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On a bank-walking outing, Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana, caught this smallmouth bass on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was dressed with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’ watermelon/white ZinkerZ. See his April 5 log for more details.

This monthly guide includes the piscatorial insights and endeavors of Rick Allen of Dallas; Don Baldridge of Springfield, Missouri; Jerry Benjamin of Lawrence, Kansas; Burton Bosley of Sutton, West Virginia; Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas; Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Ralph Manns of Rockwall, Texas; Greg Monahan of Lees Summit, Missouri; Dave Mull of Paw Paw, Michigan; Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia; Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina; Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas; Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas; and me.

It was the most beautiful and long-lasting spring for flowering trees and plants that we can remember in northeastern Kansas. We suspect that the reason for this rare phenomenon revolved around the several lengthy spells of unseasonably cool weather that preserved the blossoms, and those cool spells were interspersed with a few unseasonably warm days, which provoked the blossoms to bloom.

But from the perspectives of a goodly number of astute Midwest finesse anglers and power anglers, those many days of unseasonably cool weather seemed to adversely affect the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing. Yet, despite those adverse conditions, there were some fruitful days. For example, Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, caught 62 largemouth bass in two hours and 10 minutes on April 1, and I caught 67 largemouth bass in three hours and 45 minutes on April 2. Reese caught 104 largemouth bass in three hours and 35 minutes on April 7, and I caught 101 largemouth bass in four hours and 20 minutes on April 17. Then on April 23, Reese noted on the Finesse News Network that the water temperature at one of the waterways that he had been fishing had dropped and the largemouth bass fishing was trying, but he accidentally caught an 8 1/2-pound channel catfish, and that was the same day I struggled to catch 32 largemouth bass in three hours and 53 minutes. There were also three outings when I struggled to catch seven, 15, and 23 largemouth bass.

Elsewhere across the country, Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana, noted that Mother Nature had confounded him several times. And she did the same thing to Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas. Nevertheless, Waldman was able to catch a respectable number of largemouth bass, as well as a nice-sized smallmouth bass, and on several outings of his many north-central Texas outings, Reideler enjoyed some relatively bountiful catches at the heavily fished and trying waters that he has to ply.

One of the many joys of April in northeastern Kansas occurs when vast numbers of smallmouth bass begin to inhabit shallow-water lairs. But on several outings this year, those vast numbers were meager numbers. For instance, on April 19 Jerry Benjamin of Lawrence, Kansas,and I fished from 6:30 a.m. to 2:53 p.m., and we caught only 45 smallmouth bass. And on that same eight-hour-and-23-minute endeavor, Benjamin and I proved once again that it is difficult to win a black bass tournament in northeastern Kansas with Midwest finesse tactics. But at the same time, we proved that Midwest finesse tactics can catch more black bass during a tournament than the tactics that most tournament anglers employ. Thus, it is nearly always a fun and effective way to catch a goodly number of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass whether you are fishing competitively or recreationally.

Again this month, Reideler contributed the most logs. And as always, we are thankful that he proof read all of the 23,170 words of this month’s guide. He makes our monthly guide more readable and understandable.

 

April 1 log

Burton Bosley of Sutton, West Virginia, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his outing on April 1 with a friend at a 2,400-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir.

Bosley noted that the reservoir recently went from being iced over to experiencing a 30-foot muddy rise. Then it dropped three feet a day until it was at its normal winter level, which is 25 to 30 feet below its normal summer level. As one can imagine, this has made for some difficult fishing.

On April 1, the surface temperature ranged from 46 to 48 degrees. According to Bosely, the water was dingy by this reservoir’s standards, and he and his friend could see their tiny jigs two to three feet under the surface.

Bosley said it was their last float-and-fly outing until next winter, noting that there will soon be other options that are more effective. But he doubted if any of them would be more fun than watching a bobber go down with a nice smallmouth on the line.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 8:57 a.m. to 10:57 a.m. and 9:19 p.m. to 11:19 p.m. There was a minor period from 2:47 a.m. to 4:47 a.m. They fished from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

At 7:00 a.m., area thermometers hovered around 30 degrees, and they climbed into the high 50s at 2:00 p.m. The wind blew from 10 to 15 mph, and around this mountain reservoir, Bosley said it “swirls and gusts with no rhyme or reason as to directions.”

They worked with 1/16-ounce hair jigs, which were affixed to a 10-foot fluorocarbon leader. Bosley used a six-pound-test leader. His friend used an eight-pound-test one. Bosley made the rods from 10-foot, eight-weight fly-rod blanks. The rods are fitted with over-sized guides, and they are an asset on those outings when ice forms on the guides, and they worked very well on this outing when they had ice-covered guides from 7:00 a.m. to about 9:00 a.m.

At times, they used jigs dressed with soft-plastic baits, but they were not effective. Bosley’s friend used Punisher Lures’ craft-hair jigs, and Bosley used buck tail jigs that he tied.

Their spinning reels were spooled with 10-pound-test NanoFil line. The fluorocarbon leader is tied to the NanoFil with an Alberto knot or FC knot. Bosley said that the long rods with a float and 10-foot leader are a bit tricky to manage in a breeze, and he has discovered that NanoFil is not as prone to get wind-wrapped on the guides as other kinds of braided and super lines are.

They started the outing around the mouth of a feeder-creek arm that is lined with bluffs and tapering shorelines. The best locales consisted of a sloping shoreline that was mixed clay, gravel, and chunk rocks. The boat was usually floating in 25 to 45 feet of water. They probed ledges along those shorelines that were lying in 10 to 20 feet of water. Their floats and flies were suspended above those ledges. This tactic inveigled six smallmouth bass.

After that, Bosley and his friend spent the rest of their outing fishing several areas like the ones that yielded those first six smallmouth bass. By 2:00 p.m., they had caught 20 smallmouth bass. The bulk of them were caught on sloping shorelines, but a few of the smallmouth bass were caught on bluffs.

Because the water and weather had been so problematic, Bosley described the outing as a very satisfactory and respectable one for this reservoir. And after they crossed paths with a power-angler who had tangled with only four smallmouth bass, he said it might have been a tad better than satisfactory and respectable. What’s more, the smallmouth bass were very spunky, making numerous leaps and spirited dives into deep water.

In addition to the float-and-fly presentations, Bosley said that he worked with Z-Man Fishing Products’ Finesse T.R.D. on a small jig, and it failed to elicit a strike. He caught three smallmouth bass by using a 1/4-ounce white bucktail jig in 25 feet of water. He said the 15 mph wind made it necessary to employ a quarter-ounce jig. In his eyes, his Finesse T.R.D. rig was too light to use in the wind, and the best way to deal with the wind in this deep-water reservoir is to wield the float-and-fly rig when the water temperature is in the 40s and the smallmouth bass are abiding in deep-water lairs. But once the water temperature climbs into the 50s and the smallmouth bass inhabit shallower lairs, traditional finesse tactics will rule the day.

BrianBosley

Burton  Bosley with one of the smallmouth bass that he and his friend caught on April 1.

 

April 2 log

Before I hitched up the boat trailer this morning and began my journey to a 140-acre state reservoir to search for a bevy of largemouth bass that our grandson from New York City can fish for during his annual Easter visit, Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, telephoned.

His voice radiated a delightful timbre as he reported that the disposition of the largemouth bass and their anglers changed dramatically on April 1 from what they were throughout the month of March.

This change was reflected by the fact that Reese caught 62 largemouth bass in two hours and 10 minutes, while he sat in his float tube on a big farm pond and wielded a slightly customized Z-Man Fishing Products’ Canada Craw Hula StickZ affixed to an unpainted 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Reese’s phone call engendered some piscatorial hopes in my heart that my first outing in April would reap some handsome dividends. If it did, it would be quite a beautiful contrast to what transpired during most of my March outings.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 54 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 68 degrees at 1:53 p.m. From 3:53 a.m. to 5:53 a.m., thunderstorms and periods of light rain rumbled across these parts. It was sunny from 6:53 a.m. to 8:53 a.m. Then the sky fluctuated from being mostly cloudy to partly cloudy from 9:53 a.m. to 12:53 p.m. It became sunny again from 2:53 p.m. to 3:53 p.m. From 2:53 a.m. to 3:53 p.m., the wind angled out of the north, northeast, northwest, and east at 3 to 18 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.97 at 12:53 a.m., 29.72 at 5:53 a.m., 29.87 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.79 at 3:53 p.m.

The blossoms on many of the redbud trees were unfolding. Scads of butterflies were frolicking about. There were dandelion, plum and pear blossoms galore.

It looked like and felt like spring.

The water level looked to be about a foot below normal. The surface temperature ranged from 55 degrees to 58 degrees. The water was slightly stained, and the visibility ranged from two feet to 3 1/2 feet. Unlike many of the reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, this one was not littered with massive pods of filamentous algae. I did see three tiny stems of curly-leaf pondweed floating on the surface, but I did not find any patches of it on the flats and shorelines that I dissected.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 9:36 a.m. to 11:36 a.m. and 9:57 p.m. to 11:57 p.m. There would be a minor period from 3:25 a.m. to 5:25 a.m. I was afloat from 10:15 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

My hopes that this outing would parallel the one Drew Reese enjoyed on April 1 dimmed, when I failed to garner a strike while probing the riprap of the relatively steep shoreline along the dam with a slightly customized Z-Man Fishing Products’ Canada Craw Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

At 10:35 a.m., I moved to the upper reaches of one of the reservoir’s feeder-creek arms, and I fished the entire west side of this arm, which ended at the dam. The west side features seven riprap jetties, two main-lake points, several tertiary points, and a number of mud flats. In addition, there are hundreds of yards of rocky and clay shorelines that are graced with many patches of winter-dead American water willows, several laydowns, more than a dozen manmade brushpiles, and scores of minor ledges. Along this west side, the boat floated in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as 15 feet. I employed a drift sock the entire time.

The first four largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle’s Mushroom Head Jig with a drag-and-shake retrieve. After wielding the Finesse ShadZ rig for about 10 minutes, I switched to a Z-Man’s Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and employed the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, which inveigled six largemouth bass. These 10 largemouth bass were abiding in about five feet of water along a relatively steep and rocky shoreline, and most of them were adjacent to patches of American water willows. I caught those 10 largemouth bass in about 15 minutes.

After I caught the tenth largemouth bass, I started wielding the Z-Man’s Canada Craw Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig again, and I used it for the rest of the outing. And I had illusions that I might be able to tangle with as many largemouth bass as Drew Reese tangled with on April 1.

When I made my last cast and retrieve along the west side of this reservoir at 12:55 p.m., the fish counter indicated that I had caught 55 largemouth bass. All of them were extracted out of three to six feet of water. Some were abiding around rocks and ledges along the shoreline, points, and jetties. Some were adjacent to either a laydown or a brush pile. Most were associated with the outside edges of the winter-dead American water willow patches. The bulk of them were caught on the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The upper and middle sections were more productive than the lower portions. In other words, as I got closer to the dam, I elicited fewer strikes and caught fewer largemouth bass.

After I made my last cast and retrieve on the west side, I fished another main-lake point and two hundred feet of its adjacent shorelines. The terrain consists of gravel and rocks, as well as a few boulders. The apex of the point is the steepest area, and here the boat floated in 12 to 14 feet of water. Along both shorelines the boat floated in five to eight feet of water. Both shorelines are endowed with patches of winter-dead American water willows. At 1:22 p.m. the Z-Man’s Canada Craw Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught largemouth bass number 62. So, in three hours and seven minutes, I caught the same number of largemouth bass that Drew Reese caught in two hours and 10 minutes. Two of the largemouth bass were extracted off of the rocky tip of the point in five feet of water. Three largemouth bass were caught off one of the point’s shorelines in about four feet of water and along or near the outside edge of a patch of winter-dead American water willows. Two largemouth bass were caught in about three feet of water off the point’s other shoreline, and these two largemouth bass were adjacent to a patch of winter-dead American water willows.

Upon catching largemouth bass number 62, I decided to mosey over to the dam to see if the Z-Man’s Canada Craw Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig could inveigle at least two or three largemouth bass.

For some unknown reason, the dams at all of the reservoirs that we have fished in northeastern Kansas during the winter of 2014-15 and the first 13 days of spring have yielded very few largemouth bass. Traditionally, this dam yields nearly a dozen largemouth bass on a late winter or early spring outing. During the last 30 minutes of this outing, I caught five largemouth bass, which were extracted out of five to seven feet of water while I was employing a drag-and-deadstick retrieve.

Across the three hours and 45 minutes that I was afloat, I caught 67 largemouth bass and inadvertently caught two crappie and one walleye.

The Hula StickZ rig caught 57 of the largemouth bass and the three incidental species. The swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most effective one.

April 2 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following log on the Finesse News Network about his April 2 outing with a friend.
He wrote: “For most of this spring, north-central Texas has been spared from the howling winds that usually plague anglers in these parts from mid-February to mid-May. But on April 1, the blustery winds returned and local meteorologists forecast windy weather through April 11.

“Since it was too windy to safely navigate the waters of our larger reservoirs, Norman Brown of Lewisville and I elected to walk the banks along three small local community reservoirs.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar listed the prime fishing periods occurring from 9:40 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. and 10:02 p.m. to 12:02 a.m. A minor period occurred from 3:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. Norman and I fished from about 11:30 a.m. to about 4:00 p.m.

“It was partly cloudy, but the sun shone brightly. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 69 degrees and the afternoon high climbed to 84 degrees. An unrelenting wind blew out of the south at 18 to 30 mph, and it continuously interfered with our abilities to execute accurate casts and retrieves. The barometric pressure measured 29.85.

