Category: Fishing Reports

Lake Storey Report – July 25

My family made a trip back “home” to Galesburg last Saturday for a birthday party that included an overnight for me and my boys. While they slept in and later hung out with their cousins, me and Dad launched his boat at daybreak on the old stomping grounds.

6:13am – Dad with our first bass at 12″ and 0-14 on a crankbait

Stats
Date: July 25, 2021
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 5:40am-10:55am
Weather: Sunny/calm to light breeze
Air Temp: 73-88F
Water Temp: 83-84F
Totals: 7 bass (Dad = 5, Troy = 2)
Lures: Strike King Rattling Squarebill Crankbait (sexy ghost minnow or natural pumpkinseed) – 3 bass, 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (green pumpkin) – 2 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 1 bass, Vicious Muskrat creature bait (green pumpkin) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-2 Dad Senko
Top 5 Weight (only 3 at 12” or better): 2-12 (1-2,0-14,0-12)

Winning Lures

Part of the reason I got outfished by Dad? This stuff may be older than some of his grandkids.

Notes and Nonsense

Back-to-Back Bass – Less than a half hour into our casting, Dad had already lured several strikes, but the bass had shaken off before reaching the boat. Things were looking pretty good in terms of action and proceeded to get better when he landed our first two bass on back-to-back casts. I was busy doing my logging of the first fish when I realized bass number two was on the line. Pretty cool to have it on video as shown below.

 

One That Got Away – As it sometimes happens on a fishing trip, there was “one that got away.” Shortly after 7:00am, Dad set the hooks on a bite that he indicated felt like a good one only to have it somehow come unbuttoned without a glimpse. It was one of several that got loose on crankbaits, and we still marvel at how those bass can avoid the treble hooks. It leaves you scratching your head sometimes considering the ability of those hooks to find purchase in your tacklebags, boat carpet, life jackets, shirts, and so on.

6:31am – Dad with Top Bass at 13″ and 1-2 on a Senko

Big Birds – Over the course of the morning, we spotted several of the larger birds in our area that have an affinity for water. These included a bald eagle, a cormorant, and a blue heron (as well as its smaller cousin a green heron). However, missing on this day was an osprey, a unique bird that we frequently see fishing alongside us at Lake Storey.

The New Armada – We were the first watercraft to arrive at the ramp but were joined by several others before we called it a day. The final tally showed a 2 to 1 ratio of kayaks to boats (10 to 5). Recent years have seen quite the kayak explosion as they are a regular sight on the water or being transported around town awaiting their next dip.

9:02am – The best I could fool but just shy of 12″, not a “keeper”

Nothing stellar on this trip and no problem getting easily outfished by Dad. The dog days of summer are always a challenge and Lake Storey can be a tough one no matter the season. After many years of casting together, the catches can just be icing on the cake. In between bites, there were plenty of what I call “Remember That One Time” tales. Dad told of slaying the crappies with Uncle Bill in a rowboat well over 50 years ago, landing a muskie off Dump Point, losing a Wyoming Cowboys baseball cap in the lake, catching bass off a picnic table, catching a bass from the top of a stump sticking out of the water…

Don’t get us started. Talk to you later. Troy

Prowl The Canal – July 23

I was able to take birthday number 54 off from work to make for a three-day weekend and spent the first half of the day fishing and exploring on the Hennepin Canal. While the bite was tough during the hot, muggy morning and early afternoon, I learned plenty.

Not the only one to “Prowl the Canal”

Stats
Date: July 23, 2021
Location: Hennepin Canal – Henry/Bureau County, IL
Time: 6:15am-2:15pm (4.25 hours fishing, the rest exploring)
Weather: Sunny/calm and reaching the upper 80s
Totals: 4 bass
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (pumpkin with black flake) – 3 bass, Strike King Squarebill crankbait (sexy shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-9 (Senko)
Top 5 Weight (only one bass at 12” or better): 1-9

11:53am – Little bass but good to get one on a new stretch of the canal

Trip Lyric
“How you feeling? Hot, hot, hot.” – Hot, Hot, Hot – Buster Poindexter (1987)

Notes and Nonsense

Gut Feelings – As noted in the last “Prowl the Canal” report, I struggled during the start of an evening outing. However, despite forty minutes without a bite, I just had this feeling the something good was going to happen. Right on the money, as the bite kicked in and I posted my new Top Bass from the canal along with my heaviest limit (all released). In contrast, on this outing, my confidence was lacking. I was hot, fatigued and just didn’t have that same vibe. Similarly, my feeling was right on target as I just couldn’t get anything going in terms of a solid bite.

