Month: September 2019

Friday Flashback – September 21, 2009

A look back at a blog feature that has since evolved into something I call “Lake Lowdown.” Today’s flashback includes an excerpt from the original September 28, 2009 post along with the pics of our catches and a few noteworthy peripheral items.

Originally Posted 9-28-09

While my initial “Day on the Lake” feature for 2009 turned into a weather shortened and embarrassing flop at Emiquon this April, our second attempt proved more fruitful. Dad also was a good sport when I revealed that I wanted to give Lake Storey a shot on September 21. However, he did comment at one point that he would have preferred another trip to Emiquon (can’t blame him as that place will spoil you). Anyway, for anyone unfamiliar with this annual feature, I document the specifics of every bass reeled in by either angler along with snapping a photo regardless of the size of the fish.

All told, we combine for fifteen bass as Dad edges me out by one fish. I claim Top Bass with a 2-10 but overall Dad lands more quality fish. We manage seven keepers among our catch (Dad 1-10, 1-10, 1-9, 1-0, 1-0 Troy 2-10, 1-4) with our five heaviest tipping the scales at 8-11. The Mann’s 4- leads the way with six fish followed by the Bomber Flat A and Brush Hog/Baby Brush Hog (3), the Rapala DT6 (2) and the Rapala DT10 (1).



Goodbye Old Friend – After hauling up one of my crankbaits from some sort of snag I observed that the eye on the end of my pole had busted off about an inch below the tip. There was a bit of sadness as the rod was an old Shimano Fightin’ Rod that represented the last of the original group of poles from my initial foray into the exciting and expensive world of bass fishing. That thing was close to twenty five years old so I had certainly gotten my money’s worth, ripping the hooks home for the better part of three decades. Dad mentioned repairing it but it was a rather short rod to begin with at 5’6” so I’ve decided to just say goodbye. I commented at the time that I should chuck it into the middle of Lake Storey as a fitting final resting place. However, some sort of environmental conscience got the best of me and I hauled it home for trash day instead.

Money Saver – While Dad’s Mann’s 4- crankbait was the hottest lure of the day, another important tool from my tacklebox also had a starring role. My lure retriever saved our crankbaits at least half a dozen times (a bare minimum of $25 in savings), never failing to dislodge the treble hooks from various submerged snags. Along the way we caught stumps, logs, several pieces of fishing line whose owners need to purchase lure retrievers and even an anchor rope at The Most Fished Tree.

Budding Angler – Regardless of how the fish were biting, Dad and I had plans to reach the fishing shelter at Cannon Hill around 10:45am. Julie was bringing Carly and Jayce out to visit with us after picking up Carly from pre-school. We had a little life jacket ready and Carly took us up on an offer for her first ride in “the big boat” while it was actually on the water (she hangs out in the boat in Papa’s garage on occasion). She loved it and at one point inquired about her Princess pole. While we hadn’t brought it along I was proud of my girl for wanting to get in on the fun.

Old friend, teammate, fishing buddy and college opponent, Arnie Gonzalez

Gonzo – During my annual fall visits to Lake Storey, I rarely fail to cross paths with a longtime buddy. Coach Arnie Gonzalez and I have been friends since kindergarten and played high school and Legion baseball together. He’s been the head baseball coach at Galesburg High School for quite a few years and teaches an Outdoor Living class which is why I see him (more accurately hear him first) with his students at the lake. It’s always good to see him and we had a good visit from boat to bank. Over the years, we racked up many adventures, fishing, sports and otherwise. But one of my favorites will always be a changeup he delivered that looked like a beach ball on a 3-2 count during a Knox-Monmouth baseball game many years ago. After the pitch, we just gave each other a slight nod of acknowledgement as I trotted around the bases. I will admit that he also got the best of me during some matchups, but since this is my story, you’ll have to ask him for any details.

