Author: Troy Jackson

Friday Flashback – October 22, 2003

A late season doubleheader is today’s flashback feature. I looked it up and turns out that October 22, 2003 was a Wednesday back in the days where I had an odd work schedule which provided for many weekday days off. Pretty cool in retrospect and still kind of miss that aspect of my former job. You’ve gotta like being out fishing when most everybody else is at work. Looks like the day started tough for Dad and I at Little John Conservation Club as noted in the stats and comments from the original report.

Original log entry from this pair of trips

10/22 Long Lake & Club Lake-Little John
Angler(s): Me & Dad
Time: 8:05 am-12:15 pm
Bass: 8
Lures: Jig (brown) with split double tail trailer (black)
Rapala Rattlin’ Rap (brown craw)
Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait
Vibra Shaft spinnerbait (blue glimmer)
Rebel Ghost Minnow
Spinnerbait (white)
Top Bass: 1-0 Troy Vibra Shaft spinnerbait (blue glimmer)
Highlights: Dad lost a nice fish on Club Lake while fishing a jig near the beach. The fish put a nice bend in his pole and despite a solid hookset, let go of the lure before we got a look. Dad nearly lost something else too, as one of my extra strength hooksets caused my lure to leave the water and nail him just below the belt.

Another interesting aspect of fishing back in 2003 was that if the bass didn’t cooperate in the morning, I often had a chance to try it again in the afternoon. No kids kind of afforded free time like that and I took advantage on this day with a quick hit on a legendary, local farm pond.

4:55pm 21.5″ 3-5 Jig & Pig on The Beaver Lodge, kind of a sickly looking fish, topic for another day…

10/22 Emstrom’s Pond
Angler(s): Me
Time: 4:50 pm-6:05 pm
Bass: 4
Lures: Jig (black/blue) with twin tail trailer (black)
Mepps #5 (rainbow trout/white)
Top Bass: 3-9 Jig (also caught a 3-5 on jig)
Highlights: Two bass over three pounds on the jig while fishing The Beaver Lodge will make anyone’s day. I’m glad I didn’t give up after a fairly tough morning at Little John.

5:40pm 20″ 3-9 Jig & Pig on The Beaver Lodge once again, a classic piece of structure that’s also a story for another day… 

Boy, how times have changed. Weekday mornings now begin with Julie and me assisting four youngsters prior to them heading off to school and today our afternoon/evening didn’t end until about 8:30pm. A dentist appointment (complete with tooth extraction) for one of the boys, two parent/teacher conferences (had to skip a third due to lack of time), Julie actually conducted conferences all evening too from the teacher side and birthday gift shopping in advance of one of the boys heading to a local trampoline park for a party, Oh yeah, had to feed these people in the midst of all that stuff and then get the boys ready for an overnight visit to my folks as they are out of school due to more parent/teacher conferences. We’re scheduled for 7:45am. I’d say thank goodness its Friday but it really doesn’t matter as weekends are often just as busy. Funny how times change and you just hold on and try to stay in control and in the saddle for the weekly ride. Talk to you later. Troy


Lake Lowdown – Lake Storey 10/19/18


Nearly waited too long to get around to the Lake Lowdown project for 2018 and darn near missed out on my shot to fish Lake Storey as well. But it all worked out in the end as both items came together last week and did not disappoint.

This time around I brought my brother, Brent, along on the project for the first time since the inaugural stab at the concept back in 2002 on Knox County, Illinois’ Lake Bracken. Sixteen years later we teamed up again, kicking the challenge up a notch with a visit to a public fishing hole. And a historically tough one at that.

Welcome to Lake Lowdown 2018 on Knox County Illinois’ Lake Storey.

Date: October 19, 2018
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 9:15am-3:00pm
Weather: Overcast/windy to very windy/spell of light to heavy rain
Air Temp: a cold 50-52F
Water Temp: 54-55F

Catch by Catch

Bass #1 – 9:39 am 8” Mann’s Baby 1- Crankbait (rainbow)
Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait too long to long to put the shutout behind us as the first bass came aboard just over 20 minutes into casting. Not quite as quick as the previous day when I nabbed a bass on my first cast and not a trophy but hey, we’re on the board.

Bass #2 – 9:44am 17” 2-7 The Emiquon Special spinnerbait
It doesn’t take long for Brent to work some spinnerbait magic with his legendary creation. This quality Lake Storey fish comes from some manmade structure and weighs nearly a pound more than anything from my previous day on the water. But it comes with a price as it destroys the skirt on Brent’s best bait and he has no spare in tow.

