Month: September 2018

Friday Flashback – October 2, 2008

October 2, 2008 12:29pm – Solid Lake Storey Fall drawdown bass at 15″ and 1-12 

Folks, it’s Fall drawdown time at Lake Storey, an old favorite fishing hole on the outskirts of my hometown Galesburg, Illinois. Spent 47 years living in The Burg and Lake Storey played a prominent role pretty much the whole way. Camping, swimming, birthday parties, jogging, softball, picnicking, working, playing, hiking, fireworks and even a little something we used to call “parking.”

Some stories are better left untold.

But not so for fish stories, so here we go with a flashback from 2008 via some excerpts from the original fishing report.

1:20pm – 14.5″ and 1-12

Date: October 2, 2008
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, Illinois
Time: 8:45am-3:30pm
Totals: 12 bass, 1 walleye (27” 7-14 new personal best)
Bomber Flat A (baby bass) – 6 bass, 1 walleye
Zoom Super Hog (watermelon seed) – 5 bass
Quad Shad Spinnerbait (white) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-10 Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 8-13 (2-10,1-12,1-12,1,-9,1-2)

A Lake Storey staple, the Bomber Flat A crankbait (baby bass)

2:09pm – A welcome “accident” with a 27″ walleye weighing 7-14, a new personal best

An added bonus when pursuing bass on Lake Storey is the ever present potential for hooking a toothy fish (walleye or muskie). An “accident” can happen at any time particularly if tossing crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits or in line spinners. Dad and I were fortunate enough to land four such “accidents” during a pair of trips as we each caught a muskie and I fooled a pair of walleyes. All of the toothy fish came on Bomber Flat A crankbaits and though our muskies were quite small (20” each), they are always an exciting surprise. The walleye, on the other hand, were pretty impressive. The largest was a 27” 7-14 which set a new species record and easily eclipsed my personal best by more than five pounds.

2:55pm – Top Bass of the day at 16.5″ and 2-10

Admittedly, that walleye is what I call a fortunate “accident” while pursuing my favorite fish, the largemouth bass. I will also admit to knowing very little about walleye fishing but sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good and as long as you’ve got a lure in the water you just never know what might show up on the end of the line. In this case, a very solid Illinois walleye that would stand as my personal best for just over two years before another Lake Storey “accident” and a true beast. Perhaps the largest walleye ever caught in Lake Storey, but that’s another story for a future Friday Flashback (stick around until 2020 for that one). Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – September 23

After 57 days without a bass I was excited to get a chance to hit the water last Sunday. My original plan was to spend the first day of Fall prowling the banks of a regular haunt while flying solo. But just for fun I sent out a text to an old fishing partner who’s also been known to cover a few miles in search of some bass. And guess what? My bro was good to go. Too bad for the bass.

6:34am Top Bass #2 of the trip and our first bass of the day at 20″ and 4-8 on a buzzbait


Date: September 23, 2018
Location: Knox County, IL strip pits (3 public, 2 private)
Time: 6:30am-1:15pm (5.25 hours fishing, the rest walking/driving)
Weather: Sunny/calm to breezy
Air Temp: 46-74F
Totals: 48 bass, 1 crappie (Brent = 28 bass, 1 crappie, Troy = 20 bass)
Lures Troy
Senko wacky rig (green pumpkin/black flake) – 8 bass
Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (snow white shad) – 6 bass
Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) – 4 bass
Strike King KVD 2.5 Rattling Squarebill crankbait (sexy shad) – 1 bass
Yum Wooly Curltail (pumpkin/pepper/green) – 1 bass
Lures Brent
Spinnerbait (Emiquon Special) – majority of his catch
Senko wacky rig (smoke) – the rest of his catch
Top Bass: 5-1 Brent Spinnerbait, 4-8 Troy Buzzbait
Top 5 Weight Brent: 14-11 (5-1,3-7,2-3,2-2,1-14)
Top 5 Weight Troy: 12-7 (4-8,3-2,1-11,1-10,1-8)
Top 5 Weight combined: 18-5 (5-1,4-8,3-7,3-2,2-3)

