Fly Fishing Log – Part 1 – Performance Measurement

26 Feb

We all know that high level athletes from swimmers to football players use video to capture their performance.  Which the athletes and their coaches then use for review. Some high level athletes are wearing very sensitive devices during training and using full motion capture technology to assess their training needs and their strategies during competition.  Every athlete does this for one reason, to get better.

But this is a fly fishing blog.  Why do I need motion capture devices, or a coach?  You don’t.

You could go out and buy a GoPro camera then strap it to you or set it on a tripod and capture every minute of your fishing adventure. This is great, and you end up with those really enjoyable amateur youtube clips that everyone has seen.  The problem with this is that you are left with hours of recorded footage, and it might not tell you the things that can be used to help you improve.

To capture everything you need to know all you need is a piece of paper and a pencil (or pen).

fly fishing logbook

Here is a sample from my logbook.

I keep a simple log in a Rite in the Rain notebook. It is portable, durable, waterproof, and light.  It fits in my slingpack or vest, and I carry it every time I fish.

What do I need to measure?  I keep track of the following points; what river, hole, or run am I fishing, water temperature, water depth (high, medium, or low), water clarity, date, time of day, air temperature, weather, wind, barometer (I check the weather online after I get home).  That sets the stage.

Then I list the flies I used, and what worked or didn’t.  Then any insects or fish activity that I saw that day.  I don’t get too picky and normally identify insects but fly pattern rather than Latin name. For example,’I saw lots of size 14 grey x-caddis.’

I normally write in the journal as I sit in the car after I am done, and before I leave. But during a break for a coffee or a snack is a fine time too.

Why do this? I am not a guide and I don’t spend every day on the river. I travel between three different rivers regularly and while my memory is good, it can’t beat the journal.  When I get to the site the next year, and the time of year or the weather is the same, I can avoid the flies that didn’t work and stick to the ones that did. It saves time, and catches more fish, that is what I call improving.

Why stop there? There are literally hundreds of ways to record your fishing success.  There are many tools online like Fish Swami where you input your fishing data or you could design your own excel file to meet your needs.  The benefit to electronic systems is the capability to use sort and filter to analyze the data.

We all fish with the hopes of having a really good day, catching some fish, and enjoying ourselves. This is a simple tool that can help us relax and enjoy the fishing.

Do you keep a log? Paper or electronic?


5 Responses to “Fly Fishing Log – Part 1 – Performance Measurement”

  1. Steve Culton February 27, 2013 at 12:17 PM #

    I’m a big fan of the fishing log. I constantly refer to mine. Since I’m an old traditionalist, I’m a pen and paper guy.

    • hydroflynamic February 27, 2013 at 8:39 PM #

      Traditional simply means reliable. Thanks for the comment. Great flies on your site, currentseams.


  1. Fly Fishing Goals – What do you want to do? | hydroflynamics - March 4, 2013

    […] become a guide, or an instructor, then maybe some strict goals about fishing daily, and keeping a detailed log book is more your […]

  2. Fly Fishing Log 2 – Use analysis to change the way you fish. | hydroflynamics - March 8, 2013

    […] Keeping a fly fishing journal is a good idea. It allows you to keep a memory of specifics about your previous days of fishing that may otherwise be lost or forgotten. For more on keeping a fishing log see fly fishing log part 1. […]

  3. In Search of Fish – Part 1 – Casting on the Grid. | hydroflynamics - April 8, 2013

    […] great way to find fish in high or stained water what I like to really use it for is mapping.  In my journal I draw a picture of the bend or riffle and note the bumps humps and places that I lost flies along […]

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