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A four-inch Z-Man Fishing Products’ Finesse WormZ affixed to a 1/32-ounce Gopher Tackle’s Mushroom Head Jig is one of the most effective Midwest finesse baits in northeastern Kansas in August.

This month’s guide to Midwest finesse fishing features 24 logs and 19,871 words that focus on the piscatorial endeavors and observations of Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas; Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia; Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas; Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina; Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, and Sioux Narrows, Ontario, Canada; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; and me.

We are thankful that Steve Reideler proof read all of the logs and words, and he made them more readable and understandable.

Aug. 3 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted the following log on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 3 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed rendition of his log:

This morning I was dragging a bit from working three twelve-hour days in a row. I needed some time on the water. The last time that I last fished was on July 30, and I had a great outing.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the river was flowing at 100 cubic feet per second and dropping. The water temperature was 76 degrees and climbing.

All weekend I knew exactly where I was going to venture to today, which is a four-mile long area that I call: “The August run.” It has produced both numbers and size for me over the past seven Augusts when the river is flowing at or less than 100 cubic feet per second.

This stretch of river is well shaded on the strong side all day long. It has an average depth of three feet. The bottom is covered with bathtub sized boulders. The weak side is knee deep or less and the fish are easily spooked. Water clarity is easily eight feet right now.

In August, the smallmouth bass in this stretch tend to congregate heavily. It is not unusual to see three to four followers with every smallmouth bass that we hook.

I decided to make a go of it on foot and travel lite. I put one G. Loomis Trout Series Spinning Rod in the truck, a handful of 1/32-ounce Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head Jigs, my Camelback, wading shoes, a bottle of Pro-Cure’s Garlic Crawfish Super Gel, and 20 assorted Z –Man Fishing Products’ soft-plastic baits. Because the water was so low and clear, my reel was spooled with Gamma’s four-pound-test fluorocarbon line, which produces a slower drop or fall rate than braided line does.
When I made my first step into the water at 10:35 a.m., it was a non- muggy 85 degrees and the sun was shining everywhere. I walked upstream for 45 minutes before I made my first cast.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 1:20 a.m. to 3:20 a.m., 1:47 p.m. to 3:47 p.m., and 7:33 a.m. to 9:33 a.m. I fished a total of 5 1/2 hours.

I began the outing by wielding my heavily customized Z-Man’s EZ TubeZ that was affixed to an inserted burnt-orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. I employed three different colors of this baby EZ TubeZ: Goby, California Craw and Canada Craw. My casts were inches off the strong-side shorelines. Most of the fish hit as soon as the tube hit the water. Others engulfed it on a glide-and-shake retrieve.

I caught 38 smallmouth bass, 11 big bluegill, and 10 big rock bass on the tube. Seven of the smallmouth bass were in the 17-inch range.

At the halfway point, I affixed a 2 1/2 inch Z-Man’s pumpkin Finesse T.R.D. to the burnt-orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. I retrieved this rig by polishing the rocks down and across current with an occasional shake. This tactic caught 21 smallmouth bass, seven largemouth bass, and 11 bluegill. One smallmouth approached 18 inches.

On my initial walk up river, I hooked my season’s biggest smallmouth thus far. The fish hit the baby tube on the drop in about four feet of water before I even had my bail manually closed. It ran right at me and I did everything I could to catch up to it. I felt the weight and saw the fish. I know where she lives.

Aug. 5 log

Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, and Sioux Narrow, Ontario, Canada, file a brief on the Finesse News Network entitled “Tough to Pattern.”

Here is an edited and condensed rendition of his log:

After Andy Flack of Lake Waukomis, Missouri, and I caught 116 smallmouth bass on Aug. 4, I slept in and decided to do the Ned Kehde routine of fishing four midday hours on July 5.

I need to preface this by explaining that there are two distinct areas to the section of the Lake of the Woods that I fish. The area around Sioux Narrows is extremely clear and deep with water approaching 200 feet and most of the lake trout are in this area. About 12 miles out from Sioux Narrows is what we call the brown-water area, and it is the primary area for walleye fishing. The brown-water area tends to not have a lot of smelt, and the smallmouth bass tend to stay shallower. Because the wind was light, I decided to head to the brown water.

The plan was to fish new areas for four hours, which is one of my favorite things to do. Then on the way home, I was going to stop and fish a reef-and-ditch combination that I haven’t fished for five years for some walleye.

The smallmouth bass fishing went well and I caught 61 in the allotted four hours. Z-Man’s pearl blue glimmer 3 1/2-inch GrubZ on a 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig was the best rig early, but as the day wore on, Z-Man’s Finesse T.R.D. on a 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig seemed to be more effective. I do not know the name of the color; it is a new one, and it is green-pumpkin with purple and gold flakes. All of these fish were caught in one to 12 feet of water.

I then went to my walleye reef and tried to find the ditch. Much to my chagrin, the tree that I used to triangulate the spot was gone. What’s more, the wind was picking up speed. So, I decided to go out on the reef, which is 22 feet deep on top and it lies about a quarter of a mile from any shoreline. The far north end of it generally holds walleye where it drops abruptly from 28 feet to 37 feet. I had a way point marking the spot so it was easy to find in the wind. I was fishing a Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ on a 1/6-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. As I fished it from 28 feet of water into the deeper confines, I had a strike, and it seemed to be the toughest fighting walleye I have ever tangled with. As I finally got it to the surface, I realized why it was fighting so hard: It was a three-pound smallmouth bass. I caught two more smallmouth bass in quick order, and both of them weighed more than two pounds, and they were extracted out of water that was deeper than 28 feet. Then as the Finesse ShadZ got into 31 feet of water, it caught several nice-sized walleye.

This is a huge lake, and when the bass are spread from one foot of water to 30 feet of water and from the shoreline to a quarter mile off shoreline, it makes putting a pattern on smallmouth bass a challenge.

By the way, the Kenora Bass International tournament starts today. Add to that it is pouring rain, which makes me very happy to be in my nice dry cabin.

Aug 6 log

Our 10-year-old grandson from San Antonio, Texas, is coming to Lawrence, Kansas, on Aug. 11, and he wants to catch a bevy of largemouth bass.
Patty and I are still recuperating from our annual family vacation in Minnesota, where the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing were extremely lackluster for us this year. Therefore, the girls spent their time afloat catching scores of handsome black crappie, while the boys struggled mightily to tangle with the bass. The older Patty and I get the longer it takes us to recover from these delightful vacations with our children and grandchildren, and for me it is even harder when the bass fishing is trying, but I am thankful that the crappie fishing was bountiful and yielded many smiles on the faces of the girls.

Consequently, at this point, I don’t know where our 10-year-old grandson from Texas can catch that bevy of bass he is hoping to tangle with. I talked to several knowledgeable anglers hereabouts, and they reported that all of the nearby reservoirs are out of sorts. They primarily blamed Mother Nature’s rainy ways and whacky weather patterns for most of the problems.

I immediately noticed what these anglers were reporting when I spent about an hour surveying a nearby 195-acre community reservoir on Aug 4. I found it to be stained and plagued with an ugly algae bloom. There were a couple of dead bluegill and largemouth bass floating on the surface, as well as a disease-ridden carp that looked as if it was dying. The water was so disgusting looking that I couldn’t muster an adequate amount of wherewithal to fish it earnestly. Consequently, I caught only two largemouth bass. I caught one of them on a Z-Man’s black-blue-flake BatwingZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in about three feet of water, and a another one on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig in about five feet of water. One was caught along the eastern shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm, and the other one was caught along the west shoreline in the same feeder creek. Both shorelines are lined with thick patches of American water willows.

On Aug. 6, I ventured to a 180-acre state reservoir, where Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I tangled with 80 largemouth bass in three hours and 20 minutes on July 16.

This reservoir is not affected with an algae bloom. The water exhibited three to five feet of visibility. The water level was normal. The surface temperature ranged from 82 to 84 degrees. Most of the massive patches of bushy pondweed that embellished many locales on July 16 had disappeared, but the American pondweed is flourishing. And there are, however, some patches of coontail. To my eyes at the boat ramp, this reservoir looked to be considerably better than the one I spent the hour upon on Aug. 4. But I quickly discovered that looks are deceiving, and the sorry largemouth bass fishing that I and my family have been enduring for more than two weeks continues to endure.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 66 degrees at 2:52 a.m. and 83 degrees at 1:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the northwest at 7 mph, out of the west at 3 mph, out of the southeast at 3 to 12 mph, out of the east at 7 mph, and occasionally it was nil. Throughout the day, the NWS described the sky as being fair, foggy and misty, mostly cloudy, and littered with a few clouds. The barometric pressure was 29.94 at 12:53 a.m., 29.93 at 5:52 a.m., 29.96 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.87 at 1:52 p.m., and I didn’t locate a bevy of largemouth bass. In fact, I caught only 26 largemouth bass, and they were scatter hither and yon, which makes for some frustrating fishing for all of our grandkids and me.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing should occur from 4:24 a.m. to 6:24 a.m., 4:51 p.m. to 6:51 p.m., and 10:37 a.m. to 12:37 p.m. I was a float from 10:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Our 10- year-old grandson prefers to ply rocky and riprap shorelines. Therefore, I spent a lot of time plying the dam and five riprap jetties, which yielded only six largemouth bass. And those six largemouth bass were caught on five different Midwest finesse baits: a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s California Craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to an orange 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, a slightly shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed sideways on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I employed all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves, and all but the straight-swim presentation caught a largemouth bass. These six largemouth bass were caught in water as shallow as two feet and as deep as six feet.

I also dissected three main-lake points and one secondary point, which are graced with patches of American pondweed. The secondary point is embellished with a massive cedar tree. These four points yielded seven largemouth bass. Two of them were on caught on the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two were caught on the slightly shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Three were caught on the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. They were caught in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as eight feet. They were allured either by a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve or straight-swim presentation.

The other 13 largemouth bass were caught by plying shorelines and flats that are graced with American pondweed and a few cedar trees. These largemouth bass were caught on either the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. They were retrieved with the straight-swim retrieve.

At times during some Augusts of the past, the largemouth bass that abide in the small flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas have exhibited a preference for either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s ZinkerZ or shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Finesse WormZ affixed to a 3/32-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. And there have been spells when they have displayed a hankering for a 2 3/4-inch Junebug tube with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. Here’s hoping those two tactics will get me out of the largemouth bass slump that I have endured for the past two weeks. And upon reading Drew Reese’s “Tough to Pattern” report on July 5 from Lake of the Woods, where he and Andy Flack of Kansas City, Missouri, tangled with 116 smallmouth bass on July 4 and Drew tangled with 61 smallmouth bass in four hours on July 5, I became envious, which is a terrible flaw to endure when one is battling a slump.

