November 29th, 2012
If you’ve ever watched the Bassmaster Classic, an episode of a TV fishing show, or even a fishing How-To video on YouTube, chances are the anglers you’ve seen were all on boats. Although a boat is an essential piece of a professional angler’s arsenal, it’s not a necessity when it comes to catching fish. There are plenty of ways and opportunities for amateurs to reel in big fish, in big numbers, without a boat; you just have to know how to find them.
Of the millions of amateur anglers in North America, only a small percentage can afford the costs associated with boat ownership, but that shouldn’t deter you from enjoying the sport to its fullest. Many now professional anglers will admit to having gotten their start like most amateurs, casting from the shore.
Shore fishing does pose certain challenges, as you’re not permitted the same ease of mobility a boat would offer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t and won’t catch just as many fish. The key to successfully fishing from the shore is simple, do your homework. Use the tools at your disposal to gather as much information as possible before ever setting foot outside the house. Chief amongst the tools available to the modern shore angler are Google Maps and Google Earth.
Google Maps gives amateur anglers the ability to quickly, and with relative ease, scout for potentially fishable locations around most major rivers, lakes, and bodies of water. Using satellite view, an angler can skim large areas in search of accessible shoreline, rocky points, manmade and naturally occurring structures. When available, zooming in as far as street view can provide valuable insight into the potential of a honey hole, showcasing the accessibility of a fishing spot, the makeup of the shoreline, as well as the potential water and shoreline foliage. Combined with the ability to see photos geographically tagged as having been taken at the location, sometimes even by anglers that have already fished the spot, Google Maps is a must for any modern angler fishing the shore.
Taken one step further, Google Earth goes where Google Maps and street view can’t. Even when there are no roads or photos around a potential fishing hole, zooming in with Google Earth can provide an incredible amount of detail, down to whether or not a spot’s top water foliage is weeds, rushes, or lily pads. When you’ve got to have detail, you’ve got to use Google Earth.
In addition to being an invaluable resource, providing amateur anglers with amazingly detailed information and insight into potential fishing spots before ever leaving the house, Google Maps’ My Places feature allows anglers to easily pin all their potential spots on a single map. Pinning spots makes them quick and easy to find for future fishing trips, while the ability to add limitless information to each pin makes maintaining a fishing log for each spot a snap.
When easy, affordable access to a boat isn’t available, tools like Google Maps and Google Earth go a long way in making the modern shore angler’s life easier. Although shore fishing may have its share of challenges, it’s substantially more affordable and accessible to the amateur angler, and finding the perfect spot is half the adventure.
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PR and Social Media Marketing Specialist and Writer by trade; Greg Godden is an avid Amateur Angler and father of one. A proud weekend warrior and self-professed gear junkie, Greg is a dedicated shore angler based in Montreal, Quebec who loves researching hot new lures and techniques while putting them to the shore fishing test.More by Greg Godden