Fishing apps connect anglers for best spots

Some of my fondest memories of childhood are waking up early on cold fall mornings, gathering my fishing gear and heading to a local lake or river with my dad.

I suspect he never knew where we were going or if the fishing would be good. It didn’t matter. If my dad were still alive, I’m sure he’d fully admit to never really caring where we fished.

He never consulted maps or weather conditions. He didn’t check with local anglers for fishing reports. He just drove, parked and we eventually cast our lines in some out-of-the-way fishing hole.

Sometimes we caught fish — and we always caught colds.

Of course, these trips were memorable, not because we caught a few fish, but because we were out in nature, bonding as father and son, away from stress and complications of everyday life.

I’ve tried several times to turn my three daughters into little anglers. I even went so far as to buy a pink princess fishing pole and a Little Mermaid-theme, rod-and-reel combo. That gear is now sitting in my garage as the girls only feign interest these days when I suggest trips to Mosquito Lake.

When it came to our youngest kid, Oscar, I tried a new approach. He’s excited to fish, but he wasn’t initially excited at the prospects of waking up before the sun.

“It’s the best time to fish,” I tried to explain, in vain.

“Nah, you can go. I’ll stay home,” he said, writing off Dad’s expert advice as nothing more than propaganda to get him out of bed at some ungodly hour.

I once told him about the time I fought a catfish for 45 minutes before I landed it (true story), and even though he repeats the story, I’m still not convinced he thinks it’s true.

“OK then, maybe you’ll listen to these guys.”

I pulled out my smartphone, opened YouTube, and searched “best times to fish.”

We sat and watched videos together for about 30 minutes (an impressive attention span for a 7-year-old). Videos from AnglersEscape, Thundermist Lures and Die Hard Fishing all repeated my advice about early morning trips.

Of course, Oscar also heard them say that overnight fishing is good, too, and now he’s asking if we can go at midnight.

Next we downloaded fishing apps.

Fishbrain is one of the better “free-ish” apps for Android and iOS. It’s free-ish because if you want to unlock all the features, you’ll need to subscribe (starting at $10 per month). The free version gives you a good start, and all Oscar was really interested in seeing were the pictures of fish other people caught.

Most fishing apps like Fishbrain work like social networking platforms, connecting users around the world. You’ll find the best locations based on reports from other users, the types of fish they’ve caught, and what bait is working.

Oscar’s favorite part was posting a picture of his first catch: a sunfish, caught at Mosquito Lake on a cold fall morning. He’s now convinced this is the best time to fish, and we’re going back this weekend.

Dr. Adam Earnheardt is a professor of communication at Youngstown State University. Follow him on Twitter at @adamearn and on his blog at www.adamearn.com.


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