Aug. 7 log

The gist of this July 7 outing at a 416-acre community was the same as the one that I conducted for an hour on Aug. 4 at a 195-acre community reservoir and for three hours and 45 minutes on July 6 at 180-acre state reservoir, and that was to find a bevy of largemouth bass that our 10-year-old grandson from San Antonio, Texas, can catch when he visits us during the second week of August.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 71 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 91 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The NWS noted that the condition of the sky alternated throughout the day from being fair, overcast, mostly cloudy, partly cloudy, and hazy. The wind angled out of the southeast at 5 mph, out of the south at 5 mph, out of the northeast at 5 to 7 mph, out of the north at 9 mph, and it was calm and variable for about seven hours. The barometric pressure was 29.86 at 12:53 a.m., 29.85 at 5:53 a.m., 29.90 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.80 at 1:53 p.m.
The water level looked to be normal. The water was clear, exhibiting six feet or more of visibility. The surface temperature fluctuated from 84 to 85 degrees. All of the patches of American water willows that line the shoreline of this reservoir were in the water, and the outside edge of some of those patches had more than three feet of water along them. In addition to the American water willows, this reservoir is graced with oodles of patches of American pondweed, bushy pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil, as well as some curly-leaf pondweed and coontail. The patches of pondweeds, milfoil, and coontail are flourishing in three to eight feet of the water, and they parallel most of the shorelines, and they grace two of the reservoir’s offshore humps.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would transpire from 5:20 a.m. to 7:20 a.m., 5:46 p.m. to 7:46 p.m., and 11:09 a.m. to 1:09 p.m. I fished from 11:30 a.m. to 2:05 p.m., and I caught 21 largemouth bass and 21 smallmouth bass. This catch would not win a tournament nor make a television show, but I think they would tickle our grandson’s fancy. So, it looks as if one of our outings will take place at this waterway.

A slightly shortened Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught 40 of the 42 bass. And a Z-Man’s California Craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught two of them.

I spent the entire outing in the lower section of this reservoir.

Inside a feeder-creek arm, I fished a short bluff that is graced with patches of submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation, and it yielded one smallmouth bass along the inside edge of the submerged vegetation.

I fished five main-lake points. All of them were embellished with patches of submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation. A massive boat dock adorned a portion of one of the points, and the outside edge and corner of that dock yielded three largemouth bass, and the rock-laden area of that point yielded one smallmouth bass. Another point yielded two smallmouth bass. Another point yielded three largemouth bass. At two points, I failed to garner a strike.

The submerged aquatic vegetation along a flat shoreline yielded six smallmouth bass, and they were extracted from the outside edge of the vegetation.

The many patches of submerged aquatic vegetation along the dam yielded nine smallmouth bass and one largemouth. The largemouth bass was caught on the Z-Man’s California Craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig along the outside edge of the submerged vegetation. The slightly shortened Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught seven of the smallmouth bass along the inside edge of the submerged vegetation, and two of the smallmouth bass were caught along the outside edge of the submerged vegetation.

A main-lake bluff yielded two smallmouth bass and 12 largemouth bass. The Z-Man’s California Craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught one of the smallmouth bass along a section that was devoid of submerged vegetation, and the slightly shortened Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught the one smallmouth bass and the 12 largemouth bass around patches of American pondweed and bushy pondweed.

The Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught four largemouth bass along an offshore rocky ridge that is embellished with a variety of pondweeds and some milfoil.

A significant number of the smallmouth bass and a few of the largemouth bass engulfed the Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig on the initial drop. The largemouth bass and smallmouth bass that didn’t engulf it if on the initial drop engulfed it while I employed either a straight-swim presentation or the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Aug. 7 endnotes: It needs to be noted that Bob Brown of Springfield, Missouri, who designs and builds rods for Lew’s, used to spend a lot of time in northeastern Kansas in the 1990s. During those days, he was instrumental in helping the late Eldon Bailey of Lawrence, Kansas, create the Bailey Magnet and Bailey Magnet Magnum. Back in those days, the three of us used to fish together occasionally. During the late winter of 2014-15 and spring of 2015, Brown became a Midwest finesse aficionado, and during this spell, he created a Lew’s rod that he designed for anglers to wield a Z-Man’s 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ, Finesse ShadZ, Hula StickZ, Finesse T.R.D., 3 1/2-inch GrubZ , or other small soft-plastic baits that we affix to a small mushroom-style jig. Nowadays, he is also a member of the Finesse News Network. Several days ago, he emailed me, saying that he was going to try to get me out of the 1970s and into the 21st Century by sending me a new rod and reel to replace my vintage Cardinal Four spinning reels and short spinning rods. Brown’s package arrived yesterday. And on this July 7 outing, I wielded the slightly shortened Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and the Z-Man’s California Craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on Brown’s creation, and it is Lew’s TP167MLFS rod. It is six feet, seven inches long with a medium-light power and fast action. I also employed a Lew’s T200 Tournament Speed Spin reel that is spooled with Lew’s eight-pound-test APT Speed Braid with a six-pound-test Lew’s APT Speed Fluorocarbon leader. My Cardinal Four spinning reels have a manual bail, and occasionally when I am fishing with Patty, my wife, and some of our kids and grandkids, I use one of their spinning reels, which have bails, but this was the longest that I used a reel with a bail, and straightaway, I felt as if Brown had jettisoned me into the 21st Century, and his long and light rods helped me carry into the modern piscatorial world, too.

Brown noted in his email that Peter Thliveros of Jacksonville, Florida, used a prototype of this rod with one of the basic Midwest finesse lures to garner a seventh-place finish at the Walmart FLW Tour event at Beaver Lake, Arkansas, on April 23, 2015. And Brown has been using this rod and Midwest finesse lures at Bull Shoals, Lake of the Ozarks, and Table Rock this year, and he has been enjoying the time of his life.
Aug. 8 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 8 outing with his wife.

Here is an edited and condensed rendition of his log:

My head is still spinning a bit as I type this report.

After we tended to our household chores and a very thick morning fog finally disappeared, my wife and I decided to launch our Jackson Tuna kayak today on a stretch of river that we both adore this time of year. We were afloat at 10:00 a.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing should transpire from 6:02 a.m. to 8:02 a.m., 6:28 p.m. to 8:28 p.m., and 11:48 a.m. to 1:48 p.m.

The United States Geological Survey reported that the river was flowing at 85 cubic feet per second. The last time I fished it was flowing at 100 FPS. The water temperature was 78 degrees. Water clarity was glass clear. Water levels were the lowest they have been all season. The air temperature was a non-muggy 81 degrees.

Ten minutes after our launch, we enjoyed a bear sighting, and we watched this large specimen make its way across the river. Fifteen minutes later we watched a beautiful bald eagle fly overhead.

We decided to go directly to a very deep and clear run, where there is 25 feet of water tight against the canyon walls.

We fished this half-mile stretch very meticulously for 80 minutes. My wife caught 17 smallmouth bass and 11 giant bluegill on a three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. I caught 15 smallmouth and seven big bluegill on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Dirt ZinkerZ on a burnt-orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. We retrieved both rigs with a very slow lift-and-drop presentation that was punctuated with some occasional shakes.

None of the smallmouth bass were as big as we had hoped. We figured that with the season’s lowest water levels that the bigger specimens would have been present in this deep-water area. Therefore, we decided to make our way back down the river and fish different locales. We parked the canoe and waded when we came upon a section of riffles where we could not see the bottom. And to our delight, these heavily oxygenated riffles that were three feet deep and embellished with boulders the size of a bath tub were entertaining ranks of smallmouth bass. And from these riffles, we caught 57 smallmouth bass, 20 bluegill, and 11 big rock bass in about 4 1/2 hours.

I caught 31 smallmouth bass on the heavily customized two-inch Z-Man’s Canada Craw EZ TubeZ on a burnt-orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, which was inserted into the EZ TubeZ at times and exposed at times, depending on the depth of the water. My wife caught 26 smallmouth bass on the three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

At one spot, we began walking the kayak up river. I stopped to make a cast tight against a steep cliff and got snagged on a very shallow ledge. I stopped to get into my jig box and tie on another customized EZ TubeZ rig. My wife proceeded to wade up the river and catch six smallmouth bass as I was re-rigging.

When I was finally ready to fish again, she was a few hundred feet in front of me, and I began fishing behind her. The area we were fishing has a sheer cliff on the right hand side and ankle deep water on the weak side. The river narrows considerably in this 30-yard stretch. And it had the most current we had seen all day.

As I parked the kayak, my wife was still catching smallmouth bass.

What transpired next still has me reliving it as I type this report.

I made a cast tight against the canyon wall with the heavily customized two-inch Z-Man’s California Craw EZ TubeZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. As the tube plummeted into three feet of water, I shook it once. Then the tight drag on my reel started to scream. I immediately began back reeling. The fish jumped twice. My wife could not believe her eyes. Immediately, she began walking back to me, and she had her cellphone ready to take a photograph.

When I got this very strong fish to within eight feet of me, it executed one more head shake on the surface, and at that point, I was within three feet of it, and I had my hand in the water ready to lip it. At that point, I also noticed that there was a 19-inch smallmouth bass accompanying the monster. Then that monster executed another head shake in the current, and my tube went one way, and the monster went the other way, and I just looked to the heavens.

This fish was the biggest river smallmouth I have ever hooked, and I have been blessed with plenty of them in my lifetime. I am guessing that it was a 23-incher. I could not believe my eyes when I first saw it. My wife was stunned by the sight, too. There is no doubt that it was the biggest smallmouth she has ever seen.

On the two-cast-wide and remote rivers that we fish, it was a once in a lifetime fish.

Not only was I delighted to see such a specimen, but I was pleased it engulfed my heavily customized Z-Man’s EZ TubeZ.

This scene transpired a mile from our house. I doubt that I will get much sleep tonight as this monster dances in my head.

Aug. 9 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 9 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed rendition of his log:

After I lost my wrestling match on Aug. 8 with the biggest river smallmouth bass that I have ever wrestled with, I knew that the best remedy was to go fishing. So I did.
When I stepped in the water at 8:30 on this gorgeous morning, I had only one area that I was interested in and that of course was where my heart was broken yesterday. It was sunny and a non-humid 78 degrees.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the river was flowing at 80 cubic feet per second. The water was crystal clear.
In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing should transpire from 6:50 a.m. to 8:50 a.m., 7:17 p.m. to 9:17 p.m., and 12:37 p.m. to 2:37 p.m.

I wanted to keep this outing simple: I didn’t take the kayak. I decided to rig a couple of old Charlie Brewer’s Slider Company’s spinning rods, a bottle of Pro-Cure’s Garlic Crawfish Super Gel, a handful of Gopher jigs, and a bag of Z-Man soft-plastic baits.

I got to my intended spot about 30 minutes after I stepped into the water. Then I fished for 90 minutes.

I began fishing by wading upstream and employing a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s dirt colored ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. This rig caught 14 smallmouth bass and three big bluegill.

Then I fished back down river, dissecting the same water that I fished with the ZinkerZ rig, but this time I worked with a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a burnt orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. This rig caught five smallmouth bass, including an 18-incher, which looked to be the one that was following the behemoth that I lost on Aug. 8.

Every fish was caught while I employed a very slow do-nothing retrieve that cruised just inches above the boulders. There were no rod tip lifts and drops; the baits were moved by slowly rotating the reel handle.

It was a fun 90 minutes.

Aug. 11 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, noted in his latest log that he enjoyed 90-minutes of fun on Aug. 9 while wading and tangling with 19 smallmouth bass. And on Aug. 11, James Cox, who is our 10-year-old grandson from San Antonio, Texas, and I enjoyed 90-minutes of fun at a 416-acre community reservoir, where we tangled with 10 smallmouth bass and nine largemouth bass.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 66 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 84 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the north at 3 to 8 mph and out of the northeast at 12 to 13 mph. It was sunny. The barometric pressure was 30.10 at 12:53 a.m., 30.15 at 5:53 a.m., 30.22 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.20 at 1:57 p.m.

