Remember those old fishing stories grandpa told you about the phenomenal days he had on the water? ou know the ones. They were usually preceded by “Son, it was a foggy morning in the summer of 1962 just before the front moved in…” It’s likely grandpa told you every detail of those great outings like the weather conditions, moon phase, time of year, what part of the lake he caught the bass on, what color the lure was and maybe even what he ate for breakfast that morning.
Grandpa learned a lot from those good ole days he had on the water and was probably able to recreate those days, year after year, by fishing the same way under a similar set of conditions. You can propel your bass fishing success to the next level by taking details like grandpa told you and recording them in a fishing log.
In history class, I normally day dreamed about fishing and didn’t learn much. However, one thing I remember my teacher saying was that if we don’t learn from history we are doomed to repeat it. Fishing is no different; you take the good experiences and learn from them, and try to avoid the bad experiences. Past fishing experiences provide you with invaluable historical information to help determine how to approach given situations. Recording this data in a fishing log will give you years of detailed information to draw from and you will be able to better analyze potential patterns. This data can be a great tool in assisting your decision making and developing a plan of attack before hitting the lake.
For instance, a couple of days prior to a tournament this year, I looked back at my log and noticed I caught fish during the same month the previous year with a spinnerbait on a stumpy bank. I was able to recreate that success again this year using a Cyclone spinnerbait on that same stretch of bank and finish well in the tournament. Also, I have noticed since starting my log that my top five biggest fish came on days when the wind was greater than 15 mph. I’ve also noted that many of my good fishing days have come on or around a full moon. So, if the wind is blowing and there is a full moon, you will find me on the water!
There are many different ways to record your fishing data: computer programs, phone apps, calendars, spreadsheets, Word documents, or even a notepad. The important thing is to find something you like and use it.
For my log, I use an Excel spreadsheet with the following columns: Date, Time, Lake, Number of Fish Caught, Biggest Fish, Lures Used, Type of Cover/Structure, Water Clarity, Water Depths, Water Temp, Wind Speed/Direction, Moon Phase, and notes. In the Notes column, I record general information that might be useful to me, but not captured in the other columns.
This is the information I like to have, but it’s your log so use data that is important to you. I’ve seen people include things like hook-up ratios for the specific lure they were using. A friend of mine was even able to tell me over the past seven years his percentage for landing a bass on a crankbait was 93%; WOW!, that’s some detail. I’ve seen logs that recorded data about areas and lures that were not productive, which can be helpful in eliminating unsuccessful patterns. This is all great information and you can go as far as you want with it, the key is to figure out what data you find the most useful.
Not only has this data been useful in my fishing preparation and improved my success, but it is also interesting to look back at things like how many fish I caught in a particular year, what month was the most productive, what lure was most productive or how many times I fished a year. If nothing else, you can look through your log in the middle of the winter when you are bored and day dream about warmer days and spring fishing.
If you don’t have a fishing log, there is no better time than the present to get one started. I’ll admit that I waited way too long to start mine, but I’m already gaining key bits of information to help me on the water from the data I have collected. Imagine how much useful information you could gain by recording 10, 20, 30 or more years of data! Additionally, you will be able to break it out and add a little more credibility to your fishing stories you tell your grandchildren. Not that I don’t believe my grandpa’s stories, well after second thought, there were a couple that sounded a little suspect.
See you on the water. Go Vols!
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