Keep a Fishing Log!

Bobby Byrd & John Cochrane
Keep a Fishing Log!

Keeping track of your fishing experiences makes you a better fisherman.

Well, the end of summer is upon us and many are starting to think about hunting more than fishing, but big game fishing in the fall can be incredible until the cold fronts become too frequent and the water cools off. Many years, billfish and tuna are caught all the way up until December. It's cooler, more comfortable and less crowded offshore. So, don't give up just yet, there are still some great fish to be caught. Texas really had a fantastic fishing season this year, especially for blue marlin. We hope many of you were able to experience some of it and you should think about documenting those experiences in a daily fishing log.

One of the most important things a serious fisherman can do is keep a daily fishing log. Trying to remember what was happening last year or last month with all the variables involved is just about impossible. By writing down the weather conditions, water conditions, tackle type and technique, fishing action and outcome, you can analyze what was happening under certain conditions and hopefully use that information to help you catch more fish in the future.

For bluewater fishing it is important to choose what criteria you want to record. One of the first things you want to log is the date and time of day. Fishing success can vary by season, but over the years you can get a good idea of what time of year is most productive and under what conditions. Different areas tend to be better early in the season and others later. Weather can affect the fish in many ways. Wind direction and speed, wave heights, moon phase and sky condition are some of the variables you will want to record.

Location is of course a big factor in catching fish. Where to go is always the number one question that comes up and you can use your fishing log along with other information to help you make that decision. There are two important items to record here, type of structure and depth. Whether you are fishing a rig, rock, or a rip; you need to make note of what is happening. Depth of water can be very important and this information will help you make future decisions when needed. All of us have favorite fishing spots and tend to fish those areas more frequently, but a fishing log can help you understand when those areas have been the most productive.

Water conditions should be observed and recorded. Water color, current and sea surface temperature are very important and can be used to determine where you might want to fish. Online websites like Hilton's Offshore, Roffer's Ocean Forecasting and Terrafin give you this information and you can use your log to go back and see what success certain conditions produced in the area you want to fish.

Bait is a key factor in big game fishing and your success can depend heavily on finding bait, noting its location and determining what type of bait it is. If you are live baiting you will want to record which type of bait works the best. We can tell you that blue runners are the most prolific bait around the deepwater rigs and are very good baits, however small skipjack tuna, blackfin tuna and bonito are some of our favorites. Don't forget the rainbow runners either, many a big fish has been caught on these.

Using the right tackle is always a topic of discussion between anglers. Hook size, type and arrangement as well as leader size and type can determine your hook-up success. Documenting what works and doesn't work in a statistical manner gives you accurate results that you can use to improve your catch ratio. Speaking of that, keeping track of the number of strikes and how many fish you catch helps you gauge your success against other crews. You should always record the number of strikes and compare that to the outcome. If you have a low catch ratio, you need to talk to other anglers and try some different tackle or technique to get your catch ratio higher.

Other techniques you might want to record are trolling speed, drag setting, bait position and presentation. Presentation would include such things as using outriggers, clips, rubber bands, kites, drop-back, teasers, bait and switch, birds or any other method you might use. At the end of your log you may want to leave an area for comments and summary. By recording your daily fishing experiences and analyzing the data you will be fishing more intelligently and improving your future angling success.

To get a copy of the fishing log we use or talk about big game fishing in Texas, come by our Fox Yacht Sales office at Tops-N-Towers. We're always happy to answer your questions. At Fox we have an extensive inventory of brokerage boats as well as new CABO and Riviera Yachts and we will be glad to help you find a boat or sell yours. For more information call our Seabrook office at 281-291-0656 or call Capt John Cochrane direct at 409-739-4817.