MLB Fishing All Stars – Battery

The lineup needs a trio to share mound duty and a reliable, tough receiver who is willing to don gear referred to as “the tools of ignorance” as he takes his spot behind the plate. Well, you’ve come to the right place for that MLB Fishing All-Star battery.

Right Handed Pitcher – Dock Ellis

MLB Notes: A quality pitcher, most notably with the Pirates, Ellis had his share of demons as his interesting bio includes trying to hit every batter in the Reds lineup (got the first three, walked the fourth and pulled after a pair of pitches at Johnny Bench’s head), getting maced at the ballpark and alleging that he was under the influence of LSD when he pitched a no-hitter on June 12, 1970. How about those 60s and 70s, folks? No mention of how many one-hitters for Ellis though…
Fishing Notes: Indeed his given name is “Dock” so he qualifies for the squad. Shady cover on the lake often littered with a brushpile or two can be winners. Used to get run off of one at Lake Bracken by a homeowner back in the day. Don’t recall it being especially productive, just fished it more for the adrenaline rush and potential debate. Much younger in those days.
Topps Notes: I, for one, dig those old drab colored, perhaps even ugly, uniforms as that’s a part of my childhood. Back in the days when uniforms were, well, rather uniform and not particularly flashy, simply the work wear of my heroes. But what’s up with the glove on Dock’s throwing hand in the 75 card (on right above)?

Left Handed Pitcher – Steve Trout

MLB Notes: Southpaw pitchers can just be a different sort and Steve “Rainbow” Trout fit the bill but I suppose that’s to be expected when folks called your major league pitching father “Dizzy.” His contribution to the 1984 Cubs club that was so close to the elusive World Series appearance solidified the hurler as an endeared member of those who wore the Cubbie blue.
Fishing Notes: Never caught one, but a no-brainer for our squad, with the added allure of his species specific nickname. Maybe have to do another one of these pieces someday as there’s a darn good namesake tearing up the American League these days.
Topps Notes: Trout took the mound for both clubs in The Windy City with his stint on the South Side in the midst of some interesting uniform styles.  He was a couple years late for the odd Chisox shorts experiment of 1976 but was on the roster for another strange bit of baseball history, Disco Demolition Night on July 12, 1979 (Google that one sometime as well as Cleveland’s Ten Cent Beer Night).

Relief Pitcher – Lindy McDaniel

MLB Notes: McDaniel was one of those guys at the end of a lengthy career just as I was getting into all things baseball. As such, I didn’t appreciate him and the likes of Claude Osteen, Vada Pinson, Rico Carty and others being more in tune with the stars of the day. Kind of fun to look back at the achievements of those who were old-timers over 40 years ago.
Fishing Notes: In terms of legendary lures, the Lindy Rig certainly deserves consideration for the All-Star list. The setup that took the walleye world by storm in the late 60s is still a mainstay among anglers to this day.
Topps Notes: The 1971 card on left above is an outstanding game shot with McDaniel poised on the mound, getting the sign in advance of the delivery with old Yankee Stadium full of fans looming in the background. Flat out cool.  The 1974 (on right above) and 1976 sets also featured a supplemental series documenting noteworthy late season trades.  

C – Milt May

MLB Notes: May was a reliable backstop for a number of clubs and a World Series winner with the 1971 Pirates. I also learned while researching this post that May has the distinction of driving in run number 1,000,000 in MLB history via a 3-run homer on May 4, 1975 that plated Bob Watson with the milestone run.
Fishing Notes: Every once in a while I get to put my biology degree to work and today is one of those days. In order to produce new fish, roe (fish eggs) are fertilized with milt and give you fry (that was one of our coaches, remember).
Topps Notes: Gotta dig the catcher pose as the bookends of the cards above (1973 on left and 1978 on right). Elected not to go for the squatting sweep by including the 1975 batting pose in the middle which was nearly the same as found on May’s 1976 card.

With these fellas toeing the rubber and their counterpart behind the dish, I have completed my MLB Fishing All Star squad. I certainly had a good time and no doubt left many players off of the roster. In fact, I just turned up a few more when poring over some of the handful of pre-1970s cards in the collection including the 1953 card pictured below in my sort of MLB Fishing All Star parting shot.

MLB Fisheries Biology 101.

Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – October 26, 2014

Well, it sure hasn’t looked much like October the last couple days as several inches of snow have graced the West Central Illinois landscape. Not a fan, but hey, at least its Friday so time for another fish story.

Originally posted 11-6-14 with the tagline: “A couple good bites save the day.”

