Author: Troy Jackson

Top 5 Update

More bass for this week’s update starting with a couple that I neglected last week for my brother as I was too intent on getting out the scoop on our “100 Year Trip.” And once again Jim Junk comes through with two more quality Fulton County catches.

Weight: 1-0
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: June 21
Location: Knox County strip mine
Lure: Mann’s 4- crankbait (wounded alewife)
Structure: Deep flat

Weight: 1-1
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: June 21
Location: Knox County strip mine
Lure: Spinnerbait (white)
Structure: Weed edge/drop
Top 5 Weight: 6-9 (1-12,1-10,1-2,1-1,1-0)

Weight: 4-1
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 28
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Texas rigged Senko
Structure: Outside weed edge/pocket

Weight: 3-15
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 29
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Texas rigged Senko
Structure: Outside weed edge/pocket
Angler Comments: Two really nice fish but can’t cull.
Top 5 Weight: 21-4 (4-8,4-6,4-3,4-2,4-1)

The dog days of summer sure kicked into gear in a hurry in the area so it will be interesting to see if the catches continue to roll in. Those bass are still out there but sometimes get a little harder to find and fool. Regardless of the bite, there is a full week of posts coming your way with a fishing report, Trip Tunes and a Friday Flashback to get us through Fourth of July week. Talk to you later. Troy

500

Today’s post marks post #500 since kicking off my own website back on May 1, 2017.

Perhaps you’ve caught a few of those posts over the last 790 days (that equates to a rather prolific rate of content creation, by the way).

Well, whether you have or whether you haven’t, here’s a look at some of what has graced the internet in that batch of stuff.

Fishing Reports = over 75 posts
These are definitely my favorite posts to put together as the first step in creating them is actually getting out there on the water to chase some fish. From there, anything can happen. And even if hardly anything happens in terms of the bite, I can always find something to write.

Top 5 Updates = over 50 posts plus monthly and year-end stat updates
A close second to the firsthand fishing reports are the contributions from fellow anglers. These posts pretty much write themselves thanks to your submissions. Basically, I have a template and your reports fill in the blanks. Whether I’m catching them or not, it is always good to get some fish stories. And since every fish has a story, thus far we’ve had a look at nearly 250 of them along the way.

Flashbacks = over 60 posts
Between the Friday Flashback feature and something I called “Trapping Tuesdays” we’ve taken a lot of weekly trips back through the last 40 plus years. Outdoor tales are meant to be retold and relived and a blog is a wonderful forum to do just that.

Tunes = over 150 songs
The “Trip Tunes” feature as well as a few other scattered posts have allowed me to work my fondness for the radio and it’s musical offerings into an outdoor website. Not much of a stretch in my book as the drive is just another part of the adventure and as a guy with a soundtrack in his head there’s always an apt lyric for every situation. Besides, I love music and I write the blogs.

 

Of course, there’s also been a fair representation of sports figures, particularly baseball players, that have managed to work their way into a purported outdoor post. Just a few are featured below and a search on the website for “Around the Horn”, “Le Grande Orange” or “MLB” will take you all the way if you need some late night reading.

 

Beginning in March of 2018, I also introduced some homemade video into the blog offerings courtesy of the GoPro and iPhone. And did you know that you can do a Category search on the website for “Video” or several other categories to find just what you’re looking for?

Then there was a Bigfoot series, some Emiquon posts (more to come), wish lists, resolutions, park reviews, 12 Days of Christmas, Blog Banner recaps and more.

And, oh yeah, there’s the monthly “Lyric of the Week” feature that is tucked away at the bottom of the homepage. In fact, tune in tomorrow for the yet another timely selection. Some make more sense than others but they all make sense to me. If that makes any sense.

Been a wild ride. And it doesn’t stop here! On to post #501 and beyond with a Top 5 Update tomorrow along with a fishing report, a Trip Tunes batch and the weekly Friday Flashback to come. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – July 6, 2014

Presenting the “Misfit Tacklebox” 

Quite a few years ago, I came up with this idea to take a batch of old lures that I just had to have or that somehow wound up in my tacklebox and see if they could actually fool a bass. In an excerpt from the original 2014 intro post here’s a little background (along with some of the original photos passed along in each of the 14 posts in the series as there was a separate post for each lure).

