Month: October 2019

Top 5 Update

Four more October bass join the ledger as a fall feel has descended upon the region. But those shorter days, cool nights and changing colors can signify the potential for a solid fall bite if you can time it right. Read on for the scoop on the latest catches.

Weight: 2-9 (17.5″)
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: October 14
Location: Knox County Private Strip Mine
Lure: Zoom Baby Brush Hog (watermelon seed)
Structure: Log
Angler Comments: The sluggish mood of the bass on a regular stop forced my hand and slowing down my presentations paid off.

Weight: 2-11 (18″)
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: October 14
Location: Knox County Private Strip Mine
Lure: Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (snow white shad)
Structure: Stumps
Angler Comments: This one was cool as I actually saw the bass come after the bait as it landed among a couple partially shaded stumps. Always a tense split second waiting until you feel a strike to avoid jerking the lure away from an interested bass.
Top 5 Weight: 14-4 (3-14,2-11,2-10,2-9,2-8) culls a pair at 2-4

Weight: 4-12
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: October 16
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless crankbait
Angler Comments: Was on a few different patterns. Actually think they were just hitting anything and anywhere. Spinnerbaits took the most fish but lipless crank took the big fish of the day.
Top 5 Weight: 24-9 (5-3,5-0,4-14,4-12,4-12) culls a 4-10

Weight: 1-3
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: October 18
Location: Lake Storey
Lure: Weighted weedless wacky worm
Structure: 5-7’ feet of water near a laydown
Angler Comments: Only fish caught in three hours of fishing. Water temperatures 53-56 degrees. Brisk breeze from south with partly cloudy skies.
Top 5 Weight: 6-14 (1-9,1-7,1-6,1-5,1-3)

Well done in keeping the Top 5 alive for another week and keep ‘em coming. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – October 14

I am definitely feeling the impending end of my fishing year as we head into the home stretch. My annual aim is to end with a November bass and folks, it ain’t that far away. In the meantime I was able to work out back to back mid-October days on the water. Day One was reported earlier this week and read on for my Day Two quest to beef up my Top 5 weight as it has been a tough year for me to find big bites.

11:07am First bass, on the board but hoping they get bigger

Stats
Date: October 14, 2019
Location: Knox Co. IL private strip mines (2 lakes)
Time: 10:50am-3:00pm (3.25 hours fishing, the rest relocating)
Weather: Sunny/calm to breezy
Air Temp: 48-52F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 8 bass, 1 crappie
Lures
Zoom Baby Brush Hog (watermelon seed) – 4 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 2 bass, Booyah Blade spinnerbait (snow white shad) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 2-11 (Spinnerbait)
Top 5 Weight (only 4 at 12” or better): 8-8 (2-11,2-9,2-1,1-3)

11:53am 17.5″ 2-9 Zoom Baby Brush Hog

12:50pm 13.5″ 1-3 Zoom Baby Brush Hog

Notes and Nonsense

Accident – Every once in a while as a bass angler you happen into a bite from a different species. Prior to this trip, my lone “accident” was a stout bluegill that took a liking to one of my crankbaits. This time around it was a nice 12” crappie that grabbed my Baby Brush Hog as I jigged it around a downed tree. I’ve caught the occasional crappie on a crankbait, jerkbait or spinnerbait but I believe this is the first one on such a creature type bait.

An interesting accident

No need to pack a ton of tackle, even though I usually do

Arsenal – No surprises here with the trio of lures that fooled my fish. My hope was that I could get away with the rapid pace of a lipless crankbait or the moderate speed of a spinnerbait or crankbait but I just could not find a consistent bite in the regular right places on my first stop. Instead, it took some slowing down with a Texas rigged creature bait to fool some fish.

2:05pm 17″ 2-1 Spinnerbait

A Day (or two) Early – The old saying references being “a day late and a dollar short” but in this case it sounds as if I would have been better off delaying my Monday trip until Hump Day. Need proof? Well, my buddy, Jim Junk, reported in with a Wednesday afternoon/evening outing where he “recorded 10 bass over 2 pounds and landed over a dozen others…hitting spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and lipless cranks. Actually think they just attacking anything and anywhere.” Another flurry as daylight faded resulted in “5 more bass landed on a chatterbait in about a half hour.” Definitely what one would call a fall feeding frenzy and always cool when you are there when conditions are just right.

