Month: March 2022

Friday Flashback – April 8, 2017

You never know what you will get in terms of weather in early April. From today’s flashback it appears that it was rotten and windy to start April 2017. It seems that the wind did not subside for this outing, but the weather took a turn for the better and hit the comfortable range.

Originally Posted 5-13-17

Date: April 8, 2017
Locations: Knox County public strip mines (7 lakes)
Time: 10:45am-5:20pm (5.00 hrs. fishing the rest walking)
Weather: Sunny/very windy
Air Temp: 55F-72F
Water Temp: 53-58F
Totals: 20 bass
Lures: Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) with twin tail trailer (salt & pepper) – 13 bass, 3/8 oz. Strike King Rattlin’ Jig (black/blue) with #11 pork frog (black) – 5 bass, KVD 2.5 Rattling Squarebill Crankbait (sexy ghost minnow) – 1 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 3-6 Jig & Pig
Top 5 Weight: 10-0 (3-6,2-1,1-12,1-8,1-5)

12:58pm – Top Bass at 3-6 on a jig & pig

Notes & Nonsense

Strip Mines – Walk-in only access is a double-edged sword on these waters. On the upside, it offers off the beaten path angling and a stick and jab approach with numerous potholes; no bites in fifteen minutes or so, move on to the next body of water. The downside is the fact that my iPhone Health app recorded a total walking distance of 5.2 miles from 10:19am when I left my truck until 5:50pm when I got back (13,365 steps for any Fitbit fans out there). And this ain’t exactly a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood as undeveloped strip mine terrain pretty much stinks. Last fall I performed a similar stunt and wasn’t sure I wanted to pull it again. However, as I surmised, an early season trip is much more user friendly as the weeds are manageable (both terrestrial and aquatic) and no mosquitoes yet compared to the previous outing where I darn near needed a transfusion.

Weather – Though I wound up a bit sore, bank fishing was definitely the right choice on this day as the wind was howling out of the south and would have been a bear to deal with in a little johnboat. In addition, the recent heavy rains in the area had really pumped up the lakes to a fuller pool than I have ever seen before. Even so, they were not muddied up and with the wind chop on the surface and the windblown banks being riled up it really made for some favorable conditions. If there was anything that was less than optimal it was a lack of cloud cover but after barely seeing the sun in early April, no complaint, I can deal with it.


Textbook Success – Top Bass came in a classic spot on my first cast after relocating to fishing hole number three. This narrow cut/pothole runs north to south meaning that on this day the wind was just pounding a ledge on the north end that drops rapidly from about two feet into ten plus. My jig and pig offering was met with a telltale tick after a couple hops down the drop and the result was a 3-6 bass with an impressive well-fed gut. Pretty cool when it works like that, but I will also admit that during the day there were many similar, can’t miss setups that just didn’t pan out despite considerable effort. Runner up Top Bass at 2-1, however, did show up in a windblown chute on a spinnerbait after the jig and the underspin proved ineffective. Lesson here is that if you think a spot sets up to hold a fish give it a variety of offerings before giving up.

A productive day on the water and what a nice day to be outside. I’d waited all the way since February for this one, kind of a weird year. Between the sun and wind, I even wound up looking like a real bass fisherman with a burnt nose, cheeks and neck combined with pale eyes and forehead. When it was all said and done, my back put up some protest regarding my habit of hauling too much tackle and one knee was a bit stiff but overall, I was pleased with my ability to successfully pull off this stunt one more time. Might just have to do it again…

And that’s the plan, possibly this weekend or next depending on how some factors come into play. As always, there will be a follow-up fishing report here on the blog. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes – March 20, Part II

On with the countdown…

5. Rainbow in the Dark – Dio (1983)
80s metal at its finest with the stellar vocals of lead man, Ronnie James Dio. RJD had previously enjoyed stints with Black Sabbath and like this song title, Rainbow. An accomplished heavy metal hero, indeed. I picture a group of rebellious heavy metal teens at the sandlot completing the baseball bat routine to pick teams from metal royalty. The kid in the black t-shirt and jeans comes out on top and says, “I’ll take Ronnie.”

4. Run Like Hell – Pink Floyd (1979)
Of course, I don’t know the guy, but this tunes lyricist, Roger Waters, is obviously a creative fellow. Prevailing opinion also finds him to be a bit cantankerous which is rather unfortunate for those who enjoy the Pink Floyd catalog from the Gilmour, Waters, Wright, Mason (and don’t forget Barrett) years. Yes, I put Gilmour first just to see if I get any nasty comments from a reader tagged as “Roger.” At any rate, I dig this tune from The Wall, particularly the line, “’Cause if they catch you in the backseat trying to pick her locks” which takes many a middle-aged guy back just a few years. And I’ll just leave it at that.