8:39am Top Bass at 22.5″ and 5-1 on a spinnerbait, just an outstanding looking fish, long and lean

Notes and Nonsense

First Bass – The original plan was to hit some walk-in strip mines but reconsidered as I had the boat loaded for Plan B. Thus we decided to row first while the prodigious terrestrial weed growth hopefully dried out a bit so we wouldn’t end up starting the day soaked in the 40 degree weather. Proved to be a good decision four minutes after hitting the water as my first bite of the day wound up being a 4-8 on a buzzbait worked over a mid-lake hump. Turned out to be my biggest of the day but not the biggest of the trip.

Lunker Point – As I rowed us around stop number two I started telling fish stories as I have been known to do while on (or off) the water. Pointing to an approaching point I mentioned to Brent that it had produced a pair of five-pounders over the last couple years (5-10 and 5-0 to be exact). I even noted that I had taken to calling it “Lunker Point” when documenting the location of catches in that vicinity as they are entered in the log. Right on cue, Brent’s rod loaded up with a good fish after a cast to the spot and the fight was on. After a few tense seconds trying to get a grip on the bass at boatside he hauled in the third five-pounder from the spot I’d been bragging up. Got us another fish story to add to the mix.

11:38am Top Bass #3 Brent’s 3-7 on a spinnerbait

Dropped the Ball, Part I – It’s kind of tough to explain but unfortunately there is no video footage of the two catches described above. I did have the GoPro packed along in my tackle backpack but just never got around to buckling it on. Kind of disappointing on one hand as it would have been some cool footage. But that thing can also present a bit of a dilemma as it is rather revealing. I love fishing pics and videos, especially if they are from somewhere that I fish but I must admit that I admire the background as much, if not more, than the fish. Just saying…

12:07pm Top Bass #5 at 2-3 Senko wacky rig, very cool as just a stout fish

Dropped the Ball, Part II – Last year I introduced something called “Lake Lowdown” here on the blog. This feature documents every bass we land via a photograph and log entry of all the details. Originally borrowed from Bassmaster’s monthly “Day on the Lake” series, I’ve run my piece nearly every year dating back to 2003. Well, in hindsight, this would have been a real winner for the project but somehow slipped my mind. Maybe next time as I need to keep the string alive with a 2018 version.

Get to the Point – Stop number one on our walk-in part of the outing resulted in a dozen bass warm-up as prep for stop number two, our best fishing hole on the property. As we headed out I told Brent that it’s “first come, first serve” on choosing our spots. He arrived first and made a solid choice. Never leaving the point he selected, he proceeded to put on a clinic in outfishing me 6 to 4 and easily outweighing me with his Top 5 on the spot tipping the scales at 11-8.

12:52pm – Top Bass #4 at 18″ and 3-2 on a crankbait

Quite a day, easily the best of 2018. I’ll wrap it up with one final bit of fun via a comment that I threw out after Brent had landed his 5-1 to top my 4-8 less than two hours into our trip. As we also had several in the one-pound range in our creel I said, “Now all we need is a three and a two for a 5-4-3-2-1 day.” Shortly before noon, Brent had put the finishing touch on the quintet with a 3-7 and a 2-2. Plenty more I could share from our productive day, including another batch of Trip Tunes so stay tuned. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Fall transition is in full force, both in terms of some cooler weather and those bass strapping on the feed bag as we head into the last several months of 2018. Quite a collection for this update as it was a stellar weekend.

Weight: 3-12
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: September 22
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Wacky rig
Angler Comments: Just went out for a couple hours this morning, 3-12 and 2-9.

