Category: Fishing Reports

Strip Mine Report – May 15

After some odd and unseasonably cool weather, a warming trend for this outing was sure welcome. As far as wishes go though, I wish it would have been the second day of the trend as opposed to the lead-in. Gotta go when you get to go and I was certainly glad to get another day on the water when I was supposed to be at work.

Stats
Date: May 15, 2020
Location: Knox County, IL strip mines (7 lakes)
Time: 7:20am-3:15pm (5.75 hours fishing)
Weather: Overcast to partly cloudy/windy
Air Temp: 61-75F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 19 bass
Lures: Booyah Buzzbait (bleeding shad) – 7 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 4 bass, Zara Spook (frog) – 3 bass, Mann’s Baby 1- Crankbait (red craw) – 2 bass, Jig (green pumpkin) with craw trailer (pumpkinseed) – 1 bass, Senko weighted wacky rig (strawberry cream) – 1 bass, Chatterbait (bluegill) with Zako trailer (smoke) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-8 (Red Eye Shad)
Top 5 Weight: 9-10 (2-8,2-3,2-1,1-7,1-7)

 

Trip Lyric
“I’ve paid my dues, time after time.”
We Are The Champions – Queen (1977)
I continue to struggle to find quality bites on this batch of walk-in strip mines, a trend going back several years. I encountered a fellow on this trip and he informed me that “all the good bass have been hauled out of here.” Sounded good but later got a text and pic from my friend, Jim Junk, with a 3-8 bass. Perhaps it’s the fisherman and not the fishing holes.

Notes and Nonsense

Sporadic Bite – It was a weird day on the water as it was tough to get a lasting bite on any one lure. During one 20 minute period I fooled six bass on a buzzbait (all quite small bass by the way) and then nothing on the lake for the next 40 minutes. My final stop lasted two hours but I caught all four of my bass on a Red Eye Shad within the span of 33 minutes. Before that it was 50 minutes without a bite and after the flurry it was nearly 40 minutes without a strike. Those two windows accounted for 10 of my 19 bass in less than an hour while the remaining 5 hours resulted in 9 bass.

Took quite a variety of offerings to find some interested bass on this outing

Lucky Number 7 – In trying to find something to consistently interest the bass, I went through a batch of lures. When all was said and done, seven different lures fooled at least one bass when covering the water column top to bottom and moving fast to slow. The only lure that I threw without fooling a bass was my Shad Rap and it was only employed for a handful of casts.

Don’t leave home without your lure retriever

Close Call – At one point, I got my Blue Glimmer spinnerbait hung in a submerged tree limb in about seven feet of water. Fortunately, it occurred during the boat portion of my day so I was able to employ my trusty lure retriever to save the legendary bait. It took quite a few bumps with the weighted tool and had me worried but the old lure retriever came through yet again. That thing has saved me many dollars over the years. And perhaps a swim or two as may have been the case with the Blue Glimmer.

Another trip, another lucky shirt, another story, another time…

May has been an interesting month on the water as I have managed to get out much more often than usual. Typically I may have had one or two shots the entire month but this trip marked my sixth outing for May either solo or with the family. And let’s just say, the month ain’t over yet…Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – May 11

For obvious reasons, 2020 is indeed a strange year. Beyond the disruption of regular life, the weather around here hasn’t been worth a darn either. Colder than normal and when it does warm up and turn nice it can’t last for more than a day or two. And that day or two isn’t on a weekend. Boy, you just can’t win. But, you’ve got to go fishing when you can and that’s just what I did on this not so pleasant afternoon.