“Our first stop was at a 12-acre community reservoir. I was hoping to repeat my March 24 foray, when I enjoyed catching and releasing 62 largemouth bass during four hours of fishing.

“The water was stained and exhibited about 2 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was normal. We were unable to measure the water’s temperature.

“On this outing, this reservoir did not yield 62 largemouth bass, but it did surrender 24 to Norman and me. One largemouth bass was caught on a four-inch Zoom Bait Company’s watermelon-red Mini-Lizard rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and it was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. This was the only bass the four-inch Mini-Lizard enticed all day. Fourteen bass were allured by a Z-Man’s pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, which was worked slowly with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Nine bass were bamboozled by a bobber-rigged Z-Man pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and suspended about 24 inches below a one inch rattling bobber. The bobber-rigged Finesse ShadZ was presented with a slow twitch-and-deadstick motif.

“We began fishing along the south shoreline of the reservoir. This area encompasses a large mud and gravel spawning flat. We dissected the spawning flat and deep-water edge of the flat, which lies about 35 feet out from the water’s edge and is covered with three to five feet of water. We caught four largemouth bass from the top of the spawning flat in four feet of water. The deep-water edge of the flat failed to yield any strikes.

“We worked our way northward along the west shoreline, which is comprised of sand, gravel, a few scattered fist-sized rocks, and a three-foot ledge that extends outward from the water’s edge into three to five feet of water. We lured four largemouth bass from along the deep-water side of the ledge in about five feet of water.

“While we were fishing the west shoreline, Norman and I crossed paths with Rick Allen of Dallas, and his friend who had finished fishing this reservoir and were preparing to leave. They had been fishing about two hours before Norman and I arrived, and they had struggled to catch 10 largemouth bass. Rick said he was employing Midwest finesse tactics and caught six largemouth bass. His friend was wielding a drop-shot rig on baitcasting tackle and caught four.

“After Rick and his friend left, we probed the wind-swept north shoreline, which is similar to the west shoreline. The northern shoreline is embellished with a three-foot mud and gravel ledge that extends outward from the water’s edge and drops off into five feet of water. This shoreline surrendered seven largemouth bass that were relating to the deep-water side of the ledge in about four feet of water.

“Next, we plied the east side of the reservoir. This section of the reservoir is endowed with two coves that are divided by a long sand and gravel point. The northeastern cove is comprised of a large mud flat with a small ditch that cuts across the middle of the cove from the east shoreline toward the west shoreline. The northeast end of the ditch yielded one largemouth bass that was relating to the north-side ledge of the ditch in about six feet of water.

“We then focused our attention on a steep clay shoreline that is graced with fist-sized rocks in the reservoir’s southeastern cove. A creek channel courses its way through the middle of the cove from the northeast corner of the cove to the mid-section of the southern bank. A mud and gravel point courses outward toward deeper water from the south shoreline and forms the mouth to the cove. We caught eight largemouth bass from about five feet of water along the west side of the creek channel in the northeast corner of the cove. We found no bass relating to the mud point that forms the mouth to this cove.

“We did not fish the long, sand and gravel point that separates the northeastern and southeastern coves. Instead, we made a twenty-minute drive to two small suburban reservoirs.

“The first reservoir is the smallest. We estimated its size at about two acres. The south end is comprised of a large mud flat, and a small creek enters from the southeast corner. The east shoreline is fairly flat and composed of clay and gravel. We observed several bass nesting along this shoreline. The west shoreline is steeper and curved, and a small rock pile lies along its north end. The northern end is formed by a steep clay shoreline with a concrete water outlet positioned about halfway down the shoreline in about four feet of water.

“The water was the clearest I have seen it in about a year, exhibiting about two feet of visibility. The water level appeared to be normal.

“We fished this waterway for only 20 minutes, and it surrendered three largemouth bass, which are the first bass we have caught from it in many months. These three bass were caught along the east shoreline in three to five feet of water. One bass was caught on the Z-Man’s pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ bobber rig and slow twitch and deadstick presentation. One bass engulfed a 3/12-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red GrubZ rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and presented with a slow and steady swimming retrieve. The third bass was beguiled by the Z-Man’s pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ and chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, which was retrieved in a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

“We then fished the third reservoir, which lies about 50 yards north of the smaller one. It is about the size of a football field. The water’s clarity was about 2 1/2 feet, and the water level was about a foot low.

“We caught six largemouth bass from this reservoir.

“Three bass were caught on a Z-Man’s California Craw Finesse T.R.D. rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One bass was bewitched by the Z-Man pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ bobber rig and a slow twitch-and-deadstick technique. One bass was bewitched by a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and presented with a slow and steady swimming retrieve.

“We caught two largemouth bass from four feet of water along the east shoreline, which is formed by a steep and smooth clay bank.

“The north shoreline, which is comprised of a large mud flat, several small mud points, and a water outlet that is positioned about halfway down the shoreline in about five feet of water, relinquished two largemouth bass. Both of these bass were relating to two small mud points just west of the water outlet. We lost two bass that were hooked along the west end of the mud flat. All four of these bass were in three to five feet of water and about 10 feet out from the water’s edge.

“A large island occupies the western portion of this reservoir. Two creek channels run parallel to the north and south side of the island. We hooked and lost one largemouth bass that was relating to the creek channel along the north side of the island.

“We finished our outing by probing a cove that forms the west end of the reservoir. The shorelines in this cove are steep and made of clay and a few scattered fist-size rocks. We caught two largemouth bass from the north shoreline in about five feet of water.

“Our final tally for the day totaled 33 largemouth bass. We lost another three bass that were able to shake our lures free as they cartwheeled across the surface of the water.

“The most fruitful lure was a Z-Man’s pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The most productive presentation was a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.”

April 4 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following log on the Finesse News Network about his April 4 outing.

He wrote: “I conducted a solo afternoon outing at a 24,279-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir.

“A minor cold front had passed over north-central Texas during the late evening hours of April 3, which cooled us down a bit. The weather on April 4 was quite pleasant, with plenty of sunshine shining in a beautiful and cloudless blue sky. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 46 degrees and the afternoon high temperature slowly climbed to 68 degrees. The wind has been problematic over the past few days, but today it was variable at 10 to 15 mph. The barometric pressure was high at 30.35.

“In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar predicted that the best fishing periods would occur from 11:03 p.m. to 1:03 a.m., 4:52 a.m. to 6:52 a.m., with a minor period occurring between 5:14 p.m. and 7:14 p.m. I was afloat from about 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“I spent the entire time inside two large main-lake coves located in the southwest tributary arm of this reservoir. These two coves each contain a large marina with scores of covered boat docks. They are also endowed with several steep and rocky shorelines, three riprap-covered secondary points, nine steep clay and rocky secondary points, five concrete boat ramps, three small mud flats, two laydowns, and hundreds of yards of freshly flooded but dead brush along the shorelines.

“The water was very dingy as a result of the high winds from the previous few days, and it exhibited about a foot of visibility. The water temperature was 63 degrees. The water level continues to rise, but remains 4.11 feet below normal pool.

“I concentrated the vast majority of my time navigating the narrow passageways between the scores of covered boat docks and the flooded brush along the shorelines. The boat floated in water as shallow as seven feet and as deep as 12 feet.

“The largemouth bass and spotted bass that inhabit this waterway seemed to be in an odd funk. I observed several largemouth bass suspended motionless near the surface in several small openings along the deep-water edges of the flooded bushes in about five feet of water. I would make several casts to each of these bass with a variety of Z-Man baits, and they would respond with just a slight movement to the side in order to avoid the lure as it passed; then they would return to their suspended and motionless state.

“I managed to scrounge up 12 largemouth bass and five spotted bass during this four-hour endeavor. All 17 of these bass were dwelling close to the shoreline in five to seven feet of water. I found no dominate pattern or bait, but I was able to determine that the only fruitful presentation was a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

“Several largemouth bass and spotted bass were caught along four steep and rocky banks. Several other bass were coaxed from the sides of a couple of steep and rocky secondary points, and a couple of others were caught from the deep-water edges of the flooded brush along one of the mud flats. I was unable to coax any bass from underneath any of the covered boat docks, along any of the concrete boat ramps, or from around the two laydowns.

“Five spotted bass and three largemouth bass were tempted into striking a four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. Seven largemouth bass were bewitched by a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and two largemouth bass were tricked into hitting a Z-Man’s California Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.”

April 4 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his April 4 outing with Greg Monahan of Lees Summit, Missouri. They fished two strip pits in western Missouri.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 10:54 a.m. to 12:54 p.m. and 4:44 a.m. to 6:44 a.m. There would be a minor period from 5:07 p.m. and 7:05 p.m.

Here is a condensed and edited version of Gum’s report:

There was frost on my vehicle in the morning. It was dead calm until around 9:00 a.m., when a breeze picked up out the southwest, but it was manageable. There was barely a cloud in the sky all day. By the time we quit fishing, the temperature was in the mid-sixties.

We stopped by one of the land owner’s home around 8:00 a.m. and asked for permission to fish. He said that we were a little late and told us that a group of Mennonites had beaten us to it. An extended family of Mennonites had hauled a canoe and a flat bottomed jon boat, using a couple of horse drawn buggies, to the strip pit. There were four girls fishing in the jon boat, and they were in identical white bonnets and long dark dresses, and they were casting what looked like eight-inch blue plastic worms on their spin-casting and spinning outfits. I was impressed with their patience and focus. I wanted to get a photo of them, but I thought they might object.

This strip pit has had a lot of beaver activity, and thus, the shorelines are graced with scores of laydowns.

We caught 11 largemouth bass. I caught them on a black-with-large-blue-flakes Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits’ five-inch Double Tail Hula Grub affixed on a 1/4-ounce black jig with a weed guard. Greg caught them on a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company’s Coppertreuse Zero on a red 1/8-ounce jig. The water was clear, exhibiting six feet of visibility, and the 11 largemouth bass were caught in five to eight feet of water.

The second strip pit we fished is about a half of a mile long. Access to it is very difficult, and consequently, it is not heavily fished. The water exhibited about five feet of visibility. We caught 59 largemouth bass and 20 bluegill in two to eight feet of water. The bulk of them were caught on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig affixed to a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ and a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig affixed to a Junebug Finesse ShadZ.

Yarrick Strip Pit April 4 2015 003

Bob Gum with one of the strip-pit largemouth bass that he and Greg Monahan caught on April 4.

April 5 log

On April 5, Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his early April endeavors.

He wrote: “Here is a quick note to let you know I am finally getting back on the water a bit after a couple weeks off.

“I recently upgraded boats, and the process of unrigging and cleaning the old boat and then having to re-rig the new one took some time. Beyond that, our continued cold and rainy weather pattern hasn’t helped matters any. In fact, there is nearly a 100 percent chance of rain every day this week until late Friday afternoon.

“My first chance to get afloat in the new boat occurred late Sunday afternoon and evening. I was on the water from 5:30 p.m.to 8:30 p.m. The first hour was spent doing some break-in on the new engine along with checking out all the electronics, as well as just adjusting all the little things that come with a new boat. After everything seemed to be going well, and I wasn’t sinking or faring some other malady, I actually fished the final two hours. In short, I caught 18 largemouth bass and 22 white bass during that time frame. The largemouth bass were caught on a black hair jig and trailer, while the white bass were caught on chartreuse crappie tubes fished fast near the surface. That school of white bass happened to come up at dark feeding on shad, and I was in the right place at the right time.

“Other than that, I got one shoreline trip in where I managed to nab a few small largemouth bass, but one nice smallmouth bass. These bass were caught on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was dressed with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’ watermelon/white ZinkerZ.

“I am looking forward to more engine break-in time as well as more fishing this weekend. Our water temps were 51 degrees before all this rain arrived.”

April 6 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his April 6 outing on a remote river that he fished in his Jackson Kayak Big Tuna. The weather has been awful for months on end, and it was his first outing in 2015 targeting smallmouth. And this was Myers’ maiden FNN report.

He noted that it was 28 degrees at 5:30 a.m., and when he launched his kayak at 10:30 a.m., it was 68 degrees. Area thermometers hit 74 degrees by 4:00 p.m.

He worked with four GLoomis GLX 791 TSR spinning rods that were spooled with four-pound-test braided line. These four rods were rigged with the following baits: a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ; a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and 2 1/2 inch Z-Man’s Dirt ZinkerZ; a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and three-inch Z-Man’s EZ Money Finesse WormZ ; and a blue 1/32 –ounce Gopher Jig and customized 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Hula StickZ. Every rig had been liberally covered with Pro Cure Garlic Crawfish Super Gel scent since November of 2014.

He examined the river on April 5, and he decide that he would fish the area where he found oodles of smallmouth bass abiding in November before Mother Nature’s wintry ways ascended upon the mountains of West Virginia.

It consisted of a 300-yard stretch of deep water. The average depth is 15 feet, and there are three holes that are covered by more than 25 feet of water. The bottom is littered with scores of oak trees and boulders the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. A sheer vertical cliff borders this 300-yard section of the river, and it is the largest and deepest area within 15 miles in either direction. After Myers launched his kayak, it took him 20 minutes of paddling to reach this spot, and he fished in it until 4:10 p.m.

The water exhibited seven feet of visibility, which is excellent clarity for April 6. Myers did not take the water temperature, but there were numerous turtles perched and sunning themselves on stumps and there were geese guarding nests.

On his third cast, a 14-inch and very well stuffed smallmouth bass engulfed the chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and three-inch Z-Man’s EZ Money Finesse WormZ, which was retrieved with a drag-and-shake presentation.

