I recently downloaded the Orvis Fly Fishing Application for my smart phone. The application, developed by Green Mountain Digital, costs $15 and is billed as the “Most useful and information-packed fishing application available”.
I found this lofty claim to be true, but almost by default. While several fishing applications exist on the market, few are of little real practical use, and most are, frankly, useless. So, when Orvis combined fly casting lessons, animated knot instructions, a guide to trout flies, podcasts and fishing reports for over 200 locations, they also provided some substance to back up that claim.
A look at the application, section by section.
Basic casting instruction comes complete with text passages and accompanying video. The basic cast, the double haul, the roll cast and casting with wind are represented, and offer a real value to new fisherman; especially those who are mostly self-taught. I know I would have benefited from these as I taught myself to cast. The ability to have the casting videos in your pocket while you practice would be preferable to learning vie book or written word alone.
There isn’t a great deal here for the fisherman who already possesses these abilities, but as we well know, there is always something else to learn in our sport. Even the seasoned fisherman can benefit from reviewing these videos.
How good, or accurate, are the fishing reports? I have no way of knowing, as my state is not listed, a significant setback for me personally, as it makes this section of the application useless on a day-to-day basis.
That being said, the reports I have read, as a means to locate good fishing for a potential road trip, have been very thorough and provide a wealth of information. A GPS map location appears alongside a current rating system for that water, ranging from “Red Hot” to “Fish Somewhere Else!” Water flow information is listed, as well as temperature, clarity, mid-day water temperature and condition. The Orvis representative rounds out the report with personal observations, from the best stretch of water to fish, to must-have flies and travel information. A user who relies on this reports can testify better than I to the accuracy and reliability of the reports, but in my estimation, the amount of detail provided suggest they are well maintained and up-to-date.
A wide selection of flies are available. They may be browsed by name, type, or you can search for a specif fly. Accompanying information includes fly sizes, colors, and a brief description. Where this section excels is in the additional details provided for each fly. The application suggests the best season, region, and “when to use” any chosen fl, and goes on to provide instruction on how to best fish it. Excellent for beginners learning the basic uses and abilities of the overwhelming number of flies to become accustomed to, and the additional details about each are of value to all fisherman. For me, the best part of the application.
Knots can be sorted by name, but more importantly, by purpose. If you select “Attaching Fly line to leader” the application provides you with appropriate knots, and slow animations of that knot being tied. This can be done for a wide range of knots, ranging from connection tippet sections to adding a loop to your fly line, to how to attach wire leaders. This section of the app is the part I have actually used on the water. I have about 3 knots that I tie so often I can do them in my sleep, but sometimes I need reminding of how to correctly tie knots I tend to forget, for lack of use.
The Orvis podcasts have been available for free on iTunes for some time. I mix them into my rotation of music and podcasts when working at my tying desk, and have always found them informative and entertaining. Even though this is material already provided for free, the convenience of packaging them with other instructional materiel gives them additional value, especially for the beginner.
Ultimately, this is the best fishing application available for portable devices, especially for the beginning angler. I would have loved to have all of this information at my fingertips when I was first learning to cast and about the knots, flies and equipment, and I still benefit from it now. The seasoned fisherman can benefit from the fishing reports, and there is value for him or her with this application, but it’s simply a question if it’s worth the $15 price tag. I purchased mine from the Android Market, and it came with a $10 gift certificate to Orvis. I’m lucky to have an Orvis outlet store nearby, and was able to immediately take the gift certificate and turn it into some saltwater flies, a new bottle of floatant, and a pack of leaders, which instantly made this application well worth the money.