Weight: 3-13
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: September 23
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Wacky rig
Angler Comments: Went out this morning and got a 3-13 and 3-8. Sure is hard to cull. Hope to get one or two before end of year though.
Top 5 Weight: 22-5 (5-2,4-9,4-5,4-4,4-1) no culls but a tall order to do so at this point.

Weight: 3-2 (18″)
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: September 23
Location: Knox County IL public strip pit
Lure: Strike King KVD 2.5 Rattling Squarebill crankbait (sexy shad)
Structure: Ledge
Angler Comments: One of those “well-placed” casts that either landed on the bass or it tracked the incoming lure like a centerfielder (up for debate on what actually occurs). Hit as soon as the lure hit the surface and the fight was on.

Weight: 4-8 (20″)
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: September 23
Location: Knox County IL private strip pit
Lure: Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (snow white shad)
Structure: Hump
Angler Comments: My first bass in 57 days proved to be a real winner. And also proved to be the biggest I would fool on the day. All good though as it is also my Top Bass of 2018…so far.
Top 5 Weight: 15-9 (4-8,3-2,3-0,2-9,2-6) culls 2-3 and 2-0

Weight: 2-2
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: September 23
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pit
Lure: Spinnerbait (Emiquon Special)
Structure: Point/weed edge

Weight: 2-3
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: September 23
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pit
Lure: Senko wacky rig (smoke)
Structure: Point/weed edge

Weight: 3-7
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: September 23
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pit
Lure: Spinnerbait (Emiquon Special)
Structure: Point/weed edge
Angler Comments (actually his brother’s): Brent put on a clinic over the course of about 45 minutes without ever leaving his spot at water’s edge on a proven spot. Half a dozen bass came ashore with a Top 5 in that time span of 11-8. Pretty cool to watch from my less productive spots on the same body of water.

Weight: 5-1 (22.5″)
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: September 23
Location: Knox County, IL private strip pit
Lure: Spinnerbait (Emiquon Special)
Structure: Point
Angler Comments (also his brother’s): Perfect timing for this bass to show up as I was just telling Brent that “the point over there” had produced a 5-0 and a 5-10 over the last several years. Add another five pounder to the story going forward.
Top 5 Weight: 16-1 (5-1,3-7,2-12,2-10,2-3) culls 2-2, 1-14, 1-9

Definitely happy that some old familiar faces were able to give Jim a hand on the Top 5 update this week. Speaking of that guy, he’s still knocking ‘em so definitely like to add his latest catches as I appreciate the challenge of having to fool a four plus to get a bump in weight (a little envious here by the way). And always cool to team up with my brother on some of our regular haunts as well, look for the full report as this week progresses. Talk to you later. Troy

Fit to Fish at 51

Over the years I have been known to rack up a few miles on foot or bicycle in an effort to track down my favorite fish, the largemouth bass.

For a handful of those years, I was actually in decent physical shape to get it done, most recently about 2011 through 2014. Not so coincidentally, I had won a weight loss challenge at a former place of employment by dropping 22 pounds in six weeks for a whopping $42 in prize money.

Well, fast forward to 2018 and another weight loss challenge at my current job with a $10 buy in and a shot at $150 for first and $50 for second thanks to an added donation from the boss shortly after the six week challenge kicked off. A good opportunity for me to shed some pounds from a health standpoint, possibly put the improved stamina to the test during some fall fishing and maybe earn some dough.

Nice round number (and gut) to kick off this fitness adventure at 51 years of age

So, here’s my contribution to the myriad of diet and fitness books, videos, blogs and such that are better at dropping your bank account than they are at dropping pounds.

While heredity and genetics indeed play a role, pretty much all you need to really do is eat less, eat better and exercise. Oh yeah, don’t forget a perpetual dose of will power, that’s the tough part.

Will power test in the fridge since August 31, no contest, I’m on a mission

You can thank me later as that advice is free folks. So quit giving your money to the diet gurus, buy you some tennis shoes, plenty of fruits and veggies, add some fiber and subtract all those sweets, sodas and yep, cut back on the beer.

