Month: November 2022

Prowl the Canal – November 25

I initially suspected that a November 6 trip to The Canal would be my final outing of 2022. At that point, I was satisfied with a great year on the water and had already met my November bass goal with a batch from Lake Storey on November 2. Any more catches would be icing on the cake. And with the passing of the days, I began to observe some ice on the water as well. However, a fifty-degree Black Friday afternoon found me in search of another bite. Read on to see how it all worked out.

Date: November 25
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: 2:15pm-4:00pm
Totals: 1 bass
Weather: Sunny/breezy, 51-48F
Lures: Special K Hammer Spinnerbait (white) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (watermelon seed) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-1 Spinnerbait

Winning Lure

Notes and Nonsense

More from the “Lost and Found”

Black Friday Finds – I chose solitude so as not to get in the way of the retail craziness on the day after Thanksgiving. And while others may have also used Black Friday to set up for Christmas, I spent a few minutes removing some “bargains” or “ornaments” from trees along The Canal. While this day did not produce anything too stellar, a trio of lures from the lost and found joined my 2022 collection. At some point during the 2022 wrap-up posts, those other finds will be revealed.

3:38pm weighing 1-1 (13.5″) on a spinnerbait

Ice, Ice Baby – Although the high temperature had reached the fifty-degree mark for a couple days, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of open water. Just a few day prior, I had observed a fair amount of ice on shaded stretches of local waters. As I drove to my launching point, I saw that much of my intended target area was open, thus getting to some shoreline cover would not be an issue. Without a water temperature gauge, however, I had no idea on the water temperature other than “cold.” But with the fifty-one-degree air temperature at launch, my fingers were plenty warm and figuratively crossed hoping for at least one bite.

Alternate pic and cool to fool one when there is ice in the backdrop of the photo

One Bite – A mid-afternoon departure left me with roughly a two-hour window of daylight and when fishing this late in the season, I am realistically looking for one bite. I launched at 2:15pm and it took me until 3:38pm before that one bite showed up. Bites during this time of the year are noticeably different than when the water is warm. There are typically no jarring strikes. Instead, the retrieve gets heavy, and it is time to set the hook. Weeds and a couple sticks had fooled me on earlier casts, but this time around there was a fish on the other end. I talked to the bass as I reeled it to the boat, it followed my directions to stay hooked, and I landed the bite that I was seeking. I fished for another twenty minutes without any more action and decided to call it a day at 4:00pm.


I suspect that I will call it a year after this catch. Very rarely have I landed a December bass, but The Canal does offer some potential due to proximity and open water around the series of locks on the waterway. Time will tell, but it has been a great year no matter how the remaining month pans out. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – December 2, 2017

It is a rare occasion that I can get on the water and land a bass in December. In fact, my log entries total five bass caught during the final month of the year. Today’s flashback takes a look at the last one I fooled.

Date: December 2, 2017
Locations: Knox County, IL Strip Mines (3 lakes)
Time: 9:55am-2:15pm
Weather: Sunny/breezy
Air Temp: 44-59F
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 1 bass
Lures: Rapala Shad Rap SR07 (blue)
Weight: 2-4

Excerpts from the original blog post December 3, 2017

Winning Lure – I had a total of three bites, and all were on the Rapala Shad Rap. One came before my catch, and another came after but both of those managed to get loose shortly after the hookset. It never ceases to amaze how a bass can elude those treble hooks, but it happens. What was also fun about the Shad Rap coming through is the fact this particular lure is well over 20 years old as evidenced by the stouter, replacement treble hooks that I used to put on many of my crankbaits back in the day.

GoPro – I got this catch on video like several others this year and have included the footage below. I’m not quite sure what lies in store for my clips but have contemplated working them into some future blog and Facebook postings. Whatever the case, it has been a fun addition to the fishing experience that I hope to expand upon for 2018.


Link below to the entire original blog post

And just like that, the Friday Flashback posts have reached the end. Well, almost. One more post to go as I try to put a wrap on this project that dates back over five years. Stay tuned for a final collection of stats, pics, and video. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – November 20, 2002

Like last week, today’s Friday Flashback features a late season catch from Enstrom’s Pond. For some reason that I can’t recall, no photo exists of this fish. Does that mean it didn’t happen? Why, of course not, as I have a log entry to vouch for the catch. Just like the nearly two thousand other bass prior to the catch and over five thousand more since November 20, 2002. I also have an original fishing report from December 12, 2002, with a portion included below.

