Category: Fishing Reports

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.

Stats
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

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.

 

Stats
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

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

Stats

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

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

Stats
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

Lake Storey Report – October 22

Time is winding down for my 2022 fishing season. Shorter daylight and busy weekends make it tough to get on the water. And when I do get a shot, it can also be tough to decide on a destination. However, by October some of the options are no longer in play with the Knox County public access strip mines locking out anglers. Therefore, my choices came down to The Canal, Little John Conservation Club, and Lake Storey. I chose the latter and here’s how it went down.

Stats

Date: October 22
Time: 9:30am-5:15pm
Totals: 13 bass
Weather: Sunny/very windy 61-79F
Water Temperature: 51-55F
Lures: War Eagle spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (watermelon seed) – 8 bass, Special K Willow Hammer Spinnerbait (white with copper head) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (watermelon seed) – 2 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 2 bass, Bomber Flat A Crankbait (baby bass) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-15 Red Eye Shad
Top 5 Weight: 6-13 (1-15,1-6,1-4,1-4,1-0)

 

Notes and Nonsense

Weird Wind – I was pleased when I saw that the prevailing wind forecast was generally south. Not only does that mean warming but it also sets up well with many of my spots getting pounded by the weather. In addition, I don’t have to fight it as much as a west wind when it is time to return to the ramp. However, the wind turned out to be a strange swirling direction that was all over the place. I wound up in few spots that were extremely windy that should not have had any wind at all judging from the observed direction of treetops or flags. At least the end of the day featured gusts from the east. Not my favorite for fish activity and made boat control tough for a stop along the dam but it did help push me back to the ramp.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery exemplified (see note below)

Shad Surge – Over the last few years, I have observed a real uptick in shad sightings at Lake Storey. Schools on the surface are common and you can occasionally see them scatter during casts and retrieves around shallow structure. On this trip, my lure collided with what I suspect were shad and I even snagged one in the back with a near facsimile, the Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad pattern). These days, shad look to be a substantial piece of the forage base along with a population of similarly designed golden shiners. Moral of the story is lures that imitate such species are certainly worth some casts.

A golden shiner from Lake Storey in May that also makes up part of the lake’s forage base

Crazy From the Heat – The summer-like weather brought out an interesting crowd. I was one of three trailered boats on the water along with close to double digit kayakers and well over a dozen bank anglers. I observed a topless paddle boarder (male) intentionally go for a waist-deep wade in the fifty-two-degree water. He hollered at his buddy, “It ain’t too bad!” Nope, as it made me breathe funny just watching and recalling how cool creek water got your attention once it reached a certain level of the anatomy. Fish stories abounded with one kayaker stating he’d landed a five-pound bass that morning. He looked adept in his skills, and I believed him. Another kayaker along the dam regaled me with tales of a seven and eight-pounder from Lake Storey over the years, and many six-pounders this year. He also had a state record bass hooked out there. He stated, “the only bass I’ve ever seen that large was in a Bass Pro Shops tank in Galveston, Texas and it weighed 16.62 pounds.” (Illinois state record sits at 13-1, a controversial catch from 1976). I mentioned that I had lost a good muskie and he then proceeded to tell of his fifty-five-inch Lake Storey muskie that he released not realizing it could be “a state record.” For reference, I believe that the largest verified muskies from Illinois waters came in at fifty-four inches. As his fish stories continued, I was smiling inside. You see, we were conversing near the water control structure. It is the deepest part of the lake, and I felt that the water wasn’t the only thing getting deep during our chat.

Snapshsot from the GoPro footage of a large muskie that wound up as “the one that got away.” Stay tuned for the rest of the story in a follow-up post.

