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How This Thing Got Started

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As a newbie to saltwater fishing, I found myself going through the same routine every morning before I went fishing. I'd first check the wind speed and wind direction. Then I'd check the major and minor feeding times. Then I'd check the tides. Then I would try to figure out my game plan. Where to go go? When? What bait?


A lot goes into a game plan. I have stacks of Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine issues that say "do this when this is happening" or "do that with that is happening" but I found this process very overwhelming, especially at 5 am. Eventually I would gather all the data, make a game plan, choose a spot, fish there, and then blame myself for not knowing enough when I didn't catch anything. "I'm just not very good at this" I thought.


There Has To Be a Better Way

I've been a computer programmer since 1989. I'm very analytical and try to automate manual tasks by giving them to a computer. When I applied these approaches to fishing, I was able to automate that manual morning process. But ... could I get access to weather/wind? yes. What about tides and feeding times? yes. Gradually the system evolved over time and I kept adding useful information based on things I read in magazines or listened to on podcasts. But the start of 361fishing was all about waking up and having a game plan in my face and ready to go - saving me the valuable time and research of going through multiple apps and web sites to get the information I needed.


Tackle Town Chris

Like most people in Rockport, I visit Tackle Town regularly and jokingly refer to it as my church. It didn't take me long to befriend Chris there, whom I started asking questions about fishing and realized he was encyclopedic in his knowledge. We started fishing together and developed a strong partnership. He provides the fishing expertise and insights while I figure out how to hand those to a computer to tell us what to do. We iterated on many features and gradually tuned them to be what we wanted. Early on Chris would call me at 6am and say "It told me to go WHERE? This is crap!" As we continued to enhance it, we shared it with a wider group of people getting their feedback and making adjustments along the way.


The Three Big Questions

In making a game plan, for me it came down to 3 big questions: Where to go, When to go and What to throw. It's as simple as that.


WHERE to go is mostly based on wind speed and wind direction by evaluating weather conditions against all of the bay locations. Each location has attributes about it and two of the main ones are best wind direction and worst wind direction for that location.


WHEN to go is based primarily on major and minor feeding times and high and low tides. The algorithm factors those and a few other secret things to tell you when to go and if it is ok, good or a great time to go.


WHAT to throw varies each week and this is one of those things that cannot be handled by a computer. We need boats on the water and wet lines to hear from those who are out there every day. 361Fishing partners with pro fishing guides to provide that critical information each week.


So there you have it - the story of how 361Fishing got started. Stay safe and we'll see you on the water.


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