Month: September 2022

Friday Flashback – September 30, 2007

I’ve long enjoyed fishing the Lake Storey fall drawdown and today’s flashback details my best day of bass fishing on that old fishing hole. The trip featured a trio of my personal records for a Lake Storey outing. I landed the most bass I’ve caught on a Lake Storey outing, the heaviest Top 5 weight I have ever posted on the lake and a new family Top Bass. In addition, I landed three walleye and a small muskie.

9:16am – Top Bass runner-up on the day at 3-11

Date: September 30, 2007
Tie: 6:30am-3:30pm
Weather: Sunny/windy to very windy, 60-80F
Totals: 27 bass, 3 walleye, 1 muskie
Lures: Bomber Flat A crankbait (baby bass) – 19 bass, Zoom Baby Brush Hog – 7 bass, Rapala Rattlin’ Rap – 1 bass
Top Bass: 4-8 Baby Brush Hog
Top 5 Weight: 14-5 (4-8,3-11,2-7,2-1,1-10)

Chilly Willy Fishing – Years ago at Lake Bracken, we came up with a technique that we labeled “Chilly Willy Fishing.” Basically, we used to just goof around with a simple straight vertical presentation where you drop your line directly into the water next to the edge of the boat, dock, retaining wall, etc. It seems that at some point we’d observed the cartoon penguin utilize this approach to harvest his dinner in one of the old episodes. Anyway, a few days prior to my trip, I watched Dad drop a Baby Brush Hog next to a stump in this fashion as I worked to reposition the boat. He promptly hoisted a 1-8 on board and we had good laugh recalling this nostalgic presentation. It was amazing how the fish remained tight on the piece of structure despite being directly beneath the boat in less than four feet of water. However, upon seeing several large clouds of baitfish in the area, it was obvious that the bass had a prime piece of real estate.

7:48am – quality catch at 2-7 to start the Top 5 for the day

Chilly Willy Point – On my return trip, the spot that we call “Chilly Willy Point” had the added attraction of being pounded by high winds from the south. I spent just over a half hour fishing the area and caught four bass weighing a total of 10-8 on my Baby Brush Hog. Individual weights, in order of catch, were 1-5, 3-11, 4-8 and 1-0. After hauling in the 4-8 back-to-back with a 3-11, I had to laugh aloud at my good fortune. In fact, the bulk of my half hour on the spot was spent weighing, photographing, and recording bass and then having to reposition the boat for another try. I had never gotten around to giving the spot a good name over the years, but it will forever be known as Chilly Willy Point.

September 25, 2007 – bonus shot of Dad from a few days prior with a couple from our 11-5 Top 5 haul at Lake Storey

Chilly Willy Stump – If you know where to look, there is a stump on Chilly Willy Point, and it was home to the batch of bass detailed above. The stump is hollow on top, and Dad once caught a bass by pitching his creature bait into the opening. A classic fish story and further reason to pay homage to Chilly Willy the penguin with the name.

9:26am – Top Bass at 4-8 somehow landed by this goofy looking angler

Top Bass – The 4-8 established a new family Lake Storey record topping Brent’s 4-7 from October 23, 1998. However, Brent would take the record back on October 19, 2018, with a 4-11 that still stands as our lake record.

My original blog entry noted that “My 27 bass on 9/30 pushed me past my goal of 200 as the 2007 total currently stands at 210.” Well, this year, I have already established a new yearly record for total bass. More on that in a future article as I am aiming for a milestone on my next outing. Talk to you later. Troy

Prowl the Canal – September 19

I took a Monday off from work and hit The Canal after getting the boys to school. My plan was to spend a couple of hours in the boat, nab a Top 5, and let the Knox County strip mine grass dry out for a hike that afternoon. Two out of three ain’t bad as the old Meatloaf song goes. The Canal bass proved tough to fool on the sunny morning and I ended up with a “Top 3” instead.

