Midwest Finesse Fishing: April 2016

Midwest Finesse Fishing: April 2016

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, with one of the  15 black bass that he and Rick Allen of Dallas caught on April 13 with a Z-Man Fishing Products' Finesse ShadZ.

Our April guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 37 logs and 32,699 words that detail how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished. It features the piscatorial deeds of Rick Allen of Dallas; Steve Bloess of Sedalia, Missouri; Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas; Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas; Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; John Kehde of Sedalia, Missouri; Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas; Ralph Manns of Rockwall, Texas; David Mull of Paw Paw, Michigan; Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia;  Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; Walt Tegtmeier of Leawood, Kansas; John Thomas of Denton, Texas; Andrew Trembath of Kansas City, Kansas; Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana, as well as my northeastern Kansas logs.

In our March guide, we noted that a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man Fishing Products' pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head jig was an extremely effective Midwest finesse rig in northeastern Kansas. But in early April, the effectiveness of the pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig waned. Ultimately, Z-Man's Finesse ShadZ became our dominant bait in northeastern Kansas, northwestern Missouri, and central Missouri. It was also Travis Myers' most effective bait in eastern West Virginia, and Steve Reideler reported about its manifold virtues in north-central Texas. Myers said: "The Finesse ShadZ has had no close equal for me since my season began. The one I currently have rigged ...  has tallied 177 fish. It may hit the 200 mark. Remarkable."


This is a Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ that inveigled scores of black bass in northeastern Kansas in April. A green-pumpkin one was also very effective in northeastern Kansas, north-central Texas, northwestern Missouri, central Missouri, and eastern West Virginia. The blue-steel Finesse ShadZ worked well in eastern West Virginia, too. For more information, see the logs for April 5, 12, 13, and 14, and other comments about its effectiveness appear throughout this month's guide.

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

April 1 log

March's windy ways did not cease on April Fools' Day in northeastern Kansas.

The Weather Underground reported that the wind angled out of the west, west by southwest, west by northwest, and northwest at 6 to 28 mph from 12:53 a.m. to 2:53 p.m. And while David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas, and I were afloat at a rural state reservoir from 10:13 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., it was howling at 16 to 28 mph. It was another one of those outings when we had to rely on the drift sock almost incessantly.

It was 39 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 54 degrees at 1:53 p.m.  The wind chill was 39 degrees when we launched the boat.  From 7:53 a.m. to 2:53 p.m., the conditions of the sky varied from being clear to being partly cloudy to being mostly cloudy to being overcast. The barometric pressure was 29.87 at 12:53 a.m., 29.91 at 5:53 a.m., 30.03 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.03 at 1:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be about six inches above normal. The surface temperature ranged from 51 to 52 degrees. The water exhibited 36 inches of clarity in the vicinity of the dam and less than 15 inches in the upper reaches of one of the reservoir's feeder-creek arms. Around 11:30 a.m. we began to see a few mayflies, and they were the first ones that we have seen this year.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing would occur from 6:02 a.m. to 8:02 a.m., 6:28 p.m. to 8:28 p.m., and 11:49 a.m.to 1:49 p.m.

We fished for three hours and 47 minutes in the middle of the day, and we caught 69 largemouth bass, two white bass, and one freshwater drum.

David moved to Lawrence from Denver Colorado two weeks ago, and this was his maiden Midwest finesse outing. In Colorado, he primarily fished for trout and walleye, and occasionally he fished for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

We spent the preponderance of our outing plying a shoreline on the west side of the reservoir, which was relatively wind-sheltered, but we still had to employ the drift sock 90 percent of the time.  We estimated that we probed more than a mile of this shoreline, as well as two main-lake points, three secondary points, many tertiary points, and 10 riprap jetties that grace this shoreline.  About 60 percent of this shoreline is relatively flat, and the boat floated in five to seven feet of water. About 40 percent of it is steeper, and the boat floated in nine to 14 feet of water. Most of its underwater terrain is rock-laden, and there are some locales that are silt-laden.  The bulk of its water's edge is lined with patches of winter-dead American water willows. Some of the flatter areas support patches of curly-leaf pondweed. There are about a dozen laydowns and several manmade brush piles.

We also spent about 10 minutes fishing the riprap shoreline of the dam, and we spent about five minutes plying a main-lake point and its adjacent shorelines that lie in the middle portions of this reservoir. Parts of the dam and point were windblown.

We made about a dozen casts with a shortened four-inch  Z-Man Fishing Products' green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ  affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head jig and five casts with a shortened four-inch  Z-Man's  green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ  affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. And these rigs failed to catch a fish. David periodically wielded a quarter-ounce Johnson Lure's chrome Thinfisher, which caught two largemouth bass. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught 67 largemouth bass, as well as inadvertently catching a freshwater drum and two white bass.

We never established a location pattern.  For example, one main-lake point yielded 12 largemouth bass, but the other two failed to yield a strike. One riprap jetty yielded two largemouth bass, and the rest of them failed to yield a strike. Some of the steeper sections of the shoreline yielded a goodly number of largemouth bass, and some of the other ones failed to yield a strike. A few of the flat shorelines produced a bountiful number of largemouth bass, while most of the other flat shorelines were not bountiful. Some of the patches of winter-dead American water willows yielded four to six largemouth bass, but most of them were fruitless even though they looked in our eyes to be identical to the fruitful ones.  Because we caught only two largemouth bass on one of the 10 riprap jetties that we fished, we thought  the riprap shoreline of the dam would be rather fruitless, but during the 10 minutes that we fished the dam, we were surprised and delighted to catch six largemouth bass and one white bass.  During one perplexing spell, when we had executed many casts and retrieves without catching a largemouth bass or eliciting a strike, David conjectured that the areas that were embellished with a significant laydown or an overhanging tree were more fruitful than the locales that were devoid of those features, and then we dissected two areas with overhanging trees and one with a massive laydown that failed to yield a strike. Some of the largemouth bass were caught along the outside edges of the patches of winter-dead American water willows, and others were caught eight to 10 feet from the outside edges of the patches of winter-dead American water willows, and a few were caught 20 or more feet from the outside edges of the patches of winter-dead American water willows. They were caught in water as shallow as two and three feet and as deep as eight to 10 feet.  In short, we had no idea why we caught the largemouth bass where we caught them and why we failed to catch them at some likely-looking locales.  The way we caught 69 largemouth bass was by dissecting as many inches of the shorelines, jetties, patches of winter-dead American water willows, and points that the wind would allow us to do. But there were several spots where the wind made it impossible for us to properly control the boat and execute alluring and effective presentations.

Moreover, we failed to establish a dominant presentation pattern.  We caught a significant number of largemouth bass on the initial drop of our rigs.  We caught a goodly number of them on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.  We caught some by employing a drag-and-slight-shake retrieve. We caught a few by implementing a strolling presentation. We caught a couple on a hop-and-bounce presentation. We caught four of them on a deadstick presentation.

Around 1:00 p.m., we talked to another pair of anglers who had been wielding jerkbaits for hours on end, and they reported that they had caught about a dozen fish, which included several largemouth bass and several white bass, as well as a 10-pound wiper, and these fish were caught on wind-blown points.

In sum, the west shoreline and its multitude of features relinquished 63 largemouth bass, one freshwater drum, and one white bass. The shoreline adjacent to the main-lake point in the middle portions of the reservoir yielded one largemouth bass. We caught six largemouth bass and one white bass along the dam. This was the second outing in a row that we were unable to establish a dominant location pattern and a dominant presentation pattern, and it was the third outing in a row that the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig was the dominant lure.

David Harrison with the first white bass bass he has ever touched. But there will be many more as his Midwest finesse days in northeastern Kansas unfold.

On our trip back to Lawrence, David reflected a bit about his first Midwest finesse outing. In his eyes, the most remarkable aspect was the quick pace that we employed. He suspected that we would linger around certain locales for extended periods of time and our presentations would be slower and more exacting, replicating the way finesse anglers use drop-shot rigs around deep-water lairs. In short, he was amazed at how many yards (perhaps miles) of shorelines that we fished in three hours and 47 minutes. What's more, he was pleased with the number of fish that we caught.

Endnotes

At the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, Midwest finesse anglers ply hundreds of miles of shorelines throughout a calendar year. There are days, however, at some of the reservoirs in the winter and summer, where we dissect offshore lairs, such as rock piles and humps and patches of coontail, Eurasian milfoil, bushy pondweed, and curly-leaf pondweed.  What's more, we are shallow-water anglers, probing water as shallow as one to two feet and as deep as 12 to 15 feet, and most of the time, we focus on four to 10 feet of water.  Shorelines are where we catch the bulk of our largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, and this is especially true in March and April, when we essentially put the trolling motor down and toss out the drift sock and fish hundreds of yards — even miles -- of shorelines, and there is no telling where we will find our quarries on a particular shoreline, and the next time that we ply that same shoreline our quarries will usually be at another locale.  In essence, we do not know where the fish are until we find them, and we find them by probing long stretches of shorelines. And a number of times, we find our quarries along stretches that most anglers would not fish; Guido Hibdon of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, used to call these "nothing-looking banks" that no fishermen in his right mind would fish.

On Feb. 20, we read a post by a knowledgeable and able angler who guides at Table Rock Lake, Missouri.  His perspectives about where and how to fish are significantly different from ours. Perhaps the highland black bass that abide in Table Rock Lake are different than the ones that abide in the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, and Truman Lake, Missouri, that Hibdon used to fish, and they are different from the flatland black bass that abide in the reservoirs of northeastern Kansas.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his post:

You need to fish where the fish are, not just set in and start down a shoreline.  I will put this in print right now: I have not fished down a stretch of bank on Table Rock Lake in the last 20 years.  I just don't do it. But I see folks do it all the time, and then they whine when they are not catching them. Even our most knowledgeable shallow-water anglers do not just fish down a shoreline.  They are fishing locations, cuts, and pockets.  They are moving and shaking and trying their best to fish productive water.  Most often just fishing a bank or fishing shallow is not it.  Why would you pull onto a location, and then just throw down the trolling motor and start cranking and winding?  If the shoreline is 500 yards long, why would you assume that they could be everywhere along that long stretch?

April 1 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted the details on the Finesse News Network about his April 1 outing. It was his first outing of the year.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

I had probably waited longer than I needed to start my season.

I could have been fishing during much of March, but I was waiting for absolutely everything to be right before I kicked off my 2016 season. I knew looking at the United States Geological Survey gauges on my office computer for the last week that April 1 might be a memorable day. It commence on the absolute best note possible, and it ended up being the single best early season outing I have ever been blessed to partake in.

On March 30, I did my preseason ritual of walking three miles along the river without a rod in hand, but I did employ a great pair of polarized sunglasses so that I could observe what Mother Nature had deposited and taken away during the three months that I allowed Old Man Winter to do his duties.   It was great breathing the air that flowed off of the river, while I walked quietly and observed various birds engaging in their pre-nesting rituals.

I saw some boulders that were in a new location, as well as a log jam that never before existed. It was a great walk. I had to work on March 31, but I knew April 1 was the day to rise and usher in a new season and relish some peace that had eluded me after we had to put Sarge -- our 10-year old English Matiff — to rest on March 29, and it was exactly the reprieve I needed.

I loaded my Jackson Tuna kayak in the truck after work on March 31, and everything was ready to go on the morning of April 1.

According to my truck's thermometer, it was a balmy 54 degrees at 7:23 a.m. By 7:44 a.m., I was on the water and on the paddle,  heading well up river amongst the high canyon walls under absolutely breathtaking scenery and absolute dead-calm conditions.

The United States Geological Survey noted that the river was flowing at 385 cubic feet per second in the area that I wanted to fish, and I have never seen the flow that slow this early in the year in the 10 years that I have lived here.  The water temperature was 58 degrees, and it was 52 degrees three days ago. Water clarity exhibited more than eight feet of visibility.

Unfortunately I do not anticipate these wonderful conditions lasting for more than a week. We have frost warnings slated for multiple nights this coming week and multiple days of rain. Despite what prevails, I hope to fish through it.

By 11:00 a.m. it was 73 degrees, and I stood up in my kayak and took of my StormR Bibs.

I had six vintage Charlie Brewer spinning rods and six vintage Garcia-Zebco Cardinal Four reels rigged.

One sported a four-inch Z-Man's Dirt Finesse WormZ  on a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The second rod had a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's Dirt ZinkerZ on a hot-red Gopher jig. The third one had a three-inch heavily customized Z-Man's blue-steel Finesse ShadZ on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The fourth one had a two-inch heavily customized EZ TubeZ with an inserted Gopher TJ jig;(this tube is best described as half pumpkin belly and half green pumpkin back.) The fifth one had a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The sixth one had customized 2 1/4-inch combinations of a Z-Man's Finesse T.R.D. and CrawdadZ affixed to a brown 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

The barbs were removed from the hooks, and the baits were lathered with either Pro-Cure Bait Scents' Crawfish-Nighcrawler-Garlic Super Gel or its Shad Super Gel.

For 20 minutes I paddled upstream and arrived at the last wintering pool that I fished in December of 2015.  This time around I decided to fish it from the bottom up instead of from the top down. The bottom portion of this pool is the deepest portion of the entire area; it lips up and over a gravel flat that runs for a few miles, which right now is devoid of any fish, but in six weeks this gravel flat will be teaming with smallmouth bass that are partaking in their winter exodus from their deep-water haunts.

This pool is three long casts wide with sheer rock cliffs on the strong side of the river. The cliffs are 75 yards high. On the weak side of the river, there is four feet of water coursing across the bottom that is interspersed with gravel and softball-sized rock.  Except in late winter and early spring, the weak side is shallower than four feet.

Twenty-five minutes after my initial launch I put my Yak Attack stakeout pole into the bottom substrate on the weak side of the pool, and I began casting to the strong side.

On the strong side of the pool, there is a granite ledge that extends out and into the pool for five feet, and about a foot of water courses across this ledge. At the end of the ledge, the depth of the river plummets to an average of 15 feet of water, and the bottom of this pool is absolutely littered with giant boulders and interspersed with red oak trees that have fallen from atop the cliffs and been submerged years before I became a West Virginia resident in 2006.

This area is the deepest of water within 15 miles either way. What's more,  the bottom is unmoving, which is an attractive element to smallmouth bass during the winter. In fact, every species in the river spends the winter in this pool, and to my delight, it is 400 yards long.

Along the base of this pool, there is a large V-shaped trench, and that is exactly where I wanted my bait to be after I executed my cast to the edge of the ledge and allowed my bait to swim and slide down into the trench, and as it would swim and slide I would shake it incessantly.

One hour and 58 minutes after my launch I had caught 31 smallmouth bass, and I ate some breakfast, and after I finished a potpourri of pineapple, pickled egg whites, and melon, I moved up river to fish another 60-foot stretch. I would continue moving 60 feet up river until I fished the entire pool.

I could not have asked for a better day. I fished five hours and 50 minutes. My ZinkerZ rig caught 17 smallmouth bass, the Finesse WormZ rig caught 12, the EZ TubeZ rig caught 13, the Finesse ShadZ rig caught nine, the Scented LeechZ rig caught six, and the Finesse T.R.D. and CrawfishZ combo caught nine.

April 2 log 

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted details on the Finesse News Network about his April 2 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

If one could script an absolute opposite weather day from yesterday, today was it.

The weather on April 1 was downright balmy: area thermometers climbed into the upper 70s; the wind was calm; it was a picture of beauty. April 2 was none of that.

When I launched the kayak at 8:50 a.m., it was 44 degrees with wind gusts to over 30 mph. The weather forecasters were predicting that the wind would howl at more than 50 mph during the night of April 2 and early morning hours of April 3, and what's more, it would rain, and area thermometers would plummet to 28 degrees.  For the next six to 10 days, the overnight lows will hover around or even below 32 degrees. The high temperature predicted for April 3 is 47 degrees coupled with a howling wind.

My April 2 mission was twofold.  The first one was not harass the massive consolidation of wintertime smallmouth bass that I enjoyed catching on April 1. The second one was to head downriver in the opposite direction from where I launched on April 1 in hopes of finding some more willing participants that are still in wintering mode.

