Month: January 2018

Blog Banner – Twins

Back in June of 1973, Dad and Mom welcomed a set of twins (boy and a girl) to their family, doubling the total offspring count in joining me and my younger brother, Brent. I share this to convey that Dad is quite familiar with twins so the pair of Lake Storey bass he’s holding in this photo weren’t anything new. However, these bass were actually a lot closer to the identical variety than his youngest kids.

And here’s the scoop via an excerpt from the original report I submitted back in 2007.

Date: 9/25/07
Site: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 6:30am-1:00pm
Weather: Partly cloudy/windy
Air Temp: 75F-80F
27 Bass (Dad – 16 Troy – 11)
Top 5 Weight: 11-7 (2-11,2-10,2-9,2-1,1-8)
Top Bass: 2-11 (Dad)

“Dad got us on the board with a 2-9 on his Rapala Rattlin’ Rap (firetiger) off of Dump Point at 7:30 am (photo above). At 11:48 I took over the title with a 2-10 on my Bomber Flat A (baby bass). My claim lasted less than a minute before Dad weighed in a 2-11 that he’d hooked only seconds after my fish. Before we released them, I took pictures of each of us holding the pair just like at a real tournament weigh-in.”

Thus, a pair of the photos that you are looking at today. Two fish separated by one ounce and coming on board darn near simultaneously (note: my brother arrived eight minutes before my sister, by the way, not sure on those weights).

A perfect place to start my rundown of the banner pictures as this one speaks volumes about digging the outdoors. A favorite fishing hole, a favorite fishing partner and a fish story that reinforces why I am thankful that I developed the logging and writing addiction/habit. For I am pretty certain that most of the details above would have faded by now. And while a pic of Dad with two quality fish is still cool, it’s even better when you know the whole story.

27 more to come, hope you’ll stop by. Talk to you later. Troy

Blog Banner Series – Intro

Before electing to hit cyberspace on my own last May, I fed my writing habit for about seven years on pair of other outdoor websites (Prairie State Outdoors – April 2010 to March 2011 and Heartland Outdoors – April 2011 to May 2017). So, one of the neat things when putting together my own place was getting to design the layout. Nothing too fancy given my modest skills and a penchant for frugality but with some welcome input from my wife, Julie, I think it works just fine.

One of the visual aspects that we opted to include was the scrolling banner that graces the homepage and hits visitors with a collection of 28 pictures. Now, I’ve got tubs and albums and CDs and hard drives crammed with outdoor pictures dating back over 50 years so selecting those for the banner definitely took some time and thought.

Tough decisions, but boy was it fun shuffling through all of those choices when designing that piece of the website (and four more pics adorn the “About” page as a bonus). With a 50th birthday on the horizon as I kicked off the website last May, I wanted the pictures to convey the enjoyment that the outdoors has provided for me and those family members that I have shared it with over the years.

Of course, I’m biased, but I think we did a darn good job.

Lots of people, lots of pursuits, lots of smiles and lots of stories in that banner, which was the aim.

And since there are 28 pictures and 28 days in February, my latest stunt is a closer look at each of the pics, one a day, every day.

A project in the vein of Rod Stewart’s “Every picture tells a story don’t it” and the standard “A picture is worth a thousand words.” I actually did the latter of those once upon a time for my five favorite outdoor pictures.

But, I digress.

For the “Blog Banner” project I will attempt to contain the rambles although I will be guilty of throwing in more than a few supplemental photos along the way.

And…we’re off. Talk to you tomorrow and the next day, and…Troy

Trapping Tuesday – 1973 Dynamic Duo

Terry and Richard Jackson (left to right) with a day’s catch from 1973

The Trapping Tuesday series comes to a close with a classic shot of Dad and Uncle Dick from 45 years ago (and several bonus pics below).

So many adventures with this pair on the trapline over the years. I am fortunate to have these trapping mentors and outdoor guides who were willing to take the time to take me outdoors and teach me a thing or two.

And I am certainly not alone as there are numerous other folks out there who have their own tales from the trapline. Over the years, Dad and Uncle Dick would take along anybody who expressed an interest or sought a dose of outdoor education. Kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, friends, spouses, cousins and in-laws have all benefited from the time and knowledge shared by these fellas.



