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"Angler's Log Software"
By: Jim Dicken

Is it for Real? YES

Whenever I see something that claims to be the answer to all of my problems, or the perfect tool for every occasion, I do have to stop and look. Like most people I have been disappointed a time or 2 with the results. Following is an analysis of my findings in checking out "The Angler's Log", made by River City Software.

I should first explain that I like to be able to "unwrap" the plastic, insert the disc, and not have to spend hours learning how to use a program. This to me is the meaning of user friendly software. It is the first thing that I look at. In that respect, the Angler's log performed well. I did have to go to the help buttons once or twice, and I did manage to print the wrong page 3 times, but hey you learn as you go, right? For the most part Angler's Log is very user friendly. I do however recommend that YOU spend about 30 minutes learning about the program.

First impression: I really like the way the program is set up like you are surfing the Internet. Navigating through the program is easy. Drop down menus are good, and include every possible freshwater species I have heard of in this country, including several types of grass carp, common to China. One thing I did not like was the inability to go back to a screen simply by clicking a back button from the catch record. If I got curious about something on the screen and clicked it I lost the screen and had to go and find it.

Catch Tracker: I found this to be a useful tool, and easy to use. Entering a catch is easy, but some of the information I personally would never be able to get. Oxygen level at the catch site is hard to get. I don't know (personally) of a way to get that info even with a device, other than taking a water sample. You can get some information from the Corps of Engineers for some lakes, as that is part of the information they collect on a weekly basis. The items listed in Salmon are items that are necessary for you to enter a fish for World Record consideration. Review reports on the Catch Tracker page works like a gem. It allows you to view many trips at once and get particular information that you might want for future trips. It gives you a list of General information about trips, Methods used, Weather, and plugs in the Solunar tables for the day of the catch for you to analyze. It will even pull up your multicatch reports for you to analyze. A nice feature of this program is a printable note pad that allows you to print a trip sheet to take on the boat or trip with you. From the main page click on Fishing Trips, and then from the menu on the side you simply click on Trip Sheets. This will print a handy 8 1/2 X 11 trip sheet with all the info on it that you will need to enter into the program.

Angler's Directory: This section is a must for those of you that fish with a lot of people, or even more important for Tournament People. I would imagine that the data base would hold enough information for you to keep track of several dozen fishermen's addresses and phone numbers. With a little bit of finagling, you could even use it to track other records as there is a feature that allows you to track based on 3 fields that you decide on. It will keep unlimited information on each angler in a file, and could be used to track anglers through a tournament schedule with weights and points totals after every tournament listed in the comments section. It lists Home, Work, Cell, Pager, Fax, and e-mail addresses as well as personal information like the spouse of the angler. (Could be used for a partner in a tournament).

Species Identification: Works fine, but would like to have a drop down menu or a menu to choose from. When you click on "Find a Species" you get a blank screen and have to go FISHING for the species you are looking for. The good part of this is that if you type in part of a species name or type it partially you will get choices of fish with that spelling.

Lake Maps: I like this feature, even though all of the lakes listed are in Wisconsin. The quality of the maps on the program is good, and the program allows you to import maps from the Internet. This is a very valuable feature. It allows you to print sections and analyze them and mark them for use on the lake. The Corps of Engineers, and other sources now provide maps that can be downloaded. With this feature you can make your own notes about the lake and keep them with the map.

Solunar Tables: This feature brought out my curiosity. In looking up trophy catches based on memory and dates, I found that my 2 biggest fish, an 8 pound 1 ounce Bass, and a 28 pound Striper were caught during major periods on the days they were caught, and that they were caught within 3 or 4 days of a full or no moon. The Bass was caught on a very windy day. Winds were from the south or southwest at 30 to 40 miles per hour. It was not a day I would have chosen to fish. I did so because it was my day off. A cold front was moving in and fishing should have been lousy. Other catches seemed to track in either the major or minor periods as well, but that was less of a knowable factor since I do not have accurate records to go back to. Gee if I had only had this program? This feature will help you to plan better, for vacations and fishing trips. Choosing periods when fishing should be at it's best. Apparently despite weather in some cases. World Record Book: Extremely accurate and up to date, and with an accompanying web site for backup, I am sure you can download updates. It will also give you details of Solunar tables for the date of the catch as well.

Fishing Knots: I have to admit this was my favorite section. Almost all of the diagrams were excellent. I had been looking for several different knots for crankbaits, and had not been able to find them. Here in this section I not only found them but very detailed diagrams to tie them by. Ever heard of the ARBOR KNOT, that is what I have needed to tie line to my fishing reel, but have never known how to tie properly. I did have issues with a couple of the diagrams though and that may have been just me. The Perfection Loop diagram loses me from diagram 3 to diagram 4. The quality of the Spider Hitch diagram was not in my opinion as good as the other diagrams in the series. The Blood Bight Dropper relied on the use of a second diagram. Otherwise too few steps were shown. I found the Berkley Braid knot for use on braided lines to be an excellent choice for inclusion with all of the new braided lines coming out and everyone using super glue to hold them. I HATE using SUPER GLUE. (Sorry Super Glue it isn't personal.) Thanks for saving me from that lousy feeling when you get the glue on your fingers. There are 33 knots listed in all, and to find only 3 that I had problems with is excellent. Each knot comes with a description of its use. All knots come in a printable form in Black and White which is very handy for taking on a trip. I would even recommend making yourself up a book of these to take with you or to keep in the tackle box.

Enter Pictures and Maps: A very handy little section, and you can even enter video clips. Don't ask me how, I did not try this part, and frankly did not have the capability too. I am sure from the performance of the rest of the software though that it must be very simple. This aspect is for the HARD CORE fisherman.

GENERAL OVERVIEW: I really like this program. I just wish that I could take it on the lake with me. I guess if you have a laptop, you can. This program is not for the guy who fishes every time he gets the chance ie; once a month or 5 times a year. This is for people who take their fishing SERIOUSLY. Can the average angler benefit from the program? YES, definitely. Can the tournament angler or guide who fishes for a living use this? MOST DEFINITELY. I would recommend this program to any guide or tournament angler who takes this sport seriously. Avid entering of data I think WILL make you a better fisherman and this program will allow you to do this and to keep information at your fingetips. This program on a laptop in your boat would help you to remember data that you may have forgotten under conditions from a trip months or even years ago. I am not a real technology person. I just learned how to do WEB site work in the last year, and all of that is on programs designed for, well, people like me who have no clue. This program was a delight to use and test. I had no problems in getting it started and in using it. If I can use it, almost anyone can.

~Jim Dicken
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