Bass #3 – 10:08am 15” 1-5 Tandem spinnerbait (white) with hammered copper blades
While he had to shift gears to a backup spinnerbait, Brent doesn’t miss a beat with another solid bass from the back of a shallow cove. Another handmade bait is his replacement with a white skirt and tandem, hammered, copper blades. And to anybody who is reading this and is under the age of 20, well, that bait has probably been around longer than you have. Still works, though.

Bass #4 – 10:46am 12.5” 1-3 Booyah Blade spinnerbait (white/chartreuse)
Back on the spinnerbait bite that fooled 13 bass the previous day after messing around with some unproductive crankbait casts on this morning.

Bass #5 – 11:00am 11.5” Tandem Spin
Brent has donned his coveralls at this point as the wind has really chilled things out despite the temperature remaining stable in the low 50s. More on his attire in a later post as I milk this Lake Storey thing across a few blog entries.

Bass #6 – 11:16am 13” 1-3 Tandem Spin
A mysterious figure lurks in the background as the rain begins to come down and we kick ourselves for not bringing rain gear as we bought the forecast of no precipitation. We were taught better by that fellow looming back there on the bank.

Bass #7 – 11:58am 8.5” Tandem Spin
After a rain delay with Dad as we made a run for his truck (actually Brent’s as we had Dad’s), Brent wasted no time getting us back on the board. We are damp, cold and the wind is even chillier. But the bass are still biting.

Bass #8 – 12:02pm 14.5” 1-9 Strike King 2.5 Rattlin’ Squarebill Crankbait (sexy shad)
Not wanting Brent to have all the fun, my Top Bass for the day comes on board as I shift to a crankbait bounced around some rocks. I’d like to say it warmed me up a bit but nope, still the occasional shiver. This one completes our combined Top 5 and puts us at 7-11 and time to start culling.

Bass #9 – 12:08pm 8.5” Booyah Spinnerbait
Not much of a bass but my only back to back catches on a day ruled by the guy in the front of the boat. Any sort of advantage that his positioning may have offered is tempered by the fact that I am confident that he would have outfished me from the back of the boat as well.

Bass #10 – 12:11pm 7.5” Tandem spinnerbait
Brent lays claim to both the smallest and largest bass of the day with this catch. He would best one end of that spectrum before the day was done so don’t give up on this post quite yet.

Bass #11 – 12:37pm 14” 1-7 Booyah Spinnerbait
Top 5 boost up to 7-15 as this one boots our 1-3. Oh yeah, Dad came to the rescue in a return with some raingear which is a very welcome windbreaker on the blustery day.

Bass #12 – 1:05pm 15” 1-8 Tandem Spin
Brent moves our Top 5 up by five ounces to 8-4 as we make a second stop on a productive stretch following a shutout on another go to area.

Bass #13 – 1:09pm 14” 1-7 Tandem Spin
Brent boosts us another couple ounces to 8-6 in displacing our 1-5. Watch out as he is starting to heat up. Fellow Top 5 angler, John Kirkemo, fishes in the distance after our second visit of the day to compare notes. More on our meeting in another batch of notes from this outing later this week.

Bass #14 1:24pm 12” 0-10 Booyah Spinnerbait
Spinnerbait Bassing 101 as multiple casts to a laydown that runs perpendicular to the bank finally gives up a bite. Lake Storey 101 if it looks good work it over good as a lot of those bass need some “convincing” before they strike.

Bass #15 – 1:36pm 20” 4-11 Tandem Spin
A new Lake Storey record for family and friends eclipsing the 4-8 which had stood since 2007. Lake Storey 101 again as Brent had beat this spot to death with his spinnerbait before this brute decided to eat it. Just an awesome fish as Lake Storey bass of this size don’t come around every day, no matter who you are. And how about that cull? Our Top 5 moves to 11-10 with a gain of over three pounds.

Bass #16 – 2:40pm 7.5” Strike King Squarebill
This Dam fish (that’s the location so don’t get up in arms over any questionable language) was my final bass of the day and tied me for the lead in the “Smallest Bass of the Day” category. Too chilled and beat for a celebratory fist pump though as the cold wind just continues to howl.

