We have all found that nice coastal fishing spot that we visit occasionally. The problem most fishermen encounter is the charts on board don't give enough detail, if any of these little spots.

You can make charts for your favorite spots in an 8-1/2" x 11" notebook for easy reference.

You will need a handheld compass, a 360 degree protractor and, of course, pencil and paper.

While you're anchored, take compass bearings on many of the more prominent things in your immediate area. In the center of your paper, put a dot or small circle and label it as position "A", the boat's position. Place the center of the protractor over this dot and, at the protractors's edge, mark the the compass bearings of items in the area.

From this "A" position, lines run out through the compass bearing marks to the edge of the paper. Label each line with its appropriate compass bearing and name, such as "pipe stand," "reef," "sandbar," etc.

Go ashore to one of the chosen locations. From this location, take compass bearings to all the other points you've selected on your chart, this will be labeled as position "B."

Place your protractor over position "B" and add these new lines to your drawing.

Freehand draw the surrounding shoreline as it appears to you, and label the intersecting points that you took from Position "A" and "B."

After erasing your compass bearing lines (if you choose), you can add details to your chart. You might take a lead-line (a heavy nut or bolt, tied to a piece of light line) to measure the water depth at high/low tide, noting the depths on your new chart.

Now you have a handy chart aboard that you can be comfortable with!

- Steve Hick