There are many outdoor lessons that this pair imparted to this guy, too much to relate in a lone blog entry. But the fact that I find myself punching away on a computer and scanning photos to share with anyone willing to have a look speaks volumes to their impact and can be summed up with one word.


In fact, I spent a few hours just a couple weeks ago sitting around a diner reliving past adventures with these guys and several other family members. Stories that were just as good for the umpteenth time as we reminisced, laughed, smiled and repeatedly shook or scratched our heads at tales of bravado, embarrassment, classic catches and more than a few forays into “it seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Don’t get any better than that. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Bass Record Book – Who

To finish off the wrap-up, here’s a look at the all-time heavyweights, both anglers and bass.

The 20-Pound Club * = 2017 entry
*33-14 Mark Balbinot 2017 (7-4,6-15,6-13,6-8,6-6)
32-13 Jake Bresson 2014 (9-4, 8-8, 6-6, 4-10, 4-1)
32-13 Mark Balbinot 2016 (7-7,6-8,6-5,6-5,6-4)
32-0 Gary Le 2014 (8-10,6-8,5-12,5-10, 5-8)
29-7 Austin Chapman 2015 (6-4,6-2,6-0,5-14,5-3)
27-12 Jake Bresson 2015 (6-13,6-2,5-5,5-0,4-8)
27-6 Randy Sampson Sr 2015 (7-0,6-1,4-13,4-12,4-12)
27-6 Jake Bresson 2016 (6-3,5-13,5-4,5-2,5-0)
*26-13 Troy Jackson 2017 (6-2,5-11,5-9,5-0,4-7)
26-4 Austin Chapman 2016 (5-14,5-10,5-2,4-14,4-12)
26-1 Brice Wangler 2014 (5-11, 5-5, 5-2, 5-0, 4-15)
25-8 Brice Wangler 2015 (5-7,5-4,5-2,4-14,4-13)
24-14 Ty Hartlipp 2014 (6-11, 5-10, 5-5, 4-0, 3-4)
24-9 Terry Isbell 2014 (5-8,5-4,5-2,4-8,4-3)
*23-12 Jake Bresson 2017 (5-4,5-2,5-2,4-3,4-1)
*23-11 Randy Sampson Sr. 2017 (6-0,4-14,4-12,4-11,3-6)
22-15 Adam Bean 2015 (5-13,4-9,4-6,4-2,4-1)
22-13 Mike Mooney 2014 (6-4, 5-7, 4-3, 3-9, 3-6)
22-12 Troy Jackson 2015 (5-13,4-13,4-10,3-12,3-12)
21-8 Randy Sampson Sr. 2016 (5-12,5-8,4-11,3-1,2-8)
21-7 Brice Wangler 2016 (4-8,4-7,4-4,4-2,4-2)
21-3 Troy Jackson 2016 (5-9,5-4,3-9,3-7,3-6)
20-14 Troy Jackson 2014 (4-13, 4-6, 4-2, 4-1, 3-8)
20-9 Austin Chapman 2014 (4-15, 4-4,4-0,3-13,3-9)
20-1 Bruce Zilkowski 2014 (4-11,4-3,4-0,3-12,3-7)

Comments: Four more entries into the coveted 20-pound club in 2017 including a new record up there in the rare air of the 30-pound club. Mark Balbinot grabs back to back titles with 30-pound limits in both years he has participated. Randy Sampson Sr. makes it three for three in the 20-pound club and among those who have taken part all four years, Jake Bresson and the guy who runs the blog make it four for four.

Top 10 Top 5 Bass * = 2017 entry
9-4 Jake Breeson 5/23/14 Jig
8-10 Gary Le 5/4/14 Swimbait
8-8 Jake Breeson 5/23/14 Jig
8-0 Kamryn Kaesebier 4/13/14 Crankbait
7-7 Mark Balbinot 12/11/16 Underspin
*7-4 Mark Balbinot 10/29/17 Jig
7-0 Randy Sampson Sr. 3/22/15 Jig
*6-15 Mark Balbinot 5/13/17 Creature Bait
6-13 Jake Breeson 4/9/15 Swim Jig
*6-13 Mark Balbinot 12/10/17 Creature Bait

Comments: Our winner’s record breaking haul included three new Top 10 entries and you darn near need a seven-pounder to make the list these days. Not too surprising to find the list dominated by early and late catches with a nod to jig style presentations.

