MARINE ELECTRONICS INSIGHT: THE FIVE BEST FISHING APPS

You don’t need an app to catch more fish, but these five picks will help boost your catch rate. 

The last thing you want to do while fishing is probably doodle around on the cell phone, but as we examined a while back in The Best Five Cell Phone Apps for Boaters, some apps can prove quite handy out on the water. And when you’re trying to bend rods, believe it or not, these five picks of the best fishing apps will help you accomplish your mission. 

The ANGLR App 

Back when two-strokes were in vogue and fishfinders were black-and-white, many anglers scrawled down their catch information in a log book. Logs are incredibly valuable, since they allow you to look back over time and recognize fish-catching patterns ranging from tidal phase to lure selection. But today, hauling paper and a pen merely marks you as a troglodyte. Enter: the ANGLR app. It not only allows you to log a massive amount of data, it does most of the work all on its own. Mark a location with a catch, for example, and along with the GPS position the app records time, weather conditions, tidal data, barometric pressure, and other variables. This app is best used with the “Bullseye,” a button you can clip to your rod or the brim of your hat. When you catch a fish just press the Bullseye to log the catch, and it Bluetooths the data right to your phone. You can also download the app to an Apple Watch and enjoy the same sort of quick logging convenience. One downside: with the app and GPS constantly active, it does suck a lot of juice out of the phone. We’ve found that it can drain a full battery in four or five hours, so if you use it continuously, you’ll need to have a backup power source available. 

Visit ANGLR for more information. 

FishBrain 

FishBrain claims to be the “world’s most popular fishing app.” It has a big social component (with an alleged 14 million anglers worldwide), and seems to be the app of choice particularly among youthful anglers for gathering and sharing intel with likeminded fishermen. It does have seemingly endless mapped hotspots, along with fishing maps including data on things like public access points, boat ramps, and marinas. We’d advise taking the user-logged catches with a grain of salt, however, as it isn’t hard to find fallacious catches like walleye in the ocean and tarpon 100 miles inland. Visit FishBrain for more information. 

FishDope 

Hey, you knew we wouldn’t talk about apps without including BD’s own FishDope, right?! This one covers all the bases for west coast offshore anglers, with sea surface temp and chlorophyl charts, a hot bite report map, live VHF streaming, and current fishing reports. Intel is gathered from professional captains, sport boats, charter boats, commercial fishermen, and more — FishDope even has eyes in the sky, contracting with commercial fish-spotting planes to cruise offshore and look for schools of fish and kelp paddies, weekly, from July through October. No, the $169 subscription fee isn’t cheap, but consider how much fuel you might save since you won’t be spinning your wheels offshore for hours on end… Visit FishDope to learn more. 

If you are not located in the Southern California area, Satfish offers much of the same functionality as FishDope including high-def SST and chlorophyll charts that you can bring with you offshore nationwide. Visit SatFish to learn more.

Fishency 

Fishency is another logging type of app, which can be used via phone or a smart-watch (both Apple and Android). It also can be used hands-free, with voice-prompts. Like other logging apps it automatically gathers a lot of the data that you had to write down once upon a time, like weather conditions, time, GPS position, and lunar phase. It has the added advantage of pooling your logs to look for commonalities like which lure you catch the most fish on. As with other GPS-enabled apps, it does take a toll on your phone’s battery power. Visit Fishency on the App Store for more information. 

Troll Master Depth Calculator 

If you want to stop guessing what depth your trolling lures are running at and nail it down exactly, Troll Master Depth Calculator is the ticket. This is a shockingly accurate app which tells you the depth specific lures run at when trolled with specific lines at specific speeds, with or without added weight. The calculations have been vetted with real-world depth measurements using a digital pressure sensor to ensure accuracy, and over 120 popular lures trolled with lines from eight- to 250-pound test, including 12- to 45-pound leadcore, are in the database. This one’s pricey ($49.99 gets you a lifetime subscription) but this is a very useful, no B.S. app. Visit Troll Master Depth Calculator for more information. 

Will using any one of these apps or even all of them make you a highliner? Aw, heck no. But in the quest to catch more, bigger fish, each of these can give you a leg up on the competition. 

Lenny Rudow …has been a writer and editor in the marine field for over two decades, and has authored seven books. He is currently the Angler in Chief at Rudow's FishTalk Magazine, is Electronics and Fishing Editor for BoatUS Magazine, and is a contributing editor to several other publications. His...