Storey vs. Emiquon – After experiencing the unprecedented bass fishing action at Emiquon, it is quite tempting to forego fishing any other body of water. However, Lake Storey does have its merits that draw me back year in and year out. If you listen to some locals, “Lake Storey is dirty” or “has no fish in it.” Wrong, big time, but I’m glad that many feel that way because it leaves more fish for me and Dad. From my experience you’ve got to work for your fish but therein lies the reward. There’s an undeniable satisfaction from fooling a 2-10 at the challenging lake that rivals the “got to see it to believe it” feeding frenzy that one can take part in at Emiquon. In addition, every cast made while bass fishing at Lake Storey has the potential for an “accident.” There are muskies in there that are scary, I’ve seen them up close and they get your attention. So will a nearly eight pound walleye like I stumbled upon last October. Granted there are some nice fish at Emiquon but it was pure luck that I got my picture taken with one of them.

Looks like another rainy weekend around here. Dang! Although that didn’t get in the way last weekend…Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Extras – September 22


There’s an old saying about “not having enough sense to come in out of the rain.” Well, I would counter that statement with something along the lines of “nobody with any sense would walk away from a good bite.” And walking was a key component of this fishing trip. The definite risk was hiking in about two circuitous miles with the impending inclement weather. The potential reward was a good batch of bites. In the end, both aspects materialized as further detailed today with a lyrically filled post emphasizing “rain.”

Some old rain pics as evidence that you you won’t melt and the fish will bite

“I’m No Stranger to the Rain” (Keith Whitley – 1989) – When faced with potential precipitation I often resort to the old familiar refrain of “we’ve been wet before.” And as you can see above, we did okay, wound up no worse for wear and learned our lesson. That lesson being, as long as there’s no lightning, you better take your shot because there are a lot of good stories in those rainy pics.

If this is fishing in the rain, I’ll take it. Took my backup “rainy day” log (on right) and transferred data post trip 

“Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” (B.J. Thomas – 1971) – Indeed, they did. Rainfall consisted of a light rain during my pre-dawn walk in, a brief shower about 7:00am calling for donning the raincoat and a downpour during the last hour of casting and hiking back to the truck. But hey, “I’m never gonna stop the rain by complaining” with 47 bass in the logbook. And with a change of clothes in the truck “nothing’s worrying me.”


“Blame It on the Rain” (Milli Vanilli – 1989) – The rain showed up full force about 10:15am and continued steadily at varying degrees through my final cast at 11:50am. During the downpour, the bite was inversely proportional to the severity of the showers. The heavier the rain the lighter the bite while my better fish of the day showed up as the rainfall eased a bit.


“Fool in the Rain” (Led Zeppelin – 1979) – I wasn’t sure what to make of the iPhone Live Photo feature at first but have found it to be kind of fun, albeit a little creepy in some instances. As I played around editing pics for these latest reports I found that I could actually put one of them to use. I was simply snapping the “after” shot to go with the “before” pic I had taken at the parking lot to start the morning but found that the motion revealed plenty about a wet, walk-in adventure. Five miles, deep weeds, undulating terrain, hauling gear, rough footing, 47 bass and a 52-year old body. I’d had a good day, but for me the video loop above also says that I’d had enough. Just plain wore out.

A good representation of how the day progressed from early to late

Anytime I can post a 47 bass morning, I’m good. Bigger fish would have just been icing on the cake. I knew the rain would show up at some point and planned accordingly for the long walk. Rain gear was an obvious choice but I also scaled down to “only” four poles and bare bones on tackle. In fact, in terms of that latter aspect I actually overdid it as I needed only four lures to fool my nearly four dozen bass. Yep, now that I’m not so sore anymore, I’d gladly take another shot at being the fool out there on those strip mine hills. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – September 22

In a bold move, I dared to doubt the weatherman last Sunday and the 90-100% prediction of rain all morning, all afternoon and all evening. Call me a “fool”, but for most of my morning on some walk-in strip pits, it actually worked out just fine. And speaking of “fools”, I had so much fun with the lyrical fishing report notes last week that I am doing it again. Twice for this outing, in fact. “Fool” songs in today’s standard report and a “rain” theme for tomorrow’s extras.