Sometime back in 2010 I got this brilliant idea for a fishing experiment. Emiquon was at its peak, I was getting in tune with being a blogger and I had more than a few utility boxes full of must have lures that had never caught a fish. It dawned on me that the dumb bass of The Emiquon Preserve could provide a perfect opportunity to finally get some return on my investment in that batch of “can’t miss” lures. Well, I wound up missing my window of opportunity as I got too carried away catching Emiquon bass on stuff I liked to throw and the next thing I knew those uneducated bass started to wise up to public angling pressure.

         

Fast forward to late September 2013 when I found a remote batch of dumb basses on some public Knox County strip mine ground. Forgive me, but I can’t resist resorting to an old comedy standard regarding these fish.

Okay, so I say, “Those strip mine bass are so dumb.”

You inquire, “How dumb are they?”

I respond, “Those bass are so dumb that I would take a bite of my sandwich, cast out twice, catch and unhook two bass while I chewed and entered them in the log, take another bite, repeat…”

That’s a true story as I wound up catching 12 bass in 15 minutes during my first visit to the spot while eating a sandwich and documenting my catch.

So, as it turned out I gave 14 lures a shot in a project that I called “The Island of Misfit Lures.” In terms of numbers it was a rousing success as all of them landed a bass (one of them even fooled a double). In terms of quality, however, all were of the less than stellar size in a spot that I call Cottonwood Lake.

 

Perhaps someday I’ll dust off that old Misfit tacklebox again but for now I’m intent on sticking with the tried and true. Talk to you later. Troy

100 Year Trip Report – June 21

The first day of summer was reason for the investment of vacation days for me and my brother, Brent. The objective was to try our hand at a stunt I’d long considered. As described in an earlier post I thought it would be fun to do it at a time when our combined ages totaled 100 years (I’m 51 for about another month and Brent is 49). If you checked out that prior post you already know that we pulled it off without hurting ourselves. Here’s the fishing report part of the adventure.

Chronology and distance – driveway to parking lot to first steps to fishing hole

Stats

Date: June 21, 2019
Location: Knox County, IL public strip mines (3 lakes)
Time: 5:45am-12:15pm (5.25 hours fishing)
Weather: Sunny to overcast/breezy to windy
Air Temp: 63-71F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 62 bass (Troy – 33 Brent – 29)
Lures
Troy: Rapala DT10 (parrot) – 16 bass, 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (watermelon/crème laminate) – 13 bass, Booyah Buzz Buzzbait – 4 bass
Brent – Mann’s 4- crankbait (alewife) – 15 bass, Tandem Spinnerbait (white) – 10 bass, Senko – 4 bass
Top Bass: 2-4 (Buzzbait)
Top 5 Weight: 6-4 (2-4,1-1,1-0,1-0,0-15)

First bass with both on the board by 6:00am

Notes and Nonsense

Trailblazers – The most significant unknown of the trip was a cattail choked expanse of marsh that connected our smaller portage lake to the larger ultimate destination. From a distance, things didn’t look so good. However, we found that apparently we were not alone in our ambition as a manageable path had been blazed through the hundred plus yard jungle. It took a steady amount of push poling with our oars and nearly getting stuck once but we made it. Had it not been for some bushwhacking Daniel Boone’s of the strip mines it wouldn’t have been possible. Many thanks to whoever you are.

Truly “nowhere” after a few initial forays into live social media posts, fun to be out of reach

Impressions – As we emerged from the cattails on the shallow lower end of the lake it was pretty cool to get a view of the enticing expanse that lay before us. It had been thirteen years since I’d seen this water and that adventure was from a steep perch on a limited stretch of accessible bank. Things started out slow but I was confident that we would find a decent batch of bass before it was all said and done. The only down side was an impending batch of thunderstorms predicted about six hours out. And remember we had a significant row, push, row, carry and drag return to the truck on the way out.

Always good when both anglers have one in the boat at the same time

Emiquonesque – Scattered bass throughout the first hour kept us interested as they say but a spot along the upper end of the lake really kept us busy. In a span of just over a half hour we would end up boating 18 bass between us as we ran into a stellar crankbait bite on what appeared to be some sort of expansive flat in maybe 8-10 foot of water. It was reminiscent of one of the old Emiquon days when it seemed as if someone flipped a switch and the bite was on. Not near the quality of those Emiquon bass but still a blast including a couple instances of two in the boat at once.

