Using Fishing Journals To Improve Bass Fishing Success

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Identifying the key elements and patterns is a critical factor often turning our bass trips from fishing events into bass catching adventures.

Most of us can recall the generalities of past days on the water then mentally compare those sketchy details against the conditions we currently face during a day of fishing.

Although many of the methods employed and patterns encountered may be remembered, the subtle details that actually lead to success during those previous outings usually escapes us.

Why Bass Pros Succeed …

So how do the professional anglers apparently adjust so quickly to changing conditions on the water during tournaments?

Basically by accessing the details of earlier tournaments and fishing trips in preparation for the current event!

Many if not most bass pros keep a fishing journal to track the specific details and review that information before hitting the water for upcoming events.

Why does the journal help?

If properly structured and maintained, the journal becomes a detailed record of each day on the water where everything from weather conditions; water temperatures and clarity; the areas, structures and types of cover fished; etc. is logged.

As part of the preparation for each fishing trip, the pros then review the journal records for the type of water being fished along with map work, checking recent fishing reports, etc.

Even though their memory plays a role, it is supported by previous data and therefore puts them in a position to make on the water adjustment based on actual information not just hazy memories.

Setting Up Your Journal System …

Here is my approach …

The actual logs are almost always set-up with at least two parts: 1) the “field” notebook and 2) the permanent logbook kept in your home “fishing” work space.

In the case of the field notebook, I typically use a 3″ x 5″ notebook with heavy paper and keep it in a ziplock bag with a pen and short ruler (in case I want to get fancy) to record conditions while on the water.

The information that gets recorded includes the following:

  1. Date
  2. Body of Water
  3. Total Hours Fished
  4. Weather (indicate sun, full cloud, part cloud or rain)
  5. Wind Direction and Strength
  6. Temperature (air and water)
  7. Time (indicate when fish was caught)
  8. Size (length or weight measurement)
  9. Depth and Clarity
  10. Cover/Structure you are fishing — weedline, rocks, slop, pads, dock, etc.
  11. Lure or Bait (include size and color)
  12. Retrieve (fast, slow, finesse, etc.)

The office journal consists of a permanent record of the field notes along with more detailed and cleaner records than logged on the water.  I also usually end up adding images and sometimes even excerpts of maps with details learned during the trip.

Historically this part of the journal system involved setting up a form, recording the information and archiving it in loose-leaf notebooks.  Today I use a computerized fishing log program but still print out the notes to place in loose-leaf binder that I keep on my workbench in the garage with the maps etc.  This information gets reviewed when I am getting everything ready for an upcoming trip.

Now with records in hand for multiple trips, you can review information for any given time period, type of water, possible weather conditions to prep for any given outing.  You can also review your overall stats on a periodic basis to see how things are changing over longer periods of time.

The end result it will help you be better prepared and a more successful bass angler in the long run!

Interested in starting your own bass fishing journal?

Then click on the image link below to access a special Bass Fishing Logs and Tips digital report (in PDF format) we’ve prepared for you to download, print out and place in a binder to serve as your first “bass fishing diary”.

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Access Bass Fishing Journal Here!

After receiving the journal, please feel free to revisit this page and leave a comment letting us know what you think or ask any questions that may arise …

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