Category: Fishing Reports

Lake Storey Report – October 19

A Lake Storey fishing report in the Inbox last Friday from my friend, John Kirkemo, and a reasonable Saturday forecast made for an impromptu trip back down to Knox County’s Lake Storey to chase those wily bass. Glad I could swing it as it’s always a treat to fish my “home lake.”


Date: October 19, 2019
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 10:05am-3:35pm
Weather: Partly cloudy to overcast/breezy to calm
Air Temp: 54-60F
Water Temp: 55-56F
Totals: 10 bass
Lures: Strike King 2.5 Rattling Squarebill crankbait (sexy shad) – 6 bass
Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait (red crawfish) – 3 bass
Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (bluegill) w/ twin tail trailer (smoke) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-11
Top 5 Weight: 7-4 (1-11,1-9,1-8,1-4,1-4)

10:18am First bass and Top Bass 16″ 1-11 Crankbait

Notes and Nonsense

Drawdown V2.0 – An abundance of September rain negated the annual post Labor Day drawdown of Lake Storey bringing the water level back to near normal pool. Interestingly, the city opted to pull the plug a second time resulting in the lake being back to nearly full draw for this outing. I found this to be an encouraging decision as I understand that the practice of lowering the lake level has been debated at times. Here’s hoping that the annual drop continues as a fishery management tool and does not get vetoed by those who find it aesthetically unpleasant. For me, it is quite an attractive bit of added contrast between the lake surface and the changing foliage lining the bank. In addition, I find it much more appealing than the extensive beds of aquatic vegetation that ring much of the lake beginning in mid-May. And it’s good for the fishing. What’s not to like?

10:35am 15″ 1-9 Crankbait

Lonely Lake – October is an interesting time to fish as many folks either put away their gear or have other things to do. I’m not much into college football anymore so on a Saturday like this day, well, I’m not missing a thing. On this pleasant mid-October morning I arrived to a deserted boat ramp and was joined as I launched by friend and Top 5 contributor, John Kirkemo, who arrived with his boat in tow. We essentially had the lake to ourselves as I observed one other boat of crappie anglers who had launched at the other end of the lake along with a kayak angler. Shortly before 3:00pm another boat showed up and we left the lake to that angler shortly thereafter.

11:39am 14″ 1-8 Spinnerbait

Rock, Sun, Wind, Depth – A riprap bank hit by direct sun and a fair wind with deep water in close proximity is a fall winner and it came through quite well on this trip. Five of my ten bass (and another lost at boatside) came during an early and late pass along this stretch. One other shallower area with a pile of cinder blocks did give up a pair of bass and is always an interesting spot. I caught one bass on the initial pass but always make a cast back to the debris after I have drifted past, and right on cue, the first cast got me a second bass from the structure.

12:33pm 14″ 1-4 Crankbait

Wood Not so Good – Unlike my last visit in mid-September where spinnerbaits dominated the haul, the bite was lean on this outing. While I felt the water temps still held promise for the lure, the low water just left too much wood exposed or too shallow for the lure to be effective on my regular spots. No problem though, as crankbaits came through just fine.

1:34pm 13.5″ 1-4 Crankbait

It looks like the weather is going to take a dip as one would expect so this will likely be my final shot at the Lake Storey drawdown. Once again, a good challenge and I feel we turned in a respectable showing over three visits. One thing lacking, however, were teeth as we failed to turn up the accidental muskie or walleye. Maybe next year.

Next up in the “Friday Flashback” series is an entertaining 80s tale that we’ll revisit with the help of an old friend as a guest blogger. Hope you’ll stop back by to check it out. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – October 14

I am definitely feeling the impending end of my fishing year as we head into the home stretch. My annual aim is to end with a November bass and folks, it ain’t that far away. In the meantime I was able to work out back to back mid-October days on the water. Day One was reported earlier this week and read on for my Day Two quest to beef up my Top 5 weight as it has been a tough year for me to find big bites.

