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Midwest Finesse Fishing: May 2014

by Ned Kehde   |  June 11th, 2014 3
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Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, with one of the 45  smallmouth bass that were caught on May 21.

 

In this May guide to Midwest finesse fishing, Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas; Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kansas; Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas; Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas; Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri; Bob Gum of Kansas City; Rick Hebenstriet of Shawnee, Kansas; Ralph Manns of Rowlett, Texas; Greg Monahan of Lees Summit, Missouri; Nathan Parker of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Travis Perret of Overland Park, Kansas; Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas; Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas; Walt Tegtmeier of Kansas City; Dave Weroha of Kansas City; and Lyn Yarbrough of Leawood, Kansas, revealed how, when, and where they caught largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass across 31 days of fishing.

May 1 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed this log on the Finesse News Network about his May 1 outing to a 21,280-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir.

He wrote: “April ended with a cold front rolling across the north central-Texas plains during the night of April 29, causing our daily high temperatures to plummet from the mid-80s to the mid-60s on April 30. Twenty-five to 30 mph winds accompanied the front, and they cooled water temperatures down from the low 70s back into the high 60s.

“On May 1, I undertook a five-hour excursion to a nearby 21,280-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir located in the northern city limits of Lewisville, Texas. The day was mostly sunny with partly cloudy skies. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low at 48 degrees and the afternoon high reached a comfortable 76 degrees. A pesky wind quartered out of the northwest at 10 to 20 mph, and the barometric pressure was 30.17 and rising.

“ The previous days’ high winds caused the water to become murky, exhibiting a brownish tint. Consequently, the visibility had decreased from 2 1/2-feet on April 28 to less than one foot on May 1. The surface temperature had dropped from 71 degrees to 68 degrees. The water level was 7.62 feet below normal pool.

“In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar predicted the best fishing period would take place between 12:59 p.m. and 2:59 p.m. I was afloat from 11:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

“I concentrated on locating aggregations of post-spawn largemouth bass in wind protected areas in the southwestern tributary arm of the reservoir. I targeted three feeder creeks that featured steep, rock, and clay banks and points, as well as gravel and sand covered flats. Two of the feeder creeks were located on the northern side of the tributary arm, and the other feeder creek is situated on the south side of the tributary.

“I began in the back of the south-side feeder creek. I plied the back ends of two shallow spawning coves. Then I worked my way along the steep winding shorelines and five rocky points leading toward the main lake. I wielded a three-inch Charlie Brewer Slider Company’s chartreuse-black-flake-orange tail Bass/Walleye/Striper Grub rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher Tackle’s Mushroom Head Jig; four-inch Z-Man Fishing Products’ coppertreuse Finesse WormZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig; and four-inch Z-Man’s black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

“I presented Brewer’s grub in a steady do-nothing retrieve and the Z-Man’s Finesse WormZs were implemented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake technique. The back of one spawning cove relinquished two largemouth bass, and the adjacent steep rocky shoreline surrendered 16 largemouth bass. These 18 largemouth bass were extracted from three to five feet of water. Fifteen bass were attracted to Brewer’s three-inch grub, and Z-Man’s four-inch black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ appealed to three largemouth bass. The coppertreuse Finesse WormZ failed to draw a strike.

“The second feeder creek I visited is located on the north side of this tributary arm. This feeder creek is endowed with five spawning coves, four gravel and sand flats, two covered boat docks, and seven steep, rock, and clay points. I dissected this feeder creek for about two hours with Brewer’s three-inch grub and Z-Man’s four-inch black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ, and I failed to allure a bass.

“The last feeder creek I explored is also located on the north side of this tributary, and about a quarter mile west of the second feeder creek. This feeder creek encompasses four spawning coves, four boat ramps, six rocky points, and five gravel covered flats. The main-lake point on the south side of this feeder creek yielded one largemouth bass, one boat ramp positioned in the mid-section of the feeder creek surrendered two largemouth bass, one gravel flat produced one spotted bass, and one steep rocky shoreline relinquished one largemouth bass and one white bass. All of these bass were abiding in three to five feet of water. I used the three-inch Brewer’s grub, Z-Man’s black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ, and modified three-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. Brewer’s grub allured the white bass, the Hula StickZ inveigled three largemouth bass, and the black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ enticed one largemouth bass and one spotted bass. Brewer’s grub was retrieved in a slow do-nothing manner, the Hula StickZ was maneuvered with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation, and the Finesse WormZ was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake action.

“All totaled, I caught 22 largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one white bass during this five-hour endeavor. Brewer’s three-inch chartreuse-black- flake-orange tail Bass/Walleye/Striper Grub and steady do-nothing retrieve allured 15 largemouth bass; Z-Man’s four-inch black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ and swim-glide-shake presentation bewitched four largemouth bass and one spotted bass; Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ applied in a drag-shake-deadstick motion tricked three largemouth bass. Z-Man’s four-inch coppertreuse Finesse WormZ and slow swim-glide-shake retrieve failed to elicit any strikes.”

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Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about a Texas Hill Country river outing that Rick Allen of Dallas took on May 1.

Allen reported that he fished the middle section of a river that flows through the cities of Ingram and Kerrville, Texas.

He was afloat from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar listed the best fishing period occurring from 1:08 p.m. to 3:08 p.m.

The day was sunny and high thin clouds graced the powder-blue skies. The daytime temperature was 73 degrees, and the wind blew out of the north at five to15 mph.The barometric pressure measured 30.12.
Allen described the river’s water as stained with three to 3 1/2-feet of clarity. The water temperature was 70 degrees. The water level appeared to be normal.

Allen said the fishing was slow, and he worked hard to catch 12 largemouth bass and four bluegills. All the bass were caught off the edges of a stump field that dropped from two into eight feet of water. Allen caught eight largemouth bass on a bobber-rigged 2 1/4-inch Z-Man green-pumpkin FattyZ tail on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, which was positioned 18 to 20 inches below a rattling fixed bobber. He also experimented with the same 2 1/4-inch green-pumpkin FattyZ tail rigged on a hand-painted blue 1/16-ounce Eagle Claw Nail Head Jig, which is endowed with a No. 4 hook and fiber weed guard. Allen reported that the Eagle Claw weedless jig worked well in the stumps and weeds, but he had a problem keeping the fish on all the way to the boat. Allen thought a larger hook may be better. He continued by saying he had better luck with the 1/32-ounce Gopher jigs without a weed guard. He landed four largemouth bass on the 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s FattyZ tail affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig fished without the bobber.

The largest bass Allen landed weighed two-pounds, nine-ounces, and it was beguiled by the bobber rig. The rest weighed between one and 1 1/2- pounds.

May 2 log

During the last week of April and on the first day of May, Midwest finesse anglers around northeastern Kansas kvetched incessantly about the velocity of the wind and inclement weather conditions. It is, however, the nature of springtime’s weather to fluctuate from delightful to dreadful in the plains of Kansas during the first eight weeks of spring. For instance, it snowed hereabouts on May 2, 2013, and during that wintery spell in early May, the water temperatures at several of our flatland reservoirs were unseasonably cool. These dramatic variations will teach Midwest finesse anglers the virtues of patience and flexibility, as well as learning how to love the unlovable aspects of life.

Because of the wind, foul weather, and several family obligations, May 2 was the first time that I have been afloat since April 23. On that last outing of April, Gabe Bonanno of New York City, Tyler Savo of Lawrence, Kansas, and I caught 102 largemouth bass at a 195-acre community reservoir. And I returned to that reservoir for a solo outing on May 2.

The National Weather Service in Lawrence, Kansas, noted that the low temperature was 34 degrees; the normal low temperature is 49 degrees. The high temperature was 71 degree; the normal high temperature is 70 degrees. While I was afloat, the sun was shining nearly everywhere – except during a short spell when some fragments of cumulus clouds floated overhead for about 30 minutes. The wind angled out of the northwest at 7 to 24 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.96 and falling at 10:52 a.m.

It is interesting to note that the many rows of corn have sprouted, and tiny green sprouts bespeckled much of the farmland that grace the countryside as I traveled to and from this reservoir. What’s more, most of the redbuds have faded, as have the plum thickets. Many of the hardwood trees are mottled with leaves the size of a squirrel’s ear, making the low-slung hills that border this reservoir exhibit a slight greenish hue for the first time in months. A pair of eagles was seen frolicking and several turkey vultures persistently kited overhead.

The water level looked to be about two feet below normal. The water was clear enough that I could easily see the black propeller of the bow-mounted trolling motor, and it was about 13 inches below the surface, and I surmised that I could have easily seen a Secchi disk about six feet below the surface. The surface temperature ranged from 58 to 61 degrees, and that was the range of the surface temperature on April 23. The patches of curly-leaf pondweed are thick and massive. The biggest patches graced the shallow mud flats in the backs of the feeder-creek arm, but there were some patches on the main lake, and they were situated along a few of the shallow, rocky, and gravel shorelines. Throughout this outing, a significant stonefly hatch was occurring.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar revealed that the best fishing occurred from 1:23 a.m. to 3:23 a.m. and 1:48 p.m. to 3:48 p.m. There was a minor period from 7:36 a.m. to 9:36 a.m. I fished from 10:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
I fished the entire dam, which is steep and lined with rocks. On the main-lake, I fished several hundred yards of its east shoreline and three of its points. I also fished all of the rocky and gravel shorelines and secondary points inside the reservoir’s south feeder-creek arm, and I spent a few minutes fishing some patches of curly-leaf pondweed in this arm.
I caught 68 largemouth bass in 3 1/2 hours. None of them would win a bass tournament nor impress a television show producer or audience.

One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company’s coppertreuse Zero-spin affixed to a red 3/32-ounce Gopher jig at an edge of a massive and thick patch of curly-leaf pondweed in the south feeder-creek arm. Another one was caught around a small patch of curly-leaf pondweed along the west shoreline of the south feeder-creek arm on a shortened four-inch Strike King Lure Company’s green-pumpkin-red-flake 3X Finesse Worm on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.
The rest of them were caught along rock and gravel shorelines and points. Twenty-two of them were caught on the dam. Eighteen of them were caught along the east side shoreline and points of the main lake. Twenty-eight of them were caught inside the south feeder-creek arm.

A shorten four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig was the most effective combination. A shorten four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig was the second most effective combination. The shortened four-inch Strike King Lure Company’s green-pumpkin-red-flake 3X Finesse Worm on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig was the third most effective bait. A few largemouth bass were caught on a 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and on a 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s California Craw Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.
Several of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves worked, and more than a dozen of the largemouth bass engulfed the bait on the initial drop. But the drag-and-shake presentation, which was occasionally punctuated with a short deadstick motif, bewitched the bulk of the 68 largemouth bass. They were caught in water as shallow as a foot and a half and as deep as seven feet.

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Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following log on the Finesse News Network about his May 2 outing.

He wrote: “I made a solo afternoon trip to a 5,107-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir that lies within the city limits of two adjacent cities. The northern half of the reservoir lies in Flower Mound, Texas, and the southern half is situated in Grapevine. I had not launched a boat on this reservoir since August of 2013 because low-water levels had left the public boat ramps high and dry. The last time I fished this reservoir was on April 27, 2014, when I spent two hours walking the shorelines of a small spawning cove, and during that short and windy outing, I tangled with five largemouth bass, including one five-pounder.

“Between 2008 and 2013, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stocked this reservoir with 415,633 smallmouth bass fingerlings, and during the fall of 2012, I crossed paths with several adult specimens that weighed up to 2 1/2 pounds. I was immediately impressed with their ferocious and energetic fighting abilities, and from that time on, they became my favorite freshwater gamefish. This reservoir is also the only local waterway that has a sustained population of smallmouths. And on this May 2 foray, I had high hopes of tangling with a smallmouth bass or two.

“The sun was shining brightly through partly cloudy skies. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 52 degrees, and the afternoon high climbed to 82 degrees. As I launched my boat at noon, westerly winds were light at 5 to 10 mph, but by 1:00 p.m., the winds picked up and became problematic at 15 to 25 mph. The barometric pressure was measured at 29.90.

“I was afloat from noon until 4:30 p.m. In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the optimum fishing period took place from 12:59 p.m. to 2:59 p.m.

“The water was muddy, exhibiting about one foot of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 68 to 71 degrees. The Texas Water Development Board recorded the water level at 10.7 feet below normal pool.

“I began the outing by following two power fisherman at the northern end of the riprap covered dam on the east side of the reservoir. The two power fisherman were casting shad-imitation crankbaits and tandem-blade spinnerbaits. I fished the northern portion of the dam with a three-inch Charlie Brewer Slider Company’s chartreuse-black-flake-orange-tail Bass/Walleye/Striper Grub rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and I presented it with a slow and steady do-nothing retrieve. Along the middle section of the dam I also used a four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ implemented in a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Then along the south end of the dam, I wielded a Z-Man’s blue steel Finesse ShadZ rigged on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The two power fisherman did not draw a strike along the entire length of the dam, and neither did I.

“As I finished fishing the dam, the wind picked up speed, and the main lake began to white cap with two-foot waves. Boat control became difficult at best, so I headed to a nearby slough on the north side of the reservoir to find relief from the waves and wind. This Y-shaped slough forks into two shallow sand and gravel coves, and a prominent rocky point extends from the north bank and separates the two coves. The western shoreline is flat and sandy, and the eastern shoreline becomes steep and rocky. I quickly worked over the west side cove first with the Charlie Brewer Slider grub, but I failed to catch a bass in that cove. I moved to the rocky point that separates the two coves, and I tangled with two largemouth bass that were relating to the top of the point in about five feet of water. I then plied the back of the east cove and its steep rocky east shoreline with the green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. I extracted one largemouth bass from a stump in the back of the east cove in three feet of water, but the remainder of the cove and its eastern shoreline seemed bereft of bass.

