Author: Troy Jackson

Friday Flashback – July 1, 2013

How’s that for a first bass of the morning?  Read on for the backstory and recap.

Okay, so this week’s flashback draws upon a couple posts from late spring/early summer of 2013. First up, this blurb regarding a buzzbait blast from June 7, 2013:

The One That Got Away – Sometimes you see them, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you hook them, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes they break you off, sometimes they simply let go and sometimes they just plain swing and miss. And when that swing and miss is on a buzzbait it can sure leave you lamenting what might have been. That was the lingering thought after a huge explosion on my buzzer as it blazed the edge between a drop and an extended shallow point. Now, I’ve been doing this long enough to know that you can’t always judge a fish by the strike but I’m pretty sure that this one was something special. Such is the quest, but knowing that this fish is not entirely above a moment of weakness I’ll definitely visit that spot again with an undeniable extra dose of anticipation accompanying each cast.

Part II of the fishing log shows it was a pretty solid morning.

Flash forward for today’s trip back in time to my fishing report from July 1, 2013:

Slow Start – I like to be on the water at daybreak in the summer if I can swing it looking for an early bite in the typical dog days. I was a bit late upon missing my 4:04am alarm and not actually waking up until 5:05am as all these kids just flat wear out parents. The extra hour of sleep was just fine though since I was flying solo. Even late, however, it still seems like I wake up before the bass many times and this trip was no exception. Therefore, it was forty minutes before I got any action, but it was worth the wait.

7:01am – Same bass as my June encounter?  Will never know, but sounds like a good story and I’m all about those.

Second Chance? – Those forty minutes evaporated when a bass smoked my buzzbait with its tail thrashing the surface leaving no doubt it was a good one. Fortune smiled on me this time as I lipped the 22” fish that weighed 5-10 and then wondered if it was perhaps the second chance I referenced in today’s intro. The bass hit the same bait about fifty yards and one extended point away from the June miss so you just never know. I was so pumped that my hands were shaking as I weighed, measured and photographed the bass before letting it swim away to grow up. That sort of stuff never gets old.

10:10 am – A nice runner-up for the day but just a bit lighter than the Top Bass.

No Sweat – 2013 continues to be an odd weather year as I started the day with a sweatshirt over my t-shirt and never changed despite rowing and working the anchor the old fashioned way. It was truly hard to grasp that it was July 1 and I only ditched the sweatshirt at high noon while loading the boat in the back of the truck. Mind you, this is not a complaint as I increasingly enjoy the milder temps as I put a few more years behind me.

11:29am – Gotta give the little ones a photo op from time to time and this was a trophy small bass.

What a difference five years makes. Scorcher this year and haven’t been able to fish since Father’s Day and likely off the water for a bit longer, just too much going on. But no fishing obviously doesn’t mean no writing as I’ve got plenty to pass along. Another Top 5 Update on the way (Tuesday this week instead of Monday), a baseball/fishing combo project in the works and a change of blog scenery on the horizon. Hope you’ll continue to take a peek. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Another batch of solid fish this week as our anglers are on a roll. So here’s the latest shout out to the guys who are getting it done on some West Central Illinois fishing holes. Got a little variety as well this time around so read on.

Weight: 4-11 (20”)
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: May 26
Location: Warren County, IL private lake
Lure: Chatterbait with swimbait trailer (bluegill)

Weight: 4-8 (19.5”)
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: May 26
Location: Warren County, IL private lake
Lure: Chatterbait with swimbait trailer (bluegill)

Weight: 3-1 (17”)
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: May 26
Location: Warren County, IL private lake
Lure: Chatterbait with swimbait trailer (bluegill)

Weight: 2-5 (16.5”)
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: May 27
Location: Henderson County, IL private lake
Lure: Havoc Pit Boss (black with red flake)
Top 5 Weight: 18-12 (4-11,4-8,4-0,3-1,2-8) fills Top 5 and culls a 1-14

Weight: 3-7
Angler: Nick Tiska
Date: June 25
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Scum Frog
Structure: Heavy weed bed
Angler Comments: The fish became embedded in the weeds so waded in to retrieve by hand along with an armful of weeds.
Top 5 Weight: 3-7

Weight: 4-5
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 27
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Structure: Edge of weed bed
Angler Comments: Hit on the edge of a weed bed and sure was fun to catch.