And just for fun…

All-Time Weights (40-pound minimum “career” mark)
(Note: not all anglers have participated each year)

111-11 Jake Bresson (32-13,27-12,27-6,23-12)
91-10 Troy Jackson (20-14,22-12,21-3,26-13)
76-4 Austin Chapman (20-9,29-7,26-4)
73-0 Brice Wangler (26-1,25-8,21-7)
72-15 Bruce Zilkowski (20-1,17-0,17-14,18-0)
72-10 Randy Sampson, Sr. (27-6,21-8,23-12)
66-11 Mark Balbinot (33-14,32-13)
52-2 Paul Kessler (18-6,17-6,16-6)
48-5 Brent Jackson (18-7,6-10,13-2,10-2)
45-11 Mike Mooney (22-13,4-9,18-5)
41-3 Jim Junk (11-7,16-5,13-7)

Comments: Folks, we have our first member of the 100-pound club. Way to go, Jake. And thanks to all for giving this a shot and coming back for more.

Four exciting years in the books and back for more in 2018 for anyone who is interested. And we’ll take all species again this year if you chase or happen upon something other than bass. So, let the fun begin, again. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Bass Record Book – Where & How

Understandably some of the specifics concerning location don’t always get revealed but we do have good details on whether our fish are coming from public or private waters. Also fun to track is the boat versus bank approaches. And lastly for this portion of the update we’ll take a look at what our anglers are casting with success. Once again, we are looking at the breakdown of the 475 bass submitted over four years of our project.

Public vs. Private Water (2014/2015/2016/2017)
Public = 281 bass (92/52/95/42)
Public Top 5 Weight = 32-2, 31-7, 30-5 and 27-7 (2017)
Private = 177 bass (53/48/39/37)
Private Top 5 Weight = 38-10, 30-0, 32-13 and 33-14 (2017)
Undisclosed = 17 bass (9/6/2/0)

Comments: There’s nothing like having a private honey hole. In fact, wish I had more. However, there’s also something to be said for pulling quality bass out of a public body where the fish get pounded by everybody and their brother. Cool to see that public water still leads the pack by a considerable margin in quantity although private waters have shelled out more weight.

Boat vs. Bank (2014/2015/2016/2017) * = new record
Boat = 324 bass (90/63/103/68)
Boat Top 5 Weight = 30-7, 31-7, 32-13 and *33-14 (2017)
Bank = 145 bass (64/43/27/11)
Bank Top 5 Weight = 40-14, 27-6, 27-12 and 20-14 (2017)
Undisclosed = 6 bass

Comments: So not everybody has a souped up bass boat, modified johnboat or even an eight-foot rowboat so I always find it cool to have a solid contribution from the bankers though they still trail the boaters by a fair margin in quantity. However, the overall quality in our four years shows that those casting from the bank can still hold their ground. For me, I still spend my year on both sides of these approaches and simply get a kick out of quality catches whether on my feet or on my seat.

The Baits (43 undisclosed) * = new record
82 Plastic Worms (Top Bass 6-8 Mark Balbinot 11/20/16)
53 Crankbaits (8-0 Kamryn Kaesebier 4/13/14)
48 Jigs (9-4 Jake Bresson 5/23/14)
45 Spinnerbaits (5-4 Terry Isbell 10/22/14)
34 Lipless Crankbaits (5-13 Troy Jackson 3/21/15)
29 Swimbaits (8-10 Gary Le 5/4/14)
27 Swim Jigs (6-13 Jake Bresson 4/9/15)
*23 Creature Baits (6-15 Mark Balbinot 5/13/17)
Old Record (6-1 Jeff Marshall 5/23/14)
19 Jerkbaits (5-10 Ty Hartlipp 6/5/14)
*18 Buzzbaits (5-9 Troy Jackson4/25/17)
Old Record (5-8 Terry Isbell 9/14/14)
12 Tubes (Top Bass 5-0 Jake Bresson 4/28/15)
10 Topwater Frog (6-11 Ty Hartlipp 6/11/14)
7 Chatterbaits (Top Bass 4-10 Mark Balbinot 2/20/16)
7 Underspins (Top Bass 7-7 Mark Balbinot 12/11/16)
*5 Stickbaits (6-6 Mark Balbinot 8/27/17)
Old Record (5-8 Randy Sampson Sr. 5/7/16)
*5 Ultralights (3-1 Paul Kessler 10/12/17)
Old Record (2-11 Paul Kessler 5/16/15)
4 Livebait (5-14 Jim Junk 7/4/14)
*2 Inline Spinners (5-2 Jake Bresson 9/17/17)
No previous record
2 Propbaits (6-2 Jake Bresson 5/1/15)