“I finished this afternoon outing in a wind-protected feeder-creek arm about a half mile west of the slough. This north feeder-creek arm consists of steep rocky bluffs along its west side entrance; a small boulder-laden island near its eastern shorelines; five sand and gravel spawning coves adorned with standing timber; six steep rocky points enhanced with standing timber; and a marina sandwiched between two steep bluff shorelines.
“To my chagrin, this feeder creek was heavily pressured, with two boats of anglers fishing the rocky bluffs at its entrance, one boat probing the shorelines of the island, one or two bass boats in all five coves, and a bass boat on all six rocky points. I elected to ply the only non-pressured area in this creek arm, which was the two steep bluffs bordering the east and west sides of the marina. The west bluff yielded two small largemouth bass and the west bluff relinquished seven largemouth bass, including a couple of two-pounders and a three-pounder. These nine bass were caught in two to five feet of water along the face of the bluffs, and they were beguiled by a four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

“Overall, the fishing was slow and tedious, and I struggled to eke out 12 largemouth bass during 4 1/2 hours of angling. I was disappointed that I was unable to entice any smallmouth bass. Z-Man’s four-inch Finesse WormZ accounted for 10 of the 12 largemouth bass, and Charlie Brewer’s three-inch chartreuse-black-flake-orange-tail bass grub allured the other two. The swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most productive presentation.”

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Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, reported on the Finesse News Network ab0ut his outing to a 5,090 –acre power-plant reservoir on May 2.

He described the sky as having the hue of a bluebird. The wind was variable and rarely blew more the 10 mph, which is a rare phenomenon at this eastern Kansas reservoir because it is normally the most wind-blown reservoir in these parts. Area thermometers climbed into the mid-70s, but it was cool enough that he wore a jacket for most of the outing.

The surface temperature ranged from 57 to 59 degrees. The water was clear enough to exhibit four feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing occurred from 1:25 a.m. to 3:25 a.m. and 1:50 p.m. to 3:50p.m. There was a minor period from 7:38 a.m. to 9:38 a.m. He was afloat from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., plying miles of riprap shorelines, where he caught one channel catfish, one freshwater drum, one crappie, three wipers, four largemouth bass, 18 white bass, and 36 smallmouth bass. All of these fish were caught in the lower portions of the reservoir and a goodly distance from the warm-water outlet and the warm-water plume. They were abiding in three to six feet of water.

His most two productive baits were a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

May 3 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network that chronicles a river excursion that Rick Allen of Dallas undertook in the south Texas Hill Country on May 3.

Allen reported that he fished the lower section of a river that flows through the city of Kerrville, Texas. He described the day as sunny with clear blue skies. The low temperature for the morning was 55 degrees and the high temperature soared to 90 degrees. The wind was out of the south at about 10 mph, and the barometric pressure measured 30.02.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated the best fishing periods occurred from 2:34 a.m. to 4:34 a.m., 2:59 p.m. to 4:59 p.m., and a minor period would occur from 8:47 a.m. to 10:47 a.m. Allen fished from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Allen noticed that this section of the river was clear with about four feet of visibility. The water temperature was 71 degrees and the water level appeared normal.

Allen related how onerous and trying the fishing had become and elected to employ the bobber-rig. Allen finds the bobber-rig an enjoyable technique that is useful when the fishing becomes arduous, or when the wind blows so vigorously that it interferes with the standard Midwest finesse presentations.

On his May 1 river outing, Allen utilized a bobber-rigged 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s green- pumpkin FattyZ tail donned on a 1/32-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig, which he positioned 18 to 20 inches below a rattling fixed bobber. The bobber-FattyZ tail combo helped him eke out 12 largemouth bass from a stump field in the mid-section of the river.

On this May 3 foray, Allen utilized a bobber-rigged four-inch Charlie Brewer Slider Company’s Plum Glitter Slider Worm with the tail dyed blue and affixed to a 1/32-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig. He positioned a rattling fixed bobber about 24 inches above the worm and jig combo, and applied a subtle jerk-and-deadstick presentation. Allen reported that he fished hard for five hours and could only muster six largemouth bass. All six bass were caught in five to eight feet of water next to cypress tree stumps. One largemouth bass weighed three pounds, thirteen ounces. The second largest bass weighed two pounds, thirteen ounces. The other four measured between 12 and 13 inches.

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Bob Gum of Kansas City filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his May 3 outing at a 2,600-acre power-plant reservoir.

The National Weather Service in Olathe, Kansas, recorded the low temperature at 51 degrees and the high temperature at 75 degrees. The wind at times was variable and blowing at 5 mph, and at other times it angled out of the northeast at 5 mph, then out of the east at 5 mph, and sometimes it was calm. The barometric pressure at 7:53 a.m. was 29.92 and rising.

The water level was about a foot above normal. The power-plant was generating a significant amount of electricity, and he didn’t ply the lairs that lie within the heart of the warm-water plume. At the dam, the surface temperature was 66 degrees, and the water clarity was 3 1/2 feet. Along the riprap shoreline of the east side of the reservoir, the surface temperature was 68 degrees, and water clarity was about two feet.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing happened from 2:17 a.m. to 4:17 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. to 4:24 p.m., and there was a minor period at 8:29 a.m. to 10:29 a.m. He fished from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

He worked with the following baits: 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company’s green-pumpkin/red-flake Zero on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man’s and a shortened Z-Man’s Bloodworm Shrimp on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and four-inch root-beer-hue tube affixed to an Eagle Claw Shaw Grigsby High-Performance Hook, which allowed the tube to fall with a slow and erratic action. He caught fish on all of the baits, but he primarily used the tube and Zero. He said: “I worked the baits patiently, usually dead-sticking and dragging them, and punctuating them with a series of two or three twitches.”

LaCygne May 9 2014 5lb

Bob Gum with one of the 21 largemouth bass that he caught on May 3.

He fished most of the riprap shorelines along the east side of the reservoir and the riprap shoreline that covers the entire dam. He caught 21 largemouth bass, five freshwater drum, four white bass, and one wiper. One of the largemouth bass was just an ounce shy of weighing six pounds. On the west side of the reservoir, he fished a submerged farm-pond dam and roadbed, where he caught only two white bass.

He caught them in water as shallow as one foot and as deep as seven feet. The smaller fish were abiding in the shallow water.

May 4 log

Nathan Parker of Tulsa, Oklahoma, posted the following report on the Finesse News Network about his May 4 outing at a 10,190-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir.

He began his report by noting that most of his 2014 outings will be executed in Creek Company’s eight-foot Pontoon Boat, which is endowed with a homemade rod rack that holds 6 rods, Minn Kota Trolling motor, simple sonar device, drift sock, homemade stake out pole, and a place to store some tackle. He said “I have discovered that I am catching a lot more fish, and out of much smaller areas, fishing from this humble little craft than I was” in my boat. And his outing on May 4 exhibited this point.

He noted that it was unseasonably warm with some area thermometers hitting 94 degrees at 3:30 p.m. The low temperature was 64 degrees.The sky was sun filled. Throughout most of the day, the wind roared out of the south at 13 to 36 mph. The National Weather Service at Tulsa reported that the barometric pressure was 29.88 and dropping at 9:53 a.m.

He said that he heeded the advice his grandfather gave him when he was 12 years old, which was “the best time to go fishing is when you can,” and that held true on May 4.

He fished a large bay or cove on the south side of the reservoir. The cove contains about 10 surface acres of water. It is adorned with two main-lake points, four secondary points, innumerable brush piles, rocky shorelines, and some man-made structures.

Parker wrote: “Between my flippers, Minn Kota, and drift sock, boat control wasn’t too much of a problem, and certainly no more trying than it would have been from my boat. I had six rods rigged but only ended up using two of them. A medium-action casting rod spooled with eight-pound-test fluorocarbon rigged with a black 3/16-ounce shaky-head jig affixed to a four-inch Z-Man’s PB& J ZinkerZ and a light-action spinning rod spooled with six-pound line that sported a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Dirt ZinkerZ on a black homemade 1/16-ounce weedless button head jig. I had 25 bites and caught 18 fish: 11 smallmouth bass, seven largemouth bass, and a huge green sunfish.”

He caught these fish in water as shallow as six feet and as deep as 15 feet while employing a slow drag-and-shake retrieve. Most were caught on points and rocky flats, and none were associated with brush piles or man-made structures.

He concluded: “This outing taught me a couple things. First, there are a lot of fish in small areas. Two bass boats cycled through the bay while I was there. Each, despite having three to four anglers in them, extracted two to three bass and left. I caught many bass fishing behind them. Second, the little boat also has me thinking about the speed I fish at. Even when an angler in a boat fishes slowly, he has a hard time fishing at the crawling pace I can fish in my little craft. Moreover, I was able to hold my little boat in very precise locations, even in the wind, with my fins. Finning is almost totally intuitive versus running a trolling motor. This allowed me to really focus on my lure. For example, I was able to hold my position into the wind for almost 30 minutes while fishing a large main lake point, where I extracted four bass and lost two other fish, including the big fish of the outing. I would have had a hard time holding at that precise location in my boat. In all, a kickboat or float tube fishing has a lot of merits, and I am convinced I would not have caught as many fish had I not been in it.”

May 5 log

Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, posted the following report on the Finesse News Network about his outing with Travis Perret of Overland Park, Kansas, at a 120-acre community reservoir in the northern suburbs of Kansas City.

The National Weather Service of Kansas City indicated that the low temperature was 60 degrees and the high temperature was 86 degrees.
While they were afloat the wind alternated from calm to variable. It was sunny. The barometric pressure was 29.71 and dropping at 12:54 p.m. Frazee said: “At times it felt like a July afternoon.”

The water level was several feet below normal. The surface temperature reached 67 degrees, which surprised Frazee. The water clarity was stained, exhibiting a couple feet of visibility.
In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing happened from 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. and 4:23 p.m. to 6:23 p.m., and there was a minor period from 10:12 a.m. to 12:12 p.m.

Frazee wrote: “We caught fish, but it wasn’t by any means easy. We had 11 largemouth bass in the first 40 minutes. I was using a Northland Fishing Tackle’s Slurpie on a black 1/16-ounce round jig. Travis was using a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s watermelon ZinkerZ. And we thought we were on our way to a great day. But the bite got considerably tougher.

“We finally put together a pattern that was very consistent.
We started dragging our baits across the bottom, and occasionally deadsticking it. And that put a lot of fish in the boat.

“Travis consistently caught fish on his watermelon-color ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher head. I caught fish on the Slurpie, a four-inch brown tube with purple flecks affixed to a 1/4-ounce jig, and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher head.

We had our best success on main-lake, rocky points, dragging our baits painstakingly slow across the bottom. Sometimes, the line would just grow heavy. We did best when the boat was positioned in 20 feet of water and we were casting into 10 to 12 feet of water.

We ended up with 59 largemouth bass, 11 crappies and five walleyes. We estimated we had five keeper-size largemouth bass, and Travis caught some big crappies on the ZinkerZ. We hooked one giant largemouth bass, but it jumped and got free.”

May 6 log

Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, will soon be leaving for the Lake of the Woods, Ontario, where he will spend the next five months catching unending numbers of smallmouth bass. Before he headed north, however, he wanted to field test his new Ranger bass boat, state-of-the-art Minn Kota trolling motor, and two wowie zowie Humminbird electronic units. He asked me to join him on this endeavor at a 6,930-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir on May 6, and I did.

The National Weather Service at Emporia, Kansas, recorded the low temperature at 60 degrees and high temperature at 87 degrees. While we were afloat, the wind angled out of the south 10 to 22 mph. The sun was bright and hot, and the sky was graced with a few cirrus clouds. At 8:53 a.m., the barometric pressure was 29.63 and dropping slowly.

The water level was 3.31 feet below normal. The surface temperature was 61 degrees along some main-lake shorelines and points on the south side of the reservoir, and it escalated to 65 degrees in the back of one cove. In the back of several of the coves and tertiary feeder-arms on the south side of the reservoir, aggregations of carp caused the water to be murky and the surface to be littered with stems of bushy pondweed. The water at and near the mouth of those coves and tertiary feeder-creek arms was relatively clear, exhibiting three to four feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would happen at 4:54 a.m. to 6:54 a.m. and 5:17 p.m. to 7:17 p.m., and there would be a minor spell from 11:05 a.m. to 1:05 p.m. Drew and I fished from 9:07 a.m. to 1:07 p.m.

The south wind kept us on the south side of the reservoir for the entire outing, where we plied portions of four tertiary feeder-creek arms, two coves, six main-lake points, and two main-lake shorelines.

The main-lake shorelines and some segments of the main-lake points were sheltered from the wind, which allowed us to fish slowly, precisely, and employ several Midwest finesse retrieves.

The east-side and west-side shorelines inside the four feeder-creek arms were wind swept, and to fish those shorelines, we allowed the wind to move us and the trolling motor properly position the boat. We didn’t use a drift sock, and at times, the boat moved with the wind at a fairly rapid pace, which limited our presentation styles, forcing us to employ a lot of dragging and strolling of our baits behind the boat.

There were spells when we caught smallmouth bass on flat and gravel shorelines and secondary points that were littered with big boulders; a significant number of smallmouth bass were extracted from around the big boulders. There were other times when we caught smallmouth bass on steep and rock-laden shorelines and main-lake and secondary points. All but one smallmouth bass was caught no farther than halfway inside the tertiary feeder-creek arms and coves. That one smallmouth bass was milling around with several carp in the backend of one of the coves. Besides the boulder pattern, a couple of the smallmouth bass were associated with shallow man-made brush piles that littered some points and shorelines inside one cove and two tertiary feeder-creek arms.

We focused on a few traditional early May lairs, but we primarily engaged the trolling motor and strolled along hundreds of yards of shorelines and around a number of points.

During our four hours of fishing and boat testing, we caught 48 smallmouth bass, five crappie, four white bass, and two carp.

We caught them on a 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man’s California Craw Hula StickZ on a homemade 1/15-ounce mushroom-style jig, 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and Z-Man’s green-pumpkin The Real Deal on a homemade 1/15-ounce mushroom-style jig. (It needs to be noted that Reese is the creator of the Hula StickZ, and The Real Deal is Z-Man’s new 2 3/4-inch Senko-style bait, which will replace the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ in many Midwest finesse anglers’ repertoire in the years to come. Anglers will be able to purchase The Real Deal in July or August. This year the 3 1/4-inch Hula StickZ , which is customized by removing three-quarters of an inch from its head, has replaced the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ in my Midwest finesse repertoire. A photograph of the bait and jigs that we used is attached to this log.)