Weight: 4-1
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 30
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Structure: Outside of a weed edge
Angler Comments: I came out to beat the heat this morning and this one nailed my Senko within the first five minutes.
Top 5 Weight: 18-11 (4-5,4-1,3-10,3-7,3-4) culls 3-3 and 2-15

Weight: 8-2 (25”)
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: May 26
Location: Warren County, IL private lake
Lure: Chatterbait with swimbait trailer (bluegill)
Angler Comments: What a surprise, thought I had the bass of a lifetime!
Top 5 Weight: 8-2

Well, half the year is officially behind us and we’ve racked up a good batch of fish with a couple of our anglers knocking at the door of the coveted 20-pound Top 5 bass mark. No doubt we are in the dog days with the scorching weather here in our stomping grounds as of late. Sometimes those old bass can get a little funny in the heat so perhaps today’s final whiskered submission may provide incentive to add a few of those to our haul. Good luck to all and keep sending those fish my way. Talk to you later. Troy

Happy Birthday, Helena

Happy Birthday to our daughter, Helena, who turns 14 today.

Personally, I’m a big fan of the Friday Flashback series that runs weekly here on the blog so I’m sticking with that theme for Helena’s birthday posting (the first of several July birthdays).  And this one helps the website live up to its billing of “fun”, “family” and “some foolishness.”

Today’s birthday pic goes back 10 years to a 2008 camping trip. Somehow we forgot to pack the paper plates so the hot dogs over the campfire and Pringles from the can were served up with a dose of ketchup on a recent church bulletin that we had in the van.

The Lord works in mysterious ways, right?

And if you’re eating hot dogs and Pringles, anyway…

A favorite pic and story that still bring a smile.

Happy Birthday, kiddo, and love you. Talk to you later. Dad

Friday Flashback – June 30, 2003

For this week we take a look back at an outing that featured a personal best from a small West Central Illinois fishing hole, Gladstone Lake. The following is an excerpt from the original June 30, 2003 report shared with family and friends.

June 30, 2003 – new lake record 3-8 on buzzbait

Today I decided to give the bass one more shot for the month of June and they didn’t let me down. The lake of choice was Gladstone Lake in Henderson County, located, oddly enough, just west of Gladstone. In the past, this lake has produced large quantities of bass although the quality leaves much to be desired. Fishing with Tim (former brother in law) or Geek (aka Mark Junk) on a few occasions has resulted in sixty to seventy bass days. Dad and I have hit the lake a couple times in recent years with much less success. Therefore, I left him home today and went by myself (actually he had a golf outing). My records indicate only 9 of 137 bass I’ve recorded at Gladstone from 1997-2003 were 12″ or longer. Of the 128 fish less than 12″, 87 were clustered between 9-10″. Much of the same today with two notable exceptions.

Original log entry from this outing

The less impressive exception was a 6 1/2″ bass that was barely longer than the lure I caught it on. When I catch one of these, I pass them off as “Pygmy Bass” in an effort to hide my embarrassment when I haul it into the boat. You see, “Pygmy Bass” usually run in the 4-5″ range so this was actually what could be considered a trophy specimen. I’ve yet to weigh one of these fish and I speculate that my scale may not even register a weight unless there is a stiff wind. Actually, catching one of these tiny bass is all right every once in a while. It speaks volumes for the aggressive nature of a hungry largemouth bass and they are kind of cool, miniature versions of their grownup brothers and sisters.

Former Gladstone Lake personal best of 2-4 from October 2, 2001 on a Blue Glimmer spinnerbait

The other exception was a 19 1/2″, 3-8 bass that nailed my buzzbait around 6:00 am as I retrieved it across a weedy point. This is the largest bass to come out of Gladstone Lake, besting a 2-4 from October 2, 2001. It also turned out to be Big Bass of the Month (barring any last-minute reports). Grand total for the day was thirteen bass in around four hours of fishing from 5:30 am-9:30 am. Ten bass fell to a buzzbait (blue glimmer), two to a Mann’s 4- crankbait (red shiner) and one on the latest rage, the Rebel Ghost Minnow, which barely drew attention unlike last week’s Little John adventures. Prime spots were the series of mid-lake humps that dot the lake. Final weight of all bass over 12″ was 4-2 from two fish.

Second shot of the top catch

A solid outing and admittedly a much larger bass than I really anticipated catching, a pleasant surprise. Shows that you just never know what might turn up when you hit the water. As always, fun to reminisce and definitely an instance where a fish story brings several other fish stories to mind. In the case of Gladstone Lake, there’s a job offer, cheap beer, Mr. Harvey, a long walk, DOC work, Keith Whitley, a muskie at Hardee’s, Bo and Sonny, lizards, and a flat tire. Stories for another time, got hundreds of ‘em.

Not sure what became of Gladstone Lake after some Mississippi RIver flooding, effect shown in my May 2010 photos above

And then there was a Mississippi River flood. Not sure what the story was on that one though as the last time I drove through the area the lake was off limits. Of course, that was back in 2010 so unsure on what the IDNR elected to do with the lake. Should anyone out there have any input drop me a line. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Fulton County, IL continues to crank out some more quality bass with this week’s trio of submissions. A pair from a veteran Top 5 angler posting his first submissions of 2018 and one from our current Top 5 leader.

Weight: 3-9
Angler: Paul Kessler
Date: June 16
Location: Banner Marsh – Johnson Lake
Lure: 4.5” Bass Pro Shops Crack Craw (blue flex)

Weight: 2-0
Angler: Paul Kessler
Date: June 16
Location: Banner Marsh – Johnson Lake
Lure: 4.5” Bass Pro Shops Crack Craw (blue flex)
Angler Comments: Caught one small bass under 12″ and then the two documented. Caught a fourth bass that was around 2lbs but I had hooked him in the tongue and it took a bit to get the hook out. I was dipping him in the water to let him revive a bit before weighing and taking a photo but I wasn’t expecting him to thrash around as soon as he hit the water and I lost my grip! Oops! All of my bass came on a creature bait and I did miss two good bites in addition to the four I landed. A decent morning!
Top 5 Weight: 5-9 (3-9,2-0)

Weight: 3-4
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 22
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Angler Comments: Hit just as I was lifting lure out of the water, stripped line and went on a nice run.
Top 5 Weight: 16-7 (3-10,3-7,3-4,3-3,2-15) culls a 2-8

Well done, guys, and keep up the good work.  Talk to you later.  Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes 6/17 – Part II

Here we go with the Top 5, some heavy hitters from a range of genres that take me back to some good times I remember and feed my fix for quirky terms, categorical titles and classic lines. Fun to get lost in Part II of the Trip Tunes.

5. Black Friday – Steely Dan (1975) – No such thing as a bad Steely Dan song. Clever, fun and interesting lyrics mixed with impeccable, layered musicianship it’s all right on the money. And while it’s fun to speculate on the meaning of their tunes, in the end I just find myself sonically enjoying those few minutes of escape when it can mean whatever you want or nothing at all. Another part of my fun is mentally categorizing unique words. For example “kangaroo”. “Archbishop” and “Muswellbrook”, seriously, in the same song? And I also like to play the “name another song with a color in the title” or the “songs with a day of the week” game. Ain’t music fun?

4. One Way or Another – Blondie (1979) – I believe this would hold the top spot on my list of “stalker” songs, edging out “Every Breath You Take” by The Police. Both cuts do a nice job of disguising something more than a little scary as a catchy little ditty, even bordering on a love song in the case of my stalker runner-up. Blondie rides that fine lyrical line of redundant repetition and winds up with a winner instead of something tiring. Catchy riff, driving backbeat and well, what can you say about that lead singer? Not all bad if Debbie Harry was to “get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya”, huh?

3. Paradise City – Guns N’ Roses (1988) – I turned 25 in Indianapolis, IN at the Hoosier Dome as the clock struck midnight and July 22, 1992 passed into July 23, 1992 while jamming to these guys in concert with my youngest brother and his buddy (my original concert tee pictured above, still got it). Flat out awesome performance including this cut, of course, which rocks with an anthemic quality custom made for a crowd. These guys had it dialed in from the get go and I wore out my Appetite for Destruction cassette on a boombox, quite memorably with my buddies and some beer around the weekend campfires (often like bonfires) at a spot called “Green Oaks”, the Knox College biological field station. Those were the days, fond memories but content to have toned it down these days.

2. Old Days – Chicago (1975) – The definition of a good “oldie” here as it kicks that old nostalgia gene into full gear, an important aspect of my fondness for music. This 70s cut hits on a number of items that made up my childhood as it references “baseball cards”, “drive-in movies”, “summer nights” and “birthdays.” One in a nearly endless list of tunes that “Take me back to a world gone away, boyhood memories seem like yesterday.” Does what music is supposed to do, with a horn section to boot. Great stuff.

