The Logbook: Essential to Catch More Stripers

Bill and Louie were arguing about whether the spot we were fishing usually turned on this time of year or not.

"Last year it started producing this week," said Bill. "No, it's never consistent until the 3rd week of August," Louie insisted.

My logbook told me the last three years we had consistent striper action starting this week at this spot, although sometimes the fish were beyond flyrod range.

Next week while striped bass fishing off some rocks in Southern Maine, Louie insisted the Northeast wind made fishing very spotty here, while Bill again differed.

My logbook told me that although we never took a lot of fish here on a Northeast wind, we had taken a few big ones -- and I fished long after they left and was rewarded with a 20 pound class striper on a long white deceiver.

One day the next month the boys wanted me to make a long trip to a favorite spot up North: a one hour drive followed by a long hike to the mouth of a small creek. It could be super hot the last two hours of the outgoing tide and was a good spot for both lots of schoolie bass and the occasional cow as well (note: a "cow" is a big striper as most large bass are female).

But I knew, and my logbook confirmed, that spot never produced well unless the wind was Southwest or West, and the bigfish only seemed to show up when it was a negative tide.

Wind was from the Northwest and it was a plus 2.1 foot lowtide. Bill and Louie had an unproductive night fishing. I went out drinking and chasing women half my age.

A logbook is essential if you want to catch more fish. Not only can't your mind remember everything about your fishing outings; your successes, failures, and all the details, but you won't see patterns across multiple fishing seasons.

My logbook is a simple perfect bound notebook. I like perfect bound as opposed to spiral bound as the pages don't rip out, and after all it's intended as a permanent record. You're welcome to use a database, PDA, or whatever but good old fashion paper and ink works fine for me! I record most fishing outings in my logbook, although admittedly I miss the occasional trip.

For each fishing outing I log the date, weather, wind, phase of the moon, tide, what techniques and flies I tried, what I saw, and of course details of my fishing success or failure. I basically enter whatever might be useful into the log.

A typical entry:

15 Sept 99
Fished Goosefare Brook from the top of the tide down two hours, midnite to 2AM. Wind was SW 10 knots, about 75 degrees and clear and almost zero surf. New moon. Concentrated to left of the mouth where some small unknown bait (sand eels?) were jumping. Caught no fish on top, but an intermediate line with a 24 inch lead core and clousers got me into the strike zone and 5 bass from 18 to 24". Fish still there when I left.

After fishing it only takes me a few minutes to jot down my notes in my logbook after I return as my logbook lives at home. I'm also happy to share information from my logbook with friends, but no one sees the logbook itself except me!

The logbook removes much of the guessing from my striper fishing and helps me catch more fish based on my previous successes! As a serious striper fisherman, whether fly rod or not, you need to keep a logbook.

Hmmmm, it's late October, I'm in Southern Maine, and most fisherman have long since given up on bass fishing. My logbook tells me that a small creek mouth 30 minutes drive away sometimes produces fish this late in the season for Maine -- and I'm off to give it a try.

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