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Merit Goodman of Eudora, Kansas, at northeastern Kansas community reservoir on Nov. 28.

Our November guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 25 logs and 21,979 words that describe how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished. It features the piscatorial undertakings of Linda Allen of Dallas; Rick Allen of Dallas; Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas; Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas; Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri; Merit Goodman of Eudora, Kansas; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas; Preston Parks of Pittsboro, North Carolina; Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina; Marley Price of Ripley, Ohio; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; Walt Tegtmeier of Leawood, Kansas, and Josh White of Silk Hope, North Carolina;  as well as my northeastern Kansas logs.

We are grateful that Steve Reideler proof read each log and made them more readable and understandable.

Nov. 1 log

Marley Price of Ripley, Ohio, and I fished a community reservoir in suburban northeastern Kansas on Nov. 1.

It was Price’s maiden outing with Midwest finesse rigs. For years on end, his piscatorial heart and passion have been stirred by wielding a fly rod on the trout streams of Colorado. In fact, this was the first time he had fished in Kansas, and it is likely that he had never thought about fishing in Kansas until a few days ago.  But six minutes into our Midwest finesse endeavors, he tangled with his first Kansas fish, which was a largemouth bass that he caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man Fishing Products’ green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. At the end of our two-hour-and-29-minute outing, he said he was skeptical about the effectiveness of Midwest finesse fishing, but by the time he had executed his last cast, he had become a convert.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 57 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 80 degrees at 3:53 p.m.  The sky was clear at times, but as the day wore on, it became scattered with clouds. The wind was calm for some short spells, and then it angled out of the south by southwest, west, east by southeast, east by northeast,  south, southeast, and south by southeast at 3 to 21 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.72 at 12:53 a.m., 29.78 at 5:53 a.m., 29.83 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.79 at 3:53 p.m.

The water exhibited about 3 1/2 feet of visibility in the upper half of the reservoir.  The surface temperature ranged from 65 to 66 degrees.  The water level looked to be normal.  The patches of American water willows that grace many of this reservoir’s shorelines and points are exhibiting a yellowish and tan hue, many of the leaves have dropped off of the stems, and their wintertime skeletons are just a few weeks away from haunting us until May. Eurasian milfoil enhances many of this reservoir’s shorelines, points, and flats.  This reservoir is heavily fished, and we crossed paths with a goodly number of anglers on this outing, including fellow Finesse News Network member Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, and the details of his catch appears in the endnotes.  There were three jet skiers frolicking about, which is a rare sight, indeed, on Nov. 1.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11:41 a.m. to 1:41 p.m., 12:04 p.m. to 2:04 p.m., and 5:53 a.m. to 7:53 a.m.  We were afloat from 1:36 p.m. to 4:05 p.m.

Price worked with two spinning outfits.   One sported the green-pumpkin goby Finesse T.R.D. rig mentioned above.  The second one sported a shortened Z-Man’s pearl Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Both rigs were effective.

During the two hours, and 29 minutes that we fished, I used a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I failed to catch a fish on the pearl Finesse ShadZ rig, green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rig, and the Junebug Hula StickZ rig.

We fished five main-lake points, portions of five main-lake shorelines, one flat in the back of a feeder-creek arm, portions of three shorelines inside three feeder-creek arms, one secondary point inside a feeder-creek arm, and a short section of an offshore submerged rock fence.

We caught 16 largemouth bass and seven smallmouth bass, and we inadvertently caught five white bass, one freshwater drum, one green sunfish, and one walleye.

One steep and rock-laden main-lake point failed to yield a strike.  One flat and rock-laden main-lake point with an overhanging tree failed to yield a strike.  One steep and rock-laden main-lake shoreline failed to yield a strike. One 75-yard stretch of a shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm failed to yield a strike. A flat in the back of a feeder-creek arm that is graced with vast patches of Eurasian milfoil failed to yield a strike. All of these locals were enhanced by patches of American water willows and Eurasian milfoil; some of these areas are embellished with laydowns and overhanging trees. We caught a white bass along the submerged rock fence, but it failed to yield a black bass.

We caught a largemouth bass around a secondary point inside a small feeder-creek on the green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. with a straight dragging presentation in about four feet of water. The underwater terrain of this point consists of gravel and rocks.  Its water’s edge is embellished with American water willows, and scattered patches of Eurasian milfoil are intertwined with the rocks.   The shorelines adjacent to the secondary point were fruitless.

Along one steep main-lake shoreline that is adorned with laydowns, overhanging trees, stumps, tertiary points, massive patches of American water willows, rocks, and boulders, we caught seven largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass, as well as one walleye. We caught these fish on the green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D., pearl Hula StickZ, and 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ. Three were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. The others were caught while we were executing three different retrieves: a straight swimming presentation,  a straight dragging presentation, and a swim-glide-and-twitch presentation. These fish were  caught in three to six feet of water. We fished about 175 yards of this shoreline.

At the relatively steep main-lake point that is adjacent to the shoreline that yielded seven largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass, we caught two largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass.  The smallmouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin Goby ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One largemouth bass was caught of the initial drop of the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rig.  The other largemouth bass was caught on the pearl Hula StickZ rig with a straight dragging presentation. This point is bordered by American water willows, patches of Eurasian milfoil, and a laydown. Its underwater terrain consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders. These four black bass were extracted out of three to seven feet of water.

At a very steep main-lake point and its adjacent main-lake shoreline and secondary shoreline, we caught three largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. This area is lined with American water willows and a few patches of Eurasian milfoil, as well as a few minor laydowns and one massive overhanging tree. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. One largemouth bass was caught on a straight dragging presentation of the pearl Hula StickZ rig. The one smallmouth bass and the other two largemouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rig that was retrieved with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation.  These four black bass were caught in three to six feet of water.

At a flat and shallow main-lake point, we caught two smallmouth bass in about three feet of water. One was caught on the pearl Hula StickZ and a straight drag presentation. The second smallmouth bass was caught on the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-no shake retrieve. The underwater terrain is gravel and rock and dozens of massive table-like boulders. Patches of Eurasian milfoil are intertwined with a few of the boulders.

Along a flat shoreline that is adjacent to the flat and shallow point that yielded two smallmouth bass, we caught three largemouth bass. Two were caught on the 2 1/2-inch pearl ZinkerZ rig with a straight swimming retrieve. The third one was caught on the pearl Hula StickZ rig and a straight swimming retrieve.

For Price’s inaugural Midwest finesse endeavors, we were hoping to catch an average of at least 10 black bass an hour, but we could muster only 9.2 an hour. Nevertheless, he said it was the highest per-hour-average that he has ever enjoyed.

Endnotes

Terry Claudell filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Midwest finesse endeavors on Nov. 1. He fished from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. He caught 22 largemouth bass and 11 smallmouth bass, and accidentally caught six freshwater drum, four crappie, three white bass, nine green sunfish, and one rainbow trout. He caught those specimens on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a black-chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ on a black-chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig,   a Z-Man’s The Deal Finesse T.R.D. on a black-chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig,   and  a  2 1/2-inch  Z-Man’s Bama Bug ZinkerZ  on a black-chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The best retrieve was a very slow lifting of the rod with one turn of the reel handle every five seconds.

Nov. 2 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 2 outing in Oklahoma.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Rick Allen of Dallas and I drove 73 miles to a south-central Oklahoma Civilian Conservation Corps’ hill-land reservoir, where we spent an enjoyable six hours and 45 minutes in pursuit of   smallmouth bass.

It was overcast until the middle of the afternoon, and then it became mostly cloudy. The morning low temperature was 68 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 79 degrees. The wind blew out of the south at 8 to 12 mph.  The barometric pressure measured 30.06 at 9:00 a.m. and 30.04 at 3:00 p.m. A cold front and thunderstorms were predicted  to arrive during the late evening hours of Nov. 2 and they were expected to continue into the mid-morning hours of Nov. 3.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the most promising fishing periods would occur between 12:37 a.m. and 2:37 a.m., 6:48 a.m. and 8:48 a.m., and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Rick and I fished from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The water clarity varied from four feet of visibility in the west tributary arm of the reservoir to 10 feet of visibility in the southeast feeder-creek arm. The water temperature was 69 degrees at 8:45 a.m. and 70 degrees at 3:30 p.m.

Our spinning outfits sported the following Midwest finesse offerings: a shortened Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man’s green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.

We started the outing at a wind-blown offshore hump that lies in the middle portion of the west tributary arm. We failed to elicit any strikes along the west side of the hump. We also failed to entice any strikes along the east side of the hump. We moved out to a deep-water ledge that lies in 12 feet of water off the east side of the hump and began strolling the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rig, green-pumpkin Hula StickZ rig, and green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ rig behind the boat as we drifted with the wind and parallel to the hump in nine to 25 feet of water. We caught eight smallmouth bass, two largemouth bass, and one spotted bass. Eight of them were abiding on top of the ledge in nine to 12 feet of water. Three were extracted from the deep-water side of the ledge in 22 to 25 feet of water. The green-pumpkin Hula StickZ rig garnered three smallmouth bass, two largemouth bass, and one spotted bass. The mud minnow Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught two smallmouth bass. The green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ rig caught three smallmouth bass.

From this hump, we moved to the east side of the reservoir and focused our attentions on a rocky main-lake point at the mouth of a cove and a submerged roadbed that stretches across the middle section of the same cove.

We caught five smallmouth bass in less than six feet of water along the west side of the rocky main-lake point at the mouth of the cove. Three were caught on the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ. One was caught on the shortened green-pumpkin Hula StickZ, and one was caught on the green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ. All three of these lures were presented with a slow swim-glide-and shake retrieve.

We fished the deep-water portion of the roadbed where it comes to an end and plummets into 30 feet of water. Several large boulders enhance the west side and the end of the roadbed. This section of the roadbed relinquished seven smallmouth bass, one largemouth bass, and one white bass. Four smallmouth bass were caught on the shortened green-pumpkin Hula StickZ rig. Two smallmouths were caught on the green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ. One smallmouth, one largemouth, and one white bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ. These three baits were employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. All of these fish were relating to the submerged boulders in eight to 10 feet of water. We did not fish the shallower end of the roadbed because it was occupied by two anglers in a boat.

After that, we ventured to the southeast region of the reservoir and dissected two rocky main-lake points, a 50-yard section of a steep and rocky shoreline at the mouth of a feeder-creek arm, many yards of a long and steep bluff shoreline, and a riprap-laden flat. These five locales are located at the mouth and inside a main-lake feeder-creek arm in the southeast end of the reservoir.

We failed to elicit any strikes from the first of the two main-lake points.

The second main-lake point lies at the mouth and on the north side of the southeast feeder-creek arm, and it yielded three smallmouth bass. Two of them were caught on the shortened green-pumpkin Hula StickZ, and the other one was caught on the coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. rig. They were extracted from three to seven feet of water.

The steep 50-yard section of rocky shoreline adjacent to the point yielded 12 smallmouth bass and one green sunfish. These smallmouths were suspended between six to eight feet beneath the surface and above 32 feet of water.  Ten smallmouth bass were caught with the green-pumpkin Hula StickZ combo. One smallmouth bass was caught with the green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ rig. The other smallmouth bass was caught with the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig.  All of these smallmouths were enticed by the slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Along the shoreline of the long bluff that lies on the south side of the feeder-creek arm, we caught 17 smallmouth bass, one spotted bass, six green sunfish, one  channel catfish, and one large freshwater drum.  All of these fish were caught on either the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ or coppertreuese Finesse T.R.D. that were allowed to fall for several seconds on the initial cast before a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was implemented. Most of the strikes occurred during the initial fall close to the face of the bluff. The water that buffets this shoreline varied from 23 to 57 feet of water. These smallmouth bass were suspended about 10 to 12 feet below the surface of the water and were dwelling close to the face of the bluff.

We finished the outing at a riprap-laden flat on the south side of the feeder-creek. This flat is covered with four to 10 feet of water, and the deeper-water edge of this flat slowly drops into 15 to 27 feet of water.  The top of the flat yielded two smallmouth bass that were abiding in five to eight feet of water. They were attracted to the swim-glide-and-shake action of the coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D.  Seven smallmouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig that was slowly strolled along the deep-water edge of the flat in nine to 15 feet of water.

All told, the smallmouth bass fishing was much better during this outing than it was on Oct. 5, when Rick and I struggled to eke out 18 smallmouth bass, seven largemouth bass, and one spotted bass in seven hours. This time around, we caught a combination of 66 smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and spotted bass. This catch set a new Midwest finesse numbers record for us at this reservoir. We also caught seven green sunfish, one channel catfish, one white bass, and one freshwater drum.