During the first two hours, he caught two smallmouth bass on the chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and three-inch Z-Man’s EZ Money Finesse WormZ, three on the red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ, and six on the blue 1/32 –ounce Gopher jig and 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Hula StickZ.
As the third hour commenced, he began using the red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and 2 1/2 inch Z-Man’s Dirt ZinkerZ, and he used it for the rest of the outing. It inveigled 29 smallmouth bass. He tangled with four 15-inch smallmouth bass in four back-to-back casts. The largest smallmouth bass measured 17 1/2-inches, and it regurgitated a hefty bluegill as Myers battled with it near the side of the kayak.

He summed up his report by saying, “I couldn’t be more pleased with this early in the season outing.”

April 7 log

Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about a float-tube outing he enjoyed at a northeastern Kansas farm pond on April 7.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 62 degrees at 2:52 a.m. and 87 degrees at 3:52 p.m. Throughout the day, the wind angled out of the southeast at 7 to 9 mph, out of the east at 8 to 10 mph, out of the south at 10 to 22 mph, and out of the southwest at 15 to 25 mph. It was foggy and misty, overcast and partly cloudy until 1:52 p.m., and then it was fair for the rest of the day. The barometric pressure was 29.80 at 12.52 a.m., 29.74 at 5:52 a.m., 29.80 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.75 at 2:52 p.m. In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing might occur at 12:56 a.m. to 2:56 a.m. and 1:21 p.m. to 3:21 p.m. A minor period would occur from 7:09 a.m. to 9:09 a.m.

He wrote: “As you know I spend a great deal of time scouting rural areas looking for ducks. I thought there were several groups of ducks landing in a field but when I looked on my mapping program there was a lake there and it was not visible from any road. The bad news was the owner’s nephew hunted it so we could not. I asked about fishing, and he said there were a lot of fish, but he normally did not allow fishing.

“After seven months of work I got to fish it this one time. I had an appointment in Ottawa at 4:30 p.m., so I needed to hit shore at 3:30 p.m. I pushed off at 11:55 a.m. I spent the first hour throwing a frog, and I caught nine largemouth bass out of the slop and filamentous algae. All of them weighed two and three pounds. I had two strikes that looked like someone dropped a bowling ball in the lake.

“When I got to a great submerged weed edge along deeper water, I started fishing with a Z-Man’s Canada Craw Hula StickZ on an unpainted 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. And all hell broke loose. I was fishing it fast with several shakes then a pause. From that point I had a strike virtually every cast.”

“Forty-eight of them were five to eight inches long. Forty-seven of them easily weighed more than a pound, seven of them weighed more than three pounds, one weighed four pounds, one ounce, and another that weighed four pounds, three ounces. All 95 of them were caught on the Z-Man’s Canada Craw Hula StickZ on an unpainted 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

“I had a really big fish straighten a hook.

“That amounts to 104 bass in three hours and 35 minutes. I also caught seven crappie that weighed more than one pound and nine of the biggest bluegill that I have ever seen. The bluegill fought as hard as the four-pound largemouth bass. Most of the crappie and bluegill were caught on Z-Man’s Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on an unpainted 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

“In closing, I would suggest to all of the FNN members that they get a smart phone app and knock on a few doors. It is amazing how many of these gems are out there.”

April 7 log

Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his April 7 bass-fishing-for-trout outing with Bob Roberts of Salina, Kansas, at a 120-acre community reservoir that lies in the northern suburbs of Kansas City.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 59 degrees at 1:53 a.m. and 84 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The sky was overcasting most of the day, and it was misty and rained lightly from 7:53 a.m. past 8:53 a.m., and it was also partly cloudy. The wind angled out of the east at 7 to 10 mph, out of the southeast at 14 mph, out of the south at 10 to 15 mph, out of the southwest at 14 to 18 mph, out of the west at 13 mph, and out of the northwest at 12 to 22 mph.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing might occur at 12:56 a.m. to 2:56 a.m. and 1:21 p.m. to 3:21 p.m. A minor period would occur from 7:09 a.m. to 9:09 a.m.

Frazee wrote: “Our main focus was to get some trout for Bob Roberts’ smoker.

“Well, you know where this is going. The trout, which had been so easy to catch in recent trips, decided to quit biting. We did catch three, including one that we estimated at three pounds, but they weren’t ripping it up.

“The largemouth bass fishing was fairly good, but for the third consecutive trip, it was a completely different pattern. The north end of the lake produced the best fishing this time. We found a healthy school of largemouth bass by the tubes, and when I marked fish in 12 feet of water out from the tubes, we caught 10 crappies, most of them big females.

“We ended up with 53 total fish: 10 crappies, three trout and 40 largemouth bass Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a black 1/16-0unce jig and Z-Man’s four-inch green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a black 1/16-ounce jig were by far the most productive lures. But we caught the crappies on white-and-chartreuse grubs and black-and-chartreuse twister-tail grubs on 1/16-ounce black jigs.

“We were out from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., which is longer than this old dog is accustomed to. I’m whipped.

“The surface temperature was 57 degrees when we started and 59 degrees by the time we finished. Most of the largemouth bass were caught in 12 feet of water with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One main-lake point on the east side and the tubes and riprap on the north end were the most productive locations.
“No monster bass, but lots in the 14-15-inch range, which put up a fight on four-pound test line. Life is good (but tiring). I tried to explain to my wife how much work bass fishing can be, but she wasn’t buying it.”

April 8 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following log on the Finesse News Network about his April 8 outing.

He wrote: “I made a short excursion to a 20-acre community reservoir that lies to the northwest of Dallas.

“It was cloudy and windy. Occasionally a light rain would fall. Severe thunderstorms were predicted for the late evening hours of April 8 for most parts of the Dallas and Ft. Worth metroplex.

“The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 68 degrees and the afternoon high temperature reached 78 degrees. The average low temperature for April 8 is 53 degrees and the average high is 71 degrees. The wind was rollicking from the south at 18 to 30 mph. The barometric pressure was low at 29.12.

“In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar listed the best fishing periods occurring from 1:59 a.m. to 3:59 a.m. and 2:24 p.m. to 4:24 p.m. A minor period would take place from 8:11 a.m. to 10:11 a.m.
I walked the shorelines of this 20-acre reservoir from about 12:30 p.m. to about 2:30 p.m.

The water was stained with about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level appeared to be normal. I did not have the means to measure the water’s temperature.

“I used just two baits: a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ affixed on a brown 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The Scented LeechZ was retrieved with a slow, swim-glide-and-shake presentation, and the 3 1/2-inch GrubZ was presented with a slow and steady swimming retrieve.

“During this short two-hour outing, I could only inveigle eight largemouth bass, but five of the eight bass weighed between two and three pounds, and only one was smaller than 14 inches.

“Upon my arrival, I was disheartened to see two other veteran anglers already plying this reservoir’s most fruitful lairs. One angler was using a weightless senko-type bait on a spinning outfit, and he had just caught a 17-inch largemouth bass from along the south end of the west shoreline. The second angler was plying the smooth, concrete slab dam that forms the south end of the reservoir with baitcasting tackle, but I could not see what lure he was wielding.

“I began this foray by slowly fishing behind the first angler, who was employing the senko-type bait. I dissected two steep sand and gravel shorelines situated along the mid-section of the reservoir’s west side. I caught two largemouth bass that were in about five feet of water. One was caught on the 3 1/2-inch GrubZ, and the second one engulfed the Scented LeechZ combo.

“I continued to follow the first angler southward down the west shoreline, and slowly plied the area where I saw the first angler catch a bass, but I failed to generate any strikes in this area. The second angler worked his way eastward along the face of the dam, and I did not see the second angler catch any fish the entire time I was there.

“As the first angler began to work his way eastward along the face of the dam, we stopped and spoke for a few moments. He said the fishing was slow and difficult, but he had caught three largemouth bass along the western shoreline on his senko-type bait. He fished in front of me for about an hour longer, but he did not catch any other fish. As I followed him along the dam, I eked out four largemouth bass, and they engulfed the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ. All four of these bass were caught in a 50-foot area along the mid-section of the dam in about four feet of water.

The east side of the reservoir was not very productive. The other two anglers had worked over the prime spots along this side of the reservoir ahead of me with no success, but I was able to coax one largemouth bass into striking the 3 1/2-inch GrubZ, and another largemouth bass struck the Scented LeechZ. Both of these bass were caught along the south end of the east shoreline, and they were relating to the deep-water side of a sand and gravel ledge that extends about three feet out from the water’s edge. I fished the remainder of the east shoreline, which included two points, and one small brush pile, but I failed to coax any other bites.

I concluded the outing by fishing a small portion of a large mud flat just south of a protected migratory waterfowl nesting area, but I was unable to engender any other strikes along the deep-water edge of this flat.

In sum, the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ rig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve allured six of the eight largemouth bass. The 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ combo and a steady swimming presentation bewitched the other two.
April 10 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his April 10 river outing.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing might occur from 3:39 a.m. to 5:39 a.m. and 4:06 p.m. and 6:06 p.m. A minor period would take place from 9:53 a.m. to 11:53 a.m.

After he watched the weather forecast during the evening of April 10, the fishing was as tough as he expected it would be. A massive amount of rain fell during the night of April 10 and 11, and by the time he was launching his Jackson Big Tuna kayak, the water level was up 13 inches from what it was on his April 6 outing, and a log for that outing is posted above. What’s more, the water clarity exhibited only two feet of visibility rather than seven feet as it had just days earlier.

The weather forecasters said it would be 60 degrees at 8:30 a.m. It was 44 degrees. He fished only two hours, and when he got off the water, the wind was howling with gusts that hit 30 mph, and the water level increased another four inches. And by the time he arrived home, the wind was still howling and the rain was falling at a monsoon pace.

His three spinning rods were rigged with the following baits: a three-inch Z-Man’s Dirt ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a Z-Man’s watermelon-red Swim SlimZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and a heavily customized Z-Man’s craw-creature bait affixed to an orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

He caught a 15-inch smallmouth bass on his second cast. It was abiding very tightly to a steep bluff, and it engulfed his heavily customized Z-Man’s craw-creature bait affixed to an orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. After that, he spent the entire outing, which encompassed less than two hours of fishing, casting to the water’s edge and probing every edge and current break adjacent to every log and boulder he crossed paths with. It helped immensely that he knows the whereabouts of every log and boulder along this stretch of the river, because he could not see them in the stained water.

Within the first 45 minutes, he caught four smallmouth bass. On the 50th minute, he hooked what he described as a behemoth of a smallmouth bass, which liberated itself. During the next 30 minutes, he caught four more smallmouth bass. All of them were allured by his heavily customized Z-Man’s craw-creature bait affixed to an orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig which are best described as parts from three Z-Man offerings. Myers had spent considerable time constructing various renditions of these offerings over the winter.

April 10 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following log on the Finesse News Network about his April 10 outing with Norman Brown of Lewisville, and they fished a 250-acre water-supply reservoir.

Reideler wrote: “I last fished this reservoir on March 17, and I caught 14 largemouth bass and one spotted bass in five hours.

“The day started off cloudy and cool, but by noon, a warm sun shined through a partly cloudy sky. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 53 degrees and the daytime high warmed to 75 degrees. The wind blew out of the northeast at 13 mph, out of the north at 11 mph, out of the southeast at 8 mph, and by mid-afternoon, it was calm. We used a drift sock for the first time this year during the first 2 1/2 hours of this outing. The barometric pressure was 30.21 and falling.

“Norman and I were afloat from about 10:30 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m. In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated the best fishing periods would take place from 3:52 a.m. to 5:52 a.m. and 4:19 p.m. to 6:19 p.m. A minor period would occur from 10:06 a.m. to 12:06 p.m.

“The water clarity varied from about 1 1/2 feet to six feet of visibility. The water’s surface temperature ranged from 67 to 69 degrees. The water level appeared to be normal.

“Norman and I employed the following baits: a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ rigged on a brown 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a brown 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a customized 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red FattyZ tail on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man’s Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We started fishing along a wind-swept main-lake point located in the southwest portion of the reservoir. This point is enhanced with basketball-size rocks, large patches of winter-dead American water willow stalks, and three laydowns. We deployed a drift sock to slow our drift while we plied the point with the customized 2 1/4-inch watermelon-red FattyZ tail presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and the 3 1/2-inch green- pumpkin GrubZ retrieved with a slow and steady swimming retrieve. We received several tentative strikes on the 2 1/4-inch FattyZ tail, but we failed to hook any of these fish. The 3 1/2-inch GrubZ failed to induce any strikes, and it did not garner a single strike all day.

“We continued our drift from the main-lake point into a cove located in the southwest section of the reservoir. The shorelines of this cove are enhanced with softball- and baseball-sized rocks and lined with winter-dead American water willows and cattails. A creek channel closely parallels a 50-yard section of the north shoreline.

“We were able to entice 13 largemouth bass from this cove that were scattered in three to five feet of water along the north shoreline. These 13 bass were attracted to the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a brown 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

“We then made a short run to a cove that forms the north end of the reservoir. Norman and I were surprised to find that the water’s clarity was very dingy, and it exhibited only 1 1/2 feet of visibility. We concentrated our efforts along the west-side shoreline, which is flat, rocky, and adorned with many patches of dead American water willows. As we slowly drifted southward along the west shoreline, we peppered the area with the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ and pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ. The Finesse ShadZ was manipulated with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation, and it lured one largemouth bass and one spotted bass from three feet of water. It also engendered two other strikes that we failed to hook. The 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and-shake technique enticed two other strikes that we failed to hook.

