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This September guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 34 logs and 26,505  words that describe how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished. It features the endeavors of Rick Allen of Dallas; Burton Bosley of Sutton, West Virginia; Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas; Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas; Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas; Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia; Preston Parks of Pittsboro, North Carolina; Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas; Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina; John Reese of Lawrence, Kansas; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; Ving Thao of Turner, Kansas; Walt Tegtmeier of  Leawood, Kansas; John Thomas of Denton, Texas; Andrew Trembath of Kansas City, Missouri; as well as my northeastern Kansas logs.

To the chagrin of scores and scores of Midwest finesse anglers, Travis Myers announced on Sept. 19 that he could no longer submit his detailed logs about how and where he caught vast numbers of smallmouth bass in the streams and rivers that he plies in West Virginia.

Myers wrote: “Unfortunately, within the riverine smallmouth community where I reside, there are many anglers that have keyed in on my tactics and locations, and now they wish to exploit them.

The waters that I fish are fragile ones. Ones that I wish to protect while I am above ground. My desire to protect these waters has reached the point that I have applied to be an appointed river master on my home river while giving equal amounts of attention to other nearby flowing waters.

I owe it to the fish and my good conscience to not pave a seasonal roadmap that could easily be used to exploit what has taken me so very long to learn, enjoy, and fine tune.”

In a Sept. 20 email, Stacey King of Reeds Spring, Missouri, said he enjoyed reading Myers’ logs, and he will miss them. But he thinks it is the correct thing to do. In fact, King would do the same if he were in Myers’ shoes.

This guide contains Myers’ final eight Finesse News Network logs for smallmouth bass anglers to relish.

 As always, we are thankful that Steve Reideler proof read all of the logs. He made them more readable and understandable. What’s more, his 10 logs are brimming with information about how, where,  and when he and his colleagues caught vast numbers of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass from the very challenging reservoirs that they fish in the suburban and exurban landscape of north-central Texas.

 Sept. 1 log

Many of the community, state, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs that stipple the countryside of northeastern Kansas are afflicted with significant alga blooms.  In fact, one of our favorite state reservoirs has been whacked by a bad case of blue-green algae.  The algal blooms have reduced the water clarity in the reservoirs, and as the algal blooms flourished and the water became more stained, the aquatic vegetation, such as American pondweeds, bushy pondweed, coontail, and Eurasian milfoil, in several of these reservoirs has diminished dramatically.  Moreover, the decline of the water clarity and aquatic vegetation paralleled a decline in our abilities to locate and catch largemouth bass and smallmouth bass at these reservoirs.

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, joined me on Sept. 1 at a state reservoir, which for some unknown reason, is not afflicted with a major algal bloom.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 59 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 79 degrees at 2:52 p.m. While we were afloat, the sky was scattered with flimsy cirrus clouds, which allowed the sun to shine brightly.  The wind angled out of the northwest, north, north by northwest, north by northeast, northeast, and east by northeast at 3 to 18 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.13 at 12:52 a.m., 30.14 at 5:52 a.m., 30.17 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.13 at 2:52 p.m.

At a few spots around this reservoir, we noticed some hints of algal blooms, but it did not affect the water clarity.  There was 3 1/2 to five feet of visibility.  The surface temperature ranged from 79 to 82 degrees. The water level looked to be six inches above normal. Many of this reservoir’s shorelines and points are lined with patches of American pondweed. There are also massive patches of bushy pondweed on the flats and in the backs of all of the feeder-creek arms.  Bushy Pondweed also flourishes along the outside edges of many of the patches of American pondweed. There are also patches of coontail intermingled with the patches of bushy pondweed. There are a few patches of American water willows along the shorelines and points.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 10:56 a.m. to 12:56 p.m., 11:19 p.m. to 1:19 a.m., and 4:44 a.m. to 6:44 a.m.  We fished from 10:25 a.m. to 2:31 p.m.

We fished three riprap jetties, and we failed to elicit a strike at them.

We fished portions of the riprap of the dam twice, and we fished its spillway once.  On our first venture along the riprap, we failed to engender a strike. On our second undertaking, we caught seven largemouth bass by dragging and deadsticking a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Fishing Products’ green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle’s Mushroom Head jig and a shortened Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ on a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. These largemouth bass were caught in water as shallow as four feet and as deep as seven feet.

We caught two largemouth bass around the spillway, and one was caught on the initial drop of the green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ rig along the outside edge of a patch of American pondweed in three feet of water. The other largemouth bass was caught on the PB&J Finesse WormZ rig by dragging and deadsticking it along the outside edge of a patch of American pondweed in three to four feet of water.

We fished five main-lake points. We could not elicit a strike at one of the main-lake points.

At one of the main-lake points, we caught two largemouth bass. One of them 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 along the outside edge of a patch of American pondweed in about four feet of water. The second largemouth bass was caught by dragging and deadsticking a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig in about four feet of water along the outside edge of a patch of American pondweed.

At another main-lake point, which is graced with submerged patches of bushy pondweed, we caught three largemouth bass. Two of them were caught on the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ  and red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in about five feet of water with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation.  The third largemouth bass was caught by dragging and deadsticking a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Finesse WormZ jig in four feet of water.

At another main-lake point we caught one largemouth bass on the initial drop of the shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ  affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. This largemouth bass was abiding in about four feet of water along the outside edge of a patch of American pondweed.

At a flat and shallow main-lake point, which is littered with the residue of a dilapidated boat dock, a log, a laydown, patches of American water willows, and patches of American pondweeds, we caught three largemouth bass by swimming the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ  and red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These largemouth bass were abiding in three to four feet of water.

We fished the flats in the backs of three feeder-creek arms. They are covered with patches of bushy pondweed, as well as some patches of American pondweed, American water willows, and coontail. There are also manmade brushpiles scattered across the flats. We failed to garner a strike on the flats in the backs of two of the feeder-creek arms.  In the back of the third one, we caught four largemouth bass.  Three were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-and-glide retrieve in three feet of water. One was caught on the initial drop in three to four feet of water with a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s  Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ  jig.

We fished portions of three massive main-lake shorelines. These shorelines were enhanced with laydowns, manmade brushpiles, patches of American pondweed, patches of bushy pondweed, a few patches of American water willows, and patches of coontail intermixed with the bushy pondweed. We caught six largemouth bass along a 125-yard segment of one shoreline. We caught 11 largemouth bass along a 400-yard segment of the second shoreline. And we caught 12 largemouth bass along a 75-yard segment of the third shoreline, and six of those 12 were caught on back-to-back casts.

Along these three shorelines, one of the largemouth bass was caught by dragging and deadsticking a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig in eleven feet of water along the inside edge of a submerged creek channel. The rest of them were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig,  a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s  Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ  jig. They were extracted from water as shallow as three feet and as deep as six feet. Most of them were caught along the outside edges of patches of American water willows. Three were associated with the manmade brushpiles. The others were caught around patches of bushy pondweed. Several of the largemouth bass engulfed our rigs on the initial drop. A few were caught as we employed a straight swimming presentation. Some were caught while we employed a drag-and-deadstick retrieve. Others were caught when we employed the swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation.

In sum, we fished four hours and six minutes. We caught 51 largemouth bass and accidently caught three crappie.  The two most effective rigs were the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, There was no preeminent retrieve.

Sept. 1 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 1 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

John Thomas of Denton and I fished a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas. We had planned to fish this reservoir from about 8:00 a.m. to noon, but several unexpected rainstorms accompanied with gusty winds forced us to end our outing much earlier than what we had planned, and we fished for a total of 90 minutes.

The morning was overcast and rainstorms began to erupt at about 8:45 a.m. Local meteorologists reported that the morning low temperature was 71 degrees and the day’s high was 87 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.91 at 8:00 a.m. and 29.95 at 10:00 a.m. The wind angled out of the northeast at 3 to 8 mph. Rainstorms were forecast to begin around 1:00 p.m. and continue throughout the remainder of the day, but the forecasts were way off the mark.

The water temperature was 81 degrees. The water was stained and displayed about 2 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was normal.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 11:26 a.m. to 1:26 p.m., 11:49 p.m. to 1:49 a.m., and 5:38 a.m. to 7:38 a.m.

Before our outing was interrupted by the first round of rainstorms, we fished from 8:00 a.m. to about 8:45 a.m. We waited out the storm in our truck.  We began fishing again at about 9:30 a.m. At about 10:15 a.m., the intensity of the wind increased, and the water on the main-lake areas became covered with ranks of white caps. When we observed a second round of thunderstorms coming across the reservoir at a fairly good clip, we decided to play it safe and call it a day.

For the first 45 minutes, we fished at a rocky main-lake point and an adjacent clay and gravel flat in the southeast end of the reservoir. The boat floated in six to 10 feet of water. We caught 15 largemouth bass and spotted bass that were extracted from three to six feet of water along the point and the adjacent flat before we had to stop and take cover from the first rainstorm. Ten bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Hula StickZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two bass were caught on a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. A shortened four-inch Z-Man’s EZ Money Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig allured three bass.

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John Thomas with a largemouth bass.

The shortened Mud Minnow Hula StickZ and four-inch EZ Money Finesse WormZ rigs were retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The Slim SwimZ rig was presented with a steady swimming retrieve just underneath the surface of the water.

After the first rainstorm passed, we returned to the same rocky point and flat and fished it for another 25 minutes. This time around, the point and flat were being pounded by gusty winds and ranks of waves, which confounded many of our casts and retrieves. Ultimately, we were able to catch another seven largemouth bass and spotted bass that were abiding in three to six feet of water. All seven of these bass were caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ rig and a quick and steady swim retrieve.

After we finished plying the main-lake point and its adjacent flat,  we moved to a nearby island that occupies the mid-section of a large feeder-creek arm and provided us some protection from the annoying wind. We targeted the east side of the island, which is fairly flat and shallow and covered with three to eight feet of water. Its terrain is comprised of sand, baseball-size rocks, and the remnants of patches of flooded buck brush.

We positioned the boat in six to eight feet of water, and we caught only one largemouth bass on the shortened four-inch EZ Money Finesse WormZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake presentation. This bass was relating to the outside edge of a patch of flooded buck brush in three feet of water. We failed to elicit any strikes with the Slim SwimZ rig and steady swimming retrieve.

In sum, rainstorms and gusty winds forced us to cut short our first outing in September to just 90 minutes, but we managed to catch 23 largemouth bass and spotted bass during that short spell.

The shortened Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Hula StickZ with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve and a pearl Slim SwimZ and steady swim presentation were our two best offerings.

Sept 2 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 2 outing.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his report:

After my arduous outing on Aug. 30, when I felt like Huckleberry Finn, which was followed by two long days at work, I would have been fine not wetting a line on Sept. 2. But after two cups of coffee and the urgings of my wife, we were headed up river at 9:03 a.m. in the Jackson Big Tuna kayak with me on the paddle.

The morning was a brisk one. The thermometer outside the kitchen window read 58 degrees at 5:00 a.m. As usual this time of year we sleep with the French doors in our bedroom open, and it was a bit chilly overnight. The coyotes woke me at 4:00 a.m. My day started with some tackle tinkering in the garage, which involved soaking some Z-Man’s salt-impregnated baits in water, and as I tinkered, I listened to the turkeys and owls. Then at first light, I stacked some firewood. As I was stacking the wood, my wife awoke and said: “It is low and clear. You want to go?”

At 9:00 a.m. the U.S. Geological Survey noted that the river was flowing at 71 cubic feet per second and the water temperature was 79 degrees.  The sun was just beginning to show itself through a thick river fog. The water clarity exhibited more than 10 feet of visibility. The air temperature was 67 degrees.

We decided to have a leisurely three-mile float downriver, where the vast majority of the fishing would be  in five to nine feet of water, and the river’s floor would be littered with massive  boulders and remnants of  red oak trees.  This is where I fish in the cold-water times, not where I fish late in the summer. But my wife was happy with this decision, and therefore, I was as well. I used this outing to test several baits. My wife used it as an opportunity to take her mind off her managerial duties at her job and to catch fish at a hand-over-fist pace.

My wife used a Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Finesse T.R.D. on an orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, which she retrieved with a swimming-and-intermitten-shake presentation about halfway between the bottom and surface of the river. She regularly coated the Finesse T.R.D. with our customized rendition of Pro-Cure’s Super Gel. She caught 29 large bluegill, three largemouth bass, two channel catfish, and 11 smallmouth bass. She caught those fish during various stages of her retrieve.

I caught 13 smallmouth bass, 11 bluegill, and three largemouth bass with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Dirt ZinkerZ affixed to a pumpkin-orange 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, which I retrieved with a swimming presentation a few inches above the  submerged red oak trees.

I  caught nine smallmouth bass, 13 bluegill, and one largemouth on a Z-Man’s Mudbug  T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a pumpkin-orange 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.  I presented the T.R.D. TubeZ by deadsticking it in any openings that I could see around the maze of red oak trees.

I painted these jigs, and some of the lead on the T.R.D. TubeZ rig was removed.

I am becoming a fan of the 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ and the Mudbug hue.

We fished three hours and 28 minutes.

Sept. 3 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 3 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

This was a short outing at a nearby U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir. I fished from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

A light breeze meandered out of the east and southeast at 3 to 7 mph, and at times, it was calm. The afternoon was bright and sunny. The sky was partly cloudy. The afternoon high was 86 degrees. The morning low was 69 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.98 at 2:00 p.m. and  29.94 at 4:00 p.m.

The water level was normal. The surface temperature was 86 degrees. The water exhibited about two feet of visibility, which was clear enough that I could see the black propeller on the electric trolling motor.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the prime fishing periods occurred from 12:15 a.m. to 2:15 a.m., 6:26 a.m. to 8:26 a.m., and 12:37 p.m. to 2:37 p.m.  I fished the last 37 minutes of the 12:37 p.m. to 2:37 p.m. time period, and I caught two largemouth bass during that short spell.

My total catch was 20 largemouth bass. I momentarily hooked two largemouth bass that liberated themselves before I could grip their lower jaw with my thumb and index finger.  I had another half-dozen strikes that I failed to hook, and after I missed a couple of those bites, I generated another strike by deadsticking the bait for a couple of seconds, and I hooked and landed a couple of those strikes.

During this outing, the boat floated in water as shallow as five feet and as deep as 13 feet.

I spent the entire two hours in the south end of the reservoir near or at the dam.

I used three of the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves, but a swim-glide-and-vigorous-shake presentation enticed all of the strikes, and as I mentioned above, when I failed to hook a strike, I deadsticked the bait for a couple of seconds before I resumed the retrieve.