Getting back to reality to close this post, my muskie encounter briefly referenced above will get a blog post of its own. Losing a big fish like that torments me and as a teller of fish tales, I need more time and blog space to do it justice. Besides, this ramble has gone on long enough so stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Prowl the Canal – October 16

After two weeks off from fishing due to shorter weekdays and busy weekends, I took another shot at The Canal. With exactly 500 bass in the log for the year, I would say that any catches from here on out are icing on the cake. I was hoping to hit a fall feeding frenzy on this mild (but windy) afternoon, but the bite was tough.

(Note: Also included below is a bonus Snakeden Hollow report from my brother.)

3:45pm – Top Bass at 1-14 (16″) on a spinnerbait

Stats
Date: October 16
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: 1:45pm-4:45pm
Totals: 4 bass
Weather: Partly cloudy/very windy
Lures: Stanley Vibra Shaft spinnerbait (blue glimmer) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (root beer/pepper/green) – 3 bass Booyah Blade spinnerbait (bleeding shiner) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (watermelon seed) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-14 Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight (only 4 at 12” or better): 5-10 (1-14,1-9,1-7,0-12)

Winning lures including an old Blue Glimmer spinnerbait from the 1990s on left

Notes and Nonsense

Wind – Much of The Canal that I fish is bordered by tree lines leaving only a narrow window for the wind to be blowing right in the wrong direction. On this trip, that was the case. In fact, the wind was as tough as I have had on The Canal since a cold, windy May 1 outing. No complaints though, just an observation as most days The Canal affords an escape from the gusts that would hound me on any other waters I visit.

A missed strike resulted in the demise of this War Eagle spinnerbait

Broken Bait – I have given a few spinnerbaits a workout this year and they have been very good to me in terms of production from April to present. Along the way, the bass have destroyed two of my favorites. In both cases, the blade arm wire has snapped just above the line tie. The latest casualty came on this trip as a missed strike ruined a War Eagle brand spinnerbait. In September, a Lake Storey bass busted a favorite that an old friend and baseball teammate, Mike Karlovich, had crafted and sent my way. In the latter case, at least the bait went out on top by landing the fish that caused the damage.

 

Bonus Snakeden Finale Report

My brother, Brent, hit Snakeden on October 16 to get in a few more casts before the site becomes off limits to anglers. His details are below along with a couple photos.

Brent’s Snakeden Top Bass from his October 16 trip at 1-11

Roughly 3.00 hours
13 bass
Top Bass: 1-11 and 1-6
Mann’s 4- crankbait – 6 bass
Strike King Red Eye Shad – 3 bass
Senko wacky rig – 3 bass
Spinnerbait – 1 bass

An odd break for Brent as a busted hook on a Senko wacky rig cost him a three-pounder

My year on the water has reached the home stretch. As I post this entry, I have a final Lake Storey trip in the books and look to have that report posted next week. Beyond that outing, I am not sure what the rest of October holds in terms of getting on the water. These shorter days really do a number when my workday ends at 5:00pm or later. I always set an annual goal to end with a November bass so time will tell how that all shakes out. Fishing or not, I’ve always got plenty of blog ideas so stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Bass Quest 500 – Part II

I launched my boat at The Canal on the morning of October 2 in search of five bass to reach five hundred for the year. After catching four in regular fashion, that final bass turned into quite a challenge. As I struggled to get that last bite, I couldn’t help but wonder how Albert Pujols or Aaron Judge felt in their recent home run milestone quests. In baseball parlance, my mindset was “stick to your swing, don’t press and it will happen.”

Eventually, it did.

My milestone turned out to be the largemouth bass equivalent of a swinging bunt but as the old baseball saying goes “it looks like a line drive in the boxscore.”

Once again, with a little lyrical accompaniment from the band Boston, here’s how it all went down.