Bass #17 – 2:52pm 18” 3-8 Tandem Spin
Our plan was to fish until 3:00pm but after Brent landed another Lake Storey winner he decided that it was a fitting way to end his day. I agreed and we put our poles away and headed for the ramp (not many yards away) after a solid last cast bass. And a last cull gains us just over two pounds to finish the day with a Top 5 of 13-11.

Totals: 17 bass (Brent – 10 bass, Troy – 7 bass)
Lures – Troy
Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (chartreuse/white shad) – 4 bass
Strike King KVD 2.5 Rattling Squarebill Crankbait (sexy shad) – 2 bass
Mann’s Baby 1- Crankbait (rainbow) – 1 bass
Lures – Brent
Tandem Spinnerbait (white) w/ hammered blades (copper) – 9 bass
The Emiquon Special Spinnerbait (brown/orange) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 4-11 Brent on a Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 13-11 (4-11,3-8,2-7,1-9,1-8)

There you have it, Lake Lowdown for 2018 and many thanks to Brent for making it a rousing success. A little longwinded perhaps, but I’ve been known to do that sort of thing. However, I’d have to say blame it on the bass as they were quite generous to a couple fellows who have been chasing them for a long time.

Friday Flashback up tomorrow and some more notes on Lake Storey hopefully this weekend. Also have a Top 5 Update coming your way on Monday and still need to work in my latest fishing report from a strip mine visit earlier this week. Too much fishing and not enough time to write but I know that luxury is about to change. Talk to you later. Troy



Lake Lowdown Revisited

After a lengthy hiatus, I reintroduced a project last year that I called “Lake Lowdown” to coincide with kicking off my own website (snip from the 2017 post below). As a refresher, here is a little background on the project followed by some stats to get you up to speed in advance of the 2018 version hitting the blog.

This whole thing started with my stab at fishing reports aimed at mirroring a monthly Bassmaster magazine feature entitled “Day on the Lake.” The monthly article places a pro on an unfamiliar lake and documents the highs and lows in chronological fashion as they spend seven hours on the water trying to figure things out.

From 2002 thorough 2009 I posted seven such reports featuring either Dad or my brother, Brent, as my fishing partner. Our version of these reports differ from the pros as we have fished known locations (with one exception in 2007) and I also photograph and document the details of every bass we land for usage in the final product. While I sure dig the Bassmaster version, I much prefer our reports. Not only because it’s firsthand experience but also because it’s the real deal with a couple guys in 30 or 40 year old boats using whatever fishing gear they’ve amassed since the 80’s and showing you every fish, not just the big ones thrust out at arm’s length as close to the photographer as possible (yes, I have been guilty in the past but these days I make sure to bend them elbows). I’d like to think that it is something to which more than a few fellow bass anglers can relate.

So, I brought the project back last year in conjunction with having my own blog and the 2017 outing wound up being a rousing success. However, I did note the following on the heels of the 2017 outing which took place on private waters.

In the interest of further promoting “regular guy” fishing we do probably need to pull this stunt on public water more often although the bass just don’t jump in the boat at any of our stomping grounds, still takes some work.

Well, we went “public” in 2018 as you will see in tomorrow’s report.

But for today, we take a look at a brief rundown of some of the numbers from each of our previous stabs at this project.

July 9, 2002 with Brent at Lake Bracken (private)
7.50 hours and 37 bass (Troy = 20 Brent = 17)
Top Bass: 1-9 Troy Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 5-12 (1-9,1-3,1-1,1-0,0-15)

June 13, 2003 with Dad at Lake Bracken (private)
5.25 hours and 35 bass (Troy = 19 Dad = 16)
Top Bass: 3-3 Dad Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 8-0 (3-3,2-2,1-1,0-14,0-12)

July 23, 2004 with Dad at Lake Bracken (private)
7.00 hours and 25 bass (Dad = 14 Troy = 11)
Top Bass: 1-14 Troy Buzzbait
Top 4 Weight (only 4 at 12” or better): 5-5 (1-14,1-8,1-0,0-15)

July 13, 2005 with Dad at Lake Bracken (private)
7.50 hours with 20 bass (Dad = 11 Troy = 9)
Top Bass: 2-7 Troy Senko wacky rig
Top 5 Weight: 6-8 (2-7,1-5,1-1,0-14,0-13)

May 9, 2007 with Dad Snakeden Hollow strip pit (public)
2.0 hours with 21 bass
Top Bass: 1-11 Dad Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 7-1 (1-11,1-10,1-8,1-3,1-1)

