Category: Fishing Reports

Lake Storey Report – October 14

What is it like to spend nine and a half hours on your favorite lake?

Well, if you elect to tag along here on the blog. I’m going to run it down for you with the regular stats and a chronology of the catches.

Stats

Date: October 14, 2021
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 7:20am-4:50pm
Weather: Overcast/rainy/breezy to sunny/breezy
Air Temp: 57-70F
Water Temp: 67F
Totals: 8 bass
Lures: Strike King Rattling Squarebill Crankbait (natural pumpkinseed) – 4 bass, War Eagle Spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) with twin tail trailer – 2 bass, Berkley Havoc Pit Boss (green pumpkin) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 2-3 Squarebill crankbait
Top 5 Weight: 7-5 (2-3,2-0,1-2,1-0,1-0)

Chronology

7:21am – Bass #1 (12.5″ and 1-0)

7:21am – The second cast of the day produces the first bass of the day on a spinnerbait. If you have fished Lake Storey, perhaps you know the log across from the boat ramp. It’s been a spinnerbait winner many times and had my hopes high in the dingy water resulting from a substantial amount of recent rain.

10:23am – Bass #2 (15.5″ and 2-0)

10:23am – Bass number two hits the two-pound mark, once again on a spinnerbait off some sunken trees. However, it took me over three hours and most of the lake to get the bite. Numerous good spots had let me down and I had wandered to spots further than my normal rounds. My early high hopes were trending back to my initial outlook of a tough bite in the stained water but it was good to get bit “uplake.”

11:07am – Bass #3 (13.5″ and 1-2)

11:07am – Not nearly as long a wait between bites and wood in the water comes through again. This time it requires slowing down with a Texas rigged Yum Crawdad bounced through some brush. I don’t slow down much and must admit it was kind of fun to find success on a different approach.

12:19pm – Bass#4 (17″ and 2-3)

12:19pm – The Top Bass of the morning comes on a crankbait cast to a submerged rockpile near a main lake point. This spot gets a look during every visit and if you bang a crankbait around it enough you can often get a bite. The timing was fun also as I had just finished an on the water chat with my friend, John Kirkemo, and he trolled back over to shoot a few pics.

12:31pm – Shortly after recording my Top Bass and chatting with John, I fired another cast to the rockpile and was rewarded with a second bass from the structure. This one was smaller than his fellow resident and at 11.5” narrowly missed being my fifth “keeper.”

2:15pm – Fishing a submerged stump for the second time produced my sixth bass of the day. However, this one kind of surprised me as I had cast nearly twenty feet past the stump so as not to land on top of the structure and then planned to work my bait into the prime spot. My Yum Crawdad never made it to the stump as the bass hit almost as soon as my cast entered the water. Another short one but a bonus open water fish from an intentional off target cast that produced before it was intended.

3:30pm – Bass#7 (13″ and 1-0)

3:30pm – Time was running out on finding a fifth “keeper” to round out my regular goal of a Top 5 of bass at 12” or better. While an early morning pass along the dam did not produce, the afternoon stop proved to be a winner on a crankbait. The 13” bass came in right at one pound to complete my Top 5.

3:46pm – Continuing my pass along the dam, I caught my final bass of a long day. It was short and no help to my weight, but any bite is a good bite on Lake Storey as those bass can be tough to fool. It was also satisfying to still be dialed in after a long day on the water.

Winning Lures

Could I catch more bass somewhere else? Sure.

Would I catch more quality bass on my other fishing holes? Most likely.

But I have a long-standing affliction with what I still call my “home lake” even though it requires a bit more of a drive than it once did. There’s something satisfying about fooling those wary bass along with the focus, perseverance and execution required to do so. This likely completes my 2021 Lake Storey visits but myself and my fishing partners did alright, and I think we came out on top in our efforts. Beyond the catches there is always more to report so stay tuned for the “extras” from this latest trip coming to the blog next week. Talk to you later. Troy

Snakeden Report – October 10

I set out last Sunday with the Snakeden Hollow shutdown only a week away, my Top 5 lacking fifteen ounces from reaching the 20-pound mark and limited days remaining to get on the water. Crunch time if I’ve ever seen it and throw in a stormy morning that wasn’t in the forecast. Brent and I met at one of the lots at 6:30am and proceeded to wait out the rain. Read on to see how it all worked out.