1. Stomp! – The Brothers Johnson (1980) – I got no rhythm and ain’t remotely hip but this is my jam, gets me moving and singing along. So “Fill it up, let’s blast the jams and ride” and “slap me five” because “The heat is on and the funk just won’t leave us alone.” Heck, yeah!

And with that last jam, I leave you as I head back to 1979-1981 on the internet with my ears set on “Give Me the Night” by George Benson, “Master Blaster” by Stevie Wonder, “Take Your Time” by the SOS Band, “Let’s Groove” by Earth, Wind & Fire and “Don’t Let Go” by Isaac Hayes, maybe some Kool & The Gang, Commodores…Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes 6/17 – Part I

On the road around 4:00am on a Father’s Day morning fishing trip. Wonder if I can find anything worthwhile on the radio dial? Yep, not an issue finding some tunes worthy of the latest Top 10 Trip Tunes. Part I today, Part II tomorrow.

10. Undun – The Guess Who (1969) – Mentioned in a Top 10 edition from last year that you just don’t hear this band’s work very often on the airwaves so when this one hit my ears it was an automatic inclusion. Written by band member, Randy Bachman, later of Bachman-Turner Overdrive; moody, jazzy, and a flute solo. Also kind of fun with the deliberate misspelling of the title, I dig that stuff (band names as well, put on those musical thinking caps…)

9. Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway) – Billy Joel (1976) – I’ve always liked “story songs” and this one fits the bill with a native New Yorker penning a song that looks forward from the perspective of someone looking back. Gotta admire the effort from a songwriter who knew his subject, and besides, it is a fun ride musically as well. Don’t know much about New York City and its troubles in the 70s but pretty bad shape. Not a big city guy, too many people, too much hustle and bustle and in the case of my state, too much corruption. Perhaps I should get to work on a ditty about Chicago breaking free from the rest of us “downstate” and becoming its own solitary island afloat somewhere out on Lake Michigan.

8. Da Ya Think I’m Sexy – Rod Stewart (1978) – Don’t answer…This one occupies a spot that takes me back to a kid on the verge of becoming a teenager and brings to mind a new television music countdown program known as “Solid Gold.” Now, I had long dug my 70s tunes on the radio but getting a weekly look at some eye catching dancers to go along with my music, well, let’s just say “Wow!” Also an awkward time when a song like this came on the radio when riding somewhere with your folks, much less the music video, makes you feel like singing along but not sure if it’s appropriate…Fast forward about 40 years and I just hope my kids don’t really have a clue what most of the current stuff on the radio is all about yet.

7. The Zoo – Scorpions (1980) – A classic rocker, this was probably my top pick on the jukebox at a local watering hole known as “G.P.s Lounge” where once upon a time me and my buddies spent more than a few evenings, and nights and afternoons…More than a few quarters invested in this one and some darts and just a few cold ones.

6. Fly By Night – Rush (1975) – Very fitting that this one came over the airwaves at 5:02am, still dark on my escape to the fishing hole while any young anglers who may wish to tag along were still snuggly tucked in bed. Just had to grin at the timing. I’ve got this mental list of favorite lyrics and this song features a few lines that will make that list one of these days, maybe when I start up a music blog, yeah right, got time for that. Anyway, “Quiet and pensive, my thoughts apprehensive” is pure genius, might trade fishing for such literary ability.

Five down, five to go, back tomorrow. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – June 16, 2008

I’m going to push my luck with today’s Flashback as even the abridged version of this posting from 2008 remains a little lengthy. But a great day on the water just makes it tough to pare it down so here we go.

Dad and I hit Lake Bracken on June 16th, the day after Father’s Day, for our first fishing trip together of 2008. The weather had been fairly stable and the bass were through spawning so I figured that I might as well compile another “Day on the Lake” feature. As a refresher, our DOTL adventures involve photographing each bass that we land along with recording time, length, lure and weight (if applicable). The article then consists of a chronological account of our day, statistics and anecdotes concerning what actually goes on when we share several hours on the water. So, everyone hop aboard for a belated Father’s Day version of “Day on the Lake with the Dads.”