Date: September 19
Time: 9:15am-11:15am
Totals: 3 bass
Weather: Sunny/calm 68-76F
Lures: War Eagle spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) – 2 bass, Whopper Plopper 110 (bone) – 1 bass
Top Bass:1-14 Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight (only 3 at 12” or better): 4-11 (1-14,1-10,1-3)

Notes and Nonsense

First Bass – I figured that the sun beating directly down on The Canal would push the bass tighter to the weed cover. I also wasn’t overly confident that my Whopper Plopper would be effective with the sun having risen above the tree line. However, about fifteen minutes into casting I had a solid 1-10 on the plopper. Such success can send mixed signals so I was cautiously optimistic that a few more would show up on the presentation. Not surprisingly, none did as I tossed the bait around a fair amount hoping for that one big bite.

10:29am –  Long but lean Top Bass

Top Bass – My Top Bass was an emaciated eighteen-and-a-half-inch fish. As is customary I shot my pics of the fish broadside, so it is not entirely apparent how gaunt the fish was when looked at ventrally. As an experienced fisherman, I can see from the photo that something just isn’t right with the body plan of the fish in terms of healthy proportions. At least it was still fit enough to be looking for a meal (or perhaps it was starving). In terms of weight, it was significantly lighter than a healthy bass of the same length. Typical weight on a filled-out fish would have been pushing three pounds but this catch only tipped the scales at a scrawny 1-14.

Scale Settings – I like the compact size and lip gripping clamp of my Rapala scale but I sure have a heck of a time getting readings. For starters, I regularly must turn it on and off multiple times before it registers a fish hanging from the clamp. In the process of trying to get a weight, I occasionally switch the weight settings on accident. The worst-case scenario is when I wind up with metric weight. This requires the calculator app on my phone as those conversion factors that I learned in fifth grade (1977) have long gone by the wayside. On this outing I managed to switch the scale to decimal settings but at least I can figure the ounces in my head (although I always check on the calculator app just in case). In the case of the Top Bass described above, the weight was 1.86 pounds.

More than a few frustrating casts out there these days

Debris – I have found The Canal to be a dynamic fishing hole as it changes considerably as the year progresses. Aquatic vegetation really takes hold as the water warms and it can get quite ugly on many stretches. In addition, recent outings have seen an uptick in duckweed drifting and collecting throughout the pools. But the most frustrating development has been an abundance of floating vegetative debris. It is difficult to see from a distance and routinely fouls casts as the lure collects the weeds during the retrieve. And the leaves are on the way…


As I head into my second fall of fishing The Canal, I am looking forward to finding a good fall bite (fall starts at Labor Day in my book). Last year, I struggled in the fall while prowling via bike. We’ll see how this fall pans out with the advantage of having a boat on the water. Another pair of fall outings are in the books so stay tuned for those reports. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – September 19

As we head towards October, access to the Knox County public strip mines will soon be ending for another year. Therefore, I made the decision last week to take one more shot despite the abundance of terrestrial vegetation making the hike a challenge. Today’s report details the fishing results as well as the effects of this questionable stunt.

Date: September 19
Time: 1:30pm-4:50pm
Totals: 8 bass
Weather: Sunny to partly cloudy/calm 81-83F
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (smoke shad) – 4 bass, Chatterbait (white) with Zako trailer (Tennessee Shad) – 2 bass, Bass Pro Shops Enticer Pro Series Rattling Jig (white) with Baby Paca Craw (gold pumpkin) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 2-12 Jig
Top 5 Weight (only 4 at 12” or better): 6-9 (2-12,2-1,1-0,0-12)

3:24pm – Top Bass at 2-12 (18″) on a jig and craw

Notes and Nonsense

Maybe Next Year – My first stop was a short narrow lake that is roughly the length of a basketball court and just over half as wide. I often wonder how many bass call it home and needed four more to reach one hundred bass caught from the lake. The bite on the lake was slow, and on the strip mines there is no reason to stick around on a stingy lake when another opportunity lies a five-minute walk away. After forty-five minutes and three bass, I walked away one bass short of my goal.

Winning Lures

Molar Saves the Day – None of these lakes had names when we first started fishing them, so I took it upon myself to create some. The third lake that I fished on this trip is called “Molar Lake,” as I thought that the shape resembled one of your back teeth. On this lake, I slowed down my presentation after striking out on faster moving lures. A jig and craw proved to be a winner along a ridge that bisects the western portion of this pothole. My two best bass of the day at 2-12 and 2-1 came in a seven-minute span and made the hike a bit more worthwhile.


