October 31, 2002

Virtual Fishing Anyone?

Frank G. Dwyer

With fishing season winding down, I thought I’d share some of my favorite fishing sites on the Internet. There are many out there and a search on Google or some such search engine will provide you with thousands of sites, but here are a few that I have found to be informative, educational or just plain fun. Let me extend my apologies in advance to those of you who may not participate in the happenings on the Internet.

Fly Fish Saltwaters.com (www.flyfishsaltwaters.com) : FFSW says its goal is “to provide you, the community members, with a resource that you find informational as well as enjoyable, without burdening you with unnecessary gimmicks and irrelevant advertisements.” There is no fee to join however you need to register to enjoy the entire site, and donations are happily accepted.

The site is devoted primarily to saltwater fly-fishing, but conventional saltwater fishermen are also represented on the site. Besides excellent content on tying flies, fishing techniques, finding a guide, photo’s and tide/weather information, there are several well-trafficked forums devoted to specific topics like boating, electronics and regional fishing reports.

Reel-Time.com (www.reel-time.com): Reel Time bills itself as the Internet Journal of Saltwater Fly-Fishing and while the content is heavy on fly-fishing, all methods of fishing tend to be discussed.

The site has great content on the standard topics like fly-tying, locating guides and regional reports, but also has one of the longest running forums (bulletin board) and a very informative section called “Ask the Guide” where readers submit their questions to expert fishermen on many ranges of topics.

National Data Buoy Center (http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/Maps/Northeast.shtml): This site allows you to see a graphical depiction of the buoys along the New England coast. Each buoy is represented on the map and with a click of the mouse you can get information relevant to that buoy’s location.

Conditions reported include air and sea temperature, wave heights, and wind velocity and direction and sea depth. Links are included for the latest National Weather Service forecasts and even for observations from nearby ships.

ESPN Outdoors (www.espn.go.com/outdoors/): A terrific site from the powerhouse sports broadcaster, this site encompasses so much information that I’m still finding new things. While the site concentrates primarily on fishing and hunting, there is also a comprehensive conservation section, as well as an abundance of outdoor and environmental news.

Saltwater Sportsman (www.saltwatersportsman.com): This is the companion web site to the magazine, thus you only get a few of the current article’s as they still need to sell magazines. That said, the site contains a wealth of information on a wide range of topics. Sections covering fishing, boating, gear/electronics and news provide detailed information on each topic.

You can also see the “Traveling Fisherman” chart that is in each magazine. The chart--which is one of my favorite parts of the magazine-- illustrates the best places to catch the most popular species of fish for that particular month.

Saltwater Sportsman also has an “Animated Knot Series” which provides detailed animation on each step for tying some of the most used fishing knots. Included so far in the series are the Albright Knot, Spider Hitch, Palomar Knot, Dropper Loop, Uni Knot and Clinch Knot. New knots are added monthly.

MassWildlife (www.state.ma.us/dfwele/dfw/dfw_toc.htm): MassWildlife is the official site of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. The site is a must read for resident sportsman as it encompasses all the information needed regarding fishing and hunting regulations in the State.

Special bulletins are updated regularly to alert residents to important information like recent trout stockings and regulation updates or changes. In addition, there are many links to help you to explore our States natural resources. You can even purchase sporting licenses on-line!

Surfcaster.com (www.surfcaster.com): Surfcaster.com says that it is “serving the New England fishing community”, and they do that quite well. The site has a good layout and many, many links to regional fishing information.

Visitors will find up to date weather and tide information as well as links to a variety of topics including fishing books, local fishing organizations and even a directory of fishing guides, shops and government agencies.

Big Mouth Bass (www.shockwave.com/sw/content/bmb3d): This one does not fall under informational or educational, but just silly fun. Available from the Shockwave web site, Big Mouth Bass provides you with a fun way to target the “big one” from your computer screen.

You’ll need to have the Shockwave plug-in installed, and the game is somewhat of a resource hog so you won’t want to play over a dial-up connection or if your using a circa 1995 computer.

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