Month: August 2017

Top 5 Update

August can be a tough time to cull for various reasons. The dog days can do a number on both angler and bass, back to school (at least in my world) can move fishing down the priority list and if you are already having a good year of fishing, it can just plain be a tall order to replace one in your creel. All of the above applied when assessing my odds for a bump in weight but I still managed to get one that added over two pounds to my 2017 Top 5.

Weight: 5-11
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: August 21
Location: Knox County Strip Mine
Lure: 5″ Yamamoto Senko wacky rig (pumpkin with black flake)
Structure: Overhanging bushes
Angler Comments: My first Eclipse Day bass was a winner and just in time as I only got one more in an hour of casting before the weather got real ugly and sent me packing.
Top 5 Weight: 26-13 (6-2,5-11,5-9,5-0,4-7) culls 3-8

My good fortune continues to push me farther into uncharted territory as my previous best Top 5 on record was 22-12 back in 2015. Since kicking off this project in 2014 I have somehow managed at least a 20-pound limit each year along with setting a new personal best each successive year. This one may be tough to top so here’s to finding a few more before 2017 is all said and done to really give me something to shoot for in the future. Hope anyone out there gets some time on the water as we head into another shot at the fall feeding frenzy and send them my way when you fool them. Talk to you later. Troy

Missed It By That Much

Once upon a time in the 80’s, some friends bestowed upon me the designation of “Stat Boy.”

I was good with that term of affection as it was an accurate moniker at the time. Still is, although these days I believe I may have achieved ‘Stat Man’ status. Neither here nor there I would suppose in the grand scheme of things, but I do have some crazy fishing logs.

Being born a baseball fan, stats are just a part of my makeup. An aspect of that innate allegiance is that I also find milestones pretty cool. So, earlier this year I began to get kind of excited as I approached outdoor posting number 1,000 since taking up writing back on April 30, 2002. Well, it turns out that I got so carried away with the kickoff of this new website and its accompanying social media stuff that I wound up blazing right on by posting #999, just recently realizing that I’d missed out on the planned celebratory posting by a substantial margin.

But since this is my project and I can do whatever I want, including patting myself on the back, we’re gonna take a look at some of what has went down over the last 15 plus years with blog posting #1,054 instead.

4/29/02 The catch that prompted me to write a newsletter to family and friends detailing the “Family Fishing Hall of Fame” record book

By The Numbers

5,596 = Days since my first stab at outdoor writing
1,053 = Total postings prior to this recap.
5.31 = Avg. number of days per blog posting (not bad over a 15+ year period)
69 = Avg. number of postings per year over last 15 years
139 = Number of firsthand fishing reports
7-3 = My largest bass caught since sharing my fish stories
99 = Top 5 weekly updates (project began in 2014)
456 = Total bass submitted to the Top 5 project
26 = Anglers who’ve contributed to the Top 5 project
13 = Bigfoot related postings

Special Guest back in the fall of  2011

40 = Most consecutive days with a blog entry (5/1/17 to 6/9/17)
35 = Emiquon related postings, the most of any fishing hole

Never seen anything quite like The Emiquon Preserve

31 = Trapping postings
2 = Number of Justin Bieber photos to appear on the blog

These new fishing logs were one of my April Fool’s jokes, seriously.

2 = Number of April Fool’s Day jokes
4 = Pop/rock song titles borrowed for blog titles (“Déjà Vu”, “Old Days”, “Like A Rock” and “The Sound of Silence”)
5 = MLB players mentioned in a blog title (Hank Aaron, Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Ichiro Suzuki)
3 = Textspeak samples used in blog titles (TMI, IMHO, IA LMB PB)
9 = Legendary lure postings


Legendary Lures, the good, old Emiquon Special and the Gapen Fishie

Along the way I have somehow managed to reference Snow White, margaritas, Bocephus, roadkill, Freddie Patek and chicken pox in blog postings. I have also paraphrased Navin R. Johnson, created an outdoor version of “The 12 Days of Christmas”, gave my blog to Bigfoot, wrote a fishing tackle editorial utilizing Hall & Oates song titles and have used the words paraskevidekatriaphobia, chalupa, sewage and exposed bottoms in blog titles. Not to mention thousands of pictures and well over a quarter million words.


