Category: Stats

2017 Stats – Location

For today’s stat wrap I’m gonna tell you where I caught my bass in 2017, all 416 of them (that is a correction as I erroneously reported 418 last week).

Well, kind of tell you where I caught ‘em. General location on some, specific body of water on a few but not overly precise like Chilly Willy Point, Power Point or Freak’s Point. Actually, all of those are made up names, two by me and one handed down from some fellas back in the 80s. So, unless you are related to me, those spots probably wouldn’t mean thing anyhow.

But I’m still not telling, gotta keep some air of mystery. Here we go.

Bass #416, strip mine

Grand Totals
Bass = 416
Bodies of water = 31
Comments: The numbers are pretty jacked up in terms of bodies of water as I flat out fish small. In fact, the biggest body of water that I fished in 2017 was Lost Grove Lake in Scott County, IA which comes in at 400 acres. On the other end of the spectrum were a handful of public strip pits that are maybe a half cast wide at best.

Hauled 265 bass into this deluxe watercraft

Bank Bass (Northerner boots, biking and hiking) = 102
Little Boat Bass (near 40 year old 8’ johnboat) = 265
Big Boat Bass (1987 Bass Tracker Pro 17) = 49
Comments: Small waters, walk-in only access and no ramps on most of my stomping grounds means no blazing bass boat or high tech gear. And all of that suits me just fine, those things go too fast for this angler and I spend all week messing with technology so who needs electronics. Besides, several of these spots I’ve fished since the 80s or 90s so trial and error has provided ample insight. Sure there are more secrets beneath the surface and perhaps armed with a new, cool, retro tool in 2018 I may just find a few. Stay tuned.

The Waters (from least to most caught)

Henry County, IL pond

Henry County Private Pond (1 visit – 4/18)
4 bass
1.00 hour
4.00 bass/hour
Top Bass: 11.5” (2 bass – Chatterbait, Jig & Pig)
Top 5 Weight: no bass 12” or better
Comments: This is a spot that is associated with my employer, just a pothole water reservoir but I got wind it had some fish in it, got permission and checked it out. Put it to decent use with the kids too (another wrap-up piece) but rumor has it that the big ones are long gone via a firsthand “you should’ve seen it…” report.

Johnson-Sauk Trail

Johnson Sauk Trail Lake – Henry County, IL (1 visit – September 11)
5 bass
3.00 hours
1.67 bass/hour
Top Bass: 1-2 (13.5”) Strike King Red Eye Shad
Top 5 Weight: 2-1 (2 bass 1-2,0-15)
Comments: Hadn’t fished this spot since 2002 but after a look during a day trip with the family I thought I’d revisit. Nothing big in my creel on the lone outing but have seen a few pics of some decent bass and a few toothy fish (just hope they were released to catch again). Found it to be the right size for my little boat and only about half of it was worth fishing on this day as extremely shallow and shady in the morning.

Lake Storey, one of the “big boat” bass

Lake Storey – Knox County, IL (2 visits – 9/17 and 10/2)
34 bass
14.00 hours
2.43 bass/hour
Top Bass: 15” 1-11 Mann’s Baby 1- Crankbait
Top 5 Weight: 6-5 (1-11,1-4,1-3,1-2,1-1)
Comments: Probably my favorite fishing hole of all-time even though it gets some serious pressure and can be a tough nut to crack at times. Nothing particularly large was landed but I was quite pleased with my 2.43 bass/hour rate which was considerably higher than my “career” average of 0.98. Hit it at the right time just couldn’t put my lures in the right place to fool a few big ones.

Encouraging Lost Grove Lake result as they are getting bigger

Lost Grove Lake – Scott County, IA (11 visits June 10 – September 30)
74 bass
24.50 hours
3.02 bass/hour
Top Bass: 2-3 (17”) Mann’s Baby 1- Crankbait
Top 5 Weight: 9-6 (2-3,1-15,1-14,1-11,1-11)
Comments: At 400 acres, a lot to explore in my little boat so I break it down into manageable pieces. Starting to figure out a few things in my second year of casting on this water across The River. After only two fish over 12” in 2016, my quality of catches got quite a boost in 2017 and observed another angler reel in one over four pounds. Like to think I’m experiencing a combination of the bass getting bigger and the bass fisherman getting brighter on the young fishing hole.

The old stomping grounds near Victoria, IL

Knox County, IL Private Strip Mines (20 visits, 5 lakes, March 4 – December 2)
135 bass
62.00 hours
2.18 bass/hour
Top Bass: 6-2 (22.5”) Jig & Pig
Top 5 Weight: 26-13 (6-2,5-11,5-9,5-0,4-7)
Comments: I’ve paid my dues and pay annual dues on these fishing holes so they typically get the most attention. 30 years of experience here has helped me find and fool some pretty good fish but 2017 featured some overachievers on the end of the line including my six heaviest bass of the year. Already have my Top 5 filled for 2018 from this stomping ground but suspect there’s more to come for a boost to my current total of 7-3.

