Category: Fishing Reports

Friday Flashback – April 17, 1988

Smack dab in the middle of this old sample of my 1988 fishing log lies an entry from this week featuring a place called “Green Oaks.” The spot still holds many memories 30 years later. Some of those memories I remember and some it’s probably better off that I don’t as the spot wasn’t just about fishing for me and some college buddies.

You see, this area was the field station for Knox College and it also featured a rather primitive campsite just uphill from the lone decent stretch of bank access on the lake. Couldn’t ask for a better set up for some college fellows who enjoyed fishing, camping and more than a few beverages. Bonfire sized campfires, beer, fresh bluegill fillets, beer, Guns N’ Roses (Appetite for Destruction) and Steve Earle (Guitar Town) on the tape deck of a boom box and little more beer. Those were the days.

Sometimes hard to believe it was 30 years ago but that’s how it goes.

Further snip from the original log entry featuring some old confidence baits

And, believe it or not, some of those baits are still in my collection, rotten skirts and all

My original baitcasting reel used on this trip, always thought it would be fun to get repaired for a few more casts

There’s just not many pics from those days and like some of the lost memories, I suppose that could be a good thing. Don’t know if my buddies have any photo documentation but I guess it would be interesting to see. You guys know who you are and where to find me if you’ve got anything to share for a future post on this great place to getaway. I’ve included some related pics of what I suppose are antiques these days, some of the old tackle I’ve still got stashed away. I guess there was a reason to keep that stuff after all.

In addition to Green Oaks, the log also features a couple other classic fishing holes from the formative days of this bass fishing thing that’s still going strong. We’ll revisit those spots before this whole Flashback series wraps up so keep stopping by every Friday.

A young, future blogger in his Knox Siwash baseball cap releasing a Green Oaks trophy.  We’ll see them both again on a Friday in August.

And one last note, if anybody knows a way to get an alumnus into Green Oaks for a reunion with a favorite old fishing hole, drop me a line. Seems alumni can take in the sights that the site has to offer but have to leave the fishing poles at home. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report 4/13

No superstition here to interfere with a Friday the 13th fishing trip last week. In fact, with the first three consecutive days of warm temps all year around here, it was fishing or bust. Friday was forecast as the tail end of the brief glimpse of spring so it was time for a vacation day for some Knox County, IL strip mine hiking. Turned out that the bass were ready for some warm, stable weather as well.


Still worth going the distance for a solid bite

Stats

Date: April 13, 2018
Location: Knox County, IL public, walk-in strip pits
Time: 6:55am-3:45pm (6 hours fishing, the rest walking)
Weather: Partly cloudy to overcast/windy to excessively windy
Air Temp: 53F-68F
Totals: 60 bass, 1 crappie
Lures:
Strike King KVD 2.5 Rattling Squarebill crankbait (sexy shad) – 32 bass
Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (white chartreuse) – 15 bass
Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 13 bass
Top Bass: 2-9 Strike King KVD 2.5 Rattling Squarebill
Top 5 Weight: 10-4 (2-9,2-3,2-0,1-13,1-11)


7:31am – First bass and only the beginning


11:44am – 14.5″ 1-13 Lipless crankbait


12:17pm – 16″ 2-3 Spinnerbait


Cool accident with a 12″ crappie on the lipless crankbait

Notes and Nonsense

The Conditions – A pleasant surprise upon arrival was the blackened, barren landscape resultant of a controlled burn on most of the area. I’ll have a closer look at this aspect of the outing in a future post but the main point is that walking was much less taxing as a result. Partly cloudy to overcast skies were also welcome as most of the fishing holes lie on the clear end of the water clarity spectrum. Wind was also a welcome feature although it got pretty crazy at times with reported gusts exceeding 35 miles per hour. All of these factors combined with a third day of warming temps that would top out in the upper 60s made for all I could ask for as an angler confined to the bank.


12:58pm – 15″ 1-11 Crankbait

The Plan – I had six lakes that were on the must see list based on past results along with just kind of poking around on others as I made my trek around the ground. Of the six targets, five produced well while the sixth only got a passing shot due to time constraints and limited bank access with the water level higher than normal. All told I cast on over a dozen spots and landed a bass on ten of them. It is my sixth year fishing this area and still plenty to learn as to which of the two dozen plus lakes sustain a healthy bass population if any at all. Tough call to focus on old faithful or seek out a hidden gem when faced with limited time and energy.