Extended an invite but could not “Find Another Fool” (Quarterflash – 1982)

Ready to hike and fingers crossed as it looks like a dry window after all

Date: September 22, 2019
Location: Knox County, IL public strip mines (5 lakes)
Time: 6:15am-11:50am (4.50 hours fishing, the rest hiking)
Weather: Overcast/breezy/rain
Air Temp: 72-69F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 47 bass
Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 22 bass
Booyah Buzzbait (snow white shad) – 12 bass
Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (snow white shad) – 11 bass
Zoom Baby Brush Hog (watermelon seed) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 1-13
Top 5 Weight: 7-12 (1-13,1-11,1-11,1-8,1-1)

7:03am First bass and 7:46am first “keeper”

Notes and Nonsense

“What a Fool Believes” – (The Doobie Brothers – 1979)
All day Saturday I checked the weather forecast only to find 100% chance of rain every hour from about 4:00am into the afternoon. Tough call but I opted to go for it and lucked into a window of mostly dry skies from my 6:15am arrival until about 10:15am. I’m glad I elected to disregard the weather app and take my chances. Oh, I still got soaked, but I already had about 40 bass in the log by that point.


“What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am” – (Lee Roy Parnell – 1992)
First off, that is one of those “rhetorical” questions. Anyway, I texted out an invitation on Saturday afternoon to a fellow fishing fool who politely declined as previously noted. And to tell you the truth I was beginning to wonder as well. For while the forecast had shifted towards the dry window noted above it sure was pouring on the drive down. From the I-74 Edwards River crossing until just shy of Galva on Route 17 it was raining so hard that I could barely see the road at times. Fortunately, less than 10 miles to the south there was barely any precipitation despite some ugly skies.


“Poor Little Fool” – (Ricky Nelson – 1958)
Actually, my Red Eye Shad fooled several poor little fools in the 6” range. That says a lot about the predatory instincts of the largemouth bass as these overachievers certainly bit off more than they could chew. One of their bigger brothers was fooled too but made a fool of me within a couple feet of the bank. Yep, the “one that got away”, more on that incident in a follow up post.

11:11am Top Bass 16″ 1-13 

“Fool If You Think It’s Over” (Chris Rea – 1978)
With a Top Bass of 1-13, the quality of my catches certainly left room for improvement. That’s been the theme for my 2019 as I just can’t find those big bites. In the case of the lakes fished on this trip, three of them had produced over half a dozen bass from 3-0 to 4-6 since 2013. But while I failed to find those quality bites again, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over and I intend to make at least a few more casts before I call it quits on 2019 fishing.

Some final totals beyond the bass (grocery shopping included that afternoon)

“Fool Hearted Memory” (George Strait – 1982)
As time passes I must admit to wrestling more and more with the decision to put these adventures behind and pursue some lower impact fishing. Throw in a saturated landscape that got even more saturated during the last hour and a half of wandering around and those thoughts crossed my mind again. But here I am several days later with the aches fading and a chance to relive the catches via blogging and editing, well, you know the rest.

Back tomorrow with Part II from a fool that doesn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain. Fishing will do that to you. Talk to you later. Troy


Top 5 Update

Ten pounds of bass make for quite a cull this week and push a second angler into the 20-pound club for 2019.

Weight: 5-0
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: September 22
Location: Warren County pond
Lure: Swim Jig

Weight: 5-3
Angler: Chris Schwarz
Date: September 22
Location: Warren County pond
Lure: Swim Jig
Angler Comments: 5-3 and 5-0 on back to back casts on a swim jig.
Top 5 Weight: 20-10 (5-3,5-0,3-11,3-10,3-2) culls a 2-10 and 2-7

Outstanding fish, Chris, and well done on passing the 20-pound mark. Still more year to go so everybody keep on casting. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – September 21, 2014

Today’s flashback is nearly five years ago to the day and was quite a trip in terms of quantity. Below is the original post in its entirety providing a testament for choosing boots over boats if you have the access and are willing to put forth the effort.

