Category: Flashbacks

Friday Flashback – November 1, 2008

The Friday Flashback post possibilities get a little lean as we head into the next to last month of the year. But if the weather cooperates in a reasonable fashion and I can find time to get away, the annual goal is to put a November bass on the board. Ten years ago I was able to do just that. Below is the original post that was sent to a group of family and friends as my fishing finale from 2008.

11:01am – took an hour and a half of trying but got my November bass which also turned out to be Top Bass of the day at 17″ and 2-8 on a Zoom Baby Brush Hog

November Bassin’ – Always wanting to push the fishing year as late as possible, I’d held out hope that I could work in a November trip. Fate was on my side and I was able to spend one more day on Lake Storey. Just over six hours produced nine bass with a 2-8 taking Top Bass honors via a Zoom Baby Brush Hog. Two others gained entry into the record book at 1-13 and 1-10 with both falling to a Quad Blade spinnerbait (white). This bait was easily my top producer as it fooled seven bass and a Rapala DT6 (parrot) was responsible for one fish. While this trip failed to add any “accidents”, a nice muskie did take a couple swipes at the spinnerbait but failed to get hooked. It was likely in the mid 30 inch range and really got the adrenaline pumping with a near surface strike roughly ten feet from the boat.

Original log entry from this outing

1:16pm – 14.5″ and 1-10 on a spinnerbait

Date: November 1, 2008
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 9:30am-4:00pm
Weather: Sunny/breezy
Air Temp: 55F
Water Temp: Forgot to check
Totals: 9 bass
Quad Shad Spinnerbait (white) – 7 bass
Rapala DT 6 (parrot) – 1 bass
Zoom Baby Brush Hog (green pumpkin green) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-8 Brush Hog
Top 5 Weight: 7-13 (2-8,1-13,1-10,0-15,0-15)

1:23pm – 15″ and 1-13 on a spinnerbait and did a little better with the lighting on at least one pic

One more Friday Flashback post to go for 2018 to wrap up of the series which kicked off back on March 16 and had a run of 35 consecutive weeks. In the meantime, the Top 5 Update streak continues on Monday with a multispecies flavor (a new species at that). Hope you’ll tune in and talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – October 29, 2013

We don’t travel too far back in time this week with a look at a 2013 visit to Eureka Lake in Woodford County, Illinois. I’d always wanted to give the 30-acre fishing hole a look but just couldn’t pull the trigger despite reading some high praise and seeing some solid fish pics over the years (including a double-digit bass). Well, leave it to a fall drawdown to push me to finally get it done as the secrets revealed when the fisheries managers pull the plug are too much to resist.

Here’s an excerpt from the original post submitted on my former blogging gig almost exactly five years ago today (11-1-13).

During my regular fishing related wandering around the internet a couple weeks ago I learned that Woodford County’s Eureka Lake was in the process of a fall drawdown. A report of a lowered lake is music to my ears and I started checking the calendar and the weather forecast for a chance to introduce myself to some bass I’ve never met. Earlier this week things worked out allowing me to meet a handful of the inhabitants and learn a few of Eureka’s normally hidden secrets.

Original log entry from the trip

Date: October 29, 2013
Location: Eureka Lake
Time: Noon-3:00pm
Weather: Overcast/windy (from southeast)
Air Temp: 45-57F
Water Temp: 48F
Totals: 3 bass
Lures: Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 2 bass, Yum Crawdad Texas rigged – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-3 tie (one on each of above lures)
Weight (2 bass at 12” or better): 2-6 (1-3, 1-3)

12:02pm – instant feedback but wouldn’t pan out to be a real hot bite on this cool day

Notes & Nonsense

The Launch – The lake has been lowered in order to facilitate ramp renovations so getting a boat launched required an alternate plan. I’d picnicked at the lake with Julie and whatever kids we had at the time several years ago but I really couldn’t recall what would work best for dragging in my eight foot johnboat. I wound up finding a spot near the dam that was suitable in terms of solid footing on the exposed lake bottom but it involved a 50-60 yard drag down and up a decent hill. It took three trips each way but I was able to haul in the boat, oars, a battery, trolling motor, anchor, too much tackle, life jacket, boat cushion, five rods, a tripod and a bottle of Gatorade. As I write this, my back still twinges when I bend a certain way but other than that it wasn’t too bad. I was the only boat on the lake which made me feel extra tough as well.

