Category: Top 5

Top 5 Update

Jim Junk keeps us afloat with another quality trio of Fulton County bass pushing his Top 5 total ever closer to the 20-pound mark.

Weight: 3-5
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: July 10
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Angler Comments: Had a pleasant change of pace this evening as the past few times out have been struggling for a bite or two. Granted, they were usually quality bites when they did bite. I was getting a little burnt out. Heat and minimal bites is a killer. Anyway, in a little over an hour, I landed 6 bass between 2 and 3-5. Also missed what felt to be quality fish.

Weight: 3-7
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: July 14
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Angler Comments: Had an excellent couple days. Lots of fish 1.5 to 3.5 range, biggest was 3-7.

Weight: 3-11
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: July 15
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Angler Comments: Fish are still cooperating, seems to coincide with the new moon. Managed a 3-11 to cull a few more ounces.
Top 5 Weight: 19-9 (4-5,4-1,3-14,3-11,3-10) culls a 3-7

Thanks, Jim, for another solid batch of summer bass. I, for one, am enjoying the countdown to 20-pounds and appreciate that the culls get a little tougher to come by when you are seeking a four-pounder. Kudos on getting it done from the bank, ain’t always easy to get at ‘em and can be a bit wild getting ‘em in once you find ‘em.

Anybody else out there, feel free to join the chase and take a little pressure off Jim for these Monday updates. Perhaps, even I will get a shot to cast my lures into the ring here soon as I haven’t been able to fish since Father’s Day. But first, tune in for the MLB Fishing All-Star finale tomorrow on All-Star game day as I wrap it up with our battery. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Stats

Several more early summer bass have joined the creel so it’s time for the monthly Top 5 Stat Update (including sample pics of the fish submitted for 2018).

2018 Totals (* = new record)
*January = 5 bass (old record 1 in 2017)
February = 5 bass
March = 0 bass
April = 12 bass
May = 24 bass
June = 10 bass
July = 4 bass

Top 5 Weight by Month (* = new record)
*January = 13-5 (3-15, 2-7, 2-6, 2-6, 2-3) previous record 2-11 in 2017
February = 7-3 (2-6,1-7,1-5,1-2,0-15)
March = no submissions
April = 14-15 (4-0,3-0,2-12,2-10,2-9)
May = 19-5 (4-11,4-8,3-10,3-7,3-1)
June = 18-10 (4-5,4-1,3-9,3-7,3-4)
July = 13-10 (3-14,3-7,3-5,3-0)

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 25 bass
Bank = 35 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight (* = new record)
Boat = 17-0 (4-0,3-15,3-9,3-0,2-8)
Bank = 21-0 (4-11,4-8,4-5,3-14,3-10)

Public vs. Private
Public = 48 bass
Private = 12 bass

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 19-13 (4-5,4-1,3-15,3-14,3-10)
Private = 19-4 (4-11,4-8,4-0,3-1,3-0)

The Baits (* = new record)
Plastic Worms = 31 bass (Top Bass 4-5 Jim Junk)
Crankbaits = 13 bass (Top Bass 3-15 Mark Balbinot)
Chatterbait = 4 bass (Top Bass 4-11 Chris Schwarz)
Spinnerbaits = 4 bass (Top Bass 2-8 Chris Schwarz)
Creature Baits = 3 bass (Top Bass 3-9 Paul Kessler)
Jigs = 2 bass (Top Bass 2-12 Brent Jackson)
Lipless Crankbaits = 2 bass (Top Bass 1-13 Troy Jackson)
Topwater Frog = 1 bass (Top Bass 3-7 Nick Tiska)

Monthly Top Bass (* = new record)
January
3-15 Mark Balbinot (old record 2-11 Mark Balbinot 2016)
February
2-6 Troy Jackson
March
No submissions
April
4-0 Chris Schwarz
May
4-11 Chris Schwarz
June
4-5 Jim Junk
July
3-14 Jim Junk

Top 10 Bass (* = new Top 10 all-time)
4-11 Chris Schwarz 5/26
4-8 Chris Schwarz 5/26
4-5 Jim Junk 6/27
4-1 Jim Junk 6/30
4-0 Chris Schwarz 4/28
3-15 Mark Balbinot 1/27
3-14 Jim Junk 7/4
3-10 Jim Junk 5/22
3-9 Paul Kessler 6/16
3-7 Jim Junk 5/31
3-7 Nick Tiska 6/25
3-7 Jim Junk 7/7