An entertaining catch on a tough day, I’ll take whatever I can get to bring a smile

Senko on the Half Shell – When you can’t fool the fish, the mind wanders, and you may find yourself seeking anything that can salvage the day and provide something of interest. On this day it was a clam shell that I snagged with my Senko. I was so desperate to catch something that I was secretly urging the shell to stay hooked as I hoisted it up to my perch on a lock wall high above the water. I know that I have seen a clam shell catch but I believe that this is the first time I have personally achieved such a feat.

1:26pm – Top Bass on a Senko at 1-9

Top Bass – While not a trophy at 1-9, the day’s Top Bass was an entertaining catch. The fish hit a crankbait and a spinnerbait several times right in front of me without getting hooked. This prompted me to reach for my Senko as it is a bit less of a mouthful and I figured that it would improve the odds of getting a hook into a lip. Sure enough, the bass was still hanging out and interested in an offering that often proves too hard to resist.

Lessons

As always, my “Prowl the Canal” features include some bits of information and observation gleaned from my time on the waterway.

1. Fishing or not, the historic corridor is cool piece of engineering at over 100 years old. There’s plenty to see at the multitude of access points along the way.

2. If your normal stomping grounds aren’t cooperating, it doesn’t hurt to explore in hopes of finding some new spots.


End of the prowl…

When it was all said and done, I wandered quite a ways from home for a mere four bass. However, a tough day fishing beats a day at work, and I am confident that my legwork will pay some dividends as my prowls continue. Talk to you later. Troy

Prowl the Canal – July 4, 18 & 21

Just getting around to posting the report covering a batch of trips to the Hennepin Canal earlier this month.

Stats
Date: July 4, 18, 21, 2021
Location: Hennepin Canal – Henry County, IL
Time: Evenings (4.25 hours total)
Totals: 14 bass (5 bass 7/4, 5 bass 7/18, 4 bass 7/21)
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (various colors) – 7 bass, Mann’s Baby 1- Crankbait (red craw or rainbow) – 3 bass, Whopper Plopper (I Know It) – 3 bass, Strike King Squarebill crankbait (sexy shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 3-6 (Senko on 7/21)
Top 5 Weight 10-11 (3-6,2-10,2-0,1-7,1-4)

 

Notes and Nonsense

July 4 – Two spots and an hour and fifteen minutes of fishing up until sunset produced five bass with a Top Bass at 1-7 on a Senko wacky rig. Two other “keepers” (12” or better and always released), one on a Senko and the other on a Strike King Squarebill crankbait. A decent, abbreviated evening for me with plenty of action and plenty of mosquitoes.

July 18 – Two spots again on this evening with a slightly earlier start to give me an hour and forty-five minutes of casting. Five more bass with four “keepers” although the largest was only one pound even. A fair bite from the bass while the mosquito bite was over the top. Spoke to a fellow canal angler on this evening who was employing a Thermacell Mosquito Repellent device. He provided a rave review and I have since purchased one as a birthday gift to myself, but I have yet to put it to use.

New Top Bass from the Canal, a slim 3-6 at 20″ could have weighed considerably more

July 21 – I committed to one stretch of water on this evening from 6:25pm to 8:40pm. It was an odd night as the first forty minutes failed to produce a bite. However, I just had a feeling that things were going to turn out well in the end (even made such a prediction on my GoPro video to be released one of these days). As it turned out, I caught my Top Bass from the canal at 3-6. At 20”, it was a slim specimen and likely would have weighed near four pounds if filled out. In addition, a 2-10, 2-0 and 1-4 joined the log for my heaviest daily total despite being one bass shy of my five bass target limit (always catch and release).

Lessons

As a part of each “Prowl the Canal” report, I intend to pass on some lessons learned along the way, regardless of the results of the outing. The concept of this feature is to reinforce that you should learn something new each time you hit the water.

1. Packing a dipnet along on a canal prowl can be beneficial as you encounter some interesting bank access. The lengthening of your “arm” can save the day.

2. Dipping bass caught on lures sporting treble hooks can make for a tangled mess. The pic below is the result of having to snip a Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait out of the dipnet.

3. You should have spare treble hooks amongst your terminal tackle.

A couple days after the July 21 trip, I was back on the canal to celebrate my birthday. Stay tuned for that report along with a Lake Storey report featuring a special guest. Talk to you later. Troy

New York Report – July 11 to July 14

The Permit

Work took me to the Buffalo, NY area this week and as I needed to haul a batch of IT equipment, I drove. Fortunately, there was some extra room in the vehicle, so I packed along some fishing gear as well. With a little internet research and a NY non-resident permit, I was off at 5:00am Sunday morning with hopes of some evening casts and beyond.

The Plan

Stats

Date: July 11-14, 2021
Location: Buffalo, NY area (3 locations)
Time: Evenings (6.00 total hours)
Weather: Everything
Air Temp: 80s
Water Temp: No reading
Totals: 7 bass
Lures: War Eagle Spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) – 5 bass, 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (pumpkin with black flake) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 4-10 (Spinnerbait)
Top 5 Weight (only 3 at 12” or better): 7-0 (4-11,1-7,0-14)

Trip Lyric
“Back in the New York Groove”– New York Groove, Ace Frehley (1978)

July 11 – Sprague Brook Park, first bass, 6:40pm on a spinnerbait

July 11 – Sprague Brook Park 6:51pm, Top Bass at 20″ and 4-10 on a spinnerbait

Notes and Nonsense

July 11 – Sprague Brook Park (near Glenwood, NY) – 2 bass
Located about 40 minutes south of my work destination made this spot a good start on the Sunday drive. After a handful of casts with a Strike King Red Eye Shad lipless crankbait came up empty, I decided to switch to a War Eagle spinnerbait. Immediately, I was rewarded with my first catch, mission accomplished. It took another 55 minutes to get another bite but what a bite it was as the spinnerbait produced my Top Bass of 2021 at 4-10.

July 12 – Walton Woods Park Top Bass at 0-14 on a spinnerbait

July 12 – Walton Woods Park (two ponds in Amherst, NY) – 3 bass
For Monday, I had to stick close to my work destination to make the most of a short evening after a near 10-hour workday. The first pond, a nicely manicured fishing hole produced one small bass on a Senko. Next up was a walk into the woods to a slightly larger and more appealing looking spot. During my 45 minutes of casting, it gave up a pair of bass roughly three minutes apart with my Top Bass of the evening coming in at 13” and 0-14.

July 13 – Endicott Creek Park Top Bass at 1-7 on a spinnerbait

July 13 – Endicott Creek Park (Tonawanda, NY) – 1 bass
Once again proximity was key after a long day and this spot was barely five minutes from work. Unfortunately, about 25 minutes were spent in the vehicle as a nasty, windy thunderstorm raged in from the northwest. Luckily, it passed and allowed me about an hour to fish before dark. The creek portion of the area looked great but failed to produce a bite. However, a backwater pond gave up my lone catch at 1-7 on the spinnerbait with about 20 minutes to spare before quitting time.

July 14 – Sprague Brook Park (two lakes near Glenwood, NY) – 1 bass
My final day of work ended around 5:00pm and I headed back to the site of my Top Bass catch. First, I hit a pond I had not tried on my earlier visit. It gave up a short bass on the Senko to ensure that I would have a skunk free week. With that monkey off my back, I went back for another shot at a big bass but came up empty. I did see a likely four-pounder swim up near me, but I could not entice a bite with Senko.

July 14 – Sprague Brook Park, final bass at 7:05pm on a Senko

While I am not a huge travel fan, being able to pack my poles along makes for a nice way to finish lengthy workdays. Summer sunset times are also beneficial as a late evening start still allows for a fair amount of casting. Overall, I was quite pleased with the haul on a set of sites unseen. Thanks also to the internet for an assist in formulating what was a successful gameplan. More to come from the trip as there was more to experience and observe than reeling in a handful of bass. Talk to you later. Troy

Mautino Report – July 3

Mautino State Fish & Wildlife Area re-opened last summer after many years of significantly limited access due to much needed interior road repairs. While I didn’t manage to get over there last fall, this past weekend presented a few open evening hours and I decided to give the site a look. I had not fished the area for five years and had high hopes that I would encounter some solid, uneducated bass.