Top Bass and get out the field guide for these bass fishermen, one ambitious bluegill

Lone Lap – With the potential for bad weather and over two miles of row and haul from the far end of our destination back to the truck we only completed one lap around the larger lake. We got our fill but sure would have been nice to have spent a little more time and perhaps slowed down our presentations a bit in some areas. But the run and gun approach did find plenty of cooperative bass and certainly fit the styles of the guys sharing the boat.

Our last bass before the weather sent us scrambling

Strange skies ended up soaking us as we loaded our trucks and a welcome case of “bass thumb”

When it was all said and done we were no worse for wear just a little poison ivy on a finger, some soaked clothes, bass thumb and tired. In fact I fell asleep sitting on the couch for about an inning and a half of the Cubs game after stopping by my folks.

So, was it worth it?

Would I be willing to pull the stunt again?

Bet there sure would be a good bite in the fall…talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

The hits keep coming as we transition from spring to summer, whatever that means these days. In fact, on the first full day of summer I headed out at dawn in long sleeves and a sweatshirt. 2019 just hasn’t been right.

Weight: 4-1
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 20
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Weedless Senko
Structure: Outlying weed edge
Angler Comments: At the end of a retrieve and a bass jumped and tried to strike as I was trying to get on top of outlying weed edge. One more cast to the same spot was rewarded with my first bass. It was on after that.

Weight: 3-0
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 22
Location: Knox County strip mine
Lure: Jig and worm
Top 5 Weight: Top 5 Weight: 21-4 (4-8,4-6,4-3,4-2,4-1)

Weight: 2-4
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: June 22
Location: Knox County public strip mine
Lure: Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (snow white shad)
Structure: Weed edge
Angler Comments: A perfect setup for a buzzbait came through along the weed edge near the back of a pocket at the end of a main lake point. Always cool when you say, “There should be one here”, and there is.
Top 5 Weight: 11-5 (2-10,2-4,2-4,2-3,2-0) culls a 1-13

And a bonus submission that provides a classic example of the dilemma faced by the summertime bank angler.

The size is a surprise on these catches as Jim has to “unwrap” the bite from a hefty shroud of aquatic vegetation before the bass is revealed.

Weight: 2-3
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 20
Location: Banner Marsh

Way to go, Jim, and thanks again for your reliable Fulton County submissions and putting in the work to get them. Not to mention the work required once you get one hooked as shown above. Fun stuff.

And hey, not a lunker but sure is good to get my mug back on here again. Looking to post the report from the “100 Year Trip” as well as another outing later this week so stay tuned. Another batch of “Trip Tunes” also coming your way, combined from that pair of road trips. Talk to you later. Troy

100 Year Trip

While a recent fishing trip wasn’t actually a hundred years in the making, the anglers who undertook the trek have been around for 100 years. For another month, I check in at 51 years old while one of my little brothers comes in at 49. Do the math and there you go.

Our adventure has been formulating in my mind for quite some time, however, and I figured what better time to pull it off?

You know, before we got too old and thought better of it.

What this stunt consisted of was wheeling in the eight foot johnboat to a remote public strip pit that has only one lone opening along a reed line bank where an angler can make limited casts. From there, the plan was to use that lake as a jumping point to our larger ultimate destination.

Can it be done, and if so, will it be worth it?

History

1990 – I stood on the east end of this lake, a wide expansive flat that was accessed while working for the old Illinois Department of Conservation. We were able to “cheat” a bit in cutting down the hike via a lane through private property.
2000 – I give it a go and wind up with one bass from the only spot that my route allows me to make some casts from the bank.
2006 – I decide to hike in to access what little fishable bank is available due to steep banks and abundant terrestrial vegetation. Half a dozen bass later I head back to my truck via a cross country route which finds me nearly crawling through brush and wondering if I am going to be stranded as sunset looms. Part of me vows “never again” while another part ponders an ambitious Plan B.
2016 – A former Top 5 angler reports that he and a partner were able to access the lake with belly boats. Several 3-pounders and 60+ fish was the reward for the duo. However, his detailed description of the adventure noted, “Was it worth it? Yes, I think it was. I no longer have to stare at the aerial view map and wonder…what if? Would I do it again? Hell no!”
2019 – Here we go.

