Month: June 2018

Top 10 Trip Tunes 6/17 – Part I

On the road around 4:00am on a Father’s Day morning fishing trip. Wonder if I can find anything worthwhile on the radio dial? Yep, not an issue finding some tunes worthy of the latest Top 10 Trip Tunes. Part I today, Part II tomorrow.

10. Undun – The Guess Who (1969) – Mentioned in a Top 10 edition from last year that you just don’t hear this band’s work very often on the airwaves so when this one hit my ears it was an automatic inclusion. Written by band member, Randy Bachman, later of Bachman-Turner Overdrive; moody, jazzy, and a flute solo. Also kind of fun with the deliberate misspelling of the title, I dig that stuff (band names as well, put on those musical thinking caps…)

9. Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway) – Billy Joel (1976) – I’ve always liked “story songs” and this one fits the bill with a native New Yorker penning a song that looks forward from the perspective of someone looking back. Gotta admire the effort from a songwriter who knew his subject, and besides, it is a fun ride musically as well. Don’t know much about New York City and its troubles in the 70s but pretty bad shape. Not a big city guy, too many people, too much hustle and bustle and in the case of my state, too much corruption. Perhaps I should get to work on a ditty about Chicago breaking free from the rest of us “downstate” and becoming its own solitary island afloat somewhere out on Lake Michigan.

8. Da Ya Think I’m Sexy – Rod Stewart (1978) – Don’t answer…This one occupies a spot that takes me back to a kid on the verge of becoming a teenager and brings to mind a new television music countdown program known as “Solid Gold.” Now, I had long dug my 70s tunes on the radio but getting a weekly look at some eye catching dancers to go along with my music, well, let’s just say “Wow!” Also an awkward time when a song like this came on the radio when riding somewhere with your folks, much less the music video, makes you feel like singing along but not sure if it’s appropriate…Fast forward about 40 years and I just hope my kids don’t really have a clue what most of the current stuff on the radio is all about yet.

7. The Zoo – Scorpions (1980) – A classic rocker, this was probably my top pick on the jukebox at a local watering hole known as “G.P.s Lounge” where once upon a time me and my buddies spent more than a few evenings, and nights and afternoons…More than a few quarters invested in this one and some darts and just a few cold ones.

6. Fly By Night – Rush (1975) – Very fitting that this one came over the airwaves at 5:02am, still dark on my escape to the fishing hole while any young anglers who may wish to tag along were still snuggly tucked in bed. Just had to grin at the timing. I’ve got this mental list of favorite lyrics and this song features a few lines that will make that list one of these days, maybe when I start up a music blog, yeah right, got time for that. Anyway, “Quiet and pensive, my thoughts apprehensive” is pure genius, might trade fishing for such literary ability.

Five down, five to go, back tomorrow. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – June 16, 2008

I’m going to push my luck with today’s Flashback as even the abridged version of this posting from 2008 remains a little lengthy. But a great day on the water just makes it tough to pare it down so here we go.

Dad and I hit Lake Bracken on June 16th, the day after Father’s Day, for our first fishing trip together of 2008. The weather had been fairly stable and the bass were through spawning so I figured that I might as well compile another “Day on the Lake” feature. As a refresher, our DOTL adventures involve photographing each bass that we land along with recording time, length, lure and weight (if applicable). The article then consists of a chronological account of our day, statistics and anecdotes concerning what actually goes on when we share several hours on the water. So, everyone hop aboard for a belated Father’s Day version of “Day on the Lake with the Dads.”

5:27 am – Armed with over a dozen poles, a hefty amount of tackle, a digital camera, a fishing log and several new weapons courtesy of Father’s Day, we launch the boat.

Bass #1 – 5:39am leaves room for improvement (details below, same for the pics and times that follow)

5:39 am – Dad lands our first bass, an 8” on a Bomber Flat A crankbait along Ramp Road. The once reliable area fails to produce another bite so we elect to motor up lake.

Bass #8 – 7:45am 2-13 Senko

7:45 am – Dad tops off a string of four straight with a hefty 2-13 on his Senko wacky rig in Shed Cove. It’s his fifth Senko bass of the morning and it seems that I might have done well with my selection of Baitmate Max Fish Attractant in the garlic and salt flavor for his Father’s Day gift. He’s begun coating the lure with the attractant and it sure seems to be working. Our three fish weight now stands at 4-11.