Comments: The good old plastic worm still leads the way. Worm styles and presentations have no doubt expanded over the years but tough to argue that the general lure category continues to be a winner. Several records bested in 2017 which is getting to be a tall order with some real quality catches.

A final installment tomorrow with one more look at our fish…and the anglers who caught ‘em. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Bass Record Book – When

Time for the annual Top 5 Record Book wrap up series. What follows is a look at how our bass stack up with respect to the calendar. Four years, 27 different anglers and 475 bass (all but 22 from Illinois waters) make up the all-time record book. Here we go.

Group Totals = 475 bass (2014 = 154/2015 = 106/2016 = 136/2017 = 79)
Submissions by month (2014/2015/2016/2017) * = new record

118 April (43/33/31/11)
82 May (27/23/19/13)
68 March (13/11/34/10)
64 June (34/14/15/1)
48 July (18/11/8/11)
24 February (2/2/7/*13)
22 September (6/4/6/6)
21 October (4/5/4/8)
10 November (6/0/4/0)
9 August (1/3/1/*4)
8 December (0/0/7/1)
1 January (*2017 had first submission)

Comments: Spring continues to rule the day in terms of submissions. Warming weather, looking to scratch that fishing itch after a long winter and the simple fact that you’re starting your haul makes the totals add up significantly. Summer continues to be a bummer when it comes to numbers but a solid year with only November failing to see a contribution.

Top 10 Top 5 Monthly Weights (group total) * = new entry
37-9 May 2014
29-8 June 2014
29-7 March 2016
29-2 April 2014
28-7 December 2016
27-14 April 2015
27-12 March 2015
27-11 July 2014
27-10 April 2016
27-1 May 2016

Comments: Takes just over 27 pounds combined from our anglers to crack the Top 10 all-time monthly weights and we fell just a little shy during May (26-14) and October (26-11) in 2017.

Top 5 Weights per Month (group total) * = new record
*January (2017) = 2-11 (one fish)
February (2016) = 22-9 (6-7,4-15,4-10,4-1,2-8)
March (2016) = 29-7 (6-5,6-1,5-14,5-10,5-9)
April (2014) = 29-2 (8-0, 5-11, 5-10, 4-15. 4-14)
May (2014) = 37-9 (9-4, 8-10, 8-8, 6-1, 5-2)
June (2014) = 29-8 (6-11, 6-4, 5-10, 5-8, 5-7)
July (2014) = 27-11 (6-6, 6-0, 5-5, 5-0, 5-0)
*August (2017) = 18-9 (6-6,5-11,4-3,2-5) old mark 13-6 (2015)
September (2014) = 22-3 (5-8,5-2,4-0,3-13,3-12)
*October (2017) = 26-11 (7-4,6-8,5-10,4-3,3-2) old mark 22-11 (2015)
November (2016) = 24-9 for 4 bass (6-8,6-5,6-4,5-8)
December (2016) = 28-7 (7-7,6-5,5-13,4-11,4-3)

Comments: Our first ever January bass sets the mark and two other monthly records get a boost as well. Particularly good to see August up the mark by five pounds as the “Dog Days” can be a tough sell. Interestingly, the new August mark only featured four fish but easily eclipsed our former mark that consisted of a full limit. As always, good to see fishing rods that aren’t put away too early as evidenced by the new October record.