Attack (see map above)

Stage One – A one-mile hike wheeling in the eight-foot johnboat and gear while strapped to a two-wheel dolly. Not flat, not paved and not freshly mowed, the “road” presents a real workout.
Stage Two – A hundred yard drag downhill to get to our portage lake. Not too bad with gravity’s help but tempered with the realization that the return is all uphill, not so easy.
Stage Three – Fish the smaller portage lake hoping that the connecting marsh is somehow navigable with no idea the expanse of the reed clogged area. (Circled area on the map)
Stage Four – Find our proverbial “Northwest (or whatever direction) Passage” to reach “The Promised Land.” (Star on the map)
Stage Five – Fish the seldom visited water with visions of uneducated bass dancing in our heads.

Well, we did it and managed to survive to tell the tale.

 

Results – Stay tuned for the full report next week on the heels of the latest Top 5 Update.

Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – June 15, 2014

For today’s Flashback we travel back to Father’s Day five years ago courtesy of the original fishing report posted on June 20, 2014.

A Father’s Day fishing trip can work from a couple different angles for me. For one, I am a father of four children ages 2 to 9. From another perspective, I am one of Dad’s four kids ages 41 to 46. So, as if my life isn’t full of enough decisions already, how do you decide on which role to assume when selecting a fishing partner(s) for such an occasion? Here’s a look at how it all turned out in choosing to fish as a son instead of as a dad.

Take your Dad fishing or is Dad taking a kid fishing, worked either way on this outing.

Stats
Date: June 15, 2014
Location: Knox County strip mines (two lakes)
Time: 5:15am-9:00am and 9:10am-12:10pm
Weather: Overcast to sunny/very windy
Air Temp: 62F-75F
Water Temp: No reading
Totals: 42 bass (Dad – 23 bass, Troy – 19 bass)
Lures (Dad): 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (smoke with large black flake) – 22 bass, Zoom Baby Brush Hog (watermelon) – 1 bass
Lures (Troy): Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (Snow White shad) – 11 bass, 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (smoke with large black flake or baby bass) – 6 bass, K9 Walker stickbait (Madd shad) – 1 bass, Spro Bronzeye Frog (Halloween pumpkin) – 1 bass
Top Bass (Dad): 3-4 Senko wacky rig
Top Bass (Troy): 3-5 Buzzbait
Top 5 Weight (Dad): 8-11 (3-4,1-9,1-8,1-5,1-1)
Top 5 Weight (Troy): 13-6 (3-5,3-4,2-7,2-5,2-1)
Top 5 Weight combined: 14-9 (3-5,3-4,3-4,2-7,2-5)

5:15am Interesting and early catch before we even put the boat in the water (details below)

Notes & Nonsense

Debunked? – We’ve long stated that catching a bass on your first cast is a bad omen as it is all downhill from there, right? Well, Dad couldn’t resist a toss or two with his Senko before launching the johnboat so I joined in and fired my K9 Walker stickbait parallel to a nearby weed edge. After a bit of walking the dog I was rewarded with an explosion and a 3-4 on my first cast. It may very well be the best first cast bass on record and marks the second largest bass to eat the K9 Walker, a handmade bait given to me by Frank “Coinman” Harvey (got a 4-3 last year on the bait). At any rate, I got eighteen more before the day was through including one that was bigger (by an ounce). If that’s bad luck, it’s all good.

5:28am Gotta be happy with two three-pounders in the boat before “official” sunrise

Strong Start – The shot above is really cool considering the fact that Dad’s got a good bass and you can still see my truck at the launch in the background. At that point we were a whole thirteen minutes into our morning and we each had a fish tied for Top Bass at 3-4. We’ve been on more than a few trips that took a little more than ten minutes to score some good fish, if we got any at all.

We’ve all been there as this reel was out of commision for most of the trip 

Frog Birdnest – With a 2-7 from some slop, another interested follow and my eye on some froggy looking spots I was enthused about continuing to give the Spro a go. However, a nasty backlash in the 25 pound mono on the reel coupled with my pool cue of a frog rod put me back on the buzzbait and Senko track. Frogging is prone to more than a little slack in my retrieve and I know better than to keep firing away without an occasional “maintenance cast” to address the issue. Well, I failed to take care of that business so that reel will be getting a brand new batch of line as that mishap certainly qualified as a quality example of what some call a “professional overrun.”

10:06am Our third three-pounder of the morning and Top Bass for the day by one ounce at 3-5.

