Category: Top 5

Top 5 Bass Record Book – Where & How

Understandably some of the specifics concerning location don’t always get revealed but we do have good details on whether our fish are coming from public or private waters. Also fun to track is the boat versus bank approaches. And lastly for this portion of the update we’ll take a look at what our anglers are casting with success. Once again, we are looking at the breakdown of the 475 bass submitted over four years of our project.

Public vs. Private Water (2014/2015/2016/2017)
Public = 281 bass (92/52/95/42)
Public Top 5 Weight = 32-2, 31-7, 30-5 and 27-7 (2017)
Private = 177 bass (53/48/39/37)
Private Top 5 Weight = 38-10, 30-0, 32-13 and 33-14 (2017)
Undisclosed = 17 bass (9/6/2/0)

Comments: There’s nothing like having a private honey hole. In fact, wish I had more. However, there’s also something to be said for pulling quality bass out of a public body where the fish get pounded by everybody and their brother. Cool to see that public water still leads the pack by a considerable margin in quantity although private waters have shelled out more weight.

Boat vs. Bank (2014/2015/2016/2017) * = new record
Boat = 324 bass (90/63/103/68)
Boat Top 5 Weight = 30-7, 31-7, 32-13 and *33-14 (2017)
Bank = 145 bass (64/43/27/11)
Bank Top 5 Weight = 40-14, 27-6, 27-12 and 20-14 (2017)
Undisclosed = 6 bass

Comments: So not everybody has a souped up bass boat, modified johnboat or even an eight-foot rowboat so I always find it cool to have a solid contribution from the bankers though they still trail the boaters by a fair margin in quantity. However, the overall quality in our four years shows that those casting from the bank can still hold their ground. For me, I still spend my year on both sides of these approaches and simply get a kick out of quality catches whether on my feet or on my seat.

The Baits (43 undisclosed) * = new record
82 Plastic Worms (Top Bass 6-8 Mark Balbinot 11/20/16)
53 Crankbaits (8-0 Kamryn Kaesebier 4/13/14)
48 Jigs (9-4 Jake Bresson 5/23/14)
45 Spinnerbaits (5-4 Terry Isbell 10/22/14)
34 Lipless Crankbaits (5-13 Troy Jackson 3/21/15)
29 Swimbaits (8-10 Gary Le 5/4/14)
27 Swim Jigs (6-13 Jake Bresson 4/9/15)
*23 Creature Baits (6-15 Mark Balbinot 5/13/17)
Old Record (6-1 Jeff Marshall 5/23/14)
19 Jerkbaits (5-10 Ty Hartlipp 6/5/14)
*18 Buzzbaits (5-9 Troy Jackson4/25/17)
Old Record (5-8 Terry Isbell 9/14/14)
12 Tubes (Top Bass 5-0 Jake Bresson 4/28/15)
10 Topwater Frog (6-11 Ty Hartlipp 6/11/14)
7 Chatterbaits (Top Bass 4-10 Mark Balbinot 2/20/16)
7 Underspins (Top Bass 7-7 Mark Balbinot 12/11/16)
*5 Stickbaits (6-6 Mark Balbinot 8/27/17)
Old Record (5-8 Randy Sampson Sr. 5/7/16)
*5 Ultralights (3-1 Paul Kessler 10/12/17)
Old Record (2-11 Paul Kessler 5/16/15)
4 Livebait (5-14 Jim Junk 7/4/14)
*2 Inline Spinners (5-2 Jake Bresson 9/17/17)
No previous record
2 Propbaits (6-2 Jake Bresson 5/1/15)

Comments: The good old plastic worm still leads the way. Worm styles and presentations have no doubt expanded over the years but tough to argue that the general lure category continues to be a winner. Several records bested in 2017 which is getting to be a tall order with some real quality catches.

A final installment tomorrow with one more look at our fish…and the anglers who caught ‘em. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Bass Record Book – When

Time for the annual Top 5 Record Book wrap up series. What follows is a look at how our bass stack up with respect to the calendar. Four years, 27 different anglers and 475 bass (all but 22 from Illinois waters) make up the all-time record book. Here we go.

Group Totals = 475 bass (2014 = 154/2015 = 106/2016 = 136/2017 = 79)
Submissions by month (2014/2015/2016/2017) * = new record

118 April (43/33/31/11)
82 May (27/23/19/13)
68 March (13/11/34/10)
64 June (34/14/15/1)
48 July (18/11/8/11)
24 February (2/2/7/*13)
22 September (6/4/6/6)
21 October (4/5/4/8)
10 November (6/0/4/0)
9 August (1/3/1/*4)
8 December (0/0/7/1)
1 January (*2017 had first submission)

Comments: Spring continues to rule the day in terms of submissions. Warming weather, looking to scratch that fishing itch after a long winter and the simple fact that you’re starting your haul makes the totals add up significantly. Summer continues to be a bummer when it comes to numbers but a solid year with only November failing to see a contribution.

Top 10 Top 5 Monthly Weights (group total) * = new entry
37-9 May 2014
29-8 June 2014
29-7 March 2016
29-2 April 2014
28-7 December 2016
27-14 April 2015
27-12 March 2015
27-11 July 2014
27-10 April 2016
27-1 May 2016

Comments: Takes just over 27 pounds combined from our anglers to crack the Top 10 all-time monthly weights and we fell just a little shy during May (26-14) and October (26-11) in 2017.

