EOS 2017 leaderboard

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Heartland Outdoors February 2017 Cover

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February 2017
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Troy Jackson
TROY
JACKSON

Meandering

Top 5 Update

Mon, February 06, 2017

Boy, it feels good to be posting our first Top 5 update of 2017!  Cabin Fever has still reared its ugly head on my system but a milder case with a tolerable winter thus far and only 49 days between Top 5 updates.  An outstanding finish by our 2016 champ made for a December 19 update last year, our latest ever.  And he’s back at it again, this time with our first ever January bass. Coincidentally, his catches also come 49 days apart with a 2016 finish on December 11 (a whopping 7-7 to top a 27-2 limit if you recall, I still like typing that) and a 2017 first on January 29.  All on open Central Illinois water and not power plant lakes, now that’s my kind of winter.  Here’s the rest.

Mark Bass

Weight: 2-11
Angler: Mark Balbinot
Date: January 29
Location: Fulton County strip pit
Lure: 3/8 oz. underspin with a LFT Booted Tail Magic Shad
Structure: Flat with still a little grass in about 5 ft. of water
Water Temp: 37 degrees
Angler Comments: I decided to try that flat area where I had a good day back in December. And hey, if it ain’t broke why fix it, I threw that underspin with that LFT Magic Shad. After fishing that area for about 15 minutes, there it was. My first bite of 2017. Thoughts of losing my first fish of 2017 flashed in my head too. But I quickly grabbed the net and it swam right into it. First fish of 2017 was in the boat.

Top 5 Weight: 2-11

Mark also provided a video link to the catch along with a mapping demo to check out as described below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kuwCmy35KI

“Also here is a link for anyone wanting to create their own lake maps for a Lowrance HDS unit. I started doing this a couple years ago and I am still learning more every day. Also it helps pass the time during the winter months.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJRuyPsVr30&list=PLu2tKZCxeXkDuFQHU8iK0NV6Cg-uw3laS

Way to go, Mark, thanks for getting another year off to a record start with eleven more months ahead.  The extended forecast at my fishing holes also continues to look promising with some predictions in the 50’s a couple weeks out.  Hope anyone out there looking to join is afforded an opportunity to get out and chase some fish.  Don’t forget we have expanded beyond bass so feel free to send those other catches this way as well.  Best of luck and talk to you later.  Troy

 

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Top 5 Record Book - Who

Wed, February 01, 2017

To finish off the week, here’s a look at the all-time heavyweights, both anglers and bass.

The 20-Pound Club * = 2016 entry
32-13   Jake Breeson 2014 (9-4, 8-8, 6-6, 4-10, 4-1)
*32-13   Mark Balbinot 2016(7-7,6-8,6-5,6-5,6-4)
32-0   Gary Le 2014 (8-10,6-8,5-12,5-10, 5-8) 
29-7   Austin Chapman 2015 (6-4,6-2,6-0,5-14,5-3)
27-12   Jake Breeson 2015 (6-13,6-2,5-5,5-0,4-8)
27-6   Randy Sampson Sr 2015 (7-0,6-1,4-13,4-12,4-12)
*27-6   Jake Breeson 2016(6-3,5-13,5-4,5-2,5-0)
*26-4   Austin Chapman 2016(5-14,5-10,5-2,4-14,4-12)
26-1   Brice Wangler 2014 (5-11, 5-5, 5-2, 5-0, 4-15)
25-8   Brice Wangler 2015 (5-7,5-4,5-2,4-14,4-13)
24-14 Ty Hartlipp 2014 (6-11, 5-10, 5-5, 4-0, 3-4)
24-9   Terry Isbell 2014 (5-8,5-4,5-2,4-8,4-3) 
22-15   Adam Bean 2015 (5-13,4-9,4-6,4-2,4-1)
22-13   Mike Mooney 2014 (6-4, 5-7, 4-3, 3-9, 3-6)
22-12 Troy Jackson 2015 (5-13,4-13,4-10,3-12,3-12)
*21-8   Randy Sampson Sr. 2016(5-12,5-8,4-11,3-1,2-8)
*21-7   Brice Wangler 2016(4-8,4-7,4-4,4-2,4-2)
*21-3   Troy Jackson 2016 (5-9,5-4,3-9,3-7,3-6)
20-14 Troy Jackson 2014 (4-13, 4-6, 4-2, 4-1, 3-8)
20-9   Austin Chapman 2014 (4-15, 4-4,4-0,3-13,3-9)
20-1   Bruce Zilkowski 2014 (4-11,4-3,4-0,3-12,3-7)

Comments: For my money, a 20-pound limit is a solid achievement for this angler based on skill set, fishery access, free time, bad habits and, frankly, a little luck.  Four-pound fish just don’t jump into my boat or onto the bank.  And for those in the top half of our list we’re talking five and even six-pound average fish, way out of my league but super fun having a front row seat when those pics and details show up (even some cool video links this year as well).

Top 10 Top 5 Bass * = 2016 entry
9-4   Jake Breeson 5/23/14 Jig
8-10 Gary Le 5/4/14 Swimbait
8-8   Jake Breeson 5/23/14 Jig
8-0   Kamryn Kaesebier 4/13/14 Crankbait
*7-7   Mark Balbinot 12/11/16 Underspin
7-0   Randy Sampson Sr. 3/22/15 Jig
6-13 Jake Breeson 4/9/15 Swim Jig
6-11 Ty Hartlipp 6/11/14 Topwater Frog
6-8   Gary Le 8/16/14 Swimbait
*6-8   Mark Balbinot 11/20/16 Plastic Worm

Comments: Only takes a six and a half this year to get you into the all-time Top 10, kind of a tall order but definitely looking forward to what 2017 holds in store.  I find it pretty cool that seven different months are represented in these Top 10 fish as well as seven different lure types.