5:27 am – Armed with over a dozen poles, a hefty amount of tackle, a digital camera, a fishing log and several new weapons courtesy of Father’s Day, we launch the boat.

Bass #1 – 5:39am leaves room for improvement (details below, same for the pics and times that follow)

5:39 am – Dad lands our first bass, an 8” on a Bomber Flat A crankbait along Ramp Road. The once reliable area fails to produce another bite so we elect to motor up lake.

Bass #8 – 7:45am 2-13 Senko

7:45 am – Dad tops off a string of four straight with a hefty 2-13 on his Senko wacky rig in Shed Cove. It’s his fifth Senko bass of the morning and it seems that I might have done well with my selection of Baitmate Max Fish Attractant in the garlic and salt flavor for his Father’s Day gift. He’s begun coating the lure with the attractant and it sure seems to be working. Our three fish weight now stands at 4-11.

Bass #9 – 7:48am 2-0 Baby Brush Hog

7:48 am – I follow suit by asking for a shot of the juice on my Baby Brush Hog (Alabama craw). My next cast to a fallen tree results in a 2-0, bumping our make believe tourney totals to four bass weighing 6-11.

Bass #11  – 8:00am 3-5 Senko

8:00 am – We’re still on a roll, still in the cove and rapidly buying into the spray on fish attractant thing as Dad lands a 3-5. Once again the Senko does the trick and establishes a new Top Bass for 2008. The fish fills our six bass tourney limit and pushes our weight to 10-15. Were we truly fishing a tournament, it would be a great relief to have our limit by 8:00 am so we could begin to work on weeding out the smaller fish and increasing our weight.

Bass #28 (along with short Bass #27) – 10:00am 2-9 Baby Brush Hog

10:00 am – My 2-9 from some trees on Sunset View Point replaces a 0-15 and bumps our weight up to 13-9. The fish comes on a Texas rigged Zoom Baby Brush Hog (Alabama craw).

Bass #35 (and a couple companions) – 11:21am 3-7 Senko

11:21 am – Following a pair of fourteen ounce bass that no longer meet the minimum for our six fish limit, Dad bests the 2008 Top Bass for the second time today with a 3-7. After a well-placed cast near a crumbling dock on Brock’s Point, Dad actually witnesses the bass engulfing his bait. His latest lunker bumps out a 1-14 bringing our weight to 15-15.

Bass #38  11:37am the last of a stellar day

11:37 am – Our final catch of the day is a short fish by Dad on the Senko, of course. This completes a string of six straight bass putting an exclamation point on an outstanding day as he easily doubles my catch.

Location: Lake Bracken
Time: 5:30 am-12:00pm
Totals: 38 bass (Dad-26 Troy-12) and 4 bluegill
Bass under 12” – 21
Bass 12” or above – 17
Lures: Senko – 24 Baby Brush Hog – 7 Dropshot rig – 4 Baby 1- 1 Bomber Flat A – 1 Zara Spook – 1
Streaks: Dad 6 straight bass 11:06am-11:37am
Troy 2 straight (twice)
Droughts: Dad – 48 minutes 6:19am-7:07am
Troy – 62 minutes 6:04am-7:06am
Record Book Entries: Dad (3-7, 3-5, 2-13, 1-14)
Troy (2-9, 2-0, 1-13)
Total Weight (top six bass): 15-15

Entire original log entry from the outing


Hotspots – Shed Cove is a small pocket that features a fallen tree on the west point, a pair of stumps along the eastern bank (if you know where to look) and a sharp dropoff on the west point; plenty of appeal, and on this date, plenty of bass. From 7:31am until 8:00am, we hauled in five bass (Dad caught four of these) with all coming in at 12” or greater and a combined weight of 9-15 (0-14, 2-13, 2-0, 0-15 and 3-5 in chronological order). A couple trees on Sunset View Point also produced well as we landed six bass between 9:47 am and 10:00 am including a 2-9. Only one came on the Senko as this turned out to be the only spot on the lake where it was out produced as the Baby Brush Hog or dropshot rig were the lures of choice.

I’m A Believer – As noted previously, part of the Father’s Day gift pack for Dad was a bottle of Baitmate Max Fish Attractant. Its appeal turned out to be one of the top stories of the day, perhaps even adding to the already impressive production of the Senko wacky rig. Dad employed the spray frequently and was rewarded with a hefty creel, both in quantity and quality. I was convinced of the juice’s effectiveness as well by an incident in Shed Cove. Upon observing Dad’s success with the liquid, I asked for a dose on my Baby Brush Hog stating, “I haven’t had a bite on this lure yet.” After firing a cast to a fallen tree, my next words were, “You’ve got to be kidding” as I set the hook on what turned out to be a 2-0 bass. I have yet to pick up a bottle for myself but as a reminder my birthday is July 23rd.