Top 5 Weights per Month (group total) * = new record
*January (2017) = 2-11 (one fish)
February (2016) = 22-9 (6-7,4-15,4-10,4-1,2-8)
March (2016) = 29-7 (6-5,6-1,5-14,5-10,5-9)
April (2014) = 29-2 (8-0, 5-11, 5-10, 4-15. 4-14)
May (2014) = 37-9 (9-4, 8-10, 8-8, 6-1, 5-2)
June (2014) = 29-8 (6-11, 6-4, 5-10, 5-8, 5-7)
July (2014) = 27-11 (6-6, 6-0, 5-5, 5-0, 5-0)
*August (2017) = 18-9 (6-6,5-11,4-3,2-5) old mark 13-6 (2015)
September (2014) = 22-3 (5-8,5-2,4-0,3-13,3-12)
*October (2017) = 26-11 (7-4,6-8,5-10,4-3,3-2) old mark 22-11 (2015)
November (2016) = 24-9 for 4 bass (6-8,6-5,6-4,5-8)
December (2016) = 28-7 (7-7,6-5,5-13,4-11,4-3)

Comments: Our first ever January bass sets the mark and two other monthly records get a boost as well. Particularly good to see August up the mark by five pounds as the “Dog Days” can be a tough sell. Interestingly, the new August mark only featured four fish but easily eclipsed our former mark that consisted of a full limit. As always, good to see fishing rods that aren’t put away too early as evidenced by the new October record.

Monthly Top Bass * = new record
*January
2-11 Mark Balbinot 1/29/17 Underspin (first January submission)
February
6-7 Mike Overturf 2/27/16 Plastic Worm
March
7-0 Randy Sampson Sr. 3/22/15 Jig
April
8-0 Kamryn Kaesebier 4/13/14 Crankbait
May
9-4 Jake Breeson 5/23/14 Jig
June
6-11 Ty Hartlipp 6/11/14 Topwater Frog
July
6-6 Jake Breeson 7/11/14 Plastic Worm
August
6-8 Gary Le 8/16/14 Swimbait
September
6-0 Austin Chapman 9/19/15 Jig
October
*7-4 Mark Balbinot 10/29/17 Jig (old record 6-0 Mike Mooney 2016)
November
6-8 Mark Balbinot 11/20/16 Plastic Worm
December
7-7 Mark Balbinot 12/11/16 Underspin

Comments: Another outstanding year by our 2017 Champ, Mark Balbinot, saw him establish a pair of new monthly marks, January (2-11) and October (7-4). And, hey, unseasonably warm out there for January so you got a few more days to take your shot at fame.

Always fun for me this time of the year to compile the records and daydream about what this year holds in store. Back tomorrow with a breakdown of baits and locations. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 2017 Final Stats

Congratulations to Mark Balbinot as he repeats as Top 5 Champion with a record breaking bass haul of 33-14. This eclipses the former top mark of 32-13 held jointly by Mark (2016) and Jake Bresson (2014). A dominant year for Mark that also saw his haul singlehandedly establish new highs for several catch categories.

2017 also marked our first foray into including other species and while the submissions were sparse, I feel it was still a fun addition. All told, 2017 ended with 79 bass, 9 northern pike, 5 muskie, 5 walleye and a green sunfish via the contributions of eight anglers with all the details below, starting with bass and followed by the other species.

3/26 Bruce Zikowski 4-9 Newton Lake Lipless Crankbait 

2017 Totals (* = new record)
*January = 1 bass (no previous entries)
*February = 13 bass (old record 7 in 2016)
March = 10 bass
April = 11 bass
May = 13 bass
June = 1 bass
July = 11 bass
*August = 4 bass (old record 3 in 2015)
*September = 6 bass (ties record 2014, 2016)
*October = 8 bass (old record 5 in 2015)
November = 0 bass
December = 1 bass

5/20 Jake Bresson 5-2 Northern IL creek Swim Jig

Top 5 Weight by Month (* = new record)
*January = 2-11 (2-11) no previous record
February = 21-5 (5-2,4-14,4-2,3-15,3-4)
March = 22-15 (6-2,4-11,4-9,4-3,3-6)
April = 25-0 (6-0,5-15,5-9,3-14,3-10)
May = 26-14 (6-15,5-8,5-4,5-2,4-1)
June = 6-3 (only submission)
July = 21-0 (5-0,4-12,4-7,3-8,3-5)
August = 18-9 (6-6,5-11,4-3,2-5) (only four submissions)
September = 14-10 (5-2,3-0,2-9,2-4,1-11)
*October = 26-11 (7-4,6-8,5-10,4-3,3-2) – old record 22-11 in 2015
November = no submissions
December = 6-13 (only submission)

5/27 Paul Kessler 3-4 Emiquon Preserve Crankbait

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 68 bass
Bank = 11 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight (* = new record)
*Boat = 33-14 (7-4,6-15,3-6-13,6-8,6-6) old record 32-13 in 2016
Bank = 20-14 (5-2,4-3,4-1,3-14,3-10)