Our most fruitful lures were the shortened green-pumpkin Hula StickZ rig, 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig, and coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. rig. The swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most effective presentation, followed by the slow strolling retrieve in deeper water.

Nov. 3 log

Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I fished an extremely heavily fished state reservoir in northeastern Kansas on Nov. 3.

The Weather Underground reported that the low temperature was 45 degrees and the high temperature was 73 degrees.  The wind angled out of the northwest at 3 to 9 mph. From 12:53 a.m. to 10:52 a.m., the sky ranged from being overcast to partly cloudy, and at 11:52 a.m., the sun began to shine everywhere. The barometric pressure was 30.16 at 12:53 a.m., 30.24 at 5:52 a.m., 30.32 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.28 at 3:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be a few inches above normal.  Traditionally, this is one of the clearest reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, but on this outing it was stained, exhibiting 22 inches of visibility. In Lau’s and my eyes, it looked as if the stain was the byproduct of a planktonic algae bloom.  During this summer, this reservoir was walloped with a significant eruption of blue-green algae. The surface temperature ranged from 64 to 66 degrees. In years past on Nov. 3, the surface temperature at the reservoirs across northeastern Kansas have ranged from 52 degrees to 59 degrees. Many of the patches of American water willows that grace this reservoir’s shorelines are exhibiting their wintertime hue and motif: brown and leafless. This reservoir’s patches of bushy pondweed are in a state of decline, but its patches of coontail are still robust. We spotted a few short sprouts of curly-leaf pondweed that the muskrats and coots might have uprooted. We also found a stem of chara.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 1:36 a.m. to 3:36 a.m., 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and 7:48 a.m. to 9:48 a.m.  We fished from 11:35 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

On Nov. 1, I talked with Hal Schramm of Sparkville, Mississippi. He is a professor and the unit leader of the Mississippi Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Mississippi State University. On the website of the Cooperative Research Units, he is described as being a fisheries researcher, teacher, fisheries, and aquatic resource communicator.

Schramm is also a regular contributor to In-Fisherman’s publications. He is currently working on an article for In-Fisherman’s 2017 Bass Guide about how cold fronts affect anglers, and he was interested in knowing how Midwest finesse anglers deal with them. And at 12:26 p.m. on Nov. 3, Lau and I crossed paths with a power angler who said he had been afloat for several hours and had elicited some minor strikes but had not hooked a largemouth bass. He said he was fishing for 15-inch and bigger largemouth bass, and he thought that the cold front and the stained water were to blame for his woes. He asked us how we were faring, and we concurred that the fishing was problematic and that we caught 11 largemouth bass, but they were small ones. We told him we had caught them around patches of coontail that embellish a massive flat in the back of one of the reservoir’s feeder-creeks by employing our finesse tactics.

In autumns of the past, when the surface temperature is in the mid-60s, we have caught 75 to 121 largemouth bass in four hours from the patches of coontail that grace the flats in the backs of this reservoir’s two feeder-creek arms. We caught them by employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  But on this Nov. 3 outing, these patches yielded just 18 largemouth bass. And elsewhere around this reservoir during the three hours and 50 minutes that we were afloat, we eked out another 14 largemouth bass.

When we were dissecting the coontail patches, we caught only two largemouth bass on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ.  We could not garner a strike on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16 Gopher jig or a Gene Larew Lures’ Sooner Run Inch Worm affixed to an unpainted 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. We caught one largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s mud minnow Rain MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a slow swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve. We caught three largemouth bass on a shortened Z-Man’s pearl Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve. We caught one largemouth bass on a four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on the initial drop. The other 11 largemouth bass were caught on a vintage YUM’s green-pumpkin-orange-flake Muy Grub affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that we retrieved with a slow swimming retrieve, which is the classic Charlie Brewer do-nothing presentation. These 18 largemouth bass were abiding in three to six feet of water.

We fished three points where we failed to elicit a strike. The shorelines of these points are lined with American water willows. The underwater terrains of these points consist of gravel and rocks, as well as an occasional boulder. They are also endowed with some flooded terrestrial vegetation, as well as a bit of coontail and bushy pondweed.

Besides the three fruitless points, we fished six more points. And they possess the same vegetation and geological characteristics as the fruitless ones.

We caught three largemouth bass on one of the points. Two of them were caught on the YUM Muy Grub rig and a do-nothing presentation, and one was caught on the pearl Hula StickZ rig with a drag-and-no-shake presentation. These largemouth bass were abiding in about 3 1/2 feet of water along the outside edges of the American water willows and flooded terrestrial vegetation.

Each of the other five points yielded one largemouth bass. Two largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a drag-and-no-shake presentation. One was caught on the initial drop of a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two were caught on the Z-Man’s pearl Hula StickZ rig with a drag-and-no-shake presentation. These five largemouth bass were abiding in two to six feet of water along the outside edges of the American water willows and flooded terrestrial vegetation.

We caught five largemouth bass along a shoreline that is enhanced with six riprap jetties and several offshore piles of rocks and boulders. Much of the water’s edge is lined with American water willows, and the outside edges of the American water willows are occasionally graced with some coontail and bushy pondweed.  This area is also littered with some manmade brush piles. Two of these largemouth bass were caught on the Z-Man’s pearl Hula StickZ rig with a drag-and-no-shake presentation. One was caught on the YUM Muy grub rig with a slow do-nothing retrieve. Two largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rig affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-and-no-shake presentation. Three of the five largemouth bass were caught on the riprip jetties in three to four feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows in two feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on one of the offshore rock-and-boulder piles in three feet of water.

Our catch rate per hour was 8.42 largemouth bass. Our mission is always aimed at catching 25 black bass an hour, which we rarely achieve. Our day in, day out average is 10 black bass an hour. Perhaps the cold-front conditions adversely affected our abilities to hit the average of 10 an hour, but Lau and I do not possesses the knowledge to determine the cause and effect of our piscatorial failures.  The world below our boats is too murky and mystical for us to fully comprehend.

Nov. 4 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log of the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 4 log.

Here is an edited version of his log:

On Oct. 28, I fished at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas, where the fishing has been poor to mediocre, and I struggled to catch 25 black bass in four hours. On Nov. 4, I opted to return to this same reservoir and see if the fishing had improved.

According to the Weather Underground, the morning low temperature was 59 degrees. The afternoon high reached 73 degrees. A light wind quartered out of the north by northwest at 3 to 8 mph.  The barometric pressure measured 30.32 at 11:53 a.m. and 30.26 at 2:53 p.m. It was overcast the entire day.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing periods would take place from 2:21 a.m. to 4:21 a.m., 8:33 a.m. to 10:33 a.m., and 2:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. I fished from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m.

I spent 1 1/2 hours inside a large main-lake cove on the south side of the southwest tributary arm. I spent another 1 1/2 hours plying a feeder-creek arm on the north side of the same tributary arm.

The water in the large main-lake cove was stained and exhibited about 2 1/2 feet of visibility. The water temperature was 72 degrees. The water in the feeder-creek arm was dingier than the water in the cove, and I could not see the propeller on the trolling motor. The water level was about half of a foot below normal. The surface temperature inside the feeder-creek arm was 73 degrees.

I had my four spinning outfits rigged with the following Midwest finesse lures: a Z-Man’s Space Guppy Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

I started this three-hour endeavor inside the south-side main-lake cove. This cove is relatively flat and shallow. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, clay, a few stumps and boulders. Portions of its shorelines are lined with patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation. The two largest and thickest concentrations of partially-flooded vegetation lie along the northeast and southwest sections of the cove. The flooded vegetation is beginning to turn brown and the leaves are turning yellow.

The outside edges of the flooded terrestrial vegetation along the northeast section of the cove relinquished 13 largemouth bass and one white bass. Three of the largemouth bass and one white bass were caught on the Space Guppy Slim SwimZ rig that was employed with a slow and steady swimming retrieve. The other 10 largemouth bass were caught with the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ combo, and it was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. All of these bass were abiding in three to five feet of water. Presentations that were executed close and parallel to the outside edges of the terrestrial vegetation were more productive than those that were perpendicular to the outside edges of the patches of vegetation.

The largest cluster of flooded terrestrial vegetation in the southwest portion of the cove is about 25 yards long and five yards wide. It yielded 12 largemouth bass and one spotted bass. These 13 black bass were caught in three to five feet of water and were relating to the outside edge of this patch of flooded terrestrial vegetation. Eight were caught on the Space Guppy Slim SwimZ and steady swimming retrieve. Four bass preferred the swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ.

After I finished fishing this main-lake cove, I ventured to a feeder-creek arm that is situated on the north side of the tributary and about a mile west of the cove. This feeder-creek arm contains a large island, five rocky secondary points, and two coves. Two boat ramps are positioned at the end of two of the five secondary points and are enhanced with riprap along their shorelines. One of the two coves harbors several covered boat houses.

This feeder-creek arm was not as fruitful as the main-lake cove. It yielded only five largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and one white bass. The largemouth bass, spotted bass, and white bass were all caught in five to seven feet of water along a 50-foot section of riprap shoreline next to one of the two boat ramps on a secondary point. Three largemouth bass and two spotted bass were caught on the shortened four-inch Junebug Finesse WormZ combo that was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The shortened Junebug Hula StickZ rig and slow swim-glide-and shake presentation beguiled two largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one white bass.

I failed to generate any strikes from several large patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation along the east and south shorelines of the island. I also failed to generate any strikes from inside the two coves and from the other four secondary points.

Overall, it was an enjoyable outing. This reservoir has not surrendered 30 or more black bass during an outing since Sept. 30, when I caught a combination of 34 largemouth bass and spotted bass in three hours. During this Nov. 4 outing, I caught a combination of 33 largemouth bass and spotted bass in three hours. I also caught two white bass.

The 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught 14 of the 33 black bass. The Space Guppy Slim SwimZ and steady do-nothing swimming retrieve caught 11 black bass and one white bass. Five black bass were caught on the shortened four-inch Junebug Finesse WormZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The shortened Junebug Hula StickZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught three black bass and one white bass.

Nov. 5 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 5 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

November can be a trying month for black bass fishing in north-central Texas. By the end of the month, the black bass fishing in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs becomes very trying. And by mid-December, the black bass bite is practically nonexistent.

For example, in November of 2014, I fished for 37.5 hours and eked out 79 black bass. In November of 2015, I fished for 32 hours and caught 134 black bass.  This time around, we are hoping that November of 2016 will be our most fruitful one that we have ever experienced.

I felt a hint of fall in the air as I drove 43 miles to our most bountiful U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas. The morning’s low temperature was  56 degrees and the afternoon’s high temperature was 68 degrees. The sky had been overcast for the past three days, and it remained overcast on Nov. 5. The barometric pressure measured 29.96 at noon and 29.87 at 4:00 p.m. The wind angled incessantly out of the east at 8 to 10 mph.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the optimum fishing periods would take place from 3:14 a.m. to  5:14 a.m., 9:26 a.m. to 11:26 a.m., and 3:38 p.m. to 5:38 p.m. I was afloat from about noon to 4:00 p.m.

I spent the afternoon enjoying the cooler fall weather while I plied two feeder-creek arms, two main-lake points, and two main-lake flats. All of these locales are located in the east tributary arm of this reservoir. I was also entertained by the sight of several large V-shape formations of migrating Canadian geese passing overhead from time to time.

The water was murkier than usual, and it displayed about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was less than a foot below normal. The surface temperature ranged from 71 to 72 degrees.

The fishing was decent, but not as fruitful as it has been over the past several months. It took me four hours to catch a combination of 32 largemouth bass and spotted bass. I inadvertently caught four freshwater drum and one white crappie.

I caught one largemouth bass from one of the two main-lake points. It was caught in three feet of water and relating to a patch of submerged boulders near the tip of the point.  I failed to engender any strikes at the other main-lake point.

The two main-lake flats were also unproductive. The first flat is located on the east side of the tributary arm. It is shallow and rocky, and it failed to surrender any strikes or black bass. The second flat is located on the west side of the tributary arm. It is also shallow, but it is covered with the remnants of partially flooded bushes that line its shoreline. It yielded  one largemouth bass that was relating to the outside edge of a large cluster of flooded bushes in five feet of water.

