November 13, 2010

Do Cell Phones & the Outdoors Mix?

I'm not a cell phone person.  The only person I really ever call on my cell phone is my wife, and the conversation usually goes like this:

Me:  Hey, it's me.
KC:  When are you coming home?
Me: want me to pick up dinner on the way?
KC:  Sure.  Get ___________.
Me:   Okay, see you in a half hour.

All of this is pretty ironic considering in my other aspects of life, I consider myself a tech head.  Our house is stocked with digital cameras & camcorders, a blazing fast desktop computer, a netbook, HD TVs, a Nintendo Wii, all that junk, however as we move further into an electronic world where everything seems to go through people's mobile handhelds, this was my phone.  No camera, no web, didn't get much more basic than that.
crappy Samsung cell phone

Long overdue (I suppose), I upgraded to a Motorola Defy Android-based phone last night.
Motorola Defy Android Smartphone

The lady at the cell-phone store basically laughed at my old phone and to paraphrase said, "That's a 54 month old model, you suck," and proceeded to show me phones that would not only call people, but guarantee world peace and easily extract trapped Chilean miners from the depths.  I found not only her disgust funny, but also the fact that she referred to my phone's age in months, just like mothers tend to do when they describe their toddlers...."Oh, s/he's 18 months" if a year and a half is a foreign concept.

I have to admit, phone in hand, I'm soooooooo confused.  It's like application & function overload on this thing.  I even confided to Casey @ Fungal Threads (who was twittering up a storm last night) my befuddlement. So many little apps and crap, I ended up basically taking them all off the phone and just saved the email, web browser, Facebook, & Twitter ones.  I did try downloading a free Blogger app, but I didn't like it; plus I was somewhat scared of the strange Japanese cartoon advertising embedded in it.

OK...all of that said....I know I'm late to this game, and I'm sure many of you other anglers and outdoorsy folks have smartphones - be they iPhones, or something similar to what I've got.

So tell me, are there any really worthwhile apps or uses for this thing when it comes to fishing or outdoor related activities (other than the camera) that I should be aware of?

Help me out, I'm in the water, but having trouble staying afloat.  Comments as always are welcomed below.


  1. I'm thinking my next phone will be as close as I can get to your first one. So I'm no help.

  2. I'm no help either, Mike. I have heard of wildlife and tree ID apps, but nothing much more. I am not good with technology. Good survival tool cell phones are, though.

    Well, now I'm going to have to go see what I did on Twitter last night. Had a few too many...

  3. No help from me either. I recently upgraded to one of the new BlackBerries and since then the only thing I have been using it for is answering the endless messages my wife have send me." But its free honey, so we should use it lots"

  4. Wow, you're striking out. I'm no help either. My phone is about 3 years old. I don't even know if it has a camera in it. I take it out, turn it on, make a call (that is if I have service), and then shut it off. I turned it on the other day and had 5 text messages from 3 weeks ago. how's that for being a techie?


  5. I recently switched to the Droid Incredible and like the commercials claim, it's nothing short of its name. Still, when I go fishing I'm usually in the middle of nowhere, far from any signals.

    There's not many android apps for anglers. I checked on the Android Market and have yet to see anything that looks worth while. There's plenty of awesome free apps that are non-fishing related though... Android is a growing market. Apple has much more apps for the angler though. Still, I'm a big Android fan.

    I just signed up to receive access to the Android App Inventor, so hopefully I can create a decent fly fishing related app and launch it into the market. Heard it was easy to do.


  6. It would really be neat to be able to check both same time river flows and weather conditions from your new phone while heading for this or that location.

    On the other hand... probably the most applicable app would be one that shuts the damn phone off any time you're within say 100 feet of a body of water that contains trout. Nothing sets the tone for the day on a river like being in the midst of nice little hatch and having someone's cell ring you back into the here and now...

  7. No idea what apps Android phones have, but at the very least, bookmark some useful web pages, like this one perhaps:

  8. Check out tweetdeck and google reader apps. Both are free and great for keeping up to date with your blogger fishing friends. I also downloaded a .txt editor. Its difficult to blog on your phone, so I use the txt editor to jot down notes/thoughts. In a few weeks, you'll never know how you got by with that old pos phone!

    Check out google voice too...converts voicemail to text for free.