Bass #9 – 7:48am 2-0 Baby Brush Hog

7:48 am – I follow suit by asking for a shot of the juice on my Baby Brush Hog (Alabama craw). My next cast to a fallen tree results in a 2-0, bumping our make believe tourney totals to four bass weighing 6-11.

Bass #11  – 8:00am 3-5 Senko

8:00 am – We’re still on a roll, still in the cove and rapidly buying into the spray on fish attractant thing as Dad lands a 3-5. Once again the Senko does the trick and establishes a new Top Bass for 2008. The fish fills our six bass tourney limit and pushes our weight to 10-15. Were we truly fishing a tournament, it would be a great relief to have our limit by 8:00 am so we could begin to work on weeding out the smaller fish and increasing our weight.

Bass #28 (along with short Bass #27) – 10:00am 2-9 Baby Brush Hog

10:00 am – My 2-9 from some trees on Sunset View Point replaces a 0-15 and bumps our weight up to 13-9. The fish comes on a Texas rigged Zoom Baby Brush Hog (Alabama craw).

Bass #35 (and a couple companions) – 11:21am 3-7 Senko

11:21 am – Following a pair of fourteen ounce bass that no longer meet the minimum for our six fish limit, Dad bests the 2008 Top Bass for the second time today with a 3-7. After a well-placed cast near a crumbling dock on Brock’s Point, Dad actually witnesses the bass engulfing his bait. His latest lunker bumps out a 1-14 bringing our weight to 15-15.

Bass #38  11:37am the last of a stellar day

11:37 am – Our final catch of the day is a short fish by Dad on the Senko, of course. This completes a string of six straight bass putting an exclamation point on an outstanding day as he easily doubles my catch.

Location: Lake Bracken
Time: 5:30 am-12:00pm
Totals: 38 bass (Dad-26 Troy-12) and 4 bluegill
Bass under 12” – 21
Bass 12” or above – 17
Lures: Senko – 24 Baby Brush Hog – 7 Dropshot rig – 4 Baby 1- 1 Bomber Flat A – 1 Zara Spook – 1
Streaks: Dad 6 straight bass 11:06am-11:37am
Troy 2 straight (twice)
Droughts: Dad – 48 minutes 6:19am-7:07am
Troy – 62 minutes 6:04am-7:06am
Record Book Entries: Dad (3-7, 3-5, 2-13, 1-14)
Troy (2-9, 2-0, 1-13)
Total Weight (top six bass): 15-15

Entire original log entry from the outing


Hotspots – Shed Cove is a small pocket that features a fallen tree on the west point, a pair of stumps along the eastern bank (if you know where to look) and a sharp dropoff on the west point; plenty of appeal, and on this date, plenty of bass. From 7:31am until 8:00am, we hauled in five bass (Dad caught four of these) with all coming in at 12” or greater and a combined weight of 9-15 (0-14, 2-13, 2-0, 0-15 and 3-5 in chronological order). A couple trees on Sunset View Point also produced well as we landed six bass between 9:47 am and 10:00 am including a 2-9. Only one came on the Senko as this turned out to be the only spot on the lake where it was out produced as the Baby Brush Hog or dropshot rig were the lures of choice.

I’m A Believer – As noted previously, part of the Father’s Day gift pack for Dad was a bottle of Baitmate Max Fish Attractant. Its appeal turned out to be one of the top stories of the day, perhaps even adding to the already impressive production of the Senko wacky rig. Dad employed the spray frequently and was rewarded with a hefty creel, both in quantity and quality. I was convinced of the juice’s effectiveness as well by an incident in Shed Cove. Upon observing Dad’s success with the liquid, I asked for a dose on my Baby Brush Hog stating, “I haven’t had a bite on this lure yet.” After firing a cast to a fallen tree, my next words were, “You’ve got to be kidding” as I set the hook on what turned out to be a 2-0 bass. I have yet to pick up a bottle for myself but as a reminder my birthday is July 23rd.