The only effective bait was a three-inch Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Hula StickZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I also experimented with a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s EZ Money Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The four-inch EZ Money finesse WormZ garnered a couple of tentative strikes, which I failed to hook, and the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ failed to elicit any strikes.

I fished a small portion of a mud flat that was adorned with many yards of partially flooded buck brush,  a thirty-five yard section of riprap along the face of the dam,  and a rocky flat that lies along the east end of the dam.

The short segment of the mud flat yielded 10 largemouth bass. They were abiding in six to eight feet of water and were about 20 feet away from the outside edges of the partially flooded buck brush.

I caught three largemouth bass that were extracted from five to seven feet of water along the thirty-five yard section of riprap on the west end of the dam.

Seven largemouth bass were caught in six to eight feet of water at the rocky flat that lies adjacent to the east end of the dam.

On this outing, I did not catch any hefty largemouth bass. Most of them looked as if they would weigh between one and 1 1/2 pounds. But in my eyes, catching 20 largemouth bass at a heavily fished Corps’ reservoir was a delightful way to spend a couple of hours during the Labor Day weekend.

Sept. 6 log

For years on end, I have been in what some folks call a piscatorial rut. Others might describe it as some sort of an addiction.  The reason for this is that when I am afloat, I only use the basic Midwest finesse rigs and presentations. In essence, I have tossed versatility to the wind.  Consequently, I have not chased a largemouth bass or a smallmouth bass or a spotted bass with a drop-shot rig nor have I chased them with casting rods for a long, long, long time.  So on Sept. 6, I hopped in the back of Ving Thao’s boat in order to see what I have been missing. Thus, this is not a  typical Midwest finesse log.

Ving is a 30-year-old angler from Turner, Kansas, and he is the epitome of piscatorial versatility. In other words, he uses scores of tactics, including a few Midwest finesse ones at times.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 71 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 88 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the south by southeast, and south by southwest at 4 to 28 mph. From 12:53 a.m. to 11:53 a.m. the sky was clear, and from 11:53 a.m. to 3:53 p.m. it alternated from being scattered with clouds to being partly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.96 at 12:53 a.m., 29.98 at 5:53 a.m., 30.02 at 11:53 a.m. and 29.97 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 2:32 a.m. to  4:32 a.m., 2:54 p.m. to 4:54 p.m., and 8:43 a.m. to 10:43 a.m. We were afloat from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at one of the many community reservoirs that grace the landscape of northeastern Kansas.

The water level looked to be normal.  The surface temperature ranged from 81 to 82 degrees. The water was a tad stained with a minor algal bloom, and the water clarity exhibited 2 1/2  to four feet of visibility. This reservoir is adorned with uncountable numbers of patches of coontail, and they are in water as shallow as four feet and in water as deep as 16 feet, and there are some deep-water patches of chara, which Thao finds to be very fruitful spots for yielding largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.  As the algal bloom has developed, the color of the coontail patches has turned from a greenish hue to a brownish one.

Thao spent most of the five hours that we were afloat plying deep-water coontail patches with a drop-shot rig. His rig consisted of a six-inch Roboworm Inc.’s B Hite Delight worm affixed Texas-style onto a No. 2 Roboworm Light Wire Gamakatsu Rebarb Hook. The worm and hook were positioned about 12 inches above a 1/8-ounce tungsten sinker. He wielded it on a spinning rod and reel that was spooled with seven-pound-test fluorocarbon Sunline.

He presented his drop-shot rig by casting it to holes, pockets, points, and outside edges of the patches of coontail. As the rig dropped from the surface to the bottom, he pulled line off of the spool of his spinning reel until the rig reached the bottom.  Then he executed a long but patient drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve.

He spent about an hour plying a long series of deep-water patches of coontail along one shoreline about halfway inside a secondary feeder-creek arm. These patches yielded two largemouth bass.  These largemouth bass were extracted out of 16 feet of water.

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Ving Thao with one of the largemouth bass that he caught at a main-lake point around a patch of coontail on his drop-shot rig.

At another locale, he slowly and painstakingly dissected many patches of coontail along about a 100-yard section of a shoreline  inside a tertiary feeder-creek arm, where his drop-shot rig caught five largemouth bass. These largemouth bass were extracted out of 10 to 16 feet of water.

At another spot, he patiently dissected a series of coontail patches that adorned two main-lake points and a short main-lake shoreline between those two points, and his drop shot rig caught five largemouth bass. These largemouth bass were extracted out of 10 to 17 feet of water.

Inside another tertiary feeder-creek arm, he used his drop-short rig to dissect a series of patches of coontail along a steep shoreline, and it caught two largemouth bass in about 12 feet of water. On the other side of this tertiary feeder-creek arm, he probed a massive series of coontail patches that adorned a flat point, which failed to yield a strike.

For about 40 minutes, he employed some power tactics by wielding  a casting rod that sported a four-inch Strike King Lure Company’s green-pumpkin Rage Space Monkey affixed Texas-style  to a 3/8-ounce Strike King’s Jointed Structure Head. He presented this rig by employing a swim-and-glide retrieve around, over, and through the patches of coontail that adorned a flat in the back of a secondary feeder-creek arm. These patches were covered with four to 12 feet of water. This power rig inveigled seven largemouth bass.

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This is one of the largemouth bass that Thao caught at a flat in the back of a secondary feeder-creek arm on his Rage Space Monkey rig.

For about 10 minutes, he plied a portion of a steep shoreline inside a tertiary feeder-creek arm with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.  It caught one largemouth bass.

In sum, Thao caught 23 largemouth bass. Fifteen were caught on his drop-shot rig. Seven were caught with his power tactics. One was caught on his Finesse T.R.D rig.  His mission was to catch at least five black bass that were longer than 15 inches, and he accomplished that task.

I was amazed at how slowly and thoroughly he dissected the patches of coontail with his drop-shot rig. Time after time throughout this outing, Thao said it takes a lot of patience to employ a drop-shot rig and to catch largemouth bass and smallmouth bass on it.  And I must admit that I was captivated by his patience, thoroughness, and demeanor at dissecting the deep-water patches of coontail with it.

As I watched Thao fish and talked to him about his methods, I eked out 10 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass by strolling or dragging or swimming a variety of green-pumpkin or Junebug Midwest finesse rigs behind the boat. The depth of most of the lairs that he plied was significantly out of my range to efficiently dissect.

In total, we tangled with 33 largemouth bass,  one smallmouth bass, and one walleye.

Sept. 8 log

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 8 outing to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in northeastern Kansas.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The Corps reported that 21 cubic feet per second of water was being released from the dam.  The surface temperature was 79 degrees. The water was a few inches above normal. The water exhibited two feet of visibility.

The Weather Underground reported that the low temperature for the day was 72 degrees.  The high temperature was 83 degrees. It rained .77 inches. The wind angled out of the south by southeast at 6 to 28 mph. While he was afloat, the sky fluctuated from being mostly cloudy to overcast to sunny. The barometric pressure was 29.90 at 2:53 p.m. and 29.86 at 6:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 4:10 a.m. to 6:10 a.m., 4:33 p.m. to 6:33 p.m., and 10:22 a.m. to 12:22 p.m.  He was afloat from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., but he was plagued by equipment woes and managed to fish for two hours and 15 minutes.

I fished a riprap jetty on the main-lake and failed to catch a black bass.

When I fished a 150-yard section of a rocky main-lake shoreline, I caught one largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

On another 200-yard section of rocky shoreline and a main lake point at the mouth of a feeder creek, I caught three smallmouth bass on a green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a blood-red 1/16-ounce Gopher mushroom jig and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig.

At a rocky- and boulder-laden main-lake point and along a 200-yard section of a rocky main-lake shoreline, which is adjacent to the main-lake point, I caught three smallmouth bass on either a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to blood-red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ  affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce  Gopher jig.

At another nearby rocky- and boulder-laden point and a 100-yard section of its adjacent shoreline, I caught 11 smallmouth bass on my Junebug ZinkerZ rig.

Throughout the outing, my boat floated in five to 20 feet of water.  Most of the time, it was floating in eight to 12 feet of water. Most of the strikes occurred 10 to 30 feet from the initial drop, and the smallmouth bass were abiding in four to eight feet of water.  While I was in the process of catching a four-inch green sunfish, a big fish tried to engulf the green sunfish, and ultimately that big fish let go and I continued to reel the green sunfish to the boat.

All of the shorelines and points that I fished were windblown.

I used mainly a swim-and-glide retrieve that was highlighted with an occasional twitch, and at times during the retrieve, I added a pause and deadstick routine.  In fact, the majority of the smallmouth bass were caught when I employed the pause and deadstick phase of the retrieve.  And I started utilizing the pause and deadstick routine after I elicited a paltry strike that failed to catch a fish.

Sept. 9 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News network about his Sept. 9 outing.

Here is a condensed version of his report:

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the river was flowing at 67 cubic feet per second.  The water temperature was 79 degrees at daybreak and 83 degrees at noon. The water exhibited more than 10 feet of visibility.

I decided to get knee-deep in water early and off the water before the midday sun was beaming down on top of me.

At 7:00 a.m., the air temperature was 77 degrees and the humidity was low.  By noon the temperature was a sweltering 93 degrees, the humidity was high, and the sun was shining intensely.

I walked and fished three miles upstream.

I fished three pools, where I concentrated on any middle-of-the-river boulders that had a scoured out depression behind them. I also fished the water in front of the same boulders.  Often times I executed a cast that allowed my Midwest finesse rig to land on top of the boulder, and then I crawled it off of the boulder into the water. I did this to avoid spooking the smallmouth bass.  The depressions have about three feet of water flowing over them. The depth of the water around them is one to two feet.

In addition to the middle-of-the-river boulders, I caught smallmouth bass in the tail-out areas of the three pools.  I call these areas a conveyor belt of food for the smallmouth bass.

As I waded upstream and approached a tail-out section from its downstream side, I made my casts as long as I could muster. These long casts placed my Midwest finesse rig well ahead of the smallmouth bass. I retrieved my rig within 10 feet of where the tail-out area empties into the other pool, and then I completely deadsticked it.

At these tail-out areas, I caught from three to five smallmouth bass, and they were abiding in about two feet of water.

Around the boulders on the flats, I used a three-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a brown-orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.  It caught 27 smallmouth bass, eight big bluegill, and one largemouth bass. These fish engulfed the Finesse WormZ as soon as it hit the bottom, and even before I could place the line on the reel’s roller.

I caught 19 smallmouth bass, two big bluegill, and one hefty rock bass on a presoaked 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s Dirt ZinkerZ affixed to a heavily customized green-pumpkin-orange 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.  Half of the lead was removed from the head of the jig, and it was repainted.  These fish engulfed it on a deadstick presentation.
As always, the barbs were removed from the hooks, and both rigs were covered in my customized rendition of Pro Cure’s Super Gel.

I stepped into the water at 8:12 a.m., and I put my gear into my truck at 11:51 a.m.

Sept. 10 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News network about his Sept. 10 outing.

Here is a condensed version of his report:

At first light, I packed my gear into the truck and hit the dusty road and headed three zip codes away.

It was relatively humid for that time of day and my truck’s thermometer indicated that it was 79 degrees. A fairly dense fog encased the woods around the house. By 9:00 a.m., it was extremely humid, and the sun was ablaze.  By the time I got off the water, it was 93 degrees, and the heat and humidity was subdued only by an infrequent breeze.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the river was flowing at 74 cubic feet per second, which was a significant rise from the flow on Sept. 9, and that rise was the byproduct of a 45-minute downpour. The water temperature at first light was 79 degrees, and by the time I ended the outing, it was 83 degrees.

I fished three visible riffle runs. Each one was 100 yards long. Along the extreme strong sides of these runs, the average depth was three feet, and there were a few spots that were slightly deeper. The bottoms are completely covered with chunky rocks and watermelon-sized boulders.

I walked up the middle of the river. I made my casts upriver, and they were directly in front of me and to my right, which allowed my presentation to be executed in a grid-like pattern on the river’s strong side. After covering the grid, I would slowly begin walking up river to where my last casts landed and repeated the  grid-pattern presentation.

As I waded upstream, I used a Z-Man’s Mudbug T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a heavily modified 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s green-pumpkin- orange Finesse ShroomZ.  It caught 32 smallmouth bass, three big bluegill, and one largemouth bass. These fish engulfed the T.R.D. TubeZ   just after it hit the bottom and as I began a two-hop-and-deadstick presentation.

As I waded downriver, I used a well-worn 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Dirt ZinkerZ affixed to a heavily modified 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s green-pumpkin- orange Finesse ShroomZ.  I stood on the extreme weak side of the river and made my casts downriver and across to the strong side. I would let the ZinkerZ rig travel in a big arc that resembled a U. The fish engulfed it as it reached the end of its downriver flow and began to come back up river. During this U-shaped presentation, I shook the ZinkerZ rig. It caught 27 smallmouth bass, four bluegill, and three rock bass.

I fished for four hours and 53 minutes.

Sept. 10 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

I joined Rick Allen of Dallas at a perplexing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir that lies in two suburbs northwest of the Dallas metropolitan area. Historically, the black bass fishing at this reservoir has always been feast or famine, but for some reason or reasons unknown to us, the fishing at this reservoir has been more trying than usual.

On August 27, Rick and I set a modest goal of catching 30 black bass at this reservoir, and we failed to accomplish that goal. We fished for four hours and 45 minutes and managed to catch only 24 black bass.

On Sept. 10, a third of an inch of rain fell across north-central Texas between 4:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. It remained overcast until 1:00 p.m., and then the sky conditions changed from overcast to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy. By 2:30 p.m., the sun was shining everywhere. The morning low temperature was 63 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 84 degrees. The wind was brisk and blew out of the northwest at 12 to 20 mph.  The barometric pressure measured 30.13 at 11:00 a.m. and 30.03 at 4:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated the best fishing periods would take place between 5:52 a.m. and 7:52 a.m., 11:39 a.m. and 1:39 p.m., and 6:16 p.m. to 8:16 p.m. Rick and I fished from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. We caught only nine black bass during the optimum 11:39 a.m. to 1:39 p.m. time period.

The water was stained and displayed 1 1/2-feet of visibility. The water temperature varied from 80 to 82 degrees. The water level was at normal pool.

On the north side of the reservoir, we sought protection from the wind and fished 13 rocky main-lake points, three buck brush-laden main-lake shorelines, two short stretches of rocky shorelines inside two feeder-creek arms, and an island inside one of the two feeder-creek arms. Along the east end of the reservoir, we dissected two thirds of the dam.

