Strip Mine Report – August 13

“I don’t always drive the minivan to the strip mines, but when I do, I guess the bass better watch out. Stay fishing, my friends.”

With my truck being out of commission, it meant that hauling the little johnboat to the fishing hole was out of the question. It was either setting out via bike or boots from the minivan and I chose the boots. For a destination, I chose some Knox County public strip pits that I usually avoid this time of the year as the terrestrial vegetation makes for tough walking. Turned out to be a good decision.

6:07am – First bass at 7″, don’t want to set the bar too high

Date: August 13
Location: Knox County strip mines
Time: 6:05am-1:30pm (6.50 hours fishing, the rest walking)
Totals: 37 bass
Weather: Partly cloudy to overcast/calm, 62-79F
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (smoke black/copper flake/lemon tip or natural shad) – 21 bass, Spro Flappin Frog 65 (natural red or killer gill) – 8 bass, Whopper Plopper 110 (bone) – 7 bass, 7.5” Yum Ribbontail Worm (plum) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 3-10 Frog
Top 5 Weight: 12-12 (3-10,2-6,2-5,2-4,2-3)

Winning Lures

Notes and Nonsense

The Mission – I’ve been logging my catches for a long time and find it fun to sort the database entries by various criteria. In looking over my data, I saw that my August totals for this batch of strip mines consisted of only six bass landed on August 31, 2019. Four of those bass were “keepers” making for a Top 4 of 7-4 (2-8,2-1,1-2,1-9). Along with those numbers, I had recently caught up on some data entry in the family record book to update the lake by lake Top 5 weight totals. Armed with all the above information, I had a goal to boost some numbers.

6:17am – New personal Maiden Lake Top Bass at 3-10 (20″) on a Spro Frog

Maiden Lake – The first lake that I ever fished in this area is what I named Maiden Lake. You know, kind of like a maiden voyage, since it was the site of my initial casts all those years ago. I never do worth a darn on the lake in terms of quality fish while Brent regularly lands some impressive bass including a 5-4 last year and a 4-0 in 2021. Those sort of catches get your attention and prompted me to take another shot at Maiden this morning. Fortune smiled on me with a 3-10 on a frog, smashing my previous best of 1-14 by nearly two pounds.

Keeping updated with Brent who was fishing several miles away, more details in a future post

Here Comes the Clouds – My mind has its own soundtrack featuring tunes that just kind of pop up based on circumstances. In the case of this fishing trip, the weather forecast included cloudy skies although the first few hours of sun had me wondering if those in the know had missed their prediction. But the tunes inside my head changed from a variation of The Supremes with “Where Did Our Clouds (Love) Go” to an altered Beatles cut “Here Comes the Clouds (Sun)” about 10:00am. And along with the increase in cloud cover came an increase in quality bites.

12:54pm – Island Lake Top Bass of the Day at 2-6 (17″) on a new Spro Frog

Island Lake – As none of these lakes have real names, we have made them up over the years. Island Lake has an island or two or three depending on the water level. Prior to this year, Brent had the lake record with a 2-3 landed in April 2021. Incredibly, that fish no longer makes the Island Lake Top 5 as 2023 has seen a big bass boom on the spot. And on this day, I landed a 2-6 and a 2-4, neither of which qualify for the current Top 5 either.


Senko Success – Twenty-one of the thirty-seven bass landed on this trip fell for the Senko wacky rig. Further proof of the effectiveness of the presentation as when it turns on, there is nothing better to have tied on when fishing these waters. In fact, I even moved away from using my favorite Senko colors to a mediocre pattern. When the bite gets going, it is more about the action of the lure than the hue, so I figured why risk my good colors getting destroyed.