Taking a pic of every bass leads to a little goofing off to provide something extra for the run of the mill fish.  This is what I call a “Magazine Pic” where you hold the catch as far as your arm can reach towards the camera. (Note: not a fan, this is truly a tongue in cheek shot enhanced by the grin on the guy holding the fish)

That wasn’t so bad now was it? As my blogging approach has evolved over the years I have tried to pare my postings down or break up what used to be one posting into a series of submissions. Not only do I feel that it helps me to maintain a steady stream of posts but I also feel that it is not quite as daunting to any readers who tune in as the human attention span just ain’t what it used to be.

And with that, I’m gone. Talk to you later (with some tunes). Troy

Top 5 Stats

Hey, why didn’t anybody let me know that I was slacking in my duties as the stat keeper for this Top 5 project? Typically, I like to post a monthly stat update but in looking back over the 2018 postings such updates were nowhere to be found. Time to correct that oversight, so here we go with the lowdown on the 46 bass and 2 muskies submitted thus far for the 2018 Top 5.

Mark Balbinot – January 27

2018 Totals (* = new record)
*January = 5 bass (old record 1 in 2017)
February = 5 bass
March = 0 bass
April = 12 bass
May = 20 bass
June = 4 bass

John Kirkemo – May 22

Top 5 Weight by Month (* = new record)
*January = 13-5 (3-15, 2-7, 2-6, 2-6, 2-3) previous record 2-11 in 2017
February = 7-3 (2-6,1-7,1-5,1-2,0-15)
March = no submissions
April = 14-15 (4-0,3-0,2-12,2-10,2-9)
May = 14-15 (3-10,3-7,2-15,2-8,2-7)
June = 8-1 (3-3,2-5,1-9,1-0)

Brent Jackson – April 21

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 22 bass
Bank = 24 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight (* = new record)
Boat = 15-14 (4-0,3-15,3-0,2-8,2-7)
Bank = 15-15 (3-10,3-7,3-3,2-15,2-12)

Jayce Jackson – May 5

Public vs. Private
Public = 38 bass
Private = 8 bass

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 17-2 (3-15,3-10,3-7,3-3,2-15)
Private = 13-3 (4-0,3-0,2-6,2-6,1-7)

Troy Jackson – April 13

The Baits (* = new record)
Plastic Worms = 24 bass (Top Bass 3-10 Jim Junk)
Crankbaits = 13 bass (Top Bass 3-15 Mark Balbinot)
Spinnerbaits = 4 bass (Top Bass 2-8 Chris Schwarz)
Jigs = 2 bass (Top Bass 2-12 Brent Jackson)
Lipless Crankbaits = 2 bass (Top Bass 1-13 Troy Jackson)
Chatterbait = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-0 Chris Schwarz)

Monthly Top Bass (* = new record)
3-15 Mark Balbinot (old record 2-11 Mark Balbinot 2016)
2-6 Troy Jackson
No submissions
4-0 Chris Schwarz
3-10 Jim Junk
3-3 Jim Junk

Chris Schwarz – April 28

Top 10 Bass (* = new Top 10 all-time)
4-0 Chris Schwarz 4/28
3-15 Mark Balbinot 1/27
3-10 Jim Junk 5/22
3-7 Jim Junk 5/31
3-3 Jim Junk 6/7
3-0 Troy Jackson 4/22
2-15 Jim Junk 5/31
2-12 Brent Jackson 4/21
2-10 Brent Jackson 4/21
2-9 Troy Jackson 4/13

Jim Junk – May 22

Angler Weights (* = new Top 5 record, old mark 32-13)
Jim Junk 15-11 (3-10,3-7,3-3,2-15,2-8)
Mark Balbinot 13-5 (3-15, 2-7, 2-6, 2-6, 2-3)
Troy Jackson 12-2 (3-0,2-9,2-6,2-3,2-0)
Brent Jackson 8-13 (2-12,2-10,1-14,1-9)
Chris Schwarz 8-6 (4-0,2-8,1-14)
John Kirkemo 8-2 (2-7,2-0,1-9,1-2,1-0)
Jayce Jackson 7-8 (2-5,1-13,1-5,1-4,0-13)

John Kirkemo – April 26

Muskie Length Totals
70+” John Kirkemo (40”, 30+”)

There you have it as I have remedied my oversight and we are up to speed through the latest update. And here’s what’s cool. I just received a couple more submissions to keep the streak alive and add to our totals. It’s also fun that the fish come courtesy of a veteran Top 5 angler (2015-2017) with his first posts of the year. Those are headed your way next Monday but first there’s more stuff to come this week. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – Father’s Day

Snuck away from this bunch for an early morning outing but assisted later with a water balloon fight…after a nap.

