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Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, with one of the many smallmouth bass that he caught walking the shorelines of Sturgeon Day, Wisconsin.

The June guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 29 logs and 20,277 words that detail how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished. It features the endeavors of Rick Allen of Dallas; Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas;  Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia; Travis Perret of Overland Park, Kansas; Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; Walt Tegtmeier of  Leawood, Kansas; John Thomas of Denton, Texas; Bill Ward of Warsaw, Missouri,  as well as my northeastern Kansas logs.

Five of these anglers fished many miles from the waters that the normally ply.  Rick Allen’s log features his outing at Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota, on June 4. Terry Claudell’s report focuses on his smallmouth bass pursuits in Ontario, Canada. Bob Gum’s log is about his days at an Ozark’s reservoir that lies along the Arkansas and Missouri border. Drew Reese’s logs are about catching smallmouth bass at the Lake of the Woods, Ontario. Most of Steve Reideler’s logs examine his endeavors at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and one provides details about his outing in northeastern Kansas.

The heavy rains that fell upon West Virginia kept Travis Myers off the water for days on end. Consequently, his contributions to this monthly guide are not as voluminous as they normally are when he is able to float the rivers in his neck of the woods.

What’s more, I wrecked my boat trailer on June 20, and that kept me at bay for nine days. Traditionally, I relish fishing from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. during the hottest days of the year, but this accident prevented me from fishing when area thermometers hit 103 degrees on June 22, which set a record-high-temperature for that date.

As always, we are thankful that Steve Reideler proof read all of the logs. He made them more readable and understandable.

June 1 log

From May 25 through May 27, the rain gauge at the National Weather Service in Lawrence, Kansas, collected 4.18 inches of rain.  Other locales around northeastern Kansas received many more inches than what was recorded at Lawrence. According to the NWS, Lawrence received 7.38 inches of rain in May. The normal amount of rain is 5.17 inches.

Consequently, the water levels at four of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs that lie within a 60-mile radius of Lawrence rose dramatically. As of June 1, one of the reservoirs was seven feet above normal, one was 9.89 feet above normal, one was 10 feet above normal, and one was 14.78 feet above normal. Likewise, the water levels at all of the community and state reservoirs within that 60-mile radius rose significantly. What’s more, the water clarity became either very murky or significantly stained at nearly all of our reservoirs.

On top of all of that, several of our reservoirs — especially the big ones — had not recovered from the heavy rains that pummeled northeastern Kansas on April 25, 26, and 27.

Throughout much of May, the high and murky water, which was coupled with unseasonably cool weather, kept a lot of anglers at bay. And several of the anglers who were afloat reported that the cool weather and riled-up water conditions adversely affected their abilities to find and catch the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass that abide in several of northeastern Kansas’ reservoirs.

Because of the Memorial Day ruckus at our reservoirs, as well as the riled-up water conditions, Rick Hebenstreit, who had seven inches of rain at his house in Shawnee, Kansas, on May 25, 26, and 27, and I didn’t fish during the last five days of May.

But we were hoping that by June 1 the water clarity had improved at our smaller community and state reservoirs. To our delight, it had improved at the state reservoir that we fished.  In fact, the visibility was five feet at a few of the areas in the vicinity of the dam, and at other locales, the visibility declined to about 12 inches.

The surface temperature ranged from 73 to 75 degrees. The water level looked to be nearly three feet above normal. Many of this reservoir’s acres are graced with patches of American pondweed, bushy pondweed, and coontail.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 59 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 82 degrees at 3:52 p.m. The wind was calm at times, and then it angled out of the north by northwest, northwest, west by northwest, and north by northeast at 3 to 20 mph. It was sunny. The barometric pressure was 29.95 at 12:52 a.m., 29.97 at 5:52 a.m., 30.03 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.02 at 1:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would transpire from 7:58 a.m. to 9:58 a.m., 8:52 p.m. to 10:52 p.m., and 1:44 a.m. to 3:44 a.m. We fished from 10:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

We began the outing by dissecting the entire riprap shoreline of the dam, and it took us 54 minutes to do it.  To our surprise, it yielded only nine largemouth bass. Four of them were caught on a green-pumpkin-candy prototype soft-plastic bait that is part stickbait and part finesse worm, and we rigged them on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head jig. Two were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man Fishing Products’ PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.   These largemouth bass were extracted from two to six feet of water.  Two of the largemouth bass engulfed our rigs on the initial drop. The other six were caught while we employed either a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve or a drag-and-shake presentation.

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Rick Hebenstreit with one of the the 62 largemouth bass that we caught.

During the next three hours, we fished six main-lake points, three main-lake shorelines, and the point of one riprap jetty. All of these locales, except the riprap jetty, were embellished with patches of American pondweed and bushy pondweed. Many of these patches are massive.  The topography of these locales is flat, and the boat floated in four to 12 feet of water.

We failed to garner a strike at the riprap jetty and along one of the main-lake shorelines.

The six main-lake points and two main-lake shorelines yielded 53 largemouth bass.

Three of the largemouth bass were caught on the prototype bait.  Five largemouth bass were caught on the PB&J ZinkerZ rig. The rest of them were caught on a four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a black 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Several of the largemouth bass engulfed our rigs on the initial drop. A few were caught on a rather unique drag-glide-and-shake presentation. Most of them were caught while we employed a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Most of them were caught along the edges of the patches of American pondweed and bushy pondweed, but some of them were caught in or near the middle of the patches.

In total, we caught 62 largemouth bass, and inadvertently caught six crappie, four green sunfish, and one bluegill. Thirteen of these 72 fish were associated with a rocky terrain, and the other 59 were associated with aquatic vegetation.

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This is the first largemouth bass that we caught on this outing.

June 4 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his bank-walking endeavors for smallmouth bass in Door County, Wisconsin, on June 4.

Here is an edited version of his log:

My wife, Nancy, and I made a 1,254-mile journey to Door County, Wisconsin, where we plan to vacation along the shores of Sturgeon Bay until June 17.

I elected to start my Lake Michigan fishing endeavors at two locations along the west side of the Sturgeon Bay peninsula.

The sky was overcast on June 4, and it rained during the early morning hours. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 52 degrees and the afternoon high reached 66 degrees. The wind blew out of the southeast at 5 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure ranged from 29.94 at 8:00 a.m. to 29.84 at 3:00 p.m.

I fished from about 8:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. and from noon to 2:30 p.m. The In-Fisherman solunar calendar noted that the best fishing periods would occur from 3:31 a.m. to 5:31 a.m., 9:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., and 10:15 p.m. to 12:15 a.m.

The water was clear and exhibited between seven and 10 feet of clarity. A passing boat angler informed me that the water temperature was 61 degrees, and the water level appeared to be about normal.

My first locale was a harbor that is protected by two jetties that are covered with large boulders. These jetties are positioned along the north and west sides of the harbor. The harbor was crowded with many bank anglers of all ages and there was a constant flow of boat traffic. I spent my time targeting both of the jetties and several concrete piers that are situated on the east side of the harbor.

Although Nancy doesn’t like to fish, she enjoyed acting as my spotter today and she was able to point out many occupied spawning beds to me. We found plenty of smaller smallmouth bass guarding nests on top of boulders in five to seven feet of water, but we did not cross paths with any large ones.

I immediately ran into a couple of problems. First, many of the bank anglers were pummeling the occupied beds over and over again, which made the smallmouth bass extremely spooky. The second problem was that I had to cast my lure several feet past an occupied nest then slowly retrieve it back to the nest, and many of the smallmouth bass would swim off as soon as my lure approached the vicinity of their nest. Others would quickly swim away as I tried to slowly and carefully position myself within casting distance of the bass. On several occasions, I watched a smallmouth bass slowly swim up to my bait and just blow it out of the nest without even touching the lure, then they would just ignore the lure. Very few of these smallmouth bass were aggressive enough to strike a lure, and when they did, they would engulf the lure and spit it out in the blink of an eye. I tried to set the hook as fast as I could when I saw them engulf my bait, but no matter how quickly I tried to set the hook, they were able to spit the bait out in a fraction of a second. It was fascinating to watch but frustrating to endure. I also tried to locate an aggregation of smallmouth bass in deeper water and in other areas inside the harbor. Ultimately, I caught three smallmouths and one large rock bass in about 18 feet of water, and they were relating to the side of one of the four concrete piers that are positioned along the east side of the harbor.

I eked out 10 smallmouth bass and I accidentally caught five rock bass in two hours inside this harbor. I wasn’t quick enough to hook about a dozen or more strikes. Nine of the smallmouth bass and four of the rock bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s California craw Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One smallmouth  bass and one rock bass were enticed into striking a 2 1/2-inch tail section of a Z-Man’s California craw FattyZ rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Both of these lures were slowly hopped and bounced across the bottom and along the tops and between the boulders.

After I finished fishing the harbor, Nancy and I drove about 20 minutes to a flooded rock quarry on the southeast end of Sturgeon Bay. When we arrived, we weren’t surprised to see that the shorelines along this quarry were crowded with bank walkers and boat anglers. I probed a small portion of a rocky flat that is covered with eight to 19 feet of water, and I caught one smallmouth bass in 10 feet of water. This smallmouth bass was caught on a customized 2 3/4-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin EZ TubeZ affixed on an exposed red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and it was slowly hopped and bounced through the rocks along the bottom of the flat.   The only other area at this location that was not being plied by other anglers was a floating walkway next to a concrete seawall located in a small cove inside the quarry. The walkway floats in 20 feet of water, and it surrendered three smallmouth bass. These three smallmouth bass were suspended  about five feet deep along the edges of the walkway, and they were coaxed into striking a shortened Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Hula StickZ affixed on a brown 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The Mud Minnow Hula StickZ rig was retrieved parallel to the sides of the walkway with a slow swim-glide-and-subtle shake presentation.

Overall, it was a slow and tedious outing. I caught 14 smallmouth bass and five rock bass during this 4 1/2-hour outing, but I did learn a bit more about fishing for heavily-pressured bass in crowded situations. All of these bass were decent ones and weighed between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 pounds.

June 4 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network for Rick Allen of Dallas, about his outing at Mille Lacs Lake in central Minnesota.

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

During the first week of June, my wife, Linda, and I were vacationing in Minnesota. On June 4, I hired a guide to fish Mille Lacs Lake.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the prime fishing periods would occur between 3:59 a.m. to 5:59 a.m., 10:13 a.m. to 12:13 p.m., and 10:43 p.m. to 12:43 a.m.  We fished from about 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

It was mostly overcast and a light mist fell during part of the day. The Weather Underground recorded the morning low temperature at 50 degrees and the afternoon high reached 64 degrees. The wind quartered out of the southwest at 4 to 17 mph with a few gusts reaching 24 mph.

The water clarity exhibited about seven feet of visibility.

We started fishing an offshore rock reef that was covered with five to eight feet of water and dropped off into 15 to 20 feet off water. I started out using a Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Hula StickZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man’s Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I utilized a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve throughout the outing. As we tried to establish a pattern, my guide worked with a variety of lures: topwater baits, creature baits, jigs, tubes, and crankbaits.

After about an hour with no luck, other than a few rock bass, we decided to move to a shallow rocky flat that extended out from the shoreline in about five to seven feet of water. This is where I caught a 3 1/2-pound smallmouth bass on the Mud Minnow Hula StickZ rig. Eventually, I caught one more smallmouth bass on the Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D., but my guide was still struggling to elicit a strike from a smallmouth bass.

