Whether you’re planning a Bahamas crossing or just hoping to share a fish tale with friends, someone out there makes the appropriate app. And if you’re not yet an angler who carries a mobile device aboard, you just might be in the Dark Ages.
Like it or not, we tote a world of information in our belt clips. To help you wade through the clutter, here are 10 top current and upcoming fishing apps (alphabetically listed) for trip planning, weather and fishing.
Weather with MinuteCast
This app provides buoy data, tide information, animated weather radar, sea-surface temperatures and anomalies, wave heights, and surface-wind data, plus a detailed, minute-by-minute precipitation forecast for up to two hours. MinuteCast keeps you updated with precipitation type and intensity, as well as start and end times so you can decide whether to wait out the rain or head back to shore.
The app shows wave heights and surface-wind data for every three-hour time period up to 180 hours. Available with Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean maps (and a growing list of maps for international locations), the AccuWeather app follows tropical systems, alerts users to severe-weather watches and warnings, and offers storm-history information.
Compatible with iOS and Android devices, this app is free ($2.99 for the ad-free version).
Jeppesen’s C-MAP Plan2Nav app for iOS and Android devices is free and includes a worldwide background map ($19.99 buys the same C-MAP charts and coverage areas that anglers use in their chart plotters).
Plan2Nav version 1.5 for iOS provides boaters with a free three-day trial of one full-featured C-MAP chart for any coverage area worldwide, offering the chance to check out the contours and advanced data such as marina charts, aerial photos, and dynamic tides and currents. Anglers can then purchase any future chart updates directly through C-MAP at a 50 percent discount.
The update also lets users enter their own ratings on ActiveCaptain, an online guidebook created and updated by actual boaters around the world. Plan2Nav for Android supports full synchronization with ActiveCaptain.
Scheduled for launch this month, drophook for iOS and Android allows anglers to share photos within the app or to social-media sites, capture and log catch information, and create or compete in tournaments. Choose to share your catch details or keep them private.
Features include interactive tackle boxes; logs for catch, bait and tackle; auto functions to store date, position and meteorological details; forecasts and conditions, including sea-surface-temperature charts; an auto calculator for size-to-weight numbers; privacy settings; and access to online deals for gear and tackle.
The founder of drophook says he is working on partnerships with fish and wildlife agencies and hopes to promote a #CatchAndReleaseMovement.
The free app includes all features, but log numbers and tournaments are limited. The premium version costs $4.99; users can purchase upgrades of specific features.
FishTrack.com‘s mobile fishing app allows anglers to research water conditions and weather to pinpoint potential hot spots before they leave the dock. Review the latest cloud-free, high-resolution sea-surface-temperature charts, ocean altimetry, currents, bathymetry, chlorophyll images, moon phases and tides, as well as Buoyweather marine forecasts and points of interest.
Anglers can also plot waypoints and save their coordinates and chart imagery for offline use. Tutorials help first-time users navigate their way through the tools offered. Zoom in or out or reposition the chart, and the app updates GPS coordinates, water temperature and depth readings.
The FishTrack app for iOS is free and provides cloud-free SST data for the globe.
Upgrade to a premium membership for $14.99 per month or $79.99 per year to use the entire tool set.
In addition to route planning, BlueChart Mobile offers worldwide weather streaming via iPad or iPhone. Users can create routes, view shaded depth contours and intertidal zones with spot soundings, and search for a marine-service point.
BlueChart Mobile provides temperatures, dew points, wind speed and direction, radar, and cloud cover overlaid on the chart. Version 2.0 can provide weather observations and buoy reports, marine or land zone forecasts, surface-wind grids, sea-surface temperatures, and surface-pressure and sea-state forecasts. In-app weather upgrades include infrared cloud imagery, radar imagery, and lightning and StormWatch watches.
Users can wirelessly transfer routes, waypoints and tracks to a compatible Garmin chart plotter. Download the iOS app for free; U.S. charts cost $44.99, and weather upgrades start at $4.99 for 30 days, up to $29.99 per year.
The GoFree Hooked app for iOS, from Navico — parent company of the Simrad and Lowrance brands — can record and share every fishing trip you make. Hooked automatically saves the time, location and navigation track for each outing.
The free app features simple catch functionality, quickly saving fish details like photos, size, weight and species. Hooked merges navigational data with user data for a complete record that can be easily shared with others. All data is stored on the GoFree cloud server for access anywhere.
The app also allows anglers to compete against friends in personal tournaments, determining winners by fish weight, length or quantity. Competitions are saved based on the date, location, tournament name and participants so anglers can show off their skills within a defined group or online community.
The iNavX app can display a real-time current position on a mobile device using the device’s built-in GPS; it can also plot a course and show waypoints and bearings. INavX can integrate with external GPS, AIS receivers and transponders, and networked instruments for depth, speed, wind and engine data, as well as battery-voltage meters. Anglers can pan, zoom and rotate charts, and download GRIB weather forecasts.
Features include real-time navigation on marine charts; waypoint selection, creation and editing; import and export of waypoints; real-time instrument support; route editing; track logs; an anchor alarm; points of interest; and weather overlay support.
An iOS app, iNavX is compatible with X-Traverse, theyr.com, Navionics and Explorer. It costs $49.99.
The Navionics app for iOS and Android platforms allows anglers to review fishing charts away from the boat. Access it anywhere to plan a weekend fishing trip with the same charts available on your plotter.
The in-app purchase of Navionics+ ($4.99 smartphone and $24.99 U.S. tablet) provides specific depth highlighting, water-level adjustments and advanced fishing contours with SonarChart. All Navionics Nautical and SonarChart charts are updated daily; re-download your area for the newest fishing contours.
When the Navionics app is connected to Wi-Fi on certain select plotters, anglers can view SonarChart Live on the app, which draws real-time 1-foot contours on the mobile device. Instantly create contours for new areas or improve on existing ones to locate more fishing spots. Navionics USA costs $9.99 for smartphone and $49.99 for tablet versions.
Nobeltec TimeZero for iPads uses the device’s internal GPS to display real-time location and essential navigation data. TimeZero displays weather forecasts as well as charts, satellite photos, tides, currents and 3-D data. Create routes, insert marks and save your tracks.
Features of the latest version include a one-time free chart update, AIS compatibility with NMEA 0183 receivers (in-app purchase, $9.99 AIS module), and instrument, depth and sea-surface-temperature data support (via an NMEA Wi-Fi multiplexer).
Nobeltec also launched a beta service that allows users to share their position with friends. The TimeZero app is compatible with Furuno’s DRS4W 1st Watch radar ($49.99 for the module) for overlaying radar images on the nav charts in the app.
The TZ app is free; charts cost $39.99 and up.
Theyr Ltd. has launched GRIBview mobile, a digital precision-weather and ocean-forecasting app for iPads. GRIBview allows free, unlimited GRIB downloads for Global Forecasting System data at 1-degree resolution, as well as unlimited high-resolution data, clearly visible down to 1-kilometer resolution.
Subscriptions to high-resolution premium weather-data packages include wind speed, barometric pressure, precipitation, air temperature, sea-surface temperature, significant wave height, period and direction. Nexrad Doppler radar for North America is also included.
Theyr GRIBview mobile is free and includes downloads of standard data. An iPhone version is coming soon.
High-res data subscriptions cost $19.90 per month or $164.90 per year; subscriptions to premium high-res and additional parameters cost $35.90 per month or $329.90 per year.