June 16, 2008 with Dad at Lake Bracken (private)
6.50 hours with 38 bass (Dad = 26 Troy = 12)
Top Bass: 3-7 Dad Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 14-2 (3-7,3-5,2-13,2-9,2-0)

September 21, 2009 with Dad at Lake Storey (public)
7.00 hours with 15 bass (Dad = 8 bass Troy = 7 bass)
Top Bass: 2-10 Troy Creature Bait
Top 5 Weight: 8-11 (2-10,1-10,1-10,1-9,1-4)

July 8, 2017 with Dad at Little John Conservation Club (private)
3.50 hours with 17 bass (Troy – 10 bass Dad = 7 bass)
Top Bass: 5-0 Troy Buzzbait
Top 5 Weight: 12-4 (5-0,3-5,1-8,1-4,1-3)

8 outings
46.25 hours
208 bass
Top Bass: 5-0 Troy 7/8/17 Buzzbait
Daily Top 5 Weight Record: 14-2 Lake Bracken 6/16/08
All-Time Top 5 Weight: 18-4 (5-0,3-7,3-5,3-5,3-3)

So there you have the basis, background and up to date recap regarding the project deemed “Lake Lowdown.” Tune in tomorrow for the 2018 version and talk to you later. Troy



Lake Storey Report October 18


Finally able to work in a Lake Storey trip for 2018 as I was starting to wonder if I would be able to get it done before the weather got too ugly for me. It took the investment of a pair of vacation days but certainly worth it for back to back days on my “home lake.” The first of the two reports coming at you below and happy to say some productive days on a longtime favorite fall fishing destination.


Date: October 18, 2018
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 10:20am-4:35pm
Weather: Sunny/breezy to windy
Air Temp: 44-61F
Water Temp: 54-58F
Totals: 13 bass
Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (chartreuse/white shad) – 13 bass
Top Bass: 1-8 Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 6-2 (1-8,1-6,1-2,1-1,1-1)

1:03pm Top Bass 14.5″ 1-8 Spinnerbait

Notes & Nonsense

First Cast – Lake Storey can be a stingy lake at times as it supports a population of smart bass that get their education via a steady stream of angling pressure. So when you launch your boat, do your best intro, describe a historically productive spot and then proceed to catch a bass on your first cast of the day, all you can do is laugh at your good fortune. And while I’ve often viewed the “first cast bass” as a potential bit of bad luck, all worked out just fine on this day. Video of the catch below.


Shifting Gears – After nabbing that first cast bass on a spinnerbait, I kept on tossing it around my regular stops and it kept on getting bit. Now I’m not normally a spinnerbait guy on Lake Storey (that would be my brother Brent’s gig as we will see in the next report) as I lean towards more of a crankbait bite. But there’s no way I’m going to alter my offering when the bass are telling me that they want a spinnerbait. Yes, even as a creature of habit, I’m not that stubborn. For proof, the spinnerbait caught every fish on this outing as my brief foray into other offerings (crankbaits, creature baits and lipless cranks) proved to be unproductive so I wisely set them aside.

11:14am featuring a reveal on the bait that got the job done

Fun in the Sun – While full sun concerns me at a number of my fishing holes, Lake Storey is not one of them as I also prefaced in my intro. Turned out just fine as all but one of my catches were soaking up some rays on the banks hit by direct sunlight.

3:11pm Solid, stout fish are easy on the eyes, 14.5″ 1-6 on Spinnerbait

Not Made in the Shade – In contrast to the sun success, I sure couldn’t buy a bite in the shade. Even when fishing similar depth and structure it was just no go. Unfortunately, it took me a while to figure out that even my go to spots just weren’t going to work on the shady side as I went about an hour without a bite before making another run in the sun.

Wood is Good – Recent rains had brought the water level up a bit compared to the full drawdown pool which was kind of cool as it brought some structure back into play. A great deal more wood in the form of laydowns and brush were now shallow targets and 9 of my 13 catches were in those neighborhoods.


Fishing Friend – Ran into a fellow fisherman that I have known since the 80s and had a good chat which was a pleasant addition to our prodigious email correspondence discussing Lake Storey and beyond over the years. I’ll call him “Larry” and while he was walleye fishing on this day, he noted that he’d run into a few bass in the pound range and backed up my assessment on how healthy the bass looked. So while size was lacking the bass were indeed a stout sort.