I always look forward to the annual fall drawdown on Knox County’s Lake Storey.  The Monday after Labor Day is marked on my mental calendar as that is customarily when the plug is pulled, dropping the lake several feet for fishery management purposes.  The body of water can be a tough nut to crack but I eagerly await the challenge each year.  My first visit with Dad back on September 27 was a rough day but didn’t deter Brent and me from giving it another shot nearly a month later; here’s how it went.

8:59am – Brent posts our first bass on what would be a lean day.

Stats

Date: October 26, 2014
Location: Lake Storey
Time: 7:15am-1:15pm
Weather: Sunny/windy
Air Temp:  40-65F
Water Temp: 55F
Totals: 4 bass, 1 muskie
Lures Troy: Xcalibur XR50 lipless crankbait (chicken pox) – 1bass, Strike King KVD Rattling Squarebill Crankbait (natural pumpkinseed) – 1 muskie
Lures Brent: Emiquon Special spinnerbait – 2 bass, Muskrat style creature bait – 1 bass
Top Bass: Brent 3-11 Emiquon Special

A look at several lures that got the job done

Notes & Nonsense

Crowd – I’m kind of a loner when on the water as I would prefer not having to share with too many other anglers.  I’m not entirely antisocial but like my personal space when chasing bass and that comfort zone could accurately be measured in acres.  However, on this day I was pretty impressed with the number of fellow anglers who were taking a shot at various species.  There were guys chunking monster muskie plugs, run and gun or flipping bass fishermen, drifting and casting panfishermen and at least one bankfishing catfisherman.  We all behaved, gave plenty of leeway and from observation and conversation all seemed to be having a tough day.

How’s this for an inexpensive muskie bait?

Price is Right – In a world of $20+ muskie lures I’ve found quite a bargain.  My go to muskie bait is a Strike King KVD Rattling Squarebill crankbait in the Natural Pumpkinseed pattern that carries a price tag of around six bucks.  It’s got me a pair of mid 30” muskies this year including the latest pictured below.  And if not for some hesitation at boatside two years ago that lead to a break off, I would have landed another that would have easily surpassed the twenty pound mark.  Including the “one that got away” with my crankbait in its jaw, I guess these “muskie” lures have actually cost about twelve bucks.  Still a drop in the bucket compared to the several hundred dollars’ worth of muskie stuff I have that I never use.   Of course, each of these fish were bass fishing “accidents” but they all count in my book.

8:35am – my first fish of the day was nearly my only fish of the day

Juice – Our gameplan changed about mid-morning when Brent reported that the bow mount foot controlled trolling motor was not responding well.  Therefore, we switched it over to what is the starting battery for our gas motor as you can’t use it on Lake Storey anyhow.  I also had the spare trolling motor on the back with a moderately fresh battery that we use for “long” runs between our targets.  For once the wind was actually pushing us back to the ramp which was a bonus (normally kind of a Murphy’s Law thing no matter where we fish).  Being worried about enough juice we wound up skipping several go-to spots and hitting a number of other less inspiring possibilities.  While somewhat disappointing, it probably wouldn’t have mattered as it just wasn’t our day to get the bass figured out.

10:13am – Top Bass 18.5″ 3-11 on the Emiquon Special

Saving the Day – About midway through our day Brent set the hook on the fish above which would be our lone quality bass bite of the whole trip.   His bass came from an area that features the combination of a fair sized tree paired with riprap that had been catching some morning sun.  The depth was only about 2-3’ and shows that you can still get your shallow bites late in the year if the conditions cooperate.  It also shows that his legendary Emiquon Special spinnerbait can produce quality bites no matter where it goes.

11:35am – narrowly avoiding a bass shutout…very narrowly

Two trips comprising twelve hours of bass fishing on Lake Storey this year produced the meager results of two decent muskies and eight bass including a 1-11 and a 3-11. Maybe not the idea of a good time (or a good day) for some but that’s life on Lake Storey as the bass just don’t jump into the boat on most days.  No doubt we could have fared better on some strip mine ground which was Plan B for this particular trip if the wind was too much to manage.  But conditions were reasonable and Lake Storey won out as our destination along with winning the battle between bass and fishermen. And I’m okay with that.

While it looks like the snow will leave us alone for the extended forecast, the temps don’t look real pleasant. Call me a fair weather fisherman but the whole November bass to end the season thing is looking rather bleak. Talk to you later. Troy

Mossi and The Boss

During a recent session of internet wanderings I happened to see that an old Major League pitcher had passed away.