Stats
Date: July 3
Location: Mautino State Fish & Wildlife Area – Bureau County
Time: 6:15pm-8:45pm
Weather: Sunny/breezy to calm
Air Temp: 81F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 9 bass (2 lakes)
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (various colors) – 4 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 2 bass, Booyah Buzzbait (salt and pepper) – 2 bass, War Eagle Spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 0-14 (Buzzbait)
Top 5 Weight (only 1 bass at 12” or better): 0-14

6:21pm – First bass, hoping they’d get bigger, didn’t really happen

Notes and Nonsense

Anticipation – On my last three visits prior to the closure of nearly the whole site back in 2016, I managed a decent Top 5 collection that pushed 13 pounds. Thus, my anticipation was riding high on the ride to the fishing holes. After all, a lot of the fish had not seen many lures over the last five years. Well, the larger fish weren’t quite as dumb as I’d hoped as my lone “keeper” was a 13.5” bass on a buzzbait.

Changes – Of the two lakes that I opted to fish, one was much murkier than the “old days” while the other remained just as murky as it always was. A few other waters were observed from the road and seemed to be the same as I recalled in terms of clarity and aquatic vegetation. I spotted several bank anglers, three trailers at three different lakes and a pair of kayakers on a spot with a rudimentary ramp. The latter approach is certainly a change as those personal watercrafts have really taken off in the last several years.

8:19pm – Last bass of the evening was Top Bass at 13.5″ and 0-14, a tough outing

Stocking – My hopes were that during the downtime in fishing access that fish stocking would continue or perhaps kick up a notch on the site. In checking the IDNR info, it looks like a modest stocking program occurred during the site closure but nothing that really seemed to give the site much of a boost, particularly in terms of my favorite pursuit, the largemouth bass.

So much for my triumphant return to a couple of Mautino’s fishing holes. I’ll chalk it up to the dog days of summer getting an early start as the weather conditions were quite balmy. In addition, a small sample of a few hours on the water may say more about the fisherman than the fish. Perhaps I’ll be back for a second chance in the fall to see if we get along better.

Time will tell. But, hey, the roads are nice. Talk to you later. Troy

Prowl the Canal – June 25 & July 2

The past week found me on the Hennepin Canal on two occasions as my fishing exploration of the historic corridor continues. Both locales were spots I’d seen previously while on bike rides, but those trips had not seen me wet a line. On the latest trips it was time to bring along the fishing gear to see what would happen.

Stats
Date: June 25 and July 2, 2021
Location: Hennepin Canal – Henry County, IL
Time: 6/25 (7:35-8:50pm), 7/2 (7:40pm-8:55pm)
Weather: Sunny to partly cloudy/calm both days
Air Temp: Mid-80s
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 8 bass (3 bass on 6/25 and 5 bass on 7/2)
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (pumpkin with black flake) – 3 bass, Mann’s Baby 1- (rainbow) – 3 bass, Strike King Squarebill crankbait (sexy shad) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 2-13 (Senko on 7/2)
Top 5 Weight (only 4 bass at 12” or better): 6-14 (2-13,1-11,1-9,0-13)

June 25 at 7:35pm – best I could muster, courtesy of a Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait

Notes and Nonsense

June 25 – The first stop had a modest amount of open water which can be a tough summer find among the stretches I have checked out thus far. However, bank access presented some challenges which is another standard canal feature. I fished four or five areas of access and found only three small bites.

July 2 at 7:53pm – Top Bass at 2-13 on a wacky rigged Senko

July 2 – Several “keepers” were caught from another area featuring a fair amount of open water. In addition, the water had some better depth than most stretches of the canal. This allowed me to toss the Strike King Squarebill crankbait and fool a couple decent fish. But it was the Senko wacky rig which once again came through for the Top Bass of the evening. The 2-13 fell one ounce shy of my canal personal best and further proved that there are some quality bass that call the waterway home.

July 2 at 8:30pm – Top Bass Runner-Up at 1-11 on a Strike King Squarebill crankbait

So, what have I learned from my four Hennepin Canal adventures to date?

1. The overall quality of catches has been a pleasant surprise. Previously, I never viewed the local sections of the canal as a regular destination but results and social media posts have opened my eyes.

