Category: Fishing Reports

Strip Mine Report – April 6

With my boys having an impromptu weekend at my folks’ and my girls being old enough to be somewhat self-sufficient I had an unexpected chance to get back on the water. Two trips in five days is not the norm so it was quite an exciting last minute development with the scoop to follow.

Things are starting to look up on occasion although still only the first week of April for this outing


Date: April 6, 2019
Location: Knox County, IL public strip mines (6 lakes)
Time: 8:50-11:35am, 3:25-6:25pm (5.25 hours fishing, the rest hiking)
Weather: Sunny-partly cloudy/windy
Air Temp: 48-67FF
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 16 bass, 1 green sunfish
Strike King Pro Model Jig (green pumpkin) with Bass Pro Shops Triple Ripple craw trailer (pepper frog/hot orange) – 3 bass
ZMan Chatterbait (perch) with Yamamoto Zako trailer (Tennessee shad) – 6 bass
Bomber Flat A crankbait (baby bass) – 7 bass, 1 green sunfish
Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (chartreuse/white) with twin tail trailer (smoke) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-10
Top 5 Weight: 7-3 (2-10,1-4,1-3,1-1,1-1)

10:24am Took a while but on the board at 12.5″ and 1-1 on a jig

Notes and Nonsense

Shaky Start – So I overslept my 5:05am alarm and woke up at 5:55am instead. I then made the insides for breakfast burritos only to discover we had no tortillas. Upon arriving at the strip mines I fished a pair of proven lakes for roughly an hour and failed to get a bite. I was beginning to worry as I had to hit the road for a band event at about 11:35am and was sitting on a shutout with about an hour to go.

Lake Reliable – If I hadn’t already given this lake a name, Reliable would fit the bill. My favorite spot actually goes by “2×4 Lake” (yeah, I made that up just like 20 or so other lakes on the site) and it came through after about five minutes of unsuccessfully casting a chatterbait. I switched up to a jig and what do you know, first cast bass. I thought, “Okay, now I’m onto something.” Didn’t get another bite for over an hour.

11:28am Caught with only minutes to spare on my first half of the day, Top Bass at 16.5″ and 2-10 on a jig

Clutch Bite – With about ten minutes remaining before taking the ten minute walk back to the truck I managed to get my second bite which turned out to be Top Bass of the day. This one also came on the jig and left me feeling a little better about a tough morning and a likely return trip in the afternoon.

And now a brief musical interlude from the day – Glenview Middle School Symphonic Band 

Dink Afternoon – While the return trip saw a significant uptick in numbers (14 versus 2), I continue to struggle to find many quality bites. I did manage to post a daily Top 5 but only one qualified for my 2019 Top 5 and the others all came in the lower one-pound range. Good to get bit nevertheless but still searching for some jarring hooksets and line stripping runs.

The rest of the Top 5 and kind of a matching set but the best I could fool 

Another hike in the books and still waiting for things to bust loose for me in terms of a quality bite. Not sure if it’s me, the weather or my stomping grounds but off to a rough start in regards to those bigger fish. No matter what, I remain true to my fishing report mission in providing the pics and the data of how it all went down. And no complaints from this guy as I truly value any time on the water, especially when it’s an unexpected bonus trip such as today’s report. Plenty more fishing stuff to come and talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – April 1

I took a vacation day from work to fish the April Fool’s Day opener on some public Knox County strip mine ground. The weather was a little cooler than I had hoped but it was dry and that was more important than warm when walking through the wild and weedy strip mines. Took some work to get on some cold front bass but got it done as detailed below.

Get what you get and don’t throw a fit when taking an April Fool’s vacation day

Date: April 1, 2019
Location: Knox County, IL public strip mines
Time: 9:30am-5:30pm (5.25 hours fishing, the rest hiking)
Weather: Sunny/very windy
Air Temp: 34-48F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 16 bass
Strike King Pro Model Jig (green pumpkin) with Bass Pro Shops Triple Ripple craw trailer (pepper frog/hot orange) – 7 bass
Chatterbait (brown/black) with Yamamoto Zako trailer (Tennessee shad) – 6 bass
Bomber Flat A crankbait (baby bass) – 3 bass
Top Bass: 2-3
Top 5 Weight: 9-9 (2-3,2-0,1-13,1-13,1-12)

11:06am First bass ends up being Top Bass 17″ and 2-3 on a chatterbait

Notes and Nonsense (with an April Fool’s theme)

Find Another Fool – Quarterflash (1982)/The Fool on the Hill – The Beatles (1967)
I actually spotted two other anglers walking a ridge somewhere around 10:00am and found a bit of appreciation for their dedication amidst the near sub-freezing morning windchill. I must admit it was a bit unexpected as I rarely see anyone even on pleasant days.