Don Mossi was age 90 (I think, more on that below) and played from 1954-1965 for the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Athletics, making the American League All-Star Team in 1957.

While he did receive considerable consideration as the southpaw for my “MLB Fishing All-Star Team” project last summer (click here), he was out voted in favor of Steve Trout. But with his surname representing an item that is both a boon and a bane to anglers, when I learned of his passing, I thought “there’s a blog post tribute here.”

Tell me who you’re gonna believe, Topps 1955 or Wikipedia 2019?

Somehow or another I have a 1955 Topps Don Mossi card in my collection. While this series hit the stores well before my time as a collector, I have long been a fan of the landscape design represented in this set. The orientation resurfaced in the Topps sets from 1971 through 1974 for individual player cards and with that timeframe being right in my wheelhouse I am certain that those sets are responsible for my fondness for such a cool variation.

I must add that the backs of ball cards have long held a fascination for a fellow once referred to as “stat boy” by some “friends.” In addition to the numbers, there’s also a wealth of info (useful and otherwise) in the form of cartoons, highlights and trivia that adorn the flipsides and still bring a grin. In fact, I learned a little something new from Mossi’s card as I failed the “You’re the Ump” quiz.

My original Moss Boss from the 80s (top) and a more recent purchase (bottom)

On the fishing front, I couldn’t help but recall a lure known as the Moss Boss that first entered my tackle collection in the mid-80s. This topwater spoon creation from Heddon Lures was a must have for a kid back in the days when the baitshop offerings weren’t quite so overwhelming. Actually, when there used to be a fair amount of what were called “baitshops.” Interestingly, my logs show only a lone record of a bass landed on the old Moss Boss although I’m pretty certain it achieved a bit more success along the way. However, like many other must haves, the original Moss Boss from the 80s currently finds itself relegated to the “Misfit” section of my substantially larger tackle collection along with a more recent purchase from several years ago. A purchase with good intentions as a blog project that has yet to come to fruition…maybe someday while today’s post will have to suffice for now.

This June 19, 1988 log entry is the only documented success I can find with a Moss Boss during my extensive research for today’s post

Anyway, RIP to Mr. Mossi and I appreciate anyone who elected to bear with me in my stroll down Memory Lane, always a great place to visit as you put a few more years behind.

And speaking of years, did any other card collectors in my age range marvel at how old some of these guys looked on cards back in the day? Mossi would have been 24-25 years old when this card was created. Holy cow! I guess it shows that while the 50s have been portrayed as a carefree sort of decade, life was still indeed tough, likely not near as glamorous as the old TV shows and nowhere near as technologically reliant and distracted as present day. Folks worked hard and ballplayers had off season jobs to make ends meet, a whole different ballgame.

Now, I don’t know the going rate for an online purchase of an old Don Mossi Topps card but I challenge you to invest a few bucks in a Moss Boss from the internet or sporting goods store fishing aisle and send me those Top 5 submissions that result from crawling that hunk of plastic over those mossy spots on your stomping grounds. Get the catches for this week in by tonight though as the latest Top 5 Update hits the blog tomorrow. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – July 23, 2004

Here’s a substantial excerpt from the original 2004 post (believe it or not I was even more longwinded back in those days).

For the third “Day On The Lake” installment we spend a “Day On The Lake With The Dads” since it was the first time I shared the boat with my Dad after becoming a father myself. Despite not fishing as much together this year, we didn’t miss a beat and had a little something else to talk about when the fish got uncooperative. This was our first outing this year together in the big boat and I selected my “home lake” as our destination. Lake Bracken has a 10 horsepower limit on bass boat outboards and we looked forward to testing out Dad’s new 9.9 HP motor during our trip. Here’s some chronology, stats and notes on our day.

Date: July 23, 2004
Location: Lake Bracken
Weather: Partly cloudy to sunny/breezy
Air temp: 65 F-70 F
H2O temp: 76F-81F
Time: 6:00am-1:00pm

6:00am: After securing the new motor and nearly figuring out how to adjust the tilt properly, we give up and just decide to hit the water figuring the motor will work fine and we’ll experiment later.

6:04am: Dad gets things started in a hurry as he boats our first bass of the day, a 12.5″ fish that weighs in right at a pound. The fish falls to QuadraShad spinnerbait (white) just east of The Boat Ramp along Ramp Road.

6:13am: Perfect timing as we catch a double for an audience. Dad’s bass wins at 12.5″ and hits on the same white spinnerbait. My 10″ bass gets me on the board and comes courtesy of a Mann’s 4- crankbait (blue/chartreuse). The couple that witness our catch are clearly impressed as they relate that the lady caught a six-pounder earlier in the week.