Stats

Date: October 10, 2021
Location: Snakeden Hollow (4 lakes)
Time: 6:35am-6:16pm (5.25 hours fishing, the rest waiting and walking)
Weather: Overcast/rain/breezy to partly cloudy/breezy
Air Temp: 69-78F
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 27 bass
Lures: Chatterbait (white) with twin tail trailer (salt and pepper) – 16 bass, Berkley Havoc Pit Boss (green pumpkin) – 4 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 4 bass, Buzzbait (black) – 1 bass Senko wacky rig (green pumpkin/crème laminate) – 1 bass, Strike King Rattling Squarebill crankbait (sext shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 4-4 (Buzzbait)
Top 5 Weight: 9-15 (4-4,1-12,1-10,1-3,1-2)

Winning Lures

Trip Lyric
“Ridin’ the storm out”– REO Speedwagon

Notes and Nonsense

Meant To Be – Rain postponed our first casts for nearly two hours. Killing time found us scoping out the crowd (or lack thereof) at other area fishing holes and I wound up casting on a different lake than where I had intended to start. I lost a boat cushion and had to backtrack to find it further delaying my launch. No bites on some good-looking spinnerbait structure prompted me to switch to a buzzbait. Drifting into the middle of a featureless shallow bay, I fired out my second buzzbait cast to nothing in particular, just open water. With a less than sensational swirl, my buzzbait disappeared, I set the hook and it felt heavy. Once I had the bass aboard, I hollered to Brent that I might just have the fish I needed to make my 20-pound Top 5 limit. It would take a 4-4 to reach the mark and wouldn’t you know it, right on the money.

8:47am Top Bass 20.5″ and 4-4 on a buzzbait

4.25 pounds on the scale, exactly what I needed. What are the odds?

Not Meant To Be – Just before switching to a buzzbait, the rain had begun, and I opted for my sweatshirt over short sleeves. Being eager to cast, I disregarded the GoPro, leaving it under the sweatshirt. Therefore, I missed the strike, fight and landing of my Top Bass of the day. I did shoot the release, but it turns out the video was corrupted, so pictures are as good as it gets.

Second Storm – Another thunderstorm ran us off the lake with one bass apiece, my 4-4 and a 1-5 for Brent, after 40 minutes of casting. I chose to remain on site to wait out the weather while Brent headed for home and came back in the afternoon. While Brent was away I put in three and a half hours on two lakes, landing nine more bass with a 1-10 being the best.

 

Chatterbait Lake – Some Snakeden lakes do not have “real” names, so I have made up my own over the years. One of the latter, Dromedary Lake, has always been a prime spot for throwing a chatterbait. Chatterbaits are not my strong suit but you can bet I have one on when I hit this spot. Sure enough, I landed seventeen bass in an hour and a half with sixteen of them falling to a chatterbait. Unfortunately, all but two were under the 12” mark but I know some larger bass call the place home.

A long day with roughly twelve hours between arrival and departure but only five plus hours of fishing. Totals were boosted by the small bass catches on “Chatterbait Lake,” but all were icing on the cake after the four-pounder to start the day and give me the boost I needed to reach the 20-pound mark for my Top 5. Talk to you later. Troy

Prowl the Canal – September

Still trying to play catch up with the fishing reports due to a combination of being busy with work and striving to get in my final fishing trips of the year. Today, we take another look at The Canal via the combined reports from September.

Jayce joined up on 9/6 but even two lures in the water only resulted in one total bass

Stats
Date: September 6, 18 & 25, 2021
Location: Hennepin Canal – Henry County, IL
Time: 5.50 hours total (2 mornings, one evening)
Weather: Sunny/breezy each day
Totals: 7 bass (9/6 – 1 bass, 9/18 – 3 bass, 9/25 – 3 bass)
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (green pumpkin/white crème laminate) – 4 bass, Rebel Pop’R Zell Rowland Model – 2 bass, Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait (red craw) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 3-1 (Pop’R)
Top 5 Weight (only 4 at 12” or better): 8-14 (3-1,2-11,2-3,0-15)

Had to get new boots for my son, Jayce, same size as mine.

Notes and Nonsense

September 6 – For a change, I was able to convince some company to join me on a prowl as my oldest boy, Jayce, came along for a scenic bike ride. Unfortunately, a bit of exercise was what this trip was all about as we only got one bite. It was also too bad that it was my bite instead of Jayce’s but a quality fish at 2-3 on a Senko wacky rig.

A disappointing small bass day on 9/18

September 18 – A cool, pleasant mid-September morning would rank as one of my favorite times to fish. However, this morning was not one of the favorite times for the fish to bite. Two stops resulted in a disappointing haul of three small bass between eight and nine inches. Just one of those days that make no sense when you can’t figure out those fish.

September 25 at 6:30am, first cast bass at 2-11

September 25 at 6:34am, second cast bass at 3-1

September 25 – The bass redeemed themselves from the previous week as I had a couple early morning hours to get away. My first two casts resulted in two quality bass that totaled nearly six pounds (2-11 and 3-1). The cool thing was that the bass bit on an old topwater popper known as the Pop’R. It’s always rewarding when a plan comes together as in this case, I chose the lure as I wanted something that caused a commotion and stayed right in the bass’ face. The right lure at the right time got the job done.

Rebel Pop’R Zell Rowland Model, fun to put an old lure to work and land a couple good ones 

Some ups and downs on The Canal for the month but a few more quality catches added to the 2021 Hennepin haul. It’s been a fun few months of exploring and I hope to make a few more casts on the waterway before the fishing year ends. However, it is my understanding that the leaves on the water become a hindrance as they begin to fall. Only one way to find out. Talk to you later. Troy

Homer Lake Report – October 8

Work took me to North Carolina last week and required driving due to hauling a batch of equipment. I packed along a few fishing poles with the intent of hitting some eastern Illinois water on the way home. My choice was Homer Lake in Champaign County as it offered proximity to I-74 and a couple of hours of daylight.

Stats

Date: October 8, 2021
Location: Homer Lake – Champaign County, IL
Time: 5:15pm-6:45pm
Weather: Sunny/calm
Air Temp: 70sF
Water Temp: Not available
Totals: 2 bass
Lures: Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait (red craw) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 10.5”
Top 5 Weight: none at 12” or better

6:16pm First bass, mission accomplished

Trip Tune
“Way Less Sad” – AJR (2021)
My “fishing trip” consisted of over 30 hours of driving, and I was in search of this song as I had no idea who sang it or what it was called. Just that I liked it and it gave me a sort of 70s vibe. Turns out that I wound up hearing it right before I got home, courtesy of a detour of several minutes due to road construction on my normal route through Colona. What are the odds? And speaking of odd, I had just queued up Supertramp’s “Take the Long Way Home” prior to encountering the construction and having to do just that. Even better was correctly identifying the 70s vibe as a sample from Simon and Garfunkel’s “My Little Town.” Overall, a cool ending to my weeklong journey.

 

Notes and Nonsense

Helpful Angler – I chatted with a young fisherman onsite who gave the fishery a thumbs up. When I told him that I was torn between a stop at Homer Lake versus a stop at Lake of the Woods near Mahomet, Illinois, he said that I made the right choice. He added that he’d been fishing Homer Lake for 19 years, so I figured that his recommendation carried some weight. However, I refrained from asking if he’d first fished it from a stroller as he looked to be about 20 years old.

Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait, a good shallow, warm water, riprap option

First Impression – I only explored a few hundred yards of bank in three spots but I must say that Homer Lake was rather appealing. To varying degrees, riprap lined the shoreline at and below the waterline. For my money, when only having a short time to try my luck on a new lake, I look for riprap. When pondering some casts on new water I always look to start on the dam as it likely contains some rock and will have some deep water along with a transition to shallower water along its ends. In addition to the rock, there were also several laydowns and stumps within casting distance along the areas that I fished. I like targets and they are even more appealing when I have a narrow window to fool a fish or two. No matter if everyone and their brother fishes such visible structure as I’ve never minded fishing “used” water.

Mission accomplished as I was able to land a pair of bass from the bank on some water I’d never previously seen. For me, that is a victory even if the quality weren’t much to brag about. However, I do have a couple more fishing reports on the way that do contain some quality catches. Talk to you later. Troy

Lake Storey Report – September 27

For quite a few years, I used to do a series similar to Bassmaster’s “Day on the Lake” where I would log the details of every fish caught by me and my fishing partner that day. I then shifted gears to a similar project that I called “Lake Lowdown”, and last year I missed compiling such a post altogether. Well, the concept returned on this trip to Lake Storey minus any sort of fancy name.

Stats

Date: September 27, 2021
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 6:35am-1:50pm
Weather: Sunny/windy
Air Temp: 65-86F
Water Temp: 70F
Totals: 18 bass (Troy = 10 bass, Brent = 8 bass)
Lures: Emiquon Special Spinnerbait – 5 bass, War Eagle Spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) – 5 bass, Strike King Rattling Squarebill Crankbait (natural pumpkinseed) – 3 bass, Bomber Flat A crankbait – 3 bass, Berkley Havoc Pit Boss (green pumpkin) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 2-14 Pit Boss
Top 5 Weight: 8-13 (2-14,2-7,1-4,1-2,1-2)

The Starting Lineup for the morning

Chronology of the Catch – a slideshow below of every bass from #1 through #18

 

Notes and Nonsense

Picnic Fishing – While I do not condone vandalism, submerged picnic tables have been a winner on Lake Storey. Quite a few years ago, Dad reeled in several bass from one that has since been removed. However, there is one that remains hidden until the full extent of a drawdown is in effect. On this day, about six inches of the beams of the legs was visible and right on time, a bass that called it home took a liking to my spinnerbait.

Close Call – It has been quite a few years since we have hooked an “accident” with teeth. Lake Storey contains some quality walleye and a few muskies that are downright scary and occasionally, one takes a liking to our bass lures (truly, if it is in the water, they are kind of every species lures). Brent had a muskie strike near boatside and had it briefly hooked before it came undone. His estimate was upper 20s to low 30s in length and unfortunate that it let go as it is always a treat to get one in the boat.

Last trip a rock, this trip a sock

For My Next Trick – On the previous trip to Lake Storey in September, I somehow managed to “catch” a rock. It had me scratching my head as I reeled it in and we had a laugh once it was “landed.” This time around, I wound up reeling in a sock. Not quite as exciting as the fight was more like a leaf and not particularly heavy. Once again, we had a laugh and I mentioned to Brent that at least it didn’t have a foot in it. He agreed saying that it would cause undue hassle as there would likely be some paperwork involved with the authorities. Jokingly (sort of), I said perhaps I would be better off in such a case to just throw it back. We also landed some decent logs.

Best logs of the day, at least they didn’t claim any lures

Another enjoyable day fishing the fall drawdown and a decent haul in fooling a good batch of those wary Lake Storey bass. I am hoping to get one more shot at them before the year is done but time will tell. And time is also a factor in my efforts to post another “Prowl the Canal” update along with the latest Top 5 Update courtesy of Brent chasing Snakeden bass before the gates are locked in mid-October. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – September 26

Closing time is nearing on the Knox County public strip mines so choosing a destination for last Sunday’s outing was not too hard. The tough part comes down to which spots to fish. Read on to see if I made the right decision.

Stats
Date: September 26, 2021
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pits (6 lakes)
Time: 8:05am-12:30pm (3.25 hours fishing)
Weather: Sunny/windy
Air Temp: 53-80F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 14 bass, 1 green sunfish
Lures: War Eagle Spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) – 10 bass, Strike King 2.5 Squarebill crankbait (sexy shad) – 4 bass
Top Bass: 3-5 Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight: 9-13 (3-5,2-8,1-8,1-5,1-3)

Trip Tune
“I Ain’t As Good As I Once Was” – Toby Keith (2005)
I heard this one on the radio on my way to the fishing holes. It hit the spot as I knew I had a workout waiting in my pursuit of some bites. Every year I ponder if it is still worth the effort and so far, the answer remains “Yes.”

Notes and Nonsense

A Nice Problem – Public access to the strip pits in Knox County offers up dozens of bodies of water to explore. Beginning close to 35 years ago, I made my first casts on what is now Snakeden Hollow’s Lake McMaster, which at the time was not open to the public. In the intervening years, I have covered a lot of ground and fished a lot of water. As such, it is tough to choose which batch of fishing holes to target for each trip as there are way too many to cover in one day.

 

The Selection – I chose an access where I could fish a half dozen spots. While it takes roughly ten minutes to reach my first destination, the others are then relatively close. However, it is some tough walking this time of the year as the terrestrial vegetation is some places is armpit deep and rather dense. I wound up fishing six bodies of water and landed a bass in all but the final stop. Three different lakes posted a bass in my Top 5 including one that I can’t recall fishing before. Even after many years of prowling, there’s always more to learn.

Once I finished my day on the water, I stopped by my folks’ house to visit and do a bit of prep work on Dad’s boat in advance of a Lake Storey trip. But that’s another story. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Lake Storey Report – September 19

September means the annual drawdown at Lake Storey and calls for at least a visit or two back to my “home lake.” My brother, Brent, and I caught our first fish in Lake Storey sometime in the 1970s and we’re still going strong all these years later.

 

Stats

Date: September 19, 2021
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 6:25am-1:40pm
Weather: Sunny/calm to windy
Air Temp: 66-89F
Water Temp: 76-78F
Totals: 27 bass (Troy = 14 bass, Brent = 13 bass. 1 crappie)
Lures: Strike King Rattling Squarebill Crankbait (natural pumpkinseed) – 12 bass, Bomber Flat A crankbait – 8 bass, Emiquon Special spinnerbait – 4 bass Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 2 bass, 5” Yamasenko wacky rig – 1 bass,
Top Bass: 2-9 Troy Crankbait
Top 5 Weight: 10-10 (2-9,2-8,2-3,1-11,1-11)

Notes and Nonsense

The Prediction – My boy, Zac, always harasses me about his Uncle Brent being a better fisherman than me. I play along knowing that years of firsthand observation show that trip by trip it varies as to who is “the best”. Prior to the trip I asked Zac how many bass he thought we would catch, and he answered “twenty-five.” His optimism exceeded mine and I offered up that a ten bass outing for me at Lake Storey is a solid day. He then grinned and offered up that Uncle Brent would outfish me 7 to 2. It turns out the Zac’s original prediction was close as we landed 27 bass. However, I was the one grinning when I told him that I had the most bass. Of course, he was quick to add that the difference was “only” one fish. All in good fun, and who’s counting anyway? At least until we get back to the boat ramp.

Bonus crappie caught on a spinnerbait

The Presentations – The drawdown leaves the shoreline structure high and dry which means that you need to fish the contours, any still submerged visible structure and those “secret spots” that are never visible to the naked eye. And in our case, we fish fast unless the bass tell us otherwise. Fortunately, for us they were quite responsive to a batch of “power” presentations including crankbaits, a spinnerbait, and a lipless crank. The successful Senko wacky rig offering got left behind as a result. Whether it is not as effective on Lake Storey or whether we just don’t throw it enough out there is up for debate. But if the bass are biting on my other choices, I’ve got no problem saving the Senko for another day.

I guess that’s about all I’ve got to say for today. The bass did the talking and we’ve been listening and learning for many years. This day was our day but Lake Storey can be a finicky fishing hole so who knows what lies in store should we get another shot this fall. I expect we will so stay tuned and also watch for another post of some additional Lake Storey stories from this outing. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – September 10

A busy Friday last week finished with a couple hours on some old stomping grounds. Prior to getting on the water, I had worked a half day, visited with a fishing buddy, paid my respects to another fishing friend who recently passed away and had a good visit with my folks while back in Galesburg.