Ones That Got Away – While we would get a bass to displace our Top Bass by one ounce before the day was through, a couple other contenders came unbuttoned. Both were on Dad’s Senko and each were kind enough (or cruel enough) to go airborne and offer a good look. The first was at least four and the second would have been real close to besting the eventual Top Bass of 3-5. I felt our 14-9 creel in under six hours was pretty darn good, but it could have been even better; such is fishing.

A couple in the two-pound range weren’t too bad either at 2-7 and 2-5.

Regardless of whether I chose to play father or son on a Father’s Day fishing outing, how could I really go wrong? I will say though that at least my partner of choice took off most of his own fish (I lipped a couple nice ones for him at boatside), rigged up his own rods and made all of his own casts. I also saved money by not having to buy Bug Juice, slushies and a pile of snacks before heading to the water. However, I did still provide transportation on the road and rowed him all around the lakes, got him unsnagged (he returned the favor too), let him have first shot at all the “good spots”, carried the heavy end of the boat (hey, it’s my story, right)…As always, we had a good time retelling old stories, making some new ones and catching a bass or forty two along the way. Here’s hoping the rest of you dads (and sons) had a good day as well.

A bonus bite on the star of the day, the Senko wacky rig.

A winning Father’s Day outing and we even fooled some bass as a bonus. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

A productive week on the water gives the Top 5 a welcome boost with four anglers submitting their catches. Great to see such a good turnout from several bodies of water in the region.

Weight: 1-1 (14”)
Angler: Landon Hannam
Date: June 10
Location: Lake McMaster – Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Lunkerhunt Lunker Frog
Structure: Weed bed
Angler Comments: This was my first ever topwater fish. Had about eight strikes but only managed to hook one.
Top 5 Weight: 2-3 (1-2,1-1)

Weight: 3-4
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 10
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Texas rigged weightless Stik-O
Angler Comments: Summer fun fishing is back in full force at Banner. My prime spots have between 10 and 20 feet of muck between me and any open water.

Weight: 3-2
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 14
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Texas rigged weightless Stik-O
Angler Comments: Shallow point that leads out to what I believe is a shallow flat with open water as far as I can throw. Within the first few casts a healthy 3-2 started running with my Stik-O. Hard fight and managed to pull him through the weeds and get him landed.

Weight: 4-3
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 14
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Texas rigged weightless Stik-O
Angler Comments: The next cast really wasn’t a cast. I threw out as far as I could and was walking backwards with the bail open to get a small loop out of the spool. With the bail open my line started stripping off the spool. Closed the bail quickly and set the hook on a nice 4-3 that I managed to maneuver through the weeds and land.
Top 5 Weight: 21-4 (4-8,4-6,4-3,4-2,4-1) culls a 4-1

Weight: 3-11
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: June 12
Location: Spring Lake – McDonough County
Lure: Squarebill crankbait (bluegill)
Top 5 Weight: 15-8 (3-11,3-10,3-2,2-10,2-7) culls a 2-4

Weight: 1-12
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: June 16
Location: Lake Storey
Lure: Senko wacky rig (bumblebee)

Weight: 1-2
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: June 16
Location: Lake Storey
Lure: Buzzbait (yellow)
Angler Comments: A few other bites on topwater, lots of weeds.
Top 5 Weight: 4-8 (1-12,1-10,1-2)

Weight: 6-9
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: June 12
Location: Spring Lake – McDonough County
Lure: Squarebill crankbait (bluegill)
Angler Comments: Call me the catfish wizard! Haha! This was completely luck, but I managed to catch another nice fish on my bluegill colored squarebill.
Top 5 Weight: 6-9 along with a 35” cat that bottomed out a 6-pound scale

Well done guys, gave me a workout putting this update together. Definitely worth it and up for the challenge any time. If the weather cooperates perhaps I’ll get to join the fun later this week as I look to team up with one of the anglers above. Hope to post some other stuff throughout the week though so stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes – 6/11/19 Part II

Here we go with the Top 5 which fittingly finishes with a little Father’s Day flourish.

5. Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash (1982) – Thanks to the Netflix series, Stranger Things, this tune has been introduced to a whole new generation. Our kids included as they eagerly await season three of the series slated to kick off on July 4 (although we’ll have to wait for the video release). It’s always cool to hear your kids get excited when an “oldie” comes over the airwaves or when you hear them singing such a tune out of the blue.