First Time for Everything – The week prior to this outing, I was discussing my strip mine hikes with a co-worker. I indicated that I am usually out there prowling for four or five hours at a time. He asked if I ever sit down for a rest or remain on my feet the whole time. My response was that I stay upright but sure am glad when I get back to the truck for a seat and the ride home. Well, up until this outing, that response was correct. Reaching my final stop, with the combination of the weeds and the heat, I was beat, and had to have a seat. My rest spanned about five minutes on a knob at lakeside while I made a handful of fruitless casts. As I sat, I pondered my fifteen-minute walk back to the truck and finally mustered up the energy to get back on my feet.

Strip mine fishing is a workout

Aftermath – I had hoped to fish until sunset but the hike on the heels of two morning hours on The Hennepin Canal had taken their toll. I was simply worn out. As I wrapped up my drive home, I got delayed by a stopped train near Colona. I waited it out for fifteen minutes and wound up with a cramp in my left leg from sitting oddly. With the train stalled at the crossing, I finally opted to turn around and take an alternate route home. When I arrived at home, my right leg cramped up so bad as I exited the truck that I could not walk. Julie came out to check on me in the driveway and after several minutes the cramp passed. This is the second time in the past two years that I have been stopped in my tracks after a strip mine hike. Either I need to get in better shape or knock it off with these sorts of adventures.

My texts to Julie en route and upon arrival at home

So, here we are in what are the final six or eight weeks of my fishing year. I would like to get back down to either the strip mines or Lake Storey before it’s all over but may just wind up with a finish on The Canal. And speaking of The Canal, I have more trips to report, but I am leaning towards a September wrap-up instead of separate posts. Stay tuned as there is still plenty of fishing stuff to come. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Here’s another quality strip mine bass from Brent for this week’s update as those Knox County fishing holes near the end of angler access for 2022.

Weight: 3-8
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: September 23
Location: Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 18-9 (5-4,3-9,3-8,3-3,3-1) culls 2-15

A good-looking catch boots Brent’s last two-pounder and pushes him closer to the coveted twenty-pound mark. It will take a four-and-a-half-pounder to get him to twenty. They are out there but they don’t come easy. Overall, we are at ninety-one bass, a solid year but a tall order to get us to the one hundred bass mark for 2022. But fall can be a time when some big bass let their guard down so don’t put those poles away just yet. Talk to you later. Troy

Lake Storey Report – September 18

I grew up in Galesburg, Illinois and developed a fondness for chasing bass on Lake Storey just north of town a long time ago. This time of year, it calls me back to match wits with the bass during the annual “fall” drawdown that typically starts just after the Labor Day holiday. The lake gets plenty of pressure throughout the year, making for some educated bass and a fun challenge. Read on to see who came out ahead on my recent visit.

Thanks, John, for the leftover breakfast from our trip to The Rock the previous morning


Date: September 18
Time: 8:05am-3:50pm
Totals: 18 bass
Weather: Partly cloudy to sunny/windy 66-83F
Water Temperature: 74-75F
Lures: Strike King Special K Spinnerbait (bleeding shiner) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (root beer/pepper/green) – 7 bass, War Eagle spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) – 5 bass, Strike King Squarebill crankbait (sexy shad) – 3 bass, Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait – 2 bass, Lunkerhunt topwater frog – 1 bass
Top Bass:2-12 Topwater Frog
Top 5 Weight: 9-4 (2-12,2-3,1-8,1-7,1-6)

Winning Lures (one other noted later in post)

Notes and Nonsense

Those Dam Bass – During the summer of 2021, my son, Jayce, joined me and his Uncle Brent for a couple of hours of bass fishing on Lake Storey. He and Brent came through with a pair of bass along the dam. Of course, we had fun with these catches, referring to them as some “nice dam bass.” Well, on this day I was fortunate to start out my morning with another Dam bass.