My August mission in the minivan was a resounding success in terms of both numbers and a significant boost to the record book. In addition, Brent was fishing several miles away and having a good day as well. Stay tuned for an additional post and talk to you later. Troy

Hennepin Canal Report – August 5

My first August trip was to a section of The Canal that I have always found appealing in terms of structural variety. In addition, it has produced three of my nine three-pound fish including my Top Canal Bass of 3-6. The water conditions looked great in terms of pool depth and clarity, I had my boat, and ample time to fish, so I was feeling good about my chances. Four and a half hours later, I was scratching my head as the trip was a struggle to find bites.

9:50am – Top Bass at 1-4 (14″) on a Senko wacky rig

Date: August 2
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: 8:00am-12:25pm
Totals: 6 bass
Weather: Overcast to partly cloudy/breezy, 63-77F
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (natural shad) – 5 bass, Spro Flappin Frog 65 (natural red) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-4 Senko
Top 5 Weight: 5-3 (1-4,1-4,1-0,0-14,0-13)

Winning Lures

Notes and Nonsense

Boat vs. Bike/Bank – One observation from my years of experience when being a shore bound angler is the thought of “boy, I wish I could get over there.” Because you know, so many of those unreachable spots sure look like they would hold a bass. Well, when you get a boat on the water, all those spots are available for a cast or two and one would think that the catch results would be more favorable. Strangely, that is not always the case for various reasons that deserve a post of their own. For instance, I spent four and a half hours rowing around to anywhere I wanted on this trip and could only fool half a dozen bass. In comparison, one week earlier, I rode my bike along the same stretch and landed four bass in just over an hour, including a three-pounder. The grass isn’t always greener, even on the water.


Canal Conversation – As I finished my morning, I encountered a fellow Canal angler who was fishing from a canoe. After the obligatory “catching anything?” portion of the chat, we began to compare notes on lures, locations, and logs. Yes, this guy noted that he had taken to logging his catches for several years although not quite as far back as 1985. I informed him that I was still in search of my first four-pounder on The Canal and he confirmed that they existed along with noting that he’d pulled in a 5-13 within a mile or so of our location. It’s always fun to visit other Canal anglers, especially when they have considerably more experience than my two years. It was also entertaining that he complimented the old johnboat a couple times. I replied that a lot of fish have come aboard the little boat over the years, just not today.

Only one on a topwater frog but the lure has taken a beating over the summer

The Canal bass continue to get the best of me in 2023 after they were quite cooperative last year. Fortunately, I have plenty of other public waters to visit. For my next outing, it was off to the Knox County strip mines for a change of scenery. And a change of “luck.” Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

August can be a struggle as the dog days sometimes make for a tough bite. However, this past weekend was a far cry from a heatwave, and the bass were quite cooperative. Among the multitude of bass Brent and I fooled on separate trips were a couple personal lake records and Brent’s Top Bass of 2023.

Weight: 3-11
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: August 12
Location: Knox County public strip pit
Lure: Rapala Skitter Pop
Editor’s Note: This fish represents Brent’s Top Bass of 2023 and sets his new Top Bass mark for the lake, besting a 3-8 from 2021. With the 3-11 leading the way, Brent posted a daily Top 5 of 11-10 from the thirteen bass he landed in just under three hours of fishing.
Top 5 Weight: 16-12 (3-11,3-8,3-5,3-3,3-1) culls a 2-15

Weight: 3-10
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: August 13
Weather: Partly cloudy/calm, 65F
Location: Knox County public strip pit
Lure: Spro Flappin Frog 65 (natural red)
Structure: Weed bed
Angler Comments: While this catch only boosted my 2023 total by one ounce, it established a new personal best on the lake. Brent owns the lake record at 5-4 but I was elated to catch a quality fish as my previous best on the spot was only 1-14.
Top 5 Weight: 21-10 (5-3,4-10,4-2,4-1,3-10) culls a 3-9

Two more solid submissions from a productive weekend that found Brent and me fooling nearly one hundred bass combined. But those are fish stories for an upcoming post (I also owe a Canal report). Talk to you later. Troy

Prowl the Canal – July Notes

Each month, I try to go beyond the numbers with some further insights and observations from my time on The Canal. Such notes from July cover water conditions, Canal access, a nostalgic technique, and an out of the ordinary item from The Canal’s “Lost and Found.”