4. You Make Loving Fun – Fleetwood Mac (1977) – Back in fifth grade I had a favorite album, something called Rumours, perhaps you’ve heard of it. This tune featuring the vocal stylings of Christine McVie was the fourth single release and is one of those tunes that has grown on me over the years as a change of pace from the always enjoyable Buckingham\Nicks leads. Good stuff when you’ve got three varied vocalists to choose from when creating such memorable music.

3. Forever and Ever, Amen – Randy Travis (1987) – The mid to late 80s were a great time to be a country fan. Acts like Alabama, George Strait and Hank Jr. were well established and a new batch of traditional artists in Randy Travis, Steve Earle and Dwight Yoakam were hitting the scene. The former of that trio was my favorite, what a voice, and tough to find a better love song than this one. I was able to hang onto country music as the 90s dawned with another trio of artists hitting the scene in Clint Black, Alan Jackson and Travis Tritt. I suppose I am getting old now as I can’t stomach most of what’s out there these days as “that ain’t country.”

2. December 1963 (Oh What A Night) – The Four Seasons (1976) – As a dedicated eight year old listener to Chicago’s WLS I was quite fond of this often played track. I knew a little of The Four Seasons from a few 45s around the house but this one had a different sound and vibe than “Sherry” and “Rag Doll.” Sounds like a whole new act for much of the song with Frankie Valli taking a backseat.

1. Cats In The Cradle – Harry Chapin (1974) – Fitting for Father’s Day, I caught this tune as I was just reaching the gate at the fishing hole. A little stiff after the hour plus drive it took several steps for my gait to resume a normal feel. Made me think of all those times Dad said, “one of these days you’ll see…” I’m starting to understand and as I reached to unlock the gate, I thought, “my hands are looking more like Dad’s.” Of course, my hairdo has long begun resembling his as well, my floppy hat now serves as sun protection on the fishing hole instead of hair. Like Chapin sings, “I’ve grown up just like him” but ideally in a bit better way than the lament in the lyrics.

Until next time, solid Top 5 Update tomorrow, Happy Father’s Day to the Dads out there and talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes – 6/11/19 Part I

Haven’t done one of these since March so here we go again.

10. Children of the Sun – Billy Thorpe (1979) – If your criteria for a “one hit wonder” requires a Top 40 hit, well, this one does not qualify…barely. The popular rocker from down under managed to fall one spot short as this cut peaked at #41 in September of 1979. Not sure where I was hearing this tune but I was spending plenty of time with WLS and Q93 dialed in as the 70s were ending and the teenage years were about to begin.

9. Dumas Walker – Kentucky Headhunters (1990) – So many songs take me back to a specific place and time and this is one of them. Me and my buddies’ road tripping up to Sheffield, Illinois to hang out with the Hansen brothers at their small town saloon known as “R&J’s.” Some of the rest is a little blurry but this entertaining and catchy country cut went hand in hand with just a few cold ones back in the day.

8. Mr. Crowley – Ozzy Osbourne (1980) – For better or worse, I was more in tune to Top 40 radio as the 80s dawned as opposed to some of the edgier stuff at the local Co-Op Records store on Henderson Street in Galesburg, Illinois. Fortunately, I had a buddy who would crank a few albums such as Ozzy’s Blizzard of Oz which contained this interesting tune. And speaking of albums and record stores, internet search engines just aren’t the same as flipping through those racks of eye-catching designs.

7. Rag Doll – Aerosmith (1988) – With an unlikely assist from Run DMC, the bad boys from Boston saw a dramatic resurgence in popularity. For my money, this one was the best of that bunch. Joey Kramer slamming drums kicks this one off and it never stops movin’ with Steven Tyler’s incessant lyrical banter and some cool slide guitar from Joe Perry rolling along. Music is a lot of things and one of those things is fun. This jam definitely fits the bill.

6. Rooster – Alice in Chains (1993) – This gritty ditty hits home with the late Layne Staley’s vocals knocking it out of the park on guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s tribute to his Vietnam veteran father. Another song that takes me back to a place and time, 12-hour shifts in the National Seal Company quality control lab with the radio running all night long. Good times with good co-workers including a Middle Eastern fellow who used to croon this tune with an entertaining Iranian accent.

It’s tough to beat the “solitary” drive to the fishing hole while sharing time in the company old friends found on the radio dial (and yes, my truck still has a tuning dial). Old stories abound as I head out looking for some new fish stories. More tunes tomorrow. Talk to you later. Troy