Top Bass (see below)

Bookend Top Bass – My first bass of the day came at 8:27am after about twenty minutes of casting and weighed 2-3. A solid start had me optimistic on my prospects for a good day. And while it would be a good day, I couldn’t outdo that first bass until my final bass of the day at 2:43pm came in at 2-12.

My Special K spinnerbait bit the dust but went out a hero as it landed a bass as the blade arm broke off

Targets and Angles – I’ve fished Lake Storey for a long time and have a customary batch of targets that I hit as I make my way around the lake. For one spot, I always have a Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait at the ready. Roughly three hours into my trip, I reached the spot and made my first few casts of the day with the Baby 1-. Right on cue, a fourteen-inch bass that weighed in at 1-2 took the bait. Ten minutes later, on the same spot, I employed another favorite Lake Storey trick as I switched lures and hit the spot from the opposite direction after drifting past. In this case, a spinnerbait retrieved past the structure fooled another “keeper” at twelve inches and 0-12. While not the largest bass, I sure dig the feedback when all those years of experience pay off.

Amy day that I can land eighteen bass on Lake Storey is a winner. Per my data going back to 1997, my Lake Storey catch rate is 1.02 bass/hour. On this trip, my catch rate jumped to 2.32 bass/hour.

As I have noted previously, my daily goals on a fishing trip are as follows:

1. Don’t get shutout – twenty-two minutes in I had achieved that goal
2. Land a Top 5 (five bass at 12” or better) – completed at the four-hour mark
3. Post a ten-pound Top 5 – missed it by twelve ounces but had one fish break off on a hookset and a two-pounder come off at the boat. I have no guess on the size off the first missed fish but the second may have boosted my total by the twelve ounces that I was lacking.

No matter on the ones that got away, as I fished hard and found what the bass would bite. In fact, my final bite (and Top Bass) came on a topwater frog which is a seldom used presentation for me, particularly at Lake Storey. I had to pat myself on the back for that decision as I had a weedy stretch that made any other presentation frustrating and ineffective. Setting aside my stubborn streak, I picked up my frog rod and was rewarded with a good fish. Perhaps there is a lesson there.


Ideally, I would like to hit Lake Storey one more time in 2022, but weekend free time will be limited during the remainder of my fishing year. At least I have The Canal close to home. And I still have several more fishing reports to pass along so stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – September 23, 1997


As an avid angler, I remember a lot of fish and a lot of the details of the catches. In the case of my first muskie, I certainly remember the basic details but there was much more beyond the catch.

This fish came from Snakeden Hollow’s Lake McMaster while on a fishing trip with Dad back on September 23, 1997, at 7:50am. The lure that fooled the fish was an old favorite, the Zara Spook in the black shore minnow pattern. Nowhere near what would be considered a “trophy” muskie at thirty-three and a half inches but as my first muskie it sure brought a smile to my face.

And after the previous couple of days of outdoor activities, I needed a smile.

Two days earlier, I had launched the boat on Lake McMaster and never made a cast. I pushed off from the ramp only to discover that there was an issue with the trolling motor. As a result, I was dead in the water having no fuel in the tank for the thirty-five-horsepower outboard motor as the lake had a ten-horsepower limit. Fortunately, the light breeze did not move me far from the ramp and I was able to paddle back with the emergency paddle kept in the boat. I fooled around with the plug on the motor at the front console without any success. Although I had planned on a camping trip, my frustration sent me back home with a broken boat.

The following day, Dad and I were able to determine that the trolling motor issue was a fuse problem and got things back in working order. As such I decided to resume my camping plans at Little John and Dad would meet me the next morning with the boat for another shot at Lake McMaster.

Things continued to go poorly with overnight rain that lasted into the morning as I waited in the tent for Dad to arrive. Once he arrived, I elected to wait in his truck as the rain kept falling and we pondered our plan. Well, we were determined to fish, so we visited in the truck until the rain began to fade. As we were planning on fishing through lunchtime, we needed to make some sandwiches from the provisions that I’d packed in the cooler. We still laugh about sitting in the truck making our lunch.

Eventually, we launched in the light rain, and after only a handful of casts, I had my first muskie in the boat. Proof that even when things aren’t going your way, keep on casting as sooner or later, good things will happen.