More water on this stretch of The Canal as last year the submerged rocks in this photo were high and dry

In contrast, the exposed bank on this stretch was under water last year

Water Levels – I have fished The Canal for just over two years and it has been interesting to explore the miles and miles of water. One observation that stands out for 2023 is the change in water levels on different stretches. I don’t know the rhyme or reason for the differing levels, but I have struggled to parlay these changes into a solid bite. On the pools that are deeper this year, I can’t find a consistent bite on the increased shoreline structure. On the low pools, I can’t find where they are hiding in the abundant vegetation. Just a strange year for me out there and beginning to think that The Canal spoiled me in previous years.

Old school pedal power as I go back to my Canal roots

Back on the Bike – My first experiences on The Canal beginning in June 2021 were either on bike or on foot. For July this year, six of my eight outings went back to my roots with pedal power. These trips were quick hits when I had less than two hours to cast. The approach was quite effective in landing two thirds of my July catches and all my July 2023 Top 5 bass.

The good, old Texas rigged plastic worm has been getting it done for a long time

Texas Time – On the previously mentioned bike rides, I invested a significant amount of time throwing a Texas rigged worm. This presentation goes back to my bass fishing roots in the early to mid-80s but has been neglected for a long time. New techniques, lures, and confidence baits have dominated my offerings instead. However, I found an area that featured a deep, clean channel and decided to break out the old setup. The bass in the area took a liking to the lure and included four over two pounds.

Instead of a lost lure, I found a prehistoric creature last month

Dimetrodon Discoveries – An occasional bonus from prowling The Canal is adding some tackle to the collection. This is particularly true when accessing the water by boat as you can pluck lost lures from trees that a bank angler cannot reach. 2023 has provided slim pickings though as shore bound anglers are either improving their casting or not fishing where I fish. My July discovery pictured above was made in a parking area rather than the trees. It was a plastic creature that I recognized as Dimetrodon from back when I was a kid and totally into dinosaurs. Upon doing a bit of research for this post though, I found that Dimetrodon was not a dinosaur but rather a “non-mammalian synapsid” that predated the dinosaurs by many millions of years. In fact, Dimetrodon became extinct roughly 40 million years before the dinosaurs roamed the earth. It was cool to discover some new information from my Canal discovery. And while it was rewarding to find that those in the know still called this creature Dimetrodon, the revelation that my childhood “dinosaur” collections weren’t quite paleontologically accurate was disappointing. Of course, some of the sets also included cavemen, which I already knew was wrong, just like Cha-Ka from the old “Land of the Lost” series.

And now, it is on to see what August holds in store as I continue to “Prowl the Canal.” Talk to you later. Troy

Prowl the Canal – July Stats

This marks the third year of chasing bass in July on The Canal. And now that we have reached August, it is time for a look at the July stats and running totals from the historic waterway.

July Breakdown
July 2023 Totals: 24 bass in 13.25 hours (1.81 bass/hour)
July 2022 Totals: 66 bass in 22.75 hours (2.90 bass/hour)
July 2021 Totals: 23 bass in 9.75 hours (2.36 bass/hour)

July 2023 Top Bass: 3-0 July 29 Senko
July 2022 Top Bass: 2-11 July 2 Spinnerbait
July 2021 Top Bass: 3-6 July 21 Senko

2023 Best July Top 4 Day: 7-2 (3-0,1-9,1-5,1-4) – July 28
2022 Best July Top 5 Day: 9-6 (2-11,1-13,1-11,1-10,1-9) July 2
2021 Best July Top 4 Day: 9-4 (3-6,2-10,2-0,1-4) – July 21

2023 July Top 5: 12-5 (3-0,2-8,2-5,2-5,2-3)
2022 July Top 5: 11-6 (2-11,2-6,2-4,2-3,1-14)
2021 July Top 5: 12-8 (3-6,2-13,2-10,2-0,1-11)

