For a long time there was only one choice when it came to online maps. Google Maps reigned supreme and everything was good. I thought Google had everywhere I wanted to fish mapped well enough but the longer I’ve been fishing, and the more out of the way I start looking and the more I realised Google just didn’t have the clarity I wanted. At first I just wanted to know where I was going, where there might be a little back channel or creek, and that was about it but the longer I fished the more I realised I wanted to know more than that. I would like to able to see bottom structure if possible. Know if what I was looking at was a rock wall or a dirt edge and apart from major cities Google just couldn’t tell me that all the time.
Then I got put onto Nearmap which was even better. I had to sign in and say I was a student to use it for free but the quality of maps was much better. They were aerial maps stitched together and the detail was way better. The coverage was fairly good too. There were some out of the way places that had very detailed images. Unfortunately, Nearmap has gone to a paid subscriber system. While it was good, it wasn’t so good I was going to pay for it. So it was back to Google Maps.
Now we come to the other problem with Google Maps. What if the image was taken during a flood when the water was really dirty? The image is fine to them because who looks at the water right? This was exactly the problem I had when I started doing my research for the Ansons Bay kayak event. The water is brown and you can’t see a thing other than the general layout of the place.
Then I somehow stumbled upon Bing Maps. I can’t say I ever used Bing.com for anything but for some reason their maps are great. The same as Nearmap and all of a sudden everything about where I was going fishing became much clearer. I could even see a few prominent “humps” in the centre of the lake part where before there was nothing but brown. I could see weed beds near the mouth of the system and had a much better idea of how the water entered the system and therefore where the fish might be.
It can be a little hazy in parts and the coverage isn’t all there but it beats Google everywhere I have looked so far and I have a few sneaky trout spots up my sleeve now that I don’t think I would have found without it. Next time you’re looking for fishing water give it a try. At worst you can cross reference it with Google and more info is always better than less.