Category: Top 5

Top 5 Update

A good batch of bass comes our way courtesy of a couple doing some Illinois Capital City fishing.

Weight: 2-10
Angler: Patricia Kirkemo
Date: May 10
Weather: Partly cloudy evening, temperature 60s
Water Temperature: 60-65F
Location: Sangchris Lake State Park
Lure: Nightcrawler under a bobber
Angler Comments (provided by her spouse): Fish caught by casting a bobber and worm from boat toward shore. Fish was in water 3-4 feet deep.
Top 5 Weight: 2-10 (2-10)

Weight: 1-8
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 10
Weather: Air and water temps 60s
Location: Sangchris Lake State Park
Lure: Chompers
Angler Comments: Not many signs of feeding fish. The fish was caught casting to structure from boat.

Weight: 1-14
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 13
Weather: Air temperature 60s
Location: Farm pond, Sangamon County, IL
Lure: Wacky worm

Weight: 2-6
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 13
Weather: Air temperature 60s
Location: Farm pond, Sangamon County, IL
Lure: Wacky worm


Weight: 2-8
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 13
Weather: Air temperature 60s
Location: Farm pond, Sangamon County, IL
Lure: Wacky worm

Weight: 2-10
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 13
Weather: Air temperature 60s
Location: Farm pond, Sangamon County, IL
Lure: Wacky worm
Angler Comments: These fish were caught during early evening in private water not visited by many fishermen. Feeding fish were evident. Fish were eager and large. Lost several that were probably as large or larger.
Top 5 Weight: 10-14 (2-10,2-8,2-6,1-14,1-8)

Thank you to the Kirkemos for their submissions as it looked like the Springfield area visit was fishing success. Here’s hoping for continued catching as the year progresses and I appreciate the contributions as the Top 5 needed a boost. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Stats

Somewhere between busy and lazy has resulted in a lack of Top 5 Stat updates in 2021. Throw in limited angler participation and, well, I just haven’t kept up as in past years. But have no fear, the first complete stat update has arrived.

2021 Totals
January = no submissions
February = 2 bass
March = 19 bass
April = 14 bass
May = 2 bass

Top 5 Weight by Month
January = no submissions
February = 7-3 (3-15,3-4)
March = 21-14 (5-5,4-3,4-2,4-2,4-2)
April = 21-6 (5-3,5-2,4-0,4-0,3-1)
May = 3-13 (2-2,1-11)

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 0 bass
Bank = 37 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight
Boat = no submissions
Bank = 23-15 (5-5,5-3,5-2,4-3,4-2)

Public vs. Private
Public = 37 bass
Private = no submissions

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 23-15 (5-5,5-3,5-2,4-3,4-2)
Private = no submissons

The Baits
Lipless Crankbait = 15 bass (Top Bass 4-3 Jim Junk)
Crankbait = 6 bass (Top Bass 4-0 Brent Jackson)
Spinnerbait = 6 bass (Top Bass 4-0 Brent Jackson)
Chatterbait = 5 bass (Top Bass 5-3 Jim Junk)
Plastic Worm = 2 bass (Top Bass 2-2 Brent Jackson)
Creature = 1 bass (Top Bass 5-5 Jim Junk)
Jig = 1 bass (Top Bass 1-1 Troy Jackson)
Stickbait = 1 bass (1-11 Troy Jackson)

Monthly Top Bass
January
No submissions
February
3-15 Jim Junk
March
5-5 Jim Junk
April
5-2 Jim Junk
May
2-2 Brent Jackson

Top 10 Bass
5-5 Jim Junk (3/26)
5-3 Jim Junk (4/8)
5-2 Jim Junk (4/6)
4-3 Jim Junk (3/30)
4-2Jim Junk (3/19)
4-2 Jim Junk (3/24)
4-2 Jim Junk (3/28)
4-1 Jim Junk (3/30)
4-0 Jim Junk (3/23)
4-0 Brent Jackson (4/2)
4-0 Brent Jackson (4/12)

Angler Weights
Jim Junk 23-15 (5-5,5-3,5-2,4-3,4-2)
Brent Jackson 14-8 (4-0,4-0,2-3,2-3,2-2)
Troy Jackson 9-13 (3-1,1-13,1-11,1-10,1-10)
Jayce Jackson 1-3 (1-3)

Kind of like a broken record there as Jim Junk has already had quite an impressive year and we are just over a week into May. Beyond those catches, it has just been a trio of Jackson boys adding to the list thus far. Here’s hoping a few other regulars have some catches on the horizon to join the fun. One other note on the Top 5 this year is that the submissions have come exclusively from public waters and from the bank. Kind of cool and old school although I certainly plan on checking out my private waters and getting off the shore as the year progresses.