Turned out to be all I needed, took lots more lures though, as always

The Lures – I weighed my tacklebag just for fun after the trip to find it came in just barely under ten pounds. While not all of the weight is attributed to lures, I did pack along what would qualify as more than enough. While I lugged all of that gear over four miles, I wound up catching all of my bass on only three lures, the heaviest of which weighs in at 5/8 oz. So, less than two ounces of all that tackle actually produced and honestly there wasn’t much reason to change as this trio did just fine. I also packed along seven poles and just like the lures, caught bass on three of them. Undeniable evidence that I habitually take too much stuff but you just never know. Even if it’s only got a slim shot of being used or producing, that shot is still better than if it is sitting home in my garage.

1:04pm – 16.5″ 2-0 Crankbait

1:30pm – Top Bass 17″ 2-9 Spinnerbait

The Results – A 60 bass day is always a winner and certainly welcome in a year that has been rather unfavorable in terms of weather after a couple weird, warm February days. Along the way I was able to give my 2018 Top 5 a solid boost and exceed double digits on my Top 5 for the day. The four pounders I’ve encountered on some of these waters in the past eluded me and I just hope that they are still out there and haven’t found their way onto somebody’s stringer. Fair game I suppose if they have, just not my approach.

Windblown Video #1 – 2-0 catch (apologies for noise)

Windblown Video #2 – 2-9 catch (apologies for noise)

Hope to get back out at least one more time to chase the bass before April passes but time will tell. And how’s this for more of a nasty start to 2018? I began typing the rough draft of this report on Sunday April 15 and it was 30 degrees and snowing pretty good (which is really bad). And as I hit submit tonight (April 17) there’s a winter weather advisory beginning in about eight hours. Enough already! Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – April 1988

Today’s flashback goes back 30 years and features a bass reeled in by Dad from one of our favorite haunts, Lake Storey, located just north of Galesburg, IL. This one tipped the scales at 4-6 and came on a deep diving crankbait, says so right there on the back of the pic in my photo album.

Details from back of photo and etched in my mind

Although I really didn’t need to peek for those details as I knew all of that already. I was there on the other side of the camera that day and with that piscatorial photographic memory thing I’m afflicted with, well, a good catch kind of gets embedded upstairs.

As does a good “fish story”, and this one certainly qualifies.

We’ll start with Dad’s new bass boat that he purchased in 1987. This bass would have represented the boat record at that time as Dad devoted a fair amount of those early days to chasing some catfish on the Mississippi. Don’t imagine that it took much arm twisting from one of his boys to ditch the muddy water for the green tinted Lake Storey and it paid off quite well for him.

And speaking of Lake Storey, this was also likely the family lake record bass at the time and still stands in the Top 5 all these years later.  By the way, I also remember exactly where he caught it as I’m sure he does too.  But a good fish story has to maintain a little mystery, so I’m not telling.

These Mann’s 20+ models, that still reside in my tackle, reached unheard of depths for crankbaits when they hit the market back in the 80s.

The lure is also an interesting piece of the tale as it was a revolution in bass fishing at the time. You see, the Mann’s 20+ series deep diving crankbaits were pushing crankbaits to a whole new depth range and potentially putting a pair of trebles in front of bass who’d never seen such a thing.

Which brings us to the catch, which could only see out of one eye. If you take a look at the close up of the original photo below it is apparent that Dad’s catch indeed was half blind. Now, since I was on the photographing side of this story, I gave Dad a hard time for fooling this poor fish who obviously had some health concerns and was at a disadvantage when it came to discerning a real meal from a fake one. Of course, as the guy who nabbed the bass, Dad countered with “do you know how much skill it takes to catch a fish who can only see out of one eye?” Certainly a matter of perspective, perhaps coupled with a bit of envy.

“The One-Eyed Bass” – a classic fish story still told 30 years later

Somehow this trip eluded the log so I have no idea what else was caught or if the photographer even landed a bass. What is also fun to laugh about all these years later is that I don’t recall either of us ever catching another bass on one of those Mann’s 20+ crankbaits. Thus not only “one-eyed” but one of a kind. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – 4/11/2003

The Friday Flashback series plows ahead into a new month with another visit to an old fishing hole. Below is the original fishing report sent out to family and friends back on April 11, 2003, the same evening that I fooled the fish pictured above.