2:28pm Top Bass 18″ 2-11 Spinnerbait

For the Birds – Overall, I managed a reasonable haul and bumped up my Top 5 a few ounces but the outing just didn’t live up to my initial expectations. Once again, that darned sun got the best of me. I know a guy shouldn’t complain about a sunny day, especially in October, but sunny conditions just don’t lend themselves to a good bite on these fishing holes. And what really stinks is the fact that I am now locked out of roughly 50 public strip pits because of the dang geese. No offense to any waterfowlers but such closures have always been a thorn in my side.

“No bass for you!” as October 13 was actually the last day to fish Snakeden Hollow, game over for 2019.

Okay, I’ll shut this one down before I come off as a bit too whiny. In the end, I did have several good spots to fish and just couldn’t fool any big bites this time around…or for most of 2019 for that matter. I’m not done quite yet though as Lake Storey beckoned this weekend. Full report next week. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – October 18, 2014

Original log entry from a successful day on the water

Here’s a fish story from a pretty amazing Central Illinois fishing hole that I was fortunate enough to get a look at for the first time five years ago today.

Originally Posted 10-22-14

Is this there anything quite as exciting for an angler as new water?

It always gets me pretty fired up; even more so if it is a premier fishing hole with a reputation for some outstanding Illinois bass fishing. So when I got an invite this summer from a fellow named Chris Rock to wet a line in his lakes I was more than a little enthused. However, I was also more than a little bit busy and nearly missed my shot for 2014. A challenging weather day didn’t make it easy on us but it was sure worth an occasional numb digit and several layers of clothing.

Stats
Date: October 18, 2014
Location: Peoria County lakes
Time: 9:30am-4:45pm
Weather: Overcast/windy
Air Temp: 47-52F
Water Temp: 54-56F
Totals: pushing 100 bass (Troy – 46 bass, Chris – similar numbers)
Lures Troy: Booyah Counterstrike Spinnerbait (salt & pepper) – 18 bass, Xcalibur XR50 lipless crankbait (chicken pox) – 11 bass, Senko weighted wacky rig (baby bass or natural shad) – 8 bass, Jig & Pig (black/blue or watermelon/green/black) – 7 bass, Strike King KVD Rattling Squarebill Crankbait (natural pumpkinseed) – 2 bass
Lures Chris: primarily a jig along with a chatterbait and Strike King crankbait
Top Bass: Chris 5-10 Jig

 

As big as they got for me but quantity was real solid for a chilly October day

Notes & Nonsense

Backstory – Chris runs a truck route for one of my employer’s plants and apparently is one of the few people that I’m not related to who actually reads my blog postings. A co-worker mentioned that I should meet Chris and in that process I got an invite to fish. I was well aware of the lakes from the occasional appearance on a regional outdoor website and was real interested.

Fishing Fall – If pressed to select a favorite time period to chase bass, mid-September through October would quite likely be tops. However, during this time frame you just never know what hand Mother Nature will deal as the weather can be all over the place. Being a weekend angler with family obligations these days it narrows the window and keeps me honest when professing that “the best time to go fishing is anytime you can.” On this day the mercury hit the low 50’s but with a pretty steady north wind it sure never resembled what one would call warm. Despite reeling in more than a few bass neither Chris nor I worked up a sweat that necessitated removing any layers. In fact, we both went as far as stocking caps shortly into the trip and stayed that way all day. Luckily we never had to resort to gloves and a near 100 bass day does go a long way towards negating the occasional chill.

Had to shift gears from the tried and true black and blue to fool a few

A Pig of a Different Color – When it comes to jig fishing, I am true black and blue through and through. I’d bet that 90% of my jig bass have been fooled by some variety of this general color scheme. Therefore, it was a little unsettling when my old faithful bait just wasn’t getting the job done. Chris was knocking them pretty good on a brown variety so I decided that it was time to give the star performer a break and put it on the bench. It kind of felt like scratching a Cal Ripken off the lineup card and inserting a Mark Belanger but you gotta do what you gotta do. Don’t know if it was a good idea or not but the color combo pictured above did manage to produce several fish. Even so, it took some getting used to and I never really got used to it.