We wielded the following Midwest finesse baits: a Z-Man’s Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ affixed to a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig; a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig; a Z-Man’s Space Guppy Slim SwimZ rigged on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig; a three-inch  Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a Z-Man’s molting craw T.R.D. TubeZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed on a brown and orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ on a brown and orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Six largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught at one of the 13 rocky main-lake points. Another six largemouth bass were caught at three of the other 12 main-lake points.

All 13 of these black bass were abiding in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as eight feet. At another one of these main-lake points, we observed a small school of white bass foraging on three-inch threadfin shad along the surface in 21 feet of water. We caught seven of them before they dispersed, but we failed to locate any black bass at this point.

We failed to find any black bass inhabiting the other nine main-lake points or at any of the three buck brush-laden main-lake shorelines. We also failed to locate any black bass at either of the two short stretches of rocky shorelines inside the two feeder-creek arms or along the island that lies inside one of the two feeder-creek arms.

We finished the outing by plying the sides of a concrete water outlet tower and about two thirds of the dam.

We started near the middle of the dam, where we saw a school of largemouth bass foraging on threadfin shad next to the south side of the concrete water outlet tower, where the water is 21 feet deep. We caught eight largemouth bass before they disappeared. We also hooked and lost a humongous largemouth that was able to dislodge our lure during its third acrobatic jump. This specimen was suspending about eight feet from the surface and next to the south wall of the concrete tower.

We caught another eight largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass from the  riprap along the face of the dam in three to eight feet of water before we called it a day.

IMG_2497

Steve Reideler with a smallmouth bass.

All told, we were delighted to catch 28 largemouth bass, one smallmouth bass, and one spotted bass at this difficult and perplexing waterway. We also caught seven white bass, four large bluegill, and one freshwater drum.

Since the last week of July, the pearl Slim SwimZ and shortened three-inch mud minnow Hula StickZ have been our two most effective lures. But during this outing, the pearl Slim SwimZ rig and steady swimming retrieve caught only two largemouth bass. The shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught only one largemouth bass and one white bass.

The 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ rig caught three largemouth bass, one smallmouth bass, three large bluegills, and one freshwater drum.

IMG_2500

Rick Allen with one of the 28 largemouth bass that they caught.

Our most productive lure was the Z-Man’s blue-glimmer-sparkle GrubZ, which allured 23 of these 30 black bass, six of the seven white bass, and one of the four large bluegills. A slow and steady swimming retrieve allured most of these 23 black bass. A slow swim-and-pause presentation allured several others. The one humongous largemouth bass, that we lost, engulfed the GrubZ as it was allowed to drop next to the concrete water outlet tower wall on the initial fall.

We failed to generate any strikes with the Space Guppy Slim SwimZ, coppertreuse ZinkerZ, molting craw T.R.D. TubeZ, and Junebug Finesse WormZ.  The molting craw T.R.D. TubeZ, four-inch Junebug Finesse WormZ, and ZinkerZ rigs were presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

 Sept. 11 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News network about his Sept. 11 outing.

Here is a condensed version of his report:

The weather during the course of the last three days has been stifling to say the least. But on Sept. 11, we enjoyed a much needed reprieve from the heat and humidity. And while I was afloat in my kayak, the air temperature was 79 degrees, and the sun was shining brightly.

The U.S. Geological Survey indicated that the river was flowing at 74 cubic feet per second.  The water temperature was 77 degrees.

I was afloat at 6:41 a.m. I fished two very different areas.

One is a timber-, stump-, and boulder-laden stretch that is the size of two football fields. This area has an average depth of 11 feet of water on the strong side of the river, and it has three feet of water on the weak side. It looks somewhat like a steep bluff shoreline on a TVA reservoir than a river.

The second area is a massive shallow riffle. Its average depth is three feet. It has visible surface current, a distinct shade line, and low hanging trees that  sporadically drape over the river’s surface.

I fished the timber-, stump-, and boulder-laden water with a three-inch Z-Man’s EZ Money Finesse WormZ affixed to an orange 1/32-ounce Charlie Brewer’s Slider Company’s Crappie Slider jig.  This area will absolutely eat a jig with an exposed hook, which is why I employed this Texas-style rig.  Seventeen smallmouth bass engulfed this rig on the drop in 11 feet of water. I caught 16 smallmouth bass while I executed a do-nothing retrieve about five to six feet under the surface, and these smallmouth bass engulfed this rig just after it made contact with some of the timber.

Upon arriving at the riffle, I caught four smallmouth bass on my first five casts and retrieves in two feet of water on a three-inch Z-Man’s dirt Finesse WormZ affixed to a brown-orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

As I moved up the riffle, I got out of my kayak and pushed my stakeout pole into the bottom, which anchored it. I fished this entire run on foot.  As I walked upriver, I used the dirt Finesse WormZ rig, and as I walked on my return trip downriver, I used a three-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.  I caught 37 smallmouth bass as I walked upriver, and I caught nine as I walked back to the anchored kayak.  I retrieved the Finesse WormZ rigs with a slow do-nothing presentation along the bottom. A great many of these smallmouth bass were caught as I began the retrieve, and seven of them engulfed the initial drop.

I fished five hours and six minutes.

Sept. 11 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 11 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

I conducted a three-hour solo outing at a fruitful U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the prime fishing periods would occur from 12:26 a.m. to 2:26 a.m., 6:38 a.m. to 8:38 a.m., and 7:04 p.m. to 9:04 p.m. I was afloat from noon to 3:00 p.m.

It was a magnificent late-summer day. The morning low temperature was 63 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 86 degrees. The sun was ablaze in a cloudless and  powder-blue sky. A light breeze quartered out of the east by southeast at 2 to 5 mph, and for several long spells, it was calm. The barometric pressure measured 29.83 at noon and 29.75 at 3:00 p.m.

The water was stained and displayed about two feet of visibility. The water level was normal. The water temperature ranged from 82 to 85 degrees. When the wind was calm, the surface of the water was as smooth as glass.

I spent all three hours in the lower section of the reservoir’s east tributary arm.

This outing commenced at a main-lake point and a short section of its adjacent main-lake shoreline in the vicinity of the boat ramp. This point is shallow and rocky, but it eventually plummets into 27 feet of water. The adjacent shoreline is also shallow and rocky, and it is lined with the remnants of partially flooded buck brush. I caught two largemouth bass at the point, and I failed to yield any strikes along its adjacent shoreline. Both of these largemouth  bass were caught in four to six feet of water. They were caught on a Z-Man’s blue-glimmer-sparkle GrubZ affixed on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig that was slowly and steadily retrieved just underneath the surface of the water. I also slowly strolled a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig back and forth across a 35-yard section of the adjacent shoreline in six to eight feet of water, but I failed to garner any strikes.

The next spot was a large main-lake shoreline where the east and west tributary arms join together. This locale has been the most fruitful area on this reservoir since July 28, but it was not as fruitful today. And as I was motoring across the tributary arm toward this area, I encountered a small school of white bass that were foraging on threadfin shad along the surface in 47 feet of water. I was able to catch one of them on the blue- glimmer-sparkle GrubZ with a steady swimming retrieve just before they disappeared.

This large main-lake shoreline is about 300 yards long, and it consists of five main-lake points and three main-lake flats. This entire area is enhanced with large rocks and boulders, a couple of submerged laydowns, two submerged concrete building foundations, and thick patches of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation.

Upon my arrival, I noticed that this area was already occupied by four other boat anglers. I concentrated on the largest of the five main-lake points and a large and rocky main-lake flat adjacent to this point.

I did not spend any time fishing the east side of the point. The tip of the point surrendered one largemouth bass. A rock ledge on the west side of the point yielded 18 largemouth bass.

Most of these largemouth bass were caught on the shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ rig that was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve. A few of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ attached to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig that was slowly hopped and bounced down the rock ledge. All of these largemouth bass were abiding in five to 12 feet of water, and they were about 20 to 30 feet away from the outside edge of the flooded vegetation.

The large flat adjacent to the point surrendered five largemouth bass and three spotted bass. This flat is adorned with large rocks and boulders, two submerged concrete building foundations, and thick patches of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation. Six of these black bass were caught in three to five feet of water on the pearl Slim SwimZ rig and a slow swim-and-pause presentation. Two bass were caught on the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ and a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve.  All of them were associated with the two submerged concrete building foundations.

From that main-lake point and flat, I moved northward to a 50-yard stretch of a rocky main-lake shoreline and its adjacent rocky point. This shoreline is enhanced with flooded terrestrial vegetation, a few scattered stumps, baseball-size rocks, and a submerged roadbed. Flooded bushes outline both sides of the roadbed. The adjacent point is littered with rocks and thick patches of terrestrial vegetation. I failed to elicit any strikes along the submerged roadbed and rocky shoreline. I caught one channel catfish on the adjacent point in eight feet of water that aggressively attacked the mud minnow Hula StickZ rig and a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

My last spot was a large main-lake flat graced with numerous yards of flooded terrestrial vegetation. This flat yielded only one largemouth bass and one spotted bass, and they were relating to  the outside edges of the flooded terrestrial vegetation in five to seven feet of water. The three-inch mud minnow Hula StickZ rig and a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation inveigled both of these bass.

Overall, it was a delightful afternoon to be afloat. I caught 31 largemouth bass and spotted bass in three hours. I also caught one white bass and inadvertently caught one catfish. I failed to land four other bass and failed to hook several short strikes.

The shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ and a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation caught 19 black bass and one catfish.

The pearl Slim SwimZ and either a swim-and-pause retrieve or a hop-and-bounce retrieve caught 10 black bass.

The Z-Man’s blue-glimmer-sparkle GrubZ and slow steady swimming retrieve caught two largemouth bass and one white bass.

 Sept. 12 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News network about his Sept. 12 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

In my mind, the smallmouth fishing on a small West Virginia river rarely gets any better than what occurred during this outing.
It was 57 degrees during the early morning hours, and I donned my Z-Man’s hooded sweatshirt, which I wore for an hour during  the upriver trek in the kayak.  The oppressive humidity that had plagued us had disappeared. The sun was a full on blaze without a cloud in sight for the entire day. By noon, the air temperature had reached a comfortable 81 degrees.

I knew from the get go that it would not be an easy outing. I was headed upriver to some areas that I had not seen for about eight years. It entailed traversing a lot of bony water, where I had to drag my Jackson Big Tuna kayak over miles of riffles or use my push pole.  And when I headed downriver, I suspected that my skills with a paddle would be tested. One of the major obstacles on the downriver trip would be dealing with the shade lines that hide the boulders.

It was a long day and not suited for the faint of heart. It was pure work, but it became mighty enjoyable by the time I was sitting in my garage and reflecting on it and compiling this report.

The U.S. Geological Survey indicated that the river was flowing at 69 cubic feet per second.  The water temperature was 73 degrees. The water exhibited 12 feet of visibility.

This outing was a lot more arduous than my Aug. 30 one, which made me feel like Huckleberry Finn. I paddled four more miles than I did on Aug. 30.  It was pure work.

I launched my kayak at 8:11 a.m., and I was glad I decided to keep the sweatshirt on. I paddled, dragged, lifted, and push-poled my way upriver. I saw a large black bear crossing the river an hour and eleven minutes into my journey. That provoked me to put down the paddle and watch the bear.

I did not make a cast until I was beyond where I stopped fishing on Aug. 30, and that was three hours and 11 minutes after I launched the kayak.

After I passed the Aug. 30 spot, I immediately started looking for depth changes, shade lines around deep water, and large boulders that had a deep hole behind them.

I spotted nothing, and I kept going.

After I had caught only nine rather puny smallmouth bass, I questioned my sanity three times, thinking that I should turn around and float home.
But I kept going, and when I rounded a bend, I arrived at a 300-yard stretch of the river and a waterfall at the head of it.  And as I continued to paddle upriver on its weak side to the waterfall, I was discovering that I had arrived at nirvana.

There were massive pods of smallmouth bass suspended halfway between the bottom and surface, and they were virtually motionless.

I approached the waterfall cautiously, not knowing if the water would be a foot deep or three feet deep. Right below this waterfall, the water was bottle-water clear.  There is a pond-like area the size of two tennis courts. I could see a number of underwater ridges and massive boulders sitting in 12 or more feet of water.

Upon reaching the waterfall, I pushed my stakeout pole into the extreme weak side and went to work in the pool below the waterfall.

In this pool,  I used a three-inch Z-Man’s dirt Finesse WormZ affixed to a brown-orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a three-inch Z-Man’s EZ Money Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and a three-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. All three were equally effective; they caught 91 smallmouth bass. Those 91 smallmouth bass plus the nine that I caught before I arrived at the waterfall added up to 100 smallmouth bass.

Upon catching smallmouth bass No. 91, I decided to float downriver. As I gently began floating back downriver, I made a cast to a distinct shade line and where I could not see the bottom. I did it with a Z-Man’s mudbug T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a heavily modified 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. On my first cast, I caught a hefty smallmouth bass before the T.R.D. TubeZ got within two feet of the bottom. I dissected this spot for 20 minutes with my T.R.D. TubeZ rig, and I caught seven more smallmouth bass, and none of them were smaller than 17 inches.

After catching smallmouth bass No. 108, I floated downstream and eventually loaded my kayak on the truck at 5:41 p.m.

Sept. 13 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News network about his Sept. 13 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

This outing was a radical departure from my all-day affair on Sept. 13.

I tended to some household duties from early morning until around noon.

Initially, I had intended to walk upriver, but I decided a simple paddle upriver and drift back would be a better tactic.

When I launched the kayak, it was a humid 91 degrees. There was not a cloud in the sky.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the river was flowing at 66 cubic feet per second, which is the lowest it has been all season. The water clarity was looking-glass clear, exhibiting 12 feet of visibility. At daylight the water temperature was 72 degrees; when I was afloat, it was 80 degrees.

I wanted to test the drop rates of two rigs: Z-Man’s mudbug T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a heavily modified 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-orange Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a heavily modified 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. A good portion of the lead is removed from the bottom of the head of the Finesse ShroomZ jig, making it a 1/32-ounce jig.

I caught 16 smallmouth bass, nine green sunfish, two rock bass, and one largemouth bass on the T.R.D. TubeZ rig. I caught 13 smallmouth bass, nine big bluegill and two rock bass on the 2 1/4-inch Finesse T.R.D. rig. Every fish engulfed these rigs on the initial drop, and all of them were abiding in the shade and in a few feet of water.

