Today’s flashback revisits a project that I first launched back in 2003. The concept was to document and photograph every bass along with compiling on the water notes as we made our way through the day. This outing took place on Lake Bracken in Knox County, Illinois and here’s how it went via most of the original posting.
Originally posted 8-10-05
In our fourth “Day on the Lake” installment we once again spend a “Day on the Lake with the Dads” as Dad and I selected Lake Bracken for some bass fishing. We hadn’t fished the lake since an outing on 6/1/05 so we hoped the bass had forgotten who we were and turned dumb again. Though we didn’t meet any of our previous DOTL totals, we were rewarded with a respectable creel of uneducated fish. Here’s a look at our day.
Date: July 13, 2005
Location: Lake Bracken
Air Temp: 75F-85F
H20 Temp: 79F
5:35am-6:00am – We pound Ramp Road, which is usually good for several bites but not today. A barrage of lures including a Mann’s 4- crankbait, a Texas rigged lizard, a buzzbait, a spinnerbait and a Rebel Ghost Minnow jerkbait produces only one hookup on a small bass that throws the lure on the way to the boat.
6:10am-6:30am – West Bay results in a pair of bass that weigh 0-13 and 1-1 respectively. Dad’s falls to a Texas rigged lizard (red) while mine hits a 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (black). Both fish come off of the Beaver Lodge and we each miss a pair of other strikes.
6:35am-7:00am – After catching my first bass on the Senko, the rest of my poles remain on the floor of the boat. Two short bass during this stretch reinforce my lure selection and it’s not long before the guy in the back of the boat is occasionally tossing an identical bait. Every bass we land for the rest of the day has a Senko hanging from its mouth.
7:10am-10:15am – One bass apiece causes our confidence in the Senko to waver but only momentarily. Dad nets a nice 2-7 off of Island Lane Point that has my Senko firmly hooked in its jaw. A good fish does wonders for your confidence and recharges your faith in what’s tied on the end of your line.
10:15am-11:15am – The Wild Side (Lake Bracken’s uninhabited south shore) gives up four bass in an hour as we work our way back to West Bay. Dad accounts for three of the fish with one coming in right at the twelve-inch “keeper” mark.
11:30am-1:05pm – The home stretch includes Oak Cove and Ramp Road and results in ten bass. This doubles our total from the previous six hours on the water. While I got out front catching five of our first seven bass, Dad comes on strong at the finish to outfish me eleven to nine.
Total Bass 20
Dad’s Bass 11
Troy’s Bass 9
Streaks-Dad 3 consecutive bass (10:22am-11:15am & 11:41am-11:57am)
Streaks-Troy 3 consecutive bass (6:43am-8:18am)
Droughts-Dad 3:27 (6:27am-9:54am)
Droughts-Troy 1:59 (8:18am-10:17am)
Plastic worms (Senko) 19
Plastic lizard 1
7.5-10” bass 6
10.5-11.5” bass 8
12” and over 6
Total 5 Weight: 5-14
Species Title – Dad claims the title as he adds two green sunfish to his bass total. These aggressive little guys will try to eat lures way bigger than they have any business attempting to swallow. Lake Bracken has a substantial population of this species that typically lurk in the shallows, particularly around riprap shorelines. Often incorrectly called “Rock Bass” (by myself as well as others), these fish are quite colorful with a wide variety of color shades including greens, yellows, oranges and black. Julie could probably paint a much better picture describing specific color names but I’m more in tune with something in the lines of the Crayola sixteen pack.
Tackle – Once again, we came fully armed with ten poles and in excess of 30 pounds of tackle. After the first 45 minutes on the water, I used one rod and reel and went through a couple Senkos. Dad held out a little longer as he waited close to four hours before putting all else aside and switching exclusively to the Senko wacky rig. However, you never know what will happen on the water and you need to come prepared. It wasn’t too long ago that I either left my Senko’s at home or on the floor of the boat tucked away somewhere in a tacklebox.
Lake Patrol – Mr. Purl and his dog, Goldie, run the lake patrol and usually show up between 8:30 am and 10:00 am to check anglers. For several years, Mr. Purl was my neighbor when I lived on the lake and we would generally have a lengthy chat about once a week as we crossed paths. One benefit of such conversations was being given a break on the $3.00 guest-fishing fee on a number of occasions. We weren’t so lucky during our DOTL but on a later trip Dad and I were granted a free day. Mr. Purl said he enjoyed the conversation so much as we floated in the middle of the lake that he would give us a break. Brent and I weren’t so lucky recently but we have learned to keep talking and not reach for the wallet right away just in case.
Not our largest batch of bass but I find it fun to set out with the goal of chronicling the day on the water and then just letting the chips fall where they may. The current version of this project is something that I call “Lake Lowdown.” Somehow, I managed to forget this project last year but look to make up for it with a 2020 version before we call it a year. Talk to you later. Troy