Yep, I’m actually kind of proud of this stuff. Whod’ve thunk that a whim to share some fish stories via email with family and friends back in April of 2002 would wind up getting this out of control? Been a fun ride…


I could go on with further stats and nonsense but I will spare you for the time being. After all, I’ve still got a blog in spite of some of that stuff and I certainly look forward to continuing to use it for my amusement and yours if you elect to play along. In fact, I’ve still got close to two hundred postings in various stages of incompletion that have their sights set on eventual public consumption one of these days as time permits.

Anyway, thanks to all who’ve invested a few minutes of your day along the way to read and share your comments. Now go do something productive, like fishing. Talk to you later. Troy

To The Tune of 43 Bass – 8/22 Report

The follow-up trip to Eclipse Day produced a slew of bass but nothing big to show for it. In fact, my one “keeper” on the rain shortened, one hour, Eclipse outing outweighed the Top 5 for this trip all by itself. But hey, anytime you can post 43 bass with most of them on a buzzbait, now that’s a blast. In lieu of a batch of lunkers to report, I’m going to pull out an old stunt and use some Pop/Rock music to help convey my day on the water.  First the bass and the data, then we jam.


7:07am 14″ 1-8 First Bass and Top Bass Buzzbait                                       7:27am 13″ 0-15 Buzzbait      

Date: August 22, 2017
Locations: Knox County, IL strip mines (3 lakes)
Time: 6:25am-3:00pm (6.0 hours fishing, rest walking or driving)
Weather: Mostly cloudy/very windy
Air Temp: 66F-76F
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 43 bass
Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (Snow White shad) – 34 bass
Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 4 bass
5” Senko wacky rig (pumpkin with black flake) – 3 bass
Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait (copper) – 1 bass
Zoom Baby Brush Hog (green pumpkin) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-8 Buzzbait
Top 5 Weight: 5-7 (1-8,1-1,1-0,0-15,0-15)

Rest of the Top 5 (left to right): 0-15 (8:51am Buzzbait), 1-0 (9:41am Baby 1-) and 1-1 (11:08am Buzzbait)

Notes & Nonsense

“Take It To The Limit” (Eagles – 1975) – Went for a change of scenery “one more time” on this outing and every time I pull this stunt I wind up beat and wonder if it’s the last time. And I’m not just talking fishing results as this type of adventure provides a real workout. Forgive me for being a little vague but this bright idea involves hauling a boat into fishing holes that are a long ways from the truck, we’re talking potential miles for a round trip.

“This Night Won’t Last Forever” (Michael Johnson – 1979) – So this is where the whole music oriented concept originated for this report. I’m just killing them on a buzzbait and all of a sudden realize that a slightly altered version of this cut is going through my head. Substitute “bite” for night and it goes a little something like this: “I know this bite won’t last forever, I know the sun is gonna shine sometime.” For the first time in a while I got what I was after as the clouds were my friend.  The result was an all-day buzzbait buffet, first buzzbait catch at 7:07am and last buzzbait bass at 2:12pm, truly an expanded window.

“Lovely Day” (Bill Withers – 1977)
When the forecast calls for cloudy skies,
A cool breeze puts heat behind,
The thought of buzzbait bassin’ time,
Is foremost on my mind.
“And I know it’s gonna be a lovely day, lovely day, lovely day, lovely day…”
Yep, my own version of those lyrics were a significant part of my mental soundtrack as well. Maybe I ain’t right, but a lifetime in front of a radio has provided lyrics for every occasion and this one was spot on. If you dig tunes and topwater fishing, you know where I’m coming from.

“Lights Out” (Peter Wolf – 1984) – The former J.Geils Band lead singer summed up the fishing action quite nicely: “Blast, blast, blast.” Literally and figuratively, as topwater fishing appeals to the visual, auditory and tactile senses in an addictive fashion all in a split second of entertaining bass fishing action.  (Note: this Wolf tune is not to be confused with the video where he hops all the way through the song, that one is “Come As You Are”, quite interesting.)

