I am sure we’d all agree that with the many miles of ocean surrounding Cape Cod it can be overwhelming at times sorting out where to fish and when. Keeping a log and networking are two of the best things you can do to consistently improve your catch.
There are many variables that effect game fish movement and when they feed. Recognizing these variables, tracking and logging them, is a key to success. There are a number of fishing logbooks available for sale or as apps for your cell phone for logging fishing activity. Aboard my charter boat Wingman, I prefer to use a hand written log supplemented with screen shots of my GPS and sounder.
Operating a charter boat and having to put customers on the fish within a 4 or 6 hour window anytime during the day, poses its own set of challenges. Here, networking with other captains to share information on daily patterns of fish location, movement and when they “chew” as well as what they are “chewing” is extremely important toward sending happy customers home with bags of fillets.
Keeping a Log
There are a number of variables you can track. In the beginning, I suggest keeping it simple. Tracking these variables whether you hookup or not will assist in establishing a good baseline.
Suggested baseline variables are:
Day, Date and Time of High, Low and Slack Tide
GPS Coords Sea Bottom Structure (Sand, Rocky, Weed Beds etc)
Depth and SpeedSounder Reading (Fish Showing or Not )
Position Relative to Sea Bottom (Working along an edge, drop-off, hole etc.)
Fishing Method (Standard or Vertical Jigging, Trolling, Drifting, Top Water)
Fishing Gear / Line (Spinning, Conventional) / (Wire, Braid, Lead Core, Mono)
Lure Type (Jigs, Plugs, Hoochies, Spoons, Tubes, Bars)
Bait Type (Eels, Worms, Macks, Bluefish, Ballyhoo)
If there are other boats in the area, its equally important to note how they are doing. Are they hooking up? If so what method are they using?
Additional variables of importance to consider are:
Barometer (Rising, Steady, Falling)
Sea Temp and Air Temp
Wind Speed and Direction
Trolling Direction (With, Against or Across Current)
Sky Conditions (Sunny, Cloudy, Hazy, Dark)
Lure Type and Color
Once you establish a season or so of information, you’ll see patterns begin to develop such as location and time of hookup(s) relative to where you are in the tide and time until next High, Low or Slack tide.
As I book charters for this season, I always refer to my log for the same time frame over the past few seasons i.e. last week of July or mid-August, to determine conditions, where the bite was and what methods were used.