Speaking of Hogs – The bass pictured below claimed the Top Bass title for this trip and was a real interesting looking fish with a series of dark markings. Even though it’s a good photo it still doesn’t do justice to the splotches around the eye, on the gill plate, on both pectoral fins and near the tail; really cool stuff. And it was also really cool when Chris set the hook on one of those bites that looks and feels more than a little different than your run of the mill bass. He stated that it was a good one and the bend in his rod seconded that assessment. I got the honor of lipping the fish for him as he brought it boatside getting to hold a fish nearly a pound larger than what I’ve been able to muster on my own, good stuff.

Chris with a 5-10 Top Bass of the trip 

Good Company – As good as the fishing was, it was also enjoyable shooting the breeze on matters fishing and otherwise. I don’t really hang with any friends who fish so it’s always cool to talk fishing (ranks among my favorite topics along with my family, old school baseball and 70’s classic rock/pop music). It was extra cool having Chris provide a history on the area from rock quarry to fishing hole while relating epic catches, describing the lay of the land under the surface and pointing me in the right direction to catch some bass.

All in all, a great time on some cool water with a guy who knows how to get it done. It’s always interesting fishing with a new partner and I just do my thing and hope it leaves a favorable impression. I was encouraged near the end of our outing after needing Chris to troll in to rescue my jig for the only time all day. He offered that staying unstuck in such a jungle of trees showed that I knew what I was doing. I was even more enthused when he mentioned trying our luck again next year. 

Nothing close to a lunker for this guy but boy, what an interesting fishing hole.

I was able to fish the spot again in April of 2015 and March of 2016 but those are flashbacks for another time. Perhaps another time I may also be able to create some new fish stories at the fantastic fishing hole. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – October 13

Last Sunday marked the final day of 2019 access for anglers to Snakeden Hollow State Fish & Wildlife Area. The site shuts down for the waterfowl season so the birds win out over my bass (more on that some other time). Wanting one more shot, I decided to take a hike despite a recent cold front and the forecast of strong winds which can make it tough on an eight foot johnboat. The evening prior I put out a text to my brother, Brent, and he was game to give it a go as well. Read on for the results of our tag team outing.

Bundle up as this could be interesting

Stats

Date: October 13, 2019
Location: Snakeden Hollow, Knox Co. IL (4 lakes)
Time: 10:55am-5:25pm (5.25 hours fishing, the rest walking)
Weather: Sunny to overcast/very windy
Air Temp: 48-55F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 23 bass (Brent – 12, Troy – 11)
Lures
Troy: Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 6 bass, Booyah Blade spinnerbait (snow white shad) – 2 bass, Zoom Baby Brush Hog (watermelon seed) – 2 bass, Chatterbait (bluegill) with Zako trailer (smoke) – 1 bass
Brent – Emiquon Special spinnerbait (brown/orange) 11 bass, Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait (grey ghost) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 4-5 (Spinnerbait)
Top 5 Weight: 11-9 (4-5,2-1,1-15,1-10,1-10)

A few of the bass that were captured on GoPro

Notes and Nonsense

Weather – The temps were in the 30s when I left home with a high of 55 predicted along with winds gusting over 20 miles per hour. Well, it all played out as predicted but with the strong wind and afternoon cloud cover it actually felt colder even though it got warmer. Trust me, it makes perfect sense if you were out there roaming around for about seven hours.

11:08am First bass – spinnerbait

12:08pm my first bass took a while to find but was sure intent on getting the lure

First Bass – It only took about 10 minutes before Brent got us on the board with his old reliable spinnerbait. That spinnerbait would go on to land all but one of his bass with the lone exception falling to a Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait while we briefly ditched the boat in favor of the bank. A reliable stretch was getting pounded by the wind making boat control impossible so we gave the oars a break and landed three bass and missed another. One of the three was my first catch of the day at 12:08 pm, roughly 70 minutes after we started casting. My lame excuse was being the designated rower (voluntarily) but really I just wasn’t getting it done and still don’t have my own version of “The Emiquon Special” spinnerbait. My boy, Jayce, does courtesy of a gift from Uncle Brent though causing me to ponder the ethics of raiding someone else’s tacklebox.