I launched the kayak at 12:23 p.m., and I was sitting in our garage at 2:51 p.m.

Sept. 13 log

Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, called at 10:30 a.m. and said it had been raining since 4:00 a.m.  He noted that more than two inches of rain had fallen at many locales around Topeka, and a flash flood alert had been declared. I was amazed because hardly a drop of rain had fallen where Patty and I live in Lawrence, Kansas, and as the proverbial crow flies, we are about 21 miles east of Topeka.

The black bass fishing at many of the reservoirs in northeastern Kansas have been adversely affected by the abnormal amount of precipitation that has fallen in 2016. For instance, the Weather Underground notes that 36.54 inches of precipitation has fallen in Topeka as of Sept. 13, which is 8.37 inches above normal. But it is interesting to note that the Weather Underground reports that its rain gauge in Lawrence is 2.28 inches below normal.

In addition to the murky and high-water conditions at many of our reservoirs, some of them have been waylaid by potent algal blooms, which are a byproduct of some of the deluges.

Holscher is a talented multispecies guide and veteran Midwest finesse angler.  In July and August, he used to spend his guiding days in pursuit of channel catfish, but he stopped guiding for channel catfish several summers ago. He also used to spend some of his summer days pursuing white bass, but our populations of white bass have deteriorated to a level that they are not worth pursuing. So nowadays, he essentially takes a vacation from guiding during the sweltering days in July and August. Therefore, he has guided for black bass only a few times this summer. But during the next six to eight weeks, he has scores of clients that want to fish with him.  So, he wanted to search for some areas that had not been totally fouled by Mother Nature’s rainy ways. To accomplish this task, he asked me to join him for a short reconnaissance outing at one of the five northeastern Kansas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs.  He said the weather forecasts indicated that it would not rain on us, and upon hearing that, I said I would join him.

As we drove to the reservoir, the rain stopped once we were about six miles outside of the city limits of Topeka, and we were not rained upon until we were on our trip home, and when we were about nine miles from Topeka’s city limits, it began raining upon us.

In the vicinity of this reservoir’s primary watershed, the Weather Underground reported that it was 68 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 84 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The wind blew at 3 to 16 mph from nearly every angle of a compass.  It rained and thunderstormed from 2:53 a.m. to 5:53 a.m., and then the sky fluctuated from being mostly cloudy to overcast to scattered with clouds.  While we were afloat, the sun was shining almost incessantly, but massive amounts of cumulonimbus clouds were abundant to the north, east, and west of the reservoir. The barometric pressure was 29.93 at 12:53 a.m., 29.92 at 5:87 a.m., 30.05 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.04 at 3:53 p.m.

The water level was 2.22 feet above normal. The Corps was releasing 20 cubic feet per second from the dam.  The water clarity exhibited about three feet of visibility at the dam, and it diminished to about one foot of visibility four miles above the dam. (We could not determine if the stained water was the result of an algal bloom or the various deluges of rain.) The surface temperature ranged from 76 degrees to 79 degrees. Many of the shorelines and points were lined with flooded terrestrial vegetation.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 8:06 a.m. to 10:06 a.m., 8:32 p.m. to 10:32 p.m., and 1:53 a.m. to 3:53 a.m. We were afloat from 12:30 p.m. to 4:10 p.m.

We began the outing by fishing a flat main-lake point and its adjacent shorelines. The underwater terrain of this point consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders.  At spots, there are significant piles of rocks and boulders.  The point and its shorelines contained hundreds of flooded buttonbush bushes, willow trees, sycamore trees, and cottonwood trees.  There were a couple of schools of gizzard shad and some brook silversides milling about around this point, but it was not an overabundance of gizzard shad. (It is interesting to note that we have found for years on end that it is difficult for us to catch largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in an area that contains vast numbers of gizzard shad.) This area yielded 11 smallmouth bass and white bass, and we failed to hook a number of strikes. Two of the smallmouth bass regurgitated a gizzard shad in the midst of our donnybrooks with them. Most of the smallmouth bass were caught around the flooded vegetation. A few were caught from 10 feet to 10 yards from the outside edge of the vegetation. We caught them on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s The Deal T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and a 1/4-ounce Yakima Bait Company’s Classy Vibric Rooster Tail.  Two of the smallmouth bass engulfed our rigs on the initial drop. Some were caught when we were employing a drag-and-deadstick presentation. Some were caught on a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation. A few were caught on a straight swimming presentation. These fish were abiding in two to five feet of water.

DSCN1289

Clyde Holscher with a smallmouth bass that was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

The second spot we fished was a shallow, main-lake, and offshore hump, which is littered with boulders and piles of rock that are covered with four to five feet of water. We failed to catch a smallmouth bass at this hump, but it yielded a hefty freshwater drum.

The third spot was a submerged rock fence on a secondary point in the back of a feeder-creek arm. We failed to elicit a strike along this fence.

Our fourth spot was another secondary point in the back of a feeder-creek arm. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The point was embellished with flooded buttonbush bushes. A pair of these bushes yielded four smallmouth bass. Two were caught on a Z-Man’s The Deal T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig that was employed with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation. One was caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One was caught on a Z-Man’s pearl Rain MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.  These smallmouth bass were abiding in about three feet of water. We dissected a short stretch of this point’s adjacent shorelines, which possess the same characteristics of the point, but we failed to elicit a strike along the shorelines.

The fifth spot was a rocky hump and submerged roadbed inside a tertiary feeder-creek arm. It failed to yield a strike.

Our sixth spot was another secondary point and its adjacent shorelines in the back of a feeder-creek arm. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. This point and one of its shorelines are adorned with buttonbush bushes. Its other shoreline is considerably steeper, and it is devoid of flooded terrestrial vegetation.  We did not garner a strike at this spot.

The seventh spot was a rocky and boulder-laden main-lake point with a few patches of flooded buttonbush bushes. We caught one smallmouth bass between two buttonbush bushes in about three feet of water on the initial drop of a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught another smallmouth bass on a Z-Man’s redbone SwimmerZ affixed to a 1/8-ounce underspin jig with a straight swimming retrieve in about three feet of water around a series of massive boulders. We caught one smallmouth bass on a Z-Man’s The Deal T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig around the boulders in about three feet of water.

Our eighth spot was a minor main-lake point and its adjacent shoreline. The underwater terrain is gravel that is littered with occasional patches of boulders. It is a shallow-water area.  The boat floated in five to seven feet of water. The point yielded a channel catfish and no black bass. Where the shoreline made a significant bend, we caught two smallmouth bass on the 1/4-ounce Yakima Bait Company’s Classy Vibric Rooster Tail with a  straight swimming retrieve and two largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s pearl Rain MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.  The two largemouth bass were in two to three feet of water about five feet from a buttonbush bush. The smallmouth bass were in three feet of water, and the terrain was gravel.

Our ninth spot was a rock- and boulder-laden secondary point and ledge inside a major feeder-creek arm. It failed to yield a fish. We also dissected one of the adjacent shorelines, which consist of gravel, rock, and boulders, as well as patches of buttonbush bushes, willow trees, sycamore trees, and cottonwood trees.  We caught one smallmouth bass by dragging and deadsticking a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in six to seven feet of water.

The tenth spot was a massive flat and shallow point inside the major feeder-creek arm. It is laden with rock and boulder piles. The boat floated in six feet of water.  We caught two smallmouth bass in about four feet of water by employing a straight swimming retrieve with the 1/4-ounce Yakima Bait Company’s Classy Vibric Rooster Tail.

Our eleventh stop of the outing occurred at a relatively flat and shallow point inside the major feeder-creek arm. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It is also blessed with a  few patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation.  Initially, we tried to catch smallmouth bass on this point’s shallow offshore rock and boulder piles, but that was not fruitful. Ultimately, we caught three smallmouth bass and one freshwater drum around the boulders and rocks that adorn the water’s edge in around two feet of water. They were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve.

The twelfth spot was an offshore hump that is covered with four to seven feet of water. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, and stumps. We did not elicit a strike at this locale.

The thirteenth area we fished was a main-lake point and one of its adjacent shorelines and secondary points. It is a flat and rocky terrain. Untold numbers of flooded buttonbush bushes, willow trees, sycamore trees, and cottonwood trees grace the water’s edge.  We failed to elicit a strike at the points and shoreline.

Our final stop of the outing was along a 150-yard stretch of the dam’s riprap. This was the clearest water that we fished. We caught seven smallmouth bass and had nearly a dozen strikes that we failed to hook. These smallmouth bass were abiding in two to five feet of water. One was caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve. One was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve. Five were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve.

In total, we caught 33 smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass in three hours and 40 minutes. We inadvertently caught two freshwater drum and one white bass. We had a significant number of strikes that we failed to hook. We failed to get a strike on a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and a significantly shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Saw Tail WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. As we were making our last casts and retrieves, we noted that this short reconnaissance outing did not pay us a lot of piscatorial dividends or provide us with any remarkable insights to what is transpiring with the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass that abide in this reservoir.  Therefore, Holscher and I have plans to venture to another reservoir in the near future in hopes that it will be a more fruitful waterway for him and his clients to fish during the next six to eight weeks.

Sept. 14 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

From 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., I fished at a nearby U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir. I have not fished this reservoir since Aug. 29, when  Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, and I caught and released 41 largemouth bass and spotted bass.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the most productive fishing periods would most likely take place between 2:45 a.m. and 4:45 a.m., 8:59 a.m. and 10:59 a.m., and 9:25 p.m. and 11:25 p.m.

The sky was overcast for most of the time that I was afloat, and it became partly cloudy by 10:30 a.m. The morning low temperature was 71 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 88 degrees. It was extremely humid and the wind was calm, which made the air feel thick and sticky. The barometric pressure measured 29.75 at 7:58 a.m. and 29.79 at 10:58 a.m.

The water temperature ranged from 81 to 83 degrees. The water was stained and exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was less than a foot low. Because the wind was calm, the surface of the reservoir was calm.

I spent half of the time in the south end of the east tributary arm of the reservoir, where I fished two main-lake flats and the riprap along two sections of the dam. The other half of this outing was spent in the southwest tributary arm, where I plied two rocky main-lake points that are endowed with either a dilapidated boat ramp or a submerged roadbed, a bridge embankment covered with riprap, and seven large concrete support columns underneath a bridge.

I caught and released 31 largemouth bass in three hours.

I began the outing in the southern portion of the east tributary arm at a large and shallow main-lake flat that lies in close proximity to the dam. This flat is comprised mostly of clay and gravel, and it is covered with partially flooded terrestrial vegetation that forms several long and thick walls. I shared this area with three other boat anglers, and they were flipping and pitching 10-inch plastic worms and large jig-and-craw rigs into the thick walls of flooded vegetation.

I caught 26 largemouth bass from a short 35-yard stretch of this flat, where I saw some largemouth bass foraging sporadically on a large school of two-inch threadfin shad in less than six feet of water. All of these largemouth bass were relating to the deep-water side of a long wall of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation and bushes.

Fifteen of these 26 bass were caught on a shortened three-inch Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. This combo was maneuvered through the openings and pockets in the flooded vegetation with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.  A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig was also pitched into small pockets and openings along the edges of the flooded vegetation, and it was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation and caught six largemouth bass. Three others were caught on a Z-Man’s blue-glimmer-sparkle GrubZ attached to a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.  This rig was presented to the more aggressively feeding bass with a slow and steady do-nothing swimming retrieve parallel to the outside edges of the vegetation.  A Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig was also presented to the more actively feeding bass with a moderately-paced steady swimming retrieve just underneath the surface of the water, and it caught two largemouth bass.

After I fished the main-lake flat, I dissected the submerged riprap on the west and east ends of the dam. I wielded the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ and 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigs. I was unable to locate any shad inhabiting the riprap along the face of the dam, and I failed to elicit any strikes.

From the dam, I moved to a rocky flat that lies adjacent to the east end of the dam. I observed a couple of small pods of shad hovering in shallow water close to the water’s edge. I continued to wield the mud minnow Hula StickZ and 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigs, and I caught two largemouth bass on the mud minnow Hula StickZ with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retreive.

Next, I moved to the midsection of the southwest tributary arm, where I plied two rocky man-lake points endowed with either a dilapidated boat ramp or a submerged roadbed, a riprap-laden bridge embankment, and seven large concrete support columns underneath a bridge. I was unable to find any concentrations of threadfin shad, and I caught only three largemouth bass in this part of the tributary arm.

I caught one largemouth bass at one of the two main-lake points. This bass was caught in three feet of water along the edge of a submerged roadbed that graces one of the two main-lake points. It was caught on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The other point that is endowed with a dilapidated boat ramp failed to yield any strikes.

Another largemouth bass was caught in five feet of water from a short stretch of riprap along a bridge embankment. It was also caught on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ and a slow swim-glide-and shake presentation.

The last bass of the outing was caught off the side of one of the concrete support pilings underneath a bridge.  The bridge piling is surrounded by 15 feet of water, and this bass was suspended about six feet below the surface and next to the side of the concrete support column. It engulfed the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig as it was slowly jigged vertically next to the side of the column.

In sum, the lower end of the east tributary arm was more fruitful than the midsection of the southwest tributary arm. The east tributary arm yielded 28 of the 31 largemouth bass.

The fishing started off at a good pace and I caught 26 largemouth bass during the first hour and 15 minutes of the outing. Many of them were aggressively feeding on two-inch threadfin shad in less than six feet of water. But those feeding sprees were sporadic and short in duration. As the morning progressed, I moved to the southwest tributary arm of the reservoir, which is usually a fruitful area to ply. I was unable to locate any large aggregations of shad in this tributary arm, and I caught only three bass in this tributary arm.

I suspect that the lack of wind and water movement had an adverse effect on the fishing, and as the overcast sky began to clear and the sun began to shine, it made the fishing even more trying.

Sept. 14 log

Burton Bosley of Sutton, West Virginia, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 14 outing.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

At the request of a local professional angler, I fished with him on the Ohio River on Sept. 14.

Finesse News Network members know from the reports posted by Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, that we have some great smallmouth bass streams.  In fact, our state record smallmouth bass, which weighed 9.75 pounds, was caught in a stream.

The Ohio River, however, is a notoriously stingy river, and I thought it would be a great test of the little baits. My partner for the day stipulated that I use Midwest finesse rigs and tactics while he concentrated on other techniques.

We started our outing just above a set of locks on the downstream end of a pool and finished more than 20 miles upstream to the head of this pool where it is terminated in another set of locks.

In nine hours of fishing, we caught 15 black bass, and five of them were longer than 12 inches.

After cycling through Z-Man’s Hula StickZs, Finesse T.R.D.s, and Finesse ShadZs, I finally settled on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/15-ounce  Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

My friend in the front of the boat caught his keeper after switching to the little rig.  We caught three around barges and three near vegetation.

While many would cringe at this scanty string, I found it challenging and a very good test of the efficacy of the little baits and it was fun to be on this stretch of water that played a significant role in the settling of our country.

My friend did cash a check in the 100-boat tourney.

Sept. 14 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News network about his Sept. 14 outing with his wife.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

I was pleasantly surprised last evening when my favorite fishing partner asked if I wanted to go fishing with her. Before that request, I had been planning to partake in an excruciatingly long trek that is two zip codes away, but that plan will have to wait. What’s more, my body could use the rest, and therefore I jumped at the chance for a leisurely outing.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the river was flowing at 64 cubic feet per second, which is the lowest it has been all season, and I suspect it will drop to an unheard of upper 50s by the weekend. The water temperature was 73 degrees during the early morning hours, and it was 80 degrees when we ended our outing. The water exhibited 12 feet of visibility.

The sun was a full on blaze for our entire outing. The air temperature climbed to 92 degrees, and we welcomed some soothing wind gusts, which occurred about every 20 to 30 minutes.

During most of our outing, we fished parallel to steep cliff walls that provided plenty of shade for us to probe. As we floated, we saw some behemoth carp and catfish that were abiding well into the depths of the river near the massive logs, stumps, and boulders that paint the river’s bottom.

Along these cliff walls, I used a 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s  mud minnow Finesse T.R.D. on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce  Gopher jig. I retrieved these rigs in 10 to 12 or more feet of water.   I caught the majority of my smallmouth bass at the beginning of my retrieve when I was  incessantly shaking my rod.

My wife used a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. on an orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. For all but the last few casts of the outing, she employed the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve well into the depths of the river.

As always, all of the barbs on our hooks were removed, and our rigs were covered with my customized rendition of Pro-Cure’s Super Gel scent every 15-30 minutes.
Along the cliff walls, my Finesse WormZ rigs caught 23 smallmouth bass, 17 green sunfish, seven largemouth bass, and six rock bass. Both of our rigs were equally effective.

My wife caught 18 smallmouth bass, three largemouth bass, 31 green sunfish, 16 bluegill, and two rock bass.

Upon reaching the end of the massive cliff walls, I suggested that we spend sometime around some of the large trees up ahead. These trees jut out from the steep shoreline and their branches provide a thick and shady canopy to the world beneath them. The water beneath the canopy has an average depth of 12 feet.

We used a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s mudbug Finesse T.R.D. on a heavily modified Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-orange 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. This rig has recently been producing some very handsome brutes for me, and we suspected that its slow rate of fall may entice some reluctant midday smallmouth bass that are abiding under the canopy.

On our third casts, both of us simultaneously hooked a handsome smallmouth bass. Both had followers of like size. All of these smallmouth bass had been hunkered down under the canopy provided by the overhanging tree.

After we took photographs of the two smallmouth bass and released them, we called it a day. We fished three hours and 49 minutes.

Sept. 15 log

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 15 outing at one of the five U. S. Army Corp of Engineers’ reservoirs in northeastern Kansas.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 9:40 a.m. to 11:40 a.m., 10:07 p.m. to 12:07 a.m., and 3:27 a.m. to 5:27 a.m. I fished from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Area thermometers were in the mid-70s. The sky was overcast. A light breeze angled out of the southeast. During the night of Sept. 14 and 15, a rain gage at one of the reservoir’s campgrounds collected 1 7/8 inches of rainfall.

Because of the rain, I was not sure what to expect with the water clarity, but it was pretty clear, exhibiting about two feet of visibility.  The water level appeared to be about eight inches above normal.

I fished four main-lake points, about 500 yards of rocky shorelines, and the backs of two coves.

Along the first stretch of rocky shoreline, I caught one smallmouth bass and one green sunfish on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  On an adjacent point to this shoreline, I caught one smallmouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

At the back of a cove, I inadvertently caught a sauger on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s  Junebug Finesse WormZ on a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.  This fish was abiding in about 12 inches of water at the very back of the cove.

At the next point, I caught seven largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass. I also inadvertently caught six green sunfish and one bluegill.  About half of these fish were caught on the Junebug ZinkerZ rig and the other half were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a  chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s  Finesse ShroomZ jig.

At the next point, I caught one smallmouth bass on the Junebug ZinkerZ rig.

During the last 40 minutes that I was afloat, I did not catch any fish at the other areas that I fished. The sauger was the only fish that I caught on my Junebug Finesse WormZ.

I caught a total of seven largemouth bass, six smallmouth bass, one sauger, one bluegill, and seven green sunfish.

 Sept. 16 log

Walt Tegtmeier of Leawood, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 16 outing to one of the community reservoirs that grace the greater Kansas City metropolitan area.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

It was a slow Friday at work. With a short window of time but nothing that sounded better to do, I set out to see how many fish I could catch in two hours or less in a light rain. I actually fished from 12:10 p.m. until the rain chased me off at 1:45 p.m.

The Weather Underground reported that the low temperature was 69 degrees and the high temperature was 70 degrees.  From 12:52 a.m. to 11:53 p.m., the wind blew from 3 to 31 mph from nearly every angle of the compass. The sky alternated from being clear to mostly cloudy to raining to partly cloudy to overcast. The barometric pressure was 29.95 at 12:53 a.m., 29.97 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.96 at 1:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicted the best fishing would occur from 10:46 a.m. to 12:46 p.m., 4:33 a.m. to 6:33 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The water level looked about a foot above normal, with less than a foot of visibility, but with all the rain we’ve had I was surprised it was not too roiled. There was no wind to speak of when I began. But ultimately, the wind combined with the rain chased me off the water.

I started fishing at the northwest corner of the dam, focusing on a dock and the patches of American water willows in the corner. From the corner, I fished about 50 yards of the west end of the dam. I caught four largemouth bass near the dock on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. I also used a shortened Z-Man’s California Craw Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig along the 50-yard stretch of the dam, and it failed to elicit a strike.

Then I tried the spillway, where there was a significant amount of water flowing over the top. I caught one largemouth bass around a patch of American water willows near the spillway’s wall. I caught one largemouth bass about 10 feet from the spillway’s wall. These largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig.

Then the rain stopped, and so did the bites.

I then tried the first main-lake point on the east side of the reservoir, where there are a lot of patches of American water willows. And I failed to catch a fish.

From that main-lake point, I ventured to a steep shoreline along the east side of the reservoir’s upper reaches.  When the rain resumed, I caught six largemouth bass and one green sunfish along patches of American water willows on the Finesse ShadZ rig.

My final spot was back at the northwest corner of the dam, where I caught seven more largemouth bass on the Finesse ShadZ rig.

I had hoped to fish until 2:15 p.m., but the rain and wind, as well as fears of slow traffic in the rain, made me trailer up and head home to get my son from school.

I finished the outing with 19 largemouth bass, two of which were very nice. Every fish came on the Finesse ShadZ.

Sept. 19 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his fruitful outing on Sept. 19.

Here is an edited version of his log:

John Thomas of Denton, Texas, joined me for a three-hour-and-45-minute outing at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas. I last fished this reservoir on Sept. 11 and caught 31 largemouth bass and spotted bass during that three-hour endeavor.

The fall solstice is just three days away, but Sept. 19 felt more like mid-July than mid-September.  It was scorching hot and humid. The morning low temperature was 73 degrees and the afternoon high climbed to 98 degrees with a heat index of 105 degrees. The barometric pressure was steady at 29.93. When we first launched the boat, a light wind angled out of the south at 3 to 5 mph, and the wind ceased at about 10:00 a.m. The sun was bright and intense, and the sky was cloudless.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the most fruitful fishing periods would take place between 1:04 a.m. and 3:04 a.m., 7:17 a.m. and 9:17 a.m., and 1:31 p.m. and 3:31 p.m. John and I were afloat in the southern portion of the reservoir from 8:00 a.m. to 1:45 a.m.

The water was stained and exhibited about two feet of visibility. The water temperature was 82 degrees. The water level was normal.

We started the outing in the southeast end of the reservoir. We fished a rocky main-lake point and its adjacent clay and gravel flat. This point and its adjacent flat are adorned with the remnants of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation, which is standing in two to three feet of water. We caught seven largemouth bass. Two of them were caught in two to three feet of water along the east side of the point. Five largemouth bass were caught on the flat in two to four feet of water. All seven of these bass were caught on a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. This combo was presented with a steady swimming retrieve just underneath the surface of the water, and the strikes were quite aggressive.

After we finished plying the main-lake point and its adjacent flat, we made a short run to the mid-section of the dam. The dam lies along the southern perimeter of the reservoir. We plied all four sides of a large concrete water outlet tower that is surrounded by 44 to 51 feet of water. We also fished a shallow rock ledge and a 35-yard section of riprap along the dam.

The concrete tower has become one of our favorite spots at this reservoir this time of year, and its four sides relinquished 51 largemouth bass and spotted bass that were suspended about four to 12 feet below the surface. We wielded the pearl Slim SwimZ rig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We circled the tower and made our casts perpendicular and as close to the concrete walls as we could. We then allowed our baits to drop straight down and next to the walls on a semi-slack line for about six to eight seconds before we began a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve. Many strikes occurred on the initial drop. The pearl Slim SwimZ combo caught 14 largemouth bass and spotted bass. The shortened Mud Minnow Hula StickZ rig beguiled 20 largemouth bass and spotted bass. The 2 1/2-inch pearl ZinkerZ combo caught 17 largemouth bass and spotted bass. We lost several bass that were able to pull free before we could hoist them into the boat. A couple of others were able to jettison our lures when they leaped and cartwheeled across the surface of the water.  We failed to hook about a dozen other strikes.

After we finished fishing the concrete water outlet tower, we turned our attentions to the nearby shallow rock ledge and a 35-yard section of riprap along the dam. This rock ledge has been a very productive spot for us over the past few weeks, but during this outing, we were unable to elicit a single strike.

The 35-yard section of riprap along the dam yielded only two largemouth bass and one freshwater drum. The two largemouth bass were caught on a pearl Slim SwimZ rig and a steady swimming retrieve just underneath the surface of the water. The freshwater drum engulfed the 2 1/2-inch pearl ZinkerZ with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.  These fish were caught in three to eight feet of water.

From the dam we moved about a mile northward, where we fished a large main-lake flat and three main-lake points. Between 10:00 a.m. and noon, there was a lull in the wind, and the surface of the water became calm. And during this lull, the fishing became more difficult.

The underwater terrain of these three main-lake points consists of clay, gravel, fist-size rocks, and three shallow rock ledges. The longest and most prominent of these three points is graced with thick patches of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation. The east side of that point is shallow and covered with three to five feet of water. The west side is steeper and plunges into 27 feet of water. The other two main-lake points are situated about a quarter of a mile west of the largest one. Both of them are smaller, shallower, and covered with three to 10 feet of water. And they are endowed with a rock ledge and a few scattered boulders.

We caught eight largemouth bass from the shallow rock ledge along the steep west side of the largest point in four to eight feet of water. They were caught on a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rig. We lost two other largemouth bass at the other two main-lake points. They were able to unfetter themselves from our shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rigs when they jumped out of the water.

The large main-lake flat was a bit more fruitful. It is also shallow and rocky, and it is also enhanced with two submerged concrete building foundations and a long wall of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation. This flat yielded 15 largemouth bass and spotted bass. They were all caught on our shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rigs that were presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.  Some of the black bass were abiding in three to five feet of water and associated with the outside edges of some of the thick patches of partially-flooded vegetation. Others were extracted from six to eight feet of water and were about 15 to 20 feet away from the outside edges of the partially-flooded vegetation. A couple of them were relating to the sides of two boulders.

Overall, it was a delightful morning. We tangled with 83 largemouth bass, spotted bass, and one freshwater drum during this three-hour-and-45-minute outing. We caught 60 of these black bass during the first two hours.

The shortened three-inch Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig allured 43 of these 83 black bass. The Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig caught 23. The 2 1/2-inch pearl ZinkerZ rig caught 17.

We experimented with several of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves, and a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation was the most effective retrieve.

Sept. 19 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed this brief on the Finesse News Network on Sept. 19.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his brief:

Since joining FNN, it has probably not gone without notice that I fish some of the most remote and fragile rivers in the country.

It is because of how and where I fish in those rivers that I must put the brakes on sharing my specific day to day and seasonal strategies and tactics.

Unfortunately, within the riverine smallmouth community where I reside, there are many anglers that have keyed in on my tactics and locations, and now they wish to exploit them.

The waters that I fish are fragile ones. Ones that I wish to protect while I am above ground. My desire to protect these waters has reached the point that I have applied to be an appointed river master on my home river while giving equal amounts of attention to other nearby flowing waters.

I owe it to the fish and my good conscience to not pave a seasonal roadmap that could easily be used to exploit what has taken me so very long to learn, enjoy, and fine tune.

Without a doubt, I will continue to offer any and all of my insights into any FNN pieces or any other articles if I am called upon.

It is with remorse that my daily reports will be greatly reduced from this day going forward.

I owe it to the fish that I cherish and to protecting the future of these resources.

I am greatly thankful for all of the correspondence we have engaged in. I have truly cherished them all.

Sept. 18 log

Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, posted a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 18 outing.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

For six hours on Sept 18, Preston Parks of Pittsboro, North Carolina, and I fished a section of a river that flows through central North Carolina. It is cluttered with numerous dams, which are a residue from the textile industry. And the small reservoirs behind these dams harbor some unmolested black bass.

These waterways were a favorite of Thomas Irving “Jake” Teague of Snow Camp, North Carolina. Jake died on Aug. 25, at the age of 93.  He was featured in a Finesse News Network column several years ago, and several other publications featured his angling prowess as a 90-year-older.

It was my first time on this stretch of the river, but Preston had accompanied Jake numerous times.

It has a paddle-access regulation that we used via a jon boat. It is a pretty venue, and at times, it was so remote that I could not hear any signs of civilization, my litmus test for isolated.

It was partly cloudy, and area thermometers hit 80 degrees. The water was perfect for river fishing, exhibiting about a foot of clarity.

The shorelines are littered with endless tree tops, which are difficult to penetrate.