The two feeder-creek arms were more fruitful than the main-lake lairs. The first feeder-creek is located in the southeast region of the reservoir and is endowed with nine secondary points, an island, and seven coves. Its shorelines and underwater terrain consists of submerged boulders, fist-size rocks, sand, gravel, and many yards of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation. It yielded a combination of 15 largemouth bass and spotted bass, one freshwater drum, and one white crappie.

Seven largemouth bass were caught along the shoreline of the island. Two of these seven largemouth bass were extracted from three feet of water and next to the outside edges of two patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation that line the east and south sides of the island. The other five largemouth bass were caught in five feet of water along the west side of the island and were associated with several large submerged boulders.

At one flat and rocky secondary point just east of the island, I caught two largemouth bass and one spotted bass in five to eight feet of water. They were also relating to the outside edge of a long wall of flooded shoreline vegetation. I failed to elicit any strikes at the other eight secondary points.

Three largemouth bass were caught inside one of the five coves. They were caught along the outside edge of another long wall of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation in less than five feet of water. I did not fish inside the other four coves.

About two-thirds of the way back inside this feeder-creek arm, I dissected a 30-yard section of shoreline that is adorned with a shallow rock pile and several thin patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation in three to five feet of water. This shoreline and rock pile are situated on the north side of the creek arm, and it yielded two largemouth bass that were caught from the east side of the rock pile in three feet of water.

The second feeder-creek arm is located on the west side of the east tributary arm. It is endowed with a shallow 50-yard long submerged rock ledge, several steep and rocky secondary points, and five coves. I caught a mixed bag of nine largemouth bass and spotted bass in eight to 10 feet of water along the deep-water side of the long rock ledge that parallels the south shoreline near the mouth of the creek arm. A combination of six largemouth bass and spotted bass were caught from two of the steep and rocky secondary points. They were abiding in three to six feet of water and relating to submerged rocks and boulders that litter the sides and ends of the two points.

In closing, it was an entertaining afternoon. I tangled with an assortment of 32 largemouth bass and spotted bass, four freshwater drum, and one white crappie in four hours.

I used a variety of Z-Man Fishing Products’ Midwest finesse baits affixed on an array of sizes and colors of Gopher Tackle’s mushroom head jigs. A Z-Man’s 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught 18 black bass. Seven were caught on a Z-Man’s space guppy Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. A shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught seven black bass.

A slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most fruitful presentation. A steady swimming retrieve was second best. One largemouth was caught on a drag-and-deadstick presentation.

Nov. 8 log

Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about a river outing in central North Carolina on Nov. 8 that his son-in-law Preston Parks of Pittsboro, North Carolina, and Josh White of Silk Hope, North Carolina, enjoyed.

Here is an edited version of his brief.

They floated the river in a canoe for six hours, working through moderate-paced riffles and many deep-water pools. The water temperature was in the 60s.

It was sunny. The low temperature was 33 degrees. The high temperature was 60 degrees.

The water was exceedingly clear, exhibiting more than six feet of visibility. Not a drop of rain has fallen since Hurricane Mathew walloped North Carolina.

They caught and released 41 largemouth bass, and on average, they were two-pounders. These largemouth bass were somewhat scattered,  but the bulk of them were caught in deep-water pools.

Josh’s power-fishing tactics were completely useless. He switched to Midwest finesse tactics after Preston caught the first seven largemouth bass.

IMG_1014

Their two most effective rigs were a Z-Man’s watermelon-red Hula StickZ on a black-and-chartreuse  1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Weedless Finesse ShroomZ jig and a Z-Man’s Califronia craw Hula StickZ  on a a black-and-chartreuse Z-Man’s Weedless Finesse ShroomZ jig. They were used on 10-pound-test braided line with a 10-pound-test fluorocarbon leader.

The most efficacious retrieve was a slow deadstick presentation around the boulders and flooded trees.

Nov. 10 log

Since Nov. 3, I have been doing battle with some acute pains in my lower back, which has kept me at bay. And it has even been a struggle to sit at our computer’s keyboard and write about fishing.

At 11:00 a.m. on Nov. 8, I hobbled into Travis Perret’s Exercise Therapy of Kansas City office in Overland Park, Kansas, where he examined me and created a series of 10 Natural Design Therapy exercises for me. Since then, I have done that series seven times, and the pain has begun to abate to the point that on Nov. 10 I finally possessed the wherewithal to hook up the trailer, drive to a boat ramp, launch the boat, hop carefully into the boat, and fish at one of the many community reservoirs that grace the countryside of northeastern Kansas.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 28 degrees at 4:34 a.m. and 70 degrees at 2:52 p.m.  The wind was calm to about 8:52 a.m., and then it angled out of the east, south by southwest, and southwest at 3 to 24 mph. (I had to use a drift sock several times to tame the effects of the wind.) It was sunny. The barometric pressure was 30.32 at 12:52 a.m., 30.31 at 5:52 a.m., 30.22 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.14 at 2:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be normal. The water was stained with an algal bloom, exhibiting from 18 inches to 28 inches of visibility. The surface temperature was 62 degrees.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 6:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., 6:41 p.m. to 8:41 p.m., and 12:02 a.m. to 2:02 a.m. I fished from 10:45 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.

I began this outing by fishing about a 500-yard stretch of a shoreline along the west side of a feeder-creek arm and its main-lake point. This shoreline is lined with scores of patches of American water willows, some stumps, one patch of cattails, and a few laydowns. Portions of it are flat, and other segments of this shoreline exhibit about a 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of silt, gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. Along a stretch of a flat and silt-laden area, there were sprigs of bushy pondweed floating on the surface. This shoreline is embellished with three tertiary points. Along some areas, the boat floated in 2 1/2 feet of water, and at other areas, it floated in 13 to 15 feet of water. It took me an hour and 15 minutes to fish this shoreline, and I caught 21 largemouth bass. Three of them were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and 18 of them were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s pearl Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These largemouth bass were caught in water as shallow as a foot to as deep as five feet. I caught a few of them on the initial drop of the Hula StickZ rigs. The rest were caught when I was employing either a slow swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve or a drag-and-slight-deadstick presentation. I made very short and precise casts to the edges of the American water willows and other objects along this shoreline.

On the other side of this feeder-creek arm, I fished 200-yards along its east shoreline. It has many of the same characteristics as the west shoreline. But it does not have any cattails, and it has a beaver hut and a short stretch of riprap. I caught two largemouth bass on the initial drop of the pearl Hula Stick rig adjacent to the outside edge of American water willows in about three feet of water.

I fished a 175-yard stretch of a shoreline in the back of another feeder-creek arm. This shoreline is relatively flat. It is littered with eight boat docks. Some of its water’s edge is lined with patches of American water willows. Its underwater terrain consists of silt, gravel, rocks, and an occasional boulder. There are two concrete and one rock retaining walls. There are also some overhanging trees and some laydowns. The pearl Hula StickZ rig caught five largemouth bass along this shoreline in two to three feet of water. Two of them were caught on the initial drop of the rig, and the other three were caught on the drag-and-slight-deadstick presentation.

On the other side of this feeder-creek arm, I fished about a 100-yard section of its shoreline adjacent to the mouth of the feeder creek, and I also fished the main-lake point. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. There is one rock retaining wall and two docks. Much of the water’s edge is lined with patches of American water willows. There are a few laydowns. The pearl Hula StickZ rig caught four largemouth bass. One of them was extracted out of a pile of boulders on the initial drop in about two feet of water. The other three largemouth bass were caught on the pearl Hula StickZ rig while I was employing the drag-and-slight-deadstick presentation around patches of American water willows.

I spent the last 45 minutes of this outing by quickly plying two shorelines inside another feeder-creek arm. I fished about 250 yards of the north shoreline. It is relatively steep. It is lined with American water willows. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Some of the boulders look to be the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. There are also a goodly number of stumps. The boat floated in six to 13 feet of water. The north side yielded five largemouth bass, which were caught on the pearl Hula StickZ rig in 2 1/2 to five feet of water while I was executing the drag-and-slight-deadstick presentation adjacent to the patches of American water willows. Along this north shoreline, I fished from the mouth of this feeder creek to about two-thirds of the way inside it.

I fished about 100 yards of the back portions of the south shoreline of this feeder-creek arm. It is flatter than the north shoreline. The boat floated in four to seven feet of water. Its underwater terrain consists of silt, gravel, rocks, and boulders. There are a few stumps, some dilapidated laydowns, and a goodly number of patches of American water willows. The pearl Hula StickZ rig caught four largemouth bass.  One was caught on the initial drop in two feet of water around a couple of boulders.  Another largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows in about 2 1/2 feet of water.  The other two largemouth bass were caught on the drag-and-slight-deadstick retrieve adjacent to the outside edges of American water willow patches.

In sum, my back did not ache while I was fishing. But it did ache while I was driving from our home to the reservoir and from the reservoir to our home.  And it is aching while I am typing this log. For three hours and 55 minutes, I was virtually pain free, but I was tense and extremely cautious, which affected my abilities to solely concentrate on fishing. Nevertheless, I caught 41 largemouth bass. Three largemouth bass were caught on the Junebug Hula StickZ rig and 38 largemouth bass were caught on the pearl Hula StickZ. The first hour of fishing was by far the most bountiful one. I fished with several other Z-Man Midwest finesse baits, as well as some Gene Larew Lures soft-plastic finesse baits and Berkley soft-plastic finesse baits, but the Hula StickZ rigs were the only effective ones.

(This is the second November during this decade that pain has interfered with my abilities to fish. On Nov. 6, 2013, I slipped and fell on a boat ramp and severely broke my wrist. An orthopedic surgeon had to put it back together, and I was at bay until Dec. 4. The pain in my wrist was never as acute as the pain in my back has been, but the cast covered much of my hand and arm, and I could not hold and turn the handle on my spinning reels. Perret developed a series of exercises for me back then (http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/egocuse-perret-and-me-an-update/), which helped me to keep my body flexible and aligned, and it helped my wrist to heal, too.  I am hoping that Perret’s exercises will have me pain free by Nov. 19, when we are heading to Texas to celebrate Thanksgiving with our youngest daughter and her family.)

Nov. 10 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 10 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

From 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., I fished at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas. I was curious to see if its horrid black bass fishing had improved since the last time I visited this reservoir on Oct. 8.

In 2015, this reservoir was our most fruitful waterway in north-central Texas. But in 2016, something has been askew.  And the fishing has become difficult and exasperating. On Oct. 8, I fished this reservoir for 3 1/2 hours, and I scrounge up only 11 black bass.

On Oct. 8, the water in this reservoir had been muddied by a series of thunderstorms that rolled across north-central Texas during the early morning hours of Oct. 6. Floating debris littered the surface of the water in many of the areas that I fished. The water was muddy with less than a foot of visibility. The surface temperature was 78 degrees and the water level was slightly high. During Nov. 10, the water conditions had improved significantly. The water was stained and exhibited about two feet of visibility. The water temperature ranged from 69 to 70 degrees. The water level was 1 1/2 feet high. The floating debris was gone.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the most lucrative fishing periods would take place between 12:09 a.m. and 2:09 a.m., 6:22 a.m. and 8:22 a.m., and 6:48 p.m. and 8:48 p.m.

The day started off cool and overcast. The morning low temperature was 46 degrees. But as the morning progressed, the sky conditions became partly cloudy and the sun began to shine everywhere. The afternoon high was 70 degrees. At 8:38 a.m., the barometric pressure measured 30.51. It fell to 30.43 by 1:38 p.m. The wind was calm while I was afloat.

I spent 4 1/2 hours fishing portions of two feeder-creek arms and the riprap along the dam.

I began the outing at the dam, which forms the east perimeter of the reservoir. I dissected the sides of a large concrete water outlet tower that stands in 42 feet of water near the midsection of the dam, and I failed to elicit any strikes. The riprap on the dam was a bit more productive. A 30-yard section of riprap yielded six largemouth bass and one spotted bass. These seven black bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which was retrieved with a slow hop-and-bounce presentation. These bass were extracted from eight to 10 feet of water and about 15 feet away from the water’s edge. The remainder of the dam was fruitless.

After I finished fishing the dam, I fished in two feeder-creeks arms that are located just west of the dam and along the southeast end of the reservoir.

The first feeder-creek arm contains a large marina, several steep and rocky shorelines and secondary points, five coves, and a bridge that spans the feeder-creek arm. This feeder-creek relinquished 16 largemouth bass and two spotted bass. The two spotted bass were caught in 10 feet of water along a steep and rocky shoreline near the mouth of the feeder-creek. They were caught on the shortened Junebug Hula StickZ rig as it was  dragged and deadsticked across the bottom.