11:07am First bass, on the board but hoping they get bigger

Date: October 14, 2019
Location: Knox Co. IL private strip mines (2 lakes)
Time: 10:50am-3:00pm (3.25 hours fishing, the rest relocating)
Weather: Sunny/calm to breezy
Air Temp: 48-52F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 8 bass, 1 crappie
Zoom Baby Brush Hog (watermelon seed) – 4 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 2 bass, Booyah Blade spinnerbait (snow white shad) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 2-11 (Spinnerbait)
Top 5 Weight (only 4 at 12” or better): 8-8 (2-11,2-9,2-1,1-3)

11:53am 17.5″ 2-9 Zoom Baby Brush Hog

12:50pm 13.5″ 1-3 Zoom Baby Brush Hog

Notes and Nonsense

Accident – Every once in a while as a bass angler you happen into a bite from a different species. Prior to this trip, my lone “accident” was a stout bluegill that took a liking to one of my crankbaits. This time around it was a nice 12” crappie that grabbed my Baby Brush Hog as I jigged it around a downed tree. I’ve caught the occasional crappie on a crankbait, jerkbait or spinnerbait but I believe this is the first one on such a creature type bait.

An interesting accident

No need to pack a ton of tackle, even though I usually do

Arsenal – No surprises here with the trio of lures that fooled my fish. My hope was that I could get away with the rapid pace of a lipless crankbait or the moderate speed of a spinnerbait or crankbait but I just could not find a consistent bite in the regular right places on my first stop. Instead, it took some slowing down with a Texas rigged creature bait to fool some fish.

2:05pm 17″ 2-1 Spinnerbait

A Day (or two) Early – The old saying references being “a day late and a dollar short” but in this case it sounds as if I would have been better off delaying my Monday trip until Hump Day. Need proof? Well, my buddy, Jim Junk, reported in with a Wednesday afternoon/evening outing where he “recorded 10 bass over 2 pounds and landed over a dozen others…hitting spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and lipless cranks. Actually think they just attacking anything and anywhere.” Another flurry as daylight faded resulted in “5 more bass landed on a chatterbait in about a half hour.” Definitely what one would call a fall feeding frenzy and always cool when you are there when conditions are just right.

2:28pm Top Bass 18″ 2-11 Spinnerbait

For the Birds – Overall, I managed a reasonable haul and bumped up my Top 5 a few ounces but the outing just didn’t live up to my initial expectations. Once again, that darned sun got the best of me. I know a guy shouldn’t complain about a sunny day, especially in October, but sunny conditions just don’t lend themselves to a good bite on these fishing holes. And what really stinks is the fact that I am now locked out of roughly 50 public strip pits because of the dang geese. No offense to any waterfowlers but such closures have always been a thorn in my side.

“No bass for you!” as October 13 was actually the last day to fish Snakeden Hollow, game over for 2019.

Okay, I’ll shut this one down before I come off as a bit too whiny. In the end, I did have several good spots to fish and just couldn’t fool any big bites this time around…or for most of 2019 for that matter. I’m not done quite yet though as Lake Storey beckoned this weekend. Full report next week. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – October 13

Last Sunday marked the final day of 2019 access for anglers to Snakeden Hollow State Fish & Wildlife Area. The site shuts down for the waterfowl season so the birds win out over my bass (more on that some other time). Wanting one more shot, I decided to take a hike despite a recent cold front and the forecast of strong winds which can make it tough on an eight foot johnboat. The evening prior I put out a text to my brother, Brent, and he was game to give it a go as well. Read on for the results of our tag team outing.

Bundle up as this could be interesting


Date: October 13, 2019
Location: Snakeden Hollow, Knox Co. IL (4 lakes)
Time: 10:55am-5:25pm (5.25 hours fishing, the rest walking)
Weather: Sunny to overcast/very windy
Air Temp: 48-55F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 23 bass (Brent – 12, Troy – 11)
Troy: Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 6 bass, Booyah Blade spinnerbait (snow white shad) – 2 bass, Zoom Baby Brush Hog (watermelon seed) – 2 bass, Chatterbait (bluegill) with Zako trailer (smoke) – 1 bass
Brent – Emiquon Special spinnerbait (brown/orange) 11 bass, Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait (grey ghost) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 4-5 (Spinnerbait)
Top 5 Weight: 11-9 (4-5,2-1,1-15,1-10,1-10)

A few of the bass that were captured on GoPro

Notes and Nonsense

Weather – The temps were in the 30s when I left home with a high of 55 predicted along with winds gusting over 20 miles per hour. Well, it all played out as predicted but with the strong wind and afternoon cloud cover it actually felt colder even though it got warmer. Trust me, it makes perfect sense if you were out there roaming around for about seven hours.

11:08am First bass – spinnerbait

12:08pm my first bass took a while to find but was sure intent on getting the lure

First Bass – It only took about 10 minutes before Brent got us on the board with his old reliable spinnerbait. That spinnerbait would go on to land all but one of his bass with the lone exception falling to a Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait while we briefly ditched the boat in favor of the bank. A reliable stretch was getting pounded by the wind making boat control impossible so we gave the oars a break and landed three bass and missed another. One of the three was my first catch of the day at 12:08 pm, roughly 70 minutes after we started casting. My lame excuse was being the designated rower (voluntarily) but really I just wasn’t getting it done and still don’t have my own version of “The Emiquon Special” spinnerbait. My boy, Jayce, does courtesy of a gift from Uncle Brent though causing me to ponder the ethics of raiding someone else’s tacklebox.

1:58pm 1-10 spinnerbait

Reunion – Choosing your spots can be tough at Snakeden as there are over a couple dozen viable fishing holes on the site. I wavered on a visit to an old favorite pondering whether it still held enough potential to justify the hiking effort. The decision turned out to be one of those “since we’re this close…” types. An hour of casting gave us two of our eventual Top 5 but just as rewarding was reliving some old tales such as “the sumac forest” and “the biggest topwater explosion ever.” Folks, we’ve got just a few fish stories between us.

2:24pm 2-1 Zoom Baby Brush Hog


3:12pm 1-15 Spinnerbait

4:20pm 1-10 Chatterbait

4:35pm Top Bass 4-5 Spinnerbait

Top Bass – The first time Brent and I ever fished what would eventually become Snakeden Hollow was July 1, 1987. That was three years before the ground would be open to public access. We were fortunate to get an invite from a fellow willing to take a couple teenage wannabe bass fisherman along for a visit inside a locked gate. In the 32 years since, we’ve caught more than a few bass out there including several that exceed the weight of 4-5 on Brent’s latest catch. However, his fish is hands down the coolest looking Snakeden bass I’ve ever seen. An impressive catch and in this instance, I believe that the picture indeed does the fish justice as it could easily pass for a heavier bass. Whenever I get around to a post on my favorite bass pics of all-time, this one will certainly make the list.

Kind of blew it on my GoPro footage by accidentally turning off the camera mid-catch

Another good outing with my brother and we managed a respectable haul (and a brute) in some challenging conditions. Yet again reinforcing why you don’t put those poles away to early and that the best time to go fishing is anytime you can. Which brings me to the following day and another fishing report to compile. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Extras – September 22


There’s an old saying about “not having enough sense to come in out of the rain.” Well, I would counter that statement with something along the lines of “nobody with any sense would walk away from a good bite.” And walking was a key component of this fishing trip. The definite risk was hiking in about two circuitous miles with the impending inclement weather. The potential reward was a good batch of bites. In the end, both aspects materialized as further detailed today with a lyrically filled post emphasizing “rain.”

Some old rain pics as evidence that you you won’t melt and the fish will bite

“I’m No Stranger to the Rain” (Keith Whitley – 1989) – When faced with potential precipitation I often resort to the old familiar refrain of “we’ve been wet before.” And as you can see above, we did okay, wound up no worse for wear and learned our lesson. That lesson being, as long as there’s no lightning, you better take your shot because there are a lot of good stories in those rainy pics.

If this is fishing in the rain, I’ll take it. Took my backup “rainy day” log (on right) and transferred data post trip 

“Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” (B.J. Thomas – 1971) – Indeed, they did. Rainfall consisted of a light rain during my pre-dawn walk in, a brief shower about 7:00am calling for donning the raincoat and a downpour during the last hour of casting and hiking back to the truck. But hey, “I’m never gonna stop the rain by complaining” with 47 bass in the logbook. And with a change of clothes in the truck “nothing’s worrying me.”


“Blame It on the Rain” (Milli Vanilli – 1989) – The rain showed up full force about 10:15am and continued steadily at varying degrees through my final cast at 11:50am. During the downpour, the bite was inversely proportional to the severity of the showers. The heavier the rain the lighter the bite while my better fish of the day showed up as the rainfall eased a bit.


“Fool in the Rain” (Led Zeppelin – 1979) – I wasn’t sure what to make of the iPhone Live Photo feature at first but have found it to be kind of fun, albeit a little creepy in some instances. As I played around editing pics for these latest reports I found that I could actually put one of them to use. I was simply snapping the “after” shot to go with the “before” pic I had taken at the parking lot to start the morning but found that the motion revealed plenty about a wet, walk-in adventure. Five miles, deep weeds, undulating terrain, hauling gear, rough footing, 47 bass and a 52-year old body. I’d had a good day, but for me the video loop above also says that I’d had enough. Just plain wore out.

A good representation of how the day progressed from early to late

Anytime I can post a 47 bass morning, I’m good. Bigger fish would have just been icing on the cake. I knew the rain would show up at some point and planned accordingly for the long walk. Rain gear was an obvious choice but I also scaled down to “only” four poles and bare bones on tackle. In fact, in terms of that latter aspect I actually overdid it as I needed only four lures to fool my nearly four dozen bass. Yep, now that I’m not so sore anymore, I’d gladly take another shot at being the fool out there on those strip mine hills. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – September 22

In a bold move, I dared to doubt the weatherman last Sunday and the 90-100% prediction of rain all morning, all afternoon and all evening. Call me a “fool”, but for most of my morning on some walk-in strip pits, it actually worked out just fine. And speaking of “fools”, I had so much fun with the lyrical fishing report notes last week that I am doing it again. Twice for this outing, in fact. “Fool” songs in today’s standard report and a “rain” theme for tomorrow’s extras.

Extended an invite but could not “Find Another Fool” (Quarterflash – 1982)

Ready to hike and fingers crossed as it looks like a dry window after all

Date: September 22, 2019
Location: Knox County, IL public strip mines (5 lakes)
Time: 6:15am-11:50am (4.50 hours fishing, the rest hiking)
Weather: Overcast/breezy/rain
Air Temp: 72-69F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 47 bass
Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 22 bass
Booyah Buzzbait (snow white shad) – 12 bass
Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (snow white shad) – 11 bass
Zoom Baby Brush Hog (watermelon seed) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 1-13
Top 5 Weight: 7-12 (1-13,1-11,1-11,1-8,1-1)

7:03am First bass and 7:46am first “keeper”

Notes and Nonsense

“What a Fool Believes” – (The Doobie Brothers – 1979)
All day Saturday I checked the weather forecast only to find 100% chance of rain every hour from about 4:00am into the afternoon. Tough call but I opted to go for it and lucked into a window of mostly dry skies from my 6:15am arrival until about 10:15am. I’m glad I elected to disregard the weather app and take my chances. Oh, I still got soaked, but I already had about 40 bass in the log by that point.


“What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am” – (Lee Roy Parnell – 1992)
First off, that is one of those “rhetorical” questions. Anyway, I texted out an invitation on Saturday afternoon to a fellow fishing fool who politely declined as previously noted. And to tell you the truth I was beginning to wonder as well. For while the forecast had shifted towards the dry window noted above it sure was pouring on the drive down. From the I-74 Edwards River crossing until just shy of Galva on Route 17 it was raining so hard that I could barely see the road at times. Fortunately, less than 10 miles to the south there was barely any precipitation despite some ugly skies.


“Poor Little Fool” – (Ricky Nelson – 1958)
Actually, my Red Eye Shad fooled several poor little fools in the 6” range. That says a lot about the predatory instincts of the largemouth bass as these overachievers certainly bit off more than they could chew. One of their bigger brothers was fooled too but made a fool of me within a couple feet of the bank. Yep, the “one that got away”, more on that incident in a follow up post.

11:11am Top Bass 16″ 1-13 

“Fool If You Think It’s Over” (Chris Rea – 1978)
With a Top Bass of 1-13, the quality of my catches certainly left room for improvement. That’s been the theme for my 2019 as I just can’t find those big bites. In the case of the lakes fished on this trip, three of them had produced over half a dozen bass from 3-0 to 4-6 since 2013. But while I failed to find those quality bites again, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over and I intend to make at least a few more casts before I call it quits on 2019 fishing.