1:58pm 1-10 spinnerbait

Reunion – Choosing your spots can be tough at Snakeden as there are over a couple dozen viable fishing holes on the site. I wavered on a visit to an old favorite pondering whether it still held enough potential to justify the hiking effort. The decision turned out to be one of those “since we’re this close…” types. An hour of casting gave us two of our eventual Top 5 but just as rewarding was reliving some old tales such as “the sumac forest” and “the biggest topwater explosion ever.” Folks, we’ve got just a few fish stories between us.

2:24pm 2-1 Zoom Baby Brush Hog

 

3:12pm 1-15 Spinnerbait

4:20pm 1-10 Chatterbait

4:35pm Top Bass 4-5 Spinnerbait

Top Bass – The first time Brent and I ever fished what would eventually become Snakeden Hollow was July 1, 1987. That was three years before the ground would be open to public access. We were fortunate to get an invite from a fellow willing to take a couple teenage wannabe bass fisherman along for a visit inside a locked gate. In the 32 years since, we’ve caught more than a few bass out there including several that exceed the weight of 4-5 on Brent’s latest catch. However, his fish is hands down the coolest looking Snakeden bass I’ve ever seen. An impressive catch and in this instance, I believe that the picture indeed does the fish justice as it could easily pass for a heavier bass. Whenever I get around to a post on my favorite bass pics of all-time, this one will certainly make the list.

Kind of blew it on my GoPro footage by accidentally turning off the camera mid-catch

Another good outing with my brother and we managed a respectable haul (and a brute) in some challenging conditions. Yet again reinforcing why you don’t put those poles away to early and that the best time to go fishing is anytime you can. Which brings me to the following day and another fishing report to compile. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Several more solid bass this week in the midst of some cooler, windier conditions in West Central Illinois. Further proof that you need to keep on casting in 2019, especially as a rebound in temperatures are on the horizon.

Weight: 3-10
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: October 13
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Chatterbait

Weight: 3-8
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: October 13
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Chatterbait
Angler Comments: Got here around 5:00pm, 11 bass total. All over 1.5 with 3-10 and 3-8 leading the way.
Top 5 Weight: 23-15 (5-3,4-14,4-12,4-10,4-8)

Weight: 4-5
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: October 13
Location: Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Spinnerbait (brown/orange) aka “The Emiquon Special”
Angler Comments (editor’s note): Several minutes prior I had landed a small bass to take the shutout out of the equation after arriving at a different lake. Brent noted that we’d both caught bass on the other three lakes we’d fished so he needed a fish as well. Sure didn’t take long and avoided his shutout in a big way. Just a great looking bass, more in a later fishing report as I had a front row seat for this catch.
Top 5 Weight: 13-7 (4-5,2-14,2-6,1-15,1-15) culls a 1-12

All the proof you need to keep casting. So, please submit your reports by roughly 9:00pm next Sunday to make the deadline for next week’s update. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – October 7, 2009 Pt II

As promised, here are some numbers and notes to complete the flashback that we started yesterday. Read on for Part II of the original 2009 post entitled “As Advertised” and a further look at a place called “Emiquon.”

12:22pm 2-0 Spinnerbait

Statistics
Date: October 7, 2009
Time: 10:20am-6:20pm
Weather:  Sunny turning partly cloudy/windy
Air Temp: 50-60 F
Totals:  Brent (98 bass) Troy (56 bass)
Lures:  Troy – Strike King Pro Model crankbait (chartreuse sexy shad) 21 bass, Zoom Baby Brush Hog (candy bug) 12 bass, Rapala DT10 crankbait (parrot) 12 bass, Rapala DT6 (parrot) 5 bass, Yum Dinger worm (cotton candy) 3 bass, Hank Parker Classic spinnerbait (white) 2 bass, Senko wacky rig (blue pearl blue) 1 bass
Lures: Brent – Bass Pro Shops spinnerbait ¼ oz. (crawdad) roughly 80 bass, Mann’s 4- crankbait (green firetiger) roughly 15 bass, Bagley DB series crankbait (unknown) 1 bass
Record Book Bass:  Troy (2-6, 1-15, 1-14, 1-13, 1-12, 1-12, 1-11, 1-9, 1-8)
Brent (2-3, 2-2, 2-1, 2-1, 2-0, 1-15, 1-14, 1-13, 1-12, 1-9)
Top 5 Weight: 10-13

Rare photo of “The Emiquon Special”, a spinnerbait that got it’s nickname as a result of this outing

The Bait – Brent’s spinnerbait was an old Bass Pro Shops model sporting tandem (two) copper hammered (dimpled like a golf ball) Colorado blades (see photo) and a brown/orange skirt (often referred to as crawdad). He just happened to have it tied on from a previous trip to Spring Lake and it proved to be a wise decision to stick with it. I’ve never seen anything like the performance. It is also worth noting that the bait is one of the first spinnerbaits we purchased upon getting into bass fishing which makes the lure close to twenty five years old. You can bet that I’ll be rummaging around the baitshop in my garage prior to setting off again for Emiquon.

Sounds funny, but too bad I didn’t have a phone back in the day to get a better picture of “The Clicker”

The Clicker – I’m not sure where I picked up my counter years ago but figured that it might be a handy tool for keeping track of my partner’s catch. It has four digits and I mentioned to Brent as we neared the ramp to leave that we can potentially rack up 1,000 bass. However, having just pummeled the Emiquon population he was quick to point out my error with soaring confidence stating, “Actually it would be 9,999.” I’m thinking he’s probably up for a return trip.

The Bass – The vast majority of our fish were in the 12-14” range. All were healthy, aggressive and hard fighting. A handful that I examined also had fish tails emerging from their throats yet were still in pursuit of another meal. We’ve seen two bass on one lure and reports have noted several bass following a hooked fish to the boat on occasion. With the obvious population density it’s no wonder that these bass are so competitive but fortunately it doesn’t appear that anyone is starving at this point.

No brutes on this trip but the overall quantity and quality were unmatched by any body of water we have ever fished

The Lake – I would advise getting in on the action while it is hot as nothing lasts forever. Mother Nature and morons always have the potential to adversely affect things that seem “too good to be true.” I’ve got no problem with the former as that’s just the way things work in the natural world. There’s always potential for disease if the population remains unchecked, flooding is no stranger to our neck of the woods and aquatic weed growth can pose problems. As far as the latter is concerned, I do have a problem as these days there’s no shortage of irresponsible outdoorsmen (I use the term loosely) who poach, introduce exotic species or have a general disregard for rules and regulations. I hate to sound bitter but the whole “few bad apples” routine gets old after a while. Anyway, that’s enough of the editorial. 2009 is drawing to a close but make sure to have your gear ready for 2010 and if you’ve been nice ask Santa for a decent size johnboat, a stout trolling motor and a couple batteries.

Ten years have passed and a lot of fish have been caught since this epic day on Emiquon. Regardless of what has occurred in the interim, this tale remains a favorite. I suspect it always will no matter what my fishing future holds in store. A true fish story. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – October 7, 2009 Pt I

Only part of the original log entry on a day when Emiquon showed it’s true colors

How about another Emiquon post as 2009 was quite a year on a brand new fishing hole the likes of which we had never seen. No better proof than an October 7, 2009 trip that actually takes a pair of flashback posts to cover. Part I today and a bonus Saturday Flashback to help tell the tale.

11:11am 2-1 on a spinnerbait

Excerpt from the original 10-11-09 post entitled “As Advertised”

Brent and I were back in the boat again less than two months after our successful August outing at McDonough County’s Spring Lake. The time frame is noteworthy as we’d previously gone nearly four years between trips largely due to just being busy. On October 7th we eliminated work from the equation as we each took a vacation day specifically to get in a trip to Emiquon. Brent had yet to see the area and I looked forward to seeing his reaction to the expanse of water that slowly comes into view as you drop into the river bottom on Route 97. He was definitely impressed but I couldn’t help thinking, “You ain’t seen nothing yet” while hoping that the bass would live up to their reputation. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried.

11:19am 2-2 on a spinnerbait

We hit the water at around 10:20am following a visit to Dickson Mounds Museum in order for Brent to obtain his fishing permit. After a twelve minute ride to one of our prime spots and a few tense minutes without a bite, we hauled aboard our first bass at 10:39am. Although we experienced a few flurries of activity in the first several hours I still maintained that Brent had yet to see Emiquon reveal its true colors. Sometime just before 3:00pm it started.

