The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 17, 2013

Madison company brings science to fishing

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A technology-focused start-up company in Madison traces its roots to a really bad fishing trip.

Strategic Fishing Systems LLC was formed in 2007 by three guys who describe themselves as "avid outdoorsmen who are passionate about technology." Strategic Fishing Systems won the 2012 Governor's Business Plan Contest in the information technology category.

The lousy fishing ended up being a great motivator for company founders Brian Haymart, Dan Reed and Ryan Rist.

"We're good friends and we were out fishing on a lake that we had never been to, Lake Leelanau in Michigan," Rist said. "The wind was a little bit tricky. We fished the whole weekend and it was miserable. Maybe we caught a couple. It was just terrible.

"After that trip, we said there's got to be a better way to find where the fish are."

The answer they settled on: Algorithms.

"Our goal is to help recreational anglers catch more fish by providing them with cutting-edge technologies normally reserved for the government and scientific communities," the company says on its website.

Rist said he considers Haymart an expert fisherman.

"We call him the fish whisperer," Rist said. "He basically took on the task of building an algorithm that predicts where the fish are going to be."

Algorithms are often-complex computations that derive from a fairly simple concept, said Jordan Ellenberg, mathematics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"An algorithm is a set of instructions for doing something. It's instructions for carrying out a task," Ellenberg said. "It has a fancy name, but that's what it is.

"Even in 2013, computers are much, much stupider than people," Ellenberg added. "So, the instructions that computers require have to be spelled out in a very formal way. That's what an algorithm is. It's instructions that are so clearly specified that even a stupid computer can understand them."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Injured snowy owl ready to be released ST. PAUL (AP) — A rare snowy owl that gained national attention when it was apparently hit by a bus in the nation's capital is scheduled to be released into the wild after a rehab stint in Minnesota. The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • Court case to test 'Buy the Farm' law NEW PRAGUE (AP) — A case set for trial next week is expected to test Minnesota's "Buy the Farm" law, which is meant to require utilities building high-voltage power lines to buy out farms in the way if affected landowners demand it. The case pits th

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge strikes down part of state energy law MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge ruled Friday that part of a Minnesota law designed to promote the use of renewable energy is unconstitutional because it attempts to control business that takes place outside state borders — and she barred Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • White House updating online privacy policy A new Obama administration privacy policy released Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites, and it clarifies that online comments, whether tirades or tribut

    April 18, 2014

  • Horse virus cases showing up in Upper Midwest BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State officials in the Upper Midwest are cautioning horse owners about a virus that spreads easily among the animals and can lead to breathing problems, abortions and nervous system disorders. Three cases of equine herpesvirus

    April 18, 2014

  • Bear attacks spark debate: Kill them, or leave them alone? ORLANDO, Fla.—Dallas Smith thinks he has the answer to Central Florida’s black-bear threat, and he’s ready to lock and load it. “I think the fear of God needs to be put back into them,” said Smith, 47, who wants state authorities to lift restriction

    April 18, 2014

  • Tourism push plays up 'Only in Minnesota' ST. PAUL — (AP) — Say goodbye to "More to Explore." Minnesota tourism promoters ushered in a new slogan Thursday that focuses on "Only in Minnesota" experiences as part of their largest-ever advertising campaign. The revamped message kicks off a maj

    April 17, 2014

  • mfp ap pipeline photo Minnesota Pipe Line seeks to expand capacity MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Pipe Line Co. announced plans Thursday to nearly double the capacity of a crude oil pipeline that carries oil from Canada and North Dakota to the two refineries in the Twin Cities that produce most of Minnesota's and much

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holder asserts his commitment to fighting heroin WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has been crusading for more lenient treatment for nonviolent drug offenders, making it a top priority before he is expected to leave office this year. Recently, however, he has been forced to confront

    April 17, 2014

  • Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds ATLANTA — Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her speech, but she

    April 17, 2014