– Kind of interesting too, that my Top 5 Weight for the day of 6-2 was an exact match from my last outing on October 2, 2017.
10/18/2018 Top 5 Weight: 6-2 (1-8,1-6,1-2,1-1,1-1)
10/2/2017 Top 5 Weight 6-2 (1-11,1-3,1-2,1-1,1-1)


No lunkers on this outing but I was quite pleased with the quantity of bites and the quality build of the catch. My average catch rate based on data from 1997 to present comes in at 0.98 bass per hour so this trip’s rate of 2.08 was outstanding for me. And what was also cool was the fact that I would be back on the water the next day with my brother, Brent, a spinnerbait wizard, to do it all over again. That report heads your way soon as the 2018 version of something I call “Lake Lowdown.” But first, a recap of what the feature is all about along with the historical data from all prior “Lake Lowdown” outings. Hope you’ll check it out and talk to you later. Troy


Top 5 Update

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, we have for you today the Top 5 Update you’ve all been waiting for. Multispecies, young angler and not so young angler submissions, a new fisherman, a new species record, a new lake record and another member joins the 20-pound club for 2018. Without further ado, here we go.

Weight: 13-0
Angler: Teagan Mills
Date: October 13
Location: Private pond
Bait: Dipbait
Structure: Open water
Angler Comments: The catfish half swallowed dipbait hook.
Top 5 Weight: 13-0
Editor’s Note: This submission represents a new Top 5 channel catfish record and kind of fun that Teagan’s fish tops the former mark set by his school principal. I encourage a little good natured ribbing from the new top dog.

Weight: 1-5 (12.5”)
Angler: Riley Danner
Date: October 14
Location: Lake Storey
Water Temperature: 60F
Lure: Weedless wacky worm
Structure: Submerged vegetation and wood along shoreline.
Angler Comments: Glad to finally get to go fishing with my Uncle John and my cousin, Landon. The weather was chilly but I was excited to catch my first fish this fall. It was great to go out in my uncle’s boat as opposed to fishing from the bank.
Top 5 Weight: 1-5

Weight: 2-7 (17”)
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: October 19
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Lure: Tandem Spinnerbait (Emiquon Special)
Structure: Dock

Weight: 3-8 (18”)
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: October 19
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Lure: Tandem Spinnerbait (white)
Structure: Laydown

Weight: 4-11 (20”)
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: October 19
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Lure: Tandem Spinnerbait (white)
Structure: Laydown
Top 5 Weight: 19-2 (5-1,4-11,3-8,3-7,2-7) culls 2-12,2-10,2-3
Editor’s note: This bass represents a new lake record among family and friends and a fortunate series of events surround the catch, details in fishing report later this week.

Weight: 4-11
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: October 21
Location: Private lake – Knox County, IL
Lure: Chatterbait
Top 5 Weight: 20-15 (4-11,4-11,4-8,4-0,3-1) culls 2-8

Now that’s an update, folks, a stellar batch of catches and a lot to offer in terms of firsts, bests and fish stories. That’s what it’s all about and why it’s always exciting to find something new in the Inbox. Just like on the water, you never know what’s going to show up.

One final note on our bass tally for 2018. We currently sit at 97 bass so what do you say we set our sights on pushing it over the century mark before the year draws to a close. I am on my way to do my part today as I took a day off work. I’ll keep you posted and you do the same. Thanks to all for the submissions and talk to you later. Troy

Lake Storey Discussion and Preview

It’s been a busy last several days with a pair of visits to my “home” lake, Lake Storey in Knox County, Illinois. I’ve been fishing the lake since I was a little kid and have racked up more than a few stories over many years and many casts on the fishing hole.

The recent visits have been winners on a variety of levels and I’m really looking forward to passing along all the details. Kind of a time crunch as of late though with time on the water and time with family so the best I can do at present is a bit of a video recap. This one has already been out there on my Facebook page for a couple days so if you aren’t my “friend”, may be worth a request as there is additional content out there in addition to the blog.

I shot this brief wrap-up upon returning home after a wildly successful Friday outing with my brother, Brent. It is actually one of a series of video rambles on Lake Storey, some basic bass fishing stuff and a few bits of random assorted nonsense. It just gets kind of tough at times to review, compose, edit and submit all of the content around what is truly important.