I’ve caught more than a dozen muskies since that first catch (mostly all “accidents” while bass fishing like today’s flashback fish), some bigger, some not. I will never be a muskie angler as there are just not enough bites and the pursuit will physically wear you out. But for one morning, I kind of looked like one. Talk to you later. Troy

The Rock Report – September 17

I was quite excited to get a shot to fish an impressive Peoria County private lake that I had visited several times since 2014. This trip was my first since 2020 and it was made extra special by being able to have three other anglers join forces. Read on to see how it panned out for me, my brother (Brent), my son (Jayce) and our friend (John).


Location: The Rock – Peoria County

Date: September 17
Time: 7:15am-12:15am
Totals: 70 bass, 1 crappie combined for four anglers
Weather: Partly cloudy/very windy 66-72F
Water Temperature: 73-74F
Lures: Senko wacky rig (various colors) – 35 bass, Spinnerbaits (various) – 25 bass, Mann’s Popper – 5 bass, Chatterbait (white) – 3 bass, Whopper Plopper 110 (Terminator) – 2 bass
Top Bass:2-4 Brent (Spinnerbait)
Top 5 Weight: 8-2 (2-4,1-11,1-8,1-7,1-4)


Notes and Nonsense

Meet Up and Meal – As we were bringing a pair of boats, the plan was to meet in Knoxville. Brent, Jayce, and I grabbed a couple of burritos and a hash brown while John brought a batch of cinnamon rolls for each boat. Those cinnamon rolls also provided breakfast for another of my fishing trips and snacks for my folks and kids on Sunday.

Guessing Game – While the rest of the crew were not afflicted with the stat-keeping habit, they were kind enough to play along with my pre-launch prediction activity. As detailed above, the categories consisted of guessing our Top 5 Weight (five heaviest bass combined for all in the crew), Top Bass of the Day (all anglers combined), Top Bass – Individual (each angler predicting their own heaviest bass), and Top Lure (most bass landed on a lure type for all anglers combined). If you are confused, don’t feel alone as I got questions and puzzled looks while soliciting guesses. The circled guesses were the closest to the final results and also included in the grid were the weights for each angler’s personal Top Bass. In the end, the only angler who came up short was the guy who thought this stunt was a good idea.

I guess Jayce’s hat refers to a video game character (Wario) but I think it should stand for Whopper Plopper

Prize Winner – While on a work trip to Wichita earlier in the week, my co-worker and I had made a stop at Bass Pro Shops in Altoona, Iowa. I grabbed a Whopper Plopper to award to one of the anglers at the end of our trip based on some sort of criteria to be determined later. It turned out that Jayce received the prize for staking a claim to Top Bass for much of the trip before his catch was dethroned by his uncle in the home stretch. There were suspicions that our youngest angler was a bit of a shoo-in for the prized lure and my reply was just a grin.

While the Senko was Top Lure, a couple classic spinnerbaits also caught a few (Blue Glimmer and Emiquon Special, left to right)

Good numbers but just couldn’t find the quality bites that call the lake home. No matter, as an enjoyable time was had by all. Plenty of old fish stories were told throughout the morning and many more memories were made.

And my answer is “No” as you have to be on your toes for some hijinks with Jayce and Uncle Brent

And it doesn’t stop there, as my next three days included several more fishing trips. Stay tuned for tales from Lake Storey, The Canal, and the Knox County strip mines. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Another angler has a limit of five fish as Jayce Jackson finds the two bass he was missing while on a fishing adventure to a Peoria County private lake.

Weight: 1-11
Angler: Jayce Jackson
Date: September 17
Weather: Partly cloudy/windy
Water Temp: 74F
Location: Peoria County private lake
Lure: Whopper Plopper 90 (Terminator)
Structure: Flat/sticks

Weight: 0-12
Angler: Jayce Jackson
Date: September 17
Weather: Partly cloudy/windy
Water Temp: 74F
Location: Peoria County private lake
Lure: Senko wacky rig
Angler Comments: I had a fun time.
Top 5 Weight: 7-1 (2-3,1-11,1-4,1-3,0-12)

Well done, Jayce, and here’s hoping we can find a few more quality bites to boost your total before the year ends. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – September 17, 2012

Original log entry 9-17-12

Upon hearing of a fall drawdown of Argyle Lake, near Colchester, IL, Dad and I couldn’t resist a look. Read on for the results and notes from our 2012 outing.