At the bridge in the midsection of the feeder-creek arm, three largemouth bass were caught from the side of one of the large square-shaped concrete support columns in four feet of water. They were beguiled by a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ that was rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. I failed to elicit any other strikes from the other bridge support pilings.

In the far backend of this feeder-creek arm, I crossed paths with a large aggregation of two-inch threadfin shad that were flickering around on the surface of the water. This section of the feeder-creek is shallow and portions of the shoreline are lined with thin walls of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation and a few flooded cedar trees. Ten largemouth bass were caught on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig dressed with a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ. Three were caught on the four-inch Junebug Finesse WormZ rig. Some were caught along the outside fringes of the flooded terrestrial vegetation in three feet of water. The others were caught in eight to ten feet of water in the middle of the feeder-creek and in close proximity to several large pods of threadfin shad. The Slim SwimZ rig was retrieved with a slow and steady swimming retrieve. The Junebug Finesse WormZ combo was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

The second feeder-creek arm is smaller than the first one. It also contains a marina as well as several rocky secondary points, and two coves in the far end of the creek arm. The shorelines inside the two coves are adorned with several clusters of flooded cedar trees and terrestrial vegetation. I dissected the two coves and a couple of the secondary points. The two coves yielded seven largemouth bass that were relating to the outside edges of the flooded terrestrial vegetation in three to five feet of water. They were caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ and a slow and steady swimming retrieve.

I failed to elicit any strikes from the two secondary points.

In sum, I caught 29 largemouth bass and three spotted bass.

I wielded a variety of Z-Man’s Midwest finesse baits that were rigged on various sizes and colors of Gopher mushroom head jigs. The pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig was the most effective combo; it allured 17 black bass. A shortened Junebug Hula StickZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig enticed nine. A shortened four-inch Junebug finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught six largemouth bass. Four bass were able to pull free before I could land them.

I utilized all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves. A steady do-nothing swimming retrieve was the most fruitful. A hop-and-bounce retrieve, drag-and-deadstick retrieve, and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve were also effective. I was unable to generate any strikes with the strolling retrieve or the drag-and-shake presentation.

Nov. 11 log

Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 11 outing at a community reservoir in northwestern Missouri.

Here is an edited version of his report:

This was one of those fishing trips where expectations changed by the hour.

I set out with one goal: to catch a big largemouth bass. When the water temperature drops into the low 60s, the big ones often move to the chunk-rock banks at this reservoir.

When this occurs, we are fishing for a few bites, but they can be big ones. Nevertheless, it can be painstakingly slow fishing.

I employed a black and blue jig and pig and seemingly I bumped every rock along several of the shorelines. I worked a big spinnerbait through the limbs of several laydowns.

I caught several 15-inch largemouth bass that way, but not the bass I was after.

Ultimately, I switched to my spinning outfit and finesse baits. I started with a shad-colored Bobby Garland Crappie Baits Swimming Minnow and almost immediately found success. I had several impressive runs of catching a combination of big crappies and small largemouth bass by slowly retrieving the bait over the top of brush in 10 feet of water.

I had a number of bass that reminded me of the Ned Kehde decimal system. Small, but they counted.

Several of the crappies were big. The biggest I measured was 13 inches.

When I got to the back of a wind-blown cove, I saw several rainbow trout working. So, I went to a Thomas Buoyant spoon and I proceeded to catch a nice-sized rainbow trout. I stayed in the same area, casting into water that is no more than two feet deep, and I caught another 12 rainbow trout.

After I got tired of chasing the rainbow trout, I went back to pursing the largemouth bass, and I caught four or five more before it was time to call it a day.

Sorry, I did not keep track of the actual number of fish that I caught. I was out for three hours from about 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and it was some of the best mixed-bag fishing I have had this fall. Area thermometers hovered around 60 degrees, and it got colder as the sun started to drop.

It was a good day to be on the water and a good day to celebrate my recent retirement from the Kansas City Star. Ordinarily, I would have been out-of-town on this day, preparing for Saturday’s Missouri deer opener. I loved covering the deer opener; I met a lot of great people doing it. But it was also a time of tight deadlines and pressure to come up with a good story and photographs. Instead, I got to go fishing.

Nov. 11 log

Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I fished for four hours and eight minutes at an extremely heavily fished community reservoir in northeastern Kansas on Nov. 11.

Since Nov. 3, I have been in the throes of dealing with and recovering from acute pains in my lower back. Since Nov. 8, the pain does not erupt while I am standing, manipulating a trolling motor, and fishing. But while I am sitting during the drive to and from the reservoir, or in the boat, or at the computer, or at the dinner table, the pain is uncomfortable and extremely annoying at times.

Because it is difficult to sit at the computer and compile this log, this is going to be a brief one.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 45 degrees at 6:53 a.m., 61 degrees at 2:53 p.m., and 37 degrees at 11:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the north, northeast, and north by northeast at 3 to 19 mph. It was sunny, and at times there was a scattering of clouds. The barometric pressure was 30.21 at 12:53 a.m., 30.30 at 5:53 a.m., 30.36 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.34 at 2:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be normal.  The surface temperature ranged from 61 to 62 degrees.  The water exhibited about three feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 7:03 a.m. to 9:03 a.m., 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and 12:50 a.m. to 2:50 a.m.  We fished from 9:45 a.m. to 1:53 p.m.

We caught 38 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass, and we inadvertently caught four crappie and two white bass.

Flat shorelines and points were more fruitful than steep ones.  In fact, we caught only one largemouth bass on a steep secondary point, and we failed to catch any on a steep shoreline.  But there were several flat shorelines and points that were fruitless, too.

We caught three largemouth bass on a flat main-lake point that is graced with a small riprap jetty and some scanty patches of American water willows. That was the only main-lake area that yielded a strike.

Our most bountiful area was along a shoreline and on a shallow flat about two-thirds of the way inside a big secondary feeder-creek arm. The shoreline is embellished with patches of American water willow, some laydowns, Eurasian milfoil, and a beaver hut. The flat is scattered with patches of Eurasian milfoil.  The underwater terrains of the shoreline and flat consist of silt, gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. From an area that is the size of about three tennis courts we caught 16 largemouth bass. They were abiding in four to six feet of water around the patches of Eurasian milfoil.

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Steve Desch with one of the 16 largemouth bass that we caught inside a big secondary feeder-creek arm around offshore patches of Eurasian milfoil.

In the back two-thirds of a small feeder-creek arm, we caught four largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. These black bass were caught in three to four feet of water along the outside edges of American water willow patches.  The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks, and it is embellished with some small patches of Eurasian milfoil.

The other 14 largemouth bass were caught hither and yon along the shorelines and flats that are adorned with American water willows and Eurasian milfoil inside one big secondary feeder-creek arm and inside a small feeder-creek arm.

We caught the fish on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to an unpainted 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a red  1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company’s bubble gum Zero affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, and a prototype of a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin creature-style bait affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The pearl ZinkerZ rig and Junebug Hula StickZ were the most effective ones.

Some of the black bass engulfed our rigs on the initial drop. Some were caught when we were employing a slow swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve.  A few were caught while we were using a drag-and-slight-deadstick retrieve. Some were caught immediately adjacent to the American water willows, and some were caught from 10 to 25 feet from the American water willows. The ones we caught offshore were abiding around or nearby batches of Eurasian milfoil.

Nov. 12 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief about his strip-pit outing on Nov. 12 in western Missouri.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 34 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 55 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind was variable and mild mannered. It was sunny. The barometric pressure was 30.43 at 12:53 a.m., 30.47 at 5:53 a.m., 30.44 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.33 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 7:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., 8:13 p.m. to 10:13 p.m., and 1:32 a.m. to 3:32 a.m. I fished from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

When I made a telephone call to the land owner, she mentioned to me that deer season had just opened, and upon hearing that note, I left my dog at home. Periodically throughout the morning hours, I heard the distant sound of gunshot blasts.

The maximum width of the pit is about 25 yards, which allows me to cast to either side if the boat is kept in the middle. Its total length is just under a mile.  It always reminded me of a river that doesn’t flow. Typically, the water in this pit is exceptionally clear, but its clarity was stained with a significant algal bloom that diminished the clarity to about two feet. This bloom was probably the product of all the rains we had this year and the runoff from the adjacent soybean field.  I suspect that the water temperature was in the low to middle 60s.

I caught 28 largemouth bass on either a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a Z-Man’s mud minnow Rain MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and I inadvertently caught 12 bluegill and green sunfish, and two crappie.

Hume Strip Pit November 12, 2016

One of the largemouth bass that Bob Gum caught on his Z-Man’s Rain MinnowZ rig.

The sides of the pit are very steep. I would typically allow the bait to fall 12 feet or more after casting it to the water’s edge, and before I reeled it in,  I would give it some twitches by shaking my rod.

Nov. 12 log

Steve ReideIer of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 12 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

I conducted a solo 4 1/2-hour outing at our most fruitful U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas. I was hoping for another 30-plus black bass outing. But to my dismay, the fishing was slow and trying, and I failed miserably to reach my 30-plus-bass goal.

It was a bit windier than it has been during the past several days. It quartered out of the northeast at 10 to 15 mph. The Weather Underground recorded the morning low temperature at 50 degrees and the afternoon high was 65 degrees. The barometric pressure was high and measured 30.35 at 9:00 a.m. and it fell slightly to 30.25 by 3:00 p.m. The sky was partly cloudy and the sun was bright and shining everywhere.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar forecasted the optimum fishing periods occurring between 1:43 a.m. and 3:43 a.m., 7:56 a.m. and 9:56 a.m., and 8:24 p.m. to 10:24 p.m.

I began the outing in the far northeastern region of this reservoir’s east tributary arm. I have not fished this area since 1996, and I thought it was time to revisit this area again.

When I arrived at the boat ramp at 8:47 a.m., I was surprised to see that the parking lot was almost completely filled with parked tow vehicles and boat trailers. Until I observed several duck hunters trailering their boats, I thought that there was a bass tournament in progress.  Since I am not a hunter, I was not aware that duck season had opened in north-central Texas. Several areas in the northern portions of this reservoir are allocated for duck hunting by the Corps of Engineers. And many of the tow vehicles and boat trailers in the parking lot belonged to the duck hunters.

The water in this tributary arm was heavily stained and exhibited about two feet of visibility. The surface  temperature ranged from 66 to 67 degrees. The water level was normal.

One of my spinning rods sported a Z-Man’s Space Guppy Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. Another spinning outfit was rigged with a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. My third rod was rigged with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Split-Tail TrailerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

I began the outing dissecting four riprap embankments close to the boat ramp. They are about 50 yards long. They are enhanced with small patches of partially flooded terrestrial vegetation, a couple of laydowns, and a few submerged stumps. I shared these four embankments with six anglers that were in three boats, and two kayak fisherman. Three of the embankments yielded a total of six largemouth bass. Two largemouth bass were caught on the Space Guppy Slim SwimZ rig as it was presented  with a slow do-nothing swimming retrieve.  Four largemouth bass were caught with the shortened four-inch Junebug Finesse WormZ. This combo was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. These largemouth bass were abiding in water as shallow as two feet and as deep as eight feet. I failed to elicit any strikes along the fourth embankment, which had already been pummeled by the other anglers.

After I fished the last embankment, I moved to a large cove that lies about a quarter of a mile west of the boat ramp. This cove consists of three shallow clay and gravel secondary points, two large mud flats, a creek channel that winds its way down the middle of the cove, and a railroad bridge that crosses over the main creek channel near the back of the cove. Thick stands of flooded timber and scores of submerged stumps cover this entire cove, and I was unable to locate any largemouth bass or spotted bass inside this cove.

At about 11:00 a.m., I came to the conclusion that the black bass fishing in this tributary arm was going to be a slow and tedious affair.  So, I elected to trailer the boat and drove 18 miles to the southwest side of the reservoir in hopes of finding more significant concentrations of largemouth bass and spotted bass.

At this section of the reservoir, I fished inside a feeder-creek arm that lies in its west tributary arm from about 12:00 noon until 2:30 p.m. The last time I fished this feeder-creek was in April.

This feeder-creek splits into two coves. The entry to the north cove is endowed with a clay and gravel embankment and a floating tractor-tire reef. The entry to the south cove is formed by a steep shoreline as well as another floating tractor-tire reef. A large marina occupies the area that separates the two coves. Both of these coves look almost identical with steep rocky shorelines, several submerged rock ledges, a partially- submerged stock pond dam, and several flat secondary points lined with flooded terrestrial vegetation intertwined with submerged coffee-table size boulders.

