Category: Fishing Reports

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

Lake George Report – August 4


Forgot I had an old topo map, lot of good it did me in the basement

Seems like about every year I get around to writing one of these blog entries.

Yep, the dreaded shutout.

It is what it is and I tell it like it is. Never claimed to be a better fisherman than anybody else, just like to fish and tell. And if you fish, you should tell the bad with the good.

So, here we go with the scant details, some notes and a little bonus reminiscing in advance of tomorrow’s weekly Friday Flashback.

61-mile roundtrip and 38 minutes ramp to driveway, a lesser commute than my Knox County dwelling days


Date: August 4, 2019
Location: Lake George – Rock Island County, IL
Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Weather: Sunny/calm to breezy
Air Temp: 88F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 0 bass

Notes and Nonsense

Scenery – Lake George is a nice looking lake with an abundance of attractive shoreline cover, good water clarity and very few weeds. I took a couple shots in order to have something from the day to offer in lieu of zero bass. Also spotted an attractive young lady on one of those paddleboard things. May have to get me one of those (paddleboard) as they evidently get the paddler in some darn good shape.

Nice two lane boat ramp on east side of lake near one of the campgrounds

Excuses – Too hot, too deep too quick, too sunny, too long away to remember much about the lake, too much forage…too bad I failed to figure anything out.

Been a while, July 1997 and May 2000 but actually fooled a couple fish all those years ago

Flashback Logs – As noted by the original log entries and the database above, I did manage to fool a few bass at Lake George back in the day. Both were part of camping trips in 1997 and 2000 with my girlfriend and we’re still going strong headed towards wedding anniversary number seventeen.

July 8, 1997 camping trip on Lake George

Flashback Pics – Now I know the weekly flashback is on Friday but couldn’t resist a few bonus shots of the 1997 Lake George camping trip with Julie. Kind of fun as I just fished out of that very same boat last weekend and noteworthy that my camping buddy still looks the same just over 22 years later. Her companion, well…

July 9, 1997 – peaceful outdoor dining, who knew we’d one day share the picnic table with four kids?

Thanks for hanging in there for the more or less annual “shutout” report. Friday Flashback up next and hopefully I will break the shutout streak when I have another chance to hit the water. Talk to you later. Troy

Lake Storey Report – August 3

Took most of the morning to warm up but then got hot in a hurry

After not being in the boat together for a long time, Dad and I wound up on the water for back to back weekends with a trip to Lake Storey last Saturday. Normally not a summer destination, I’d been intrigued after a few recent jogs around the fishing hole as well as the success of my boy Jayce during a quick visit a week prior. Thus, we decided to battle the weeds and green water in hopes of also battling a few bass.

6:34am – One brave bass bites a bulky bait, basic bass behavior


Date: August 3, 2019
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 5:40am-11:40am
Weather: Sunny/calm to breezy
Air Temp: 64-84F
Water Temp: 79-81F
Totals: 8 bass, 1 bluegill (Troy – 8 bass, Dad – 1 bluegill)
Strike King KVD 2.5 Squarebill crankbait (sexy shad) – 3 bass
5” Yamasenko weighted wacky rig (watermelon/crème laminate) – 2 bass
Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (bluegill) – 2 bass
Rapala DT10 crankbait (parrot) – 1 bass
Rebel Ghost Minnow – 1 bluegill
Top Bass: 1-12
Top 5 Weight (only 3 at 12” or better): 3-11 (1-12,1-1,0-14)

Dad on the board with a feisty bluegill 

Notes and Nonsense

Front Ended? – For the second time in two weeks at Lake Storey, one angler came up bassless. In both cases, it sure wasn’t for lack of effort. And I can speak to one of the instances firsthand as my boy, Jayce, got me 4-0 during our couple hours on the water in late July. On that outing I was even up front on the trolling motor which is generally seen as advantage. Same spot for this outing and just one of those odd situations as Dad noted that he didn’t feel slighted on our targeted areas just couldn’t muster one of our target species although a bust off on a hookset left us to wonder.