Racked up a few more miles and a lot of bass on the public access Knox County, IL strip mines

Knox County, IL Public Strip Mines (11 visits, 22 lakes, March 26-October 8)
164 bass
30 hours
5.47 bass/hour
Top Bass: 3-8 (18”) Strike King Rattling Squarebill Crankbait
Top 5 Weight: 15-13 (3-8,3-6,3-5,3-5,2-5)
Comments: Private fishing holes as noted above are really cool, I wouldn’t trade them for anything and wish I had access to more. However, I get a great deal of satisfaction from fooling bass where everybody and their brother can fish. And me and my brother have tackled a bunch of these spots and caught a bunch of fish over close to 30 years and a lot of miles on foot, by bike or dragging around a little boat.  Happy to still be able to get it done at 50 although I had to be helped out of a restaurant by Julie and Helena after one of these stunts when my legs cramped up so bad I nearly couldn’t walk. Provided them with a good laugh and I too think its funny, now.

There you go, as much insight as you get on where to find some 2018 bass that even I can seem to outsmart. Looking to work in one more wrap that features the folks I got to fish with last year and hoping to get in a countdown of sorts before the end of the month. Also hoping to get in a March outing but no promises as weather and responsibilities seem to be conspiring against goofing off. Talk to you later. Troy

2017 Stats – Lures Part II

No need for much introduction, did that yesterday for Part I of the lure portion of the 2017 wrap-up. My standard go to baits and one newcomer that made a big splash (actually several big splashes).

New addition for 2017 Whopper Plopper 90 (I Know It color)

2017 Whopper Plopper Top Bass (see below)

Whopper Plopper 90 (I Know It) – 11 bass
Top Bass: 20.5” 4-7 July 17 Little John Conservation Club
Comments: I am not a $12.99 per bait price range kind of guy, no matter how catchy the name is. You see, there’s two ends to this fishing thing, one is the lure on the end of the line, the other is the angler on the end of the rod and I rarely see a need to spend that sort of cash on the latest rage when I’ve got a lifetime of experience with lures that have worked for years. But, I had a gift certificate and Whopper Ploppers were on sale s
o I now have several in the tacklebox. And I’ll be darned if this crazy new bait didn’t produce a 4-7 for its first bass after ten minutes of casting. Perhaps a lure that truly catches fish and not fishermen, more field testing to come in 2018.

Jig & Pig (black & blue), a legend and I am too cheap to replace this chewed up version as obviously it works

2017 Top Jig Bass, first catch of 2017, believe it or not (see below)

Strike King Rattlin’ Jig (black/blue) with #11 Uncle Josh trailer (black/blue) – 15 bass
Top Bass: 22.5” 6-2 March 4 Little John Conservation Club
Comments: If you are throwing a jig, you’ve gotta start with good, old black and blue and what a way to start 2017 with a 6-2 taking the bait for my first bass of the year. On the downside, I failed to fool a larger bass the rest of the year. On the upside, who cares? I’m sure other colors work just fine but the bass haven’t let me down on this old favorite yet.

Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad)

2017 Top Lipless Crankbait Bass (see below)

Lipless Crankbaits
Strike King Red Eye Shad – 27 bass (sexy shad – 26 bass, orange craw – 1 bass)
Top Bass: 16” 1-15 March 26 Little John Conservation Club
Comments: This bait is a favorite and produces throughout most of the year and surprisingly well in colder water as it is generally worked at a decent clip. Therefore, it is right up my alley although I do try and slow it down early in the year. 2017 was a down year for these baits, however, as the early buzzbait bite got me sidetracked.

Classic “Blue Glimmer” bait, possibly an antique but still getting it done

2017 Top Spinnerbait Bass (see below)

Booyah, Stanley Vibra Shaft Blue Glimmer, Teminator – 41 bass
Top Bass: 16” 2-1 April 8 Knox County, IL public strip mine
Comments: Seems like the good, old spinnerbait has kind of fallen out of vogue if you read the major publications. I do have a couple of those subscriptions but either did not get the memo or just too set in my ways to ditch this favorite. Perhaps I will be on the leading edge of a spinnerbait revival after this post hits the internet. Okay, maybe not but I’ll keep tossing these things around as I will never get tired of running one parallel to a laydown and waiting for it to get heavy.