The nearest United States Geological Survey noted that the water temperature was 58 degrees and the river was flowing at 376 cubic feet per second. My wife helped me shuttle my truck downriver for this outing.

I had six vintage Charlie Brewer spinning rods and six vintage Garcia-Zebco Cardinal Four reels rigged.

One sported a four-inch Z-Man's Dirt Finesse WormZ  on a fire-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The second rod had a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's Dirt ZinkerZ on a blood-red Gopher jig. The third one had a Z-Man's blue-steel Finesse ShadZ on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The fourth one had a two-inch heavily customized EZ TubeZ with an inserted Gopher TJ jig, and this tube is best described as half pumpkin belly and half green-pumpkin back. The fifth one had a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ affixed to a brown 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The sixth one had a Z-Man's Mud Minnow Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

The barbs were removed from the hooks, and the baits were lathered with either Pro-Cure Bait Scents' Crawfish-Nighcrawler-Garlic Super Gel or its Shad Super Gel.

On my way downriver, I could easily see the bottom on the weakest side of the river, which had four feet of water covering it. This weak side has a light sand bottom. The other side of the river is absolutely littered with timber above and below the water's surface. Where the dark bottom of the timber- side of the river meets the light-colored sandy side there is a very distinct current line or seam. This is not important this early in the year, but as the smallmouth bass make the transition from the pools where they spend the winter to their pre-spawn locales, this very extensive sand flat becomes alive with  smallmouth bass and other species.

Eventually this stretch of the river plummets into a wintering pool that is the size of a tennis court. The bottom composition quickly changes from light sand on the weak side and dark soft sediment along the strong side to massive boulders. The depth changes from five feet to 12 feet.

The bottom is cluttered with massive boulders, and intertwined with the boulders are a goodly number of long logs.

I put my Stakeout Pole into the bottom's  substrate on the weak side and proceeded to fish the top portion of this quick transitioning spot. The water clarity was cut drastically by the constant wind gusts, but when the gusts subsided a touch, which did not happen enough for my liking, I could see eight feet down with my polarized glasses on.

Because the current flow is still elevated, there is a good amount of surface current that pushes through this area. But below the surface the current is greatly broken up by the timber and boulders.

Because of the wind gusts, it was a submerged rod tip and a hop-and-bounce affair. As the rig flows downstream from me with the current, I execute the hop-and-bounce presentation by back reeling.

I fished the tennis-court-sized transition area from various angles. This spot absolutely will snag a rig on every cast if one is not concentrating on what is transpiring.  After I dissected a portion of this pool, I would lift my Stakeout Pole, which allowed me to float downriver 25 to 30 feet, and then I would anchor it again into the bottom's substrate, and I would dissect that section of the pool.  When I eventually arrived at the end of the pool, I anchored the kayak with the Stake0ut Pole, and I began casting upstream, which allowed the rig to flow towards me rather than away or downstream from me.

I caught 38 smallmouth bass and failed to land two smallmouth bass. All of them were caught on the Mud Minnow Finesse T.R.D. rig.  The current was too swift for my 1/32-ounce rigs; they swept through the area at too fast of a pace. That phenomenon doesn't happen often, but when it does, it usually occurs at this time of the year when the current is swift, and I have experienced it at this pool in years past. During the summer, when the current is slow, I often have to remove the collars of the 1/32-ounce Gopher jigs to make them lighter, which will allow the rigs to move more naturally.

After I caught smallmouth bass No. 38, I got on the paddle and took my leisurely time going with the current, and it was a welcomed change from having to paddle into it and having my heart race a bit in areas that tested my paddling skills. As I floated to my truck, I just observed any changes on the river from my last outings of 2015, and I would occasionally catch some smallmouth bass here and there. I ended up catching 15 of them.

Everything I caught was on the hop-and-bounce presentation with a submerged rod tip and the Mud Minnow Finesse T.R.D. rig.  The submerged rod tip prevented my line from skating across the surface with the wind.

I fished 4 1/2 hours and caught 53 smallmouth bass.

April 3 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted on the Finesse News Network  details about his April 3 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

I stated in my April 2 log my noting that the weather forecast for April 3 was a brutal one from an angler's perspective. It was predicted that we would see 50-mph wind gusts, a driving rain, and a low temperature of 28 degrees. It was correct on two out of the three predictions, the rain, however,  was snow.

When I awoke and made my way to the truck where my Jackson Tuna kayak was loaded and ready to go, there was a half an inch of ice and snow covering everything. The wind was still howling at 20 mph or more and the thermometer read 29 at 7:10 a.m.   I put my kayak in the garage. I went back inside and made breakfast for my wife.   At 11:30 a.m. I grabbed two rods, donned some hiking boots and warm clothes. I loaded my pockets with five Gopher jigs, one bag of various kinds of Z-Man's soft-plastic finesse baits, and a bottle of Pro-Cure Bait Scents' Crawfish-Nighcrawler-Garlic Super Gel. Then I made my way through the woods.

The nearest United States Geological Survey gauge noted that the river was flowing at 370 cubic feet per second and the water temperature was 52 degrees.  On April 1, the water temperature was 58 degrees.

After walking three quarters of a mile, I arrived at the first of two spots I would fish. They are log jams that are visibly seen on the river's surface. They lie on the strong side of the river. They are so well stacked with timber that one would think that they are the masterful work of a family of beavers. Immediately behind these log jams there is six feet of water, and the bottom is covered with pumpkin-sized boulders. As for the water visibility, I could see the bottom in all but the darkest of spots right behind the timber.

I caught four smallmouth bass on my first five casts. Of those four three of them had some lethargic followers. I proceeded to take three more smallmouth bass.  All of them were 15-inchers. They were caught on a three-inch Z-Man's Mud Minnow Hula StickZ on a fire red 1/16-ounce  Gopher jig, which was  presented with an incessant shake of my rod tip as the rig dropped towards the bottom.  I fished this log jam for 31 minutes.

The second log jam is identical to the first one. I fished it for 42 minutes  and caught nine smallmouth bass on the Hula StickZ rig with the rod-shaking presentation.

Sixteen smallmouth bass in 73 minutes is nothing to write home about, but I was pleased to be able to fish and catch a few in the snow, cold, and wind.

April 4 log

Even though March is past, the winds of March continued to howl out of the south and southwest on April 3, and some gusts hit 36 mph at times. But it switched directions and tamed down on April 4, which is when Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I went bass fishing for trout at a suburban and heavily fished community reservoir in northeastern Kansas. On this outing, we crossed paths with eight anglers in seven boats and several shoreline anglers.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 51 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 66 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The sky was cloudless. The wind angled out of the northwest, north, and north by northeast at 6 to 24 mph.  More often than not, it was blowing between 6 and 11 mph while we were afloat, but there were several spells when we had to employ the drift sock to tame the wind a touch. The barometric pressure was 29.86 at 12:53 a.m., 30.02 at 5:53 a.m., 30.23 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.22 at 1:53 p.m. Some anglers tend to describe this weather pattern as a blue-bird scenario, and in their eyes and minds that means problematic largemouth bass fishing.

The water level looked to be slightly above normal.  The surface temperature ranged from 52 to 54 degrees.  The water clarity exhibited six to eight feet of visibility in the vicinity of the dam, and about three feet in the upper reaches of this reservoir's primary feeder-creek arm.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 8:29 a.m. to 10:29 a.m., 8:56 p.m. to 10:56 p.m. and 2:15 a.m. to 4:15 a.m.  We were afloat from 10:21 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

We caught 26 largemouth bass, two rainbow trout, one smallmouth bass, one white bass, and one freshwater drum in three hours and 41 minutes.  We elicited about two dozen tentative strikes that we failed to hook, and we failed to boat several fish that we hooked, including a humungous something or other that we battled for about four minutes before it liberated itself from the red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse ZinkerZ. We classified it as a lackluster outing.

One of the 26 largemouth bass that we caught. This one was caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

The most effective rig was a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught a few on the Coppertruese ZinkerZ rig and on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's watermelon-red ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  We caught two largemouth bass on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

From Lau's and my perspectives, we did not catch enough fish to establish a significant location pattern. Therefore, it is impossible for me to write extensively and articulately about where we caught the fish we caught.  Therefore, this log is filled with generalities rather than exact details of how, when, and where we caught the fish.

Three fish were caught on an offshore flat in the upper reaches of the reservoir's main feeder-creek arm. Seven fish were caught along two shorelines that exhibit a 45-degree grade, and they are situated inside a tertiary feeder-creek arm. Eight largemouth bass were caught along a steep shoreline and point inside a secondary feeder-creek arm. Five largemouth bass were caught on a flat main-lake point.  The other 11 fish were caught hither and yon on three main-lake shorelines and four main-lake points. But many locales such as the riprap shoreline of the dam, six main-lake points, a flat shoreline inside a secondary feeder-creek arm, a submerged and offshore rock fence on the main-lake, and four main-lake shorelines, failed to render a fish. We could not fathom why one point would yield fish and similar ones would not. Likewise, we could not determine why we caught largemouth bass along one shoreline and failed to catch them on similar shorelines.

Six largemouth bass engulfed our rigs on the initial drop along the outside edges of patches of winter-dead American water willows that embellished most of the shorelines and points that we dissected. Our most effective retrieve was either a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation or a slow strolling one.

Some of the fish were caught in two to three feet of water, and the bulk of those fish were caught on the initial drop of our rigs.  A few were caught in 11 to 13 feet of water, and they were caught while we were either strolling or executing a drag-and-subtle shake presentation.  The rest of the fish were caught in four to seven feet of water as we employed the drag-and-subtle-shake retrieve.

We have been dealing with this no rhyme-or-reason pattern since March 31. The only way we can catch largemouth bass and other species is to ply many shorelines and points, and ultimately we catch a few, but we will make untold numbers of casts and retrieves that fail to inveigle a fish or a strike.

This April 4 outing was far less fruitful than the April 1 outing, when we caught 69 largemouth bass, two white bass, and one drum, and the March 31 outing, when we caught 94 largemouth bass and crappie.

April 4 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his April 4 outing at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his log:

The black bass fishing at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs in north-central Texas has taken a nose dive since March 13. We suspect that part of the problem stems from the fact that the Corps has been releasing large amounts of water from the reservoirs, lowering the water levels about two feet per week. Our sonar devices have been graphing large numbers of fish suspended in eight to 15 feet of water in the center of coves that are 20 to 25 feet deep, and these suspended fish are extremely difficult to catch.

Another problem is the gusty winds.  The wind has bombarded north-central Texas for the past two months. Moreover, the water has not cleared up as quickly as it usually does this time of the year, and we think the wind has kept it muddy.

I decided to take advantage of the mild-mannered wind on April 4.  And  I ventured to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas, which even the most talented black bass anglers hereabouts  describe as a problematic venue.

The sun was shining brightly in the unclouded powder-blue sky. The Weather Underground recorded the morning low temperature at 54 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was a balmy 84 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.95 at 11:48 a.m. and 29.90 at 3:48 p.m. The wind blew out of the north at 5 to 12 mph.

According to the In-Fisherman solunar calendar, the best fishing periods would occur from 2:21 a.m. to 4:21 a.m., 8:35 a.m. to 10:35 a.m., and 9:02 p.m. to 11:02 p.m. I was afloat from about noon to about 3:30 pm.

The water was muddy and exhibited about a foot of clarity. The water level was about two feet high. The water temperature was 63 degrees at noon and warmed to 66 degrees by 3:30 p.m.

I utilized the following lures: Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened Z-Man's black-blue Hula StickZ dressed on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; Z-Man's black Split-Tail TrailerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and a Z-Man's pearl GrubZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.

I spent the entire 3 1/2 hours plying a large main-lake feeder-creek arm in the south end of the west tributary arm of the reservoir. The north end of the feeder-creek arm contains a small shallow cove that is enhanced with flooded buck brush, three laydowns, one tire reef, and three small tertiary points. The middle section of this feeder-creek contains a large marina and a large brush-laden mud flat that is covered with five to eight feet of water. The south end of the feeder-creek contains two large mud flats, three secondary points, several small tertiary points, two concrete boat ramps, 12 concrete pillars that stand in 18 feet of water, and three small pocket coves that are comprised with gravel, fist-size rocks, and mud.

I began my outing in the north end of the feeder-creek arm and worked my way southward. The boat floated in eight to 21 feet of water. I caught six largemouth bass and one large crappie from a 50-foot section of shoreline along the north side of the north cove. They were caught in about five feet of water and relating to the outside edges of the flooded buck brush. Three largemouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rig which was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Three largemouth bass and one white crappie were enticed by the Space Guppy Slim SwimZ and a steady swimming retrieve.

The large mud flat in the middle section of the feeder-creek arm yielded one largemouth bass. It was caught in five feet of water and was relating to the north side of a patch of flooded buck brush. This largemouth was caught on the Space Guppy Slim SwimZ and steady swimming retrieve. The boat was positioned in seven feet of water.

I caught four largemouth bass that were suspended about eight feet deep next to the sides of three concrete pillars in the south end of the feeder-creek arm. These pillars are positioned along the west shoreline of a large pocket and stand in 18 feet of water. The largemouth bass engulfed the shortened black-blue Hula StickZ combo as it was retrieved in a slow swim-glide-and shake manner.

After I finished dissecting the concrete pillars, I observed a large school of largemouth bass aggressively foraging on two-inch shad on the surface of the water at the mouth of a large pocket along the southwest shoreline. I caught 32 largemouth bass and one white bass from this school. They were extracted from one to three feet below the surface in 18 feet of water and many yards from the water's edge. Seventeen largemouth bass and one white bass were caught on the Space Guppy Slim SwimZ and a moderately-fast and steady swimming retrieve. Fifteen largemouth bass were caught on the black-blue Hula StickZ rig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. I also employed the 2 1/2-inch Coppertreuse ZinkerZ and black Split-Tail TrailerZ rigs, but they went untouched.

I failed to garner any strikes from the three secondary points, the two concrete boat ramps, the tire reef, the three laydowns, the small tertiary points, or the two main-lake points at the entrance to the feeder-creek arm.

Overall, it was a delightful and bountiful outing. I tangled with 43 largemouth bass, one large white crappie, and one white bass in 3 1/2 hours, and this 12-bass-per-hour catch rate is an unusual feat to accomplish at this problematic reservoir. The Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ and a steady swimming retrieve allured 21 largemouth bass, one crappie, and one white bass. The shortened Z-Man's black-blue Hula StickZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation enticed 19 largemouth bass. The 2 1/2-inch Coppertreuse ZinkerZ and slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught three largemouth bass. The Z-Man pearl GrubZ, shortened four-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ, and Z-Man's black split-tail TrailerZ rigs failed to engender any strikes.

April 5 log

Age has rendered its diminishing returns on my memory, and thus my 76-year-old brain might be failing me again, but this early spring is the windiest one that I can readily recall, and several other veteran Midwest finesse anglers can attest to that fact, too.  In fact, from Texas to Oklahoma to Kansas to Missouri to Kentucky to West Virginia, Midwest finesse anglers have been kvetching about the wind for days on end, and that kvetching did not cease on April 5.

The National Weather Service at the Kansas City International Airport reported that the wind angled out of the south and southeast at 14 to 39 mph from 4:53 a.m. to 5:53 p.m. on April 5, and Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, and I were hassled by it while we fished a community reservoir that lies in the northern suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 42 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 75 degrees at 5:53 p.m. The sky was clear from 12:53 a.m. to 5:53 p.m., and it fluctuated from being partly cloudy to mostly cloudy from 6:53 a.m. to 5:53 p.m.; there was a tiny spell around 2:53 p.m. when it was fair. The barometric pressure was 30.29 at 12:53 a.m., 30.23 at 5:53 a.m., 30.11 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.91 at 2:53 p.m.

The water level was normal.  The water clarity exhibited about five feet of visibility at some wind-sheltered locales, but at several heavily wind-blown spots, it was stained.  The surface temperature ranged from 52 to 54 degrees.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 9:14 a.m. to 11:14 a.m., 9:41 p.m. to 11:41 p.m., and 3:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. We fished from 10:10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Some of our early spring outings at this reservoir are bass-fishing-for-trout affairs.  For instance, we caught 25 rainbow trout, 75 largemouth bass, one walleye, and one crappie on March 24, 2015.  But on March 28, 2014, we caught 101 largemouth bass and no trout.  On this windblown April 5 outing, we caught 47 largemouth bass and inadvertently caught two crappie, but we failed to catch a trout.

Frazee and I caught 29 of the largemouth bass on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ, which was affixed to either a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a brown-and-yellow 1/16-ounce round-headed jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a slightly shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a 3 1/4-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Fifteen largemouth bass were caught on a customized Z-Man's California Craw FattyZ tail affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We fished nine main-lake points. One of them was extremely windblown, and it was the most fruitful of the nine, yielding 10 largemouth bass, which were caught on either the Finesse ShadZ rigs or the customized FattyZ rig. Around this wind-blown point, the boat floated in 10 to 20 feet of water. These bass were abiding in six to 12 feet of water. We retrieved our rigs with a drag-deadstick-and-shake presentation, and most of the strikes occurred during the deadstick routine. This point is laden with gravel, rocks, boulders, and a massive manmade brush pile.

Several times on this outing Frazee and I simultaneously caught largemouth bass, and here are two of them. Both were caught on our Finesse ShadZ rigs.

We spent the bulk of the outing on the east and southeast sides of the reservoir, which were somewhat sheltered at times from the wind. We probed main-lake points and many yards of main-lake shorelines, as well as a few secondary points and shorelines inside some small coves and in one feeder-creek arm.  As we fished, Frazee and I remarked several times that it was difficult to determine a pattern to the whereabouts of the largemouth bass.

The intensity of the wind prevented us from keeping detailed notes on the exact locations where we caught the largemouth bass or failed to catch them.   But one main-lake point and its adjacent shorelines did yield nine largemouth bass. The boat floated in 15 feet of water, and these bass were extracted out of seven to 13 feet of water. They were caught on our Finesse ShadZ rigs that were retrieved with a drag-deadstick-and-shake presentation, and most of the strikes occurred during the deadstick routine.

We also caught six largemouth bass along three sections of a riprap shoreline and on a rock-and — boulder-laden point that separates two of the riprap sections. When we fished this area, the wind was not howling as intensely as it had been and would be howling. Along the riprap, the boat floated in six to eight feet of water. At the point, the boat floated in 10 to 15 feet of water. Five of these largemouth bass were caught on our Finesse ShadZ rigs that were retrieved with a drag-deadstick-and-shake presentation, and most of the strikes occurred during the deadstick routine. These largemouth bass were caught in five to 10 feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on the Finesse WormZ rig, and that largemouth bass engulfed it on the initial drop in about three feet of water.

The other 22 largemouth bass were caught as we traversed hundreds of yards of rock-and-boulder-laden shorelines and points. These largemouth bass were scattered hither and yon; or in other words, there was no location pattern; we either crossed paths with them or they crossed paths with us as we plied the shorelines and points; some areas on the shorelines and a few points yielded a largemouth bass or two, but similar points and similar shorelines failed to yield a strike; many areas that looked fruitful were not fruitful; some areas that looked as if they would not yield a largemouth bass would  yield one or even two. Twenty largemouth bass were caught on either our Finesse ShadZ rigs or the customized FattyZ rig. Two largemouth bass were caught on the Hula StickZ rig. Two largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs.  Several of them were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.  Most of them were caught on the drag-deadstick-and-shake presentation, and most of the strikes occurred during the deadstick routine. These largemouth bass were extracted out of water as shallow as two feet and as deep as 12 feet.

Since March 22, we have found that it is necessary to thoroughly dissect as many miles of shorelines as is humanly possible in order to find and to catch the largemouth bass that inhabit the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri, and it is a difficult task when the wind howls as it did on April 5. Even though Frazee and I used a drift sock to try to tame the wind and control the gyrations of the boat, the wind hampered our abilities to properly dissect many of the points and shorelines that we fished. Some locales were impossible to fish. What's more, we were fishing at an electric-motor-only reservoir, and when we had to travel into the wind with our bow-mounted electric trolling motor, our ability to move quickly from one area to another area was hampered significantly, which limited the minutes that we were able to execute casts and retrieves in our search along shorelines and points for the whereabouts of this reservoir's largemouth bass.

In sum, Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ nearly always pays some bountiful dividends at this reservoir during the first weeks of spring, and it was our most productive rig this time around, too. The deadstick portion of our retrieves was our most effective presentation, but the wind often hampered it at many locales where we tried to employ it. According to Frazee, who fishes this reservoir regularly, this was the first time that he has ever encountered the deadstick phenomenon to be a fruitful Midwest finesse presentation. It is interesting to note that we failed to elicit a strike on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, but on four previous outings since March 22 at three flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, which encompassed about 23 hours of fishing, that rig had caught 213 largemouth bass.

Frazee with a crappie that he caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig.

April 6 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted the details on the Finesse News Network about his April 6 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

Upon waking this morning, I heard to my chagrin the wind chimes already singing. Unseasonably cold mornings and a howling wind that gains steam over the course of the day have been the norm since April 2. April 1, however, felt like a day in July.

Upon getting home from work last night, I loaded my Jackson Tuna Kayak. So, whatever the conditions this morning I was going fishing. I wanted to fish because the river is flowing at the lowest level for this time of the year that I have seen in the 10 years of living here. It is also the clearest I have seen.  In fact, the water clarity is right on par with what I normally see in June.

The temperature gauge on my truck's gauge read 28 degrees at 8:34 a.m. The wind was blowing at 15 mph, by 1:00 p.m. it was gusting over 30 mph, and as I type this log at 6:32 p.m., it is still howling.

The United States Geological Survey noted that the river was flowing at 312 cubic feet per second at the spot I intended to fish, and the water temperature was 48 degrees. On April 1, the water temperature was 58 degrees. I suspect that this river's denizens are as confused as I am about the conditions, and they are abiding in their wintering locations in large numbers, and they may remain there longer than in most years unless these nights below freezing loosen their grip.

What I had planned on doing since my last outing was to travel eight miles of the river to my favorite wintering spot, where I know from past years may have meant a day for the books both in size and numbers. But those fish will have to wait another day, because on April 3 I witnessed a lot of debris being blown from trees into the river, including some sizable limbs, which I would not want to land in my lap while I am paddling the kayak. And April 2, I watched the wind topple an ancient birch tree into the river.

Therefore, I was going to play it safe on April 6 and stay away from the  river-lined-tree areas and head to a canyon that would provide some shelter from the wind.

I launched at approximately 9:50 a.m. The air temperature was 37 degrees with a wind that was gaining speed every hour.

I headed straight down river 3.9 miles to the canyon, and I stayed on the paddle the entire trip without making a cast. The 3.9-mile section of river above the canyon will be virtually fishless until the river's denizens vacate their winter haunts in the deep pools.

Both sides are bordered by cliff walls that are easily 100 yards high. My wife and I call this canyon the bear run because we often see black bears.

The wind was howling, but it was howling over the top of the walls of the cliff, and I was afloat in nearly idyllic conditions compared to my recent outings.

The water exhibited nine feet of visibility. The bottom of this pool has a series of high and low points, which are created by 19 spines or ridges. From the strong side of the river, a series of granite spines radiate out into the pool from the wall of the cliff, and these spines extend completely across the pool to the cliff on the weak side of the river.  The water is three feet deep on the top of these spines. In the trenches between the spines, the water is 12 feet deep. This canyon pool is 250 yards long, and it ends with a sizeable waterfall.

I put my Yak Attack stakeout pole into the bottom on the weak side of the river and proceeded to make casts to the base of the cliff's wall at the very top of this run. These casts would land on the spine in three feet of water and I would slowly allow the rig to slide down the granite spines into 10 to 12 feet of water, and then I would begin a very slow retrieve back up the slabs of granite with incessant shakes. At the very bottom of these V-like undulations, there are logs that are extremely old and have not moved in many years because the bottom of these trenches are like a giant mousetrap for entangled timber.  When my rig would clear the entangled timber, I would back reel to allow the rig to contact timber again. This scenario kept my offering in front of the fish for the maximum amount of time with the current as an aid.  After completely dissecting a segment of this canyon pool, I moved downstream a bit and anchored the kayak with the Yak Attack stakeout pole. It took me three hours and 47 minutes to fish this 250-yard pool.

I caught 49 smallmouth bass, seven large rock bass, three 25 to 27-inch fallfish, and one six-pound channel catfish. These fish were caught on a 2 3/4-inch tail section of a Z-Man's Redbone Trout Trick that was affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The barbs were removed from the jig hook, and the Trout Trick was lathered with Pro-Cure Bait Scents' Crawfish-Nighcrawler-Garlic Super Gel every 20 minutes.

This pool is very remote, and in my estimation, it has all of the ingredients to hold some truly remarkable-size smallmouth bass throughout the cold-water period. During the next month, when the fish leave this pool, they will spread across areas that I floated across on my 3.9-mile journey to this canyon.

Besides the 60 fish that I caught, I saw one large bobcat. I have seen this gorgeous animal nearly every time I have made the trek to this area.

As soon as I exited the sanctity of the cliff's walls and headed 3.9 miles upstream to my truck, I had to battle the unrelenting wind, which was pointed directly at me at a 25 mph pace. I stood up in my kayak and used my stakeout pole as a push poll for much of the 3.9 miles. It has become an essential  piece of river equipment for me.

After my push-poling affair to get up the river, I hope I will sleep through the night and not be awaken by the blasted wind chimes.

April 6 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his bank-walking outing with John Thomas of Denton on April 6.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his log:

The winds of April are mirroring the gusty winds of March, and they kept me and John Thomas of Denton, Texas, shore bound once again. Instead of enjoying a nice quiet day afloat on one of the nearby U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs, we were relegated to undertake a bank-walking endeavor at two heavily fished community reservoirs that lie in the suburbs northwest of Dallas.

It was a gorgeous spring day. The sun was shining radiantly in a clear blue sky. The Weather Underground reported the morning low temperature was 59 degrees and the afternoon high temperature reached 79 degrees. A vigorous and irksome wind blew steadily out of the northwest at 22 to 24 mph with occasional gusts approaching 30 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.08 at 11:00 a.m. and 30.04 at 4:00 p.m.

In Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the optimum fishing periods would occur from 4:08 a.m. to 6:08 a.m., 10:22 a.m. to 12:22 p.m., and 10:50 p.m. to 12:50 a.m.

Our first stop was at a 20-acre community reservoir. We fished it from about 11:30 a.m. to about 3:00 p.m. The water level was normal. The water clarity was stained with about two feet of visibility. We did not have the means to measure the water temperature.

We started off fishing a 35-yard section of a steep sand and gravel shoreline along the west side of the reservoir. This section of the shoreline is enhanced with a fishing pier and a patch of hydrilla that courses underneath the fishing pier in about eight feet of water. We caught four largemouth bass that were relating to the bottom of the reservoir in about 10 to 12 feet of water and about 45 feet away from the outside edge of the patch of hydrilla. The hydrilla patch did not appear to be attracting any bass, and we did not garner any strikes as we probed the top and sides of it.  All four of these largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on either a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. (We found that the 3/32-ounce Gopher jig provided better lure control when we had to cast and retrieve our lures into the wind or perpendicular to it.) The ZinkerZ rig was presented with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve, and the strikes occurred during the deadstick portion of the retrieve. We also experimented with a 1/16-ounce Owner's flick-shake jig rigged with an array of wacky-rigged Z-Man's Finesse WormZs, but we failed to attract the attentions of any largemouth bass with this technique.

After we fished around the pier, we slowly dissected the area around the face of the concrete slab dam that forms the southern perimeter of this reservoir. This area was being pounded by the wind and waves, and it yielded five largemouth bass and another largemouth bass broke off on a submerged obstruction. These largemouth bass were abiding in four to six feet of water and about 5 to 10 feet out from the face of the dam. Three were caught on the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rig and two were caught on a Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ affixed on a brown 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. We did our best to present the ZinkerZ with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation, but the wind was creating havoc with our casts and retrieves. The Space Guppy Slim SwimZ and brown 3/32-ounce Gopher jig combo was easier to cast into the wind and a steady swimming retrieve reduced the wind bow in our lines and made our presentations more effective.

After we finished fishing the dam area, we walked to the north end of the east shoreline and worked our way southward, which kept the wind at our backs. We caught 10 largemouth bass that were abiding in four to six feet of water along the south side of a long clay and gravel point that extends from the north end of this shoreline. Another five largemouth bass were caught in five feet of water along the end of a broad point that is situated along the mid-section of the shoreline. Three largemouth bass were caught in four feet of water off the top of a gravel and sand flat that occupies the lower third portion of this shoreline.

We did not fish a large mud flat that forms the north end of the reservoir.

This reservoir relinquished 27 largemouth bass. The 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation allured 16 largemouth bass. The Space Guppy Slim SwimZ and steady swimming retrieve enticed nine, and the four-inch pumpkin-green-flake Finesse WormZ rig and slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve tempted two.

On our drive home, we decided to stop and fish a heavily fished two-acre reservoir. We fished this watershed from about 3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., and it surrendered nine largemouth bass and one large green sunfish. All of these fish were caught in water less than five feet deep and no more than 10 feet out from the water's edge.

The water was muddy with about a foot of visibility. The water level was normal. We did not have the means to measure the water's temperature.

Four largemouth bass were caught along two steep clay points that are situated on the east side of the reservoir. Five largemouth bass and one green sunfish were caught from the outside edges of three large patches of water lilies that occupy a large portion of the western shoreline. We failed to entice any strikes from a large and shallow mud flat that borders the north shoreline. We also failed to elicit any strikes from the south end of the reservoir, which encompasses a decorative stone dam, two submerged rock piles, and a submerged brush pile.

Five largemouth bass and the one green sunfish were caught on a customized 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's black-blue laminate EZ TubeZ rigged on a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. A shortened Z-Man's black-blue Hula StickZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught two largemouth bass. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught one largemouth. A drag-and-shake presentation was the only effective retrieve.

Overall, it was a delightful outing, and John and I enjoyed tangling with 36 largemouth bass and one green sunfish in 4 1/2 hours, which calculates to a catch rate of eight bass per hour.

April 7 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his April 7 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his log:

I was planning a short run up river to find out what the smallmouth bass were doing at a spot that I had not fished since last December. It was to be a reconnaissance trip, setting the stage for the five days that I plan to be afloat during the second week of April.

After tending to some household chores for the greater portion of the morning, I launched and was on the paddle at 11:23 a.m., heading up river.

It was 54 degrees. The sky was gloomy. Periodically, the wind would blow with a vengeance.

The nearest United States Geological Survey gauge to where I was headed noted that the river was flowing at 294 cubic feet per second, and the water temperature was 52 degrees. The river exhibited eight feet of visibility when the sun intermittently shined.  The In-Fisherman solunar calendar read that my best fishing times were 10:54 a.m. to 12:54 p.m. I fished a total of 4 hours and 23 minutes.

An hour into my outing, the strangest of occurrences took place. I saw the sun shining brightly, which I had not seen in six days. Then 37 minutes later it began to rain at a steady pace, and the wind howled with 20 mph gusts. And that scenario repeated itself throughout the outing. It was nice seeing the sun occasionally, and every time the sun shined, there was no wind. When it rained, it absolutely poured and the wind roared. Because of the ever changing light conditions that ranged from sunny to gloomy, I had to swap one pair of polarized glasses for another pair in order for me to see the bottom of the river.

To get to what I think is the most productive wintering smallmouth bass spot that I have ever fished was not in the cards. So, I paddled up river nearly four miles on the extreme weak side and decided to not go any further, and I let the current take me back to the truck on the strong side of the river, which I was careful not to disturb on my trek up river.

I stopped paddling at the base of a waterfall or heavy rapids. I picked up one of my rods for the first time of the day and began slowly floating down the river.

The first area I fished was a V-shaped trench littered with some timber in six feet of water. The kayak floated in three feet of water.  I anchored the kayak by pushing my Yak Attack Stakeout Pole into the bottom, which kept the wind and current from fouling my presentations with a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig affixed to a well-worn 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Dirt ZinkerZ, which was a leftover from last December, and this was the only rig I used during this entire outing. The barb on the jig's hook was removed, and every 20 minutes I lathered the ZinkerZ with Pro-Cure's nightcrawler-crayfish-garlic Super Gel. This spot yielded 11 smallmouth bass, thee channel catfish, and one carp. The carp weighed at least 15 pounds, and  it mangled my little Gopher jig.   All of these fish were caught as I was swimming and shaking the ZinkerZ rig a foot above the bottom.