9/17 Brent Jackson 2-9 Lake Storey Spinnerbait

Public vs. Private
Public = 42 bass
Private = 37 bass

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 27-7 (6-0,5-15,5-4,5-2,5-2)
Private = 33-14 (7-4,6-15,6-13,6-8,6-6)

4/15 Randy Sampson Sr. 6-0 West Central IL strip mine Crankbait

The Baits (* = new record)
Crankbaits = 16 bass (Top Bass 6-0 Randy Sampson Sr.)
Jigs = 12 bass (Top Bass 7-4 Mark Balbinot)
Spinnerbaits = 9 bass (Top Bass 4-3 Paul Kessler)
Plastic Worms = 8 bass (Top Bass 5-11 Troy Jackson)
*Buzzbaits = 6 bass (Top Bass 5-9 Troy Jackson)
Old record 5-8 Terry Isbell 9/14/14
Jerkbaits = 5 bass (Top Bass 5-4 Jake Bresson)
Swim Jigs = 5 bass (Top Bass 5-2 Jake Bresson)
*Creature Bait = 4 bass (Top Bass 6-15 Mark Balbinot)
Old record 6-1 Jeff Marshall 5/23/14
Lipless Crankbaits = 3 bass (Top Bass 4-3 Bruce Zilkowski)
*Inline Spinners = 2 bass (Top Bass 5-2 Jake Bresson)
No previous record
Swimbait = 2 bass (Top Bass 4-12 Randy Sampson Sr.)
Underspins = 2 bass (Top Bass 5-2 Mark Balbinot)
*Propbait = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-7 Troy Jackson)
No previous record
*Stickbait = 1 bass (Top Bass 6-6 Mark Balbinot)
Old Record 5-8 Randy Sampson Sr. 5/7/16
Topwater Frog = 1 bass (Top Bass 6-3 Mark Balbinot)
Tube = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-1 Jake Bresson)
Ultralight = 1 bass (Top Bass 3-1 Paul Kessler)

5/13 Mark Balbinot 6-15 Fulton County, IL strip mine Creature Bait

Monthly Top Bass (* = new record)
January
*2-11 Mark Balbinot (no previous record)
February
5-2 Mark Balbinot
March
6-2 Troy Jackson
April
6-0 Randy Sampson Sr.
May
6-15 Mark Balbinot
June
6-3 Mark Balbinot
July
5-0 Troy Jackson
August
6-6 Mark Balbinot
September
5-2 Jake Bresson
October
*7-4 Mark Balbinot (old record Mike Mooney 6-0 10/1/16)
November
No submissions
December
6-13 Mark Balbinot

7/9 Terry Jackson 3-5 Knox County, IL strip mine Plastic Worm

Top 10 Bass (* = new Top 10 all-time)
*7-4 Mark Balbinot 10/29 (#6 all-time)
*6-15 Mark Balbinot 5/13 (#8 all-time)
*6-13 Mark Balbinot 12/10 (#9 all-time tie)
6-8 Mark Balbinot 10/29
6-6 Mark Balbinot 8/27
6-3 Mark Balbinot 6/18
6-2 Troy Jackson 3/4
6-0 Randy Sampson Sr. 4/15
5-15 Mark Balbinot 4/14
5-11 Troy Jackson 8/21

3/4 Troy Jackson 6-2 Knox County, IL strip mine Jig

Angler Weights (* = new Top 5 record, old mark 32-13)
*33-14 Mark Balbinot (7-4,6-15,6-13,6-8,6-6)
26-13 Troy Jackson (6-2,5-11,5-9,5-0,4-7)
23-12 Jake Bresson (5-4,5-2,5-2,4-3,4-1)
23-11 Randy Sampson Sr. (6-0,4-14,4-12,4-11,3-6)
18-0 Bruce Zilkowski (4-9,4-3,3-15,3-0,2-5)
16-6 Paul Kessler (4-3,3-4,3-2,3-1,2-12)
10-2 Brent Jackson (3-2,2-9,1-11,1-6,1-6)
5-6 Terry Jackson (3-5,1-3,0-14)

5/27 Jayce Jackson 0-13 Henry County, IL pond Waxworm

Bonus Species – Green Sunfish
0-13 Jayce Jackson

Late May Jake Bresson 47.0″ Canada Jerkbait 

Bonus Species – Muskie
Total = 131” Jake Bresson (47”,31”,29”24”) on Rapala X-Rap
Total = 29” Troy Jackson on Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait

3/24 Jake Bresson 33.5″ Northern IL creek Tube

Bonus Species – Northern Pike
Total = 167.25” Jake Bresson (37.0”,35.25”,33.5”,32.0”,29.5”)

Late May Jake Bresson 26.0″ Canada Jig & Minnow

Bonus Species – Walleye
Total = 118” Jake Bresson (26.5”,26.0”,25.5”,20”,20”) on Rapala X-Rap or jig & minnow

I’m up for another run if anyone out there wishes to play along again for a fifth year. And coming next week, a look at the grand totals and the Top 5 bass record book covering 475 bass submitted from 2014-2017. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Well, folks we’ve got one more December bass that makes its way into our final 2017 update now that the Holiday Season dust has finally settled. And it’s a good one…