6:31am-6:35am: Two bass join the record book (barely) from Ramp Corner. I nail a 1-14 that slurps down a buzzbait near some scattered weed clumps. Dad follows up with a 1-8 on his trusty white spinnerbait.

6:40am-7:30am: We decide to test out the new motor and leave Ramp Road for Oak Cove. Once we figure out the choke, the motor starts right up although it could stand to be tilted a bit more towards a vertical position but we haven’t quite figured that maneuver out at this point. Oak Cove fails to produce so we motor to West Bay, another proven spot. Dad catches a short fish (under 12″) in West Bay and we elect to head towards the Dam.

7:50am-9:09am: Steep Cove and the Dam area produce five short bass on a Mann’s 4- (blue/chartreuse), a Texas rigged lizard (pumpkinseed) and a twister tail (smoke) fished on a 1/16 oz. jighead teamed with a spinner (silver).

9:15am-10:10am: Our best stretch of the day as we boat nine bass during a flurry of activity from Breezy Bluff to Stoner’s Cove. Seven of these bass hit on a Mann’s 4- crankbait (red shiner). However, the “one that got away” throws the lure during a second jump and Dad loses a possible 3 or 4 pounder part way to the boat.

11:32am-12:32pm: Following a long drought we catch four more short bass scattered around the lake as many proven spots just aren’t producing like normal. The Mann’s 4- accounts for three of these fish and the other comes on Dad’s ultralight jighead and twister tail with a spinner.

12:47pm-1:00pm: A final pass along Ramp Road nets Dad an 11″ bass on the Mann’s 4- (red shiner) and we call it a day. Overall, a decent haul quantity wise but lacking in overall quality. Enough to keep us interested but we had to work for our bites.

Statistics
Total Bass 25
Dad’s Bass 14
Troy’s Bass 11
Crankbaits 14
Spinnerbait 4
Twister tail 3
Buzzbait 1
Plastic lizard 1
Plastic worm 1
Jerkbait 1
Total weight (4 at 12” or better): 5-5

Notes
Grand Slam – Dad wins the species title as he achieves a “Grand Slam” of four species. His totals include 14 bass, 7 green sunfish, 5 bluegill and 1 crappie. My final totals are 11 bass and 5 crappie.

The Smoo & The Jinx – Midway through our trip, Dad busted out a Smoo crankbait that Bagley Lure Company designed in the mid to late 80’s. Coincidentally, that was probably the last time I saw one tied to someone’s line. His model had the added attraction of a red rear treble hook that he had attached in hopes of provoking a reaction from some otherwise disinterested bass. Unfortunately, he caught a bass on his first cast. All too often, this is the kiss of death and today was no exception as the lure failed to produce another fish. I can’t say I was real disappointed as my meager collection of Smoos were somewhere at home along with all the other lures that don’t work.

Secret Tip – Sometimes you have to talk the fish into biting. As bites were tough to come by, I decided to try something different from my arsenal, a Texas rigged plastic worm. A proven bass weapon, but requiring more patience and finesse than I am typically willing to expend. I had just finished saying, “I haven’t caught one on a plastic worm for a long time” when I got a hit. After a solid hookset, we had another fish in the boat. Making statements such as this requires a great deal of practice and anglers must resist the urge to employ them at the wrong time. Sometimes I wonder if I should actually give these tips away for free.

Tackle – Although crankbaits led the way, a number of lures were employed to get our bites. In all, eight different lures combined to boat our 25 bass. Such diversity got me wondering about just how much tackle we’d packed along to fool the fish. Final count on rods and reels was thirteen, including a pair of ultralight rigs for panfish. As far as lures and equipment, I decided to weigh all of our tackleboxes. The grand total was just over 40 pounds, including my “ultralight” tacklebox that weighed nearly ten pounds. Believe it or not, we actually had room in the boat for lifejackets, lunchboxes, a spare battery and two anglers.

Like Son, Like Father – “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” as the saying goes. Having nailed five bass in a half hour on my Mann’s 4- (red shiner), I was not surprised to see the guy in the back of the boat tie on the same model from his tacklebox. Not long afterwards, he was rewarded with a strike from the “one that got away” mentioned previously. I’m sure things have worked the other way around in the past, but there’s always a little extra satisfaction being copied. It’s hard to cast humility aside in such instances and refrain from bragging or giving your fishing partner a little grief. And…since I write the stories, I get a chance to boast to everyone else as well.

