Logs = fish

pnc

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Previous post reminded me this might help more than some.

Keeping a log can speed up gain in knowledge as to catching fish. I saw this first hand years ago and its worked for me a couple of times simce. They start slow. First entry has nothing to compare it to. The more often one fishes & records pertinent information. The faster logs show whats wanted. By pertinent I mean everything you can remember that took place. Flies used , results , so on. Along with date , time, moon phase, tide stage or hatch. If wadding bottom conditions. Spot to avoid. Over time patterns begin to emerge. Moon phase & tide often begin showing first in saltwater. As time to be at or around given location. A given tide & moon phase might gather more fish at a given location depending on a available bait in water. At other times these fish don't disappear. Their just elsewhere. Smaller groups or individual fish move from & to their other prime spots. Find these spots record them. Where some fish are, perhaps more fish, is not as important as where maybe only a few fish will go to actively eat. Sometimes both can be close. I've often wondered if fish weren't taking turns in feeding zone. One place I fished for strippers was a lighted dock that channel bent around. Right time 20 fish would be at edge of light in water. 30' away right under light 5 or 6 fish would be slamming anything coming around dock. Every 25 or 30 mins fish by dock disappeared for 5 mins. Change over ? Can only guess. Fish would drop from sight then reappear.
Over time I've stopped looking but still make entries. Not as often but every time someplace new. Fish don't go on hunger strikes because somebody says its not prime time. If I don't pay attention to tides I know when seeing if I should be elsewhere. Been living on nature coast for 18 yrs.
Writting things down not only serves as future reference. But helps reinforce those things on ones mind.

....... pc
 

camelbrass

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What a great post. Patterns in the salt are complex but they're there. It's about breaking the code, the log makes that much easier.

Regards,


Trevor
 

karstopo

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Good post, pc. I was just looking at my logs yesterday. I've got hundreds of entries. I like to drop pins on my Google Earth page to identify specific structures like reefs or drains that really hold fish.

I didn't always keep a log. I would tell myself I'll remember what, where, when, the conditions, tidal movement, fish caught, flies, water levels, wind strength, direction...I was deluding myself. Half the time I can't remember what I ate for dinner last night. The log was the only way I could make a permanent record of what transpired on any given outing. I might remember some of the fish, but all the other stuff gets foggy in time. The log helps to cut through the murky memory and keep the particulars alive.

One pattern I've observed by keeping a log is that certain structures really turn on at specific water levels and movement. I have these guts, bars and reefs that really only turn on during high water incoming tides. Other structures get really good in low water. Around here, I've determined that water levels seem to make the biggest difference on where fish tend to congregate. It really can help to plan an outing when I see that the forecast tides and water levels are a close match to some past logged outing where I really found the fish.

Sometimes I really don't want to make an entry. Maybe I'm tired, maybe I didn't find many or any fish. But I think it has been helpful to log trips where the fish were few and far between or seemingly absent. I note all the conditions. By doing this, I've decided some areas just aren't productive during certain times of the year. I have some great winter spots that the fish just seem to vacate in the summer. I couldn't tell you why that is.

One thing I've changed over time in my logs is that I now note and record fish that I got an eat from, but lost in some way, lost to a bad strip set, lost in the oysters, etc. I might have a day where I have a heck of a time getting fish to hand. I think the more important thing to know for future reference is that I was on some fish rather than to record only the fish I brought to hand. I'll make notes about seeing fish. I might see a bunch, but have a hard time getting them to eat. At least the fish were there, maybe the next outing I'll find what fly pattern works.
 

wthorpe

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I started keeping a journal in a running word doc, soon after i starting fly fishing about 17 years ago. I make an entry for every time I fish (and at least a brief one for times my wife fishes and i am not present), covering at least who, where, when, weather, what bugs around, what fish appear to be eating, fish caught/missed/lost/etc., how fish caught--what flies, and other matters of interest (saw an angry moose at water edge or baby osprey learning to fly; spent most of the day untangling from the willows; some guy was fishing 20 feet away and slipped and got dunked--got what he deserved, and so forth.) If you try to tell someone you caught a 24" brown early last August, i might be able to help out and remind you: Well, actually, late Jy, and, sorry, the official archives say 22.5. I am not a fish counter, but i keep up with a general notion of whether i caught a few, a lot, or something in between. I keep up with particularly large or otherwise memorable fish, or fishing occasions, sometimes with photos inserted into the word doc. I also include directions to places i might forget, and from time to time various other info on fly fishing i come across and dont want to lose, phone nos for flyshops, dam release scheds, etc. A year or two ago i read some stillwater fishing books and made some notes, all neatly compiled in an outline in my journal. i created a little chart to help remember what lines are on which reels or spools or just stowed away awaiting use. The word doc is now over 500 pages. As you can see, I have sorta let the journal become its own little sub-hobby i guess.

I started tying a year or so ago, and i am keeping a separate and vastly smaller journal for tying that includes some patterns, and more importantly basic info on hooks, thread, beads, and other tying materials; once i halfway figure this stuff out i prefer to keep at hand what i figured out rather than going back to square one.
 

airborne 82nd

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Great post , I myself keep a journal , I only fish rivers but there's still plenty to add at end of each day , I notice weather, time of day , surroundings , then I'll make specific notes on flies I've used , color, size etc. then usually in the winter I'll thumb back through to refresh my memory on specific flies I'm tying ,
Almost like a puzzle to put specific details together , once I find the perfect combo I'll bookmark it for future reference , lol however there are those days that no matter how much I have added notes ,the moment changes on the fly and usually not predictable , that's how trout roll IMO.. elusive, smart and stubborn lol.
Airborne ( David )
 

gpwhitejr

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I thought it was going to be about fish hiding under logs!

But good idea. I was recently trying to remember where I caught some fish in a pond I haven't been to in a while.
 

Joey Bagels

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For years I kept a photo journal and log in a binder. Then I started keeping it as a word doc as mentioned above. Now I mostly arrange photo albums and some short annotations on my phone and back up to my 'puter every few trips. Date, best flies, best time, what was hatching, weather, location details, etc. Also google earth pins like Karst mentioned. When I'm planning a trip to a spot I've fished in the past, I at least have a starting point and variety of background material. For new spots, I mine online reports and forums like this for months or weeks ahead of time to try to get a feel for what to expect. Also, obviously, posting reports on this and other forums helps with all of the above immeasurably (even though I don't always spell out exactly where I was).


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

myt1

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Even if I don't go back and read my journal entries I find that it still helps me remember stuff.

But when I do go back and reread my entries I'm amazed by how much good information is there, not all of it directly related to fishing.

I also make note of good campsites, not only at my destination, but sites along the road as well; and I make note of good restaurants and grocery stores along the way too.
 

airborne 82nd

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Lol, okay boys I hope this isn't a reality of how our path is going to go as we age , .
Today I make notes of flies, colors ,sizes , locations in river ,......lol tomorrow I make notes of prescriptions due, early bird special, and keep log on my regularity, lmao... I guess this is kind of preparing for our future ? 😊
All good tips above I do subscribe to everybody's tips,hints. It's very helpful
Just felt like creating a little humor and laughing at myself lol.

Airborne ( David)
 

myt1

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.lol tomorrow I make notes of prescriptions due, early bird special, and keep log on my regularity, lmao... I guess this is kind of preparing for our future ? ��
Heck, what do you mean by "preparing for our future"? This is my reality now.
 

gpwhitejr

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I see the value of logs and all that, but I can't bring myself to do it. It just seems too much like work.
 

pnc

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Logging regularity is funny ! Laughed on way to kitchen for drink & back.

First time I witnessed logs put to use was in Pa. Touched on it in another thread (don't remember which). Fished one afternoon with original owner of fly shop in NE Pa. Not first time but always jumped at offer. Probably learned years worth of trout tactics or knowledge in 8 or 10 trips. Can not remember Bobs, last name. Wondering if I ever knew it ? He was just Bob. As said in other post Bob, had authored several books and was quoted in many more on trout. If still with us probably pushing the century mark.
Anywho, this particulat day was in shop number of people hanging out. Bob, looked at me and said "rip some lips". Yea ! Let's go we don't have to be here.
Went to a stream which turned out to be a 5 min walk over the hill in my backyard. Caught more trout per cast than before or since. About 45 mins later I see Bob, coming upstream towards me. Doing cut throat with hand. I asked what's up ? He said, Friday morning. Way back to shop for my truck asked what Friday morning ment. Answer I got was 9 o'clock and a wink.
Next few days fished stream early then went to work. Friday comes along and same. Had about half dozen fish sat down before climbing hill to leave. Car pulls to side from road on other side of stream. Out the passenger door comes Bob. I waved. When he climbed down from road he said " thought it was you, mind? " I said go ahead I gotta get some work done today. He walked right to the middle of the stream. Went up stream maybe 5 yds. Casts up stream , fish on. Next cast, next cast, fish, fish. I said Bob. He looked over and said - " told you 9 didn't I"..... Yea. Forgot about work and watched for next hour. Turns out surface temperature.
Bob had logged Pocono's for 60 yrs.

....... pc
 

karstopo

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I do my logs on an Excel spreadsheet. Each year has its own sheet, but I never print any thing out. Wind, Tidal movement, location, etc. all get a column. The rows are for each date, outing.

It's real quick to log the specifics I'm looking to preserve. For example, in the column for wind, a south wind at about fifteen knots would be recorded in the log as "S MS", South, medium strong. Most things are coded like that to save time. Tide movement would be represented as R/F instead of Rising then falling. I just tab between the Excel cells with my little codes and, voila', I'm done lickety split.

There's a column for notes to record information that can't be put into shorthand.

None of this ever leaves the confines of the computer. I'll look at the sheets over the years to see what I was doing on or about a date. So I want to go fishing September 20th. What was I doing on or about that time in the previous years? Say in 2014 and 2012, I tore them up within a week or so of September 20th at lower Drum Bay. Interesting, what where the conditions? Water levels were up a little with a rising tide. What's September 20th, 2017 forecast tides? 1.7' at 04:32. Might be a match.

Actually, these days I mostly go somewhere on a whim or just because it's pretty or something. I still log my saltwater trips out of habit. They are fun to look at when work slows done. It's funny how a few columns and a row of coded notes can bring back a trip from years past so that you feel like you are there once again. I think that's why I still log the trips. To remember some good times.
 

smp005

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Like Airborne I keep a journal... I try to be diligent about logging "technical" note such and conditions, flies used, locations, etc. but most importantly I record where I was, who I was with, what we caught and any significant events that happened (falling in, broke rod..)

I use guides a great deal and I always record the contact information for the guide / lodge / fly shop so I can look it up if I decide to go back.

It is neat to go back and reminisce while reading through old log entries although it does tend to remind one of their own mortality as the years of log entries grows ... :-(

I am really trying to log more "technical" information nowadays and apply that information when on the water....
 

darkshadow

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I do logs, in form of trip reports or personal journals, though.

While I do notice a few of the specifics (weather, water clarity, river conditions, etc), I seem to be more mesmerized by the uniqueness of each day, the experiences and the people that I am with rather than focusing on remembering what specific size fly i was using, and whether my leader was 9.5 or 10 feet, or how many inches my biggest catch was or how many fish came to net, or what the barometric pressure was that day.

The few times I did write an extensive log when I was bass fishing or fishing tournaments, I found myself painting myself into corners when I relied on trying to replicate success by using the exact same thing I was successful with last time just because conditions were seemingly the same. One of the first lessons that I learned fly fishing is that what worked yesterday may not work today, and the fish that were there yesterday may not be there today. (i.e, the Lamar River in Yellowstone). Mind you, conditions were identical. Again, seemingly identical. I think about how many variables we don't/can't take into account and cannot quantify into a column of an Excel sheet.

Perhaps if I fished enough, or my livelihood was getting fish to the net, I could see keeping logs, but for a fly fisherman that is lucky to get out once a week, it's hard to focus on turning fly fishing into a logistic model on the the stream. I just want to fish and write a paragraph or two afterwards to immortalize a memory.
 

karstopo

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I do logs, in form of trip reports or personal journals, though.

While I do notice a few of the specifics (weather, water clarity, river conditions, etc), I seem to be more mesmerized by the uniqueness of each day, the experiences and the people that I am with rather than focusing on remembering what specific size fly i was using, and whether my leader was 9.5 or 10 feet, or how many inches my biggest catch was or how many fish came to net, or what the barometric pressure was that day.

The few times I did write an extensive log when I was bass fishing or fishing tournaments, I found myself painting myself into corners when I relied on trying to replicate success by using the exact same thing I was successful with last time just because conditions were seemingly the same. One of the first lessons that I learned fly fishing is that what worked yesterday may not work today, and the fish that were there yesterday may not be there today. (i.e, the Lamar River in Yellowstone). Mind you, conditions were identical. Again, seemingly identical. I think about how many variables we don't/can't take into account and cannot quantify into a column of an Excel sheet.

Perhaps if I fished enough, or my livelihood was getting fish to the net, I could see keeping logs, but for a fly fisherman that is lucky to get out once a week, it's hard to focus on turning fly fishing into a logistic model on the the stream. I just want to fish and write a paragraph or two afterwards to immortalize a memory.
I believe I get where you are coming from. I also have done many trip reports where I try to capture the feel of the day among other observations along with even aiming to be entertaining to myself or others.

I never want my log to be a scorecard. I personally shun the scorecard, how long is it, how much does it weigh, how many, let's keep score mentality. Maybe that wasn't always completely the case, but it is now. I don't want my satisfaction being tied in any way to I'll only be happy in trophy water catching trophy fish or some variation that's related to catching buckets of fish or winning the approval of folks that value the above. No doubt I like catching a large specimen fish, but that's not the point I fish or keep logs for. The logs were really aimed to tease out some patterns in the what I found to be mysterious realm of saltwater fishing. Logs were meant to help with the learning curve, so to speak. Noting some data observations over time seem to give me a fighting chance with difficult wild and free ranging fish. The fish have enough advantages. I wanted to decode some of their secret ciphers.

Since then and along the way, I've learned to tune my senses better to the signals that the water and organisms involved are transmitting. I won't yet say that we are equals, but I've upgraded my data processors, servos, and enhanced my senses to the point where the fish aren't just taking my flies out of pity. All kidding aside, all I really want is to get out there in the splendor of nature and feel more a part of the scene than some helpless and hopeless outsider. "Look at that Osprey, watch it fish", or "see those mullet clustered over the reef, there must be something pinning them there" kind of stuff. Keeping a log helped me understand the order of it all and brought me even more appreciation for the elegance and drama that is inherent in the natural world.

For whatever reason, I've never felt the desire to log my freshwater trips although I might enjoy writing an account of the day. I really like freshwater fly fishing in any of the forms I've done and love a mountain stream as much as the oxbow lake right in my backyard.
 

dennyk

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I'm in the process of stetting standards for CFS and Gauge Height using the USGS Current water flow for the rivers and streams I fish in Michigan, including water temperature. Once I have these established, I'll have a good idea what the water conditions will be after checking the charts the night prior to fishing, pending changes of weather conditions. I'll expand on this as I go.

Denny
 

oldman50

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This is a great post. I'm a true geezer. My journals are all hand written in legal pads. I've been keeping them since 1972. I keep track of everything. I get a kick out of going back and reading them. You can watch yourself grow in print. 40+ years fishing the Oatka. A lot has changed but I'm always surprised at what hasn't changed. I believe this is one of the true keys to knowledge.
 

pnc

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Excellent point about things that don't change ! Whether in a confined area or not.
Those that don't learn from history....... don't catch to many fish...lol.
Got to remember that one. Sometimes I crack myself up.

............ pc
 

corn fed fins

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I log. Snow base, temp, water CFS, hatch, etc. It's amazing how much you don't remember and how incorrect many of your memories actually are. LOL Just turning the time and date stamp on for a picture is the simplest. Add in the extras and wallah, instant record. Now when did that hatch start last year?
 
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