8:24am (12.5″ 0-14) & 8:59am (13″ 1-1) trying to scrape out a Top 5 but only got a Top 3 at the end of the day

Snags – Beyond that busted bite that Dad experienced we did have a handful of snagged lures along the way but only lost one other bait. An errant cast of my Senko drilled it into a nasty stand of poison ivy where it became lodged. Rather than going all the way in after it I elected to clip the line as me and poison ivy have a long, ugly history. I did go in to retrieve a crankbait snagged at water’s edge to find that one treble was hooked into some old snagged fishing line, typically impossible to dislodge unless within reach.

Tech Break – Dad says “That’s not you, that’s me???” when I asked him to snap a pic of a catch

Top Bass – Prior to the last couple weeks it had been quite a few years since I had fished Lake Storey at full pool, instead opting for visits during the annual fall drawdown. As such there was a lot more fishable structure that was in the water as opposed to high and dry. Problem was, the abundance of shoreline vegetation made a lot of the brush and laydowns tough to fish. However, one particular piece of structure, a stump, sits deep enough to be submerged beyond the weedline and invisible to anglers not intimately familiar with the lake. I mentioned to Dad, “there’s a stump over there” as I cast my crankbait to find that there was also our Top Bass “over there.”

9:16am – Top Bass 15″ and 1-12 on squarebill crankbait 

Tiny Bass – There’s a baseball saying that “it looks like a line drive in the boxscore” when describing a blooper, Texas Leaguer, swinging bunt or seeing eye groundball that results in a hit. Such can also apply to catching a less than impressive bass as it still counts as a bass recorded in the log and the totals. As long as the angler is wise enough not to report the specific details or shoot a photo, nobody knows the difference. Well, I guess I suffer from some combination of not that wise and easily amused so what you see is what I catch.

10:56am – Last bass 6.5″, called it a day about 45 minutes later figuring we couldn’t outdo this one with a smaller catch

Nothing much to brag about but enough to keep us interested, actually a respectable quantity for us on a dog day Lake Storey trip. Definitely could have caught more and likely heavier on some of our strip mine water but there’s something to be said for a challenge. And Lake Storey always provides just that. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – July 27

For the second month in a row I managed to get in back to back days on the water. The July version was extra cool as I fished the first day as Dad with my son, Jayce, while the second outing was spent with Dad as a son. Consult the “Recent Posts” menu if you missed the former report (shame on you) and read on for the latter report.

6:17am First bass 15″ 1-6 Buzzbait

Date: July 27, 2019
Location: Knox County private strip mine
Time: 6:10am-10:25am
Weather: Sunny/windy
Air Temp: 70-80F
Water Temp: 80-82F
Totals: 29 bass (Dad – 17 bass, Troy – 12 bass)
5” Yamasenko wacky rig (smoke or natural shad) – 17 bass
5″ Yamasenko weighted wacky rig (watermelon/creme laminate) – 7 bass
Booyah Buzzbait (snow white shad) – 4 bass
Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass: Troy 3-14, Dad 1-15
Top 5 Weight: 9-13 (3-14,1-15,1-7,1-6,1-3)

6:44am This shot reveals Dad’s effective Senko wacky rig, responsible for all 17 bass he landed

Notes and Nonsense

Pliers Please – Dad never leaves home for a fishing trip without his pliers. Well, at least until this trip. All good though as I had him covered once he figured out that they were home in his garage. Right on top of his tackleboxes which he also forgot to pack. Had him covered there too although his lone Senko lasted nearly the whole trip. Good for a laugh and I made sure to shoot a pic of his gear once we returned home to share with all of you faithful readers.

Shot featuring the reappearance of the original floppy hat on this trip as detailed below 

Flashback Floppy – So, after poking a little fun at Dad for forgetting his pliers I must shoot straight and mention that I was without my lucky floppy hat. In my case, I had left it in my truck which was in the shop for the second major repair in as many months. Turns out that the old floppy hat still had some bites left in it, including a good one (pic below).

