Category: Video

2017 Video Blooper Reel

Happy April Fools’ Day with a batch of clips compiled from the 2017 adventures of some fishing fools. You know, you can’t haul your video devices along on your fishing trips without coming back with some goofs to show for it. Here’s a final shout out to 2017 and yes, I’ve already got a start on the 2018 version as it don’t take long for somebody to get caught on camera.

 

Oh yeah, Happy Easter also as that is truly the more important of our two holidays today but just too hard to pass up this opportunity. Latest fishing report headed your way next week along with a couple projects, one old and one new, that I threw into the mix for the outing. Talk to you later. Troy

2017 Video #1 – Bad Break

 

You win some, you lose some.

And some that you lose sting a little more than others.

Gotta admit that this one stung for a while.

Makes it even worse that it was caught on video so I can relive it over and over again if I so choose.

I have so chosen and you know, it’s really kind of a cool strike, especially in slow motion. It gives me some extra time to analyze the incident and assess what I could have done differently to land this boatside blast from a bass in the 4 to 5 pound range. I actually got a great split second view of the fish in the last couple feet of the retrieve as it chased down and struck the bait. Kind of weird there too as that brief instant also seemed to have a slow motion feel to it. However, it did not last long before reality shifted back to full speed and the fish and my buzzbait were gone.

Slow motion version of the clip

In regards to what I could have done to land the fish, I guess one potential item would involve having my drag set a little looser thus potentially allowing the fish to run. Tough call on this one as my drag was pretty well dialed in for a typical strike whereas a strike with only a couple feet of line out is a whole different ballgame.

A second possibility would have been to disengage my reel and thumb it in free spool as the fish charged off with the bait. I’ve actually done this with success on a couple boatside muskie strikes but must admit that those were nowhere near as vicious and sudden as this bass strike thus providing an extra fraction of a second for those motor skills to instinctively kick in.

A final possible route to success would be to switch my allegiance from monofilament line to some sort of braid or super line. Not gonna happen in the near future, if ever, as I’ve been there and they just didn’t suit me. Besides, my good, old Trilene 12-pound test has come out on top versus muskies pushing 20-pounds, walleye over 10 pounds and just a few big bass. Plain and simple, I’ll put my money on my experience and low budget gear over pricey superlines any day of the week.

In the end, this one just wasn’t meant to be and while I was disappointed at the time, I eventually got over it. I can watch this video and simply appreciate the power of the freight train like strike of this fish and admit that it got the best of me on this day. My main concern in looking back on the bad break is that the bass was able to dislodge the lure, go about its business and live to make another mistake. Hopefully, just a little farther away from the boat.

One last time in super slow motion and yes, it still gets away

This concludes my 2017 Top 10 Video countdown, appreciate anyone who has taken the time to tune in. However, I do have one more video compilation up tomorrow in light of the holiday. April Fools’ Day, that is. Talk to you later. Troy

2017 Video #2 – Called Shot

To coincide with today being Opening Day for the 2018 Major League Baseball season I’m going with a “called shot.” Not quite as epic as the legendary Babe Ruth prediction from the 1932 World Series but a called shot nonetheless.

And with one big difference.

There’s no dispute on my called shot as it’s all right here on video and audio. Of course, you can do some pretty creative stuff with software these days but those techniques are still above my editing level. Maybe someday, though.

In contrast, there remains some debate on The Babe’s feat. While video of the at bat indeed shows some sort of gesture it just depends on whose version of the story you buy as to whether it was truly Ruth pointing to where he would then hit a mammoth home run. Makes for one heck of a story and I’m all about those so I’ll buy it hook, line and sinker.

My called shot took place on a remote Knox County, IL strip mine with the bass falling to a Strike King KVD 2.5 Rattling Squarebill crankbait. I wound up with four bass on this lure and it was fun to have this one on video as it decided to strike right as I was describing where the bite should occur.

