Cyberfishing

"Hi Mike," said my friend Simon in his New Zealand accent, sticking out his hand. "Good to see you. The big fish are still up in the tributaries, so fishing should be great." Simon was dressed in a rugby shirt and running shorts. His feet were bare and he was fresh from a day of fishing. What made our encounter strange was the location. I was standing in a parking lot halfway around the world in New Zealand talking to a man I'd never met before like he was an old friend... and he was.

Simon is a small part of what we call the cyber community, a group of people all over the planet tied together by their computers, a phone line and an interest in fishing.

Imagine turning on your TV Saturday morning and not only watching the fishing pros, but also talking to them. Imagine flipping through the channels to learn the best fishing spots, equipment needed, best times to visit, where to purchase a permit and contacts for more information.

You might end the morning by pulling up a chair around the stove and joining a "chat" group of fishing buddies from around the world to talk about fishing, the hottest fishing spots and the newest rods and reels.

Imagine no more; the vision is reality and it's called "cyberfishing."

You've probably heard it called other names-Internet, the World Wide Web or WWW, cyberspace, etc. Really, it's nothing more than computers moving information at the speed of light to thousands of others. It's a whole new world of fast, easy communication, crossing political boundaries and ideologies on any topic.

Anglers-always a crafty and resourceful lot-have capitalized on this new "information superhighway." If you know how and where to look, you can locate information on almost any kind of fish or fishing, anywhere on the face of the planet. And, it's only as far away as the nearest "on-line" computer.

What's it take to access all this wonderful information?

You'll need a personal computer, a modem and access to an Internet provider. A computer is nothing more than a box with TV screen and keyboard attached. I get help from my wife or other experts when I need to know more or have problems. You can either buy your own computer, visit a local library with connections to the Web or go to a local school and use