7:30am Top Bass of the outing at 20″ and 3-14 on a weighted Senko wacky rig

Old Olive Eye – If you are anywhere near mealtime as you read this post perhaps give it a break for the time being and whatever you do, don’t look at the picture below. Our Top Bass of the day weighed in at 3-14 and happened to be my Top Bass of 2019 as it has been a struggle to find some quality bites. I had to pat myself on the back for the precise presentation that was required to catch this one-eyed bass. The fish had a real ugly eye that to me resembled an olive. What are the odds that I could put that Senko in the right place for that bass to spot it? Then again, maybe it was just blind luck. Or would that be “half-blind” luck?

Sorry for those fond of olives, hope this doesn’t stick with you as you sip that next martini

Sinking Senko – Several of Dad’s bass came after his Senko had done some extra sinking as he attended to a loop or two in his spinning reel. Fishing 101 notes that the fish will tell you what they want in a presentation. In this case, those catches advised to slow the retrieve and allow the lure to sink deeper in the water column. Seen this happen on numerous occasions but as “fast” fishermen, both Dad and I still have a hard time sticking to what the fish are saying. But hey, a 29 bass morning does show that our speedier approach isn’t just blind luck.

10:18am Dad finishes strong, only minutes to spare with his Top Bass at 16″ and 1-15 on the home stretch

Another good day on some familiar water, a spot that we first fished together over 30 years ago. Was sure glad that Dad decided to give it a go as the last time we shared time in the boat was July 8, 2017. Understandably not as nimble or durable a team as we once were but still a dynamic duo on the water. Talk to you later. Troy

Lake Storey Report – July 26

Gotta brag a bit and keep Julie and Gramaw up to speed 

Last week I had an opportunity to spend a couple hours on an old favorite fishing hole, Lake Storey. It’s always a fun visit with plenty of memories from over 45 years of testing its waters. And this outing was even made more special as I had a young fishing partner aboard looking to make some memories of his (our) own. Here’s a look at how it all played out with my ten-year old son, Jayce.

Definitely have to keep fellow Lake Storey and Top 5 angler, John Kirkemo, in the loop


Date: July 26, 2019
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 6:50pm-8:35pm
Weather: Sunny/windy
Air Temp: 82F
Water Temp: 82F
Totals: 4 bass (Jayce – 4 bass, Dad – 0 bass)
5” Yamasenko weighted wacky rig (watermelon/crème laminate) – 4 bass
Top Bass: 1-8
Top 5 Weight (2 at 12” or better): 2-13 (1-8,1-5)

Notes and Nonsense

Pre-trip Quote – As we headed out from my folks, Papa gave Jayce a little fishing advice. He said, “Don’t catch more fish than Dad or he won’t take you again. I know, I caught more bass than him last time and he won’t take me anymore.” All in good fun and truth in the numbers but not so much in the invitations. In fact, me and Papa shared a boat the next day. But that’s a fishing report for tomorrow (SPOILER ALERT: Dad caught more fish than me again).

The Score – my three proven baits = 0 bass, Jayce and his weighted wacky rig = 4 bass

Choices – Lake Storey receives a great deal of pressure and can be a tough one when it comes to bass fishing. Throw in some weedy and warm summer conditions and realistically I was hoping that our brief outing may at least produce one bite. As such, we stopped at a local gas station to pick up some waxworms for potential panfishing. Bad move when seeking Jayce’s input on which species to chase as he immediately replied, “Bass.” The next question was answered just as rapidly with “Senko” as his lure of choice.