The water in this feeder-creek was not as dingy as the water in the northwest tributary arm, but it was stained with about 2 1/2-feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 68 to 69 degrees.

Inside the north cove, I caught six largemouth bass and one spotted bass. Five largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught along the north shoreline and were relating to large submerged boulders in four to six feet of water. One largemouth was caught in eight feet of water along the west side of the clay and gravel embankment on the east side of the cove. The green-pumpkin Split-Tail TrailerZ rig and slow swim-glide-and shake retrieve caught all six of these bass.

I caught seven largemouth bass, one spotted bass, one channel catfish, and one freshwater drum inside the south cove. Three largemouth bass were caught near the mouth of the cove along the steep and rocky east shoreline in three to eight feet of water.  One largemouth bass and one channel catfish were caught in three to five feet of water from the side of a flat clay and gravel secondary point lined with flooded bushes and terrestrial vegetation. The other three largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and the freshwater drum were caught from a rock ledge in three to 10 feet of water. The partially-submerged stock pond dam failed to yield any strikes.

A shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig allured all ten of these fish. It was retreived with a slow drag-and-deadstick presentation. The green-pumpkin Split-Tail TrailerZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve went untouched.

Overall, it was a baffling outing. There was no dominate location pattern, dominate lure, or presentation. In other words, it was what many anglers would call junk-fishing, and I managed to eke out 19 largemouth bass and two spotted bass using several different Z-Man Midwest Finesse baits. Four of the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves were fruitful. Riprap and boulders seemed more fruitful than flooded terrestrial vegetation, flooded timber, laydowns, or submerged stumps.

Typically, we would consider this an above-average outing at this reservoir for this time of year, so I will not complain too much.

Nov. 12 log

Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 12 outing with Preston Parks of Pittsboro, North Carolina.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

We fished a small reservoir from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. It was sunny. Area thermometers reached a high of 54 degrees. The wind angled out of the north at 10 mph.    The weather after a clear cool night certainly seemed more in line for a great deer hunting day rather than a bass fishing one.

The surface temperature ranged from 58 to 60 degrees.  I was hoping for a horizontal approach with power baits to be effective in the wind.
Throughout the day, my power tactics with a Z-Man’s ChatterBait, spinnerbait, lipless crankbaits, and squarebill crankbaits yielded zero fish; in fact, not even a bite was obtained on these offerings.

Equally fruitless was my standard Midwest bait:  a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig affixed to a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company’s Zero. It garnered only a few half-hearted strikes.

Fortunately, Preston has found success with a Z-Man’s Hula StickZ at this reservoir, and he continued to use it successfully on this outing. He used a Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a black 1/6-ounce Z-Man’s Weedless Power Finesse ShroomZ jig, which is a very heavy jig for us to use.  And for some strange reason, I had tied on a black 1/6-ounce Z-Man’s Weedless  Power Finesse ShroomZ jig, too. I was hoping to drag a black-blue-flake Hula StickZ behind him, and after watching his success with the Junebug hue, I eventually switched to that color, too.

Preston caught a lot more largemouth bass than I did, and we failed to hook a bunch of strikes.  Preston thinks it’s the 3/0 hook. I think it is the weed guard.

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Preston Parks with one of the largemouth bass that he caught on his Z-Man’s Hula StickZ rig.

We found two tiny concentrations of largemouth bass in a small area, where we elicited 10 strikes, but we caught only four of them. Other than that, the largemouth bass were scattered on rocky or wood cover. Our biggest one was caught along an old fence that is adorned with matted gator grass. The majority of the largemouth bass were abiding in about four feet of water on rocky and moderately sloping shorelines. The first shorelines along the channel side in the major creek arms were very productive for us.  A slow drag-and-deadstick retrieve was best. A few of the largemouth bass hit on the initial fall.

For the day, we caught and released 33 largemouth bass. Preston carries a net, and I netted my first largemouth bass in more than twenty years, which was an interesting phenomenon. Our two largest were 5.75-pounders. We had some three- and four-pounders, and only one smaller than 12 inches.

IMG_1023

Mike Poe with one of the largemouth bass that he caught on his Z-Man’s Hula StickZ rigs.

To put this into a historical perspective, a catch of 36 largemouth bass at this reservoir was the best we have ever experienced across the many decades that we have fished it. And to catch 33 largemouth bass in a short outing and under cold-front conditions showed us the virtues of using Midwest finesse tactics. Preston, in fact, is totally sold on the many attributes of the Hula StickZ and Z-Man’s jigs.

Nov. 13 log

Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his outing with his wife, Linda, at a river that courses through the south Texas Hill Country on Nov. 13.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that it was an overcast day in south Texas with intermittent spells of sunshine. The morning low temperature was 54 degrees and the afternoon high reached 69 degrees. The wind blew out of the south and west at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.20 at 11:54 a.m. and fell slightly to 30.14 by 1:54 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing periods would occur between 2:42 a.m. and 4:42 a.m., 8:56 a.m. and 10:56 a.m., and 9:24 p.m. to 11:24 p.m. Rick and Linda fished from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m.

The water level was about half of a foot higher than normal. The water was heavily stained with about a foot of visibility. The water temperature was 68 degrees.

This was Linda’s maiden Midwest finesse outing, and they caught 10 largemouth bass in two hours. Two other largemouth bass were able to liberate themselves before they could be hoisted into the boat. All of them were caught in five to 10 feet of water and were relating to a submerged rock ledge on the north side of the river.

Linda wielded a Z-Man’s black-blue-laminate T.R.D. TubeZ affixed on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle’s mushroom head jig and a Z-Man’s Space Guppy Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. Rick employed a Z-Man’s black-blue-laminate T.R.D. TubeZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a Z-Man’s molting craw T.R.D. TubeZ affixed on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

The T.R.D. TubeZ rigs were presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve and caught nine of the 10 bass. The Slim SwimZ combo was retrieved with a steady swimming action and caught one.

Nov. 14 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 14 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

I conducted a 3 1/2-hour solo afternoon outing at a heavily fished U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas. I fished this reservoir on Oct. 28, and I caught and released 25 black bass during that four-hour endeavor.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing periods on Nov. 14 would occur between 3:36 a.m. and  5:36 a.m., 9:51 a.m. and 11:51 a.m., and 10:21 a.m. to 12:21 p.m. I fished from 11:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

It was bright, sunny, and not a cloud in sight. The afternoon high temperature was 78 degrees and the morning low temperature was 52 degrees. The wind quartered out of the south by southwest at 8 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.04 at 11:00 a.m. and 29.98 at 3:00 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 68 to 70 degrees. The water level was normal. The water was stained and exhibited about 2 1/2 feet of visibility.

I fished two feeder-creek arms, one shallow main-lake cove, two main-lake points, and two main-lake flats in the southwest tributary arm. These seven locales are situated on the south side of the tributary arm.

I caught 27 largemouth bass and four spotted bass.

The two main-lake points and both main-lake flats are shallow. Their underwater terrain consists of clay and gravel.  Many clusters of flooded terrestrial vegetation line the shorelines of both points and the two flats. I failed to elicit a strike from either of the two points or from the two flats.

The main-lake cove is shallow and portions of its clay and gravel shoreline is lined with flooded terrestrial vegetation. This cove yielded 12 largemouth bass. They were milling about in the open pockets along the outside edges of the flooded patches of the terrestrial vegetation in four feet of water.

The two feeder-creek arms look identical. Their shorelines are steep and  rock-laden, and adorned with a few submerged stumps, boulders, and several boat ramps. Both creek arms also contain a large marina, several steep secondary points, a couple of mud flats enhanced with thin patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation, and several small coves.

The first feeder-creek arm relinquished four largemouth bass and one spotted bass. They were in close proximity to a steep and rocky shoreline on the feeder creek’s east side. These black bass were caught in less than five feet of water and were many yards apart from each other. The south and east shorelines, two mud flats, and a small cove were fruitless. I also spent some time probing several covered boat docks in the marina, but I failed to locate any largemouth bass or spotted bass relating to those docks.

The second feeder-creek arm lies a short distance from the first one. It relinquished 11 largemouth bass and three spotted bass. These black bass were also scattered throughout the feeder-creek arm. A mix of ten largemouth bass and spotted bass were caught from the ends of seven steep and rocky secondary points. One largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught from the deep-water end of a boat ramp on the feeder creek’s west side.  Two largemouth bass were caught from a steep and rocky shoreline on the feeder creek’s east side.  All of them were abiding in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as eight feet.

The two most effective lures were a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, and a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

The pearl Slim SwimZ rig was presented with a slow and steady swimming retrieve.  The mud minnow Hula StickZ combo was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation.

Nov. 15 log

Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, joined me on Nov. 15 to celebrate my first pain-free outing since Nov. 1.

I am thankful for the helping hands of Travis Perret of Overland Park, Kansas, and his Natural Design Therapy System. For seven days, I worked fervently with a series of exercises that he created for me on Nov. 8 to eradicate the acute pain in my lower back. And around 8:00 a.m. on Nov. 15, I was virtually pain free and eager to fish with Rick at a community reservoir in northeastern Kansas that has endured the largemouth bass virus and years of heavy angler predation.

The Weather Underground indicated that it was 42 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 69 degrees at 2:53 p.m. From 12:53 a.m. to 6:53 a.m., the wind was calm, and after that, it angled out of the south and south by southwest at 4 to 10 mph. The sun was shining everywhere in a cloudless sky.  The barometric pressure was 29.99 at 12:53 a.m., 30.01 at 5:53 a.m., 29.97 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.93 at 2:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be normal. The surface temperature ranged from 58 to 60 degrees. The water clarity exhibited three to four feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 10:52 a.m. to 12:52 p.m., 4:37 a.m. to 6:37 a.m., and 5:07 p.m. to 7:07 p.m. We fished from 10:20 a.m. to 2:20 p.m., and the fishing from 10:52 a.m. to 12:52 p.m. was quite fruitful.

As soon as we took the boat off the trailer, we put the electric trolling motor into the water and began wielding our Midwest finesse rigs.  For two hours and 14 minutes, we fished hundreds of yards of main-lake shorelines on the north and west sides of this reservoir.

These shorelines are adorned with many patches of American water willows and coontail.  They are also endowed with some tertiary points. Some of the shorelines and points possess a 15-degree slope. Some of the shorelines and points have a 30- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. Scores of boat docks littered many of the shorelines and points. We found that the steeper terrains did not yield as many largemouth bass as the flatter ones.

During the first hour and three minutes that we fished, our fish counter indicated that we had caught 25 largemouth bass, two crappie, one warmouth, and one bluegill. After two hours and 14 minutes had gone by, our fish counter revealed that we had caught 44 largemouth bass, three crappie, one warmouth, two bluegill, and one green sunfish.

Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ affixed to a black 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.  Four largemouth bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s pearl Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s pearl Rain MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a vintage YUM’s green-pumpkin-orange-flake Muy Grub affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Thirty-one largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

One largemouth bass was caught under a dock.  The rest of them were caught along the outside edges of the American water willow patches, next to concrete and rock retraining walls, and around patches of coontail. The vast majority of them were caught in two to four feet of water and no farther than six feet from the water’s edge. A few of the largemouth bass were caught when we were employing a drag-and-slight-deadstick retrieve. A significant number of the largemouth bass engulfed our rigs on the initial drop, and another significant number were caught after had made several rotations of the reel handle after the initial drop. Some were caught on the swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve. We employed a slow swimming retrieve with the YUM’s Muy Grub.

At 12:36 p.m. we started the outboard motor and moved to a west-side main-lake point in the upper portions of the reservoir. We dissected this point and about 250 yards of its adjacent shoreline. The makeup of this point and shoreline is similar to the shoreline and tertiary points that we fished from 10:20 a.m. to 12:36 p.m. The most fruitful area was a 75-foot section of a steep and rocky shoreline, where we caught eight largemouth bass by dragging and slightly deadsticking our 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ rigs in five to about 12 feet of water. Along the other 225 yards of this shoreline we caught seven largemouth bass on our pearl ZinkerZ rigs, and they were caught along the outside edges of the American water willow patches, next to concrete and rock retraining walls, and around patches of coontail in 2 1/2 to four feet of water. We inadvertently caught a crappie on the pearl ZinkerZ rig.