Eventually, we moved to another rock reef further offshore, and I changed to a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which produced only a few more rock bass. Then I switched to a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ and rigged it on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I caught a four-pound smallmouth bass on the first cast and another nice smallmouth bass a few casts later, and then I caught a two-pound walleye. After I caught a couple more smallmouth bass, I took out a new green-pumpkin Hula StickZ, affixed it to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and handed it to my guide. He quickly caught a five-pound walleye and we caught a few more nice-sized smallmouth bass from the rock reef.

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Rick Allen with one of the handsome Mille Lacs’ smallmouth bass that he caught on June 4.

After the sun came out for a spell and after we finished probing this rock reef, we decided to return to the shallow rocky flat. My guide thought the sun would warm up the shallow water and the smallmouth bass might be easier to catch. That proved to be a good move, and we proceeded to catch 30 smallmouth bass between 3 1/2- to 4 1/2-pounds. All of them were caught on the green-pumpkin Hula StickZ and black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig combo, which was employed with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. By 4:00 p.m., rain began to roll in; so we left the smallmouth bass when they were still biting.

My guide was very impressed with the Z-Man baits, Gopher Tackles’ Mushroom Head jigs, and Midwest finesse tactics. He said that he was going to get a supply of Z-Man baits and Gopher jigs to keep as a secret weapon in his boat.

June 5-7 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his outings at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir that lies on the Missouri and Arkansas border on June 5, 6, and 7.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The weather was delightful. It was either summy or partly cloudy. The wind was mild mannered.

The boat traffic and fishing pressure was minimal, and I often had an entire feeder creek to myself.  The water level was about four feet above normal. The water clarity exhibited eight to 10 feet of visibility. The surface temperature hovered around 71 degrees.

Most of the black bass were associated with secondary points, and the best points were the ones where a steep and rocky shoreline became a flat and mostly gravel point. It was necessary to navigate my baits around the flooded buckbrush. The bright skies, clear water, and calm conditions allowed me to see many of the underwater obstacles, and I did not lose many baits. The black bass were abiding in 10 to 20 feet of water.

The most effective bait was either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I also had success with a four-inch Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits’ green-pumpkin-red-flake Hula Grub and a three-inch  Kailin’s chartreuse-pumpkin Triple Threat grub, and both of these were attached to a black 1/8-ounce Gopher jig.

Sometimes it was necessary to make contact with the bottom, and I employed a do-nothing retrieve.

The biggest black bass were caught early in the morning on a Rebel Pop-R. There would be a 30-minute window where I could get them to hit it. The Pop-R produces a spray of water droplets. When the droplets hit the surface, it appears like fry scattering, which makes it a good post-spawn bait.

I caught 39 fish on my best day. I often started 30 minutes prior to sunup and fished some in the evening till 30 minutes after sundown. I averaged about eight hours each day. Ten percent of the fish were largemouth bass, 80 percent were smallmouth bass, and the rest were bluegills, flathead catfish, pumpkinseeds, and walleye.

June 6 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his bank-walking endeavors for smallmouth bass along Sturgeon Bay in Door County, Wisconsin, on June 6.

Here is an edited version of his log:

After I filed a report about my dismal June 4 outing at Sturgeon Bay on the Finesse News Network, I received an email from Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia. And he offered several helpful insights and tips regarding smallmouth bass during the difficult transition period that occurs between the end of the spawning phase and the beginning of the post-spawn phase. One of those tips was “Don’t hinder yourself with the present spawners. Fish like they don’t exist.” I took his advice to heart, and decided to fish large spawning flats close to deep water for post-spawn smallmouth bass instead of plying rock jetties for the more persnickety spawning bass.

The weather was troublesome. Between 11:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., several thunderstorms rolled across the bay and interrupted my piscatorial endeavors. One of those squalls was accompanied by pea-size hail. The morning low temperature was 49 degrees and the afternoon high was a pleasant 69 degrees. The wind was mild-mannered at 11:00 a.m., and blew out of the west at 11 mph. But by 1:00 p.m., the wind direction changed and it quartered out of the northwest at 15 to 20 mph, and some gusts reached 27 mph. By 5:00 p.m., the wind was howling at 20 to 35 mph. The barometric pressure measure 29.63 at 11:00 a.m. and 29.69 at 6:00 p.m. I fished for about four hours between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., and I spent a good portion of that time sitting in my car and waiting for the storms to pass.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the prime fishing periods would most likely occur between 5:31 a.m. and 7:31 a.m., 11:16 a.m. and 1:16 p.m., and 11:45 p.m. and 1:45 a.m.

I focused all my attention on a massive gravel, sand, and boulder-laden flat inside a large bay along the west side of the Sturgeon Bay peninsula. A long boat channel winds its way across the flat and angles out towards deeper water in the middle of the bay. Several long concrete piers provided me access to the ledges where portions of the massive flat drops off into the boat channel.

The water was clear and exhibited over five feet of visibility. I spoke with a boat angler at a nearby boat ramp who informed me that the water temperature inside this bay measured 62.5 degrees. The water level appeared normal.

This outing was much more productive than my June 4 foray, which garnered only 14 smallmouth bass. During this June 6 outing, I caught and released 30 smallmouth bass and one large rock bass in about four hours. All of them were caught along the top of the flat in 10 to 12 feet of water, but within a few yards of where the flat dropped off into the deeper boat channel. Most of the smallmouth bass weighed between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 pounds. The largest specimen weighed three pounds, four ounces. Only three of them weighed less than 1 1/4 pounds.

I wielded an array of Z-Man’s Midwest finesse baits affixed on a variety of sizes and colors of Gopher Tackle’s Mushroom Head jigs, and I found only three lures that were effective during this outing. I also experimented with the steady swim retrieve, a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, a hop-and-bounce retrieve with no shakes, and a drag-and-shake retrieve. The hop-and-bounce retrieve with no shakes was the only fruitful presentation.

The most effective lure was a shortened Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a black 1/6-ounce Gopher jig, which beguiled 17 smallmouth bass and the one large rock bass. Eleven smallmouth bass showed a preference for a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ rigged on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, as did two 20-inch northern pike that were able to bite through my eight-pound fluorocarbon leader and liberate themselves before I could land them. A shortened four-inch Z-Man’s EZ Money Finesse WormZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught two smallmouth bass. I was greatly surprised to discover that a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin EZ TubeZ rigged with an inserted generic 1/16-ounce tube jig failed to elect any strikes.

Travis Myers’ advice and tips were right on the mark, and I have to give him credit for much of my success today.

June 7 log

Brent Frazee’s “Fishing Report” in the June 2 Kansas City Star noted that many of the reservoirs that stipple the countryside of northeastern Kansas were either muddy or murky, and they were virtually overflowing. One was 14 feet above normal. The folks at the marinas at several of these reservoirs told Frazee that the fishing for all species was poor.

On June 7 all of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs in northeastern Kansas remained riled. What’s more, when a pair of veteran Midwest finesse anglers can inveigle only one smallmouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s ZinkerZ rig in four hours of fishing at a community reservoir, the fishing is extremely poor in northeastern Kansas. And that is what Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I experienced at a suburban community reservoir on June 7.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 60 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 80 degrees at 2:53 p.m.  The wind was calm for about four hours, and at other times it angled out of the north, north by northwest, east by northeast, northeast, and west by northwest at 3 to 5 mph. It was sunny, and there was not a cloud in the sky. The barometric pressure was 29.91 at 12:53 a.m., 29.97 at 5:53 a.m., 30.01 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.96 at 1:53 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 75 to 77 degrees. The water level looked to be about two feet above normal. The water clarity in the vicinity of the dam was 3 1/2 feet, and in the upper regions of the reservoir, the visibility was less than 18 inches.  Many areas of this reservoir are embellished with massive patches of bushy pondweed, as well as patches of Eurasian milfoil, curly-leaf pondweed, and American pondweed. Long stretches of its shorelines are graced with thick patches of American water willows.  At 11:22 a.m., an angler who was walking along the shorelines saw a dead man floating in the water.  A diver from the local fire department recovered the body less than 50 yards from the shoreline.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 12:53 a.m. to 2:53 a.m., 1:21 p.m. to 3:21 p.m., and 7:07 a.m. to 9:07 a.m. We fished from 9:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.

We fished nine main-lake points, seven main-lake shorelines, portions of three shorelines inside three feeder-creek arms, two off-shore humps, and the riprap shoreline of the dam.

The shorelines inside the feeder-creek arms failed to yield a strike. Five of the nine main-lake points failed to yield either a largemouth bass or a smallmouth bass. Four of the seven main-lake shorelines failed to yield a largemouth  bass or a smallmouth bass.

The two offshore humps yielded three largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass, and we inadvertently caught a channel catfish, a freshwater drum, and two white crappie. All of these fish were caught on either a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig or a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig.  These fish were extracted out of three to five feet of water.  Three of these fish engulfed our Finesse WormZ rigs on the initial drop, and the rest of them were caught while we executed a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation.

The most fruitful spot was along the riprap shoreline of the dam, where we caught 20 smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass. All of these bass were caught between the water’s edge and the inside edge of the patches of bushy pondweed, curly-leaf pondweed, and milfoil. Twenty-one of these bass were abiding in 1 1/2 to about four feet of water. They were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and  a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig.  One smallmouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig, and that was the only bass that we caught on a ZinkerZ rig.  The vast majority of these 22 bass engulfed our rigs on the initial drop, and the others were caught as we employed a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation before our rigs reached the inside edge of the patches of aquatic vegetation. As we fished the dam, the boat floated in nine to 16 feet of water.

At four of the main-lake points and three of the main-lake shorelines, we caught three largemouth bass and seven smallmouth bass. They were scattered hither and yon. We caught them on a Z-Man’s watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig, and a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.  Nine of them were caught adjacent to the outside edges of patches of American water willows in four feet of water. One was caught under an over-hanging tree in about six feet of water. The ones that did not engulf our Finesse WormZ rigs on the initial drop were caught as we employed a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve.

In total, we caught 29 smallmouth bass and eight largemouth bass. We accidentally caught one rainbow trout, two crappie, two freshwater drum, one bluegill, and one channel catfish.

June 8 log

The four hours that Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I were afloat on June 8 were more puzzling and less fruitful than the four hours of baffling and unfruitful fishing that Steve Desch and I endured on June 7.

Hebenstreit and I fished at a state reservoir that lies about 20 miles south of the community reservoir that Desch and I fished on June 7.