“Finally, some decent weather coinciding with some free time. After working first shift and following dinner, I had a couple hours before darkness settled in so I couldn’t pass up a trip to Emstrom’s Pond to try and fool a few bass. The recent warming trend gave me high hopes and I wasn’t disappointed. An hour and a half produced six bass including a new record for 2003. A 4-10 engulfed my Rapala Rattlin’ Rap (brown craw) as I worked it across a shallow flat. This area had seen a lot of baitfish, shiner or bluegill movement about a half hour prior to catching this bass. In fact, there had been a very large swirl and a scattering of small fish in its wake as I worked this area earlier. A couple cranks into my retrieve during my second pass in this area and a fish slammed my lure. After a pair of jumps at boatside, the bass was securely in my grasp with both treble hooks embedded firmly in its lower jaw. It was the last bite I had as darkness rolled in about ten minutes later and I headed for home.”

The Lure – still got it and dig the battle scars although I haven’t thrown it for years as lipless crankbait allegiance has turned to the Red Eye Shad.

The original log entry from this outing

Fifteen years later and decent weather and free time have been pretty tough to come by in 2018. Still looking for a bass of this quality as well as I currently sit at 2-6 for my Top Bass this year among the ten bass in the log from a pair of outings and just under eight hours on the water.

Sooner or later, I’m bound to get some good weather, some free time and some big bass. Not too much to ask, right? Maybe next week. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report 3/31

The original shot at a fishing report actually began the previous day on Good Friday, March 30. I had the day off, my boys, Jayce and Zac, wanted to go fishing and the weather was tolerable. Zac’s GoPro clip below shows an incident about 30 minutes after our arrival that put a damper on the outing and sent us packing as we hadn’t packed a change of footwear. Hadn’t really anticipated anyone taking a bit of a dip. You think I would know better by now.

 

So, on the heels of that abbreviated outing featuring about a dozen casts between me and my boy, Jayce, with no bites I was a little desperate to claim a March bass. Earlier this year, with Mother Nature’s assistance I had somehow been able to fool a handful of bonus February bass. Therefore, I wasn’t about to let March slip by no matter how surly Mother Nature had gotten in the meantime. Here’s how it went down.


3:10pm Mission accomplished with a March bass (more on the lure choice later this week)

Stats
Date: March 31, 2018
Location: Little John Conservation Club (2 lakes)
Time: 2:10pm-5:20pm
Weather: Partly cloudy to overcast/windy to very windy
Air Temp: 51-43F
Totals: 3 bass
Lures:
Rapala Shad Rap (blue) – 1 bass
Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 1 bass
Rapala Fat Rap (crawdad) – 1 bass
Top Bass: none 12” or better
Top 5 Weight: not applicable

Notes and Nonsense

Conditions – As if it wasn’t cold enough at barely 50 degrees, a cold front was scheduled to move in mid-afternoon right in the heart of my fishing time. Go figure but you get what you get and I was on a quest. Actually, a few quests (more on the others later this week). Anyhow, when the front came roaring in just over an hour into my trip, the already windy day got rather outrageous. Radio reports placed gusts at 35-40 mph and I would say that was right on the money.


3:33pm As close as I’d get to a “keeper” at 11.5″ on Shad Rap

Approach – Two bass on my first stop before the winds kicked into full gear came off a couple reliable spots but many more let me down. As such I elected to move to lake number two and fish some stretches of bank that were just getting pounded by wind and wave. Kind of interesting while rowing around in an eight foot johnboat. With the windchill dipping to a reported 36F I skipped using the anchor as half my fingers were already numb and resorted instead to letting the wind simply push me into the bank. I worked over several areas running some lures parallel to the fairly sharp drops and points but only scored one short bass while running a Red Eye Shad off the edge of a shallow hump. Not long after the catch I finally gave up, content with my March catches although they left a bit to be desired in terms of quality.


5:10pm Third and last bass but darn happy to get it in some ugly conditions

Extras – Had a couple projects included on this fishing trip for a little something extra. One is a standard from last year’s outings while the other is something different. One lets me stray into my fondness for tunes on the radio and the other takes me on a tangent into what I still consider to be America’s favorite pastime, baseball. Right, I know that this blog is billed as “outdoor” but bear with me as it’s all part of the fun. Stay tuned…

Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – 3/30/2008

March 30, 2008 Little John Conservation Club 18.5″ 2-13 Chatterbait (white)

Week 3 of the Friday Flashback series breaks away from Emstrom’s Pond as featured the first two postings. After losing our access to the old favorite pond in 2004, I needed to find another locale to start my fishing year. Didn’t take much thought as the focus shifted to the Knox County strip mines, both public and private.