Originally Posted 10-9-14

After forty one days without a fishing trip I was eager to rip some lips and faced the usual fall dilemma of where to ply my trade. The Lake Storey drawdown is always an eagerly awaited annual challenge but the recent rain had filled it back up quicker than the water was flowing out of the drain. Snakeden beckoned as it closes on October 15 and I’d neglected the site this year after catching my first few bass on an “old faithful” pothole back in late March. Little John Conservation Club is a winner although I tend to hit it more heavily in spring and summer and don’t get too antsy for one more shot as compared to the waterfowl season “shutdown” fishing holes. No offense, waterfowlers, but I’ve long borne a grudge towards those darn ducks and geese that deny me access to my fishing holes. In the end I choose another batch of Knox County public strip pits that shutdown on September 30 and invited my younger brother along for another cross country, walk-in pursuit of uneducated bass. And boy did we find ‘em!

Quality could have been better for me but no complaint on quantity as noted below

Date: September 21, 2014
Location: Knox County strip mines
Time: 8:50am-3:50pm (5 hours fishing, the rest walking)
Weather: Partly cloudy/windy
Air Temp: 65-72F
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 135 bass (9 different lakes)
Brent Totals: 67 bass
Troy Totals: 68 bass
Lures Brent (no specific lure totals available):
Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad), Emiquon Special Spinnerbait (brown/orange), Zoom Baby Brush Hog
Lures Troy:
Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 35 bass, Senko weighted wacky rig (baby bass) – 15 bass, Booyah Counterstrike Spinnerbait (salt &pepper) with twin tail trailer (salt & pepper) – 10 bass, Yum Wooly Curltail (green pumpkin) – 8 bass
Top Bass Brent: 3-13 Emiquon Special
Top Bass Troy: 1-4 Strike King Red Eye Shad
Top 5 Combined Weight: 9-11 (3-13, 2-0, 1-9, 1-4, 1-1)

Brent with a 2-0 in this pic that I shot from across the lake

Notes & Nonsense

Slinging Blades – Me and spinnerbaits used to make a pretty good pair for quite a few years. But for the last twelve or fourteen years it’s been rather hit and miss. And if it were not for a place called the Emiquon Preserve, my spinnerbait totals would be quite paltry when compared to back in the day. Regardless of usage and results, I’ve been a fan as long as I’ve chased bass so it was cool to set the hook on a handful of Booyah blade bites, the first of 2014. Every type of bait has its merits, its feel and, after thirty years of bass fishing, its history. It was certainly welcome feedback to once again feel my retrieve get heavy, skip a beat or go slack as a spinnerbait biting bass will do.

Emiquon Special II – Speaking of spinnerbaits, I was not at all surprised to watch Brent wield his go to bait with uncanny effectiveness yet again. For many years he put a hurt on the bass with a homemade spinnerbait that would eventually garner the moniker of “The Emiquon Special” after it was a major contributor on his 98 bass day back when that crazy fishery was hitting on all cylinders. Well, the original lure finally gave out resulting in a new version of the old weapon. It still seems to work the same although Brent did point out one noticeable difference with a reverent nod to the legend in stating, “This one’s still got paint on the head.” Another trip like this one though…

I got a kick out of Brent secretly snapping this pic of my makeshift selfie setup

Front Row Seat – Okay, so I was actually standing but nonetheless it’s a good figure of speech. On a spot I call Far Lake, I had a perch several feet above the lake surface where about a three foot weedless chute cut through the weedline on a fair drop off. The water was pretty clear allowing me to watch half a dozen or more bass suddenly appear out of nowhere as my retrieve neared its end and just smash my Red Eye Shad. It was awesome to watch those camouflaged predators bolt from their ambush points and nail their target in a flash. It further reinforced the contention of Dad, Brent and I that there is no way you could reel a lure fast enough to keep it away from a hungry bass. The vantage point also reminded me how cool the bank can be as there are perspectives to be found that outrank any fancy bass boat. And those perspectives also provide some incentive to keep hiking in to places like Far Lake which got its name for just the reason one might suspect.

Top Bass of the day at 3-13 for Brent. Had these two met before? Read below.

Makes You Wonder – Back in April, Brent and I hit this same location and many of the same lakes to the tune of 107 combined bass. Our quality was much better on that trip with our Top 5 coming in at 17-2. Included in that bunch was a 3-8 fooled by Brent with a jig and pig on a spot I call Horseshoe Lake. Fast forward to this trip and Brent lands a 3-13 from the same lake while standing pretty much in the same spot, this time on his Emiquon Special. Was it the same fish? Who knows? What I do know is that I need to beat him to that spot when we head back next year (or leave him home).

A bass I called #3772 but that’s another story…

It should come as no surprise that we had a good time. Trekking across the undulating terrain of the strip mines can be taxing and it can be a drag walking half a mile to get to a spot that is only a few hundred yards away as the crow flies. But that’s part of the deal; known that and done that for a long time. The legs are tired and the back is sore after one of these adventures as are wrists, forearms and shoulders from reeling in all those bass. Nice aches to have, I can live with that.

Once again, glad that I took to documenting these outings as it helps me remember stuff I forgot. Talk to you later. Troy

Lake Storey Report – September 15

A second consecutive Sunday on Lake Storey with my brother, Brent, proved to be another winner. Lots of bass and plenty of other stuff including a batch of song titles to compliment my standard fishing report format.

9:14am 15″ 1-12 Spinnerbait

10:03am 15″ 1-11 Spinnerbait

“Lowdown” (Boz Scaggs – 1976)

Date: September 15, 2019
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 8:50am-3:05m
Weather: Overcast to sunny/windy and some rain
Air Temp: 66-84F
Water Temp: 73-74F
Totals: 21 bass (Brent – 12 bass, Troy – 9 bass)
Brent: Spinnerbait (white) w/ tandem hammered blades (copper) – 9 bass
Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait (grey ghost) – 2 bass
Senko wacky rig (bumblebee) – 1 bass
Troy: Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 4 bass
Zoom Baby Brush Hog (watermelon) – 3 bass
Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (bluegill) w/ twin tail trailer (smoke) – 1 bass
Bomber Long A Jerkbait (red/yellow) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-2 (Troy), 1-15 (Brent)
Top 5 Weight: 9-5 (2-2,1-15,1-13,1-12,1-11)

“The Rain, the Park & Other Things” (The Cowsills – 1967)

“Who’ll Stop the Rain” (Credence Clearwater Revival – 1970) – The original plan was to be on the water before sunrise, roughly 6:15am. The reality was a nasty thunderstorm that delayed my 45 minute drive as Plan B was to meet at Dad’s garage at 7:00am instead. Brent and Dad had already been hanging out there for an hour when I arrived and we didn’t actually get to head to the lake until about 8:30am.

“Double Vision” (Foreigner – 1978) – The bass are rather wily on the heavily pressured waters of Lake Storey so two in the boat (a “double”) is cause for a photo. Or two photos in this case as I was too busy shooting to realize that Brent was doing the same back in my direction. Cool idea, makes for a little something different for the fishing report.

12:20pm 1-15 Spinnerbait

“It’s Raining Again” (Supertramp – 1982) – Although the forecast indicated the rain was supposed to be done by 9:00am, a fairly heavy downpour came calling around 10:00am. Luckily, we had our rain gear at the ready which apparently was not the case for some other anglers launching their boat. We saw them backing down the ramp as the rain began but they were nowhere in sight by the time it subsided roughly 20 minutes later.