  9. There are lots of great games theat you can play while at work. =)

  10. I find the most useful, and only app I use, to be the one that allows you to talk to another person when you can't be in front of them. I don't know anything about your new phone but I learned with my last one that it doesn't last long when left in one's pocket while wading in saltwater. I wish there was an app to warn you when you are about to pull a bone head move like that!

  11. Ironically enough, I tried to publish a comment from Wolfy from my new smartphone, and fat-fingered it and hit delete by mistake. Here's the comment (copied from email), since it's been deleted from Blogger:

    Timing is everything, Mike, and it's your lucky day. We just upgraded phones at work and, on Friday, I got my new HTC, Microsoft-esque, droidish kind of phone. It looks really cool.

    And, while trying to find my Home phone number , I accidently dialed 6 different people, and didn't even know how to hang up on them, so I turned the whole damned thing off.

    Looks like it has a whole lot of neat stuff on it, but I'm sure I'll never know 1/10th of it.

    I think I can program The Sly Fox into Google Maps, though.

  12. Only thing I can think of Mike, Is when your wife calls while fishing.. its pretty cool to hook up right then... then challange yourself not to say anything to her.. like "babe I just hooked a fish while i'm on the phone with you" She will feel attention starved and youll never do it again.. so shhhhh... honestly man this happens to me all the time.. my phone is ringing in my waders.. hurry and answer it.. could be the wife and I need a fish!

  13. While fishing, my wife knows to check in with me periodically. It seems that when she does, I'll have a fish on soon. It seems she brings me luck.

    I have a plain/simple phone that I only use to make calls. Some fella's that I fish with have a cool app...a GPS with the lake chart embedded...real cool, it has all the depth contour lines and is a real advantageous tool while trolling!

  14. My main reason for taking my cell phone along with me while I'm in the woods is for emergency purposes only, other than that i would say leave them in the car.

    Whitetail Woods Blog / Deer Hunting and Blackpowder Shooting at it’s best.

  15. It's definitely great to have a phone in case of emergency. I've had this phone for a couple of years now and for fishing out of a kayak (what I do almost exclusively) it's great since it's water proof.

    I think they came out with a newer one since I got mine. But anyway, I don't use any internet stuff, just calls, texts and camera. It gets the job done.

    However, one thing I did notice while fishing with a friend who has one of those smartphones is that he had an app that displayed weather radar. Which, while one is kayaking, is awesome. He had it in one of these pouches...
    that made it waterproof and still functional.

  16. It puts a huge smile on my face when I drive into a canyon and it shows "No Service." That said I really like the music and the camera functions... on my phone. But I'm strange.

  17. Wow - What a big response to this post. Figured I'd be getting a mixed bag, and glad to see you all didn't disappoint.

    Takeaway - there's probably some good stuff for the phone, but mostly what I'm looking at specifically for fishing is weather/radar/GPS/mapping programs...oh and to actually use as a phone.

    However I'm sure that will change quickly once Tyler unleashes his apps onto the world. Good luck bud, if they're anything like THFF, I'm sure we're all in for a game-changer.

  18. Mike, what is this cell phone you speak of?

  19. Since most of my outdoors activities amount to day hikes, it's nice to be able to pull up an aerial of where I am on Google. Texting rather than calling is good too, and takes less signal and almost no noise.

  20. Ok time to put in my nerdy 2 cents... I LIVE by a program called Seesmic. It lets me manage all 3 twitter accounts I have without getting things too mixed up. It's also pretty good for just 1 account and I often find I like it better than Twitter's website on the desktop.

    The other KILLER app (worth paying for) is called "Fishin' Buddy". It allows you to mark the gps coordinates, temperature, time and just about any metric you can think of concerning your catch. It'll even pull weather and barometric pressure when you record a catch. I use it to store funcfish pictures and info so it's easier to update the site later.

    #1 accessory for your new phone: A Ziploc bag! You'll still be able to use your phone through the bag but it will keep the water out should your phone land in the creek.

  21. While I'm not as far in the past as you were (I have a Samsung Impression), I'm headed in the Smartphone direction for my next phone as well.

    I was hoping for more than the Twitter and Facebook apps from your readers. I guess we outdoorsy types are mostly non-techie purists.

    I'm a techie by trade, though, so I have to weigh both sides. In the end, I'll probably favor my techie side and be tweeting from the water.

  22. @Cofisher - It's not made by Wright & McGill, so don't worry about it.

    @Brickman - Google is always good

    @FF - You have 3 twitter accounts?

    @MNA - If you're tweeting from the water, you may want to get Rob's waterproof phone.