Earlier this month, I wrote a piece that touched on what I considered to be a bit of a bass slump with two of three outings where I just couldn’t put much together. Many years prior, I wrote a piece called “Drag Bunts & Basics” which gave me an excuse to combine baseball and bass fishing. The slumpbuster in that case was to shift gears and go panfishing, my equivalent to the old drag bunt attempt to get on base and get back in the groove. Well, this time I elected to take the opposite approach and swing for the fences. Maybe not the best idea for a ballplayer but was slinging a buzzbait on a couple of my bests spots a winner for this angler?

6:05am First Bass and Top Bass 15″ 1-11 Senko

Date: June 17, 2018
Location: Little John Conservation Club (2 lakes)
Time: 5:35am-10:05am
Weather: Sunny/calm to breezy
Air Temp: 75-84F
Totals: 12 bass
Senko wacky rig (pumpkin/black flake or purple with black flake) – 8 bass
Booyah Buzzbait (bleeding shad or snow white shad) – 4 bass
Top Bass: 1-11 Senko
Top 5 Weight (4 bass at 12” or better): 6-8 (1-11,1-10,1-2,1-1)

6:17am 15.5″ 1-10 Buzzbait

8:13am 14″ 1-2 Buzzbait

Notes and Nonsense

Early Escape – Up at 3:33am and pulling out of the driveway at slightly after 4:00am, I was several hours ahead of anyone in my house even thinking about getting out of bed on a Father’s Day morning. Honestly, that was kind of the plan, felt slightly bad about ditching my crew but knew they’d barely miss me at that time of the day, if at all. And I had to smile as I neared my destination, still in the dark, with the truck radio displaying 5:02am while I turned up the volume on “Fly by Night” from Rush. Summed it up nicely.

The Father’s Day menu that I prepared to serve up to the bass

Early Brunch – I know that a lot of places do a Mother’s Day Brunch but not so sure about Father’s Day. No matter, as I had my own batch of offerings all set up for the strip mine bass I was chasing. Senko was the most popular dish, with scattered interest in a buzzbait, one strike on the Whopper Plopper, no bites on the Mann’s crankbait or topwater frog and I never even picked up the spinnerbait or giant Senko. As usual I packed way more than I used but you don’t catch fish on lures in your garage and you just never know what you might need.

8:56am 14″ 1-1 Senko

The One That Sorta Got Away – The largest bass I saw all day was one between two and three pounds that took an interest in a short bass I had hooked on a Senko near the end of my day. I let the small bass swim around for a while just so I could get a better look at his buddy and then worked the area over but the larger fish didn’t show up. Kind of fun though and I’ve had as many as eight bass follow a hooked fish to the boat (or shore) along with a handful of instances of catching two bass on one lure. But those are tales for another day.

I’m a lucky guy beyond the rewarding day on the water

Happy Father’s Day – A fishing trip was a great gift to myself with an assist from Julie as I pretty much didn’t have to do anything on Father’s Day. An hour and a half afternoon nap was kind of cool too after the short night as well as home-cooked shrimp fajitas for dinner.  And on top of that there was beef Jerky, M&Ms, Nestea, some work shirts, a new watch and a new pair of work shoes. I have a great family and hope that their show of appreciation indicates that I am a better Dad than fisherman.

Okay, so no dingers as I’d hoped for in my decision to swing for the fences but still equates to a good day at the plate in my book. Say, 2 for 4 with a single, double, walk and maybe a run scored. At any rate, left me feeling better about my effort than my last outing and was a pleasant escape from my priorities. Jammed out to a few good tunes on the round trip as well, so stay tuned…Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

A trio of submissions from the fellows who are keeping the update string alive. Been a hot one as of late so appreciate the perseverance to get out there and put in the effort to fool a few.

