Top 5 Update

Have we got an update for you this week. Our submissions come courtesy of John Kirkemo, who does his fishing in the Palmetto State these days, from what we semi-jokingly refer to as the “southeast field office” of Troy Jackson Outdoors. He is on a bite down there and his reports from the past week feature three species: spotted bass, striped bass, and a channel catfish.

Editor’s note: Spotted bass are a member of the black bass genus along with the largemouth bass; thus, the Top 5 totals will combine these two species. Similarly, variations and hybridization among striped/temperate bass will result in all submissions being assigned to the striped bass category.

Spotted Bass

Fish: Spotted bass
Weight: 1-1 (14”)
Angler: John H. Kirkemo
Date: April 22
Weather: Bright sunny day with air temperatures in the low 60s
Water Temperature: 68-70 degrees
Location: Lake Hartwell, SC
Lure: Silver and black, 4.5” shallow running Rapala
Comments: This fish was caught while trolling at 1.61-1.71 mph along the shoreline in 6 to 10 feet of water and was released in good condition.

Fish: Spotted bass
Weight: 1-11 (16”)
Angler: John H. Kirkemo
Date: April 23
Weather: Bright sunny day with air temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s
Water Temperature: 68-70 degrees
Location: Lake Hartwell, SC
Lure: Silver and black, 4.5” shallow running Rapala

Fish: Spotted bass
Weight: 1-13 (15”)
Angler: John H. Kirkemo
Date: April 23
Weather: Bright sunny day with air temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s
Water Temperature: 68-70 degrees
Location: Lake Hartwell, SC
Lure: Silver and black, 4.5” shallow running Rapala
Comments: Both fish were caught while trolling at 1.61-1.71 mph along the shoreline in 6 to 10 feet of water and were released in good condition.

Fish: Spotted Bass
Weight: 1-1 (13”)
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: April 25
Weather: Clear sky with bright sun; air temperature low 70s.
Water Temperature: 68-71 degrees
Location: Lake Hartwell, Southeast of Anderson, SC
Lure: Silver and black, 4.5” shallow running Rapala

Fish: Spotted Bass
Weight: 1-3 (13”)
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: April 25
Weather: Clear sky with bright sun; air temperature low 70s.
Water Temperature: 68-71 degrees
Location: Lake Hartwell, Southeast of Anderson, SC
Lure: Silver and black, 4.5” shallow running Rapala

Fish: Spotted Bass
Weight: 2-0 (16.5”)
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: April 25
Weather: Partly cloudy skies; air temperature low 70s.
Water Temperature: 68-71 degrees
Location: Lake Hartwell, Southeast of Anderson, SC
Lure: Silver and black, 4.5” shallow running Rapala

Fish: Spotted Bass
Weight: 2-8 (19”)
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: April 26
Weather: Cloudy sky. Air temperature high 60s to low 70s.
Water Temperature: 70 degrees
Location: Lake Hartwell, Southeast of Anderson, SC
Lure: Silver and black, 4.5” shallow running Rapala
Comments: The above fish were caught while trolling at 1.68-1.73 mph in 6 to 10 feet of water. The fish were released in good condition.
Lake Hartwell is 56,000 acres with a shoreline of 962 miles. I fished the lake every day this week (Week of April 22) but only a small area next to the Springfield Corps of Engineers campground near Anderson, SC. I have seen only a few bass fishermen. The anglers are casting to shoreline structure or fishing the underwater drop-offs. There is impressive structure consisting of downed trees and docks that could be holding bass, but I haven’t seen any fish near any of the structure.
Top 5 Weight: 9-7 (2-8,2-0,1-13,1-11,1-7) culls a 1-5

Striped Bass

Fish: Hybrid Striped Bass
Weight: 2-6 (17”)
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: April 22
Weather: Bright sunny day with air temperatures in the low 60s
Water Temperature: 68-70 degrees
Location: Lake Hartwell, SC
Lure: Silver and black, 4.5” shallow running Rapala
Comments: This was my first ever hybrid striped bass. Caught while trolling in open water.

Fish: Hybrid Striped Bass
Weight: 1-0 (13”)
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: April 27
Weather: Partly cloudy skies; air temperature low 60s.
Water Temperature: 68 degrees
Location: Lake Hartwell, Southeast of Anderson, SC
Lure: Silver and black, 3.5” shallow running Rapala
Comments: The lure was cast to a spot between two partially submerged trees. I saw the fish hit the lure as the lure approached the boat on the retrieve.

Fish: Hybrid Striped Bass
Weight: 3-5 (19”)
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: April 27
Weather: Partly cloudy skies; air temperature low 70s.
Water Temperature: 71 degrees
Location: Lake Hartwell, Southeast of Anderson, SC
Lure: Silver and blue shallow running jointed Rebel
Comments: Fish were seen surface feeding, so I trolled the lure in the area until the fish hit. The fish was strong and made a long run taking line against the drag. I kept pressure on the fish and was able to bring him to the net. The fish was released in good condition.
Top 5 Weight: 6-11 (3-5,2-6,1-0)

Channel Catfish

Fish: Catfish
Weight: 2-3 (19”)
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: April 25
Weather: Partly cloudy skies; air temperature low 70s.
Water Temperature: 68-71 degrees
Location: Lake Hartwell, Southeast of Anderson, SC:
Lure: Silver and black, 4.5” shallow running Rapala
Top 5 Weight: 2-3 (2-3)

Well done, John, and keep them coming. It is a treat to see variety in species beyond the largemouth bass. In addition, seeing fish from outside the Land of Lincoln is also cool. For those of us locals, it looks like the April showers are going to dampen early May but here’s hoping we can dodge the drops and get bit. Talk to you later. Troy

Hennepin Canal Report – April 15

I had a couple evening hours free and decided to take a drive to The Canal for a quick hit to try my luck.

Stats
Date: April 15
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: 6:10pm-7:40pm
Totals: 2 bass
Weather: Sunny/breezy
Water temperature: Not available
Lures: Z-Man Chatterbait (sexy shad) with a BPS Speed Shad trailer (pro blue) – 1 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (red craw) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-3
Top 1 Weight (only one bass at 12” or better): 1-3

Winning Lures

Notes and Nonsense

Bike Back in Business – I barely even promote myself let alone have any advertisers. But I would like to give a shout out to Wright Cycles in Moline for getting me back on the bicycle by fixing a flat tire. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of a timeframe when I pulled into the lot but the fellow on duty said to bring it on in and he’d see if he could get it repaired on the spot. And that’s exactly what he did. An added bonus was talking fishing as he performed the repair and then for several minutes afterwards.

6:54pm – First bass at 11.5″ on a lipless crankbait (catch video below)

Unpleasant conditions with stained water and abundant floating debris

Ugly Water – I had not been on this stretch for nearly a month and I was surprised at how nasty the water looked. In mid-April, it already had ugly chunks of vegetation floating down with the light current. Much of the crud was right in range of my casting and made for some frustrating fouled lures. As this report is a bit tardy, I will add that I drove by on my way back from an April 27 outing and the water looked much cleaner as I took a brief glimpse from the road.

Harmless little guy, prefer them over ticks any day

7:15pm – Top Bass at 1-3 (13″) on a chatterbait

Hand Fishing – At a former job, I worked with a couple people who would engage in handfishing. This involves wrangling large catfish out of holes or strategically placed structures by letting them chomp down on your hand when it is stuck in the fish’s mouth. No thanks, those people were crazy, although good guys. However, on this outing, I got about as close as I’ll ever get when my first bass went flying as I lifted it out of the water. It flopped down the bank and promptly wedged headfirst in between some chunk rocks. Wanting to avoid the shutout, I had no choice but to go after it. As the video below shows, I was successful.

