Simple Pencil and Paper Increases Fish Catches

A simple journal will help catch fish.

I'd like to take a moment and tell you guys how much you can up your game by keeping a Fishing Journal. By cataloging the information you gathered while fishing you can begin to pattern fish in a way you might not have previously thought possible.

I can't tell you how helpful it is to go back and look at your successes and failures from one trip to the next. Recording what is biting, what they are biting on and the conditions at the time. I believe the act of writing anything down immediately after the fact does a couple of things. It keeps the memory from being altered by time. It also emphasizes the techniques and conditions that you used and problems you faced and how you dealt with them.

mangooJournaling can assist in targeting trophy Mangrove Snapper.

Filling out your journal makes you consider and analyze the conditions and tactics after the fact. Why did that work? What was the solunar at the time? Was the tide coming in, going out or slack? What was the time of day? What was the moon phase? Where was the wind coming from and how strong was it? Understanding conditions are critical to success. And understanding how they affect the fish will make you a more successful angler.

Recording Successful Tactics.

What size leader was I using? Size of hook? Color of lure? Top water? Jig? What type of bait? Was bait available? The smallest things like changing the style or size of a hook can make a huge difference, just as leader size and the color of lure can. Did I fish live bait on a jig, a knocker rig or a bait finder rig? Did I put out a free line? What species was biting on which setup? How many of each species did I catch and what size were they? These are all important factors that in allow your mind to understand what the fish want and how they want it presented.

kingKeep track of when Kingfish migrate for next season.

Timing is critical. Knowing when fish begin to show up in your area is critical. Are the Kings starting their migration? Are Mangroves hitting in the bay? What time should I be putting out that flat line for Tuna? Where are the Grouper at this time of year? Are the Snook and Redfish on the flats? Are they going into their winter patterns? Spring patterns? Begin cataloging these facts and cut your search time down finding and targeting fish.

Location is key. What were your numbers? What depth were you fishing? What patterns are in common at different locations? Are you on flats, shallow or deep? On a channel edge? Deep water next to mangroves? Grass flats? What is on the bottom, wreck, reef, sand, grass or hard bottom?

JournalWrite down as much information as you can.

Conditions are key to record. What was wind speed and from what direction? Did the wind slow the tidal output or create a super low tide? Moon phase? Solunars? Sun rise, sun set? Moon rise, moon set? Temperature? Cloudy, sunny? All these factors affect fishing -- take note of them.

I am sure I have left out plenty of other pertinent factors worth noting, however beginning to take note of all these will improve you're fishing exponentially. You can take the red pill and slide down the rabbit hole to better fishing and begin to learn and see the matrix of how you can interact with conditions, or you can take the blue pill and pop another beer and continue to repeat the same day over and over. It's up to you, no right or wrong. If you want more success you can improve dramatically by keeping a journal and opening your eyes to what is really going on around you.

DSC00742Understanding the matrix can make for successful days on the water.

In closing I would like to thank Captain Mike Anderson whose seminar finally beat it into to my thick head to start journaling events on the water. It has made me a more effective and knowledgeable angler. It's one thing to catch fish once in a while, it's a whole other thing to consistently know where the fish are, why they are there and what they will be biting on. Keeping your Fishing Journal will help you to better gain that ability.

Joe Diebold with Assistance from Captain Mike Anderson
See Captain Mike Anderson's website.

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