From there I  made my way down the  river to my truck, and as I plied several miles of nothing-looking water, my ZinkerZ rig caught 36 smallmouth bass, two largemouth bass, three channel catfish, two bluegill that were 13-inchers,  and one large rock bass.  One of the largemouth bass looked to be a four-pounder; it was a very healthy specimen, and perhaps it was bigger than four pounds, and it was adorned with two  lovely dark-green lateral lines that I love seeing during cold-water periods.

We have snow forecasted for the night of April 9 and into April 10, and the high temperature is predicated to be 41 degrees on April 9. I am in a perplexed state as to what this spring has brought us. I suspect, however, that the wintering smallmouth bass will be remaining in their wintertime lairs longer than usual.

April 7 log

Walt Tegtmeier of Leawood, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his April 7 outing at a community reservoir in northeastern Kansas.

Here is an edited version of his report:

I fished between 10:20 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. I can't say for sure, but I think it was the windiest day I have ever fished, at least in a boat. I checked the National Weather Service's website for Lawrence, Kansas, on the way home, which indicated that the wind was out of the north and northwest at 36 mph and with gusts that hit 45 mph. When I was on the water, it felt more like west wind to me than a north or northwest one. I began the outing in the feeder-creek arm east of the dam. The surface temperature was 56. The water level and clarity seemed to be normal -- give or take a couple inches. The drift sock came out immediately. I made one fast, controlled drift eastward on the north shoreline with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse ZinkerZ on a fluorescent-orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. It produced a dozen largemouth bass and a couple missed strikes. I then made an identical drift with a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and it went undisturbed. I then tried the east main-lake shoreline from the point down to the boat ramp, and I failed to get a strike. I then tried the west shoreline from the boat ramp to the mouth of the southwest feeder-creek arm, and I caught one largemouth bass on the Finesse ShadZ rig. After that, I returned to the feeder-creek arm that lies to the east of the dam, and I again used the drift sock, the wind, and the ZinkerZ rig, which caught eight largemouth bass that were extracted out of two feet water, and they engulf the ZinkerZ rig on the initial drop.  My final stop, and by that time of day the only area I could fish, was the northwest shoreline of the southwest feeder-creek arm. Strangely, as I came around the point, it was as if the wind was hitting me hard from opposite directions. It turned out to be a helpful phenomenon, as I never needed the drift sock and could execute my casts with ease. I stopped once I reached the first boat dock, but that stretch from the point to the boat dock yielded 19 largemouth bass and 13 crappie. That put my day's total at 40 largemouth bass and 13 crappie. All but two of the bass went for the ZinkerZ, as did all the crappie. The surface temperature was 58.1 when I left that southwest cove for home.

April 7 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his April 7 outing with Rick Allen of Dallas at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir that lies in the suburbs of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

Here is an edited version of his log:

I fished this reservoir for 3 1/2 hours on April 4 and caught 43 largemouth bass.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing on April 7 would occur from 4:54 a.m.to 6:54 a.m., 5:23 p.m. to 7:23 p.m., and 11:37 p.m. to 1:37 a.m. Rick Allen and I were afloat from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Weather Underground recorded the morning low temperature at 54 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 84 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.95 at 11:48 a.m. and 29.90 at 3:48 p.m. The wind blew out of the north at 10 to 17 mph.

The water was muddy, exhibiting about a foot of clarity. The water temperature ranged from 61 degrees to 65 degrees. The water level was 1.47 feet above normal.

Our spinning rods sported the following lures: Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig; Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened Z-Man's black-blue Hula StickZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and a 3 3/4-inch Z-Man's Smokey Shad StreakZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We began the outing in the north end of the same large main-lake feeder-creek arm that I fished on April 4. This feeder creek is located at the south end of the western tributary arm of the reservoir, and a few sections of it provided us with some protection from the pesky north wind.  The north end of the feeder-creek arm contains a small cove that is graced with flooded buck brush, three laydowns, one tire reef, and several small tertiary points. The boat was positioned in 10 to 18 feet of water.

We caught 23 largemouth bass and four white bass from a 50-foot section of shoreline along the north side of the cove where I caught six largemouth bass on April 4. These 27 fish were caught in about five feet of water and relating to the outside edges of the flooded buck brush. Eight largemouth bass were caught on the shortened Z-Man's black-blue Hula StickZ and blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig combo. Six largemouth bass and four white bass were caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ and chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig combo. Three largemouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ, another three were caught on the Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D., and three others were caught on the pearl Finesse ShadZ. The Hula StickZ, ZinkerZ, Finesse ShadZ, and Finesse T.R.D. rigs were presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The pearl Slim SwimZ was implemented with a steady swimming retrieve. We failed to elicit any strikes with the Space Guppy Slim SwimZ or the 3 3/4-inch Smokey Shad SteakZ. The west end of this cove failed to yield any strikes or bass. The south shoreline relinquished one largemouth bass. It was caught in four feet of water along the outside edge of a patch of flooded buck brush. It engulfed the black-blue Hula StickZ rig that was presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We failed to elicit any strikes along the east side of the cove.

After we fished the north cove area, we fished several concrete pillars that stand in 18 feet of water at the mouth of a small pocket in the southwest end of the feeder-creek arm. I had caught four largemouth bass from these pillars on April 4, but they yielded only one largemouth bass on this outing. This largemouth bass was suspended in about six feet of water next to the side of one of the pillars, and it was caught on the black-blue Hula StickZ with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The boat was floating in 23 feet of water.

After that, we fished four secondary points and two small pockets just west of the concrete pillars. These areas are rocky and littered with many patches of flooded buck brush.  I caught 32 largemouth bass that were schooling in the mouth of one of these two pockets on April 4, but on today's outing, we caught only three largemouth bass from that same pocket while we positioned the boat in 10 to 18 feet of water. One was caught on the black-blue Hula StickZ rig, and two were caught on the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ rig. Both of these lures were presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. These largemouth bass were suspended about 25 to 30 feet out from the water's edge and about six feet deep in 15 feet of water. One of the four secondary points yielded two largemouth bass. They were abiding in three to five feet of water near the end of the point. One was caught on the black-blue Hula StickZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and the other was caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ and a steady swimming retrieve.

Our next spot encompassed two small pockets and three secondary points comprised of clay, gravel, fist-size rocks, and many patches of flooded buck brush. These three points and two pockets lie along the south side of the feeder-creek. We kept the boat in seven to 13 feet of water, and we caught only two largemouth bass from three feet of water in the back of one of the small pockets. These two bass were relating to the outside edge of the flooded buck brush, and they engulfed the black-blue Hula StickZ on the initial fall.

Next, we made a short run to the east side of the middle section of this same feeder-creek arm. This area contains a long and steep rocky shoreline and a large brush-laden mud flat covered with three to eight feet of water. We followed behind a boat with a pair of anglers who were flipping and pitching large jig-and-pig combos into thick shallow patches of flooded buck brush next to the shoreline. The wind made it difficult to keep the boat positioned in 10 to 12 feet of water. We caught one large white crappie in eight feet of water off the steep and rocky shoreline and one largemouth bass in five feet of water off the outside edge of a patch of flooded buck brush on the large mud flat. The crappie was caught on the black-blue Hula StickZ and the largemouth bass was caught on the pearl Finesse ShadZ. Both of these lures were employed using the swim-glide-and shake retrieve.

After that, we decided to make a half-mile run up the west side of the reservoir and investigated a large main-lake cove. This cove is comprised of clay, gravel, submerged coffee table-size boulders, and many yards of flooded buck brush. The boat floated in water as shallow as five feet and as deep as 12 feet.

We caught one largemouth bass off one of the windswept main-lake points leading into the cove. This bass was extracted from six feet of water off the side of the point. It was enticed into striking the pearl Slim SwimZ that was presented with a moderately fast-paced swimming retrieve. We caught two nice-size spotted bass along the south shoreline inside the cove. The spotted bass were caught in five to seven feet of water on the black-blue Hula StickZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. They were relating to two large submerged boulders enhanced with a few patches of flooded buck brush. We then called it a day and headed back in.

The shortened Z-Man's black-blue Hula StickZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most productive lure and presentation.

Even though our results were not as bountiful as my April 4 outing, it was still a fruitful and enjoyable one. We relished catching 33 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, four large white bass, and one large white crappie in 3 1/2 hours. And anytime we can catch 10 bass an hour at this problematic reservoir, we consider it a splendid day.

April 8 log

The Weather Underground reported that the wind howled out of the northwest at a wicked pace around Lawrence, Kansas, on April 7; some gusts hit 52 mph. On April 6, the northwest wind failed to breach 37 mph, which was brisk enough to keep me off the water.  April has always been my favorite month of the year to fish, and at the age of 76, I do not want to miss too many April days afloat. So when the Weather Underground reported that the wind was relatively mild-mannered and angling out of the northwest at 3 to 13 mph during the first 10 hours of April 8, it provoked me to launch the boat at a nearby community reservoir and see how many largemouth bass I could find and catch before Mother Nature's windy ways resumed.

It was 32 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 64 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The sun was shining everywhere. From 10:52 a.m. to 2:52 p.m., the wind angled out of the northwest, north by northwest, and west by northwest at 11 to 34 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.12 at 12:52 a.m., 30.15 at 5:52 a.m., 30.18 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.13 at 2:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be nearly normal.  The surface temperature was 55 degrees. The water was a tad stained from all of the windy onslaughts that had sent ranks of waves coursing across many acres of this reservoir. The clearest locales exhibited about three feet of visibility, and around the extremely wind-blown areas, the clarity diminished to six to 10 inches. We are in the midst of a hearty bloom of filamentous alga; bogs of it clutter boat docks, laydowns, patches of winter-dead American water willows, and nearly every shallow-water object. And a lot of the stain in the water looks as if it came from the bogs of filamentous alga that were blown to smithereens by the wind and waves.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 11:31 a.m. to 1:31 p.m., 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., and 5:45 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.  I was afloat from 11:00 a.m. to 2:54 p.m.

I spent these three hours and 54 minutes plying portions of the dam, one main-lake shoreline, and portions of four shorelines inside three feeder-creek arms. I used a drift sock, which allowed the wind to propel the boat along these shorelines at a moderate pace and occasionally at a snail's pace.

I caught 64 largemouth bass and one crappie. Thirty-three of the largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Thirty of the largemouth bass and the one crappie were caught on a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a customized Z-Man's California Craw FattyZ tail affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

The slope of the dam exhibits a 45-degree angle.  It consists of rocks and boulders. It yielded five largemouth bass.  One of them was caught on a customized FattyZ rig. Another one was caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on the ZinkerZ rig. These rigs were presented with either a drag-and-shake or strolling retrieve.  When I was dragging and shaking, the rigs were frequently touching the bottom. While I was strolling, the rigs were above the bottom. These bass were abiding in about five feet of water.

Midwest finesse anglers have found that the drag-and-shake and the stroll are often the most effective presentations to employ along shorelines when it is windy and the boat is being propelled by the wind and controlled by a drift sock and bow-mounted electric trolling motor.  What's more, these same anglers have found that it is virtually impossible to execute effective casts and retrieves with finesse rigs when they use a bow-mounted electric trolling motor to propel the boat into the wind.

Fifty-nine largemouth bass and one crappie were caught along the main-lake shoreline and the four shorelines inside the three feeder-creek arms. Portions of these shorelines are flat, and the boat floated in five to seven feet of water along these flat sections. Other segments of the shorelines have a 30- to 40-degree slope, and the boat floated in 10 to 14 feet of water along these steeper shorelines.   Significant portions of all the shorelines are adorned with patches of winter-dead American water willows. Some of the shorelines are graced with patches of curly-leaf pondweed. The geological features of the steeper ones consist of gravel, rock, and boulders. The geological features of the flat ones consist of gravel, rock, and silt. All of the shorelines have a few laydowns and some stumps. One of them has some boat docks.

When I caught one largemouth along these shorelines, I often caught several largemouth bass in consecutive casts and retrieves. Then I would traverse many yards of similar-looking shorelines, making scores of casts and retrieves that failed to elicit a strike. The main-lake shoreline and the first 100 yards of the shorelines inside the mouths of the feeder-creek arms produced 59 largemouth bass and one crappie.  And when I was more than a 100 yards inside the mouths of the feeder-creek arms, I failed to engender a strike.

Some of the largemouth bass that I caught along the flat shorelines were 20 feet from the water's edge in five to six feet of water, and there were some that were caught along the outside edge of patches of winter-dead American water willows and filamentous alga in about three feet of water.

Along the steeper shorelines, I caught the largemouth bass from three to seven feet from the water's edge. These were abiding in three to six feet of water. Several of them were caught in front of patches of winter-dead American water willows and filamentous alga.

For several weeks we have not been able to find a simple and absolute location pattern, and that phenomenon occurred on this outing, too. Thus, we have found that the best way to catch largemouth bass in the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas has been to fish hundreds of yards of shorelines, using the wind and a drift sock, and employing either a drag-and-shake or a strolling presentation with either a 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rig or a Finesse ShadZ rig. The best way to execute this presentation is to cast the ZinkerZ or Finesses ShadZ rigs towards the shoreline at an angle slightly behind the boat.

It is interesting to note that I followed a pair of anglers along three of the shorelines inside of two of the feeder-creek arms and a portion of the dam. They were wielding small crankbaits, small spinnerbaits, and small jigs on spinning outfits. They were casting their lures towards the shoreline at an angle slightly in front of the boat.  As we were putting our boats on our trailers, they reported that they caught about a dozen largemouth bass and one crappie in about six hours of fishing.

April 8 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his outing on April 8 to a Civilian Conservation Corps' hill-land reservoir in south-central Oklahoma.

Here is an edited version of his log:

As I was preparing for this early spring outing, I had high hopes that many of this reservoir's shallow-water locales would be swarming with spawning smallmouth bass.

When Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I fished this reservoir for five hours on March 12, we struggled to catch eight smallmouth bass, one largemouth bass, and one spotted bass. On that outing, the surface temperature was 59 degrees, and these bass were not caught in the feeder- creek arms and coves as we had expected.

On April 8, the National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 50 degrees and the afternoon high temperature reached 71 degrees. The sky conditions changed from partly cloudy to overcast. The wind quartered out of the east by southeast at 8 to 12 mph.  The barometric pressure measured 30.25 at 10:15 a.m. and dropped to 30.20 by 3:15 p.m.

The water displayed seven to nine feet of visibility, and I was able to see several smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass swim up to and engulf my lures. The water level was about normal. The water temperature was 65 degrees.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing periods would occur from 5:05 a.m. to 7:07 a.m., 11:38 a.m. to 1:38 p.m., and 12:07 p.m. to 2:07 p.m. I was afloat from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and much to my chagrin, the fishing was as slow and trying as it was on March 12.

I began the outing at a submerged main-lake hump that lies in the mid-section of the west tributary arm. I employed a Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ rigged on a brown 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's blue steel Finesse ShadZ affixed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ attached to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, but I failed to find any smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, or spotted bass on this hump.

My second stop was a flat main-lake point at the entrance to a feeder-creek arm and a 100-yard stretch of main-lake shoreline adjacent to the point that lies in the northwest region of the reservoir. The point and main-lake shoreline look almost identical to each other. Both of them are graced with large patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation interlaced with fist-size rocks and a few scattered coffee-table-size boulders. While the boat floated in 15 to 18 feet of water, I caught one nice-size smallmouth bass from next to the side of a large boulder in eight feet of water. I watched this smallmouth bass swim up and engulf the Space Guppy Slim SwimZ as I slowly swam it past the side of the boulder.  I caught another nice-size smallmouth bass off the south side of the point in 10 feet of water. It was enticed into striking the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig that was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. I failed to elicit any strikes with the blue steel Finesse ShadZ rig. I then slowly meandered northward along the 100-yard section of main-lake shoreline just north of the point, and I failed to cross paths with any black bass along this stretch of shoreline.