Angler Weights (* = new Top 5 record, old mark 32-13)
Jim Junk 19-5 (4-5,4-1,3-14,3-10,3-7)
Chris Schwarz 18-12 (4-11,4-8,4-0,3-1,2-8)
Mark Balbinot 13-5 (3-15, 2-7, 2-6, 2-6, 2-3)
Troy Jackson 12-2 (3-0,2-9,2-6,2-3,2-0)
Brent Jackson 8-13 (2-12,2-10,1-14,1-9)
John Kirkemo 8-2 (2-7,2-0,1-9,1-2,1-0)
Jayce Jackson 7-8 (2-5,1-13,1-5,1-4,0-13)
Paul Kessler 5-9 (3-9,2-0)
Nick Tiska 3-7 (3-7)

Other Species

Muskie Length Totals
70+” John Kirkemo (40”, 30+”)

Channel Catfish Totals
8-2 (25”) Chris Schwarz

While our present total of 60 bass doesn’t match up to the submissions of the first several years, it’s certainly been an enjoyable batch of bass thus far for 2018.  I find it fun that public water leads private water and that bank catches outnumber boat catches.  The latter would be the first time that bank catches have bested boat bass.  And don’t forget that we’ve got a couple guys within one more decent cull of the coveted 20-pound mark.  Here’s hoping their spots continue to cooperate and push them past the limit by our next stat update.  As always, thanks to all for taking the time to share your catches and keep ‘em coming.  Latest Top 5 Update tomorrow and final All-Star post on Tuesday.  Hope you’ll tune in and talk to you later.  Troy

Top 5 Update

Some more public, bank fishing bass join the ledger and I certainly dig that description.  Takes some work, limited access can be frustrating and the odds can be stacked against you in terms of landing your bites but it’s an approach that many can relate to, myself included.

Weight: 3-14
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: July 4
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Angler Comments: Thought I had another four pounder, turned out to be 3-14 and about ten pounds of weeds. Glad I recently respooled with 20-pound fireline. Definitely worth the investment o
ut here.

Weight: 3-0
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: July 7
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko

Weight: 3-7
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: July 7
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Top 5 Weight: 19-5 (4-5,4-1,3-14,3-10,3-7) culls 3-4

Thanks, Jim, for keeping the update streak alive at a lucky 13 weeks and best of luck as you are within spitting distance of the coveted 20-pound mark.  Here’s to an 11-ounce cull (or better), looking forward to it.  Talk to you later.  Troy

Top 5 Update

Another batch of solid fish this week as our anglers are on a roll. So here’s the latest shout out to the guys who are getting it done on some West Central Illinois fishing holes. Got a little variety as well this time around so read on.

Weight: 4-11 (20”)
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: May 26
Location: Warren County, IL private lake
Lure: Chatterbait with swimbait trailer (bluegill)

Weight: 4-8 (19.5”)
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: May 26
Location: Warren County, IL private lake
Lure: Chatterbait with swimbait trailer (bluegill)

Weight: 3-1 (17”)
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: May 26
Location: Warren County, IL private lake
Lure: Chatterbait with swimbait trailer (bluegill)

Weight: 2-5 (16.5”)
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: May 27
Location: Henderson County, IL private lake
Lure: Havoc Pit Boss (black with red flake)
Top 5 Weight: 18-12 (4-11,4-8,4-0,3-1,2-8) fills Top 5 and culls a 1-14

Weight: 3-7
Angler: Nick Tiska
Date: June 25
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Scum Frog
Structure: Heavy weed bed
Angler Comments: The fish became embedded in the weeds so waded in to retrieve by hand along with an armful of weeds.
Top 5 Weight: 3-7

Weight: 4-5
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 27
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Structure: Edge of weed bed
Angler Comments: Hit on the edge of a weed bed and sure was fun to catch.

Weight: 4-1
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 30
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Structure: Outside of a weed edge
Angler Comments: I came out to beat the heat this morning and this one nailed my Senko within the first five minutes.
Top 5 Weight: 18-11 (4-5,4-1,3-10,3-7,3-4) culls 3-3 and 2-15

Weight: 8-2 (25”)
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: May 26
Location: Warren County, IL private lake
Lure: Chatterbait with swimbait trailer (bluegill)
Angler Comments: What a surprise, thought I had the bass of a lifetime!
Top 5 Weight: 8-2

Well, half the year is officially behind us and we’ve racked up a good batch of fish with a couple of our anglers knocking at the door of the coveted 20-pound Top 5 bass mark. No doubt we are in the dog days with the scorching weather here in our stomping grounds as of late. Sometimes those old bass can get a little funny in the heat so perhaps today’s final whiskered submission may provide incentive to add a few of those to our haul. Good luck to all and keep sending those fish my way. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Fulton County, IL continues to crank out some more quality bass with this week’s trio of submissions. A pair from a veteran Top 5 angler posting his first submissions of 2018 and one from our current Top 5 leader.