 

If you’ve fished long enough it is likely that you can relate to such predictions coming through in a fishy looking spot. You know, one of those can’t miss spots that experience and instinct prompt you to say, “There should be one here.” A well placed cast, a couple turns of the reel and bang, right on cue, you’ve got your bite. Happens plenty of times and those seem to be the ones that you remember. But, of course, whether human nature or just the nature of those who fish, we lose count of all of these sorts of called shots that just don’t materialize.

There’s no story on those failed predictions that are simply cast, reel in and cast again so not surprisingly they all fall by the wayside. Kind of edited out of the memory just as I edit out all of the uneventful footage from the GoPro sessions. For instance, a few of the clips in this Top 10 project are a part of six or eight minutes worth of footage that get whittled down to the 30 seconds or so where something actually happens.

But every once in a while you get some feedback right of the bat which I guess could also qualify as a sort of called shot. After all, why bother turning on the camera if you aren’t expecting to catch something. Below is a bonus “called shot” clip from earlier the same day that features a changeup in presentation from a Senko wacky rig to a crankbait that was met with some immediate results.

 

Always fun on the water and cool to have some video these days as a reminder that every once in a while you get it dialed in and make it work just like it does on television. Talk to you later. Troy

2017 Video #3 – No Lip

You ever see one of those fancy bass tourneys where the anglers dig around in the livewell to fill their bag for the weigh-in and triumphantly thrust their largest catch into the air triggering the adulation of thousands of fans?

Well, this wasn’t quite like that.

For one thing, we were bluegill fishing. For another thing, we had just pulled the boat out of the lake via a gravel and grass boat ramp. And, oh yeah, there wasn’t another soul in sight for our fishing trip finale and video shoot.

Nope, this was a pretty low key affair but with a couple high energy young anglers in tow and some high strung bluegill in the livewell it got rather exciting. You see, fishing some feisty, slimy bluegills out of a partially drained livewell can present a challenge as they don’t quite have the handy handle like a largemouth bass lip. Even with little hands it still not a lot to grasp.

And here’s the kicker, this particular bluegill had a rough time when getting unhooked sustaining some considerable damage to its lip. As a result, Jayce and Zac had taken to referring to this particular catch as “No Lip.”

Well, when old “No Lip” was snatched from the livewell it appeared as if he was in the mood to get a little revenge. As Papa notes in the video, those bluegill have some pretty stiff fins that can inflict a bit of pain or even draw blood if they get you good while flopping around. And in Jayce’s case in this clip, there was more than the typical finger stick at stake. Let’s just say a bit more tender.

 

We all continue to get a laugh from this video at the expense of that poor bluegill. Just gets you tickled to hear a kid so excited and even better when that excitement arises from the hijinks on a fishing trip. Talk to you later. Troy

2017 Video #4 – Lonely Bass

“He was caught on a summer day, 2017…Oh, what a lonely bass, oh, what a lonely bass, oh, what a lonely bass.” – Andrew Gold (sort of), Lonely Boy (1977), click here for YouTube video of this 70’s classic after you read this blog entry.

Hey, every once in a while inspiration hits me prompting the inclusion of some of my good, old song lyrics. Hadn’t went there for a while and woke up the other day with this song and Video #4 on a loop in my head. Guess this blogging thing gets a little obsessive at times but sure beats waking up thinking about how to resolve some sort of technology issue. Get to do that all week so nice to find that the imagination can still intervene on the weekend.

 

Anyhow, today’s video features what is certainly a less than impressive bass but boy did it save the day. (Note: my tentative title for this piece was “Mighty Bass” as a play on the old Mighty Mouse cartoon. “Here I come to save the day”, right? Tough to say what was the better direction but I elected to go with the guy who penned The Golden Girls theme song. How’s that for some useless trivia?)