Stats
Date: September 10, 2021
Location: Little John Conservation Club – Knox County, IL
Time: 5:10pm-7:20pm (2.00 hours fishing)
Weather: Sunny/breezy to calm
Air Temp: 64-75F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 2 bass, 7 bluegill
Lures: War Eagle Spinnerbait (white/chartreuse) – 2 bass, Gulp Minnow (emerald shiner) on a 1/16 oz. jighead (pink) – 7 bluegill
Top Bass: 2-13 Spinnerbait
Top 5 Weight (only 2 at 12” or better): 4-9 (2-13,1-12)

5:35pm – First bass 1-12 (15.5″) on a spinnerbait

Notes and Nonsense

Overdue and Off Limits – I’ve fished Little John Conservation Club for close to 35 years but had only managed one visit this year as my casting has focused on other waters. With several spots to choose from at Little John it is a challenge to decide where to fish. While I had it narrowed down to two spots, my decision was made for me as the first choice was off limits to anglers due to goose hunting. I can’t recall ever experiencing such a restriction at Little John before. I agree that the goose population could certainly stand to be thinned but it frustrates me to see it limit my fishing (see also Snakeden Hollow).

Believe it or not, these bass were only separated by an ounce in weight as displayed on scale and described below

Same Size, Different Shape – I like fish and over the years I’ve come to appreciate the variation in size, shape, and color of many of the species that swim in our area waters. In particular, the body plan and hues of my favorite, the largemouth bass, always catch my eye. On this trip, my Top Bass weighed in at 2-13 and measured 17” in length. Without getting into my vast collection of data over the years, those measurements indicate a stout, solid bass. In contrast, Brent landed a 2-12 a couple days later that was considerably longer (around 19” or 20”) but was rather gaunt. The series of pics above feature these catches along with the reading on my scale. Angler honesty has long been a point of contention and in some cases questionable. Indeed, it is tough to believe that these fish essentially tipped the scales at the same weight. No way that I would guess that from the photos, so I guess the moral of this fish story is to shoot straight and let the internet haters hate.

Gulp Minnow Master – I was able to get the afternoon off from work so that I could attend the visitation of an old fishing friend, Larry Smith. Larry and I have been telling fish stories off and on since the late 80s and our correspondence had really kicked up a notch over the last ten years or so via emails, texts, and some on the water visits. Larry was a wizard with a jar of Berkley Gulp Minnows as his catches were phenomenal in terms of both quantity and quality. While he often focused on bluegill and crappie, he and his Gulp Minnows landed nearly every species that swims. In fact, just a week before Larry passed away, he texted me a picture of a good Lake Storey muskie and informed via email that “Two days ago caught a musky at Lake Storey to complete my catching every species of fish that swims there on a Gulp Minnow.” A master indeed and I sure will miss his fish stories.

Dedicated the end of the evening to some Gulp Minnow fishing for an old friend

Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – September 6

Labor Day offered a chance to get away and chase some bass. This time around I was able to share the day with one of my boys as well as a couple fishing friends. A great way to celebrate the holiday as detailed below.

Stats
Date: September 6, 2021
Location: Knox County, IL public strip mines
Time: 7:10am-9:20am (1.75 hours fishing, the rest hiking)
Weather: Sunny/breezy
Air Temp: 63-70F
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 12 bass (Jim = 6, Jayce = 3, Troy = 3)
Lures: Senko wacky rig (various colors) and Bass Pro Shops Speed Shad (small mouth magic) with Berkley 3/0 weighted swimbait hook
Top Bass: 1-13 Jayce (Senko)
Top 5 Weight (only 1 at 12” or better): 1-13

7:14am – Jayce with his first bass of the morning on a Senko

Notes and Nonsense

Guide Fails – Having my son, Jayce, along for the outing allowed me to partially assume the role of guide. I got off on the wrong foot as he awoke me at 5:09am, well after I had silenced my 4:04am alarm. I knew what we were getting into in terms of weedy hiking, but I decided to give it a go and test our endurance. After navigating some tough terrain, I couldn’t put my client on very many fish before the decision was made to head for the truck.