3. Forever Man – Eric Clapton (1985)
My number three song of the Top 10 Trip Tunes actually comes in at number two on my all-time favorite Clapton tunes. Me, my brother, Bub, and a couple of his buddies have recently been doing a weekly top songs list for artists with a new letter each week (A – Aerosmith, B – Bad Company, C – Clapton and this week D – Doobie Brothers). It’s been a fun project that gives you a week to compile your list. My Clapton Top 10 in order: No Alibis, Forever Man, I Can’t Stand It, Wonderful Tonight, Layla, Promises, I’ve Got a Rock and Roll Heart, Bell Bottom Blues, Next Time You See Her and Ain’t Gonna Stand for It.

2. The Chain – Fleetwood Mac (1977)
I remember sitting in Mr. Rich’s class on the first day of fifth grade at Steele Middle School. We were completing one of those “list your favorite…” items as a get to know you exercise. One of the questions was “Favorite Album.” Well, a ten-year old with his clock radio set to WLS 890AM knew that there was only one answer to that question during the late summer of 1977. “Rumours” it was, even though my Top 40 radio only scratched the surface, and it was years later before I got a true appreciation for “The Chain” and other cuts from the record. Just as great nearly forty-five years later and I am fairly sure that the fifth-grade incident in Mr. Rich’s classroom actually happened.

1. Rock with You – Michael Jackson (1979)
Man, what a tune. Kick it off with some drums and then throw everything into the mix for the next three and a half minutes. Disco, funk, pop, horns, strings, synthesizers, smooth vocals, holy cow! This cut was written by Rod Temperton, the musical genius behind Heatwave’s “Boogie Nights” and “Groove Line,” George Benson’s “Give Me the Night,” and The Brothers Johnson’s “Stomp” along with a couple other Michael Jackson tunes you might know, “Off the Wall” and “Thriller.” To this day, such a parade of Temperton jams grace the airwaves on a regular basis at my house. An unlikely and low-key songwriter, Temperton was nicknamed “The Invisible Man.” How I would have loved to have seen him on “What’s My Line” or “To Tell the Truth” back in the day. I suspect it would have been a jaw dropper when the real Rod Temperton stood up.

I don’t know about anybody else, but I thought that was fun. Until the next ride to the fishing hole, it’s back to the fishing theme. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes – March 20, Part I

I dig my tunes as much as I dig my fishing so the “Trip Tunes” feature is back for another year. For those who are unaware of the project, I document the Top 10 tunes that I hear on the fishing round trip and ramble a bit on each cut. Dating back to the debut of the concept in September 2017, the list now contains over two hundred different tunes.

10. We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister (1984)
Lots of things for a person of my age to point out in the video for this anthemic protest song. Sure, folks will say, “Hey, isn’t that Neidermeyer?” in reference to the father figure’s iconic “Animal House” role. But what about the appearance of Robin Yount, one of my all-time favorite baseball players on a poster in the boy’s room? Not to mention the attention-grabbing garb, glam and grit of the band mixed in with some Three Stooges worthy slapstick.

9. Heading Out to The Highway – Judas Priest (1981)
While I was admittedly tuned into Top 40 radio at the time, early MTV was a real eye opener. This video got regular airplay and struck a chord to broaden the horizons with a little heavy metal. What a wonderful musical menagerie in those days where one could hop from Priest to Madness to Blondie to Adam & The Ants to .38 Special and more in the span of an afternoon.

8. Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin (1970)
As my kids would say, “It’s the Thor song” after its inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A good fit, all things considered. Epic, adventurous, mythic, references “the hammer of the gods”, interchange Valhalla and Asgard…Those Zep guys were pretty creative and from what I understand the use of their tune in Thor cost the film financiers a pretty penny.

7. Flying High Again – Ozzy Osbourne (1981)
Like Judas Priest, I was introduced to Ozzy in junior high. A buddy of mine tuned me into the first two Ozzy solo albums (Blizzard of Oz and Diary of a Madman) and that stuff was rather cool. Just a bit different than Billy Joel, Christopher Cross, Donna Summer, Kool & The Gang or The Commodores. I was always fascinated by the country performer, Mel Tillis, who stuttered when speaking but flawlessly delivered his tunes. Well, Ozzy enunciates just fine in his tunes too, but otherwise you can’t understand a thing he says.

