I was never much for logbooks. Writing notes about every bass outing is tedious work, but that’s not to say I don’t understand the benefits. Kudos to those that have years of written logs, but in my opinion, logging waypoints on a modern GPS has basically replaced the need for a pen a paper. That is, of course, if you use the electronic icons the right way. By that I mean don’t just hit the waypoint button and drive off. Here’s how I go about creating a digital log using not much more than the plethora of icons my electronics system offers.
It’s very easy to get in the rut of using the same icon over and over again, which only ends up confusing you in the future as your lake map ends up looking like a Christmas tree decorated with only one kind of ornament. Many anglers don’t realize how important it is to firmly establish your system before you go out, and then put it to work from that time forward. Colors and shapes may be all that it takes.
One key thing that I do is mark “actual and quality fish catches” differently than I would mark a spot that I just think looks good or that cough up a couple small fish. You see, it’s a trap if you mark a 2-pound fish catch the same as a 6-pound fish catch because you’ll never be able to establish priority down the road when you return to that body of water. It’s an even bigger trap if you look at place and say, “I’ll try it later,” by marking it the same way as a quality fish catch spot. Then, when you’re on the water with limited time (especially in a tourney setting) you’re not going to be able to decipher a potential spot from a producer spot very easily.
Another important thing I note in my icon selection choice is some icon differentiation that establishes time of year. As you can imagine, a bedding fish marked on a lake the same as a fall buzzbait fish could cause decision issues for you in the future. As you begin to refine your icon mapping log as time goes on, you’ll find that it’s truly a treasure map for tapping the secrets of many bass fishing memories, and better yet, a roadmap to breaking down productive future bass fishing trips.