“I Missed Again” (Phil Collins – 1981) – As the wind picked up, the buzzbait was still getting plenty of attention but I’d have to say that the surface chop made for a diminished success rate as at least a dozen bass came up short in their efforts.  Cue up the former Genesis singer with a classic early MTV bit of video entertainment as he croons, “Oh, did I miss again, I think I missed again” on behalf of those bass. In one case, a missed strike knocked the lure a foot above the surface, can’t recall ever seeing that one before. While it may have been wise to adjust my presentation to the changing conditions, I still had plenty of others displaying better aim, thus I kept right on buzzing as my primary approach.

The Jackson 5 – Lest anyone think that I am a sort of one hit wonder in lure selection most days, I did make a few changeups when cover and instinct dictated. Two bass on the Senko in two minutes around a lone bit of bankside standing timber was one case. In addition, I did add a few by lipless and shallow cranking in a couple spots that produced in the past. Overall, I landed bass on five different baits although the buzzbait was far and away the star of the group, the Michael of my tackle box on this day.


Left to right: Buzzbait (Michael), Red Eye Shad (Jackie), Baby 1- (Tito)


Left to right: Baby Brush Hog (Marlon) and Senko wacky rig (Jermaine)

“Hurt So Bad” (Linda Ronstadt – 1980) – Okay, so here’s the rundown on a fishing trip beat down. Both knees from hauling stuff and logging several miles of strip mine trekking (fortunately most was old roadways). Right shoulder from casting and lower back from hauling and sitting in an eight foot johnboat for about an eight hour day. Left elbow from a tumble as I also stand in that boat a lot even though not the wisest idea and several fingers just because they are getting old, ache and don’t work as well as they used to.

“Hurts So Good” (John Cougar – 1982) – But here I am a couple days later and those aches and pains are nearly a thing of the past and I’m well on the road to convincing myself that I need to try this stunt again. You know, the positives of a 43 bass day will still eventually outweigh the negative physical effects as the hours and days roll by. And don’t forget one other physical malady that is more of a badge of honor than a source of pain, good old bass thumb.

Thanks for tuning in and tune in again tomorrow for a blogging retrospective covering the last 15 years. Talk to you later. Troy

Eclipse Week Fishing Report 8/20-8/21

Since a couple vacation days in early August wound up returned in favor of work, I thought I’d try it again this week to coincide with the Eclipse. In addition, Julie was still a couple days away from having any kids at the aftercare program and all of ours were starting their first full week of school, so the stars were aligned. Always a roller coaster ride, however, when it comes to having a “plan.”


Flying solo but could’ve been 30 years ago, same place with Hack, JJ or Catfish.  These days editing GoPro footage by firelight, those days jamming on Apetite for Destruction or Guitar Town.

Date: August 20-21, 2017
Locations: Knox County, IL strip mines (2 lakes)
Time: 7:00-8:00pm (8/20) and 6:25-7:25am (8/21)
Weather: Partly cloudy/breezy (8/20) and Overcast to mostly ugly (8/21)
Air Temp: 80F (8/20) and 66F (8/21)
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 9 bass (7 on 8/20 and 2 on 8/21)
Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (Snow White shad) – 8 bass
5” Senko wacky rig (pumpkin with black flake) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 5-11 Senko
Top 5 Weight: 9-9 (5-11,1-1,1-1,1-0,0-12)

Notes & Nonsense

The Plan – Three days, two nights flying solo camping and fishing. Leave Sunday afternoon (left home at 5:00pm), camp overnight, fish Monday through Eclipse and return home to meet the kids at 3:00pm after school. Return to campsite that evening after Julie finishes up a back to school activity at 6:00pm. Overnight again and fish all day Tuesday with an evening return.

Best laid plans thwarted by Mother Nature, this pic does not do justice to the weirdness and ensuing ugliness.

Reality – Hour of fishing Sunday as planned after setting up camp. Peaceful and uneventful overnight with a nice campfire and some Miller Lites. One hour of fishing on Eclipse Day morning before some wicked skies sent me packing. Tried to wait out the storm but waved the white flag at 10:30am amidst thunder, lightning and some heavy rains. Tear down and pack in a shower and home by noon. Monday night camping called off with more t-storms forecast the bulk of overnight but looking to be casting Tuesday morning at sunrise if storms have run their course as predicted.