While I’d been fairly successful pulling bass out of a stretch of ditch with a couple different crankbaits, Brent was picking off scattered fish using a spinnerbait along the shelf on the west edge of the ditch. As the crankbait bite slowed, we decided to pursue Brent’s spinnerbait pattern. It would prove to be the right move as Brent quickly began to add to his total. I’d brought along a counter that allowed me to punch in each bass for him rather than relying on tick marks in my fishing log, and the clicks began coming with increased frequency.

3:59pm Brent Top Bass 2-3 on a spinnerbait

I couldn’t find a suitable spinnerbait in my arsenal to replicate his success and my crankbait bite had subsided so I experimented with a few other baits and enjoyed the show. At one point, I could no longer resist commenting on his good fortune asking, “Do you know how many you’ve caught?” He indicated that he wasn’t sure but didn’t seem too surprised when I said, “Fifty.” And it wasn’t long before I let him know that he’d reached seventy. Although I didn’t ask him at the time, I was beginning to consider the possibility that he could reach the century mark as we still had about an hour and a half of fishing remaining. Not wanting to jinx him, I kept my mouth shut content to keep clicking off bass after bass as we settled into a favorite spot to finish off our day.

Apparently the area is no secret as it had drawn a crowd the entire day preventing us from taking our shot. But sure enough the bass were still there and cooperative despite getting pounded all day by the other anglers. Just before 6:00pm, curiosity got the best of my brother and I informed him that his total now stood at ninety two bass.

We agreed to fish until 6:15pm before taking off on the roughly ten minute boat ride back to the ramp in order to be off of the water before sunset as stipulated in the rules. Thus our only choice was to run back through a productive stretch of water that had already given us roughly three dozen bass. Were there eight more left for his spinnerbait? I honestly had my doubts even knowing how the Emiquon bass can turn on in a hurry. However, right away Brent stuck one on the spinnerbait and lost a second at boatside much to our dismay. I’d considered quitting so as not to take any of “his fish” but went about my business catching a couple on a Baby Brush Hog before a snag made the decision for me and I just sat back to watch the thrilling conclusion.

Brent slowly chipped away at the mark before we simply ran out of time. In fact, he was the one who made the call. It was a valiant effort and we left satisfied with the outing since you’d be a fool to complain about “only ninety eight bass.” I did get a laugh though as Brent joked in hindsight stating, “Man, I shouldn’t have eaten lunch.”

10:54am Top Bass on the day 2-6 on a crankbait

By the way, I thought that I had a decent day although fifty six bass certainly pales in comparison. I’d like to say it was due to running the motor, logging the trip or taking Brent’s fish of the hook for him but none of the above were the case, I just plain got outfished. Overall, I was pleased with my output even though I found myself trailing by forty two bass when all was said and done. On “normal” lakes it is a rare trip where we can combine for forty two bass, let alone wind up with that amount being the difference. Suffice to say, that place is nuts.

Downright crazy, indeed. Man, those were the days. Still brings a smile and a head shake every time I revisit this outing. Which I am going to do again tomorrow with a few more notes and some stats. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Better late than never as this post is a bit tardy for the customary Monday update. The days are definitely getting shorter and after a short local warm-up it looks like some pretty chilly overnights are on the horizon. Don’t you dare give up yet though, as there’s still plenty of bites out there to be caught.

Weight: 4-6
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: September 29
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Texas rigged Senko
Angler Comments: Was getting dark and was leaving, stopped for one last cast. Threw Texas rigged Senko over some reeds into a small pool that had been completely weed covered all year. Couldn’t see my line but felt the tap, tap and felt the line moving. Set the hook on this 4-6 and called it a night.
Top 5 Weight: 23-15 (5-3,4-14,4-12,4-10,4-8)

It’s been a tall order for our leader to cull but always good to get a fish story from Jim to pass along. Hey, any four-pounder deserves some recognition, crazy when it falls short of adding some weight to a creel. Yep, I’m a bit envious and sure hoping to get a few more casts before my 2019 fishing year comes to a close. Hope some others get in some more fishing as well. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – September 27, 2014

 

Original log entry from the outing

Today we venture back to a “fall drawdown” outing on Lake Storey. Each fall the water level is dropped, largely as a fishery management practice, and it has been a favorite annual fishing challenge for many years. Below is an abridged version of the original report detailing whether any fish let their guard down at the drawdown.