Yes, I dedicate a decent amount of time to sharing fish stories and such but being a husband, Dad and co-breadwinner reside quite a bit higher up the priority list and trump fisherman, blogger and videographer. As such, here’s a quick hit as a tease to some of the recent developments that have taken place on the water. I hope to get the reports out next week and perhaps work in periodic video clips down the road as my fishing days are likely drawing to a close for 2018.


Thanks all for tuning in and right back at you tomorrow with a pretty cool Top 5 Update featuring some stellar Fall catches. Good luck out there, stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – October 23, 1998

For the second consecutive Friday Flashback we revisit Knox County, Illinois’ Lake Storey.

And here’s what’s extra cool about this post.

Just a few days shy of exactly 20 years later, the same two guys featured in these flashback photos are out there again looking for a few more bites as they add to their collective stockpile of fish stories.

As we await the results of the 2018 version of a Lake Storey outing with my brother, Brent, we’ll take a look at the 1998 version as a warm-up.

When a fishing trip produces a pair of lake records that’s a solid day. Especially when you only combine for four total catches.

1:32pm (pic above) – Brent lands a 4-7 bass along a tried and true stretch or structure that consists of some shallow scattered riprap. No surprise at all that he is wielding a spinnerbait to fool a new Lake Storey bass record, eclipsing Dad’s 4-6 from 1988. The record would stand until 2007 when I was able to bump it up another ounce with a 4-8.

3:30pm (pic above) – My trusty Blue Glimmer spinnerbait crossed paths with one of the lake’s toothy residents that equaled my personal best muskie at 7-14 (33.0”), tying a 33.5” of the same weight from September 1997 at Snakeden Hollow’s Lake McMaster. This Top Muskie has been topped four times over the years with the current mark of 43.5” and 19-8 from Lake Storey in September 2012.

12:45pm (pic above) – For good measure, our third quality catch of the day was our first with a 2-0 bass also on the Blue Glimmer spinnerbait. Not a trophy or a record but a solid catch as anything at two pounds or better is a “good fish” in my book, especially on a stingy spot like Lake Storey.

A legendary lure that I simply call the “Blue Glimmer”

What’s also fun is that I remember exactly where all of our catches came from without having to peek at the log or scour the background of the photos for clues. It’s a little something that I call “piscatorial memory”, a concept long stashed away in my stack of blog posts for another day.

Original log entry complete with battle blemishes

Another fun note on this outing is a look back at the log entry as it features the splotches from the splashes of that new muskie record. While I don’t recall the specifics of the muskie decorating the notebook, an investigative eye shows the muskie data to be free of blemishes leading me to believe that the muskie was the culprit. Makes for a good piece of the story at least.

I’ll close with a final observation regarding the Lake Storey bass record as there seems to be a bit of a pattern. Looks like about every 10 years or so a new Top Bass joins the record book. Dad kicked it off in 1988, Brent upped it by an ounce on this 1998 outing, my 2007 bass came in a year ahead of schedule and here we are in 2018 with two of the Lake Storey record holders headed to the lake…

Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – October 14

Last Sunday afternoon provided a few hours to get on the water after some boat prep work at my folks in Galesburg in advance of some possible fishing later this week. After clearing the clutter from Dad’s boat, checking tire pressure and getting the batteries charging I had several hours of daylight and the little johnboat in the bed of my truck. So, it was off to the strip mines where Top 5 leader, Jim Junk, had texted that he would be chasing some crappie. Perhaps he could be convinced to join up for some bassing…

The makings of a fishing trip


Date: October 14, 2018
Location: Knox County, IL strip mines (1 lake with Jim, 1 lake solo)
Time: 3:10pm-6:15pm
Weather: Overcast/calm to breezy
Air Temp: 51F
Totals: 10 bass (Troy = 6, Jim = 4)
Lures Troy
Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) – 3 bass
Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 2 bass
Senko wacky rig (pumpkin/black flake) – 1 bass
Lures Jim
Wacky rigged worm
Top Bass: 1-7 Jim Wacky worm
Top 5 Weight (only 3 at 12” or better): 3-8 (1-7,1-1,1-0)

Notes and Nonsense

Teaming Up – I’d texted Jim to warn him that I was headed in his direction but hadn’t received a reply and didn’t spot his vehicle upon arrival so figured I was on my own. However, as I drug the boat down the grassy “ramp” I heard somebody holler. Turned out that I would enjoy some good company while Jim gave the semi-cooperative crappie a break.