Some final totals beyond the bass (grocery shopping included that afternoon)

“Fool Hearted Memory” (George Strait – 1982)
As time passes I must admit to wrestling more and more with the decision to put these adventures behind and pursue some lower impact fishing. Throw in a saturated landscape that got even more saturated during the last hour and a half of wandering around and those thoughts crossed my mind again. But here I am several days later with the aches fading and a chance to relive the catches via blogging and editing, well, you know the rest.

Back tomorrow with Part II from a fool that doesn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain. Fishing will do that to you. Talk to you later. Troy


Lake Storey Report – September 15

A second consecutive Sunday on Lake Storey with my brother, Brent, proved to be another winner. Lots of bass and plenty of other stuff including a batch of song titles to compliment my standard fishing report format.

9:14am 15″ 1-12 Spinnerbait

10:03am 15″ 1-11 Spinnerbait

“Lowdown” (Boz Scaggs – 1976)

Date: September 15, 2019
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 8:50am-3:05m
Weather: Overcast to sunny/windy and some rain
Air Temp: 66-84F
Water Temp: 73-74F
Totals: 21 bass (Brent – 12 bass, Troy – 9 bass)
Brent: Spinnerbait (white) w/ tandem hammered blades (copper) – 9 bass
Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait (grey ghost) – 2 bass
Senko wacky rig (bumblebee) – 1 bass
Troy: Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 4 bass
Zoom Baby Brush Hog (watermelon) – 3 bass
Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (bluegill) w/ twin tail trailer (smoke) – 1 bass
Bomber Long A Jerkbait (red/yellow) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-2 (Troy), 1-15 (Brent)
Top 5 Weight: 9-5 (2-2,1-15,1-13,1-12,1-11)

“The Rain, the Park & Other Things” (The Cowsills – 1967)

“Who’ll Stop the Rain” (Credence Clearwater Revival – 1970) – The original plan was to be on the water before sunrise, roughly 6:15am. The reality was a nasty thunderstorm that delayed my 45 minute drive as Plan B was to meet at Dad’s garage at 7:00am instead. Brent and Dad had already been hanging out there for an hour when I arrived and we didn’t actually get to head to the lake until about 8:30am.

“Double Vision” (Foreigner – 1978) – The bass are rather wily on the heavily pressured waters of Lake Storey so two in the boat (a “double”) is cause for a photo. Or two photos in this case as I was too busy shooting to realize that Brent was doing the same back in my direction. Cool idea, makes for a little something different for the fishing report.

12:20pm 1-15 Spinnerbait

“It’s Raining Again” (Supertramp – 1982) – Although the forecast indicated the rain was supposed to be done by 9:00am, a fairly heavy downpour came calling around 10:00am. Luckily, we had our rain gear at the ready which apparently was not the case for some other anglers launching their boat. We saw them backing down the ramp as the rain began but they were nowhere in sight by the time it subsided roughly 20 minutes later.

“Fly Like an Eagle” (Steve Miller Band – 1976) – A cool sight was a bald eagle that was spotted several times as we fished our way around the lake. In addition, we spotted another large bird of prey, an osprey, for the second weekend in a row. Several great blue herons, green herons, a couple kingfishers and some unidentified ducks at a distance rounded out a quality bird list.

My portion of the lures that fooled our fish

“One Way or Another” (Blondie – 1979) – During our 15 bass outing on Lake Storey the previous Sunday, the bass told us that a spinnerbait was all we needed. Indeed, our pair of spinnerbait selections fooled every one of our catches and with such positive feedback we hardly threw anything else. On this outing, the spinnerbait was still the top producer but caught less than half of our haul. It was fun to alternate baits on different spots to find an effective presentation and Brent actually caught one on each of the three poles he had on board. You don’t see that every day as he often finds no reason to set the spinnerbait aside.

1:39pm 15.5″ 1-13 Red Eye Shad

Not a soul all day but a crowd shows up at our 3:05pm quitting time, go figure

“Still the Same” (Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – 1978) – With the ugly morning weather it was no surprise that we launched mid-morning at an empty ramp. What was surprising was to only see one other boat on the water, a family who had launched at the opposite end of the lake. However, what was not surprising was the crowd that showed up to end the day. In fact, I commented to Brent as we headed to our final spot at 2:48pm that we had not seen a soul in the lot all day but just wait…Sure enough, as we got within a couple casts of the ramp, three bank anglers arrived and began fishing the launch area as did two trailers. I’d give the first crew about a C- if I were grading boat launching while the second guy did quite well with the added pressure of me heading to our truck and trailer. I did offer to assist as he was flying solo but he had it covered in fine fashion. No big deal as we were in no hurry but I swear, it never fails.

