Category: Flashbacks

Friday Flashback – October 23, 2001


Heading towards November, my 2021 fishing days are drawing to a close. Whatever catches I can muster during the late season will simply be icing on the cake for another productive year. Today’s flashback was such a trip back in October 2001, a Lake Bracken outing with Dad. Since the trip took place in the days before blogging and we only caught one quality fish, it took me a bit to figure out what route to take for today’s post.

October 23, 2001 at 4:13pm – 3 pounds 3 ounces at Lake Bracken on a crankbait

And…we’re going with some stats. After all, I’ve got over 35 years of family and friend fishing data, so might as well put some of it to use. Here’s a little peek at how this October 23, 2001 catch stacks up in a few categories.

Fun to look back on the names of some old favorite spots

Our Top Bass of 2001 shows that this catch barely missed the Top 10 and was the largest Bracken bass

This bass ranked 17th on my personal all-time Lake Bracken list

And, finally, a portion of the Top Lake Bracken Bass of all-time

Plenty of memories and stories, that’s what Friday Flashback is all about. And it doesn’t stop here! More flashbacks to come, all the way into December so stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – October 17, 2006

As the 2006 fishing season was nearing the end, I was in search of what I called “Bass #2000”. This quest began at the outset of the 1997 season, shortly after I obtained my first personal computer. With the computer available for data entry, I decided a return to meticulous record keeping for my fishing was in order. So, from March 21, 1997, up until this October 17, 2006 trip, I had landed 1,971 bass. Therefore, going into this Lake Bracken outing, I needed 29 bass to reach the 2,000 bass mark. On the heels of that somewhat rambling intro, let’s flash back.

3:03pm – 15″ and 1-10 on a Rapala DT6 crankbait

Originally posted 11-4-06 as part of “Quest for 2000”

October 17 – Though the weather wasn’t exactly stellar, I had an opportunity to get on the water for an afternoon and chose Lake Bracken for my destination. As luck would have it, 29 bass were landed in just over four hours on the water. However, my celebration would have to wait as Dad landed seventeen of the bass. My twelve bass put me within seventeen of the goal but the likelihood of more fishing trips with favorable conditions seemed slim at best for the remainder of the year. I did manage to land Top Bass of the day with a 2-13 on a Senko (watermelon) as well as a 1-10 on a Rapala DT 6 crankbait (parrot). Dad also posted a pair of record book entries with a 1-12 and a 1-11 on a Senko (black). Senkos caught most of our fish though we did have some success with crankbaits and a Mepps.

1-11 on a Senko wacky rig

1-12 on a Senko wacky rig


Date: October 17, 2006
Location: Lake Bracken – Knox County, IL
Time: 1:10pm-5:25pm
Weather: Overcast/breezy
Air Temp: 54F
Water Temp: 56F
Totals: 29 bass (Dad – 17, Troy – 12)
Lures: Senko wacky rig (watermelon or black) – 20 bass, Mepps – 4 bass, 4- crankbait (firetiger) – 2 bass, Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait – 1 bass, Rapala DT6 crankbait (parrot) – 1 bass, Blue Glimmer spinnerbait – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-13 (Troy – Senko)
Top 5 Weight: 8-15 (2-13,1-12,1-11,1-10,1-1)

3:57pm Top Bass at 19″ and 2-13 on a Senko wacky rig

A good day on the water even though I fell short in my search for the 29 bass needed to reach 2000. However, Friday Flashback isn’t quite done for the year. Just saying. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – October 9, 2016


Well, here we go again, headed into the home stretch of fishing. Read on for the report from exactly five years ago today.

7:52am First bass and Top Bass at 2-6 on a crankbait

Originally posted 10-13-16

The arrival of Fall always brings a mix of fishing emotions. I suppose the romantic term for it is “bittersweet.” While hope surges with the remembrance of past successes no doubt aided by the bass strapping on the fall feedbag there is also the realization that my last casts of the year loom on the horizon. The kickoff to the 2016 home stretch as related in today’s report got off to a strong start but just never hit its stride. Respectable quantity but not the quality I foresaw after a solid first bite.

