It not only enables you to scan for potential fishing grounds, but will also allow you to see access points and other useful information. However, before rushing off to far-flung spots that look promising on the map, it is worth doing your research properly.
Keep The Tides In Mind For Inshore Fishing
Just because a fishing spot looks ideal on Google Maps doesn’t mean it will look the same when you arrive. For a better idea about how the area might look like open up Google Earth, which is a free download. Click the clock symbol on the toolbar to access the historical imagery for the area. You can now click and drag the time slider that appears to view the same area during different times and dates, which can provide a good indication of the tide phases.
Scan For Underwater Structures
Using satellite imagery is a great way to spot mangroves, sea grass flats with potholes and oyster bars, which are all great places to find fish in the fall. This is because as everyone knows, any type of underwater structure is usually a big draw for smaller fish to hide, which will then lure bigger fish to the area. Depending on the quality of the satellite imagery you might also be able to make out other large objects on the bottom, such as sunken boats. For the best results, look for spots on the map that contain a combination of these underwater structures as this will greatly improve your odds.
Keep An Eye On The Contours
Figuring out how much current flows through or across areas of interest can be tricky to discern with online maps, but it is a useful skill to have. One of the most noticeable signs of heavy currents is trenches at the bottom of the water. These typically look like dark trails on the image and are caused by the erosion of the bottom by currents. Another good way to gauge the water depth of an area of interest is to look at the clarity compared to other spots.
Use Google Maps To Measure Distance
Google maps is great for estimating the distance to destinations that are close to roads, but some fishing spots are a little off the beaten path. However, you can still measure the distance by right-clicking on your location, selecting “Measure Distance” and then left-clicking to input points for your own route. This is also very handy if you want to calculate how far you have to paddle out to get to the good spots you found on the map. Use the same procedure by right-clicking on your launch point and then measuring the distance to where you would like to paddle.
Look For Maps Provided By Fellow Anglers
Although it can be fun to try and discover new fishing spots on your own using web mapping services, chances are that someone else has already done it before you. There are a wealth of online resources at your disposal that can assist you with finding fishing holes, float maps, launch points and more. For example, YakAngler has a detailed kayak fishing and launch map that can be sorted by state, launch type, water type, fish species and more. Chatting with other anglers on online forums dedicated to kayak fishing is also a good way to pick up tips on where to find good fishing spots.
Don’t just limit yourself to using a single map service when searching for good spots. Even if you have one that you are more comfortable with using, check a few of the others as well to see if whatever underwater structures you have spotted are visible on them as well. Sometimes different map services might also have better quality images depending on the times at which they photos were taken. Free online resources, such as Navionics, can also provide you with plenty of additional data at no cost.