Weight: 2-5
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 10
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Angler Comments: Went for a few hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Caught fish each day but nothing to cull. Biggest was 2-5.
Top 5 Weight: 15-11 (3-10,3-7,3-3,2-15,2-8)

Weight: 1-9
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: June 13
Location: Lake McMaster – Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Weedless wacky worm
Structure: Weed bed in 5-6 feet of water
Water Temp: 78F

Weight: 1-0
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: June 13
Location: Lake McMaster – Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Weedless wacky worm
Structure: Weed bed in 5-6 feet of water
Water Temp: 78F
Trip Tunes: “Don’t You Want Me” – Human League and “West End Girls” – Pet Shop Boys
Angler Comments: I was surprised to find the fish so cooperative. It was bright late afternoon/evening sun with only a few clouds and light winds. Caught the two fish within 30 minutes of getting on the water.
Top 5 Weight: 8-2 (2-7,2-0,1-9,1-2,1-0)
Top 5 Length: 56” (15”,15”,14”,12”)

I gave it a shot yesterday, sneaking away for a solo Father’s Day outing bright and early before my crew got out of bed. SPOILER ALERT: I could not displace any fish from my personal Top 5 but reeled in a decent quantity including a few quality bites as well. Full report up later this week and look for an overdue Top 5 Stat Update along with another batch of Trip Tunes from the Father’s Day outing (thanks also to John for including some classic 80s cuts with his submissions to play along with the Trip Tunes feature).  Talk to you later. Troy

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to my dad, Terry Jackson.

13 pictures today as that represents his number (and my favorite as well). This collection spanning the 70s to present conveys what an outdoor/fishing dad is all about. They leave little doubt as to why I kind of dig this fishing thing and go a long way to explaining why I’ve taken up this little corner of cyberspace. Just can’t beat “fish stories.”

1972 – Dad with Brent Jackson and a pair of quality farm pond bass

1980 – Camping and bankpoling with kids (left to right) Brenda Boyer-Cornell, Tara “Sis” Jackson (with Curious George), Thad “Bub” Jackson, Scott Boyer and grown ups (left to right) Kenny Boyer and Dad

1980s – Bankpole haul with Dad, Brent and Bub Jackson

1980s – Float trip catch with Brent Jackson and Dad

1980s – float trip catch with Dad and Brent Jackson

1994 – Bankpole catch from Pat’s Creek with Dad and Troy Jackson

2002 – Creek fishing at Pat’s Creek with Brent Jackson and Dad

2002 – Bankpole fishing at Pat’s Creek with Troy, Brent and Dad

2004 – Icefishing at Emstrom’s Pond with Troy Jackson, Tim Townsend and Dad

2010 – Lake Storey with Jayce Jackson (poor kid is wearing his sister’s or cousin’s life jacket), Troy Jackson and Dad

2012 – Lake Storey with Dad and Troy Jackson with a “double” emphasizing the “fun” and “foolishness” aspects that this website was founded upon


2013 – Lake Storey with Zac Jackson, Brent Jackson and Dad

2017 – Little John “Lake Lowdown” outing with Dad (click here for original posting)

Of course, this meager collection barely scratches the surface of the photo albums, tubs and baggies full of outdoor pics. And while I do believe that “a picture is worth a thousand words” I’ll just let the photos suffice for today.

Thanks, Dad, for getting me hooked. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – June 13, 2003

Page One of the original log entry from today’s flashback

For today’s flashback I take a look at a bit of a borrowed concept that has evolved into something that I renamed “Lake Lowdown” which debuted here on the website on July 14, 2017. However, the original debut of this idea actually goes back to 2002 but up now is a look back at the second outing on which I employed this approach.

Day on the Lake (Vol. II) from 6/13/2003 (full credit to Bassmaster for the idea/title):

Here’s the scoop on a trip that Dad and I took on Friday the 13th. This was the second in the series of “Day on the Lake” trips. Once again, the timing was right as we hauled in 35 bass including a pair of additions to the record book. Just picked up my photos from this adventure and they tell quite a tale as well. The pictures of the first four bass and the last four bass make it look like a comfortable day. Both of us are in short sleeves and I’ve got my shorts and sandals. However, the 27 photos in between the beginning and the end are filled with rain and the anglers are decked out in full rain gear. Although the rain dampened us a bit, it didn’t dampen our spirits or negatively affect our fishing. Despite this, Dad did mention “not going anymore” with me in light of recent waterlogged adventures. Here’s the story and the data.