2023 July Lure Breakdown
Plastic Worms – 14 bass
Buzzbaits – 5 bass
Topwater Frogs – 4 bass

Top 5 All-Time July Bass Weight: 14-8 (3-6,3-0,2-13,2-11,2-10)

2023 Overall Canal Stats
100 bass in 64.50 hours (1.55 bass/hour)
Top Bass: 3-2 Buzzbait – May 25
Best Top 5 Day: 10-4 (3-2,2-6,1-10,1-10,1-8) – May 25

Yearly Top 5 Totals
2023 Top 5 Canal Weight: 14-0 (3-2,3-0,2-14,2-8,2-8)
2022 Top 5 Canal Weight: 15-15 (3-5,3-5,3-4,3-2,2-15)
2021 Top 5 Canal Weight: 15-6 (3-6,3-4,3-1,2-14,2-13)

The Canal bass continue to be tough to fool in 2023. It has taken some work, but investing just over sixty hours on the waterway pushed me exactly to the century mark as July ended. I’ve already hit The Canal once in August, but that report will wait until some notes from the July prowl are posted next week. Talk to you later. Troy

Hennepin Canal Report – July 28 & 29

Here is a combined report that covers my final outings of July. Weather played a role in getting me on the water on both days as I originally did not have any fishing trips on my agenda. In one case, a heatwave got me moving and in the other case it was rain in St. Louis that got me on the water. Read on for further explanation and the results of my last-minute decisions to wet a line.

Missed a 100-degreee bass by one degree but as noted below the heat index was quite balmy

Date: July 28 & 29
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: 3.00 hours total
Totals: 8 bass, 1 green sunfish
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (natural shad) – 5 bass, Spro Flappin Frog 65 (natural red) – 2 bass, 7.5” Yum Ribbontail Worm (plum) – 1 bass, 1 green sunfish
Top Bass: 3-0 Senko
Top 4 Weight (only 4 at 12” or better): 7-2 (3-0,1-9,1-5,1-4)

Winning Lures

Notes and Nonsense

July 28 Top Bass at 1-9 (15″) on a Texas rigged worm 

July 28 – Wise or not, I don’t get many chances to chase a triple-digit bass, so I had to take my shot. However, by the time I got to The Canal the temperature had dropped back into double digits and I had to settle for a pair of 99-degree bass to start the afternoon. I will admit that the heat had me a bit sluggish at the start, but the catches gave me a second wind and I stuck around for two more before heading home.

 July 29 Top Bass at 3-0 (19.5″) on a Senko

July 29 – I hadn’t planned on hitting the water as I had the radio dialed up for the 7:05pm first pitch of the Cubs-Cards game. Mother Nature had other ideas for the ballgame with what sounded like a lengthy rain delay, so I had to find something to kill the time. I packed up my bike and prowled The Canal from 7:00pm-8:15pm. Things worked out well to the tune of four bass including a Top Bass right at three pounds. I got back to the truck in the third inning of the ballgame to find the Cubs in the lead on the way to a victory.

Cubs are playing pretty well lately

I’ve long subscribed to the old fishing saying that “the best time to go fishing is anytime you can.” These two days were prime examples of that approach and demonstrate the good fortune of having quick access to The Canal. Depending on where I go and the mode I choose to fish (boots, boat, or bike), I can have a line in the water within a half hour of leaving home. And I’m looking to do some more prowling in August. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Stats

While I have some fishing reports to pass along, I am taking the easy way out to start the month with the Top 5 Stat Update as these posts write themselves. To date, our submissions feature eighty bass and a lone channel catfish. Read on for the monthly breakdown as sorted by the regular categories and wrapping up with the current Top 5 Angler totals.

Other Species – Channel Catfish
2-3 John Kirkemo July 6 – Lake Storey

Bass Stats
2023 Totals
January = no submissions
February = 2 bass
March = 7 bass
April = 32 bass
May = 20 bass
June = 9 bass
July = 10 bass

Top 5 Weight by Month
January = no submissions
February = 6-10 (3-9,3-1)
March = 19-8 (5-1,4-5,4-4,3-5,2-9)
April = 24-0 (5-5,5-3,4-12,4-8,4-4)
May = 24-11 (5-9,5-6,4-14,4-10,4-4)
June = 11-6 (3-2,2-13,2-4,2-0,1-3)
July = 16-10 (4-1,3-5,3-3,3-1,3-0)

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 29 bass
Bank = 51 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight
Boat = 20-0 (5-6,4-2,3-9,3-8,3-7)
Bank = 26-0 (5-9,5-5,5-3,5-1,4-14)

Public vs. Private
Public = 77 bass
Private = 3 bass

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 26-8 (5-9,5-6,5-5,5-3,5-1)
Private = 8-4 (3-9,2-11,2-0)

The Baits
Lipless Crankbait = 24 bass (Top Bass 5-6 Natalee Townsend)
Plastic Worm = 23 bass (Top Bass 3-9 Troy Jackson)
Chatterbait = 7 bass (Top Bass 5-9 Jim Junk)
Grub = 5 bass (Top Bass 5-3 Troy Jackson)
Jerkbait = 4 bass (Top Bass 2-13 Brent Jackson)
Popper = 4 bass (Top Bass 3-5 Brent Jackson)
Propbait = 3 bass (Top Bass 4-10 Troy Jackson)
Spinnerbait = 3 bass (Top Bass 3-7 Troy Jackson)
Swimbait = 2 bass (Top Bass 4-4 Jim Junk)
Buzzbait = 2 bass (Top Bass 3-8 Brent Jackson)
Frog 1 bass (Top Bass 4-1 Troy Jackson)
Jig = 1 bass (Top Bass 2-13 Brent Jackson)
Spinnerbait = 1 bass (Top Bass 3-7 Troy Jackson)

Monthly Top Bass
No submissions
3-9 Jim Junk
5-1 Jim Junk
5-5 Jim Junk
5-9 Jim Junk
3-2 Troy Jackson
4-1 Troy Jackson

2023 Top 10 Bass
5-9 Jim Junk 5/2
5-6 Natalee Townsend 5/26
5-5 Jim Junk 4/23
5-3 Troy Jackson 4/7
5-1 Jim Junk 3/5
4-14 Jim Junk 5/5
4-12 Jim Junk 4/9
4-10 Troy Jackson 5/6
4-8 Jim Junk 4/1
4-5 Jim Junk 3/11

Angler Weights
Jim Junk 25-9 (5-9,5-5,5-1,4-14,4-12)
Troy Jackson 21-9 (5-3,4-10,4-2,4-1,3-9)
Brent Jackson 16-0 (3-8,3-5,3-3,3-1,2-15)
Natalee Townsend 7-9 (5-6,2-3)
John Kirkemo 7-2 (2-4,1-15,1-3,0-14,0-14)
Carly Jackson 3-10 (2-13,0-13)
Landon Hannam 3-8 (3-8)
Terry Jackson 2-11 (2-11)
Jayce Jackson 1-3 (1-3)
Julia Jackson 0-14 (0-14)
Zac Jackson 0-11 (0-11)

A solid year thus far and what do you say we shoot for adding another twenty bass to hit the century mark? August can be a tough one but as I always say, those bass are still there sometimes just a bit harder to find and fool. Get up early, stay out late, and send ‘em my way when you catch ‘em. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Three more bass totaling just over ten pounds join the list during the recent heatwave. Conditions may be tough on anglers, but those fish are still out there. Early or late in the day can be your best shot as the bass are a bit more prone to chasing a lure in the lowlight conditions (see the second and third entries below). Then again, sometimes you get a bit lucky as in the first bass on our list. Just proves that anything can happen if you have a lure in the water and you can’t catch them sitting at home on the couch.

