Strip Mine Report – April 1

A bass on March 3 got the year off to an early start and my good fortune continued throughout the rest of the month with ample opportunities to get on the water. By the end of March, I had forty bass in the log. In comparison, l had only six bass in March 2022 and one in March 2023. In those two previous years, I ended up with 553 bass and 468 bass, respectively. There’s no way to tell what the remainder of 2024 holds in store but I’m well ahead of the last two productive years. And April kicked off with a solid April Fool’s Day bite as detailed below.

3:02pm Top Bass at 1-11 (15″) on a Shad Rap

Date: April 1
Location: Knox County public strip pits (9 lakes)
Time: 11:00am-4:40pm (4.25 hours fishing)
Totals: 21 bass
Weather: Overcast/very windy, 51-56F
Water temperature: Not available
Lures: Rapala Shad Rap (blue) – 10 bass, Lunker Hunt Finesse Swimbait (smokin shad) aka “Ned Rig” – 7 bass, Z-Man Chatterbait (sexy shad) with a BPS Speed Shad trailer (pro blue) – 4 bass
Top Bass: 1-11 (Shad Rap)
Top 5 Weight: 6-1 (1-11,1-8,1-0,1-0,0-14)

Winning Lures

Notes and Nonsense

Adages for April – There’s an old saying that “wind from the east, fish bite the least.” Well, on this day, the wind was howling from the east along with intermittent “April showers” as the wrong month came “in like a lion.” But having invested a vacation day for an April Fool’s outing, I was committed to fishing come “heck or high water.” In doing so, I followed my best piece of fishing advice that “the best time to go fishing is anytime you can.”

Walk Don’t Row – On days when the wind gets ridiculous, I prefer to get out for a hike rather than trying to row a boat around the lakes. It just gets too tough and frustrating fighting the wind all day and I don’t really like to anchor. Instead, by walking, I can stay put on the bank, use the wind to my favor in casting or positioning the fish, and invest as much time as I wish working over appealing areas.

My quality rainsuit was in Galesburg so I had to make a last-minute purchase. I didn’t want to invest too much money and I got what I paid for. Of course, a hike in the strip mines gives your gear (and your body) a workout.

Saved the Best for Last – My first two hours and forty-five minutes produced a grand total of seven bass on seven bodies of water. Four of those came in fifteen minutes from a spot known for small fish where I stopped just to see if I could at least land a few. In contrast to the slow start, my last hour and a half resulted in fourteen bass on two lakes. I found a sharp drop off a short ledge that was being hit by the wind and had some brush near where my retrieve would end. A classic cold-water crankbait, the Rapala Shad Rap, was the ticket as the spot gave up six bass. It was a textbook setup with the added feedback of two bass hitting right as I paused the bait near the end of the retrieve. It sure is fun when the bass bite in a scenario just like they should.


With another twenty-one bass, the early season totals are as good as they’ve ever been. However, I still can’t find any big bites as my 2024 Top Bass sits at 2-6 and is my only two-pounder of the year. The waters that I have fished this year have quality bass, so I’ll keep the confidence up and keep on casting. And on the next trip, I also fished with a partner to up the odds. Stay tuned for that report and talk to you later. Troy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *