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A journal can be a powerful tool with a wide variety of uses. Journals give you a place to write down memories, reflect on events, analyze decisions, and help identify patterns of behavior. The same is true for a fishing journal. By recording and analyzing observations, you can improve your fishing success.

I started journaling my fishing trips around a year and a half ago. The main reason for this was that I sometimes have problems remembering things. I figured as I got older, my journal would be a good way to go back and recall the trips and stories of days gone by.

My fishing journal is pretty basic. It is a simple leather cover made by a local artisan with two notebooks inside that can be replaced once they are full. The first couple of pages contain an index where I write the fishing location and the page number of the entry. The entries consist of the date, location, time, water conditions, weather, and a brief narrative of the trip.

In the narrative, I like to include the people I fished with along with general details of the trip. These details can include the types and colors of baits we used with success and without, what kind of structure the fish were relating to, and any other notable observations. I will also draw a sketch of the area(s) fished if I can. These entries help jog my memory, focus in on possible patterns, and aid in the planning when returning to an area.

Fishing journals can be as basic or as complex as you wish to make them. Some people keep handwritten ones like myself, others maintain large spreadsheets with numerous data points, and others use any number of fishing journal applications available for mobile devices. If you are not currently keeping a fishing journal, I would encourage you to start. Come up with a basic format you like and let it evolve over time. I think you will find it enjoyable being able to go back later and read your thoughts and observations. Using the information from your observations will help you have more success on the water.