1:00pm – Top Bass (tie) at 13″ and 1-3 on a Yum Crawdad

The Plan – I like to fish fast if I can get away with it and knowing I only had three hours to explore the 30 acre lake had me hoping I could find some active bass in the 48 degree water.  Two minutes into casting I had some feedback on a Red Eye Shad and I was pretty much committed for the day, for better or worse.  I did slow down around some wood in a number of spots but it was largely a lipless crankbait, spinnerbait and crankbait attack.  If I had another shot and more time to invest on the water I would probably slow down more.  But I likely won’t get a revisit this year and for this trip I really couldn’t intricately pick apart pieces of the lake and still see all that I wanted to see.

Tough day when you have to post a pic of a dead one but sure would have liked to have found it during its better days (1/4 oz Red Eye Shad for comparison)

Ones That Got Away – About midway into the trip something real heavy stopped my Red Eye Shad dead and plowed towards deeper water. Several seconds later it just let go and left me kind of bummed thinking that I‘d missed my shot at a real good bass. However, twenty minutes later I was battling a similar strike that had me all around the boat before surfacing to reveal that it was a big old carp (maybe 12-14 pounds) that was snagged in the back. I had no dipnet and no idea how I would get the thing landed and really was just hoping that it wouldn’t bust my 12 pound test and take my lure. After a good battle the lure safely dislodged and I wasn’t particularly disappointed as it was great fight while it lasted and I still had my Red Eye Shad. A fellow was walking his dog on the shoreline and we had a laugh as he said he thought that fish was going to wind up pulling me all around the lake in that little boat. I had another similar brief lure stopping encounter later that I chalked up to the same species and it left me feeling a whole lot better about that first lost fish, thinking it wasn’t a lunker bass after all. I did lose a bass at boatside on the Yum Crawdad that would have been my Top Bass although at best it may have pushed two pounds.

Interestingly, Eureka Lake is in the midst of another drawdown five years later. This time around it is to deal with the overpopulation of those carp that I snagged into and also features a complete rehabilitation of the fishery. In layman’s terms that means a total fish kill or a do over as Illinois Department of Natural Resources knocked out the remaining fish population once the lake was drawn down to more of a puddle. It sounds like the plan is to reintroduce various species in 2019 followed by a catch and release phase before establishing size and creel limits. If you are in the neighborhood I would certainly recommend taking a peek at the exposed structure revealed by the substantial drawdown as that sort of thing doesn’t happen very often. There are some killer stumps out there that could pay dividends for you down the road. Send me some pics as I don’t figure that I’ll get down that way for a look of my own. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – October 22, 2003

A late season doubleheader is today’s flashback feature. I looked it up and turns out that October 22, 2003 was a Wednesday back in the days where I had an odd work schedule which provided for many weekday days off. Pretty cool in retrospect and still kind of miss that aspect of my former job. You’ve gotta like being out fishing when most everybody else is at work. Looks like the day started tough for Dad and I at Little John Conservation Club as noted in the stats and comments from the original report.

Original log entry from this pair of trips

10/22 Long Lake & Club Lake-Little John
Angler(s): Me & Dad
Time: 8:05 am-12:15 pm
Bass: 8
Lures: Jig (brown) with split double tail trailer (black)
Rapala Rattlin’ Rap (brown craw)
Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait
Vibra Shaft spinnerbait (blue glimmer)
Rebel Ghost Minnow
Spinnerbait (white)
Top Bass: 1-0 Troy Vibra Shaft spinnerbait (blue glimmer)
Highlights: Dad lost a nice fish on Club Lake while fishing a jig near the beach. The fish put a nice bend in his pole and despite a solid hookset, let go of the lure before we got a look. Dad nearly lost something else too, as one of my extra strength hooksets caused my lure to leave the water and nail him just below the belt.

Another interesting aspect of fishing back in 2003 was that if the bass didn’t cooperate in the morning, I often had a chance to try it again in the afternoon. No kids kind of afforded free time like that and I took advantage on this day with a quick hit on a legendary, local farm pond.

