Keeping a fishing log is one of the best ways to become a better angler. The more days we spend on the water, the more often we encounter situations we’ve seen in the past, but realizing you’ve been in a certain situation before doesn’t help you catch more fish, unless you’ve kept a good record over the years.
Buddy Bizzell of Edisto (S.C.) Palmetto Charters has a decade’s worth of log books. He’s kept track of weather, tides, cloud cover, water temperatures, locations, bait and lures that worked or didn’t, and many other factors.
As a fishing trip draws near, Bizzell (803-603-2781) looks over his books, keying on similar dates from previous years. This often helps him decide where to start. He also refers to logs when he finds a new fishing hole, comparing notes on a host of details about the location with his tried-and-true spots, then adding in present data like weather and tide cycle to get the best idea of what has worked for him before.
If that sounds like a lot of work, it is, but Bizzell has found it’s worth the trouble. One of the biggest challenges, he said, is remembering things at the end of the day when it’s time to write down his notes. And writing on the water eats up fishing time, not to mention paper and pen don’t mix well with water.
Having a fishing log book is like having a troubleshooting guide for high-tech equipment. You look at what is currently happening — the sky is cloudy, it’s 94 degrees, tide is falling, you’re in the mouth of a creek with a grass-lined bank, and you’re not catching a thing — then you look through your logs to find a day with similar circumstances, and adjust what you’re doing to what worked then — or move to another spot if nothing worked that day, either.
Many anglers have vowed to keep better records, but few are willing to buckle down and do it.
Thanks to technology, there’s an easier way to track all that data. Yep, there’s an app for that; it’s called Anglr Tracker. It cuts down on a lot of the after-trip note-making and also ensures accuracy when it comes to time of day, weather, and location.
Anglr Tracker is actually two parts: a small, waterproof device that attaches to your fishing rod, and the software application that you can download for Android and iPhones. Working together, they record weather data, tide cycle, location and other similar information without you doing anything.
When it comes to information it can’t record automatically, it gives anglers the ability to add it; the brand of rod, lure and line can all be added, along with the species of fish caught. You don’t have to tell the app you just caught a fish; it knows. The device on your rod can distinguish between whether you were snagged in the grass or hooked up. All it needs is for you to tell it what type of fish it was and how big. If you don’t feel like inputting that info, it still records the location as a spot you caught the fish.
Later, you might ask yourself, “Just how good was that day of fishing?” The Tracker reports that you caught 12 fish, but how will you know if that’s good or bad? Twelve is good if you fished an hour or so, but if you spent 10 hours on the water, that’s a different story. No need to worry; the app will not only tell how long you fished and how many casts you made. It counts the casts; you don’t have to.
The Tracker device clips onto your rod with rubber O-rings and a rubber mount that will not mar your rod’s finish. It can be easily removed and mounted on another rod, and extra mounts are available that make it easier to move the Tracker between rods.
The Anglr app is free. The rod-mounted device is priced at $129 and is available at retailers nationwide.