“Fly Like an Eagle” (Steve Miller Band – 1976) – A cool sight was a bald eagle that was spotted several times as we fished our way around the lake. In addition, we spotted another large bird of prey, an osprey, for the second weekend in a row. Several great blue herons, green herons, a couple kingfishers and some unidentified ducks at a distance rounded out a quality bird list.

My portion of the lures that fooled our fish

“One Way or Another” (Blondie – 1979) – During our 15 bass outing on Lake Storey the previous Sunday, the bass told us that a spinnerbait was all we needed. Indeed, our pair of spinnerbait selections fooled every one of our catches and with such positive feedback we hardly threw anything else. On this outing, the spinnerbait was still the top producer but caught less than half of our haul. It was fun to alternate baits on different spots to find an effective presentation and Brent actually caught one on each of the three poles he had on board. You don’t see that every day as he often finds no reason to set the spinnerbait aside.

1:39pm 15.5″ 1-13 Red Eye Shad

Not a soul all day but a crowd shows up at our 3:05pm quitting time, go figure

“Still the Same” (Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – 1978) – With the ugly morning weather it was no surprise that we launched mid-morning at an empty ramp. What was surprising was to only see one other boat on the water, a family who had launched at the opposite end of the lake. However, what was not surprising was the crowd that showed up to end the day. In fact, I commented to Brent as we headed to our final spot at 2:48pm that we had not seen a soul in the lot all day but just wait…Sure enough, as we got within a couple casts of the ramp, three bank anglers arrived and began fishing the launch area as did two trailers. I’d give the first crew about a C- if I were grading boat launching while the second guy did quite well with the added pressure of me heading to our truck and trailer. I did offer to assist as he was flying solo but he had it covered in fine fashion. No big deal as we were in no hurry but I swear, it never fails.

2:14pm Top Bass 16.5″ 2-2 Baby Brush Hog

All in all, “One Fine Day” on the water (The Chiffons – 1963). But “Enough is Enough” (April Wine – 1982) as I don’t want to contribute to any “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” (Freddy Fender – 1975). “Talk to ya later.” (The Tubes – 1981). Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes 8/31 & 9/1 – Part II

Round two of the recent radio trip down memory lane, so read on.

5. “If You Want My Love” – Cheap Trick (1982) – The guys from Rockford, Illinois just aren’t heard from enough on the radio. Seems like it’s either “I Want You to Want Me” or “Surrender” and that’s about it. So, when you get one like this love song you’ve got to turn it up and sing along. Be careful though trying to get too close to Robin Zander’s delivery as you may hurt yourself. Probably best if you’re riding solo too, at least if your vocal talents rival yours truly.

4. “Don’t Ask Me Why” – Billy Joel (1980) – I still recall getting the “Glass Houses” 8-track from the Columbia House Record and Tape Club. How cool was it to pore over the ad in some periodical as you narrowed down your dozen selections for a mere penny? My folks and some mowing money covered the rest of the “contract” helping to fill several old wood grain cassette and 8-track storage boxes. As far as this tune it was one of many favorites on that “Glass Houses” album back in the days when you listened to those 8-track tapes start to finish, mid-tune skips between programs and all.

3. “Takin’ Care of Business” – Bachman Turner Overdrive (1973) – Rock and roll at its finest with this enduring tune from some north of the border rockers. Apparently, they weren’t fishermen as evidenced by the lyric, “If it were easy as fishin’”. Then again, perhaps it’s either tongue in cheek or maybe I just take this fishing thing to seriously or perhaps I just need some more practice to make it easier. Whatever the case, BTO always provides an enjoyable musical escape as the boys just turn it up and let it ride.