“Unseasonably warm temperatures found me at Emstrom’s Pond on 11/20 trying to fool a few more bass before the weather takes a turn for the worse. One cast was all it took, and it turns out I may as well have stopped after that cast. A Mann’s 1- crankbait (crystal grey ghost) produced a nice 2-7 bass on my first cast just past 2:00 in the afternoon. I fished until around 3:15pm and never had another bite. A jig and pig (black and blue) with a #11 pork frog (blue), a spinnerbait (blue glimmer), and a Smithwick Suspending Rogue jerkbait (silver/blue back) all failed to fool any fish. Air temp was 56 F and water temp was 41 F.”

In lieu of the fish photo, we’ll look at a few other details that come to mind when reminiscing about the catch.

Classic crankbait, the Mann’s Baby 1- (grey ghost)

The bass tipped the scales at 2-7 and was caught on a Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait (crystal grey ghost). A Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait is still a valuable tool in my arsenal twenty years later, having landed a trio of two-pounders on an April visit to the Hennepin Canal this spring. But the Crystal Grey Ghost pattern was a unique bait. Brent and I got the word on the lure several years prior when the guy at the tackle trailer on Tazewell County’s Spring Lake regaled us with tales of its prowess one afternoon. I’ll save the whole tale for another time, but essentially, he told us that he and his son bought every one in the area to keep them away from other anglers as the lures were lethal. Perhaps we missed out on the 1- heyday as it is productive in certain situations but never a “bass were just jumping into the boat” bait.

An old school tacklebox tool used to gauge water temps for me once upon a time

The odd thing about this catch on the Mann’s Baby 1- was the fact that it landed a bass in forty-one-degree water. Normally it is a warm water lure, and I really don’t know what made me tie one on near the end of November. Possibly the warning trend noted in that old fishing report with the air temperature recorded at a pleasant fifty-six degrees.

As the late country crooner, Vern Gosdin sang, “That just about does it, don’t it.” One more Friday Flashback post and an overall wrap-up of this five-year project to go. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – November 9, 2002

Many Friday Flashback posts have referenced Emstrom’s Pond. And rightfully so as it was quite a fishing hole. Lots of stories and lots of quality bass. Perhaps someday I’ll comb the logs and memories for a series of blog posts on the old pond. But for today, we’ll start with the regular “X Years Ago This Week”, expand a bit to look at a Top 5 list from 2002 and close with an overall look at Emstrom’s dominance in 2002.

November 9, 2002 at 2:12pm weighing 4-15 (21.5″) on a jig and pig

Per the original fishing report from November 9, 2002:

I had a couple hours to spare while Julie did a stamp workshop today, so I hit Emstrom’s Pond looking for that one bite. I got it about twenty minutes after arriving at the pond. This sounds like a broken record, but the bass was caught on a 1/4-ounce jig (black/blue) with a #11 pork frog (black) while fishing The Beaver Lodge. The bass weighed 4-15 and set a new record for the month of November. The previous record was a 4-8 caught by Brent on 11/3/01 also at Emstrom’s Pond on a Guido Bug (black/blue). I caught one other bass (1-9) on a Mann’s Baby 1- (crystal grey ghost) and had no other bites.

Top 10 Bass of 2002

That bass would end up as my third largest bass of 2002. This catch was many years before I kicked off the Top 5 project which launched in 2014. However, I still have all the data from 2002 so why not look at the year’s Top 5, which totaled an impressive 24-6. Not bad considering that they were all caught from one modest sized farm pond.

5-15 Emstrom’s Pond
5-4 Emstrom’s Pond
4-15 Emstrom’s Pond
4-4 Emstrom’s Pond
4-0 Emstrom’s Pond

Top 20 Bass of 2002

Beyond those Top 5 bass of 2022, nineteen of the Top 20 Bass of 2002 came from Emstrom’s with the lone exception being a 2-8 from Lake Bracken. Quite a fishing hole and it will make one final appearance before the Friday Flashback series reaches its conclusion in a few weeks. Talk to you later. Troy

Prowl the Canal – November 6

While I achieved my goal of a 2022 November bass during a trip earlier in the week to Lake Storey, I had never fished The Canal in November. Thus, I had a new challenge in mind and the warmer than normal temperatures had me optimistic that at least one Canal bass would come through. Read on for the results.