2. Casting is key as is generally the case in bass fishing. There’s lots of vegetation where the bass can hide or wait in ambush, but that vegetation can also ruin a cast with many lures. Accuracy and repeated casts (at varying angles if possible) have been keys to success.

3. A bike is a bonus as stretches of open water can be few and far between at this time of year. Pedaling cuts down transit time and gets you away from the easy to access spots at the scattered parking areas.

4. While I have several topwater frogs in my tackle backpack, I have yet to put any of them to use. Fortunately, my other presentations have kept me busy with bites, but I do need to see if I can entice some quality strikes from beneath the plentiful surface vegetation.

The evening outings have been a fun way to work in a few weekday casts and I have been pleased with the action. There’s plenty more water to explore so I suspect that I will be back with some future reports as I continue to “prowl the canal.” Talk to you later. Troy

200,000 Mile Fishing Report – June 21

 

My truck means a lot to me as it came into possession after the passing of my father-in-law back in 2006. Junior Breuer put a lot of miles on that 1998 Chevy Silverado, and I have added over the years with the truck on the verge of 200,000 miles as I set out on this fishing trip. I figured that there was only one way to celebrate the milestone and that was a round trip ride to the fishing hole.

 

Stats
Date: June 21, 2021
Location: Hennepin Canal – Henry County, IL
Time: 7:35pm-8:35pm
Weather: Partly cloudy/calm
Air Temp: Low 60s
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 6 bass
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig – 5 bass, Mann’s Baby 1- (rainbow) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-14 (Mann’s Baby 1-)
Top 5 Weight (2 bass at 12” or better): 3-11 (2-14,0-13)

Trip Lyric
“Long may you run, long may you run, although these changes have come.” – Long May You Run, Neil Young (1976)

Notes and Nonsense

Back on the Bike – I’ve got this plan to explore some more of the Hennepin Canal as I have seen reports of solid bass over the years. The historic corridor covers over 100 miles (including a feeder portion) with a decent section within a half hour drive from home. Such makes for a nice weekday evening shot at wetting a line for an hour or so when I can get away. Open shoreline access is scattered which makes for a perfect excuse to get the bike tires aired up, toss it in the truck bed and get some needed exercise along the way.

4-4 – On new water, my first goal is to get that one bite to get me on the board and avoid the shutout. Well, it sure didn’t take long to get that monkey off my back as I landed a bass on my first cast. And it didn’t stop there as I managed to catch a bass on each of my first four casts. It got me wondering if I had ever had such good fortune once upon a time when I played a little baseball. Among the scattered archives I found an affirmation that such a feat took place at least once. The proof from July 13 is below and it sure is fun to reminisce on the names of teammates from a portion of the Hi-Lo highlight recap of the 1986 season.

Crooked Bass – Top Bass was an interesting specimen with a stubby, crooked back end. I have caught several odd bass over the years including those with a similar affliction but have yet to determine the cause of the crookedness. On the positive side, the bass was eager to eat, otherwise healthy looking and put up a good fight. Here’s hoping it rewards other anglers and leaves them scratching their heads as well.

 

A good hour on the water and mission accomplished on the sunset drive home as I watched the odometer turn. Someday I suppose there will be a post or two in tribute to the old truck but for today I’ll leave it as a fishing report. As a fellow fisherman, I’d like to think that Junior would have enjoyed the drive. Talk to you later. Troy

Snakeden Hollow Report – June 19

It sure felt like summer on the last day of spring so what better time for a workout walk-in at Snakeden Hollow? I psyched myself up as best I could during the hour drive to meet my brother, Brent, as I knew it would be a chore in the near 90-degree heat.

Was it worth it?

Read on.