8:09am – Bass #499, one more to go and I sure didn’t care if it was big or not

Stats
Date: October 2
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: 7:10am-9:25am
Totals: 5 bass
Weather: Sunny/breezy 48-60F
Lures: War Eagle spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (watermelon seed) – 4 bass, 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (smoke shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass: none at 12” or better
Top 5 Weight: none at 12” or better

Winning Lures

Notes and Nonsense

Party
“And there’s nothing like a party when its kicking into gear.”
(Don’t Look Back – 1978)
Arriving at The Canal shortly after sunrise, I was surprised to find a table set up with refreshments opposite my point of launch. I thought that word of my quest had spread, and the media and fans would arrive shortly to cheer me on towards my goal. That’s not how the whole setup turned out, but more on that in a bit.

Long Time
“I’ve got to keep on chasin’ that dream, though I may never find it.”
(Boston – 1976)
Five bass didn’t seem like a whole lot considering I had decent weather, quality water, and about forty years of chasing bass in my favor. I fished the length of my chosen pool and landed four of the five I needed in my first hour of fishing. At that point, I was confident that I could retrace my water on the return to the lot and get that final fish. Not so fast, as I covered the mile of water back to the launch and never had a bite. My last shot was an area with increased current around a tube which runs under a roadway. And I had about ten minutes left to fish until I had to head home and get the boys to religious education class.

9:25am – That’s a 10″ winner for Bass #500

Feelin’ Satisfied
“So come on, put your hands together, you know it’s now or never.”
(Don’t Look Back – 1978)
I hit the heavier current in search of one more bite with a couple of decisions to make. First, what lure was I going to use? That turned out to be Senko wacky rig. Secondly, was it more important to get my bass or to get my boys to church on time? Luckily, the Senko came through right away and I didn’t have to weigh the consequences related to a poor decision on question number two. While there was neither a cheering crowd nor even a triumphant fist pump, there was relief. After a picture and release of the bass, I put down my pole and rowed for the launch feeling satisfied upon reaching my goal.

I Had a Good Time
“And I, I just wanted you to know, I had a really good time.”
(Corporate America – 2002)

 

Throughout my morning I had seen an increased number of walkers and runners along the towpath that parallels the length of The Canal. I suspected that the crowd was part of an event called the “The Hennepin Hundred,” a hundred-mile ultramarathon. And yes, the refreshment table was for their benefit and not related to my quest after all. As I loaded my boat, a vehicle pulled up with a couple of guys who looked like runners. I said, “Hello” and inquired about the race. One individual confirmed that it was indeed The Hennepin Hundred with the finish line located several miles to the west. He also noted that he was from Michigan, had finished his hundred miles earlier that morning and was now ready to cheer on fellow participants. I congratulated him and marveled at his achievement, electing to keep my fish story to myself. It just kind of paled in comparison.

I am still looking for Bass #501 and beyond as I have yet to get back on the water. Time will tell where the final tally for 2022 ends. Talk to you later. Troy

Bass Quest 500 – Part I

The title of this post is a bit of a “spoiler alert” as it leads one to believe that there will be a “Part II.” And that is correct as I set out on this trip in search of nine bass to reach Bass #500 for the year. My first catch of the evening was landed after only six minutes of casting and had me feeling optimistic. However, I didn’t land another fish for an hour and a half. Read on for the rest of the results with a little musical twist from a favorite “Rock & Roll Band,” Boston.

Bass #492 – 4:36pm at 1-10 (15″) on a Whopper Plopper

Stats
Date: October 1
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: 4:30pm-7:00pm
Totals: 4 bass
Weather: Sunny/calm 66F
Lures: Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (black) – 2 bass, War Eagle spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (watermelon seed) – 1 bass, Whopper Plopper 110 (bone) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-10 Buzzbait
Top 5 Weight (only 4 at 12” or better): 6-5 (2-10,1-10,1-1,1-0)

Winning Lures

Notes and Nonsense

My Destination
“And feeling the way I do, wouldn’t last a mile without you.”
(Third Stage – 1986)
The 2022 fishing year kept me closer to home for most of my outings as fuel costs became as much of a factor as lure selection in my fishing. With The Canal being responsible for sixty-five percent of my 2022 catches, my destination for Bass #500 was an easy choice. It deserved to be the spot where I would pursue those final bass.

Bass #493 – 6:08pm at 1-1 (13.5″) on a buzzbait

The Journey
Instrumental
(Don’t Look Back -1978)
A major reason that The Canal has produced so many bass was my change in approach from prowling the banks on foot and bike to rowing the little boat for miles and miles. Access to more water and more structure gave me a shot at more bass. And I added some low impact exercise along the way (some day I need to tally the distance that I rowed this year).

Bass #494 – 6:20pm at 2-10 (19″) on a buzzbait

Peace of Mind
“All I want is to have my peace of mind.”
(Boston -1976)
Fishing relaxes me and takes my mind off all the stuff that comes with being a grown-up. My goals on the water consist of avoiding a shutout, catching a Top 5, and hitting the double-digit mark with that Top 5 weight. However, this time out I was looking for a precise number of bass and I’ll admit that it messed with my mind when the bite got slow. I just kept casting at quality spots with proven lures but came up short, ending my day with Bass #495.

Bass #495 – 6:37pm at 1-0 (13″) on a spinnerbait

Well, the bass kept me waiting for my milestone on this outing. But I was determined to get Bass #500 and set out twelve hours later to continue the quest the following morning. Stay tuned for “Part II” and talk to you later. Troy

Prowl the Canal – September 24

Four days prior to this outing, I finished a day of casting in a ninety-eight-degree heat index. In the meantime, the seasons changed, and I hit the water hoping that the fall bite would be kicking into gear.

Stats
Date: September 24 (two pools)
Time: 3:20pm-7:00pm
Totals: 12 bass
Weather: Partly cloudy to overcast/breezy 71-69F
Lures: War Eagle spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (watermelon seed) – 9 bass, Whopper Plopper 110 (bone) – 3 bass
Top Bass: 1-5 Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight (only 3 at 12” or better): 3-4 (1-5,1-3,0-12)

5:07pm – Top Bass at 1-5 (14″) on a spinnerbait

Notes and Nonsense

Short Stop – As I was having difficulty choosing between a pair of pools for my destination, I opted to fish both. My aim was to speed fish the first stretch by investing an hour to spot hop between the most productive areas. It turns out that my shortened visit only produced short fish with a seven-inch bass and two ten-and-a-half inchers. Not the start that I was anticipating, so on to stop number two.

Feeling Good – My evening finished on my best stretch of The Canal in overcast conditions that just felt right for something good to happen. I even commented with the GoPro running that I sensed I was on the verge of a big bite. After all these years, I trust my gut feeling, but on this day, the anticipated bite never showed. I felt that I had the right presentations, and I was putting the lures in the right places, but the bass weren’t interested. Just one of those things that leads me to frequently say, “That’s fishing.”

Winning Lures

Fall Fail – Last year was my first year fishing The Canal. I caught my first ever Canal bass in June 2021 and found a good batch of quality bass throughout the summer. I recall looking forward to a solid bite when the cooler fall temperatures kicked in, but it never materialized. This trip has me concerned that the quality fall bass are going to get the better of me again in 2022. However, I’m not ready to give up just yet.

Local Legend – As I loaded my boat in the parking area, I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow angler who was getting ready to wet a line. He introduced himself and we briefly compared some notes on The Canal. As we both headed our ways, I mentioned that I had a website (did not have my cards in my tackle bag, duh!) and he noted that he did as well. He stated that it was J-Mac Lures and of course I did a bit of internet prowling when I got home. Turns out that Tom has quite a history regarding fishing and fishing tackle in the Quad City Area. Not being an area native, I had no idea who I was speaking with but perhaps we may get a chance to cross paths again.

