more info, more places ■ by John Minetola
are two trends now that affect the way you plan your fishing, record your fishing spots, and review them later. The good news is that the cost for all this information is coming down. The first trend is that the data that the chart companies use is getting very complete. The second trend is in the software development that allows the charts to be used off the boat. Some of this software is developed by the chart companies, and some stems from the land map businesses. The competition between car GPS companies and between Google and Microsoft has raised a lot of cash to bring you data and software. Now the smart phones and Apple’s popularity has also driven the development of mobile apps for marine charts. Navionics Mobile v5.0 allows you to put charts on Android, iPhone and iPad devices for convenient viewing. There is no doubt that the winning SKA teams plan their fishing spots, pre-fish them, and record their trips for review. Now you can have your charts on an iPhone and view them while you’re at a red light (as long as you put the phone down when the light turns green). Raymarine and Navionics recently announced “Mobile with Plotter Sync.” You do need to add a WiFi hotspot to your Raymarine network on the boat, and you do need to get the relatively inexpenApril 2011 | ANGLER
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sive ($20) ($ iPod/iPad or Android app from Navionics. Then you can wirelessly transfer waypoints and other plotting data from your smartphone to your boat’s plotter. Using an iPad itself as your plotter on your boat is possible, and the app is in HD, but I don’t think the fine connector pins can take the salt environment out on the ocean. For the typical SKA boat, the Raymarine connection is ideal. You can also transfer the waypoints and route plans from the apps to view them on Google Earth. Google Earth can be free, but you can do a lot more with it if you buy Google Earth Plus. You can connect a GPS, and download waypoints to Google Earth. You won’t get depth curves, but you can plan a voyage from one harbor to another, for instance, or coordinate trailering and vehicles with the boat’s routes. Microsoft’s Bing Maps have similar functions. Google Earth will provide a track of your boat if you connect a GPS and have coastal internet access through a laptop or smartphone.
Even without internet access, there is an obscure way of using Google Earth. If you download a high-resolution map (zoomed in) it is stored in a cache on your computer. Later, even without the internet connection, you can bring up the stored map, until you delete your internet cache manually. There is a video tutorial and a userguide on Google Earth if this all seems too difficult for you. For instance, you will find out how to store photos and connect them to waypoints, and how to work with a GPS connection to maps. Another great use of the Internet for fishing comes from the knowledge we have that baitfish like to gather in the shade of large ships and transiting oil platforms that anchor off of busy ports. You can get almost real-time charts of these vessels which have to have an AIS position report on www.marinetraffic.com or on other AIS sites. A ship is supposed to change his AIS to say that they are anchored, but they rarely do. You simply click on the icon of a ship, and the speed in
the information block will tell you if they are not moving. SKA’s site can help you get fishing charts, like Profinder Prochips, and I think it’s worth checking out the fishing tips on the local newspaper’s website, too. It’s not geared to fishing, but navigation updates are on a free site called ActiveCaptain. com or you can post things you find that don’t match your charts. ActiveCaptain tends to have far more information than charts that have more legal liability. Take it all with the usual grains of salt, of course, since it is user generated. With the Navionics Mobile 5.0 apps mentioned above, you can post corrections to charts and (after Navionics validates them) your corrections become part of the Navionics chart. If your chart becomes too cluttered with everybody’s input and corrections, you can turn that layer off. We’ll see how many people contribute in the future, but I expect it to be a great asset to navigation, and to fishing charts later on. For planning or reviewing your day of fishing while you’re not on board, Garmin has an app called HomePort, a PC application that you can have for only $29. You use all types of Garmin BlueCharts, and data is moved from your boat to your PC on typical data cards (SD or microSD’s.) I may be overstating the obvious, but the satellite imagery that can be overlaid onto your electronic 29
Official publication of the Southern Kingfish Association