Category: Top 5

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

Top 5 Update

Today’s update marks six straight weeks with submissions. The hits keep coming from West Central Illinois as we head into the last month of spring. And, as these entries demonstrate, if you ain’t fishing wacky, you are missing out.

Length: 14”
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 14
Location: Lake McMaster – Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Wacky worm
Water Temperature: 65-66 degrees
Structure: Close to bank
Angler Comments: Lame excuse for not doing better – too late a start, overcast at first, followed by bright sun.
Trip Tune: “Rio” by Duran Duran
Top 5 Length: 26” (14”,12”)

Weight: 2-6
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: May 13
Location: Little John Conservation Club
Lure: Senko

Weight: 2-2
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: May 18
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko

Weight: 2-8
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: May 18
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko

Weight: 2-2
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: May 18
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko

Weight: 2-5
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: May 18
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Senko
Top 5 Weight: 11-7 (2-8,2-6,2-5,2-2,2-2)

Thanks for the fish fellas and appreciate your efforts to keep this thing afloat and our consecutive update string alive. Would love to help you out but my May is also wacky, but in terms of off the water commitments rather than on the water presentations. Keep up the good work and talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Another solid spring muskie joins the list and keeps the update streak alive at five consecutive weeks with some fish. And a “Trip Tune” to boot, always a welcome addition.

Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 10
Location: Lake Storey
Lure: Rapala deep diving crankbait
Water temperature: 68 – 70 degrees, weed beds building fast.
Structure: Mid-lake trolling over 23’ of water
Angler Comments: This time I was more or less fishing for muskie although I was still not using the heaviest gear in the boat. I was thinking walleye, if I was thinking at all!!! I was trolling as I changed positions for more bass fishing. I used a 6’6” bait casting rod with an Ambassadeur 6500-C3 reel loaded with 8 to 10 lbs. mono. Lame excuses for not doing better: Bright sun, cloudless sky and, the usual, hide-bound angler. Trip Tune during drive home, “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi.

Thanks, John and keep ‘em coming. And for those who stop by for the Monday update, thank you for tuning in. Now, if you’ve got Bon Jovi running through your head, don’t blame me. I just report it like I receive it.

More fishing stuff as the week progresses as although I haven’t been able to get on the water I’ve got plenty of things backlogged. Tough thing is, May is a real bear in terms of end of year school activities combined with the regular slate of commitments so blogging resides a ways down the list. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Looks like both the bass and the bass anglers have been waiting for a batch of consistent warm weather. That winning weather has also been a winner for the Top 5 with a substantial update for this week.

Weight: 2-8 (17”)
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: April 24
Location: Citizens Lake
Lure: Spinnerbait
Angler Comments: Bass is in mid flop and jumped out of the boat before I could take another picture.

Weight: 1-14 (16”)
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: April 24
Location: Citizens Lake
Lure: Squarebill crankbait

Weight: 4-0 (19”)
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: April 28
Location: Fulton County strip mine
Lure: Chatterbait with swimbait trailer
Angler Comments: I’ve been a regular reader of your blog and wanted to throw my hat in the ring for the “Top 5” this season.
Top 5 Weight: 8-6 (4-0,2-8,1-14)

Length: 12”
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 4
Location: Lake Storey
Lure: Wacky worm
Angler Comments: Fished 9:15 am to 12:14 pm. Lost three fish and had other hits. Water temperature 60 to 65 degrees. Trip Tune on drive home, “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes.
Top 5 Length: 12”

Weight: 1-5
Angler: Jayce Jackson
Date: May 5
Location: Knox County public strip pit
Lure: Senko wacky rig (Cream white)
Structure: Weed edge
Angler Comments: A few quotes from the video of the catch posted yesterday on Facebook, “Holy crap…I caught that…he is heavy!” This was Jayce’s personal best bass, a mark that stood for about another 25 minutes (see below).

Weight: 0-13
Angler: Jayce Jackson
Date: May 5
Location: Knox County public strip pit
Lure: Senko wacky rig (Cream white)
Structure: Weed edge

Weight: 2-5
Angler: Jayce Jackson
Date: May 5
Location: Knox County public strip pit
Lure: Senko wacky rig (Cream white)
Structure: Weed edge
Angler Comments: The kid was getting it dialed in and not only the catching part as he guessed the weight right on the nose before we put this one on the scale.

Weight: 1-13
Angler: Jayce Jackson
Date: May 5
Location: Knox County public strip pit
Lure: Senko wacky rig (Cream white)
Structure: Weed edge

Weight: 1-4
Angler: Jayce Jackson
Date: May 5
Location: Knox County public strip pit
Lure: Senko wacky rig (Cream white)
Structure: Weed edge
Angler Comments (actually mine): A real treat in being able to get out with one of my boys and watch him get it done. Full report and some video of the action later this week.
Top 5 Weight 7-8 (2-5,1-13,1-5,1-4,0-13)

Many thanks to some new faces (whether you stuck your mug in the shot or not) giving the Top 5 a shot and an appreciated shot in the arm. Also a shout out to the inclusion of a “Trip Tune” reference, always fun. Keep up the good work and look forward to see how the rest of the year progresses. Thanks, Troy

Top 5 Update

The 2018 update string hits three consecutive weeks with the addition of our first species other than a largemouth bass. And this one’s a good one, with some teeth.

