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Troy Jackson
TROY
JACKSON

Meandering

Strip Mine Fishing Fun?

Tue, September 27, 2016

The outing detailed in yesterday’s posting turned out to be a true test of my passion for this bass fishing thing.  Now, I knew that I was in for some work before I even started as I’ve been down similar paths many times over the past 25 plus years.  But these days the lingering question of how much longer I want to pull some of these stunts continues to weigh heavy on the mind (and body).  And now I’ll tell you why.

Distance

Distance – Just for kicks, I decided to stick an old iPhone in my pocket to track my walking distance knowing full well that I probably didn’t really want to know the results.  The screenshot from the phone above shows the final tally for September 18, 2016 which was about what I anticipated, a couple miles in and a couple back out.  I actually had 0.4 miles on the day when I started so a little less worse than the total conveys at 4.3 miles and just over 10,000 steps.  So, figure in 14 bass and that equates to about 714 steps or 0.3 miles per bass.  Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have done the math, and most of those were far from easy steps as reason two will explain.

Terrain

Terrain – Most strip mines suck in terms of navigating the topography in an ambulatory manner and this area is no exception.  The undulating spoilbanks can be unforgiving and several lakes barely have any footholds available as a casting perch especially in a high water year like this year.  Growing conditions have apparently been favorable for the various nastiness of armpit deep strip pit flora such as goldenrod, thistles, sumac and unidentified tangles so that’s quite a treat as no paths exist beyond an interior road that transects the area.  Two falls resulted from unseen gullies and one ugly backlash occurred when hitting weeds on my backcast.  But hey, at least no poison ivy this time around.

Mosquitoes
Feel free to laugh, I did too when seeing this pic as well as what it looked like on top of my head, behind my ears, the back of my neck…yep, bad idea, got tore up.

Mosquitoes – I was not so naïve as to think that mosquitoes would not be an issue but I sure underestimated how ugly it would get so soon.  The trip essentially featured a steady buzz punctuated by random smacks as a soundtrack.  I figured that things could get nasty as the evening approached but once I left my brief walk down an interior road to enter “the wild” the feast was on from start to finish.  I really don’t want to know how many welts resulted but Julie counted fifty on one side of my head alone and my arms looked about the same.  The next day, my dad said, “You know they make repellent, right?”  Good point, but I’m really not a fan and truly don’t think anything would have helped in this mess.  I won’t speculate on bass per mosquito bite statistics.

Mosquitoes Part II – Kids ask interesting questions and one of mine asked, “Why did God make mosquitoes?”  My best answer was “bat food” but I really don’t know the plan and would like an answer on ticks as well.  Hey, at least there weren’t any of those pests tagging along for a ride on this trip to make things worse.

Why - So, I pretty much felt (and looked) like crap after this brilliant idea prompting Julie to ask, “Why do you keep doing this if you know it could turn out poorly?”  Fair question, here’s some reasons:

As a hobby, bass fishing provides a brief escape to recharge the batteries from the demands of work and responsibilities of family.  Thus, off the beaten path on a Sunday afternoon beats sharing a crowded lake (never saw another fool the whole afternoon).

I can’t believe that these remote bass see much pressure despite public access and the dumber the better for me (the bass not the fisherman).

In the neighborhood of two dozen fishable bodies of water makes it fun to kind of stick and jab, hopping from one to the next in search of some friendly fish.

I suppose with my next birthday being 50, I like to see if I can still hang like I did in my 20’s when I first started wandering around remote Knox County.  Let’s just say I survived…

I’ll conclude with a couple other reasons from 2013 and 2014.  Enough said.  Talk to you later.  Troy

2013

2014

Comments

Oh my - I was rolling laughing reading this - not at you Tray, but with you! As someone who spends probably 5 days out of 7 tromping around strip pits I could only laugh and shake my head. I have been in your shoes! (and armpit deep weeds, and thundering herds of mosquitoes the size of turkeys, and so on, and so on )
Thanks for this fun read first thing this morning!And if you ever decide you want to try the southern version of strip pit fun - come on down! I may have path or two worn to a few spots wink

Posted by G on September 27

G,

First up, congrats on the recent award, always dig the posts and pics.

Glad to hear I am not alone in wandering the strip mines and wondering if I need to have my head examined.  Funny what we will do for our outdoor fix.

Southern IL strip mines certainly sound appealing with a longer “growing season” for the bass as one heads that way.  However, longer growing season for mosquitoes too…

Thanks for investing a few minutes of your day to tag along and always a treat to find some common ground.  Talk to you later.  Troy

Posted by 13bass on September 28

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