Weight: 6-13
Angler: Mark Balbinot
Date: December 10
Location: Fulton County, IL Strip Mine Lake
Lure: Texas rigged Zoom lizard
Water Temperature: 39 degrees
Structure: Laydown in about 10’ of water
Top 5 Weight: 33-14 (7-4,6-15,6-13,6-8,6-6) culls 6-3

Way to go, Mark, another fantastic year, been great to follow along. And for anyone who wishes to see this catch and others in action, along with some cool new video data features check out Mark’s You Tube links below:

December 10 Video – https://youtu.be/-52xKFYsMyg

Dashware Enhanced Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mLcxmSxlak

Got several things going on with a few more Trapping Tuesday and Resolution Result posts to finish up the month but also looking to get a series of Top 5 posts put together regarding the final 2017 stats as well as looking into the numbers from four years of the project. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Stats

Well, it’s beginning to feel a lot like winter in my neck of the woods and my fishing gear has been stowed away until next year. I was fortunate to give it one more shot in December and fooled a quality fish but not enough to improve my Top 5. But a handful of fish have joined our quest since last update thanks to several anglers playing catch up with some entries. As such, the 2017 totals stand at 78 bass, 9 northern pike, 5 muskie, 5 walleye and a green sunfish with the breakdown below.


Jake Bresson 9/3 Northern Pike 37″

2017 Totals (* = new record)
*January = 1 bass (no previous entries)
*February = 13 bass (old record 7 in 2016)
March = 10 bass (record 13 in 2014)
April = 11 bass
May = 13 bass
June = 1 bass
July = 11 bass
August = 4 bass
September = 6 bass
October = 8 bass

Top 5 Weight by Month (* = new record)
*January = 2-11 (2-11) no previous record
February = 21-5 (5-2,4-14,4-2,3-15,3-4) record 22-9 in 2016
March = 22-15 (6-2,4-11,4-9,4-3,3-6) record 28-0 in 2016
April = 25-0 (6-0,5-15,5-9,3-14,3-10)
May = 26-14 (6-15,5-8,5-4,5-2,4-1)
June = 6-3 (only submission)
July = 21-0 (5-0,4-12,4-7,3-8,3-5)
August = 18-9 (6-6,5-11,4-3,2-5) (only four submissions)
September = 14-10 (5-2,3-0,2-9,2-4,1-11)
October = 26-11 (7-4,6-8,5-10,4-3,3-2)


Mark Balbinot 10/29 6-8

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 67 bass
Bank = 11 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight
Boat = 33-4 (7-4,6-15,6-8,6-6,6-3)
Bank = 20-14 (5-2,4-3,4-1,3-14,3-10)

Public vs. Private
Public = 42 bass
Private = 36 bass

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 27-7 (6-0,5-15,5-4,5-2,5-2)
Private = 33-4 (7-4,6-15,6-8,6-6,6-3)


Paul Kessler 10/12 3-1

The Baits (* = new record)
Crankbaits = 16 bass (Top Bass 6-0 Randy Sampson Sr.)
Jigs = 12 bass (Top Bass 7-4 Mark Balbinot)
Spinnerbaits = 9 bass (Top Bass 4-3 Paul Kessler)
Plastic Worms = 8 bass (Top Bass 5-11 Troy Jackson)
*Buzzbaits = 6 bass (Top Bass 5-9 Troy Jackson)
Old record 5-8 Terry Isbell 9/14/14
Jerkbaits = 5 bass (Top Bass 5-4 Jake Bresson)
Swim Jigs = 5 bass (Top Bass 5-2 Jake Bresson)
*Creature Bait = 3 bass (Top Bass 6-15 Mark Balbinot)
Old record 6-1 Jeff Marshall 5/23/14
Lipless Crankbaits = 3 bass (Top Bass 4-3 Bruce Zilkowski)
*Inline Spinners = 2 bass (Top Bass 5-2 Jake Bresson)
No previous record
Swimbait = 2 bass (Top Bass 4-12 Randy Sampson Sr.)
Underspins = 2 bass (Top Bass 5-2 Mark Balbinot)
*Propbait = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-7 Troy Jackson)
No previous record
*Stickbait = 1 bass (Top Bass 6-6 Mark Balbinot)
Old Record 5-8 Randy Sampson Sr. 5/7/16
Topwater Frog = 1 bass (Top Bass 6-3 Mark Balbinot)
Tube = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-1 Jake Bresson)
Ultralight = 1 bass (Top Bass 3-1 Paul Kessler)

Monthly Top Bass (* = new record)
January
*2-11 Mark Balbinot (no previous record)
February
5-2 Mark Balbinot
March
6-2 Troy Jackson
April
6-0 Randy Sampson Sr.
May
6-15 Mark Balbinot
June
6-3 Mark Balbinot
July
5-0 Troy Jackson
August
6-6 Mark Balbinot
September
5-2 Jake Bresson
October
*7-4 Mark Balbinot (old record Mike Mooney 6-0 10/1/16)