Eclipse Eve – solid start and looking forward to bigger and better things…

Eclipse Eve Fishing – 7:00pm to 8:00pm on a lake I haven’t visited for a while with an all-out buzzbait blitz due to limited window until sunset. Conditions are favorable with partly cloudy skies, a little color to the water and light chop. Seven bass come aboard but lacking a lunker with Top Bass at 1-1. Solid start, happy with the results and looking forward to the next launch in about ten hours.

Eclipse Day Fishing – Thought it would be fun to fish through the partial eclipse just to say I did, if nothing else. The fun started right off the bat with a 5-11 on a Senko wacky rig but was short lived with only one more fish (11.5” on a buzzbait) before the skies got scary, opened up and sent me home.

Eclipse Day Bass – short lived outing but got the bite you dream of when the heavens align

Top Bass – I caught my 5-11 less than ten minutes into my outing after my first two proven buzzbait spots failed to produce a strike. Stop number three is a solid Senko wacky rig area amidst some overhanging bushes so I changed it up and it came through yet again on the first cast to the tune of my largest Senko bass and the fifth biggest bass ever. Pretty wild as I never felt the hit, just saw the line moving to the right and reeled down and set the hook anticipating the usual pound and a half fish from the spot. A few tense moments with the 10-pound Trilene on my spinning rig before I got a look and knew I had something special. Airborne at one point and a missed first attempt with my Boga Grip had me nervous but it was meant to be and saved what would be a real short day on the water.

Casualties – Unfortunately no GoPro footage on the Top Bass as it bit the dust somehow while editing footage around the campfire the previous night. Julie mentioned that the fellow dropped it at purchase and said bring it back if any issues so got that on my to-do list. In addition, I thought I knocked my Fuji camera overboard after taking a spill on my tripod and crushing it when I lost my balance as my boat coasted into the bank. Not really sure on this one but had replaced the batteries after shooting pics of the big fish and apparently (and fortunately) did not re-attach to the tripod. I was kicking myself for the last half hour about losing the camera and all the pics on it before finding it safe and sound in one of my utility boxes. Thank goodness, strange turn of events, some days the mind and body let you know that they’ve seen better days.

Some highs and lows all in the span of about sixteen hours, better than being at work but some real weird and nervous outdoor moments had me wondering if I was better off inside. But still made the right choice in the overall evaluation of this adventure and hopefully it’s not over yet. If you are reading this as it hits the press, I intend to be on a pre-dawn drive to chase some more of those Knox County, IL strip mine bass, same as it ever was. Talk to you later. Troy

Summer Wrap – Lake Storey

A visit to Lake Storey is always a treat for our family. I was born and raised in Galesburg, IL and spent 47 of my 50 years living and working in the community. All of our kids were born there and my folks, siblings and their kids still call Galesburg home. Therefore, a visit to the campground, park and pool is typically a mini family reunion and a good time is had by all.


Rating: 5.0 Marshmallows (scale 1-5 Marshmallows with 5 being tops, rating is average of six family member votes)

Location: Lake Storey near Galesburg, IL (Knox County)
Camping: Allison Lake Storey Campground with 149 sites (21 full hookup, 88 electric and 40 primitive)
Attractions: Lakeside Pool (passes included with camping fee), Lake Storey Beach and Pavilion, park and athletic fields, paved lakeside trail, nearby Bunker Links Golf Course
Fishing: Lake Storey (133 acres) featuring largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, bullhead, muskie and some trophy carp. Trolling motor only restriction with watercraft rental available (johnboat, canoe and paddle boat).
Hiking/Trails: Just over 2.5 mile paved path on north side of lake and numerous unmarked trails through the surrounding timber


Our late July three day-two night camping trip was a winner once again. Plenty of family members stopped by to hang out and/or swim, a welcome bonus to the overall outdoor fun. A daybreak fishing trip with my brother, Brent, was also a success although our destination was some Knox County strip mines as opposed to Lake Storey as one drawback to the lake is the abundant weed growth in the summer. Give it a few more weeks when the annual fall drawdown drops the water level and I’ll likely be headed back for a traditional fall visit or two.