For quite a few years now, my goal has been to post my first bass in March and going back to 2002 I’ve managed to do just that every year to present. May not sound like much of a feat but weather, responsibilities and a bunch of kids can make it a challenge. And while it would be nice to slow time down a bit in regards to that last item, we have reached the point where one of the boys is ready to tag along for a March outing (a report for another day on how we did today).

The bass featured today came from a 2008 trip to Little John Conservation Club as I achieved that whole March bass goal by about the narrowest of margins. This was my first bass of the year on the next to last day of the month and was the only one I could muster in three hours of casting.

Original log entry of the outing, not much to report but happy to get on the board

Now this picture leaves much to be desired similar to more than a few others in the photo album. I’m not sure why I did not get a better shot though as I had entered the world of do over, digital photography at this point but apparently did not check the pic before releasing my catch. It is apparent that this shot comes from the days before I began packing along a tripod to assist with the pre-selfie selfies. Instead, I used to prop my camera up on a stack of utility boxes to get the shot and that is likely what serves as the white border in this washed out photo. Still holding the fish in front of my face too, despite Julie’s advice on shooting better fishing pics.

 Chatterbait with twin tail trailer – easily the Top Lure of the day as it caught the only bass

And speaking of photographs, I believe that I have at least a moderate form of what I like to call a piscatorial photographic memory. For while this is a decent bass at 18.5” and weighed in at 2-13, it certainly does not qualify as one of those “trophy” moments on the water. Yet, I can still tell you exactly where I caught this fish, even though I won’t. I will tell you what I caught it on and that was a white Chatterbait. It just so happens to be my current Chatterbait Top Bass which likely pales in comparison to the top Chatterbait bass of many anglers. I have seen catches and heard tales that easily outclass this fish but it’s just never been my forte or go to bait. Perhaps someday I’ll leave my favorites at home and give myself some much needed practice with this lure.

Nah…Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – 3/26/2003

3/26/2003 Emstrom’s Pond 3-3 Jig & Pig

Boy, I miss the days of a having permission to fish a pond that took about three minutes to drive to from my folks house where we kept our little johnboat. But while some things have changed, several items in this photo have not.

But first, the stats on the day.

Date: March 26, 2003
Location: Emstrom’s Pond – west of Galesburg, IL
Time: 12:55pm-2:55pm
Weather: Sunny/windy (from west)
Air Temp: 60F
Water Temp: 51F
Totals: 2 bass
Lures: ¼ oz. Jig (black/blue) with #11G pork frog (black/blue glitter)
Top Bass: 3-3 (19.5”) Jig & Pig
Weight: 5-1 (3-3,1-14)

Actual log entry from this outing

Still fishing out of that same old boat.

Still got that sweatshirt, think I’m wearing it today, in fact.

Still a fan of the old IronMan watch and a watch in general instead of a “phone.”

Still got the ring, of course.

Still sporting a floppy hat, got this one in the garage as I’m now on FloppyV.2.0.

Still sporting a beard/goatee although something looks a little different these days. Can’t quite put my finger on it. Shaggier, perhaps?

Still shooting selfies these days, albeit with that “phone” as well as a camera.

3/26/03 Emstrom’s Pond 1-14 Jig & Pig

And still happy to land a good fish, almost smiling in the photo where the bass isn’t hiding my face. I have tried to change that pose over the years, for better or worse. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – 3/20/2003

Welcome to my latest project entitled “Friday Flashback” that takes a look back at the pics, stats and reports (in many cases) from the fishing hole. Similar to the “Trapping Tuesday” postings that ran during trapping season, this one will look back 5, 10, 15…30 years at memories from time well spent on the water. I guess all of these fishing logs, photo albums and blog entries actually come in handy.

To kick off the series we visit a classic fishing hole known as Emstrom’s Pond located just west of Galesburg, IL. The name arose from the fellow who granted Dad permission to fish the spot back in 1988, Dwight Emstrom, who ran a local trucking company. It seems that his sister lived on/owned the land with the pond. From 1988 through 2004, when we lost access to the pond, we caught a lot of fish including many pretty darn nice bass. Suffice to say, this won’t be the only visit we’ll pay to Emstrom’s Pond during Friday’s to come.


March 20, 2003 Emstrom’s Pond 2-10 (18″) Jig & Pig
My wife, Julie, always gave me a rough time about holding the fish in front of my face but what would you rather see?

Today’s inaugural flashback features a catch from 15 years ago this week. Below is an excerpt of the original report that featured the catch and was emailed to family and friends on April 5, 2003 in the days before I became an official blogger.

“During the past three weeks, I have fished Emstrom’s Pond and the Little John strip mines with limited success. Tops was a six bass day at Emstrom’s Pond and low was a shutout at Little John. Most of my forays at Emstrom’s Pond consisted of an hour or hour and a half before or after work. Little John outings included visits to Jake, Muskrat, Club and Skeet Lakes. Top producer at Emstrom’s Pond was a 1/4 oz. jig (black/blue) with a pork frog #11 or #11G (black, blue or blue glitter) fished on the Beaver Lodge. At Little John, I picked up bass on a Rapala Rattlin’ Rap (brown craw) off tops and drops of main lake points, jigs around fallen trees and a Mepps #5 (white/rainbow trout) along dropoffs.”


Actual log entry from the day on the water

Today’s bass came on the six bass day referenced above and preceded my standard Stat recap that is a feature in all of my latest fishing reports. So, better late than never.

Stats
Date: March 20, 2003
Location: Emstrom’s Pond – west of Galesburg, IL
Time: 9:30am-10:45am
Weather: Overcast/light rain
Air Temp: 52F
Water Temp: 43F
Totals: 6 bass
Lures: ¼ oz. Jig (black/blue) with #11G pork frog (black/blue glitter)
Top Bass: 2-10 (18”) Jig & Pig
Top 5 Weight: 7-2 (2-10,1-4,1-2,1-1,1-1)

All in all, not too shabby of a day considering only 75 minutes on the water. Had a lot of those days over the years at Emstrom’s so you haven’t seen the last of the flashbacks from this old favorite. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – 2/27

10:06am First 2018 Bass 15″ 1-7 Rapala Shad Rap

Thank you, Mother Nature!

Ain’t been much of a fan of this winter (or any other for that matter) so I was quite excited with the warming trend to end February that wound up producing 60 degree temperatures earlier this week. Throw in some rain followed by some sun and you had the formula for some rare February open water conditions in my neck of the woods. According to my log, the last time I had a chance to chase some February bass was 2012 so I was not about to let this year’s opportunity slip by. In fact, I was so desperate that I even sacrificed a vacation day. Turned out to be the right decision.


Somewhere around 40 years and still rowing strong (and that’s ice at top of the photo)

Stats

Date: February 27, 2018
Location: Little John Conservation Club
Time: 9:55am-2:40pm
Weather: Partly cloudy to sunny/windy to very windy
Air Temp: 46-63F
Water Temp: no reading but ice on about a quarter of the lake
Totals: 7 bass
Lures:
Rapala Shad Rap SR07 (blue) – 6 bass
Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-6 Rapala Shad Rap
Top 5 Weight: 7-3 (2-6,1-7,1-5,1-2,0-15)

10:13am Bass #2 13″ 0-15 Rapala Shad Rap

Notes & Nonsense

87 – The number of days between bass catches, 12/2/2017 to 2/27/18. Not positive but believe that is a new personal best.

Rapid Reward – Eleven minutes into the day I had my first 2018 bass in the boat, a decent 1-7 on the Rapala Shad Rap. I’d take having to wait eleven minutes for my first catch any day of the year but on a February day just after ice out, well, that’s certainly some quick feedback. Does wonders for a guy’s confidence, made my day and accomplished my goal. And I still had close to five hours left to fish.

10:42am Top Bass 17″ 2-6 Rapala Shad Rap

Top Bass – With my first bass being a “keeper” (any bass over 12”), it kicked off my Top 5 quest for another year. Only four more to go at that point and seven minutes later bass number two came aboard, adding only 15 ounces to my creel but one fish closer to an early season limit. I had to wait about a half an hour for bass number three but it was worth the wait as it would be my Top Bass of the trip at 2-6. All three of these fish came on the Shad Rap and had me thinking that I may just get that Top 5 completed before I called it a day.

