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Angling for a better catch: Wisconsin company takes fishing high tech

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In a never-ending quest to outsmart the gill-bearing underwater world, the pursuit for sport fish has evolved from sticks and cane poles to underwater cameras, live bait, artificial bait, handmade bait that looks like live bait, flies, dragonflies or spawn of dragonflies, and even cheese and gummy worms.

The bait used is just as important as when it’s used. There is an old fishing adage declaring, “Winds from the east, fish bite the least, winds from the west, fish bite the best.” But Brian Jensen, president of Fishidy.com, has his own thoughts on the matter: “I think fishing is best when winds are from the south,” he said, “but I also think it has more to do with fronts coming in than wind direction.” Though his theory isn’t wrapped into a neat little rhyme, Jensen could be on track to either prove or disprove the age-old question with the help of satellite technology, and help serious anglers in the process. One might say his new company is catching the data and releasing it to those in search of a more productive fishing experience.

“If you share one spot with 10 friends, and they share with you, you get 10 more spots, but you’ve only shared one.” – Brian Jensen, Fishidy.com

Several years ago, while prepping for an expensive fishing tournament in Minnesota, Jensen, 31, a lifelong angler from Sun Prairie, Wis., attempted to research the lake he’d be fishing. Not only was his online search time consuming, but the information he did find turned out to be, in many cases, inaccurate.

At the time, Jensen was working for GeoDecisions, a software technology consulting firm with an office in Madison, and consulting for Fishing Hot Spots of Rhinelander, Wis., which was creating fishing maps in paper format. “I knew their data was valuable,” he said of the Rhinelander company, “but it wasn’t Web- or mobile-friendly.” It got him thinking – fishermen have a lot of time to think – and spawned the development of his new business, Fishidy.com.

M-apping fish

Jensen describes Fishidy.com as “an intelligent location-based social network for anglers.” The site provides anglers with very detailed interactive fishing maps of bodies of water, and also shares their experiences, if they so choose, with a social network. “Anglers tend to be more secretive than other recreationalists,” he said, about those elusive secret fishing spots. “We understand that, but if they had the ability to share information about their sports selectively, for instance, only with those people they trusted, they’d share more. We give them options in how to share.

“I think sharing is healthy,” he says. “If you share one spot with 10 friends, and they share with you, you get 10 more spots, but you’ve only shared one.” The result is a map dotted with favorite fishing locales, and the more users, the more dots appear. “That’s when this really gets powerful,” Jensen said. “When I log into my account, I can turn on the map and see all of my friends’ fishing spots. The more people you’re connected to, the more lakes you bookmark, the more this will help.”

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