3:32pm- Jim with a 1-0 on wacky rigged worm

Counting Catches – As a dedicated “logger”, I got a kick out of Jim mentioning that he recently decided to track some data on his catches. A text message from October 8 had put his October totals at “25 bass with 8 over 3 pounds and biggest at 4-1.” As we hit the water, Jim noted that he was sitting at 35 bass which gave him just a slight edge over my October total. A slight edge of 35 bass. Well, in the hour and a half of our tag team bassing I sure didn’t gain any ground as he continued to outfish me four to one.

Close Quarters – Don’t know if you’ve ever teamed up with a co-angler in an eight foot johnboat but it’s quite an interesting experience, been doing it for 35 years or so. Takes a little coordinated casting and boat maneuvering to hit your spots from a decent angle while ideally not hitting each other upside the head. In addition, not only can you get a visual hint when your partner is gearing up for a hookset but on occasion you can also feel the boat move. I got a laugh out of such an instance this time around in seeing and feeling Jim briefly lean into and flinch in a near hookset as a bass did one of those quick hit and then let go of the lure moves. The cool thing is that only seconds later the bass came back for another shot and got it right resulting in a repeat lean followed up by the real deal on a hookset and catch. Good stuff that I suspect you just don’t get in a $50,000 bass rig.

3:45pm Top Bass at 1-7 on an afternoon where we couldn’t find that big bite

Fair Finish – After an hour and a half I decided to relocate to another nearby fishing hole while Jim elected to finish his day chasing a few more crappie. I managed to pick up five more bass including my Top Bass of the outing at 1-1. Nothing much to write home about but still blog worthy as I simply tell it like it happened. Jim wound up with a decent batch of crappie but elected to set them free when it was all said and done instead of winding up with a late evening of cleaning fish.

5:47pm best I could muster at 1-1 on a spinnerbait

So, glad to get out as always though not much to brag about. A bit more of a pleasant afternoon/evening than I really anticipated as a couple layers of clothing made it quite comfortable in the low 50s temps with merely a light breeze. Getting to that point where I know my days on the water are numbered so honestly a bit antsy to put some more bass in the log and hoping for a late season boost to my somewhat lackluster Top 5. Hope to invest some time (and a few vacation days) as the weather looks stable leading into and through the weekend although more than a bit chilly in terms of overnight lows. Hope you’ll check back in for what lies in store over the back half of the month and if you get out, by all means send any Top 5 catches my way as we push towards 100 bass (93 bass and counting as we already have a new entry for next Monday’s update). Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Even though it was a weird weather week in my neck of the woods, a pair of anglers (including a new participant/first lady entrant of 2018) were able to parlay the last day of decent temps into catching some decent bass. Their mid-week outing featured a high of 74F and falling according to the local weather report before a cold front moved in and dropped the high to 49F on the following day. The work week then wound up with a high of 40F and snow flurries while the weekend barely hit 50F. Welcome to the West Central Illinois.

Weight: 1-11
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: October 10
Location: Lake Storey
Water Temp: 69-70F
Lure: Weedless Wacky Worm
Structure: Shoreline aquatic vegetation and wood
Angler Comments: See entry below

Weight: 1-14 (14.25”)
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: October 10
Location: Lake Storey
Water Temp: 69-70F
Lure: Weedless Wacky Worm
Structure: Shoreline aquatic vegetation and wood
Angler Comments: See entry below
Top 5 Weight: 10-8 (2-7,2-3,2-0,2-0,1-14) culls 1-9

Weight: 2-15 (17”)
Angler: Patricia Kirkemo
Date: October 10
Location: Lake Storey
Water Temp: 69-70F
Lure: Weedless Wacky Worm
Structure: Shoreline aquatic vegetation and wood
Angler Comments: These comments are from John Kirkemo, husband of the angler. Fished from 1:45 pm to 4:15 pm as the cold front passed. Cloudy with brief sunshine and a stiff west wind. One brief rain shower.
Top 5 Weight: 2-15 (2-15)

Many thanks to the fishing couple for getting out there when the opportunity arose to fool a few more bass and keep our Top 5 Update streak alive. Their trio of bass bring our total to 92 bass submitted so still hoping we can hit the century mark before 2018 is all said and done. I took my shot yesterday along with a fishing partner for a few afternoon/evening hours but those results are a story for later this week. Hope you’ll tune in and good luck out there as it looks to be a run of cool but stable weather as the upcoming week progresses around here. 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)

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)
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