“After we finished fishing the west-side shoreline in the north cove, we used the wind to slowly maneuver us into a cove situated in the northwest region of the reservoir. The shorelines of this cove are shallow and lined with many patches of dead American water willows, basketball-size rocks, and large stands of cattails. The northern shoreline surrendered one spotted bass that engulfed the Z-Man’s pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ worked with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. This bass was relating to the deep-water side of a patch of water willows in about four feet of water.

“The south shoreline yielded six largemouth bass and one spotted bass that were scattered along the outside edges of the many patches of dead American water willows in four to six feet of water. The water clarity was much clearer in this portion of the cove, exhibiting about four feet of visibility. One of the largemouth bass was caught on the Z-Man’s Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Five of the largemouth bass and the one spotted bass were inveigled by the pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. and swim-glide-and-shake presentation failed to elicit any strikes. We also fished a large stand of flooded cattails along the west end of this cove, but it failed to yield any strikes.

“Our next spot was a wide and flat main-lake point that lies just south of the northwest cove. This point is graced with four dilapidated boat ramps, three submerged patches of aquatic vegetation, and a submerged roadbed. It surrendered four largemouth bass and one spotted bass; one of the largemouth bass weighed four pounds, 10 ounces. All five of these bass were relating to the three submerged patches of aquatic vegetation in about five feet of water. They were coaxed into striking the pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

“After that, we returned to the rocky point where we started the outing in the southwestern end of the reservoir. This time the point relinquished two largemouth bass, which were extracted out of five to seven feet of water. They were bewitched by the Finesse ShadZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We also fished the first 100 yards of the north shoreline in the southwestern cove, where we caught 13 largemouth bass earlier in the day, but we failed to garner a single strike with the pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ this time around.

“We finished our outing along a 50-yard stretch of rocky shoreline at the southeast end of the reservoir. This stretch of shoreline is enhanced with three patches of winter-dead American water willows, five stands of cattails, and two rock piles. We caught four largemouth bass along this shoreline. Three were relating to the deep-water sides of two patches of American water willows in five feet of water, and the other bass was relating to a stand of cattails in three feet of water. One was caught on the pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ. Three were caught on the customized 2 1/4-inch watermelon-red FattyZ tail. Both baits were presented with the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

IMG_1554

Steve Reideler with one of the 31 largemouth bass that he and Norman Brown caught on April 10.

 

“In our eyes and by north-central Texas standards, we had a marvelous outing. We caught 31 largemouth bass and four spotted bass. We hooked five other bass that were able to pull free before we could land them. Eighteen bass were allured by the Z-Man’s pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ and brown 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. Thirteen were enticed into striking the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ and brown 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The customized 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red FattyZ tail and red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught three bass. The Z-Man’s Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. and black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig tricked one. The 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and Z-Man’s Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig did not draw any strikes.

“The swim-glide-and-shake retrieve allured all 35 of these bass.”

April 11 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed this report on the Finesse News Network about a short outing that Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, undertook on a south Texas Hill Country river on April 11.

On March 15, Rick related how the bass fishing at the river had improved significantly, and he was delighted to tangle with 18 largemouth bass and two Guadeloupe bass during a two-hour and fifteen-minute excursion.

Here is a condensed and edited version of Rick’s April 11 report:

The Weather Underground noted that the weather was overcast, with mist and fog. The morning low temperature was 63 degrees and the afternoon high was 65 degrees. A light breeze blew out of the south at 3 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.94.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar predicted that the prime fishing periods would occur from 4:57 a.m. to 6:57 a.m. and 5:24 p.m. to 7:24 p.m. A minor period would take place from 11:11 a.m. to 1:11 p.m. Rick was afloat from about 10:00 a.m. to about noon.

The water was stained and displayed about 2 1/2 feet of clarity. The water level was normal. The water temperature was 70 degrees.

Rick reported that he caught 20 largemouth bass, but he did not cross paths with any Guadeloupe bass during the two hours he was afloat. Most of the largemouth bass were 10- to 14-inchers, but a few were only six to eight inches long. His two largest bass weighed two pounds, 12 ounces, and three pounds, 12 ounces.

Most of these largemouth bass, including his largest of the day, were allured by a Z-Man’s Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The rest were beguiled by a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s California Craw ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Both of these baits were presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Rick caught most of them along the shallower shorelines, where they were relating to the deep-water edges of lily pad fields in six feet of water. He caught some of the smaller bass out in the middle of the river on the edges of drop offs in eight to 10 feet of water. The largest one was extracted from underneath a boat dock in less than six feet of water.

April 11 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following log on the Finesse News Network about his April 11 outing with Norman Brown of Lewisville, and they fished a 24,471-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir.

He wrote: “I last fished this reservoir on April 4, and during that solo five-hour undertaking, the largemouth bass and spotted bass that inhabit this reservoir exhibited an odd disposition. But I still managed to catch 12 largemouth bass and five spotted bass.

The National Weather Service noted the morning low temperature for April 11 was 55 degrees and the afternoon high was 78 degrees. The wind was variable at 8 to 13 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.03. Severe thunderstorms and possible hail were predicted to hit this area on April 12 and 13.

“Norman and I were afloat from about 11:30 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m. The In-Fisherman solunar calendar indicated the best fishing periods would occur from 4:48 a.m. to 6:48 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. A minor period would occur from 11:02 a.m. to 1: 02 p.m.

“The water was stained and exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water temperature varied from 66 degrees to 69 degrees. I was delighted to see that the water level in this impoundment continues to rise slowly, and it is now only 3.86 feet below normal pool. In January 2015, the water level was 7.22 feet below normal pool.

“During the past couple of weeks, I have caught a goodly number of largemouth bass and spotted bass scattered along the deep-water edges of flooded-shoreline vegetation inside two large coves that harbor large marinas. The stained water has prevented me from seeing any bass associated with spawning beds. The most fruitful locals have been steep, clay, and gravel shorelines that are enhanced with an abundance of flooded shoreline vegetation, as well as the steep and rocky secondary points that lead into small spawning coves. I have fished other coves and feeder creeks in this reservoir that contain marinas and smaller spawning coves, but they have not been fruitful.

“Norman and I began the outing fishing one of the fruitful marina coves. It is situated in the southwest tributary arm of the reservoir. It features a large mud flat along its west shoreline. There are, hundreds of yards of steep shorelines that are comprised of clay, gravel, and fist-sized rock. There are three steep and riprap-laden secondary points. And there are two small coves, where some largemouth bass often spawn.

“Most of the covered boat docks at this marina float in water between 15 and 35 feet deep. In the narrow passageways between the covered boat docks and the flooded vegetation along the shorelines that border the marina, our boat floated in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as 15 feet.

“We caught 12 largemouth bass and three spotted bass from this marina cove.

“We found no bass associated with the large west-side mud flat.

“Two largemouth bass were caught in five feet of water off a steep, clay and gravel shoreline with large amounts of flooded vegetation. This shoreline lies along the west side of the marina just south of the large mud flat.

“Three largemouth bass were caught from three feet of water along a steep and rocky shoreline that is graced with thick stands of flooded terrestrial vegetation. This shoreline leads back into a small spawning cove in the southwest end of the marina.

“Three spotted bass were coaxed from a riprap-covered secondary point that forms the west shoreline of one of the small spawning coves.

“Five largemouth bass were extracted from four feet of water along the flooded terrestrial vegetation along the south shoreline of the other small spawning cove, and two largemouth bass were caught in five feet of water next to a riprap-covered point at the mouth of this spawning cove.

“We fished several of the covered boat docks that were situated at the mouths of the two small spawning coves and inside these two coves. These docks were floating in six to 15 feet of water, but we failed to locate any bass relating to these boat docks.

“The second area we fished was located in a feeder-creek arm. This arm is situated along the north shoreline on the northwest end of the reservoir’s southwest tributary arm. We spent two hours trying to generate strikes from one of its two main-lake entry points, five of its nine secondary points, two of its three steep and rocky shorelines, all five of its boat ramps, two of its three small spawning coves, and one of its two newly constructed swimming docks. There were other anglers in this feeder-creek arm as well, and their boat positions prevented us from plying several structures that we would normally have fished. We did not encounter any black bass in this feeder-creek arm, but we inadvertently caught one white bass in three feet of water off a clay and gravel flat at the mouth of one of the small spawning coves.

“We concluded our outing in a large marina cove located about a mile east of the first marina cove that we fished. It is smaller than the first one. The terrain around this marina is steep and rocky with plenty of flooded shoreline vegetation. It is endowed with a large marina. Besides the marina, it has five steep, clay, and rock secondary points, as well as three small spawning coves, two boat ramps, and two small feeder creeks. One of these small creeks is located along the southeast end of one of the small spawning coves, and the second creek enters at the southwest corner of another small spawning cove. This marina cove surrendered five largemouth bass. Three largemouth bass were caught in five feet of water along the steep and rocky east-side shoreline and about halfway inside the cove. Two largemouth bass were extracted from five feet of water along a steep and rocky shoreline with flooded shoreline vegetation in the back end of one of the spawning coves. The steep secondary points and the shorelines surrounding the two small feeder creeks failed to attract any bass.

“We did not have the time to search for bass underneath any of the covered boat docks in this marina.

“Overall, we caught 17 largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and one white bass in five hours. Most of the black bass were between 13 and 15 inches long, and the two biggest weighed two pounds, five ounces, and three pounds, two ounces.

IMG_1557

Steve Reideler with one of the 17 largmouth bass that he and Norman Brown caught on April 11.

“Nine largemouth bass engulfed a Z-Man’s pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ rigged on a brown 1/32-ounce Gopher jig; and in our eyes, this pumpkin-green-flake finesse ShadZ and brown Gopher jig combo is as close as we can get to matching the color of the bluegills that reside in these waters. Eight largemouth bass and one white bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ threaded on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce gopher jig. All three spotted bass were caught on a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. rigged on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

“We also tried a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Chartreuse Sparkle GrubZ on a brown 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, but it failed to elicit any strikes. We found this a little odd, since grubs were by far our most productive lure during April of 2014.

“We utilized all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves, and the swim-glide-and-shake technique has been the only productive presentation here lately.”

April 11 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his April 11 outing to a 2,600-acre power-plant reservoir with Andrew Trembath of Kansas City, Kansas.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 48 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 70 degrees at 1:52 p.m. Throughout the day, the wind angled out of the east at 6 t0 10 mph, out of the southeast at 3 to 14 mph, and out of the south at 7 to 22 mph. The sky was covered with high thin clouds.The barometric pressure was 30.16 at 12:53 a.m., 30.18 at 5:53 a.m., 30.16 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.06 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing should occur from 4:40 a.m. to 6:40 a.m. and 5:07 p.m. to 7:07 p.m. There would be a minor period from 10:53 a.m. to 12:53 p.m. They fished from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The surface temperature in the areas that they fished ranged from 63 to 65 degrees. The water level was normal. The water clarity exhibited three feet of clarity.

 

LaCygne April 11 2015

Bob Gum with one of the 39 largemouth bass that he and Andrew Trembath caught.

They caught 39 largemouth bass, six white bass, two wipers, and one channel catfish. They were extracted from water as shallow as one foot to as deep as eight feet. All of them were caught along riprap shorelines in the lower half of the reservoir. They were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company’s Zero on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a three-inch root-beer-hue tube rigged weightless and affixed to a 4/0 Eagle Claw Shaw Grigsby HP Hook, and a Z-Man’s Mud Minnow-hue Rain MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The color of the Zero and ZinkerZ varied from Coppertreuse to green pumpkin to Bama Craw. They presented these baits with a swim-glide-and-subtle-and-occasional-shake.

LaCygne Wiper

Bob Gum with one of the two wipers that they caught on April 11.

April 14 log

This is not a log. It is a lament.

Since April 2, several Finesse News Network members have been wondering about the dearth of reports from northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri.

The short answer is that we fished only two hours from April 3 to April 13.We had hoped to fish a lot more during the first week after Easter with our grandson from New York City and other family members. But the weather forecasters forced us to continually rearrange our piscatorial endeavors around our many family dinners and gatherings between April 4 and April 12. We must note that the severe weather that the forecasters predicted never materialized, and thus we missed several opportunities to get afloat because we heeded the warnings the weather forecasters issued. And when we did get afloat at a 195-acre community reservoir that Gabe Bonanno and I fished, we were able to eke out only 15 largemouth bass during the two hours that we fished, and our catch was so random that it was not worth writing about and for FNN members to read. (And it should be noted that during the first week after Easter of 2014, Gabe Bonanno, Tyler Sova, and I caught 102 largemouth bass at the same reservoir in four hours and 20 minutes, and we wrote about it.)

On April 13, I fished about three hours at a 416-acre community reservoir, and while I was afloat, I had to deal with a rare equipment problem, which I ultimately fixed once I had the boat on the trailer. But while I was afloat, the fishing was extremely wretched, which is revealed by the fact that I caught only four largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass. The highlight occurred in the fifth cast of the outing when a gargantuan smallmouth bass engulfed a Z-Man’s Canada Craw Hula StickZ affixed to an orange-and-brown 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. Initially, I thought it was a trout by the way it executed three long and vigorous runs, but when it went airborne, I saw that it was a smallmouth bass of great stature. But before I could put my thumb in its mouth, it liberated itself. On April 19, 2013, I caught a smallmouth bass at this reservoir that weighed six pounds, 10 ounces, and in my eyes, this specimen might have been near that stature, but they often look bigger in the water and when they jump than when we affix them to a digital fish scale and weigh them. After that heart-beating and exhilarating experience, the fishing was so devilish and perplexing that there were no words, sentences, and paragraphs to describe it and worthy of other anglers to read.