6:48am Bass #1 13″ (1-1) on a white spinnerbait

Date: June 13, 2003
Location: Lake Bracken
Weather: Overcast/breezy/light to heavy rain
Air temp: 65F-70F
H2O temp: 70 F
Time: 6:45am-Noon

7:49am Bass #5 at 7″ this happens when you take a pic of every bass, pretty brave attack on a spinnerbait though

6:45 am-7:05am: Dad hauls in our first fish at 6:48am; a 13″ (1-1) on a single spin spinnerbait (white). We each catch a pair along Ramp Road with three at 12″ or better. Dad’s two come on the spinnerbait while mine fall to a Mann’s 1- crankbait (orange tiger shad). At this point we’re still dry but casting glances to the west and patting ourselves on the back for remembering the rain gear.

7:51am Bass #6 at 12″ (0-12) on Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait

7:49am-7:51am: Dad and I nearly go back-to-back on the beaver lodge in West Bay with our same weapons of choice. Mine comes in at 12″ during what is now a steady downpour.

8:18am Bass #9 Top Bass for the day at 18.5″ (3-3) on white spinnerbait in a steady downpour

8:03am-8:22am: Four bass in twenty minutes including “Big Bass of the Day”, an 18.5″ (3-3) that falls to Dad’s spinnerbait. This fish comes out of less than two feet of water on a flat off of Salt Point. Dad knew it was a better fish and I got a look at it as he fought it to the boat and told him it was a very good fish. The bass then made a run, pulling some drag and Dad realized it was larger than he first thought. After a brief battle, I lipped the fish for him at boatside and estimated it around 2-4. I guess I’m out of practice as I was nearly a pound off. Of course, maybe it was due to it being Dad’s fish and not mine. It is customary to overestimate your fish and underestimate your partners. It’s raining even harder.

8:42am-9:19am: Seven more bass fall to our same offerings along with a crappie and a bluegill for Dad on his spinnerbait, giving him a solid lead for the species title. Still raining.

9:32am Bass #18 my Top Bass of the day at 17″ (2-2) on a Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait 

9:32am-10:24am: This stretch starts with my “Big Bass of the Day”, a 17″ (2-2) on a Mann’s 1- (rainbow). Less than twenty minutes earlier, I had opted to change colors and caught a bass on my first cast with this offering. Dad also picks up a 12″ bass during this stretch. Six bass in twenty minutes along the dam on a Mann’s 1- (autumn sunfish), a Mann’s 4- (splatter sunfish) and a 1/8 oz. jighead (plain) with a silver spinner and twister tail (chartreuse) wrap up a solid hour of fishing. Still raining, but after a while you don’t really notice and besides, the fish don’t seem to mind.

10:55am-11:17am: Three more short bass as we skip to some proven spots amid a waning downpour. Riprap continues to produce on a spinnerbait and crankbait diet.

11:42am-11:56am: The Ramp Road riprap proves to be a successful homestretch as we cover it for a second time. Four bass as we’ve come full-circle and are back to our short sleeves and out of our rain gear.

9:56am Bass #21 at 10.5″ Mann’s 4- crankbait, always like to add some “personality” to the batch of short bass pics with this one displaying my habit (addiction) for measuring the catch

Total Bass 35
Troy’s Bass 19
Dad’s Bass 16 (took a break for some panfishing)
Streaks-Troy 3 consecutive bass (3 times)
Streaks-Dad 3 Consecutive bass (2 times)
Droughts-Troy 0:46 (7:05 am-7:51am)
Droughts-Dad 0:53 (10:24am-11:17 am)
Crankbaits 20
Spinnerbaits 9
Ultralights 6
<8″ Bass 7
8-9.5″ Bass 7
10-11.5″ Bass 13
>12″ Bass 8

Top Five Weight 8-0
Top Seven Weight 9-7
Total Weight (12″+) 10-1

Species Title – Dad wins and completes “The Grand Slam” by catching four species (largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and green sunfish). Dad caught around a dozen crappies on his ultralight by casting and many bluegills by trolling as we moved from spot to spot.