Even Jayce’s “juice”, given to him by Papa, couldn’t help us fool those stubborn bass 

Guide Success – Jayce did land our largest bass of the trip and he gets all the credit for getting it done. He picked the lure; he selected his spot on the bank and he did the work to fool the fish. As with any of my “guide trips”, this one was on the house. Payment is always received via an excited young fisherman battling his catch and a big grin upon landing it (same for the guide behind the camera).

7:52am – Jayce with our Top Bass of the day, caught on a Senko

Meet Up – Many of the famous YouTubers do a thing called a “meetup” where they meet and greet subscribers and viewers of their channel. While I do have a YouTube channel, my 24 subscribers indicate that I am far from famous. Even so, I can kind of pretend as my buddy, Jim, joined us for our two hours of strip mine roaming (and was the top angler of the morning). In addition, Jayce and I headed over to a nearby boat launch to visit with our friend, John, to end our trip. Good to see both fellows and even better to have Jayce along to be “one of the guys.”

8:58am – The “Senior” guide gets on the board…barely

Lost and Found – Along the way we lost a pair of shades. Not the first time but the first lost in a long time. We lost a couple Senkos along the way as well, one to the weeds and one to a fish. But we also gained a few items during the morning. Jim provided me with a collection of classic fishing reading material while John offered up an edible souvenir from his recent trek to The Land of Enchantment. Thanks, guys, for the treasures and treats.

Treasures and treats from a good morning of visiting

I sure do like to catch fish and I am a dedicated compiler of notes and stats regarding those catches. But as time rolls on, I’ve come to realize that there’s a lot more to a fishing trip than fish. Talk to you later. Troy

Prowl the Canal – August 28 & 29

 

After more than a month away, I was able to hit the canal again on back-to-back evenings last weekend. And the canal education continues each time that I look to fool some of the bass that call the lengthy stretch of water home. Despite a lull to start each evening, the results turned out alright and included the Top Bass runner-up of my short canal “career.”

Stats
Date: August 28 & 29, 2021
Location: Hennepin Canal – Henry County, IL
Time: 6:10pm-7:55pm both outings
Weather: Sunny/breezy, 80s
Totals: 11 bass (8/28 – 5 bass, 8/29 – 6 bass)
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (various colors) – 10 bass, Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait (rainbow) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 3-4 (Senko)
Top 5 Weight: 8-6 (3-4,1-10,1-4,1-2,1-2)

Trip Lyric
“And it was late in the evening, and I blew that room away.”
Late in the Evening. Paul Simon (1980)

Notes and Nonsense

August 28 – Following 15 minutes without a bite on some proven spots, I noticed a school of bluegills rippling the surface in a broad opening among the scattered surface vegetation. Several minutes later they all scattered in a hurry, leaving me to surmise that a predator was in their midst. Sure enough, I landed back-to-back bass and four of my five catches in the next 20 minutes.

August 29 – My first stretch only produced one blow-up on a topwater frog as the formerly open water area was nearly covered in duckweed and vegetation stacked up by the current. Plan B was to move to some deeper, open water and the Senko wacky rig was a winner when cast tight to whatever “edges” I could find.

 

Lessons

1. Last month I noted, “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.” Well, I forgot to follow my own advice and had to hold my breath as I hoisted a 3-pounder up to my perch along the canal on 10-pound test. While I was successful in landing the bass, I was also lucky.

2. A nice blowup near the bank on a frog got my attention although it didn’t get a bass. I was tossing a small, cheap topwater frog and know that I should probably use this presentation more frequently and perhaps a larger bait to make more commotion among the thick surface vegetation. Any advice is welcome.

3. I am still pondering the risk/reward equation when it comes to the limited bank access along the waterway. While some “easy” spots have paid off, I also have my eye on some off the beaten path areas. Poison ivy, hidden holes, sloped edges, and unsteady riprap make for some tough decisions, but the wheels are turning upstairs…

August 29 at 6:54pm. my second largest canal bass to date at 19″ and 3-4 on a Senko wacky rig

The Canal continues to impress and provides a perfect evening getaway that is closer to home than the hour plus drive to my regular Knox County strip mine stomping grounds. I intend to make several more canal visits as the year progresses and hope that you continue to stop by the blog for the latest fishing reports. Talk to you later. Troy