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How to Keep a Fishing Log or Journal

Updated on April 30, 2013
Include pictures in your fishing journal
Include pictures in your fishing journal | Source

Can A Fishing Log Help You Catch More Fish

In short, absolutely recording fishing trips in a journal will result in more fish caught in the future. However, a log will only be effective if you understand how to keep a fishing journal with the information that is necessary to put together a pattern and learn from the fish that you do catch each time out. Recording the good days is always easy to remember to do, but the bad, and even the worst days of fishing can be the most important to catalog in your records. Learning what didn't work during specific conditions in different locations is just as important as what did work that day, by eliminating water, techniques, baits, presentations, etc., as an angler you will be more likely in the future to be using the right ones and getting fish to bite instead of going home with nothing.

Most anglers enjoy to take pictures of the fish that they catch during the day so when the camera is out take the quick few seconds to take pictures of the locations that you are fishing, create a way point in your GPS unit, or simply write down the location of each catch real quick so that is included in the log. Most anglers will complete a journal at the end of the day, but if you notice something special out on the water or something is working really well, make a quick note on your cell phone so that you do not forget to include all of the most critical details into your report for the day.

Do You Keep A Fishing Journal

Do you write down all the important details from each fishing trip?

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The Pro Fishing Log

What Data To Capture

While most fisherman simply record the body of water, date, and lures that was used to catch a fish, along with maybe a fish of the picture, there is a huge number of other critical pieces of data that anglers should consider to include in their fishing logs in order to really be able to figure out the pattern and learn why the fish were behaving the way they were and be able to repeat with more success in the future.

Data Points for Every Anglers Fishing Log

  • Location - Both the body of water, but also the specific place on that body of water, a GPS coordinate is best if possible.
  • Date - Note which season
  • Day of the week
  • Time Started Fishing / Time Stopped Fishing
  • Sunrise / Sunset Time
  • Water Temperature - when starting and stopping
  • Air Temp - when starting and stopping
  • Structure Type - This may very from fish to fish - Docks, Stumps, Brush or Trees, Rocks, Rip Rap, Humps, Rock Piles, Points, Rock Walls, Mud Flats, Road Beds, Gravel Banks, Chunk Rock, Flooded Timber, Anything else
  • Vegetation Types - Lily Pads, Cattails, Milfoil, Tules, Elodea, Coontail, Hydrilla, Hyacinth, Cabbage, Others
  • Weather - Clear and Sunny, Partly Cloudy, Overcast, On / Off Showers, Rain, Snow, Hail, Other
  • Wind - Direction and miles per hour
  • Water Clarity - Muddy, Murky, Stained, Green Clear, Clear, Crystal Clear, Other
  • Water Levels
  • Tides if fishing in a tidal fishery
  • Total Number of Fish
  • Size of individual fish

Make sure to write down anything unusual or unique about fish that are caught. If you catch a fish right after a ski boat goes by you then maybe the fish will feed for a second or two after everything gets stirred up, so having the extra boat traffic is a plus for you at that spot, while it may be a disturbance in another location. Do you see lots of bird activity or bait fish swimming around in the areas you are fishing. Also make a note of anything that catches your eye on the depth finder that may help you in the future to catch more fish.

A beautiful red fish
A beautiful red fish | Source

Get A Free Journal

There are many different apps for you phone or software tools that you can purchase for a fishing log. Here, however, is a simple and easy pen and paper model that can be downloaded and get you on the right path to starting to create a fishing log and learn more about your successes and failures on the water.


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    • ShootersCenter profile image

      David 4 years ago from Florida

      I've been keeping fishing and hunting journals for over 40 years, it's a very effective tool for success.