2 Great Apps for the Shorebound Angler

     As shore fisherman we kind of get the short end of the stick when it comes to help via electronics.  The boys in the boats have depth charts, water temps, lake contours, and side scan imaging at their disposal.  Often times the shore based anglers I meet have no idea that they can have some of these same things in the palm of there hand.  I use a few apps on a regular basis that have helped me immensely in both my personal fishing and my guiding here on the Madison chain.   The first one is Google Earth, the second is Navionics Boating.  These two apps have become as important to me as my rod and reel.  In fact they have had such an impact on my fishing that I now purchase my mobile devices based on how well they can run these applications.
A favorite spot in Madison.
     Google Earth is a free mobile app that many are already familiar with from desktop use.
Google Earth lets you scroll through aerial views and allows you to explore large expanses of land in a short amount of time.  It also lets you sort out water access, map routes, even mark way points and measure distances.  On more than one occasion I have discovered wonderful shore fishing I would have never known existed if it wasn't for the zoom features on this app.  It helps me figure out where to park the truck, where the bathrooms are for clients, and sometimes if your lucky you'll see what areas have the most weed growth.  You can even take screen shots of the map on your phone and send them to buddies that want to know where the fish are biting.  It is a great free tool to have with you by the water.
So many options at your disposal.
     Navionics Boating was first introduced to me at the Madison Musky School a few years back.  At the time it was relatively new and few anglers were using it.  Fast forward a couple of years and I sometimes wonder how I ever fished without it.  This app gives me access to lake depth and contour maps from all over the country.
Map your route from your living room.
All you have to do is type in the name of the lake or even just the general area.  For example, type in the Florida Keys and your instantly exploring the water.  It works in conjunction with your phone or tablets GPS and shows your exact location in real time.  Whether I'm wading or trekking across the ice, I can open this app and instantly know what the lake looks like beneath my feet.  It also saves way points and routes, allowing me to return to the most productive fishing holes.  
Just search your lake.
You can even keep notes, add photos, and share your favorite spots publicly.  All this with zoom features, depth charting, and the ability to check and save the current weather forecast to help in updating your logbook when your done for the day.  Navionics Boating is an indispensable tool for the mobile shore fisherman.  For download and purchasing information click here.
     As you can see both of these apps are extremely useful whether on the water or at home planning for your next trip.  I have used Google Earth and Navionics Boating to decide where I was gonna setup my shark fishing rigs on the beaches of Florida and Louisiana from the comfort of my couch.  I am currently using it to map the best musky locations for this summers trip to Lake of the Woods.  I am absolutely hooked on these two apps.  Give them a try, and I bet you will be too.
     Tight Lines.

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