 

A pair of bass in an hour and a half was not up to my expectations but at least not shut out. I am still waiting for The Canal bass to come to life and deal me a winning hand with a combination of quantity and quality. 2024 has been tough on both accounts. As always, I’ll keep on casting. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Notes – April 13

There’s more to a fishing trip than simply how many fish you catch. Thus, the April 13 strip mine hike for me and Brent needed a Part II to cover the outing. Read on for a batch of extra notes from our time on the water.

 

Species Title – While our target species was the largemouth bass, if you have a lure in the water, you have a shot at an “accident.” Brent and I both landed crappies to go along with our bass but I was able to claim the species title with four (largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and green sunfish).

Tick Title – The annoying pests were ready for action, and we encountered a few as we made our way through the weeds. Brent outpaced me six ticks to one on this outing.

Torn Trailers – Between a batch of little bass and some solid crappie, several missed strikes resulted in losing the tails of the swimbait trailers I paired with my chatterbait. There is something to be said about using a stinger/trailer hook, but I am just not a fan. I suppose it may cost me a catch or two, but I always figure if a quality bass wants your lure bad enough, it is going to get it.

Frame 352 – As we made our way along opposite sides of a strip mine cut, I glanced over and saw that Brent was snapping a picture in my direction. I thought, “That’s a good idea” and took a moment to shoot a couple of my own as he made his way along a tall ridge. When we later got within speaking distance, Brent confirmed that he had taken a pic and then sent it may way. It wasn’t until that night that I looked at the pic and had the same thought that Brent would text a few days later.

 

The “Floors” data on steps app always amuses me after a strip mine trek. If you know, you know.

Top Bass – Brent landed a 2-4 about forty-five minutes into our trip but it was not the largest bass that we observed. That honor belonged to a fellow angler that I crossed paths with well off the beaten path. He showed me the fish but was unsure of its weight as he did not have a scale. When I offered up mine, he was excited to find out just what he had caught. I told him that I thought it may go six pounds as I clamped the clip down on the lip of his bass. I then turned the display in the angler’s direction to make sure he had the first view. He exclaimed, “5.14, that’s the biggest bass I’ve ever caught!” I congratulated him and never looked at the scale myself. However, I started thinking later that 5.14 (or 5 lbs. 2 oz.) seemed a bit shy. In looking at my scale later, the settings were indeed pounds and ounces and not decimal. Since I gave the young man one of my cards, if you are out there, I believe that you should tell the tale as a “five-pound fourteen-ounce bass” and not “5.14” if that was the initial interpretation.

I took a look at my scale settings when I got home and I think the fellow may have misinterpreted the reading, thus missing a few ounces

I was worn out by the end of the day as I wound up with a substantial hike back to the truck. It included marshy spots that were nearly over my boots courtesy of the recent rains. Early the next morning, I woke up with a serious cramp in my left hamstring and dealt with a sore heel when I got out of bed. Once I got up and started moving around though, all was well. I’ve been pulling this sort of stunt for a long time, and the rewards still outweigh the travails. I am certain that I will return as the year rolls on. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – April 13

Thanks to a late flurry of bites during an April Fool’s Day outing, the first substantial strip mine hike of the year was a success (twenty-one bass in just over four hours of casting). And just shy of two weeks later, I was back at it again with my brother, Brent, along to up our odds. Read on to see how we fared.

11:35am – first bass is small but dwarfs my partner in the distance

Stats
Date: April 13
Location: Knox County public strip pits (7 lakes)
Time: 11:25am-7:15pm (6.00 hours fishing)
Totals: 65 bass, 6 crappie, 1 bluegill, 1 green sunfish
Weather: Sunny/windy, 64-74F
Water temperature: Not available
Lures (Troy): Z-Man Chatterbait (sexy shad) with a BPS Speed Shad trailer (pro blue) – 16 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 11 bass, Lunker Hunt Finesse Swimbait (smokin shad) – 9 bass, Rapala Shad Rap (blue) – 6 bass, 5” Yamamoto Senko (blue pearl/silver flake) – 1 bass
Lures (Brent): Jerkbait – 11 bass, Ned Rig – 9 bass, Lipless Crankbait – 2 bass
Top Bass: 2-4 Brent (Jerkbait)
Top 5 Weight (combined): 7-11 (2-4,1-10,1-6,1-4,1-3)