Strike King KVD Rattling Squarebill (sexy shad)

2017 Top Crankbait Bass (see below)

Strike King Rattling Squarebill, Mann’s Baby 1-, Rapala Shad Rap – 66 bass
Top Bass: 18” 3-8 September 2 Knox County, IL public strip mine
Comments: Yet another type of bait that generally lets me fish fast and the models I use also keep me relatively shallow (eight feet or less). Too slow and I get antsy, too deep and I lose my edge so the crankbaits noted above represent my confidence baits and they came through yet again with a decent haul.

Senko wacky rig

2017 Top Senko Bass (see below)

Plastic Worms
Senko wacky rig (weighted and unweighted), Senko Texas rig – 103 bass
Top Bass: 22” 5-11 August 21 Little John Conservation Club Senko wacky rig
Comments: Since I first plunged into the odd looking world of the wacky rig back in 2005, I’ve always had a Senko on a pole when I hit the water. And this year it paid off again with the highlight being an “Eclipse Day” beast that established a new personal Senko best just before a storm rolled in and sent me packing. If you aren’t fishing wacky, you are missing out on some serious action.

Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (snow white shad)

2017 Top Buzzbait Bass (see below)

Booyah Buzz – 134 bass
Top Bass: 22” 5-9 April 25 Little John Conservation Club
Comments: Can you say addictive? Buzzbait bassing kicked into gear on April 25 last year and once it got going, I wore it out. The buzzbait Top Bass of 2017 was my second catch of the year on the bait and fell one ounce shy of tying my buzzbait personal best. Lots of decent bass in the haul including a second five-pounder and a Top 5 of 18-6 on the lure. And I lost a pair at the boat that were at least four-pounders, scout’s honor.  Literally and figuratively, a blast.

So, there you have it on the lures. The next piece of the series will take a look at location, headed your way soon, hope you’ll tune in. Talk to you later. Troy

2017 Stats – Lures Part I

Do you know how many bass lures I’ve amassed over the last 35 years or so?

Yeah, me neither. Probably don’t want to know.

Any guess on how many lures I used in 2017 to fool over 400 bass?

Well, stay tuned over the next two days, because I’m going to tell you.

We’ll start from the bottom of the list (fewest bass caught) and move up to the heavy hitters from there.

Alabama Rig

Alabama Rig Top Bass (details below)

Alabama Rig
Yumbrella 3-wire rig (Tennessee Shad with white swimbaits) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 13.5” 1-1 September 9 Knox County, IL public strip mine
Comments: This was a Resolution and it was fulfilled on 9/9 complete with a video and then I put the thing back in the tacklebox.

Ned Rig

Arkie DeD Stand-up Jig head (green pumpkin) with Senko tail (electric shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 11” March 26 Knox County, IL public strip mine
Comments: Billed as a “Ned Rig”, this is a reputed cold water killer according to glossy magazines. It came through for me on 3/26 by enticing a bass that followed my jig & pig to the shore before losing interest and disappearing back into the depths. A cast beyond where the bass disappeared was enough to get a bite as the tidbit slowly drifted past.

Rapala Shadow Rap

Rapala Shadow Rap (blueback herring) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 10.5” October 8 Knox County, IL public strip mine
Comments: This lure is supposed to be quite effective in cold water conditions for those who know what they are doing and can exercise the patience needed for a retrieve often requiring lengthy pauses. Nope and nope for this angler but I was able to fool a lone bass on 10/8 with a more rapid retrieve before conditions got too chilly and slowed down the fish.


Chatterbait Top Bass

Chatterbait (bluegill) with swimbait trailer (watermelon) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 14” 1-7 October 8 Knox County, IL public strip mine
Comments: I know a good collection of anglers swear by these baits but I’ve rarely given them much of a shot as I’m usually dialed in on something else (see Part II of this wrap-up). Fooled one bass in April and one in October but didn’t really need this weapon anytime in between.


Underspin Top Bass

Fish Head Underspin (white) with 4” Keitech Swing Impact (electric shad) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 15” 1-9 May 13 Knox County, IL public strip mine
Comments: Much like the chatterbait, I’ve seen some eye opening catches on these types of lures but never given much more than a few casts myself, thus some pretty meager results.

Stickbait – Zara Spook

Stickbait Top Bass

Zara Spook (black shore minnow) – 3 bass
Top Bass: 16.5” 1-11 May 30 Knox County, IL public strip mine
Comments: Me and The Spook go back to the mid-80s and I could write a whole chapter in a fishing book about this bait and its impact. Not only in terms of numbers back in the day but also what it meant to me and my brother, Brent, when we were bitten by the bass fishing bug. All three of these bass came on May 30 while searching for that big bite that The Spook can produce but the best it could muster was a 1-11. Good to reconnect with an old friend, however, still remember how to “walk the dog.”