As we crossed from the west side of the reservoir to its east side, we fished a shallow and massive mud flat that is graced with occasional patches of coontail. We caught one largemouth bass on the vintage YUM’s green-pumpkin-orange-flake Muy Grub affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a slow swimming presentation in about three feet of water.  We also inadvertently caught a handsome bluegill on the pearl ZinkerZ rig.

Along the east side of the reservoir, we fished several 100-yard sections of shorelines, five main-lake points, and several tertiary points. The makeup of the east side shorelines and points are similar to the ones on the west side of the reservoir. But we struggled to catch 10 largemouth bass. And they were caught on our pearl ZinkerZ rigs along the outside edges of the American water willow patches, next to concrete retaining walls, and around patches of coontail in two to four feet of water. Some were caught on the initial drop, and others were caught on either a swim-glide-and-slight-shake presentation or a drag-and-deadstick retrieve.

We spent the final 18 minutes of the outing fishing the north shoreline, where we began this outing. And our pearl ZinkerZ rigs inveigled seven largemouth bass and one crappie. The largemouth bass were caught along the outside edge of the patches of American water willows in three to five feet of water. Four largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs, and three of them were caught as we employed a drag-and-deadstick presentation.

DSCN1431

The one of many largemouth bass that we caught on our 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s ZinkerZ rigs.

In sum, we fished four hours and caught 77 largemouth bass. And we accidently caught five crappie, three bluegill, one warmouth, and one green sunfish. Sixty-four of the largemouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Nov. 15 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 15 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Anglers in north-central Texas have been relishing a warm November this year. Some would call it an Indian summer.

The average high temperature for this day is 67 degrees. The average low is 46 degrees. But it can also be cold and miserable on occasions. For example, on Nov. 15, 2014, it was cloudy and gloomy. There was a light dusting of snow on the ground. The low temperature was 26 degrees and the high temperature struggled to reach 39 degrees. I did not fish that day.

Nov. 15, 2016, was a stark contrast to Nov. 15, 2014. The morning low temperature was 49 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 83 degrees. It was sunny. The sky was powder-blue and cloudless. The barometric pressure measured 29.94 at 11:00 a.m. and 29.89 at 2:00 p.m. The wind blew continuously out of the north at 10 to 12 mph.

I elected to take advantage of the splendid weather and enjoyed a three-hour outing at a heavily fished U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the most promising fishing periods would likely take place from 4:29 a.m. to 6:29 a.m., 10:44 a.m. to 12:44 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. I was afloat from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

On Nov. 12, I fished this same reservoir and concentrated my efforts in the far northeast region of the east tributary arm and the southeast end of the west tributary. I barely eked out 21 black bass in 4 1/2 hours.

During my Nov. 15 endeavors, I spent my time in the lower portion of the east tributary arm where I plied two feeder-creek arms, one main-lake point, and a dam covered with riprap. I caught 22 largemouth bass and inadvertently caught one freshwater drum.

The water was stained and displayed about two feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 68 to 70 degrees. The water level was normal.

The first feeder-creek arm is located on the west side of the east tributary arm. It is endowed with a long submerged rock ledge, five coves, and eight secondary points. Several of the secondary points are flat and comprised of clay and gravel. The others are steep and enhanced with fist-size rocks and littered with a few submerged boulders and stumps.

I caught 16 largemouth bass inside this feeder-creek arm. One bass was caught inside a small cove on the north side of the feeder-creek arm. It was relating to the outside edge of a patch of flooded terrestrial vegetation in four feet of water. Twelve largemouth bass were caught in five to eight of water along three steep and rocky secondary points. Another three largemouth bass were caught along the deep-water side of the submerged ledge in eight to 11 feet of water. Nine of these largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. Seven were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The Slim SwimZ rig was implemented with a slow and steady swimming retrieve. The Hula StickZ rig was employed with a slow drag-and-deadstick presentation.

The second feeder-creek arm is located on the southeast side of the tributary arm. This feeder-creek arm is endowed with an island, nine secondary points, and seven coves. Its shorelines and underwater terrain consists of fist-size rocks, gravel, sand, submerged boulders, and an abundance of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation. I struggled to catch three largemouth bass inside this creek arm. One was caught from the east side of the island in four feet of water next to a patch of flooded terrestrial vegetation. The other two were caught along a shallow clay bank just east of the island, and they were abiding in three feet of water and associated with a thin wall of flooded terrestrial vegetation. These three largemouth bass were caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ rig with a slow and steady swimming action. I failed to entice any strikes with the mud minnow Hula StickZ rig or a 2 1/4-inch tail section of a Z-Man’s California Craw FattyZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

I finished the outing at the riprap-laden dam that forms the southern boundary of the reservoir. I caught three largemouth bass and one freshwater drum that were relating to the riprap in five to 11 feet of water along the east end of the dam. Two largemouth bass were caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ rig and steady swimming action. One largemouth bass and one freshwater drum were caught while I was dragging and deadsticking the 2 1/4-inch tail section of the California Craw FattyZ.

It is becoming much more difficult for us to locate large aggregations of black bass. The massive concentrations of threadfin shad that were once a key component to our success during the past few months have now vanished. We are finding only a few small pods of shad scattered here and there inside the feeder-creek arms.

We continue to experiment with a large selection of Z-Man Fishing Products’ Midwest finesse baits affixed on a variety of Gopher Tackle’s mushroom head jigs and Z-Man’s ShroomZ jig heads. But since mid-July, we have not found any baits that can surpass the effectiveness of a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed on either a black or chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. And we will continue to wield both of these combos until the largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass no longer show a preference for them.

Nov. 16 log

Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I fished at one of the many state reservoirs that stipple the countryside of northeastern Kansas.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 39 degrees at 4:53 a.m. and 79 degrees at 2:53 p.m. It was calm from 12:53 a.m. to 5:41 a.m., and then the wind angled out of the east by southeast, southeast, and south at 3 to 26 mph. (We had to employ a drift sock at most of the locales that we fished.) It was sunny. The barometric pressure was 29.94 at 12:53 a.m., 29.93 at 5:53 a.m., 29.81 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.73 at 1:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be a few inches below normal. The surface temperature was 57 degrees.  The water exhibited about 3 1/2 feet of visibility in some locales, and around some of the wind-blown areas, the water was stained and exhibited about 12 inches of visibility. Patches of American water willows lined many of this reservoir’s shorelines, and 99 percent of them are exhibiting their wintertime motif: brown and leafless stems. Except for two minor patches of cattails, we did not cross paths with other kinds of aquatic vegetation.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 11:13 a.m. to 1:13 p.m., 11:43 p.m. to 1:43 a.m., and 5:28 a.m. to 7:28 a.m. We fished from 10:10 a.m. to 2:10 p.m., and it was a fruitful and simple outing.

We fished the dam, four main-lake points, about 200 yards of a main-lake shoreline, about three-quarters of a mile of another main-lake shoreline that eventually merges into a riverine shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm, and four short shorelines inside two small main-lake coves. Along the two main-lake shorelines, we fished nine riprap jetties and several tertiary points. We allowed the wind with the assistance of a drift sock to move the boat along the shorelines and points at a moderate pace.

Except along the riverine shoreline inside the feeder creek, we caught largemouth bass at every one of the locales we fished.

Most of the terrain is flat, exhibiting about a 20-degree slope, and the boat floated in four to seven feet of water. Along a 100-foot segment of one main-lake shoreline, the slope is about 45 degrees, and the boated floated in 10 to 14 feet of water. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and silt, as well as a few boulders, brush piles, and stumps.

In total, we caught 91 largemouth bass. We caught nine largemouth bass along the shorelines inside two of the main-lake coves.  We caught two largemouth bass along the dam. One main-lake point yielded four largemouth bass; the second main-lake point yielded three largemouth bass; the third main-lake point yielded one largemouth bass; the fourth one yielded one largemouth bass.  The 200-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline and its riprap jetty yielded nine largemouth bass. Sixty-two largemouth bass were caught along the three-quarters-of-a-mile stretch of the main-lake shoreline and its riprap jetties and tertiary points, but along this massive stretch of shoreline there were many yards of fruitless casts and retrieves.

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The first of the 91 largemouth bass that we caught on our 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s ZinkerZ rigs.

We caught the preponderance of the largemouth bass adjacent to the outside edges of the patches of American water willows that embellished the shorelines and points. A few were caught around laydowns, riprap, boulders, and stumps.

We caught one largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartresue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  Six largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to an unpainted 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. Eighty-two largemouth bass were caught on either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-white ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

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Pok-Chi Lau with a largemouth bass that was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-white ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Along the shallow, very flat, and extremely wind-blown shorelines and points, we caught the largemouth bass by executing a straight swimming retrieve. Along the slightly steeper shorelines, which were not extremely wind-blown, we caught the largemouth bass with three presentations: the initial drop of our rigs, a drag-and-slight-deadstick presentation, and a slow reel-and-pause retrieve that allowed the ZinkerZ rig to slowly swim and glide a few inches above the bottom.

Nov. 19 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 19 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

During the early morning hours of Nov. 17, a major cold front plowed across  north-central Texas, which ushered in a couple of thunderstorms and howling north winds.

And some post-cold-front conditions were still present on Nov. 19. The sun shined brightly in a cloudless sky. The high barometric pressure measured 30.63 at 11:00 a.m. and 30.52 at 4:00 p.m. The morning low temperature was 37 degrees. The afternoon high temperature was 59 degrees. The wind had died down significantly since Nov. 17, but it still blew steadily out of the north at 12 to 15 mph.

I decided to take advantage of the improving weather conditions and fished at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir that I fished on Nov. 14. I chose this particular reservoir because it offers a few locales where I could find some protection from the incessant north wind.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 2:34 a.m. to 4:34 a.m., 8:48 a.m. to 10:48 a.m., and 3:01 p.m. to 5:01 p.m. I fished from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m., and the best fishing occurred between 1:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.

The water level was normal. The water was stained and exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water’s surface temperature dropped four degrees since Nov. 14, and it ranged from 64 to 66 degrees on Nov. 19. The main-lake areas of the reservoir were covered with white caps.

I primarily wielded three Z-Man Midwest finesse offerings: a 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ attached to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.

I began the outing by plying a main-lake marina cove on the south side of the reservoir’s southwest tributary arm. Its shoreline is rock-laden and steep. The steep shoreline and several covered boat docks provided me some shelter from the north wind.  I navigated the narrow passageways between the boat docks and along the steep shorelines, and the boat floated in 10 to 12 feet of water. I fished rocky secondary points and some parts of their adjacent steep shorelines. I probed the shaded areas underneath and next to the sides of several covered boat docks. I failed to elicit a single strike inside this cove, and I became concerned that this outing may turn into an extremely slow and trying endeavor.

After that disappointing start, I moved to another main-lake cove that lies about a quarter of a mile east of the marina cove.  This cove’s underwater terrain is relatively shallow and consists of gravel, rocks, stumps, a few submerged boulders, and clay. A couple of sections of its shoreline are festooned with the remnants of flooded terrestrial vegetation. I kept the boat positioned in four to six feet of water and just a few feet away from the outside edges of the flooded terrestrial vegetation. This cove yielded 12 largemouth bass on Nov.14, but it yielded only four largemouth bass this time. These four bass were abiding inside two open pockets along the outside edge of a patch of flooded terrestrial vegetation in four feet of water.  They were caught in the northeast portion of the cove, which was partially sheltered from the wind. These four bass engulfed the

2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ combo that was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The remainder of this cove was exposed to the wind.  I was unable to generate any other strikes with the Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ or the shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ rigs.

My next spot was inside a feeder-creek arm that is also situated on the south side of the tributary arm.  It contains a large marina. Its shoreline is steep. Its underwater terrain is comprised of clay, gravel, and littered with baseball-size rocks, and a few submerged stumps and boulders. Two small creeks enter from its southeast and southwest shorelines. There are two boat ramps located on the west and south shorelines. This creek arm is endowed with several steep secondary points, a couple of small mud flats that are enhanced with thin patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation, and three small coves.

I kept the boat in eight to 15 feet of water as I plied the east side of this creek arm, which was sheltered from the wind. Nineteen largemouth bass were caught from four rocky secondary points on the east side of the feeder-creek arm in less than eight feet of water. Eight largemouth bass were caught from a steep and rocky shoreline adjacent to one of the four fruitful secondary points in six to 10 feet of water. Sixteen largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ combo and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake presentation enticed seven largemouth bass. I did not catch any bass along the west or south shorelines, which were exposed to the wind.