Tough start to the day with only a green sunfish to show after 2.5 hours of casting

Stats
Date: May 11, 2020
Location: Knox County, IL strip mines (6 lakes)
Time: 12:15m-5:25pm (3.75 hours fishing)
Weather: Partly cloudy/very windy
Air Temp: 48-52F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 3 bass, 1 green sunfish
Lures: Stanley Vibra Shaft spinnerbait (blue glimmer) with twin tail trailer (pumpkinseed) – 2 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-4 (Red Eye Shad)
Top 5 Weight: 5-12 (2-4,1-14,1-10)

 

Trip Lyric
“Snot running down his nose.”
Aqualung – Jethro Tull (1971)
Well, it was cold and windy and if you’ve spent much time running around outdoors in such conditions you just go about your business. This lyric was happening, I just let it happen and the line gave me a smile in the less than appealing conditions.

Notes and Nonsense

Windchill – Is there such a thing as “windchill” in May when the mercury dips to 48 degrees Fahrenheit? Well, if not, there should be as I was wearing gloves for a while on this trip.
(Note: I just found this on the internet – “Windchill Temperature is only defined for temperatures at or below 50 degrees F and wind speeds above 3 mph.”)

One catch sported a Floy tag, will have to look into any research that is in effect at this fishing hole.

Third Time Lucky – I started on a series of small potholes figuring I could at least find a bite or two but no luck. Next up I gambled on some spots where I have limited experience but know there is a solid bass population but shutout there as well. My last shot was some private water that had produced several decent bass for a friend in April. Three bass in an hour saved the day and the embarrassment of a May shutout.
(Note: if you are not familiar with the tune “Third Time Lucky” it is worth a search to expand your Foghat catalog beyond “Slow Ride”)

Once upon a time…and 34 years later the jersey still fits. More to come in the “Lucky Shirt” series.

Lucky Shirt – Speaking of “lucky” and sticking with my 2020 theme, another lucky shirt was donned for this fishing trip. In this case, it was in celebration of the Knox College Siwash baseball team claiming the Midwest Conference title back on May 10, 1986, almost exactly 34 years ago to the day. Believe it or not, there is actually a method to the madness in this whole fishing attire project.

Not a shed guy but a cool find as I wandered in the middle of nowhere.

A last ditch stop saves the day in the midst of a significant cold front where the temps were nearly 20 degrees below the previous day. As I drove home from the trip I had 107.7FM out of Erie, IL dialed in on the radio. One of the entertaining DJs, Uncle Tim, noted that it was “40 days until the first day of summer.” Nearly a week closer now and I’m still wondering where is a “regular” spring. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – May The Fourth

After an appealing 70 degrees and 27 bass the previous day (including several on topwater), I suspected that this follow-up might not be as kind. A nearly 20 degree drop in temps and an easterly wind sure had me thinking “I got a bad feeling about this.” But a day off of work and the prospect of working in another fishing shirt on May the Fourth meant that I had to get back on the water.

Stats
Date: May 4, 2020
Location: Knox County, IL strip mines (3 lakes)
Time: 11:00am-5:15pm (5.00 hours fishing)
Weather: Overcast/windy
Air Temp: 55F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 17 bass
Lures: Stanley Vibra Shaft Spinnerbait (blue glimmer) – 10 bass, Senko weighted wacky rig (smoke) – 4 bass, Booyah Buzzbait (salt and pepper) – 1 bass, Xcalibur XR50 lipless crankbait (chicken pox) – 1 bass, Jig & Pig (black/blue) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-7 (Spinnerbait)
Top 5 Weight: 11-1 (2-7,2-6,2-3,2-2,1-15)

 

Trip Lyric
“Don’t stop believin.”
Don’t Stop Believin’, Journey (1981)
There’s some truth to this lyric as my first four hours of running around were a struggle. A couple quality bites can turn your attitude around and this was the tune that was running through my head once I got them. I’d like to say that I did not stop believin’, but in reality, the cold front had both me and the bass in somewhat surly moods.

Lucky shirt for the May the Fourth outing

Notes and Nonsense

10 – For me this is the number of movies in the Star Wars series after the original 1977 release “Episode IV: A New Hope.” My list consist of Episodes I-III, V-IX along with Solo and Rogue One. Debatable, sure, a few duds, yeah. But as a 10-year old kid in a Galesburg, IL theater, that first one sure left a mark that still endures over 40 years later. May the Fourth was my chance to give a shout out via my Star Wars lucky fishing shirt.