Third Time Lucky (First Time I Was A Fool) – Foghat (1979)
After a pair of bassless stops on some potholes I finally scored my first fish at 11:06am. I knew that things might be a little slow with temps in the 30s-40s over the weekend and only 34F when I started my trek but I was still a little worried. Bass #1 at 2-3 got the blood pumping again although little did I know at the time it would be Top Bass of the day.

11:30am 14.5″ and 1-13 on a jig and craw

12:45pm 16.5″ and 2-0 on a jig and craw, just a little windy

Foolin’ – Def Leppard (1983)
“Cause baby I’m not f-f-f-foolin’”
So, once I found a bite I decided to quit fooling around pond hopping and invest some time on the spot. I guess it didn’t hurt that the first bass came from my best fishing hole on the site. All told, I would actually make a pair of stops on the lake for a total of 2.00 of my 5.25 fishing hours. During that time I landed 7 of my 16 bass including all of my Top 5 while alternating between a chatterbait and a jig and craw.

1:12pm 15″ and 1-12 on a chatterbait 

1:16pm 15.5″ and 1-13 on a chatterbait

(Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such as I – Elvis Presley (1959)
The day encompassed 5 miles of walking which equated to more than 12,000 steps. A lot of work for those bass but it’s a stunt that I have been pulling for a long time and one I will likely continue to pursue until my body says otherwise. I was certainly spent by the time I got back to the truck after being mobile and on my feet non-stop from about 9:30am until 5:30pm. The good news is, I’m not particularly sore as I type up this report on the day after. Got a little video that I hope to share at some point to convey what the walk is all about.

Kind of fun to track but there are times when I’m not sure I want to know it was 759 steps/bass

No Top 10 Trip Tunes this time around as too much of a good thing may wear the feature thin. Besides, while I dig weekday fishing, weekday radio is too much talk and not enough tunes (especially during the morning drive). In addition, I caught the start of the Cubs game on the ride home and it proved to be the most shameful yet of a very disappointing start (6 errors and shutout in this one).

From the looks of the coming warming trend the bite should just get better. You may have to dodge a few raindrops, however, but the rewards likely will outweigh being a “Fool in the Rain” (Led Zeppelin – 1979). Plenty of fishing stuff to come. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – March 23


Intro on the way to the fishing hole including a Top 10 Trip Tune tease

So the 2019 fishing season is officially off and running and I did manage to land a March bass as is my annual goal. When I say “a March bass” that indeed is singular as in one bass. If you caught yesterday’s Top 5 Update the lone photo of the bass was included there so I’ll do the right thing and not use it again today. Now, if it was a four or five-pounder…

Date: March 23, 2019
Location: Knox County, IL strip mine
Time: 2:15pm-6:00pm
Weather: Partly cloudy/breezy to windy
Air Temp: 52-54F
Water Temp: 50F
Totals: 1 bass
Lure: Strike King Booyah Blade spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 0-13

Fishing partner, Jim Junk, fooled this nice batch of crappies around a break for bass fishing

Notes and Nonsense

Papermouth vs. Largemouth – I met up with my friend, Jim Junk, on this trip and we shared the boat from 2:15pm-5:00pm. Before and after that time frame, Jim managed to land a nice mess of crappies, two shy of a 15 fish limit only because he tossed a few 9” fish back along the way. He repeated his crappie catching ways the following day with a haul that included a real nice 13” catch.