Weight: 3-9
Angler: Paul Kessler
Date: June 16
Location: Banner Marsh – Johnson Lake
Lure: 4.5” Bass Pro Shops Crack Craw (blue flex)

Weight: 2-0
Angler: Paul Kessler
Date: June 16
Location: Banner Marsh – Johnson Lake
Lure: 4.5” Bass Pro Shops Crack Craw (blue flex)
Angler Comments: Caught one small bass under 12″ and then the two documented. Caught a fourth bass that was around 2lbs but I had hooked him in the tongue and it took a bit to get the hook out. I was dipping him in the water to let him revive a bit before weighing and taking a photo but I wasn’t expecting him to thrash around as soon as he hit the water and I lost my grip! Oops! All of my bass came on a creature bait and I did miss two good bites in addition to the four I landed. A decent morning!
Top 5 Weight: 5-9 (3-9,2-0)

Weight: 3-4
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 22
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Angler Comments: Hit just as I was lifting lure out of the water, stripped line and went on a nice run.
Top 5 Weight: 16-7 (3-10,3-7,3-4,3-3,2-15) culls a 2-8

Well done, guys, and keep up the good work.  Talk to you later.  Troy

Top 5 Stats

Hey, why didn’t anybody let me know that I was slacking in my duties as the stat keeper for this Top 5 project? Typically, I like to post a monthly stat update but in looking back over the 2018 postings such updates were nowhere to be found. Time to correct that oversight, so here we go with the lowdown on the 46 bass and 2 muskies submitted thus far for the 2018 Top 5.


Mark Balbinot – January 27

2018 Totals (* = new record)
*January = 5 bass (old record 1 in 2017)
February = 5 bass
March = 0 bass
April = 12 bass
May = 20 bass
June = 4 bass

John Kirkemo – May 22

Top 5 Weight by Month (* = new record)
*January = 13-5 (3-15, 2-7, 2-6, 2-6, 2-3) previous record 2-11 in 2017
February = 7-3 (2-6,1-7,1-5,1-2,0-15)
March = no submissions
April = 14-15 (4-0,3-0,2-12,2-10,2-9)
May = 14-15 (3-10,3-7,2-15,2-8,2-7)
June = 8-1 (3-3,2-5,1-9,1-0)

Brent Jackson – April 21

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 22 bass
Bank = 24 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight (* = new record)
Boat = 15-14 (4-0,3-15,3-0,2-8,2-7)
Bank = 15-15 (3-10,3-7,3-3,2-15,2-12)

Jayce Jackson – May 5

Public vs. Private
Public = 38 bass
Private = 8 bass

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 17-2 (3-15,3-10,3-7,3-3,2-15)
Private = 13-3 (4-0,3-0,2-6,2-6,1-7)

Troy Jackson – April 13

The Baits (* = new record)
Plastic Worms = 24 bass (Top Bass 3-10 Jim Junk)
Crankbaits = 13 bass (Top Bass 3-15 Mark Balbinot)
Spinnerbaits = 4 bass (Top Bass 2-8 Chris Schwarz)
Jigs = 2 bass (Top Bass 2-12 Brent Jackson)
Lipless Crankbaits = 2 bass (Top Bass 1-13 Troy Jackson)
Chatterbait = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-0 Chris Schwarz)

Monthly Top Bass (* = new record)
January
3-15 Mark Balbinot (old record 2-11 Mark Balbinot 2016)
February
2-6 Troy Jackson
March
No submissions
April
4-0 Chris Schwarz
May
3-10 Jim Junk
June
3-3 Jim Junk

Chris Schwarz – April 28

Top 10 Bass (* = new Top 10 all-time)
4-0 Chris Schwarz 4/28
3-15 Mark Balbinot 1/27
3-10 Jim Junk 5/22
3-7 Jim Junk 5/31
3-3 Jim Junk 6/7
3-0 Troy Jackson 4/22
2-15 Jim Junk 5/31
2-12 Brent Jackson 4/21
2-10 Brent Jackson 4/21
2-9 Troy Jackson 4/13

Jim Junk – May 22

Angler Weights (* = new Top 5 record, old mark 32-13)
Jim Junk 15-11 (3-10,3-7,3-3,2-15,2-8)
Mark Balbinot 13-5 (3-15, 2-7, 2-6, 2-6, 2-3)
Troy Jackson 12-2 (3-0,2-9,2-6,2-3,2-0)
Brent Jackson 8-13 (2-12,2-10,1-14,1-9)
Chris Schwarz 8-6 (4-0,2-8,1-14)
John Kirkemo 8-2 (2-7,2-0,1-9,1-2,1-0)
Jayce Jackson 7-8 (2-5,1-13,1-5,1-4,0-13)

John Kirkemo – April 26

Muskie Length Totals
70+” John Kirkemo (40”, 30+”)

There you have it as I have remedied my oversight and we are up to speed through the latest update. And here’s what’s cool. I just received a couple more submissions to keep the streak alive and add to our totals. It’s also fun that the fish come courtesy of a veteran Top 5 angler (2015-2017) with his first posts of the year. Those are headed your way next Monday but first there’s more stuff to come this week. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

A trio of submissions from the fellows who are keeping the update string alive. Been a hot one as of late so appreciate the perseverance to get out there and put in the effort to fool a few.