2. “Fox on the Run” – Sweet (1975) – Who knew a “fox” wasn’t exclusively a red furred, bushy tailed canine? Not the eight year old kid who was digging this tune along with other Sweet favorites like “Little Willy” and “Ballroom Blitz.” Some darn good glam rock from the radio filled days of my youth featuring entertaining and varied genres on the airwaves. From song to song in 1975 you could hear singer/songwriters (ex: James Taylor), art rockers (David Bowie), crossover artists (Freddy Fender), soft rock balladeers (Barry Manilow), hard rockers (Doobie Brothers), funky folks (Ohio Players), comebackers (Neil Sedaka), disco beginnings (K.C. & the Sunshine Band), instrumentalists (Average White Band) and even novelty singles (Ray Stevens). Yet more reasons it was good to be a kid.

1. “Hey Nineteen” – Steely Dan (1980) – “Way back when in ‘67” begins this cut from the duo of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker with an assist from an ensemble of polished players. Well, that year was when it all started for me, literally. Which put me at 13 when this tune peaked at #10 on the Billboard chart. At that time, I represented the youthful disconnect that the singer observes in a young lady from the younger generation. Now, 39 years after the release of the single, the shoe is on the other foot. I suppose at this point I relate (or is it resemble) some lyrics from the second verse. “She thinks I’m crazy but I’m just growing old.” Now, that’s the mark of a great song, a different interpretation at a different stage of life.

Ah, these are fun for me, brings back lots of memories when assessing each of these three or four minute escapes courtesy of the radio dial. But up next, it’s back to contemporary memory making with another trip to Lake Storey. Hope you’ll tune back in for the latest fishing report and talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes 8/31 & 9/1 – Part I

For better or worse, here we go again with another trek into some tunes from a pair of fishing drives back on August 31 and September 1. First half today and the Top 5 tomorrow.

10. “California Girls” – David Lee Roth (1984) – Once upon a time MTV played music videos and some were better than others in terms of being attention getting. As a 17 year old kid headed down the home stretch of high school I must say that some of the extras in this shoot were extra eye catching. And looking back now, I still think, “Boy, I bet it was pretty cool being David Lee Roth.” Energetic and fun, he does it up right with this remake of The Beach Boys classic.

9. “Macho Man” – Village People (1978) – If you were a 10 or eleven year old kid like I was when these guys hit the scene you know you liked this one. This cut along with “In The Navy” and, of course, “Y.M.C.A.” all had that hook and had you singing along. I suspect you still do, it’s okay to admit it. It is kind of wild to look back and realize that those three tunes all hit the airwaves within slightly over a year before radio airplay pretty much left the fellows behind. But if you are old enough to have had an ear on the radio as the 70s were drawing to a close, these cuts are stuck in your head. I admit that I’m chuckling a bit at the thought of “Macho, macho man” pestering you the rest of the day.

8. “Clap for the Wolfman” – The Guess Who (1974) – Was there anybody cooler than “Wolfman Jack” back in the day? His gravelly voice, cool delivery and hip lingo left quite an impression during his gig on “The Midnight Special” and other various television appearances. And this seldom heard gem from The Guess Who features a collection of rambles and phrases form the subject of the song such as “she was diggin’ the cat on the radio”. Having been raised on the radio, “The Wolfman” and Larry Lujack and John Records Landecker of WLS were my vintage of disc jockeys. The term and role of DJ has since evolved and expanded as my kids now call a guy with a marshmallow head a “DJ.” Kudos to his creativity but for crying out loud he doesn’t even speak. Nope, these days I get my fix with the likes of “Uncle Tim” and “Mamma C” and “Tazz” on Vintage Radio WQUD 107.7FM out of Erie, IL. “Vintage Radio”, huh? Guess that means I’m old and in this case older is better, of course.

