The understanding of fish behaviour with fishing log apps
All serious anglers want to improve, we strive for more consistency, more understanding. It doesn’t matter if you are carp, bass or any other type of fishing – we share this in common. Some of us will use GPS fishing log apps to help us map lakes, some of us as a simple fishing log, or even just memory. Whatever your personal approach the successful angler marries together 2 singular things.
These are an understanding of fish behaviour, and the technical ability to present the bait or lure in the correct manner. Fly fishers will spend years perfecting the cast and control of line to present a nymph at the right depth, carp anglers will obsess about the correct hair positions, and bass anglers will forever wonder about the correct jigging pattern. Fundamentally though, all technical skills can be learned. But the best casters, jiggers, or rig tiers are unlikely to make the best anglers.
This skill must be married to an understanding of fish behaviour. Understanding fish behaviour is tricky, it requires time to sit back and observe, to build experience, and to store this as what we affectionally call ‘watercraft’.
How can technology and fishing log apps help us understand behaviour?
In the modern world, we now have aids to help us. Sonar, for example, helps us locate the fish, taking some of the guesswork out of the task. But what about actually identifying behaviour, and remembering it? This is a tall order, most of us won’t have a perfect memory or analytical powers to really get to grips. This is where modern fishing log apps can help you. It does not take away your skills, it does not lessen your watercraft, but it can with the right attitude help you become a behaviour expert.
Everything can be learned, you just need to know what you are learning, and a method which helps you remember the facts. It’s not rocket science. I am a great believer in this, and here are my top tips on taking your fishing up to a consistent catch rate.
#1: Observe Behaviour
The first step in understanding behaviour is to observe it. But first, what is behaviour? The dictionary definition is: the way in which an animal or person behaves in response to a particular situation or stimulus.
That stimulus can be weather conditions, water conditions, or indeed you. A carp fishing expert will know that baiting a spot on the lake bed will attract fish into their swim, a great example of an angler modifying fish behaviour. Remember this it’s going to become important if you are a bait fisher.
So, the first thing you must do is spend more time observing. You don’t need to understand WHY just what. What I mean is, if you see fish topping regularly on warm sunny days you can remember one behavioural fact. Which is on warm sunny days the fish are often near the top.
#2: Record it
It’s all very well identifying that fish are on the top on sunny days or when the barometric pressure is high but, the human brain does not remember facts until they are noted. Remember doing exams (or lines at school) to memorise important information? Recording your facts in an angling or fishing diary is key to remembering these facts. The very process of writing it down helps you remember.
#3: Use your Recorded Knowledge
Storing the information in the diary is great for helping to remember, but to really get the effect you need to review the information and see if you can spot trends. This is a really tough thing to do with traditional paper-based diaries, or even fishing log apps that help you just record the details. You need something which helps you to see trends. As a basic, you will need to understand wind direction, cloud cover as being very important on rivers and lakes. Start with these two, spotting which trends work best on cloudy days for example, and which ends of the lake fish best when the wind is from the south. (hint: it’s not ALWAYS the north bank!)
#4: Connect Behaviour to Skills
As your behaviour knowledge improves, you will need to invest time in your fishing ‘skills’ learn which rigs, lures, methods, and skills will allow you to actually effectively target the fish when they are in a given behaviour mode. Carp fishing – I recently discovered that the ‘Zig rig’ worked brilliantly on a deeper water lake I fished. Why? Who cares. What I know from adding them into my fishing app is that this method is consistently working better than all my other methods put together. Particularly it would seem when I ‘feed’ heavily over the top. This is an example of where I know that on calm days with no wind, feeding pellets work very well over my zig rig. I don’t 100% know why…. What I consistently catch by connecting what I know about fish behaviour and a learned skill.
Recently applying some knowledge to bass fishing catches, we discovered an interesting fact. Contrary to our expectation we found that when the wind dropped below a certain strength on our testing lake the fish invariably moved to the opposite end of the lake to where we expected them to be. We don’t know why…. But the evidence is clear in the app. Bottom line, if what your doing is not working, then change your tactics, if that doesn’t work, change your location.
#6: Understand How you Affect Behaviour
I recently had the unpleasant experience of having a good start to the day which rapidly slowed to a complete halt, with no fish caught for 4 hours. The fishing app showed clearly given the weather where the best locations on the lake had been in the past. Having setup nothing for a while, then changed rigs and started to catch consistently. 2 hours later the bites dried up almost entirely.
What happened was that 30 meters away another angler began catapulting copious amounts of free offerings over the fish, luring all the fish into his location. When he departed our bites started again in earnest. The lesson here is that YOU can affect fish behaviour. The salmon angler knows that a shrimp fly dragged square across a pool can stir the fish up, and subsequently take a lure a few casts later.
Honestly How Much Effort though?
We spent a lot of time making Finygo fun to use, and importantly taking the leg work out of doing all of these tasks. Is it worth it? Hell yes! But don’t take my word for it, here are another couple of articles you might find interesting. If you’re more traditional and don’t want to use mobile fishing log apps like Finygo, then there are some helpful hints on how to use a paper diary.
Fishing is amazing because we are always learning and adjusting, and the reward is in the knowledge that we applied some thinking and we won! Use your experience to catch more fish, it’s your most deadly weapon, but make it fun, and enjoyable by throwing a little modern tech in there to help you improve your watercraft is my advice.