Uncle Brent and Jim Junk were also on the list for text updates, great to have fishing family and friends

Post-trip Quote – Well, I sure had to brag on my boy’s domination of those tricky Lake Storey bass so I had provided text updates as our evening progressed and his catches continued to come aboard. Those receiving reports on the outing included Jayce’s mom, Jayce’s grandma, Top 5 angling buddy Jim Junk, fellow Lake Storey angler John Kirkemo and Jayce’s Uncle Brent. Congratulations abounded and I got a particular kick out of Brent’s comment “Back of the boat does it again.” You see, not the first time I’ve been outfished by a co-angler in the back of the boat at Lake Storey. Doesn’t bother me a bit and very rewarding to observe firsthand as Jayce develops into the sort of angler who may someday give his Uncle Brent a run for his money as the best Lake Storey bass fisherman I know.

A few items on the footage: yes, I made sure Jayce had his life jacket zipped up properly after noticing it undone on first catch, while he’s got the signature bass kiss down, we do need to work on a bit more gentle release in the future, all good, learning as he goes.

What a fun couple hours on the water and I believe my reply to Brent’s text message above told the tale of a kid flat out getting it done on the water. Being down 3 bass to zero at the time of our exchange, I still shot straight as I was indeed giving it my best shot with my best offerings. It seems the boy has got a knack for this bass fishing thing, looking forward to next time he gets a chance to outfish Dad. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – July 13

Top 5 angler, John Kirkemo, and I joined forces last Saturday for a “dog day” pursuit of some Knox County strip mine bass. We persevered in the challenging weather and water conditions to eke out a decent haul in terms of numbers. Quality bites, on the other hand, were tough to come by. Read on for the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

What a start to the day, 4:01am with Mungo Jerry’s “In the Summertime” on the airwaves, classic cut and killer sideburns (that’s lead singer Ray Dorset by the way, not John Kirkemo)


Date: July 13, 2019
Location: Knox County, IL private strip mines (2 lakes)
Time: 5:00am-11:30am
Weather: Sunny/breezy to calm
Air Temp: 68-86F
Water Temp: 82-83F
Totals: 16 bass
5” Yamasenko wacky rig, weighted or weedless (various colors) – 13 bass
Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (snow white shad) – 2 bass
Spinning Worm Rig – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-7 (Senko)
Top 5 Weight (only 4 at 12” or better): 4-6 (1-7,1-4,1-0,0-11)

5:13am First bass roughly a half hour before official sunrise

Notes and Nonsense

Tough Times – I subscribe to an old saying that “the best time to go fishing is anytime you can.” Well, after a wet and stormy spring, we were blessed with a dry summer day so that was a good thing. However, balmy temps, clear skies and barely a breeze aren’t exactly what one would dial in for picture perfect bass fishing conditions. At my house we also have a saying that “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” Grin and bear it we did and managed enough bites to make a respectable showing.

6:46am John is on the board with a weedless Senko wacky rig

Best and Bust – The Senko wacky rig was by far the star of the day when fished either weighted (me) or weedless (John). No surprise there as I always have one tied on this time of the year and it is half of my regular 1-2 punch on the primary lake that we fished. The other half of that approach is a buzzbait which didn’t work out so well in the prevailing conditions. That didn’t mean that I didn’t try to force feed ‘em though. More on that below.

7:14am John lands what would be our Top Bass of the day at 15″ and 1-7 on the Senko

Bullheaded Buzzbaiter – To add yet another saying to today’s post, I stubbornly stick to my “all it takes is one bite” rationale as I foolishly cast a buzzbait when the odds of success are rather slim. I rightfully caught some razzing from John as he offered up half a dozen legitimate and well-informed reasons throughout the morning as to why I should give it a rest. He was spot on and I knew it but on a few occasions I have managed to get that “one bite” on a summer day that has nearly outweighed all of the other bites combined. Mind you though that I did catch the fellow dishing out the advice casting about a topwater frog for a while. So you see, that topwater allure is a powerful thing. I guess it can even make you disregard your own advice. Then again, maybe it was the heat clouding my partner’s decision making (in the interest of honesty, however, John did get a solid blowup on the frog late in the morning but the fish had bad aim).