A few of the smallmouth bass engulfed our baits on the initial drop. But the bulk of them were difficult to entice, and to provoke them to strike, we had to do a lot of dragging, shaking and a bit of deadsticking.

We made a vast number of casts, drags, shakes, and deadsticks without garnering a strike, but occasionally we would elicit three or four strikes for a confined locale. But when we fished a similar locale elsewhere, we failed to inveigle a smallmouth bass. In essence, there was no significant location pattern, and as Drew noted: “We found them where we found them.” Along the steeper shorelines, the smallmouth bass were caught within five to 12 feet from the water’s edge. The ones we caught along the flat shorelines were caught as far as 15 to 30 feet from the water’s edge.

As for our field-testing endeavors, the boat and trolling motor performed well, but the two Humminbird ONIX units flummoxed us. But Drew noted that by the time he returns from Canada in mid-September, he will have mastered all of the confounding intricacies of his two new-fangled electronic gizmos.

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Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, with one of the 48 smallmouth bass that were caught on May 6.

 

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Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his outing on May 6 with Larry Chambers of Parkville at a 120-acre community reservoir in the northern suburbs of Kansas City.

The National Weather Service of Kansas City recorded the low temperature at 60 degrees and the high temperature at 87 degrees. It was sunny. While they were afloat, the wind was variable at 7 mph, and then it blew out of the south at 13 to 20 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.61 at 12:54 p.m.

The water level was several feet below normal. The surface temperature was in the mid-60s. The water clarity was stained, exhibiting a couple feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing occurred from 4:48 a.m. to 6:48 a.m. and 5:10 p.m. to 7:10 p.m., and there was a minor period from 10:59 a.m. to 12:59 p.m. They fished from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Frazee began their outing by wielding a well-worn brown-and-purple-flake tube, and when it disintegrated, he worked with a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. And Chambers used a Swimming-Minnow-style bait on a black 1/16-ounce round jig and a shortened Junebug Senko-style bait on a 1/16-ounce round jig.

They caught and released 49 largemouth bass, five walleye and six crappie, and failed to land scores more that they failed to haul over the gunnels of the boat. These fish were caught offshore in 15 feet of water and around aquatic vegetation. Frazee said, “We used a controlled drift, using the trolling motor to keep us from moving too fast, and just kept our baits right above the developing weeds.”

Frazee summed up the outing by calling it: “Really fun day. Larry has cancer and is in the midst of some tough chemo. Today was the last day he could fish before another round of wicked treatments. I think our fishing took his mind off what he’s going through, at least for a while.”

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Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his May 6 outing.

He wrote: “The wind has been problematic all spring for north-central Texas anglers, and they were irksome again on May 6. It was sunny and partly cloudy. The National Weather Service recorded the low at 67 degrees and the afternoon high rose to 87 degrees. A boisterous wind blew steadily out of the south at 25 to 35 mph, and the barometric pressure measured 29.66.

“I made an afternoon bank-walking excursion to a community reservoir that I estimate to be about 12-acres in size. This reservoir is located along the southern perimeter of Plano, Texas. The east side of this reservoir is composed of two coves that are divided by a prominent sand and gravel point. The southeastern cove is formed by steep mud and rock shorelines, and a ditch that cuts across this cove from its southern shoreline to the northeastern corner of the cove. A mud and gravel point courses outward toward deeper water from the southern shoreline and forms the southern mouth to the cove. The northeastern cove encompasses a large mud flat with a small ditch that courses across the middle of the cove from the east shoreline toward the west shoreline. The north shoreline is mostly straight, with a three foot mud and gravel ledge that extends outward from the water’s edge and drops off into five feet of water. The west shoreline is similar to the north one, and it is comprised of sand, gravel, and a few scattered fist-sized rocks. This shoreline is also enhanced with a shallow ledge that extends about three feet from the water’s edge before slowly descending into five feet of water. The south shoreline consists of a large mud and gravel flat that is littered with countless numbers of bluegill spawning beds. This reservoir has two small patches of hydrilla. One patch lies in five feet of water, and it is adjacent to the southwest end of the point along the east shoreline. The second patch occupies the southern portion of the northeast cove in three to five feet of water.

“The water was muddy with less than one foot of visibility. I was unable to measure the water’s temperature. The water level appeared to be normal.

“I last visited this waterway with Rick Allen of Dallas on April 6, and during that chilly and wet outing, we landed 50 largemouth bass. On this May 6 outing, I was afoot from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar listed the optimum fishing periods occurring from 4:57 a.m. to 6:57 a.m., 5:19 p.m. to 7:19 p.m., and a minor period occurred from 11:08 a.m. to 1:08 p.m.

“I employed three lures: a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s California Craw FattyZ tail rigged on a 1/32-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig and positioned 20-inches below a rattling fixed bobber; two-inch Charlie Brewer Slider Company’s Fire Tiger Twin Tail Grub affixed to a purple 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and Kalin’s three-inch watermelon-red-flake Lunker Grub on a 1/32-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig. The bobber-rigged FattyZ tail combo was presented in a slow swim-shake-and-deadstick manner and the Kalin’s grub and Charlie Brewer’s grub were utilized with a steady do-nothing retrieve in mid-water areas.

“I began by working my way southward along the west shoreline and caught 13 largemouth bass that were scattered along the sand and gravel ledge in three feet of water. Brewer’s grub caught seven largemouth bass, the bobber-rigged FattyZ tail combo allured four largemouth bass, and the Kalin’s grub enticed two largemouth bass.

“Next, I probed the south shoreline, which surrendered eight largemouth bass that were scattered along the deep-water edge of the mud and gravel spawning flat in about four feet of water. The bobber-rigged FattyZ combo attracted four largemouth bass, the Kalin’s grub induced three bass, and Brewer’s grub caught one.

“I then worked my way into the southeast cove, and tangled with one largemouth bass that was relating to the south end of the ditch in about four feet of water. This largemouth bass engulfed Brewer’s grub.

“As I worked my way northward along the east shoreline of the southeast cove, I landed three largemouth bass that were milling about in five feet of water and about 5 feet away from the water’s edge. Two bass engulfed the Kalin’s grub, and Brewer’s grub caught one. The north end of the ditch failed to yield any bass.

“I then worked my way eastward along the south side of the prominent point that divides the southeast and northeast coves. The south side of this point yielded five largemouth bass that were scattered along the point in three to five feet of water. The Kalin’s grub caught three largemouth bass and the bobber-rigged FattyZ tail combo and Brewer’s grub enticed one bass apiece. I failed to draw any strikes from the hydrilla patch just south of the end of this point.

“The next area I plied was the northeast cove, and I landed two largemouth bass that were relating to the deep-water side of the hydrilla patch that occupies the southern portion of this cove. One bass was tricked by Brewer’s grub, and the other was allured by the bobber-rigged FattyZ tail combo. Both of these bass were residing in three to four feet of water.

“The last area I dissected was the ledge that stretches along the north shoreline. This wind-swept bank relinquished three largemouth bass that were scattered along the ledge in three feet of water. All three of these bass were induced by the bobber-rigged FattyZ tail combo.

“All totaled, I landed 35 largemouth bass and 11 large bluegills during five hours of angling. The vast majority of these bass were between 12 and 14 inches. The bobber-rigged FattyZ tail combo employed in a swim-shake-and-deadstick retrieve allured 13 largemouth bass, and another eight largemouth bass were also hooked on this bobber-FattyZ combo but they were able to pull free before I could land them. Charlie Brewer’s grub and steady do-nothing retrieve enticed 12 largemouth bass and 11 bluegills. Kalin’s grub and steady do-nothing presentation inveigled 10 largemouth bass.”

May 9 log

The first 25 days of May can often be a hurly-burly and problematic time for me and other Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri.

One of the causes of this tumult around revolves the weather, which can fluctuate radically and violently from day to day – even hour to hour. It can pelt us with hail the size of golf balls, tennis balls, and even softballs. There are also lightening strikes and tornadoes to dodge and hide from. There are drastic vacillations of temperatures to deal with, such as it vacillated on May 7 from 9o degrees to 47 degrees on May 9.

Another obstacle that confronts weekday anglers is the electro-shocking surveys that the fisheries biologists at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and Missouri Department of Conservation conduct.

Besides those two situations, I am blessed to get to enjoy scores of tennis matches, swimming meets, soccer games, softball games, track meets, music concerts, ballet performances, and other delightful events that our grandchildren participate in. These delightful events, however, keep me from fishing as much as I normally do.

On May 9, my cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I were confounded by all three of the occurrences described above, when we squeezed in three hours and 50 minutes of fishing at a 100-acre community reservoir that is situated in the southwest suburbs of Kansas City.

The National Weather Service in Olathe, Kansas, recorded the low temperature at 47 degrees and the high temperature at 68 degrees. The normal low temperature is 52 degrees and normal high temperature is 72 degrees. (It is interesting to note that on May 7 many area thermometers across northeastern Kansas recorded temperatures in the low 90s, and those same thermometers registered low temperatures in the low 7os. In essence, the weather in northeastern Kansas changed significantly in less than 36 hours, and many anglers maintain that such radical changes in the weather can make for some trying largemouth bass fishing.) The NWS also noted that the wind angled out of the north at 7 mph for a spell, then it was calm for a while, and eventually it blew out of the northwest at 10 mph. The sky exhibited a cold-crystal-blue hue. The barometric pressure was 20.92 at 9:53 a.m., and falling slowly.

The water level was a tad above normal. The water clarity was the clearest that we have ever seen it. The surface temperature was 69 degrees. The coontail patches were bountiful, but they were coated with filamentous alga. The American water willows were beginning to sprout, and they were coated with filamentous alga, and, in fact, filamentous alga coated nearly all of the objects in the water. The filamentous alga is a by-product of all the fertilizers that wash off the many lawns that surround this reservoir.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing should occur from 6:55 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and 7:17 p.m. to 9:17 p.m. We were afloat from 9:50 a.m. to 1:50 p.m., but to our dismay, Andy Jensen, who is the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s fisheries biologist in charge of this reservoir, was afloat with two helpers well before we arrived, and they were conducting the annual electro-shocking survey. And they shocked all but one of the areas that we fished.

Therefore, we struggled to catch 30 largemouth bass. We caught them by using a four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, 3 1/2-inch Strike King green-pumpkin-red-flake Finesse Worm on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

There was no depth pattern, no location pattern, no bait pattern, and no presentation pattern. In short, it was a willy-nilly outing. But we were delighted to learn from Andy Jensen that he shocked from 50 to 100 largemouth bass an hour, and the largemouth bass population looks as if it is well on the road to recovering from the largemouth bass virus that walloped this reservoir in 2011.

When we returned home and were preparing to go to one of our granddaughter’s end-of-the-school- year’s performances, Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, called on his cell phone and reported that he was in northwestern Missouri. He said that he tried to fish a 110-acre community reservoir in his float tube, but a blustery, cold north wind and a Missouri Department of Conservation electro-shocking survey crew confounded his efforts.

As an endnote it is essential to say that May can also provide us with some glorious outings. Such an outing occurred on May 9, 2013, when I wasn’t confronted with the aftereffects of electro-shocking and cold-windy weather after a significant warm spell. And during that marvelous outing, I singlehandedly caught 125 largemouth bass from 10:35 a.m. to 2:10 p.m.

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Bob Gum of Kansas City filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his and Lyn Yarbrough’s outing to a 2,600-acre power-plant reservoir. Yarbrough resides in Leawood, Kansas.

The National Weather Service in Olathe, Kansas, recorded the low temperature at 47 degrees and the high temperature at 68 degrees. The normal low temperature is 52 degrees and normal high temperature is 72 degrees. The NSW also noted that the wind angled out of the north at 7 mph for a spell, then it was calm for a while, and eventually it blew out of the northwest at 10 mph. Gum noted that while he was afloat that initially the wind was very gusty out of the northwest, but gradually subsided, becoming more westerly. The sky exhibited a cold-crystal-blue hue. The barometric pressure was 20.92 at 9:53 a.m., and falling slowly.

The water level looked to be more than six inches above normal. The water exhibited a clarity of 2 1/2 feet. The surface temperature along a section of the riprap on the east side of the reservoir was 76 degrees; this area was heated by the warm-water plume. It was 70 degree along the riprap of the dam.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing should occur from 6:55 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and 7:17 p.m. to 9:17 p.m. They fished from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and they noticed that the best bite occurred around 3:30 p.m.
They spent the bulk of this outing plying the riprap shorelines along the east side of this reservoir and its dam, which is situated on the south end of the reservoir. Besides the riprap, they fished one stretch of American water willows along a north shoreline adjacent to the power plant.

They worked with the following baits: four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, weightless Strike King bubblegum floating worm, weightless four-inch root-beer hue tube, and four-inch Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits’ Hula Grub affixed to a red 1/8-ounce Gopher jig.

The largemouth bass fishing has been extremely vexing at this reservoir for months on end, and it remained that way for Gum and Yarbrough on this outing. They fished eight hours and caught 39 largemouth bass in water from as shallow as two feet and as deep as eight feet. Their most effective bait was the PB&J Finesse WormZ , which they slowly dragged across the riprap.

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Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, posted the following report on the Finesse News Network about his May 9 outing.

He wrote: “Since the last two weeks of April, the post-spawn phase has been in progress in most north-central Texas waterways. Countless pods of bass fry still swarm the shallows, but I no longer see any male bass hovering underneath and protecting those pods of tiny fry. Carp are still paired up in the shallows, but now vast numbers of colorful bluegills have appeared in the back of many spawning coves as they begin their springtime spawning ritual.

“I made a solo jaunt to a nearby 21,280-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir which lies on the northern boundary of Lewisville, Texas. It was an unusually dreary and humid day. Gray clouds blanketed the sky and blocked out the sun. Several areas of north-central Texas were walloped by heavy thunderstorms on May 8, receiving as much as five inches of much needed rain. Other areas, like Lewisville, received only half an inch of precipitation. But the rain from these storms was just a drop in the bucket compared to what we need to end our four-year drought.

“On May 9, the National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 70 degrees and the afternoon high temperature rose to 83 degrees. A light breeze meandered out of the south at 3 to 8 mph. The barometric pressure was steady at 29.84.

“I was afloat from 1:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted the best fishing periods would occur from 7:03 a.m. to 9:03 a.m., 7:25 p.m. to 9:25 p.m., and a minor period would take place from 12:57 a.m. to 2:57 a.m.

“I utilized just two baits during today’s outing: Kalin’s five-inch watermelon Lunker Grub rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, and a 2 1/2-inch YUM’s watermelon-gold flake Dinger on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The Kalin’s Lunker Grub was presented with a slow and steady do-nothing retrieve at mid-water depths, but occasionally it was cast into two feet of water and slowly worked down into 15 feet of water with a hop and bounce retrieve. The 2 1/2-inch YUM Dinger was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake manner.

“The water was stained with two feet of visibility. Water temperatures varied from 71 degrees on the south side of the tributary arm to 78 degrees on the north side. The Texas Water Development Board recorded the reservoir’s water level at 7.82 feet below normal pool.

“I spent the afternoon in the southwest tributary arm of this reservoir. The fishing had improved considerably since my April 28 outing, where I labored to catch 17 largemouth bass and one spotted bass during 4 1/2 hours of angling. On this May 9 excursion, I tangled with 30 largemouth bass, three spotted bass, two white bass, and one large bluegill.
“I began the afternoon plying the steep, rocky, and clay shoreline of a marina that stretches behind scores of covered boat docks. The passageways between the boat docks and shoreline are as narrow as six feet wide in some places and ten feet wide in others. This area has received little if any fishing pressure because larger bass boats are unable to traverse the narrow passageways. I also crossed paths with the same mother duck and her seven small chicks that had entertained me on my April 28 outing, and their frolicking about entertained me today as well. This steep, rocky, and clay shoreline surrendered 22 largemouth bass and one spotted bass. These fish were scattered and were extracted from three to five feet of water. I retrieved the Kalin’s grub parallel to the shoreline in three to four feet of water with a steady do-nothing retrieve, and it attracted 12 largemouth bass and one spotted bass. The 2 1/2-inch YUM Dinger was also retrieved in three to four feet of water parallel to the shoreline and it enticed 10 largemouth bass and one spotted bass.

“My next spot was a riprap-covered bridge embankment. I made my casts and retrieves with the Kalin’s grub and YUM Dinger parallel to the water’s edge in three to four feet of water. The grub caught four largemouth bass and one large bluegill. The YUM Dinger failed to draw a strike. I then used the Kalin’s grub to probe a creek channel ledge that runs underneath the bridge in 15 feet of water. I employed a hop and bounce retrieve along the ledge and extracted one largemouth bass and two spotted bass.

“After I finished fishing the bridge embankment, I headed to a north-side feeder creek arm in the western end of the tributary. This feeder creek encompasses two long and rocky points at the entrance of the creek arm, four shallow mud flats that are sprinkled with fist-sized rocks, three dilapidated and unused boat ramps, and three rocky secondary points. I caught two largemouth bass on the west-side entry point and two white bass on the east-side entry point, but the rest of the feeder-creek arm failed to yield a black bass. Both of the largemouth bass were caught in three to five feet of water on the YUM Dinger and slow swim-glide-and- shake retrieve.

“My last spot was a south-side main-lake point that is comprised of clay and gravel, and this point leads into two shallow mud bottom coves. Two unused concrete boat ramps enhanced the southwest shoreline of the western cove. I fished the point from the main lake-side to the entrance of the coves with the Kalin’s grub and YUM Dinger and failed to elicit any strikes. I later tangled with two largemouth bass that were relating to the unused boat ramps in two to three feet of water. Both of these bass were inveigled by the Kalin’s grub and steady do-nothing presentation.

“In sum, the Kalin’s five-inch Lunker grub allured 18 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one bluegill. YUM’s 2 1/2-inch Dinger enticed 12 largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and two white bass. The largest bass weighed two-pounds, five-ounces; the rest of them weighed between 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pounds. The steady do-nothing retrieve was the most lucrative presentation followed by the slow swim-glide-and-shake motif.”

May 13 log

In the May 9 log, Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I grumbled about our misfortune of fishing behind a Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s electro-shock boat. We also kvetched about the wildly fluctuating weather, which caused area thermometers to drop from 9o degrees on May 7 to 47 degrees on May 9.

My solo outing to a 416-acre community reservoir on May 13 wasn’t tarnished by an electro-shock boat, but I had to contend with an unseasonably cool and brisk north and northwest wind. That cool wind, in fact, ushered in a minor snow storm that whacked northwestern Kansas on May 12.

The National Weather Service in Topeka, Kansas, recorded the low temperature at 49 degrees at 4:53 a.m. and the high temperature at 64 degrees at 5:52 p.m. The normal high temperature for May 13 is 73 degrees and the normal low temperature is 53 degrees. It was overcast, but the sun shined sporadically while I was afloat. A north and northwest wind blew at 15 to 21 mph. The barometric pressure at 10:52 a.m. was 30.21 and rising.

The water level looked to be nearly three feet below normal. This reservoir is surrounded by a heavily fertilized golf course and oodles of heavily fertilized lawns in nearby neighborhoods, which cause alga blooms to erupt and besmear this reservoir. The water, however, was the clearest I have ever seen it during the middle of May. The surface temperature was 66 degrees. A substantial amount of filamentous alga coated the rocks, laydowns, and other underwater obstacles.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 9:46 a.m. to 11:46 a.m. and 10:12 p.m. to 12:12 a.m. I fished from 10:40 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.

I was hoping to ply several main-lake lairs where this reservoir’s smallmouth bass traditionally abide during the middle of May. But the wind made those locales difficult to dissect – even when I employed a drift sock. Therefore I was relegated to fishing wind-sheltered areas inside several coves and two feeder-creek arms. And at times the wind was brisk enough in those coves that I had to use a drift sock in order to properly present a lure.

I did attempt to fish several main-lake locales. I spent about 10 minutes fishing two offshore and submerged rock fences, where I caught two smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass. I also spent about 15 minutes fishing some of the riprap along the dam, where I caught two largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. I spent 20 minutes fishing three main-lake points and two main-lake shorelines, which were steep and rocky, and I caught two largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass.
I spent three hours and 15 minutes fishing inside some of this reservoir’s the partially wind-sheltered coves and feeder-creek arms, where I caught 43 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. The bulk of these bass were caught more than two-thirds of the way inside the coves and feeder-creek arms. All of them were caught along the shorelines in 1 1/2 to three feet of water.

A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught 37 largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass. (Regrettably, Z-Man no longer makes the Rain MinnowZ.) A 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught eight largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. A shorten four-inch Strike King green-pumpkin-red-flake Finesse Worm on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught five largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass.
Many of the 37 largemouth bass engulfed the Rain MinnowZ combo on the initial drop or glide to the bottom, and the ones that didn’t engulf it on the initial drop were inveigled by a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The shake segment of the retrieve was subtle. In Mays past, when the largemouth bass abided in shallow water along shorelines, Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas discovered that a green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig was our most effective bait. It is a thin and buoyant bait, and during the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, it glides differently than the other soft-plastic baits that we rig on 1/32- ounce Gopher jigs, and we suspect that unique glide is what makes it more effective than our other baits in May.

What’s more, the Rain MinnowZ is an extremely durable soft-plastic bait. They are able to endure donnybrooks with more than 150 largemouth bass before they become too tattered to keep affixed to a Gopher jig. To this day, we remain puzzled why other finesse anglers have failed to experience and appreciate the effectiveness of the Rain MinnowZ.

May 15 log

For about a week, several Midwest finesse anglers have been carping mild-manneredly about the unseasonably cool weather and cool-to-cold north and northwest winds that have been rolling across the plains of Kansas. That phenomenon continued on May 15, when John Reese of Lawrence, Kansas, joined me at a 180-acre state reservoir.

The National Weather Service in Lawrence, Kansas, noted that while we were afloat the wind angled out of the north at 17 to 26 mph. At 3:52 a.m. the temperature was 43 degrees, which was 11 degrees below the normal low temperature. The NWS thermometer registered 63 degrees at 3:52 p.m., which was 11 degrees below the normal high temperature. Even though the sky was sprinkled with cumulus clouds, the sun seemed to shine everywhere. The barometric pressure was 30.19 and steady at 9:52 a.m.

The water level looked to be eight inches below normal. The surface temperature ranged from 65 to 66 degrees. The water exhibited more than six feet of visibility, which is exceptional water clarity for a flatland reservoir in northeastern Kansas in the middle of May. Filamentous alga adhered to the shallow rocks, stems of the emerging American water willows, laydowns, and other objects. Patches of bushy pondweed were maturing in the shallow mud flats.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing occurred from 11:03 a.m. to 1:03 p.m. and 11:32 p.m. to 1:32 a.m., and a minor period took place from 5:18 a.m. to 7:18 a.m. Reese and I fished from 9:40 a.m. until noon.
For the entire two hours and 20 minutes that we were afloat, we used a drift sock and probed only this reservoir’s most wind-sheltered areas, which are hard to come by on this flatland reservoir, and, in fact, wind-sheltered lairs are difficult to find at most of the flatland reservoirs that grace the countryside of northeastern Kansas, but this reservoir might be the worst of the lot.

We spent about 30 minutes trying to fish four of the six riprap jetties that lie along the west side of this reservoir, but the swirling and brisk wind made it a problematic endeavor, and we eked out only six largemouth bass from these jetties.
By using the drift sock, the riprap shoreline that covers the entire length of the 300-yard long dam was wind-sheltered enough that we could fish it somewhat methodically. So, we spent 110 minutes fishing it, and we tangled with 52 largemouth bass, as well as some bluegill, crappie, and green sunfish.

Of the 58 largemouth bass that we caught, 51 of them were bewitched by a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The other seven were caught on several different colors of Z-Man’s four-inch Finesse WormZs that were affixed to red 1/16-ounce Gopher jigs.

A swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most effective one, and the shake component was rarely executed.
Most of the bass were extracted from five feet of water or less.

Even though we caught an average of 24.8 largemouth bass an hour, the cold wind wore much of the luster off the fruit of this outing. Some weather forecasters have issued a frost warning for northeastern Kansas for the night of May 15 and morning of May 16, and moreover, some area thermometers might plummet to 29 degrees. So until May 18 or so, when the weather predictors say that the temperatures will return to normal, the Midwest finesse anglers who reside in northeastern Kansas might be carping a tad more about the unseasonably cold weather.

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Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his outing with Johnny White of Kansas City on May 15 at a 120-acre community reservoir that lies in the northern suburbs of Kansas City.

The National Weather Service in Kansas City reported that the low temperature was 47 degrees at 6:54 a.m. and the high temperature was 60 degrees at 5:54 p.m. The sky alternated from cloudless to partly cloudy, and it even drizzled in some locales around 5:54 p.m. The barometric pressure at 11:54 a.m. was 30.15 and falling.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11:01 a.m. to 1:01 p.m., 11:29 p.m. to 1: 29 a.m., and there was a minor period at 5:15 a.m. to 7:15 a.m.

The surface temperature was 65 degrees at 12:30 p.m. and 67 degrees at 5:30 p.m. The water exhibited five feet of clarity. The reservoir was three feet below normal.

Frazee wrote: “I wasn’t expecting much because of the cold front, high skies and strong winds. But I had set up a trip with Johnny White (of Johnny’s Barbeque fame) earlier in the week and I knew that this would be my last time to fish … before hitting the road, so I decided to give it a try.

“Good thing. We got on the water at about 12:30 p.m., and it was downright cold. As the air temperature warmed up, so did the fishing.

“Johnny got into a pattern catching bass on a Lucky Craft square-bill crankbait in a shad color. I found success on a Chompers’ Davenport Special jig with a Chompers twin-tail trailer and on a four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher head.

“Everywhere we were knocking rock, we caught fish. Two main-lake points were especially productive. And the riprap along the highway produced largemouth bass at an impressive clip.

“By the time we got off the lake at 5:30 p.m., we had caught 84 bass. Only five of them were 15 inches or longer, and our biggest would have gone no heavier than three pounds. But we measured and released a number of fish from 12 to 14 inches, which were fun on four-pound-test line, which I used to cast the Finesse WormZ. Most of them were caught in one to five feet of water.

“I never did experiment with the Z-Man’s Rain MinnowZ, which I had intended to do. The Finesse WormZ was working too well to put it down.

“A really fun day with a good friend.”

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Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his May 15 outing.

He wrote: “Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, joined me for an afternoon foray to a local 21,280-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s reservoir located along the northern border of Lewisville, Texas.

“On May 14, I fished this same reservoir, where I was forced to spend the majority of my five-hour sojourn hiding from the wind in several wind-protected spawning coves along the mid-section of the eastern tributary arm. That May 14 excursion turned into an exasperating and humbling affair as I struggled to catch four largemouth bass and three spotted bass, and those seven fish came in the last 30 minutes of the outing.

“On our May 15 endeavor, Rick and I spent the entire afternoon plying the steep, rocky, clay shorelines behind the covered boat docks of two marinas. The narrow six- to 10-feet wide passageways between the boat docks and shorelines stymie the efforts of many bass anglers who utilize larger bass boats and are unable to navigate their larger vessels through those narrow passageways. Thus, we were able to fish for bass that have been exposed to relatively little fishing pressure.

“This reservoir’s water clarity changed from stained to murky over the past few days. The visibility decreased from 2 1/2 feet to about one to one and a half feet. The surface temperature had fallen as well, dropping from 75 degrees to 70 degrees. The reservoir’s water level had also dropped a smidgen from 7.61 feet below normal on May 14 to 7.62 feet below normal today.