So, how’d I do with this approach when committing to getting back into “fishing shape?”

August 4 pre-contest kickoff, took a pic of my last beer just for fun, 50 days tomorrow as I continue on quest even though contest has completed.

Had my last beer on August 4, even took a picture of it as a reminder and successfully refrained from grabbing one of two that Julie and her cousin, Carie, left in the fridge on August 31 (yep, I know the exact date).

Week 1 traveling for work had to resort to hotel treadmill walks (too out of shape to run at this point, anyway)

Walked in excess of the 25 miles between treadmill, park and neighborhood (in and around getting fit enough to actually run again)

A lot of lettuce and other healthy stuff has disappeared in the last six weeks, folks, this one from O’Hare airport

Only “diet cheats” were two M&M cookies and that was only because I had just donated to the local blood bank and needed to eat something. Also participated in an annual family food festival but was proud of my moderation. There’s a lot less lettuce in the world too.

My constant companion in the truck bed, ready to ride when time and responsibilities provided a window

Well over 200 miles on the bike during a batch of 10 or 17 mile rides.

Week 6 – Grand finale Sat-Mon push, three days = 9 miles running, 45 miles biking and plenty more walking

Up from being able to run 1/8 mile to 1.5 miles between breaks and 1.0 miles total to 4.0 miles total during a workout to the tune of over 20 miles racked up bookending a two week Achilles issue.

And now, drum roll please, the winner from the September 18 final weigh in is…

Not me.

Runner-up at 10% weight loss in six weeks as I dropped from an even 200 pounds down to 180. Lost out to a 10.38% loss which means that if I’d have lost one more pound…really shouldn’t have done the math on that one post contest. Also not really fun is the fact that I shed 22 pounds the last time I pulled this stunt and would’ve been a winner had I matched it this time around.

Success…but a 12 day running lag in the middle while nursing a left Achilles strain proved to be my “Achilles heel”…DANG!  Still bothers me, and I ain’t referring to the heel.

But hey, I’m now in walk-in fishing shape, just need to find time to get away. However, since I no longer have to worry about finding time to exercise now that the contest is over…

Just kidding. Kind of tempted to see how low I can go, made it down to 163 last time and over half way there.

In the meantime, hang in there for a future fishing report with details on how this 50+ year old body fares while being more fit to fish. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – September 29, 2013

Boy, is it fun when you get it right.

And even more rewarding when you are traipsing cross country over some challenging terrain in search of some bites with a longtime fishing companion.

The best day of 2013 (83 bass including a rock solid Top 5) comes your way below via some excerpts from the original post.

Back in 1980, the R&B/Funk duo, The Brothers Johnson, posted their third and final Top 10 hit with an entertaining cut called “Stomp!.” Well, lets fast forward to September 2013 when the bass fishing duo known as The Brothers Jackson put a “stomp” on some Knox County strip mine bass. Here’s how it went down.

Date: September 29, 2013
Location: Knox County public walk-in strip mines
Time: 7:50am-1:15pm (4 hours fishing, the rest walking)
Weather: Sunny/windy
Air Temp: 60-75F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 83 bass & 2 green sunfish (7 different lakes)
Brent Totals: 44 bass & 1 green sunfish
Troy Totals: 39 bass & 1 green sunfish
Lures Brent: White Spinnerbait, Mann’s 4- crankbait
Lures Troy: Rebel Suspending Jerkbait – 22 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 10 bass, Bass Pro Shops River Bug – 5 bass, Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait (rainbow) – 1 bass, K9 Walker stickbait (Madd Shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass Brent: 2-5 Mann’s 4- crankbait
Top Bass Troy: 4-3 Rebel Suspending Jerkbait
Top 5 Weight: 15-7 (4-3,4-0,3-5,2-5,1-10)

8:52am Top Bass #3 of the day 19.5″ 3-5 Jerkbait

Changeups – Lots of decisions are made during four hours on the water (or bank in this case) and it is rewarding when they pay dividends. It doesn’t always work in our favor but just as I report the lackluster performances and bad calls, I also pass along the times when we get it right. Either way, it’s simply a matter of giving you my version of the straight dope from a day on the water. The following “changeups” went a long way towards making this a memorable day.