And just for fun…

All-Time Weights (anglers who have participated all three years)
Weights listed 2014, 2015, 2016

(Note: not all years were 5 fish limits for several anglers)
87-15 Jake Breeson (32-13,27-12,27-6)
76-4   Austin Chapman (20-9,29-7,26-4)
73-0   Brice Wangler (26-1,25-8,21-7)
64-13 Troy Jackson (20-14,22-12,21-3)
54-15 Bruce Zilkowski (20-1,17-0,17-14)
45-11 Mike Mooney (22-13,4-9,18-5)
41-3 Jim Junk (11-7,16-5,13-7)
38-3 Brent Jackson (18-7,6-10,13-2)
37-4 Jeff Marshall (12-5,5-8,19-7)

Comments: Thanks fellas for giving this a shot at the beginning and then electing to keep coming back for more.  Hope to hear from you all again and would enjoy reporting on a 100-pound “career” weight when the all-time update comes out in 2018.

So, we’re all caught up on the first three years of the Top 5 and ready to kick off 2017.  And don’t forget, if you pursue other species bring ‘em on as we take a stab at expanding our horizons and sharing some more fish stories and pics beyond bass.  Best of luck and talk to you later.  Troy

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Top 5 Record Book - Where and How

Tue, January 31, 2017

Understandably some of the specifics concerning location don’t always get revealed but we do have good details on whether our fish are coming from public or private waters.  Also fun to track is the boat versus bank approaches.  And lastly for this portion of the update we’ll take a look at what our anglers are casting with success.

Public vs. Private Water (2014/2015/2016) * = new record
Public = 239 bass (92/52/*95)
Public Top 5 Weight = 32-2 (2014), 31-7 (2015), 30-5 (2016)
Private = 140 bass (53/48/39)
Private Top 5 Weight = 38-10 (2014), 30-0 (2015), 32-13 (2016)
Undisclosed = 17 bass (9/6/2)

Comments: There’s nothing like having a private honey hole.  In fact, wish I had more.  However, there’s also something to be said for pulling quality bass out of a public body where the fish get pounded by everybody and their brother.  Cool to see that public water still leads the pack by a considerable margin in quantity although private waters have shelled out more weight.

Boat vs. Bank (2014/2015/2016) * = new record
Boat = 256 bass (90/63/*103)
Boat Top 5 Weight = 30-7 (2014), 31-7 (2015), *32-13 (2016)
Bank = 134 bass (64/43/27)
Bank Top 5 Weight = 40-14 (2014), 27-6 (2015), 27-12 (2016)
Undisclosed = 6 bass

Comments: So not everybody has a souped up bass boat, modified johnboat or even an eight-foot rowboat so I always find it cool to have a solid contribution from the bankers though they still trail the boaters by a fair margin in quantity.  However, the overall quality in our three years shows that those casting from the bank can still hold their ground.  For me, I still spend my year on both sides of these approaches and simply get a kick out of quality catches whether on my feet or on my seat.

The Baits (43 undisclosed) * = new record
*74 Plastic Worms (Top Bass 6-8 Mark Balbinot 11/20/16)
    Old record 6-6 Jake Breeson 2014)
37 Crankbaits (8-0 Kamryn Kaesebier 4/13/14)
36 Jigs (9-4 Jake Breeson 5/23/14)
36 Spinnerbaits (5-4 Terry Isbell 10/22/14) 
31 Lipless Crankbaits (5-13 Troy Jackson 3/21/15)
27 Swimbaits (8-10 Gary Le 5/4/14)
22 Swim Jigs (6-13 Jake Breeson 4/9/15)
19 Creature Baits (6-1 Jeff Marshall 5/23/14)
14 Jerkbaits (5-10 Ty Hartlipp 6/5/14)
12 Buzzbaits (5-8 Terry Isbell 9/14/14)
11 Tubes (Top Bass 5-0 Jake Breeson 4/28/15)
  9 Topwater Frog (6-11 Ty Hartlipp 6/11/14)
*7 Chatterbaits (Top Bass 4-10 Mark Balbinot 2/20/16)
    Old record (3-6 Bruce Zilkowski 5/3/15)
*5 Underspins (Top Bass 7-7 Mark Balbinot 12/11/16)
    No previous record
  4 Livebait (5-14 Jim Junk 7/4/14)
  4 Ultralights (2-11 Paul Kessler 5/16/15)
*4 Stickbaits (Top Bass 5-8 Randy Sampson Sr. 5/7/16)
    Old record 3-6 Bruce Zilkowski 5/3/15)
  1 Propbaits (6-2 Jake Breeson 5/1/15)

Comments: The good old plastic worm still leads the way, doubling the catches of the runner-up.  Worm styles and presentations have no doubt expanded over the years but tough to argue that the general lure category continues to be a winner.  Four new records including the Underspin which made its first appearance with a massive December creel.  Not ashamed to admit that I just added a couple Underspin jigheads and a handful of swimbait type bodies to my tacklebox last week.

Back again tomorrow with a further look at our fish…and the anglers who caught ‘em.  Talk to you later.  Troy

AND THIS JUST IN! WE HAVE A JANUARY BASS!  2017 IS OFF AND RUNNING! BE SURE TO TUNE IN MONDAY FOR OUR FIRST UPDATE!

 

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