“The day was pleasant, exhibiting a sun filled sky and a few wispy clouds occasionally drifting overhead. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 55 degrees, and the afternoon high temperature climbed to 84 degrees. The wind had diminished significantly since May 14, and it quartered out of the west-by-southwest at 10 to 15 mph. The barometric pressure was steady at 30.23.

“Rick and I fished from about 11:00 a.m. to about 5:00 p.m. In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar predicted the optimum fishing period would take place between 11:10 a.m. and 1:10 p.m.

“As we started plying the steep, rock and clay banks behind the marinas, it quickly became apparent that the tendencies and dispositions of the largemouth bass and spotted bass had changed. During my most recent outings along these banks, I found the largemouth and spotted bass showing an aggressive disposition, and they were snatching up five-inch Kalin’s watermelon grubs rigged on chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jigs and retrieved with a slow, steady do-nothing presentation parallel to the steep banks. But on this May 15 outing, the bass seemed more lethargic and few showed any interest in chasing grubs. It took us nearly two hours to tweak our bait selections and retrieve techniques, but once we got dialed in, we battled with 28 largemouth bass, four spotted bass, one large crappie, one huge bluegill, and one white bass. These fish were mostly scattered along the steep rocky banks, and they were extracted from one to five feet of water. We retrieved our baits parallel to the shoreline where the clearer, shallow water merged with the murkier and slightly deeper water.

“A five-inch Kalin’s watermelon Lunker Grub affixed to a 3/32-ounce chartreuse Gopher Jig and retrieved in a slow, steady do-nothing manner failed to entice a strike; a three-inch Kalin’s watermelon Lunker Grub on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and presented with a slow do-nothing retrieve induced one largemouth bass; a bobber-rigged 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s black-blue-flake FattyZ tail threaded onto a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and suspended 22 inches below a fixed rattling bobber allured three largemouth bass. This bobber-FattyZ tail combo was manipulated with a slow twitch and pause motion. Berkley’s four-inch black-blue-flake Power Grub rigged on a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and maneuvered in a steady do-nothing manner inveigled seven largemouth bass; a customized 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red FattyZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and implemented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation attracted three largemouth bass; and two customized 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s black-blue-flake FattyZs on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and presented with a slow swim-glide-shake action beguiled 14 largemouth bass and four spotted bass. Two of the 14 largemouth bass were three pounders, and another two were two pounders. The color of jig head did not seem to influence the number of strikes. We also employed a four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and four-inch Z-Man’s black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These two baits were retrieved in three different ways: a slow swim-glide-and-shake motif, drag-and-shake method, and hop- and-bounce presentation, but they did not appeal to any of the largemouth or spotted bass.”

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One of the largemouth bass that Steve Reideler caught on the customized 3 1/2-inch FattyZ.

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The bait at the top of this photograph is the 3 1/2-inch customized FattyZ. The bait at the bottom is the standard Z-Man’s FattyZ.

 May 16 log

Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, posted a very brief synopsis on the Finesse News Network about his May 16 outing with his uncle to a 96-acre state reservoir in western Missouri.

The National Weather Service recorded the low temperature at 39 degrees and the high temperature at 57 degrees. A mild-mannered wind angled out of the north, northwest, and west. It was sunny. The barometric pressure was 30.14 at 9:53 a.m. and falling.

The water level was normal, and there was 18 inches of clarity. They did not record the surface temperature.
In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted the best fishing would occur from 12:19 a.m. to 2:19 a.m., and 12:48 p.m. to 2:48 p.m., and a minor period took place from 6:34 a.m. to 8:34 a.m. They fished from 9:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The Missouri Department of Conservation sprayed the reservoir with a herbicide in 2011 and killed the submerged vegetation, and according to Claudell, the largemouth bass fishing at this reservoir has gone from outstanding to extremely lackluster.
Consequently, during the five hours and 45 minutes that they were afloat, Claudell and his uncle struggled to catch 17 largemouth bass. Eleven were caught on power tactics, and seven were caught via Midwest finesse tactics and a four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. All 17 of the largemouth bass were extracted out of three to six feet of water.

May 17 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City filed this report on the Finesse News Network about his and his wife’s May 17 outing at a 6,930-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir.

According to the National Weather Service at Emporia, Kansas, it was 34 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 62 degrees at 5:53 p.m. While they were afloat, the wind angled out of the east at 10 mph, southeast at 7 mph and northeast 8 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.16 at 7:53 a.m.

The Corps of Engineers noted that the reservoir was 3.29 feet below normal. Gum observed the water clarity at the dam was four feet, and several miles above the dam it exhibited three feet of clarity. Gum said the surface temperature was 63 degrees.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 1:11 a.m. to 3:11 a.m. and 1:40 p.m. to 3:40 p.m., and during a minor period from 7:26 a.m. to 9:26 a.m. They fished from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Gum called it a “perfect day to be on the water. Many other fishermen were also taking advantage of the mild weather. I don’t recall ever seeing so many boats on the water. Most of these folks were walleye fishing the gravel flats on the reservoir’s north side. Every point seemed to have at least three or four boats on them.”

They used primarily two finesse rigs: a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Junebug Zero affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and three-inch Berkley PowerBait Minnow in the smelt-hue on a hot-pink 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. They retrieved these baits with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Initially, they plied the south side of the reservoir, focusing on rocky and gravel shorelines inside several coves and tertiary feeder-creek arms that had a bit of a breeze hitting them. From the back of these coves and creek arms to the main-lake points, they caught smallmouth bass, and they tangled with an occasional white bass as they approached the mouth of these coves and arms.

Their most fruitful shorelines were in several coves and tertiary feeder-creek arms on the north side of the reservoir. These shorelines exhibited a gradual slope, and they were covered with baseball-to-softball-size rocks.

They caught 66 smallmouth bass, and most of those were extracted from two to five feet of water, and a few were abiding in water as deep as eight feet.

May 21 log
May 21 was a stellar day to be afloat in northeastern Kansas, and Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I enjoyed every second of it while we were afloat on a 416-acre community reservoir.

The weather was wonderful and virtually windless. The National Weather Service in Topeka noted that it was 67 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 86 degrees at 2:53 p.m. At times ranks of stratocumulus clouds floated overhead, and at other times the sun was shining everywhere. The barometric pressure at 8:53 a.m. was 29.91 and rising. At 8:53 a.m. the wind angled out of the south at 9 mph; at 9:53 a.m. it was out of the southwest at 7 mph; at 10:53 it was out of the south at 9 mph; at 11:53 a.m. it was out of the north at 5 mph; and then for the rest of our outing, it was either calm or variable and whispering at 3 mph. (Desch and I are extremely fond of no-wind outings, which are rare occurrences in Kansas.

One of the most amazing features was the water clarity. It exhibited seven feet, and at some locales a tad more of visibility, allowing us to see things that we never had seen in our many years of plying this reservoir. The surface temperature when we executed our first cast was 69 degrees, and it was 77 degrees when we were making our final casts. The water level looked to be 3 1/2 feet below normal.

Throughout our outing, scores of carp were frolicking and spawning in shallow-water areas around patches of American water willows, which were green and trying to grow, but because the water level was about 3 1/2 feet below normal, only a foot or so of the American water willow patches were in the water. (When the water level is normal, this reservoir has the finest American water willow patches in northeastern Kansas.) We noticed wads of bushy pondweed floating on the surface, but we never found where it was growing. Oodles of black terns were kitting and diving for hours on end. Seven day-old goslings were learning how to forage along a shoreline. And thousands of fry were milling about on a shallow, boulder-strewn flat.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the best fishing occurred from 5:13 a.m. to 7:13 a.m. and 5:39 p.m. to 7:39 p.m., and a minor period transpired from 11:02 a.m. to 1:02 p.m. Desch and I fished from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

It was a whale of a potpourri outing, which is one of the virtues of employing Midwest finesse tactics. We caught 81 largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, six walleye, three crappie, three channel catfish, three freshwater drum, one rainbow trout, and a score or more of bluegill, green sunfish, and warmouth. Our mechanical fish counter did not distinguish largemouth bass from smallmouth bass, but we estimated that we caught 45 smallmouth bass and 36 largemouth bass.

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Steve Desch with one of the 45 smallmouth bass that were caught on May 21.

 

Seventeen of the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass were caught on rocky shorelines inside four coves. Two largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass were caught on a shallow, boulder-strewn flat inside one of the four coves.

Fifty-nine of the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass were caught on the main-body of the reservoir. Sixteen of these main-body black bass were caught at two massive offshore, shallow, and rocky lairs. The rest of them were caught along the riprap of the dam, at four main-lake rocky points, and along five main-lake rocky shorelines. Rock and boulders were an essential ingredient, but we caught several largemouth bass around shallow brush piles that were lying on a rocky terrain.

We caught one smallmouth bass by dragging a 2 3/4-inch green-pumpkin tube affixed to an 1/8-ounce jig. We caught 80 largemouth bass and smallmouth bass on four baits: Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, and 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Hula StickZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Our most effective presentation was the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The bulk of the black bass were extracted out of two to five feet of water.

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Steve Desch with rainbow trout, which is a rare catch in late May in northeastern Kansas.

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Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following report on the Finesse Fishing Network about his May 21 outing with Ralph Manns of Rowlett, Texas. Manns is also a field editor for In-Fisherman.

Reideler wrote: “I made a 50-mile sojourn to a 21,671-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s flatland reservoir on the far eastern border of Dallas, where I joined Ralph Manns of Rowlett, Texas. Ralph and I last fished this reservoir on April 18, and during that five hour foray, we tangled with 24 largemouth bass.

“On this May 21 excursion, the day was sunny with partly cloudy skies. The National Weather service recorded the morning low temperature at 68 degrees and the afternoon high climbed to 87 degrees. A pesky wind quartered out of the southeast at 15-25 miles per hour. The barometric pressure was steady at 30.06.

“In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated the optimum fishing periods would occur between 5:17 a.m. and 7:17 a.m., and 5:43 p.m. to 7:43 p.m. We were afloat from about 3:15 p.m. until nightfall, which occurred around 8:30 p.m.

“We spent the afternoon and evening in a large wind-protected marina on the eastern side of the reservoir, searching for post-spawn bass. The water temperature was 74 degrees. Ralph estimated the water level to be about eight feet below normal. Water clarity exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. We utilized Ralph’s eight-foot boat, which allowed us to explore shallow rocky areas and narrow passageways between the docks and shorelines that larger boats could not traverse.

“We began the afternoon plying a metal seawall and several covered boat docks along the east-side shoreline. We hooked four largemouth bass next to the seawall in two to four feet of water. Three of these bass where able to free themselves before we could land them, and one broke off on an underwater obstruction. Two were allured by a four-inch Gary Yamamoto Bait Company’s watermelon-black-and-gold-flake Senko and nose hooked on an Owner’s size No. 1 weedless wacky-rig hook. Ralph worked the Senko in a slow lift-and-drop manner. The other two bass were bewitched by a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and presented in a swim-glide-and-shake fashion.

“After our inauspicious beginning at the seawall, we probed a series of craggy rock jetties that are reinforced by several sets of thick wooden posts. We enticed one 17-inch largemouth bass from one of the wooden posts next to the jetty in four feet of water with a Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and retrieved with a slow drag-and-shake presentation. As we worked our way along the west side jetties, we tangled with four largemouth bass that inhabited several small gaps between the concrete boulders in two feet of water. Three of these largemouth bass were attracted to a four-inch Zoom Bait Company’s Junebug-chartreuse-tail Dead Ringer worm affixed to a purple 1/16-ounce Gopher jig worked slowly through the concrete boulders in a slow twitch- and-deadstick manner. One largemouth bass was tricked by the four-inch Yamamoto watermelon-black-and-gold-flake Senko and retrieved with a slow lift-and-drop action.

“We continued fishing along the jetties for several hours, but were not finding any concentrations of fish. Ultimately, we docked the boat in an open boat slip near a jetty along the south end of the marina, and we probed the adjacent rock jetty while we walked along the boat dock. Ralph landed one largemouth bass that was relating to the shallow riprap along the jetty in two feet of water on the Yamamoto watermelon-black-and-gold-flake Senko and a slow lift and drop presentation. I failed to garner a strike with the four-inch Zoom Junebug-chartreuse-tail Dead Ringer worm.

“After we re-boarded Ralph’s boat, Ralph guided us to a shallow water rock pile located about 75 feet off a west-side jetty. This rock pile was sitting in about three feet of water and was surrounded by sand, as well as a shell bed that was covered with four to seven feet of water. Ralph experimented with a chartreuse-and-white Chatterbait-style bait and a couple of different colored Rapala DT-6 crankbaits, and these baits failed to trigger a strike. I employed the Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ, and Ralph later switched to a five-inch Zoom Bait Company’s Bama Bug Finesse Worm Texas-rigged with a 1/8-ounce sliding slip sinker. These two baits enticed 12 largemouth bass, five catfish, and one white bass. Three of the largemouth bass were three-pounders, and Ralph caught a 24-inch spawned-out female largemouth bass that weighed only five-pounds, 13-ounces. One of these 12 bass was able to liberate itself while cartwheeling across the water’s surface, and another one was able to break off on an underwater obstruction. The five-pounder was beguiled by the five-inch Zoom Bama Bug Finesse worm and a slow drag-and-deadstick retrieve in seven feet of water.

“As the evening progressed to nightfall, we returned to the east-side seawall, where we started the day by losing four largemouth bass. We tangled with two more largemouth bass that were relating to the north side of the boat ramp next to the seawall in two to three feet of water. One bass engulfed the Junebug Hula StickZ as it was being dragged and shook, and the other one was coaxed into striking the Zoom Bama Bug Finesse worm presented in a drag-and-deadstick retrieve.

“In sum, we allured 23 largemouth bass, but landed only 17 of them. We also caught five catfish and one white bass. Only three of the largemouth bass were less than 12 inches long. The majority of these bass were relating to the shallow water rock pile in three to seven feet of water.”