Happy Birthday To Me – This fishing trip was kind of my birthday present to myself, as I turned 37 sometime that day. Prior to this trip, I’d been on the water three times for a combined three and a half hours since April 19th. Rather than fishing, I’d spent my free time mowing rich people’s yards for some extra cash, trying to be an understanding husband and contemplating fatherhood. Come July 1st, a 7-4 “keeper” became the most important thing in our world. After nearly a month off work, doing my best to lend moral support to Julie, I decided to be a little selfish on my birthday and go fishing. What better way to wet a line than with “Papa”? Though he’s been “Papa” for nearly three years, it’s an added bonus when he’s “Papa” to my kid.

A definite winner in terms of quantity although quality bites were severely lacking. But then again, does it really matter when you spend part of your birthday on an old favorite fishing hole with your dad? Talk to you later. Troy

Emiquon Pitfall #7 – Juice

Did I ever mention that Emiquon is a unique fishing hole?

Sure I did, nearly every time I wrote about it I referenced that fact. But it wasn’t only unique in regards to the phenomenal bass fishing. If you read the rules and regulations prior to hitting the water (as you always should), you found that it was also unique in different respects. Today’s pitfall explores one of those aspects.

Originally posted 8-19-10

As I worked my way through the list it made sense in my mind to have juice follow slime. But in this case, juice refers to the electricity needed to power a trolling motor. Most places I’ve fished over the years prior to encountering Emiquon rarely made me think twice about using up a battery. On farm ponds and strip pits I usually relied on a pair of oars anyway as it was often unnecessary and inconvenient to have to haul the extra gear. And when using Dad’s Bass Tracker on larger trolling motor only waters we typically have an extra battery, a spare trolling motor and the gas outboard in case of emergency.

Of course, the gas motor plan is out the window at Emiquon as they are not even allowed on your boat. On one outing last year we also discovered that our trolling motor was broken prior to launching which was frustrating at the time but really good timing in the big picture. That situation led us to routinely taking the repaired motor as a backup to the new motor that Dad purchased after a wild goose chase that day. In addition, we also take a spare battery.

The vast expanse of water can tempt you to wander a long way from the lone ramp. Throw in some wind and weeds and your setup can get a real workout. Thus it is important to make sure you have plenty of juice before setting out. I’ve seen several boats limping back to the ramp or even being towed and have worried at times that I was going to wind up in the same boat, so to speak. If all else fails, make sure to invest in a good set of oars in case you need to resort to manpower. However, by the end of a long day on the water I’ve often found that to be in short supply as well.

The next Pitfall is one of the major reasons you need a lot of juice. But before we get to that item we’ll take a break for another Top 5 Update so stop on by tomorrow for your fishing fix. Talk to you later. Troy

2018 Fishing Video Recap – Top Bass

Anybody’s mother-in-law ever bought ‘em a dipnet?

Just thought that I’d throw that out there because mine just did this past Christmas.

Could’ve used it on this bass from last April as I’m not as eager (or brave) as I used to be when reaching down to lip a mouth full of treble hooks. Instead, I’ve taken to using a Boga Grip and while some may question the tool for landing fish that will have to be a debate for another day.

Besides, I’ve taken to packing along the dipnet to start 2019. Never even got a bite to try it out. Of course, I’ll blame it on the frigid and uncommon open water during the first week of January as opposed to the tool being some sort of jinx. However, come spring if I’m still getting shut out, well, I’m headed for Quincy, IL to say “thanks but no thanks.” I believe it will all work out just fine though.

 

 

Today’s clip features a catch that had me wondering if it would work out fine as that bass was sure thrashing about trying to dislodge my crankbait. In addition, I’d had a less than stellar day and confidence really wasn’t riding high that this one was going to stay hooked.

In fact, I was struggling so much that I didn’t even have my GoPro turned on when I hooked into this bass. Instead, I performed the ill-advised trick of pushing the “Go” button as I was fighting the fish in a desperate attempt to get some footage. Luck was on my side and I was able to shoot this video of what would be my third largest bass of the year.

So what about the footage of my Top 2?

Well, there is no such video as my GoPro was experiencing technical difficulties during a September outing when those bass were caught along with a five-pounder caught by my brother, Brent. Just bad timing as good, old photographic evidence had to suffice.

A couple other big bass that I witnessed also eluded video documentation while fishing with Brent. Not that he forbade me to film his prowess, more like a couple items called TMI and NEB.