Date: November 6
Location: Hennepin Canal (two spots)
Time: 12:00pm-2:00pm, 2:50pm-4:50pm
Totals: 10 bass
Weather: Sunny/breezy to windy, 60-53F
Lures: Special K Hammer Spinnerbait (chartreuse) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (watermelon seed) – 10 bass
Top Bass: 2-8 Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 9-3 (2-8,2-3,1-9,1-8,1-7)

Notes and Nonsense

Spot 1
My plan was to fish two spots and invest roughly two hours on each stretch of water. For my first stop, I decided to step away from my regular stomping grounds and hit a stretch that I had only fished once. A May 29 visit had produced a 2-8 among the four bass landed in just over an hour of casting. But what caught my eye on that outing was a solid collection of wood cover. And that is what brought me back for some November spinnerbait fishing. The return trip resulted in six bass in two hours with a Top Bass of 1-9 and a Top 5 of 6-12. Funny thing was, only one of those bass came off wood cover. Not a bad sign in showing that there is more going on in this pool than trees, brush, and laydowns. Nothing big but I was pleased with the mood of the bass and looked forward to my second stop.


Quite a few casts end like this at this time of the year on The Canal

Spot 2
Launching at 2:50pm meant that I was right on target for my intended two hour shot at a regular stretch of water (sunset at 4:49pm on the first day of turning the clocks back an hour). Seven minutes into casting, I had a solid 2-8 in the boat on my spinnerbait and my hopes were high for more quality bites. I did get one more good fish at 2-3 but my overall haul of four bass did not meet my expectations. But hey, no complaints when I’m still getting to reel in some November bass.

I don’t want to say it is over until it is over, but the chances of getting back on the water seem slim at this point. Temperatures are supposed to drop considerably this weekend into more of a normal November range. Perhaps a fluke warm-up or the early onset of Cabin Fever may get me back on The Canal but no guarantee. Whatever happens, its been quite year. And even if I am not fishing, I suspect that I can come up with something to blog about. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Our Top 5 leader is back with a trio of quality strip mine bass, and I found a couple good bites on the Hennepin Canal. While none of our catches boosted our totals, it sure is good to have a handful of November bass for another Top 5 Update.

Weight: 4-6
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: November 5
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Chatterbait
Structure: Submerged weeds on flats

Weight: 4-0
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: November 5
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Chatterbait
Structure: Submerged weeds on flats

Weight: 3-1
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: November 5
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Chatterbait
Structure: Submerged weeds on flats
Angler Comments: Glad to get some hungry November bass.
Top 5 Weight: 27-13 (6-9,6-0,5-12,5-1,4-7)

Weight: 2-8
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: November 6
Weather: Sunny/windy, 60F
Location: Hennepin Canal
Lure: Special K Spinnerbait (chartreuse) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (watermelon seed)
Structure: Open water/drop

Weight: 2-3
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: November 6
Weather: Sunny/windy, 60F
Location: Hennepin Canal
Lure: Special K Spinnerbait (chartreuse) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (watermelon seed)
Structure: Dropoff
Angler Comments: It is getting to be that time of the year when I wonder if it is my last time on the water. Good to get a quality bite among those bonus November bass.
Top 5 Weight: 16-10 (3-10,3-5,3-5,3-4,3-2)

Sure can’t beat the warm weather this late in the year and happy to have it relate to some good bites. Looks like the weather isn’t going to be so friendly as we head into next weekend so get out there if you can during the week. Talk to you later. Troy

Lake Storey Report – November 2

A weather forecast of a high temperature near seventy and moderate winds sounded like a good day to chase my November bass. So good, in fact, that I took a vacation day from work to take my shot. My choice of water was Lake Storey. It has been good to me this fall and it is not often that November provides quality weather worth a late season visit. Read on to see if my decision paid off.

First “catch” of the day


Date: November 2
Site: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 10:20am-5:20pm
Totals: 11 bass
Weather: Sunny/breezy 56-68F
Water Temperature: 53-55F
Lures: Booyah Blade Spinnerbait (bleeding shiner) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (root beer pepper green) – 6 bass, Special K Willow Hammer Spinnerbait (chartreuse) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (root beer pepper green) – 3 bass, Chatterbait (white) with Zako trailer (Tennessee Shad) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 2-9 Spinnerbait
Top 4 Weight: 6-3 (2-9,1-7,1-2,1-1)

Winning lures, including another busted spinnerbait

Slow start but optimistic in this text to friend and fellow Top 5 angler, John Kirkemo

Notes and Nonsense

12:21pm – November bass mission accomplished on a spinnerbait

Goal #1 – November Bass
While it took me two hours to get my first bite and it wasn’t a real impressive specimen, the only detail that really mattered was that I had my November bass. Several of my go to spots had failed to produce but I was confident that if I kept on casting and hitting my targets, I’d get what I was after. And at 12:21pm, a stretch of riprap produced.