Weight: 4-1 (20.5”)
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: July 24
Weather: Sunny/calm
Location: Knox County public strip pit
Lure: Spro Flappin Frog 65 (natural frog)
Structure: Open water with submerged weed clumps
Angler Comments: Open water on a hot, bright, sunny July day at 1:43pm is not the ideal setup for a topwater frog bite. However, I was getting hits on the weed mats and along the weed edges, so I opted for a long cast to cover a lot of water featuring scattered, submerged weed clumps. Luck was on my side, but I’d like to think that experience and instinct had a role as well as there is more to this story for another day.

Weight: 3-0 (19.5”)
Angler: Troy Jackson
Date: July 29
Weather: Partly cloudy/calm
Location: Hennepin Canal
Lure: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (natural shad)
Structure: Weed edge
Angler Comments: The Cubs 6:15pm start was under what looked to be a significant rain delay, so I ditched my radio for my bike and set off to The Canal. Glad I did, as I landed several bass including this lengthy three-pounder. Got back to my truck around 8:30pm to find the Cubs with a 2-1 lead in the third enroute to their eight straight victory. That’s a good night.
Top 5 Weight: 21-9 (5-3,4-10,4-2,4-1,3-9) culls a 3-7

Weight: 3-3
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: July 29
Location: Snakeden Hollow
Lure: Rapala Skitter Pop
Editor’s Note: I have included a text that I received from Brent to go along with his submission. As you can see below, he had quite a day on the water, taking full advantage of the morning bite window.
Top 5 Weight: 16-0 (3-8,3-5,3-3,3-1,2-15) culls a 2-13

The heatwave broke for the weekend, but I suspect that we have not seen the last of the dog days of summer as August arrives. Bear in mind the tips to take away from today’s update. The early and late approach is a winner in the heat, but also don’t forget that “the best time to go fishing is any time you can.” Good luck and talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – July 24

On the heels of a successful scouting trip two days prior, I headed back to the Knox County public strip pits on a Monday vacation day. This time, I took the boat with the aim of an on the water and on the bank combination approach. It worked out just fine as noted below.

6:09am – Quick feedback with a 2-4 (16″) bass on a Senko right after launching the boat

Date: July 24
Location: Knox County public strip mines (5 lakes)
Time: 5:45am-2:40pm (7.00 hours fishing, the rest rowing/walking/driving)
Totals: 36 bass
Weather: Partly sunny/calm to breezy, 64-89F
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (various colors) – 26 bass, Spro Flappin Frog 65 (natural red) – 5 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 3 bass, Booyah Buzzbait (black) – 1 bass, Mann’s Baby 1- crankbait (red craw) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 4-1 Spro Frog
Top 5 Weight: 11-3 (4-1,2-4,1-13,1-10,1-7)

Winning Lures

Notes and Nonsense

Plan A – I considered my first spot to be my best shot at some quality bass. And four minutes after putting in the boat, I had a solid 2-4 in the log courtesy of a Seno wacky rig. The next two hours would only produce two short bass and so it was time to shift gears.

Plan B – Originally, I intended to walk for the second leg of the trip but instead I opted to take the boat on a lake that I had fished very little since a few lengthy visits in 2013. Not much had changed as far as my results with impressive quantity (20 bass in three hours) but lacking quality (four at 12” or better and Top Bass at 1-10). Even so, it was fun to explore nearly the entire lake and hit spots that I had never previously fished.

Not a crazy walk but weeds were tough and I’d already rowed a few miles to start my day

Plan C – After a break to hydrate and eat a sandwich, I set off on foot at 12:30pm to end my day. Having been up since 3:45am and putting in just over five hours in the boat, I was already feeling a little beat. Three lakes and one hour and fifteen minutes of fishing added thirteen more bass to the creel, making for a highly successful day.

1:43pm – Top Bass at 4-1 (20.5″) on a topwater frog

Top Bass – The second of three stops on my walk would produce my Top Bass of the day. At 1:43pm under bright sunny skies, I got lucky, and a big bass smashed my Spro Flappin Frog as it buzzed across a stretch of bland looking open water. Far from what I would consider a top spot on the lake but just one of those right place at the right time situations. If you have a lure in the water, anything can happen. There’s more to tell about this Top Bass catch and this outing in general but those details will be future posts to keep this one from running on for too long.