Originally Posted 9-25-12

After hearing word of a rare fall drawdown being implemented on McDonough County’s Argyle Lake, I decided that a road trip was in order, and I was happy to have Dad along as a fishing partner. Julie and I had taken the kids down to Argyle for a day trip chasing bluegills from the bank in 2011 but it had been close to twenty years since I’d fished on the lake. That long ago trip was a hot July day chasing bluegill from the very same boat we’re still using all these years later. This time around we were targeting bass and scouting what structure the drawdown would reveal.

Date: September 17, 2012
Location: Argyle Lake, Argyle Lake State Park
Time: 10:15am-4:00pm
Weather: Overcast/breezy
Air Temp: 65F-72F
Water Temp: 73F
Totals: 9 bass, 2 muskies (Troy – 7 bass & 1 muskie, Dad – 2 bass & 1 muskie)
Lures: Booyah Counterstrike spinnerbait – 4 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 4 bass & 2 muskie, Rapala DT10 (silver) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 3-0 (Troy – Rapala DT10)
Top Five Bass Weight: 9-9 (3-0,1-14,1-14,1-8,1-5)

3:00pm – Top Bass at 3-0 (18″) on a crankbait

Notes and Nonsense

Ramp Chatter – Arriving at the ramp we spotted a boat rigged up for electrofishing attached to an “official” looking vehicle and I gave a wave as we passed. As we readied our boat, a fellow from the survey crew came over and asked, “Are you Troy?” His attire seemed to rule out someone from a collection agency and I didn’t recognize him as a disgruntled former detention home client, so I answered, “Yes.” With a handshake he introduced himself as Blake Bushman, a Western Illinois University graduate student whose Guest Blog on Heartland Outdoors last month detailed his research project on Argyle Lake saugeye. We had an enjoyable conversation about his study, the lake, and other general fishing stuff before he headed off to enter new data and we launched to try our luck. It was nice to meet the pleasant, well-spoken young man who answered all our questions and is pursuing a career that this blogger had in mind many years ago. Probably before Blake was even born (how is that possible?). Dad got a kick out of the encounter stating several times that he couldn’t believe somebody recognized me. I was also entertained as it was before “game time” so I hadn’t even put on my floppy hat yet. I also forgot to introduce Dad but if you’re out there Blake, my fishing partner was my dad, also known as the guy who owns the boat and truck and lets me use them instead of having to row all the time and worry about vehicular breakdown en route to the lake. If anybody happens to follow the blog, he also has a distinctive “#1 Papa” fishing hat.

3:08pm – Dad with our least small muskie

Multiple Muskies – For the second consecutive day a trio of muskies were hooked, and a pair came aboard. In contrast to the previous day’s outing on Lake Storey, however, a couple of the Argyle fish were as small as Storey’s were large. I’d asked Blake about muskies prior to launching and he indicated that his surveys had turned up a few in the thirty-inch range. Even a specimen that size would have looked like a giant compared to a couple of the toothy fish we had hooked. Oh well, a muskie is always a welcome accident and those ones with spots at least provide for a chuckle or good-natured ribbing.

12:54pm – I believe folks refer to these tiny muskies (and pike) as “hammer handles”

Obstacle Course – Argyle Lake’s launch area has always been interesting as you must briefly block the main drag while backing in your trailer. Major construction currently has the main road closed beyond the ramp, but that project now finds work vehicles and equipment scattered about the roadway and parking lot. Leaving the lake was even more interesting as it appeared that the Western Illinois Bass Club was having practice or a tourney resulting in a crowd of boats and trailers in various states of conversation, readying gear and waiting on the last-minute fishing partners to arrive. We waited for a bit to see if the handful of boats waiting at the ramp were going to launch and then went ahead and took our turn whether it was proper boat ramp etiquette or not. Those young guys didn’t even acknowledge our presence, busy checking their phones and talking about fishing and whatever else it is college guys talk about these days. I was a little impatient but did bear in mind that although I’m half my life away from my college days there’s no need to be a grumpy old man, yet. Besides, how cool is that to have a college bass fishing team? Just another instance of, “You know back when I went to college…”