Swim Jig

Swim Jig Top Bass

Swim Jigs
Swim Jig (sexy shad) with hammertail trailer – 4 bass
Top Bass: 14” 1-9 October 8 Knox County, IL public strip mine
Comments: Not sure on the model but this may be a bait fashioned by Illinois smallmouth catcher, Jonn Graham. At any rate, this was another Resolution and it came through with flying colors on 10/8 when the bite on anything else completely shut down at mid-morni

Creature Bait – Zoom Baby Brush Hog

Creature Bait Top Bass

Creature Baits
Zoom Baby Brush Hog (green pumpkin) – 5 bass
Top Bass: 15” 1-5 July 30 Little John Conservation Club
Comments: Similar to the jig & pig it’s fun to feel that telltale tap and lay down the hammer on ‘em when fishing this bait. Bad thing is, it’s a slower type presentation and that’s not really in my wheelhouse. If I can get away with fishing fast that is what I do so the brush hog only got a brief workout but fun to revisit an old friend that has been a solid producer over the years.

That wraps up Part I with a look at the lures that fooled a handful of scattered fish or had a particular day where they pinch hit and got bit. Part II features the baits that got a heavier workout while reeling in a darn good bunch of bass both in terms of quantity and quality. Stop by tomorrow for some pretty serious “confidence baits.” Talk to you later. Troy

2017 Stats – Intro

For a number of years I submitted a series of fishing wrap-up posts over the winter. These posts served multiple purposes. They recapped the previous year, fueled the fire for the new one, gave me a stat fix and fed my writing habit.

Well, here we go again as I’m bringing back a look back. This time around, the series appears a little later than previous years and even comes after adding some 2018 bass to the log. It doesn’t look like I’ll be back on the water for a while though, so instead of fishing reports you get a recap. You see, I just got around to the 2017 data entry from my fishing log this week, and as a result, I’m kind of fired up to share the numbers, pics and some thoughts. And once I get a blog idea in my head, well, it usually finds its way onto the web.

2017  Bass #2 (first is pictured a little below) – March 26 Little John Conservation Club 15.5″ 1-12 Jig & Pig

Part I of the series will take a general look at the numbers, while subsequent posts will delve into lures, locations, partners and a countdown.

Let the stats, pics and two cents begin.

2017 Bass #59 – May 13 Knox County, IL public strip mine 17.5″ 3-5 Senko weighted wacky rig

Grand Totals (bass fishing only)
135.50 hours fishing
418 bass
3.08 bass/hour
Comments: I knew I caught a load of bass this year but got lazy on transferring the log data into the database and spreadsheets so I really had no idea where I was at until running the totals this week. It turns out that I established a new yearly personal best with the 416 bass, easily outdistancing my 2013 mark of 345 bass. Kind of wish I had paid closer attention as the year unfolded, could have had some exciting blog countdown going. It is worth noting, however, that the 345 bass in 2013 came in only 91.25 hours of bass fishing for a better rate of 3.78 bass/hour.

2017 Bass #1 is also 2017 Top Bass, are you kidding me? March 4 Little John Conservation Club 22.5″ 6-2 Jig & Pig

First Bass/Last Bass
March 4 – Little John Conservation Club 22.5” 6-2 Jig & Pig
December 2 – Little John Conservation Club 17” 2-4 Rapala Shad Rap
Comments: Gotta say that the 6-pound first bass of the year was pretty nuts. The only fish I caught that day and wound up being the largest catch of the year as none of the 417 to follow could measure up. A few five-pounders came close with the best being 5-11 but was technically all downhill after that first catch. The December bookend did turn out to be a decent catch as well at 2-4 and was the only fish landed on the finale. A pair of one fish days to start and finish the season but when they add up to eight and a half pounds I’m fine with the results. Not sure if a 273 day season is a record but has to be awful close if not.

2017 Bass #416 – December 2 Little John Conservation Club 17″ 2-4 Rapala Shad Rap

Top 5 Weight
26-13 (6-2,5-11,5-9,5-0,4-7)
Comments: The 2017 total establishes a new personal Top 5 best going back to the kickoff of the project in 2014 and likely my all-time mark though I have yet to do the research to make it official. My previous Top 5 best was 22-12 in 2015 so got a pretty substantial boost, just over four pounds. Included in my creel was my first ever six-pounder although not a personal best as I do have one over seven in the ledger.

2017 Bass #182 – July 23 a cool 50th birthday gift from Little John Conservation Club 19″ 3-8 Buzzbait 

Based on these numbers, I’d have to say that 2017 was my best year ever when it comes to bass fishing. Pretty cool to coincide with the introduction of my own website back on May 1. I did hit it a little harder in an effort to provide plenty of fishing content but even so, I must say that the bass sure helped me out and even made me feel kind of smart every now and then.

Plenty more stats where these came from over the next week or so to fill my self-imposed blogging quota and keep me outdoor occupied until I get another shot to actually get outdoors. Talk to your later. Troy