After I fished the main-lake shoreline, I ventured inside the feeder-creek arm just south and west of the main-lake point that I fished earlier. I targeted four secondary points and three coves on the north side of the feeder-creek. One cove yielded one smallmouth bass and one large green sunfish that were milling about in four feet of water and relating to a 30-yard section of riprap-laden shoreline on the northwest side of the cove. Both of these fish were caught on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.  Another cove surrendered a 3 3/4-pound largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. Both of these bass were associated with several large submerged boulders in eight feet of water, and they were  bewitched by a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a shortened four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. One secondary point yielded three smallmouth bass that were caught on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. These smallmouths were positioned on the deep-water end of the point in 14 feet of water. The third cove and the other three secondary points failed to yield any strikes. I also wielded the blue steel Finesse ShadZ rig about 60 percent of the time that I fished this feeder-creek arm, but I was unable to generate any strikes with it.

My fourth stop was a rock- and boulder-strewn main-lake point and cove located in the mid-section of the reservoir where the east and west tributary arms meld together. At the main-lake point, I wielded the Space Guppy Slim SwimZ, 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ, and blue steel Finesse ShadZ rigs. The boat floated in 10 to 17 feet of water and I failed to elicit any strikes. Inside the cove, I fished about 100 yards of the west shoreline in the back third of the cove. This shoreline is steep and bedecked with large submerged boulders. Patches of newly emerging cattail stands clutter a sandy flat in the very back end of the cove.  I kept the boat in 18 to 20 feet of water and about 75 to 90 feet from the water's edge. I continued to use the Space Guppy Slim SwimZ, blue steel Finesse ShadZ, 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ, and four-inch PB&J Finesse WormZ combos. I caught one smallmouth bass from about 12 feet of water along the steep and rocky west shoreline. I was able to watch this smallmouth bass slowly rise from beside a large boulder and engulf the four-inch PB&J Finesse WormZ as it slowly began to settle toward the bottom on the initial drop. When I reached the back end of the cove, the clear water allowed me to visually check the cattail stands on the sand flat in the back of the cove, and I was greatly surprised and disheartened when I did not see any type of fish activity on this flat.

My fifth locale was a submerged roadbed that stretches across the mid-section of a main-lake cove in the east tributary arm of the reservoir.  This roadbed is covered with three to 17 of water. The sides of the roadbed drop off into more than 30 feet of water.  Fist-size rocks and several large boulders line both sides of the roadbed. The boat floated in water as deep as 35 feet and as shallow as seven feet as I employed the Space Guppy Slim SwimZ, four-inch PB&J Finesse WormZ, and the blue steel Finesse ShadZ rigs on top of the roadbed and along its sides, but I failed to encounter any black bass inhabiting this area.

My sixth spot was a steep boulder-laden shoreline inside a main-lake cove in the southeast end of the reservoir. I dissected about 150 yards of the south shoreline and caught one two-pound largemouth bass. This bass was about five feet out from the water's edge and in about eight feet of water. This bass was coaxed into striking the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ that was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

The seventh area I fished was a flat and rocky main-lake point and a 50- yard stretch of shoreline adjacent to the point at the mouth of a cove located in the southeast section of the reservoir. I wielded the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ  and blue steel Finesse ShadZ combos, and I failed to generate any strikes.

My last spot was a large riprap-covered flat that lies along the south shoreline in the middle portion of the cove. I continued to employ the four-inch PB&J Finesse WormZ, blue steel Finesse ShadZ, 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ, and Space Guppy Slim SwimZ rigs and I failed to elicit any strikes.

In sum, it was a trying and awfully tedious affair. I struggled to eke out 10 smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass in five hours. The highlight of the day was being able to watch several smallmouth bass and a 3 3/4-pound largemouth bass swim up and engulf my lures in the clear water. In contrast to our outing at this reservoir on March 12, when we located a few black bass on main-lake environs, almost all of the black bass I caught on April 8 were inside feeder-creek arms and coves.

April 9 log

Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana, posted a brief on the Finesse News Network about the weather and the largemouth bass fishing in central Indiana.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

We have been suffering through some rather windy days, and when it has not been windy, it has been cold. In fact, we had a hard freeze and snow during the night of April 8 and 9, and the snow did not melt until late in the morning.  This weather has dramatically cleared our waters, as well as dropped our water temperatures into the upper 40s.  On the windy days, we have been able to move to the back thirds of the coves and feeder-creek arms in our reservoirs and still catch fish in shallow water.  I have been using either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California Craw ZinkerZ affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or Z-Man's Scented LeechZ on a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig to catch most of the largemouth bass during the past two weeks. The rest have been coming on jerkbaits.  There is a lot of rain in the forecast during the next 48 hours; so, we are likely to be relegated to the house for the immediate future.

April 9 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his April 9 outing with Andrew Trembath of Kansas City, Kansas, at a power-plant reservoir in northeastern Kansas.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 30 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 59 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The sky was clear most of the time, but it was partly cloudy at 12:53 p.m., mostly cloudy at 2:53 p.m., partly cloudy at 6:53 p.m., and partly cloudy at 8:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the northeast, east by northeast, east, east by southeast, south by southeast, and south by southwest at 8 to 33 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.19 at 12:53 a.m., 30.22 at 5:53 a.m., 30.19 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.01 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 12:31 a.m. to 2:31 a.m., 1:00 p.m.to 3:00 p.m., and 6:46 a.m. to 8:46 a.m. We fished from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Bob Gum and Andrew Trembath with four of the  40 largemouth bass that they caught and released on April 9.

Water clarity was fairly good despite all the of the wind and wave action that we have endured for the past two weeks; it exhibited about two feet of visibility long the dam.  Despite our extended rainless spell, the water level looked to be about six inches above normal.  The surface temperature was 59 degrees along the riprap of the east shoreline at 7:30 a.m., and by the afternoon, it was 60 degrees along the riprap of the dam.

When we noticed that the wind was predicted to be out of the southeast, we elected to go to the power-plant reservoir and fish its many riprap shorelines, which would be protected somewhat from the wind. Much of its long stretches of riprap are indistinguishable, and they can be somewhat boring to fish. On this outing, we fished many yards of riprap for extended periods without getting a strike, and then when we caught a fish, we would catch several more. In other words, our strikes came in clusters, which made us wonder if the fish were bunched up in certain indistinguishable locales along the riprap shorelines, or if catching one would trigger other nearby fish to be more active.

My trolling-motor battery went kaput on this outing. I was able to adjust the drift sock on the boat where I could use the trolling motor in a minimal fashion as we were blowing with the wind along the face of the dam.

We fished the usual cast of  Z-Man's characters: a green-pumpkin-blue Punchcraw, a 2 1/2-inch Junebug ZinkerZ, and a 2 1/2-inch Bama craw ZinkerZ, which were affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Along the extremely windy portions of the dam, Andrew had success throwing a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuce ZinkerZ on an orange 1/8-ounce jig.

In total, we caught 60 fish, which consisted of two channel catfish, 10 white bass, eight freshwater drum, and 40 largemouth bass. A dozen of the largemouth bass were 18 inches or longer, and three of them were caught on consecutive casts. The fish were extracted from depths of two feet to 10 feet of water.  Our most effective retrieve was the swim-glide-and-shake, and I recall getting a strike a couple of times right after I gave the rod tip a couple of quick snaps.

April 9 log

David Mull of Paw Paw, Michigan, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his kayak outing with J.J Merimonti of Niles, Michigan, on April 6, and a report about his April 9 outing with Merimonti and two other kayak anglers. They were participating in the Michigan Kayak Fishing Series' Bass Bash, which is a 30-day tournament that runs  from April 1 to May 4. It is a statewide event. The five longest black bass win.  It is a catch-photograph-and-release tournament.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

JJ Merimonti and I met up at a small glacier lake in southwest Michigan that is known for having a large channel near the launch ramp that holds early season largemouth bass. JJ got there at 2:00 p.m., but some last minute freelance writing demands kept me away until shortly after 5:00 p.m.

The air temperature was 48 degrees. The water temperature was 47 degrees in the channel. The sky was dark and cloudy and precipitation ranged from  a moderately hard rainfall to short periods of sprinkles. Before I arrived, JJ caught eight largemouth bass, which were 11 to 13 inchers, on a Z-Man's Finesse T.R.D. affixed to an orange-and-black 1/16-ounce jig. I used a Z-Man's The Deal Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/16-ounce Prescription Plastics' Ozark Finesse Head with the hook guard removed.  I caught a 12.75-inch largemouth bass on my first cast.  In total, JJ caught 32 largemouth bass, and I caught 24.  What's more, we each caught three walleyes, and one of JJ's was a 20-incher, and the other five were 13-inchers.  We could not establish a presentation pattern. JJ fished his Finesse T.R.D. rig along the bottom, and I swam mine with a pop-and-fall retrieve, trying to keep it close to, but off of the bottom, in water depths of this large channel that ranged from four to 10 feet deep.

On April 9, JJ and I met up with Joe Colegrove and James Snow after a heavy snowfall the day and night before. Several other anglers who had planned to join us opted not to drive on the terribly slick roads (for instance, portions of I-94 were virtually littered with cars and trucks in the ditch), and these guys seemed to be the smart ones. Until we started fishing anyway, the sun was out, but the air temperature peaked at 36 degrees. The wind was from the northwest at 10 mph when we started fishing, and it gradually switched to the west at 4 mph by the time we quit about 6:30 p.m.  The surface temperature ranged from 41 to 44 degrees. Joe had caught some decent fish on one of the small, shallow lakes in the chain that we were fishing, which put him in first place in this tournament. After our April 6 outing, JJ was in second place and I was in third place. (Here is a side-note about this tournament: By Joe showing us where he caught his fish is a good example of the state of competitive kayak fishing in Michigan. In essence, it is not very competitive. It is more about having fun fishing with other guys than about winning).

I stuck with the same Finesse T.R.D. rig that had worked for me on April 6. Eventually, the part of the Finesse T.R.D. where the hook comes out of its torso was quite torn and floppy, but it seemed to work just as well if not better. The other fellows stuck with square-bill crankbaits, which is what had worked well for Joe in his climb to the top of the tournament standings. I do not know how James Snow did or what he threw, but JJ and Joe used crankbaits and each of them caught five largemouth bass. My Z-Man's The Deal Finesse T.R.D., however, caught 25 largemouth bass, but only one of them was an upgrade, and it measured 14.5 inches. While my string was getting stretched regularly, JJ and Joe caught some largemouth bass that measured 19 inches  and slightly more.  In hopes of catching a bigger largemouth bass, I tried jerkbaits, square-bill crankbaits, and a Silver Buddy blade bait, but they failed to elicit a strike. Then I switched to a 2 3/4-inch  customized Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a green-pumpkin 1/16-ounce Ozark Finesse Head (with the hook guard removed) and quickly caught a 13.5 incher, which was another upgrade for the contest. Joe suggested we try one shoreline on a different lake as we headed back to the ramp. I threw a squarebill until I quickly got bored, and then I picked up my Z-Man's The Deal Finesse T.R.D. rig, which at this point had caught 52 fish, including the largemouth bass and walleye that it caught on April 6.  Somehow, I will blame it on seven hours of fishing in the cold without food or drink, I had a mental lapse and whacked the rods behind me with the Finesse T.R.D. and broke it off. So I picked the rod with the shortened Hula StickZ and worked a clump of vegetation that I had found with the crankbait and hooked into something big. I thought it was a northern pike but it was a 20-inch largemouth bass that probably would have been an inch longer if she wasn't so plumped out with eggs. It was a good ending to a good day.

David Mull with the 20-inch largemouth bass that he caught on his Z-Man's Hula StickZ rig.

April 11 log

The weather forecasters were predicting that the combination of a cold rain and a pesky northeast wind would frustrate my never-ending desires to spend as many April days fishing as is humanly possible for a 76-year-old geezer to accomplish.  At 8:30 a.m., the forecasters at AccuWeather.com reported that the rain would commence in 58 minutes, but by noon not a drop of rain had fallen. So, I decided to fish for two hours at a heavily fished state reservoir that lies adjacent to the city limits of a small northeastern Kansas town.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 48 degrees at 9:52 a.m. and 60 degrees at 3:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the north, north by northeast, and north by northwest at 4 to 34 mph. The sky fluctuated from being clear to overcast to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.89 at 12:52 a.m., 29.96 at 5:52 a.m., 30.14 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.15 at 2:52 p.m. It was predicated by several weather services that area thermometers in this part of northeastern Kansas will hover around 29 degrees during the night of April 11 and morning of April 12.

I measured the water clarity with a white and black-striped PVC push pole, and the visibility was 4 1/2 feet. The surface temperature was 55 degrees.  The water level looked to be four inches below normal.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 8:28 a.m. to 10:28 a.m., 8:50 p.m. to 10:50 p.m., and 2:17 a.m. to 4:17 a.m. I fished from 12:55 p.m. to 1:55 p.m.

I spent the entire 120 minutes dissecting the dam's riprap shoreline and a short segment of one of the shorelines adjacent to the dam, and this shoreline is lined with riprap, too. At times the boat floated in water as shallow as five feet, but most of the time it was floating in 10 to 15 feet of water. The slope of the shorelines ranges from 40 degrees to 20 degrees.

I caught 26 largemouth bass. Three of them were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Another three were caught on a customized Z-Man's California Craw FattyZ tail on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  Five largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Fifteen largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

A drag-and-shake retrieve caught 10 largemouth bass. A swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught eight largemouth bass. Four largemouth bass engulfed the Finesse ShadZ rig on the initial drop. Three largemouth bass engulfed the Scented LeechZ on the initial drop.  A drag-and-deadstick retrieve caught one largemouth bass.

Some the largemouth bass were caught in water as shallow as two feet, and a few were caught in water as deep as 10 feet. Most were caught in four to seven feet of water. Eleven of the 26 largemouth bass were caught along the relatively flat shorelines.

I fished about 250 yards of riprap shorelines, and most of these yards were fruitless. But when I caught one largemouth bass, I invariable caught two or three more. Four 10-yard sections were the most fruitful, and they were separated by many yards of fruitless riprap.

This outing provided another lesson in how imperative it is for Midwest finesse anglers to dissect massive stretches of shorelines in order to locate and catch a significant number of largemouth bass that abide in the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas. In my eyes and mind, there is no way to accurately guess where they will be — especially this time of year.

April 11 log

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

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

I had decided while I was at work during the weekend to visit a run a couple of zip codes away from our home on April 11. I wanted to catch a few smallmouth bass, but it was more of a reconnaissance mission to find some consolidated smallmouth bass for incoming guests this week who are traveling many miles in order to do some Midwest finesse fishing for river smallmouth bass in West Virginia.

I loaded up my Jackson Big Tuna Kayak at 10:35 a.m. and hit the dusty back roads.

When I launched at 11:20 a.m., it was a beautiful 55 degrees with zero wind and a warming sun. The nearest United States Geological Survey gauge had my intended locale running at 268 cubic feet per second with a water temperature of 51 degrees. The water temperature has risen six degrees in two days since we had snow flurries on April 9. The river's flow is the lowest that I have ever seen for this time of year. The water clarity was easily 10 feet. The In-Fisherman solunar calendar read that the best time to fish was between the hours of 3:03 p.m. and 5:03 p.m.

I fished nearly a four-mile stretch of the river, and it is largely made up of canyon walls on the strong side with an average depth of 9 feet. The bottom consists of large boulders that are intertwined with logs. I would work my baits a foot off of the bottom with a very slow steady swimming retrieve with intermittent shakes every five seconds as my kayak floated on the weak side of the river in two feet of water. Occasionally I would use my stakeout pole to anchor the kayak, but I did this only three or four times throughout the outing as I worked on covering as much water as I could. I fished a total of 4 hours and 54 minutes.

I fished with three baits.  A 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's Dirt ZinkerZ afiixed to a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught nine smallmouth bass. A shortened and customized Z-Man's blue-steel Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught 16 smallmouth bass. A four-inch Z-Man's Dirt Finesse WormZ affixed to an orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught 12 smallmouth bass. The barbs were removed from the hooks, and the ZinkerZ rig and Finesse WormZ rig were lathered with Pro-Cure's nightcrawler-crawfish-and-garlic Super Gel every 20 to 30 minutes. The Finesse ShadZ was coated with Pro-Cure's Shad Power Gel.