Many stories and adventures at this area over the years and a few more every time we return. This time around it included one of the kids getting sick behind the tent and another actually “watering” a tent during a bathroom break. Never a dull moment with kids in the outdoors. I’m sure my Mom and Dad can attest as well.

Family Poll: What did you like most about Lake Storey?

Helena: “I like Galesburg even though there’s nothing there anymore, Bath and Body even left the mall.”
Carly: “I like that you can walk to the pool and that we had enough room for two tents.”
Jayce: “Swimming.”
Zac: “Swimming.”
Mom: “Love the pool, amenities are close and the rebuilding of the campground playground equipment.”
Dad: “A lot boils down to nostalgia having camped or fished at Lake Storey as far back as I can remember. Some locals run the area down but I think it truly is a gem for all ages.”

Our family is sold on this location both for the fun and the homecoming aspect of the visits. Been on the return list since moving to the Quad Cities area (IL side) and no doubt will remain a favorite destination. Talk to you later. Troy

Summer Wrap – Johnson Sauk Trail

About a 40-minute drive into neighboring Henry County, IL is Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area which features a little bit of everything for the outdoor enthusiast. Over the years, I’ve had the occasion to do some camping, hiking and boating at the spot along with a little bit of fishing quite a few years ago. I had not visited the park since the early 2000’s so I was interested to see how my recollection matched up with the current state of the site. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised, our family enjoyed the day exploring and I definitely feel that it is on the “return visit” list at some point.

Rating: 4.0 Marshmallows (scale 1-5 Marshmallows with 5 being tops, rating is average of six family member votes)

Location: Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area, north of Kewanee, IL (Henry County)
Camping: 70 sites with electrical hook-ups (Class A) and 25 walk-in/tent only (Class C)
Attractions: Red Earth Café restaurant (check ‘em out on Facebook), camp store and Ryan’s Round Barn
Fishing: Johnson-Sauk Trail Lake (58 acres) featuring largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, bullhead, muskie and northern pike. Trolling motor only restriction with watercraft rental available (johnboat, kayak and paddle boat).
Hiking/Trails: Well signed, well maintained, easy to moderate rating and less than a mile on most trails, all aspects were a perfect fit for our crew

This will get your attention regarding fishing potential, 48″ muskie caught in 2003

Loons fit the bill


Ottawa Trail featured a very interesting tree 

Attached the GoPro to the boys on the trails, got some very interesting footage

Family Poll: What did you like most about Johnson-Sauk Trail?

Helena: “There were many trails so lots of options to choose from.”
Carly: “All the flowers and trees and the way they named the trails.”
Jayce: “Hiking with a GoPro.” (That’s a video camera, not his term for either of his folks.)
Zac: “The picnic because of the Mountain Dew.”
Mom: “I liked getting back to some plant ID.”
Dad: “Tree and plant ID with the girls as well as the lake which looked quite appealing unlike a visit many years ago when it was extremely weed choked. Several fishing pics in the camp store also caught my eye.”

(Note: plant ID mentioned by both parents, more on that aspect in future postings.)

Been many years since Julie and I had paid a visit and a different lifestyle back then in the days before kids. Several times in the past we had camped with a large group of friends who were all kid-free as well. Just a bit more of a challenge these days in terms of logistics and entertainment whether a day trip or overnight outing. I’d say that Johnson-Sauk Trail has what it takes for this bunch and some further exploration in the future. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Good news and bad news for this week’s update.

Good news first, we have an August bass. Our first of 2017 and only the sixth entry for August over the history of the Top 5 dating back to 2014.

Bad news is, we have an August bass, as in one lone fish for the month. Still over half a month to boost that total so what do you say we give it a go? Now, on to an example of how to get it done.