One That Got Away and would cost me a Top 5 on the day

Goal #2 – Top 5
After landing a November bass, the next goal was to post a Top 5 of bass at or above twelve inches. I had five short bass in the log at 1:45pm when I landed my first “keeper”, a solid 17.5” fish that weighed in at 2-9. Several minutes earlier I had lost a fish that would have qualified, and that missed fish would wind up being the fish I lacked for a Top 5. Instead, I wound up with a Top 4 weighing in at 6-3 with my last “keeper” of the day being a 1-7 landed at 5:16pm.

1:45pm – Top Bass at 2-9 (17.5″) on a spinnerbait

Record Book Roundup
My 2-9 bass on this trip set a new November Lake Storey Top Bass record narrowly beating a 2-8 from November 1, 2008. However, the Top 4 Weight of 6-3 on this outing fell short of the Top 5 Weight record of 7-13 also from November 1, 2008. Based on the brief glimpse of the “one that got away” on this outing, I would have to say that it would not have tipped the scales at the 1-11 required to establish a new Top 5 Weight for November on Lake Storey.


It’s always a treat to match wits with the wily bass that call Lake Storey home. Getting to do so this late in the year was a bonus as it marked only the second time that I have fished the lake in November. For the record, I will state that this is my final visit of 2022 to the old fishing hole. Any more bass for 2022 will be those that swim in The Canal. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – November 4, 2017

Five years ago today found me at Little John Conservation Club in search of my November bass. From 2013 through 2021, Little John was my destination of choice when chasing that final bite (the lone exception was 2019 when I found my last bass in Wichita, Kansas on a work trip). On this date, the old lakes came through as detailed in the stats below.

Date: November 4, 2017
Locations: Little John Conservation Club (2 lakes)
Time: 2:40pm-5:55pm
Weather: Overcast/breezy
Air Temp: 48-51F
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 3 bass
Lures: 1/4 oz. Rattling Jig (black/blue) with #11 pork frog (black) – 1 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 1 bass, Strike King KVD 2.5 Rattling Squarebill crankbait (sexy shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-12 KVD 2.5 crankbait
Weight (2 bass at 12” or >): 2-10 (1-12,0-14)

The three bass from this outing extended my best ever season total to 415 bass. This total included 136 bass from lakes at Little John. My 2017 total would stand as the record until this year where I currently sit at 542 bass. Strange thing is, not a single of the 2022 bass have come from Little John for only the second time nearly thirty-five years. Between fuel costs and finding a lot of bites on The Hennepin Canal, Little John lost out as I spent more time closer to home.

Like this trip, I am hoping that my 2022 November bass from earlier this week (blog post to come) will not be my last catches of the year. Depending on the weather and weekends, I am hoping to push my luck on The Hennepin Canal, a newfound bass fishing resource. Closer to home means less time driving and more time casting when comparing a two-hour round trip to roughly thirty minutes. And when the days get shorter and colder, that extra window of time is very valuable.

The trio of November bass above would not be the final fish of 2017. Stay tuned for that tale and a couple more in the final three Friday Flashbacks of the series. But up next is the report on this year’s November bass from Lake Storey. Talk to you later. Troy

Prowl the Canal – October Stats

As October passes, I am nearing the end of my first full year of fishing The Canal. And quite a year of exploring it has been on the historic waterway. But those totals and tales will wait for a complete wrap-up after the New Year as today we focus on how October shook out with the latest monthly wrap-up.

2022 October Totals
Four outings covering two different pools
27 bass in 11.25 hours (2.40 bass/hour)
Top Bass: 2-10 October 1 Buzzbait
2022 October Top 5: 10-9 (2-10,2-4,2-3,1-14,1-10)
2022 Best October Top 5 Day: 8-15 (2-4,2-3,1-10,1-7,1-7) – October 30
Top 5 All-Time October Bass Weight: 10-9 (2-10,2-4,2-3,1-14,1-10)


Disappearing weed cover makes for better wood targets

Waning Weeds – Having covered a lot of water via boat this year, it has been interesting to see how The Canal changes over the seasons. At present, it is in a stage where the weeds have died back. This provides for better lure coverage of the ample shoreline wood on some of the spots I fish.