 

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May 23 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, posted the following report on the Finesse News Network about his May 23 outing.

He wrote: “I normally try to avoid the local reservoirs in north-central Texas during major holidays, especially those that extend two-day weekends into a three-day weekend. However, I thought I could sneak in a solo afternoon outing before the busy Memorial Day weekend crowds arrived. I traveled to a local 21,280-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir that lies on the northern perimeter of Lewisville.

“The day was cloudy with thunderstorms forecasted for the late evening hours. The National Weather Service recorded the morning temperature at 69 degrees and the afternoon high reached 83 degrees. The wind blew steadily out of the southeast at 12 to 18 miles per hour. The barometric pressure measured 29.99.

“The water was stained with two feet of visibility. The water temperature was 79 degrees and the water level was 7.79 feet below normal.

“I made my first cast at about 12:30 p.m. and completed my last cast at about 4:30 p.m. In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicted the best fishing periods should occur between 6:56 a.m. to 8:56 a.m., 7:21 p.m. to 9:21 p.m., and a minor period would take place from 12:43 a.m. to 2:43 a.m.

“I prepared my four spinning rods with the following baits: a four-inch Kalin’s green-pumpkin Lunker Grub rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig; customized 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s California Craw FattyZ rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and a four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ sported on a purple 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

“Since April 21, I have been periodically plying the backs of two marinas in the southwestern tributary arm of this reservoir, and it has consistently produced largemouth and spotted bass. The largemouth bass and spotted bass were relating to the steep and rocky shorelines, secondary points, and a long rock and clay channel bank that courses behind scores of shallow- water boat docks. For example, this area surrendered 15 largemouth bass and one spotted bass on April 21. It yielded 30 largemouth bass and three spotted bass on May 9. And during a May 15 foray, Rick Allen and I tangled with 28 largemouth bass and four spotted bass from this same locale.

“But on this May 23 endeavor, the fishing was slow and tedious in this area, and I endured long spells between bites. It surrendered only 11 largemouth bass, four spotted bass, three large bluegills, and one freshwater drum.

“The 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ enticed eight largemouth bass and two spotted bass. The four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ inveigled three largemouth bass and two spotted bass. Kalin’s four-inch Lunker Grub failed to garner a strike. I didn’t get around to trying the customized FattyZ.

“All of these fish were caught from two to four feet of water along the long, steep channel bank and two rocky secondary points. I retrieved the ZinkerZ and Finesse WormZ with a slow swim-glide-shake presentation. The Kalin’s Lunker Grub was employed with a slow steady do-nothing retrieve.”

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Bob Gum of Kansas City filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his May 23 outing with Lyn Yarbrough of Leawood, Kansas, at a 5,090-acre power-plant reservoir.

The National Weather Service in Emporia, Kansas, noted that it was 60 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 82 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind blew 7 mph out of the east at 7:52 a.m., 11 mph out of the southeast at 11:52 a.m., and 9 mph out of the east at 2:52 p.m. The barometric pressure was 30.16 and falling at 7:52 a.m. It was overcast at 7:52 a.m.; it became sunny at 10:52 a.m.; then dark skies and rumbles of thunder docked them off the water around 2:30 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar predicted that the best fishing would occur from 6:50 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. and 7:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. A minor period occurred from 12:38 a.m. to 2:38 a.m. They fished from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The surface temperature was 73 degrees at the boat ramp, which lies in the upper third portion of the reservoir and along the southwest corner of the warm-water plume, and it was 70 degrees at the dam. The water level was normal. It exhibited five feet of visibility at the dam. Significant amounts of filamentous alga plastered the rocks along the water’s edge.

They fished several gradually sloping rocky flats and points, as well as many yards of riprap shorelines.

Gum used a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and three-inch Berkley PowerBait Minnow in the smelt-hue on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which he presented very methodically and patiently with what he described as a drag-glide-and-shake retrieve. Yarbrough primarily used a Z-Man’s Rain MinnowZ in the mud-minnow hue affixed to a red 1/16-0unce Gopher jig, but periodically he worked with a Texas rigged Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ with an 1/8-ounce slip sinker.

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Lyn Yarbrough with one of the 68 smallmouth bass that he and Bob Gum caught on May 23.

It was another potpourri day in northeastern Kansas. Gum and Yarbrough’s Midwest finesse tactics inveigled 96 fish: 68 smallmouth bass, 10 white bass, seven walleye, three largemouth bass, two channel catfish, five freshwater drum and one green sunfish. Some of the fish were caught in water as shallow as a foot, and some were caught in water as eight feet fish.  Some strikes occurred along the shallow rocky flats the instant the bait touched the water.

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Bob Gum with one of the three largemouth bass that were caught on May 23.

May 24 log
Dave Weroha of Kansas City submitted a report about his outing with his wife on May 24 to a 5,090-acre power-plant reservoir.

The National Weather Service in Emporia, Kansas, noted that it was 64 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 82 degrees at 3:53 p.m. It was foggy and misty at 5:53 a.m.; mostly cloudy to partly cloudy from 11:53 a.m. to 5:53 p.m. A thunderstorm erupted at 7:53 p.m. The barometric pressure was 29.99 at 5:53 a.m. and it rose to 30.01 at 11:53 a.m.; then it dropped from 29.99 at 12:23 p.m. to 29.94 at 7:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the east at 5 to 15 mph, northeast at 5 to 7 mph, west at 3 mph, and southeast at 9 to 14 mph.

The water level was normal. The surface temperature at the warm-water outlet was 88 degrees, and outside the warm-water plume, the surface temperature ranged from 70 to 72 degrees. There was about five feet of visibility.
In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar predicted that the best fishing would occur from 7:35 a.m. to 9:35 a.m., and 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and a minor period from 1:23 a.m. to 3:23 a.m. The Werohas fished from 1:00 p.m. to 5 p.m.

They caught 31 smallmouth bass, seven white bass and two largemouth bass.

Seven smallmouth bass were caught along the riprap inside the warm-water outlet. The rest were caught along riprap shorelines on the dam and the east side of a long jetty. Along the dam, they focused at the spot where a submerged creek channel meanders nearby, and at this locale, they caught some smallmouth bass in 10 to 15 feet of water. Elsewhere the smallmouth bass were extracted out of six to eight feet of water.

His wife used a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s watermelon/white ZinkerZ on a white 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which she retrieved with a drag-and-shake presentation.

At times, Dave used a jerkbait and crankbait, which he called search baits. And once he caught a smallmouth bass on his search bait options, he used a three-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/8-ounce Gopher jig, a radically customized Z-Man’s ShrimpZ on a chocolate-brown 1/8-ounce Gopher jig, and a customized five-inch Z-Man’s ZinkerZ on a 1/8-ounce wacky jig. He presented the ZinkerZ with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. When he used his customized ShrimpZ, he employed what he described as a drag-and-twitch retrieve. The wacky-rigged ZinkerZ was presented as if he was using a flutter spoon, and he used it to probe 10 to 15 feet of water.

In addition to Dave’s search-bait tactics, their side-scanning device pinpointed the whereabouts of one aggregation of smallmouth bass.

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One of the smallmouth bass that the Werohas caught on May 24.

May 25 log

Dave Weoha of Kansas City returned on May 25 to the 5,090-acre power-plant reservoir that he and his wife fished on May 24. On this outing he fished with Bryan Blanck of Lawrence, Kansas, and his son, Braxton. He filed the following report on the Finesse News Network.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar said that the best fishing should take place from 8:19 a.m. to 10:19 a.m. and 8:44 p.m. to 10:44 p.m. A minor period happened from 2:06 a.m. to 4:06 a.m. They fished from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Weroha noted that they were hit by a thunderstorm at 9:00 a.m., which was not recorded by the National Weather Service at Emporia, Kansas. It did report that it was foggy and misty from 5:53 a.m. to 7:53 a.m., cloudy from 8:52 a.m. to 6:53 p.m., and a thunderstorm erupted at 7:53 p.m. The NWS also reported that it was 64 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 82 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The barometric pressure was 30.oo at 7:53 a.m., 29.99 at 12:53 p.m., 29.97 at 2:53 p.m., and 29.92 at 4:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the southeast at 6 mph and out of the south at 12 to 24 mph.

The water level was normal. The surface temperature at the warm-water outlet was 88 degrees, and outside the warm-water plume, the surface temperature ranged from 70 to 72 degrees. There was about five feet of visibility.

They tangled with 56 smallmouth bass, 17 white bass, four largemouth bass, and two channel catfish.

They fished the same riprap shorelines that Weorha and his wife fished on May 24. Beside those riprap shorelines, Weroha and the Blancks fished part of the shorelines around two main-lake islands, and 15 of the 56 smallmouth bass were caught at the two islands.

The Blancks fished with the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s watermelon/white ZinkerZ on a white 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which they retrieved with a drag-and-shake presentation.

Weroha used a three-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/8-ounce Gopher jig, a radically customized Z-Man’s Redbone Scented ShrimpZ on a chocolate-brown 1/8-ounce Gopher jig, and a customized five-inch Z-Man’s ZinkerZ on a 1/8-ounce wacky jig. He presented the ZinkerZ with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. When he used his customized ShrimpZ, he employed what he described as a drag-and-twitch retrieve. The Wacky-rigged ZinkerZ was presented as if he was using a flutter spoon, and he used it to probe 10 to 15 feet of water.

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Dave Weroha with one of the smallmouth bass that was bewitched by a customized Z-Man’s ShrimpZ.

May 27 log

Six days ago Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I had a delightful time fishing for smallmouth bass and largemouth bass at a 416-acre community reservoir. But on May 27, those creatures gave us a significant comeuppance.

The National Weather Service in Topeka reported that it was 64 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 85 degrees at 4:53 p.m. It was overcast at 8:53 a.m. The clouds virtually disappeared for several hours. Then from 11:53 a.m. onward, it became partly to mostly cloudy. At 9:53 a.m. the wind angled out of the south at 6 mph. It became variable at 10:53 a.m. and blew at 7 mph. Then it was calm at 11:53 a.m. and 12:53 p.m. Around 2:53 p.m., it commenced to blow out of the southwest at 5 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.01 at 8:53 a.m. and 29.99 at 2:53 p.m. Initially, it looked like a perfect day to be afloat.

The surface temperature was 74 degrees. The water exhibited five to six feet of clarity. The water level looked to be three feet below normal.
In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar predicted that the best fishing would occur from 9:50 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. and 10:16 p.m. to 12:16 a.m. We fished from 9:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. In theory, it was an ideal time to be afloat.

While Desch was waiting for me to arrive at the boat ramp, he made a couple casts and caught a descent-size smallmouth bass, which provoked us to think that we were going to enjoy a repeat of our May 21 outing, when we tangled with 45 smallmouth bass, 36 largemouth bass, six walleye, three crappie, three channel catfish, three freshwater drum, one rainbow trout, and a score or more of bluegill, green sunfish, and warmouth. To our chagrin, however, we struggled to catch 24 largemouth bass, six smallmouth bass (not including the one that Desch caught before I arrived), four walleye, three channel catfish, and two freshwater drum.

As we were getting ready to put the boat on the trailer at the end of this outing, we crossed paths with a knowledgeable channel catfish angler who said that his catfish endeavors were worse than our black bass undertakings. He said that even when the channel catfish bite was problematic this spring, he has been able to tangle with at least a dozen channel catfish in three hours of fishing, but during this outing, he caught only a couple channel catfish. The three of us were puzzled by what was going on with this reservoir’s denizens.

Throughout the entire four hours, we never could determine the best lure, best retrieve, and best location.

We do know that a four-inch green-pumpkin grub affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ on a red 1/6-ounce mushroom-style jig, and a shorten four-inch Strike King’s green-pumpkin-red-flake Super Finesse Worm on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig failed to garner a strike.

We caught some fish on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, 3 1/4-inch Z-Man PB&J Hula StickZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s California Craw Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. But the Rain MinnowZ didn’t exhibit the moxie that it had exhibited for the past several weeks.

When the Rain MinnowZ combo was effective in the recent past, the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was also very effective, but it was extremely lackluster on May 27. Some of the fish were caught on the initial drop. A few fish were allured by the deadstick motif. And others were caught when we executed several improvisations of the six basic Midwest finesse retrieves, which traditionally is a sign of a trying outing.

A few fish were caught in about a foot of water, a few were caught in about eight feet of water, and the others were caught somewhere in between those two depths.

We failed to catch a fish on any main-lake points. We fished four secondary points, which yielded only two largemouth bass. Laydowns, brush piles and other submerged objects were our most fruitful lairs, which is a rare phenomenon. Normally, we don’t focus on laydowns, brush piles and submerged objects; we leave those for power anglers to mess around with. Instead we spend a lot of time dissecting areas that don’t appeal to the power anglers, but that tactic didn’t create many dividends on May 27.

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Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, circulated the following report on the Finesse News Network about his May 27 outing.
He wrote: “Rick Allen of Dallas joined me for an afternoon outing to a local 21,280-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s reservoir located along the northern city limits of Lewisville.

“As we launched the boat, the sun was shining brightly through a partly cloudy sky. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 64 degrees and the afternoon high climbed to 79 degrees. Southeasterly winds blew at 5 to 12 mph, but by 4:00 p.m., an approaching thunderstorm turned the skies dark and ominous, and the southeasterly winds picked up to about 15 mph. At 5:00 p.m., it began to rain. The barometric pressure was measured at 29.86.

“Rick and I began fishing at about 12:45 p.m., but the approaching thunderstorm forced us off the lake at 4:15 p.m. In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated the best fishing periods would occur between 9:56 a.m. to 11:56 a.m., 10:21 p.m. to 12:21 a.m., and a minor period would likely take place from 3:43 a.m. to 5:43 a.m.

“The water was stained and displayed about 1 1/2 feet of clarity. The water’s temperature was 77 degrees, and the water level was 7.78 feet below normal pool.