9:54am Top Bass #4 of the day 2-5 Crankbait

Changeup #1 (9:54am) – Relying solely on his white spinnerbait, Brent had put on a fishing clinic at our third stop while never leaving his spot on the bank. He’d landed nine bass in just over twenty minutes before his bite left. As we were considering leaving he tied on a Mann’s 4- crankbait and proceeded to nail a 2-5, his largest of the day, on his first cast. While taking the above photo I made sure to compliment Brent on this changeup to add a solid second fish to our creel (all fish released though). We wound up sticking around for another twenty minutes and landed nine more bass combined to bring the lake totals to 19 bass in 45 minutes.

10:25am Top Bass #5 of the day 1-10

Changeup #2 (10:25am) – Brent moved from the main body of our fourth lake to a narrow finger and proceeded to clean house with his spinnerbait. In a hurry, he had five bass to my one and added another solid bass to our five fish limit with a 1-10. Once again I offered a thumbs up on a productive decision that would eventually produce a total of thirteen bass for him in forty five minutes.

10:43am Top Bass #2 of the day 20″ 4-0 Jerkbait

Changeup #3 (10:43am) – I took over the point Brent had vacated with his move to the finger and quickly had a large bass explode on my K9 Walker stickbait. I briefly had the fish on but it let go and left me pretty bummed that it hadn’t hooked up. A few casts later, to my surprise, the bass busted the bait again but completely missed with its tail clearing the water and providing reason for dejection as it was a good one. I opted to leave the fish alone and moved to a nearby dropoff with a muskrat run extending out into deeper water. Two casts later with a suspending jerkbait and Brent was snapping a photo of me holding a 4-0.

10:53am Top Bass of the day 20″ 4-3 Stickbait

Changeup #4 (10:53am) – I definitely wasn’t leaving without giving my hot fish one more chance and moved back to the point where I’d enticed the two blowups. Amazingly, the bass gave me a third shot and this time his aim on the K9 Walker was true and our former Top Bass was displaced after ten minutes with a 4-3. The neat thing is that this is a handmade bait that I received from a blog reader and commenter, Frank Harvey. In fact, as I posed for the picture, leaving the lure hanging out of a lip, I said to Brent, “How cool is that to catch it on Frank’s lure.” Thanks, Frank, it’s a winner!

K9 Walker homemade stickbait crafted by a reader at my former blogging gig

We wound up our day hitting all the spots we’d aimed to fish, racking up a couple dozen more bass in our run and gun process. It was tough to leave a few fishing holes but we were on a mission as we had plans to attend a birthday cookout for Dad that evening. At one point during a good bite, Brent wondered aloud if we’d make it to all of the lakes we had on our agenda. I responded that if the bass kept it up we might not make it to the family gathering. It was that kind of day. We left tired and a little sore, but a good kind of tired and a little sore. It didn’t take me long to get over it though as I was back the following day headed for a half dozen more lakes in a different direction. But that’s another story.

Believe it or not that is the slightly abbreviated version. As much as I like to talk fishing, I sometimes find it hard to stop. Especially on a day when the bass make you look like you actually know what you are doing. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Two more bass this week, one each of the primary species. A smallie from north of the border and a largie from…well, you know where if you are a regular reader of the Top 5. If you don’t read this stuff regularly, you really should.