6. What’s Your Name – Lynyrd Skynyrd (1977)
I am a mental collector of lyrics and among my favorite opening lines is “Well, its eight o’clock in Boise, Idaho.” For the life of me I cannot think of another tune that references that exact location and that is cool (Note: “I’ve Been Everywhere” doesn’t count because, well, he’s been everywhere). Plenty of love for New York, Chicago, or L.A. in musical history so a thumbs up to giving the “Gem State’ some props. However, the bar incident in the lyrics did not actually occur in Boise. No problem, I still dig the line and the tune. As a result, my favorite Idaho shout out now belongs to Napoleon Dynamite, slightly edging out Evel Knievel and his Snake River Canyon stunt.

Nostalgia, bordering on nonsense is sometimes the name of the game when I head off on these tangents. Here’s hoping something along the way triggers you to do a little internet exploring and reminiscing of your own. Part II on the way. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

With a little warm up in the weather, the Top 5 submissions heated up with four anglers contributing over the last week. Seems the project is alive and well for another year.

Weight: 0-12
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: March 20
Weather: Sunny/very windy
Location: Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Spinnerbait (green)

Weight: 1-3
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: March 20
Weather: Sunny/very windy
Location: Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Strike King Red Eye Shad (chartreuse sexy shad)
Top 5 Weight: 3-10 (1-11,1-3,0-12)

Weight: 0-11(12.5”)
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: March 20
Weather: Sunny/very windy
Location: Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Rapala Shad Rap (blue)

Weight: 1-11 (15”)
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: March 20
Weather: Sunny/very windy
Location: Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Rapala Shad Rap (blue)
Angler Comments: Slow day to start the year but glad to get those first few bass and kick off my 2022 Top 5. Hopefully, these individuals will be replaced before too long.
Top 5 Weight: 2-6 (1-11,0-11)

Weight: 0-15
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: March 21
Weather: Low 70s, partly cloudy, stiff wind from the south
Water Temp: 48-53F
Location: Lake McMaster – Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Spinnerbait
Angler Comments: Fish was in direct sunlight in two to four feet of water about ten feet from shore. First fish of the year, failed to measure length.
Top 5 Weight: 0-15 (0-15)

Weight: 2-3
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 21
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless Crankbait
Angler Comments: Made it out Monday, it was a slow day, two bass. One short one and this one that came in at 2-3.

Weight: 3-3
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 24
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Chatterbait
Angler Comments: A few hours today and got two bass again. A short one on a lipless crankbait and this 3-3 on a chatterbait.
Top 5 Weight: 13-10 (3-3,2-15,2-14,2-6,2-4) culls a 1-12

A few more March days to go, but really looking forward to what April holds in store with a predicted weather warm-up after this current cold snap. For anybody out there, send your catches my way at if you want to play along. Keep in mind that a photo and weight are required and not just restricted to bass. Any questions can be directed to the above email address as well. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – March 27-29, 2007


March 27-29, 2007, a batch of “good ones”

What is a “good one” when it comes to bass fishing?

While I do have a range that I’ve come to recognize as a “good one”, I think it is best to start with some other designations that I use to gauge our catches and work my way up.

For starters, a “good one” is a far cry from a “dink”. A “dink” is any bass that comes in below the 12” mark.

Now, a “keeper” is a fish that exceeds the “dink” range by coming in at 12” or better.

But among “keepers”, there is a notch that takes things to the next level. That level comes into play when the catches hit the 15”-17” range. At that size, there is a noticeable difference in body plan and shape that gets your attention. While only 3”-5” inches above the “keeper” threshold in length, the depth and girth of these next level fish really take a pronounced leap.

And that 15”-17” range, is what I qualify as a “good one.” Depending on the health and habitat, bass of this length typically weigh in around the two-pound range. These fish get your attention with a bit more heft after the hookset, better pull on the way to the boat and often elicit the “got a good one” response as they flash broadside under the surface. Those “good ones” never get old.

Of course, there’s another level that I call a “trophy”, but the odds are you’ll get more familiar with the “good ones” than the “trophies.” The cool thing about a “trophy” is that it is unlikely to be more than six inches above the range of a “good one.” But my oh my, the depth and girth of these “trophy” fish is striking in comparison.