Weight: 2-5
Angler: Paul Kessler
Date: August 5
Location: Emiquon Preserve
Lure: Bass Pro Crack Craw (Blue Flex)
Top 5 Weight: 10-15 (3-4,2-12,2-10,2-5)

Well done, Paul, and thanks for continuing to plug away and fool one during the dog days. Here’s the challenge to anyone who wishes to play along, let’s shoot for at least five more August bass to break our 2014-2016 running total of five bass on our way to a strong finish in the remaining months of our 2017 quest. Talk to you later. Troy

Summer Wrap – Hennepin Canal

Now, when you talk Hennepin Canal, it can mean a whole lot of locations as the waterway consists of a main canal and feeder canal that traverse five northern Illinois counties and cover just over 100 miles.  The canal terminates at the Rock River near Colona, IL just a few miles from our home and several of us paid a visit earlier this year to that section for some fishing (click here).  However, this time our stop on the canal was just northeast of Sheffield, IL for a relatively brief walk around.

Unfortunately, the Visitor Center was closed at the time of our visit.  It’s been quite a few years since I took in the displays it offers but recall that it was certainly worth a look as it features a neat mix of the area’s history, both the natural and the man-made kinds.  We did take a hike across the bridge at the site, found some “secret” steps leading to the towpath and, of course, threw some sticks and walnuts into the water from high up on the bridge and low down at the lock.


Rating: 3.1 Marshmallows
(Scale of 1-5 Marshmallows, 5 is tops, rating is average of six family member votes)

Location: Hennepin Canal State Parkway near Sheffield, IL
Attractions: Visitor Center and Bridge #15
Camping: none at our stop but several along the length including a campground north of Geneseo, IL where our family camped back in 2007 (only two girls way back then).
Hiking/Trails:  The entire length of the canal is bordered by a towpath providing 155 miles of level hiking path.  Bikes and horses are also welcome although there are some stipulations.

Family Poll: What did you like most about the Hennepin Canal State Parkway?

Helena: “The bridge because of how old it was and liked throwing walnuts off of it.”
Carly: “I liked the big bridge because you could ride bikes on it and I liked looking down at the water and watching the sticks float by that we threw in.”
Jayce: “The view from the bridge and the face someone made on a tree.”
Zac: “The caterpillar hanging over the water and finding a knife.” (see pic below, kind of a weapon theme on our outings along with earlier Wildcat Den review)
Mom: “I liked throwing stuff from the bridge.”
Dad: “Fun to look at structures that were built between 1892 and 1907 and think of the human effort and ingenuity involved in the feat.  While it never panned out as a feasible commercial waterway it sure provides an extensive outdoor corridor over a hundred years later.”

Similar to Wildcat Den (click here), a weapon found by Zac, luckily, also not real

Tough for the kids to get an overall feel for this spot as it was a brief stop at the end of a full afternoon and they were just antsy to get home.  I would like to give it a return trip at some point when we can take in the Visitor Center and perhaps give camping a go somewhere along the line.  I’ve also been interested in giving fishing a try but never got around to it and not really sure where best to invest my time.  Got a few ideas but always open for any tips that anybody out there wants to send me via the email link on the page.

Top 5 Update tomorrow and another park review later in the week.  Talk to you later.  Troy

Summer Wrap – Wildcat Den

Kind of overdue on this project which was intended to provide a family oriented review and evaluation of our park visits throughout Summer Break. In fact, I had a rough draft of an introductory posting in my “In Progress” folder that was originally scheduled to post in mid-June. Oh well, too many fishing reports in the meantime put the concept on hold, nice problem to have. So, instead, you get a sort of “what we did on our Summer vacation” blitz as we complete our final days before back to school.

Kicking it off is a look back at a pre-Summer visit (actually Mother’s Day weekend) to Wildcat Den State Park in Muscatine County, IA. This marked our first ever trip to this location which was recommended by a couple folks more familiar with the Quad City area nature attractions as we are relative newcomers (still tough to believe this is our fourth summer up here though).

The plan was an afternoon/evening trip for some hiking, a picnic supper and some general exploring. The short jaunt did not disappoint as related in the following review.