Monthly Top Bass * = new record
2-11 Mark Balbinot 1/29/17 Underspin (first January submission)
6-7 Mike Overturf 2/27/16 Plastic Worm
7-0 Randy Sampson Sr. 3/22/15 Jig
8-0 Kamryn Kaesebier 4/13/14 Crankbait
9-4 Jake Breeson 5/23/14 Jig
6-11 Ty Hartlipp 6/11/14 Topwater Frog
6-6 Jake Breeson 7/11/14 Plastic Worm
6-8 Gary Le 8/16/14 Swimbait
6-0 Austin Chapman 9/19/15 Jig
*7-4 Mark Balbinot 10/29/17 Jig (old record 6-0 Mike Mooney 2016)
6-8 Mark Balbinot 11/20/16 Plastic Worm
7-7 Mark Balbinot 12/11/16 Underspin

Comments: Another outstanding year by our 2017 Champ, Mark Balbinot, saw him establish a pair of new monthly marks, January (2-11) and October (7-4). And, hey, unseasonably warm out there for January so you got a few more days to take your shot at fame.

Always fun for me this time of the year to compile the records and daydream about what this year holds in store. Back tomorrow with a breakdown of baits and locations. Talk to you later. Troy

Trapping Tuesday-1983 Coons,Rats,Mink & Rams?

It’s always fun to look back on pictures such as these with my kids and ask them if they can recognize the folks in the shot. I just did this exercise in family tree identification with one of my boys, Jayce. It took him a couple guesses to get it right on his Uncle Brent in this one but nabbed Papa right away, adding, “He looks so young.” Indeed, as 35 years ago puts Dad under 40 in this photo. Funny, that would have seemed old to me back in 1983 as a junior in high school but here we are in 2018 and my 40’s have since passed me by.

And that eighth grade kid in this pic doesn’t have but a couple more years left in his 40’s these days. Cool though to look back at the days when he was Dad’s top pupil on the trapline. Always a much more knowledgeable and reliable helper than his older brother who I suppose was distracted by basketball, buddies and a girl or two.

One final item of note from this pic that I dig is the classic NFL logo letter jacket that was popular among young football fans in the 70s and 80s. Brent is sporting the old Los Angeles Rams version from the days of Vince Ferragamo. Had me a couple of the Dallas Cowboys models as I was a Roger Staubach, Drew Pearson, “Too Tall” Jones sort of kid. And don’t forget the matching stocking cap to go along, straight out of the Sears catalog that made wishes come true.

Man, it was cool to be a kid.  Funny, as mine want to be grownups.  Talk to you later.  Troy

Top 5 2017 Final Stats

Congratulations to Mark Balbinot as he repeats as Top 5 Champion with a record breaking bass haul of 33-14. This eclipses the former top mark of 32-13 held jointly by Mark (2016) and Jake Bresson (2014). A dominant year for Mark that also saw his haul singlehandedly establish new highs for several catch categories.

2017 also marked our first foray into including other species and while the submissions were sparse, I feel it was still a fun addition. All told, 2017 ended with 79 bass, 9 northern pike, 5 muskie, 5 walleye and a green sunfish via the contributions of eight anglers with all the details below, starting with bass and followed by the other species.

3/26 Bruce Zikowski 4-9 Newton Lake Lipless Crankbait 

2017 Totals (* = new record)
*January = 1 bass (no previous entries)
*February = 13 bass (old record 7 in 2016)
March = 10 bass
April = 11 bass
May = 13 bass
June = 1 bass
July = 11 bass
*August = 4 bass (old record 3 in 2015)
*September = 6 bass (ties record 2014, 2016)
*October = 8 bass (old record 5 in 2015)
November = 0 bass
December = 1 bass

5/20 Jake Bresson 5-2 Northern IL creek Swim Jig

Top 5 Weight by Month (* = new record)
*January = 2-11 (2-11) no previous record
February = 21-5 (5-2,4-14,4-2,3-15,3-4)
March = 22-15 (6-2,4-11,4-9,4-3,3-6)
April = 25-0 (6-0,5-15,5-9,3-14,3-10)
May = 26-14 (6-15,5-8,5-4,5-2,4-1)
June = 6-3 (only submission)
July = 21-0 (5-0,4-12,4-7,3-8,3-5)
August = 18-9 (6-6,5-11,4-3,2-5) (only four submissions)
September = 14-10 (5-2,3-0,2-9,2-4,1-11)
*October = 26-11 (7-4,6-8,5-10,4-3,3-2) – old record 22-11 in 2015
November = no submissions
December = 6-13 (only submission)

5/27 Paul Kessler 3-4 Emiquon Preserve Crankbait

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 68 bass
Bank = 11 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight (* = new record)
*Boat = 33-14 (7-4,6-15,3-6-13,6-8,6-6) old record 32-13 in 2016
Bank = 20-14 (5-2,4-3,4-1,3-14,3-10)