I lost three large smallmouth bass that I could see executing numerous head shakes in the very clear water. I hooked something of a very substantial size, but I have no idea the species as a slight wind skewed my vision into the depths. It was not a smallmouth bass.

During four different casts with the Finesse ShadZ rig, I could feel numerous smallmouth bass hitting it as if they were engaged in some sort of a competition. Once I caught one of those strikers, I used a different rig in the same area and I would continue catching these smallmouth bass. Sometimes, they were caught in back-to-back casts.

At other times, I found myself catching a smallmouth bass here and there with no specific pattern to speak of. I did not find the large consolidation that I was hoping to locate, but I did find a few stacked together. Every smallmouth bass strike occurred between shakes. The strike was excruciatingly light, and while I was executing the no-feel retrieve, there was just a slight hint of something ever so slightly different when the strike occurred. It was subtle, indeed.

One of the smallmouth bass that Travis Myers caught on April 11.

April 12 log

Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I enjoyed a no-drift-sock outing while we were afloat at a heavily fished suburban community reservoir on April 12. It was the first time in many outings in 2016 that our drift sock remained folded and stored snuggly into one of the boat's storage compartments from the time we launched the boat and until the time we put it on the trailer.

We fished from 10:45 a.m. to 2:40 p.m., and during these hours, the Weather Underground reported that the wind angled out of the east and southeast at 5 to 12 mph.  It was 30 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 64 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sky was cloudless, and the sun was eye-squinting bright. The barometric pressure was 30.28 at 12:53 a.m., 30.33 at 5:53 a.m., 30.33 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.24 at 2:53 p.m.  Many anglers would describe it as a post-cold-front-and-bluebird-type of day.

The water level was normal.  In the lower portions of the reservoir, the water clarity was crystalline for a northeastern Kansas flatland reservoir, and at one of the stained sections, which was the byproduct of days on end of waves and wind, in the reservoir's upper end, our measurement tool indicated that the visibility exceeded five feet. The surface temperature ranged from 54 to 58 degrees. Significant patches of filamentous alga littered the shorelines and points in the upper portions of the reservoir, but in its lower portions, the filamentous alga was insignificant.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., 4:28 p.m. to 6:28 p.m., and 10:14 a.m. to 12:14 p.m.

The wind was so mild-mannered that we fished as if we were back in the 1960s, using the transom-mounted trolling motor rather than the bow-mounted one to maneuver the boat along the shorelines and around the points that we fished.  Contrary to the perceptions of the mad-dogs of modernity, a transom-mounted trolling motor is an extremely exact and effective tool to help anglers to thoroughly dissect a point or shoreline with Midwest finesse rigs and retrieves when the wind is not blowing. But it is a horrible one when the wind blows.

Desch and I fished for three hours and 55 minutes.  We caught 46 largemouth bass, five smallmouth bass, four white bass, four crappie, two green sunfish, two freshwater drum, one bluegill, and one rainbow trout.

Steve Desch with one of the 46 largemouth bass we caught in three hours and 55 minutes.

Our most effective Midwest finesse rig was a Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The other effective rigs were a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, and 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

We caught these 65 fish on a variety of retrieves. Some of them engulfed our rigs on the initial drop.  Some were caught while we were employing a drag-and-shake presentation. A few were caught when we were using a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Several were caught while we were utilizing a hop-and-bounce retrieve. A couple of them were caught when we executed the drag-and-deadstick presentation.  In short, there was no absolute presentation pattern.

We fished eight main-lake points. We fished six secondary points inside two feeder-creek arms. We fished six shorelines inside four feeder-creek arms.  We fished one long section of a main-lake shoreline, and we fished short sections of five main-lake shorelines, which were adjacent to several of the main-lake points that we fished.  We fished three offshore areas; one was a flat in the upper reaches of the reservoir, and the other two were submerged rock fences in the lower portions of the reservoir.

For several weeks we have not been able to establish a location pattern.  But on this outing, Desch and I caught at least one fish at every spot we fished -- except at the two submerged rock fences.

Steeper shorelines and points were more fruitful than the flatter ones, but not every steep shoreline and point was bountiful.  For example, one steep main-lake point in the lower reaches of the reservoir was quite fruitful, yielding one smallmouth bass, two white bass, and six largemouth bass, and the other ones yielded one or two fish. Moreover, three of the secondary points yielded 17 largemouth bass, and the other three yielded one each. Some of the fish were caught in three feet of water and a few were caught in 11 to 14 feet of water, and the others were caught somewhere between three and 14 feet of water.

For several weeks, Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas have been unable to accurately determine where our quarries will be located from one minute to the next, one hour to the next, one day to the next, and from one week to the next week. Therefore, to find the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass that abide in our flatland reservoirs, it has been imperative for us to dissect massive stretches of shorelines and many main-lake and secondary points and tertiary points in order to locate and catch a significant number of them. A substantial number of the areas that we fish have been surprisingly unrewarding, but a few have been surprisingly munificent. Throughout these recent outings, we have determined once again that our Midwest finesse rigs and retrieves allow us to inveigle fish that we would not allure with other methods, or in other words, these rigs and tactics make us better anglers than we actually are.

April 12 log

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

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

This was one of the toughest outings I have faced in recent memory.

At the area I fished, the United States Geological Survey reported that the water temperature was 56 degrees, which is warmer than normal.  The river was flowing at 251 cubic feet per second, which is the lowest flow that I have encountered in April during the 10 years that we have lived in West Virginia. Normally the flow is two to three times more.  The water exhibited 10 feet of visibility, which is the normal visibility in June.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 4:05 p.m. to 6:05 p.m.

I think the smallmouth bass are confused, and so am I to some degree. Last night I did plenty of thinking about what I think the fish are doing. The fish are in flux. Because of the river's flow and water temperature, the smallmouth bass are not abiding in their typical wintering pools. This is the first time in ten years I have experienced what I have been experiencing. It has been more of a grind and way more work than I am accustomed to enduring.

I launched at 9:57 a.m. I had planned to be on the water much earlier, but there was a reason I started later than anticipated, and it revolved around trying to get a handle on what the smallmouth bass were doing, and  I was going to do something different.

On this outing, I was going to fish the weak side of the river adjacent to nearby wintering holes during the midday hours. I suspected that the smallmouth bass were inhabiting the sunny confines of the weak side of the river in three to four feet of water.

I guessed right.

But the unrelenting west wind of 20 mph that greeted my launch, which increased throughout the day to over 30 mph, caused white caps to course against the current. It was the first time I have ever experienced white caps rolling over the front of my Jackson Big Tuna kayak, which is a saltwater model.

As I fished, I floated a four-mile stretch on the strong side of the river, which is adorned by cliffs with very little sun hitting them directly. I probed the weak side in three to four feet of water, and it was graced with the rays of the sun.

Throughout the outing, I saw groups of smallmouth bass milling about on the sand bottom on the weak side and foraging upon shiners and chubs.

Because the wind was howling up river and against the current, it was absolutely essential that I employed my six-foot Yak Attack stakeout pole to anchor the kayak so that I could fan cast the weak side haunts of the smallmouth bass.  Once I exhausted an area, I moved downstream, anchored the kayak, and dissected another weak-side haunt.

The sandy bottom of the river's weak side is interspersed with pumpkin-sized boulders, and I suspect that the howling wind and white caps provoked the smallmouth bass and their prey to mill about in the shallow water.

Throughout the entire five hours and 45 minutes that I fished, I used only a Z-Man's blue steel Finesse ShadZ affixed to a yellow 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The Finesse ShadZ was liberally coated with Pro-Cure Shad Super Gel every 20 minutes.  I caught 41 smallmouth bass  and two largemouth bass by swimming and gliding the Finesse ShadZ  over the top of the pumpkin-sized boulders with an extremely slow retrieve and  that was enhanced with some shakes.

Upon getting home, I got to tinkering on some Finesse ShadZs for my upcoming outings. I decided not to shorten them, because on this outing I caught plenty of 12- to 14-inchers with an unshortened one. But I do affix a pair of eyes to it and a Bobby Garland Crappie Glass Rattle into its belly.

Some of Travis Myers' Finesse ShadZs that he has customized with eyes.

April 13 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his April 13 outing at a north-central Texas U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir  with Rick Allen of Dallas.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his log:

This hill-land reservoir has just opened again after it was flooded and closed during the Thanksgiving weekend of 2015.

It was a cool and wet day in north-central Texas. The Weather Underground recorded the morning low temperature at 55 degrees and the afternoon high temperature  barely reached 65 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.11 at noon and dropped slightly to 30.05 by 4:00 p.m. The wind was out of the east by northeast at 10 to 12 mph.  A little over a quarter of an inch of rain fell across the Dallas and Fort Worth metropolitan area during the morning hours, and only an occasional light sprinkle fell during the afternoon.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the prime fishing periods would occur from 4:50 a.m. to 6:50 a.m., 5:17 p.m. to 7:17 p.m., and 11:04 p.m. to 1:04 a.m. Rick and I were afloat from about 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The surface temperature varied from 63 degrees to 64 degrees. The water was muddy and exhibited about a foot of visibility. The water level was 3.70 feet above normal pool.

We fished two feeder-creek arms, three main-lake points, and one small main-lake cove on the north side of the reservoir.

The first feeder-creek arm we explored is comprised of flat clay and gravel shorelines, three boulder-laden coves, and several rocky secondary points. Acres of flooded buck brush line all of the shorelines in this feeder creek. The water temperature in this feeder-creek arm was 63 degrees. We slowly dissected the three coves and several of the secondary points with a 2 1/2-inch Z-man's Coppertreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, but we failed to catch any largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, or spotted bass in this feeder-creek arm.

After we failed to cross paths with any black bass in the first feeder-creek arm, we fished three main-lake points and one main-lake cove just west of the first feeder-creek arm. The three points and the cove are flat and rocky. Patches of partially flooded buck brush borders the shorelines of all three points and the cove. We caught one largemouth bass from one of the three points. This largemouth bass was abiding in five feet of water and relating to the deep-water side of a patch of flooded buck brush.  The other two points and the small cove failed to yield any strikes.

Next, we made a short run to a second feeder-creek arm that is much larger than the first one. This feeder-creek arm splits into two arms. The west arm features steep and rocky shorelines festooned with flooded standing timber and submerged stumps, nine steep and rocky secondary points, four coves, and a bluffy shoreline that forms the west-side entry into this feeder-creek arm. The east arm harbors a marina, four coves, an island, and a steep bluff shoreline about midway back in the arm. The water temperature in this feeder-creek arm was 64 degrees. Flooded buck brush ringed almost all of the shorelines in both feeder creek arms.

The east-side creek arm was more productive than the west-side arm, and it relinquished 11 largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one channel catfish.

Three largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught in eight to 13 feet of water along the north and west sides of the island that is located near the mouth of the feeder-creek arm.

Another four largemouth bass were caught inside two of the four coves just north of the island, and they were relating to the outside edges of the flooded buck brush in three to six feet of water. We caught one 20 1/2-inch largemouth bass and inadvertently caught one channel catfish from six feet of water on the end of an entry point to a cove just north of the island. Three other largemouth bass were caught in three feet of water on a steep and rocky point at the mouth of another cove. The two steep and rocky bluff shorelines and the two other coves failed to yield any bass.

We plied five steep and rocky secondary points and two small coves that lie along the south shoreline in the mid-section of the west creek arm. We caught two largemouth bass from the ends of two steep secondary points, and one largemouth bass from a flat shoreline inside one of the two small coves. These three largemouth bass were extracted from three to five feet of water. The west-side bluffy shoreline at the mouth of the feeder-creek arm surrendered one largemouth bass. This bass was relating to several large submerged boulders in about six feet of water.

We finished the afternoon with 14 largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one channel catfish, and we consider this an average outing for our neck of the woods. We lost three additional largemouth bass that were able to throw our lures when they jumped or wallowed across the surface of the water.

The Z-Man Junebug Finesse ShadZ allured all 15 black bass and the one catfish. We failed to generate any strikes with the 2 1/2-inch Coppertreuse ZinkerZ or pearl Slim SwimZ.

The swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the only productive presentation.

 April 14 log

One of the objectives of the Midwest finesse anglers who fish the flatland reservoirs that stipple the countryside of northeastern Kansas is to catch 101 largemouth bass (or smallmouth bass or combination of 101 largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass) in four hours.  It is a rare feat for us to accomplish this task, but Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I did it on April 14 at a state reservoir that lies in the exurban region of the Kansas City metropolitan area. It is a heavily fished waterway, and on our April 14 outing, there were a couple dozen shoreline anglers and a half of a dozen bass boats afloat. We followed one power angler along three shorelines, and we did not see him catch a fish, but he said he caught about a dozen small largemouth bass and saw a couple of big largemouth bass that he failed to catch.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 33 degrees at 5:57 a.m. and 73 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind was calm from 2:52 a.m. to 6:15 a.m. and from 7:52 a.m. to 8:16 a.m.; then at other times throughout the day it angled out of the east, east by southeast, southeast, north, south, and south by southeast at 4 to 20 mph. The conditions of the sky fluctuated from being clear to misty to partly cloudy to foggy to mostly cloudy to scattered with some clouds. (While we were afloat, the sun was shining nearly everywhere.) The barometric pressure was 30.10 at 12:52 a.m., 30.12 at 5:52 a.m., 30.10 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.04 at 2:52 p.m.

The water level was normal.  The surface temperature ranged from 58 to 61 degrees. The water clarity at the boat ramp exhibited more than nine feet of visibility. While we were afloat, a significant brownish-red alga bloom erupted at different locales around the reservoir, and it turned the water almost mud-like at those locales. We saw countless aquatic insects hatching. Many acres of this reservoir are graced with patches of curly-leaf pondweed, and some patches lie in 10 to 12 feet of water. (In June, the curly-leaf pondweed will wilt and die, and then many areas will be graced with coontail and bushy pondweed.)  Many yards of its shorelines are lined with patches of winter-dead American water willows.  There is also a lot of filamentous alga clinging to the flooded buckbrush, other types of flooded terrestrial vegetation, laydowns, shallow-water brush piles, and other partially submerged objects.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 5:52 a.m. to 7:52 a.m., 6:17 p.m. to 8:17 p.m., and 11:39 a.m. to 1:39 p.m.  We were afloat from 10:30 a.m. to 2:24 p.m.

We fished about two miles of shorelines and 15 points.

Flat shorelines and points, where the boat floated in five to nine feet of water and the water's edge is lined with patches of winter-dead American water willows, were the most rewarding locales, but there were many flat points, stretches of flat shorelines, and patches of winter-dead American water willows that were not fruitful.   There were some rocky shorelines and points that had a 45-degree slope and devoid of patches of American water willows that were somewhat fruitful. We also caught a few largemouth bass that were abiding around some of the flooded buckbrush and flooded terrestrial vegetation. In short, it was another one of those early spring outings when it was impossible to accurately guess or anticipate where we would catch a largemouth bass.  Several times when we caught one largemouth bass adjacent to a patch of winter-dead American water willows, we caught as many as six from the same spot, and then we would dissect a similar locale and not garner a strike.

This is one of the Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ rigs that caught 81 of the 110 largemouth bass that we caught on April 14.

Eighty-one of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught 15 largemouth bass on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby Scented LeechZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The other 14 largemouth bass were caught on five other rigs: a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce G0pher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Z-Man' s green-pumpkin-goby Scented LeechZ.

A significant number of the 11o largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our Finesse ShadZ rig, and these largemouth bass were abiding along the outside edge of the patches of winter-dead American water willows, where the water is three to four feet deep. A few were caught on a deadstick presentation in about five feet of water. Others were caught with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in three to six feet of water. On many outings in late March and early April, when the wind was howling, we caught the majority of the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass by employing either a drag-and-shake retrieve or a strolling presentation, but the drag-and-shake presentation caught only a few largemouth bass on April 14, and we did not employ the stroll on this outing.

