Month: March 2023

Hennepin Canal Report – March 21

The struggle continues for 2023 as another trip to The Canal comes up empty. But even though I couldn’t get a bass in the boat, there is always something to report and learn along the way.

Date: March 21
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: 11:25am-2:40pm
Totals: 0 bass
Weather: Partly cloudy/windy

Tossed a collection of lures but couldn’t land a bass

Notes and Nonsense

Choices – In the last year and a half, I have fished over twenty different stretches of The Canal from Colona to Wyanet. While The Canal is generally just a long trough, each section has a little something different to offer. Therefore, it can be tough to decide on a destination when it comes time to fish. For this outing, I opted for a quality stretch that I have only fished twice with a boat instead of hitting my best section of water. My hope was to find some willing early season bass before the weeds take over. Well, no bass came aboard but the surface weeds were not an issue. However, the slime was already taking hold as a high percentage of casts required some degree of lure cleanup.


Short and sweet for this report as not much to relay from three hours with only two bites and no catches. 2023 is off to a tough start after landing my first bass of the year on March 5. At that point, I was ahead of my 2022 schedule that saw my first bass join the log on March 20. So much for my optimism as I am now five bass behind last year’s production.

On a positive note, I am looking to hit some strip mines in early April and reports of bass biting on The Canal are starting to hit the internet. A pair of hikes this past week on The Canal (without fishing gear) also showed a noticeable increase in observed fish activity along with a thumbs up from an accomplished Canal angler. Sounds like things are looking up and maybe even I can fool some soon. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

And just like that, we have our first twenty-pound limit of 2023. None other than Jim Junk with another banner day.

Weight: 1-14
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 26
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless crankbait

Weight: 2-9
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 26
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless crankbait

Weight: 3-5
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 26
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless crankbait

Weight: 4-4
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 26
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless crankbait
Angler Comments: Made it out for a few hours this afternoon. Going to call it a 1,2,3,4 day. All on lipless crankbaits off flats or staging very close to flats. Good sign for things to come!
Top 5 Weight: 20-8 (5-1,4-5,4-4,3-9,3-5) culls 3-1

Way to go, Jim, and keep ‘em coming. Quite a start for the year as other than early open water, conditions for 2023 have been less than ideal. Talk to you later. Troy

Pre-Season Prep

While I am already on the board with a 2023 bass, I am still finishing up my pre-season prep for another year of chasing some fish. As a writer, I have long been a fan of alliteration, so let’s pull out that tried and true technique for todays’ post.

Pre-season prep this year consists of half a dozen “Rs” as follows:


This aspect should have started sooner than it did and involves getting in some semblance of shape. Most of my fishing involves either hiking, biking, or rowing so a bit of physical fitness is in order. A handful of hikes along The Canal provides not only exercise but also a chance to do a little scouting for potential destinations.


 I am not a winter angler, so my off season is spent exploring in ways other than casting. My lifetime Bassmaster and InFisherman subscriptions continue to pay dividends while the internet, social media, and Google Maps are treasure troves of information (and misinformation if you are not careful). The QCCA Outdoor Show is also an annual stop to take in a couple seminars and pick up a tip or two from local organizations.


Between Christmas, Father’s Day, and a birthday, I usually acquire a gift card or two from some major tackle retailers. In addition, I like to make a few winter stops at local shops during my previously noted scouting missions. The QCCA Outdoor Show also featured a few bargains that I could not pass up. And don’t forget to renew that fishing license.


A new year means it is time for new line as the reels are often low due to frequent retying and line checks during the previous year. As it has been for most of the last thirty-five years, Trilene monofilament is the line of choice in either ten- or twelve-pound test for my bass fishing.


Over the years, a collection of rods and reels have taken a beating and broke down. Being a frugal pack rat, I have kept them around with thoughts of getting them fixed. Two local tackle shops have been employed to fix three damaged rods and five broken down reels. The rods should be no problem but a couple of the reels are rather ancient (dating back to the 90s), so still awaiting a verdict on those being salvageable. Sure would be cool to get at least one of them back in the lineup for old times’ sake.


Being a stat guy and longtime keeper of a log, I like to look at the numbers to see if I am close to any milestones. Perhaps it is Bass #100 from a remote strip pit or maybe targeting a body of water that needs a Top 5 boost. Whatever the case, a stroll through the databases, spreadsheets, and record book aid in developing a plan for the new year.

While I feel good about the status of the pre-season prep, I have only been able to translate the work into one bass this year. But spring has sprung and sooner or later those water temps will be on the rise along with the bass activity level. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Say Cheese

“So won’t you smile for the camera
I know they’re gonna love it”
Peg – Steely Dan (1977)

Today’s blog entry arose from a comment on one of my Facebook posts last September by a family friend (and fellow blogger), Deb McGrath.

Smile (verb)form one’s features into a pleased, kind, or amused expression, typically with the corners of the mouth turned up and the front teeth exposed.

Physiologically, I don’t think bass are able to smile based on the definition above as their mouth is built in a frown. I also suspect that they are not amused by a hook in the lip as they shake their head during the fight to rid themselves of the annoying lure. Bass do have teeth though as evidenced by a welcome fishing affliction known as “bass thumb” that results from the scraping of sandpaper-like teeth on an angler’s thumb.

Yes, bass do have teeth

While I would say that bass don’t smile, they sure put a happy face on the anglers (as do bluegill and crappie in the slideshow below).


And, just for fun, to get in my music fix, here are my Top 10 Smile/Smiling songs.

10. Keep On Smiling – Wet Willie (1974)

9. You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile – Annie (1977)

8. Smile a Little Smile for Me – The Flying Machine (1969)

7. Smiling Faces Sometimes – The Undisputed Truth (1971)

6. I Can’t Smile Without You – Barry Manilow (1977)

5. Smile – Uncle Kracker (2009)

4. Make Me Smile – Chicago (1970)

3. Your Smiling Face – James Taylor (1977)

2. Illegal Smile – John Prine (1971)

1. Sara Smile – Hall & Oates (1975)

Here’s to more smiles in 2023 as spring is upon us which means that the bass bite should be kicking into gear. Talk to you later. Troy

Hennepin Canal Report – March 5

Well, I am on the board with my first bass of 2023 after a recent outing courtesy of early open water. In fact, in terms of open water, I was able to make some casts in February which is unusual in my neck of the woods. However, three and a half hours of chasing those February bass resulted in zero bites. But that’s all water under the bridge as I post my first fishing report of 2023.

Date: March 5
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: 4:00pm-5:30pm
Totals: 1 bass
Weather: Partly cloudy/very windy
Lures: Strike King Red Eye Shad (red craw) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-0

Winning Lure

Notes and Nonsense

Bike Over Boat – While I had my boat on the water once in February, the conditions for this March trip were more conducive to bank fishing (high winds and limited time). As such, I aired up my bike tires, repaired my kickstand, drove to a stretch of The Canal that is conducive to bank fishing, and pedaled to a productive area. About twenty minutes into casting, I had my first bass of 2023. After another hour or so of fishing, it remains my only bass of 2023 as I could fool no others.

GoPro No Go – Earlier this year, I was able to obtain a replacement GoPro as my Hero9 Black model had ceased functioning. Unfortunately, the replacement device that was provided had issues of its own, shutting down repeatedly while recording. A resolution is in the works and hopefully I will be back on track for video once the bass bite and the weather begin to pick up.

The best I could muster with a faulty GoPro


Weedless – Prior to this outing, the earliest that I had ever fished The Canal was April 15 last year. The entire Canal is quite shallow, and many stretches become choked with surface vegetation by summertime. Of course, the fish don’t go anywhere but the vegetation gives them more places to hide and can make for some challenges with lure presentations. In contrast, early March finds The Canal waters wide open and quite appealing. Better weather will certainly change those conditions but will also see an uptick in bass activity. Such are some of the many variables that come into play in chasing these green fish.

It’s great to be on the board and a couple weeks ahead of the 2022 results as my first bass last year didn’t show up until March 20. Only 553 bass to go to top the 2022 results. That’s a tall order, and probably not realistic as 2023 may see some changes in time and approach. As always, stay tuned for the results. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Jim Junk is back with another impressive catch that leaves him one bass shy of having his initial Top 5 completed. Quite a start as we aren’t even to mid-March. Read on for the details on his latest submission.

Weight: 4-5
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 11
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless crankbait
Angler Comments: You could probably subtract twelve ounces and copy and paste the details from last week. Lipless crankbait on the second cast at the same spot and no other bites the rest of the time throwing various lures and presentations.
Top 5 Weight: 16-0 (5-1,4-5,3-9,3-1)

(NOTE: Our all-time Top 5 Bass total now stands at 973 as we push towards Bass #1000)

Well done, Jim, and here’s to that next submission being a four-pounder to push your initial Top 5 to the twenty-pound limit.

On a side note, the Top 5 Update will be moving to Fridays soon instead of the usual Monday post. This is to accommodate a new series that I hope to kick off this month. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Another pair of bass joined the Top 5 this past weekend with a real heavyweight from Fulton County and a first bass of the year from The Canal. Read on for the scoop.

Weight: 5-1
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 5
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless Crankbait
Structure: Flat
Angler Comments: This fish came on the second cast of the day throwing a lipless crankbait over a flat. Was really just starting to gauge the weed depth. Felt the lure pull off a weed and then she hit pretty hard. Landed and released with no issues.
Top 5 Weight: 11-11 (5-1,3-9,3-1)

Weight: 1-0 (13.5″)
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: March 5
Weather: Partly cloudy/very windy
Location: Hennepin Canal
Lure: Strike King Red Eye Shad (red craw)
Structure: Riprap
Angler Comments: Always exciting to get my first bass of the year and even better when it makes the grade to kick off my Top 5. Gotta start somewhere and sure happy to be on the board in 2023.
Top 5 Weight: 1-0 (1-0)

(NOTE: Our all-time Top 5 Bass total now stands at 972 as we push towards Bass #1000.)

Way to go, Jim, in adding our new Top Bass for 2023. And fun for me to land one over two weeks ahead of my first bass of 2022 (March 20). Hope to get my first 2023 fishing report out on the blog sometime this week and pondering another weekly blogging project, so stay tuned. Talk to you later. Troy