Saturday, June 25, 2011

Natural Guides Fly Fishing App

I had such a good experience with the Freshwater Fly Fishing Tips from the Pros app that I wanted to see what other fly fishing apps are available for my iPad. I downloaded a bunch and will be reviewing them over the coming weeks. The first one that I wanted to review, mainly because it is such a small app is the Fly Fishing app by Natural Guides LLC.

As I had posted before, I won the FFFTP app in a contest by suggesting an app that would help to match the hatch. Well, the Fly Fishing app by Natural Guides stated that it shows the typical life cycle of the mostly widely known bugs (mayflys, caddis, stoneflies, etc) and says what flies would be a good imitation. That's almost spot on to what I had said. So I splurged the $0.99 and downloaded it.

Now I did look at the ratings and saw that people either loved it or hated it. The only written review is that it needed more flies. The app page stated that it only has 17 flies in the app so I already knew this.

When I opened it, the content opened in a screen that was the size of an iPhone. But you do have an option to make it larger for the iPad screen. A little annoying that it doesn't detect what I'm using, but OK.

Then I looked through the flies. With those 17 flies, you can theoretically fish almost every trout water in the country, just vary color and size. I also figured that it would give some generic suggestions for imitations, such as an elk hair caddis for an adult caddis, an Adam's for a mayfly adult, etc.

Yeah, not so much. I clicked on the Caddis fly (larva) tab. It opened to a window that tells me what kind of waters it is found in, (slow to fast moving) It describes the protective casing around the larva and that fish only feed on it when the casing comes off (interesting....) Suggests fishing after heavy rains and colors rang from white to green. (OK, good idea.) States that this fly can be fished all year long.

Now the clincher. What to use to match the hatch. "...match with a nymph patter."

A nymph pattern. A nymph pattern? Really, would never have guessed it...... And every other fly in this app is like that. Looking at an adult... match with a dry. And, to top it off, all of the pictures are illustrations. No nice clean pic of the caddis larva to help match it, you get a watercolor rendition of it. Same with the "suggested fly."

I can't even begin to describe the mixture of disappointment and humorous ridiculousness of it all.

I then decided to check a little deeper. The app was last update is June 15 2009. Kinda old in my opinion.

So what was my walk away? The app is cheap at $0.99, and if you have less than a year of fly fishing under your belt this might be a good resource for you in determining what flies to keep in your box, where to look and where to fish them. And it does come with a couple nuggets of gold that may make the price a minimal investment for even an semi-experienced angler.

But what really kills this for me is the lack or real life visuals of the bugs and the flies. Or hell, even actually naming a fly to go with. If I have to look up the name of an appropriate fly to fish a mayfly larva, I can look up all the other bits of info that this app presents just as easily.

So to call it, I say this app is a bust. Which is a shame because it has a lot of potential, the idea is good, it was just developed in a half ass way. Like I said, if your a noob then the $0.99 might be worth it to you, but once you can convincingly lie about how much you know about fly fishing, you've already moved past it.


  1. I've often wondered if some of these $0.99 apps were really worth it. Thanks for doing the test drive of this one.

  2. It's funny. I've picked up some really great free app, but the one's for $.99 all seem to be mediocre.

  3. Great review Anthony. There you go, do an update and get rich. Too bad it wasn't done first rate to begin with.

  4. Thanks Howard. I've actually looked into doing an app and it started to make my head spin so I stopped.

  5. Great review, I was just thinking of downloading a fly fishing app or two...good to know not to waste my money on this one. Thanks!

  6. Thanks Sanders. I got a few of them that I'm playing around with that I plan on reviewing over the next few weeks. This one is the worse that I found.