Since April 5, Z-Man's Finesse ShadZ and 1/16-ounce Gopher jig has been our most effective rig. The colors, however, have varied.  On April 5, the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce jig was the most effective color.   A Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig was effective on April 8. Steve Desch and I caught the bulk of the 61 fish that we caught on a Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on April 12. Several weeks before the Finesse ShadZ became our dominate bait, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig was our most effective one, but our largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are ignoring it now.

Besides catching 110 largemouth bass, we inadvertently caught four crappie on the Finesse ShadZ rig and one bluegill on the watermelon-red Finesse WormZ rig.

April 15 log

 Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his bank-walking endeavors on April 15 with Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his log;

We were not in the mood to fish another muddy U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir. Therefore, Norman Brown and I went on a four-hour bank-walking outing at a heavily fished 20-acre community reservoir that lies in a suburb northwest of Dallas.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the best fishing periods would take place from 12:19 a.m. to 2:19 a.m., 6:31 a.m. to 8:31 a.m., and 6:58 p.m. to 8: 58 p.m. Norman and I were afoot from about 11:30 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m.

The sky conditions changed from overcast, to mostly cloudy with intermittent periods of sunshine, to sunny and partly cloudy. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 63 degrees and the afternoon high was a pleasant 73 degrees. The wind blew out of the east and northeast at 10 to 15 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.95 at 11:47 a.m. and 29.88 at 3:47 p.m.

The water was stained with about two feet of visibility. The water level appeared to be normal. Large amounts of filamentous algae has begun to grow and spread across this reservoir, and it now covers everything in the water. We did not have the means to measure the water's temperature.

We shared this reservoir with three other anglers. We saw one angler catch three largemouth bass on a small chrome-black-back lipless crankbait. We saw another angler catch two largemouth bass, but he was not close enough for us to see what type of lure he was using. A third angler was using a white spinnerbait with a silver Colorado-style blade, and we did not see him catch any fish. We caught 30 largemouth bass using Midwest finesse tactics.

The fishing was at its best during the first 1 1/2 hours of the outing, which was when the sky was overcast, but it quickly slowed when it became partly cloudy and the sun  began to shine.

We began this outing at the north end of the east shoreline and worked our way southward. We caught six largemouth bass that were in four to six feet of water along the south side of a long clay and gravel point that courses out from the north end of this shoreline. Another three largemouth bass were caught from four to six feet of water along the tip and south side of a broad sand and gravel point that is situated along the mid-section of this shoreline. These three largemouth bass were relating to the deep-water edge of a small ledge that extends about three feet out from the water's edge and drops off into deeper water. Another six largemouth bass were caught from a gravel and sand flat that occupies the lower end of this shoreline. They were abiding in three to five feet of water.

After we finished fishing the east shoreline, we slowly worked our way westward along the smooth slab-concrete dam, which forms the southern boundary of the reservoir. We failed to encounter any largemouth bass along the east end of the dam. The middle section of the dam yielded four largemouth bass.The west end surrendered six. All of these bass were relating to the face of the dam in three to five feet of water.

After that, we dissected a steep, sand, and gravel shoreline situated along the mid-section of the west side of the reservoir. We caught three largemouth bass that were relating to a patch of hydrilla that runs underneath a fishing pier in about eight feet of water. One was caught on a small sand and gravel tertiary point just south of the fishing pier. Another largemouth bass was caught off another small sand and gravel tertiary point just north of the fishing pier. A main-lake mud and gravel point that lies along the north end of the shoreline failed to yield any largemouth bass.

We did not fish the far north end of the reservoir, which encompasses a large shallow mud flat lined with thick stands of cattails.

We used a variety of Z-Man Fishing Products' baits and Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head jigs. A  2 1/4-inch Z-Man's Canada Craw FattyZ tail rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig was the most effective combo, and it caught 13 largemouth bass. A Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught nine. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig enticed three. A generic three-inch chartreuse curly-tailed grub on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught a couple of largemouth bass. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught one largemouth bass. A shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught one largemouth bass. Another largemouth bass engulfed a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

A slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve enticed 18 largemouth bass, which we used while we were wielding the FattyZ tail, ZinkerZ, Finesse WormZ, and Finesse ShadZ rigs. We employed a steady and do-nothing swimming retrieve with the Slim SwimZ rig, which inveigled nine largemouth bass. We experimented with a slow hop-and-bounce retrieve and drag-and-shake retrieve across the bottom. The hop-and-bounce presentation caught three largemouth bass, and the drag-and-shake retrieve failed to elicit any strikes.

The majority of our casts were made either parallel to the shoreline or at a 45-degree angle out from the shoreline. Most of these largemouth bass were hooked within 10 feet of the water's edge.

April 15, 16, and 17 logs

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his outings on April 15, 16, and 17.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

For the past three days, my good friend and part-time neighbor had some guests here to learn about Midwest finesse fishing.

As I compile this report, it is 6:47 p.m. on April 17, and after being afloat for three days with them, I do not have it in me to get into great depth about our outings.

All three days were identical, and they were unseasonably warm. Area thermometers climbed into the 70s, and the sun was shining everywhere. The water exhibited 12 feet of clarity. The water temperature increased daily, reaching into the middle 60s, and that is a 10-degree increase from three days ago. Every spot that had wintering areas nearby had smallmouth bass abiding on the weak side of the river in two to four feet of water around pumpkin-sized rocks and light-colored sand.

During the three days that we were afloat, I fished a slightly shortened Z-Man's Mud Minnow Finesse T.R.D. on a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and a Z-Man's green-pumpkin-blue Finesse ShadZ on an orange-blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

Our neighbor and his guests used a variety of Z-Man's finesse baits, and they caught plenty and were very pleased. But I caught more than they did, and I fished behind them, and I spent as much time watching what they were doing as I did fishing.

Each outing was in the vicinity of 10 hours long.

My three day fish count was 213 smallmouth bass,  11 largemouth bass, 26 rock bass, and 11 bluegill.

I caught three West Virginia citation smallmouth bass, which are 20 inches long or better.

April 16 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his April 16 outing at a northeastern Kansas U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that the low temperature was 56 degrees and the high temperature was 75 degrees.  The wind angled out of the southeast at 17 to 34 mph. The condition of the sky fluctuated from partly cloudy to clear to scattered clouds to overcast to mostly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.91 at 12:53 a.m., 29.98 at 5:53 a.m., 30.03 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.97 at 3:53 p.m.

The surface temperature was 57 degrees.  The water exhibited about two feet of clarity.  The water level was 1 1/2 feet below normal.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 7:10 a.m. to 9:10 a.m., 7:34 p.m. to 9:34 p.m., and 12:59 a.m. to 2:59 a.m. I was afloat from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

When I arrived at the mid-lake boat ramp, there was only one boat trailer in the parking lot. Because of the strong south wind, I spent the entire outing on the south side of the reservoir, and there were not a lot of boats afloat for a Saturday in mid-April. It was necessary to use the drift sock much of the time. I worked several coves and tertiary feeder-creek arms from the back ends to the main-lake points. I did not see any appreciable difference in the catch rate along these shorelines.  Some of the fish were extremely shallow, abiding in a foot of water, and I caught some in six feet of water, which was about as deep as I could retrieve my finesse baits with the wind.  Along the dam, where the wind was pushing the boat at a fast pace, I caught exclusively white bass, and they were caught on a three-inch Kalin's Triple Threat Grub affixed to a white 1/8-ounce Gopher jig. Here the wind was pushing me along at a fairly fast clip.

In total, I caught 53 smallmouth bass, 15 white bass, five crappie, and one freshwater drum. The crappie were caught in a 15-foot-square area on a boulder-strewn flat in three feet of water.

Most of the time, I employed a slow swim- glide-and occasional shake retrieve, and I kept my rod tip down. I used either a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's green-pumpkin-red- flake Zero on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw  ZinkerZ on a red  1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I caught one smallmouth bass on a Lucky Craft SP78 Pointer; in my eyes, the water was not clear enough for the Pointer to be effective.

April 18 log

Steve Reider of Denton, Texas, filed the following log on the Finesse News Network about his April 18 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Over the past couple of days, thunderstorms have rolled across north-central Texas and dropped more than two inches of rain. On April 18, the thunderstorms relented for a spell, and forecasts predicted that they would not erupt again until the early evening hours, so I hitched up the boat and hightailed it to a heavily fished U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir.

The sky was overcast, and contrary to the forecast, it rained off and on several times during the afternoon. The Weather Underground recorded the morning low temperature at 63 degrees and the afternoon high tempeature was 71 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.18 at 11:00 a.m. and 30.06 at 4:00 p.m. The wind blew steadily out of the northeast at 8 to 10 mph, and I did not need to deploy my drift sock.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would most likely take place between 2:25 a.m. and 4:25 a.m., 8:36 a.m. and 10:36 a.m., and 8:57 p.m. and 10:57 p.m. I executed my first cast at 11:45 a.m. and my last cast at 3:43 p.m., but I spent about 30 minutes of this outing waiting out a rainstorm underneath a covered boat dock in a marina.

The water was muddy and exhibited less than a foot of visibility. The water temperature was 66 degrees. The water level was about a foot high.

My spinning rods sported the following lures: Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened Z-Man's black-blue Hula StickZ affixed on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a modified 3 1/4-inch Z-Man's black-blue FattyZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

I wielded the Finesse ShadZ, shortened Hula StickZ, and modified 3 1/4-inch FattyZ rigs almost the entire time, and they were presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. I made only a dozen casts or so with the pearl Slim SwimZ, and it was retrieved with a steady do-nothing swimming presentation.

Since the weather was so problematic, I decided to play it safe and stay close to a marina, where I could quickly take cover during a thunderstorm. This marina is located inside a large main-lake feeder-creek arm in the south end of the west tributary arm of the reservoir.

I began this four-hour undertaking in the north end of the feeder-creek arm, which is a shoreline that is graced with flooded buck brush, three laydowns, one tire reef, and three small tertiary points. I positioned the boat in eight to 21 feet of water, and I caught two largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one large crappie from a 75-foot section of shoreline along the northeast portion of the cove. They were caught in about five feet of water and were relating to the outside edges of the flooded buck brush. The tire reef and three tertiary points failed to yield any strikes.

After I finished fishing the north cove of the feeder-creek, I ventured to the south end of the feeder creek and focused on the north shoreline of a cove in the southwest section of the feeder-creek. I caught six largemouth bass that were suspended about five feet deep and appeared to be tightly tucked under the sides of a floating tractor-tire reef that was floating in 18 feet of water. If my casts fell more than a couple of feet away from the sides of the tires, I would fail to garner any strikes.

I caught one spotted bass from the deep-water end of a concrete boat ramp that lies a short distance from the tire reef, and it was abiding in six feet of water. I failed to elicit any strikes from a set of concrete pillars, a 35-yard stretch of a steep clay and gravel shoreline, another floating tractor-tire reef that is positioned out in the middle of the cove, and a secondary point enhanced with a concrete boat ramp situated at the end of the point.

The last area I fished was a cove in the southeast end of the feeder-creek arm. I caught 15 largemouth bass and one spotted bass from the east shoreline of this cove, and they were all relating to patches of flooded buck brush that are positioned in three to five feet of water along the deep-water edge of a ledge that is located about 10 yards from the water's edge. This ledge drops off into eight to 12 feet of water, and I positioned the boat just off the ledge in 10 feet of water.

All totaled, I caught 23 largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and inadvertently caught two white bass, one white crappie, and one large bluegill in 3 1/2 hours, and we consider this an above average outing for this reservoir.

The shortened Z-Man's black-blue Hula StickZ and the pearl Slim SwimZ rigs have been our most effective lures on this reservoir for the past couple of weeks, but during today's endeavors, the Hula StickZ rig caught  six largemouth bass, one white crappie, and one white bass. The Slim SwimZ rig enticed one white bass during the few casts that it was employed. The modified 3 1/4-inch Z-Man's black-blue FattyZ was the most fruitful lure, and it allured 14 largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and one bluegill. The Junebug Finesse ShadZ rig induced three largemouth bass.

More thunderstorms are in the forecast, and they will likely keep us at bay for the next couple of days.

April 19 log

I noted in an In-Fisherman's Midwest Finesse column on April 18 that I was going to make a 193-mile drive back to my roots and fish at the Lake of the Ozarks with John and Roger Kehde of Sedalia, Missouri, and Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, who is our cousin.

Starting in the late 1940s, we spent a lot of our youthful hours at the Lake of the Ozarks, wading some of its tributaries or walking some of its 1,150 miles of shorelines or floating upon some of its 54,000 surface acres.  Back in the 1960s, when I was a graduate student and living in Columbia, Missouri, I was a part-time fishing guide at Two Waters Resort on the Gravois arm of the Lake of the Ozarks, which is where Guido Hibdon of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, and his brothers guided, too. Those were the days before we had electric trolling motors and sonar devices; so we rowed our boats along shorelines and points, and at times we anchored them and used the anchor-rope to measure the depth of the water, and at other times, especially along wind-blown shorelines and points, we beached our boats and walked along the water's edge. Our small boats and outboard motors sequestered us to fishing about an eight-mile stretch of the Lake of the Ozarks.

Guido taught us that the most fruitful areas on the Gravois arm  to fish for largemouth bass in April are pea-gravel shorelines inside coves, and the best ones have some sand intermixed with the gravel. The slope of these shorelines is relatively flat. He also taught us that secondary points that are flat and laden with pea-gravel and sand are fruitful, as are some sand and pea-gravel main-lake shorelines. Moreover, he alerted us to the fact that there are some chunk-rock (which are basketball-size or bigger rocks) shorelines and points that have a lot of patches of pea-gravel and sand along them, and they can be fruitful when the pure pea-gravel and sand shorelines are unfruitful in April.  He also taught us that the midday hours were the most productive ones to be afloat in April.

Back in those days, we spent a lot of time wielding a black marabou jig. We also used a Heddon Lures' Sonic, small single spins, split-shot rigs with either a live crayfish or a soft-plastic worm, Mar-Lynn Lure Company's Skworm-N- Jig, Mar-Lynn's Ensley Reaper, and Bass Buster Lure Company's Beetle.

During those good old days, a bountiful catch consisted of about eight spotted bass and 12 largemouth bass. On an average outing, we would catch eight largemouth bass and four spotted bass. There were scores of eight-hours outing when we failed to catch a dozen black bass. But back in those macho days of our youth, we were more concerned about catching a lunker or two rather than having fun catching at least 10 black bass an hour.

We moved to northeastern Kansas on April 28, 1970, and as the years have unfolded, my days of fishing on the Lake of the Ozarks have diminished dramatically. For example, this April 19 outing was the first time I have fished it since October 21, 2014.

A 193-mile drive to go fishing has become too much for my 76-year-old mind, body, and soul to tolerate. What's more, the fishing is not as fruitful as it is in northeastern Kansas. For instance, I drove 24 miles on April 14 and fished with Rick Hebenstreit at an extremely heavily fished exurban state reservoir in northeastern Kansas, where we caught 110 largemouth bass and inadvertently caught four crappie in three hours and 56 minutes.  On our seven-hour-and-19-minute outing at the Lake of the Ozarks on April 19, we caught 66 black bass, 15 crappie, four freshwater drum , one channel catfish, and one walleye. For about five hours and 35 minutes, we had two boats and five anglers catching those fish, and for one hour and 44 minutes, we had four anglers and two boats catching those fish.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 61 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 75 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind was calm at times, and at other times it was variable, and it also angled out of the southeast, east by southeast, south, northeast, and east at 3 to 9 mph. It rained hard for about 13 minutes and sprinkled a touch, and then the sky fluctuated from being overcast to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy to scattered with clouds to sunny. The barometric pressure was 30.14 at 12:53 a.m., 30.12 at 5:53 a.m., 30.14 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.02 at 5:53 p.m.

The lake level was about two feet below normal.  The water exhibited more than eight feet of visibility.  The surface temperature was 61 degrees.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 8:58 a.m. to 10:58 a.m., 9:19 p.m. to 11:19 p.m., and 2:47 a.m. to 4:47 a.m. We fished from 9:50 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 6:44 p.m.