Weight: 2-5
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 10
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Angler Comments: Went for a few hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Caught fish each day but nothing to cull. Biggest was 2-5.
Top 5 Weight: 15-11 (3-10,3-7,3-3,2-15,2-8)

Weight: 1-9
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: June 13
Location: Lake McMaster – Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Weedless wacky worm
Structure: Weed bed in 5-6 feet of water
Water Temp: 78F

Weight: 1-0
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: June 13
Location: Lake McMaster – Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Weedless wacky worm
Structure: Weed bed in 5-6 feet of water
Water Temp: 78F
Trip Tunes: “Don’t You Want Me” – Human League and “West End Girls” – Pet Shop Boys
Angler Comments: I was surprised to find the fish so cooperative. It was bright late afternoon/evening sun with only a few clouds and light winds. Caught the two fish within 30 minutes of getting on the water.
Top 5 Weight: 8-2 (2-7,2-0,1-9,1-2,1-0)
Top 5 Length: 56” (15”,15”,14”,12”)

I gave it a shot yesterday, sneaking away for a solo Father’s Day outing bright and early before my crew got out of bed. SPOILER ALERT: I could not displace any fish from my personal Top 5 but reeled in a decent quantity including a few quality bites as well. Full report up later this week and look for an overdue Top 5 Stat Update along with another batch of Trip Tunes from the Father’s Day outing (thanks also to John for including some classic 80s cuts with his submissions to play along with the Trip Tunes feature).  Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

A pair of dedicated regulars have braved the heat and their contributions keep the Top 5 Update streak intact at nine weeks and counting.

Weight: 1-2
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 29
Location: Prairie Lake near Chetek, WI
Lure: Wacky worm
Water Temperature: 78-80F
Structure: Shoreline structure

Weight: 2-0
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 29
Location: Prairie Lake near Chetek, WI
Lure: Wacky worm
Water Temperature: 78-80F
Structure: Shoreline structure
Trip Tunes: None, I just walk to the dock.
Angler Comments: Lost track of the number of fish caught in any one 2 hour fishing session. These two were weighed and photographed. Other smaller fish were not. Record heat (90s) has the water temperature rising fast. Algae bloom is starting.
Top 5 Weight: 5-9 (2-7,2-0,1-2)
Top 5 Length: 56” (15”,15”,14”,12”)

Weight: 3-3
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: June 7
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko wacky rig
Angler Comments: Little over an hour of fishing around dusk, four bass and one that will cull.
Top 5 Weight: 15-13 (3-10,3-7,3-3,2-15,2-10) culls 2-6

Many thanks, John and Jim, for taking the time to share your catches and well done on the effort and execution needed to get ‘em hooked. My aim is to provide as much content as I can, as often as I can, so your contributions are always a welcome assist in meeting those goals. Best of luck out there and keep ‘em coming. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

More wacky bass as spring was turning rapidly to summer.

Weight: 3-7
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: May 31
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko wacky rig
Structure: Submerged weed beds

Weight: 2-15
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: May 31
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko wacky rig
Structure: Submerged weed beds
Angler Comments: Got in a few hours to wet a line. Same old story – Banner, Senko, in and around submerged weed beds.
Top 5 Weight: 14-14 (3-10,3-7,2-15,2-8,2-6) culls 2-5 and 2-2

Thanks, Jim, for keeping the Top 5 Update string alive.  A slight reprieve on the heat this week so hope some folks can get out there and chase some more fish. Took my shot yesterday with the guy in today’s update hoping that some of his Senko touch might rub off. I’m also setting out on foot today for another chance. Full reports to come. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

More bass as our brief visit to spring has rapidly turned to summer with Mother Nature turning up the heat.

Weight: 3-10
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: May 22
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Top 5 Weight: 12-15 (3-10,2-8,2-6,2-5,2-2)

Weight: 15″
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 22
Location: Prairie Lake near Chetek, WI
Lure: Wacky worm

Weight: 2-7 (15″)
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 23
Location: Prairie Lake near Chetek, WI
Lure: Wacky worm
Water Temp: 65-69F
Structure: Shoreline, docks, downed trees
Trip Tunes: None, I just walk to the docks
Angler Comments: Lots of action from shoreline bass. Most are 10 – 14 inches. It is hard to find a bass more than 15 inches. All fish have been caught on Wacky Worms.
Top 5 Weight: 2-7 (1 bass weighed)
Total Length: 56” (15″,15″,14”,12”)

Thanks guys for providing the catches and, as always, keep ‘em coming. Gave it a brief shot myself yesterday morning, details to come. Talk to you later. Troy