2:14pm Top Bass 16.5″ 2-2 Baby Brush Hog

All in all, “One Fine Day” on the water (The Chiffons – 1963). But “Enough is Enough” (April Wine – 1982) as I don’t want to contribute to any “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” (Freddy Fender – 1975). “Talk to ya later.” (The Tubes – 1981). Troy

Lake Storey Report – September 8

A popular assessment over the years regarding my “home” lake, Lake Storey, was “there’s no fish in there!” Such a lament was always music to my ears and brought a grin. It can take some work to find them but there a few nice fish swimming in that old fishing hole. Last Sunday, me and my brother, Brent, found some during a shortened morning outing.

7:58am First Bass 1-3 Spinnerbait


Date: September 8, 2019
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 7:30am-11:00am
Weather: Overcast to partly cloudy/calm to breezy
Air Temp: 61-66F
Water Temp: 73-74F
Totals: 15 bass (Brent – 10 bass, Troy – 5 bass)
Brent: Spinnerbait (white) w/ tandem hammered blades (copper) – 10 bass
Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (bluegill) w/ twin tail trailer (smoke) – 5 bass
Top Bass: 2-6 (Brent)
Top 5 Weight: 8-2 (2-6,1-15,1-8,1-3,1-2)

                                                                                            8:08am  13.5″ 1-8 Spinnerbait                                                                                                     No shutout for either guy and nice to have a photographer aboard for some variety in shots 

8:17am 1-15 Spinnerbait

Notes and Nonsense

Abbreviated – Initially we were to meet up at 5:30am to head out from my folks but a torrential downpour greeted me at 4:45am as I rolled out of bed at their place. A quick look at the forecast and a text to Brent pushed our meet up back to 7:00am which worked out fine. On the other end, we had to be off the water around 11:00am to make a family reunion sort of lunch date. Thus, there was no time for fooling around with slow presentations or hitting any spots beyond our top haunts.

9:18am 1-2 Spinnerbait

Spot Success Rate – Rehashing our route as I composed today’s post, we hit fourteen of our regular stops. Of those areas, eight of them produced a bass with multiples in a couple spots. That works out to a 57% success rate which in my book is pretty solid no matter where we fish and definitely worth a self-congratulatory pat on the back for a run and gun Lake Storey outing.

Fishing Tip – Wear your rain pants to the lake to increase the odds that the rain will cease as opposed to leaving them at home which will pretty much guarantee you’ll get wet.

9:24am Top Bass 2-6 Spinnerbait

Nephew Needs to Know – As I edited GoPro footage from this outing, my son Zac asked, “Does Uncle Brent talk while you’re fishing?” Initially I told him that Uncle Brent lets his spinnerbait do the talking for him which my other boy, Jayce, thought was pretty cool (that boy does his talking with a Senko). I then told the boys that I do hear Uncle Brent talk while we are on the water but not to me. Jayce got the point and replied, “He talks to the bass, huh?” Zac then piped up, “What does he say to them?” Boy, if I only knew…

10:46am Last bass on last stop 13.5″ 1-1 Spinnerbait 

Deserted ramp all morning just as seen here…until it’s time to trailer the boat

Never Fails – At 7:25am we launched at a deserted ramp. At 10:45am we were headed across the lake to a still deserted ramp right on schedule to hit a final spot and have the boat back on the trailer just after 11:00am. Of course, two vehicles with boats in tow showed up at just that time. Fortunately, both looked as if they had launched a boat before so we were still able to make our scheduled departure time and nab one final bass in the process.

All you needed on this day, although there is a little more to it than just simply casting and retrieving

A good day on an old favorite fishing hole with a close to old favorite fishing partner (not quite 50 yet but won’t be long). Always a challenge to fool some of the highly pressured and wily bass that swim in that stained water. Here’s hoping for another visit or two before the fishing year draws to a close. Talk to you later. Troy

Labor Day Report – September 2


I am fortunate to get Labor Day off from work so after taking in the UTHS Marching Panthers and Color Guard at the local parade it was off to the fishing hole with a special guest. My boy, Zac, commented that it had been a long time since we’d been fishing. Actually, he commented on a lot of stuff as that fellow can be a chatty one.

So, we stop for waxworms and this guy ends up with a basketball, all good, season is just around the corner


Date: September 2, 2019
Location: Knox County, IL strip mines (2 private)
Time: 4:30pm-9:00pm (2.5 hours driving, 1 hour fishing, maybe)
Weather: Sunny/breezy
Air Temp: 70s F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: about half a dozen bluegill
Lure: waxworms on jighead hung from a slip bobber

Bluegill success and of course, you have to test out the new boots by getting in the lake

Notes and Nonsense

Belly Flips – Hopefully more than a few out there can relate to a country drive up and down some hilly, low traffic roads which are ideal for producing that funny feeling in your belly. Me and Zac got plenty of belly flips once we left the beaten path to travel those last few miles to a couple new fishing holes. Why it seems like it was just forty five years ago that I was about his age enjoying the same treat with Dad at the wheel.


Questions 67 & 68 – I couldn’t help but think of this old Chicago tune and I kind of wish that I had actually counted as Zac may have exceeded these numbers. Sample questions included:
“How much is a fishing license?”
“Does everybody need a fishing license?”
“Is it funner fishing with me or Jayce?”
“Are those oars or paddles?”
“Can you see in the water with your glasses?”
“Will this boat tip over?”
“Is a kayak easier to tip over than this boat?”
“Why is it called a buzzbait?”
“How come you don’t have to wear a life jacket?”
“Who is a better fisherman, you, Papa or Uncle Brent?”
“Were you, Papa or Uncle Bubba a better basketball player?”
And while not a question, there was also a lot of “Dad, Dad, Dad.”


One on One – With four kids in the house and the resultant constant motion of daily responsibilities and activities, it really is rewarding to spend some “alone” time with a single kid. While it was billed as a fishing trip, we maybe spent an hour in the boat and even less time actually fishing. Along with catching a few bluegill, we caught the end of a Cubs victory, jammed on some 70s and 80s tunes, shot some hoops, made a Subway supper stop (complete with two cookies apiece) and one of us even got in a nap on the late night drive home. Good stuff no matter how the fish were biting.

Told Zac we’d hit Galva Subway at 8:02pm upon leaving the lakes. Yep, travelled this route just a few times before

Game over after some fresh air and a three day weekend

This trip concluded a busy and enjoyable three day Labor Day weekend with a good mix of family time and time on the water. And this particular angling journey was an entertaining combination of both. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – September 1

Back to back days on the water with a trip to end one month and a follow-up to begin the next. It sure didn’t take long to get that September bass, first cast of the morning in fact. Read all about a crazy start, a lackluster finish and some new prospects below.

6:30am – How about a first cast bass? Will it last?


Date: September 1, 2019
Location: Knox County, IL strip mines (2 private)
Time: 6:30am-10:40am (3.75 hours fishing)
Weather: Overcast/breezy to calm
Air Temp: 62-66F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 14 bass
Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (snow white shad) – 11 bass
5” Yamasenko wacky rig (watermelon/crème laminate) – 3 bass
Top Bass: 1-5 (Buzzbait)
Top 5 Weight (only 4 at 12” or better): 4-0 (1-5,0-15,0-14,0-14)

6:39am – Are you kidding me? Four bass in less than ten minutes of casting and recording

Notes and Nonsense

The Fast and the Furious– Some unexpected rain on the drive continued once I made it to the fishing hole. As a result, I kicked off my casting from the bank as a light rain continued to fall and the skies still looked a little iffy. It worked out quite well with a bass on each of my first two casts and three on my first four. All told I spent fifteen minutes in one spot on the bank and reeled in six bass. I must say it had me pretty fired up about my prospects for the day.


The Frustrating – While that initial pace was no doubt bound to slow, the morning bite really diminished with only eight more bass in the next three and a half hours. Nothing much changed in terms of the conditions but it sure took a lot more work to find my fish.