Stats

Date: June 19, 2021
Location: Snakeden Hollow (4 lakes)
Time: 3:10pm-9:15pm (4.50 hours fishing, the rest walking)
Weather: Partly cloudy/windy to dead calm, hot and humid
Air Temp: 81-87F
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 55 bass (Troy – 29, Brent – 26) and 2 bluegill
Lures: Yum Dinger wacky rig – 19 bass, Strike King Pro Model Series 4 Crankbait (sexy shad) – 17 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 10 bass, Emiquon Special Spinnerbait – 7 bass, War Eagle Spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 4-3 (Troy – Red Eye Shad)
Top 5 Weight: 13-5 (4-3,3-9,2-6,1-13,1-6)

Winning Lures

Bonus, big bluegill on a crankbait

Trip Lyric
“And I would walk 500 miles…” – I’m Gonne Be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers (1993)

Notes and Nonsense

New Water, Old Tricks – Even after 34 years of fishing Snakeden, there are still things to learn. Back in March, Brent and I hiked in to check out one spot that I had always wanted to try but was never able to attempt. Our scouting trip revealed a positive change in water level and shoreline access and a few casts proved that there was at least one bass that called the lake home. On the return trip, Brent came armed with a wacky rig and a spinnerbait while I took to casting a crankbait, no surprise from either guy. The combined attack produced 34 bass as we drifted the shorelines with Brent working the shallows while I cranked the drops. Should we muster the energy again, a return trip would certainly be worthwhile.

7:20pm – Top Bass at 4-3 and 20″ on a lipless crankbait

Lost Tackle – While I was getting ready to replace a Senko wacky rig, our boat began to drift into some trees. I had several poles sticking out of the boat, so I instinctively reached to grab them and get them out of harm’s way. What I failed to realize was that my film container holding my wacky rig hooks and O-rings was open in my hand. In the process of grabbing the poles, the entire contents flew out of the container. A sickening “plop” behind me clued me in that the gear was gone. Although not an expensive mistake, it was still disheartening and a bit embarrassing. Fortunately, my fishing partner is also a wacky guy and had plenty of spare items. However, I had a solid crankbait bite dialed in, so I did not have to resort to begging for a borrow.

8:56pm – Brent Top Bass at 2-6 on a wacky rigged Yum Dinger

Change For the Better – I worked a six-month temporary stint at Snakeden back in 1990 and to say that it was in a primitive public access state would be an understatement. Of note for today’s entry, were several nasty, barren depressions on the landscape that looked more like the lunar surface than our planet. One such area produced our two largest bass of the trip, so I’d like to give a well-deserved shout out to those who have managed the area over the years. It is incredibly rewarding to cast on the former sickly, damaged area all these years later. And nearly eight pounds of bass on two casts a half hour apart is quite rewarding as well.

 

As we trudged through our trek, I thought back to a challenging June 21, 2019, journey that Brent and I took to a remote Snakeden lake. We called that one the “100 Year Trip” as Brent was 49 and I was 51 for a combined 100 years of existence. I guess that this latest outing would be a “104 Year Trip” at 51 and 53 years of age. While 105 years might have been a better headline, if I wait until I turn 54 on July 23, I’m afraid the weather might be too hot. Near 90 degrees like this trip is just about my limit. Talk to you later. Troy

Lake Storey Report – June 12

Last weekend we took the summer (almost) Lake Storey challenge during a weekend family camping trip. My brother, Brent, and I hit the water at sunrise and my oldest boy, Jayce, joined us as we wrapped up our day. As expected, conditions were quite weedy, but I must say that the water clarity was as good as I can recall being a clear green rather than the normal murky green. And as crazy as it sounds, we were the only trailer in the lot the whole Saturday morning. Read on for the results.

6:30am Brent with our first bass of the day caught on a spinnerbait

Stats
Date: June 12, 2021
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 5:20am-12:35pm
Weather: Sunny/calm to breezy
Air Temp: 72-90F
Water Temp: 83-85F
Totals: 10 bass (Brent = 8, Troy = 1, Jayce = 1), 6 bluegill
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig – 8 bass, Spinnerbait (white) – 2 bass, Waxworms on a 1/16oz. jighead hung from a slip bobber – 6 bluegill
Top Bass: 1-11 Brent Senko
Top 5 Weight: 5-15 (1-11,1-3,1-2,1-0,0-15)

Trip Lyric
“’Cause, Mama, I’m so hard to handle now.”
Hard to Handle – Black Crowes (1990)

Several fish were hard to handle as seen in this snip from some GoPro video

Notes and Nonsense

Hot Seat – While not technically summer, you sure couldn’t tell as it was flat out hot, reaching 90F during the latter portion of our day. If you left your seat for even a short stretch of time, it sure got your attention when you sat back down. Same for my phone as I had to hide it in order to prevent the “iPhone needs to cool down before you can use it” message. You certainly can’t be without a phone at the ready on a day when bites are tough as you don’t want to miss a scattered photo opportunity.