Length: 40” class
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: April 26
Location: Lake Storey
Lure: Wacky worm
Angler Comments: I was about 10 yards off the bank in about 8 feet water. The surface temperature of the water was 60 degrees. I was fishing for bass with a 6 ½ foot medium action spinning rod with braided line tipped with a 6 lbs. test monofilament leader. The picture shows the fish lying across the boat floor. The floor at that point is 44 inches wide. This is my first ever muskie. It was returned to the lake.

Many thanks to John for sharing as the first full year of Top 5 submissions here at the not so new digs has been rather sparse. And speaking of “not so new”, tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of striking out on my own with a blog. Hard to tell whether I am actually striking out though as I don’t do any sort of visitor tracking. Still just a fun venture at this point and the fun continues with a few days of celebration to kick off the new month and year number two. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Been a little lean on the good, old Top 5 project so it’s cool to have consecutive Monday reports for the first time in 2018. As an added bonus, I was able to recruit a longtime fishing partner, a fellow I’ve known for just over 48 years. The pics and details follow and look for a full fishing report from our outing coming soon.

Weight: 1-9
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: April 21
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pit
Lure: Emiquon Special Spinnerbait
Structure: Chute/drop

Weight: 2-10
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: April 21
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pit
Lure: Jig (black/blue) with split twin tail trailer (pumpkinseed)
Structure: Chute/drop

Weight: 2-12
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: April 21
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pit
Lure: Jig (black/blue) with split twin tail trailer (pumpkinseed)
Structure: Chute/drop

Weight: 1-14
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: April 21
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pit
Lure: Emiquon Special Spinnerbait
Structure: Brush/drop
Angler Comments (actually mine): Got a chance to chase bass with my brother on some walk-in strip mines and he caught our three largest of the trip and four of our Top 5 with the submissions above.
Top 5 Weight(four bass): 8-13 (2-12,2-10,1-14,1-9)

Weight: 3-0 (18”)
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: April 22
Location: Little John Conservation Club
Lure: Strike King KVD 2.5 Rattling Squarebill crankbait (sexy shad)
Structure: Windblown point
Angler Comments: This bass was right where it should be on an old reliable piece of structure that was just getting pounded by the wind. And I was happy to get the strike on one of those “wind from the east, fish bite the least” days which lived up to the old adage.
Top 5 Weight: 12-3 (3-0,2-9,2-6,2-3,2-0) culls a 1-13

Now, that was fun. Been a weird run of weather for the first four months of the year but looks like some stability on the horizon in this neck of the woods. Here’s hoping the warming water temps will get the bass out of their world of confusion and see some more make a mistake for their 15 minutes of fame here on the Top 5. Plenty of room for more if anyone wants to play along. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Been a rough spring so the forecast of back to back 70 degree days in West Central Illinois had me cashing in a vacation day for Friday the 13th to hit some public access Knox County, IL strip mines. I’d originally attempted this plan with vacation days on April 2 and 3 but nasty weather had me opting to go to work instead and wait for better conditions. Turned out to be a good decision.

Weight: 1-13 (14.5”)
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: April 13
Location: Knox County, IL public access strip mines
Lure: Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad)
Structure: Windblown shoreline pocket
Angler Comments: Nice setup with a small pocket featuring a shelf that dropped into the main lake basin and was just getting pounded by a heavy south wind. Casting from the bank into the teeth of the wind produced this bass and another a 1-0 within a three minute span on the lipless crank right at the dropoff.

Weight: 2-3 (16”)
Lure: Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) with twin tail trailer (salt & pepper)
Structure: Windblown chute
Angler Comments: Caught a 2-1 on April 8, 2017 from this same exact location and was pretty sure I could repeat the feat. The narrow chute on the north edge of this spot was getting a direct hit from the gale force winds. The second of two bass in the first two minutes of casting to the spot (first was 11.5”). Fun stuff and can make you feel smart but this was a no-brainer, would’ve bet money on this one.

Weight: 2-0 (16.5”)
Lure: Strike King KVD 2.5 Rattling Squarebill (sexy shad)
Structure: Windblown chute/saddle
Angler Comments: Between the main lake and a southern finger on this spot is a shallow ridge that drops on each side into deeper water. Sounds like a broken record, but I’m no dummy and play the wind for every bite I can find when bank bound. Another bass right where it should be, on the windblown drop in this case, one of six that the specific area would produce and a cool page out of the Bass Fishing 101 textbook.

Weight: 2-9 (17”)
Lure: Strike King KVD 2.5 Rattling Squarebill (sexy shad)
Structure: ???
Angler Comments: This area has produced in the past from a different bank bound angle and I was fortunate that conditions allowed me to get at it from the other direction thanks to a controlled burn knocking out the nasty terrestrial vegetation. Honestly, still not sure what holds the bass but it produces. So, while still curious, I suppose that ultimately it is irrelevant and I’ll just keep casting away each visit.
Top 5 Weight: 10-15 (2-9,2-6,2-3,2-0,1-13) culls 1-7,1-5,1-2,0-15

Always fun to build and boost the Top 5 and while no early season lunkers in my creel it’s been a fun start to the year. One outing each month for 2018 beginning with a rare bonus February shot and two of the trips have provided a Top 5 Update. Still a long ways to go so stay tuned and send ‘em my way if you wish to play along. Full report on this trip headed your way tomorrow along with some bonus stuff to extend the tale throughout the rest of the week. Can’t help it, happy to get out during a stretch of good weather and it sure seemed like the bass were ready for a shot of spring as well. Talk to you later. Troy