On April 14, I returned to the 195-acre community reservoir that Gabe Bonanno and I fished on April 7, and the fishing was worse than it was then. My primary object was to see if the mechanical woes that erupted on April 13 had been rectified, and to my delight, all was well mechanically.

But the largemouth bass fishing was horrid. I struggled to catch 23 largemouth bass, one crappie, and one channel catfish from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. There was no presentation pattern and location pattern to describe other than to say that I used seven spinning rods and eight different Midwest finesse baits and a variety of retrieves. The best description of where the fish were caught was hither and yon.

While I was afloat, I talked to two University of Kansas students, who are dedicated power anglers and regularly fish this reservoir, and their outing was more dismal than mine. I also crossed paths with Rodney Hatridge of Shawnee, Kansas, who was about to put his boat on the trailer before I made my first cast. He had been afloat since around sunrise, and he estimated that he might have caught 30 largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These bass were in shallow water adjacent to patches of American water willows. But he noted that the bite had deteriorated as the morning unfolded. There was a wiper troller afloat, too, and he had failed to garner a strike when I crossed paths with him several times. The crappie anglers were also bemoaning the dismal fishing that they were experiencing.

Another sign of how trying the fishing has been on many of the flatland reservoirs across northeastern Kansas is that a pair of extremely knowledgeable crappie anglers recently won a tournament at a 11,600-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir by catching only three crappie.

In sum, it seems as if many of the fish in these reservoirs are scattered pell-mell, and they are difficult to find and allure.

After we circulated our April 14 lament, we received notes from Dave Mull of Paw Paw , Michigan, Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, and Burton Bosley of Sutton, West Virginia.

Bosley wrote: “I have had some tough fishing myself. On my last trip, I caught one small spotted bass. We have had lots of rain, and our lakes are being raised and lowered at alarming rates. My beloved Elk River is a roaring muddy riot. Once it settles down, I hope to send in a report or else start fishing ponds, which are always good for catching, but they don’t fulfill my need for a challenge.”

Mull said: “You are faring way better than I as I probe natural lakes out of my kayak. Two trips have yielded two small largemouth.”

Reideler wrote: “I fished with Ralph Manns on April 15 at a 18,613-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir from 2:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Fishing was wretched here as well. We fished brush piles, boat docks, and shallow flooded vegetated areas inside a marina and caught 10 largemouth bass and one crappie. Ralph caught six largemouth bass on a weedless senko, and I caught four: two on a Finesse ShadZ and two on a Finesse WormZ in a couple of areas where I could employ Midwest finesse techniques. Most of the time, I experimented with Don Baldridge’s Texas-rigged T.R.D. rig and a Texas-rigged Hula StickZ in the brush piles and flooded vegetation, but they didn’t produce any bites.

“I haven’t decided whether or not I’ll write a log about it. I’m trying to decide if anything of real interest occurred to write about.

“I did speak with one of Ralph’s tournament fishing buddies at the boat ramp, and he was interested in finding a new finesse technique to use in tournaments. He said that he believes the fish have become too accustomed to drop-shotting now and that the technique is no longer as productive as it once was when he first started using it 10 years ago.

“We discussed Midwest finesse tactics and I showed him the Gopher jig heads and Z-Man baits. He said he was going to research Midwest finesse online, then perhaps call me and arrange an outing so I can show him how to use the baits. He is the first tournament fisherman I have talked to down here that is seriously considering using Midwest finesse techniques.”

April 16 log

After the sorry spell of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing that I endured from April 3 through April 14, the largemouth bass blessed and graced me on April 16 with my first bass thumb of 2015. And as I write this log, my thumb is delightfully sore and even a tad bloody.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 54 degrees at 3:53 a.m. and 76 degrees at 3:53 p.m. It was overcast from 12:53 a.m. to 9:53 a.m., and then it alternated from being sunny to what the NWS described the sky as being scattered with a few clouds. The wind angled out of the southeast at 3 to 16 mph, out of the east at 3 to 8 mph, and out of the south at 8 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.01 at 12:53 a.m., 30.04 at 5:53 a.m., 30.06 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.99 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 8:59 a.m. to 10:59 a.m. and 9:26 p.m. to 11:26 p.m. There would be a minor affair at 2:45 a.m. to 4:45 a.m. I was afloat from 10:55 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at a 140-acre state reservoir.

The water level looked to be more than a foot below normal. The water clarity was the clearest that I have ever seen it, exhibiting four to six feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 59 degrees to 62 degrees. I found several patches of curly-leaf pondweed, which is a new phenomenon at this reservoir.

The patches of curly-leaf pondweed yielded a few largemouth bass. But the bulk of the 101 largemouth bass that I caught during this four-hour-and-20-minute outing were caught along the outside edges of the patches of winter-dead American water willows or associated with riprap, rocks and boulders. This reservoir’s American water willows flourish on rocky and gravel terrains. A few of the largemouth bass were caught adjacent to laydowns that are intermingled with rocks, boulders, gravel, and patches of American water willows.

I spent three hours and 55 minutes fishing one shoreline, which is more than a mile long. This shoreline is endowed with two main-lake points, eight riprap jetties, some stumps and laydowns, a few man-made brushpiles, several ledges, untold numbers of boulders and rocks, and scores of patches of American water willows. The boat floated in four to 10 feet of water, and along one short stretch, it floated in 12 to 15 feet of water. Ninety-five of the 101 largemouth bass were caught along this shoreline. The bulk of them were caught on a shortened and slightly customized Z-Man’s Canada Craw Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The rest of them were caught on either a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Some of the largemouth bass engulfed these baits on the initial drop, but most of them were caught when I was executing the swim-glide-and-shake presentation. All of these largemouth bass were extracted out of water as shallow as 18 inches and no deeper than five feet. Flat terrains, where the boat floated in five feet of water, were more fruitful than steep ones.

I spent about 20 minutes plying a main-lake point near the dam and the riprap of the dam. I caught one largemouth bass around several massive boulders that form a ledge on that main-lake point, and I caught five largemouth bass along the riprap shoreline of the dam. These six fish engulfed the bait on the initial drop, and they were abiding in two to four feet of water.

None of these 101 largemouth bass would have impressed bass tournament anglers or producers of television fishing shows. But our 10 grandkids would have relished tangling with them. And I would be delighted to do it again, again, and again.

DSCN0730

These are the three baits that were responsible for alluring the 101 largemouth bass. All three of them had been used on several outings before this one, and they look as if they have the wherewithal to catch another 101 largemouth bass before they become too tattered to stay attached to the jigs. The one on the top is the Canada Craw Hula StickZ. The middle one is the purple-haze Finesse WormZ. The bottom one is the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ. All of them are affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

April 16 log

Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, posted a brief note on the Finesse News Network about his son-in-law, Preston Parks of Pittsboro, North Carolina.

Poe wrote that Preston fished on April 16 with a diehard power angler at a 4,000-acre power-plant reservoir, where they caught 60 largemouth bass. The bulk of them were caught adjacent to shallow dock poles and on either a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company’s green-pumpkin or PB&J Zero. Their Zeros were affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ.  The power angler caught a largemouth bass on his first cast with the Zero. According to Poe, a catch of 60 largemouth bass is an incredible one in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. And by the end of the outing, the power angler was so impressed with Preston’s Midwest finesse wizardry that he bought a Midwest-finesse spinning rod, which Preston makes.

 

April 17 log

Burton Bosley of Sutton, West Virginia, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his outing on April 17 at a 1,520-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir, which is inhabited by largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and spotted bass. Besides fishing, he spent some time breaking in a new boat and motor, which limited him to fishing in the vicinity of the boat ramp, where he launched his new rig.

In-Fisheman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing should take place from 9:48 a.m. to 11:48 a.m. and 10:16 p.m. to 12:16 a.m. There would be a minor period from 3:34 a.m. to 5:34 a.m. Burton was afloat from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Here is a summarized and edited version of his brief:
Area thermometers noted the temperature ranged from the middle to the high 60s while he was afloat. Initially it was cloudy and rainy, and during the last hour the sun appeared.

The water level, which had been fluctuating wildly, had finally stabilized and was sitting near its normal summer level. The surface temperature ranged from 59.6 degrees to 62.1 degrees. Normally the water is extremely clear at this reservoir, but Bosley described it as dingy on April 17, explaining that Mother Nature’s recent deluges had diminished the water clarity to the point that he could not see his lure in water deeper than 18 inches under the surface.

Because the dogwoods were blooming and the water temperature was climbing into the low-60s, he suspected that some of the black bass would be spawning and some would be inhabiting some of their late-pre-spawning locales. Therefore, he elected to fish the two shorelines of what he described as a feeder-creek cove. He dissected one side going into the cove and the other side going out.

He described the main-lake point at the entrance to this cove as steep, rocky, and plummeting into 80 feet of water. It is also graced with numerous deadfalls or laydowns. This area was not fruitful. In fact, he failed to elicit a strike.

It took him more than an hour to catch his first black bass, which was a spotted one. It was in the back of a nook or small hollow, where water was cascading over a cliff into the reservoir. After he caught the first one, he caught four more spotted bass, and they were allured by a slightly customized Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on an unpainted 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a short-shank hook. (Bosley finds that a short-shank hook allows a soft-plastic bait, like the Hula StickZ , to move more alluringly than it moves on a big hook.) These five spotted bass were extracted out of five feet of water.

As he fished his way out of that nook, he hooked and battled a big largemouth bass that liberated itself at the boat.
He caught his sixth black bass in 15 feet of water on a slow-tapering point that consists of clay and a variety of rocks, gravel, and boulders.

As he was fishing his way out of this cove along the opposite shoreline, he crossed paths with some spotted bass along some bluffy areas. He caught them in six to 10 feet of water on the slightly customized Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on an unpainted 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a short-shank hook and a deadstick presentation. He executed this presentation by making a cast and allowing the Hula StickZ rig to plummet to the bottom. Once it hit the bottom, he would allow it to lie there for a spell, and eventually he would lift his rod to see if a spotted bass had engulfed it.

There were more than 25 boatloads of anglers on the water. Most of them were practicing for a tournament, and when he fished behind several of them, the Hula StickZ rig caught several black bass.

He summed up his outing by saying: “Not a bad day as I limited myself to fishing every inch of two shorelines and trying to find untapped fish instead of roaming from spot to spot as were all the tourney guys.”

In total, he landed 11 spotted bass and one small largemouth bass, and all of them were caught on the Hula StickZ rig. The biggest spotted bass weighed about two pounds. He failed to tangle with a smallmouth bass, and that puzzled him. He wished, however, that he had had a Z-Man’s Finesse T.R.D.-spin with him, which he thought would have been effective in the dingy water.

In a follow-up note, Bosley noted that this reservoir had experienced three 25-foot raises, which were followed by 25-foot plummets, before it was stabilized at its normal summertime level on April 1. That made for some daunting and challenging fishing. For instance, a bag of black bass that weighed only six-pounds won a tournament several weeks ago, but a 15-pound bag won a tournament a week ago. Even though this reservoir and another one that Bosley regularly fishes endure a lot of intense predation from tournament anglers, he has found that the fishing has improved significantly since the 1970s, and that is because the state’s fisheries biologists stocked them with threadfin shad and emerald shiners in the 1980s and 1990s. But as Bosley reflected upon his days of fishing with Chuck Woods of Kansas City in the 1960s, which were the formative years of Midwest finesse fishing, he said, “the bass fishing hereabouts is still a far cry from the fertile ponds and small impoundments in Kansas and Missouri where Chuck Woods [who is the father of Midwest finesse] schooled me, but at this stage of the game, I am happy for the challenges these reservoirs provide.”

April 19 log

On April 18 and 19, Jason Benjamin of Lawrence, Kansas, competed in The Bass Federation of Kansas’ tournament at a 1,060-acre community reservoir in northwestern Missouri, which he won handily. Normally, Jason would have fished on April 19 with his father, Jerry Benjamin of Lawrence, Kansas, at the Kansas Buddy Bass tournament at a 6,930-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in northeastern Kansas. Since his son was fishing elsewhere, Jerry was in need of a partner, and he asked me to join him. And I did.

The last time I fished a tournament was in the early 1990s, when Terry Bivins of Lebo, Kansas, and I competed at a team tournament at a 4,580-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in northeastern Kansas.

Jerry was aware of my tournament hiatus and that I would use only Midwest finesse tactics, which is a delightful way to catch vast numbers of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass in northeastern Kansas waters, but it is not a method that will allow an angler to catch five big ones that will win a tournament.

