The handheld GPS unit has become an integral tool in the world of angling, offering an invaluable way to mark and find productive areas to fish. Anglers who use GPS effectively can significantly increase the number of fish they catch each year.

Whether you are a beginner or veteran when it comes to using GPS, here are some tips that will help you land more fish next season.

Mark the bite

Each time you get a hit or catch a fish, you should mark it as a waypoint on your GPS. Most GPS units will allow you to mark 500 or more waypoints, so you are not likely to mark that many on a single day of fishing. At the end of the day, you need to write down all of the waypoints you marked, so the next time you fish that body of water, you will be able to return to those sites. 

If you really want to improve the quality of your GPS information, write down each waypoint as you are on the water and record some notes with it, such as what type of fish you caught, bait you were using, water/weather conditions and any other relevant information. This will give you a comprehensive record that will be of great benefit the next time you visit that area.

Work the spot

When you are on the water, and you catch a fish, mark the spot immediately.  Hit the same location again, right away and there is a good chance you will catch another fish. Keep hitting that the location, until you are no longer seeing any action. Next, begin gradually working your way out from that point to see if you can locate additional fish. Often, you will catch a few more fish using this strategy.

Mark possibilities

In addition to marking areas where you are catching fish, it is also a good idea to mark areas that seem to have good potential. Maybe you are in an area with exceptional structure, but are not catching anything, or maybe you see anglers around you catching fish, but you have not had a bite. Mark these areas and make notes on why you saved that location. These locations will be good reference points on return trips.


One great benefit of GPS marking is that it makes it easy to share information with your friends. Rather than trying to give your buddy a vague description of where you were catching fish on a particular body of water, you can just reveal the GPS coordinates. Of course not everyone likes sharing their hot spots, but using GPS can be a good way to trade valuable information with other anglers.

Launch site

This tip will not help you catch more fish, but it may save you some headache. Especially if you are fishing a new body of water, it is a good idea to mark a waypoint at your launch site. Bad weather, nightfall and other factors can often make it difficult to find a launch. If you have the GPS coordinates, you can easily navigate to your starting point.

GPS is a wonderful, emerging tool in the world of fishing. When you start using one to its full potential, you are likely to see dramatic results.

Photo credit: Flickr CC