Mark Balbinot 10/29 7-4

Top 10 Bass (* = new Top 10 all-time)
*7-4 Mark Balbinot 10/29 (#6 all-time)
*6-15 Mark Balbinot 5/13 (#8 all-time)
6-8 Mark Balbinot 10/29
6-6 Mark Balbinot 8/27
6-3 Mark Balbinot 6/18
6-2 Troy Jackson 3/4
6-0 Randy Sampson Sr. 4/15
5-15 Mark Balbinot 4/14
5-11 Troy Jackson 8/21
5-10 Mark Balbinot 10/29

Angler Weights (* = new Top 5 record, old mark 32-13)
*33-4 Mark Balbinot (7-4,6-15,6-8,6-6,6-3)
26-13 Troy Jackson (6-2,5-11,5-9,5-0,4-7)
23-12 Jake Bresson (5-4,5-2,5-2,4-3,4-1)
23-11 Randy Sampson Sr. (6-0,4-14,4-12,4-11,3-6)
18-0 Bruce Zilkowski (4-9,4-3,3-15,3-0,2-5)
16-6 Paul Kessler (4-3,3-4,3-2,3-1,2-12)
10-2 Brent Jackson (3-2,2-9,1-11,1-6,1-6)
5-6 Terry Jackson (3-5,1-3,0-14)

Bonus Species – Northern Pike
Total = 167.25” Jake Bresson (37.0”,35.25”,33.5”,32.0”,29.5”)

Bonus Species – Green Sunfish
0-13 Jayce Jackson

Bonus Species – Muskie
Total = 131” Jake Bresson (47”,31”,29”24”) on Rapala X-Rap
Total = 29” Troy Jackson on Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait

Bonus Species – Walleye
Total = 118” Jake Bresson (26.5”,26.0”,25.5”,20”,20”) on Rapala X-Rap or jig & minnow

Time will tell if these are the final totals or if any straggler fish hit the Inbox before we hit 2018. I will definitely have a series of stat postings after the New Year as a recap of 2017 along with a rundown of the all-time record book from four years of Top 5 contributions. Thanks to all who played along or took the time to check out the Monday updates and congratulations to Mark Balbinot on his record breaking year, been fun to follow. Don’t forget to check out his videos including his most recent post, just a flat out incredible day of fall bass fishing. You can find him on YouTube as mbalb61 and click here for the amazing October 29 outing. And seriously, as I add the previous links, I just see that Mark has posted a Thanksgiving Weekend trip, so click here to check it out.

Is 2017 done after all? Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

A late season flurry of fish in the Inbox includes some recent catches and some catching up. Glad to see some submissions either way for a strong finish. Or is there still more to come?

Weight: 4-3 (20.125”)
Angler: Jake Bresson
Date: August 26
Location: Northern IL stream
Lure: 3” Big Hammer Swimbait

Weight: 3-0 (17.0”)
Angler: Jake Bresson
Date: September 17
Location: Northern IL stream
Lure: Mepps (black fury)

Weight: 5-2 (21.5”)
Angler: Jake Bresson
Date: September 17
Location: Northern IL stream
Lure: Mepps (black fury)
Top 5 Weight: 23-12 (5-4,5-2,5-2,4-3,4-1) culls 4-0 and 3-10

 

Weight: Paul Kessler
Angler: 3-1
Date: October 12
Location: Emiquon Preserve
Lure: Strike King Mr. Crappie Slabalicious jig (hot chicken)
Angler Comments: I did catch six bass while jigging for crappie including the 3lb 1oz.

16-6 (4-3,3-4,3-2,3-1,2-12) culls 2-12

 

Weight: 6-8
Angler: Mark Balbinot
Date: October 29
Location: Fulton County Strip Mine Lake
Lure: Strike King 3/8 jig with a Reaction Innovations Twerk in Taco Truck
Water Temp: 57F
Structure: Laydown in about 15’ of water
Angler Comments: I was fishing the jig next to a laydown in about 15 feet and felt that light tick and the fight was on. Pretty cool seeing them come up out of deep water while reeling them in. After netting and weighing the fish at 6.52 lbs, I knew I could cull one of my top 5 for the year.

Weight: 7-4
Angler: Mark Balbinot
Date: October 29
Location: Fulton County Strip Mine Lake
Lure: Strike King 3/8 jig with a Reaction Innovations Twerk in Taco Truck
Water Temp: 57F
Structure: Laydown in about 15’ of water
Angler Comments: I continued down the bank throwing up next to another laydown, felt a tick and after setting the hook, my line broke. The fish felt heavy and I counted my blessing that it had not broken while fighting the previous fish. I retied the same setup and threw my next cast to that same laydown. After bringing it over a branch, I felt the light tick on the fall. I set the hook and the fight was on again. This was another good fish weighing in at 7.27 lbs. Another cull for the year. I checked to see if it had another jig in its mouth but it was not there.