Jerry and Jason are diehard power anglers. And across the years, they have employed their power tactics to win scores of local and regional tournaments. In fact, they won the 2014 anglers-of-the-year honors on the Kansas Buddy Bass circuit. Thus, Jerry would spend the day wielding topwater baits, crankbaits, skirted jigs and swing-head baits, and I would fish behind him, having fun with a variety of Midwest finesse applications.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 51 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 66 degrees at 1:53 p.m. Shortly after 1:53 p.m., a cold front arrived and the temperature dropped to 58 degrees at 2:52 p.m. and to 51 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The wind was mild mannered until 12:53 p.m., angling out of the west, east, southwest, northeast, and northwest at 5 to 7 mph. Around 1:53 p.m., the wind picked up its pace and angled out of the northwest at 12 to 37 mph, and only during the final 45 minutes of the outing did the wind become bothersome. From 12:23 a.m. to 2:53 p.m., it rained for several short spells; then it became foggy and misty for a few hours; then it fluctuated from being mostly cloudy to partly cloudy to having the sky being cluttered with a few clouds; then it became overcast and rained, and some locales were hit by a thunderstorm. During the final 30 minutes of the tournament, it rained on us. The barometric pressure was 29.83 at 12:53 a.m., 29.72 at 5:53 a.m., 29.72 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.96 at 2:53 p.m.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the water level was slightly more than a foot below normal, but in our eyes it looked to be more than two feet below normal. The Corps indicated that the surface temperature at the dam was 56 degrees at 7:30 a.m., but the gauges on Jerry’s boat revealed that it ranged from 58 degrees to 62 degrees. At most locales on the main-body of this reservoir, the water was clear enough that it exhibited four or more feet of visibility, but in the back portions of some of the tertiary feeder-creek arms and some windblown locales, the visibility ranged from six inches to two feet. Many of the rocks were covered with filamentous algae, which fouled many of Jerry’s crankbait retrieves. The most unusual and interesting occurrence that we saw in the clear-water areas happened when we watched a loon make an underwater dive and emerge with a smallmouth bass firmly locked in its beak.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 11:12 a.m. to 1:12 p.m., 11:40 p.m. to 1:40 a.m. And there would be a minor period from 5:26 a.m. to 7:26 a.m. We fished from 6:30 a.m. until 2:53 p.m.

The smallmouth bass is the dominant black bass species in this reservoir. There is an 18-inch length limit on largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, and a 15-inch length limit for spotted bass. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism has a tournament black bass pass, and by purchasing this pass, a tournament angler can have two 15-inch largemouth bass or smallmouth bass in his creel at a weigh-in tournament that is staged from Sept. 1 to June 15, but the other largemouth and smallmouth bass in his creel must be 18-inchers. The 15-inchers must be released immediately after they are weighed. Also from Sept. 1 to June 15, anglers are allowed to cull largemouth bass and smallmouth bass after they catch their daily creel limit.

By 7:15 a.m., Jerry and I had caught four smallmouth bass that ranged in size from 15 1/2 inches to 17 1/2 inches, as well as four smallmouth bass that were less than 15 inches. Five of them were caught along a rocky shoreline and a secondary point about one-third of the way inside a tertiary feeder-creek arm, and three of them were caught on a massive gravel-rock-boulder-and-ledge-laden point on the main-body of the reservoir. Four of them were caught on a Spro Corp’s Mud Bug RkCrawler crankbait, one of them was caught on a slightly customized Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on an orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and three of them were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These smallmouth bass were extracted out of three to seven feet of water.

For the next seven hours and 38 minutes, we searched in vain for an 18-inch or bigger largemouth and smallmouth bass to round out our tournament limit. By the end of the tournament, our fish counter revealed that we had caught 45 smallmouth bass, two largemouth bass, and one spotted bass. Sixteen of the 45 smallmouth bass were bigger than 15 inches, which allowed us to occasionally cull some of the smallmouth bass that were in the live well. We also inadvertently caught four crappie, one flathead catfish, and one white bass.
Throughout the day, we ventured as far as six miles upstream from the dam, but we failed to garner a strike when we probed lairs that were situated more than 2 1/2 miles from the dam.

Twenty-two smallmouth bass were caught on main-lake points and adjacent shores that are rocky and strewn with boulders and ledges. Some of the locales are endowed with swaths of gravel. These fish were abiding in two to seven feet of water.
After 11:00 a.m., our abilities to catch smallmouth bass on the main-lake points and adjacent shorelines diminished markedly, and across the next three hours and 53 minutes, we spent a lot of time focusing upon lairs inside three tertiary feeder-creek arms.
Twenty smallmouth bass were caught along rocky shorelines and secondary points about a third of the way inside two of the reservoir’s feeder-creek arms. They were abiding in three to six feet of water.

One of the bigger smallmouth bass was caught in the silt-laden backend of a cove about a third of the way inside a feeder-creek, and before this reservoir was impounded this cove was a farm pond.

One spotted bass was extracted from two feet of water around a beaver hut in the backend of a feeder creek arm.

One largemouth bass was caught inside a flat and mud-bottom cove about a third of the way inside a tertiary feeder-creek arm. And it was abiding in about two feet of water.

Two smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass were caught along a steep and rocky shoreline inside a cove about a third of the way inside a tertiary feeder-creek arm. They were near the water’s edge in two to three feet of water.

The Spro RkCrawler caught all of the power-bait inveigled black bass. The most prolific Midwest finesse bait was a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. And after 12:30 p.m., Jerry occasionally wielded a spinning rod that sported either a Z-Man’s New Money Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

My 75-year-old mind cannot recall the last time I spent eight hours and 23 minutes fishing, but this endeavor gave me a lot of time to experiment with a variety of Midwest finesse baits and retrieves. Besides the Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, these finesse baits caught some of the 48 black bass that we caught: a slightly customized Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on an orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a slightly customized Z-Man’s Canada Craw Hula StickZ on an orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s Mud-Minnow Finesse T.R.D.-spin on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, and a Strike King Lure Company’s green-pumpkin Bitsy Tube affixed to a 1/16-ounce inserted jig.

The most effective Midwest finesse retrieve was the swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The drag-and-shake and drag-and-deadstick presentations caught a few smallmouth bass, and several were caught on the initial drop of the bait.

The four smallmouth bass that Jerry took to the scales weighed nine pounds, 11 ounces. Our biggest smallmouth bass weighed two pounds, 10 ounces, and it was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig along a rocky shoreline about a third of the way inside a tertiary feeder-creek arm. We finished in seventh place.

According to Kansas Buddy Bass, 21 teams competed in this event. The average catch per team was 2.74 bass. The average weight of the bass caught per team was 7.71 pounds. Fifty-nine black bass were placed on the scale, and they weighed 161 pounds, 15 ounces. Five teams weighed in five bass. Four teams weighed in four bass. Two teams weighed in three bass. Four teams weighed two bass. Four teams weighed one bass. Two teams failed to weigh in a bass. The winners’ five bass weighed 14 pounds, nine ounces. The big bass of the tournament weighed four pounds, 14 ounces.

April 20 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following log on the Finesse News Network about his April 20 87-mile journey with Norman Brown of Lewisville, to a 69,805-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir and their quest to catch smallmouth bass.

He wrote: “The weather was sunny and picturesque, and occasionally a wispy cloud or two drifted overhead. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 47 degrees and the afternoon high reached 70 degrees. The wind was a bit annoying throughout most of the day as it quartered out of the northwest at about 15 mph, which caused the water in the main lake areas to white cap and forced us to seek shelter in more wind protected areas. The barometric pressure measured 30.03.

“In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing periods would occur from 12:13 a.m. to 2:13 a.m. and 12:41 p.m. to 2:41 p.m. A minor period occurred from 6:27 a.m. to 8:27 a.m. Norman and I fished from about 10:30 a.m. to about 5:30 p.m.

“The water in this reservoir was clear, exhibiting 10 to 13 feet of visibility, which is the clearest I have ever seen it. The water temperature was 62 degrees. The water level was 2.02 feet below normal.

“This waterway is inhabited by largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass. During this outing, however, Norman and I elected to target only smallmouth bass, which is a rare and challenging task for us.

“There are only two reservoirs in north-central Texas that are stocked with smallmouth bass. So I relish the few opportunities I get to chase them. Unfortunately, I have never had much success in locating their lairs or enticing them to bite. In fact, my best day of smallmouth bass fishing in Texas occurred on March 20, 2015, when Norman and I caught three smallmouths during a 5 1/2-hour outing at a 5,170-acre reservoir. The most smallmouths I have ever caught at this particular reservoir occurred in November of 2007, when I caught and released two smallmouths; but I was unaware of Midwest finesse tactics at that time. But on this April 20 endeavor, I was eager to try Midwest finesse tactics and see what Norman and I could do on this reservoir.

“We focused our attention on two main-lake spawning coves at the southeast end of the reservoir, as well as the riprap-laden dam, which lies near the two coves.

“The first cove is just large enough to protect a small marina. The cove’s terrain is mostly flat and comprised of three rocky secondary points, two rock ledges, an abundance of fist-sized rocks, some gravel, a few stumps, and a few yards of flooded shoreline vegetation in the back of the cove. After experimenting with an array of Z-Man plastic baits, Gopher jigs, and Midwest finesse retrieves, we eked out two smallmouth bass that were in eight feet of water and relating to the tip of one of the rocky secondary points. Both of these bass engulfed a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and retrieved in a slow swim-glide-and-shake manner. The other two secondary points, two rock ledges, several covered boat docks, the few yards of flooded shoreline vegetation, and the flat, gravel- and rock-covered shorelines failed to yield any strikes.

“The second cove is about twice as large as the first one. Its mouth is endowed with steep, bluffy shorelines. This cove is also endowed with several steep-sloping and rocky shorelines, three small sandy-bottom spawning coves, four rocky secondary points, and five covered boat houses. We caught four smallmouth bass and one crappie in this cove. All four of the smallmouth bass were caught in six to eight feet of water off the ends of three of the four rocky secondary points. All four of the smallmouth bass were caught on the Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and retrieved in a slow swim-glide-and-shake manner. We also observed a couple of dozen smallmouth bass cruising along the shorelines inside the small spawning coves in about eight to 10 feet of water, but we were unable to get any of them to strike at any of our lures and presentations. The one crappie was caught in four feet of water off the top of a rocky secondary point along the south shoreline of this cove, and it was bewitched by the Junebug Finesse ShadZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

“The last area we fished was about a one-mile section of the riprap along the dam, where we inveigled 12 smallmouth bass. We hooked another smallmouth bass, but it was able to dislodge the lure when it made a spectacular three-foot jump out of the water. The wind was still a bit brisk at this locale when we first arrived, and we employed a drift sock for a short spell until the wind finally calmed down. All of these smallmouths were caught about 10 to 15 feet from the water’s edge in about eight to 12 feet of water, and they were coaxed into striking a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ rigged on a brown 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a slow, swim-glide-and shake retrieve.

“Overall, Norman and I were thrilled to tangle with 19 smallmouth bass, and we landed 18 of them. We also inadvertently caught one crappie. This may seem to be meager results to a lot of anglers in the Midwestern and northern regions of the country where smallmouth bass seem to be as abundant as largemouth bass or spotted bass; but for Norman and me, this was our most successful smallmouth bass outing that we have ever had.

“The 2 1/2-inch Z-Man PB&J ZinkerZ beguiled 12 smallmouth bass, and one smallmouth bass was able to liberate itself from the ZinkerZ before we could land it. Six smallmouths and one crappie were enticed into striking the Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ. We also experimented with shortened four-inch Z-Man Finesse WormZs, shortened Hula StickZs, and 3 1/2-inch GrubZs, but these baits failed to induce any strikes.

“A swim-glide-and-shake presentation was the only fruitful retrieve technique.”

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Norman Brown with two of the smallmouth bass that he and Steve Reideler caught on April 20.

 April 21 log

I made a three-hour smallmouth bass sortie on April 21 to a 7,000-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir, where the black bass fishing has been devilishly vexing for several decades. In fact, there was one short outing in 2014, when I failed to catch a black bass. What’s more, several talented Midwest finesse anglers have complained about enduring many paltry outings at this reservoir in recent years.

The water level on April 21 was a foot below normal. The surface temperature ranged from 58 to 60 degrees. At some locales, the water exhibited a slight and odd milky hue, reducing the visibility to 2 1/4 feet, and at other areas, it exhibited four feet of visibility.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 37 degrees at 12:52 a.m. and 70 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind was calm for spells, and at other times, it angled out of the west at 10 mph and out of the northwest at 5 to 21 mph. From 5:52 a.m. to 11:52 a.m., it was mostly cloudy to partly cloudy, and it was sunny from 12:52 p.m. to sunset. The barometric pressure was 29.88 at 12:52 a.m., 29.87 at 5:52 a.m., 29.88 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.81 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 1:09 a.m. to 3:09 a.m. and 1:37 p.m. to 3:37 p.m. There was a minor period from 7:23 a.m. to 9:23 a.m. I was afloat from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

I spent the entire outing on the north side of the reservoir, hiding from the wind and hopscotching along a 4 1/2-mile stretch of a main-lake shoreline. I hopped around all of the locales that are adorned with flooded trees, which is about 2 1/2 miles of shoreline.

Ten smallmouth bass were caught on a main-lake point and the main-lake shoreline that is adjacent to it, which are embellished with gravel, stumps, laydowns, rocks, boulders, and ledges. Three of them were caught in three back-to-back casts. The boat floated in six to 12 feet of water, and the smallmouth bass were extracted from three to seven feet of water. I failed to land one fish that I did not see before it used a zebra-mussel covered boulder to cut my line. Five of the smallmouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Three of them were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two of them were caught on a Z-Man’s California Craw Finesse T.R.D. attached to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These Finesse T.R.D. and Finesse ShadZ rigs were retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

 

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The first of the 26 smallmouth bass that I caught in three hours on April 21. A Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which was the most effective bait, is attached to the upper lip of this smallmouth bass.

Four smallmouth bass and three largemouth bass were caught along two sections of riprap, where the boat floated in four to 15 feet of water. These black bass were caught on Z-Man’s Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. attached to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake in three to five feet of water.