The Blue Glimmer (upper left) ruled the day

20 “Hokey baits and newfangled presentations are no match for the Blue Glimmer at your side, kid” – Han Solo (sort of)
Nothing like reeling in the years by reeling in some bass on a twenty plus year old spinnerbait. The Blue Glimmer was a hit in the 90s and still rocking it in 2020. On this day it was definitely the MVP (Most Valuable Presentation). It landed my final nine bass during the last hour and a half of the outing and caught my entire Top 5.

30 “A long time ago…” – Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
Over 30 years have passed since I first fished this area back in 1987. In fact, the lake where the bass caught fire to end my day wasn’t even a fishing hole back in those days. Nope, it was just a strange depression of funky colored, swampy ground and scattered weedy vegetation. Fun to reminisce and even more fun to pull some nice bass out of that former “wretched hive of scum and villainy” (all bass released as always).

A glimpse inside my Millenium Falcon

40“She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts.” – Han Solo
My deluxe watercraft dates back over 40 years and still floats once it is pulled out of the truckbed and drug to the water. Believe it or not, Dad and a friend found this thing washed up in a logjam on a Henderson County, IL creek all those years ago. The rest is history that deserves a closer look someday.

50“Your powers are weak old man.” – Darth Vader
These days that old boat is propelled via a 50-something “trolling motor.” I hesitate to think how many hours or miles that motor has racked up over the years. Still going strong though and on the third set of oars if I am not mistaken. I believe I could still give some of these childhood heroes a run for their money.

May the force be with you and talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – May 3

It was exciting to get back on the water again on the heels of a 38 bass day two days prior. Warm, stable weather remained and had my hopes high for a repeat performance and hopefully some larger bass. Here’s how it turned out.

Stats
Date: May 3, 2020
Location: Knox County, IL strip mines (8 lakes)
Time: 10:10am-3:40pm (4.25 hours fishing)
Weather: Partly cloudy to sunny/windy
Air Temp: 66-70F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 27 bass, 1 crappie, 1 green sunfish
Lures: Rapala Shad Rap (blue) – 11 bass, Senko weighted wacky rig (smoke or green pumpkin) – 9 bass, Zara Spook (black shore minnow) – 4 bass, Xcalibur XR50 lipless crankbait (chicken pox) – 2 bass, Jig & Pig (black/blue) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-11 (Senko)
Top 5 Weight: 6-6 (1-11,1-9,1-3,1-1,0-14)

 

Trip Lyric
“Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the crowd.”
Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Harry Caray rendition (circa 1984)
My Sunday spring drives to and from the fishing hole used to feature something called a baseball game. I sure do miss Pat and Ron covering my Cubs and bringing some laughs, smiles and informative insights no matter the performance of our team.

Yes, I had a lucky fishing shirt, have to play catch-up on that project one of these days

Notes and Nonsense

Cottonwood Lake

For Old Time’s Sake – There’s a spot I call Cottonwood Lake in reference to a large cottonwood tree that used to tower over the water’s edge. It now lies at water’s edge and into the lake. It used to be chock full of little bass and was the site of a September 2013 project regarding “Misfit Lures.” The challenge was to see if those bass were so dumb that they would bite a batch of less than successful lures that I’d amassed over the years. The bass were completely clueless as they bit with reckless abandon. Fast forward to 2020 and the population still isn’t too bright and still quite small..

Entertainingly named Chicken Pox pattern (by the manufacturer, not me)

Ill Lure – While the current situation is nothing to take too lightly, at this point of the pandemic I can certainly do with a little humor. So to amuse myself, I ditched my regular Strike King Red Eye Shad lipless crankbait in favor or an XR50 model from Xcalibur. The sole reason being that the XR50 color pattern is something called “Chicken Pox.” And what do you know, it even caught me a couple bass. Perhaps this summer I’ll dig out my topwater frog in the “Measles” pattern.