Brent winning lures

Troy Winning Lures

Notes and Nonsense

Guesstimates – When I fish with Brent, I like to record our predictions prior to any lures hitting the water. We jot these down without discussion and it is always fun to see how we compare. On this outing, our guesses were darn near identical on Top 5 Weight and Top Bass but drastically different on the total bass we thought we’d catch. I often share these numbers with my friend John Kirkemo as the day begins and the conversation is noted below. Turns out, I was right on the money with the small bass assessment and nailed the total for my bass. However, the intent is to predict our combined total, so I was well short of our sixty-five bass result.

12:15pm – Top Bass at 2-4 on a jerkbait

Late Lunch Break – Around 3:30pm, Brent and I returned to our trucks to regroup, have a sandwich, and plan the remainder of our day. Part one of our hike resulted in thirty-one bass. Part two of the trip aimed at an uncharted passage that would offer a shot at four lakes that I do not fish on a regular basis. The hike to the lakes was not as taxing as anticipated, but we did discover that an “unknown” lake proved to be too shallow to support a fish population. Brent fished for another hour and a half while I decided to ride it out until about 7:15pm. In the end, we ended up with thirty-four more bass and I wound up with quite a hike back to the truck. It’s a lot of fun fishing your way out from your starting point but bear in mind that you also must walk back.

 

Senko Season (check video) – As we near mid-April, I begin to consider expanding my lure offerings to what I l consider my Top Lure of all-time, the Senko wacky rig. By this time of the year, we are typically moving out of what I call the “spring cold water” period of the year. Once the water temperatures start to warm and the bass’ thoughts turn to boosting energy to make more bass, the Senko wacky rig starts to shine. From here through October, I’ll have one ready to go nearly every time I hit the water. With one small wacky rig bass on this outing, the Senko season is officially underway.

1:23pm – Top Bass Runner-up at 1-10 on a jerkbait

Quantity Over Quality – With above average temperatures and some time to get on the water, the year is off to a roaring start. Well, at least in terms of quantity. The forty-three bass that I fooled on this outing brings my 2024 total to 103 bass. Compared to the last two years, I am well ahead of previous totals. In 2023, I reached the century mark on May 14 and in 2022 it was May 25. Those two years saw a total of over 1,000 bass (2023 = 468 and 2022 = 553), so here’s hoping that I can stay on a solid bite and eventually fool some “good ones” as the year progresses. While numbers are high in 2024, size is lacking with a Top Bass of 2-6 representing my lone bass at or above two pounds. But the waters that I am fishing have quality bass so if I keep on casting, I figure that the bigger bites will come along.

7:15pm – Last bass, still small, lots of steps and a lot of other small bass in between

 

Another successful outing as the bass continue to get more active. Having spent six hours casting on this day as well as having a fishing partner for the bulk of the trip, one post doesn’t suffice. Stay tuned for another batch of notes coming soon. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

We have a third full limit as Brent got out on Sunday and added the bass that he needed to round out his Top 5.

Weight: 1-11
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: April 21
Location: Knox County public strip pit
Top 5 Weight: 8-3 (2-4,1-11,1-10,1-6,1-4)

Well done, Brent, and looking forward to the culls to come. Looks like warm weather locally for the foreseeable future so hoping to see some more bass next week. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – April 1

A bass on March 3 got the year off to an early start and my good fortune continued throughout the rest of the month with ample opportunities to get on the water. By the end of March, I had forty bass in the log. In comparison, l had only six bass in March 2022 and one in March 2023. In those two previous years, I ended up with 553 bass and 468 bass, respectively. There’s no way to tell what the remainder of 2024 holds in store but I’m well ahead of the last two productive years. And April kicked off with a solid April Fool’s Day bite as detailed below.

3:02pm Top Bass at 1-11 (15″) on a Shad Rap

Stats
Date: April 1
Location: Knox County public strip pits (9 lakes)
Time: 11:00am-4:40pm (4.25 hours fishing)
Totals: 21 bass
Weather: Overcast/very windy, 51-56F
Water temperature: Not available
Lures: Rapala Shad Rap (blue) – 10 bass, Lunker Hunt Finesse Swimbait (smokin shad) aka “Ned Rig” – 7 bass, Z-Man Chatterbait (sexy shad) with a BPS Speed Shad trailer (pro blue) – 4 bass
Top Bass: 1-11 (Shad Rap)
Top 5 Weight: 6-1 (1-11,1-8,1-0,1-0,0-14)

Winning Lures

Notes and Nonsense

Adages for April – There’s an old saying that “wind from the east, fish bite the least.” Well, on this day, the wind was howling from the east along with intermittent “April showers” as the wrong month came “in like a lion.” But having invested a vacation day for an April Fool’s outing, I was committed to fishing come “heck or high water.” In doing so, I followed my best piece of fishing advice that “the best time to go fishing is anytime you can.”

Walk Don’t Row – On days when the wind gets ridiculous, I prefer to get out for a hike rather than trying to row a boat around the lakes. It just gets too tough and frustrating fighting the wind all day and I don’t really like to anchor. Instead, by walking, I can stay put on the bank, use the wind to my favor in casting or positioning the fish, and invest as much time as I wish working over appealing areas.

My quality rainsuit was in Galesburg so I had to make a last-minute purchase. I didn’t want to invest too much money and I got what I paid for. Of course, a hike in the strip mines gives your gear (and your body) a workout.

Saved the Best for Last – My first two hours and forty-five minutes produced a grand total of seven bass on seven bodies of water. Four of those came in fifteen minutes from a spot known for small fish where I stopped just to see if I could at least land a few. In contrast to the slow start, my last hour and a half resulted in fourteen bass on two lakes. I found a sharp drop off a short ledge that was being hit by the wind and had some brush near where my retrieve would end. A classic cold-water crankbait, the Rapala Shad Rap, was the ticket as the spot gave up six bass. It was a textbook setup with the added feedback of two bass hitting right as I paused the bait near the end of the retrieve. It sure is fun when the bass bite in a scenario just like they should.

 

With another twenty-one bass, the early season totals are as good as they’ve ever been. However, I still can’t find any big bites as my 2024 Top Bass sits at 2-6 and is my only two-pounder of the year. The waters that I have fished this year have quality bass, so I’ll keep the confidence up and keep on casting. And on the next trip, I also fished with a partner to up the odds. Stay tuned for that report and talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – March 30

Even though family and friends have been fishing the Knox County public strip mines for close to thirty-five years, there are still secrets to learn and new spots to explore. For this solo outing, I was doing a bit of both on three different lakes.

11:21am First boat ride on a new lake and the first of thirteen bass on the spot

Stats
Date: March 30
Location: Knox County public strip pits (3 lakes)
Time: 8:25am-1:30pm (3.75 hours fishing)
Totals: 17 bass
Weather: Sunny/very windy, 55F
Water temperature: Not available
Lures: Lunker Hunt Finesse Swimbait (perfect pumpkin) aka “Ned Rig”– 14 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 2 bass, Z-Man Chatterbait (sexy shad) with a BPS Speed Shad trailer (pro blue) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-6 (swimbait)
Top 5 Weight: 6-1 (1-6,1-4,1-3,1-2,1-2)

Notes and Nonsense

Lake 1 – Of the three lakes selected for this trip, I have the most history with “Lake 1”, although that history is only a handful of visits. Those visits had produced a decent bite in terms of quantity, but quality was lacking. My Top Bass sits at 1-10 from July 2023 and my all-time Top 5 sits at a mere 6-1. On this outing, I only spent about forty-five minutes on the lake as it was used primarily to access the other two lakes. Lake 1 produced three bass with a lone “keeper” at 1-2.

11:29am – Top Bass of the day at 1-6 (14″) on a Ned Rig

Lake 2 – This spot was where I intended to focus as it was an eye-opening “discovery” last year. Brent and I made several visits with our Top Bass coming in at 4-7 (Brent) and our combined Top 5 weighing 18-6. Hopes were high but I only managed one bite in a little over an hour while being blown all over the lake. Beaten by the wind and lackluster bite, I opted to leave the proven water to check out a relatively unexplored lake.

Ready to row into the unknown

Lake 3 – In 2022, I had made a hike to this body of water and managed to catch one bass on a Rapala Shad Rap. It wasn’t much of a specimen, but it provided evidence of bass which was my goal. Since I had cut my time short on Lake 2, I decided to take a longer look at Lake 3 to finish out my day. An hour and forty-five minutes on Lake 3 saved the day with thirteen bass, including three of my Top 5 on the day. The largest was only 1-6 but my results pointed to a solid population. I would also guess that I didn’t catch the largest bass in the lake. Based on these assessments, it is worth a return trip. And besides, I need one more “keeper” to round out my Top 5 for the lake.

 

Solid numbers again but I sure can’t find any big bites in the early season. I enjoy exploring new water but find it a tough decision to choose between proven spots and the unknown when I get a chance to get on the water. Overall, I was pleased with my decisions on this outing, and hope they pay dividends in the future. I have a few other unknown spots on my “wish list” and time will tell if I follow this lead and give them a shot. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

My brother, Brent, has been too busy to fish this year but he was able to get out on some public Knox County strip mine stomping grounds this weekend. The bass were biting well but quality bites were tough to come by leaving him one bass shy of his initial Top 5. Great to have him on board again and I expect he’ll get that fifth bass in short order once he gets out for some more casts.

Weight: 2-4
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: April 13
Weather: Sunny/windy
Location: Knox County public strip pit
Lure: Jerkbait

Weight: 1-10
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: April 13
Weather: Sunny/windy
Location: Knox County public strip pit
Lure: Jerkbait

Weight: 1-6
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: April 13
Weather: Sunny/windy
Location: Knox County public strip pit
Lure: Jerkbait

Weight: 1-4
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: April 13
Weather: Sunny/windy
Location: Knox County public strip pit
Lure: Jerkbait
Top 5 Weight: 6-8 (2-4,1-10,1-6,1-4)

Well done with some hard-earned quality “keeper” bites on a tough day. I was along for the hike and couldn’t muster any to exceed Brent’s bites and give myself a Top 5 boost. Stay tuned for the report on our trip as I try and catch up on the April outings. Talk to you later. Troy

Hennepin Canal Report – March 31

To end March, I was able to get my son, Jayce, out on the water for an Easter Sunday fishing trip on The Canal. He is not much of a morning guy, so an early spring afternoon trip was more up his alley than my pre-dawn departures as the year progresses. Read on as he was in the right place at the right time with the right lure.

1:25pm – Top Bass at 3-4 (18″) on a chatterbait

Stats
Date: March 31
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: 1:10pm-3:10pm
Totals: 4 bass
Weather: Overcast/windy, 58F
Water temperature: Not available
Lures: Z-Man Chatterbait (sexy shad) with swimbait trailers – 4 bass
Top Bass: 3-4 (Jayce – chatterbait)
Top 4 Weight (only four at 12” or better): 7-9 (3-4,1-9,1-9,1-3)

Winning Lure

Notes and Nonsense

Trip Tunes – The ride was enjoyable as I got in some radio surfing with Jayce who shares an appreciation for classic rock and pop. We both gave a thumbs up to “Holy Diver” from Ronnie James Dio. And when Van Halen’s “Dance the Night Away” came on, I noted that it was my favorite VH tune. Jayce on the other hand, gave his VH vote to “Unchained.” Always a treat when we get to share and talk some tunes.

1:52pm – Top Bass Runner-up at 1-9 (14.5″) on a chatterbait

Guide Thoughts – Assuming the role of fishing guide, I selected our stretch of The Canal for several reasons. First, wide open banks are much better for dialing in casts when your client needs to get in some practice with a new baitcaster. Secondly, the pool has ample wood cover off the bank which sets up well for my proposed 1-2 punch of a spinnerbait and chatterbait. And finally, a bit more depth at the shore keeps the aquatic vegetation at bay and prevents frustrating slimy casts. As a bonus, we encountered another angler in the parking area who referred to the spot as “a hidden gem.”

Top Bass – About fifteen minutes into casting, Jayce’s line tightened up and his pole quickly bent. My question to him about whether he had a snag, or a fish was quickly answered as his line began to move across the surface and we knew it was a good one. Jayce did well fighting and reeling the fish to boatside and I was able to lip what would be his all-time Top Bass at 3-4. It would also set the mark for the Top Canal Bass of 2024, rank tied for fifth on our all-time Top Canal Bass and set a record for this stretch of The Canal (previous Top Bass was 2-0). The only downside was my failure to have the GoPro running as I was too dialed into Dad/Guide mode.

A bass so nice, I’ll use it twice for today’s report

Bandwagon Angler – When fishing with a partner, I often start out tossing a different lure than what the other guy/gal is casting for some initial variety in offerings. On this outing, Jayce started with a chatterbait, so I opted for a spinnerbait, both winners on The Canal. After thirty minutes without a strike on my spinnerbait coupled with watching Jayce land his Top Bass, guess who switched over to a chatterbait. It turned out to be a wise decision as the chatterbait would fool all four bass that we landed on this trip.

To quote the A-Team’s John ‘Hannibal’ Smith, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Jayce was excited as you can tell by his smile in the photos. And, of course, I had to share those photos with fellow fishing family and friends.

 

A great couple hours on the water and looking forward to more. Talk to you later. Troy

Hennepin Canal Report – March 24

March was off to a solid start on The Canal after several hikes and I was eager to get the boat out on its waters for the first time. I selected one of my best spots and anticipated a batch of bass with the potential for quality catches. Read on if you dare as the results were quite disappointing.

Stats
Date: March 24
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: 1:50pm-3:50pm
Totals: 0 bass
Weather: Overcast/very windy, 48F
Water temperature: Not available

Darn wind will just not quit this year

Notes and Nonsense

Destination Decision – I was counting my chickens as I pulled up to my selected spot. After all, the bass had begun to get more active and the past two years on the stretch had resulted in nearly two hundred bass in the logbook. In addition to being my best numbers spot, it also had the heaviest Top 5 of any stretch on The Canal at 15-15 (3-5,3-5,3-4,3-2,2-15).

These are winners, just not on this day

Lure Decisions – My starting lineup featured a spinnerbait, chatterbait, and lipless crankbait. I figured that the first two baits would do well enough that I would not even need the third. Actually, I figured that the spinnerbait would do the trick and be the only lure that I needed. Wrong and wrong, although the spinnerbait produced the lone bite of the outing. That fish got wrapped in some brush and came off before I could get over to grab it.

Blog Decision – This report serves as a perfect example of my commitment to post a report for every outing. Folks might say “Who cares” when it comes to a write-up detailing an outing where I couldn’t fool a fish. I counter with the reply that it is only fair to report the bad with the good. No matter who you are, days like this happen from time to time, so I hope that fellow anglers can relate to being in the same boat.

Get ’em next time

And with that, I will conclude the report on this fishing shutout and credit the bass with a win on this outing. Three more fishing reports are in the works, and I promise that they will include fish. Talk to you later. Troy