Winning Spinners

Spinnerbait Success – I will save the lure stats for the end of the year but no doubt that a spinnerbait has been my most effective presentation. My first Canal bass of the year came on a spinnerbait back on April 15. My latest Canal bass was landed on a spinnerbait on October 30 and there have been close to two hundred more in between.

October 1 – new October Top Bass at 2-10 (19″) on a buzzbait

Top 5 Notes – In October 2021, I fished The Canal four times from the bank for a total of eight hours. Results were less than impressive with nine bass and only two “keepers” weighing 1-4 and 1-1. Thus, I needed three more bass to reach an October Top 5 and then work on booting those two from last year. Things worked out well thanks to a solid outing on October 30 and I now have a double-digit Top 5 Weight for October.

2022 Overall Canal Stats
347 bass in 116.25 hours (2.98 bass/hour)
Top Bass: 3-5 (tie) 4/23 Spinnerbait 8/21 Buzzbait
Best Top 5 Day: 11-3 (2-15,2-10,2-3,2-1,1-6) 6/24/22
2022 Top 5 Canal Weight: 15-15 (3-5,3-5,3-4,3-2,2-15)
2021 Top 5 Canal Weight: 15-6 (3-6,3-4,3-1,2-14,2-13)

November can be tough in terms of getting on the water with a typical 5:00pm end of workday meaning its weekend fishing or none at all. My annual goal is to end with a November bass and that was accomplished yesterday at Lake Storey (full report to come later this week). However, I have never fished The Canal in November, so my sights are now on a Canal bass before the month is over. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Prowl the Canal – October 30

Nice weekend weather found me back on The Canal last Sunday for the first time in two weeks. Of course, fishing came only after completing a family yard work project on Saturday. Results and rambles below.

Saturday work earns a Sunday fishing trip

Date: October 30
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: 12:30pm-4:00pm
Totals: 14 bass
Weather: Overcast/breezy/rain, 59-60F
Lures: Booyah Blade spinnerbait (bleeding shiner) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (root beer pepper green) – 14 bass
Top Bass: 2-4 Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 8-15 (2-4,2-3,1-10,1-7,1-7)

Notes and Nonsense

Wood is Good – I like to fish fast, and it doesn’t get much better than pitching a spinnerbait around wood cover. The stretch of The Canal that I fished on this outing features plenty of trees, laydowns, logs, and brush along the shorelines. These targets really shine when the vegetation dies back this time of year to allow better coverage of the cover with a spinnerbait. Short casts, some nearly flips, to the cover are the ticket with the lure worked as tight to the wood as you can, even bumping it at times. Keep firing away and hold on as sooner or later, the bites will show up.

1:39pm – Top Bass at 2-4 (17.5″) on a spinnerbait

Ones That Got Away – While I did land a pair of two-pounders, I also lost another pair. I am not sure what happened as they felt like solid hooksets, and I had them on the way to the boat. Neither jumped but simply came off while in sight just below the surface. It’s always disappointing to lose a fish but those two cost me a shot at a double-digit Top 5. I ended at 8-15, so if both were right on the money at two pounds apiece that would have produced a Top 5 Weight of 10-1. Still a good evening but I wind up with another fish story of what might have been.

3:31pm – Top Bass Runner-Up at 2-3 (18″) on a spinnerbait

Damp Finish – I did not pay attention to the forecast of rain as I was more focused on the pleasant temperature hoping it would get the bass in a biting mood. The fish cooperated but the weather took a wet turn for my last thirty-five minutes on the water. As a result, I ended up rather soaked but landed my final four bass during the showers. Brent was out on Lake Storey during the same time and wound up getting rained on while in his kayak as well.

Brent’s report from Lake Storey also featured some precipitation


A solid day even with a couple that got away. Pleasant weather beyond a shower but I could sure feel November on the way. Conditions like these bring back the feel of the old trapping days. At least this time, I only had to drag a boat about fifty feet back to the truck instead of a pack basket with over fifty pounds of fur.


And now, it’s on to the quest for a November bass. Stable weather for the next week means there is no better time than the present to take my shot. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy