The best anglers I know have one thing in common: they keep a detailed fishing log. After each trip, these guys note the weather, water and fishing conditions in a pocket-sized calendar or grease-stained journal.

Less disciplined anglers have a hard time finding the time, let alone a pencil, to keep a paper record of their success, but we always manage to post our photos and stories on social media. What if we could turn Facebook into Fishbook?

What Do App-Based Fishing Logs Do?

App-based fishing logs combine the detail of a fishing log with a social media community. Digital fishing logs make it easy to collect, store and interpret a gigawatt of data about locations, time, water and weather conditions.

Then, the electronic brain crunches the information to predict when to fish, where and what lure to use. Did your favorite lure get caught in a tree? Tap the screen and a retail partner sends a new one to your house.

Professional photographer Scott Beutjer started out fishing with cane poles and crickets. Then he bought a kayak and set out on a journey of discovery. “I taught myself how to paddle and bass fish,” he laughs. In the process, Beutjer became a sponge. “I soaked up any information I could get.”

What’s The App Anglr?

Beutjer is a self-described techie. “I’m excited about the information digital fishing logs offer,” he geeks out. To fuel his thirst for data, Beutjer uses Anglr, a phone-based app, to track his success and connect with other anglers. “Whether I catch fish or not, each trip becomes a learning experience.”

Anglr co-founder and CEO Nic Wilson recalls, “Anglr was born at a campsite after a long day fishing.” Wilson and his buddies were looking for a better way to keep track of their time on the water. The result is an app connecting wirelessly to a small motion tracker interfaced with a smartphone app. Each time the angler sets the hook, the tracker adds a pin to the app’s map.

Adding The Push-Button

Recently, Anglr added a push-button fob making it easier to enter data. Later, the angler can annotate waypoints with information about weather, water and gear. This information is shared with a closed group of friends to predict best conditions for success.

“Manually entering data is a pain in the butt,” Wilson admits, so automating the process makes the app user friendly; they’re even working with manufacturers to install the technology inside of a reel. “Think Fitbit for fishing,” Wilson laughs.

In addition to data management, digital fishing logs allow anglers to connect with each other, like Facebook for fishing.

What’s Fishbrain?

The social side of fishing drives Fishbrain, the largest online network of anglers. Lisa Kennelly, chief marketing officer, throws down the numbers, “We have 7 million users, 80 percent in the US.”

Those users have logged over 5 million catches producing a heap of data. “The social component shouldn’t be underestimated,” she says.

Kennelly explains Fishbrain was conceived as a focused social media platform. “You see everything on Facebook—baby pictures to political opinions.” Fishbrain users post photos and stories for other anglers to share. “We put all the information into an algorithm to predict where and when the fish will bite next,” Kennelly says.

Fishbrain can even tell you what the fish are biting. If you don’t have the hot lure, the app can order it through one of their affiliate merchants. “Brands are catching on, the fishing industry is slowly getting into digital,” she adds.

Everybody is getting into it

Instead of developing their own software, tackle manufacturers, retailers and even fisheries managers are tapping into existing apps.

In an effort to further their reach, digital fishing logs are dropping a line to new anglers. “The typical user is a passionate angler,” Kennelly admits, but the developers are adding more features appealing to new anglers. “We actually teach you how to fish” she explains. Fishbrain can even identify the species you catch through a program similar to facial recognition.

Blogger Ross Brockwan started using Fishbrain when he moved to New Jersey. “I wanted to learn about fishing in the area and connect with local anglers,” he explains.

After progressing from novice to expert, he now produces a video blog bringing like-minded anglers together. “Fishbrain saw my videos and we started working together.” This summer, Brockwan will be providing how-to content for Fishbrain users.

As more people are integrated into the world of smart technology, digital fishing logs will catch on. Scott Beutjer challenges anglers to give it a try. “If you commit to recording data for five fishing trips in a row, you’ll never give it up,” he bets. The gurus behind Fishbrain, Anglr and other apps are betting millions of anglers will agree.

With the push of a button, smartphone-based fishing logs record each bite.
Photo: Scott Beutjer 

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