We fished six hours and caught 12 largemouth bass. They were abiding in shallow water around the trees.

Our traditional power tactics and rigs failed us mightily.

Preston caught four largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. I caught eight largemouth bass on a Zoom Bait Company’s black-grape Trick Worm affixed to a 3/16-ounce Spot Sticker Baits’ Screwball Shaky jig.

In short, the fishing has been ugly in many parts of North Carolina for a while. About 10 days ago, the water levels at our favorite area reservoirs had begun to recede. Then it rained every day for the past seven days, and now everything is askew again.

Sept. 19 log

On Sept. 13, Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, asked me to join him for a short reconnaissance outing at one of the five northeastern Kansas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs. And on Sept. 19, he asked me to join him for a reconnaissance mission.

Holscher is a multispecies guide and veteran Midwest finesse angler. And for the past week, he has been preparing for his autumnal guiding season, which starts in earnest on Sept. 20.

The black bass fishing at our community, Corps of Engineers’, power-plant, and state reservoirs has been lackluster for a number of weeks. Some of us suspect the source of our piscatorial woes stem from the combination of algal blooms and Mother Nature’s rainy ways.

On this outing, we focused on one of northeastern Kansas’ power-plant reservoirs, and we rarely fish it during the summer and early fall.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 64 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 91 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the south, south by southeast, and south by southwest at 9 to 12 mph. It was very sunny. The barometric pressure was 29.94 at 12:53 a.m., 29.95 at 5:53 a.m., 30.00 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.95 at 2:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be about two feet above normal. Terrestrial vegetation along the points and shorelines were flooded with a few inches of water.  Because the power plant has been out of commission for several weeks, the water temperature was unseasonably cool, and throughout our outing, the surface temperature ranged from 75 to 79 degrees.  The water clarity fluctuated from 15 inches to above five feet. Massive patches of American pondweed grace many of this reservoir’s flats, points, shorelines, and offshore humps. Intertwined with the American pondweed, there are patches of bushy pondweed, as well as some chara and other submergent aquatic vegetation. Some of this aquatic vegetation was in 10 to 15 feet of water.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m., 1:28 p.m. to 3:28 p.m., and 7:14 p.m. to 9:14 p.m.  We fished from 10:25 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., and our catch rate per hour was very lackluster.

At our first stop, we caught one largemouth bass on a 1/4-ounce Yakima Bait Company’s Classy Vibric Rooster Tail at a flat main-lake point around patches of American pondweed. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The boat floated in four to six feet of water. The Rooster Tail was retrieved with a straight swimming presentation a foot or so below the surface.

At our second stop at a flat main-lake point, we caught one smallmouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ on a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-and-glide presentation around patches of American pondweed. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The boat floated in four to six feet of water.

We failed to engender a strike at our third stop. It consisted of another flat main-lake point and a submerged roadbed.

We caught five smallmouth bass at our fourth stop. It occurred along a shallow riprap point. The boat floated in four feet of water.  The smallmouth bass were extracted out of two to three feet of water. Three were caught on the green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rig with a deadstick presentation.  Two were caught on the initial drop of a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

At our fifth stop, we focused on several offshore rock- and boulder-laden humps that were surrounded by nine to 15 feet of water. The tops of the humps were covered with five to seven feet of water. We did not elicit a strike on these humps.

We caught seven smallmouth bass along a 300-yard section of a massive and steep riprap jetty. Five of them were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Sprayed Grass ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-deadstick presentation. Two of them were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. These smallmouth bass were abiding in five to 10 feet of water.

Along a 150-yard section of another riprap jetty, we caught six smallmouth bass. This section was graced with many patches of American pondweed, and the outside edges of these patches were in 12 to 15 feet of water. Four of the smallmouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Houdini ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig that was retrieved with a swim-glide-and-deadstick presentation.  One was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. One smallmouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation around the outside edge of a patch of American pondweed. These smallmouth bass were abiding in six to 15 feet of water in the vicinity of the patches of American pondweed.

At our eighth, ninth, tenth, and eleventh stops, we fished three flat main-lake points and a submerged roadbed, and we failed to catch a fish.

While we were fishing a boulder-laden shallow flat that is adorned with massive patches of American pondweed and bushy pondweed, we saw several fish foraging on the surface and three gulls foraging in the same area, and we caught two smallmouth bass in that area. The boat floated in four feet of water. One smallmouth bass was caught on the 1/4-ounce Yakima Bait Company’s Classy Vibric Rooster Tail, which was retrieved with a straight swimming presentation near the surface. One was caught on a Z-Man’s pearl Rain MinnowZ affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

At our thirteenth stop, we focused on three relatively short sections of the riprap along the dam. The dam is about a mile long. Some areas were graced with patches of American pondweed and a few patches of bushy pondweed. We caught one smallmouth bass on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s sprayed grass ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. One smallmouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve. Two  smallmouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Houdini ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-deadstick retrieve. Three of the smallmouth bass were caught in locales that were embellished with American pondweeds in four to six feet of water. The other one was caught in about seven feet of water along a stretch of riprap that is devoid of vegetation. At various spots along the dam, the boat floated in water as shallow as seven feet and as deep as 25 feet.

Along a riprap shoreline that is laced with untold numbers of patches of American pondweed and interlaced with some patches of bushy pondweed, we caught one largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s The Deal Big T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation. We caught one smallmouth bass on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on a drag-and-deadstick presentation.

DSCN1295

Our fifteenth stop occurred along one of the shorelines and points of a main-lake island. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, clay, rocks, and boulders. Along the shoreline, we caught one smallmouth bass on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation in about five feet of water. On the point we caught four smallmouth bass in three to seven feet of water. Two of them were caught on the Z-Man’s The Deal Big T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation. The other two smallmouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-Coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation.

At our final stop of the outing, we focused on a 50-yard stretch and a 25-yard stretch of a riprap jetty. Some of it is embellished with American pondweed. We caught three smallmouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation in about six feet of water. Two smallmouth bass were caught on the  2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Houdini ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-deadstick retrieve.

We were afloat nearly five hours, and we struggled to catch 36 smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass. We never established a dependable lure, location, and presentation pattern. Therefore, Clyde decided to begin his fall guiding duties elsewhere in northeastern Kansas.

Sept. 22 log

In my Sept. 21 log, I did some kvetching about my inabilities to catch an average of at least 10 black bass an hour this month.

I also made some comments about how I and several other Midwest finesse colleagues have struggled to catch largemouth bass and smallmouth bass  in northeastern Kansas’ waterways on Z-Man’s new T.R.D. TubeZ. Within those comments, I noted that the effectiveness of finesse tubes in northeastern Kansas is traditionally a six- to eight-week phenomenon, and throughout a calendar year, those weeks can be spread far apart. For instance, we can have two stellar weeks in April, and then we have to wait until October to enjoy a bountiful week or two with a finesse tube. Then during the winter, we might have a couple of weeks of fruitful tubing. Some years, there can be a few short-lived spells of effective tube fishing in between those prolific weeks.

My Sept. 22 outing might have been one of those productive short spells or it could be the start of something new for Midwest finesse anglers who ply the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas. Therefore, we will try to keep wielding a T.R.D. TubeZ on a regular basis, and, of course, we will report on its effectiveness as the days, weeks, and months unfold.

Z-Man’s green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ helped me catch 55 largemouth bass in four hours during my Sept. 22 outing at one of the many community reservoirs that grace the suburban, exurban, and urban landscapes of northeastern Kansas. All of these reservoirs are afflicted by heavy angler predation.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 69 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 90 degrees at 3:52 p.m. The sun was shining everywhere most of the time, but at times, the sky became partly cloudy and the sun did not shine everywhere. The wind angled out of the southeast, south by southeast, south, and south by southwest at 4 to 13 mph.  The barometric pressure was 29.97 at 12:52 a.m., 29.95 at 5:52 a.m., 29.96 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.93 at 1:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be  several inches above normal. The color of the water was somewhat like tea mixed with a touch of cream or milk, and it exhibited 15 inches to 3 1/2 feet of visibility.  The surface temperature ranged from 75 to 79 degrees. Many of this reservoir’s shorelines are lined with American water willows and a few patches of cattails, and there is no submergent aquatic vegetation. The depth of water along the outside edges of the patches of American water willows is as shallow as one foot and as deep as 3 1/2 feet.

In-Fisherman’s solunar table indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 4:03 a.m. to 6:03 a.m., 4:31 p.m. to 6:31 p.m., and 10:17 p.m. to 12:17 a.m. I fished from 10:15 a.m. to 2:11 p.m., and I caught a largemouth bass on my first cast.

I spent two hours dissecting 90 percent of the shorelines inside one feeder-creek arm. These shorelines are embellished with patches of American water willows and a patch of cattails. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, stumps, laydowns, and brushpiles. These shorelines yielded 30 largemouth bass. Eleven were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Five largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a black 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s black-blue-flake T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Thirteen were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  These baits were delicately pitched to the gaps, points, pockets, and indentations along the patches of American water willows or boulders or stumps, or laydowns. If a largemouth bass failed to engulf the rig on the initial fall, I employed a drag-and-deadstick presentation into four to seven feet of water. Some of the presentations were executed parallel to the patches of American water willows, and some of the presentations were perpendicular to the patches of American water willows, and both styles were equally effective. When I was too far away from a spot to make an accurate and delicate pitch, I would cast and employ the same initial-drop presentation followed by a drag-and-deadstick retrieve. These fish were caught in three to six feet of water.

I spent one hour and 35 minutes probing about 50 percent of the shorelines inside another feeder-creek arm. These shorelines are embellished with patches of American water willows, a patch of cattails, and a short section of riprap. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, stumps, laydowns, brushpiles, remnants of a bridge, and a beaver hut.  These shorelines yielded 21 largemouth bass. Four largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Eight largemouth bass were caught on the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Nine largemouth bass were caught on the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I employed the same casts, pitches, and retrieves that I used in the first feeder-creek arm. These fish were caught in two to four feet of water.

I spent about 15 minutes quickly plying one secondary point, about 30 yards of one shoreline, and about 35 yards of a second shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm. The shorelines and secondary point are embellished with a few patches of American water willows, a few concrete retaining walls, and some boat docks. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, stumps, laydowns, and brushpiles.  I caught four largemouth bass. One largemouth bass was caught on the Junebug Finesse WormZ rig. One of them was caught on the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rig. Two of them were caught on the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  I used the same style of pitches and casts and retrieves that I employed in the other feeder-creek arms. These fish were caught in two to four feet of water.

In sum, 30 largemouth bass were caught on the T.R.D. TubeZ rigs. Twenty largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig. Five largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse WormZ rig. I inadvertently caught nine green sunfish, three bluegill, three channel catfish, and two crappie.

Sept. 23 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 23 outing.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his log:

John Thomas of Denton, Texas, and I fished at a  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir that lies in two suburbs northwest of the Dallas metropolitan area. This reservoir is where John began his Midwest finesse fishing endeavors for black bass on Sept. 22, 2015, and we thought it would be fun to see what we could catch a year and a day later.

On Sept. 22, 2015, John and I fished for four hours, and we caught 42 largemouth bass, 3 smallmouth bass, and two spotted bass. During this Sept. 23, 2016 outing, we caught and released 39 largemouth bass, five spotted bass, 30 white bass, and one channel catfish in three hours.

On Sept. 23, 2016, the sky conditions varied from being  overcast to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy. The sun’s rays began to slice through a few openings in the cloud cover around 8:45 a.m., and it was sunny for the remainder of the day. The morning low temperature was 75 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 92 degrees. While we were afloat, an irritating wind quartered out of the southeast at 12 to 14 mph, and its velocity began to increase by 11:00 a.m. The barometric pressure measured 29.94 at 8:00 a.m. and 29.93 at 11:00 a.m.

A solunar calendar listed the prime fishing periods occurring between 12:20 a.m. and 2:20 a.m., 7:27 a.m. and 9:27 a.m., and 7:55 p.m. to 9:55 p.m. John and I fished from 8:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

The water was stained and displayed 1 1/2-feet of visibility. The water temperature was 84 degrees. The water level was at normal pool.

We spent the entire three hours fishing the north side of the reservoir. We plied 11 rocky main-lake points, three buck brush-laden main-lake flats, and a 50-yard stretch of a steep and rocky shoreline inside a large feeder-creek arm. All of these locations were exposed to the brisk southeasterly wind and endless ranks of white caps.

We wielded the following Midwest finesse baits: Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

During the first hour, we crossed paths with a large school of white bass that were foraging on small two-inch threadfin shad along the surface of the water. Their feeding spree was short lived, but we were able to catch 30 of them before they disappeared. They were situated many yards away from a prominent main-lake point, where the water was 35 to 41 feet deep. After they dispersed, we returned to our black-bass- fishing endeavors.

In sum, we caught thirty-four of the 39 largemouth bass and five spotted bass at seven of the 11 rocky main-lake points. One of the three main-lake flats relinquished four largemouth bass. One largemouth bass was caught from the 50-yard section of rocky and steep shoreline just inside the large feeder-creek arm. We failed to find any black bass inhabiting the other four main-lake points or at the other two buck brush-laden main-lake flats.

The black bass were abiding in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as eight feet.

Because of the irksome wind, we wielded the pearl Slim SwimZ rig about 95 percent of the time, and it was our most productive lure. It caught 39 of the 44 black bass, all 30 of the white bass, and the channel catfish. A quick-paced and steady swimming retrieve just below the surface of the water was the most effective presentation. We lost another four largemouth bass that were able to liberate themselves from our Slim SwimZ rigs when they jumped out of the water.

The shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation garnered only five largemouth bass. We utilized the 2 1/2-inch pearl ZinkerZ combo for just a few casts, and it enticed several tentative strikes that we failed to hook.

Sept. 24 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 24 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I fished at a nearby U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir. I last fished this reservoir on Sept. 14 and caught 31 largemouth bass and spotted bass in three hours.

When we arrived at the boat ramp around 8:00 a.m., the parking lot was filled to the brim with tow vehicles and boat trailers. Much to our chagrin, we discovered that a large two-man team bass tournament was being held at this reservoir. Unfortunately, if we had more time and had advance warning about this large tournament beforehand, we would have opted to fish at another reservoir.

The sky was overcast for most of the morning. Around 10:00 a.m., it became mostly cloudy with intermittent spells of sunshine. The morning low temperature was 72 degrees. The afternoon high temperature was 90 degrees. An incessant wind quartered out of the southeast at 12 to 15 mph, and its velocity intensified during the early afternoon hours. The barometric pressure was low and measured 29.67 at 8:00 a.m. and 29.68 at 11:00 a.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the most lucrative fishing periods would most likely take place between 6:03 a.m. and 8:03 a.m., 11:49 a.m. and 1:49 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Norman and I fished from about 8:30 a.m. to about 11:30 a.m.