The surface temperature was 83 degrees. The water level looked to be normal. The water exhibited more than six feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing should transpire from 8:32 a.m. to 10:32 a.m., 8:57 p.m. to 10:57 p.m., and 2:19 a.m. to 4:19 a.m. We fished from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

James has tremendous hand-and-eye coordination, which makes him an accurate caster for a 10-year-old who fishes only when he visits us in Kansas. And during his third cast and retrieve, he tangled with the first largemouth bass of our outing. This largemouth bass and eight others were caught on a four-inch Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, which was presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We also garnered a half of a dozen strikes that we failed to hook and tangled with four largemouth bass that liberated themselves before they could be hoisted across the gunnels of the boat. These largemouth bass were abiding in four to six feet of water on an offshore hump that is embellished with rocks, boulders, American pondweed, bushy pondweed, curly-leaf pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil.

The second spot that we fished was a 20-yard section of the riprap along the dam, where we caught five smallmouth bass. These smallmouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the four-inch Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. These smallmouth bass were situated in about four feet of water along the inside edge of the American pondweed, bushy pondweed, curly-leaf pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil.

The third spot we fished was a flat main-lake point and shoreline that is embellished with rocks, boulders, American pondweed, bushy pondweed, curly-leaf pondweed, Eurasian milfoil, and a large dock. The Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ rig caught five more smallmouth bass and engendered several strikes that we failed to hook. These smallmouth bass were extracted from three to four feet of water. Some of them were associated with patches of bushy pondweed and milfoil, and some were abiding along a rock-laden terrain. They engulfed the Finesse WormZ rig either during the initial fall or as we were employing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Before our outing came to a close, James spotted a spot where he wanted to fish for suspended largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. It is a huge water-ski jump, which floats in deep water in the middle of a big feeder-creek arm. I have never fished it or even thought about fishing it during all of the years that I have been afloat on this reservoir. I replied to his suggestion by saying it was a great idea, and we spent the last 10 minutes of our outing pitching our Finesse WormZ rigs to the corners, edges, and inside cubby holes. We failed to garner a strike, but from now on I will make several pitches around it every time that I pass by it.

Besides fishing, we have scores of other family get-togethers to enjoy with some cousins and aunts and uncles during his six day stay, but we hope to get afloat two to three more times in the days to come.

Aug.13 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 13 outing at a 27,683-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir with Rick Allen of Dallas.

Here is an edited version of his log:

The heavy spring and early summer rains that inundated north-central Texas caused all the large reservoirs in north-central Texas to be closed since May 12. This phenomenon has essentially shut down the fishing in these parts for the past three months. Consequently, I have not fished since July 11, when I joined Ralph Manns of Rockwall, Texas, at a three-acre community reservoir behind his house. During this three-month hiatus, my wife, Nancy, and I spent our time house hunting then moving from Lewisville, Texas, to Denton, which is about 15 miles north of Lewisville.

On Aug. 13, Rick Allen of Dallas joined me for an outing at a 27,683-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir, which was recently opened.

For the past few days, Mother Nature has scorched the north-central Texas landscape with temperatures that ranged from 101 degrees to 108 degrees, and the heat indexes exceeded 110 degrees. But during this outing, it was a tad cooler. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 74 degrees and the afternoon high reached 97 degrees. The wind was mild mannered, quartering out of the east-by-northeast at 5 to 8 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.03.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar listed the optimum fishing periods occurring from 4:03 a.m. to 6:03 a.m., 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., and 10:39 p.m. to 12:39 a.m. Rick and I were afloat from about 8:00 a.m. to about 1:00 p.m.
The surface temperature was 85 degrees. The water clarity was heavily stained, varying from about a foot to 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was 3.78 feet above normal pool.

Rick and I began this five-hour undertaking inside the mouth of a cove along the midsection of the reservoir’s east tributary arm. We plied a rocky shoreline that is graced with an abundance of flooded shoreline vegetation, and we employed a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ rigged on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher Jig and a Z-Man’s blue steel Finesse ShadZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The 3 1/2-inch GrubZ was retrieved with a steady swimming presentation and the Finesse ShadZ was worked with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The boat floated in five to eight feet of water. As we plied this shoreline, a school of white bass began chasing two- and three-inch shad on the surface about 30 yards from our boat in about 17 feet of water. We quickly turned our attention to the surface-feeding white bass, but we could only catch four of them and one small largemouth bass from this school before they disappeared as quickly as they appeared. These five fish were caught on the 3 1/2-inch Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ and a fairly fast but steady swimming retrieve just below the surface.

After we finished playing around with the white bass, Rick and I returned to the shoreline where we began. We enticed one largemouth bass into striking the blue steel Finesse ShadZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation, and another largemouth into striking the 3 1/2-inch GrubZ and steady swim retrieve. Both of these bass were relating to the outside edge of the flooded vegetation in about four feet of water. We continued to work our way westward out of the cove and fished two main-lake points at the mouth of the cove, but neither one of these points yielded a strike.

Our next spot was about halfway back inside a nearby feeder-creek arm. We targeted a submerged roadbed that is bordered by a long line of standing timber inside a large cove on the north side of the feeder-creek arm. The top of the roadbed was covered with about two to three feet of water and the sides of the roadbed dropped off into eight feet of water. We kept the boat just off the side of the roadbed in about five feet of water and made long casts parallel to and over the top of the roadbed. We coaxed four largemouth bass into striking the 3 1/2-inch Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ with a steady swimming retrieve. We also tried a Z-Man’s Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Junebug colored Finesse T.R.D. rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, but these two lures went untouched.

Our next spot consisted of two rocky secondary points that are situated along the south side of the same feeder-creek arm. One point was bereft of bass, but the second point surrendered seven largemouth bass. Four of these seven largemouth bass were attracted to the 3 1/2-inch Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ and the other three were tempted by a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. Both of these grubs were presented with a moderately fast and steady swimming retrieve.

We then made a short run to the west side of the east tributary arm, where we plied three main-lake points, two large flats, and one submerged roadbed. One main-lake flat yielded one largemouth bass, which was abiding in about four feet of water, and it was fooled by the 2 1/2-inch Pearl Slim SwimZ grub and a steady swim presentation. The other large flat, three main-lake points, and the submerged roadbed failed to yield any bass.

For our next move, we made a 10-minute run to the north to a large island that is situated in the middle of the east tributary arm. The southeast side of the island relinquished two largemouth bass, and its south end surrendered two largemouth bass and one freshwater drum. Two largemouth bass were caught on the 3 1/2-inch GrubZ in about four feet of water. Two largemouth bass and the freshwater drum were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Slim SwimZ in about eight feet of water. The boat floated in 10 to 12 feet of water. The 3 1/2-inch GrubZ was presented with a steady swim retrieve, and the 2 1/2-inch Slim SwimZ was presented with a slow hop-and-bounce retrieve across the bottom.

Our last spot was a submerged stock-pond dam in the middle of a large feeder-creek arm that lies along the north end of the east tributary arm of the reservoir. The top of the pond dam is covered with about two feet of water and the sides drop off into 10 feet of water. The submerged dam is surrounded by thick stands of flooded timber and vegetation. Our boat floated in eight feet of water. We slowly worked our way along the inside and outside edges of the dam, and we caught five largemouth bass. Three largemouth bass engulfed a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and two were finagled into striking a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ threaded on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

During this entire outing, we were unable to locate the whereabouts of any keeper-sized bass. All totaled, we caught 24 largemouth bass, and not one of them would have measured over 11 inches; nevertheless, they entertained us. We also tangled with four small white bass, and we inadvertently caught one 15-inch freshwater drum, which was by far the largest fish of the day.

We spoke with a couple of other anglers at the boat ramp as we were trailering the boat. They said they were catching mostly small bass as well, but they found a few keeper-sized bass relating to brush piles in 32 to 35 feet of water.

The 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ and 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Pearl Slim SwimZ grub caught 18 of the 24 largemouth bass, four white bass, and inadvertently caught the freshwater drum. The shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ allured three largemouth bass. The 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ caught two largemouth bass, and the Z-Man’s blue steel Finesse ShadZ fooled one of them. A steady swim retrieve was the most effective presentation.

Aug. 13 and 14 log

Across the many years that we have fished with our four children and 10 grandchildren, my wife, Patty, and I have developed a theory about fishing with children. This theory focuses on the length of each of our outings, and we have discovered that shorter is always better than longer. It is also important that they catch fish.

What’s more, none of our children and grandchildren has been blessed with the inordinate piscatorial passion that afflicted me as a child in the 1940s and 1950s. Back then, it seemed as if I could fish from dawn to dusk. By fishing with our children, we have determined that those children who are not consumed with piscatorial passion should not be afloat more than two hours, and some outings, depending upon the age and abilities of the child, should range from 3o to 90 minutes.

Our 10-year-old grandson, James Cox of San Antonio, Texas, has many of the physical and mental facets that might make him talented angler in the years to come. But at this point in his life, he doesn’t possess the desire to be afloat with his grandfather for hours on end, and he especially doesn’t like spending a lot of time traveling from our home to the boat ramp. Therefore, when he visits us, all of our outings are to relatively nearby flatland reservoirs that grace the countryside of northeastern Kansas.

James, like all of our kids and grandkids, always employs a spinning rod and a variety of Midwest finesse baits and retrieves. And about 99 percent of the time that we are afloat, our children and grandchildren will inveigle an impressive number of largemouth bass that abide in the small flatland reservoirs hereabouts. But on Aug. 13, something was askew at a 180-acre state reservoir, where less than a month ago Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I caught 80 largemouth bass in three hours and 20 minutes, and since that bountiful outing the catch rate at that reservoir plummeted dramatically. This outing was so short and fruitless that we didn’t record the water level, surface temperature, solunar calendar, and weather statistics.
Here is a brief synopsis of James’ endeavors on Aug. 13:

James executed his first cast at 11:00 a.m., and he spent the first 15 minutes of this outing wielding a four-inch Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ on a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig along selected sections of the riprap of the dam, executing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and he failed to garner a strike.

After he fished parts of the dam, he spent about eight minutes fruitlessly wielding his Finesse WormZ rig on a main-lake point.

After he failed to garner a strike on the Finesse WormZ rig, he switched to a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red GrubZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and employed a straight-swim retrieve. Straightaway, he eked out two tiny largemouth bass, which he a caught on a flat that is graced with patches of American pondweed, four brushpiles, and some diminishing patches of bushy pondweed. But across the next 15 minutes, he failed to elicit another strike. As he fished this flat, which lies in the back of one of the feeder-creek arms, we noticed that a significant algae bloom was erupting. And upon seeing that disgusting sight, we decided to stop fishing and go home, saying that we would try to catch some smallmouth bass at a 7,000-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir on Aug. 14.
The National Weather Service reported that it was 64 degrees at 2:52 a.m. on Aug. 14 and 86 degrees at 1:52 p.m. The wind was mild mannered, angling out of the southeast at 5 to 10 mph, out of the east at 3 to 5 mph, out of the northeast at 3 to 5 mph, and for three hours it was calm. The sun was shining brightly. The barometric pressure was 30.11 at 12:52 a.m., 30.14 at 5:52 a.m., 30.18 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.15 at 2:52 p.m.

The Corps reported that the water level was 2.05 feet above normal and 21 cubic feet per second was being released out of the dam. We noted that the surface temperature was 82 degrees. The water clarity exhibited three to four feet of visibility. Some of the shorelines were embellished with flooded terrestrial vegetation, such as young cottonwood trees. At the boat ramp, we saw six young-of-the-year largemouth bass, and during this outing we saw two largemouth bass foraging on gizzard shad, and both of those sightings are rare sights at this reservoir.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing might occur from 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., 11:08 p.m. to 1:08 a.m., and 4:34 a.m. to 6:34 a.m. James made his first cast at 9:15 a.m. and his last one at 10:15 a.m. He spent about eight minutes traveling to and from the three areas that he fished.

He spent about nine minutes quickly fishing a riprap shoreline and secondary point inside a tertiary feeder-creek arm. He wielded a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-orange Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and employed a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, which failed to yield a strike.

He spent about 26 minutes dissecting a main-lake point that is embellished with gravel, rocks, boulders, and some flooded terrestrial vegetation. He employed a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-orange Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. He caught five smallmouth bass, four largemouth bass, and five smallmouth bass liberated themselves before he could lift them across the boat’s gunnels. About half of these fish engulfed his Finesse T.R.D. rigs on the initial drop in about two feet of water. One was caught when James tossed the green-pumpkin-orange Finesse T.R.D. to a surface-feeding largemouth bass, which engulfed it as James was implementing a straight-swim retrieve two feet under the surface. The others were caught while he was employing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in water as shallow as three feet to as deep as five feet. The PB&J Finesse T.R.D. rig allured the majority of the 14 bass that he hooked.

He spent 25 minutes fishing a main-lake riprap point, a rocky main-lake shoreline, and a rocky main-lake point with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-orange Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The riprap point failed to garner a strike. One smallmouth bass engulfed the green-pumpkin-orange Finesse T.R.D. on the initial drop along the main-lake shoreline. Two largemouth bass engulfed the PB&J Finesse T.R.D. rig as he was strolling it in seven to 10 feet of water on the main-lake point.

During his stay, we fished three times for a total of three hours. The first outing was a 90-minute one on Aug. 11. Our second one consumed only 30 minutes on Aug 13. The third one encompassed an hour on Aug. 14. He caught 18 largemouth bass and 16 smallmouth bass. Nineteen of 34 were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig on Aug. 11. Thirteen were caught on either the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-orange Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/32-ounce Gopher jig on the Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig on Aug. 14. And two were caught on a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red GrubZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on Aug 13.

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James Cox with one of the 18 largemouth bass that he caught.

 

Aug. 15 log

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 14 outing with Mike Smerchek of Topeka, Kansas, at an 11,600-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

The water clarity ranged from being very stained to very murky. The Corps reported that the water level was 1.57 feet above normal. Twenty-five cubic feet per second of water was being discharged from the reservoir. The surface temperature was 84 degrees.

The Weather Underground archives reported that it was 60 degrees at 6:52 a.m., 88 degrees at 5:52 p.m., and 79 degrees at 7:52 a.m. The wind angled out of the southeast at 3 to 10 mph, out of the east-by-southeast at 3 to 4 mph, out of the southeast at 3 to 10 mph, out of the south-by-southeast at 6 to 10 mph, and during the morning hours, it was calm. The sun was shining brightly. The barometric pressure was 30.14 at 12:52 a.m., 30.13 at 5:52 a.m., 30.15 at 11:52 a.m., 30.08 at 3:52 p.m., and 30.03 at 8:52 p.m. The humidity level ranged from 93 percent at 12:52 p.m. to 84 percent at 8:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing might occur from 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., 11:08 p.m. to 1:08 a.m., and 4:34 a.m. to 6:34 a.m.

We fished from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and it was the first time that we have been afloat in more than a month. We have been waiting for the high-water levels that were the result of Mother Nature’s nearly incessant deluges to descend and the excruciatingly hot and humid weather to subside.
We focused on riprap and rocky shorelines and points that lie in the lower section of the reservoir, and we moved around about in a 2 1/2-mile swath of water. We plied these locales with ultra-light spinning outfits that were spooled with six-pound-test FireLine and tiny inline spinnerbaits, spoons, and crankbaits. We caught fish at every spot we fished.
In sum, we caught 88 fish: 40 bluegill and green sunfish, 30 smallmouth bass, nine freshwater drum, four white bass, three largemouth bass, and two channel catfish. One of the smallmouth bass, which engulfed a yellow-red-diamond 1/4-ounce Dardevle Spoon, weighed exactly four pounds. An 1/8-ounce white Strike King Lure Company’s Bitsy Minnow caught the bulk of the fish.
We executed our casts so that our lures landed within a foot or two of the water’s edge, and many of the strikes occurred during the second or third crank of our reel handles. Along the rocky shorelines and points, we caught the fish in water as shallow as one foot and seldom deeper than three feet. Along the riprap areas, the bulk of the fish were caught from five to 10 feet from the water’s edge.

Mike

Mike Smerchek with one of the 30 smallmouth bass that he and Dave Petro caught.

 

Aug. 16 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief and photograph on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 16 outing at a 6,930-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir.

The water level was about five inches above normal. Twenty cubic feet per second of water was being discharged from the dam. The surface temperature was 83 degrees. The water exhibited 3 1/2 feet of visibility in the vicinity of the dam, and the water exhibited a greenish hue rather than the brown hue that it exhibited in July.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 63 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 88 degrees at 4:53 p.m. It was sunny. The wind angled out of the south at 5 to 18 mph and out of the southeast at 6 to 13 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.09 at 12:53 a.m., 30.04 at 5:53 a.m., 30.08 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.01 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 11:57 a.m. to 1:57 p.m., 12:19 p.m. to 2:19 p.m., and 6:08 a.m. to 8:08 a.m. He fished from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

He caught 58 smallmouth bass, as well as four freshwater drum, three largemouth bass, one channel catfish, and one white bass.

The bulk of the fish were caught on main-lake points and adjacent shorelines, as well as some rock-laden humps. The best points and shorelines were flat and embellished with a mixture of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The fish were extracted out of water as shallow as one foot and as deep as eight feet. Some of the fish were abiding in such shallow water that he executed some of his casts so that they would almost land upon the rocks that bordered the water’s edge.

Most fish were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company’s green- pumpkin-and-red-flake Zero affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a four-inch Strike King green-pumpkin Super Finesse Worm affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These baits were presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. He caught a few fish on an 1/8-ounce black-skirted and silver-blade buzzbait and a black popping-style topwater bait.

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Bob Gum with one of the 58 smallmouth bass that he caught on Aug. 16.

 

Aug. 17 log

Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I haven’t ventured to a nearby 11,600-acre U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ reservoir since the fall of 2013.

But before this hiatus, Desch and I fished this reservoir with astonishing regularity, stretching back into the early 1970s. Across those years, we have caught scores and scores of crappie, largemouth bass, and white bass, as well as few smallmouth bass, which were stocked in 2008 and 2009. For example, on Aug. 25, 2010, Desch, Dick Bessey of Lawrence, Kansas, and I fished from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and we caught 86 largemouth bass and seven smallmouth bass.

Shortly after Bassmaster proclaimed this reservoir to be one of the top 100 lakes in the nation in 2012, our catch rate began to dwindle dramatically. Several knowledgeable observers contend the reason for this decline stemmed from the aftereffects of too many bass tournaments. Before the decline of the largemouth bass fishing in 2012 and 2013, this reservoir’s crappie and white bass population had plummeted. The white bass population was afflicted by some unidentified malady, and a similar malady has also waylaid the white bass population elsewhere in Kansas and Missouri. Many discerning anglers suspect that the crappie population was destroyed by too much angler predation.

The reason why Desch and I have avoided this waterway is because the crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and white bass fishing have been wretched.

But on Aug. 7 and Aug. 14, we were told that several anglers were enjoying a minor largemouth bass and smallmouth bass renaissance at this reservoir. Thus, on Aug. 17, we hoped to relish a bit of this renaissance.

The National Weather Service reported on Aug. 17 that it was 67 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 87 degrees at 12:52 p.m. The wind was mild-mannered, ranging from being calm for five hours, and then it angled out of the east at 5 to 6 mph, out of the southeast at 6 mph, and out of the northwest at 3 to 5 mph. The sky was cloudless from 12:52 a.m. to 9:52 a.m., and mostly cloudy to partly cloudy from 10:52 a.m. to 12:52 p.m., and then the sun began to shine again at 1:52 p.m. The barometric pressure was 30.01 at 12:52 a.m., 30.00 at 5:52 a.m., 29.99 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.97 at 1:52 p.m.

The water level was about 1 1/2 feet above normal. The water clarity exhibited one to three feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 84 to 86 degrees.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 12:43 a.m. to 2:43 a.m., 1:01 p.m. to 3:01 p.m., and 6:53 a.m. to 8:53 a.m. We fished from 9:15 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., and to our chagrin, we failed to relish the renaissance that several anglers had told us about. (It needs to be noted that these anglers were afloat during the twilight hours rather than the midday hours that we are afloat, and that might account for our paltry time.)

We fished a four-mile stretch in the lower portion of the reservoir, focusing on three riprap shorelines, six bridge pilings, three rocky shorelines, five main-lake rocky points, and one rock-laden hump.

We caught 15 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. Three largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass liberated themselves before we could lift them across the boat’s gunnels. We also tangled with nine freshwater drum, and for a long spell, they were the piscatorial highlight of the outing.

One main-lake rocky point yielded a largemouth bass, and four main-lake rocky points failed to yield a largemouth bass or smallmouth bass.
One rocky shoreline yielded a largemouth bass, and two of them failed to yield a largemouth bass or smallmouth bass.

We hooked one hefty smallmouth bass on a rock-laden hump, and it liberated itself when it jumped and jettisoned the Z-Man’s black-and-blue Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We caught two largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass along the first riprap shoreline that we fished. We caught another largemouth bass on the second riprap shoreline, and we caught another largemouth bass on the third riprap shoreline.

We extracted nine largemouth bass from the bridge pilings, and three largemouth bass liberated themselves before we could put our thumb and index finger around their lower lips.

The most effective bait was a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Pearl ZinkerZ on either a red 1/16-ounce or a red 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig, and it was retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. It inveigled five largemouth bass.

A four-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ on either a red 1/32 or red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig that was retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught three largemouth bass.

A Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught two largemouth bass.

A Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught one largemouth bass.

A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught one largemouth bass.
A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man Coppertreuse ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-shaped jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught three largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass.

A Z-Man’s Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught one largemouth bass.
We also wielded a 2 ½-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse ZinkerZ-spin on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s black-and-blue Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and a four-inch watermelon-red-flake grub affixed on a red 1/16-ounce round jig. These three rigs failed to catch a largemouth bass or a smallmouth bass.

When we employ as many lures as we did on this outing, it is a sure sign that the fishing is extremely lackluster.

Around the time that Desch and I were executing our final casts and retrieves of this outing, we concluded that this outing was as sorry as the last one we endured in 2013. Thus, we said it is unlikely that we will venture back to this reservoir in the near future.

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Steve Desch with one of the 15 largemouth bass that we caught.

Aug. 17 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 17 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

My morning started with some household duties as they often do after I spend a long three days at work.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the river was flowing at 78 cubic feet per second, which is ideal and would enhance the likelihood of tangling with some hefty specimens. The water temperature was 80 degrees. The water was crystal clear.

I had planned to be on the water by 10:00 a.m. at the latest. But as I made the four-mile trek along a logging trail, the low-tire-pressure monitor in my truck went off, and at 10:00 a.m., I was changing a tire in the middle of nowhere in 90-degree heat instead of being in knee-deep water and fishing. I was absolutely drenched from perspiration and despondent. Until I called my wife at her work, I contemplated on calling it a day, but she told me to go fishing, have fun and catch a bunch of smallmouth bass.