Weight: 5-10
Angler: Mark Balbinot
Date: October 29
Location: Fulton County Strip Mine Lake
Lure: Strike King 3/8 jig with a Reaction Innovations Twerk in Taco Truck
Water Temp: 57F
Structure: Laydown in about 15’ of water
Angler Comments: I continued fishing the main lake laydowns in deeper water with a jig and managed to catch some small fish, a couple more 3 lb plus fish and another nice fish of 5.60 lbs. I didn’t realize that I almost beat that incredible day from this past December. The final weight for the top 5 of the day was at 26.99 lbs,
Top 5 Weight: 33-4 (7-4, 6-15, 6-8, 6-6, 6-3) culls 5-15 and 5-8

Bonus Species – Northern Pike

Length: 32.0”
Angler: Jake Bresson
Date: August 13
Location: Northern IL stream
Lure: Livebait

Length: 29.5”
Angler: Jake Bresson
Date: August 26
Location: Northern IL stream
Lure: Buzzbait

Length: 37.0”
Angler: Jake Bresson
Date: September 3
Location: Northern IL stream
Lure: Mepps Black Fury (black/yellow)

Length: 35.25”
Angler: Jake Bresson
Date: September 3
Location: Northern IL stream
Lure: Mepps Black Fury (black/yellow)

Length: 30.0”
Angler: Jake Bresson
Date: September 17
Location: Northern IL stream
Lure: Mepps Black Fury
Top 5 Length: 167.75” (37.0”,35.25”,33.5”,32.0”,30.0”)

Now that’s what I’m talking about, an outstanding batch of quality fish. Thanks to each of the guys for taking the time to pass them along, always appreciated. I likely just wrapped up my 2017 fishing year this past weekend with a handful of bass but nothing to boost my Top 5. If anybody manages to fool any more before we hit 2018 or if you have any belated entries, send them my way.

My final fishing report, a couple batches of Top 10 Trip Tunes, some trapping flashbacks and other ramblings hopefully headed your way as we close out 2017. Hope you’ll tune in and talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Stats

Got a slew of fish that showed up the last several days in the Inbox, some from a few months ago along with some recent quality catches. But today I’m going to run with the regular monthly stat update and save the new additions for a little later. 71 total bass, a handful of “bonus” species and counting…

2017 Totals (* = new record)
*January = 1 bass (no previous entries)
*February = 13 bass (old record 7 in 2016)
March = 10 bass (record 13 in 2014)
April = 11 bass
May = 13 bass
June = 1 bass
July = 11 bass
August = 3 bass
September = 4 bass
October = 4 bass


4-3 Paul Kessler October 7

Top 5 Weight by Month (* = new record)
*January = 2-11 (2-11) no previous record
February = 21-5 (5-2,4-14,4-2,3-15,3-4) record 22-9 in 2016
March = 22-15 (6-2,4-11,4-9,4-3,3-6) record 28-0 in 2016
April = 25-0 (6-0,5-15,5-9,3-14,3-10)
May = 26-14 (6-15,5-8,5-4,5-2,4-1)
June = 6-3 (only submission)
July = 21-0 (5-0,4-12,4-7,3-8,3-5)
August = 14-6 (6-6,5-11,2-5) (only three submissions)
September = 7-14 (2-9,2-4,1-11,1-6)
October = 12-1 (4-3,3-2,2-12,2-0)

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 61 bass
Bank = 10 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight
Boat = 31-10 (6-15,6-6,6-3,6-2,6-0)
Bank = 20-2 (5-2,4-1,3-14,3-10,3-7)

Public vs. Private
Public = 38 bass
Private = 33 bass

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 27-3 (6-0,5-15,5-4,5-2,4-14)
Private = 31-5 (6-15,6-6,6-3,6-2,5-11)

The Baits (* = new record)
Crankbaits = 16 bass (Top Bass 6-0 Randy Sampson Sr.)
Jigs = 9 bass (Top Bass 6-2 Troy Jackson)
Spinnerbait = 9 bass (Top Bass 4-3 Paul Kessler)
Plastic Worm = 8 bass (Top Bass 5-11 Troy Jackson)
*Buzzbaits = 6 bass (Top Bass 5-9 Troy Jackson)
Old record 5-8 Terry Isbell 9/14/14
Jerkbait = 5 bass (Top Bass 5-4 Jake Bresson)
Swim Jigs = 5 bass (Top Bass 5-2 Jake Bresson)
*Creature Bait = 3 bass (Top Bass 6-15 Mark Balbinot)
Old record 6-1 Jeff Marshall 5/23/14
Lipless Crankbaits = 3 bass (Top Bass 4-3 Bruce Zilkowski)
Underspins = 2 bass (Top Bass 5-2 Mark Balbinot)
*Propbait = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-7 Troy Jackson)
No previous record
*Stickbait = 1 bass (Top Bass 6-6 Mark Balbinot)
Old Record 5-8 Randy Sampson Sr. 5/7/16
Swimbait = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-12 Randy Sampson Sr.)
Topwater Frog = 1 bass (Top Bass 6-3 Mark Balbinot)
Tube = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-1 Jake Bresson)


3-2 Paul Kessler October 7

Monthly Top Bass (* = new record)
January
*2-11 Mark Balbinot (no previous record)
February
5-2 Mark Balbinot
March
6-2 Troy Jackson
April
6-0 Randy Sampson Sr.
May
6-15 Mark Balbinot
June
6-3 Mark Balbinot
July
5-0 Troy Jackson
August
6-6 Mark Balbinot
September
2-9 Brent Jackson
October
4-3 Paul Kessler

