Strip Mine Report – April 13

Thanks to a late flurry of bites during an April Fool’s Day outing, the first substantial strip mine hike of the year was a success (twenty-one bass in just over four hours of casting). And just shy of two weeks later, I was back at it again with my brother, Brent, along to up our odds. Read on to see how we fared.

11:35am – first bass is small but dwarfs my partner in the distance

Date: April 13
Location: Knox County public strip pits (7 lakes)
Time: 11:25am-7:15pm (6.00 hours fishing)
Totals: 65 bass, 6 crappie, 1 bluegill, 1 green sunfish
Weather: Sunny/windy, 64-74F
Water temperature: Not available
Lures (Troy): Z-Man Chatterbait (sexy shad) with a BPS Speed Shad trailer (pro blue) – 16 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 11 bass, Lunker Hunt Finesse Swimbait (smokin shad) – 9 bass, Rapala Shad Rap (blue) – 6 bass, 5” Yamamoto Senko (blue pearl/silver flake) – 1 bass
Lures (Brent): Jerkbait – 11 bass, Ned Rig – 9 bass, Lipless Crankbait – 2 bass
Top Bass: 2-4 Brent (Jerkbait)
Top 5 Weight (combined): 7-11 (2-4,1-10,1-6,1-4,1-3)

Brent winning lures

Troy Winning Lures

Notes and Nonsense

Guesstimates – When I fish with Brent, I like to record our predictions prior to any lures hitting the water. We jot these down without discussion and it is always fun to see how we compare. On this outing, our guesses were darn near identical on Top 5 Weight and Top Bass but drastically different on the total bass we thought we’d catch. I often share these numbers with my friend John Kirkemo as the day begins and the conversation is noted below. Turns out, I was right on the money with the small bass assessment and nailed the total for my bass. However, the intent is to predict our combined total, so I was well short of our sixty-five bass result.

12:15pm – Top Bass at 2-4 on a jerkbait

Late Lunch Break – Around 3:30pm, Brent and I returned to our trucks to regroup, have a sandwich, and plan the remainder of our day. Part one of our hike resulted in thirty-one bass. Part two of the trip aimed at an uncharted passage that would offer a shot at four lakes that I do not fish on a regular basis. The hike to the lakes was not as taxing as anticipated, but we did discover that an “unknown” lake proved to be too shallow to support a fish population. Brent fished for another hour and a half while I decided to ride it out until about 7:15pm. In the end, we ended up with thirty-four more bass and I wound up with quite a hike back to the truck. It’s a lot of fun fishing your way out from your starting point but bear in mind that you also must walk back.


Senko Season (check video) – As we near mid-April, I begin to consider expanding my lure offerings to what I l consider my Top Lure of all-time, the Senko wacky rig. By this time of the year, we are typically moving out of what I call the “spring cold water” period of the year. Once the water temperatures start to warm and the bass’ thoughts turn to boosting energy to make more bass, the Senko wacky rig starts to shine. From here through October, I’ll have one ready to go nearly every time I hit the water. With one small wacky rig bass on this outing, the Senko season is officially underway.

1:23pm – Top Bass Runner-up at 1-10 on a jerkbait

Quantity Over Quality – With above average temperatures and some time to get on the water, the year is off to a roaring start. Well, at least in terms of quantity. The forty-three bass that I fooled on this outing brings my 2024 total to 103 bass. Compared to the last two years, I am well ahead of previous totals. In 2023, I reached the century mark on May 14 and in 2022 it was May 25. Those two years saw a total of over 1,000 bass (2023 = 468 and 2022 = 553), so here’s hoping that I can stay on a solid bite and eventually fool some “good ones” as the year progresses. While numbers are high in 2024, size is lacking with a Top Bass of 2-6 representing my lone bass at or above two pounds. But the waters that I am fishing have quality bass so if I keep on casting, I figure that the bigger bites will come along.

7:15pm – Last bass, still small, lots of steps and a lot of other small bass in between


Another successful outing as the bass continue to get more active. Having spent six hours casting on this day as well as having a fishing partner for the bulk of the trip, one post doesn’t suffice. Stay tuned for another batch of notes coming soon. Talk to you later. Troy

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