TMI = Too Much Information – there are some spots I prefer not to film or reveal.

NEB = Not Enough Battery – can only shoot about 75 minutes with current GoPro setup.

Indeed a little disappointing if I miss getting video of some good catches but nothing that I lose any sleep over. After all, I spent a lot of years casting without ever thinking that I could make my own “fishin’ show” much less share it with the whole world. Well, in theory at least. Talk to you later. Troy

2018 Fishing Video Recap – The Intros

Beginning in October of the 2018 season I took to recording intro videos on my drive to the fishing hole. Those intros primarily consisted of a mix of fishing forecasts, breakfast banter and trip tunes as I enjoyed the solitude of a solo ride.

During those rides, anything is possible and the anticipation runs high as you dream of what lies in store once you hit the water. Old stories are relived and the day’s gameplan is hashed out based on some of those old tales as well as the multitude of other variables that we anglers often overthink.

Nothing too serious in my pre-cast preludes though as the outdoor escapes are all about having fun and getting away from all of the serious stuff that goes along with being a grownup. But mixed in with the lightheartedness one can also find a dash of fishing know how and even some sentimentality. Both of those aspects go a long way towards explaining why I’ve spent the last seventeen years telling “fish stories” via the internet.

Two minute montage of my two cents en route to the fishing hole on several trips last fall.

 

The alliterative tagline for this latest internet venture reads “Fish, fur, family, friends, fun…and some foolishness” but it could just as easily offer up that the goal is to “educate, enlighten and entertain.” Hopefully the addition of the intro video feature on my outings provides at least a little of each of those last three items.

To date, the intro concept has been pretty basic with no cameraman, no script and no filter. Just turn the GoPro on and rattle off as it rattles along the dashboard with the bumps in the road. I am mindful to keep it contained these days however, as attention spans just ain’t what they used to be. Truth be known though, I believe that I could talk fishing all the way from the Quad Cities to the Knox County strip mines and back (the back part is a video clip for another day). Fortunately, for anyone who prefers the fishing over the rambling I’ve only got so much juice in the GoPro battery so I must conserve it just in case the bass decide to help me out.

Some of those instances are coming your way next as the recap continues. Talk to you later. Troy

First Day of Christmas

…a new transistor radio.

I really have no idea how old my old radio is but it’s certainly old enough to say that it has seen better days. It features a busted handle, no antenna, a finicky on/off switch and a slightly corroded (but still functional) battery compartment. None of these items put it out of commission but sometimes you do have to wiggle that on/off switch to get it back in gear or sit with your finger on the broken antenna hole to get a station in tune.

So, as tough as it is to replace, the time has come. Actually, I probably won’t throw the old one out but will just use it in one of the few spots that are radio free at home. The most likely location would be my little basement corner of the world where I occasionally retreat to compose and peruse my archive of logs, notes, photo albums and other stuff.

You know, if I do use that old radio for basement coverage I should pretty much have a seamless transition around our locale. You see, I’m much more of a radio than television guy as evidenced by our home featuring at least a 10:2 radio to television ratio. I can go from room to room to garage to deck to driveway to vehicle and even to bicycle without a loss of radio coverage via strategically placed devices. While I often go days or weeks without turning on the television, radio is a constant daily companion in the home and on the road and it’s been that way for as long as I can remember.

I’ll try not to keep you too long on these posts as I’m sure you’ve got better things to do. But before I sign off on this first day of Christmas, just for fun, let’s have a look at my Top 11 songs that have “Radio” in the title (couldn’t make a cut for a Top 10).

Top Radio Songs

11. Mexican Radio – Wall of Voodoo (1983)
“I wish I was in Tijuana, eating barbequed iguana.”

10. Life Is a Rock but the Radio Rolled Me – Reunion (1974)
“Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me.”

9. There Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong with the Radio – Aaron Tippin (1992)
“The older she gets, the slower we go but there ain’t nothin’ wrong with the radio.”

8. Turn up The Radio – Autograph (1984)
“Turn up the radio, I need the music, give me some more.”

7. Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio – The Ramones (1980)
“Do you remember lyin’ in bed with the covers pulled up over your head?”

6. The Spirit of Radio – Rush (1979)
“Begin the day with a friendly voice, a companion unobtrusive.”

5. Video Killed the Radio Star – The Buggles (1979)
“Lying awake intently tuning in on you.”

4. Listen to the Radio – Don Williams (1982)
“The songs they play, that’s how I really feel, so, listen to the radio.”

3. I Watched it All on my Radio – Lionel Cartwright (1990)
“At the crack of the bat, I knew how far it’d go and I watched it all on my radio.”