So, I went home changed shirts and refilled my Camelback with ice-cold water, which I had nearly drained dry with my tire fiasco. I loaded our side-by-side ATV with one of my beloved G. Loomis GLX Trout Series Spinning Rods affixed to a Shimano Stradic CI4 Microline Spinning Reel, which is spooled with four-pound-test Gamma fluorocarbon line. I packed a bottle of a customized mixture of Pro-Cure Super Gel scent, 10 1/32-ounce Gopher jigs, 20 shortened Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZs, and a pair of well-used Simms’ wading boots. I also donned a pair of Costas’ sunglasses, which are a necessity for examining the river.

I stepped in the water at 1:15 p.m. I made a dash up river to where I suspected the smallmouth bass to be abiding. It is a riffle, lying along a narrow portion of the river. It is about 100 yards long with about three feet of water coursing across it. Oxygen is key right now. Our bigger fish stack up at these areas when the summer food conveyor belt shuts down elsewhere. In short, any visible current in the river that breaks the water’s surface is where one wants to be.

The shortened Finesse WormZ has been paying off superbly for me in these skinny-water locales. I present it by slowly reeling it and executing an occasional shake with the rod which I hold at the two o’clock position, as I try to polish the rocks with the Finesse WormZ and 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

I fished just shy of four hours under a scorching sun and tangled with 47 smallmouth bass and 10 big bluegill. And I failed to land two specimens that looked to be in the 20-inch range. Every fish was inveigled by the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a burnt-orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, which I lathered with my Pro-Cure concoction after every 10th cast.

Aug. 18 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 18 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

I began the day with an early morning trip to the “local” garage to get a new truck tire to replace the one that was torn asunder on Aug. 17 as I was driving on a logging road to the river.

Upon returning home from the local garage, I loaded up the ATV with a sack of 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Dirt ZinkerZs, various colors of Z-Man’s four-inch Finesse WormZs, and my heavily customized Z-Man’s EZ TubeZ. I packed two spinning rods: my beloved G. Loomis GLX Trout Series Spinning Rods affixed to a Shimano Stradic CI4 Microline Spinning Reel, which is spooled with four-pound-test Gamma fluorocarbon line, and a G. Loomis GLX Walleye Series Spinning Rod that a friend sent me to field test. I affixed a Shimano Stradic CI4 Microline Spinning Reel, which is spooled with four-pound-test Gamma fluorocarbon line, to this rod.

It was cloudy and 83 degrees. I even got showered on twice, It was nothing more than a fine mist, and it felt good.

After my Aug. 17 outing, I knew where to go. And I headed for a seven-mile stretch of water that is graced with many riffles and heavily oxygenated water. It is similar to water that I fished on Aug. 17, but it contains more riffles. It was, however, an arduous walk, but it was worth the effort.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the river water was flowing at 75 cubic feet per second. The water temperature was 81 degrees, and when I stepped into it, it felt as warm as bath water, but the rapidly moving water in the riffles felt cooler. Besides being cooler than the rest of the river, the riffles are essentially a conveyor belt of food, and I think those two factors are what attract the smallmouth bass to abide in the riffles.

I caught 61 smallmouth bass, seven big bluegill, five giant rock bass, and two 15-inch largemouth bass.

Two of the smallmouth bass were 20-inchers, and they were caught in the shade, in 2 1/2 feet of water, and tight to the shoreline on the strong side of the river.

I caught 38 of my smallmouth on my heavily customized Z-Man’s Canada Craw EZ TubeZ. I caught 13 smallmouth bass on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ. The rest were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Dirt ZinkerZ. All of these baits were rigged on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. All of the baits were coated with my customized mixture of Pro-Cure Super Gel scents.

The two 20-inchers were allured by the heavily customized Z-Man’s Canada Craw EZ TubeZ. A 21-incher was inveigled by the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rig.

The baits that I used depended on the depth of the water that I was fishing. When the water was less than three feet deep, I bounced my heavily customized EZ TubeZ down the riffles, and it was never snagged. It is the best rig that I have ever used for this kind of presentation. I employed the ZinkerZ rig when I had to ply depths great the three feet. The Finesse WormZ has been stellar in recent weeks around any lairs where the smallmouth bass have time to inspect a bait, such as in the slower waters at the very tail end of the riffles, and in these scenarios, I deadstick it and shake it.

All the baits on this outing were presented with a slow straight swim, which was occasionally accentuated with a shake as the bait moved above the rocks and boulders, which are becoming coated with algae as the water temperature escalates and the speed of the current declines.

The rod my friend asked me to field test proved to be a good one for employing the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rig. What’s more, it will be a good rod to use with Z-Man’s Finesse T.R.D. on a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. I will mail his rod back to him and purchase one soon.

Aug.19 log

My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I ventured to a 416-acre community reservoir on Aug. 19.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 57 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 71 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The normal low temperature for Aug. 19 is 66 degrees, and the normal high temperature is 86 degrees. The wind angled out of the west at 6 to 8 mph, and out of the northwest at 10 to 23 mph. (It was so windy and cool on our old bodies that Ricky and I to wore jackets.) The NWS noted that the condition of the sky was fair, but Rick and I described it as ranging from mostly cloudy to partly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.83 at 12:53 a.m., 29.92 at 5:53 a.m., 29.94 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.92 at 1:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be normal. The water exhibited three to five feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 78 to 79 degrees. This reservoir’s shorelines are graced with the healthiest and deepest patches of American water willows in northeastern Kansas; there is three to four feet of water along some of the outside edges of these patches. Besides the patches of American water willows, many locales around this reservoir are graced with patches of American pondweed, bushy pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil, as well as a tad of curly-leaf pondweed. Bushy pondweed, curly-leaf pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil are submergent vegetation. American pondweed is at times a submergent vegetation, but there are times when it is a floating-leaf plant, and on this outing, we witnessed it in both stages. And across the many years that we have fished in northeastern Kansas, we have caught an impressive array of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass around patches of American pondweed. American water willows are an emergent vegetation.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 2:20 a.m. to 4:20 a.m., 2:41 p.m. to 4:41 p.m., and 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. We fished from 10:05 a.m. to 2:07 p.m.

Our catch wouldn’t have won a tournament or made a television show, but in our eyes, it was a bountiful Midwest finesse outing. We caught 53 largemouth bass and 27 smallmouth bass, and that is an average of 20 black bass an hour. What’s more, we inadvertently caught two crappie, three bluegill, four green sunfish, and several largemouth bass and smallmouth bass liberated themselves before we could lift them across the gunnels of the boat.

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One of the 27 smallmouth bass that we caught. It was inveigled on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

 

Our three most effective baits were a shortened Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a purple 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ affixed to a purple 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

We caught five largemouth bass on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught one largemouth bass on a four-inch green-pumpkin grub affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught one largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. on a purple 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

If the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass didn’t engulf our baits on the initial drop, the bulk of them did it while we were employing a swimming-and-shaking retrieve. The shake was rendered only occasionally, and at times, we punctuated the swimming with a pause along the outside edges of the aquatic vegetation or when we saw a largemouth bass or smallmouth bass following one of our baits. We retrieved these baits so that they were swimming from three inches to 36 inches under the surface. We did catch a couple of largemouth bass that were abiding along the bottom in four to six feet of water along the outside edges of the emergent vegetation.

We spent about 30 minutes probing two main-lake points and parts of their adjoining shorelines in the upper third of the reservoir. One of the points yielded one smallmouth bass and four largemouth bass. At the other locales, we failed to catch a fish.

We spent 3 1/2 hours in the lower half of the reservoir, plying six shorelines, eight points, and one massive offshore hump. Most of these locales are embellished with submergent aquatic vegetation, and some of them are adorned with American water willows. These patches of American water willows, however, yielded only four black bass. The points yielded seven largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass. The shorelines, which include the dam, yielded 22 largemouth bass and 15 smallmouth bass. At the offshore hump, which we fished for about 90 minutes, we caught 20 largemouth bass and eight smallmouth bass.

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One of the 53 largemouth bass we caught. It was caught on a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ and purple 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

 Aug. 20 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed the following edited and condensed report on the Finesse News Network:

Rick Allen of Dallas joined me for a six-hour foray at a 26,471-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir on Aug. 20.

Because of the nearly incessant deluges that crisscrossed north-central Texas this past spring and early summer, this reservoir was closed from May 12 to Aug. 17.

We fished under an overcast sky. An unusual cold front rolled across north-central Texas during the early morning hours of August 20, which produced a couple of thunderstorms and dropped the air temperature 20 degrees. The National Weather Service reported that the morning low temperature was 64 degrees and the afternoon high was a pleasant 82 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.02 at about 9:00 a.m., and the wind blew out of the east at 6 to 12 mph.

According to the In-Fisherman solunar calendar, the optimum fishing periods would occur from 3:13 a.m. to 5:13 a.m. and 3:35 p.m. to 5:35 p.m. A minor period would occur from 9:24 a.m. to 11:24 a.m. Rick and I fished from about 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The water was heavily stained and exhibited about one foot of visibility. Normally, the water clarity is between two and three feet. The water temperature was 83 degrees. The water level is 3.15 feet above normal.

We started the outing by plying a riprap-laden causeway located in the southwestern tributary arm of the reservoir. As we began to execute our first casts of the day, a school of surface-feeding white bass suddenly appeared a short distance in front of the boat in 20 feet of water. For the next 35 minutes, we played cat-and-mouse with this school of white bass as they led us away from the causeway and into the deeper and more open-water areas adjacent to the causeway, and we caught 28 of them before they finally disappeared. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a three-inch Charlie Brewer Slider Company’s Tennessee Shad Bass/Walleye/Striper grub rigged on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig enticed an equal number of fish. Both of these grubs were retrieved with a moderately fast and steady retrieve about six inches to two feet below the surface.

After the white bass disappeared, we returned to the north end of the riprap-covered causeway. We kept the boat in about 15 feet of water. This area of the causeway surrendered three largemouth bass and three spotted bass that were scattered along the causeway in three to six feet of water. The three largemouth bass and one of the spotted bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Pearl Slim SwimZ and steady swimming retrieve. One spotted bass engulfed a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a swim-glide-and shake presentation. The other spotted bass was caught on the Charlie Brewer Slider grub and steady swim retrieve.

The south end of the causeway was not as fruitful as the northern end, but we still managed to catch one spotted bass and one largemouth bass. The boat floated in seven to 12 feet of water. The spotted bass was relating to the side of a concrete pillar that stood in 15 feet of water adjacent to the causeway, and it was enticed into striking the Z-Man’s Slim SwimZ grub with a steady swimming presentation. The largemouth bass was associated with the riprap along the face of the causeway in about five feet of water, and it was caught on the Charlie Brewer Slider grub with a steady swim presentation.

Our next spot was a nearby main-lake mud point with shallow mud flats bordering the east and west sides of the point. An abundance of flooded shoreline vegetation enhanced the point and the adjacent flats. The boat floated in four to six feet of water. The east side mud flat yielded two largemouth bass. The main-lake point surrendered two largemouth bass. The west side mud flat relinquished one largemouth bass and one spotted bass. All six of these black bass were relating to the outside edges of the flooded shoreline vegetation in three to five feet of water. Four largemouth bass and the spotted bass were beguiled by the Z-Man’s Slim SwimZ grub, and one largemouth bass was caught on Charlie Brewer Slider grub. Both grubs were presented with a steady swim retrieve.