4:55pm 21.5″ 3-5 Jig & Pig on The Beaver Lodge, kind of a sickly looking fish, topic for another day…

10/22 Emstrom’s Pond
Angler(s): Me
Time: 4:50 pm-6:05 pm
Bass: 4
Lures: Jig (black/blue) with twin tail trailer (black)
Mepps #5 (rainbow trout/white)
Top Bass: 3-9 Jig (also caught a 3-5 on jig)
Highlights: Two bass over three pounds on the jig while fishing The Beaver Lodge will make anyone’s day. I’m glad I didn’t give up after a fairly tough morning at Little John.

5:40pm 20″ 3-9 Jig & Pig on The Beaver Lodge once again, a classic piece of structure that’s also a story for another day… 

Boy, how times have changed. Weekday mornings now begin with Julie and me assisting four youngsters prior to them heading off to school and today our afternoon/evening didn’t end until about 8:30pm. A dentist appointment (complete with tooth extraction) for one of the boys, two parent/teacher conferences (had to skip a third due to lack of time), Julie actually conducted conferences all evening too from the teacher side and birthday gift shopping in advance of one of the boys heading to a local trampoline park for a party, Oh yeah, had to feed these people in the midst of all that stuff and then get the boys ready for an overnight visit to my folks as they are out of school due to more parent/teacher conferences. We’re scheduled for 7:45am. I’d say thank goodness its Friday but it really doesn’t matter as weekends are often just as busy. Funny how times change and you just hold on and try to stay in control and in the saddle for the weekly ride. Talk to you later. Troy


Lake Lowdown Revisited

After a lengthy hiatus, I reintroduced a project last year that I called “Lake Lowdown” to coincide with kicking off my own website (snip from the 2017 post below). As a refresher, here is a little background on the project followed by some stats to get you up to speed in advance of the 2018 version hitting the blog.

This whole thing started with my stab at fishing reports aimed at mirroring a monthly Bassmaster magazine feature entitled “Day on the Lake.” The monthly article places a pro on an unfamiliar lake and documents the highs and lows in chronological fashion as they spend seven hours on the water trying to figure things out.

From 2002 thorough 2009 I posted seven such reports featuring either Dad or my brother, Brent, as my fishing partner. Our version of these reports differ from the pros as we have fished known locations (with one exception in 2007) and I also photograph and document the details of every bass we land for usage in the final product. While I sure dig the Bassmaster version, I much prefer our reports. Not only because it’s firsthand experience but also because it’s the real deal with a couple guys in 30 or 40 year old boats using whatever fishing gear they’ve amassed since the 80’s and showing you every fish, not just the big ones thrust out at arm’s length as close to the photographer as possible (yes, I have been guilty in the past but these days I make sure to bend them elbows). I’d like to think that it is something to which more than a few fellow bass anglers can relate.

So, I brought the project back last year in conjunction with having my own blog and the 2017 outing wound up being a rousing success. However, I did note the following on the heels of the 2017 outing which took place on private waters.

In the interest of further promoting “regular guy” fishing we do probably need to pull this stunt on public water more often although the bass just don’t jump in the boat at any of our stomping grounds, still takes some work.

Well, we went “public” in 2018 as you will see in tomorrow’s report.

But for today, we take a look at a brief rundown of some of the numbers from each of our previous stabs at this project.

July 9, 2002 with Brent at Lake Bracken (private)
7.50 hours and 37 bass (Troy = 20 Brent = 17)
Top Bass: 1-9 Troy Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 5-12 (1-9,1-3,1-1,1-0,0-15)

June 13, 2003 with Dad at Lake Bracken (private)
5.25 hours and 35 bass (Troy = 19 Dad = 16)
Top Bass: 3-3 Dad Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 8-0 (3-3,2-2,1-1,0-14,0-12)

July 23, 2004 with Dad at Lake Bracken (private)
7.00 hours and 25 bass (Dad = 14 Troy = 11)
Top Bass: 1-14 Troy Buzzbait
Top 4 Weight (only 4 at 12” or better): 5-5 (1-14,1-8,1-0,0-15)

July 13, 2005 with Dad at Lake Bracken (private)
7.50 hours with 20 bass (Dad = 11 Troy = 9)
Top Bass: 2-7 Troy Senko wacky rig
Top 5 Weight: 6-8 (2-7,1-5,1-1,0-14,0-13)

May 9, 2007 with Dad Snakeden Hollow strip pit (public)
2.0 hours with 21 bass
Top Bass: 1-11 Dad Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 7-1 (1-11,1-10,1-8,1-3,1-1)

