The Fickle World of Fishing Apps

In today’s world, where people seem to be far more engaged with their phones than they do to real life, the last thing Steve Dickinson wanted to add to his phone was another app. But after purchasing a small boat without GPS, he was prompted to see if there was any assistance he could get via his phone.

The Herald, Zombie Highway, Facebook, Twitter and Google Maps – it’s a never ending list of what we think we must have on our phones, so the last thing I wanted to add to the ‘must haves’ was an app for fishing! But I was in need of a GPS app, so I had a look to see what was out there.

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The list of GPS app options is almost unlimited, so I limited my search to fishing apps. There are a lot and most of them are free or partly free. After some investigation, I chose one that gave me GPS, tides, weather, lunar, bite times and even has regional weather alerts. I have been using it regularly and I have to reluctantly say its excellent. It even seems to get the vague and mystical world of bite times pretty much spot on.

I had a good look at each of the apps mentioned below but Fishing Points was the one I chose. But that’s not to say it’ll be the best app for every fishermen. Depending on your own needs/wants, you may go in another direction. I selected Fishing Points because it was easy to use and free. After using it for a few weeks I was so impressed I paid the $24 dollars and got the yearly premium version – and this is not a sponsored post!

Researching these apps has been an interesting exercise. Many of the fishing apps have the same functions but the biggest difference is that some focus on the social aspects and others simply focus on providing quality information. However, do beware that there are a number of apps that look amazing, but once you have paid for them, you find the apps no longer exist. I suggest if you are considering buying an app, Google the reviews first.

Fishing Points

I do not know the master-mind behind this app, but it is clever and accurate, finding the best fishing bite times using tide prediction, lunar and weather forecasts. It also has a full range of location and weather-related functions. However, it doesn’t have nautical maps for NZ which is disappointing.


  • Save fishing locations, hotspots, waypoints
  • Record paths
  • Find saved locations with GPS navigation system
  • Fish activity forecast
  • Current weather conditions and hourly forecast
  • Wind forecast
  • Severe weather alerts
  • Tide prediction charts
  • Save catches, create a fishing log and share images

What it does not have is the social links, but this is something I preferred.

Price: Free – premium is $24.00 for a yearly subscription or $6 per month. Available on Android & iOS


This app helps you determine the best local fishing spots. It uses meteorological data to forecast when and where to catch fish and even suggests what baits to use, which in New Zealand is pretty basic but you can see how it would be useful if you were a bass fisherman in the US. It seems to have all the usual aspects – waypoints, GPS etc – but it also has an extraordinarily strong social network of people posting fish images and making comments, so if that is you gig, it has merit.


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• Discover exact catch positions

• Social profiles and community

• Fishing forecast and calendar

• Recommends the top baits

• Has an online store

• Records personal stats

• Boasts that over ten thousand fishermen use it

Price: Free, but paid versions unlock more features. Available on Android & iOS.

NZ Fishing Rules

NZ Fishing Rules, created by Fisheries NZ, provides information about rules and regulations for a range of species across the country. There is an education section, which even includes information on how to report a poacher. It uses your phone’s GPS to provide you with the exact regulations of your given area. You can search by region or fish type. The fish details section has images and an outline if any regulations are attached to that specific species. It also outlines closures and restrictions in a region and gives a toxin alert if relevant.


• Information about minimum legal size

• Maximum daily limits and area bag limits

• Displays what fish are in season

Price: Free. Available on Android & iOS

Fishing Knots 

This is a great boredom app. If you are out and there is nothing biting, you can train up on new knots. It provides step-by-step instructions on how to tie the most important fishing knots, both the common ones, and some you likely haven’t heard of before!


• Fishing knot tutorials

• Images and video

Price: Free. Available on Android & iOS.


For wind conditions, I use Windguru and Windy. Windy has the better app, however, and as you would expect, it covers wind conditions. It’s simple to navigate and has excellent visuals on wind movement anywhere in New Zealand. It also includes swell and rainfall forecasts. However, you can get most of this information on some of the fishing apps, so using one of these will mean you are not jumping app to app. Avaliable on iOS & Android.


This app has been around for a while and is used widely. It has a screen shot of wind, sea and tidal conditions and unlike many of the other wind based apps, it is very detailed. It is extremely easy to navigate, and generally gives a good picture of the days ahead. However, in my opinion, it has now been superseded by some of the other fishing apps. Available on iOS & Android.

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NZ Trout App

On this app (which is actually web based), you’ll find information on over 800+ detailed freshwater access points and over 90 different water systems which you can access by just selecting a region. I looked at a few regions that I know well and found they had most of the key access points but missed out on some of the lesser known ones, but that is what you would expect. It is a great tool as a place to start from if you are looking into a new area.

You can also hire a guide here, book accommodation, learn about local angling etiquette and angling pressure and it even has information on how to fish sustainably. You can subscribe and get updated fishing tips and local knowledge. 

   This article is reproduced with permission of   
New Zealand Fishing News

March 2021 - Steve Dickinson
Re-publishing elsewhere is prohibited

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