7:33am barely a “keeper” at 12″ and 1-0 on the Senko as big bites eluded us on this “dog day” morning

Risk and Rambles – Now for a public “thank you” to John for hanging in there with me on some of the peripherals of the outing. First up was an ill-advised but “worth a try” launch on a proven but tough to access lake. Got real close but called it off in the interest of not getting stuck. Part two involved taking the long way home to show John some of the off the beaten path Knox County outdoor offerings. Now I’ve been covering this ground for close to 35 years so let’s just say that I’ve got more than a few of those “there was this one time” or “I remember” type tales. Much appreciated for lending an ear but then again I guess where was he going to go as I was his ride home.

8:18am the best I could muster at 14.5″ and 1-4 on a Senko weighted wacky rig (stay tuned next week for a project regarding fishing attire kicked off here with a shirt from back in the day)

Got a couple more things from this outing to pass along but will leave you be for now so as to not get too longwinded. Besides, I’m guessing that you have something that you should be doing right now instead of reading fish stories. Perhaps like work or chores, so not necessarily “more important” things, just “other things.” So, I won’t keep you but make sure that you stop by again. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – June 22

Driveway departure to lakeside launch

On the heels of the successful “100 Year Trip” I decided to try my luck again the next day at some more public strip mine ground with the same wheel in the boat approach. While the walk wasn’t near as arduous, it was still a mile in and a mile out. Between the back to back trips and pushing myself for the final week of a fitness challenge (more on that later this week) my legs were shot. In addition, I couldn’t find any big bites on my first lake and couldn’t find suitable fishing conditions on the second lake so the day wound up a bit frustrating.

6:54am – First bass, gotta start somewhere but didn’t get a whole lot bigger the rest of the morning


Date: June 22, 2019
Location: Knox County, IL public strip mines (2 lakes)
Time: 6:35am-9:50am (2.25 hours fishing, the rest walking)
Weather: Partly cloudy/windy
Air Temp: 62-66F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 8 bass
Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (snow white shad) – 5 bass
Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 2 bass
5” Yamasenko wacky rig (watermelon/crème laminate) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-0 (Red Eye Shad)
Top 5 Weight (only 2 at 12” or better): 1-13 (1-0,0-13)

7:02am – the first of two “keepers”, this one on a buzzbait

Notes and Nonsense

Stop One – The plan was to hit two spots with the first lake being the farther of the two walks. I’ve done well on this lake in terms of numbers over the years but have yet to find any big bites. My brother, Brent, has a 4-15 and a 3-2 from the spot over the last several years and I know of some others over three pounds but I just can’t find them. More of the same on this outing with only two qualifiers for a Top 5 trip weight and they barely made the cut.

No such thing as boat ramps where we’re going, this one is about a three foot drop into the water

Stop Two – After an ill-advised “shortcut” I found that the water and wind conditions make the lake essentially unfishable from my eight-foot johnboat setup. I made one lap around the main body of the lake with only a handful of casts before packing up and heading home a couple hours earlier than anticipated. Sore, tired and second guessing my choices of fishing holes left nothing in the tank by the time I got back to the truck. I hate to leave early when I get a chance to fish but the prospect of coaching an early afternoon baseball game in the quickly rising temps also had me thinking a little bonus rest could do me good.

Arsenal – I went in with the mindset that a limited morning on the water was custom made for a buzzbait as my primary weapon of choice. Got enough bites to keep me interested but once again, not the big ones I’d hoped to find. I did catch one on a Senko via the follow up cast to a missed buzzbait strike as demonstrated on video in another recent fishing report. This lake features a corner where I can usually get a lipless crankbait bite and a pair of bass came through here for me again. The picture below is one of those that was particularly greedy on this morning.

7:48am – Top Bass for the day and a greedy one at that as it already had a crawdad breakfast

So the big bites continue to elude me for 2019. I do have a couple items in the works to see if I can turn that around but those will be reports for another day should things turn out. In the meantime, tune in for another round of Trip Tunes combined from this outing and the previous day’s “100 Year Trip” along with the regular Friday Flashback. Talk to you later. Troy