Second mess of crappies for Jim from the following day

One That Got Away – Yep, had one of those this time around. Jim hooked into a decent bass with a jig while fishing some brush along the edge of a trough in a shallow pocket. Most of the pocket is about 2’ deep with the trough dipping to maybe 4’. Unfortunately, I did not have the boat positioned particularly well and his catch made a run under a laydown and came unhooked. Not sure on an estimate but made a good bend in the pole and a strong run before getting away.

The lures I chose to get it done but the bass tossed a one-hitter against the lineup on this day

Starting Lineup – I had most of my standard early season cold water arsenal tied on and truly expected the jig or Shad Rap to be the winners. Turned out that the spinnerbait got my lone bass which was encouraging as I was retrieving at a fairly moderate speed. The fish was in about 3’ of water which also had my hopes high for finding some more interested in the presentation. Wasn’t meant to be so stuck on one bass for 2019. Did have one other strike on the spinnerbait and failed on two bumps on a jig and craw, rusty after that winter I guess.

My mother-in-law bought me a dipnet for Christmas but all I managed to do was hang a loose crankbait on this day

Theme Song – I have tunes running through my head every day and I generally find some apt lyrics on replay in my mind on fishing trips. They just seem to appear as kind of a summary of the day chasing bass. On this occasion it was a bit of Pink Floyd in the form of “I have become comfortably numb.” While the weather app said it was between 52 and 54F, a decent breeze and cloud cover made for several fingers that I couldn’t feel by the time I decided to head for home.

Regardless of numbers, I had a good time on the water with a fellow angler and longtime friend. My odds of getting back out in March are slim and will stay tuned to see how things pan out for Jim. I do have April 1 marked on the fishing calendar with a vacation day from work and some walk-in bass fishing on the agenda. We’ll see how that works out after losing 20 pounds last fall. Found 16 of them back this winter though. Man, winter ain’t good for nothing.

Top 10 Trip Tunes to come and talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report 1/5/19


Tough just to find and reach some open water to even get started fishing

Okay, let’s get this detail out of the way.

I failed to catch a bass during my two hours of January fishing this past Saturday.

And now, on with the report anyway.

Afternoon temps were favorable and brought out a fellow fishing fool

Date: January 5, 2019
Location: Knox County, IL strip mines (first 3 frozen, one partially open)
Time: 1:45pm-3:45pm
Weather: Sunny/breezy to windy
Air Temp: 51F
Water Temp: no gauge
Totals: 0 bass
Strike King Rattlin’ Pro Model 3/8 oz. jig (green pumpkin) with Bass Pro Shops Triple Ripple Craw trailer (pepper frog hot orange)
Rapala Shad Rap (blue)
Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad)

Notes and Nonsense

Hard Water – New Year’s Day reports of largely open water, relatively mild temps and some recent rain had my hopes up that all of my fishing holes would at least be partially accessible via boat. But as the clip below shows, my hopes were pretty much dashed.


Desperate Times – Open water about 50 feet from the frozen ramp was my only shot as I did not want to waste the hour drive and the rare shot at my January bass. My eight foot johnboat had to assume the role of icebreaker and even at 40 plus years old it was up to the task. The video below takes a look at the icy conditions that gripped most of the lake and how the afternoon sun and wind action began to loosen that grip a bit.


Antique Angling – That 40-year old boat gets hauled to the lake in a 21-year old truck whose driver side door no longer opens. This makes for some added fun for the 51-year old guy who drives it as explained in the following video (also features a further look at the lake conditions). Don’t know if the old and broke fishing niche is covered yet by the YouTube crowd so I may be onto something…stay tuned.


Hey, no fish but believe me, it’s just cool to be writing a firsthand fishing report this time of year even though I failed to get on the board. Most years I’ve still got a couple months to go before one of my lures gets a chance to hit open water so this was definitely a bonus opportunity. I was fortunate that I was afforded time to give it a go and you will never hear a complaint from this guy after going fishing. Excuses… maybe…


All is not lost either as I managed to get a “Top 10 Trip Tunes” list out of the adventure so don’t touch that dial. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report 11/24/18

9:55am and looking for that final bass of 2018

I’ve mentioned more than a few times that one of my annual goals is to land a November bass before calling it quits on the fishing year. And for 2018 I had pretty much conceded that it wasn’t going to happen. I was okay with that as responsibilities, work, weather and some vehicle trouble had conspired against going fishing as we reached the last week of the month. But things worked out after all and I took my shot last Saturday on one of my regular haunts.