This catch came on 7/25/17 at 8:31pm from Iowa’s Lost Grove Lake and was the only fish I caught the entire evening in just over two hours of fishing. A 10” trophy for me in avoiding an embarrassing summertime shutout. I was so pleased to get on the board that I shot a picture, rowed to the ramp and called it a night. I figured that there was no better way to end a tough day than with being able to claim a last cast bass.

And I should probably end this post right now as well.

Instead, I’ll push my luck and wrap it up with an assist from some classic “lonely lyrics.” (Answers on the lyrics below my sign off and feel free to add any comments on a lyric that would also fit the bill.)

On the water you will inevitably have some “lonely days” (1) or a “lonely night” (2). But even if “it’s a lonely ol’ night” (3) “don’t you ever be ashamed” (4) if you can’t get the fish to cooperate. Instead, “if you just ask the lonely” (5) bass perhaps he can point you towards a few of his friends.

Ok, maybe too much. Talk to you later. Troy

1. Lonely Days – Bee Gees, 1970
2. Lonely Night (Angel Face) – Captain & Tennille, 1976
3. Lonely Ol’ Night – John Cougar Mellencamp, 1985
4. J.D. Souther – You’re Only Lonely, 1977
5. Ask the Lonely – Journey, 1983

2017 Video #5 – Bass, Bass, Bass!

Kids are cool.

Bass are cool.

Kids and bass are…well, check out the video.

 

I’ll admit it can be a challenge teaching kids to fish but memories like this serve to reinforce that it’s well worth it. All of the pulling lures out of trees, “stand back so you don’t get hooked”, “really, it’s okay to pee over there, nobody will see you”, “you don’t need hand sanitizer…” and so on fade away when that bobber goes under.

And it’s fun as a grownup to realize that sometimes you aren’t so far removed from being a kid yourself. Listening to Jayce holler, “Bass, bass, bass” got me to thinking about that little voice in my head that involuntarily starts in with the same mantra once I’ve set the hook.

Never really thought about that before and that’s another aspect of this whole video thing that has been fun while also providing an opportunity for more than a few laughs with the advent of more user friendly recording.

We’re not the big boys, we don’t have a script and any catchphrases that may be spouted out on a regular basis are just the natural reaction to the simple joy of fooling a fish. As a grown up it’s kind of weird sitting all alone in a boat or balancing on a spoilbank while trying to provide the “viewers” with a feel for what you’ve got going on. But throw in a hookset met with some scaly resistance from the other end and a sort of verbal auto pilot feature kicks in. A reaction that goes back as long as I’ve fished, another thing that I never really consciously thought about. I’ve been talking to the fish for years, seems a natural part of the pursuit. Just takes a bit of getting used to when you see it on video.

Which brings me back to the joy of observing kids fishing or hanging with kids in general. Imagination and silliness typically run high even for a fellow like Jayce who is more than a bit reserved in most situations. Thus, it’s a treat to see the goofiness and excitement come pouring out while he’s sharing a common interest with a guy who just so happens to resemble a bigger version of that kid.

Before I sign off, here’s a bonus video from the same day on the water.  It serves to show that kids also learn other valuable fishing skills from their mentors beyond casting and reeling.  And yes, not surprisingly, I learned this one from Jayce’s Papa.

 

Here’s to more “bass, bass, bass”, “bluegill, bluegill, bluegill” and hopefully one of his 2018 goals of “catfish, catfish, catfish.” Talk to you later. Troy

2017 Video #6 – Bad Is Good

 

Sometimes I wonder how many casts I’ve made over the years.

Don’t really have the slightest clue.

But what I do know is that the old “practice makes perfect” saying is not entirely accurate when it comes to this skill (or any other I suppose). For no matter how many casts you’ve made, there are still those that end up errant and off target. Such mistakes can range from a mere fraction of an inch to one of those weird ones that crops up on occasion and leaves you wondering just how a seasoned angler could foul it up that bad. Gotta be wind or equipment failure, right?