Called Shot – Dad successfully employed a secret weapon to produce a bass in Shabena Cove. This time it went something like, “We usually get one in the back of this cove.” This was uttered as he fired a cast to some logs in the back of the cove. Right on cue, a small bass nailed his spinnerbait and became bass #15 for the day. One word of warning; this is an advanced technique, honed over years of fishing experiences. Don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t work at first.

10:00am Bass #22 as Dad shifted gears to some ultralight fishing but still couldn’t escape the bass…barely

Precipitation – Dad and I have quite a track record with inclement weather. This trip made for back-to-back Friday’s of getting soaked. However, this trip was much more comfortable considering I had nearly full coverage with rain gear and no boot full of water. The last two trips have certainly been wet, but Beefy’s Monsoon may still be the wettest outing in recorded fishing history (I’ll add that to my “That’s another story” list).

Diet – Several bass that we caught had antennae sticking out of their throats, indicating that they had recently had a crawfish breakfast. Another small bass had a very large belly and further inspection showed a fish tail still protruding from its throat. I don’t think it had room for any more lunch, but it still engulfed my crankbait.

Triskaidekaphobia – Something like that. Anyway, it’s fear of the number 13. What better test than a “Friday the 13th” outing. So much for superstition here, as the outing was a rousing success. Coincidentally, the very first bass of the day came in at 13″. I guess if you are pessimistic, you could view the rain as bad luck. Dad and I aren’t much for this superstition, as he wore the number in baseball and softball and I followed in his footsteps on a few sports teams as well. Our license plates also reflect this with “13DAD” and “13TROY” adorning our trucks. However, I recall stories about my late Uncle Frank and his adherence to superstition over the years. From what I understand, he may not have even left the house on “Friday the 13th”, much less went fishing.

10:57am Bass #30 only 7″ submitted this as a profile pic for an earlier blogging gig but got talked into a bigger catch, always thought this fish was a very honest representation of time on the water though

Whew, got a little longwinded back in the day. Still happens from time to time but I guess this flashback offers proof, in comparison to recent stuff, that I have generally toned it down and spread some reports out over multiple postings. Always fun for me to look back no matter the word count and reminds me that I’m due for a 2018 installment of the “Lake Lowdown” project. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

A pair of dedicated regulars have braved the heat and their contributions keep the Top 5 Update streak intact at nine weeks and counting.

Weight: 1-2
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 29
Location: Prairie Lake near Chetek, WI
Lure: Wacky worm
Water Temperature: 78-80F
Structure: Shoreline structure

Weight: 2-0
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 29
Location: Prairie Lake near Chetek, WI
Lure: Wacky worm
Water Temperature: 78-80F
Structure: Shoreline structure
Trip Tunes: None, I just walk to the dock.
Angler Comments: Lost track of the number of fish caught in any one 2 hour fishing session. These two were weighed and photographed. Other smaller fish were not. Record heat (90s) has the water temperature rising fast. Algae bloom is starting.
Top 5 Weight: 5-9 (2-7,2-0,1-2)
Top 5 Length: 56” (15”,15”,14”,12”)

Weight: 3-3
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 7
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko wacky rig
Angler Comments: Little over an hour of fishing around dusk, four bass and one that will cull.
Top 5 Weight: 15-13 (3-10,3-7,3-3,2-15,2-10) culls 2-6

Many thanks, John and Jim, for taking the time to share your catches and well done on the effort and execution needed to get ‘em hooked. My aim is to provide as much content as I can, as often as I can, so your contributions are always a welcome assist in meeting those goals. Best of luck out there and keep ‘em coming. Talk to you later. Troy

Fishing Funk Report – 6/4

Remnants from the previous day where wind and a bad batch of line made for a mess.

This is one of those posts that a fishing blogger doesn’t really want to write but should. If you’re going to tell fish stories, you’ve got to tell the not so good with the good. This one comes from a June 4 walk-in outing and made it 2 out of 3 on the downside in regards to my latest fishing trips.

It essentially goes like this:

“I had a bad day on the water.”

But, of course, I just can’t leave it at that, so here we go.

Lone bass, caught on a spinnerbait, from the abbreviated and frustrating morning

Walk-in access had deteriorated due to terrestrial weed growth and water conditions had made it darn near impossible to fish these stomping grounds due to aquatic weed growth. As a result, I wandered more than I fished.

