Reviewed by Dave Dowding

**Real Reviews by Real Anglers**

Whether you prefer to trot a float down a flowing river or sit on a Stillwater with a quiver tip or buzzers, it’s all here. You can flyfish flowing streams for surface feeding coarse fish or trout. And for predator fans, out comes the spinning rods and lures, or you can deadbait for that monster. Jason Spooner, the creator of The Fishing Simulator, has just introduced pole fishing. Although still in its early stages it is very effective, you select pole length, elastic strength, line strength and finally hook size.

I would like to mention here that Jason acknowledges this method came about with a great deal of help and advice from a very good friend of mine and excellent pole angler who recently passed away after a long illness – Keith Culley. Keith often mailed me, full of enthusiasm, to let me know how the pole fishing side was shaping up on the simulator, I’m just glad he got to see it up and running, unfortunately we did not get to fish our intended matches against each other.

Jason is continually updating the main program to offer even more realism, so once you have a registered version of Fishing Simulator, you can log onto his site at the URL below and gain instant access to more venues with stunning graphics, different baits, rods, tackle and even add new fish by simply uploading the patches. At present the program boasts 11 venues, 108 swims to choose from and 22 species to fish for!

The CD version comes complete with colour manuals although the simulator is very simple to master and is mostly self explanatory.

Once you have set yourself up as a new member you can then go to the Options screen, this contains the various buttons to enable you to change the realism setting, select your venue and swims (not available if you elect to match fish), check out your Fishing Log Book and Records. If you fancy pitting your skills against other computer generated anglers you can select a general match, a single species specimen match or even a tournament. The computer then sets weather conditions, venue and allocated swims and the start time of the match. If you select Practice then you can pick your own time to go fishing, swim and venue. One of Jason’s planned updates for the future is to enable real time matches to be held online via the internet.

This done, its time to go to the Tackle Room, this contains everything you need, rods, floats, weights, swimfeeders and baits. It even gives you a weather reading to help with your tactics.

You can select line, hook size, set float depth and even take a plummet to check your swim out thoroughly. Now you’ve selected your tackle it’s time for the bait, this is on the same screen and is another piece of genius by Jason. You can select from a pictured selection of baits from maggot to boilies, but the really clever bit comes in the groundbait bowl. You select what offerings you require for groundbaiting your swim and simply click on them to put them in the groundbait bowl.

Now you’re set up it’s time to go fishing, this is done simply by clicking the Finish button in the Tackle Room where you will be taken back to the Options screen, click go fishing and you’re off!

With great smooth-running graphics, added background noise for that extra bit of realism and easy to master controls this all goes to make for a very enjoyable simulator. For instance, to groundbait, simply cast out using the ‘C’ key on your keyboard and the mouse, then press ‘G’. A ripple will appear in your swim, move it where you want, click the mouse to fire your catapult and you will even see where the groundbait lands!

The taskbar at the top of the fishing screen keeps you in touch with what’s going on, if you’re fishing a match, a catch by catch report is displayed letting you know what your up against with the other competitors, how long you have left and how long you have been fishing. Other features on the taskbar include adjustable clutch, a distance counter for accurate casting and a catch counter.

When you finish your solo session or match against the other computer generated anglers your Log Book and Record section is automatically updated and saved for future reference or to submit a record catch to the Fishing Simulator website.

Another bonus of purchasing the CD or registering your shareware version is that it enables you to take part in the latest addition to the fishing simulator – offline matches. You simply go on the site, check out the next match and if you want to enter you then submit your match application and download a small patch that takes approximately 20 seconds, fish your match before the required date and then simply send your results in for the weigh-in.

The results and weights all appear on the website, you can even check out blow by blow how the winner (if it wasn’t you!) did it!

Billed as ‘the most realistic fishing simulation available for the PC‘ and after thoroughly enjoying the Fishing Simulator for a while now I heartily agree.

Although I have tried to give as much depth to my review as possible I don’t think it is really possible to do the Fishing Simulator full justice with just the written word.

I thoroughly enjoy the Fishing Simulator as there are so many options on offer whether you like the challenge of match fishing or you prefer to target a single species it’s all here.

I would certainly advise that you visit Jason’s site yourself and see just what the Fishing Simulator has to offer, you can even download an evaluation version and either register it or purchase the CD version complete with CD based manuals for only £ 19.99. There are now facilities for ordering by credit card online.

The graphics are photo realistic and smooth running and If you would really like to fish your favourite venue on your PC then contact Jason, supply him with information and photos and he will try to take it from there, what more do we want from a computer based simulation?

The latest bit of good news is that Jason and his Fishing Simulator have been entered for a very prestigious award in the software world, the ZD Net Shareware of the year award to be held later this month in Tampa, Florida.

There are four other finalists in Jason’s category so he at least stands to be awarded 5th top shareware program produced this year worldwide!

TITLE: The Fishing Simulator
DESCRIPTION: Fishing Simulator Game for the PC
PRICE: £ 19.99 for full version, evaluation version on free download.
e-mail Jason Spooner