The water was stained and exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was about half of a foot low.  The surface temperature was 80 degrees.

We spent a lot of our time looking for promising black bass-lairs that were not already being pummeled by tournament anglers. Everywhere we went, we either had to fish behind or around other tournament anglers.

We started the outing in the southwest tributary arm of the reservoir, where we had hoped to ply several fruitful rocky main-lake points and main-lake flats. But as we traveled westward into the tributary arm, we found the main-lake points and flats crowded with tournament anglers. In fact, one of our most productive locales in this tributary arm was being pummeled by nine teams of tournament anglers.

We fished two relatively flat and shallow rocky main-lake points in this tributary arm. We caught one largemouth bass and two spotted bass at the first point, and one largemouth bass at the second point. These black bass were abiding on the wind-blown side of the points in less than five feet of water.  Two of them were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The other two engulfed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Both of these lures were presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We also employed a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig with a steady swimming retrieve, but it failed to elicit any strikes.

From these two points, we moved eastward and passed by several other main-lake points, two riprap bridge embankments and several main-lake flats that we had hoped to fish, but these locations were already occupied by tournament anglers. Therefore, we journeyed to the south end of the east tributary arm of the reservoir.

In the southern portion of the east tributary arm, we fished a large and usually fruitful shallow main-lake flat that lies in close proximity to the dam. This flat is comprised mostly of clay and gravel. It is covered with several long and thick walls of partially flooded terrestrial vegetation.  We shared this flat with five other teams of tournament anglers, and we were surprised when we failed to elicit a single strike.

After we finished fishing the main-lake flat, we moved to the east end of the riprap-laden dam.  When we arrived, we were disheartened to see that this area was very crowded with tournament anglers. In fact, there were tournament anglers as far as we could see.  We found a small stretch of the dam that was not occupied,  and we spent the reminder of our time there. Ultimately,  our patience were tested by these anglers.

We wielded the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ and 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigs, which were employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We saw a huge school of threadfin shad meandering along the surface of the water and many yards out from the face of the dam in 25 to 31 feet of water. We saw many of the larger ones with their backs and dorsal fins sticking out of the water. We concentrated on fishing around and underneath this large school of shad, and we caught 15 largemouth bass and spotted bass, 35 white crappie, one channel catfish, and one freshwater drum. Many of these fish were suspended about six to eight feet below the surface of the water and underneath the large school of shad. A few others were caught near the riprap on the dam in less than 10 feet of water. Many of the strikes occurred on the initial fall of our baits. We also experimented with a generic chartreuse 1/8-ounce marabou crappie jig for a short spell, but it failed to entice any strikes. We caught one largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s The Deal ZinkerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. This ZinkerZ combo was implemented in the same swim-glide-and-shake manner as the other ZinkerZ and Hula StickZ rigs. A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig failed to engender any strikes.

While we were fishing this small section of the dam, several of the other tournament anglers observed us catching these fish and crowded in on us. One tournament team even moved their boat between us and the fish we were targeting. But we continued to catch crappie and black bass on the ZinkerZ and Hula StickZ rigs, and the tournament anglers moved a short distance away after they were unable to entice any strikes with their large crankbaits. Around 11:30 a.m., we lost track of the large school of shad. The other tournament anglers at the dam were camped out on their spots and showed no signs of leaving any time soon, so we called it a day.

In sum, it was a somewhat trying experience. We had our patience tested while coping with some of the tournament anglers. Furthermore, we were unable to ply many of our usual and most fruitful black bass lairs. Our outing turned out to be more of a bass-fishing-for-crappie endeavor than it was for black bass.

By north-central Texas standards, catching 19 black bass in three hours would be considered an above-average catch. But in our eyes, it was a lackluster ordeal.

All but one of the black bass were bewitched by either the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig or the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rig. A slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation was the only productive retrieve.

Sept. 24 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 25 outing with Andrew Trembath of Kansas City, Missouri, at one of northeastern Kansas’ power-plant reservoirs.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that the low temperature was 67 degrees and the high temperature was 87 degrees. The wind was mild mannered and angled out of a variety of directions from the south. The sky was clear, overcast, mostly cloudy, and partly cloudy. The barometric pressure fluctuated up and down from a low of 29.90 to a high of 30.00.

The water level looked to be six inches above normal. The surface temperature was 87 degrees. The water clarity exhibited 18 inches of visibility, and it had a greenish hue.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 5:54 a.m. to 7:54 a.m., 6:22 p.m. to 8:22 p.m. and 11:40 a.m. to 1:40 p.m. We fished from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

We fished a vast array of riprap shorelines and offshore lairs, and we struggled to catch 15 largemouth bass and inadvertently caught some bluegill, channel catfish, flathead catfish, freshwater drum, and green sunfish. Our fish counter indicated that we tangled with 45 fish, but half of them were green sunfish.

Our most effective rigs were either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Coppertreuse ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s mud minnow ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We employed two presentations. One was a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The other one was the stroll.

Sept. 27 log

Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I fished for three hours and 49 minutes at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs.

Here are some details about what transpired:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 48 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 82 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The wind fluctuated from being calm to angling out of the south by southwest, west, and west by southwest at 3 to 8 mph. While we were driving to the reservoir and while we were afloat, there was not a cloud in sight, and the sun shone intensely. The barometric pressure was 30.10 at 12:53 a.m., 30.06 at 5:53 a.m., 30.02 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.93 at 2:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be about two feet above normal. The water clarity ranged from three to nearly five feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 71 to 74 degrees.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 8:18 a.m. to 10:18 a.m., 8:42 p.m. to 10:42 p.m., and 2:06 a.m. to 4:06 a.m.  We fished from 10:30 a.m. to 2:19 p.m.

We fished the entire dam, which is covered with riprap and adorned with some patches American water willows, Eurasian milfoil, and bushy pondweed. We caught one smallmouth bass by dragging and shaking a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in about 10 feet of water.

Along a flat shoreline adjacent to the dam, which is embellished with rocks, boulders, American water willows, milfoil, and bushy pondweed, we caught one smallmouth bass by swimming the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in about six feet of water.

Along a steep shoreline inside a secondary feeder-creek arm, we caught one smallmouth bass and three largemouth bass that were abiding in four to six feet of water around patches of American water willows, milfoil, bushy pondweed, and flooded terrestrial vegetation. One largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. One largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a 1/16-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig. One largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We caught three largemouth bass along a submerged rock fence in three to five feet of water. Two of them were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a dragging-and-deadsticking presentation. One largemouth  bass was caught on the initial drop of a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Along a flat main-lake point and its adjacent flat main-lake shoreline, we caught one smallmouth bass and six largemouth bass. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a number of significant boulders. Much of the shoreline and parts of the point is graced with American water willows, bushy pondweed, and milfoil. The smallmouth bass was caught in about two feet of water on the initial drop of a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  One largemouth bass was caught in about four feet of water by swimming the Junebug Finesse WormZ rig around patches of bushy pondweed and milfoil.  One largemouth bass was caught in about four feet of water by swimming a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Four largemouth bass were caught by dragging and deadsticking a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in about five feet of water.

We fished about 70 percent of the shorelines inside a secondary feeder-creek arm and caught 14 largemouth bass.  We focused on laydowns, flooded terrestrial vegetation, overhanging trees, patches of bushy pondweed, patches of milfoil, and patches of American water willows. The 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ caught nine of the largemouth bass, and most of them were caught on a drag-and-deadstick retrieve, and the others were caught on either the initial drop or a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.  Two largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in four feet of water around patches of bushy pondweed. One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s pearl Rain MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation in about four feet of water under an overhanging tree. Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a 1/16-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve around laydowns.

We fished a main-lake point and its adjacent shorelines. The underwater terrains of the point and shorelines consist on gravel, rocks, and boulders. Every inch of the water’s edge is embellished with American water willows, as well as some occasional patches of bushy pondweed and milfoil. The point yielded two largemouth bass, and they were caught on the initial drop of the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Along one of the shorelines, we caught two largemouth bass on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ rig on a drag-and-deadstick presentation.

Along a steep main-lake point, we caught one smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass. The smallmouth bass was caught on the initial drop of a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig under an overhanging tree in about four feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig in about five feet of water along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows. One largemouth bass was caught dragging-and-deadsticking the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ rig along the outside edges of patches of American water willows and patches of milfoil in five to six feet of water.

We failed to elicit a strike at a main-lake point and its two adjacent shorelines.

We simultaneously caught two largemouth bass while we were fishing  a 200-yard stretch of a steep shoreline. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rock, boulders, laydowns, and stumps. The water’s edge is adorned with American water willows, bushy pondweed, and milfoil. One largemouth bass was caught on a drag-and-deadstick presentation with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce jig. The other largemouth bass was caught by dragging the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ rig.

We caught one largemouth bass at a main-lake point on the initial drop of the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. This largemouth bass was abiding in about four feet of water along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows.

In sum, we fished many yards of shorelines and around many points without eliciting a strike. We were puzzled by why so many of our casts and retrieves were fruitless.  Ultimately, we were able to catch 35 largemouth bass and five smallmouth bass, and we accidentally caught two crappie, two freshwater drum, seven green sunfish, and one yellow perch. The 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig was our most effective bait. The drag-and-deadsticking presentation was our most effective retrieve.

Sept. 28 log

John Reese of Lawrence, Kansas, and I spent three hours and 46 minutes hiding from the swirling and brisk wind during our outing at a northeastern Kansas’ community reservoir on Sept. 28.

The Weather Underground reported that the wind was angling out of the west by northwest, north by northwest, and north at 5 to 23 mph. It was 54 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 69 degrees at 3:52 p.m. There was not a cloud in sight in the China-blue sky. The barometric pressure was 29.86 at 12:52 a.m., 29.90 at 5:52 a.m., 30.10 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.12 at 1:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be several inches above normal. The surface temperature fluctuated from 71 to 72 degrees. The water exhibited a brownish-tea color, and the visibility ranged from 15 inches to 39 inches.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 8:59 a.m. to 10:59 a.m., 9:22 p.m. to 11:22 p.m., and 2:47 a.m. to 4:47 a.m. We fished from 10:14 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

We spent the entire outing trying to hide from the wind by dissecting portions of three shorelines. Two of the shorelines were in one feeder-creek arm, which we shared with an angler in a kayak and another angler in a bass boat.  The third shoreline was in another feeder-creek arm.

The underwater terrain of one of the shorelines consists of gravel, rocks, some humongous boulders, stumps, and brushpiles. Most of its water’s edge is embellished with American water willows. Several laydowns are intermixed with the patches of American water willows. The depth of the water along the outside edges of the American water willows ranges from 18 inches to 30 inches. Along this shoreline, we caught one smallmouth bass and 23 largemouth bass. The smallmouth bass and 10 of the largemouth bass were caught on either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig or a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/16-ounce round jig. Four largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Five largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  Three largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. Seven of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs, and these largemouth bass were abiding along the outside edges of the patches of American water willows in about two feet of water. The smallmouth bass and 16 largemouth bass were caught while we were employing a drag-and-deadstick presentation, and these black bass were extracted out of four to seven feet of water.

The underwater terrain of the second shoreline consists of gravel, rocks, some concrete blocks, a few boulders, several brushpiles, and a couple of stumps. There are also four docks situated along this shoreline. Portions of the water’s edge are adorned with patches of American water willows.  There are two trees that overhang this shoreline. The depth of the water along the outside edges of the American water willows is about 18 inches. We caught 19 largemouth bass along this shoreline.  Eight of these largemouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Eleven of them were caught on either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig or a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/16-ounce round jig. Five of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs in two to three feet of water.  Twelve of the largemouth bass were caught while we were executing the drag-and-deadstick retrieve in three to six feet of water.  Two largemouth bass were caught while we were using a swimming retrieve.

Scores of boat docks litter the shoreline inside the other feeder-creek arm. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, stumps, an occasional brushpile, and some boulders. Portions of the water’s edge along this shoreline are adorned with American water willows, a patch of cattails, and some laydowns.  We caught one largemouth bass on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught one largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught two largemouth bass on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught 19 largemouth bass on either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig or a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/16-ounce round jig. Six of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs in two to three feet of water. Seventeen largemouth bass were caught while we were using the drag-and-deadstick presentation in three to eight feet of water. Three of those 17 largemouth bass were caught while we were dragging-and-deadsticking the green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. around boat docks.

In sum, we caught 65 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. We inadvertently caught eight green sunfish and one channel catfish. Our most effective rigs were the  2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and the  Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/16-ounce round jig. The most effective retrieve was the drag-and-deadstick presentation.

Sept. 28 log 

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 28 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

John Thomas of Denton, Texas, and I traveled 28 miles to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

We fished this reservoir on Sept. 19, and we enjoyed catching 83 largemouth bass and spotted bass in three hours and 45 minutes.

Sept. 28 was a beautiful fall day to be out on the water. The sun was dazzling in a powder-blue sky. The morning low temperature was 53 degrees. The afternoon high temperature was 91 degrees. A light wind angled out of the west by northwest at 3 to 5 mph, and it was calm for the last 51 minutes of our outing. The barometric pressure measured 30.09 at 8:00 a.m. and increased to 30.29 at noon.

The water was stained and exhibited about two feet of visibility. The water temperature was 78 degrees, which is four degrees cooler than it was on Sept. 19. The water level was normal.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the most promising  fishing periods would take place between 2:55 a.m. and 4:55 a.m., 9:06 a.m. and 11:06 a.m., and 9:29 p.m. and 11:29 p.m. John and I fished from 8:00 a.m. to 11:57 a.m.

Since mid-July, we have concentrated our efforts along the dam and on main-lake points and flats in the southern region of this reservoir, and those areas have been extremely fruitful. But now that the water temperatures are beginning to drop into the 70s, we suspect that this location pattern will not hold up much longer. Therefore, we decided to fish our favorite warm-water spots before vast numbers of black bass and threadfin shad begin their fall migration up the feeder-creek arms.

We fished five flat and rocky main-lake points, three large rocky main-lake flats graced with many yards of flooded terrestrial vegetation, two sections of riprap along the dam, and a large concrete water outlet that stands in close proximity to the center of the dam.