Taking a pic of every bass leads to a little goofing off to provide something extra for the run of the mill fish.  This is what I call a “Magazine Pic” where you hold the catch as far as your arm can reach towards the camera. (Note: not a fan, this is truly a tongue in cheek shot enhanced by the grin on the guy holding the fish)

That wasn’t so bad now was it? As my blogging approach has evolved over the years I have tried to pare my postings down or break up what used to be one posting into a series of submissions. Not only do I feel that it helps me to maintain a steady stream of posts but I also feel that it is not quite as daunting to any readers who tune in as the human attention span just ain’t what it used to be.

And with that, I’m gone. Talk to you later (with some tunes). Troy

Top 5 Stats

Hey, why didn’t anybody let me know that I was slacking in my duties as the stat keeper for this Top 5 project? Typically, I like to post a monthly stat update but in looking back over the 2018 postings such updates were nowhere to be found. Time to correct that oversight, so here we go with the lowdown on the 46 bass and 2 muskies submitted thus far for the 2018 Top 5.

Mark Balbinot – January 27

2018 Totals (* = new record)
*January = 5 bass (old record 1 in 2017)
February = 5 bass
March = 0 bass
April = 12 bass
May = 20 bass
June = 4 bass

John Kirkemo – May 22

Top 5 Weight by Month (* = new record)
*January = 13-5 (3-15, 2-7, 2-6, 2-6, 2-3) previous record 2-11 in 2017
February = 7-3 (2-6,1-7,1-5,1-2,0-15)
March = no submissions
April = 14-15 (4-0,3-0,2-12,2-10,2-9)
May = 14-15 (3-10,3-7,2-15,2-8,2-7)
June = 8-1 (3-3,2-5,1-9,1-0)

Brent Jackson – April 21

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 22 bass
Bank = 24 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight (* = new record)
Boat = 15-14 (4-0,3-15,3-0,2-8,2-7)
Bank = 15-15 (3-10,3-7,3-3,2-15,2-12)

Jayce Jackson – May 5

Public vs. Private
Public = 38 bass
Private = 8 bass

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 17-2 (3-15,3-10,3-7,3-3,2-15)
Private = 13-3 (4-0,3-0,2-6,2-6,1-7)

Troy Jackson – April 13

The Baits (* = new record)
Plastic Worms = 24 bass (Top Bass 3-10 Jim Junk)
Crankbaits = 13 bass (Top Bass 3-15 Mark Balbinot)
Spinnerbaits = 4 bass (Top Bass 2-8 Chris Schwarz)
Jigs = 2 bass (Top Bass 2-12 Brent Jackson)
Lipless Crankbaits = 2 bass (Top Bass 1-13 Troy Jackson)
Chatterbait = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-0 Chris Schwarz)

Monthly Top Bass (* = new record)
3-15 Mark Balbinot (old record 2-11 Mark Balbinot 2016)
2-6 Troy Jackson
No submissions
4-0 Chris Schwarz
3-10 Jim Junk
3-3 Jim Junk

Chris Schwarz – April 28

Top 10 Bass (* = new Top 10 all-time)
4-0 Chris Schwarz 4/28
3-15 Mark Balbinot 1/27
3-10 Jim Junk 5/22
3-7 Jim Junk 5/31
3-3 Jim Junk 6/7
3-0 Troy Jackson 4/22
2-15 Jim Junk 5/31
2-12 Brent Jackson 4/21
2-10 Brent Jackson 4/21
2-9 Troy Jackson 4/13

Jim Junk – May 22

Angler Weights (* = new Top 5 record, old mark 32-13)
Jim Junk 15-11 (3-10,3-7,3-3,2-15,2-8)
Mark Balbinot 13-5 (3-15, 2-7, 2-6, 2-6, 2-3)
Troy Jackson 12-2 (3-0,2-9,2-6,2-3,2-0)
Brent Jackson 8-13 (2-12,2-10,1-14,1-9)
Chris Schwarz 8-6 (4-0,2-8,1-14)
John Kirkemo 8-2 (2-7,2-0,1-9,1-2,1-0)
Jayce Jackson 7-8 (2-5,1-13,1-5,1-4,0-13)