Next, we made a 15-minute run to a large mud flat that encompasses about 300 yards of a shoreline area along the southeast end of the reservoir. This was our most fruitful area, and it yielded 32 largemouth bass and one white bass. All of these fish were relating to the deep-water edges of flooded trees, shoreline vegetation, and submerged bushes in three to 10 feet of water.

Fifteen largemouth bass and the one white bass were bewitched by the Z-Man’s Pearl Slim SwimZ grub worked with a steady swimming motion. Two largemouth bass were attracted to the Charlie Brewer Slider grub and steady swim retrieve. Ten largemouth bass were coaxed into striking a Z-Man’s 2 1/2-inch Junebug ZinkerZ threaded on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and worked with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Three largemouth bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s four-inch black-blue Finesse WormZ attached to a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and implemented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. A Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse T.R.D. rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught two largemouth bass.

Our next spot was an island that is situated in the midsection of a major feeder-creek arm in the southeast portion of the reservoir. We concentrated on the south side of the island, which is comprised of sand, gravel, submerged buck brush, and flooded shoreline vegetation. A large mud point protrudes about 30 yards from the southwest end of the island and drops off into 30 feet of water. We plied this area with the Z-Man’s Slim SwimZ grub, a shortened Z-Man’s Pearl Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and the 2 1/2-inch Junebug ZinkerZ rig. The Slim SwimZ grub caught two largemouth bass that were relating to the outside edges of the submerged buck brush along the southwest end of the island.

After we finished fishing the island, we elected to try the riprap-laden dam that forms the southern boundary of the reservoir. We plied two large areas of the dam. The first area was along the east end of the dam, and the second area was along the midsection of the dam. The east end of the dam relinquished one largemouth bass that was caught on the 2 1/2-inch Junebug ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The midsection of the dam yielded one catfish and one green sunfish that were inadvertently caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. All three of these fish were extracted from four to seven feet of water just off the face of the dam.

Our next area was a main-lake cove located along the north shoreline of the southwest tributary arm of the reservoir. It is adorned with a few large boulders, fist-size rocks, three boat ramps, one floating swim dock, and many yards of flooded shoreline vegetation. We extracted nine largemouth bass and one spotted bass from this cove. Three largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught from three feet of water off two of the boat ramps. Six largemouth bass were caught off the deep-water edges of the flooded shoreline vegetation in three to five feet of water. The Z-Man Slim Swim Z grub with a steady swim retrieve allured five largemouth bass and one spotted bass. The Charlie Brewer Slider grub with a steady swim presentation enticed four largemouth bass.

Our last spot was a main-lake bluff point along the south side of the southwest tributary arm. We plied this area with the Z-Man Pearl Slim SwimZ grub, Charlie Brewer Tennessee Shad Slider grub, four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ, and 2 1/2-inch Junebug ZinkerZ rig. The Charlie Brewer Slider grub with a steady swim presentation enticed one largemouth bass

The fishing was the best we have enjoyed at this reservoir in quite a few years. We were elated to tangle with 55 largemouth bass, six spotted bass, 29 white bass, one catfish, and one green sunfish.

Thirty-four black bass and 15 white bass were caught on the Z-Man Pearl Slim SwimZ grub and steady swim retrieve. Eleven largemouth bass were enticed into striking the 2 1/2-inch Junebug ZinkerZ rig retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Ten black bass and 14 white bass were bewitched by the three-inch Charlie Brewer Tennessee Shad Bass/Walleye/Striper grub and steady swim retrieve. The shortened four-inch Z-Man’s black-blue Finesse WormZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught three largemouth bass. The Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse T.R.D. and swim-glide-and-shake motif allured two. Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ caught one spotted bass. The shortened four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ inadvertently caught one catfish and one green sunfish.

We failed to garner any strikes on a Rapala No. 5 Shad Rap crankbait and a Z-Man’s Pearl Hula StickZ.

Aug. 21 log

Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, and Sioux Narrows, Ontario, competed in the first Bassmaster Anglers Sportsman Society  Classic in 1971. In 1972, he retired from tournament fishing, saying “tournaments took something I loved to do and turned it into a job. So, I quit tournament fishing, and since then, I have been having a ball for more than 50 years by fishing light line.”

Since 2003,  however, he and partner have competed in the annual Sioux Narrow’s  Bassin’ for Bucks tournament. What’s more, he has  paired up with Chris Bell of Sioux Narrows three times to participate in the Kenora Bass International in 2009, 2011, and 2012. Even though he dislikes participating in tournaments, he finds some joy in fishing and competing with his friends at the Sioux Narrows event. And on Aug. 21, he filed a brief report on the Finesse News Network, saying that he was beginning to practice for this year’s Bassin’ for Bucks tourney, which will be staged on Sept. 11, 12, and 13, and he will fish it with George Robison of Conway, Missouri.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his brief:

When I called you on the telephone a day or so ago, you asked me if I could still catch 10 smallmouth bass per hour now that they have moved to deeper lairs.

Instead of trying to catch a lot of smallmouth bass, I have begun spending most of my time searching for the whereabouts of some hefty smallmouth bass that will help me and my partner at the Bassin’ for Bucks tourney. Because I am in this practice motif, I leave that area immediately when I catch big smallmouth bass and search for one at another area. The entire concept of finding fish, and then leaving them, really doesn’t fit my idea of an enjoyable way to fish.

So on Aug. 11, I got out of the practice motif, and I wanted to see if I could catch an average of 10 smallmouth bass an hour.

I began the day trying to catch a couple of walleyes for a dinner. The places I tried were not productive, and after spending slightly more than an hour searching for  walleye, I began my 10-smallmouth-bass-an-hour quest at high noon.

And every time I found a group of fish on the graph, I fished for them — even if they were one-pounders. It is a very different type of fishing than it is in May, June, and July. I might fish for 30 minutes and catch only one smallmouth bass. Then I might catch a half dozen in five minutes.

Most of the smallmouth bass were abiding in 7 to 18 feet of water. Once I spotted them on the graph, I simply dropped a lure down to them. At times, I have to try three or four Midwest finesse lures before I catch one, but when they bite, it can be a hot bite for a while. On this outing, I caught smallmouth bass on a marabou jig, a Z-Man’s Finesse T.R.D., a Z-Man’s Finesse ShadZ, a 3.75-inch Z-Man’s StreakZ, a Z-Man’s Hula StickZ, and a Strike King Lure Company’s Z-Too. By 3:45 p.m. I had caught 38 smallmouth and three of them were three-pounders and bigger. I had one last walleye spot to hit, and it was an 18-foot lair, where I caught three walleye, as well as a 2 1/2- and 2 3/4-pound smallmouth bass. At 4:05 p.m., I was heading home. So, the answer to your question is yes; I can still catch 10 an hour, but most of my time is spent using the graph.

(I have also attached a photograph. It features black bass number 50,000.When Bassmaster Anglers Sportsman Society  sent out the first fishing logs in 1992, I thought it might be fun to keep a log. This is my 24th  year and I would suggest to anyone that they do help you improve. Back when I was working 40 to 80 hours per week, I had some lean years. The worst one was 265 black bass in 1993. It took me six years to finally break 1000-black-bass mark. Even though number 50,000 only weighed a couple of pounds, I will always cherish this photograph of it forevermore.)

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Drew Reese holding black bass number 50,000. It is a two-pound smallmouth bass.

Aug. 24 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed the following edited and condensed report on the Finesse News Network about is Aug 24 outing:

I conducted a solo four-hour foray to a 27,663-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir. I last fished this reservoir on Aug. 13 with Rick Allen of Dallas, and during that five-hour endeavor, we caught 24 largemouth bass.

It was a hot and muggy day, and the sun was shinning brightly through a partly clouded sky. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 71 degrees and the afternoon high reached 99 degrees with a heat index of 102 degrees. The wind quartered out of the north-by-northeast at 8 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.06.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar predicted the best fishing periods should occur from 6:25 a.m. to 8:25 p.m., 6:51 p.m. to 8:51 p.m., and 12:12 a.m. to 2:12 a.m. I made my first cast at 7:00 a.m. and my last cast at 11:00 a.m.

The water temperature in this reservoir dropped from 85 degrees on Aug. 13 to 83 degrees on Aug. 24. The water clarity remained heavily stained, varying from about a foot to 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The normal water clarity for this reservoir is between three and six feet of visibility. The water level has dropped from 3.78 feet above normal pool on Aug. 13 to 2.12 feet above normal pool.

On Aug. 13, Rick and I concentrated on the midsection and northern end of the east tributary arm of this reservoir, but during this outing, I targeted the southeast end of the western tributary arm and finished up at the dam along the south end of the reservoir.

I began the outing by dissecting a 100-yard section of a large mud flat at the mouth of a main-lake cove that harbors a small marina. This mud flat covers about a 500-yard area of the northeast shoreline at the mouth of the cove. It is enhanced with an abundance of flooded shoreline vegetation, trees, and buck brush. I experimented with a Z-Man’s black split-tail TrailerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and presented with a slow swim-glide-and shake retrieve while the boat floated in five to seven feet of water. The TrailerZ-Gopher jig combo and swim-glide-and-shake presentation allured seven largemouth bass that were relating to the outside edges of the flooded vegetation in about three feet of water.
After I finished checking the mud flat, I turned my attention to two floating tractor-tire reefs that form the east-side entrance to the marina area. The north portion of the tire reef extends southward about 35 yards from the cove’s northern shoreline and floats in five to 13 feet of water. The southern portion of the tire reef extends northward about 50 yards from the southeast end of the cove’s mouth, and it floats in water as shallow as four feet and as deep as 31 feet.

The north-side portion of the tire reef relinquished just one largemouth bass, and it was suspended underneath the tire reef but relating to the outside edges of the floating tires in about nine feet of water. This largemouth bass was caught on the TrailerZ-Gopher jig combo and swim-glide-and shake retrieve.

The south section of the tire reef yielded three largemouth bass and one spotted bass. They were also suspending about five feet underneath the tire reef. These bass were relating to the outside edges of the tires that were floating in 31 feet of water. They were enticed into striking the black TrailerZ-Gopher jig combo that was allowed to fall four to five feet on the initial cast before the swim-glide-and-shake presentation was implemented.

After I finished fishing the tire reef, I fished the southeast shoreline at the mouth of the marina. This shoreline is also graced with flooded trees, buck brush, and shoreline vegetation. A long rocky ledge runs parallel to this shoreline in four to six feet of water and drops off sharply into 10 to 21 feet of water. I plied about 75 yards of this ledge and shoreline and I continued to wield the Z-Man’s black TrailerZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig combo. I kept the boat off to the deep-water side of the ledge in 10 to 12 feet of water, and I angled my casts across the top and along the lip of the ledge that drops sharply into deeper water. I caught one 15-inch largemouth bass, two large green sunfish, and one bluegill from the top of the ledge in five feet of water.

I made a 13-minute run to two rocky main-lake points that lie along the southeast shoreline of the reservoir. The first point failed to yield a strike, and I could coax only one largemouth bass from the second point. This largemouth bass was abiding next to a flooded bush in five feet of water, and it struck a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ attached to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was manipulated in a slow swim-glide-and-shake manner. I also used the black TrailerZ- Gopher jig combo and a Z-Man’s Pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, but I was unable to attract the attention of any other bass with these two lures.
I finished this four-hour undertaking plying the east end of the riprap-laden dam. This is the first time in five years that I have seen the water level high enough to cover any of the riprap along the face of this dam. I kept the boat about 50 feet out from the water’s edge in about 10 feet of water as I wielded the Z-Man’s black TrailerZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig combo, but I failed to garner any more strikes with it. I then tried the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and shake action, and it enticed three largemouth bass, a four-pound and two-pound freshwater drum, and one large green sunfish. A Z-Man’s Pearl Slim SwimZ grub on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a fast swim-and-twitch presentation just underneath the water’s surface attracted 21 largemouth bass and one spotted bass. All of these fish were relating to the riprap along the face of the dam in four to seven feet of water.

Overall, it was a splendid outing by north-central Texas standards. I caught 37 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, two freshwater drum, three large green sunfish, and one bluegill. The Z-Man Pearl Slim SwimZ grub and fast swim-and-twitch retrieve allured 22 of the 39 black bass. Z-Man’s black spilt-tail TrailerZ and slow swim-glide-and shake presentation bewitched 13 black bass, and inadvertently attracted two of the three green sunfish and the one bluegill. Four largemouth bass and one large green sunfish attacked the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ worked in a slow swim-glide-and-shake fashion.

Aug 25 log

Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, filed the following observations, which have been edited and condescend, on the Finesse News Network about Midwest finesse fishing.

It looks like the Ned rig is really catching on around the angling world. In fact, Z-Man’s Finesse T.R.D.s are flying off the shelf in my dad’s tackle store. And almost every week I get asked: “Have you ever thrown a Ned Rig?”

When I am asked that question, I suggest that folks use the rig whenever possible. I also tell them about a few of the Midwest finesse applications that they can use to supplement their traditional methods of bass fishing.

Here are some of the things I tell them:

We have a running joke in my boat concerning missed strikes. Any miss on any lure prompts the cry: “throw Ned over there.” It is astounding how often it produces. Almost 100 percent of the largemouth bass bites that we miss on a crankbait, big-worm rig, or topwater bait will bite a Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits’ Shad Shape Worm or 2 ½-inch Z-Man’s ZinkerZ on a 1/16-ounce Gopher Jig that is thrown back to them.

The largest largemouth bass we caught this past Saturday engulfed a 2 ½-inch Strike King Lure Company’s pumpkin-red-flake Zero on a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was thrown back at it after it half-heartedly made a pass at a 5 ½-inch Zoom Bait Company’s Speed Worm. Without the Ned rig, this largemouth bass would not have been caught.

Another superb use is on schoolers and suspended black bass. The blueback-herring lakes around here (such as Badin and Buggs Island) can be confounding when the black bass aren’t actively chasing the herring. But nowadays the 2 ½-inch Zero, 2 ½-inch ZinkerZ, and Shad Shaped Worm rigs are catching them when anglers work these rigs into the suspended baitfish and accompanying bass. In this scenario, I prefer to use the 2 ½-inch ZinkerZ on a Gopher jig because I can cast a long, long way and it gets down to the suspended fish quickly. (I am thinking that it would have paid some dividends to some of the anglers at last week’s Walmart and FLW Forest Wood Cup at Ouachita Lake, Arkansas, if they would have used it.)

And finally, I tell them repeatedly about the effectiveness of the 2 ½-inch ZinkerZ on a Gopher jig in pond settings. From day one, I have thought it is superior to anything you can toss in a typical pond. I have given several demonstrations of that in my own pond to new converts.

And my son in-law informs me that the 2 ½-inch ZinkerZ on a Gopher jig is a fantastic combo on the small streams he floats, which verifies some Finesse News Network reports about its remarkable applications in the streams that grace Arkansas, Missouri, and West Virginia. I hope to test it soon on the New River here in North Carolina.

So, in addition to being a total system for the true Midwest finesse practitioners, it can aid us all on most trips.

Aug. 26 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 26 outing with his wife.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

We enjoyed a leisurely four-mile float today. And along the section of the river that we fished, patches of elodea adorn its weak-current side. Bluegill, green sunfish, and largemouth bass inhabit these patches of vegetation this time of the year.

We caught 63 bluegill and green sunfish, three humongous fallfish, 18 largemouth bass, and seven smallmouth bass.

The water exhibited eight to 10 feet of visibility. We saw several hefty largemouth bass, and the biggest one that we caught was a 19-incher. One bluegill measured 13 inches, which is considered a humdinger in West Virginia, and it is the biggest I have had the pleasure of inveigling. Two of the fallfish were longer than 24 inches.

We caught these fish on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ, shortened Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Hula StickZ, and 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Dirt ZinkerZ. These baits were rigged on 1/32-ounce Gopher jigs of various colors. We wielded them on five of our vintage Charlie Brewer’s Slider Company’s Slider Rods, and I am falling in love with them again.

It was an extremely relaxing day on the river that was highlighted by seeing one bobcat and two bears.

 

Aug. 27 log

Glen Hildebrand of Lawrence, Kansas, and John Reese of Lawrence, Kansas, joined me today for a short outing at a 416-acre community reservoir, where we employed a tactic that we are beginning to call geriatric finesse fishing. It is similar to Midwest finesse fishing except that the three anglers who were employing the Midwest finesse tactics aren’t as flexible mentally and physically as they used to be, and one of the reasons for that is Hildebrand is 86 years old, Reese is 80 years old, and I am 75 years old.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 66 degrees at 2:52 a.m. and 80 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The condition of the sky fluctuated from being fair to being littered with a few clouds to being partly cloudy and to being mostly cloudy. A few drops of rain fell on us around 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. We could see an occasional flash of lightning many miles to the east, and it rained hard enough in Kansas City, Missouri, that it delayed the beginning of the Kansas City Royals’ 1:10 p.m. baseball game. The wind angled out of the east at 3 to 14 mph and out of the southeast at 5 to 23 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.09 at 12:53 a.m., 30.05 at 5:53 a.m., 30.06 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.06 at 2:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be normal. The water exhibited two to three feet of visibility in the upper reaches of the reservoir and as much as five feet of visibility in its lower reaches. The surface temperature ranged from 76 to 77 degrees. The American water willows that border much of the reservoir’s shorelines were lush, and many areas that we fished were graced with a variety of submerged and partially submerged aquatic vegetation, algae, and floating aquatic vegetation. We primarily focused our piscatorial attentions upon the submerged and partially submerged vegetation (such as bushy pondweed and Eurasian milfoil) and a few patches of floating aquatic vegetation (such as American pondweed). To our chagrin, we recently learned that the managers of this reservoir are going to poison the algae and milfoil with a herbicide in the near future.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing might transpire from 8:48 a.m. to 10:48 a.m., 9:16 p.m. to 11:16 p.m., and 2:33 a.m. to 4:33 a.m. We fished from 10:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.

We began the outing by plying a steep shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm. The boat floated in 12 to 19 feet of water. The terrain of this shoreline is laden with boulders, rocks, gravel, sand, American water willows, American pondweed, bushy pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil. We employed a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ on a purple 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. on a black 1/16-ounce round jig, a shortened Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Strike King Lure Company’s purple haze Super Finesse Worm on a black 1/16-ounce round jig, and a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce round jig. We retrieved these baits with a swimming presentation, and they were swimming from six inches to 36 inches below the surface. We occasionally executed a pause in the retrieve for two or three seconds.

The second area that we fished was an extensive offshore hump that is embellished with boulders, rock, gravel, American pondweed, and bushy pondweed. The water is as shallow as three feet, and it plummets into water that is deeper than 30 feet in some spots. The boat floated in three to 28 feet of water. We caught 33 largemouth bass, two smallmouth bass, and failed to hoist seven largemouth bass that we hooked into the boat. We caught these 35 black bass on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ on a purple 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. on a black 1/16-ounce round jig, a shortened Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Strike King Lure Company’s purple haze Super Finesse Worm on a black 1/16-ounce round jig, and a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce round jig. Several of the largemouth bass engulfed our baits on the initial fall, and the rest of them were inveigled as we employed a swimming presentation that traveled from six inches to 36 inches below the surface. We occasionally executed a two- to three-second pause in our retrieves, and during our retrieves, several of the largemouth bass engulfed our baits within a few feet of the boat.

DSCN0889

Glen Hildebrand with one of the 53 largemouth bass and 10 smallmouth bass that we caught in three hours.

 

The third area that we fished was the dam. The dam’s terrain consists of riprap, American pondweed, bushy pondweed, Eurasian milfoil, and some of those patches of vegetation were interlaced with filamentous algae. We caught six largemouth bass and five smallmouth bass on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce round jig, and a shortened four-inch Strike King Lure Company purple haze Super Finesse Worm on a black 1/16-ounce round jig. The boat floated in eight to 14 feet of water. And these 11 black bass were caught while we were employing a swimming presentation that traveled from six inches to 36 inches below the surface that was punctuated at times with a two- to three-second pause.

The fourth area that we fished consisted of two main-lake points and an adjacent shoreline. The points and shoreline are relatively flat, and they are adorned with massive patches of American water willows, a boat dock, boulders, rock, gravel, American pondweed, bushy pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil. The boat floated in five to nine feet of water We inveigled one smallmouth bass from this area, and it was caught on the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig during the initial drop.

The fifth area that we fished was a main-lake point and its adjacent main-lake shoreline. The boat floated in eight to 16 feet of water. The point and shoreline is lined with a beautiful stretch of American water willows, and there are patches of American pondweed, bushy pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil growing along the outside edges of the American water willows. We caught nine largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass, and they were caught on the shortened four-inch Strike King Lure Company’s purple haze Super Finesse Worm on a black 1/16-ounce round jig, the shortened Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce round jig. All 11 of these black bass engulfed these baits as we retrieved them with a swimming presentation that traveled from six inches to 36 inches below the surface that was punctuated at times with a two- to three-second pause, and most of them were caught on the outside edge of the patches of bushy pondweed.

The first five areas that we fished were located in the lower third of the reservoir. The sixth and last area that we fished was in the upper third of the reservoir, and it was a steep shoreline and main-lake point. The shoreline and point is embellished with American water willows, and along the outside edge of the American water willows are significant patches of Eurasian milfoil. The shoreline yielded one largemouth bass, which was caught on the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The point yielded four largemouth bass, and one of those largemouth bass was caught on the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce round jig, and three of them were caught on the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple haze Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce round jig.

In sum, we caught 53 largemouth bass and 10 smallmouth bass in three hours, which is an average of 21 black bass an hour, and that is a respectable outing for a trio of old codgers.
Aug. 28 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed the following log on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 28 outing in north-central Texas, where the largemouth bass fishing is the best it has been since he began contributing to the FNN in September of 2013.

Here is a slightly edited rendition of his log:

I conducted a solo four-hour undertaking at a 26,471-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir. I fished this reservoir with Rick Allen of Dallas on Aug. 20, and during that five-hour excursion, we caught 61 black bass, 29 white bass, one catfish, and one large bluegill.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the best fishing periods should occur from 9:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., 10:13 p.m. to 12:13 a.m., and 3:31 a.m. to 5:31 a.m.

It was mostly cloudy until 9:00 a.m., when it became partly cloudy and sunny. The Weather Underground recorded the morning low temperature at 73 degrees and the afternoon high was a hot and humid 97 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.95 at 7:00 a.m. The wind quartered out of the southeast at 8 to 18 mph.

I was afloat from about 7:00 a.m. to about 11:00 a.m. I elected to fish the southeast end of the reservoir and work my way northward along its east tributary arm and into one of its two north feeder-creek arms of the reservoir.

