It had been years since I’d fished for largemouth bass. Fly casting for trout and steelies had devoured my angling time, but when my husband David and I moved to a small town on the banks of a notorious bass fishery, we took the “when in Rome” attitude and made a pact to set ourselves up for this coveted warm water species.
Thus, began the Googling: “What lures are best for largemouth bass?” Pages and pages of results listed all sorts of fancy stuff. Topwater lures, swimming lures, crankbaits… I took a deep dive into YouTube video tutorials and promotions hosted by big-name fishing pros, and convinced myself the learning curve was more intimidating than I’d ever presumed. After all, once you find the right lures for the conditions, you have to learn how to work them.
In the meantime, David kept collecting whichever lures that fascinated him. I’d tease that he was just in it for “the shiny”. Either way, neither of us was getting results, no matter which lures we tried out. And we were having a tough time getting good fishing advice from the locals. You know the saying: Ask six experts for an opinion, and you’ll get a dozen… and none might be right for you. Eventually, I stumbled across a fishing app that changed everything.
“Caught him on the Third Cast Out!”
Imagine sitting at your desk. Your phone emits the subtle whirr of a fishing reel, informing you that one of your fishy friends has just scored a catch. You tap the screen and check the app; your buddy posted a selfie with a gorgeous lunker and a caption that reads, “Caught him on the third cast out!” You tap the “thumbs-up” icon and leave a comment: “Nice fish, shouldn’t you be working?” You click on an “info” button, and see the app-generated timestamp, location-based weather stats, and water temperatures.
Your friend shared the lure model he used, selected from his profile’s “tackle box”, but unfortunately, he didn’t make his location public. He could have, and it would have appeared on a detailed map you can toggle between topography and depth soundings and satellite imagery. You make a mental note to pry the information from him with the help of a beer or two.
This guy happens to live in your area, but you regularly interact with anglers from around the world. It’s setup much like other popular social media sites, but with fewer ads… and those you do encounter are actually relevant to fishing sports. And as far as anyone knows, there are no factions setting up fake accounts to extol the virtues of the fly fishing camp over so-called “worm drowners”.
Is it worth the price?
You can download iOS and Android versions of Fishbrain for free to access its most popular features and use it for as long as you’d like, but for improved mapping and pinpointing your fishing honey holes, you’ll need to pay for their premium service. This is $5.99 USD for three months, or $39.00 USD per year. I went for the year-long membership, and haven’t regretted it, but not too many users post their actual catch locations… and who’d blame them?
Fishbrain’s biggest benefit is the members’ willingness to give advice. Not all of them do, but enough to convince me that I could have saved a ton of money with a pouch of senko-style artificial worms (watermelon with black flakes is my jam) and a few minutes on YouTube learning about wacky rigs. If I filter recent catches by species and select for largies, time and time again that’s the setup that gets results. (For topwater, look into River2Sea’s Whopper Ploppers, another popular lure.)
David is content to play with his ignorantly-chosen, bling-y lures, though he’d have better luck catching a cold on a hot August day than he would catching anything with fins. Just last weekend, I caught him casting an ice fishing spoon. He doesn’t seem to mind that I’m landing fish after fish, and he’s patient while I make him break down our gear and load up the truck while I share my catches with my Fishbrain friends. After all, we’re fishing… not working… and we’re enjoying one another’s company. And if there’s one thing we’ve both learned in our marriage, never say “I told you so!”.