On the Fly – Part 3

by Bryant J. Cochran, Jr.

The last time I editorialized my feelings on the value of keeping a fishing log and then using said journal to learn from your mistakes. Let it be known that some friends of mine read that article. They were quick to point out that I had omitted their main reason for keeping a log book. ” I use it to know where on the river to fish!” is a statement I have come to know so well that when a fishing buddy has “that look” in his or her eye, I go ahead and say it for them. This has gotten me the “psychic of the week award” among friends.

The best way to settle troubled minds would seem to be to give a list of the things that one should record in a fishing log book (journal). I will give you the order that I use in my book; this can be rearranged in any way you please. Just don’t leave any out or you may not have all the information you want when it comes time to use it as a reference tool. If you want more information just add items to your list. Without further verbiage, here we go!

All the Information for One Fishing Trip

Location: I list all the details; A. Lake / River name, B. Map locating

Number {I number each section of a river or each spot on a lake map} C. Any other particulars; {right side of stream, just below the ___shoal, etc.}

  1. Water Conditions: A. Depth, B. Current flow rate, C. Temp, D. Clarity, E. pH, F. Rate of depth change { I enter this when I find Rising or Falling water level. I record it in inches per hour or 15min, as needed for being able to visualize the river/lake at a later date.
  2. Atmospheric Conditions: A. Temp, B. Sky; Clear or Degree of cloud cover and thickness of clouds, C. Liquid Sunshine (Rain); mist, light rain, medium rain, heavy rain, toad strangler rain. D. Type of Sunshine; Squint, Bright, Just right, Dim, Hard to See My Tippet, Flashlight.
  3. Record of Fish Caught:

    • Fish 1, Length: ____inches, Girth at gill plate: _____inches, Girth at Tail: ____inches, Species:______________________ Fish’s Condition: ____________________________________ Released: Y N Tagged: Y N
    • For each fish caught and landed repeat record info above.
    • Record of methods used to catch these fish: I record the fly pattern, tippet size and length, method of presentation, whether or not I was sight fishing (stalking). I usually ad my rod / reel / line / leader / tippet info in this area. I do this because; if I am guiding, each fisherman will have a different combination. I usually find that at least two items of each person’s outfit will be different. If I was not a guide, and each trip only involved one-rod outfit. I would put my outfit information under a separate heading and position this information below the location heading information.

Now you have one of the “Secrets” of highly successful fishermen, and guides. If you make a log book and always use it, you can look back in “history” and use that information to help you make every trip a successful one.

I leave you with the fisherman’s pre-fishing prayer.

For this fine day and these mighty fish, for the whine of the reel, bend in my rod, fight of the fish, and the landing. I Thank you Lord.