Live, Laugh, Log!
Like artists, writers, and hobbyist, anglers have been keeping journals for hundreds of years, though we call them logs. Whalers created detailed logs that included the day’s catch, approximate location, illustrations, and much more. These log books are the equivalent of the holy grail to many offshore captains, and one with great coordinates can be worth thousands of dollars. Inshore logs are also an integral part of a charter captain’s livelihood.
Anglers spend hours cleaning equipment, performing maintenance, and doing research. If you’re not taking the time to keep a logbook, you’re missing the boat. A ten minute entry after every fishing trip can improve fishing expediently. Today's logbooks are not only functional, they’re pleasing to the eye, whether hardback or leather bound. They can be specialized for freshwater or salt, offshore or inshore. Logbooks and inserts are available online or at any large art/stationary store. For those who prefer high tech logging, there are a number of free or inexpensive computer applications, many of which interface with existing coordinate mapping systems. They also allow anglers to insert pictures of their catch.
Log entries can be started the night before or the morning of the trip.Either way, make it part of the fishing ritual. Entering a pre-trip checklist with information about tides, moon phases, water temperature, and weather can enhance your situational awareness before you’re even on the water. Once you are on the water, either write down or make mental notes of other important factors, such as water clarity, wind speed, weather conditions, etc. Use your GPS to mark locations and waypoints for future fishing. If you don’t own a GPS, eyeball mapping applications such as Google Earth to get the approximate coordinates.
Now, the fun begins–logging the fish you caught. Logbooks provide an opportunity to not only display and measure types of fish caught, they allow you to record the type of live bait or artificials you used to catch them. If you’re an angler who enjoys just being on the water, make sure your log has a large remarks section. This will allow you to enter notes about mistakes made, unique sightings, the tackle shop used, and the people who fished with you. This may seem like a lot of work, but it’s invaluable for figuring out locations and trends. Besides, who doesn't want a personal diary of the thing they love most?
Published by Guy Harvey The Online Fisherman Magazine May 2016