2. Radio Land – Michael Martin Murphey (1984)
“I remember summer evenings, late night rock and roll.”

1. Radio Gaga – Queen (1984)
“Let’s hope you never leave old friend.”

New radio or old radio, here’s to more Cubs games while rowing around the strip mines, classic Casey Kasem countdowns over breakfast at a picnic table and late night rock and roll around a campfire with one of the best old friends anyone could ask for. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – October 29, 2013

We don’t travel too far back in time this week with a look at a 2013 visit to Eureka Lake in Woodford County, Illinois. I’d always wanted to give the 30-acre fishing hole a look but just couldn’t pull the trigger despite reading some high praise and seeing some solid fish pics over the years (including a double-digit bass). Well, leave it to a fall drawdown to push me to finally get it done as the secrets revealed when the fisheries managers pull the plug are too much to resist.

Here’s an excerpt from the original post submitted on my former blogging gig almost exactly five years ago today (11-1-13).

During my regular fishing related wandering around the internet a couple weeks ago I learned that Woodford County’s Eureka Lake was in the process of a fall drawdown. A report of a lowered lake is music to my ears and I started checking the calendar and the weather forecast for a chance to introduce myself to some bass I’ve never met. Earlier this week things worked out allowing me to meet a handful of the inhabitants and learn a few of Eureka’s normally hidden secrets.

Original log entry from the trip

Stats
Date: October 29, 2013
Location: Eureka Lake
Time: Noon-3:00pm
Weather: Overcast/windy (from southeast)
Air Temp: 45-57F
Water Temp: 48F
Totals: 3 bass
Lures: Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 2 bass, Yum Crawdad Texas rigged – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-3 tie (one on each of above lures)
Weight (2 bass at 12” or better): 2-6 (1-3, 1-3)

12:02pm – instant feedback but wouldn’t pan out to be a real hot bite on this cool day

Notes & Nonsense

The Launch – The lake has been lowered in order to facilitate ramp renovations so getting a boat launched required an alternate plan. I’d picnicked at the lake with Julie and whatever kids we had at the time several years ago but I really couldn’t recall what would work best for dragging in my eight foot johnboat. I wound up finding a spot near the dam that was suitable in terms of solid footing on the exposed lake bottom but it involved a 50-60 yard drag down and up a decent hill. It took three trips each way but I was able to haul in the boat, oars, a battery, trolling motor, anchor, too much tackle, life jacket, boat cushion, five rods, a tripod and a bottle of Gatorade. As I write this, my back still twinges when I bend a certain way but other than that it wasn’t too bad. I was the only boat on the lake which made me feel extra tough as well.

1:00pm – Top Bass (tie) at 13″ and 1-3 on a Yum Crawdad

The Plan – I like to fish fast if I can get away with it and knowing I only had three hours to explore the 30 acre lake had me hoping I could find some active bass in the 48 degree water.  Two minutes into casting I had some feedback on a Red Eye Shad and I was pretty much committed for the day, for better or worse.  I did slow down around some wood in a number of spots but it was largely a lipless crankbait, spinnerbait and crankbait attack.  If I had another shot and more time to invest on the water I would probably slow down more.  But I likely won’t get a revisit this year and for this trip I really couldn’t intricately pick apart pieces of the lake and still see all that I wanted to see.

Tough day when you have to post a pic of a dead one but sure would have liked to have found it during its better days (1/4 oz Red Eye Shad for comparison)

Ones That Got Away – About midway into the trip something real heavy stopped my Red Eye Shad dead and plowed towards deeper water. Several seconds later it just let go and left me kind of bummed thinking that I‘d missed my shot at a real good bass. However, twenty minutes later I was battling a similar strike that had me all around the boat before surfacing to reveal that it was a big old carp (maybe 12-14 pounds) that was snagged in the back. I had no dipnet and no idea how I would get the thing landed and really was just hoping that it wouldn’t bust my 12 pound test and take my lure. After a good battle the lure safely dislodged and I wasn’t particularly disappointed as it was great fight while it lasted and I still had my Red Eye Shad. A fellow was walking his dog on the shoreline and we had a laugh as he said he thought that fish was going to wind up pulling me all around the lake in that little boat. I had another similar brief lure stopping encounter later that I chalked up to the same species and it left me feeling a whole lot better about that first lost fish, thinking it wasn’t a lunker bass after all. I did lose a bass at boatside on the Yum Crawdad that would have been my Top Bass although at best it may have pushed two pounds.