 

I did manage a dozen bass in my three hours of casting which overall isn’t that bad, but I just couldn’t find any big bites. With those twelve bass, however, I began pondering a milestone that was well within reach. Back on September 17, I had landed bass #420 to establish a new personal record for bass caught in a year (topping 419 in 2020). Following several other trips and including the dozen bass landed on this Canal outing, I stood only nine bass from #500. Stay tuned for the details on that quest later this month. Talk to you later. Troy

Prowl the Canal – September 20

When I requested vacation days several weeks earlier, I was hoping for a cool weather snap to kick the fall bite in a little early. But you never know what you will get with the summer/fall transition and what I got was a record setting blast of summer. But as long as I didn’t get any thunderstorms, I was hitting the water no matter the temperature. Read on to see if the heatwave had more of an effect on the fish or the fisherman. All with a fitting lyrical twist.

Trip Lyric
“Man, it’s a hot one, like seven inches from the midday sun”
Smooth – Santana ft. Robb Thomas (1999)

Stats
Date: September 20 (two pools)
Time: 7:30am-10:30am. 11:55am-2:25pm
Totals: 15 bass
Weather: Sunny/breezy 73-92F
Lures: War Eagle spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (watermelon seed) – 7 bass, Whopper Plopper 110 (bone) – 6 bass, 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (smoke shad) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 2-12 Whopper Plopper
Top 5 Weight: 9-1 (2-12,2-8,1-7,1-5,1-1)

Winning Lures
“Gotta have some hot stuff”
Hot Stuff – Donna Summer (1979)

Notes and Nonsense

“Well you’re too hot ta trot now baby”
Too Hot Ta Trot – Commodores (1977)
After a challenging and exhausting Canal cruise and strip mine hike the previous day, I elected to stick solely to rowing on this outing. While that activity is still no walk in the park, it sure beats wading through the weeds on foot.

 

“Let me go on, like I blister in the sun”
Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes (1983)
Even though it was going to be pushing triple digits in terms of the heat index, I donned a long sleeve shirt as I headed to The Canal. My previous two days on Lake Storey, The Canal, and the strip mines had left me looking a little lobster-like on my arms. While I usually don’t burn, the lifelong effects of the sun add up and I figured that any day with an added layer of protection was a wise choice.

2:24pm – Top Bass Runner-up at 2-8 (17.5″) on a Whopper Plopper

“When you’re hot, you’re hot, And when you’re not, you’re not”
When You’re Hot, You’re Hot – Jerry Reed (1971)
My first stop of the day was extended exploring on a pool that I had previously fished in June with my son, Jayce. At that time, we only covered roughly a third of the pool and while I know that there are quality bass in the stretch, we left disappointed. My results on this latest outing were another disappointment, especially after a mile and a half of rowing. I was certainly hot, but the fishing was not. On a side note, I did spot a small gar, the first I have ever seen in The Canal.

2:24pm – Top Bass at 2-12 (18″) on a Whopper Plopper

“I’m goin’ crazy, goin’ crazy, from the heat”
Goin’ Crazy – David Lee Roth (1987)
By the end of my day, I was getting weary and a little thirsty as I neared the far end of the pool. There are a couple appealing spots where the stretch terminates so I figured what was another few hundred yards to row when it was already over a mile back to the truck. Still seeking a big bite, I continued tossing the Whopper Plopper in the bright sun and ninety-two-degree heat in the middle of the afternoon. Not exactly textbook bass fishing but it worked to the tune of my two biggest bass of the day. One bit the plopper as far away from the launch as I could get while the other bit within sight of my truck. Unorthodox, delirious from the heat, who cares, I got what I was after.

A solid day that covered a lot of water, still learning all the way. Always better than being at work and you can’t catch them sitting at home in the air conditioning. I’ll close with a final lyric.

“It’s too hot to fish, and too hot for golf, and too cold at home”
Too Cold at Home – Mark Chesnutt (1990)

Good song but I’ll have to disagree with Mark on that first part. Talk to you later. Troy