Originally Posted 10-16-14

My “home lake”, Lake Storey, is a little farther from home these days with my family no longer residing in Galesburg. Therefore, me and three of our brood headed down Friday after work to stay at my folks in order to ease the chaos and crankiness of an early morning departure (our little guy, Zac, was sick and stayed home with Julie). As a result, Dad and I were on the water at a reasonable time, making our first casts just after 8:00am.

12:26 pm – Keeping it real in a fishing report as they are not all trophies

Stats
Date: September 27, 2014
Location: Lake Storey
Time: 8:10am-2:10pm
Weather: Sunny to partly cloudy/calm to very windy
Air Temp: 65-81F
Water Temp: 69-72F
Totals: 6 bass, 1 muskie
Dad Totals: 2 bass
Troy Totals: 4 bass, 1 muskie
Lures Dad: Muskrat style creature bait – 1 bass, Zoom Baby Brush Hog – 1 bass
Lures Troy: Xcalibur XR50 lipless crankbait (chicken pox) – 2 bass, Zoom Baby Brush Hog – 1 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 1 bass, Strike King KVD Rattling Squarebill Crankbait (natural pumpkinseed) – 1 muskie
Top Bass: Dad 1-11 Zoom Baby Brush Hog
Top 5 Weight (only one bass 12” or better): 1-11

A pattern called “Chicken Pox”, these discontinued baits are going for $20 or more online

Notes & Nonsense

Patience – There were several other boats on the water on this pleasant Saturday but nothing that we all couldn’t work around in terms of sharing water. A couple muskie anglers beat us to one of our spots so we waited them out before moving in behind. I figured that they were targeting a different species and some different cover than we had in mind so I didn’t mind fishing “used water.” We were a little bummed when they moved off the first spot and camped on a second spot to eat their lunch. While the first spot let us down, we again waited out their lunch break, moved in and Dad proceeded to nail our Top Bass of the day. It was definitely worth the wait and further reinforcement that we’ve paid our dues on the lake and learned a couple things.

1:30pm – Dad with our Top Bass of the day at 1-11

Make My Day – We’d been on a proven spot for about twenty minutes without a bass when we spotted another boat fishing towards us. Our spot was a traditional winner but we’d pounded it good and I didn’t want the other anglers to hit another spot I wanted to fish on the other side of the lake so I decided to make a move. Now, a fishing day is made up of a lot of decisions, not all of which pan out; that’s fishing. In this case, however, on about my second cast after relocating I set the hooks of my crankbait into something that didn’t move. A few seconds later, I hollered “Muskie!” to Dad who went for the dipnet. The fish put up a classic fight with a couple line stripping runs, an exciting (and worrisome), completely airborne leap and managed to evade our dipnet twice. But the 12-pound Trilene survived, the hooks held and Dad scooped him in, luck was on our side. In terms of the fortuitous move though, I’m still torn on whether we were lucky or good. Then again, it doesn’t really matter, we got a fish that made our day, shot a couple pics and released it to fight again.

11:08am – One of those good, old Lake Storey bass fishing “accidents”

Second Chances – We revisited the proven spot noted above for another shot about an hour and a half after moving off and happening upon the muskie. True to form, a couple Lake Storey bass that called the place home were now in a biting mood. Dad and I each pulled one out with his on a muskrat bait and mine on a Zoom Baby Brush Hog. A productive Round Two confirms another Lake Storey fact (and general bass fishing approach) that if you’ve got a good spot it is wise to pay a couple visits in order to increase the likelihood that you’ll be in the neighborhood when they decide to bite.

8:35am – I’ve got lures that are darn near as big as this small bass

When combined with last week’s strip mine report, me, Brent and Dad landed 141 bass and a muskie in two trips. Two trips that were like night and day in terms of quantity (135 bass vs. 6 bass) but I’d actually be hard pressed to decide which trip was the best. 135 bass are cool but when they are really dumb you don’t feel really smart and while 6 bass is a tough day when they are extra wary you feel extra wise. And a decent toothy critter don’t hurt either; tough call.

A tough bass bite in terms of both quantity and quality but you’ll have that, it’s fishing. Just keep on casting though as evidenced by this outing as our best bass was the last catch, over five hours into our day. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Stats

The bass continued to trickle in as we transitioned from summer to fall pushing us to 75 submissions (5 other species submissions as well). Right on schedule, here’s another look at the numbers.