Top 10 Bass (* = new Top 10 all-time)
*6-15 Mark Balbinot 5/13 (#7 all-time)
6-6 Mark Balbinot 8/27
6-3 Mark Balbinot 6/18
6-2 Troy Jackson 3/4
6-0 Randy Sampson Sr. 4/15
5-15 Mark Balbinot 4/14
5-11 Troy Jackson 8/21
5-9 Troy Jackson 4/25
5-8 Mark Balbinot 5/13
5-4 Jake Bresson Late May

Angler Weights
30-15 Mark Balbinot (6-15, 6-6, 6-3, 5-15, 5-8)
26-13 Troy Jackson (6-2,5-11,5-9,5-0,4-7)
23-11 Randy Sampson Sr. (6-0,4-14,4-12,4-11,3-6)
22-1 Jake Bresson (5-4,5-2,4-1,4-0,3-10)
18-0 Bruce Zilkowski (4-9,4-3,3-15,3-0,2-5)
16-1 Paul Kessler (4-3,3-4,3-2,2-12,2-12)
10-2 Brent Jackson (3-2,2-9,1-11,1-6,1-6)
5-6 Terry Jackson (3-5,1-3,0-14)

Bonus Species – Northern Pike
Total = 54.5” Jake Bresson (33.5”,21.0”) both on Tubes

Bonus Species – Green Sunfish
0-13 Jayce Jackson

Bonus Species – Muskie
Total = 131” Jake Bresson (47”,31”,29”24”) on Rapala X-Rap
Total = 29” Troy Jackson on Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait

Bonus Species – Walleye
Total = 118” Jake Bresson (26.5”,26.0”,25.5”,20”,20”) on Rapala X-Rap or jig & minnow

A late season burst of fish was a welcome surprise as things had been pretty slow for the last several months. Looking like it is about that time for me to put away my poles but hoping to get that November bass in the books. Keep me posted if you get out or have any belated catches to submit before we start up a 2018 version of this project. Top 5 Update coming soon. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Ample reason this week to not put those poles away just yet.

Weight: 4-3
Angler: Paul Kessler
Date: October 7
Location: Banner Marsh – Johnson Lake
Lure: Tandem spinnerbait (white) with silver/gold blade combo

Weight: 3-2
Angler: Paul Kessler
Date: October 7
Location: Banner Marsh – Johnson Lake
Lure: Tandem spinnerbait (white) with silver/gold blade combo

Weight: 2-12
Angler: Paul Kessler
Date: October 7
Location: Banner Marsh – Johnson Lake
Lure: Tandem spinnerbait (white) with silver/gold blade combo

Weight: 2-0
Angler: Paul Kessler
Date: October 7
Location: Banner Marsh – Johnson Lake
Lure: Tandem spinnerbait (white) with silver/gold blade combo
Angler Comments: Made it to Banner Marsh yesterday for about five hours. Was very windy and had to anchor my kayak in weed edges and throw into the wind to find them but did catch 10.  All were on a white spinnerbait with two spinners – one silver and one gold.

Top 5 Weight: 16-1 (4-3,3-4,3-2,2-12,2-12) culls 2-10,2-5,2-4

Outstanding day, Paul, nothing like a good, old white spinnerbait to get it done in the fall. Great to see some late season bass in the Inbox and hope to see a few more before 2017 runs out. Best of luck to all as we head into the home stretch. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Stats

Still plugging away with a handful of September fish as well as a couple belated entries from earlier this year. All good, and hoping the well hasn’t quite run dry on 2017…

2017 Totals (* = new record)
*January = 1 bass (no previous entries)
*February = 13 bass (old record 7 in 2016)
March = 10 bass (record 13 in 2014)
April = 11 bass
May = 13 bass
June = 1 bass
July = 11 bass
August = 3 bass
September = 4 bass


Brent Jackson 1-11 September 17

Top 5 Weight by Month (* = new record)
*January = 2-11 (2-11) no previous record
February = 21-5 (5-2,4-14,4-2,3-15,3-4) record 22-9 in 2016
March = 22-15 (6-2,4-11,4-9,4-3,3-6) record 28-0 in 2016
April = 25-0 (6-0,5-15,5-9,3-14,3-10)
May = 26-14 (6-15,5-8,5-4,5-2,4-1)
June = 6-3 (only submission)
July = 21-0 (5-0,4-12,4-7,3-8,3-5)
August = 14-6 (6-6,5-11,2-5) (only three submissions)
September = 7-14 (2-9,2-4,1-11,1-6)


Paul Kessler 2-4 September 17

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 57 bass
Bank = 10 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight
Boat = 31-10 (6-15,6-6,6-3,6-2,6-0)
Bank = 20-2 (5-2,4-1,3-14,3-10,3-7)

Public vs. Private
Public = 34 bass
Private = 33 bass

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 27-3 (6-0,5-15,5-4,5-2,4-14)
Private = 31-5 (6-15,6-6,6-3,6-2,5-11)