Weight: 1-6
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: September 12
Location: Green Lake, WI
Lure: Shallow running Rapala (black/silver)
Water Temp/Depth: 72F/12-13’
Weather: 70F with bright blue sky
Structure: Open water trolling
Angler Comments: This fish struck a trolled Rapala 15 -20 feet from the shoreline. I fished the lake about four hours a day between September 10 to 12. Tried plastic lures, crankbaits, buzz baits and topwater lures. My best day was Tuesday, September 11 when I had three hits on a trolled small perch colored shad rap. Lost first two fish before landing a 10 inch smallmouth (not worthy of a picture.) One of the lost fish appeared to be a walleye, but threw the hook at the boat before I got a good look. It did not act like a bass. Lame excuses for not doing better: Never fished Green Lake; have seldom fished for smallmouth in lakes; bright blue skies; water a bit too warm. Trip tunes too numerous to mentioned when listening to Siriusxm’s “80s on 8” during a 560 round trip, but “Eye of The Tiger” by Survivor comes to mind.
Top 5 Weight: 8-8 (2-7,2-0,1-9,1-6,1-2) culls 1-1

Weight: 4-4
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: September 16
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Wacky worm
Structure: Shallow pocket in the middle of weeds
Angler Comments: A couple hours fishing this morning netted a 3-5 and this 4-4. Both came from a shallow pocket in the middle of weeds.
Top 5 Weight: 22-5 (5-2,4-9,4-5,4-4,4-1) culls 4-0

Good looking fish fellas, thanks for the continued contributions (and Trip Tune, maybe need to add audio on here for effect with that tune).  Less than a week until fall but still plenty of time to get some good ones as they beef up for you know when, not gonna write it. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – September 17, 2003

A solid day on a longtime fishing hole south of Galesburg, Illinois for me and Dad featured a couple interesting and unexpected catches. Both are detailed below in an excerpt from the original report posted to family and friends.

Original log entry from this day on the lake

Date: 9/17/2003
Location: Lake Bracken
Angler(s): Me and Dad
Time: 6:00 am-11:45 am
Bass: 24
Crappie: 3
Bluegill: 4
Channel Catfish: 1
Mann’s 4- crankbait (wounded alewife) – 8 bass
Spinnerbait (white) – 5 bass, 1 catfish
Quad Shad Spinnerbait (salt & pepper) – 4 bass
Mann’s 1- crankbait – 1 bass
Twister tail (white or chartreuse) with spinner (gold) – 6 bass, 4 bluegill, 3 crappie
Top Bass: 2-15 Troy – Mann’s 4- crankbait
Top 5 Weight: 7-6 (2-15,1-5,1-4,1-1,0-13)

10:32am Top Bass 18″ 2-15 Mann’s 4- crankbait

Top Lure for the day Mann’s 4- crankbait (wounded alewife pattern, I think)

Between 9:14 and 9:16 am we end up with four bass in the boat at one time although we are practicing catch and release. Along the dam, I hook a small (9″) bass on my Mann’s 4- crankbait (wounded alewife) that falls into the bottom of the boat as I lift it out of the water. Not wanting to waste time trying to find this fish I go ahead and fire another cast. A couple cranks into my retrieve I’ve got another hit and set the hook. About the same time, I see Dad ram the hooks of his Mann’s 1- crankbait into a hungry bass. As we each battle our fish to the boat, I let Dad know that I’ve got an unusual result on my crankbait. It turns out that I’ve caught two fish on one lure for the second time this year. It’s now 9:16 am and there’s one fish flopping around in the bottom of the boat, Dad’s unhooking his bass and I’m hoping neither of my bass fall off before Dad can snap a picture. Both of my bass cooperated and we got a nice picture of a 12″ bass on one treble hook and a 13″ bass on the other.

9:16am – A rare “double” during a flurry when we had four bass in the boat at one time

A second unusual catch occurred later as Dad hooked a fish on his white spinnerbait. Actually, that part is rather common, as the white spinnerbait is one of his deadliest weapons. However, the way the fish fought and the body plan upon our first glimpse suggested something other than our targeted species. I grabbed the net and soon we had a decent catfish in the boat posing for a picture. The fish makes a Grand Slam for Dad with four species along with largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill.