2019 Totals (* = new record)
January = 1 bass
February = no submissions
March = 8 bass
April = 14 bass
May = 12 bass
June = 14 bass
July = 11 bass
August = 7 bass
September = 8 bass

Top 5 Weight by Month (* = new record)
January = 3-3 (one bass)
February = no submissions
March = 19-3 (4-8,4-2,4-1,3-5,3-3)
April = 19 -10 (4-1,4-1,4-0,3-12,3-12)
May = 19-1 (4-6,4-0,3-15,3-10,3-2)
June = 19-15 (4-3,4-1,4-1,3-15,3-11)
July = 13-15 (5-3,3-14,1-15,1-8,1-7)
August = 19-4 (4-14,4-10,4-6,2-14,2-8)
September = 22-6 (5-3,5-0,5-0,4-12,2-7)

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 23 bass
Bank = 52 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight (* = new record)
Boat = 14-9 (3-14,3-11,2-8,2-4,2-4)
Bank = 25-4 (5-3,5-3,5-0,5-0,4-14)

Public vs. Private
Public = 58 bass
Private = 17 bass

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 24-3 (5-3,5-0,4-14,4-10,4-8)
Private = 22-7 (5-3,5-0,4-12,3-14,3-10)

The Baits (* = new record)
Plastic Worm = 25 bass (Top Bass 4-14 Jim Junk)
Chatterbait = 14 bass (Top Bass 5-3 Jim Junk)
Spinnerbaits = 12 bass (Top Bass 3-10 Chris Schwarz)
Lipless Crankbaits = 9 bass (Top Bass 4-8 Jim Junk)
Buzzbait = 3 bass (Top Bass 2-4 Troy Jackson)
Jigs = 3 bass (Top Bass 2-10 Troy Jackson)
Crankbait = 2 bass (Top Bass 3-11 Chris Schwarz)
Swim Jigs = 2 bass (Top Bass 5-3 Chris Schwarz)
Underspin = 2 bass (Top Bass 4-6 Jim Junk)
Prop Bait = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-12 Jim Junk)
Livebait = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-1 Jim Junk)
Topwater Frog = 1 bass (Top Bass 1-1 Landon Hannam)

Monthly Top Bass (* = new record)
January
3-3 Jim Junk
February
No submissions
March
4-8 Jim Junk
April
4-1 Jim Junk
May
4-6 Jim Junk
June
4-3 Jim Junk
July
5-3 Jim Junk
August
4-14 Jim Junk
September
5-3 Chris Schwarz

Top 10 Bass (* = new Top 10 all-time)
5-3 Jim Junk 7/28
5-3 Chris Schwarz 9/22
5-0 Jim Junk 9/15
5-0 Chris Schwarz 9/22
4-14 Jim Junk 8/3
4-12 Jim Junk 9/7
4-10 Jim Junk 8/20
4-8 Jim Junk 3/28
4-6 Jim Junk 5/14
4-6 Jim Junk 8/3

Angler Weights
Jim Junk 24-7 (5-3,5-0,4-14,4-12,4-10)
Chris Schwarz 20-10 (5-3,5-0,3-11,3-10,3-2)
Troy Jackson 13-8 (3-14,2-10,2-8,2-4,2-4)
Brent Jackson 10-14 (2-14,2-6,1-15,1-15,1-12)
Landon Hannam 6-14 (2-7,1-4,1-2,1-1,1-0)
Terry Jackson 3-13 (1-15,1-1,0-13)
Jayce Jackson 2-13 (1-8,1-5)
John Kirkemo 2-12 (1-7,1-5)

Other Species
Bluegill 1-8 Teagan Mills 6/2/19 Private pond
Channel Catfish 13-0 Teagan Mills 4/20/19 Private Pond
Catfish 6-9 Chris Schwarz 6/12/19 Spring Lake – McDonough County
Catfish 34-35” Chris Schwarz 6/2/19 Spring Lake – McDonough County
Muskellunge 6-4 Chris Schwarz 6/28/19 Lake Storey

Still some time to catch some good fish so keep that gear at the ready. Those fish sense what’s on the horizon as well and if you can be on the water when they turn on, well, good things can happen. When they do, let me know. Talk to you later. Troy