Weather, Wind and Tide Apps for Kayak Fishing
Use your smartphone to game plan and stay safe
By John Donohue
Smartphone apps help a kayak angler form a fishing game plan and stay safe while on the water. I am most concerned with the tides, wind and potentially hazardous weather. These apps work for me:
The Weather Channel, free, for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone: The hourly forecast is a helpful planning tool. I study it the night before a trip. The Weather Channel app is simple and to the point, offering wind direction and speed, temperature and chance of storms.
Weather Bug, free, for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone (pictured at top): Forewarned is forearmed. Weather Bug’s best feature is its live storm radar track – more detailed than the one in the Weather Channel app. Read it and hopefully not weep. It also provides the current wind speed and direction; some locations are linked to web cams for the eyeball test.
Tide Trac, $2.99, for iOS: There are plenty of free tide apps available, but most do little more than provide dry numbers off NOAA’s tide tables. Tide Trac adds an intuitive line graph that shows the ocean’s peaks and valleys. It’s worth the cup o’ Joe cost. Bonus: moon phases too (of course) so you won’t waste your time fishing the night after it blazes full and bright.
Windfinder, free, for iOS, Android, Windows Phone: The wind is a kayak angler’s chief antagonist. In some locations, it also has a profound effect on the tides. Inshore on Florida's flats a big winter blow out of the north will suck out the water making tides much lower than the predictions, while a hard southern blow will cause flood tides. The Windfinder app offers a searchable list of wind station locations across the world. Crucially, the wind forecast extends several days into the future. A little clunky, but the information is solid.
Surf Report, free, for iOS, Android, Windows Phone: If you’re beach launching, a surf forecast app is a must. Surf Report by Surfline is full featured, offering up wave height, direction, swell period, and even a handy forecast. The water temperature is in there too – let’s hope you won’t need it. Find out where and when you can get safely off the beach – and back.