Date: October 9, 2016
Location: Knox County strip mines (4 public, 1 private)
Time: 7:50am-5:00pm (6.50 hours fishing, the rest walking/driving)
Weather: Sunny/windy
Air Temp: 51F-68F
Water Temp: 63F
Totals: 17 bass
Lures: Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw or sexy shad) – 13 bass, Strike King KVD 1.5 squarebill crankbait (pumpkinseed) – 2 bass, Terminator Spinnerbait (firetiger) with twin tail trailer (salt and pepper) – 1 bass, Senko weighted wacky rig (electric shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-6 (KVD squarebill crankbait)
Top 5 Weight: 7-9 (2-6,1-13,1-3,1-3,1-0)

Notes & Nonsense

High Hopes – So, after a 65-minute drive, I haul my boat several hundred yards to my first stop, get my gear in order, set up the tripod, shove off and commence to casting at 7:50am. Running my squarebill crankbait past a meager collection of brush just off the bank about forty feet from the “ramp” it gets nailed and the hookset lets me know it is a solid fish. It’s 7:52am and on what is probably cast number five of the morning, I bring aboard my first bass that registers at 2-6. A great start but little did I know that it would turn out to be Top Bass for the day. About an hour later I briefly had a comparable fish hooked on the Red Eye Shad but if it would have bested the first fish it would have been only by an ounce or two at best. However, I still had the entire day ahead of me so at that point I was not particularly concerned as visions of a lunker or two still danced in my head.

Half Hearted Hits – The vast majority of my bass came on the Red Eye Shad which I’m typically reeling at a rapid pace. Nearly every hit was coming at me meaning the fish would just knock some slack in the line as opposed to anything resembling a rod rattling strike. Several of the fish were also hooked on the outside of the mouth as if simply slashing at the bait instead of really going for the kill. Kind of unusual in my experience at this time of the year as fall feeding bass typically mean business. Glad I caught them regardless of the subtle strikes and would like to think that more than a few years of doing this thing added several bass to the ledger that I may not have hooked back in the day. (Note: I do count my catches that are hooked on the outside of the mouth although such catches would not count in some tournament situations, luckily, I’m not good enough to fish competitively.)

1:55pm Top Bass Runner-up 1-13 on a crankbait

Different Day – Stop number three was a lake that treated me quite well back on September 18 to the tune of twenty-three bass in just under three hours of casting (seven at 12 “or better and Top Bass 2-5). On this day it looked like The Dead Sea, and I moved on after 2 bass in 75 minutes with a 1-13 and a 1-3. Crazy thing is that it is not a particularly large lake with well over 75% being essentially unfishable this time of the year with extremely shallow, dense vegetation while a targeted bowl-shaped area makes up the rest of the lake. This bowl and some deeper pockets in a couple fingers produced all my fish on the previous trip but this time around I just couldn’t find them. Such is the game, and I am not ashamed to concede the victory to my quarry. Get ‘em next time, right?

Sounds like closing date is October 18 for 2021

Speaking of Next Time – Like many “Waterfowl/Goose Refuges,” a great deal of my water has now been rendered “off limits” for us anglers until the central goose season ends next February. Granted, I’ve got some other good water to fish and these days I can’t swing too many more fishing trips, but…Okay, so no crusade on my part despite losing out on some quality fishing days. After all, these refuges could use a few less geese anyhow, best of luck in putting a dent on the population.

And, so it goes, time is running short for another year on the water. Time flies when you are catching fish. And even when you aren’t these days. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – October 1986

Ah, yes, the good old Lake Bracken spillway back in the early days of access and carp chasing. We’ve been here before in Friday Flashback but there’s always plenty to write about when reminiscing.

For starters, these shots are from back in the thermal and flannel days. Not a bad fall look even today as far as my limited fashion sense goes. Practical for the cool fall days and a rustic, somewhat rugged look perfectly suited for outdoor adventure.

Throw in a Galesburg Silver Streak baseball cap and a wad of Red Man or Levi Garrett in the cheek for good measure (can you still say “Red Man” these days?). Yes, I guess once upon a time I thought I was a baseball player. Don’t know the last time I tried to hit or throw a baseball and grateful that I eventually kicked the chew habit sometime in the mid-90s.

As far as the catch, those carp were a blast in The Spillway although they could be kind of strange at times. Some days they were on fire, others it seemed like there was nobody home. Some days only one person caught them and other days several anglers got a piece of the action. I also don’t know how they replenished in that small pool as it did not appear that we were repeatedly catching the same fish. In fact, the specimens here are unique and look like what are called “mirror carp” as the scales are not uniform but rather irregular.

Fun pics for me to pull out of the album for a flashback but I wish I could recall who had tagged along to serve as the photographer. Likely, it was either my brother, Brent, or one of the Junk brothers (John or Mark) as we spent more than a few days down there trying to tempt those bugle mouths. But since the only pics from the outing are me, I would guess it wasn’t Brent as he generally outfishes me. The Junk brothers on the other hand…just kidding (sort of).

Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – September 24, 2006

Fifteen years ago, I had the good fortune of prowling a fantastic batch of Fulton County fishing holes. Collectively, they were referred to as the Buckheart strip mines. It wasn’t the first time that I had prowled these waters, but it would be the next to last visit. Below is an excerpt from the original post detailing a full day on the water with my brother-in-law, David Breuer and my nephew, Dylan Breuer.

David with our Top Bass Runner-Up on the day at 4-1

Originally posted 10-6-2006

On September 24th I had another opportunity to fish the Buckheart strip mines near Canton. The waters had been kind to me on previous outings and my trip with David and Dylan was no exception. We put in a full day as our first casts hit the water a little after 7:00 am and we headed for home around 6:00 pm. In between, we fished nine bodies of water ranging from large-scale strip pits to potholes that you could easily cast a lure across. We began our day in the boat but spent the bulk of the day prowling the banks. Several bass joined the record book and though I felt that I struggled at times, I still wound up catching 32 bass. David was easily the top angler of the day putting on an impressive display both in quantity and quality. Dylan came on strong after a rough start to teach me a thing or two about fishing even though I’ve got a twenty-five-year head start. It’s fun to watch a kid when he gets a good bite going and puts on a show. He’s a good kid, and pretty quiet too, so he doesn’t rub it in too much.

A Tale of Two Days – When we began our day, we launched the boat to overcast skies, strong winds, cool temperatures, and a looming threat of rain. My turtleneck and sweatshirt were a good decision though I did question leaving my rain suit in my truck. By early afternoon, it seemed like a completely different day as I had worked up a sweat under sunny skies and warming temps. We had a smattering of rain mid-morning that led to the decision to trailer the boat in case things got ugly but that was the extent of the precipitation. The changing weather conditions didn’t really seem to have much of an effect on getting bites, as it seemed at least someone was catching fish throughout most of the day. With three anglers pounding the water and frequently changing fishing holes we managed to avoid prolonged dry spells.

Dylan with a 3-14 for his Top Bass of the outing

Results – Between the three of us we easily caught well over a hundred bass on a variety of offerings. The top baits were Rat L Traps, Senkos, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. We added five bass to the record book, but the largest fish of the day was not weighed. David caught one in the five-pound range at our final stop but did not have his scale with him at the time and I was on the opposite side of the lake making it impractical to head his way with my scale and camera. Despite this unfortunate situation, he still managed to claim Top Bass with a 4-1 landed earlier in the day on a Rat L Trap. Dylan later took a shot at the title but fell a few ounces short with a 3-14 on a spinnerbait. Dylan also claimed the third spot with a 3-2 on a Rat L Trap and I added a 2-15 (Rapala Rattlin Rap) and a 2-6 (Senko) to round out or new entries.


Good memories from some classic fishing holes. But as time moved on, parcels of the land were sold off and now reside behind locked gates for which I no longer have a key. I sure wish that I would have taken more advantage of the access I had back in those days, but old fish stories and flashbacks will have to suffice. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – September 13, 2006

My “home” lake, Lake Storey, is in the process of the annual fall drawdown which I always find to be a welcome sight. It can also coincide with some good fishing if you are in the right place at the right time. Fifteen years ago this week, Dad and I timed it well as noted in the following excerpt from an old fishing report.

Originally posted 9-30-06

September 13, 2006
Dad and I had planned a trip but were unsure of our destination until the night before when I dropped Helena off for her overnight stay at Gamaw and Papa’s. I was torn between Lake Bracken and one of the Little John lakes that we’ve neglected this year. However, Dad mentioned that Lake Storey was already in the process of its Fall drawdown. He also went on to mention that Brent had seen a guy with a large muskie during a family gathering on 9/10. In addition, Tim had some luck with muskies last year during similar conditions, so we figured it was worth another try.

September 13, 2006 at 7:55am – 36.5″ muskie on a Rapala DT6 crankbait

We were not disappointed as we each managed to boat a muskie. Mine came aboard first and measured 36.5 inches and weighed 9-15 to best Tim’s muskie record by two pounds. The fish was caught at 7:55 am, just over an hour into our trip. It bit while bass fishing with a Rapala DT6 (parrot) that hooked up almost as soon as it hit the water. When I set the hook, I actually said to Dad, “I think it’s a snag.” Then the snag started moving, and then we recognized a different and much larger body plan than a bass. Dad did an excellent job netting the fish and we brought it aboard, snapped a few photos, released the fish, and had to cut my crankbait out of the dipnet. I figured that no matter what happened the rest of the day, I was a happy fisherman. However, I’m greedy and hoped for more as we had plenty of fishing left.

September 13, 2006 – 37.5″ muskie on a Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait

My muskie record stood for approximately an hour and a half before a larger muskie came aboard. Dad nailed this one off the west side of Freak’s Point on a Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait (splatterback sunfish). His fish measured 37.5 inches and weighed in at 10-11. I snapped a couple pictures as he fought the fish along with a few more after it was landed. The muskie was Dad’s first entry for the species although he has caught one before the days of recorded history. He presently sits atop the Top Muskie list with the third record buster from Lake Storey in the last two years. The crazy thing is there is likely a fish in the lake that is three and quite possibly four times as large. Not only would this fish shatter our record, but it would also be a state record if it tips the scales in excess of 38-8. A final note on these fish is the fact that they were longer than either of my kids are tall (Helena’s around 34”) and outweighed the little one (Carly weighed in at 9-7 during her latest checkup).

1-12 on a Power Craw

2-8 on a Power Craw

Oh yeah, we also fooled a few bass and a walleye. Dad caught seven bass with the largest being 2-8 and 1-12. This pair fell to a Berkeley Power Craw that he flipped into the branches of a downed tree. He landed the others on a Rapala Jointed Minnow and a Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait. I failed to catch any bass but started our day with a small walleye (11”) that hit a Mann’s 4- crankbait (red shiner).

If things work out, I intend to take a shot or two during this year’s drawdown. As always, you’ll get the firsthand report, good or bad, here at your favorite fishing blog. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – September 8, 2001

Today’s post takes us back 20 years to an old favorite fishing hole called Emstrom’s Pond. The Friday Flashback has spent a few weeks there since the inception of the series back in 2018. You’d think after that collection of posts about the farm pond that I would have run out of stuff to write about.

Nope, I can always come up with something when it comes to talking fishing.

For today’s post we’ll look at our resemblance to a couple celebrities of yesteryear.

Wilson (Home Improvement 1991-1999) & Jackson (2-6 bass from 9/8/2001)

While I have shown some improvement in striking a pose with my catches, it took me quite a few years to heed Julie’s advice to not hide behind the fish. A valid point, although I never really thought about it back in the day. After all, the fish was the focal point to my way of thinking. Of course, today’s pic pre-dates my use of a cell phone for selfies although I did employ cameras with timers in those days. Those cameras were lacking the do-over feature provided by digital photography, but I didn’t care if my face was in there anyway. Would have liked to have gotten a brighter shot on this catch though.

U L (MLB 1977-1987) & TJ (3-15 bass and toothpick from 9/8/2001)

Dad’s pose with his quality bass from this trip brings to mind a shortstop by the name of U L Washington. Washington’s major league career spanned 1977 through 1987, during which he collected 703 hits, 27 homers and 132 stolen bases while posting a .251 career batting average. However, it was his ever-present toothpick that left as much of an impression as his on the field performance.

One more catch from 9/8/2001, Dad with a 3-1 bass (and a toothpick)

You know, come to think of it, Dad also had a “fro” reminiscent of U L once upon a time. And did you know that U L was U L’s given name and not initials?

Yes, folks, this blog is much more than just pretty fish and rugged outdoors people. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – September 5, 1991

Scott “Woody” Woods with our trio of four-pounders being relocated among his grandparent’s ponds

Today’s flashback looks back thirty years ago this week for a visit to Woody’s grandma’s ponds down around Augusta, Illinois. At the time, Woody and I were both employed by a manufacturing facility in Galesburg, Illinois called National Seal Company. Our schedules consisted of four twelve-hour days followed by four days off, one of the best work weeks I’ve ever had with basically a vacation every eight-day week. In addition, I had a lot less responsibilities leading to ample time to fish and goof off.

4-4 on a Texas rigged plastic worm

Woody is Scott Woods, a Knoxville, Illinois native whom I first met as a kid when our dads played softball together. Woody would go on to star as an athlete at Knoxville High School and later at Monmouth College. I had the privilege of being a teammate on the Galesburg Legion Post #285 squad and was later a rival third baseman in the Knox-Monmouth College baseball rivalry.

1983 Galesburg Legion Post #285 squad

Back Row (l to r): Coach Gary Mitchell, Dan Curry, Mike Karlovich, Jon Ripperger, Cedric Woodson, Shag Hess, Paul DeJaynes, Pat Hise, Derrick Bland, Joe Maxwell, Coach John Shay

Front Row (l to r): Joe Dennis, Bobby Jackson, Doug Dawson, Scott Woods, Arnie Gonzalez, Troy Jackson, Hank Sprinkle, Jami Isaacson, Head Coach Jimmy Isaacson

1986 Rivalry – Woody taking the throw as I slide in with a triple and star pitcher, Carlos Interial, delivers a strike

Upon crossing paths again in the 1990s at National Seal Company, we would pass some time on the job swapping fish stories. Along the way, Woody invited me down to his grandparent’s farm which featured several ponds. On this visit we managed three bass over four pounds during a half day of prowling the banks. Woody would later catch one over seven pounds from one of the ponds as I recall.

A four-pounder and a 12-ouncer

In addition to the fishing, we had a few refreshments to keep cool in the heat. And apparently it was a little warm too as we look to have ditched the shirts. Been a long time since I did that sort of thing although my fifty something body ain’t a whole lot different than the 24-year-old body in today’s fishing pics. Just a bit more self-conscious and quite a few less beers these days, I suppose. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – August 2006 & 2011

Among the open water months of the year in my neck of the woods, I would rank August as my least favorite. Several factors come into play beginning with school getting back in session earlier than ever. With it comes a series of priorities that take precedence over fishing as the family gets back in the swing of things.

On top of back to school, throw in the dog days of summer. Granted, the bass are still there but often they get a little tougher for me to fool in the hot, sunny conditions that mark mid-summer.

Of course, there is a saying that “the best time to go fishing is anytime you can.” And for today’s Friday Flashback, I offer up some Snakeden Hollow examples to demonstrate that quality fish can still show up when you take a shot at beating the August heat (particularly at the end of the month).


Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – August 20, 2001

Anybody know where you were 20 years ago today?

Well, thanks to a fishing log, I just so happen to know that I was fishing with my brother, Brent.

August 20, 2001 – 15.5″ and 1-11 on a Zara Spook (blue shore minnnow)

Today’s flashback is another trip to what we called “Emstrom’s Pond” just west of Galesburg, in between US 34 and the drive-in. If you follow the Friday Flashbacks, we’ve been here before. And probably will be again.

But today, instead of focusing on the pond, I’ll look at the lures that caught the bass back on August 20, 2001. I’ll also look at a couple lures that appear in the catch photos but didn’t actually fool any bass on that day.

The picture above features the lures that were winners and appear in the log entries. Top to bottom, left to right, are a Mann’s Baby 1- (I called this color parrot, not sure what it is really called), a Zara Spook (blue shore minnow) and a buzzbait (white). All have been solid producers over the years and their current usage varies. In the case of buzzbaits, I throw them a lot, possibly too much when I should likely throw something else. I still break out the Mann’s Baby 1- crankbaits fairly often and have some specific spots on the waters I fish where they are a go to lure. As far as the Zara Spook, I don’t throw it much anymore although it was once one of my favorite summer lures. Just one of those things as some lure preferences and confidence baits tend to come and go over the years.

Other lures as noted in the August 20, 2001 pictures below 

August 20, 2001 – 3-8 on a buzzbait (white)

A couple such lures appear in the background of a pair of the pics from 2001. To Brent’s right in the photo above is a white spinnerbait, a lure type that he still wields with impressive effectiveness. In the case of his spinnerbait presentation, I don’t believe it has seen many ups and downs over the years. In fact, I can’t recall the last time we fished together when he did not have a spinnerbait tied on the end of one of his poles.

To my left in the picture below is a Bomber 15A jerkbait. For a period from the late 1990s into the early 2000s it was a solid producer anywhere I fished. Contrary to Brent sticking with the spinnerbait, however, my jerkbait choice was just a trend. I rarely use the baits anymore although I have no reason to believe that they would have lost their appeal. Just one of those things as other lures have come to prominence in my arsenal.

August 20, 2001 – 16″ and 2-5 on a Mann’s Baby 1- (parrot)

Such is part of the fun of fishing, and it makes me happy that I continue to document my catches in a log and nowadays a blog. It’s fun to look back on what has fooled the fish throughout the years. Some lures became legends while others faded away. A guy could write a whole blog series on such things.

And I have. Perhaps someday I will revisit the concept. Talk to you later. Troy