The water clarity varied from six inches of visibility in one of the northern feeder-creek arms to 1 1/2 feet of visibility in the southwestern tributary arm of the reservoir. Normally, the water clarity is between two and three feet. The water temperature ranged from 81 degrees to 85 degrees. The water level was 2.12 feet above normal pool, dropping more than a foot since Aug. 20.

I started the outing at a large mud flat that encompasses about 300 yards of shoreline area along the southeast end of the reservoir. This large flat yielded 32 largemouth bass and one white bass when Rick and I fished it on Aug. 20, but it was not as fruitful today. The falling water level has left many of the once partially-flooded shoreline vegetation, buck brush, and trees either completely out of water or left standing in just an inch or two of water. The large schools of two- and three-inch shad Rick and I had observed at this area on our last outing have now dwindled down to just a few small pods, and they have pulled away from the shoreline and moved out to the deep-water edges of the flooded buck brush in three to five feet of water.

I kept the boat in six to eight feet of water as I quickly dissected this area with a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man’s black split-tail TrailerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-man’s pearl ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man’s green -pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Seven largemouth bass were beguiled by the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ and Gopher jig combo worked with a fast swimming-and-occasional-twitch retrieve just below the surface of the water. These seven bass were relating to several submerged bushes in five to eight feet of water and about 15 yards out from the water’s edge. Four largemouth bass were attracted to the black TrailerZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake presentation. These four bass were abiding in two to three feet of water and were relating to the last remaining patches of flooded shoreline vegetation. The 2 1/2-inch pearl ZinkerZ and the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ each enticed a strike as I retrieved them both in a swim-glide-and-shake manner, but I missed both of these fish on the hook set.

As I was finishing up on this large flat, the wind began to increase in velocity and I elected to check several main-lake points before the wind made the water too rough to ply any main-lake lairs.

I quickly checked two nearby east-side main-lake points that lie about a mile north of the main-lake flat that I had just fished. One point is enhanced with an old demolished concrete block building that is situated in 14 feet of water. The second point features a dilapidated concrete boat ramp bordered by large boulders and is covered with 12 feet of water. I failed to garner any strikes from the two points, the demolished building, or the submerged boat ramp.

I then made a 10-minute run northward into one of the two large feeder-creek arms. This feeder-creek arm features several riprap-covered secondary points and a new bridge with its embankments reinforced with riprap. I was only able to fish the bridge embankment and one of the riprap-laden secondary points before the wind and relentless ranks of white-capping waves drove me out of the feeder-creek arm, and I failed to induce any strikes from either of these two areas.

After I left the feeder creek, I found some refuge from the wind behind an old riprap-laden dam that was once used to separate this large reservoir into two smaller reservoirs decades ago. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers breached this old dam in two places, and the two smaller reservoirs then formed this larger waterway. Though I found some protection from the wind, I failed to find any bass along the riprap-covered embankment of the old dam.

My next spot was a main-lake cove located along the north shoreline of the southwest tributary arm of the reservoir. It is graced with a few large boulders, fist-size rocks, one floating swim dock, three boat ramps, and a long stretch of shoreline with flooded shoreline vegetation. This cove relinquished nine black bass to Rick and me on Aug. 20, but on this day, it failed to yield any bass.

During the last 63 minutes of this outing, I fished a 75-yard section of a wind-protected main-lake shoreline located along the south side of the southwest tributary arm. It is enhanced with three dilapidated concrete boat ramps, two small rocky points, and a tire reef that protects the northeastern entrance to a large cove that harbors a large marina. I could see vast numbers of two- to three-inch shad roaming the shoreline near the surface in three to five feet of water, and I counted three separate schools of largemouth bass foraging simultaneously on the shad along the surface of the water. I positioned the boat in 10 to 13 feet of water. I wielded the Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rig with a fast swimming-and-twitching technique, and it allured 41 largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and two large bluegills from this 75-yard stretch of shoreline before the feeding frenzy came to an end.

All totaled, I caught 51 largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and two large bluegills during this four-hour endeavor, which calculates to 13 bass per hour. And this catch rate is an uncommon feat in north-central Texas’ waterways.

Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ grub on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig with a fast swimming-and-twitching retrieve bewitched 48 of the 52 black bass, and it has become the dominate bait and presentation over the past three weeks. I have used just one Slim SwimZ during my past four outings this month, and I am amazed that it has survived donnybrooks with 111 black bass, 15 white bass, three green sunfish, and two large bluegills, and it appears to be able to withstand many more.
I’ve found that the Z-Man’s black split-tail TrailerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and swim-glide-shake presentation is a good follow-up lure to the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ in these murky waters, and though it allured just four largemouth bass on this day, I believe it probably would have caught many more bass during this outing if I had not been so focused on utilizing the 2 1/2-inch Slim SwimZ .

I was able to entice only one strike with the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man pearl ZinkerZ, and one strike with the Z-Man green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ, and I missed both fish on the hook set.

Aug. 29 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 29 outing at a 6,930-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 62 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 76 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The wind was calm for a short spell and then it angled out of the northwest at 3 to 7 mph, out of the west at 3 to 6 mph, out of the northeast at 3 to 5 mph, and out of the north at 3 to 8 mph. The conditions of the sky varied from mostly cloudy to partly cloudy to littered with a few clouds to fair to overcast to foggy and misty. The barometric pressure was 29.95 at 12:53 a.m., 29.91 at 5:53 a.m., 30.05 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.03 at 3:53 p.m.
The surface temperature was 77 degrees. The water clarity around the dam exhibited three feet of visibility. The Corps of Engineers reported that the lake level was 1036.18, and the normal level 1036.00. They were discharging 20 cubic feet per second through the dam’s outlet.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing should transpire from 10:34 a.m. to 12:34 p.m., 4:20 a.m. to 6:20 a.m., and 4:48 p.m. to 6:48 p.m. I fished from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., but I had trolling motor woes, and it took me about 40 minute to get it repaired.

The bite was very slow at the start of the day which was a marked contrast from when I was out here two weeks ago.
I primarily fished with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I also used a topwater bait occasionally.

The best bite occurred around 1:00 p.m. The best action occurred around isolated humps and rock piles. Some quality smallmouth bass abided around these humps and rock piles, and I lost several nice ones when they shook the bait out of their mouth as they exploded out of the water.

Most of the smallmouth bass were caught in one to four feet of water. I retrieved the ZinkerZ and Finesse ShadZ rigs by either slowly turning the reel handle while holding the rod tip at the five o’clock position or employing a sweeping motion with the rod and reeling up the slack and occasionally administering a shake or twitch with the rod.

In total, I had 48 fish, which consisted of four freshwater drum, several green sunfish, and the remainder were smallmouth bass. The biggest smallmouth bass was 19 3/4-inches long, and one of the freshwater drum was the biggest that I have tangled with in several years.

I crossed paths with Greg Monahan of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, who was fishing with a friend. Greg estimated that they had caught 65 fish. And their best bait was a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company’s pearl Zero affixed to a jig.

Aug. 31 log

One of our primary piscatorial canons prevents us from fishing the same northeastern Kansas reservoir more than once a week. We established this tenet a number of years ago. Its origins revolve around the fact that our Midwest finesse tactics allow us to catch vast numbers of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, and to prevent us from over-stressing the black bass populations in the small reservoirs, we created this canon. It is also a way to thwart what we call piscatorial greed, and in our eyes, it takes place when we overfish a bountiful population of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

Across the years, we have at times failed to honor this canon, and Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I violated it on Aug. 31, when we spent four-hours fishing a variety of bountiful largemouth bass and smallmouth bass lairs at a 416-acre community reservoir. This is the same reservoir that John Reese of Lawrence, Kansas, Glen Hildebrand of Lawrence, Kansas, and I fished four days ago. To assuage this transgression, we spent a significant amount of the time fishing locales that Reese, Hildebrand and I did not fish on Aug. 27. But to our shame, Desch and I did fish four of the spots that Reese, Hildebrand and I fished four days ago.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 65 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 88 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The wind was calm from 12:53 a.m. to 8:53 a.m. and then it angled out of the south at 6 to 7 mph and out of the southeast at 6 mph. It was foggy and misty from 12:53 a.m. to 8:53 a.m., and then it became sunny and hazy with a few clouds floating overhead. The barometric pressure was 29.96 at 12:53 a.m., 29.96 at 5:57 a.m., 29.98 at 10:53 a.m., and 29.96 at 1:53 p.m.

The water level was normal. The surface temperature ranged from 76 to 78 degrees. The water was clear, exhibiting more than six feet of visibility in the lower portions of the reservoir and more than three feet in its upper portions.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing might transpire from 12:02 a.m. to 2:02 a.m., 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., and 6:16 a.m. to 8:16 a.m. We fished from 9:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

When arrived at the boat ramp, we noticed that there was another pair of Midwest finesse anglers afloat, which made our transgressions even more grievous. They arrived several hours before we did, and they executed the bulk of their casts and retrieves upon a massive offshore hump that is embellished by boulders, rocks, gravel, American pondweed, bushy pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil. The shallowest area is covered with three feet of water, and there is 10 to 35 feet of water surrounding the perimeter of this huge hump. We quickly fished two parts of this hump several hours after the other pair of anglers had gone home, and we caught four largemouth bass. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce mushroom-style jig, and two of them were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Purple Haze Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. We employed a swimming retrieve, allowing our baits to swim about two feet below the surface.

We fished two-thirds of the dam. Its terrain consists of riprap, American pondweed, bushy pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil. There was a stretch of a significant phytoplankton algae bloom covering the surface of the water along the dam; it was four- to five-feet wide, and it stretched from the water’s edge to the inside edge of the patches of American pondweed, bushy pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil. We failed to catch a black bass in the vicinity of the algae bloom. In fact, the dam yielded only two smallmouth bass and three largemouth bass. They were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce mushroom-style jig and a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Purple Haze Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. We retrieved these baits with a swimming retrieve, and our baits traveled from six inches to 30 inches under the surface.

The rest of the outing was spent quickly probing nine main-lake shorelines, 11 main-lake points, one tertiary point, and three short segments of three shorelines inside three feeder creek arms. These areas were located in the lower portions of the reservoir, its middle portions, and its upper portions. The lower and middle portions were slightly more fruitful than the upper one. The terrain of all of the locales consisted of boulders, rocks, and gravel. Some were flat. Some were steep. A few were graced with a rocky ledge. The points and shorelines were lined with substantial patches of American water willows. The outside edges of most of the patches of American water willows were embellished with bushy pondweed, Eurasian milfoil, and an occasional patch of American pondweed.

We failed to garner a strike along the shorelines inside the feeder creek arms. Two of the main-lake points failed to yield a strike.
A total of 36 largemouth bass and eight smallmouth bass were caught along nine main-lake points, nine main-lake shorelines, and one tertiary point. Five largemouth bass and seven smallmouth bass jettisoned our baits before we could lift them across the gunnels of the boat. We inadvertently caught one walleye and one channel catfish.

We caught these 36 largemouth bass and eight smallmouth bass on five different Z-Man baits: a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Purple Haze Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce mushroom-style jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce mushroom-style jig, and a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ on a red 1/20-ounce mushroom-style jig.
A few of the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass engulfed our baits on the initial drop, but we caught the bulk of them while we were executing a swimming retrieve that traveled from six inches to four feet below the surface. At times, we executed a pause in our retrieve that was punctuated with some shakes.

In total, we caught 43 largemouth bass and 10 smallmouth bass, which tabulates to an average of 13.25 black bass an hour.

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