Going out fishing is an adventure, but it shouldn’t be a mystery. When out fishing with friends in a new spot many years ago, we noticed that after a big catch, they pulled out what looked to be a notebook and pen! When asked why, they said “I don’t want to forget the bait you were using, I’m going to make a note of that for next time!”
Keeping a fishing log allows you to keep track of what works, and what doesn’t…and when you keep a log over time, you begin to see patterns you might not have noticed otherwise. We’d never go without one now.
A Basic Fishing Log Setup
We are big fans of “keeping it simple.” While the more details you add to your log, the better…we don’t want your fishing trips to feel like “work.” This log is designed to give you maximum fish, an insight into the patterns in your area, and a great heads-up on the seasons ahead.
Paper or Paperless?
Whether you keep your ultimate record stored on the bookshelves or in your computer is for you to decide, but the process of making notes requires that you do have a journal with you when you go. We recommend that you have a medium-sized journal that you carry with you in your bag, and a pen. Those pocket sized notebooks are portable, but we find they just don’t have enough room.
After a few tries using Moleskin and other notebooks, having them get wet, and smearing or tearing…we came across the Rite in the Rain notebooks. We fell in love with them, particularly in the “page pattern,” because you already have category markers drawn in. Rite in the Rain notebooks are inexpensive (about $8), and they last.
In damp or rainy conditions, you can’t beat this notebook….see what it can do!
While some people like to transfer all of their information to a spreadsheet when they get home, which can make it easier to search in the coming years, others like just having paper journals as their reference. It’s your choice. Personally, whether you transfer your information or not, there is something really cool about seeing your old notebooks on the shelf that brings back great memories when leafing through them.
The Ultimate Fishing Log Pen is…What?!
While a pencil will work just fine on the Rite in the Rain journals, and are probably best (and cheapest) to take out on regular trips, we get all nerdy about it and use a Fisher Space Pen with our book. Why? Developed for use in space, the cartridge is pressurized with nitrogen so that it doesn’t rely on gravity to make it work….and unlike other pens, it literally works under any condition!
Space pens write upside down, in extreme hot and cold temperatures, in high altitudes, on top of grease and even under water. So no matter where you go fishing, what angle you are in or what the temps are…if you want to use a pen, this thing writes smooth and clear in any condition. Great for your hunting journal too. They run from $9 – to over $100. Our favorite model is only $9, and we take it everywhere. Overall, it’s more expensive than a Bic, but get a few refills and you’ll be happy you went with it.
Just try getting that Bic to write well when you’re out ice fishing all day.
Fishing Log Categories
The more categories you have, the more specific your information will be for the upcoming years. What things do you find most important to you? We use these basic ones, but feel free to add your own.
- Location (what lake, river, etc..)
- Weather (temp, rainy/sunny)
- Position (dock, shore, boat)
- Lure/Bait Catch (the size and time caught)
- Tips (any extra info, like current, etc)
Don’t hesitate to get a little creative..throw in a doodle here and there, curse the one that got away, and note a great memory…it might not make you catch any more fish, but it will make you smile later.
Amp Up Your Fishing Game
It’s never too late to begin documenting the details of what made the day an unbelievable success, or a day of crushed hopes. By keeping the details of your journeys on the water, you give yourself a valuable guide that allows you to do something called “patterning” – by pouring over your own journal from last year, you will begin to see what particular patterns form in the production of great fish.What worked last year is likely to work again, if the conditions are similar.
So the best way to amp up your fishing game? Look back on those old logs from last year…same month, same location, same weather conditions and see what worked for you. You’ll be landing the big ones while all your friends are still trying to “figure it out.”
Photo by: Mr. Outdoor Guy via Flickr