Dad’s white spinnerbait is also a winner with a “whiskered” bass

Always a good time on the water and definitive proof that you just never know what lies in store with each outing. And yet again reinforces why I feel that fishing trips can always use a few tools beyond rods, reels and lures. A camera, a log book and a word processing program (after a rough draft with pen and paper on the old, trusty clipboard) all help to preserve the details for revisiting the tales anew more than a few years down the road. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

How about nearly ten pounds of bass for our leader, Jim Junk, for this week’s update? Already over the 20-pound mark, he cashes in on an early onset of a fall feeding frenzy to up his haul by nearly two pounds. Not an easy feat and even more impressive while doing the casting from the bank.

Weight: 4-9
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: September 6
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko wacky rig
Structure: Weed edge, stumps
Angler Comments: A couple hours fishing last night produced two smaller bass and this beautiful 4-9. He came out of a little highway that runs between bank weeds and some semi-submerged stumps that has been very productive this year.

Weight: 5-2
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: September 8
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Texas rigged Senko
Structure: Weed bed
Angler Comments: Well, the extremely strong wind was both a curse and a blessing today. It was so strong that I could only fish banks with wind at my back. The areas that I intended to fish were futile and I was cursing the wind. Went to a bank that had been sporadic at best. Had produced fish before but no big ones. There was a lot of water though and with the wind at my back I was able to cast to places I had never been able to reach before. Went with a weightless Texas rigged Senko because there were semi-submerged weed beds mixed in open pockets of water. Fished for a couple hours and managed three solid 2 to 2.5 pound bass. Then I was reeling in another very long cast and was slowly working through a weed bed. Twitched off a small snag and felt pressure. Thought the hook had been exposed and caught more weeds. As I began to put more pressure on the line I felt a tug so set the hook. At this point I thought I had a nice fish and a lot of weeds. Had no idea that I had a real nice fish. Got him to the bank and landed with no problem.
Top 5 Weight: 22-1 (5-2,4-9,4-5,4-1,4-0) culls 3-15 and 3-14

Way to go Jim and thanks for a great start to September. Don’t put those poles away quite yet folks as plenty of good fishing remains for 2018. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Stats

Back with another batch of stats as fall looms on the horizon. It was a lean summer which isn’t entirely unexpected. Tougher bite at times when trying to beat the heat for some dog day bass and lots of stuff going can push fishing to the back burner. In addition, if you’ve amassed an impressive haul like our current leader, well, it can be tough to add those pounds or ounces to the total. Here’s the latest rundown of the numbers for our 68 bass, 2 muskie and I channel cat in the 2018 Top 5 database through August.

2018 Totals (* = new record)
*January = 5 bass (old record 1 in 2017)
February = 5 bass
March = 0 bass
April = 12 bass
May = 24 bass
June = 10 bass
July = 8 bass
August = 4 bass

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 = 19-5 (4-11,4-8,3-10,3-7,3-1)
June = 18-10 (4-5,4-1,3-9,3-7,3-4)
July = 18-13 (4-0,3-14,3-13,3-11,3-7)
August 11-6 (3-15,3-10,2-12,1-1)

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 28 bass
Bank = 40 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight (* = new record)
Boat = 18-2 (4-0,3-15,3-10,3-9,3-0)
Bank = 21-9 (4-11,4-8,4-5,4-1,4-0)

Public vs. Private
Public = 56 bass
Private = 12 bass

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 20-4 (4-5,4-1,4-0,3-15,3-15)
Private = 19-4 (4-11,4-8,4-0,3-1,3-0)