11:25am 13.5″ 1-2 Red Eye Shad

1:00pm 14.5″ 1-5 Rapala Shad Rap (dig this shot with all of the ice in background)

Top 5 –While I was just hoping to get on the board with my first 2018 bass, the fact that I was able to fill out my Top 5 was definitely a bonus. Although the air temps were quite comfortable, that water was still awfully cold. In fact, about a quarter of the lake remained ice covered. Turns out that six of my seven bass met the mark, meaning these early season bass were some overachievers in helping me out. I found it funny upon doing the math at the end of the day that the weight came out to 7-3, the exact same weight as my personal best bass.

Sure feels good to write a fishing report although the Cabin Fever layoff sure could have been a lot worse. Looks like the weekend has some temps in the 50s and I’ve got one boy who is really itching to fish after Mother Nature put a damper on a proposed icefishing outing a couple weeks ago. Stay tuned to see if we get an outing in and stop back by for a Top 5 update and rule recap coming soon. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report 12/2

When I caught a few bass back on November 4, I accomplished my annual goal with bookend bass spanning March to November. Thus, I was content to put away my gear and call it another successful year on the water for 2017. However, Mother Nature threw a welcome wrench into that plan with 50 degree temperatures to kick off December. Fortunately, I was able to find time to get away, looking for one more bite.

Stats
Date: December 2, 2017
Location: Knox County, IL Strip Mines (3 lakes)
Time: 9:55am-2:15pm
Weather: Sunny/breezy
Air Temp: 44-59F
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 1 bass
Lures: Rapala Shad Rap SR07 (blue)
Weight: 2-4

Notes & Nonsense

A favorite bit of breakfast fuel, tasty but need to re-think my intake as the previous pic of my catch shows a substantial increase in the gut below the GoPro, sounds like resolution time.

Super Sonic Combo – There’s a Sonic Drive-In just a few blocks from home and it’s right on my route to the fishing hole. I dig their Super Sonic burrito as it provides a great way to kick off my morning with a jalapeno punch. Problem is, it doesn’t open until 6:00am and I’m usually well on my way to the water by then. But when you get a chance to fish in December, you also get a chance to sleep in a bit to let the sun rise and its rays do whatever they can to warm the mood of the bass.

12/7/2001 – my last December outing goes all the way back to this 2-6 from Emstrom’s Pond on a jig & pig 

December Flashback – The only December bass I had on record prior to this trip came from an old favorite spot that we called Emstrom’s Pond. The three bass in the log were caught on three trips during the first week of December 2001. All came on a black and blue jig and pig on a classic piece of structure, The Beaver Lodge. I’m sure there have been a few reasonable December days in the interim but I’ve just never pulled the trigger. This year I figured that it was high time to just do it instead of only thinking about it and later wishing I’d given it a go.

Cold Water Arsenal
Top to bottom in above photo as follows:
Rapala Shadow Rap Deep jerkbait (purpledescent color) – still have trouble fishing this slow enough to be effective
Strike King Pro Model 6XD crankbait (citrus shad) – this one dives deeper than most of the water I was fishing but that was the point as I wanted it digging bottom or skimming weeds, also wanted a large bait for a large bass
Yum 3” Wooly Curltail Grub (green pumpkin) – classic cold or tough bite bait that I reel as slowly as possible in order to stay just off the bottom
Rattling jig & pig (black/blue) – my number one cold water bait ever, employed on this trip on several points, pockets and pieces of wood structure
Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – pushing my luck a bit in December as I find this bait better in the warm up of spring more than the pre-ice of late fall
Rapala Shad Rap SR07 (blue) – a classic cold water crankbait that I fish as slowly as I can reel waiting for a heavy feel as bites aren’t usually rod shaking in the cold

Only lure of the day that produced bites

Winning Lure – I had a total of three bites and all were on the Rapala Shad Rap. One came before my catch and another came after but both of those managed to get loose shortly after the hookset. It never ceases to amaze how a bass can elude those treble hooks but it happens. What was also fun about the Shad Rap coming through is the fact this particular lure is well over 20 years old as evidenced by the stouter, replacement treble hooks that I used to put on many of my crankbaits back in the day.

GoPro – I got this catch on video like a number of others this year and have included the snip above from the footage. I’m not quite sure what lies in store for my clips but have contemplated working them into some future blog and Facebook postings. Whatever the case, it has been a fun addition to the fishing experience that I hope to expand upon for 2018.

This December catch was icing on the cake to a great year on the water.  It’s been a lot of fun relating it here on the blog as well as the Facebook page. But while my fishing year may be over, the writing keeps rolling on. Stay tuned for a strong batch of December postings to finish 2017 and kick off 2018. Talk to you later. Troy