About two hours of the former and maybe forty minutes of the latter with only a lone short bass to show for it. In addition to the site conditions, I was just kind of overwhelmed and stressed from the regular routine of work, responsibilities, budget, fatigue, sore joints from the previous day’s fishing trip…

What a way to mentally and physically spend a vacation day, huh? Darn near turned the whole “worst day fishing, better than the best day working” adage on its ear. In fact, the previous night I was tempted to turn the day off back in and go to work instead. Once I got out, that feeling did not really change as I was just in a down mood. Still not sure what would have been the best decision as my afternoon upon returning home turned into a rather wasted bunch of hours trying to combat that rough mood with fitful napping.

Sure hate those kind of days and extra troubling when even fishing can’t pull me out of my funk.

More bad line as there’s a buzzbait under there that was hand lined in after undoing a backlash only to find that the line had busted as well, for the third time in two days, weird…

Even though the trip was a bust as a result of my poor mood and attitude, I always feel that you should learn something new each time you hit the water.

So, what were some lessons learned or reinforced during this challenging outing?

Lesson One: Always pack the little boat along as a backup, could’ve saved the day but mistakenly went all in on the walk-in. I really should know better as I have used this Plan B approach in the past, just a poor decision on this day.

On the bright side I may have found where this one swims (see below)

Lesson Two: When stuck in a funk, just explore, as I think I found a spot for this fall or next spring. The picture above came my way in a text message last year, pushing 7 pounds and a slight reveal in the background of the photo that I have since cropped. Anyway, I believe I found it. Unfishable on this outing but plan to revisit under better conditions.

Lesson Three: Not always welcome but I still have to marvel at how nature does its thing. I knew the earlier controlled burn on the property wouldn’t last but just amazing how the vegetation rebounds after that management process. And throw aquatic vegetation into the mix as well for I have never seen these waters as weed choked as this year.

Really kind of a disappointing day for a guy who just can’t pack up and fish anytime he wishes. But ultimately the letdown rests squarely on my shoulders due to the combination of poor decision making and allowing a surly mood to get the best of me. As it happens, I’m over it and ready to work my way out of the fishing funk that has struck me down on two of my last three trips.

Been here and done this before and regarding such funks and I’m always taken back to a Brownsville Station lyric from their classic “Smokin’ in the Boys Room.”

“But I found a way to get out of ‘em…”

Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – June 7, 2013

Today’s flashback takes a look at a family past time that we have yet to take a stab at this year. We had a camping/fishing trip in the works for last weekend but chickened out amidst the influx of gnats and mosquitoes to kick off summer break. In addition, there was a couple batches of thunderstorms poised to move through the area. Did that routine twice last year and not much fun for some folks who still subscribe to tent camping.

As it turned out, the storms never materialized last weekend although the bugs remained. At any rate, we kind of kicked ourselves for not giving it a shot. Still a batch of weekends to go before back to school but sure seems like it moves a lot faster than when I was a kid.

And by the way, here’s how this 2013 campout panned out via details from the original blog entry submitted at my former blogging outlet.

5:30pm – Me, Julie, Helena, Carly and Jayce arrive at Little John and get things set up along with starting a fire for hot dogs and s’mores. Our littlest family member, Zac, is to be delivered by my folks a bit later as it is near impossible to watch him and accomplish anything at the same time.
7:15pm – The soon to be two year old arrives with my parents. While not technically a “terrible two”, he is quite active.
10:15pm – Due to Jayce developing a nasty cough, we decide that it would be best for Julie to haul him home along with his little brother while I remain camping with the girls.
10:40pm – Helena says that she doesn’t feel well and she and Carly decide that they should go home. Rather than fight it and risk losing my temper, I calmly decide that we too should also depart.
11:20pm – The entire Jackson clan is home to sleep in their own beds following less than six hours in the wild (which is actually probably less wild than our home some days).

The pics included in this post were actually from the following day when we headed back to the campsite. We stayed long enough that afternoon/evening to fish, cook out and have some s’mores before tearing down the tent and heading home. Sounds like at least we were braver and more dedicated back then. And I must add, a lot less wore out. Talk to you later. Troy