June 16, 2008 with Dad at Lake Bracken (private)
6.50 hours with 38 bass (Dad = 26 Troy = 12)
Top Bass: 3-7 Dad Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 14-2 (3-7,3-5,2-13,2-9,2-0)

September 21, 2009 with Dad at Lake Storey (public)
7.00 hours with 15 bass (Dad = 8 bass Troy = 7 bass)
Top Bass: 2-10 Troy Creature Bait
Top 5 Weight: 8-11 (2-10,1-10,1-10,1-9,1-4)

July 8, 2017 with Dad at Little John Conservation Club (private)
3.50 hours with 17 bass (Troy – 10 bass Dad = 7 bass)
Top Bass: 5-0 Troy Buzzbait
Top 5 Weight: 12-4 (5-0,3-5,1-8,1-4,1-3)

8 outings
46.25 hours
208 bass
Top Bass: 5-0 Troy 7/8/17 Buzzbait
Daily Top 5 Weight Record: 14-2 Lake Bracken 6/16/08
All-Time Top 5 Weight: 18-4 (5-0,3-7,3-5,3-5,3-3)

So there you have the basis, background and up to date recap regarding the project deemed “Lake Lowdown.” Tune in tomorrow for the 2018 version and talk to you later. Troy



Friday Flashback – October 23, 1998

For the second consecutive Friday Flashback we revisit Knox County, Illinois’ Lake Storey.

And here’s what’s extra cool about this post.

Just a few days shy of exactly 20 years later, the same two guys featured in these flashback photos are out there again looking for a few more bites as they add to their collective stockpile of fish stories.

As we await the results of the 2018 version of a Lake Storey outing with my brother, Brent, we’ll take a look at the 1998 version as a warm-up.

When a fishing trip produces a pair of lake records that’s a solid day. Especially when you only combine for four total catches.

1:32pm (pic above) – Brent lands a 4-7 bass along a tried and true stretch or structure that consists of some shallow scattered riprap. No surprise at all that he is wielding a spinnerbait to fool a new Lake Storey bass record, eclipsing Dad’s 4-6 from 1988. The record would stand until 2007 when I was able to bump it up another ounce with a 4-8.

3:30pm (pic above) – My trusty Blue Glimmer spinnerbait crossed paths with one of the lake’s toothy residents that equaled my personal best muskie at 7-14 (33.0”), tying a 33.5” of the same weight from September 1997 at Snakeden Hollow’s Lake McMaster. This Top Muskie has been topped four times over the years with the current mark of 43.5” and 19-8 from Lake Storey in September 2012.

12:45pm (pic above) – For good measure, our third quality catch of the day was our first with a 2-0 bass also on the Blue Glimmer spinnerbait. Not a trophy or a record but a solid catch as anything at two pounds or better is a “good fish” in my book, especially on a stingy spot like Lake Storey.

A legendary lure that I simply call the “Blue Glimmer”

What’s also fun is that I remember exactly where all of our catches came from without having to peek at the log or scour the background of the photos for clues. It’s a little something that I call “piscatorial memory”, a concept long stashed away in my stack of blog posts for another day.

Original log entry complete with battle blemishes

Another fun note on this outing is a look back at the log entry as it features the splotches from the splashes of that new muskie record. While I don’t recall the specifics of the muskie decorating the notebook, an investigative eye shows the muskie data to be free of blemishes leading me to believe that the muskie was the culprit. Makes for a good piece of the story at least.

I’ll close with a final observation regarding the Lake Storey bass record as there seems to be a bit of a pattern. Looks like about every 10 years or so a new Top Bass joins the record book. Dad kicked it off in 1988, Brent upped it by an ounce on this 1998 outing, my 2007 bass came in a year ahead of schedule and here we are in 2018 with two of the Lake Storey record holders headed to the lake…

Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – October 8-21, 1998

Once upon a time I had a lake in my backyard.

A big lake, like 170 acres big.

Also had a two man bass boat on the dock at the ready and a little something called “free time.”

And that free time allowed me to get on the water at Lake Bracken just south of Galesburg, Illinois for a series of quick afternoon/evening October 1998 trips in pursuit of my favorite species, the largemouth bass. Pretty cool in looking back that when I decided to fish it was simply a matter of hauling some gear down the hill and it was on.