I caught 12 smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass along one short stretch of shoreline and one long stretch of shoreline. Both shorelines are devoid of flooded trees, but they are graced with gravel, stumps, laydowns, rocks, boulders, and ledges. The boat floated in four to 18 feet of water. These fish were caught on either a Z-Man’s California Craw Finesse T.R.D. attached to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and they were retrieved with the swim-slide-and-shake presentation. Some of these bass were caught in water as deep as eight feet, and some were caught in two to four feet of water, and the rest were caught in five to seven feet of water.

There were dozens of crappie anglers afloat, who were trying to cross paths with spawning crappie, and most of them were plying the sections of the shoreline that is cluttered with trees. Only two of the six crappie anglers that I talked to had caught a crappie. And as I talked to one crappie angler along one of the shorelines that is free of trees, I suggested that he should give a Z-Man’s California Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a 1/16-ounce jig a try. After he said he would, I gave him several of them to fish with, and straightaway, he caught two smallmouth bass.

In total, I caught 26 smallmouth bass and four largemouth bass, which was a whale of a three-hour outing on this reservoir. But if the past is any level of measure of what I should expect to unfold in the days, weeks, months, and years to come, I will not experience another outing like this one at this normally vexing waterway.

April 21 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following log on the Finesse News Network about his April 21 outing with Rick Allen of Dallas at a 24,471-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir.

Reideler wrote: “I last fished this reservoir on April 11 with Norman Brown of Lewisville, and during that five-hour endeavor, we caught 17 largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and one white bass.

“The morning of April 21 started off with several waves of thunderstorms that drenched the north-central Texas landscape, and it rained off and on from about 8:30 a.m. until about 1:00 p.m. The National Weather Service listed the morning low temperature at 59 degrees and the afternoon high temperature at 74 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.81. The wind was variable at 12 to 18 mph.

“According to the In-Fisherman solunar calendar, the optimum fishing periods would occur from 1:16 a.m. to 3:16 a.m. and 1:44 p.m. to 3:44 p.m. A minor period would occur from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

The water was muddy from the morning’s thunderstorms and exhibited about one foot of visibility. The water temperature was 66 degrees. The water level in this impoundment is almost back to normal level, and it is now only 1.67 feet below normal.

For the past month or so, I have been concentrating on two marina coves in the reservoir’s southwest tributary arm. These two coves have surrendered a goodly number of largemouth bass and spotted bass, including some in the three- and four- pound range. But to my dismay, I have been unable to locate any other areas in this reservoir as fruitful as these two.

“Rick and I fished from about 1:30 p.m. to about 5:30 p.m. The fishing was slow and trying, and we found many of the prime areas in these two marina coves that had yielded bass during the past few weeks barren of bass on today’s outing. We fished four areas in these coves: (1) steep, clay, and gravel shorelines, which are enhanced with flooded shoreline vegetation; (2) steep and rocky secondary points that lead into spawning coves; (3) two large mud flats; (4) several covered boat docks that are positioned at the mouth or inside the spawning coves and float in five to 15 feet of water.

“We struggled all afternoon and could only muster five largemouth bass, five spotted bass, and one large bluegill. These fish were scattered in three to five feet of water along the steep, clay and gravel shoreline, which are littered with flooded shoreline vegetation. We caught no bass from any of the secondary points, two large mud flats, or from underneath any of the covered boat docks.

“Four spotted bass and two largemouth bass were enticed into striking a customized 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ with a split tail rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One spotted bass and one large bluegill were coaxed into striking a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass attacked a Z-Man’s Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Another largemouth bass was allured by a Z-Man’s pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ rigged on a brown 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

“We utilized several of the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves, and the swim-glide-and-shake technique was the only fruitful technique.”

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Rick Allen with one of the largemouth bass that he and Steve Reideler caught on April 21.

 

April 23 log

The normal low temperature for this time of year in northeastern Kansas is 46 degrees, and the normal high temperature is 67 degrees. On April 20, 21, and, 22, some weather forecasters were issuing frost warnings, which did not occur, but some thermometers recorded a low of 36 degrees on those days. It wasn’t that cold on April 23, but it felt chilly to my 75-year-old bones. This morning I talked on the telephone to two talented and veteran Midwest finesse anglers from northeastern Kansas, who told me that they have been catching fewer largemouth bass during this cold spell than they normally catch this time of the year. What’s more, one of these anglers said that some of the waterways he plies were muddied by a recent and localized deluge.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 43 degrees at 2:53 a.m. and 64 degrees at 2:53 p.m. They noted that the sky was cloud covered to partly cloudy for hours on end, but shortly before 3:00 p.m. the sun began to shine, and it warmed my bones a touch. The wind angled out of the east at 3 to 6 mph, out of the southeast at 3 to 20 mph, and out of the south at 13 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.05 at 12:52 a.m., 30.03 at 5:53 p.m., 30.10 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.00 at 4:53 p.m.

I fished a 100-acre community reservoir, where the surface temperature ranged from 59 to 61 degrees. The water level was several inches above normal. The water was stained in the upper 20 percent section of this reservoir. In the lower 80 percent, it exhibited a visibility that ranged from 2 1/2 to more than four feet. Some male crappie displayed their spawning hues, as they milled around in three to five feet of water, and one green sunfish displayed its spawning hues, too. The patches of American water willows have sprung to life, and many green shoots are protruding an inch or more above the surface. All of the patches of American water willows and coontail are cluttered with filamentous algae, and every boat dock and laydown is littered with it. And it is so widespread and thick that it can foul retrieve after retrieve after retrieve.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing should take place from 3:08 a.m. to 5:08 a.m. and 3:34 p.m. to 5:34 p.m. There would be a minor period from 9:21 a.m. to 11:21 a.m. I was afloat from noon to 3:53 p.m.

The last time I fished this reservoir was March 27, when the surface temperature ranged from 47 to 52 degrees. On that outing, my cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I struggled to catch 29 largemouth bass. The largemouth bass fishing was not quite as difficult on April 23 as it was on March 27. I caught 32 largemouth bass, and I accidentally caught seven crappie and one jumbo green sunfish. I also elicited scores of strikes that I failed to hook, and I suspected that many of these strikes were generated by crappie.

Steep rock-laden and riprap shorelines, where the boat floated in 10 feet or more of water, were relatively fruitless. They yielded only two largemouth bass.

Offshore humps failed to yield any largemouth bass.

Flat shorelines in the upper half of the reservoir, where the boat floated in four to eight feet of water, were the most rewarding locales. These shorelines are graced with patches of coontail, American water willows, and boat docks. All of the aquatic vegetation and objects along these shorelines are heavily littered with filamentous algae.

A Z-Man’s watermelon-red Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a rather aggressive swim-glide-and-shake presentation, which allowed it to travel above the globs of filamentous algae, caught 21 largemouth bass. The shake portion of the retrieve was constant and moderately executed.

Four largemouth bass were caught on the initial fall of the Hula StickZ. Two of them were caught around the outside edges of boat docks. The other two were caught a few feet from the water’s edge and adjacent to globs of filamentous algae.

The bulk of the largemouth bass that were caught on the flat shorelines were caught 10 to 20 feet from the water’s edge in three to five feet of water.

At two locations along these flat shorelines, I caught three largemouth bass in three consecutive casts and retrieves, and at four locations, I caught two largemouth bass in two consecutive casts and retrieves. Then I made many casts and retrieves at similar looking lairs along these shorelines without eliciting a strike. In short, it was what some anglers describe as helter-skelter fishing.

A Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught six largemouth bass. A shortened Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught three largemouth bass. A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught two largemouth bass. These baits were retrieved with the aggressive swim-glide-and-shake presentation. When I employed the Finesse WormZ and Finesse ShadZ rigs, the shake was constant and more vigorously executed than the shake for the retrieves of the PB&J Finesse T.R.D. and watermelon-red Hula StickZ rigs.

Some weather forecasters are predicting that Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas will have to contend with unseasonably low temperatures until at least April 29. And severe thunderstorms might erupt during the evening hours of April 24. Hence, Midwest finesse anglers catch rates will probably be below par for the next five to seven days.

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One of the 21 largemouth bass that the Z-Man’s Hula StickZ inveigled on April 23. The Hula StickZ is affixed to its top lip.

April 26 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following log on the Finesse News Network about his April 26 outing to a 6,165-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir.

He wrote: “It has been a much needed wet spring in north-central Texas. And it appears that our five-year drought is finally coming to an end. Many of our reservoirs that were eight to 12 feet below normal pool for the past several years are now full or within a foot or two of being full.

“We received a two day reprieve from the waves of thunderstorms that have been pounding Texas over the past couple of weeks, which gave me the opportunity to get afloat from noon until about 4:00 p.m.

“When the day began, it was cloudless and sunny, but by 2:37 p.m. the sky became completely covered with clouds. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 62 degrees and the afternoon high warmed to 88 degrees. The barometric pressure was low at 28.80. The wind blew out of the south at 8 to 13 mph. More thunderstorms are forecasted during the late evening hours of April 26 and into the morning hours of April 27.

“The water’s surface temperature varied from 70 degrees to 74 degrees. The water was extremely muddy in the western half of the reservoir, and exhibited less than a foot of visibility. The eastern half was a bit clearer, exhibiting about 1 1/2 to two feet of visibility. The water level has risen from 9.75 feet below normal pool on March 20 to 2.81 feet below normal pool today. I spent all my time in the eastern portion of the reservoir and plying the clearest lairs.

“The fishing at this reservoir has been wretched since March 27, when Norman Brown of Lewisville and I eked out only four largemouth bass, two white bass, and one catfish during five hours of fishing. Many anglers in these parts suspect that the muddy water combined with the ascending water levels at our reservoirs have discombobulated the largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass that reside in our reservoirs, and the weather and water conditions may continue to confound our black bass fishing until they stabilize again.

“I fished three small clay and gravel main-lake coves that are littered with many yards of flooded shoreline vegetation. I also fished five steep rocky main-lake points along the northeastern shoreline. I wielded a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ rigged on a chartreuse Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s black-blue Finesse WormZ rigged on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

“The three small coves ringed with flooded terrestrial vegetation failed to render any strikes. I inadvertently caught one white bass in eight feet of water off the tip of one of the five main-lake points, and it engulfed the 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and retrieved with a steady swim presentation.

“After that, I fished two thirds of the riprap covered dam located on the east end of this impoundment. I tried the shortened four-inch black-blue Finesse WormZ, Junebug Finesse ShadZ, and Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D., but I failed to generate any strikes.

“I finished the outing probing the back and mid-sections of a large marina cove located just south of the dam. The center of this cove features an abundance of covered boat docks, and I found no black bass relating to them.

“The east shoreline of the marina cove is steep and comprised of various sizes of rocks, boulders, a few submerged stumps, and several thick stands of flooded shoreline vegetation. I scrounged up one largemouth bass and inadvertently caught one white bass along the mid-section of this shoeline. The largemouth bass was relating to the deep-water edge of a stand of flooded vegetation, and the white bass was holding next to a large boulder. Both of these fish were abiding in five feet of water and were inveigled by the 3 1/2-inch Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ and steady swim retrieve.

“The west shoreline of the marina cove is flatter than the east side. It is graced with five rock and gravel secondary points and bordered with a continuous wall of flooded terrestrial vegetation that extends from the water’s edge into five feet of water. This shoreline yielded two largemouth bass and 14 white bass. All of these fish were scattered along a two-hundred yard section of the middle section of this shoreline, and they were all relating to the deep-water edge of the flooded vegetation in five to seven feet of water. All of these fish were caught on the 3 1/2-inch Blue Glimmer GrubZ and steady swim retrieve.

“In sum, I struggled all afternoon to find any significant aggregation of black bass. I could coax only three largemouth bass into biting, and they were allured by the 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ on the chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and steady swim presentation. I inadvertently caught 16 white bass while I was searching for black bass, and they also struck the same 3 1/2-inch GrubZ and steady swim motif. The Z-Man’s Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. on the black Gopher jig, the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s black-blue Finesse WormZ on the blue 1 /32-ounce Gopher jig, and the Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig failed to render any strikes.”

 

April 26 log

Dave Mull of Paw Paw, Michigan, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his April 26 outing, which was his third one of 2015. Until this outing, he had caught only two smallmouth bass.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report.

We finally have legal catch-and-release bass season year-round on most waterways in Michigan. And on April 26 I took advantage of this new regulation and fished a 40-acre lake in the vicinity of Bloomingdale, Michigan, where I had a lot of fun in the howling wind with my kayak.

Even though scattered clouds floated overhead, the sun shone brightly. According to the National Weather Service, the wind angled out of the north, northeast, and northwest at 7 to 20 mph. The NWS reported that it was 31 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 59 degrees at 4:53 p.m.

The surface temperature was 55 degrees.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicted that the best fishing would occur from 6:04 a.m. to 8:04 a.m. and 6:27 p.m. to 8:27 p.m. There was a minor period from 11:53 a.m. to 1:53 p.m. I fished from 4:00 p.m.until 6:00 p.m.

Because of the wind and waves, I had to employ the anchor a lot. I found a patch of emergent lily pads on the south side of the lake that was entertaining some largemouth bass, and I caught nine of them. I explored other parts of this lake, but this was the only area where I could catch any largemouth bass. Unfortunately, they were small in stature. One was a 12-incher, and the other eight were less than 12 inches long. And I elicited a lot of strikes, which I failed to hook.