John Kirkemo – April 26

Muskie Length Totals
70+” John Kirkemo (40”, 30+”)

There you have it as I have remedied my oversight and we are up to speed through the latest update. And here’s what’s cool. I just received a couple more submissions to keep the streak alive and add to our totals. It’s also fun that the fish come courtesy of a veteran Top 5 angler (2015-2017) with his first posts of the year. Those are headed your way next Monday but first there’s more stuff to come this week. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – Father’s Day

Snuck away from this bunch for an early morning outing but assisted later with a water balloon fight…after a nap.

Earlier this month, I wrote a piece that touched on what I considered to be a bit of a bass slump with two of three outings where I just couldn’t put much together. Many years prior, I wrote a piece called “Drag Bunts & Basics” which gave me an excuse to combine baseball and bass fishing. The slumpbuster in that case was to shift gears and go panfishing, my equivalent to the old drag bunt attempt to get on base and get back in the groove. Well, this time I elected to take the opposite approach and swing for the fences. Maybe not the best idea for a ballplayer but was slinging a buzzbait on a couple of my bests spots a winner for this angler?

6:05am First Bass and Top Bass 15″ 1-11 Senko

Date: June 17, 2018
Location: Little John Conservation Club (2 lakes)
Time: 5:35am-10:05am
Weather: Sunny/calm to breezy
Air Temp: 75-84F
Totals: 12 bass
Senko wacky rig (pumpkin/black flake or purple with black flake) – 8 bass
Booyah Buzzbait (bleeding shad or snow white shad) – 4 bass
Top Bass: 1-11 Senko
Top 5 Weight (4 bass at 12” or better): 6-8 (1-11,1-10,1-2,1-1)

6:17am 15.5″ 1-10 Buzzbait

8:13am 14″ 1-2 Buzzbait

Notes and Nonsense

Early Escape – Up at 3:33am and pulling out of the driveway at slightly after 4:00am, I was several hours ahead of anyone in my house even thinking about getting out of bed on a Father’s Day morning. Honestly, that was kind of the plan, felt slightly bad about ditching my crew but knew they’d barely miss me at that time of the day, if at all. And I had to smile as I neared my destination, still in the dark, with the truck radio displaying 5:02am while I turned up the volume on “Fly by Night” from Rush. Summed it up nicely.

The Father’s Day menu that I prepared to serve up to the bass

Early Brunch – I know that a lot of places do a Mother’s Day Brunch but not so sure about Father’s Day. No matter, as I had my own batch of offerings all set up for the strip mine bass I was chasing. Senko was the most popular dish, with scattered interest in a buzzbait, one strike on the Whopper Plopper, no bites on the Mann’s crankbait or topwater frog and I never even picked up the spinnerbait or giant Senko. As usual I packed way more than I used but you don’t catch fish on lures in your garage and you just never know what you might need.

8:56am 14″ 1-1 Senko

The One That Sorta Got Away – The largest bass I saw all day was one between two and three pounds that took an interest in a short bass I had hooked on a Senko near the end of my day. I let the small bass swim around for a while just so I could get a better look at his buddy and then worked the area over but the larger fish didn’t show up. Kind of fun though and I’ve had as many as eight bass follow a hooked fish to the boat (or shore) along with a handful of instances of catching two bass on one lure. But those are tales for another day.

I’m a lucky guy beyond the rewarding day on the water

Happy Father’s Day – A fishing trip was a great gift to myself with an assist from Julie as I pretty much didn’t have to do anything on Father’s Day. An hour and a half afternoon nap was kind of cool too after the short night as well as home-cooked shrimp fajitas for dinner.  And on top of that there was beef Jerky, M&Ms, Nestea, some work shirts, a new watch and a new pair of work shoes. I have a great family and hope that their show of appreciation indicates that I am a better Dad than fisherman.

Okay, so no dingers as I’d hoped for in my decision to swing for the fences but still equates to a good day at the plate in my book. Say, 2 for 4 with a single, double, walk and maybe a run scored. At any rate, left me feeling better about my effort than my last outing and was a pleasant escape from my priorities. Jammed out to a few good tunes on the round trip as well, so stay tuned…Talk to you later. Troy