A couple “accidents” reeled in along the way

Topwater Time – Several decent weather days in a row, a shallow lake and some cloud cover prompted me to break out a Zara Spook. I don’t throw this thing like I used to back in the 80s and 90s but my “Lure Lunacy” project earlier this year got me feeling a bit nostalgic. Turns out it still gets the job done which really didn’t come as much of a surprise. Maybe it will get a bit more of a workout as the year progresses if I can put down the buzzbait for a while. Video below of one of the Zara Spook catches.

 

Lake Record – My strip mine fishing features a vast collection of waters and being a data guy, each one has a “lake record.” Now some records are more impressive than others but all still represent the largest bass to come out of the fishing hole. On this outing, the Cedar Lake record of 1-4 fell to a bass that I had seen cruising some open areas in the weedy, remote body of water. I don’t suspect that the bass in such spots see many lures so a Senko tossed out in the vicinity got the attention of the fish which tipped the scales at 1-11. See video of the catch below.

 

Another successful day of strip mine trekking featuring catches from some spots that don’t normally show up on my standard hiking route. A couple spots I may visit again in 2020 while others were simply a stop to say “Hello” for old time’s sake. Either way, they all proved worthy of a few casts. Talk to you later. Troy

Family Fishing Report – May 2

Last weekend presented another opportunity to get the whole family outside for some fresh air, some fishing and a picnic supper. Sticking with my general fishing report format, here is how it all went down.

Stats
Date: May 2, 2020
Location: Little John Conservation Club
Time: Evening
Weather: Partly cloudy/breezy, sweatshirt weather
Totals: 6 bass
Lures: Senko wacky rig, weighted and weightless (various colors)
Top Bass: 0-14 (Carly)
Totals: Girls – 6 bass, Boys – 1 bass

 

Trip Lyric
“Rock and rock and roll radio, let’s go!”
Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, The Ramones (1980)
So, our daughter, Helena, is working on the driving hours required to obtain her license this summer. Well, the standing policy is pretty much that the driver runs the radio. As such, this lyric fits the bill for our round trip as the current Top 40 had no resemblance whatsoever to my old “rock ‘n’ roll radio”.

Notes and Nonsense

Lucky Shirts – During a normal May we would be taking part in the annual JDRF One Walk for type one diabetes. A classmate and friend of one of our daughters was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes in 2011 at age five. Since moving to the Quad City area in 2014 we have joined Team Morgan’s Hope for the annual event aimed at raising money and awareness in a quest for a cure. Obviously, this is not a normal May thus the event has transitioned to a virtual experience. For details and donations click here.

Sporting our collection of Team Morgan’s Hope shirts from past JDRF One Walks

Girls Rule – It didn’t take long before the whole crew was tossing Senkos looking for a bass instead of wetting some waxworms in search of panfish. And it didn’t take long before the ladies did some catching. Carly posted the first bass and also claimed Top Bass among her three catches. Julie took runner-up honors with a pair of bass and Helena posted her first Senko bass. The boys, well, they were a little more distracted but did get on the board just after suppertime. Their lone bass came on the first cast by the fifty something year old boy who first set foot on those strip mine banks over thirty years ago.

Can’t go wrong with these choices from my “clients”

Additional Catches – Beyond the bass, I witnessed anglers catching a stump, a tree and a bridge. In addition, we had major loops and tangles in a couple of our ultralight spinning rigs. The above are reasons us “fishing guides” bring along plenty of spare poles and tackle. Hey, as long as we avoid catching any family members, it’s all good.

Had to respool a couple reels after this trip

Mission accomplished with some fresh air in these strange and isolated times. My favorite bunch of people to be isolated with and enjoyable when we can do it outdoors. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – May 1

Among the many personal lifestyle changes resulting from the worldwide health concern was a directive to take a few days away from work. At least for this vacation hoarder, the timing was right in terms of stable weather around what would be a five day weekend with plenty of fishing in my sights. Read on for the first of several fishing reports from my mini vacation.