In Search Of – From 1977 to 1982, Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek fame hosted a television program of this name and I was a big fan of those 30-minute journeys into speculation, conjecture and pseudoscience. Well, perhaps I should compile my own documentary detailing my quest for what seem to be mythical large bass here in 2019 as it has really been a struggle. Hey, I’m a credible witness to past “trophies”, even have photographic evidence going back for decades, for what that’s worth these days. Maybe I need to recruit that “River Monsters” guy to see if he can help me find something bigger than the 1-5 fish that was Top Bass on this day.

9:53am not much of a Top Bass for the day at 1-5 but that was the best I could fool

New Ground – Desperate times call for desperate measures so I finally pulled the trigger on a couple fishing holes that I’ve had in my sights for many years. Thanks to social media (never thought I’d say that back in the day) I was able to reach out to a Galesburg High School classmate to get the scoop. It required a $35 investment but I now have some more Knox County water to explore. And I did a little of that on the heels of this outing and the following evening with a special guest as a co-angler.

But that is a fishing report for another day. Plenty more fishing stuff as well so I hope you’ll continue to make the blog a regular stop on your internet wanderings. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – August 31

Got in one more August outing to kick off the Labor Day weekend and it turned out pretty solid in terms of numbers and decent bass. 2019 has really been a struggle for me in regards to big bites and while no trophies on this trip I did find enough for a respectable Top 5 in my book.

7:26am 16.5″ 2-3 Buzzbait


Date: August 31, 2019
Location: Knox County, IL strip mines (2 private/1 public)
Time: 6:45am-12:45pm (5.00 hours fishing)
Weather: Partly cloudy/breezy
Air Temp: 58-66F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 23 bass
Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (snow white shad) – 14 bass
Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 5 bass
Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (salt and pepper) – 2 bass
Strike King 2.5 Rattling Squarebill crankbait (pumpkinseed) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 2-8 (Red Eye Shad)
Top 5 Weight: 10-1 (2-8,2-3,2-1,1-12,1-9)

12:00pm 15″ 1-9 Strike King Red Eye Shad

Notes and Nonsense

Hey Judy – Sunrise weather conditions and early success had an unusual soundtrack running through my head that made perfect sense, at least to me. The two hit combo consisted of Judy Collins’ “Clouds” and “Send in the Clowns” (with Clouds substituted). No doubt I was happy to see some cloud cover for the first time on a fishing trip in 2019. I’d been struggling all year to get my buzz on and the conditions had me confident that this would be the day. And it was but I sure wish that Judy would have recorded something about lunkers.

12:07pm 16.5″ 2-1 Strike King Red Eye Shad

Raydio – Before he became the “Ghostbusters” guy, Ray Parker Jr. had a successful stint with his band, Raydio. A 9:48am text from my brother, Brent, had me wishing I could be in “Two Places at the Same Time” as he sent a pic of a Top 5 qualifier from just a few miles from where I was casting. In thinking about the present state of technology though, you really can kind of be in two places at once via texting, Facetime and various social media applications. Certainly a far cry from the 80s when we first caught this fishing bug. (Note: Raydio also see – “You Can’t Change That”, “Jack and Jill”, “A Woman Needs Love”, and “That Old Song.”)

12:11pm 17″ 2-8 Strike King Red Eye Shad

Ring My Bell – I’ve been running around the Victoria, IL strip mines for over 30 years and used to work at Snakeden Hollow back in 1990 during a six-month temporary stint. In those days, at noon sharp there was a siren that would sound and ring across the old strip mine ground. I am not certain of the origin but I always called it the “dinner bell.” While I did not hear it from my location on this trip (if it truly still sounds), the bass turned on at exactly noon after a 30 minute fishless drought.

12:26pm 15.5″ 1-12 Strike King Rattling Squarebill crankbait

Overall a good day in terms of numbers and okay by me when my Top 5 weight enters double digits, even if only by an ounce. Just happy to get out one more time in August, enjoy some mild weather and find a decent bite. Bank beat boat this time around which is kind of fun for a blogger who leans towards a low tech and low budget approach. It’s not always easy but if you are willing to put in some work you can still track down those bites.

Plenty more posts on the horizon with a couple fishing reports from September, a Trip Tunes compilation, some Top 5 stats, the regular Friday Flashback post and perhaps a couple other ideas I’ve got in the works. So much fishing stuff but so much other stuff that sits up the priority list just a bit higher. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy