Five Great Fishing Apps That Aren’t Fishing Apps

If you’re an angler, it’s certainly no secret that you can find and download literally hundreds of different smartphone and tablet apps that promise to help you catch more fish. Truth is, though, I hardly ever find myself using any of them. But I do use a handful of apps that help me plan my trip so that I get to my favorite fishing spot when the conditions (sun, moon, tide, weather, etc.) are perfect for catching. With that theme in mind, let’s take a look at five great apps that can improve your angling by helping you become a better planner.

A Tide Graph Pro screenshot.

Tide Graph Pro provides a plethora of tide, tidal current, and astronomical data, all at your fingertips.

Tide Graph Pro

Any angler worth his or her salt knows that the most successful fishermen out there are the ones who plan their fishing trips around the best tides and tidal currents. What I like best about Tide Graph Pro is its user interface. The best part of this interface is how you can move a magnifying glass along the tide graph to show tide, tidal current, sunrise/sunset, and moon data based on the exact time and date of your trip. Start planning your angling trips around the best tides and currents and I guarantee you’ll catch more fish.

Availability: iOS only
Cost: $3.99
Reasonable Android Alternative: Tide Chart Free

A screen shot of the MarineCast weather app.

Looks like a windy day on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. MarineCast features these colorful wind vector forecasts.

Marine Cast

No one likes to fish in snotty, windy weather, but if you’re a fly or ultra light-tackle angler, the wind can make the difference between a fishable day and one where you get blown out. While Marine Cast does provide excellent National Weather Service marine forecasts, it’s the pages of excellent wind forecast maps that make this app great. Pick a date and time, and the app will display velocity and direction, hour by hour, so you can make plans for your fishing excursions.

Availability: iOS and Android
Cost: $3.99

A full-fledged charting app in the palm of your hand--the Navionics Boating app.

A full-fledged charting app in the palm of your hand–the Navionics Boating app.

Navionics Boating

There’s no all-in-one substitute for an on-board GPS unit, but there are some distinct fishing advantages to keeping a navigation suite on your smartphone or tablet. One of those advantages is having your fishing hotspot waypoints in your pocket at all times. Navionics has done a good job of moving robust vector cartography into a mobile format. I use the app to save waypoints  when I’m out fishing,  then to plan my next trip when I get home. I can see where the big ones hit last week without having to access my onboard GPS unit. The app’s wind forecast and tide and tidal current prediction features also help in laying out a general plan of attack.

Availability: iOS and Android
Cost: Free (In-app purchases for specific chart products apply.)

Just about anything and everything you want to know about water, wind, and wave conditions at buoys around the country are accessible in the NOAA Buoy Data app.

Just about anything and everything you want to know about water, wind, and wave conditions at buoys around the country are accessible in the NOAA Buoy Data app.

NOAA Buoy and Tide Data

The app uses your current location to display a map or list of close-by data buoys, from which you can drill down for tide information, water temperature data, turbidity, and salinity (where available). It’s my go-to app for determining water quality data in a specific area. I also love it for finding a spot with the best combination of tidal current flow and temperature range. There’s easy access to current and three-day National Weather Service marine weather forecasts for planning, and it’s also handy for finding out if a certain location is better protected from the wind than another (by comparing current wind conditions with another close-by station).

Availability: iOS and Android
Cost: $1.99

See storms virtually before you can see them with your own eyes using the NOAA SuperRes Radar app.

See storms virtually before you can see them with your own eyes using the NOAA SuperRes Radar app.

NOAA SuperRes Radar

If you’re an angler and you’ve never been caught off guard by an afternoon thunder-boomer, then it’s likely you don’t fish much. The way I use the app is to give it an occasional look during fishing trips to keep an eye on thunderstorm cells that may be popping up, but that are also far enough away that they’re not visible on the horizon. Once I see one forming on the app, I check the storm track data to make a good, safe decision on whether to stay out on the water or not.

Availability: iOS and Android
Cost: $2.99

If you’re interested in other boating apps, including those for navigation and fishing, take a look at Lenny Rudow’s 10 Navigation Apps and Smartphone Hits for Power Boaters or Five Fishing Apps For Your Smartphone features.

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