As always, send your submissions to troy@troyjacksonoutdoors.com when you catch them. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Last Saturday saw a tag team match of sorts on some strip mine stomping grounds that my brother and I fish. I was out in the morning and had texted him with an update only to find out that he had the same destination in mind for the afternoon. While we didn’t cross paths and physically tag off like a wrestling duo, we put up a good fight in the windy conditions to add a couple Top 5 catches.

Weight: 1-11
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: May 1
Weather: Sunny/very windy
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pit
Lure: Zara Spook (natural frog)
Structure: Saddle/flat
Angler Comments: Spotted this fish and caught it on the third retrieve past its location. Tune back in for further details as the complete fishing report is coming your way later this week.
Top 5 Weight: 9-13 (3-1,1-13,1-11,1-10,1-10) culls a 1-1

Weight: 2-2
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: May 1
Weather: Sunny/very windy
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pit
Lure: Senko wacky rig
Top 5 Weight: 14-8 (4-0,4-0,2-3,2-3,2-2) culls a 1-12

Hard to believe that it is May already but that bodes well for some fishing. The bluegill and crappie should be cooperative and for those who enjoy catching bass on topwaters and wacky rigs, those bites should be off and running. And it won’t be long before the area catfish move shallow to spawn on some moving waters. Truly a good time for multi-species anglers. Send ‘em my way when you catch ‘em. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Another angler joins the quest with a bass from a weekend strip mine hike.

Weight: 1-3
Angler: Jayce Jackson
Date: April 24
Weather: Partly cloudy/windy
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pit
Lure: Senko wacky rig (white)
Angler Comments:
Top 5 Weight: 1-3 (1-3)

Since I was kind of playing fishing guide on this outing, I will look to post a full report soon. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Jim Junk and my brother, Brent, come through again with another batch of quality bass for today’s update. A couple of the fish are a bit belated as travel got in the way of an update last week. But better late than never.

Weight: 5-2
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: April 6
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Chatterbait (white)
Structure: Submerged weed flat
Angler Comments: Lots of stops and presentations with very little success. Had a couple short strikes on white chatterbait and maybe a bump on a lipless crank. Ended up with three dink bass and one real nice one. The 5-2 was the first to come off a submerged weed flat on a white chatterbait.

Weight: 5-3
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: April 8
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Chatterbait (bluegill)
Structure: Weedline
Angler Comments: Numbers have decreased since last week’s barrage, but quality is great! Couple hours fishing late morning/early afternoon, one bite and one more quality bass. 5-3 hammered a bluegill chatterbait approaching a weedline.
Top 5 Weight: 23-15 (5-5,5-3,5-2,4-3,4-2) culls 4-2 and 4-2

Weight: 2-3
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: April 12
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pits
Lure: Spinnerbait

Weight: 2-3
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: April 12
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pits
Lure: Spinnerbait

Weight: 4-0
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: April 12
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pits
Lure: Spinnerbait
Angler Comments: I fished from about 9:30 – noon. I think the wind got stronger and colder the whole time. It was pretty close to white caps on one of the lakes on the way back. I probably could have used another layer of clothing. As far as fishing it turned out pretty good. Almost all of the fish I caught had a fat belly like they had been eating good.
Top 5 Weight: 14-2 (4-0,4-0,2-3,2-3,1-12) culls 1-10,1-10,1-5

Also had the bonus April 13 submission above from Jim that he suspected may have added some weight to his 2021 total. Tough break though as he noted “the battery in my scale went dead.” I suspect that Jim will find some more bites (and batteries) to make up for it before all is said and done. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

A solid Top 5 Update this week from three anglers spanning the transition from March into April. Scroll on down for just over 25 pounds of bass.

Weight: 4-2
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 28
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless crankbait
Structure: Submerged weeds

Weight: 4-1
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 30
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless crankbait
Structure: Submerged weeds

Weight: 4-3
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 30
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless crankbait
Structure: Submerged weeds
Angler Comments: Well, this has been one heck of a March. Another 9 or 10 bass today. All came on lipless crank over submerged weeds. Two biggest were 4-1 and 4-2. Seems to be an abundant population of bass in the four-pound range this year.

Top 5 Weight: 21-14 (5-5,4-3,4-2,4-2,4-2)

Weight: 3-1
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: April 2
Weather: Sunny/very windy
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pits
Lure: Rapala Shad Rap (shad)
Structure: Drop
Angler Comments: After striking out with a bit more active and thumping lure in a chatterbait, I went back to the old faithful Shad Rap. Once again, it was a winner in landing my largest bass of the day as well as my two other Top 5 entries.

Weight: 1-10
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: April 2
Weather: Sunny/very windy
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pits
Lure: Rapala Shad Rap (shad)
Structure: Drop

Weight: 1-13
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: April 2
Weather: Sunny/very windy
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pits
Lure: Rapala Shad Rap (shad)
Structure: Drop
Top 5 Weight: 9-3 (3-1,1-13,1-10,1-10,1-1)

Weight: 1-5
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: April 2
Weather: Sunny/very windy
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pits
Lure: Spinnerbait (brown/orange)
Structure: Drop

Weight: 1-12
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: April 2
Weather: Sunny/very windy
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pits
Lure: Bomber Flat A crankbait
Structure: Drop

Weight: 4-0
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: April 2
Weather: Sunny/very windy
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pits
Lure: Bomber Flat A crankbait
Structure: Drop/trough
Top 5 Weight: 8-14 (4-0,1-12,1-5,1-0,0-13)

Now that was a fun update to put together and submit (and participate). The crazy thing is, the days these bass were landed weren’t particularly pleasant in terms of weather. Things have kicked up a notch for the better in the area so here’s hoping the bite does as well. If you want to get in on the act, send your catches and pics to troy@troyjacksonoutdoors.com with the details noted in the entries above. Date, weight and/or length are required along with a pic while the rest of the details are up to you. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Jim Junk continues to impress in landing another batch of quality bass over the last week. In addition, one of my brothers gets in on the act to kick off his 2021 Top 5, wielding a lipless crank, nonetheless. Not normally his thing as more of a spinnerbait wizard. Read on for the results, details, and an entertaining fish story from Jim Junk regarding his current 2021 Top Bass.

Weight: 1-0
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: March 27
Location: Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Strike King Red Eye Shad (chartreuse sexy shad)

Weight: 0-13
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: March 27
Location: Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Strike King Red Eye Shad (chartreuse sexy shad)
Top 5 Weight: 1-13 (1-0,0-13)

Weight: 3-7
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 21
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Chatterbait (black/red) with small craw trailer

Weight: 3-12
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 21
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Chatterbait (black/red) with small craw trailer

Weight: 4-0
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 23
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Chatterbait (white)
Angler Comments: Got out for about three hours this afternoon. Found shad, tied on a white chatterbait and it was on fire.

Weight: 4-2
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 24
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless Crankbait

Weight: 3-1
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 24
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless Crankbait
Angler Comments: Ok, five more bass today. 4-2 and 3-1 were the biggest, both came on lipless crank. Others were on a black chatterbait.

Weight: 5-5
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 26
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Gene Larew Biffle Big Bug (green pumpkin/pumpkin neon)
Angler Comments: Went out for a few hours this afternoon. Pretty slow, got three small bass from a number of locations. Went to another spot that I started fishing last year and it does have many quality bass, however, there are only three little openings from the bank. Hadn’t had any luck with lipless, crankbait and or any other presentations there yet this year. Was going to try different presentations and had a Fluke Texas rigged on a weighted hook. Nothing took and was going to rig with a Senko. Turns out all my Senkos were in a bag at home. Rigged a Gene Larew Biffle Big Bug and the story begins. Fairly deep bowl type lake. After maybe five or six casts throwing deep and trying to drag along bottom, this bass followed the lure up to the small flat in front of me. Went dead stick and he just stared at the lure. At this point, I’m thinking there is no way he’ll take it. Twitched a couple times and he came closer. Two more twitches and he took it right in front of me. Set the hook and landed easily.
Top 5 Weight: 21-11 (5-5,4-2,4-2,4-2,4-0) culls 3-15, 3-13, 3-12

My whole blogging habit started many years ago in sending fish stories to a group of family and friends. All these years later, the Top 5 allows others to get in on the act as you can never have too many fish stories. And they don’t get much better than Jim’s latest and largest catch of 2021. Looks like it’s going to be quite pleasant in the region as we near Easter weekend so hope some can get out there and do some catching. As always, send ‘em my way. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

A half dozen submissions this week from a pair of anglers give the Top 5 a boost. While a couple of the half dozen aren’t quite as heavy as the others, you’ve got to start somewhere. Personally, I’m ecstatic to just get on the board as it has been a long winter. Read on for the latest entries as open water in the region is back to stay.

Weight: 3-13
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 18
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless Crankbait
Angler Comments: Went out for a couple hours. Rain had stopped but still windy and cold. Ended up with three bass, two were around two pounds and this one that came in at 3-13.

Weight: 3-10
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 19
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless Crankbait

Weight: 3-11
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 19
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless Crankbait

Weight: 4-2
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 19
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless Crankbait
Angler Comments: My lipless crankbait wasn’t working nor other presentations I tried in my go to spots. Talked to a guy loading his kayak and he said he got a couple on a bluegill Rat-L-Trap. Tied on a similar lure and landed three bass in about 45 minutes.
Top 5 Weight: 19-11 (4-2,4-2,3-15,3-13,3-11) culls 3-10, 3-4 and 3-1

Weight: 1-10
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: March 20
Weather: Sunny/windy 56F
Location: Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Rapala Shad Rap (shad)
Structure: Dropoff
Angler Comments: My first bass of the year hooked up about an hour into the outing on a classic cold-water lure (more about the lure in the fishing report later this week).

Weight: 1-1
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: March 20
Weather: Sunny/windy 56F
Location: Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Googan Squad Gridiron Jig (PB&J) with twin tail trailer
Structure: Brush
Angler Comments: Some unfamiliar water with a fair amount of wood cover accessible from the bank was a winner on the jig.
Top 5 Weight: 2-11 (1-10,1-1)

Way to go, Jim, and pretty cool that another quality fish should cover those five ounces needed to hit the 20-pound mark. And it’s not even April. As for the other guy, I’m hoping that his pair of entries are displaced before the 2021 Top 5 runs its course. Ideally, its just a matter of time. As in finding time to get on the water. Here’s to others getting on the water as well and sending their catches my way. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Although a bit delayed from our regular Monday Top 5 slot, better late than never with a couple more quality bass. Jim Junk is back up to his old tricks in a new year and now sits one catch away from his limit.

Weight: 3-1
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 7
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless Crankbait

Weight: 4-2
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: March 7
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless Crankbait
Angler Comments: Finally got two today, both came on the trusty lipless crankbait in the same area.
Top 5 Weight: 14-6 (4-2,3-15,3-4,3-1)

Well done, Jim. I hope you and other anglers are getting in some more casts during this recent and welcome warm-up. Lots of area fishing holes are opening up and some predicted rain should do a number on those that are still in ice out limbo. Here’s to a productive 2021 for all and send ‘em my way when you catch ‘em. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

A little late with the first Top 5 Update of 2021 as today’s featured fisherman sent me these pics nearly two weeks ago. Kind of cool as this year’s lead off catches are of the hard water variety, a rarity over the storied history of the Top 5.

Weight: 3-15
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: February 2
Water Temp: Ice fishing
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless crankbait (bluegill)

Weight: 3-4
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: February 2
Water Temp: Ice fishing
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless crankbait (bluegill)
Angler Comments: I actually went ice fishing today. Only my third time ever. Have two to start off the Top 5 this year. Also had one break off that was at the very least 3 or 4 pounds.
Top 5 Weight: 7-3 (3-15,3-4)

Thanks, Jim, fish stories and pics are a welcome and needed escape these days. Here’s to plenty more for 2021, our eighth year of Top 5 catches. To anyone out there interested in participating, send your pics and details to troy@troyjacksonoutdoors.com. Good luck and talk to you later. Troy