 

Slippery Fish – It seemed like the fish were extra slippery on this outing as several got loose in the boat and one unfortunately slipped from the grip while getting a rinse. The latter was Jayce’s lone bass that had swallowed the hook on his Senko pretty good. As a result, it was bleeding, so I decided to wash it off before taking a pic. Jayce stated that it was a bad idea and despite what I felt was a good grip on the lip, his bass gave a good shake and swam away. I’m sure the bass was happy, but we had a boat full of disappointed anglers and Jayce threatened to not go fishing we me again. Can’t really say that I blame him after my boneheaded move that prevented a pic with his catch. At least we had the catch (and unintentional release) on video that will be posted another day.

12:13pm my lone bass of the day

Secret Weapon – Many times over the years, we have joked about having a “secret weapon” in tow that we plan to unleash on the fish with stellar results. Sometimes it’s an unorthodox or forgotten lure or perhaps a spray bottle of some can’t miss scent. In the case of this outing, it was Jayce. During the hour and a half that he spent casting with us at the end of the seven-hour trip, we caught the majority of our fish. Too bad I didn’t rouse him from the tent at 4:45am. Maybe next time.

Jayce, our “Secret Weapon” of the day with my bass as I let his get away later before snapping a pic

12:28pm Brent with Top Bass of the day as is slips away

Uncle Brent put a whooping on me on this trip. My youngest boy, Zac, had tagged along for a bit of boat ride and he is all about inquiring who is the better angler, his dad, or his uncle. Zac was right on the money on this day with his vote for Uncle Brent. No argument from me although I need to teach Zac about the whole front versus back of the boat excuse. I don’t think it would have mattered on this day. Talk to you later. Troy

Hennepin Canal Report – June 5

A weekend camping trip along the historic Hennepin Canal afforded the opportunity to make a few casts. The heat was on with a blast of summer weather a few weeks early, but a handful of fish made it worth our while.

Stats
Date: June 5, 2021
Location: Hennepin Canal – Henry County, IL
Time: scattered during afternoon
Weather: Sunny/breezy
Air Temp: 90F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 3 bass (Troy – 2, Jayce – 1), 2 bluegill, 1 pumpkinseed
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (various colors) – 3 bass, Waxworms on a 1/16 oz. jighead hung from a slip bobber – 2 bluegill, 1 pumpkinseed
Top 5 Weight: 2-11 (1-10,1-1)

No giant, but my first Hennepin Canal bass was still rewarding

Notes and Nonsense

Paddle Fishing – A midday canoe rental found me, Carly and Jayce paddling through the weed choked waters in the 90-degree heat. We had a goal to reach a nearby lock and an hour to make the round-trip. Reaching the lock, I figured that we had time for some casts in the open water of the deeper pool and the first cast was a winner for my boy, Jayce. A solid canal catch made for some smiles, some excitement, and a proud dad before we turned around for the return paddle to the launch.

Jayce actually claimed the first Hennepin Canal bass for our family

New Species – Later in the afternoon, I tried my luck from the bank armed with a Senko for bass and some waxworms for panfish. Along the mossy bank of the canal, I found a couple open spots with a batch of panfish on beds. While they weren’t very cooperative, I did manage to fool a few, including my first ever pumpkinseed. This attractive member of the sunfish family was a cool and unexpected catch.

Going to have to add a new column to my spreadsheets for a new species

Top Bass – As my limited casting time window was winding down, I spotted a decent sized drum cruising in and out of sight in front of me. I dropped the Senko and waxworm in its vicinity numerous times along with reeling a crankbait past but not even a glance from my quarry. With only a few minutes of fishing time remaining, however, my Senko got a thump and a decent bend in the rod when I set the hook. For a moment, I thought the fight is on with my sought-after drum, but the catch turned out to be a 1-10 bass instead. All good.

Top Bass at 1-10 and I know where some bigger ones live now after a little scouting

Overall, a fun hour or so fooling around on some new water. I also made a few discoveries along the way that may bring me back to the canal with a few poles in the future. Plenty more to the weekend family adventure but those are tales for another post or two. Talk to you later. Troy