10:45am no giant but got what I was after, a November bass courtesy of a Rapala Shad Rap

Date: November 24, 2018
Location: Knox County, IL strip mine – private
Time: 9:55am-2:40pm
Weather: Sunny/windy
Air Temp: 43-53F
Water Temp: no gauge
Totals: 5 bass
Strike King Rattlin’ Pro Model 3/8 oz jig (green pumpkin) with Bass Pro Shops Triple Ripple Craw trailer (pepper frog hot orange) – 3 bass
Rapala Shad Rap (blue) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 1-15 Jig & Plastic
Top 5 Weight (only 3 at 12” or better): 5-2 (1-15,1-12,1-7)

11:09am  14″ and 1-7 on jig and plastic

12:25pm Top Bass for the day 16″ and 1-15 on jig and plastic

Notes and Nonsense

Fishing Factors – Several items got me an unplanned day on the water. First up was the confirmation of open water as observed during a Thursday trip to Galesburg which led to the next item. Thanksgiving Friday off of work then allowed me to get my end of year yard work done on Friday instead of Saturday. A forecast of a Saturday temperature pushing 50F and the job of returning a nephew to Galesburg after an overnight stay were the final straws in the makings of a getaway.

All In – I picked one of my best spots in terms of potential quality bites and past cold water success when it came time to choose a destination. While I normally max out at two or three hours on visits to this lake before hopping to another fishing hole, for this outing I committed to investing all my time and working it over thoroughly. I hit all of my regular areas two or even three times as I picked apart the lake and managed what I felt was a solid creel.

1:58pm and likely last bass of 2018 at 15.5″ and 1-12 on jig and plastic

Mission Accomplished – I lost my first bite at boatside as the anti-reverse on my reel gave out causing a batch of slack to spin out as I took my hand off the handle to reach for my catch. Fortunately, I only had to wait about 15 more minutes for another bite to get me on the board. While I’d also hoped to get a boost for my Top 5 it wasn’t meant to be as I could not find anything to boot those two-pounders from the bottom of my list. As a result, it looks like I will fall short of the coveted 20-pound mark for the first time since kicking off the Top 5 project back in 2014.

The lures that got it done – Rapala Shad Rap and a bit of a changeup from my standard jig and pig offering

Benching the Black and Blue – I’m pretty much a one trick pony when it comes to fishing a jig and pig being a longtime proponent of black and blue. Well, on this day, I stepped out of my comfort zone for a couple reasons. For one, the last time I fished the spot I saw a fellow nail a 5-9 bass on a green pumpkin colored jig and plastic trailer. In addition, I wanted to bulk up and really didn’t have any decent option to replace my normal #11 blue pork rind trailer. The intent of bulking up was that I was hoping that whatever decided to eat it would be bulked up as well. Turned out to be the right decision in terms of bites as it fooled three bass. And while none turned out to be as bulky as I’d hoped, no complaint from me on the successful results.

2:40pm and likely the end of the line for another fun year of fishing

I’ll close with a final outdoor observation as a shout out to Dad. On the way down to the fishing hole the early morning skies were gray and the wind was pushing blustery. The leaf covered ground was wet from a series of showers the previous day and nearly all of the farm fields were devoid of crops. I must admit that it felt a little odd taking in the scenery with a johnboat and a load of fishing gear along for the ride. For that voice inside my head repeated a phrase frequently uttered by Dad this time of the year as it “sure felt like a trapping morning.” Talk to you later. Troy

Rest of the Storey – October 19, 2018

That old saying of “saved the best for last” is certainly up for debate as we wrap up the mid-week revisit of an October Lake Storey outing. What isn’t debatable is that I saved the best catches for this final posting, one of which established a new lake record. That bass and more for the finale so here we go.

Lake Storey record chronology – 1988 (Dad 4-6), 1998 (Brent 4-7), 2007 (Troy 4-8) – looks like it’s about that time

Record Holders – Thinking back I wish I would’ve shot a little GoPro footage while Brent and I took shelter and ate our lunches in his truck (which Dad had driven out to the lake for a timely visit). After all, it’s not every day that you get three Lake Storey Top Bass record holders hanging out lakeside shooting the breeze about the longtime fishing hole. Then again, some of that discussion would reside in the “Top Secret” category so perhaps better to be off the record.


Pre-trip Facebook prognostication and on the water result

Channeling Nostradamus – Leading into this trip I took a look back through the Lake Storey record book to confirm some of the data on the family bass record from the spot. Turns out there is a general pattern that results in a new record about every ten years. Just for the fun of it I made a bit of a prediction in the Facebook post shown above shortly before heading out from home to try our luck. I’ve got to say that it was pretty cool for Brent and a bass to make the prediction a reality. Brent had no idea that I had made the predictive post and probably thought I was a little too excited as I awaited the weigh in saying, “Oh man, this is good, this is real good, gotta be 4-9, this could really be good…” Once it locked in at 4-11, I explained my crazed reaction and even made a Facebook update post from the water. Oh yeah, I guess Brent thought it was a pretty cool catch too.

2:52pm – a great way to call it a day as we put our poles away, making this catch the last cast

Last Cast Bass – As our day drew to a close and we neared the boat ramp, I glanced at my watch which read 2:48pm (yes, I still keep time with a watch and not a “phone” but I do take pics and video with a “phone”). I mentioned to Brent that I was good to call it a day if he was okay with trailering the boat a few minutes earlier than our original 3:00pm quitting time. Wisely, he opted to pay one more visit to a nearby laydown and at 2:52pm he reeled in our (actually his) second largest bass of the day at 3-8. Only then did he decide it was time to head for the ramp as what better way to end a stellar day than with a last cast, quality bass.

Was the new Lake Storey record actually foretold by Nostradamus? Read on and decide for yourself.

I’ll leave you with one odd, final note to close out this whole Lake Storey adventure. After my “prediction” came to fruition, I did a little research (or something like that) on some of good, old Nostradamus’ predictions which were typically written in a four line literary form referred to as a “quatrain.” Turns out that there’s a great deal more of those quatrains that have yet to find any sort of supposed tie to a historical event than those that purportedly do. And by some stroke of luck, while burning the midnight oil during my exhaustive search, I did find the following gem that someone attributed to the legendary soothsayer.

Decade by decade it increases,
Slightly as it goes,
Eclipsed by one who never ceases,
With spinnerbait he throws.

Pretty weird, huh?

Talk to you later. Troy

More of the Storey – October 19, 2018

A couple other highlights of our outing involved crossing paths with a pair of fellow anglers who have made more than a few casts at Lake Storey. The first one we met on the water (twice) and the second we met on the bank (twice).

Top 5 angler, John Kirkemo, in the background as noted by the arrows. The white cloud represents his reported misfire with the fire extinguisher in his boat which unfortunately was not caught on video.

Top 5 Trio – Brent and I ran into a fisherman on the water who stated, “I’m looking for the Jackson brothers” as we crossed paths. Now, what are the odds that three Top 5 anglers would find themselves chatting out in the middle of Lake Storey just a bit east of Freak’s Point on this morning? Actually, pretty good, as Brent and I were aware that fellow Top 5 angler, John Kirkemo, also had a trip planned. Dating back to 2014, the Top 5 project has resulted in a fun batch of fishing banter with more than a few fellow anglers. Add John, a Top 5 “rookie”, to the list for 2018 as we have shared a considerable amount of electronic fish stories, opinions and laughs over the course of the year. Sure was nice to share more of the same, not only in person, but also while floating on the surface of one of our most popular fishing topics.


John Kirkemo’s creations represent a perfect complement (and compliment) to whatever you call this writing thing I do as while I am certainly serious about fishing I don’t take it too seriously.

OSO Lures – In corresponding with John, he had mentioned a hobby he’d taken up to feed the fishing fix when off the water, crafting some lures. Earlier this year he’d passed along a few pics of the baits complete with his fun and unique take on product packaging and presentation. And now I am a fortunate fisherman to have a pair of his creations in my possession. A generous offering from a fellow fishing fool (take that how you may). Very cool and icing on the cake to the encouragement John has provided upon reading my rambles. Perhaps his creations can also provide a topic to delve into a bit further during the off the water portion of the calendar that looms on the horizon.

The figure in the background knows a thing or two about Lake Storey and apparently a thing or two about the guys using his boat as he showed up just in time to provide a reprieve from some rain.

MVP Race – While Brent wound up taking the unofficial title of “Most Valuable Participant” on this outing, another guy also received considerable consideration. We spotted Dad on the bank at a handy access point at a most fortuitous time although it turns out that he’d been stalking us from a distance for a while (actually said he saw us talking to “that John guy” about a half hour prior). As the rain that was not in the forecast began to pour we beached the boat, grabbed our lunch buckets and made a run for Brent’s truck that Dad was driving as Brent had driven Dad’s to the lake with boat in tow. As we enjoyed the lunch break, Dad (aka Papa to our kids) laughed and reminisced telling Brent and me about how his dad (our Papa) used to show up on the periphery of the trapline with some grub and conversation back in the day. However, Dad’s contributions did not end with providing a dry truck. As shown in the video clip below, he followed up with a run back home for some dry clothes as a couple of his boys didn’t pack so well. Fortunate to have dads who are good like that and ours saved the day as we were experiencing a few shivers in our rain dampened clothes.


A final note for today comes from our second on the water powwow with John after the rain had passed through and we met again not too far from Cannon Hill. He mentioned that he saw us disappear for a while during the twenty five minute or so rain delay. We related the tale of Dad’s timely arrival with a shelter vehicle as well as his run back home for a load of raingear, sweatshirts and towels. I believe the word that John then used to describe us was “pampered.” We had a laugh at that assessment. Right on the money too, considering Brent and I were conducting our second visit with John while sitting in the bass boat that Dad kind of, sort of, in a roundabout way, bought for us back around 1987. Yep, nothing wrong with a bit of good natured ribbing and all the better when you are warm and reeling in some bass on a challenging fishing hole.

One more look inside our outing coming your way tomorrow. Hope you’ll tune in for some forecasting, some fish and some flashbacks. Talk to you later. Troy

Additional Storey – October 19, 2018

My standard format for a fishing report consists of stats, notes and pics. Since launching my own blog I have also instituted an annual “Lake Lowdown” feature as a variation on that standard report. But usually there’s even more stuff that goes along with those outings that simply gets left out due to time, space and modern attention span constraints (also a little leery on occasion of sharing some of the secrets and silliness) . The October 19 outing to Lake Storey with Brent was such a trip and as I always enjoy talking about that fishing hole, well, I’m going to talk about it some more for the next few days. Sort of an extension on the “Notes and Nonsense” bit from the regular report.

Breakfast Burrito Banter – My typical source of nourishment for the drive to my fishing holes consists of a homemade breakfast burrito whose contents can vary based on whatever is in the fridge. However, the later start of a Friday morning Fall outing (to let things warm up and help get kids to school) combined with payday afforded a chance to splurge at the neighborhood Sonic. Folks, I give you the SuperSonic Burrito, complete with jalapenos to start your day right (video commentary below).

NOTE: I am aware that I spelled “Y’all” incorrectly but lack the time to edit, I try my best but oh well, is it even a real word anyway?

Designated Driver – It’s commonly accepted knowledge that the angler in the front of the boat has a bit of an advantage over the angler in the back. Often when Brent and I fish together in the “big boat” we’ll split the time doing the driving. However, on this occasion I was perfectly content to give up my shot. After a full day on the trolling motor the previous day, I was a little sore and with the windy conditions I truly didn’t feel much like battling the elements. Besides, I realized long ago that Brent doesn’t need to “front end” me to have the upper hand. I was perfectly content to relax in the back, go about my regular approach, enjoy the spinnerbait lesson, take some pictures of his quality catches and only get outfished 10 to 7.

Video below of Brent landing a 2-7 pertains to both the “Designated Driver” heading above and the “Spinnerbait Clinic” item that follows (and yes, some actual fishing footage as opposed to my behind the wheel rambles. On the water footage is a topic to be explored another day)


Spinnerbait Clinic – I had gone full in on a spinnerbait bite on my solo visit the previous day after nabbing a bass on the bait on my first cast. As this lure type is probably Brent’s top weapon, I was not surprised that it wound up landing all 10 of his bass on our trip together. It also spoke volumes to his skill in fooling bass with one that he didn’t miss a beat after his old faithful Emiquon Special bit the dust after his first catch, a solid 2-7. Having no spare Emiquon Special in tow, he opted for a good, old white spinnerbait and proceeded to end the day with a pair larger than that first bass including the new lake record of 4-11.

Remnants of The Emiquon Special and the Plan B spinnerbait that came through big time, dig those copper hammered blades.

Okay, I won’t keep you any longer today although I do have more to offer from this day on the water. Tune in tomorrow as we cross paths with a couple fellows who are also familiar with this fishing hole. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report 10/22/18


Still trying to play catch up as it is often tough to keep the pace with the reports when I string together several fishing days in a short time frame. As such, I had originally planned on passing along some more Lake Storey notes, pics and video but have elected to shift gears. Instead, you get the last of three fishing reports from my fishing “vacation” with plenty more fishing posts next week. So, first things first.


Date: October 22, 2018
Location: Knox County, IL strip mines – private (2 lakes)
Time: 10:30am-2:15pm
Weather: Sunny/breezy to windy
Air Temp: 51-66F
Water Temp: no gauge
Totals: 4 bass
Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 4 bass
Top Bass: 1-1 Red Eye Shad
Top 5 Weight (only 2 at 12” or better): 2-1 (1-1,1-0)

12:59pm First bass and Top Bass 13.5″ 1-1 Red Eye Shad, only took 2.5 hours to find and fool this one

Notes and Nonsense

The Goal – After a pair of productive outings at Lake Storey to end the previous week I was faced with a dilemma. While Lake Storey was a blast, it typically is not my go to spot when looking for a Top 5 boost which was part of my aim on this day. However, Brent had landed three good fish at Lake Storey, all of which would have provided a bump for my rough Top 5 year. But, that’s Brent fishing and not me. I’d put my money on him for bigger fish out there as opposed to perhaps even money on the strip mines. So, off I headed for a pair of my Knox County strip mines that have solid potential for those sought after Top 5 culls.

I make a point to keep Julie up to speed, at least she knows I’m not lost or worse

The Results – It took me 2.5 hours and two lakes to even catch a bass and not even close to knocking anything out of my Top 5. On a positive note, it only took me five minutes to land my next bass but it was an ounce lighter than the previous non-Top 5 booster. But hey, at least I was perhaps onto something. I managed another pair of short fish on Stop Two before deciding that my finale should be a return to Stop One. Yes, that’s Stop One where I had been shutout to start my day. However, the lure of some large bass that live there brought me back for one more shot. And they all ignored me yet again, shutout on both ends of the Stop One doubleheader.

1:04pm 13″ 1-0 not as big as I was looking for but what I got as the bass come out on top

Top 5 Bass (sort of) – As soon as I arrived on Stop One, I spotted a fellow angler approaching the bank about 50 yards away. Two of his casts later, I heard him tell his wife, who was alongside him, that he had a fish and it was a good one. I proceeded to observe the battle and even from a distance it was indeed a nice bass. The angler asked if I had a scale and I then rowed over to assist with the weigh-in. Final result came in at 5-9, just what I was looking for and perhaps a good sign that some big ones would cooperate (not so much for me as it turned out). I congratulated the fellow on a good catch and, of course, gave a plug for a certain website that showcases the catches of fellow fish chasers. His wife even looked up the site on her phone as we all chatted for a bit, another cool example of how technology can actually be productive. I’ve yet to see the fish in the Inbox but time will tell.


No sense in stretching this one out anymore as it was just a tough day. I briefly thought that perhaps I should have went to the well one more time with a Lake Storey outing but in the end still felt that I made the right decision. I went all in for some big bass and gave it my best shot on some good water but this time around the bass simply won.

A Top 5 Update comes your way Monday that you definitely don’t want to miss followed up by a couple more posts of Lake Storey stuff and then the regular Friday Flashback. A busy week ahead here on the blog featuring some quality content. Hope you’ll tune in and talk to you later. Troy