It would be tough to ask for a better summer day on the water as the bites were plentiful and any time that I can post a double digit Top 5, the outing is a winner. I left wore out after a long day, ample exercise, and warm temperatures. But the latter aspect paled in comparison to my next outing. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – July 22

Last Saturday, I took the scenic route home from a family get together. I was flying solo as Julie and the kids were scattered about doing their things and I had borrowed Dad’s truck for the week. My drive took me to the Knox County public strip mines with the intent of scouting the conditions to decide if a lengthier return trip would be worthwhile. I had my tackle in tow and a couple of hours to do my research. Read on for the results.

Date: July 22
Location: Knox County public strip mines (2 lakes)
Time: 6:45pm-8:25pm (1.50 hours fishing, the rest walking)
Totals: 12 bass (and six ticks)
Weather: Partly cloudy to overcast/calm, 80F
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (cream/green laminate) – 9 bass, Whopper Plopper 110 (bone) – 2 bass, Spro Flappin Frog 65 (albino) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-7 Senko
Top 5 Weight: 7-2 (2-7,1-10,1-5,0-14,0-14)

Winning Lures

Notes and Nonsense

Crunch Time – I pulled into the parking lot around 6:30pm and faced a ten-to-fifteen-minute walk depending on which of three potential bodies of water I chose to fish. I walked to a rise where I could see the farthest destination and determined that the remaining walk was not worth the questionable weed covered water. Backtracking, I decided that my casting would begin on the middle of the three lakes. From there, I would divide my time and finish on the lake closest to the lot. And by “closest to the lot,” it was still a ten-minute walk back to the truck.

6:49pm – First bass at 0-14 (12″) on a Spro Flappin Frog

First Stop – This lake is a miniature version of the larger prototypical strip mine cuts. Longer than wide with a “V” profile except for flats/ledges on both ends of its length. Surface weeds covered both ends along with the bulk of the shoreline. The middle of the lake consisted mostly of open water with scattered subsurface weeds. A hefty cast can nearly cover the entire length while the width only requires a partial cast. I planted myself on a ledge at one end and was able to land five small bass in forty-five minutes with two being “keepers” (12” or better). The Whopper Plopper and a wacky rigged Senko each produced a pair of bass and the other hit a Spro Flappin Frog (which I would lose later in the evening on a busted hookset).

Top Bass clip below, a 2-7 on a Senko wacky rig


Second Stop – The next lake features a series of fingers, points, flats, and several islands. Much of the lake is shallow and by this time of the year over half of the surface is covered by vegetation. In addition, most of the remaining water features weeds just under the surface. My aim was to hit a couple of the deeper water, open pockets that were devoid of weed growth. Armed with a Senko wacky rig, I made casts onto the weedy borders of those pockets and then reeled the Senko to the open water edge where I let it drop along the weedy wall. It doesn’t take long to determine if a bass is present and seven of them showed up during my forty-five minutes working two such spots. The overcast skies and dusk limited visibility but my perch on top of a slope about ten feet above the water’s surface was beneficial in effectively casting to such areas. On days with brighter skies, you can clearly see the weed edge to target along with bass cruising in the open water. This results in a unique version of sight fishing that I call “cliff fishing.” More on that approach in an upcoming post.


The outing was a success in terms of bass as well as assessing if a return trip would be worth my while. The jungle of terrestrial weeds was a pain as expected while the aquatic vegetation was manageable and set up well for a variety of presentations. Periodic tick checks were needed but at least the pests did not outnumber the bass (twelve bass to six ticks). In the end, a dozen bass in ninety minutes of scouting was more than enough to convince me that a return trip was worth a shot. Two days later, I was back for another hike. Stay tuned for that report and talk to you later. Troy