But as today’s video shows, even when you miss your mark, good things can still happen. As finicky as we might find those bass to be on some days, they are still top of the line predators that are built and programmed to eat.

If your lure is in the water, it’s fair game.


Bad isn’t so good when it comes to this photo of the above catch so I’m glad that I’ve been able to add the video aspect to the fish stories

Such was the case with this catch from Iowa’s Lost Grove Lake, a fishing hole that can be quite frustrating due to an abundance of slimy, scattered vegetation. While the cast doesn’t look as ugly as a toss into a tree or onto a boat dock (done ‘em both more than a few times) it nevertheless struck me as a wasted shot into some of the nasty subsurface weeds. Fortunately, the lure came through unscathed by the vegetation which just so happened to be the hiding place of an interested bass and that aspect was indeed part of the plan.

A plan that worked to perfection despite an imperfect cast. Without the audio on this clip one would never even know that I was essentially looking ahead to my next cast as this one didn’t stand a chance.

Bonus video from this trip featuring the Top Bass weighing 1-14

As always, a fishing trip isn’t only about the haul. It’s also about learning something new each time out. In this case, if you’ve got a lure in the water be ready because anything can happen. After all, even a bad cast can produce a good result. Talk to you later. Troy

2017 Video #7 – Smorgasbord

 

Today’s clip features a catch from October 8 on a public Knox County, IL strip mine pothole. It was one of sixteen bass landed in just over four hours on the water with the first eleven coming from this spot during my first two hours of casting. If you do the math on this first stop that equates to 5.5 bass per hour which is really pretty darn good.

Now here’s the weird thing about this borderline feeding frenzy.

Those eleven bass came on six different lures. It was truly a bizarre sort of buffet as the bass never really showed a preference for a particular presentation yet still proved to be cooperative if I was willing to keep my lure choices rather dynamic.


Here’s the menu for this ever changing fall feeding frenzy, 8 lures = 16 bass

What was also puzzling was that I was all in at the start to nab some on an old topwater favorite, the Zara Spook, and never got the slightest hint of interest. And after five minutes of that I put it down in favor of a chatterbait. Four casts later I had the fish in this clip after a pair of short strikes on two of the previous casts. Sure seemed like they were taking a liking to the chatterbait.

Nope, couldn’t coax another bite the rest of the time on this spot. However, I did continue to catch bass as evidenced by the snip from the log entry below. Briefly got them dialed in on a Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait and a Swim Jig but those flurries were fleeting as well.

In the end I was quite pleased with the overall results on this relatively unfamiliar pothole as it was indeed a productive stop. I also gave myself a pat on the back for being diverse in my offerings and changing up when my “can’t miss” baits (Red Eye Shad lipless crank and Senko wacky rig) only got the interest of one bass.

In assessing my day on the ride home, I found myself envisioning one of those old silly tricks we used to do as a kid. That old rub your stomach and pat your head routine, except this time it was more like pat your back and scratch your head. A fair amount of both occur with this interesting hobby and actually kind of a fun challenge when they coincide. Talk to you later. Troy

2017 Video #8 – Family Record

Jayce sets new family record…read on (Note: iPhone video as opposed to GoPro for this clip)

Today’s video documents the establishment of a new family record for the green sunfish species reeled in by my son, Jayce, on May 27, 2017. The catch weighed in at 13 ounces, came from a Henry County, IL pond and was caught on a waxworm hung from a bobber.

Perhaps your next question is, “How big was the old record?”

Well, in all honesty, I don’t really know that there was an old record despite reeling in hundreds of these misfits over the years. For many years we fished Lake Bracken just south of Galesburg, IL and while it featured an abundance of these feisty fish I don’t recall that we ever got one quite this big or bothered much in weighing these catches.


New record at 13 ounces (gravel aided weight deemed negligible)

You see, the green sunfish is an interesting sort of outcast.