Original log entries from October 8 through October 21, 1998 – quick trips of two or three hours were winners.

For the time period of 1994 through 2002 when I called the lake “home”, those bass did not disappoint. Have a look below at a batch of bass from October of 20 years ago along with some notes on the items in the periphery from my days prowling the spot in that old two man boat.

October 8, 1998 at 4:44pm 17.5″ 2 lbs 9 oz on my old faithful Blue Glimmer spinnerbait and, as usual, probably too much stuff in the boat starting with the five poles and two tacklebags.

October 8, 1998 at 6:13pm 19.5″ 3 lbs 15 oz, Blue Glimmer spinnerbait, 20 years later that lifejacket and boat cushion are still around while I passed along the boat to a young family friend many years ago.

October 14, 1998 at 5:52pm 20″ 3 lbs 15 oz, Blue Glimmer spinnerbait.

October 16, 1998 at 5:43pm 20″ 4 lbs 8 oz, Blue Glimmer spinnerbait and there was a time or two that the livewell was filled with ice and beer instead of a bass posing for a pic. Fun to see my old Shimano Fightin’ Rod on the left, a favorite pole, long gone as well after a run-in with a trunk lid.

October 21, 1998 at 2:45pm 17″ 2-7 on, you guessed it, the Blue Glimmer spinnerbait.  Shimano Fightin’ Rod in view again, log book hiding underneath and a look at one of my maps that I made back in the day. Still got those maps stashed away in the event I ever get another shot at the one-time “home lake.”

As always, fun for me to look back at the fish, the gear and the logs to remember stuff that would otherwise be forgotten.  All told I spent close to 30 years chasing fish at the lake.  Starting around 1978 as the guest of a Little League teammate, through the 80s as part of our family membership, into the 90s and 2000s as a homeowner and concluding in 2008 as Dad’s guest before he gave up his membership as well.  Many memories and stories for another day.  Talk to you later.  Troy

Friday Flashback – October 2, 2008

October 2, 2008 12:29pm – Solid Lake Storey Fall drawdown bass at 15″ and 1-12 

Folks, it’s Fall drawdown time at Lake Storey, an old favorite fishing hole on the outskirts of my hometown Galesburg, Illinois. Spent 47 years living in The Burg and Lake Storey played a prominent role pretty much the whole way. Camping, swimming, birthday parties, jogging, softball, picnicking, working, playing, hiking, fireworks and even a little something we used to call “parking.”

Some stories are better left untold.

But not so for fish stories, so here we go with a flashback from 2008 via some excerpts from the original fishing report.

1:20pm – 14.5″ and 1-12

Date: October 2, 2008
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, Illinois
Time: 8:45am-3:30pm
Totals: 12 bass, 1 walleye (27” 7-14 new personal best)
Bomber Flat A (baby bass) – 6 bass, 1 walleye
Zoom Super Hog (watermelon seed) – 5 bass
Quad Shad Spinnerbait (white) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-10 Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 8-13 (2-10,1-12,1-12,1,-9,1-2)

A Lake Storey staple, the Bomber Flat A crankbait (baby bass)

2:09pm – A welcome “accident” with a 27″ walleye weighing 7-14, a new personal best

An added bonus when pursuing bass on Lake Storey is the ever present potential for hooking a toothy fish (walleye or muskie). An “accident” can happen at any time particularly if tossing crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits or in line spinners. Dad and I were fortunate enough to land four such “accidents” during a pair of trips as we each caught a muskie and I fooled a pair of walleyes. All of the toothy fish came on Bomber Flat A crankbaits and though our muskies were quite small (20” each), they are always an exciting surprise. The walleye, on the other hand, were pretty impressive. The largest was a 27” 7-14 which set a new species record and easily eclipsed my personal best by more than five pounds.

2:55pm – Top Bass of the day at 16.5″ and 2-10

Admittedly, that walleye is what I call a fortunate “accident” while pursuing my favorite fish, the largemouth bass. I will also admit to knowing very little about walleye fishing but sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good and as long as you’ve got a lure in the water you just never know what might show up on the end of the line. In this case, a very solid Illinois walleye that would stand as my personal best for just over two years before another Lake Storey “accident” and a true beast. Perhaps the largest walleye ever caught in Lake Storey, but that’s another story for a future Friday Flashback (stick around until 2020 for that one). Talk to you later. Troy