I started the outing by employing a Z-Man’s Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, but I don’t have the knack for hooking fish with that little No. 6 hook. But it might have been the wispy St. Croix trout rod I was throwing it on, or it might have been the strong wind making it difficult to keep contact with the jig and Finesse T.R.D., or it might have been plain old rust on my part. Whatever it was, I missed several bites, and I caught only two small largemouth bass on that 1/32-ounce jig and Finesse T.R.D. I caught one largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a purple 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I caught four largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s New Money Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a 1/16-ounce green-pumpkin Ozark Finesse Head jig, which is made by Dave Reeves of Lansing, Kansas.

On my way back to the ramp, I employed some power tactics and caught two largemouth bass on a Strike King Lure Company’s Red Eye Shad.

Two other kayakers were on the lake for the same amount of time as I was, and they didn’t catch a fish.

April 27 log

Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I fished a 416-acre community reservoir on April 27. This is the 117th day of 2015, but it was the first time that we have fished together this year. The reason why we haven’t fished together is twofold: Steve has been periodically waylaid with a severe bout with atrial fibrillation. And on those days when he felt like fishing, the weather was awful.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 40 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 66 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the north and northeast at 3 to 25 mph and out of the east at 13 to 16 mph. During the daylight hours the sun was shining everywhere. The barometric pressure was 30.04 at 12:53 a.m., 30.11 at 5:53 a.m., 30.15 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.09 at 2:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be about 18 inches below normal. The surface temperature ranged from 58 degrees to 61 degrees. The water was exceptionally clear, and Desch, who used to live at Table Rock, Missouri, and regularly fished with Stacey King of Reeds Spring, Missouri, described it as Table Rock or Ozark clear. Many locales were cluttered with filamentous algae, which fouled many of our presentations. Two feeder-creek arms in the upper half of the reservoir were adorned with massive patches of curly-leaf pondweed. Some of the winter-dead American water willow patches were sprouting green growth.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 6:28 a.m. to 8:28 a.m. and 6:50 p.m. to 8:50 p.m. There was a minor period from 12:17 a.m. to 2:17 a.m. We fished from 10:20 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Since late August of 2014, the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass at this reservoir have confounded Desch and me, as well as a number of savvy Midwest finesse anglers. For instance, I fished it on April 13, when the surface temperature was 58 degrees, and I eked out only four largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass.

Some of these woes might stem from the largemouth bass virus that has been working its dastardly ways at this reservoir for several years. Another factor might revolve around the aftereffects rendered by the two years of drought that wacked northeastern Kansas in 2012 and 2013. But on our April 27 outing, Desch and I noticed that there were a few subtle hints that the past nine months of woeful fishing might be coming to an end.

Desch and I caught nine largemouth bass and 18 smallmouth bass, as well as incidentally catching two rainbow trout, two crappie, and one white bass. We had more than a dozen strikes from fish that we failed to hook. We failed to land three fish that we hooked but did not see before they liberated themselves. We failed to land three smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass when they liberated themselves as they executed an aerial somersault.

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Steve Desch with two of the 18 smallmouth bass that we caught.

Our two most effective baits were a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig and a slightly customized Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ouince Gopher jig caught one largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass. A four-inch green-pumpkin grub on a red 1/8-ounce round jig caught one largemouth bass. A Z-Man’s Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. caught one largemouth bass.
If the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass didn’t engulf the bait on the initial drop, the most effective presentation was a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, which was retrieved from six to 12 inches above the bottom. Dragging and strolling was often a problematic endeavor because the filamentous algae would cling to our finesse baits. But Steve did catch a couple of black bass by employing the stroll presentation.

We caught five smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass adjacent to deep water. Four of those smallmouth bass were extracted from a submerged rock fence, and they were located many yards off of the shoreline in three to six feet of water. Along this fence, the boat floated in nine to 20 feet of water, and 30 feet of water was nearby. One smallmouth bass was caught on a relatively steep main-lake point, where the boat floated in 14 feet of water. The two largemouth bass were caught along steep shorelines, where the boat floated in 10 to 15 feet of water. Steep shorelines and deep-water haunts, however, were not as productive as flat ones. The bulk of the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass were caught along flat shorelines where the boat was floating in three to eight feet of water.

The upper half of this reservoir yielded more largemouth bass and smallmouth bass than the lower half yielded. The most fruitful shoreline in the upper half of the reservoir was located towards the backend of the primary feeder-creek arm. A few of the largemouth bass that we caught along that shoreline were associated with or adjacent to a laydown, but not every laydown yielded a largemouth bass. The second most fruitful shoreline in the upper half of the reservoir was halfway inside a small secondary feeder-creek arm. We dissected areas similar to these two fruitful ones with meager to zero results.

In sum, it was far from being a stellar outing. In fact, it was vexing and perplexing at times. We fished for many minutes and made untold numbers of casts and retrieves without garnering a strike. Nevertheless, we caught an average of 6.5 black bass an hour, which is considerably better than I accomplished during two previous outings this year. As Desch and I ended this outing, we possessed a touch of hope that when the surface temperature reaches 65 degrees in early May that we will be able to catch at least 12 black bass an hour at this reservoir, which is still a far cry from what it used to be.

April 28 log

Dave Mull of Paw Paw, Michigan, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his April 28 outing.
Here is an edited and condensed version of his report.

I left work at 5:45 p.m. with the intentions of fishing a new-to-me lake; there are 19 with DNR ramps within a 12-mile circumference of my domicile, and I have fished six. But because of the wind and because I was still worn out from battling the breeze in my Hobie on April 26, I decided to go to an 80-acre lake that’s fairly well surrounded by hills near Lawton, Michigan. This was my third open-water trip to this lake, and my first one this year.

It had been cloudy and breezy all day, but the sun broke through as I was launching shortly after 6:00 p.m. The air temperature was 45 degrees. The surface temperature at the boat ramp with the northwest wind blowing in was 52 degrees, but 50 to 51 degrees everywhere else.

The lake’s deepest spot is 34 feet. It is shaped like a cereal bowl that is ringed with a small fringe of flats and a steep drop off. It does have one large flat at its west end, and that’s where I caught most of the fish. I spent the most time there as it was out of the wind.

It is a clear lake, and during the summer, it is embellished with a healthy growth of aquatic vegetation, but on this outing, the vegetation was scant. I did find a few patches of coontail and one bed of cabbage, but this vegetation was not clearly associated with any of the 11 largemouth I caught (nor the four that came unhinged) in the hour and 45 minutes that I fished.

I began the outing by employing a Z-Man’s Chatterbait, which is a power tactic. But once it became clear that I was dragging that beast through water without much cover, I switched over to a Z-Man’s New Money Finesse T.R.D. on a 1/16-ounce green-pumpkin Ozark Finesse Head that had caught four fish the day before. I used it on an ultra-light seven-foot St. Croix Trout Rod, which is the same outfit that I had trouble hooking fish with while I was using the 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with the Finesse T.R.D. The spinning reel on this rod is spooled with 10-pound braid with an eight-pound-test fluorocarbon leader.

All the largemouth bass, which ranged in size from dinks to a 20-incher, were caught on flats in about seven feet of water.

I used a variety of retrieves. The most effective one was the swim-glide-and-shake presentation, but several of the largemouth bass engulfed the Finesse T.R.D. on the initial fall.

April 30 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following log on the Finesse News Network about his April 30 outing with Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, to a 74,753-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir, where they pursued smallmouth bass. They fished this reservoir for seven hours on April 20 and caught 18 smallmouth bass.

Reideler wrote: “It was a beautiful spring day. The sun was shining everywhere from an indigo-blue sky. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 56 degrees and the afternoon high warmed to 81 degrees. A light breeze occasionally meandered out of the northwest at 3 to 5 mph, and during most of the afternoon, it was calm. The barometric pressure measured 29.91.

“In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated the best fishing should take place from 8:27 a.m. to 10:27 a.m. and 8:48 p.m. to 10:48 p.m. A minor period occurred from 2:12 a.m. to 4:12 a.m. Norman and I were afloat from about 10:15 a.m. to about 4:15 p.m.

“The water was clear, exhibiting 10 to 13 feet of visibility. The water temperature varied from 66 degrees to 70 degrees. The water level has continued to rise from 2.02 feet below normal pool on April 20 to 0.04 feet above normal pool today. This is the first day that this reservoir has been at full capacity since March of 2010. This change in water level also increased the surface acreage of this reservoir from 69,806 acres on April 20 to its current and normal level of 74,753 acres.

“This is one of just two reservoirs in north-central Texas with a significant population of smallmouth bass. The other is a 5,170-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ impoundment, and its smallmouth bass population is just beginning to take hold after several years of stocking smallmouth fingerlings by the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife. And this one is the only one where the smallmouth bass population is large enough to intentionally target them.

“Norman and I began the outing fishing the east shoreline of a small marina cove. This cove’s shorelines are mostly flat and endowed with three rocky secondary points, two rock ledges, an abundance of fist-sized rocks, some gravel, a few scattered stumps, and some flooded shoreline vegetation in the backend of the cove. We employed a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Smoke Hologram GrubZ on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The GrubZ was presented with a steady swimming retrieve and a hop-and-bounce retrieve, and it produced just one strike, and that fish was missed on the hook set. The 2 1/2-inch PB&J ZinkerZ was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake motif, and it failed to entice any bites.

“We then made a short run to the riprap-laden dam that is situated in the southeast corner of the reservoir. We spent four of the six hours of this outing here. When we arrived, the light breeze disappeared and the surface of the water became as smooth as glass, and in our eyes, these conditions combined with the clear water and bright sunshine made fishing very slow and difficult.

“This area relinquished 14 smallmouth bass. Five of them were caught in five to seven feet of water and were relating to the riprap on the face of the dam. Two were caught off the rocky bottom at the base of the dam in 18 to 20 feet of water. The other seven bass were caught about 15 feet from the water’s edge in about eight to 12 feet of water. Ten smallmouths were enticed into striking a Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Finesse T.R.D. on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was worked in a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, but one bass was able to pull free before we could land it. Two were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ rigged on a brown 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One was caught on a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man’s green -pumpkin BatwingZ on a brown 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and hop-and-bounce retrieve. One smallmouth bass was caught on a customized 2 3/16-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin FattyZ tube on a brown 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and hop-and-bounce presentation. Another one was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and swim-glide-shake action. We also tried strolling the Mud Minnow Finesse T.R.D. and green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ parallel to the face of the dam in 13 to 21 feet of water. We had one strike on the strolled Finesse T.R.D. but we missed the fish on the hook set.

We finished the afternoon plying three rocky main-lake points just west of the dam. One point surrendered two smallmouths that were dwelling in six to eight feet of water and were caught on a Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Finesse T.R.D. on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and swim-glide-shake retrieve. The second point failed to relinquish any bass. The third point yielded three smallmouth bass that were abiding in six to eight feet of water, and they were coaxed into striking the Mud Minnow Finesse T.R.D. and swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

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Norman Brown with one  of the 20 north-central Texas smallmouth bass that he and Steve Reideler caught on April 30.

“All told, Norman and I tangled with 20 smallmouth bass but landed 19 of them. The Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Finesse T.R.D. inveigled 14 smallmouth bass. Two were caught on the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ. The Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ, customized 2 3/16-inch green-pumpkin FattyZ tube, and green-pumpkin BatwingZ enticed one bass each. We also tried several different colors of Z-Man’s Hula StickZs, shortened four-inch Finesse WormZs, 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZs, and 2 1/2-inch Slim SwimZs, but they failed to garner any strikes.

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Steve Reideler with one of the smallmouth bass that he and Norman Brown caught of April 30.

 

Endnotes:

Here is a link to a YouTube video by Don Baldridge of Springfield, Missouri: https://youtu.be/Un0IVHqfPvQ .

Baldridge is a regular contributor to the Finesse News Network. His video features his modified Midwest-finesse tactics at a central Missouri water-supply reservoir. He is afloat in what old-time Midwest finesse anglers call a state-of-the-art belly boat. In his video, he showcased a Classic Colorado XTS pontoon/kick boat.

During the pioneering days of Midwest finesse fishing, belly boats or tubes played a significant role. In fact, one of the pioneers is Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, and he said on April 12 that he still relishes climbing into his tube, and during the past month, Reese has climbed into his tube quite often, and he has caught several hundred largemouth bass by belly boating and wielding a Z-Man’s Canada Craw Hula StickZ on a 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Don Baldridge created two more YouTube videos in April.

On April 14, he fished with David Reeves of Lansing, Kansas at a 43,100-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in the Missouri Ozarks. They were afloat for eight to nine hours, and they fished for about six of those hours. They caught a combination of 50 largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass. Their most productive baits were a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ on a 1/8-ounce mushroom-style jig that Reeves makes and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse ZinkerZ on Reeves’ 1/8-ounce mushroom-style jig, which he calls Ozark Finesse Heads. They had to battle the wind, and when they sought shelter from it inside a cove, they crossed paths with a bevy of black bass. Some of them were close to the shoreline, but the majority were abiding in 15 to 20 feet of water, and they wanted the ZinkerZ rig jiggling and dragging right on the bottom. Here is the link to this video: https://youtu.be/iACYTyUzTlU.

He fished with Reeves again on April 23 at the same 43,100-acre Ozark reservoir. They were afloat for eight to nine hours, and they fished for about six of those hours. Despite the recent rounds of rain, hail and high winds, as well as very cool and windy weather, they caught a combination of 60 largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass, as well as one goggle eye. Their most productive baits were a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a 1/8-ounce mushroom-style jig that Reeves makes and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse ZinkerZ on Reeves’ 1/8-ounce mushroom-style jig. Here is the link to this video: https://youtu.be/9n10fO6R4tk.

 

 

 

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