3:47pm – Dad with Top Bass runner-up at 1-14 (15″) on a lipless crankbait

Secrets Revealed – The lake is so loaded with wood structure that it is indeed a bit overwhelming. Countless stumps, laydowns and brush along with several beaver lodge remnants all made inviting targets. Unlike Lake Storey where the drawdown leaves most all the wood structure high and dry, Argyle still had a ton of completely or partially submerged ambush points. Vegetation was sparse as expected during a drawdown but there were a handful of patches close enough to some deeper water that were appealing. Much of the shoreline featured steep dropoffs to depths more than ten feet barely a decent cast from the bank. It also featured enough undulations that the 78-acre lake fished a bit larger and provided ample points, pockets, and coves to take our shot. We came armed with a basic topo map from the Sportsman’s Connection Northern Illinois Fishing Map Guide, a handy resource for info on numerous fishing holes. The map helped to streamline our approach a bit in finding our comfort zone among the rapidly falling shorelines that typically aren’t the best fit for our style.

Kind of a lengthy entry but I just couldn’t find anything that I felt I could eliminate for an abridged report. I have several fishing trips on the horizon with a few partners along for the fun. More anglers mean more casts and thus more chances to land some bass. It also means more chatter and more perspectives for the resulting blog posts. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Prowl the Canal – September 5

With a bonus day off courtesy of the Labor Day holiday, I had to invest at least a couple of hours chasing bass. A Labor Day parade commitment to watch the United Township High School Marching Panthers meant a sunup trip on a local section of The Canal was just the ticket. Conditions were perfect and things worked out well as detailed below.


Date: September 5
Time: 6:35am-9:05am
Totals: 17 bass (6.8 bass/hour)
Weather: Overcast/breezy 64-66F
Lures: Whopper Plopper 110 (bone) – 10 bass, Special K Spinnerbait (bleeding shiner) – 6 bass, 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (natural shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass:2-1 Whopper Plopper
Top 5 Weight: 8-14 (2-1,1-14,1-13,1-11,1-7)

Winning Lures

Notes and Nonsense

Near vs. Far – One of my favorite Sesame Street lessons was Grover demonstrating the difference between “Near” and “Far.” The poor monster winds up pooped for his efforts in the memorable piece. In terms of The Canal, the lesson on the stretch I fished on this outing is not to let the “far” view prevent you from getting a “near” look. From a distance, this section looks clogged with surface vegetation making my typical presentations a challenge. However, upon closer inspection, there are many troughs, pools, and shoreline channels that offer open water. These features also make for quite a collection of edges, which are key on The Canal and to bass fishing in general.

Exciting Edge – Speaking of edges, one of the most pronounced in the world of the bass is where their habitat meets ours. I am talking the surface of the water. And this time of the year, that specific edge comes into play in the form of topwater lure presentations. In the case of this outing, I employed my newly purchased Whopper Plopper 110 to fool over half of my bass. Not only is it an effective presentation, but it is also quite addictive.

Sometimes a talk with the bass will produce some bites (see below)

Insulting the Bass – There are some tips that I am reluctant to reveal for various reasons. In the case of what I am about to tell you, the hesitation comes from a combination of giving up a secret technique along with the possibility of folks questioning my sanity. What I did was trash talk the bass by stating on camera that “Maybe I’ll say this to help me out, but I usually don’t get much down in here; I’ve already passed my better water.” Right on cue, I landed what was then my Top Bass of the day less than thirty seconds after my statement. Hey, whatever works to convince those bass to bite.


A solid day as The Canal comes through in terms of both quantity and quality on another short getaway. And now begins what I call the “home stretch” of 2022 fishing. Once Labor Day passes, prospects for getting on the water become limited by shorter evenings and weekend activities. But I have several fishing trips in the works and as always, I will have fishing reports and more for you dedicated readers. Thanks for tuning in and stay tuned. Talk to you later. Troy