This one gets the nod for bravest bass of the day

Stats
Date: May 1, 2020
Location: Knox County, IL strip mines (8 lakes)
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm (5.50 hours fishing)
Weather: Sunny to partly cloudy/windy
Air Temp: 54-70F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 38 bass
Lures: Jig & Pig (black/blue) – 11 bass, Rapala Shad Rap (blue) – 10 bass, Senko weighted wacky rig (strawberry cream) – 8 bass, Chatterbait (bluegill) with Zako trailer (smoke) – 5 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 4 bass
Top Bass: 1-15 (Senko)
Top 5 Weight: 6-5 (1-15,1-5,1-2,1-0,0-15)

 

Trip Lyric
“On the road again.”
On The Road Again, Willie Nelson (1980)
Fishing twice within a week’s time can be a rarity these days so this tune was playing in my head as I drove back to the strip mines. It was also exciting knowing that I’d be on the road again over the next several days as well.

Notes and Nonsense

Senko de Mayo – While the Senko wacky rig claimed my Lure Lunacy title last month, I still had yet to catch a bass with the presentation in 2020. Of course, since May and Senko go hand in hand, I didn’t waste any time once the new month arrived. In fact, the first cast with a weighted Senko wacky rig was a winner as displayed in the clip below.

 

Senko Trick #2 – The next clip is a pretty cool demonstration of the effectiveness of the Senko wacky rig on clear strip mine waters. Never have I found a presentation that will tempt a cruising or interested bass as effectively as the tantalizing drop of the wacky rig (both weighted and weightless). The 1-15 catch proved to be my Top Bass of the outing.

 

Mother’s Day Approaching – Here in West Central Illinois you can rest assured that as the calendar nears Mother’s Day you will find the local crappie shallow and in the mood to bite. Such was the case on this trip with numerous fish spotted from the bank and several winding up on a hook by “accident.” A couple green sunfish also took a liking to my bass offerings and a hooked bluegill got loose at the bank, narrowly preventing me from posting the species “Grand Slam.”

Going the extra yard for some bass (actually 8,448 yards)

Another stellar day in terms of numbers but the smaller bass continue to beat the larger specimens to my offerings. It is encouraging, however, that what I am throwing is producing. In the world of fishing, you just need to keep on casting. And that’s just what I did along with shifting gears to fishing guide for another outing. Stay tuned as those reports are headed your way soon. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – April 26

Too busy fishing as of late to keep up with the fishing reports but no complaint there. Here is the first of several headed your way as I attempt to get up to speed.

Stats
Date: April 26, 2020
Location: Knox County, IL strip mines (5 lakes)
Time: 10:05am-3:50pm (4.75 hours fishing)
Weather: Sunny/windy to breezy
Air Temp: 54-66F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 26 bass, 2 bluegill, 1 crappie
Lures: Rapala Shad Rap (blue) – 11 bass and 1 crappie, Jig & Pig (black/blue) – 10 bass, Chatterbait (bluegill) with Zako trailer (smoke) – 4 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 1 bass, bluegill on waxworms on jighead hung from a slip bobber
Top Bass: 4-12 (Jig & pig)
Top 5 Weight: 8-11 (4-12,1-1,1-0,0-15,0-15)

Lures that got it done

Trip Lyric
“So, I’m heading out to the highway, I got nothing to lose at all.”
Heading Out to the Highway, Judas Priest (1981)
Having a big fish in the bag and finding it tough to get many other bites, I decided to head to an area that I refer to as The Highway. While not really familiar with the water in that area, I figured it was worth a look. Read on to see if my decision panned out.

 

Notes and Nonsense

New Records – My Top Bass on this day had been a long time coming as I have struggled for big bites the last couple years. In fact, the 4-12 is my largest bass since a 5-0 landed on July 8, 2017. The 4-12 also establishes a new lake record for a body of water that I call Fencerow Lake, besting the old mark of 3-6 from April 8, 2017. In addition, it is the largest catch (and release) for which I have GoPro footage.

 

New Water – Being a creature of habit I’ve become comfortable with my standard collection of fishing holes in the area where this outing took place. And while I’ve paid my dues and covered a lot of ground, there’s still some bodies of water left to explore. After struggling to fool nine bass in the first four hours of casting and roaming, I figured that I might as well invest the time required to reach some distant waters. The decision to relocate was a winner as the new waters produced 17 more bass in just under two hours.

New (Old) Shirt (more to come later in a Lucky Shirt post)

New Catchphrase – I’ve made a point to leave the whole current state of life in a pandemic out of my blogs for a couple reasons. You can get your fill of that stuff elsewhere whether you want it (or believe it) or not and I have no qualifications to provide anything medically insightful. As an outdoorsman, however, I am puzzled by some of the state recreational areas that remain closed such as Snakeden Hollow and Banner Marsh. I understand that facilities come into play. But let’s face it, probably 50 years ago I learned that when you are out in the middle of nowhere (as Snakeden Hollow and other sites are), you don’t need a bathroom to use the bathroom.

Social distancing on this outing? Not a problem.

Okay, enough editorial. Hope everyone is well and hanging in there as we navigate these unusual times. I have several more fishing reports along with various other items coming your way so stop by here, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for a regular escape. Talk to you later. Troy

Family Fishing Report – April 18 & 19

As a blogger, I find that fishing reports are the best posts to compose and submit. The only problem is that when you get ample opportunities to fish it gets tough to find time to put the reports together. A nice problem to have when blogging, so I guess belated is what you get as I am also a husband, dad and employee ahead of the whole wannabe writer thing.

Today we have a weekend report that covers a solo outing with my son, Jayce, on a recent Saturday followed up by an entire Jackson 6 trip on the following day. This one will be part regular fishing report format and part video/slideshow as the clips and pics say it better than I could write it. The slideshows and more video from our family outing are up in entirety at Troy Jackson Outdoors You Tube, click here.

Stats
Date: April 18 & 19, 2020
Location: Knox County, IL strip mines (public & private)
Totals: a handful of bluegill, a few bass and a lone crappie
Lures/bait: Rapala Shad Rap (blue), Senko wacky rig (white), waxworms on a jighead hung from a slip bobber

 

Trip Lyric 4/18
“That don’t bother me at all” – Two Hangmen, Mason Proffit (1969)
It’s always cool when I catch this rare tune on the radio and good, old 107.7FM “Vintage Radio” out of Erie, IL came through on this ride to the fishing hole. My role on outings with the kids is to observe, instruct and encourage while making a handful of casts of my own at best. This lyric was right on the money.

Trip Lyric 4/19
“Baby, you can drive my car.” – Drive My Car, The Beatles (1965)
I don’t know the last time that I was not behind the wheel on the ride home from my Knox County strip mines. And when I was, I know it was not due to an effort to get our 15-year old some behind the wheel time. Helena did a stellar job during the hour drive featuring off the beaten path, county road, state route and Interstate (with construction).

Notes and Nonsense

Shad Rap, Jayce Jack, A Bended Pole – My boy, Jayce, just wasn’t getting any takers on his go to presentation, the Senko wacky rig. I suggested that he learn about the Rapala Shad Rap as I had fooled over double digits with the lure a week prior on the same fishing hole. Three casts later, he had his first bass of the afternoon. Unfortunately, the bite dried up as soon as it started as the Shad Rap couldn’t find any more interested bass. However, it did hook a fisherman as he was throwing it again the next day.

 

Gear – I am notorious for packing too much gear but for the family outing I actually dialed it back. Working as fishing guide in tandem with Julie as our hostess, we got by with twelve boots, ten poles, two tacklebags, roughly seventy waxworms, two coolers, six sandwiches and fifteen bottles of water.

COVID Note – We are constantly reminded and continue to do our part, so generally I try to leave this alone in my fishing reports. However, as a frugal father and fisherman, I need to give a shout out to saving a few bucks due to the pandemic. At $1.59 a gallon, I am more willing to take a family road trip during these potentially uncertain financial times. And the whole social distancing thing likely saved me $20 or more on sodas and treats as we had an excuse to avoid the “gas station.”

 

An enjoyable afternoon/evening with a batch of cooperative panfish, a couple bass and a tired bunch by the time we headed home. The coolest thing was a unanimous “that was fun” and a request to go back and try our luck again. In fact, plans are in the works as I post this report. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – April 11

Another belated fishing report as it has been taking a week or so to get these latest ones put together and published. Still trying to get a handle on the upended routine and fortunate to still be putting in a full week of work. Just kind of out of sorts but here you go, better late than never for some new fish stories.

10:31am – First bass as you gotta start somewhere, Red Eye Shad

Stats
Date: April 11, 2020
Location: Knox County, IL strip mines (5 lakes)
Time: 10:15am-5:25pm (5.75 hours fishing)
Weather: Overcast/breezy/light rain
Air Temp: 47-64F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 29 bass
Lures: Rapala Shad Rap (blue) – 20 bass , Chatterbait (bluegill) – 4 bass, Blue Glimmer Spinnerbait – 3 bass, Jig & Pig (black/blue) – 1 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-1 (Blue Glimmer)
Top 5 Weight: (2-1,1-14,1-14,1-11,1-11) 9-3

The lures that made the starting lineup for this outing

Notes and Nonsense

Trip Lyric
“You slipped upon the floor and hit your head.” – Please Don’t Bury Me, John Prine (1973)
If you’ve ever traversed strip mine territory, you can relate to the care one must take when navigating the steep spoilbanks. With the recent passing of John Prine, a spate of his lyrics have been on my mind as of late. This one came about as I clambered down to a fishing hole. I also had to smile at the prospect of a slip as it brought to mind the final line in the last verse of this very same tune: “And kiss my @$$ goodbye.”

Top 5 Bass clip below

 

Odd Bass – From downright gluttonous to somewhat crooked to just plain strange, a trio of bass landed during this trip were something other than normal.

Odd Bass #1 – First up was a greedy bass looking for seconds on a late lunch. The first course consisted of a crawdad while the second helping was a Rapala Shad Rap.

2:24pm – Fat Bass on a Shad Rap

Odd Bass #2 – Next up was a somewhat misshapen bass. This one had a crooked back behind the posterior dorsal fin as the body headed towards the tail. The belly side of the fish was also odd with an abrupt transition to the tail as opposed the more normal taper.

4:19pm – Odd Body Bass on a Shad Rap

Odd Bass #3 – The weirdest bass of the day was rather gaunt looking with a ragged dorsal fin and a notched back. Interestingly, this is not the first such bass that I have caught from this lake as noted below.

 

Odd Lure – While there’s really nothing particularly odd about a chatterbait among the bass fishing crowd, the oddity here is that I actually caught some bass on one. And decent bass at that, maybe I’m finally getting with the program.

Chatterbait comes through for this stubborn “non-believer” of an angler

Rain ran me off and I was already pushing late for supper due to a good bite

Lots more stuff in the works as there’s just not enough hours in the day. Stick around though as sooner or later I’ve got some tunes, some attire, some video, some reflection and hopefully some bass from this weekend. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – April 4 & 5

My aim is to get a fishing report out shortly after the actual outing but often easier said than done. For one thing, I have to help pay the bills and this whole entertaining blog thing ain’t what does it. For another, after that bright idea known as “Lure Lunacy”, well, I’m a little wore out. So, a bit belated, here is the latest report covering a couple hikes around the strip mines.

