There are many reasons to keep a fishing log and if you’re serious about fishing, it is best that you learn how to do one properly. A log is a great way to monitor your fishing accomplishments both at home and on your big out-of-state adventures.

Keeping a log allows you to track your progress and success in the areas you fish in. A log helps you to see which lures or baits worked best on what fish. It’ll show you where the fish are feeding and at what times. It lets you see the big picture as to how the weather and many other environmental factors impact your favorite sport. It is also a fun way to chart your hobby and collect photos to relive all your best catches.

“A well-designed log will be the perfect souvenir of your vacation charter fishing trips,” says Key West captain Jamie J of the Gulfstream IV and president of the Key West Charter Boat Association, a group of more than 30 captains and guides located on Charter Boat Row in Garrison Bight, the oldest recreational fishing fleet in the Southernmost City.

Fishing log app screen shot

Toss out the scratch pad and log into your smart phone!

In the good old days fishing logs were all done on paper. In modern times there are a few apps out there that make keeping a fish log super easy.

For lovers of all things Apple, the iPhone has one such app that marks your exact position at the time of the catch, allows you to upload a photo and includes data fields for you to enter in the lure or bait you used, the details of the fish, the weather conditions at the time, and many such important bits of information.

Here’s a helpful youtube review on a World Fishing Network’s fishing log app.

These apps provide 2 important functions:

1. All your data is clearly filed away for you including a detailed map that pinpoints where each fish was caught, enabling you to track and predict the movement of the fish.

2. No one can ever accuse you of telling “fish tales” again! Just whip out your phone and you’ll have quick access to both the data and photos. You’ll always have that information at hand, whether you need it to showboat at the dinner table or to be ready for an impromptu fishing expedition.

Forget technology, I’m “Old School.”

If you love doing things the traditional way and want a beautiful coffee table book to mull over on quiet evenings, or a practical log to examine in your man cave, you could purchase one of a million variations of fishing logs available on the market or simply make your own in a notebook. You can also transfer this written copy onto your computer using a variety of different software programs if you want the best of both worlds.

Here are some of the top subject headings you need to include-

Specifics of the catch: Obviously the date and time of the catch are important. Try to pinpoint the exact location of your catch. GPS units and some cellphones can help you to do this. Record exactly what you used to reel in your fish whether it is a lure, bait, or fly. You may also want to write down the details of the actual catch. Think about how long it took and the level of effort expended.

Weather and environment: Look carefully at weather conditions and include all the details such as if it was overcast, sunny, etc. You may also want to include information like the stage of the moon and tides. It will also be helpful to include more data on the water conditions, like water temperature, depth and clarity.

Other: Some other ideas to include are things like the presence of food sources in the area. Particularly close to shore or for river fishing, check for insects hatching in the areas where you successfully land fish.

The general idea is to form a visual aid that will help you to build on your fishing knowledge. Recording this data will let you see where and why you have been successful and to learn and progress in your favorite pastime.

Of course, it also leaves you with an awesome journal of your top catches that you can reminisce about when the weather’s too crappy to fish. (Otherwise known as: your wife’s got you on fishing lock-down.)