7. “Creeque Alley” – The Mamas & the Papas (1967) – This autobiographical romp through some folk, pop and rock history is a fun four minute journey. I’ve long marveled at how songwriters can tell a story that covers all the bases and hits you with a hook all in the span of a what was generally considered a radio friendly length (roughly 3:45 in this case). For this tune to tell its tale there’s an interesting batch of rhymes like “Mugwumps, love bumps, high jumps, low slumps, big bumps.” Add a little name dropping with McGuinn and McGuire, as well as Zal, Sebastian and the Spoonful. Throw in a fishing reference in “tryin’ to get a fish on the line” and finish it off with a catchy hook that concludes with “everyone’s getting fat except Mama Cass.” Of course, the basic musical accompaniment, blend of voices and shout out to “California Dreamin” just flat out hit the spot.

6. “Hungry Heart” – Bruce Springsteen (1980) – I dig many things lyrical and a killer opening line certainly gets your attention. “Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack, I went out for a ride and I never went back.” Yikes, that’s pretty heavy, leaves you wondering if you really want to stick around and see where this thing is going to end up. Of course, you can’t resist the infectiousness of this tune from “The Boss” that reinforces the turmoil with phrases like “took a wrong turn’, “don’t make no difference”, and “we ripped it apart.” Gotta like a lyricist who can turn a two syllable word into five and make it work, “Everybody’s got a hu-u-un-ga-ry heart” (something like that).

An interesting mix as usual, nothing like surfing the airwaves on the way to the fishing hole. Sometimes almost wish the ride was a little longer when the tunes are hitting the spot. Okay, maybe exaggerating a bit but I’m sure fellow music fans know how it goes. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

One limit filled and a pair of culls as we move into the final official week of summer.

Weight: 2-7
Angler: Landon Hannam
Date: September 14
Location: Private pond
Lure: Z-Man Chatterbait with swimbait trailer
Angler Comments: First bass on the chatterbait since earlier this spring.
Top 5 Weight: 6-14 (2-7,1-4,1-2,1-1,1-0)

Weight: 5-0
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: September 15
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Chatterbait
Angler Comments: Throwing a chatterbait over weedline into deeper channel, hit right at weed edge.
Top 5 Weight: 24-7 (5-3,5-0,4-14,4-12,4-10) culls a 4-8

Weight: 1-15
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: September 15
Location: Lake Storey
Lure: Spinnerbait (white)
Structure: Laydown
Top 5 Weight: 10-14 (2-14,2-6,1-15,1-15,1-12) culls a 1-10

Keep on casting as there’s plenty of good bites left out there as we head into another season. Hoping to find time to get another Lake Storey fishing report completed as well as an overdue Top 10 Trip Tunes feature. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – September 14, 1999

Once upon a time, me and my girlfriend could pretty much pack up the truck and go whenever we wanted. Perhaps it would take a vacation day or two from work but there were plenty of those to go around with the jobs we had at the time. And considering we were kid free it sure made the packing and the planning just a tad bit easier too.

Kind of hard to remember that lifestyle twenty years, a marriage and four kids later. All good though, been a wild ride and kind of funny how you shift gears, get more responsible and become parents.

But that’s all another story. The happily ever after part that’s still being written.

20 years later and I’ve still got the hat, the sweatshirt and most importantly, the girl (Julie’s still got that camping chair too).

Instead, we’re going back to 1999 today at Morrison-Rockwood Park in Whiteside County, Illinois. Julie and I selected the location for a late summer camping trip and chose to bring Dad’s boat in tow to try our luck on the site’s Lake Carlton.

Chivalry is not dead when a fellow buys a fishing license for that special lady.

From the pics below, you can see who the winning angler was during some exploration of the lake. Yep, the wannabe bass fishing guy was outfished by his companion two to zero. I used to joke that if someone caught more fish than I did on a trip that I wouldn’t take them anymore. Not entirely true, of course. In fact, when you get outdone on the water by your girlfriend that should serve as a hint that perhaps you have found a keeper. Took me two more years to pop the question but obviously glad I did all of these years later.


Speaking of all of these years later, we should actually try to go fishing again sometime. Anybody up for taking care of a batch of kids? Talk to you later. Troy