. I use an iphone so I will discuss the apps that work for that platform. Keep in mind there are similar apps for most other smartphones. I try to test the free ones first and if I feel it does not do the job I will pay for the better one.

apps for kayak fishing

Weather and Conditions: I've been using some form of weather tracking on my phone for a long time.  Being able to get the current update on the quick-changing marine environment can be a life saver. In many areas being able to see the radar to forecast storms is essential on the water. In the Northeast, in summer, you have thunderstorms that come through often daily and usually they are built into the weather forecast. Having the ability to know if they’re a real threat will get you on the water more often and get you off the water when storms are bearing down on you. I have used the Weather Channel App (free) for a while and it shows radar and most important the storm track (the direction and speed at which the storms are heading).  I think one of the best radar apps is NOAA Radar US app ($1.99). It loads quickly and gets you right to the radar map with an easy to read layout. It makes it simple to see a storm’s trackand how fast the storm is moving.  It will also send you weather alerts based on your location.  A good all around weather condition app is Boating Weather app ($1.99), it gives you buoy, wind, surf report and forecast all in one.

radard app for kayak fishing

We all know that the wind can make or break a kayak fishing day. There are a couple apps I have used that have worked pretty well.  Like many good apps they are born from good informative websites. Winderfinder app (free) is one that can really help you plan your trip and keep you up to date while on the water.

For many of us who fish the ocean and have to deal with the surf zone, the best apps are usually the ones used by surfers. Surfline app (free but have to pay for some premium features) is one of the most popular for getting an updated report on the swell and other info that will let you know what its going to be like punching through the waves or if you shouldn't bother.  The NOAA Buoy app ($.99) is a great app that give you buoy data that is a crystal ball of water conditions. Most buoys transmit swell heights, swell periods, swell direction, wind speeds, wind direction, wind gusts, water temperature and air temperature - all things you need to know for a  good trip.

Tides: I base my fishing on the tides; I like to fish the strongest part of the tide and also fish the largest tides of the month.  A nice basic tide app is ShralpTide (free), which gives you all the basics for your area.  It does a good job picking up your location and getting you the info fast.  The best tide app out there is AyeTides ($9.99).  Besides giving you tide info in a couple different formats it also gives you current speed and direction right where you are when you're reading the info. It's particularly useful in harbors and tidal river areas where figuring out current direction is just as important and knowing high and low tide times.

apps for kayak fishing

If you fish rivers then you might want to try RiverGuide for Kayakers ($4.99).  It gives you real time stream flow info for rivers in your area or anywhere in the country.

Maps, Charts and Navigation: We all need to know where we are and most importantly where we’ve been while kayak fishing.  Being able to find a spot we have fished before and also be able to get back to the launch is something you need.  I have been using the Navionics Charts app ($4.99 to $9.99).  It does it all; it shows marine charts, tracks your route, lets you mark waypoints and navigates you to them, gives current and tide info for your area and even allows you to share tracks and photos on Facebook using Google Maps. I like that the chart has a Google maps overlay so you can easily get an idea of where you are. For those who want to keep things simple there is Compass Go app ($.99), which is basically a compass that allows you to mark a location and get back to it using the compass.  Not only can it get you back to the launch but can also help you find your car in a crowded parking garage.

Kayak Fishing Iphone app

You might have to figure out how far you are away from a spot while you're out fishing and Distance Measure app (free) is pretty handy, basically its just a Google map that allows you to put markers on it and it calculates the distance between the two. Google Earth app (free) does the same thing but it’s a little tougher to use it in the app form.

Before you can get to a place on the water you need to find a place to launch your kayak, the new Kayak Launch Point App (free or $1.99 for version without ads) does just that. You can also submit, save, rate, review and share both your favorite launch points and popular points near you.

Safety: The Emergency Distress Beacon (free) emails your coordinates to anybody you want.  I don’t know but it seems like you could just call 911 with your info but I thought I would mention it.  Another app that does the same thing is Here I Am Location Sender (free)

The Spot Connect app (free but have to pay for yearly service plan) works via bluetooth with the Spot Connector. SPOT Connect utilizes proven SPOT technology to notify others of one’s GPS location coordinates and current status. By sending a message to the Globalstar satellite network, the user’s selected contacts will receive a custom type and send or predefined message delivered as an SMS text message or email.

Miscellaneous: If you are on the water and trying to locate another person who also has an iphone, try InBetween (free) which calculates a midpoint between two phone users to recommend a central location to meet.  It uses a cool radar-like screen to set a "beacon," or somewhere you want to return to. Gets you back every time.

For those who want to keep track of their fishing trips in real time then Fish Log (free) is a great app that uses your GPS to map your catch position on a map where you can record all the info about your trophy and even take a picture for the entry.

Final Thoughts: Its great to have all these powerful apps but being able to use them might not work out that well based on the battery life of the iphone, especially when using the GPS of the phone. You really need to make sure you are going on the water with a full charge and you might want to look into some of the backup battery plug-ins that are available for the iphone.

You will have to consider how to protect your phone from water while on the kayak.  I have used lots of cases, both hard and soft and like the Aquapac iphone case. The price is right and you maintain full functionality of the phone while it's protected. It comes with a lanyard which enables you to hang the phone around your neck for quick access.

All and all when it comes to using all these fun apps on the water, I like to keep a balance between enjoying the experience and taking advantage of the technology so I can make my journey more productive and safer.

 

 

Comments  

 
0 #1 Guest 2011-08-19 10:27
For you coastal anglers there is a free application but buy it its cheap and you can save noaa weather tides and real time weather buy info to your favorites
http://www.bluefinengineering.com/marine-weather
 

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