This concludes today’s ramble through some of my habitual fishing jargon. If you peruse the multitude of fishing social media content out there on the internet you will undoubtedly hear plenty of other terms. When reviewing my expanding collection of video footage, it seems that I am prone to stating “not a giant, but…”


Here’s to some more “good ones” in 2022. Talk to you later. Troy

Snakeden Hollow Report – March 20

On the road to the fishing hole, 204,000 miles and counting

After 123 days of “winter”, the water was open, the weather was stellar, and I had a weekend day to get away. I met my brother, Brent, at one of the Snakeden lots in search of my first bass with the anticipation of a little exercise along the way (Brent got his first bass and some exercise several days prior). We covered a lot of ground for not a lot of bass, but I was more than happy to kick off 2022. Read on for the rundown.


Date: March 20, 2022
Location: Snakeden Hollow (5 lakes)
Time: 12:10pm-6:00pm (4.50 hours fishing)
Weather: Sunny/breezy to windy
Air Temp: 59-71F
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 11 bass (Troy – 6, Brent – 5)
Lures: Rapala Shad Rap (blue) – 5 bass, Spinnerbait (green) – 3 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (chartreuse sexy shad) – 2 bass, Chatterbait (white) with twin tail trailer (root beer pepper green) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-11 Rapala Shad Rap
Top 5 Weight (only 4 at or > 12”): 4-5 (1-11,1-3,0-12,0-11)

1:20pm First bass, plenty of room for improvement

Trip Lyric

“It’s been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time.” – Led Zeppelin, Rock and Roll (1971)

Winning Lures (Brent, left – Troy, right)

Notes and Nonsense

Overdressed – I am not sure what I was thinking other than the forecast was not going to meet it’s high in the 60s. My attire consisted of a themal, a long-sleeved t-shirt and a sweatshirt along with some fleece lined pants. It turns out that the temperature hit 70 and resulted in a pile of shirts cast aside as Brent was somewhat similarly dressed. But Dad always said on the trapline that “you can take off what you don’t need but you can’t put on what you don’t have.” Right on the money at the fishing hole as well.

1:29pm Brent’s first bass of the day (third of the year)

Fellow Fishers – We were not the only folks taking advantage of the pleasant first day of spring. Four anglers crossed our path, several others were spotted from a distance and over a half dozen cars were scattered around the lots. One pair of fishermen repeated our report of “some small bass” while a second pair expressed a desire to “find a spot away from the crowd.”

4 for 5 – All told, we fished five bodies of water, one more than my initial goal. Only the first spot was a shutout on Goldenrod Lake. Slurry Lake produced seven bass, Bearclaw two, Bactrian one and Beaver one. This trip was one of the earliest visits that I have made to most of these spots, and I was struck by how clean and clear the waters were in late March. The place still brings surprise and enjoyment nearly thirty-five years after Brent and I first fished it.

Roughly 772 steps/bass, but who’s counting

Record Quest Data – As covered in the trip preview post “Go Fish!”, an added objective in my fishing reports this year will be a look inside the record book. I still think it is a fun idea, but we didn’t find much to add on this inaugural outing. In fact, had Slurry Lake not been lacking two fish for a full Top 5, I wouldn’t have any record data to report. The details are below with the new Top 5 catches in bold.

Slurry Lake
All-Time Top 5 Weight: 10-4 (4-3,3-9,1-1, 0-12, 0-11)
A boost from 8-14 to 10-4 in the record book, all good.


A slow start is infinitely better than no start and plenty of casts to go as we make our way through another year of fishing and blogging. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

The Top 5 project is back for year number nine and our first submissions come courtesy of our 2022 champ, Jim Junk. My brother, Brent, is also back on board for another year with all the details on both anglers’ catches below.

Weight: 2-6
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 14
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless Crankbait
Angler Comments: Managed one within the first five minutes. Thought it might be a great day. Not to be though. A few more hours and numerous spots with no more bites.

Weight: 2-15
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 14
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless Crankbait
Angler Comments: Was going to head home and saw some gulls diving for bait fish at a spot on the way out. Hooked into three within twenty minutes. One was short, another flopped off as trying to pull over some reeds on the bank and landed the last one at 2-15.

