When recording your fish catch info, you are not constrained by predetermined fields for data. I like to document the story of what happened on the trip. I usually start out with a total number of fish caught, and the predominant technique that was productive.
I list a chronology of each spot I fished, in order, and how I did at each spot. This is particularly important if you fish tournaments, as it helps you develop insight as to what spot is most productive at different times of the day.
I will post other observations in this section as well. For instance, at one Pacific Northwest lake in the summer the water skiers utilize a corner of the lake that has weed beds full of yellow perch. As the ski boats run through the submerged vegetation, I have noticed Yellow Perch getting killed or injured by the ski boats. As they float to the surface of the water, the bald eagles group up at that end of the lake and swoop down to eat the Yellow Perch served to them by the ski boats. The interesting observation I learned from reviewing my log is that I had some of my best days and tournament wins catching 22-pound limits of smallmouth bass at the same time the eagles are feeding on the perch.
As a tournament fisherman I always put note event info – how much weight won first place, and what weight it took to finish in the money. I also record the biggest bass weight. This helps with decision-making before a tournament. If your log indicates each year it takes more than 20 pounds to win a tournament, and your goal is to win, why waste valuable time fishing for two-pound bass?
Probably the most valuable notes I record are what did not work.
Once I document the day’s story, I take a few moments for introspection. I contemplate what worked well, and document what did not work. And more importantly, I then surmise what to do the next time I fish these conditions. We tend to be creatures of habit and fish the same spots and lures. By reviewing my notes of what to do the next time, I tend to try different tactics and spots. My fishing evolves for the better.
YOU DON’T WANT TO WIN PRE-FISH
There are no trophies or prize money for catching the best limit or biggest bass before the tournament.