Interestingly, Eureka Lake is in the midst of another drawdown five years later. This time around it is to deal with the overpopulation of those carp that I snagged into and also features a complete rehabilitation of the fishery. In layman’s terms that means a total fish kill or a do over as Illinois Department of Natural Resources knocked out the remaining fish population once the lake was drawn down to more of a puddle. It sounds like the plan is to reintroduce various species in 2019 followed by a catch and release phase before establishing size and creel limits. If you are in the neighborhood I would certainly recommend taking a peek at the exposed structure revealed by the substantial drawdown as that sort of thing doesn’t happen very often. There are some killer stumps out there that could pay dividends for you down the road. Send me some pics as I don’t figure that I’ll get down that way for a look of my own. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – October 13, 2008

Original log entry from 10/13/2008

Back to Lake Storey and only one day shy of exactly ten years ago. This outing was one of the annual visits to the “home lake” with Dad. I too had a solid handle on being a dad but kind of only half the dad that I am these days. Only two little girls at the time, didn’t know that they’d have a couple little brothers on the way. Much has changed on the family front, but in regards to the fishing hole it still resides at the top of the list thanks to the angling challenges, exciting rewards, aesthetic appeal and personal history. Read on for a sample of these characteristics as conveyed via excerpts from the original 2008 fishing report.

This outing and the actual lures from the trip are older than this boy (and his big brother)

10-13-08
Lake Storey (with Dad)
Time: 8:40am-2:10pm
Weather: Overcast/breezy
Dad – 12 bass 1 Muskie (20”)
Troy – 8 bass 1 walleye (4-14)
Lures
Bomber Flat A in baby bass pattern (also 1 muskie & 1 walleye) – 9 bass
Zoom Super Hog (watermelon seed) – 9 bass
Quad Shad Spinnerbait (white) – 2 bass
Top Bass – Dad 3-0 Troy 1-13
Top 5 weight 8-3 (3-0,1-13,1-4,1-3,0-15)

Solid 4-14 walleye but three pounds lighter than another Lake Storey catch a week and a half earlier

Challenge and Reward, Part I – The second quality walleye “accident” of October tipped the scales at 4-14; a very good fish that kind of paled a bit in comparison when following up a near eight pounder.

Top Bass for the day was Dad’s 3-0 on a Zoom Super Hog creature bait

Challenge and Reward, Part II – This outing and a series of earlier fishing trips produced a handful of new entries for the record book. Eight bass gained entry with Dad’s 3-0 taking Top Bass honors. All eight came from Lake Storey as the strip mines just couldn’t compete with Galesburg’s “home lake” when it was in the midst of the annual fall drawdown.

Aesthetic Appeal, Part I – The drawdown drops the lake level several feet leaving a great deal of structure (trees, stumps, rockpiles, weeds and docks) high and dry. This drastically limits the amount of hiding places for smaller forage fish and allows the larger predators to stock up as we head towards colder weather. Theoretically, this management tool will help sustain a healthy fishery. For the angler, the drawdown provides a glimpse under the surface that can be helpful in targeting the fish when the lake reaches its normal pool in the spring. In addition, it makes any remaining subsurface structure a potential magnet for baitfish which, in turn, attracts predators such as bass, walleye and muskie. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to reap the rewards and I would say the practice is working just fine.

I like pics of any toothy critter so Dad humored me for this juvenile catch (cool drawdown background too)

Aesthetic Appeal, Part II – During my trips to Lake Storey I observed a pair of our most impressive birds of prey. First up was an osprey that I watched as it plummeted to the water’s surface while harvesting an unsuspecting fish for lunch. Next was a bald eagle, the first I’ve seen at Lake Storey. I have also spotted a few at Lake Bracken and Snakeden over the years, testimony to the marked recovery of the species.

Personal History – Twice I ran out of battery power and had to utilize the gas motor to get back to the ramp. While it’s against regulations, desperate times call for desperate measures. Ain’t the first time I had to pull the stunt as one other time Brent and I had to fire up the big motor to escape a storm that snuck up on us.

Chalk up another successful outing and a few more fish stories from Lake Storey

Actually, this stuff all fits under the personal history category and cool when it overlaps with Dad’s personal history in this case or other fishing partners in other instances. Stories to be told again and again and always a treat when you share the adventure as each person recalls some different aspect of the same tale. More than a few such stories from Lake Storey. In fact, another Friday Flashback from the lake coming next week. Hope you’ll tune in and talk to you later. Troy