Stats
Date: April 4, 2020
Location: Knox County, IL strip mines (5 lakes)
Time: 2:30pm-6:35pm (3 hours fishing)
Weather: Sunny/breezy
Air Temp: 50-52F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 16 bass, 1 crappie
Lures: Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 8 bass, Jig & Pig (black/blue) – 4 bass, Bomber Flat A (baby bass) – 2 bass, Blue Glimmer Spinnerbait – 2 bass
Top Bass: 1-12 (Jig & pig)
Top 5 Weight (3 at 12” or better): 4-8

2:30pm – First bass on about my third Red Eye Shad cast, small but a good sign 

NEW FEATURE: TRIP LYRIC
As I have noted before, when my mind gets to wandering I typically find a few lyrics bouncing around upstairs. Some are remnants of a tune heard earlier in the day, some just kind of show up and some pertain to the present circumstances. Often, when fishing, the lyric is of the latter persuasion. And such is the case with the lyric that kicks off a new feature that I intend to include with each fishing report going forward.

TRIP LYRIC (4/4)

“And there’s not another living soul around.” – Say You Love Me, Fleetwood Mac (1975)
I’m standing in the middle of nowhere, gazing across a deep strip mine cut to the vast expanse before me and I see absolutely no humans or any vehicles on the distant roadways. Not entirely uncommon but it seemed to have a bit more impact in light of the current state of our nation.

4:46pm – Top Bass 1-12 on a jig & pig

4:55pm Top Bass Runner-Up 1-8 Red Eye Shad

Notes and Nonsense

Smart, Dumb or Dinner? – During three visits to this area dated September 29 and 30, 2013 and April 12, 2014 I caught and released four bass at four pounds or better (two on 9/29/13 and two on 4/12/14). I haven’t caught another four pounder from this area since, over the course of 23 more visits. And we’re talking over 500 bass I’ve logged while wandering around out there in the meantime as well as a couple hundred more by my occasional fishing partners. Are the big ones getting smarter, am I only able to catch the dumb smaller ones or did somebody eat my “trophies”?

3 of the Final Four lures landed a bass, only the eventual champ missed out (too early for a good Senko bite)

Stats – Part II
Date: April 5, 2020
Location: Knox County, IL strip mines (5 lakes)
Time: 12:30pm-4:30pm (2 hours fishing)
Weather: Sunny/windy
Air Temp: 52-60F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 1 bass
Lures: Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw): 1 bass
Top Bass: none 12” or better
Top 5 Weight (none 12” or better): Zero Point Zero

TRIP LYRIC (4/5)
“Maybe we could walk around all day long, walk around all day long.” – Hurts So Good, John Cougar Mellencamp (1982)
And that’s pretty much what I did and how I felt later that evening and only one small bass for the log. The truth also hurts in not so good of a way.

Notes and Nonsense – Part II

Photo Free – Normally, I’m pretty good at snapping a batch of pics of the bass, big, small and smaller to help tell the tale, good or bad. Well, as far as fishing success, this one turned out on the bad side. So bad, in fact, that by opting to not take a photo of my first small catch, I missed any opportunity for a fish picture. Lesson learned, alhough not missing much.

Observations – Now I know several lakes not to fish anymore. Some didn’t have enough water, some may not have any fish and one may just be too far of a walk. The latter looks good. Plenty of water, some nice points, a couple rocky areas and at least one sunken tree but during a handful of visits I have never seen nor caught a bass. While completing my long, fishless, pothole peeking walk back to my truck I did startle a big coon, spooked a very large snapping turtle and discovered most of a deer skeleton. That’s about as exciting as it got.

Oh yeah, I also saw my brother, Brent, from a very safe social distance. Didn’t know he was going to be there and our contact would amount to a wave, a few texts and a phone call across a broad strip mine cut. (He fooled about a half dozen with Top Bass 1-10)

A tale of two fishing trips kind of sums up early season angling and sometimes just fishing in general. Although bummed after the second day, time (and writing) have a way of recharging the batteries. We’ll see what lies in store as our odd April moves on. Talk to you later. Troy