Brent Jackson 2-9 September 17

The Baits (* = new record)
Crankbaits = 16 bass (Top Bass 6-0 Randy Sampson Sr.)
Jigs = 9 bass (Top Bass 6-2 Troy Jackson)
Plastic Worm = 8 bass (Top Bass 5-11 Troy Jackson)
*Buzzbaits = 6 bass (Top Bass 5-9 Troy Jackson)
Old record 5-8 Terry Isbell 9/14/14
Jerkbait = 5 bass (Top Bass 5-4 Jake Bresson)
Spinnerbait = 5 bass (Top Bass 2-12 Paul Kessler)
Swim Jigs = 5 bass (Top Bass 5-2 Jake Bresson)
*Creature Bait = 3 bass (Top Bass 6-15 Mark Balbinot)
Old record 6-1 Jeff Marshall 5/23/14
Lipless Crankbaits = 3 bass (Top Bass 4-3 Bruce Zilkowski)
Underspins = 2 bass (Top Bass 5-2 Mark Balbinot)
*Propbait = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-7 Troy Jackson)
No previous record
*Stickbait = 1 bass (Top Bass 6-6 Mark Balbinot)
Old Record 5-8 Randy Sampson Sr. 5/7/16
Swimbait = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-12 Randy Sampson Sr.)
Topwater Frog = 1 bass (Top Bass 6-3 Mark Balbinot)
Tube = 1 bass (Top Bass 4-1 Jake Bresson)

Monthly Top Bass (* = new record)
January
*2-11 Mark Balbinot (no previous record)
February
5-2 Mark Balbinot
March
6-2 Troy Jackson
April
6-0 Randy Sampson Sr.
May
6-15 Mark Balbinot
June
6-3 Mark Balbinot
July
5-0 Troy Jackson
August
6-6 Mark Balbinot
September
2-9 Brent Jackson


Mark Balbinot 6-6 June 18

Top 10 Bass (* = new Top 10 all-time)
*6-15 Mark Balbinot 5/13 (#7 all-time)
6-6 Mark Balbinot 8/27
6-3 Mark Balbinot 6/18
6-2 Troy Jackson 3/4
6-0 Randy Sampson Sr. 4/15
5-15 Mark Balbinot 4/14
5-11 Troy Jackson 8/21
5-9 Troy Jackson 4/25
5-8 Mark Balbinot 5/13
5-4 Jake Bresson Late Ma
y


Mark Balbinot 6-3 August 27

Angler Weights
30-15 Mark Balbinot (6-15, 6-6, 6-3, 5-15, 5-8)
26-13 Troy Jackson (6-2,5-11,5-9,5-0,4-7)
23-11 Randy Sampson Sr. (6-0,4-14,4-12,4-11,3-6)
22-1 Jake Bresson (5-4,5-2,4-1,4-0,3-10)
18-0 Bruce Zilkowski (4-9,4-3,3-15,3-0,2-5)
13-3 Paul Kessler (3-4,2-12,2-10,2-5,2-4)
10-2 Brent Jackson (3-2,2-9,1-11,1-6,1-6)
5-6 Terry Jackson (3-5,1-3,0-14)

Bonus Species – Northern Pike
Total = 54.5” Jake Bresson (33.5”,21.0”) both on Tubes

Bonus Species – Green Sunfish
0-13 Jayce Jackson


Troy Jackson 29″ September 17

Bonus Species – Muskie
Total = 131” Jake Bresson (47”,31”,29”24”) on Rapala X-Rap
Total = 29” Troy Jackson on Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait

Bonus Species – Walleye
Total = 118” Jake Bresson (26.5”,26.0”,25.5”,20”,20”) on Rapala X-Rap or jig & minnow

Don’t know about anyone else but my days on the water for 2017 are dwindling. My goal, as always, is to put a November bass in the boat before putting the poles away until next year. That typically puts me at six weeks or so let to cast depending on family commitments and weather. Hope some others can get out there as well amidst other fall outdoor pursuits. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

A welcome influx of fish as we head into fall as it’s been a pretty lean summer for the Top 5.

Weight: 2-4
Angler: Paul Kessler
Date: September 17
Location: Johnson Lake-Banner Marsh
Lure: Buzzbait (black) with Flappin’ Hog II trailer (June bug)
Angler Comments:
Top 5 Weight: 13-3 (3-4,2-12,2-10,2-5,2-4)

Weight: 2-9
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: September 17
Location: Lake Storey
Lure: Emiquon Special spinnerbait
Structure: Log
Co-Angler Comments (actually mine): First cast after changing from a white spinnerbait resulted in the Top Bass for the day.

Weight: 1-11
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: September 17
Location: Lake Storey
Lure: Emiquon Special spinnerbait
Structure: Log
Co-Angler Comments (actually mine): Second cast after changing from a white spinnerbait resulted in the runner-up Top Bass for the day, pretty cool immediate results.

Weight: 1-6
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: September 17
Location: Lake Storey
Lure: Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait (red/yellow)
Structure: Point
Co-Angler Comments (actually mine): Flurry of activity on this shallow crankbait along a historically productive stretch adds to the creel.
Top 5 Weight: 10-2 (3-2,2-9,1-11,1-6,1-6) culls 1-5,1-5,1-2

Bonus Species – Muskie

Length: 29”
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: September 17
Location: Lake Storey
Lure: Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait
Structure: Flat
Angler Comments: A bass fishing “accident” hits at the boat prompting me to hit the button on my baitcaster and free spool to let the fish run, pretty exciting stuff.

Don’t put those poles away quite yet, plenty of good fishing left as we head into some more fall like temperatures in the coming day. Send ‘em when you catch ‘em. Talk to you later. Troy