We had hoped to find large concentrations of threadfin shad inhabiting these areas, but we were unable to locate them. We did find smaller aggregations of bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish.

We caught a total of nine largemouth bass and spotted bass at the five main-lake points. These points are flat and shallow, and their underwater terrain consists of clay, gravel, and a few large submerged boulders. The largest of the five points is enhanced with thick patches of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation. Three black bass were caught on a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. This combo was presented with a steady do-nothing retrieve just underneath the surface of the water. Six were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ affixed on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which was presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. All nine of these bass were abiding in less than five feet of water.

At the dam, we caught one largemouth bass and one spotted bass along the east end of the dam. They were relating to the submerged riprap in less than eight feet of water. They were  caught with the 2 1/2-inch PB&J ZinkerZ rig that was slowly dragged and deadsticked on the bottom. We also employed a shortened Z-Man’s watermelon-candy EZ TubeZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, but we were unable to generate any strikes with these two baits.

The midsection of the dam was a bit more productive. This area yielded 11 largemouth bass and spotted bass. They were all associated with the submerged riprap and abiding in less than eight feet of water. All of these bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch PB&J ZinkerZ. Nine were enticed by a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and the other two engulfed the ZinkerZ rig on the initial cast.

IMG_2501

Steve Reideler with one of the spotted bass that they caught.

The large concrete water outlet tower adjacent to the center of the dam has been one of our most fruitful spots on this reservoir during the past several weeks, and it relinquished 51 largemouth bass and spotted bass on Sept. 19. But during this Sept. 28 outing, we had to share this structure with two other boat anglers, and we caught only two largemouth bass. One was caught on the 2 1/2-inch PB&J ZinkerZ rig, which was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The other one was caught on the initial drop of the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ combo as it fell next to one of the walls of the tower. These black bass were suspended about four to eight feet below the surface in 44 feet of water. We failed to hook two tentative strikes on the 2 1/2-inch PB&J ZinkerZ. Before we left the water outlet tower, we saw one of the other two anglers catch one largemouth bass on a live minnow that was suspended below a bobber, but we did not see the other angler catch a fish while we were there.

The three large main-lake flats are shallow and rocky, and two of them are graced with long walls of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation. The first flat yielded 15 largemouth bass and spotted bass. The second flat surrendered 10. The third flat relinquished only three.

Twenty-three of the 28 largemouth bass and spotted bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch PB&J ZinkerZ rig and a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Three were caught on a pearl Slim SwimZ and a steady do-nothing retrieve. One spotted bass was caught on the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ combo and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One largemouth was caught on the shortened watermelon-candy EZ TubeZ and a slow hop-and bounce presentation across the bottom.

IMG_2504-1

John Thomas with one of the spotted bass that they caught .

All told, we caught 52 largemouth bass and spotted bass in three hours and 57 minutes. We also accidentally caught two freshwater drum and one bluegill.

Our shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ and pearl Slim SwimZ rigs have been our two most effective baits over the past two months. We found that they closely mimic the two-inch threadfin shad that inhabit this reservoir. But we were not able to locate the whereabouts of the threadfin shad today, and these two lures were not as fruitful.

The 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which imitated the small bluegill, was very effective. We also experimented with all six of the Midwest finesse retrieves, and the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was by far the most lucrative presentation.

As we drove home, we speculated that the threadfin shad may have begun their fall migration into the feeder-creek arms. Therefore, we decided that we will begin to search for those large schools of threadfin shad and the large aggregations of black bass that forage on them in the feeder-creek arms of our Corps’ reservoirs during our next outing.

Sept. 29 log

When Rick Hebenstreit and I arrived at the boat ramp at one of our northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs, a young lady who works for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism was in the process of stocking about 100 grass carp. We were puzzled and not pleased.  Eventually, we contacted Luke Kowalewski who is the fisheries biologist that manages this reservoir. He told us that several of the residents who reside around this reservoir want to get rid of the submergent aquatic vegetation that graces some of the shorelines, points, and flats. The submergent vegetation that residents want to kill is coontail, and, of course, it is the aquatic vegetation that we focus many of our Midwest finesse tactics around – especially in the winter.

So, our Sept. 29 outing commenced on somewhat of a sour note. And while we were afloat, we also noticed that several patches of American water willows had been uprooted and other patches of American water willows had been butchered and chopped, which we found to be disheartening.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 48 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 71 degrees at 4:53 p.m. It was sunny. The wind angled out of the north and north by northwest at 4 to 13 mph.  The barometric pressure was 30.27 at 12:53 a.m., 30.31 at 5:53 a.m., 30.37 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.33 at 1:53 p.m.

The water level was about six inches above normal. The surface temperature ranged from 69 to 70 degrees.  The water clarity fluctuated from about a foot of visibility in the upper reaches of the reservoir and more than three feet of visibility in its lower end.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would  occur from 9:39 a.m. to 11:39 a.m., 10:01 p.m. to 12:01 a.m., and 3:27 a.m. to 5:27 a.m. We fished from 10:00 a.m. to 2:02 p.m.

We caught 17 largemouth bass along the dam, which is completely lined with American water willows, and many of them are interlaced with coontail. Its underwater terrain consists of riprap. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Four of them were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Ten of them were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  Some of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs along the outside edge of the American water willows and coontail. These largemouth bass were abiding in about three feet of water. The other ones were caught while we were executing a drag-and-deadstick retrieve in five to seven feet of water.

We caught one largemouth bass along a shoreline adjacent to the dam. It was caught on the green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ rig that was presented with a Midwest finesse retrieve that we have created to probe patches of coontail. It is called the drag-and-glide retrieve, and around some massive patches we employ a presentation that we call the stroll-and-glide retrieve. As we dragged or strolled our T.R.D. TubeZ rig or a ZinkerZ rig across a patch of coontail, we allowed them to glide — not plummet — towards the bottom when they reached the outside edge on the coontail patches. As we dragged our rigs across and over a patch of coontail, we wanted them to slide and glide across the tops of the coontail patches so that the hooks did not become entwined with the sprigs of coontail. (We have found the best way to execute this delicate presentation is to affix a buoyant soft-plastic bait to a small jig with a small hook.  The soft-plastic baits that we normally use are Z-Man’s Finesse ShadZ, Z-Man’s T.R.D. TubeZ, a well-worm and salt-free Z-Man’s 2 1/2 ZinkerZ, and a well-worn and salt-free Finesse T.R.D. We use Gopher Tackle’s 1/32- and 1/16-ounce Mushroom Head jigs and Z-Man’s 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jigs. On some patches of coontail, we can delicately deadstick these rigs on top of the patches without them becoming enmeshed with the stems of the coontail.)

Around the spillway, which was graced with some current and a few patches of American water willows, we caught five largemouth bass.  Three were caught on the green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rig, and one of them was caught with a drag-and-glide presentation, and the other two were caught on a drag-and-deadstick presentation. Two largemouth bass were caught on a pearl ZinkerZ rig, and one of them was caught on the initial drop, and the other one was caught on a drag-and-deadstick presentation. These largemouth bass were abiding in three to four feet of water.

At a main-lake point that is bordered by a concrete retaining wall, we caught four largemouth bass. They were caught by dragging and deadsticking the green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rig in about three feet of water.

We shared a hundred-yard stretch of a relatively steep shoreline with a power angler. We caught four largemouth bass.  Three of them were caught by dragging and deadsticking a green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rig along the outside edge of patches of American pondweed in three to five feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the pearl ZinkerZ rig under an overhanging tree.

On a massive shallow flat that is embellished with sporadic patches of coontail, we caught three largemouth bass by dragging and gliding a green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ in about five feet of water.

Along a steep shoreline that is lined with a concrete retaining wall, we caught two largemouth bass on a green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ with a drag-and-deadstick retrieve in four to six feet of water.

We caught 11 largemouth bass at a main-lake point and its adjacent shoreline, which are adorned with many patches of coontail. Four of the largemouth bass were caught by dragging and gliding a green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ in five to six feet of water. Seven of them were caught on a green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rig, and two of them were caught on the initial drop, and seven of them were caught on a drag-and-slide presentation.

We caught 10 largemouth bass along another steep shoreline. It is lined with several rock and concrete retaining walls and 10 boat docks. Interspersed between the docks are some patches of coontail and American water willows.  Two largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rig in about three feet of water. Five largemouth bass were caught by dragging and deadsticking the green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ in four to nine feet of water. Three largemouth bass were caught by dragging and deadsticking the green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ in four to nine feet of water.

DSCN1330

Rick Hebenstreit with one of the 57 largemouth bass that we caught.

We failed to elicit a strike at three main-lake points and two main-lake shorelines. In total, we caught 57 largemouth bass in four hours and two minutes. We inadvertently caught three crappie and several green sunfish. The 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16- ounce Gopher jig was our most effective rig. The drag-and-deadsick retrieve and the drag-and-glide retrieve were our most fruitful presentations.

Sept. 30 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 30 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

I returned to a heavily fished U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in north-central Texas. On Sept. 24,  Norman Brown of Lewisville and I fished this reservoir while a large bass tournament was in progress, and we caught only 19 black bass as we struggled to find a bass lair or two that were not being pummeled by tournament anglers.

It was a picturesque fall day in north-central Texas. The sun was shining radiantly in a cloudless sky. The afternoon high temperature was 78 degrees, and the morning low temperature was 55 degrees. It was calm most of the time I was afloat, but a light breeze did occasionally meander out of the north at 2 to 6 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.15 at 10:00 a.m. and 30.27 at 2:00 p.m.

The water was stained and exhibited about 1 1/4 feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 79 degrees. The water level was about a half of a foot low. The surface of the water was calm.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the most productive fishing periods would most likely take place from 4:19 a.m. to 6:19 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and 10:52 p.m. to 12:52 a.m. I fished from about 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

My four spinning outfits sported the following Midwest finesse offerings: a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ affixed on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a pearl Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

I started the outing in the back of a large cove that harbors a marina in the southwest tributary arm of the reservoir. The shoreline inside this cove is steep and rocky, and there is an abundance of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation lining the water’s edge. I failed to find any largemouth bass or spotted bass inhabiting the flooded terrestrial vegetation or under several covered boat docks inside the marina. As I was slowly moving out to the main-lake, I encountered a small school of black bass that were foraging on two-inch shad along the surface of the water at the mouth of the cove. I caught three largemouth bass and two spotted bass from the school in three to five feet of water. Three were caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ rig as it was quickly retrieved just underneath the surface of the water and parallel to the outside edge of a large patch of flooded bushes. The other two bass engulfed the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rig as it was maneuvered through the openings and pockets along the outside edges of the flooded bushes with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

After I finished fishing the cove and marina, I ventured to the south end of the reservoir and fished another main-lake cove. This cove is shallower than the marina cove, and its shorelines are also ringed with partially-flooded bushes. Its underwater terrain consists of mostly clay and gravel, and a small creek channel parallels the north shoreline. I failed to locate any black bass at the mouth of the cove. About halfway back inside the cove, I caught two largemouth bass along the north shoreline, one largemouth in the back or west end of the cove, and two along the south shoreline in the midsection of the cove. All five of these largemouth bass were abiding in less than five feet of water and associated with the outside edges of patches of flooded bushes, and all of them were caught many yards apart from each other. They were caught on  the pearl Slim SwimZ rig as it was steadily retrieved about six inches below the surface. I also employed the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ, pearl Finesse ShadZ, and mud minnow Hula StickZ rigs, but I failed to entice any strikes with these three combos.

From this cove, I moved eastward to the east end of the dam, where I plied a 50-yard section of a shallow and rocky main-lake flat, and a 100-yard section of riprap along the east end of the dam.  Neither of these two areas were very lucrative. The shallow rocky flat yielded  one largemouth bass that was caught close to the water’s edge in three feet of water. The riprap on the dam yielded two largemouth bass, and they were extracted from eight feet of water.  All three of them were caught on the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The pearl Slim SwimZ, 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ, and pearl Finesse ShadZ failed to induce any strikes.

Twenty-one largemouth bass and spotted bass, and one white bass were caught in the vicinity of a breached opening along the north end of an old and dilapidated concrete and riprap dam in the midsection of the east tributary arm. These black bass were foraging on a large school of small threadfin shad along the surface and in open water that was as shallow as eight feet and as deep as 17 feet. All of them were caught on the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

I finished the outing dissecting two submerged rock piles that lie in seven feet of water on the west side of the old spillway, and I failed to elicit any strikes with the mud minnow Hula StickZ rig.

In conclusion, the fishing was slower than it has been, but it is still fruitful.   I caught 34 largemouth bass and spotted bass, and one white bass in three hours, but it is becoming more difficult to locate large concentrations of threadfin shad and significant aggregations of black bass.

The slower swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rig is emerging as our dominating lure and presentation, and it caught 26 of the 34 black bass and the one white bass. The quick-paced swimming retrieve with the pearl Slim SwimZ rig is now our second-best offering, and it beguiled eight black bass. I failed to elicit any strikes with the pearl Finesse ShadZ and 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ rigs.

Sept. 30 log

Burton Bosley of Sutton, West Virginia, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his river outing.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

I fished a stretch of the New River Gorge on Sept. 30. This section of North America’s oldest river flows between steep forested mountains and is lined with spectacular cliffs.  It is famous for its many rapids — class three and higher.  Therefore, we had to hire a guide with a raft for this section.

We tried a variety of baits, but we settled on the Z-Man’s Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s ShroomZ Finesse jig.

The bite was steady.  The most successful spots were behind truck-sized boulders and in the slicks at the head of rapids. The color of the Finesse T.R.D. rig did not seem to be important, but I stuck with the coppertruese hue and my buddy used the PB&J one.

It was far too exciting to keep count but the bite was continuous.

There were two anglers in kayaks fishing near us and when they overheard me explaining the little rig to our guide – one of them yelled “The Ned rig. That’s what we are using. We’re catching fish on every cast.” They were very enthusiastic — perhaps a bit too much as one of them got sucked under in a particularly dangerous rapid,   but he got to shore eventually with his kayak, sans a bunch of gear and his car keys.

When we arrived at our haul out after four hours of fun, we met up with the kayak anglers. I talked to them about their experience and one showed me pictures of a 22-inch smallmouth bass and a couple others near 20 inches.  We had caught none near this size, and when I related this to the young man, he showed me his rig, which was a Finesse T.R.D. affixed as a trailer to a 1/8-ounce rubber-skirted jig. He said the three bigger smallmouth bass had hit on the initial drop.

I had a delightful experience and learned a new way to use the Finesse T.R.D.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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