After I caught those 27 black bass, I ventured to another feeder-creek arm that is located on the north side of the tributary arm.  Its underwater terrain and shorelines are identical to the previous feeder-creek arm that I just fished, but this one does not contain a marina. It relinquished only two spotted bass that were caught from a rocky secondary point in the middle of the creek arm. They were abiding in less than five feet of water and were attracted to the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig.

I finished the outing at two bridge embankments that are located in the midsection of the reservoir’s southwest tributary arm. One embankment is on the north side of the tributary arm and the other one lies on the south side. Both embankments are about 50 yards long and are covered with riprap. The north embankment was fruitless. The south embankment yielded two largemouth bass and one spotted bass. They were relating to the submerged riprap in three to five feet of water.  These black bass were caught with the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

In sum, I was concerned that this outing was going to be a horrid one as I struggled to catch only four largemouth bass during the first 1 1/2 hours. But as this four-hour endeavor unfolded, I was able to catch another 24 largemouth bass and four spotted bass. Three bass were able to pull free before I could land them.

The 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig was the most effective lure. It allured twenty-five of the 32 black bass. Seven bass were caught on the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rig. I wielded the pearl Slim SwimZ rig for only a dozen or so casts, but I failed to entice any strikes with it during that short spell.

A slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation was the most effective retrieve.

Nov. 25 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 25 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

I conducted a solo afternoon excursion to a heavily fished U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the most promising fishing periods would take place from 12:56 a.m. to 2:56 a.m., 7:07 a.m. to 9:07 a.m., and 7:28 p.m. to 9:28 p.m. I was afloat from noon to 4:00 p.m.

I was thankful to have such a nice day to be out on the water. I remembered how north-central Texas was pummeled by thunderstorms that dropped over seven inches of rain during the Thanksgiving weekend of 2015, and all of our waterways were closed for weeks on end because of the horrendous flooding.

In contrast, Nov. 25, 2016, was sunny. The sky was partly cloudy. The afternoon high was 63 degrees and the morning low temperature was 43 degrees. The average low temperature for this day is 41 degrees and the average high is 61 degrees. While I was afloat, the wind blew out of the north at 10 to 13 mph.  The barometric pressure measured 30.41 at 12:00 noon and dipped to 30.36 by 4:00 p.m.

The water level was normal. The water was stained and exhibited about 1 1/4 feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 63 degrees.

I fished in the southern portion of the reservoir, focusing on one main-lake cove, four main-lake points, and two feeder-creek arms.

The main-lake cove is relatively shallow and consists of gravel and clay. Portions of its shoreline are lined with the remnants of thin patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation that are now leafless brown stems sticking out of the water. The east shoreline yielded four largemouth bass that were relating to the outside edges of two of the thin patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation in four feet of water. The remainder of the cove was fruitless.

One of the two feeder-creek arms yielded eleven largemouth bass and one spotted bass. Eight largemouth bass were caught near the mouth of the feeder-creek arm in six to 11 feet of water.  They were relating to a steep and rock-laden shoreline along the east side of the creek arm. Two largemouth bass were caught from two secondary points about halfway along the east shoreline in the middle of the creek arm. These two points are steep and comprised of clay and gravel. These two largemouth bass were abiding near the ends of both points in eight to ten feet of water. One spotted bass and one largemouth bass were caught in six feet of water from an asphalt boat ramp on the west side of the creek arm. I failed to elicit any strikes from two shallow and flat sections of shoreline on the east side of the creek arm or along a long and steep segment of shoreline on the west side of the creek arm.

The second feeder-creek arm was not as lucrative as the first one. The second creek arm relinquished only two largemouth bass. One was caught along a fairly steep and rocky shoreline near the mouth of the creek arm in eight feet of water. The other largemouth was caught in five feet of water from the end of a clay and gravel secondary point in the back of the feeder-creek. I was unable to locate any largemouth bass or spotted bass inside the two coves in the far back end of the feeder-creek arm, along three secondary points in the middle section of the creek arm, or from a small mud flat on the west side of the creek arm. I missed three tentative strikes from a steep and rocky shoreline on the east side of the feeder-creek arm that lies just inside the mouth of the feeder-creek.

I caught one largemouth bass from the end of one main-lake point in 11 feet of water.  I failed to generate any strikes from the other three main-lake points.

Overall, the fishing can be described as mediocre at best. The black bass fishing is slowing down now, and I managed to catch 18 largemouth bass and one spotted bass in four hours. They were all decent-size bass. The smallest weighed 1 1/4 pounds and the largest weighed four pounds and one ounce. Steep and rocky shorelines at the mouths of feeder-creek arms that were inhabited by small pods of threadfin shad were the most fruitful areas. The bites became few and far between the further back I fished inside the feeder-creek arms.

I wielded an array of Z-Man’s Midwest finesse baits affixed on a variety of Gopher Tackle’s Mushroom Head jigs. I also employed a few different sizes and colors of Rapala Shad Rap and Glass Rap crankbaits, but they failed to entice any strikes. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig beguiled 14 largemouth bass and one spotted bass. A Z-Man’s Space Guppy Slim SwimZ affixed on a brown 3/32-ounce Gopher jig cauht four largemouth bass. The strikes were light and tentative. All the bites felt like the lure suddenly became a little heavier than usual, which mirrors the vast majority of our wintertime strikes.

As for retrieves, the Slim SwimZ rig was presented with a slow and steady do-nothing swimming retrieve. The 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rig was most effective when it was presented with a slow drag-and-deadstick retrieve.

Nov. 26 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 26 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

What a difference a week can make. On Nov. 17, north-central Texas experienced its first major cold front this fall. Before the cold front hit, the black bass in our U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs were attacking our Slim SwimZ rigs and Hula StickZ rigs with gusto. Thirty-plus bass outings were common. But a week after the cold-front, the black bass seem to have become very lethargic and no longer show an inclination to chase our faster presentations. Sadly, it appears that our 30-plus bass days are behind us now, and we will have to work hard to inveigle 15 to 20 black bass an outing for the next couple of weeks. And when the water temperatures drop below 58 degrees in mid-December, the black bass fishing becomes wretched until mid-March.

On Nov. 26, I opted to fish at a problematic U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas from noon to 4:00 p.m.

As I was launching the boat, it was sunny and the sky was partly cloudy. By 1:30 p.m., the sky was overcast. The morning low temperature was 53 degrees and the afternoon was mild and 66 degrees.  The barometric pressure dropped slightly from 29.79 to 29.64. The wind blew out of the south by southwest at 10 to 13 mph.

I was surprised to see that the water level was at normal pool. Traditionally, we see the Corps releasing water through the dam during this time of year in order to drop the water level several feet in anticipation of the upcoming spring rains. The water was stained and exhibited about two feet of visibility. The water temperature was 64 degrees.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the most productive fishing periods would take place from 1:09 a.m. to 3:09 a.m., 7:44 a.m. to 9:44 a.m., and 8:06 p.m. to 10:06 p.m.

For the first 90 minutes of this outing, I slowly dissected two-thirds of the riprap along the dam and all four sides of a large concrete outlet tower that stands in 42 feet of water near the midsection of the dam. The only fruitful spot was a 50-yard section of  riprap on the south end of the dam, which  relinquished three largemouth bass that were dwelling in nine to 11 feet of water and several yards away from the water’s edge.  The remainder of the dam and the four walls of the concrete water outlet tower were fruitless.

After I fished the dam, I spent the remaining 2 1/2 hours fishing inside a large feeder-creek arm that is located in the southeast region of the reservoir.

This feeder-creek arm harbors a large marina. Most of its shorelines are steep and rocky. This feeder-creek arm is also endowed with 11 steep and rock-laden secondary points, four shallow clay and gravel coves, three shallow mud flats, and a short bridge that spans the back end of the feeder-creek arm. Ten largemouth bass were caught at nine of the 11 secondary points. They were abiding in nine to 12 feet of water and several yards out from the end of the points. Two largemouth bass were caught in three feet of water from the outside edge of a patch of flooded terrestrial vegetation on one of the three mud flats. I failed to elicit any strikes from the other two mud flats, which looked identical to the first one. The other two largemouth bass were caught in five feet of water along the side of one of the six concrete support pilings underneath the bridge in the backend of the creek arm. I did not locate any black bass associated with the other five concrete pilings or inside any of the four shallow coves.

Overall, it was a slow and boring day of fishing. I eked out only 17 largemouth bass in four hours, with long spells between bites.

I employed an array of Z-Man’s Midwest finesse baits affixed on a variety of colors and sizes of Gopher mushroom head jigs. The black bass seemed to be extremely finicky and their strikes were nothing more than a slight tick of the line that I could see but not feel.

The only effective bait was a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I experimented with all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves throughout the afternoon, and the only productive one was an extremely slow hop-bounce-and-deadstick retrieve across the bottom. All of the strikes occurred during the three- to five-second deadstick portion of the presentation.

I was not the only angler having a tough day. I spoke with three other anglers while I was afloat. One was a local guide who approached me while I was fishing in the back of the feeder-creek arm. He said that he had caught only three bass on a white spinnerbait all day. Two other anglers in another boat told me that they had caught only one small bass on a live minnow while they were crappie fishing.

I plan on fishing with Rick Allen of Dallas on Nov. 29, and I will feel fortunate if we allure 20 black bass.

Nov. 28 log

Until I joined Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, and Merit Goodman of Eudora, Kansas, on Nov. 20 at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs, I had not made a cast since 2:10 p.m. of Nov. 16. And instead of fishing and writing about fishing, Patty and I traveled to Texas to visit our youngest daughter and her family and celebrate Thanksgiving.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 54 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 57 degrees at 2:55 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being overcast, to being mostly cloudy, to being scattered with clouds, and to being clear. The wind angled out of the south, southwest, west by southwest, and west at 8 to 25 mph. (At two of the locales that we fished, we had to employ a drift sock to tame the effects of the wind.)  The barometric pressure was 29.41 at 12:53 a.m., 29.27 at 5:53 a.m., 29.19 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.18 at 2:53 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 53 to 54 degrees. The water exhibited slightly more than four feet of visibility. The water level looked to be normal. The patches of American water willows that line some of this reservoir’s shorelines and points are in the wintertime motif. The patches of coontail are still green, bountiful, and easy for us to see. (The coontail is a recent phenomenon at this reservoir; its arrival followed the arrival of the zebra mussels in 2013.)

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 8:57 a.m. to 10:57 a.m., 9:19 p.m. to 11:19 p.m., and 2:45 a.m. to 4:45 a.m. We fished from 9:06 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and we caught 36 largemouth bass and six smallmouth bass. Bob and Merit were afloat for about an hour before I hopped into their boat, and during that hour, they caught seven largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass. (It is interesting to note that Nov. 28 is the latest date that Bob and I have caught a smallmouth bass in the cold-water reservoirs of northeastern Kansas. On Nov. 19, 2013, I caught two smallmouth bass at another community reservoir. Because of the dastardly effects of barotrauma, we do not fish for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in deep water, and from November to late March and early April, the vast majority of the smallmouth bass in our cold-water reservoirs vacate their shallow-water haunts. But we do catch some smallmouth bass in shallow water at one of northeastern Kansas’ power-plant reservoirs during the cold-water days.)

Bob and Merit are colleagues at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Bob has been a Midwest finesse aficionado and Finesse News Network contributor for years on end. Merit, who is 25 years old, has been a Midwest finesse devotee and apostle for about 18 months. During this spell, she has converted several power anglers, who were skeptics and naysayers, by showing them the effectiveness of a 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ affixed to a 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. She says her only piscatorial regret is that it took 23 1/2-years for her to discover its effectiveness. She is now on the verge of employing other Midwest finesse rigs.

On our Nov. 28 outing, we spent a considerable amount of time dissecting the flats in the back of six feeder-creek arms, where we searched for patches of coontail. Across the years in late November through early March, Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas have found that flats in the backs of feeder-creek arms, which are graced with submergent aquatic vegetation, often entertain substantial numbers of largemouth bass.  This was the first time that we had fished this reservoir during this time of the year, and to our chagrin, our flat forays were not bountiful. One massive flat yielded eight largemouth bass. Another one yielded two. Another one yield one, as did another flat. The other two were fruitless.

At the flat that yielded eight largemouth bass, the boat floated in four to 12 feet of water. Around some patches of coontail, we could see bluegill suspended a foot or so under the surface. We also saw several largemouth bass milling about around the patches of coontail.  We caught six of the largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s California craw ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Bass Pro Shop’s Shroom Head jig. Three of these largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. The others were caught while we were employing a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve.