Weight: 2-4
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 17
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless Crankbait

Weight: 1-12
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 17
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless Crankbait

Weight: 1-3
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 17
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless Crankbait

Weight: 2-14
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 17
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless Crankbait
Angler Comments: Out for a few hours, didn’t find them stacked but caught fish in three of the five lakes I fish at Banner. Couldn’t find a pattern, one was in a channel, one was on a flat and two hit on bank weed lines.
Top 5 Weight: 12-3 (2-15,2-14,2-6,2-4,1-12)

Weight: 1-11
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: March 16
Location: Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Strike King Red Eye Shad lipless crankbait
Top 5 Weight: 1-11 (1-11)

Great to see some fish and stay tuned next Monday as a few more late submissions will hit the blog. Talk to you later. Troy

Go Fish!

If you are reading this post hot off the press, I am either en route or enjoying the first fishing trip of 2022. It’s been a long wait since my last bass, 123 days in fact since November 17, 2021.

Plenty of time to prep for a new season, right?

Well, sorta.

In terms of gearing up, I am good to go from a tackle standpoint. New line on my reels and a restock of some needed and unneeded items are all in order. Although I still have until the end of the month on my 2021 Illinois fishing license, I already have the 2022 version in my wallet. A few licensing adventures over the years have taught me to plan ahead on the annual purchase.

Another aspect of many of my fishing trips involves being in shape. If I had to give myself a grade on this one, I would go with a B-. I’ve got just over a week of daily walking to the tune of three to four miles under my belt (even ran a little bit as well). I managed to drop thirteen pounds over the winter but most of that was shed during a January spat with the pandemic. I’m headed in the right direction but will fall considerably shy of my April 1 target weight by ten pounds. But hey, something is better than nothing and I’m feeling ready to tackle another year of strip mine hiking.

Final prep includes charging Go-Pro batteries, organizing tackle, fueling up the truck (that stinks with this administration), preparing some take along grub, packing extra clothes in case I fall in the lake, and helping catch up on laundry.

And when each of those items have been checked off the list, it is on the road to the fishing holes. I have my eyes on possibly four different strip mine lakes and want to add a new feature to the blog entries this year with a look at the record book. Some of the lakes have accepted names while others are my creation. Here we go with the initial batch of “Record Quest” data.

Record Quest

Goldenrod Lake (2006-present)
Top Bass: 3-8 Troy Jackson 9/2/2017 Crankbait
Best Top 5 Weight: 8-2 (3-8,2-2,2-1,1-12,1-9) 10/8/2017
All-Time Top 5 Weight: 11-0 (3-8,2-2,2-1,1-12,1-9)

Slurry Lake (2020-present)
Top Bass: 4-3 Troy Jackson 6/19/21 Lipless Crankbait
Best Top 5 Weight (only 2 fish): 7-12 (4-3,3-9) 6/19/21
All-Time Top 5 Weight (only 3 fish): 8-13 (4-3,3-9,1-1)

Bearclaw Lake (1990-present)
Top Bass: 3-15 Troy Jackson 8/14/2001 Stickbait
Best Top 5 Weight: 9-0 (3-4,2-1,1-9,1-5,0-13) 8/31/06
All-Time Top 5 Weight: 16-8 (3-15,3-6,3-4,3-3,2-12)

Beaver Lake (1990-present)
Top Bass: 4-5 Brent Jackson 10/13/19 Spinnerbait
Best Top 5 Weight: 9-4 (4-0,1-14,1-6,1-2,0-14) 7/1/20
All-Time Top 5 Weight: 14-6 (4-5,4-0,2-6,1-14,1-13)

Brent and I are scheduled to be on the water today around lunchtime so stay tuned for a full report next week. Talk to you later. Troy

YouTube Return

The triumphant return to posting YouTube videos is in full swing with a trifecta of submissions over the past week. At present, they are simply catching up on videos shot during the 2021 fishing year. The plan is to begin the 2022 video shoots soon but, in the meantime, stop by YouTube to check out the latest videos as well as the rest of the content on my channel.

The new YouTube content began with the clip below exploring the first bass of 2021.

Next up, was a clip featuring some classic crankbaits, the Rapala Shad Rap and Bomber Flat A, cranking up some quality bass with my brother, Brent. Brent’s Top Bass catch from this outing is definitely worth a look.

And the most recent post covers an odd early spring day of strip mine prowling. I don’t believe I have ever had a day where I landed such a quantity on these waters without a single one topping the 12” mark. Very weird. Several catches are featured in the video along with some other highlights.

Stay tuned for a look at 2022 fishing prep, a Top 5 Update on Monday, more YouTube videos and the first fishing report of the year. If you enjoy fishing, or just some guy rambling about random associated stuff, Troy Jackson Outdoors is the place to be.

Talk to you later. Troy