They are very cooperative, aggressive fighters and feature a wide range of colorization due to hybridization with bluegill. For kids they are also easier to get a hold of than a bluegill thanks to a bigger handle (meaning a bigger mouth). However, every once in a while you run into one that has some pretty good teeth that will give you a little scrape reminiscent of what we call “bass thumb.”

A small jighead or hook tipped with a waxworm or piece of dew worm and hung from a bobber will get the job done as will moving Beetle spin type baits with or without a spinner. Most times you can find green sunfish in the shallows and they seem to particularly like hanging in the cover of a rocky shoreline waiting to pounce on a meal. A cast to such a spot on the Lake Bracken shoreline back in the day was about as close to a guarantee as you could get.


The record was not a fluke as Jayce hauled in another fine specimen two days later

Which takes me back to the fun of being a fishing kid as while green sunfish can have some negative effects on a body of water they sure are fun to catch on an ultralight rig. As much evidence as one would need in this video of a happy kid tied into a feisty fish that nearly jerks the pole away at one point. Fishing in its simplest form, just looking for whatever’s biting. And a little extra cause for celebration when it’s a “family world record.” Talk to you later. Troy

2017 Video #9 – Second Chances

The second video of our countdown actually comes from the same outing as the first video which was posted yesterday. Believe it or not, it was the second bass of the morning, coming only three minutes after the inaugural GoPro catch.

Can you tell that I am having fun with this whole new aspect of the fishing trip?

Sure thing, as situations that I’ve experienced countless times over the previous 35 years or so kind of take on new life when caught on film (I know, no film, but that’s the way I talk so that’s the way I write).

I also thought that a piece featuring “Second Chances” in the title just logically fit as the second submission in the countdown. Indeed, there is occasionally a method to my madness and a tinge of planning to some of this stuff.

 

So, let’s set the scene before I shift into Bass Professor mode and break this clip down in order to pass along a couple valuable topwater bass fishing lessons. What I am doing here is casting a topwater bait known as a Whopper Plopper across a point that drops off into 8-10 foot of water on all three sides of its ledgelike setup. Classic summer bass magnet in the lowlight conditions early or late in the day. The Whopper Plopper (pictured below) features a propeller sort of rear end which sputters across the surface when twitched or reeled.


Whopper Plopper 90 in the I Know It color

Lesson One – Do not set the hook on a topwater bait when you see the fish strike it, wait until you actually feel the weight of the fish. Easier said than done no matter how long you have been topwater fishing. My error in this regard occurs around the 0:04 mark of the clip as I essentially jerk the lure away from a “hot” fish that has taken two swipes at the plug and likely will keep after it until he gets it right.

Lesson Two, Plan A – Go right back after the fish either with the same bait or what is often called a “follow-up” lure as it is likely still hanging in the general area and perhaps wondering how its breakfast got away. In this case, I opted for a repeat with the Whopper Plopper but made sure to cast well beyond where the strikes had occurred. My intent is to not land on top of the fish but rather cause a commotion several yards away and then bring it right over the top of what I hope is still a fired up fish. Worked like it was supposed to on this occasion and always cool when they make you look smart.

Lesson Two, Plan B – You can also resort to the “follow up” lure approach with a sinking lure that is pitched right into the vicinity of the strike as quickly as possible after the swing and a miss by the bass (and angler in this case). My go to lure in this scenario is a weightless wacky rigged Senko. It enters the water above that bass with less commotion and its waving action on a slow fall is often too much to resist.


Senko weightless wacky rig in natural shad color

We’ve still got at least another month around here before a solid topwater bite will come into play but definitely a blast, and rather addictive when it does. Keep these lessons in mind when you put those baits to use and it will put a few more of those bites in the boat. Oh, and don’t be too tough on yourself if you jump the gun on a few of those topwater explosions by bass with bad aim. Happens to us all, no matter the icewater we got in those veins. Just part of bass fishing and be grateful that some of those bass can’t resist a second chance. Talk to you later. Troy