9/17 Brent Jackson 2-9 Lake Storey Spinnerbait

Public vs. Private
Public = 42 bass
Private = 37 bass

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 27-7 (6-0,5-15,5-4,5-2,5-2)
Private = 33-14 (7-4,6-15,6-13,6-8,6-6)

4/15 Randy Sampson Sr. 6-0 West Central IL strip mine Crankbait

The Baits (* = new record)
Crankbaits = 16 bass (Top Bass 6-0 Randy Sampson Sr.)
Jigs = 12 bass (Top Bass 7-4 Mark Balbinot)
Spinnerbaits = 9 bass (Top Bass 4-3 Paul Kessler)
Plastic Worms = 8 bass (Top Bass 5-11 Troy Jackson)
*Buzzbaits = 6 bass (Top Bass 5-9 Troy Jackson)
Old record 5-8 Terry Isbell 9/14/14
Jerkbaits = 5 bass (Top Bass 5-4 Jake Bresson)
Swim Jigs = 5 bass (Top Bass 5-2 Jake Bresson)
*Creature Bait = 4 bass (Top Bass 6-15 Mark Balbinot)
Old record 6-1 Jeff Marshall 5/23/14
Lipless Crankbaits = 3 bass (Top Bass 4-3 Bruce Zilkowski)
*Inline Spinners = 2 bass (Top Bass 5-2 Jake Bresson)
No previous record
Swimbait = 2 bass (Top Bass 4-12 Randy Sampson Sr.)
Underspins = 2 bass (Top Bass 5-2 Mark Balbinot)
*Propbait = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-7 Troy Jackson)
No previous record
*Stickbait = 1 bass (Top Bass 6-6 Mark Balbinot)
Old Record 5-8 Randy Sampson Sr. 5/7/16
Topwater Frog = 1 bass (Top Bass 6-3 Mark Balbinot)
Tube = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-1 Jake Bresson)
Ultralight = 1 bass (Top Bass 3-1 Paul Kessler)

5/13 Mark Balbinot 6-15 Fulton County, IL strip mine Creature Bait

Monthly Top Bass (* = new record)
*2-11 Mark Balbinot (no previous record)
5-2 Mark Balbinot
6-2 Troy Jackson
6-0 Randy Sampson Sr.
6-15 Mark Balbinot
6-3 Mark Balbinot
5-0 Troy Jackson
6-6 Mark Balbinot
5-2 Jake Bresson
*7-4 Mark Balbinot (old record Mike Mooney 6-0 10/1/16)
No submissions
6-13 Mark Balbinot

7/9 Terry Jackson 3-5 Knox County, IL strip mine Plastic Worm

Top 10 Bass (* = new Top 10 all-time)
*7-4 Mark Balbinot 10/29 (#6 all-time)
*6-15 Mark Balbinot 5/13 (#8 all-time)
*6-13 Mark Balbinot 12/10 (#9 all-time tie)
6-8 Mark Balbinot 10/29
6-6 Mark Balbinot 8/27
6-3 Mark Balbinot 6/18
6-2 Troy Jackson 3/4
6-0 Randy Sampson Sr. 4/15
5-15 Mark Balbinot 4/14
5-11 Troy Jackson 8/21

3/4 Troy Jackson 6-2 Knox County, IL strip mine Jig

Angler Weights (* = new Top 5 record, old mark 32-13)
*33-14 Mark Balbinot (7-4,6-15,6-13,6-8,6-6)
26-13 Troy Jackson (6-2,5-11,5-9,5-0,4-7)
23-12 Jake Bresson (5-4,5-2,5-2,4-3,4-1)
23-11 Randy Sampson Sr. (6-0,4-14,4-12,4-11,3-6)
18-0 Bruce Zilkowski (4-9,4-3,3-15,3-0,2-5)
16-6 Paul Kessler (4-3,3-4,3-2,3-1,2-12)
10-2 Brent Jackson (3-2,2-9,1-11,1-6,1-6)
5-6 Terry Jackson (3-5,1-3,0-14)