Rating: 4.2 Marshmallows (scale 1-5 Marshmallows with 5 being tops, rating is average of six family member votes)

Location: About 8 miles east of Muscatine, IA and 15 miles west of Davenport, IA
Camping: Old school with no electrical service, pit toilets, no showers
Attractions: Pine Creek Grist Mill (built in 1848) and old Melpine Schoolhouse, several picnic areas and two playgrounds
Hiking/Trails: Our limited hike featured a well-kept trail with towering bluffs, a sidetrack to Pine Creek, several bridges and wooden steps along with a walk through “Fat Man’s Squeeze.”


Family Poll: What did you like most about Wildcat Den?

Helena: “The old schoolhouse.”
Carly: “Everything.”
Jayce: “The bluffs, the rocks, climbing over the roots and seeing a dead duck.”
Zac: “The weapons.” (see pic below for further explanation)
Mom: “It was a positive experience for our first family hiking trip. I liked hearing all the kids talking about how much fun they had, how cool it was and that they want to return.”
Dad: “Fun to see how the plant life finds a foothold on the towering bluffs, nature always finds a way to get it done.”

And to complete the trip, a snake and some “weapons” (butcher knife, boomerang, staff and katana)

Just can’t beat the great outdoors as the boys enjoyed running wild and imagining while the girls got a kick out of gaining some knowledge about the flora and history of this unique piece of The Hawkeye State. It’s definitely worth a peek if you are looking for a cool changeup in the typical landscape. I’m guessing we’ll be back as there are plenty more trails and landmarks to explore. Talk to later. Troy

Top 5 Stats

July 8 Terry Jackson (aka Dad) 3-8 Senko

Another month, another update as July proved to be a comeback sort of month after a disappointing June where no new entries showed up in the Inbox (or on the end of my line).

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 = 0 bass
July = 11 bass

July 8 Troy Jackson 5-0 Buzzbait

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 = no submissions
July = 21-0 (5-0,4-12,4-7,3-8,3-5)

July 15 Brent Jackson 1-5 Buzzbait

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 49 bass
Bank = 10 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight
Boat = 30-9 (6-15,6-2,6-0,5-15,5-9)
Bank = 20-2 (5-2,4-1,3-14,3-10,3-7)

July 15 Brent Jackson 1-6 Senko

Public vs. Private
Public = 29 bass
Private = 30 bass

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 27-3 (6-0,5-15,5-4,5-2,4-14)
Private = 29-4 (6-15,6-2,5-9,5-8,5-2)

July 16 4-12 Randy Sampson Sr. Fluke

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

Monthly Top Bass (* = new record)
*2-11 Mark Balbinot (no previous record)
5-2 Mark Balbinot
6-2 Troy Jackson
6-0 Randy Sampson Sr.
6-15 Mark Balbinot
No submissions
5-0 Troy Jackson

July 17 Troy Jackson 4-7 Whopper Plopper

Top 10 Bass (* = new Top 10 all-time)
*6-15  Mark Balbinot 5/13 (#7 all-time)
6-2   Troy Jackson 3/4
6-0   Randy Sampson Sr. 4/15
5-15 Mark Balbinot 4/14
5-9   Troy Jackson 4/25
5-8   Mark Balbinot 5/13
5-4   Jake Bresson Late May
5-2   Mark Balbinot 2/26
5-2   Jake Bresson 5/20
5-0   Troy Jackson 7/8

Angler Weights
27-10   Mark Balbinot (6-15,5-15,5-8,5-2,4-2)
24-10    Troy Jackson (6-2,5-9,5-0,4-7,3-8)
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)
8-10    Paul Kessler (3-4,2-12,2-10)
8-4 Brent Jackson (3-2,1-6,1-5,1-5,1-2)
5-6 Terry Jackson (3-5,1-3,0-14)

July 23 Troy Jackson 3-8 Buzzbait

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
Bonus Species – Walleye
Total = 118” Jake Bresson (26.5”,26.0”,25.5”,20”,20”) on Rapala X-Rap or jig & minnow
August is usually a rough one for the Top 5 with only 5 entries in the first three years.  Of course, if you’ve racked up a decent batch of fish already, it’s not quite as easy to beef up your haul.  But the fish don’t go on vacation, just got to find ‘em and fool ‘em as usual.  Best of luck to anyone out there giving it a shot, send ‘em this way if you get ‘em.  Talk to you later.  Troy