The Baits (* = new record)
Plastic Worms = 37 bass (Top Bass 4-5 Jim Junk)
Crankbaits = 13 bass (Top Bass 3-15 Mark Balbinot)
Chatterbait = 4 bass (Top Bass 4-11 Chris Schwarz)
Spinnerbaits = 4 bass (Top Bass 2-8 Chris Schwarz)
Creature Baits = 3 bass (Top Bass 3-9 Paul Kessler)
Buzzbait = 2 bass (Top Bass 3-10 Paul Kessler)
Jigs = 2 bass (Top Bass 2-12 Brent Jackson)
Lipless Crankbaits = 2 bass (Top Bass 1-13 Troy Jackson)
Topwater Frog = 1 bass (Top Bass 3-7 Nick Tiska)

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
4-11 Chris Schwarz
4-5 Jim Junk
4-0 Jim Junk
3-15 Jim Junk

Top 10 Bass (* = new Top 10 all-time)
4-11 Chris Schwarz 5/26
4-8 Chris Schwarz 5/26
4-5 Jim Junk 6/27
4-1 Jim Junk 6/30
4-0 Chris Schwarz 4/28
4-0 Jim Junk 7/19
3-15 Mark Balbinot 1/27
3-15 Jim Junk 8/4
3-14 Jim Junk 7/4
3-13 Jim Junk 7/22

Angler Weights (* = new Top 5 record, old mark 32-13)
Jim Junk 20-4 (4-5,4-1,4-0,3-15,3-15)
Chris Schwarz 18-12 (4-11,4-8,4-0,3-1,2-8)
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)
Paul Kessler 11-15 (3-10,3-9,2-12,2-0)
Brent Jackson 8-13 (2-12,2-10,1-14,1-9)
John Kirkemo 8-3 (2-7,2-0,1-9,1-2,1-1)
Jayce Jackson 7-8 (2-5,1-13,1-5,1-4,0-13)
Nick Tiska 3-7 (3-7)

Other Species

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

Channel Catfish Totals
8-2 (25”) Chris Schwarz

Already have an outstanding pair of September bass all set for a welcome Monday Top 5 update. Tune in tomorrow and get out there for a head start on that fall feeding frenzy. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – September 1988

Original log entry detailing the September Ponder’s Pond bass featured in the photo shoot below.

A May posting in the Friday Flashback series took a look at a spot called Ponder’s Pond (aka “The Ponderosa”) and we’re back again for another batch of memories.

Couldn’t resist creating my own fishing card mimicking the classic “In Action” series included in the 1972 Topps baseball set

Today’s post comes courtesy of a decent bass landed back in September of 1988 at the fishing hole which was a favorite spot for a group of fishing buddies. One of those buddies is a fellow by the name of Matt Reynolds (aka “Hacksaw” or “Hack”). He and I spent a fair amount of time prowling the pond in the late 80s which resulted in some solid catches and more than a few fish stories.

Hack was on the camera end for this catch and I’ve long been grateful to him for taking the time to shoot this series of “In Action” photos. To me it’s just kind of a cool glimpse of yesteryear, four images frozen in time as the catch comes aboard. Not so easy to do for a photographer back in the day shooting with some sort of basic camera in the days of film with no do overs or previews of your pics.

Plenty of other fun in the shot as well. Still got me a jean jacket all these years later and about time to bust it our again with fall on the horizon. Been many years since the flannel period and many baseball caps since my Knox College Siwash model. And throw in some old, bleach stained jeans with more than a few holes, luckily there was no dress code at the East End or Green Diamond taverns on the way home, actually fit right in.

Also included is a nostalgic glimpse of my old Berkley Lighting Rod spinning rig that caught many a fish before getting the tip shut in the trunk of a vehicle. One of my first two true bass fishing rods courtesy of a Berkley buy one get one free offer back in the mid-80s. Even remember purchasing it at Al’s Sporting Goods, a classic Galesburg, Illinois shop that is now long gone as well.

Boy, can you say “those were the days”? Talk to you later