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Merit Goodman with one of the largemouth bass that was caught  on a coontail-laden flat in the back of a feeder-creek arm.

At the other three flats, one largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of  a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Bass Pro Shop’s Shroom Head jig.  One was caught while dragging and deadsticking a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-white ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Bass Pro Shop’s Shroom Head jig. One was caught by dragging and subtly shaking a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The third largemouth bass was caught by dragging and deadsticking a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s California craw  ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Bass Pro Shop’s Shroom Head jig.

Besides the six flats, we also fished five main-lake points, portions of the dam, portions of five main-lake shorelines, portions of five shorelines inside five feeder-creek arms, and several secondary and tertiary points inside three feeder-creek arms.

Some of the shorelines and points had a 45-degree and steeper slope, and some of them had a 20- to 30-degree slope. The underwater terrain of these shorelines and points consists of gravel, rock, and boulders. On some of the shorelines and points, there are laydowns and overhanging trees, as well as some patches of coontail and American water willows.

The dam is rock-laden and has a 30-degree slope. It is adorned with some coontail patches and brush piles. We failed to elicit a strike along it.

At the other locales, we caught 24 largemouth bass and six smallmouth bass. And along those shorelines and points, we made hundreds of casts and retrieves without garnering a strike. In essence, we failed to develop a location pattern. Some of the black bass were caught in water as shallow as three feet, others were caught in water as deep as 12 feet, and others were caught somewhere between three and 12 feet of water. We caught a few around boulders. We caught a few around laydowns. We caught a couple of them adjacent to patches of American water willows. We caught some around patches of coontail. In our minds, there was no rhyme or reason why we caught the 24 largemouth bass and six smallmouth bass that we caught along these shorelines and points.

Our most effective rig along these shorelines and points was either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s California craw ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s California craw ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Bass Pro Shops Shroom Head jig. We also caught some on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Bass Pro Shop’s Shroom Head jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s mud minnow Rain MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. One smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We did not have a primary presentation pattern along these shorelines and points. Some were caught on a drag-and-deadstick retrieve.  Some were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Some were caught on a slow swimming-and-pause presentation.

In sum, it seemed as if the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass were catching us rather than Bob, Merit, and I catching them.

Nov. 29 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

I joined Rick Allen of Dallas at our most bountiful U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in north-central Texas.

Since Nov. 17, the black bass fishing in north-central Texas has become increasingly trying.  Because we were afloat on the best black bass reservoir hereabouts, Rick and I had high hopes of tangling with at least 20 largemouth bass and spotted bass.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing should occur from 2:45 a.m. to 4:45 a.m., 9:05 a.m. to 11:05 a.m., and 9:28 p.m. to 11:28 p.m. Rick and I fished from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Nov. 29 was a bright and sunny day with an occasional thin and wispy cloud drifting across a cobalt-blue sky. The morning low was 47 degrees and the afternoon high climbed to 68 degrees. The wind angled out of the northwest at 13 to 22 mph. The barometric pressure was steady at 29.63.

The water was stained with 26 inches of visibility. The water temperature ranged from 59 to 60 degrees. The water level was less than a foot high.

We decided to seek shelter from the irksome wind and fished inside a feeder-creek arm that is located along the south end of the west tributary arm.

The most prominent features of this feeder-creek arm are two large coves, three smaller coves, and a marina.

Its eastern shoreline is steep and rocky. It possesses a couple of flat and shallow secondary points, a couple of shallow mud flats that are embellished with a few thin patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation, several rock ledges, and several smaller tertiary points. Partially flooded patches of terrestrial vegetation embellish many yards of the shoreline.

A marina is situated along the west shoreline of this feeder-creek arm. Its underwater terrain is comprised of clay and gravel.

Two concrete boat ramps, two concrete piers, and a concrete culvert are situated along the north shoreline of a large cove that lies in the southwest end of the feeder creek.

The south end of the feeder-creek arm is adorned with three small shallow coves.  A flooded stock pond dam is situated inside one of the small coves.

At the north end of the feeder-creek arm, there is a large cove. Its shoreline is graced with large submerged boulders, several laydowns, a mud and clay levee, and a few patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation.

It took us six hours to catch 21 largemouth bass and two spotted bass. One of the largemouth bass weighed four pounds, six ounces, and another one weighed three pounds, ten ounces.

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Steve Reideler with one of the 21 largemouth bass that they caught.

We caught one largemouth bass from the northern shoreline of the large cove on the north end of the feeder creek. It was caught in five feet of water, and it was relating to several large submerged boulders.

Three largemouth bass were caught along the north end of the rocky and steep east shoreline. They were extracted from six to eight feet of water and were about 10 feet away from the water’s edge.

As we fished our way southward along the east shoreline, we caught four largemouth bass at a prominent clay and gravel secondary point. This point is enhanced with fist-size rocks and thin patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation. These four bass were caught in two to four feet of water at the apex of the point.

Just south of that secondary point, we caught ten largemouth bass and two spotted bass from a small tertiary point and an adjacent rock ledge that parallels the east shoreline. Portions of this ledge are covered with a few thin patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation. The top of this ledge is covered with about two to three feet of water, and it quickly plunges into 12 to 17 feet of water. Several of these bass were caught in three to five feet of water near the top of the ledge where it begins to drop off into deeper water. The others were caught in eight to 10 feet of water and several feet away from the rock ledge.

At the south end of the east shoreline, we fished inside one of the smaller coves that contains the stock pond dam. We caught one largemouth bass from the deep-water side of the flooded stock pond dam in about five feet of water. We did not fish the shallow flats in the far back end of the cove.

We also probed two concrete boat ramps, two concrete piers, a concrete culvert, and many yards of the north shoreline inside the cove that lies on the southwest end of the feeder creek. One of the two boat ramps yielded two largemouth bass, but we failed to elicit any strikes from the second ramp. Both of these bass were abiding in five feet of water near the end of the ramp. The end of the concrete culvert surrendered one largemouth bass that was extracted from four feet of water.  We failed to engender any strikes from the two concrete piers.

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Steve Reideler with another largemouth bass.

Throughout the outing, we rotated through a slew of Z-Man’s Finesse ShadZs, Finesse WormZs, Split-tail TrailerZs, GrubZs, Slim SwimZs, T.R.D. TubeZs, Scented LeechZs, Hula StickZs, and the tail sections of FattyZs without garnering a strike. The only effective offering was a Z-Man’s 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed on either a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s ShroomZ jig.

The only fruitful presentation was a slow swim-glide-and shake retrieve.

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Rick Allen with one of the two spotted bass that they caught.

Nov. 30 log

On Nov. 29, we had three crocuses blooming in one of our gardens. During the many years that we have cultivated gardens in northeastern Kansas, Patty and I have never seen crocuses blooming in November.

It has, indeed, been an odd fall.

The crocuses were still blooming on Nov. 30, but the wind chill provoked me to don my wintertime wardrobe for the first time this fall while I was afloat for two hours and 31 minutes at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 34 degrees at 12:52 a.m. and 42 degrees at 12:52 p.m.  The wind chill ranged from 26 to 34 degrees. The sky fluctuated from being overcast to being mostly cloudy.  The wind angled out of the west and west by northwest at 6 to 19 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.77 at 12:53 a.m., 29.78 at 5:52 a.m., 29.83 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.86 at 2:52 p.m.

The water level looked six inches below normal. The water was affected by a minor algal bloom, and the visibility was about 30 inches. The surface temperature ranged from 48 to 50 degrees.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 10:03 a.m. to 12:03 p.m., 4:19 a.m. to 6:19 a.m., and 4:43 p.m. to 6:43 p.m.  I fished from 11:55 a.m. to 2:26 p.m.

The fishing was lackluster. Therefore, I will not write a lot of details about what transpired.

I fished one main-lake point. I fished inside a feeder-creek arm, where I focused on a 400-yard section of a shoreline along the west side of this arm, on a 175-yard stretch along its east side, and portions of two shallow-water flats. I also fished a 300-yard stretch of the northwest shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm and quickly probed portions of two flats.

The main-lake point yielded one largemouth bass.  It was caught adjacent to a winter-dead patch of American water willows on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that I was retrieving with an extremely slow reel-and-pause presentation. This largemouth bass was abiding in four feet of water.

Along the 400-yard section of the west shoreline inside the first feeder-creek arm, I caught five largemouth bass adjacent to two patches of winter-dead American water willows on a tertiary point.  They were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Three of them were caught on a drag-and-deadstick retrieve, and two of those largemouth bass were caught on the reel-and-pause presentation. These largemouth bass were abiding in about 3 1/2 feet of water. Elsewhere along this massive shoreline, I struggled to catch four more largemouth bass. They were caught on the pearl ZinkerZ rig adjacent to patches of American water willows in about three feet of water. Two were caught while I was employing a drag-and-deadstick retrieve. One was caught while I was executing the reel-and-pause presentation. One was caught on the initial drop.

Along the 175-yard portion of the east shoreline in the first feeder-creek arm, I caught two largemouth bass adjacent to two patches of American water willows that grace a tertiary point. They were caught on the pearl ZinkerZ rig and the reel-and-pause presentation. Along the rest of this shoreline, I caught one largemouth bass; it was abiding in four feet of water adjacent to a patch of American water willows, and it was caught on the pearl ZinkerZ rig when I was using the drag-and-deadstick presentation.

Along the northwest shoreline of the second feeder-creek arm, I caught two largemouth bass on the pearl ZinkerZ rig and the reel-and-pause presentation. These largemouth bass were abiding in about three feet of water around a boulder that is next to a patch of American water willows. I caught one largemouth bass at the inside corner of a dock in about two feet of water on the initial drop of the pearl ZinkerZ rig. I caught two largemouth bass on the pearl ZinkerZ rig while I was employing a reel-and-pause retrieve adjacent to a patch of American water willows that adorn a tertiary point.

In sum, I caught 18 largemouth bass in two hours and 31 minutes. Seventeen of them were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I used four other Midwest finesse rigs, and they failed to elicit a strike. I experimented with five of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves, but the reel-and-pause retrieve and the drag-and-deadstick retrieve were the only retrieves that paid any dividends.

Nov. 30 log

Walt Tegtmeier of Leawood, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 30 outing at a northeastern Kansas community reservoir.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

I had plans to spend  the bulk of my birthday’s daylight hours on the water. As it turned out, however,  I managed to fish from 11:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with a 45-minute interruption around 1:30 p.m.

The west and west-by-northwest wind was pesky — not so much from a boat positioning and presentation perspective but definitely from a comfort standpoint.

I started fishing along the east shoreline in the upper reaches of the primary feeder-creek arm.  I caught three largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s pearl Rain MinnowZ affixed to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. They were extracted out of two to three feet of water, and they were not associated with rock or aquatic vegetation.

After enduring the wind chill, I decided to hide from the wind by fishing a segment of the west shoreline, and when I did that I began using a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. The boat was floating in 12 feet of water, and I caught three largemouth bass that were abiding in four to six feet of water.  And shortly after that I caught two more largemouth bass.

Eventually I returned to the east shoreline, and I fished a 100-yard section that is adorned with patches of coontail. The coontail is dying. One massive patch was entertaining an impressive number of largemouth bass. I am guessing that I caught 15 of them, but I could not keep an accurate count because I had to listen to a conference call from work on my cellphone.

After that conference call ended, I was so cold I decided to head back to the truck to warm up and eat lunch. Unfortunately, a homeowner had motored his pontoon there just ahead of me and was having a hell of a time getting it on his ramshackle trailer in the wind. I assisted him for 25 minutes or so. During that time, my pup was rummaging the shorelines and found himself a bucket of stink bait along with assorted tackle and trash that he tried to consume. After that fun and games, I warmed up my hands for a few minutes, and I headed to the west shoreline. I began fishing it where I had stopped fishing earlier in the outing. I caught 12 largemouth bass and one channel catfish on the pearl ZinkerZ rig. They were abiding in two to six feet of water.

I finished the outing by returning to the massive coontail patch along the east shoreline of the reservoir, and it yielded three more largemouth bass and two crappie. And they were caught on the pearl ZinkerZ rig.

In sum, I caught about 35 largemouth bass, two crappie, and one channel catfish. Half of the largemouth bass were caught along the west shoreline, and the other half were caught from the east shoreline.

I am sure the pearl Rain MinnowZ rig would have continued to produce had I fished it. But I never put the ZinkerZ down; I wanted its extra heft with that kind of wind and my numb hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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