At the end of both of these outing, Hebenstreit, Desch, and I were clueless about what was transpiring with the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass that abide in these flatland reservoirs. We do know that many of the reservoirs in northeastern Kansas and their denizens were affected by the aftereffects of the heavy rains that crisscrossed Kansas on May 25 and 26. Some anglers suspect that the black bass are exhibiting a phenomenon that is called the post-spawn syndrome, and these anglers say it is one of the most difficult times of the year to catch black bass.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 64 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 88 degrees at 3:53 p.m. on June 8.  It was sunny. During the early morning hours, the wind was calm, and then beginning around 5:53 a.m., it angled out of the east, southeast, east by southeast, south, and south by southeast at 4 to 24 mph.  The barometric pressure was 29.94 at 12:53 a.m., 29.93 at 5:53 a.m., 29.92 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.89 at 1:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be about two feet above normal. The water was stained, and the visibility ranged from 2 1/2 feet to less than a foot. The surface temperature fluctuated from 75 to 77 degrees.  We did not find any significant patches of submerged aquatic vegetation. Some of the shorelines are adorned with American water willows, and the depth of the water along the outside edges of the patches of American water willows ranges from three feet to more than four feet.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 2:09 a.m. to 4:09 a.m., 2:36 p.m. to 4:36 p.m., and 8:22 a.m. to 10:22 a.m. Rick and I fished from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

For the first 15 minutes, we fished the riprap shoreline of the dam. As we fished it, we followed Al Betsworth of Topeka, Kansas, and his friend who were power fishing it. (Betsworth primarily fishes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs, but they have been so riled up with high and murky water for the past 13 days that he has been relegated to fishing the smaller community and state reservoirs, which are not as high and murky.) We caught four largemouth bass along the dam. Two of them were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and the other two were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These largemouth bass were extracted out of three to six feet of water. We caught them while we were employing a slowly executed swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve.

We spent three hours and five minutes fishing an extremely long shoreline. Most of this shoreline is lined with patches of American water willows. There are also a few stumps, laydowns, and manmade brush piles scattered along it and intermixed with the American water willows.  Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some boulders. It has 10 riprap jetties, and anglers who were in pursuit of catfish and panfish were camped on five of the jetties. There are also four main-lake points, and three of them are endowed with a riprap jetty.

We caught 27 largemouth bass along this shoreline. We failed to find location and depth patterns. Some were caught along the outside edge of the patches of American water willows; some were caught from 10 to 20 feet from the edges of the American water willow patches; a few were caught along the riprap of a jetty; one was caught adjacent to a brush pile; two were caught in close proximity to two of the laydowns; two were caught on one of the main-lake points. These largemouth bass were caught in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as nine feet.

Our most effective bait was a shortened Z-Man’s black-blue-flake Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  Two largemouth bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.   One largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Some of these largemouth bass engulfed our rig on the initial drop, and the others were caught while we were executing a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve.

We spent 40 minutes fishing small portions of three other shorelines, which were endowed with a main-lake point, a secondary point, three riprap jetties, several laydowns, some gargantuan boulders, and patches of American water willows. We caught one largemouth bass from a patch of American water willows along one of the shorelines in four feet of water. We caught one largemouth bass at a jetty and three adjacent to patches of American water willows in three to four feet of water. All 0f five of the largemouth bass were caught on our black-blue-flake Hula StickZ rigs.

In total, we caught 36 largemouth bass, two crappie, and one channel catfish.

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One of the 36 largemiouth bass that we caught.

June 8 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his June 8 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Bruce LaMack of Pewaukee,Wisconsin, joined me for a five-hour bank-walking foray at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Bruce is a muskellunge and northern pike aficionado, but he has developed an interest in learning about Midwest finesse methods for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

According to the In-Fisherman solunar calendar, the optimum fishing periods would occur from 4:29 a.m. to 6:29 a.m., 10:49 a.m. to 12:49 p.m., and 11:14 p.m. to 1:14 a.m. Bruce and I were afoot from about 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The weather was delightful. The vibrant sun was shining brightly in a cloudless powder-blue sky. The morning low temperature was 45 degrees and the afternoon high was 67 degrees. The wind quartered out of the north by northwest at 10 to 15 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.00 at 10:00 a.m. and 29.97 at 4:00 p.m.

We spent the first two hours inside a small harbor along the west side of the Sturgeon Bay peninsula. The last three hours were spent inside another harbor about five miles north of the first one.

The water at both of these locations was clear and exhibited more than eight feet of visibility. A passing boat angler informed us that the water temperature was 57 degrees. Bruce also informed me that the water level in Lake Michigan was two feet high, which is a significant amount for this massive waterway.

This outing was not as fruitful as my June 6 one, when I caught and released 30 smallmouth bass. During this June 8 endeavor, the fishing was slower and more tedious, and we struggled to catch 25 smallmouth bass in five hours.

Ten of them were caught in less than 10 feet of water along a rock jetty that surrounds the north and west sides of the first marina. Fifteen smallmouths were caught from the shady areas along the sides of large boats that were moored along a concrete pier inside the second harbor. These smallmouths were mostly abiding in eight to 15 feet of water.

We failed to locate any large aggregations of smallmouth bass. We caught three smallmouth bass from the shady side of one large moored boat, and two smallmouth bass were caught  from the shady side of a second large moored boat, but other than these two areas, the other 20 smallmouths were scattered here and there. We observed a few small males nervously guarding a few nests in shallow water, but we focused our attentions on finding bass that were inhabiting deeper water and not relating to a spawning nest.

We wielded the following Midwest finesse baits: a shortened Z-Man’s California craw Hula StickZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a customized 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red FattyZ tube rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a customized 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin FattyZ tube rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Finesse T.R.D. rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s The Deal ZinkerZ affixed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; 2 3/4-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red BatwingZ affixed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and a pair of panfish grubs suspended below a fixed-bobber rig.

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Steve Reideler with one of the smallmouth bass that he and Bruce LaMack of Pewaukee,Wisconsin, caught on June 8.

The 2 1/2-inch The Deal ZinkerZ rig combo was the most fruitful lure, and it caught 10 smallmouth bass. The shortened green-pumpkin Hula StickZ bewitched nine bass. The shortened California craw Hula StickZ rig caught five smallmouth bass. The customized 2 1/2-inch watermelon-red FattyZ tube rig caught one smallmouth bass.

We failed to catch any bass with the 2 3/4-inch BatwingZ, customized 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin FattyZ tube, four-inch green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ, Mud Minnow Finesse T.R.D., and the two bobber-rigged panfish grubs.

We experimented with several of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves. A subtle hop-and-bounce retrieve was the most effective presentation. A swim-glide-and-shake presentation enticed three smallmouth bass.

We shared the first harbor with two bank anglers and the second harbor with two bank anglers and two boat anglers. The two bank anglers in the first harbor were using suspending jerkbaits and panfish grubs, and we did not see them catch a fish. At the second harbor, we saw one of the two bank anglers catch a smallmouth bass from a shallow nest with a green-pumpkin tube bait. We did not see the other bank angler catch a fish.

The two boat anglers were a guide and his customer. We spoke briefly with the guide as they were slowly fishing their way down a rocky jetty and past us. He informed us that they were having a tough day and the bass were difficult to allure. They had watched several bass totally ignore their lures and several other bass just swam away into deeper water as they approached. Both of them were wielding green-pumpkin tube baits. We did not see them catch a fish before they left.

In sum, it was a slow day, but Bruce commented that this was the most fruitful smallmouth bass outing that he has ever had.

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Bruce LaMack of Pewaukee,Wisconsin, with one of the smallmouth bass that he and Steve Reideler caught on June 8.

June 10 log

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, and I fished at a state reservoir in northeastern Kansas on June 10.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 69 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 91 degrees at 1:52 p.m.  The sky was clear from 12:52 a.m. to 11:52 a.m., and then it became partly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.88 at 12:52 a.m., 29.92 at 5:52 a.m., 29.95 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.92 at 1:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the south, south by southeast, east by southeast, and south by southwest at 4 to 25 mph. (At times, the velocity of the wind forced us to use a drift sock and to move the boat with the wind along some of the shorelines. Across the years, Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas have found  that it is best to move with the wind rather than into it, and a drift sock is an essential tool.)

The water level was about 18 inches above normal. The water clarity in the vicinity of the dam exhibited three to four feet of visibility, along several of the main-lake shorelines the water clarity was stained to very murky, and in the upstream section of one of the feeder-creek arms, the water clarity was murky.  The surface temperature was 76 degrees at 10 a.m. and 79 degrees at 2:00 p.m. There are massive patches of bushy pondweed scattered all over this reservoir and many yards of its shorelines are graced with patches of American pondweed. There also are some patches of coontail, but it has been overwhelmed by the bushy pondweed.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 3:47 a.m. to 5:47 a.m., 4:11 p.m. to 6:11 p.m., and 9:59 a.m. to 11:59 a.m. We fished from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and our best fishing occurred from 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.

We fished the riprap shoreline of the dam, three main-lake points, portions of three main-lake shorelines, two secondary points, portions of one riprap jetty, a tiny segment of a secondary shoreline adjacent to the riprap jetty, and one massive flat that is loaded with bushy pondweed and endowed with two submerged creek-channels winding across it.

We were hoping to find the largemouth bass abiding along the edges, around the pockets, and inside the holes of the bushy pondweed patches, but that hope was unrealized.  The bushy pondweed was nearly everywhere. It graced some areas along the dam, many of the shorelines, all of the points, portions of the riprap jetty, and all of the flats. And we did inadvertently catch a few largemouth bass that were abiding around a few of the minor or scrawnier patches of bushy pondweed.

We failed to catch a largemouth bass at two of the main-lake points. One main-lake point yielded three largemouth bass, which were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. One of the largemouth bass was caught along the outside edge of a patch of American pondweeds; it engulfed the Finesse WormZ on the initial drop. The other two largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse WormZ rig as it was being retrieved with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation. These largemouth bass were abiding in about four feet of water.

The riprap jetty failed to yield a strike, but its adjacent shoreline, which is inside a tiny feeder-creek arm and littered with American water willows, bushy pondweed, and American pondweed, yielded one largemouth bass. It was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. This largemouth bass engulfed the Finesse WormZ on the initial drop in about four feet of water.

We failed to elicit a strike on one of the secondary points. The other secondary point yielded two largemouth bass, and they were caught  in about four feet of water on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig that was presented with a straight swimming retrieve.

Along a 300-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline, we caught 11 largemouth bass.  Three of them were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s black-blue-flake Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig that was presented with a drag-and-no-shake presentation. Four of the largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and two of them engulfed the Finesse WormZ rig on the initial drop, and two of them were caught on a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation. One of the largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s black-blue-blue ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on a drag-and-no-shake presentation. The largemouth bass were caught in three to nine feet of water, and the bulk of them were caught around the patches of American pondweed, but a few were caught around some  scrawny patches of bushy pondweed.

We caught six largemouth bass along about a 50-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline.  These largemouth bass were abiding in four to five feet of water.  One of them was caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was presented with a drag-and-no-shake retrieve. Three of them were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and two of them engulfed the Finesse WormZ on the initial drop, and the other one was caught on a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve. Two of them were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s black-blue-flake Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and one was caught on a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation, and the other one was caught on a drag-and-deadstick presentation.

We caught three largemouth bass along a 75-yard section of a main-lake shoreline. They were caught on the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. Two of them were caught on the initial drop.  One was caught on a drag-and-deadstick retrieve. These largemouth bass were abiding in three to four feet of water, and two of them were caught along the outside edge of patches of American pondweed.

We caught 29 largemouth bass along the riprap of the dam. They were caught in three to eight feet of water. Some were caught on the initial drop. Some were caught on a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation. Some were caught on a drag-and-deadstick retrieve. Some were caught on a drag-and-no-shake retrieve. We caught them on an assortment of rigs: a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s black-blue-blue ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s black-blue-blue ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

In total, we caught 55 largemouth bass. Essentially there was no dominate lure and no dominate retrieve. And to locate them and catch them, we had to make hundreds of casts and retrieves along vast stretches of shorelines and points, around countless patches of aquatic vegetation, and over many yards of riprap. Of course, most of those casts and retrieves were fruitless. And when we caught a largemouth bass, it seemed to be a random event rather than a calculated and expected one, and we often describe these kinds of outings as ones where and when the largemouth bass find and catch us.

June 10 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his June 10 outing at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, where he walked and fished its shorelines.

Here is an edited version of his log:

The smallmouth bass fishing in Sturgeon Bay has become more difficult than it was when I first arrived in Door County on June 3. Anglers are now seeing fewer and fewer smallmouth bass in the shallow-water bays and harbors where they once saw scores of spawning smallmouth bass a couple of weeks earlier. Many local anglers that I have spoken with at the boat ramps were kvetching about their dismal catches of only two to five smallmouth bass during their six- to eight-hour outings, and some were going to start turning their attentions to walleye fishing in the main basin instead of smallmouth bass in the bays.

To make matters worse, the wind howled incessantly at 25 to 35 mph across Sturgeon Bay on June 10, with some gusts approaching 40 mph. The water in the large bays was white capping and endless ranks of three- to four-foot waves were crashing against the concrete piers and rock jetties situated along the miles of shallow flats, and in my eyes, it was a fascinating and impressive sight to see. But the wind and waves also confounded my attempts to accurately cast and retrieve my Midwest finesse baits across one of the massive sand and gravel flats that lie on the west side of the Sturgeon Bay Peninsula.

June 10 was mostly sunny, but by late afternoon, the sky became overcast with thick grey clouds. Local meteorologists forecasted that severe thunder and lightning storms would erupt during the early evening hours and would last into the early morning hours of June 11. The morning low temperature was 58 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 76 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.21 at 10:00 a.m. and 29.04 at 4:00 p.m.

In Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the prime fishing periods would most likely occur between the hours of 3:15 a.m. and 5:15 a.m., 9:27 a.m. and 11:27 a.m., and 3:39 p.m. and 5:39 p.m. I fished from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

I fished from two long concrete piers and one rock jetty that provided me access to deeper water that buffeted the shallow-water areas along three sections of the flat. I made my first cast along the wind-protected sides of the first pier and I made my last cast along the end of the wind-blown rock jetty that protrudes about 50 feet out from the south side of one of the piers.

The water was clear, and it exhibited about 10 to 12 feet of visibility. A passing boat angler informed me that the water temperature was about 60 degrees. The water level was two feet high.

I struggled with the wind and waves from my first cast to my last cast, and I could only eke out 14 smallmouth bass during these four frustrating hours.

I wielded a wide variety of Z-Man’s Midwest finesse baits. To help me cast these baits into the wind and retrieve these baits through the waves and into depths ranging from 10 to 20 feet of water, I affixed these baits to black 3/32-ounce Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head jigs.

Eight smallmouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s The Deal ZinkerZ. Four others were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ. The other four were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Hula StickZ. I failed to garner any strikes with an assortment of Z-Man’s 2 3/4-inch BatwingZs, GrubZs, Finesse ShadZs, Finesse WormZs, Scented LeechZs, 2 1/4-inch tail sections of FattyZs, customized 3 1/4-inch FattyZs, customized 2 1/2-inch FattyZ tubes, and EZ TubeZs.

Nine smallmouth bass were caught from the wind-protected sides of the two piers in 10 to 15 feet of water, and they preferred a slow hop-and-bounce retrieve. The other five were caught off the end of the wind-blown rock jetty in about 10 feet of water, and they were attracted to a slow swim-glide-and shake presentation.

June 11 log

Walt Tegtmeier of  Leawood, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his 90-minute outing on June 11 at a community reservoir that lies in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

I launched the boat and went straight to the dam.  I made two passes save for a 20-yard stretch that I left to a man walking the bank. I resurrected an old stand-bye from my early finesse days for this trip. It is a 2 1/2-inch Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits Fat Ika, which had been sitting on my fishing desk for 10 years or more. It had a faded-blue-silver-fleck hue, and I glued this barely used bait to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. It caught 15 largemouth bass and a giant green sunfish before getting thrown from the Gopher by the final fish. It is all I threw, and that’s all the time I had. I do not have a lot of data other than it was the clearest water I have fished since April. I am guessing  there was 20 inches of visibility at the dam. The surface temperatures were a surprising 84-85 degrees from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

June 11 log

Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his smallmouth bass adventures in Ontario, Canada, with his uncle and cousin from June 6 to June 11.

They fished four natural lakes and caught 349 smallmouth bass and scores of northern pike. His uncle estimated that they caught more than a half of a ton of fish, including a smallmouth bass that weighed five pounds, 10 ounces and another one that weighed five pounds.  They also inadvertently caught two walleye and one crappie.

Initially, the weather was cold. Area thermometers ranged from 43 to 50 degrees. The wind blew out of the northwest at 10 to 17 mph. It was cloudy and misty.  Claudell said it was so chilly that they were clothed in many layers, as well as rain gear. This threesome looked as if they were fishing in Alaska or in the winter in Kansas.

On the second day, area thermometers plummeted to 35 degrees in the early morning hours, and eventually it climbed to 57 degrees. The wind angled out of the northwest at 10 to 14 mph. The sky was cloud covered.

On the third, fourth, and fifth days, the weather was delightful. The high temperatures were 72, 75, and 80 degrees. The wind was mild-mannered. What’s more, the surface temperature rose from 58 to 62 degrees, and scores of smallmouth bass began to spawn.

They caught all of the fish on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  The pearl ZinkerZ rig was effective around spawning sites.

This was the tenth June that Claudell had fished in this part of Ontario, and he noted that the word has spread across the piscatorial grapevine that the lakes in this area contain a healthy population of big smallmouth bass. Consequently, there were a lot of anglers in bass boats from Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin fishing some of the lakes that he and his uncle and cousin were fishing, but they rarely crossed paths with any of them.

June 12 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his June 12 river outing for smallmouth bass.

Here is an edited version of his log:

When I launched the kayak at 10:40 a.m., the air temperature was a muggy 83 degrees. The sun was bright, and the wind would gust to 20 mph seemingly every 10 minutes or less.

The nearest U.S. Geological Survey gauge registered the river’s flow at 243 cubic feet per second, and the water temperature was 76 degrees.  The water exhibited four feet of clarity, which was a two-foot improvement since June 10, and I suspect by midweek that  the water clarity will be finally back to normal at eight feet.

I fished a 3 1/2-mile stretch of the river, and I made casts to every available structure that presented itself. The majority of my fish came from four feet or less of water on the weak side of the river, and they were associated with an intermingling of timber and boulders.

I fished four hours and 29 minutes, and I caught 42 smallmouth bass, three largemouth bass, seven rock bass, and eight good-sized bluegill.

Every fish was taken with a slow and steady do-nothing retrieve with intermittent shakes.

I caught 50 percent of these fish on the tail section of a Z-Man’s  redbone FattyZ, 20 percent on a shortened Z-Man’s Z-Man’s  Dirt Finesse WormZ , and  15 percent on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Mud Minnow  Finesse T.R.D. The rest of them were caught on a Z-Man’s watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ. These baits were affixed to blood-red, orange, and blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jigs. And each rig was coated with my special blend of Pro-Cure Super Gel.

I suspect my next outings, which will occur in midweek, will be my best of the season thus far. The water clarity is headed in the right direction, and the water level is plummeting at a fast rate.

June 12 log

David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a log of the Finesse News Network about his June 12 outing with his father and uncle at a state reservoir in rural northeastern Kansas.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his log:

Ron Harrison of Wichita, Kansas, and Reg Stadel of Salina, Kansas, joined me for a five-hour outing at a reservoir  that I had driven by hundreds of times when I was heading home from Kansas State University, where I went to college. But until June 12, I had never had the opportunity to fish it.

We were afloat from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The surface temperature ranged from 81 to 83 degrees. The water level looked to be about two feet above normal, and the terrestrial vegetation along the water’s edge was in the water. The water clarity exhibited more than two feet of visibility.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 72 degrees at 6:58 a.m. and 92 degrees at 4:58 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being clear to scattered clouds to partly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.97 at 12:58 a.m., 30.03 at 5:58 a.m., 29.99 at 11:58 a.m., and 29.91 at 6:58 p.m. Throughout the day, the wind blew out of the south, south by southwest, southwest, and south by southeast at 3 to 26 mph, and only one small cove and one shoreline were sheltered from its powers.

This trip was the first trip on my own after learning the basics of Midwest Finesse tactics from two trips with Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas.  Because Ned so thoroughly covers the fishing details on his trips, I will focus my reports on the learning curve for Midwest Finesse fishing, as well as my attempts to expand and/or challenge the Midwest finesse fishing system.

My father and uncle are new to Midwest finesse fishing.  So, we spent at least part of the day instructing and analyzing the techniques needed for success.  What’s more, my uncle has recently installed a new Humminbird sonar on his boat, and we spent some time reviewing the capabilities of the unit, as well as using it to examine the reservoir’s underwater haunts, such as submerged creek channels, ditches, humps, and brushpiles.

One of the keys to Midwest finesse is to keep moving and keep exploring shoreline areas while making cast-after-cast to likely looking spots.  To accomplish this goal, we fished two major shorelines, two minor coves, and the rip-rap of the dam (which we fished twice).  All areas produced multiple fish.

Another important element in Midwest finesse fishing is that the best fish often come from the best spots.  For instance, we caught a nice-size sauger that came from a shoreline where there is a point and the depth of the water plummets from eight feet to 20 feet.  Also, a nice-size smallmouth bass was caught where a large patch of American water willows met a limestone shoreline. Three sizeable largemouth bass and a nice-size walleye were caught along the riprap of the dam.  All other spots on the lake produced largemouth bass smaller than 12 inches.

We caught fish on the following standard Midwest Finesse lures: 1/16-ounce jig affixed to a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse T.R.D., a 1/16-ounce jig affixed to a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D., and a shortened Z-Man’s black-blue-blue ZinkerZ affixed to a 1/16-ounce jig.  A 3/32-ounce jig was used around areas where the shoreline dropped off precipitously into 30 feet of water. And we also used it along the dam at times. We did not catch any fish on a shortened Z-Man’s Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ or a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ.

I also used a Berkley Gulp Killer Crawler, which is a 2 1/2-inch highly scented soft-plastic bait. It is marketed as a walleye lure. I affixed it to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I used a natural hue one and a chartreuse one.   The lure is made with a porous material that stays on the hook while casting and retrieving, but it did not last through any of the strikes and battles with fish.  I experimented with rigging the jig on the head of the Killer Crawler, as well as on its tail. Ultimately, I removed 1 1/4-inches from its head and inserted the jig into that area. The Killer Crawler caught  channel catfish, as well as two large bluegill, but it failed to catch a black bass. These fish were caught in the section of the reservoir where its shoreline is lined with American water willows, and it is also graced with shallow-water and a silt-laden flat, which is a goodly distance from deep water.

In sum, the largemouth bass were mainly caught while we were dragging our rigs in eight to 10 feet of water.  The larger bass were on the face of the dam.  We caught only small bass when we were casting towards the water’s edge.  The catfish and large bluegills were in an area where American water willows and a shallow-water flat slowly dropped into deeper water. The steeper and deeper areas did not yield many fish. The larger fish were abiding in areas where multiple structural features merge.

This was a fantastic start to Midwest finesse on my own.  Much of the extra hour on this reservoir was spent trying to understand its underwater features.  Fishing a new lake in a new part of the country (I just moved to Kansas three months ago) is a great challenge. By fishing with two anglers who had never made a cast or a retrieve with a Midwest finesse rig, we were able to see that Midwest finesse tactics are fruitful, and dragging the rigs behind the boat paid off handsomely when we compared our catch to the anglers in the other boats who were wielding power tactics in the same areas.

Another interesting part of this Midwest finesse outing was that we enjoyed a multi-species day.  We caught 32 fish: 10 largemouth bass, one smallmouth bass, a combination of eight sauger and walleye, seven channel catfish, and a combination of six bluegill and green sunfish.  The diversity of our catch delighted my uncle and father.

June 13 log

The weather forecasters predicted that rain and thunderstorms would erupt across parts of northeastern Kansas on June 13. Before they erupted, I hoped to squeeze in four hours of fishing at a community reservoir. But at 1:52 p.m., it suddenly began to rain heavily, and before I could put on a rain suit, I was soaking wet, and the boat’s bilge pump was running.  So, after fishing for only three hours, and seven minutes and becoming sopping wet from head to toe, I elected to load the boat on the trailer and drive home in the rain. When I was backing the boat into the garage, the rain stopped, and it did not rain a drop for the rest of June 13.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 66 degrees at 5:58 a.m. and 87 degrees at 1:52 p.m. The wind was calm and variable at times, and at other times, it angled out of the south by southeast, east, southeast, east by southeast, and south by southwest at 3 to 11 mph. The sky alternated from being clear to partly cloudy to foggy to misty to overcast to heavy rain.  The barometric pressure was 30.00 at 12:52 a.m., 29.99 at 5:52 a.m., 29.93 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.89 at 1:52 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 82 to 83 degrees. The water level looked to be 13 inches above normal.  The water clarity ranged from 15 inches to three feet of visibility. The patches of American water willows that grace many yards of this reservoir’s shorelines were adorned with blossoms, and the depth of water along the outside edges on these patches ranged from 15 inches to 3 1/2 feet. I saw some twigs of Eurasian milfoil floating on the surface, but I did not locate any patches of milfoil, coontail, bushy pondweed, American pondweed, and curly-leaf pondweed.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 6:19 a.m. to 8:19 a.m., 6:41 p.m. to 8:41 p.m., and 12:09 a.m. to 2:09 a.m. I fished from 10:45 a.m. to 1:52 p.m.

I fished one offshore lair, and it consists of the residue of a concrete bridge and silt. During the rest of the outing, I fished a section of one main-lake shoreline, three main-lake points, parts of five shorelines inside three feeder-creek arms, and a short segment of the dam.

I failed to elicit a strike at the offshore lair and three main-lake points.

I caught five largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass along a 100-yard segment of the main-lake shoreline. This shoreline is lined with patches of American water willows, several stumps, and a few laydowns.  The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders.  Some of the boulders are about half of the size of a 20-foot bass boat. It is also endowed with a ridge of rocks and boulders that form a reef and a tertiary point. One of the smallmouth bass was extracted off of that reef near the shoreline in three to four feet of water, and it was caught on the initial drop of a shortened Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s black-blue-flake Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and these largemouth bass were extracted out of six to nine feet of water while I was employing a drag-and-deadstick presentation. The second smallmouth bass was caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in about four feet of water on a rocky terrain.  The other three largemouth bass were caught on the shortened Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig as I was employing a very slow swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve in four to five feet of water adjacent to one laydown and along the outside edges of the American water willows.

I caught one largemouth bass along a 35-yard stretch of a shoreline inside a small feeder-creek arm.  It was extracted out of eight feet of water on a rock-laden terrain as I was dragging and deadsticking a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

I caught 11 largemouth bass along a 150-yard stretch of a shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm. This shoreline is embellished with a patch of cattails, many patches of American pondweed, seven laydowns, and several stumps. Its underwater terrain is made up of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Four of the largemouth bass were caught on the shortened Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig as I was employing a very slow swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve. Seven of them were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation. These bass were caught in three to six feet of water, and they were adjacent to either a laydown or a patch of American water willows.

I caught 10 largemouth bass along a 300-yard stretch of a shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm. This shoreline is lined with many patches of American pondweed, 12 laydowns, scores of stumps, a beaver hut, and a 25-yard stretch of riprap. Its underwater terrain is made up of silt, rocks, gravel, and boulders. These largemouth bass were caught on the Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation. These largemouth bass were abiding in three to five feet of water. Two of them were associated with a stump, six of them were caught adjacent to patches of American water willows, and two were caught along a rocky terrain.

Two largemouth bass were caught along a 50-yard stretch of a shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm. This shoreline is embellished with a long patch of American water willows, several laydowns, a few stumps, and several nearby brush piles.  Its geology consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. One largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig adjacent to one of the boulders in about two feet of water. The second largemouth bass was caught on the Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation in about four feet of water along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows.

I fished a 40-yard section of the dam, and it yielded two largemouth bass that were caught on the Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-no- shake presentation. These two were caught in about three feet of water.

I caught two largemouth bass along a 75-yard stretch of a shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm. This shoreline is adorned with patches of American water willows, some stumps, and several nearby brush piles. It is gravel-, rock-, and boulder-laden.  A number of the boulders look to be the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. Both of these largemouth bass were caught on the Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation.  They were abiding in about four feet of water adjacent to patches of American water willows.

In sum, I caught 35 largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass. The most effective bait was the Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  The most effective retrieve was a slow swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation.

June 13 log

Andrew Trembath of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief and a photograph on the Finesse News Network about his June 13 outing with a friend at a heavily fished state reservoir that lies in an exurban region of northeastern Kansas.  They fished from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and they estimated that they caught 40 largemouth bass. The bulk of them were caught on either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze ZinkerZ or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ. Both were affixed to a jig, but he did not note the size and color of the jig.  A few of the fish were caught either on a jerkbait or on a small crankbait. He noted the water exhibited two feet of clarity, and the surface temperature was 85 degrees.

image1

Andrew Trembath with one of the 40 largemouth bass that they caught.

June 15 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his June 15 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

I am just home from the river. The second report I submitted to the FNN, which was many moons ago, was entitled “everything eats Ned rigs,” and I attached a photograph of a 20-pound carp that ate my shortened Z-Man’s mud-minnow Hula StickZ affixed to a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. That occurred when I was pursuing cold-water smallmouth bass.

My third cast this morning with a four-inch Z-Man’s Dirt Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig that was well lathered with my customized Pro-Cure Super Gel resulted in the biggest channel catfish  I have ever caught. That brute was situated midway down a steep 15- foot ledge. It engulfed my rig just as I started my retrieve and shook my rod tip. I was working with four-pound-test Gamma line.

While I can eyeball a smallmouths length and weight pretty darn good, I am clueless on channel catfish of this size. Upon getting home, I looked at an In-Fisherman’s length-to-weight conversion table, and I calculated that it weighed about 15 pounds.  It was certainly not what I was fishing for, but it was plenty of fun nonetheless.

Over all, the fishing was difficult. I caught 17 smallmouth bass and four largemouth bass.

As I was driving back to the house, my thoughts went back yet again to the scores of bass anglers that scorn those small light-wire hooks and insist on going thicker and bigger.

I was extremely pleased with how my circa-1970s’ tackle handled that brute. I am afraid that short Tennessee-handle spinning rods, manual-bail spinning reels, and the art of back reeling are largely forgotten on my generation and younger anglers. And they are soon to be lost forever.

June 16 log

Dave Petro of Topeka, Kansas, and I ventured to an extremely heavily fished state reservoir that lies in an exurban region of northeastern Kansas on June 16.

Straightaway, we noticed that the massive patches of curly-leaf pondweed that grace the flats and many of the shorelines of this reservoir during the late winter and most of the spring had undergone their annual hiatus, and they are being replaced by patches of coontail and bushy pondweed. Traditionally, this is a sign that the summertime largemouth bass fishing is on the verge of unfolding.

The Weather Underground noted that it was 70 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 91 degrees at 2:52 p.m. From 12:52 a.m. to 7:52 a.m., the wind angled out of the northeast, northwest, east, and north at 3 to 8 mph, and from 8:52 a.m. to 2:52 p.m., it angled out of the east by southeast, south, southwest, south by southeast, and southeast at 5 to 9 mph. The sky was clear from 12:52 a.m. to 6:52 a.m., and it became partly cloudy at 7:52 a.m., and then a thunderstorm erupted from 8:52 a.m. to 9:52 a.m. at some locales in northeastern Kansas. The sky became mostly cloudy at 10:12 a.m., but at 10:52 a.m. it became clear and remained that way for the rest of the daylight hours.  The barometric pressure was 29.82 at 12:52 a.m., 29.82 at 5:52 a.m., 29.88 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.86 at 1:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be about two feet above normal.  The surface temperature ranged from 83 to 85 degrees. The water clarity in the reservoir’s main-body and in its west feeder-creek arm exhibited 4 1/2 feet of visibility, and the water clarity in many parts of its east feeder-creek arm was about two feet. The patches of American water willows that line much of the reservoir’s shorelines are healthy and surrounded by a significant amount of water. The outside edges of some of the American water willow patches are bordered by patches of bushy pondweed. There are scores of small cottonwood and sycamore trees, as well as other kinds of terrestrial vegetation, that are partially flooded, and some of the sycamores are embellished with big green leafs. The flats in the backs of the feeder-creek arms are adorned with patches of bushy pondweed and burgeoning patches of coontail. (When the patches of coontail are fully developed, the largemouth bass fishing around these patches can be very fruitful in the summer and fall.)

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., 8:22 p.m. to 10:22 p.m., and 1:49 a.m. to 3:49 a.m. We fished from 10:03 a.m. to 1:46 p.m. We caught 22 largemouth bass during the first hour, and at that point, it seemed as if we might be on course to tangle with at least 66 largemouth bass during the next three hours. But those projections did not pan out, and we caught only 34 largemouth bass for a total of 56 for the three hours and 43 minutes that we were afloat.

During the three hours and 43 minutes that we were afloat, we fished three main-lake points, one main-lake shoreline, and one offshore rock hump on the main body of the reservoir.  In the feeder-creek arms, we fished three shorelines, seven secondary points, two massive flats, and two small flats.

We caught two largemouth bass on the main-lake shoreline. One was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a drag and shake retrieve.  The other one was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on the initial drop.  Both of the largemouth bass were abiding in about 3 1/2 feet of water along the outside edges of patches of American water willows.

We failed to catch a fish at the three main-lake points. And we failed to garner a strike along the offshore rocky hump.

One 400-yard stretch of a shoreline inside one of the feeder-creek arms and its four secondary points yielded 16 largemouth bass. Two of these largemouth bass were caught on a shortened  four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon Finesse WormZ affixed on a green-pumpkin 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and one was caught with a drag-and-shake presentation, and the other one was caught on the initial drop. One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s black-blue-blue ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on the initial drop. Thirteen of them were caught on either the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. There was no primary retrieve; some were caught on the initial drop of the Finesse ShadZ rig; some were caught while we employed a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve; some were caught with a drag-and-shake presentation; some were caught on a drag-and-deadstick presentation.  What’s more, there was no primary location pattern; some of the largemouth bass were caught along the outside edges of the patches of American water willows; some were caught on a patch of coontail that lies many yards away from the outside edge of the American water willow patches; some were caught on a rock-laden terrain; some were caught around the flooded sycamore trees; some were caught adjacent to a laydown.  The largemouth bass were extracted out of water as shallow as three feet and as deep as nine feet.

One of the coontail flats yielded 10 largemouth bass. We caught seven largemouth bass at another coontail flat.  We failed to garner a strike at one minor flat, and at another minor flat, we caught four largemouth bass.  Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon Finesse WormZ affixed on a green-pumpkin 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. The rest of the largemouth bass were caught on either the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. One largemouth bass was caught with a nearly vertical presentation along the starboard side of the boat while the boat was floating above the submerged creek channel that meanders through one of the flats. Some the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. The other ones were caught while we were executing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.  These 21 largemouth bass were caught in four to six feet of water.

Along about a 150-yard section of a shoreline and three secondary points inside a feeder-creek arm, we caught 11 largemouth bass. Two of them were caught around laydowns, and they engulfed the Finesse ShadZ rig on the initial drop in about two feet of water. The other nine were caught at or in the vicinity of the outside edge of the patches of American water willows that line much of the 150-yards of shoreline that we fished. These largemouth bass were extracted out of two to six feet of water.

We quickly fished about a 200-yard piece of another shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm. A 30-yard segment yielded six largemouth bass, and along the other 170 yards, we failed to engender a strike. Two of the largemouth bass engulfed the Finesse ShadZ rig on the initial drop along the outside edge of an American water willow patch in two to three feet of water. Four of the largemouth bass were associated with a rocky and vegetation-free spot along this shoreline, and one of them was caught on the initial drop of the Finesse ShadZ rig, and the other three were caught while we were using a drag-and-shake presentation.

In sum, the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig were by far our most effective rigs.  We were hoping to locate and catch a mother lode of largemouth bass abiding in the patches of coontail on the flats in the backs of the feeder-creek arms, but that hope failed to materialize. In short, we could not establish a dominate location and presentation pattern.

June 16 log

Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, posted a brief on the Finesse News Network on June 16 about the smallmouth bass fishing at the Lake of the Woods, Ontario.

Here an edited version of his brief:

Bill Ward of Warsaw, Missouri, just completed his annual visit to Lake of the Woods. It was his best trip ever.

Across the 5 1/2 days that we fished, he caught 350 smallmouth bass, and we caught 774 between us.  He averaged almost 64 smallmouth bass per day, and together we averaged over 140 per day. We fished about 6 1/2 hours each day.

The spawn has not started.  While he was here, we had two serious cold fronts, and area thermometers dropped to 40 and 41 degrees.The smallmouth bass are eating small crayfish this spring, and our most effective bait is either a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse T.R.D. or a Z-Man’s  Mudbug T.R.D.  For more information about the best smallmouth bass baits for the Lake of the Woods and other waterways in Canada, see our recommendations at http://zmanfishing.com/cms/squad_detail.php?Z-Man-Lures-for-Canada-135.

The fishing up here is just amazing.

Endnote of Reese’s June 16 log:

(1) Bill Ward reported in a telephone conservation that he and Drew Reese caught those 744 smallmouth bass in shallow water, and some of them were in water as shallow as one foot.  Consequently, they were affixing the Finesse T.R.D to either a 1/32- or 1/16-ounce jig. Most of the time, Bill used a 1/32-ounce green-pumpkin football-head jig, which he makes and paints.

June 16 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his June 16 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed rendition of his log:

Upon sipping my morning coffee at 5:35 this morning in preparation for the day’s fishing, I contemplated holding on to the old or going with the new. By that I mean,  whether to completely abandon my deep-water fish that had not made their departure yet from their wintertime haunts into the miles upon miles of pools and riffles that pass through our canyon walls or eke out one more day  of trying to catch some stragglers that had yet to depart.

I launched my Jackson Big Tuna kayak at 7:43 a.m. under what were already extremely muggy conditions. The sky was partly cloudy.  My truck’s thermometer reported that it was 81 degrees.

The nearest U.S. Geological Survey’s gauge had my day’s intended water listed at 78 degrees and flowing at a rate of 168 cubic feet per second. That is the highest water temperature this gauge has listed in 2016, as well as the lowest CFS.

Upon getting off the water yesterday and getting my kayak secured in the bed of the truck, I made a short drive to an area that I use as a gauge to tell me where I should fish.    Upon looking over this spot from an extremely high bank, I can see up and down river a good 150 yards. This run of the river is about four-casts wide, and the depth of the water does not exceed five feet.  As I gaze upon it, I look at its clarity, the depth, where familiar boulders either have water running over them or preferably around them, and I also look for pods of smallmouth bass milling about or panfish cruising the shallows.

This reconnaissance mission led me to focus on the smallmouth bass that were in their summertime motif.  Thus, I fished a three-mile stretch of the river that is embellished with fallen timber and an average depth of six to seven feet.  Water clarity, however, was not anywhere near what I witnessed on my scouting task on June 15.  An hour into my float, I knew I made the wrong decision regarding location. I fished a total of two hours and 54 minutes, and  I struggled to catch 28 small male smallmouth bass, two largemouth bass, and 31 panfish, which  consisted  of rock bass, bluegills, and pumpkinseeds.

I caught 50 percent of these fish on a four-inch Z-Man’s Dirt Finesse WormZ affixed to a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The other half was caught on a Z-Man’s blue-steel Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse/orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.  Every one of them was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Some of the best outings I have had across the years were abysmal ones from which I have learned from, and I did that on this outing.

As I type this we have a tornado warning for our area and it is absolutely raining buckets.

Thus far,  2016 is shaping up as the season that will not get started on time. High water will no doubt visit the mountains yet again.

June 16 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about fishing for smallmouth bass while he walked along the shorelines at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

Here is an edited and condensed version of this report:

Now that school is out for the summer, the shorelines along Sturgeon Bay have become quite crowded and bustling with anglers, jet skiers, sailboat races, pleasure boaters, kayaks, paddle boarders, and fishing tournaments. The jetties and concrete piers have become over crowded with bank anglers. Consequently, I was forced to change my routine of fishing during the afternoon to fishing during the less crowded evening hours between 5:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

The daytime air temperatures in north-central Texas have reached the mid- to upper 90s. So my wife, Nancy, and I are enjoying the wonderful springtime weather in Door County, where the daytime temperatures fluctuated between 56 and 84 degrees. The days have been mostly sunny with just a few overcast ones. The wind has waned significantly since June 10, and it has mostly quartered out of the north by northwest at 10 to 15 mph. The barometric pressure has fluctuated between a low of 29.67 and a high of 30.23. 

The water has remained clear with eight to 10 feet of visibility. The water temperature varied from 56 degrees at Gill’s Rock on the northern end of the peninsula to 68 degrees inside Little Sturgeon Bay on the south end.

Most of the smallmouth bass were inhabiting 10 to 20 feet of water and relating to massive sand flats enhanced with pea-size gravel, basketball-size rocks and scattered patches of emerging aquatic vegetation. The most fruitful locations on these massive flats were along sections where the edges of the flats drop off into boat channels. Rock jetties were the most fruitful structures earlier in the month, but they quickly fizzled out after the smallmouth bass had finished their spawning activities and began moving toward their deep-water summertime lairs.

The most effective lures were a shortened 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ, 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s The Deal ZinkerZ, and a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Split-Tail TrailerZ.

These baits were affixed to either a 1/16- or 3/32-ounce black Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head jig. Jig color seemed to make a significant difference. These baits were far less effective when they were rigged on red, chartreuse, brown, or purple jigs than when they were affixed to black ones.

The 1/16-ounce jig heads were more effective when the wind was blowing less than 10 mph or when I was plying craggy rock jetties where the heavier 3/32-ounce jigs would become wedged in the cracks between the rocks and boulders. The 3/32-ounce jigs were much more beneficial when the wind was howling, the water was rough and white capping, or when I was probing water depths of 15 to 20 feet on the large sandy flats.

A slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most effective presentation around the rock jetties, where any type of bottom bouncing retrieve would quickly wedge a lure in the rocks. A slow and subtle hop-and-bounce retrieve was more fruitful when I was dissecting the edges of the sandy flats. The drag-and shake and do-nothing presentations failed to elicit any strikes.

In contrast to Bill Ward’s and Drew Reese’s colossal five-day 774 smallmouth bass catch at Lake of the Woods, Ontario, Canada, that was reported on the Finesse News Network on June 16, my endeavors in Sturgeon Bay were much more meager. I fished for 37 hours spanning across 12 days, and I struggled mightily to eke out 162 smallmouth bass. My average outing lasted 3.6 hours.  My average catch rate was only 13.5 smallmouth bass per outing or a paltry 4.3 bass per hour. Only three outings were somewhat bountiful with catches ranging from 20 to 30 smallmouth bass. My worst outing resulted in just five smallmouths bass.

June 17 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about the state of the rivers in his neck of the woods.

He noted that on June 16 the river was flowing at 160 cubic feet per second. And it is flowing at 3,100 cubic feet per second on June 17. What’s more, other rivers are running at a higher pace.

He concluded by saying, “What a year thus far.”

June 17 log

Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I tried to fish a community reservior that lies in the suburban region of the Kansas City metropolitan area on June 17, but we were foiled by trolling-motor woes. However, as I was preparing to launch the boat , Rick caught five largemougth bass while he was walking and casting along the shoreline at the ramp.  Here is a photograph of one of them that he caught on a four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ  affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

DSCN1169

June 19 log  

Travis Perret of Overland Park, Kansas, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his June 19 outing with his neighbor at a community reservoir in northeastern Kansas.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

We were able to get out on Father’s Day for a few hours of fishing, and to beat the heat, we were on the water early. Across the five enjoyable hours that we were afloat, we caught 38 largemouth bass and five channel catfish.

I started with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. My neighbor began fishing with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, which was more effective than my ZinkerZ rig.

After I noticed a lot of bait fish in shallow water and some small largemouth bass chasing them, I switch to a Z-Man’s The Deal Finesse T.R.D. on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse Shroomz jig, and my catch rate improve. Around 8:30 a.m., this rig caught our two biggest largemouth bass.

We primarily focused on the shorelines that are lined with American water willows. We fished a few rocky shorelines that are devoid of American water willows, but they yielded only three largemouth bass.

As the morning wore on, and the water temperature heated up, we started catching them a little further out from the outside edges of the American water willow patches. And when we did catch a fish close to the water willows, it was associated  with some kind of shade – such as the shade created by a boat dock or the shade of a large, overhanging tree.

The five channel catfish were a bonus. They were fun to catch. They were in shallow water, and I presume they were foraging on bait fish. They hit the Real Deal Finesse T.R.D. with the tenacity of a bass. One in particular, after snatching my bait, thrashed on top of the water a few times before making its dive to deep water.

The biggest catfish weighed at least eight pounds. Another one weighed at least five pounds. The others were two or three pounders. They were healthy looking. They acted as if they were looking for a fight, and I loved it. I also lost one channel catfish that had to weigh eight-pounds or more.  When I hook a channel catfish, I tend to horse them, and that big one beat me.

Travis Perret with one of the 38 largemouth bass that they caught.

I use Denali Rods. Whether I need the power for tangling with a hefty and feisty channel catfish or the finesse touch with a Midwest finesse rig, they seem to work well for me.

June 20 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed this log on the Finesse News Network about his June 20 outing. Here is an edited version of it:

During our journey home from our vacation in northern Wisconsin, my wife, Nancy, and I stopped for a day in Lawrence, Kansas, where I joined Ned Kehde of Lawrence for a five-hour smallmouth bass outing at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in northeastern Kansas.

On this summer solstice day, the Weather Underground recorded the morning low temperature at 72 degrees and the afternoon high was 93 degrees. The wind quartered out of the southwest, south, and west by southwest at 6 to 16 mph. (During the first hour that we were afloat, the wind angled out of the west and west by northwest at a brisk pace, but the Weather Underground did not record that phenomenon.)  The barometric pressure measured 30.18 at 9:53 a.m. and 30.13 at 2:53 p.m.

According to the In-Fisherman solunar calendar, the optimum fishing periods would most likely occur from 4:59 a.m. to 6:59 a.m., 5:24 p.m. to 7:24 p.m., and 11:11 p.m. to 1:11 a.m. We made our first casts at 9:51 a.m. along the south end of the dam, and our last casts were executed along the mid-section of the dam at 2:51 p.m.

The water fluctuated from being stained to being murky, exhibiting 1 1/4 feet of visibility in the clearest areas. The water temperature was 79 degrees at 9:45 a.m. and warmed to 86 degrees by 2:45 p.m. The water level was less than a foot above normal pool.

Our spinning outfits sported the following Midwest finesse baits: a shortened Z-Man’s black-blue-flake Hula StickZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened Z-Man’s black-blue-flake Hula StickZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Coppertruese ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a Z-Man’s black Split-Tail TrailerZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We started the outing at the south end of the riprap-laden dam, which lies along the eastern end of the reservoir, and along the dam, there is slightly more than a mile of riprap for anglers to dissect. An annoying west wind caused the water in the main-lake areas to white-cap, which made boat control a bit of a challenge along portions of the dam.  As we were preparing to make our first casts of the day, we discovered that the trolling motor was not functioning. Ned was able to remedy the situation in just a few minutes, and we began plying the dam.  While we worked our way along the south end of the dam, we saw a goodly number of longnose gar porpoising, and it appeared to us that they may have been spawning on the riprap. We caught 11 smallmouth bass, one spotted bass, and one of the schooling gar. Six smallmouth bass and one spotted bass were enticed by the shortened Junebug Hula StickZ and drag-and-deadstick  retrieve. Three smallmouths were attracted to the Junebug Finesse ShadZ and swim-glide-and-subtle shake presentation. One smallmouth was tempted by the black Split-Tail TrailerZ and drag-and-deadstick retrieve, and one smallmouth and the one gar were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Coppertreuse ZinkerZ and slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. All twelve of these bass were relating to the riprap along the face of the dam in water as shallow as 1 1/2 feet and as deep as five feet.

After we battled the wind and fished about seven-tenths of a mile of riprap along the dam, we spent nearly two hours on the south side of the reservoir, hiding from the wind and venturing as far as two miles from the dam. This area encompasses several main-lake points, several secondary points, two shallow offshore humps inside a small feeder-creek arm, one main-lake offshore hump, the submerged remnants of a farm pond inside a feeder-creek arm, a 75-yard section of a rocky shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm, and a series of shallow rock piles that lie adjacent to one of the secondary points.

The fishing was extremely slow in this section of the reservoir. In fact, several spots that we fished failed to yield any strikes. Ultimately, we caught six smallmouth bass and inadvertently caught three freshwater drum and two walleyes. Four of the smallmouth bass were caught in less than five feet of water on one of the secondary points. The other two smallmouths were caught in less than five feet of water on a main-lake point. The smallmouth bass were caught on the shortened Junebug Hula StickZ and a hop-and-bounce presentation across the bottom. The three freshwater drum and one of the two walleyes were beguiled by the Junebug Hula StickZ and a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. The other walleye was caught on the Junebug Hula StickZ and a drag-and-deadstick presentation. These fish were abiding in less than five feet of water.

We failed to catch any smallmouth bass on the three humps, the rock ledge and its adjacent secondary point, the rocky shoreline inside the feeder-creek arm, and the submerged remnants of a farm pond inside the feeder-creek arm. We elicited a strike from one of the humps and another strike from one of the secondary points inside the feeder creek arm, but we failed to hook these two fish.

After our meager results along the south side of the reservoir, we elected to return to the dam and fish the mid-section and south end of the dam a second time.  This time around, the wind had diminished significantly, and we caught 30 smallmouth bass and three freshwater drum. All of these fish were relating to the shallow riprap along the face of the dam in less than five feet of water. Twenty-seven smallmouth bass and two freshwater drum were bewitched by the 2 1/2-inch Junebug ZinkerZ rig. Three smallmouth bass and one freshwater drum were fooled by the shortened Junebug Hula StickZ. We hooked one smallmouth bass that was attacked and completely devoured by one of the gar as we were reeling the smallmouth bass to the boat, and this was the first time that either of us had witnessed such a phenomenon. We also hooked about a dozen smallmouth bass along the dam that liberated themselves before we could land them. The swim-glide-and-subtle shake retrieve was the most effective presentation, but some of the smallmouth bass were caught on a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation.  And several of the smallmouth bass engulfed our baits on the initial fall.

Overall, we caught 47 smallmouth bass, one spotted bass, six freshwater drum, two walleyes, and one gar. The most fruitful lure was the 2 1/2-inch Junebug ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The most productive presentation was a swim-glide-and-subtle shake retrieve.

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Steve Reideler with one of the 47 smallmouth bass that were caught on June 20. It is interesting to note that the color of the water is browner than Steve’s brown shirt. In his eyes, it did not look like smallmouth bass water.

I have always read about the piscatorial myths regarding the ineffectiveness of finesse tactics in dirty water environs. But since I became a Midwest finesse devotee in August of 2013, I have proven to myself time and again that Midwest finesse tactics will produce largemouth bass and spotted bass when the water clarity is muddy and exhibiting less than a foot of visibility. But I have had a difficult time locating and catching smallmouth bass in north-central Texas reservoirs when the water conditions are heavily stained or muddy with less than two feet of visibility. But much to my surprise and delight, we were able to locate a significant aggregation of smallmouth bass relating to the shallow water riprap along the face of the dam, and that is where I will begin searching for them when I return to the reservoirs in north-central Texas.

June 23 log

Steve Reideler filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his June 23 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

My boat is currently in the shop for outboard motor repairs. Therefore, John Thomas of Denton, Texas, joined me for a bank-walking excursion at a community reservoir that we normally ply during the winter months. This reservoir is located in a suburb northwest of Dallas.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted the best fishing periods would most likely take place between 1:20 a.m. to 3:20 a.m., 7:32 a.m. to 9:32 a.m., and 1:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. John and I were afoot from about 10:30 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

It was a hot day in north-central Texas. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 74 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 95 degrees with a heat index of 102 degrees. The sun-filled sky did not have a cloud in sight. The wind blew steadily throughout the day and quartered out of the southeast at 8 to 14 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.26 at 10:44 a.m. and dropped slightly to 30.21 by 2:44 p.m.

The water level was normal. The water clarity was stained with about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. We did not have the means to measure the water temperature.

We began the outing fishing the east shoreline, which relinquished 11 largemouth bass. Four largemouth bass were caught in about five feet of water from the top of a sand and gravel flat that occupies the lower third of this shoreline. Two largemouth bass were caught from four feet of water along the south side and tip of a broad point that is situated along the mid-section of the shoreline. Five largemouth bass were caught along the south side of a long clay and gravel point on the northeast end of the shoreline, and they were abiding in three to six feet of water.

After we finished fishing the east shoreline, we slowly dissected the areas around the face of a concrete slab dam that forms the southern perimeter of this reservoir. The dam also relinquished 11 largemouth bass. These largemouth bass were abiding in four to six feet of water and about 10 to 15 feet out from the face of the dam.

After we finished fishing the dam and took an hour lunch break, we fished a 55-yard section of the west shoreline. This section of shoreline is graced with a fishing pier and a wall of hydrilla that runs underneath the pier in about eight feet of water. We concentrated our efforts along a 20-yard portion of shoreline on the north side of the fishing pier, and a 35-yard section of shoreline south of the fishing pier. We observed several largemouth bass foraging on small baitfish along the shoreline just north of the fishing pier. We caught 17 largemouth bass in six to eight feet of water along the section of shoreline north of the fishing pier, and most of them were caught from underneath the pods of baitfish. Six largemouth bass were caught along the shoreline south of the fishing pier, and they were dwelling in five to eight feet of water and relating to the deep-water side of the hydrilla wall.

After we finished fishing the shoreline adjacent to the fishing pier, the hot afternoon sun made us feel a bit too uncomfortable to continue any further, so we decided to call it a day.

In sum, it was a splendid outing. We enjoyed tangling with 45 largemouth bass during this 3 1/2 hour foray. Most of these largemouth bass were smaller specimens, but we also managed to inveigle a few keeper-size bass that measured up to 15 inches.

Thirty-one largemouth bass were bewitched by a 2 1/4-inch tail section of a Z-Man’s California craw FattyZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. Seven largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/4-inch tail section of a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin FattyZ rigged on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught five bass. One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s Space Guppy SwimZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a brown 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught one largemouth bass. We failed to garner any strikes with a Z-Man’s watermelon-red Slim SwimZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most effective presentation.

June 25 log

Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, filed a brief and two photographs on the Finesse News Network on June 25 about his recent smallmouth bass pursuits at the Lake of the Woods, Ontario.

On two recent outings, Drew fished with a friend from the United States who had brought a package of Z-Man’s new TRD TubeZs, which were a gift from Daniel Nussbaum of Ladson, South Carolina, who is president of Z-Man Fishing Products.

On Drew’s second cast with the TRD TubeZ affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, he caught a two-pound, 11-ounce smallmouth bass. From that point on, Drew let his friend use the TRD TubeZ rig, and he used either a Z-Man’s Finesse T.R.D. or its Hula StickZ.  They caught well over 100 smallmouth bass on each outing.

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Drew Reese with the the smallmouth bass that he caught on his second cast with the Z-Man’s new TRD TubeZ. It is the Molting Craw hue.

On eight outings in June, Drew has fished with a friend from the States, and they caught more than 100 smallmouth bass on each outing. As of June 25, Drew has fished 20 times, averaging 6.4 hours per outing, and caught 1,500 smallmouth bass. (See Drew’s June 16 log for details about his six outings with Bill Ward of Warsaw, Missouri.)

He said: “It is crazy how good this lake is and we never see another bass fisherman.  Some areas we fish all day and never see a boat until we head in.”

In regard to the TRD TubeZ, he said: “It is my understanding that Tackle Warehouse is going to have a promotion going on the TRD TubeZ right after [the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show runs its course on July 12-15].  If you feel the fish you are fishing for are getting a little conditioned to your standard presentations, this will make a big difference.” The TRD TubeZ will be made in the following colors: Black/Blue, California Craw, Canada Craw, Green Pumpkin, Molting Craw, Mudbug, PB&J, and The Deal.

June 26 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, posted a brief and photograph on the Finesse News Network about his June 26 outing at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in northeastern Kansas.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 72 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 89 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being clear, partly cloudy, overcast, mostly cloudy, and a trace of precipitation fell at 3:53 a.m. The wind was calm at times, and at other times it angled out of the west, southwest, south by southeast, north by northwest, east by southeast, and east at 3 to 18 mph. The barometric pressure  was 29.99 at 12:53 a.m., 30.01 at 5:53 a.m., 30.06 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.04 at 2:53 p.m.

According to the Corps of Engineers, the water level was .70 feet above normal.  The dam was releasing 20 cubic feet of water per second. The surface temperature at the dam was 80 degrees at 8:00 a.m.  The water clarity was about 1 1/2 feet along the dam.

In-Fisherman’s  solunar calendar  noted that  the best fishing should take place from 5:47 a.m. to 7:47 a.m., 6:13 p.m. to 8:13 p.m., and 11:34 a.m. to 1:34 p.m. I fished from 7:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

When I arrived at the boat ramp, there were no other trailers in the parking lot.

I primarily focused on main-lake points.

I caught 43 smallmouth bass. One of them was caught on a Rebel Pop-R. The rest were caught on a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Bama Craw ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man’s watermelon-red Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I failed to catch a smallmouth bass on a Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits’ Double Tail Hula Grub.

I did not catch a smallmouth bass in water deeper than four feet, and I caught them in water as shallow as a foot. It seemed I caught one fish the instant the bait hit the water, as though it tracked the bait through the air. Light winds allowed me to present the bait with my rod tip up, and I employed a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

 

 

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Bob Gum with one of the 43 smallmouth bass that he caught on June 26.

June 29 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his June 29 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

I joined Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in north-central Texas, where we spent the afternoon pursuing white bass, largemouth bass, and spotted bass.

It was another hot and humid day in north-central Texas. The Weather Underground recorded the morning low temperature at 71 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 95 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.03 at 9:00 a.m. and 29.94 at 4:00 p.m. A light breeze meandered out of the east at 4 to 8 mph. The powder-blue sky was partly cloudy, and the sun was shining brightly everywhere.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated the best fishing would most likely occur between 12:29 a.m. and 2:29 a.m., 6:43 a.m. and 8:43 a.m., and 7:09 p.m. and 9:09 p.m. We were afloat from about 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

We spent our time in the lower and mid-sections of the east tributary arm, where we plied a large deep-water flat, the mouths of two feeder-creek arms, two rock ledges, portions of two islands, a 75-yard  section of a riprap-covered dam, and a riprap-laden jetty and partially flooded fishing pier that is attached to the  jetty.

The water was stained with about three feet of visibility. The water temperature ranged from 88 degrees at the dam to 92 degrees in the mid-section of the east tributary arm. The water level was 3 1/2 feet above normal.

We used the following baits: Z-Man’s Space Guppy Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig; a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened Z-Man’s California craw Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened  Z-Man’s California craw Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ  on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s EZ Money Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and a shortened four-inch watermelon-red Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We began the outing searching for white bass in the main-lake areas of the east tributary arm. We encountered a huge school of white bass that were foraging on small one- to two-inch threadfin shad along the surface of the water on a deep main-lake flat. This flat was covered with 34 feet of water. We caught 115 white bass in 2 1/2 hours. They were all beguiled by either the Z-Man’s Space Guppy Slim SwimZ or the pearl Slim SwimZ rigs. Both of these lures were employed with a moderately-fast and steady do-nothing retrieve just underneath the surface of the water, and the water was clear enough for us to watch a goodly number of these white bass chase down and engulf our baits.

After the delightful white bass bite petered out, Rick and I turned our attentions to the largemouth bass and spotted bass that inhabit this reservoir. We ventured to the southeast end of a large island that occupies the middle portion of the east tributary arm.

The southeast and southern shorelines of this island are usually ringed with thick mats of hydrilla and large submerged boulders, but we found no signs of hydrilla along these two shorelines during this outing. We were relegated to probing the crevices and large openings between the boulders in three to six feet of water, and we caught only one largemouth bass. This largemouth was abiding next to a large boulder in five feet of water, and it engulfed the shortened Z-Man’s California craw Hula StickZ and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve next to a submerged boulder. The south shoreline of the island yielded two white bass that were foraging on small threadfin shad along the surface in 18 feet of water. They were caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ rig and a moderately-fast and steady swimming retrieve just underneath the surface of the water.

Our third spot was a main-lake point at the mouth of a large feeder-creek arm on the west side of the east tributary. This point is adorned with thick patches of flooded buck brush in three to five feet of water, and it failed to yield any strikes.

After that, we ventured inside the mouth of the feeder-creek arm. We probed a rock ledge that is situated along the south side of the creek arm in six to eight feet of water. This ledge relinquished four largemouth bass, four spotted bass, and one freshwater drum. Four largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and the freshwater drum were caught on the four-inch Z-Man’s EZ Money Finesse WormZ rig and a slow swim-glide-and shake presentation. The other two spotted bass were caught on the shortened California craw Hula StickZ rig and a slow hop-and-bounce retrieve down the deep-water side of the ledge.

After we finished plying the rock ledge, we fished the other main-lake point at the mouth of the same feeder-creek arm, and it yielded one largemouth bass that was relating to a patch of flooded buck brush in less than four feet of water. This bass was enticed by the four-inch EZ Money Finesse WormZ and slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Our fifth locale was another rocky ledge that is located along a main-lake shoreline in the southeast region of the reservoir. This rock ledge relinquished six largemouth bass that were abiding along the top of the ledge in three to five feet of water. Four of the largemouth bass were caught on the four-inch EZ Money Finesse WormZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. A four-inch coppertruese Finesse WormZ and slow hop-and-bounce presentation enticed the other two largemouth bass.

Our sixth spot was a 75-yard section of the riprap covered dam, which is situated on the southeast end of the reservoir. This portion of the dam surrendered three largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one freshwater drum that were relating to the riprap in three to eight feet of water. Two largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and the freshwater drum were bewitched by the four-inch EZ Money Finesse WormZ and a slow drag-and deadstick retrieve as the boat slowly drifted with the wind parallel to the face of the dam. The four-inch watermelon-red Finesse WormZ and slow hop-and-bounce presentation enticed the third largemouth bass.

Next, we investigated the east and south shorelines of an island that occupies the center of a feeder-creek arm in the southeast end of the tributary. These two shorelines are lined with thick walls of flooded buck brush in less than five feet of water, and they were very fruitful during this past April and May. We failed to elicit any strikes along the east shoreline. The south shoreline relinquished one largemouth bass that was relating to a patch of flooded buck brush in five feet of water, and it engulfed the four-inch EZ Money Finesse WormZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Our last spot was a riprap-laden jetty with a concrete fishing platform constructed on the end of the jetty. The fishing platform is partially covered with water and is temporarily closed to the public. We caught eight largemouth bass that were suspended about five feet deep in 32 feet of water, and they were tucked just underneath the south edge of the fishing platform. Two largemouth bass were caught off the south side of the rocky jetty in less than eight feet of water. All 10 of these largemouth bass were caught on the four-inch EZ Money Finesse WormZ and a slow swim-glide-shake presentation that was retrieved parallel to the edge of the fishing platform.

Overall, it was an enjoyable and bountiful outing. We caught 117 white bass and 25 largemouth bass, five spotted bass, and two freshwater drum.

The Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ and Space Guppy Slim SwimZ rigs were extremely effective for alluring the white bass. The four-inch EZ Money Finesse WormZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most effective lure and presentation for inveigling the black bass, including the largest one which weighed three pounds and 12 ounces. We failed to elicit any strikes with the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ rig and shortened 3 1/4-inch California craw Hula StickZ and red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

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June 30 log

On my way home from a smallmouth bass outing in northeastern Kansas on June 20 with Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, I was traveling at about 5 mph as I was making a right-hand turn. As I executed the turn, the right wheel and tire on my boat trailer hit an inlet for a storm sewer. The impact bent the wheel, the axle, portions of the trailer’s frame, and the winch post. It flattened the tire, too. I have made this identical turn at this corner, which is about 175 yards from our home with this trailer and other trailers a thousand times across the past 35 years.  But this turn ruined that trailer, and I had to purchase a new one.

So until Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, asked me to join him on June 28 for an afternoon of searching for some white bass at one of northeastern Kansas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs, I had not made a cast for seven days. To Lau’s and my surprise, we caught 79 white bass, as well as 13 freshwater drum, six largemouth bass, six smallmouth bass, three flathead catfish, three crappie, and one bluegill. It was not a Midwest finesse outing; so the details about this outing was not filed on the Finesse News Network.

On June 30, my cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, asked me to join him for a Midwest finesse outing at a community reservoir that lies in the suburbs of the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 64 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 86 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sky alternated from being clear to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy to thunderstorms to light rain to rain. (While we were fishing, the sky fluctuated from being clear to partly cloudy.) The wind angled out of the east by southeast, southeast, south, west, south by southwest, west by southwest, west by northwest, and north by northwest at 5 to 11 mph.  The barometric pressure was 29.98 at 12:53 a.m., 29.91 at 5:53 a.m., 29.92 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.90 at 1:53 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 83 to 85 degrees. The water clarity fluctuated  from 1 1/2 to three feet of visibility. The water level is normal. Its massive coontail patches are in their diminishing stage, which occurs during the heat of the summer.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 7:23 a.m. to 9:23 a.m., 7:50 p.m. to 9:50 p.m., and 1:09 a.m. to 3:09 a.m. We fished four hours and seven minutes from 9:30 a.m. to 1:37 p.m.

For the first three hours and 13 minutes of this outing, the trolling motor was out of the water for only four minutes.   We began the outing at the dam, where we focused on its riprap shoreline. The dam is about 100 yards long, and every inch of it is lined with American water willows.

After we fished the dam, we fished six main-lake shorelines, eight main-lake points, six secondary and tertiary points, four tiny main-lake coves, and two offshore humps.

Most of the shorelines and points that we fished are lined with American water willows. We calculated that we fished more than 900 yards of American water willows, and we fished about 125 yards of shorelines and points that were not graced with patches of American water willows.

We caught 62 largemouth bass, and we inadvertently caught two channel catfish, one crappie, and one warmouth. One largemouth bass was caught at an offshore hump in about four feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on a pile of shoreline rocks in about three feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught adjacent to a wood pole that is surrounded by three feet of water and patches of coontail. Three largemouth bass were caught around boat docks in four to six feet of water. Two largemouth bass and one channel catfish were halfway between two boat docks in about eight feet of water. Two largemouth bass were caught adjacent to a concrete and rock retaining wall in about three feet of water. Six largemouth bass were caught around patches of coontail in about five feet of water. Forty-six largemouth bass were caught along shorelines and points that are embellished with American water willows, and they were caught in water as shallow as two feet and as deep as nine feet.

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One of the 62 largemouth bass that we caught.

 

The most fruitful area was a 40-yard stretch of a steep shoreline that is lined with American water willows, and its underwater terrain is embellished with  rocks, gravel, some boulders, and a few scanty laydowns. This stretch yielded 19 largemouth bass. They were abiding in three to nine feet of water.

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Rick Heberstreit with one of the 62 largemouth bass that we caught

 

The dam yielded eight largemouth bass, and they were caught in three to about six feet of water.

Along the other locales, we made scores of casts and retrieves that were fruitless. Then we would catch one or two largemouth bass, and then we fished many more yards without eliciting a strike. To find and catch them, we had to fish quickly and methodically.

Our two most effective baits were a four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig combined to catch 13 largemouth bass.

Several of the largemouth bass engulfed our rigs on the initial drop or shortly after the initial drop. Three largemouth bass were caught during a deadstick presentation. The rest of them were caught on either a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve or a drag presentation.  The drag presentation was executed by casting at a 30- to 45-degree angle behind the boat, and a lot of times it was more of a strolling-and-gliding presentation than a dragging presentation.

 

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