“We started the afternoon probing a steep channel bank and several rocky secondary points in the back of a marina in the southwestern tributary arm of this reservoir. This area has consistently produced largemouth and spotted bass over the past few weeks, and today, it continued to pay dividends and yielded 11 largemouth bass and one spotted bass. Four largemouth bass and one large bluegill were allured by a bobber-rigged 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s watermelon FattyZ tail rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with a fixed rattling bobber attached 24 inches above the FattyZ combo. The bobber-rig was worked in a twitch and pause manner. Six largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and two large bluegills were attracted to a four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig presented with a slow swim-glide-shake retrieve. A 3 1/4-pound largemouth bass was tricked by a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red FattyZ tube on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and it was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. These 12 bass were milling about in two to four feet of water.

“Our next location was a riprap-covered bridge embankment with several rows of concrete bridge support pilings; this spot is situated in the mid-section of the southwestern tributary arm. Three largemouth bass, one spotted bass, one white bass, and one channel catfish were bewitched by a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a 1/16-ounce black Gopher jig, which was retrieved with the swim-glide-and-shake technique. The bobber-rigged FattyZ tail combo that was retrieved with a twitch-and-pause presentation garnered three largemouth bass and one crappie. A three-inch Charlie Brewer Slider Company’s pearl-glitter Bass/Walleye/Striper grub dressed on a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and steady do-nothing retrieve accounted for one white bass. These seven bass were relating to the riprap embankment in three to six feet of water.

“After we finished fishing the riprap covered embankment and concrete pillars, we headed over to a north-side feeder-creek arm in the west end of the tributary. This feeder creek encompasses two long and rocky points at the entrance to the creek arm, one long, steep, rock and clay bank, four shallow mud flats, three dilapidated and unused boat ramps, and three rocky secondary points. We caught three largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one white bass from this feeder-creek arm. The spotted bass and white bass were tempted by the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ and a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Three largemouth bass were beguiled by a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and employed with a swim-glide-and-shake manner. The spotted bass was inhabiting four feet of water next to the steep, rock and clay bank. The three largemouth bass and one white bass were extracted from two to three feet of water from two secondary rocky points.

“All told, we allured 21 largemouth bass, three spotted bass, three large bluegills, two white bass, one channel catfish, and one crappie during 3 1/2-hours of fishing. Z-Man’s four-inch watermelon-red Finesse WormZ enticed six largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and two large bluegills. The bobber-rigged 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s watermelon FattyZ tail combo beguiled seven largemouth bass, one large bluegill, and one crappie. Z-Man’s 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ bewitched four largemouth bass, two spotted bass, one catfish, and one white bass. Z-Man’s 2 1/2-inch PB&J ZinkerZ caught three largemouth bass. The 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red FattyZ tube caught one largemouth bass. The three-inch Charlie Brewer Slider Company’s pearl glitter Bass/Walleye/Striper grub and steady do-nothing retrieve eked out one white bass. The swim-glide-shake retrieve was the most productive presentation.”

 

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Rick Allen with one of the largemouth bass that he and Steve Reideler caught on May 27.

May 29 log

Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kansas, Travis Perret of Overland Park, Kansas, and I spent a couple hours on May 29 talking about and testing some Midwest finesse tactics at a 225-acre community reservoir that graces the western suburbs of Kansas City. The three of us enjoyed a similar endeavor on April 3, 2013, when we caught 75 largemouth bass, 15 crappie, two rainbow trout and one walleye. (Here’s a link to the log that describes that 2013 outing:http://www.in-fisherman.com/2013/05/09/a-month-by-month-guide-to-midwest-finesse-april-2013/.)

On our May 29 outing, the water level was about a foot below normal. The water was the clearest that Chapman had ever seen it, reaching eight feet of visibility at several locales along its west shoreline. This clarity revealed scores of stumps, rock piles, brush piles, and other underwater objects that he had never seen before, and he has fished this reservoir since the 1970s. As we crossed paths with these objects, he recorded their whereabouts on his GPS unit. The water was clear enough that we saw more than a dozen largemouth bass, and we caught a couple of them. We didn’t have a thermometer to measure the surface temperature. Filamentous algae coated many of the shallow underwater objects, and small pieces of filamentous algae floated on the surface, as did untold numbers of seeds from the cottonwood trees. The back ends of two coves were littered with spawning beds. We saw about a dozen massive schools of fry, and we extracted one largemouth bass from around one of those schools.

The National Weather Service in Kansas City noted that it was 69 degrees at 4:54 a.m. and 86 degrees at 2:54 p.m. The sun was shining, but a few clouds floated overhead and periodically dimmed the sun’s rays. The wind angled out of the northeast and east at 8 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.98 at 10:54 a.m. and 29.95 at 1:54 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 11:01 a.m to 1:01 p.m., and we were afloat from 11:15 a.m. to 1:20 p.m.

Chapman is a diehard power angler, and he spent 65 percent of the time wielding various power tactics, such as topwater baits, swimbaits, and a 3/4-ounce prototype Mesu Bait Company’s skirted jig and a soft-plastic trailer. And 35 percent of the time, Chapman used one of the traditional Midwest finesse baits: a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Perret fished with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Mondo Tackle’s Finn-S jig. He used a green-pumpkin ZinkerZ, Junebug ZinkerZ, and a couple other hues. I fished with two baits: a 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-red-flake Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We fished 150 yards of the east shoreline, which is relatively flat, rock laden, and lined with scores of boat docks. There are also patches of American water willows and some man-made brush piles. We caught 13 largemouth bass along this shoreline. One was caught on a topwater bait, and 12 were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-red-flake Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two largemouth bass engulfed the baits on the initial drop. The rest of them were allured by a drag-and-shake presentation, which was occasionally enhanced with several seconds of the deadstick motif. These largemouth bass were extracted out of water as shallow as three feet and as deep as eight feet.

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Brent Chapman with one of the 44 largemouth bass that were caught in two hours and five minutes on May 29.

The second area that we fished was the western half of the dam, which is lined with riprap. We caught 11 largemouth bass, and they were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Mondo Tackle’s Finn-S jig, and 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-red-flake Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A few of these largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the bait, and others were allured by several kinds of retrieves: swim, glide, and shake; drag and shake; drag and deadstick. These largemouth bass were extracted out of water as shallow as three feet and as deep as nine feet.

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Travis Perret with one of the 44 largemouth bass that he and his two co-anglers caught on May 29.

The third area that we fished was along several hundred yards of the west shoreline. It is a steeper shoreline than the one we fished on the east side. It also has two coves. The entire shoreline is lined with scores of boat docks, and it is stippled with stumps, brush piles, rock piles, and various objects, as well as some primary, secondary and tertiary points. This shoreline yielded 20 largemouth bass. Nine largemouth bass were caught on the 3/4-ounce prototype Mesu Bait Company’s skirted jig and a soft-plastic trailer. Twelve were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-red-flake Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Mondo Tackle’s Finn-S jig, and 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Mondo Tackle’s Finn-S jig. The drag-and-deadstick retrieve that was enhanced with a few shakes garnered most of the finesse bites. The skirted jig was retrieved with a hop-and-bounce retrieve. Some of the largemouth bass were in water as shallow as two feet and as deep as 10 feet.

In total, we caught 44 largemouth bass in two hours and five minutes, and 34 of them were inveigled by Midwest finesse tactics.
It is interesting to note that Chapman and his son, Mason, are planning to fish a tournament at this reservoir on May 31. According to his father, Mason will primarily be wielding a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. It is likely that his father will occasionally wield one, too.

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Brent Chapman with one of the laregemouth bass that he caught with his power tactics on May 29.

May 29 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his May 29 outing.

He wrote: “I made a solo trip to a local 21,280-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir that lies along the northern boundary of Lewisville. For the past several weeks, this reservoir’s southwest tributary arm has been very productive by north-central Texas standards. But on this May 29 outing, I decided to change things up a little and check the upper northwest region of this reservoir, which can be quite good at times. But to my dismay, this was not one of those times. I had an inkling that the fishing might be trying when I spoke with an angler coming off the lake while I was launching my boat, and he said he fished all morning and caught only a couple of small blue channel catfish.

“The day was very humid. A radiant sun shined brightly through partly cloudy skies, and the humidity made me sweat as soon as I left the comfort of my air-conditioned truck to launch my boat. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 67 degrees and the afternoon high reached 89 degrees. The wind quartered out of the northeast at 8 to 13 mph. The barometric pressure was steady at 29.90.

“I began fishing at about 11:30 a.m. and made my last cast at about 5:00 p.m. In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar listed the best fishing period occurring between 11:11 a.m. to 1:11 p.m.

“The water was stained with a muddy-brown tint, exhibiting about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. I was surprised to find the water’s temperature at a warm 83 degrees, which is six degrees warmer than the rest of the reservoir. The water level was 7.79 feet below normal pool.

“I started this endeavor probing a short rocky ledge in the middle of the cove where I launched. I found this ledge by accident as I was idling out to the main lake. Upon further investigation, I discovered that the ledge was about 50 feet long, and the top of the ledge was in seven feet of water and the deep-water side of the ledge dropped off into 15 feet of water. There were three brush piles strategically placed along the top of the ledge at the point where the ledge drops off into deeper water. I slowly dissected this ledge for an hour and a half with a four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ rigged on a drop-shot rig. The drop shot rig consisted of a Tru-Turn No.1 Octopus-Style drop-shot hook and an 18-inch drop line or leader extended below the hook. A Bass Pro Shops XPS 1/8-ounce cylindrical clip-on drop-shot weight was attached to the end of the drop line or leader. I employed the drop-shot rig with a slow drag-and-shake presentation, and it allured two largemouth bass and one spotted bass. One of the two largemouth bass weighed three pounds. These three bass were relating to the brush piles in seven feet of water. In retrospect, I wasted too much time probing this ledge. I had hoped that more bass would move in and occupy the brush piles, but that didn’t occur. My gamble cost me time, and consequently, I believe it cost me fish as well since I had less time to fish other promising lairs.

“After I finished fishing the ledge, I made a 10-minute run to a long rock and clay point that is situated a short distance from an old concrete spillway. I utilized a three-inch Kalin’s watermelon-red Lunker Grub rigged on a red 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and presented it in a steady do-nothing scheme. I extracted one largemouth bass and one white bass off the tip of the point in five feet of water. I also tried the drop-shot rigged green- pumpkin Finesse WormZ and slow drag-and-shake technique, but it failed to elicit any strikes.

“I then plied the old concrete spillway area. A deep-water river channel winds its way eastward from the face of the spillway in 32 feet of water. I fished the face of the spillway and a short section of the deep-water edges of the river channel with the drop-shot rigged Finesse WormZ, but it failed to draw a strike.

“My next spot was the back of a nearby marina. The banks in this marina are flatter and straighter than the steep winding banks of the marinas I frequent in the southwestern portion of this reservoir. These banks are also mostly clay, but there are a few rocky areas. The south side of the marina is adorned with a concrete seawall, a boat ramp, and a set of steel rails that run into the water next to the boat ramp. I fished the north and west shorelines behind several rows of boat docks with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s California Craw ZinkerZ affixed on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake motion. I was able to muster only five largemouth bass, one spotted bass, one catfish, one large crappie, and one large bluegill from two to four feet of water. The flat clay shorelines did not appear to be holding any fish, but the few rocky areas along those same clay shorelines yielded all the fish. I found no bass relating to the concrete seawall, the boat ramp, or the set of steel rails.

“My last spot was a flat, main-lake clay point sprinkled with fist-sized rocks and a couple of old decaying stumps. I executed numerous fan-casts along the sides and top of the point with the three-inch Kalin’s Lunker Grub and a steady do-nothing retrieve, but it did not draw a strike. I then switched to the 2 1/2-inch California Craw ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation, and it attracted one largemouth bass and one spotted bass from three feet of water along one side of the point. I then called it a day.

“Overall, this waterway was stingy with its bass today, and I struggled to catch eight largemouth bass, three spotted bass, one crappie, one bluegill, one catfish, and one white bass during this laborious five-and-a-half hour foray. The 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s California Craw ZinkerZ allured eight of the 11 black bass, and the swim-glide-shake motif was the most fruitful presentation.”

May 30 log

On the morning of May 30, Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his maiden endeavors on May 29 with Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits’ Shad Shape Worm.

He wrote: “On a whim, I stopped by my dad’s and picked up some 031 (blue pearl with silver flake) and 306 (natural shad) Yamamoto Shad Shaped Worms. I have been trailing you guys in using this type of bait and wanted to give it a whirl. I used them on a red 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.
“It was a great three-hour trip. Some hit it on the initial fall, and some hit it while it was dead still on the bottom.

“I ended up using 17 of the baits and lost count of the largemouth bass, bites, and lost fish. The bass were on some steep rock banks, some flat rocky points, around riprap and pilings at a bridge, and on the outside edge of some water willows. The bass ranged in size from three inches to three pounds.

“I’ll definitely be using this profile a lot in the days to come.”

After reading Poe’s report, I realized that I hadn’t used a Z-Man’s Finesse ShadZ, which is similar to Yamamoto’s Shad Shape Worm, since Mar. 28. Therefore, I decided to give a Finesse ShadZ a whirl at a nearby 195-acre community reservoir.

The National Weather Service in Lawrence, Kansas, noted that it was 67 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 87 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the east at 13 to 21 mph at 11:52 a.m., and at 1:52 p.m. it was out of the east at 15 mph. It was sunny at 10:52 a.m., but by 11:53 a.m., a goodly number of cumulus clouds cluttered the sky. The barometric pressure at 11:53 a.m. was 30.06 and falling.

The water level looked to be about a foot below normal. The water in the lower portions of this reservoir exhibited about five feet of visibility, but in the upper portions, it was stained to the point that the visibility was about 2 1/2 feet. The surface temperature was 80 degrees. There are massive patches of curly-leaf pondweed, cluttering the surface, in the back portions of two of the reservoir’s feeder-creek arms, and there are some patches scattered in other areas, too. Once the water temperature climbs into the 70s, the curly-leaf pondweed begins to wilt and die, and traditionally, they are gone by mid-June. During this demise, many of this reservoir’s largemouth bass inhabit rocky lairs that are a long distance from the wilting and dying patches of curly-leaf pondweed.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 11:57 a.m. to 1:57 p.m.

I was afloat from noon to 2:30 p.m., and I spent almost the entire outing plying steep, rocky shorelines and points in the vicinity of the dam. But I did spend about 20 minutes fishing a rock-laden flat in the middle section of this reservoir and a short riprap shoreline that is about a third of the way inside one of the feeder-creek arms.

To contend with the brisk east and southeast wind, I used a drift sock when I fished the dam and one main-lake point.

For the first hour, I used Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and it inveigled 25 largemouth bass, three bluegill, three green sunfish, two channel catfish and failed to land a fish that exhibited the mannerism of a hefty channel catfish.

Three of the largemouth bass were caught along a 50-yard stretch of a steep, rocky shoreline on the east side of the reservoir’s main body. One largemouth bass was caught on a steep, rocky, main-lake point. Seven largemouth bass were caught along a 25-yard section of a bluff at the mouth of a feeder creek arm. Fourteen of the largemouth bass were caught along the eastern half of the dam. These 25 largemouth bass were extracted from four to nine feet of water, and allured by a drag-and-shake retrieve.

After I caught largemouth bass No. 25 at 1:00 p.m., I began using a 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which I retrieved with a drag-and-shake presentation.

I fished this Hula StickZ combo for an hour and a half and caught 27 largemouth bass, one channel catfish, and failed to land another fish that exhibited the mannerism of a big channel catfish. They were extracted from three to nine feet of water.

Seventeen of the 27 largemouth bass were caught along the western half of the dam. Four largemouth bass were caught on a steep, rocky, main-lake point on the east side of the reservoir. Two largemouth bass were caught on a rocky flat on the east side of the reservoir. One largemouth bass was caught at 2: 28 p.m., and another one was caught at 2:30 p.m., and both were caught along a riprap shoreline that is about a third of the way inside the south feeder-creek arm.

In sum, I caught 52 largemouth bass in 180 minutes. The Finesse ShadZ combo caught 25 of them in 60 minutes, and the Hula StickZ combo caught 27 in 90 minutes. None of those bass would have won a tournament, and they wouldn’t have impressed a television show producer. But from the perspective of a recreational angler, who measures the number of bites an angler gets and the number of bass an angler catches, it was a successful outing.

What’s more, I was pleased that Mike Poe inspired me to start employing the Finesse ShadZ again. Since its inception, the Finesse ShadZ has played an important role in our Midwest finesse tactics in northeastern Kansas– especially during the cold-water months when we like to rig it on a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with a No. 6 hook. The durability of the Finesse ShadZ is quite remarkable. Poe used 17 Shad Shape Worms during his May 29 outing. I used only one Finesse ShadZ, and it looks as if it has the wherewithal to tangle with 75 or more fish before it becomes too tattered to use.

May 31 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his May 31 outing to a 6,930-acre U.S. Army Corps of Enigneers’ reservoir with Greg Monahan of Lees Summit, Missouri.

The Corps of Engineers’ office reported that the water level was 2.o1 feet below normal. Surface temperature at 7:30 a.m. was 70 degrees. Gum recorded the surface temperature at 74 degrees. The water clarity inside the coves exhibited 2 1/2 feet of visibility, and the visibility increased to 3 1/2 feet on the reservoir’s main body.

The National Weather Service in Emporia, Kansas, noted that it was 65 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 82 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The wind was mild mannered, and it angled out of the south, southeast, and southwest at 3 to 10 mph. From 7:53 a.m. to 1:53 p.m. it was partly cloudy to overcast to mostly cloudy, and at 2:53 p.m., it was fair. (Gum, however, described the day as a sunny one.)The barometric pressure at 7:53 a.m. was 30.05, and at 3:53 p.m., it was 29.97.

Melvern May 31 2014

Bob Gum with one of the 72 smallmouth bass that he and Greg Monahan caught of May 31.

Gum and Monahan fished from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated the best fishing occurred from 1:18 p.m. to 3:18 p.m., and there was a minor period from 7:06 a.m. to 9:06 a.m.
Gum wrote: “Although the water level was still down, it was more than a foot higher than it was a couple of weeks ago. Some of the newly sprouted weeds along the shoreline are now submerged. The light wind allowed us to fish anywhere we wanted. There were not as many fishermen present as there were a couple of weeks ago; it was mostly pleasure craft.

“The bite was steady throughout the day. We primarily fished rocky and gradual-sloping shorelines in the coves, but we also fished some main-lake areas.” Their most fruitful shorelines in the coves had a bit of a breeze gracing them, and they fished from the points at the mouth of the coves to about 50 yards inside the coves.

Gum primarily used a 2 1/2-inch Strike King green-pumpkin-red-flake Zero on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Monahan used a 2 1/2-inch Strike King coppertruese Zero on a 1/8-ounce jig. Occasionally, they probed some deeper areas with a three-inch Kalin’s orange-and-green grub on a 1/8-ounce jig.

Gum retrieved the Zero by swimming and gliding it through the shallow rocks, and as it reached deep water he employed the swim-glide-and shake presentation.

They caught 72 smallmouth bass, three white bass, one spotted bass, one sauger, one gar, and one crappie. They caught these fish in water as shallow as one foot and as deep as eight feet. Gum said: “Many fish were surprisingly shallow considering the sunshiny conditions.”

 

Greg Monahan May 31 2014

Greg Monahan with one of the 72 smallmouth bass that he and Bob Gum caught on May 31.

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Walt Tegtmeier of Kansas City filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his short outing with a friend at a 5,090-acre power-plant reservoir on May 31.

The National Weather Service in Emporia, Kansas, noted that it was 65 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 82 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The wind was mild mannered, and it angled out of the south, southeast, and southwest at 3 to 10 mph. From 7:53 a.m. to 1:53 p.m. it was partly cloudy to overcast to mostly cloudy, and at 2:53 p.m., it was fair. The barometric pressure at 7:53 a.m. was 30.05, and at 3:53 p.m., it was 29.97.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated the best fishing occurred from 1:18 p.m. to 3:18 p.m., and there was a minor period from 7:06 a.m. to 9:06 a.m.

The water level was nearly normal and clear. The surface temperature around the dam was 71 degrees.

He wrote: “My good buddy bought a big Alumacraft walleye boat last weekend and I talked him out of going to a 6,930-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s reservoir for the maiden voyage Saturday in favor of a 5,090 power-plant reservoir. I only had an 8:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. window to fish thanks to a family commitment; nevertheless, I didn’t want another spring to go by without fishing this reservoir again.

“I reluctantly agreed to spend the first two hours searching for walleye at my partner’s behest. We trolled walleye cranks along the west side of a long riprap dyke to no avail, then down and around the east island. The only fish that tactic produced was a nice drum.

“The wind was as calm as I’d ever seen it at this reservoir; save for my first outing there in 2002 when there was not a breath of wind. It was partly cloudy all morning. I finally convinced my partner to give up on the trolling so I could salvage the remainder of my time. (He had all day to troll.) So we went to a small stretch of riprap west of the dam, which I’m guessing was 150 yards long. I immediately started catching fish on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a 2 1/2-inch Strike King purple-haze Zero. About 25 yards down the bank we encountered a multi-species bonanza. A stretch of about 40 yards produced 34 smallmouth bass, 24 nice white bass, 14 giant crappie, three largemouth bass, three nice blue catfish and 7 of the fattest channel catfish I’d ever seen.

“All the standard presentations worked, but the deadstick was deadly, especially close to the boat, which was sitting in 18 feet most of the time. The fish came from 1 to 15 feet down. The purple-haze Zero probably caught 75 percent of the fish. I never changed it. My partner used a PB&J Zero. It was really tough to leave those fish and have to drive home, but it was a great two hours or so!”

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Dave Weroha of Kansas City filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his May 31 outing to a 5,090-acre power-plant reservoir with Steve Connelly of Kansas City.

The National Weather Service in Emporia, Kansas, noted that it was 65 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 82 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The wind was mild mannered, and it angled out of the south, southeast, and southwest at 3 to 10 mph. From 7:53 a.m. to 1:53 p.m. it was partly cloudy to overcast to mostly cloudy, and at 2:53 p.m., it was fair. The barometric pressure at 7:53 a.m. was 30.05, and at 3:53 p.m., it was 29.97. Weroha described the weather as mostly sunny, and the wind was light and variable.

The water temperature in the warm-water outlet was 94 degrees. The water level was a tad below normal. The water was clear, exhibiting five feet of visibility at most locales.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated the best fishing occurred from 1:18 p.m. to 3:18 p.m., and there was a minor period from 7:06 a.m. to 9:06 a.m. They fished from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and didn’t employ traditional Midwest finesse methods or presentations. Across those 10 hours, they caught 35 smallmouth bass, 18 white bass, six walleye, four largemouth bass, and one freshwater drum.

Weroha noted: “This outing was dominated by either offshore or ledge fishing. In fact, we didn’t fish any of the typical areas, such as the riprap jetties and dam — except for the hot-water outlet and a short 50-75 yard stretch on the west side of the southern-most tip of the big jetty in the final hour of fishing for walleye.

“The hot-water outlet had a whopping 94-degree water temperature, and I was surprised we caught three largemouth bass and four smallmouth bass in that hot water.

“Steve started off with a six-inch watermelon worm with a chartreuse spade tail on a 1/8-ounce shaky head jig. He caught the first largemouth bass within three minutes. I used a customized 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s pearl ToobZ with an inserted 3/8-ounce weight on a 1/0 Owner Twistlock Finesse hook. Elaztech baits, and especially the ToobZ, float, and I find that a 1/16-ounce inserted weight does not sink a ToobZ. I aimed at presenting the ToobZ with a horizontal fall and it was very effective right off the bat: I caught the next six largemouth bass within a 45 minute span. In the outlet, the bites were not immediately along the shoreline; they were at least 10 feet from the water’s edge and in about five to eight feet of water. An effective retrieve was to snap the rod up on two pumps and allow the ToobZ to fall, and then snap it up again as soon as it hit the bottom (no deadsticking); the lure was struck on the fall every time. I gave Steve one of my customized ToobZ lures since my goal was to introduce him to Elaztech lures, not compete against him. He used the ToobZ until he finally lost it three hours later to a snag.

“After fishing the outlet we headed south and fished the east island. This island is surrounded by a massive shallow flat that is stippled with rocks, boulders and aquatic vegetation. We probed depths of five to seven feet. I used a three-inch customized Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a 3/16-oz Gopher jig. I opted for this size Gopher jig so I could employ a swimming- and-twitching retrieve at a moderately fast pace without getting too high in the water column, and occasionally I would deadstick it, and this somewhat erratic retrieve yielded four smallmouth bass. Steve, meanwhile, continued to throw the ToobZ, retrieving it by hopping it and occasionally deadsticking it. He caught three smallmouth bass.
“From this island, we moved some 400 to 500 feet to the east of the island, and dissected two underwater bars that are seven feet deep. What’s interesting is neither Lakemaster nor Navionics’ lake maps show these two bars, but my Lowrance does. We fan casted both bars, and we were delighted to extract eight smallmouth bass from this area using the ToobZ on a hopping retrieve.

“After the bite petered out at those two bars, we traveled to the west island, which is endowed with a series of humps and saddles. We started fishing about 200 yards south of the island, probing the humps and saddles that were covered with seven feet of water, and we worked our way towards the island. Around the east island, we found that some smallmouth bass were abiding in seven feet of water; so we wondered if the pattern continued on this island. We caught numerous white bass as we worked towards the south point of the west island, and once we were within casting distance of the shore, I told Steve to first throw a buzzbait into shallow water to pick off the more aggressive fish. He had a big grin when he picked off two smallmouth bass in two to three feet of water with a buzzbait. Steve also caught an 18-inch smallmouth bass on the ToobZ, by dragging it off of a precipitous ledge.

“We then ventured to an area that other anglers might typically describe as largemouth bass lairs. It is on the east side of the reservoir’s long jetty and near the buoy barriers to the power plant. We did not, however, fish the jetty. Instead, we probed a massive flat, following the seven-foot contour line, and at times that tactic kept us at 200 feet from the water’s edge. I used the ToobZ and Steve used the customized three-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ. We had the most success as the contour lines formed a bar or when we reached a point on the bank. I also dragged the bottom with a customized 1/2-ounce jig that was dressed with a Z-Man’s white with silver flake EZ skirt and a Redbone Pop FrogZ trailer. This jig managed to catch two smallmouth bass.

“During the last hour of the outing, we fished for walleye. I used a customized Redbone-and-Opening-Night hue Diezel MinnowZ on a 1/0 Owner Twistlock Finesse hook and weighted with a 1/2-ounce internal sinker. We fished the southern tip of the reservoir’s long jetty, as well as a 50- to 75-yard stretch on the west side of the jetty. At depths of 20 feet, I practiced the hop-and-bounce retrieve, which allured six walleye and several other strikes that I failed to hook. Another fish broke my line, and I believe it was a large wiper by the way it bolted 35 yards in one direction without stopping. I am certainly going to try this retrieve again with a Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ.”

Endnote:

We are thankful indeed for the editorial work that Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, rendered to this month’s guide. He read all of the 22,380-words several times and markedly improved the  prose to make it more readable and understandable.

  • Opnhk

    The photograph of baits and jigs mentioned in the May 6 log was not included. I’m curious about The Real Deal, and would have liked to see the picture.

    • Ned Kehde

      Ophnhk:
      Thanks for the note and request for a photograph of The Read Deal, which is a Z-Man’s new 2 3/4-inch stickbait,

      We will get a photograph and a story about it published in the near future.

      It will be introduced to the angling world at the ICAST show in July, and it should be in tackle stores shortly after that introduction.
      Please keep coaxing me to publish more photographs or any other information that you would like to see or read about.
      We will try our best to satisfy your needs.

      Best wishes,
      Ned

    • Ned Kehde

      Opnhk:
      We have e-mailed you a photograph of The Real Deal in its Canada Craw hue. And in the near future we will publish a gear-guide feature about it.
      Please keep in touch,
      Ned

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