5/27 Jayce Jackson 0-13 Henry County, IL pond Waxworm

Bonus Species – Green Sunfish
0-13 Jayce Jackson

Late May Jake Bresson 47.0″ Canada Jerkbait 

Bonus Species – Muskie
Total = 131” Jake Bresson (47”,31”,29”24”) on Rapala X-Rap
Total = 29” Troy Jackson on Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait

3/24 Jake Bresson 33.5″ Northern IL creek Tube

Bonus Species – Northern Pike
Total = 167.25” Jake Bresson (37.0”,35.25”,33.5”,32.0”,29.5”)

Late May Jake Bresson 26.0″ Canada Jig & Minnow

Bonus Species – Walleye
Total = 118” Jake Bresson (26.5”,26.0”,25.5”,20”,20”) on Rapala X-Rap or jig & minnow

I’m up for another run if anyone out there wishes to play along again for a fifth year. And coming next week, a look at the grand totals and the Top 5 bass record book covering 475 bass submitted from 2014-2017. Talk to you later. Troy

2017 Resolution Result – Bama Bass

On the heels of my latest posting regarding a new Iowa bass best, here’s a similar record breaker quest that pertained to a lure instead of a location.

July 6, 2014 5:53am original Alabama Rig record, a whopping 11.5″ catch

“So for 2017, my resolution is to set a new Alabama rig personal best. As you can see from the above photo, size wise that ain’t a very tall order. However, from a confidence standpoint it could be a challenge in selecting this lure when I’m used to throwing something else. Yet I do have a handful of numbers lakes or off the beaten path fishing holes where I just might be able to pull off this proposed ‘record’ catch as the fish are either unpressured, dumb, or both.”

A couple looks at the bait, note that one hook is clipped to adhere to Illinois regulations of two hooks

Dateline: September 9, 2017 Knox County public strip mines


Tale of the tape was 13.5” and 1-1, not a trophy but darn fun to get this one done. Maybe for my next trick I’ll have to give it another go to see if I can fool two at once. Done that a few times over the years on other lures, but those are stories for another series stashed away for another day. Talk to you later. Troy

2017 Resolution Result – IA LMB PB

Our family moved to the Quad Cities area from Galesburg, IL back in August of 2014. Although still remaining on the Illinois side of The River, the proximity of one particular Iowa fishing hole caught my attention. I fished Scott County’s Lost Grove Lake on June 18 and June 29 of 2016 with good results in terms of quantity but quality left much to be desired. Even so, it grabbed enough of my interest to warrant a 2017 Resolution as follows:

“But it is still a quite young lake and based on stocking reports and a firsthand look at the habitat of the 360 acre fishing hole I am enthused about its prospects for the future. As such I am looking forward to a few more visits in 2017 in pursuit of a new Iowa largemouth bass personal best. 1-10 doesn’t set the bar too high, hopefully just a matter of getting some time on the water.”

So, off I went in search of my “Iowa Largemouth Bass Personal Best” beginning on June 10 and came up way short. But I was not deterred and going forward I opted for an all-in change of location on the fishing hole and it proved to be a winner. One week later, on June 17, I had a 1-11 that beat my old record by a whole two ounces. Not an outstanding fish but a winner for this resolution.

June 17 6:15am 15″ 1-11 Buzzbait

And Lost Grove Lake wasn’t done quite yet.

Two trips and three days later, on June 20, I latched onto a 2-3 that boosted the personal best Iowa bass into a little more respectable territory.

June 20 6:01pm 17″ 2-3 Mann’s Baby 1- Crankbait

That was as good as it would get despite five more visits throughout the summer and early fall. I did have one encounter with a bass that topped the four pound mark but I was on the camera end of a photo shoot, lending a helping hand to the bank angler who landed the lunker. It was a simple case of first come, first serve as he beat me to the spot where the big one bit by only a matter of seconds. In fact, I was rowing to the exact area, same spot where I caught my 2-3, when he pulled into the lot, hopped out of his vehicle, strolled down the bank, cast a popper and got the immediate reward. All within casting distance of my boat. A tough pill to swallow at first but his excitement over the catch quickly changed my tune and I joined the fun in offering to snap a few pics of him and his catch with his phone.

A different kind of “one that got away” that makes for a good story that I’m sure I will retell and revisit every time I cast to the area. Which I will certainly do every visit as he fortunately released the bass to fight again. Perhaps my next personal best. Talk to you later. Troy