From 9:50 a.m. to 3:10 p.m., Rick and Kathy Hebenstreit were in one boat. John Kehde, Steve Bloess of Sedalia, Missouri, and I were in another boat. (Steve joined us because Roger Kehde's business schedule was full to the brim, which made it impossible for him to fish with us.) During the 5:00 p.m. to 6:44 p.m. portion of our day, Kathy did not fish; so, John fished with Rick, and Steve fished with me.

To honor and remember the good old days, we did not use sonar units in our boat, but Rick used them in his boat, and he recorded the surface temperature, but we did not record the depths of water that we fished and caught fish from. For most of the outing, we fished the pea-gravel and sand shorelines and points that Guido Hibdon taught us to fish decades ago. But we were fishing on the Niangua arm rather than the Gravois arm, and we also fished three areas at the mouth of the Little Niangua arm.

We fished about a six-mile section of the reservoir that lies from about 35 to 40 miles above Bagnell Dam.  We dissected shorelines inside 10 large coves, 27 main-lake points, and scores of secondary and tertiary points. During our 5:00 p.m. to 6:44 p.m. outing, we fished two niches on a main-lake bluff and one main-lake shoreline. These bluff niches were the steepest and deepest locales that we fished. When we fished a cove, one boat would fish one of the shorelines and one of the main-lake points, and the other boat would fish the other shoreline and main-lake point. At times, we fished a few of the main-lake points and a couple of the shorelines together.

Rick, Steve, John, Kathy,  and I used a variety of baits:  Z-Man's green-pumpkin-blue Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's California craw Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's PB&J Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby Scented LeechZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig  and a drop-shot rig. Kathy used  either a 1/16-ounce marabou crappie jig or a three-inch white curly-tailed grub on a 1/16-ounce jig. At times, Steve affixed a float above his Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby Scented LeechZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and his bobber-and-Finesse-WormZ rig yielded two largemouth bass.

During the seven hours and 19 minutes that we fished, we saw scores of anglers.  Most were in pursuit of crappie, and the ones we talked to reported that the crappie fishing was lackluster.  And as we fished, Steve received a couple of phone calls from his friends who were fishing at nearby Truman Lake, Missouri, and catching significant numbers of crappie on and near shallow-water spawning sites. What's more, we talked to Bill Ward of Warsaw, Missouri, on April 18, and he reported that he had been using a Z-Man's California craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a 1/16-ounce jig and catching some largemouth bass along shallow gravel shorelines at Truman.

We caught some largemouth bass and spotted bass on pea-gravel and sand shorelines and secondary points in coves, but these terrains were not as fruitful as we hoped they would be.  The bulk of the black bass we caught were on main-lake points that are cluttered with chunk rocks and gravel, but there were a significant number of similar points that failed to yield a strike. Some of the black bass were caught along the shorelines a few yards inside the coves and adjacent to the main-lake points that are littered with chunk rocks.  Several of the black bass were caught next to concrete retaining walls that border some of the main-lake and secondary points. One was caught amongst some wood-and-trash rubble in a niche on a bluff.

John Kehde with a largemouth bass that he caught on a Z-Man's California craw Finesse T.R.D. rig.

Our Finesse ShadZ rigs were the most effective ones.  The California craw Finesse T.R.D. rigs were our second most effective rigs. From 5:00 p.m. to 6:44 p.m., a slightly shortened green-pumpkin-blue Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce red Gopher jig was markedly more alluring than our other rigs. Throughout the day, more than half of the black bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. The rest were caught as we employed either a drag-and-shake presentation or a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Since we did not use our sonar devices, we did not record the depths of water the boat was floating upon or the depths of the water that the bass were abiding in. But we can guess that 65 of the black bass were caught in water as shallow as two feet and no deeper than eight feet. The one largemouth bass that was caught on Steve's drop-shot rigged Scented LeechZ might have been abiding in 12 feet of water on a main-lake point, and it was employed with a vertical presentation.

Rick Heberstreit with a largemouth bass that he caught on a green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ rig.

Rick and Kathy reported that they fished for 5 1/2 hours on April 20 and caught 24 largemouth bass, seven crappie, and five freshwater drum. The best bait was the Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Main-lake points and adjacent shorelines that are cluttered with chuck rocks were better than the flat, gravel, and sand points and shorelines.

April 20 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his April 20 outing.

Here is an edited version of his report:

After enjoying great company on April 15, 16, and 17, with some good anglers that were great students of Midwest Finesse for river smallmouth, I made a solo outing on April 20.

I awoke at my normal workday hour of 4:35 a.m., and I saw my wife off to work. Then I did some tackle tinkering in the garage and loaded my Jackson Tuna kayak. At 6:51 a.m., I put my paddle in the water and proceeded to start today's journey. At that time, it was a chilly 43 degrees and the sun was beginning to shine nicely, but I was glad I decided to don my StormR Stryker bibs and not my thinner StormR model.

On April 15, 16, and 17, I pinned down a very distinct pattern, which I had not experienced before in April. Normally the river is flowing three times higher than it was flowing on April 15, 16, 17, and 20. I am facing flow rates and clarity that occurs in June and late fall.

What is the new April phenomenon? It constitutes fishing the weak side of the river and plying nothing-looking water that is immediately adjacent to holes that the smallmouth bass reside in during the late fall and throughout the winter.  The smallmouth bass were in one to four feet of water on a light colored sandy bottom that is graced with pumpkin-sized rock. This has never occurred in the 10 years I have been a West Virginia resident, and that is probably because I have never seen water this low and clear this early in the year.

While I was at work on April 18 and 19, I thought about what I might experience if I tried the same pattern at my favorite wintertime haunts, which are 20 miles from where we fished on April 15, 16, and 17.

I launched much earlier than normal because my best wintering runs are spread over eleven river miles.

As I arrived at where I would normally fish in late November into December and again in March and early spring, I resisted the temptation of casting into the deepest portion of the runs, which are sun sheltered by massive cliff walls. Instead I would often cast on the land above the water edges and pull the bait from the shore or dry land into the water so as to not spook visible fish.

Every fish I caught was in one to four feet of water on the weak side of the river, around the sand and pumpkin-sized rocks. Throughout the outing, I saw massive pods of gargantuan-sized carp and fallfish, and they seemed to be soaking up that sun's warm rays. Sometimes the smallmouth bass were interspersed with the carp and fallfish.  At other locales they were separated.

At times I would hear a rolling carp in the shallows, which seems to be its first of the mating ritual. And it coincided with the turtles that were basking in the sun, and they slowly slipped into the water as I got near. This would play out numerous times throughout the day.

The nearest United States Geological Survey gauge noted that the  river was flowing at a rate of 176 cubic feet per second. The same gauge stated that the water temperature was 68 degrees which is up 14 degrees from just five days ago and no doubt will climb more as our daytime temperature for April 21 is forecasted to reach 81 degrees. The water clarity is bottled-water clear and easily over 12 feet of visibility.

Two hours into my fishing I was shedding a layer of thin fleece.  The high temperature was forecasted to hit 72 degrees, and the sun would shine brightly.  The wind was calm until 12:18 p.m. When the wind began, it would erupt seemingly every 35 minutes,  and it would gust heavily over 20 mph for five to 10 minutes, and then it was gone. My best fishing occurred while it was gusting.

I had six of my antique Slider rods and Zebco Cardinal reels rigged. I used two of them, and I probably could have used one, which is the one rigged with a Z-Man's blue-steel Finesse ShadZ affixed to a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

I caught 61 smallmouth today, 11 big bluegill, eight giant fallfish, and one 12-pound carp.

Thirteen of the smallmouth bass and one carp were caught on a well-worn and slow-sinking 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's Dirt ZinkerZ on an orange 1/32-once Gopher jig. The Finesse ShadZ rig caught the rest of them, and it was donned with 5mm 3D eyes.  The Finesse ShadZ was well lathered with Pro-Cure's shiner and chub Super Gel.  All of the barbs were removed from the hooks on the Gopher jigs.

A few of the smallmouth bass were riverine giants.

I fished a total of eight hours and 23 minutes. Physically I am dragging. Mentally I am wanting more of what I experienced today.

April 21 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his April 21 outing.

Here is an edited version of his report:

After several strenuous and exhausting floats, I planned to stay close to home and enjoy a leisurely outing.

And after tending to household chores that entailed stacking recently cut wood for next winter and running the weed eater for a couple hours, I was ready to lip whatever species that graced my thumb.

The nearest U.S. Geological Survey gauge reported that the river was flowing at 170 cubic feet per second and the water temperature was 64 degrees. The weather forecasters predicted that area thermometers would reach 80 degrees. The sky would be sun filled in the morning and intermittent showers would erupt around 2:00 p.m. The water exhibited 12 feet of clarity.

But at 9:50 a.m., raindrops were falling. At the start of the outing, my truck thermometer said it was 61 degrees. By the end of the outing, it registered 73 degrees. We never reached 80 degrees and the gloominess would envelop our river valley and six others nearby valleys. Throughout the day, it rained meekly. I kept a keen ear for incoming thunderstorms, which never developed.

With the forecast of possible rains to include lightening here and there, I thought about staying close to home.   But defying common sense, I threw caution to the wind, and I went for a 3.45- mile run, according to my latest electronic gizmo that records into my phone both distance traveled, river topography, and marks where every fish is caught.

This 3.45-mile run is wrought with pool after pool. After this last week's revelation that seemingly had the greatest population of smallmouth bass within 30 miles of our house on the same pattern, I did some thinking last night.  And I decided to explore the winter-exodus pattern that Jeff Little and I began thinking and talking about at the turn of the millennium. Jeff resides in Maryland, and he is an ardent smallmouth bass angler.

The weak-side areas adjacent to wintering areas have been the only areas that I have fished lately, and it yielded a behemoth by my standards on April 20. So, I am not complaining about it.

The river is graced with scores of riffles, runs, and pools.  At the base of every pool near the lip of the riffle, the smallmouth bass, when they are in their winter-exodus motif, will gather for a spell before they move to the pre-spawn and spawning flats. In the nomenclature of riverine smallmouth anglers, this portion of the river is called the tail-out section. On this outing, I fished the bottoms of seven pools, focusing on the areas before the pool erupts into a ripple. And the smallmouth bass were there.

At the base or end of these pools and the lips of the riffle, the smallmouth bass were abiding in about two feet of water. I used my stake pole to anchor my Jackson Big Tuna kayak within a cast of the lips of the ripples. I would then cast to a spot above the lip and above the area where the smallmouth bass were inhabiting.  Then I used a back-reeling presentation to allow the rig to slowly move downstream with the current. As I back reeled and my rig flowed downstream with the current, I incessantly shook my rod.

Because of the crystalline water clarity, the strike window was huge, and the smallmouth bass could easily see my rig.

I had six baits rigged. I used only a Z-Man's green-pumpkin-blue Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse/blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. It was well lathered with Pro-Cure's chub and shad Super Gel.

Throughout this spring, I have become an unwavering devotee of the Finesse ShadZ and its subtle nuances.  I had been fishing Z-Man's blue steel Finesse ShadZ on a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with superb success during the past four outings. But I wanted a more subdued color on this outing because I thought that these winter-exodus smallmouth bass might be very tight lipped; so I opted for the green-pumpkin hue.

I fished this winter-exodus pattern for five hours and nine minutes, and I caught 46 smallmouth bass, as well as the biggest rock bass I have ever caught; initially I thought it was a smallmouth bass. It was 13 1/2 inches long and well nourished.

The size of the smallmouth bass that I caught did not measure up to the ones that I tangled with on April 20, but I am not complaining. I caught an array of 15- to 16-inchers. And every smallmouth bass I caught I dedicated it to Jeff Little who helped enlighten me about the winter-exodus phenomenon when I lived in New York and chased smallmouth bass in its rivers.

April 22 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his April 22 outing.

Here is an edited rendition of his log:

John Thomas of Denton, Texas, and I returned to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir in north-central Texas where I had caught and released 43 black bass on April 4, 35 black bass with Rick Allen of Dallas on April 7, and 26 black bass during a solo outing on April 18.

The Weather Underground recorded the morning low temperature at 53 degrees and the afternoon high reached 79 degrees. The barometric pressure was steady and measured 30.12 at 10:00 a.m. The wind blew out of the northeast at 5 to 12 mph. The conditions of the sky alternated from being clear to partly cloudy to scattered with clouds.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted the best fishing would occur between 5:05 a.m. and 7:05 a.m., 5:27 p.m. and 7:27 p.m., and 11:16 p.m. and 1:16 a.m. We fished from about 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 pm.

The water has been muddy at this reservoir for the past several months, but we were delighted to find some sections in the east-side tributary arm beginning to clear.

The water in the mid-section and lower end of the east tributary arm where we fished was stained, and exhibited about 1 1/2 to two feet of visibility. The water temperature ranged from 67 degrees to 68 degrees. The water level was 2.15 feet high.

Our rods sported the following lures: a Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig; a Z-Man's black-blue Hula StickZ affixed on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a modified 3 1/4-inch Z-Man's black-blue FattyZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened four-inch green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and a 2 1/4-inch tail section of a Z-Man's green-pumpkin/orange FattyZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

It was a difficult day of fishing. We saw many tournament anglers on the water, and they were pounding the most promising and fruitful black bass lairs to smithereens. We tried to fish areas that most tournament anglers ignored, but we still found ourselves fishing behind several of them. We had to cover many acres of water in order to catch 20 largemouth bass and one spotted bass during this five-hour undertaking. We also inadvertently caught one white bass and one white crappie.

We concentrated our efforts inside two feeder-creek arms where we dissected four coves, three secondary points, and hundreds of yards of flooded buck brush positioned on ledges that drop from five feet of water into depths of more than eight feet of water. We also plied a small main-lake cove and a riprap-laden jetty in the southeast portion of the reservoir, and a long riprap-covered dam that forms the southern perimeter of the reservoir.

While we were fishing the ledges, we positioned our boat off the deep-water side of the ledges in 10 to 12 feet of water and angled our casts toward the flooded buck brush in the shallower water on top of the ledges. When we fished the shallow flats in the backs of the coves, the boat floated in four to eight feet of water. Our boat floated in 12 to 20 feet of water along the jetty and dam areas.

All of the fish that we caught were inhabiting the mid-sections of the two feeder-creek coves and abiding in water less than six feet deep. They were all relating to patches of flooded buck brush that were situated on top of the shallow ledges and close to where the water dropped off into deeper water. We did not find any signs of black bass spawning in the back of any of the coves, and we are concerned that this year's spawn will be a paltry one at best. We also failed to locate any black bass relating to any rocky cover, such as the riprap jetty and the dam.

The 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ and 2 1/4-inch FattyZ tail rigs were the two most fruitful lures, and they allured 14 of the 21 black bass that we caught. The black-blue Hula StickZ rig caught four, and the shortened four-inch Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ caught  two. The pearl Slim SwimZ caught one largemouth bass, one crappie, and one white bass. We failed to elicit any strikes with the modified 3 1/4-inch black-blue FattyZ and four-inch green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ.

The ZinkerZ, Hula StickZ, FattyZ tail, and Finesse WormZ rigs were presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The Slim SwimZ was presented with a steady do-nothing swimming retrieve.

As we were trailering the boat, we spoke with a tournament angler from Louisiana. He told us he had caught only six small bass all day, and they were all caught on a lipless crankbait. He was surprised when we told him that we had caught 21 bass, and he showed quite a bit of interest in our tackle, Z-Man baits, and Midwest finesse tactics. As we were about to leave, he told us that we could catch oodles of bass with Midwest finesse tactics in Louisiana, and that he would give them a try.

April 23 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

I made a 60-mile drive to Rockwall, Texas, where I joined In-Fisherman field editor and fisheries biologist Ralph Manns for an enjoyable afternoon at a three-acre reservoir behind his home.

It was a beautiful spring day in north-central Texas. The sun was shining brightly through a partly-clouded sky. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 59 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 81 degrees. A light breeze angled out of the north and east at 4 to 8 mph, and the barometric pressure measured 30.05 at 1:56 p.m.

The three-acre community reservoir behind Ralph's home encompasses a small feeder creek that enters the pond from its east shoreline in the lower third of the reservoir, and a second feeder creek that enters from the southeast corner of the reservoir. A mud dam forms the boundary on the north end, and the main creek channel courses its way from the southeast corner northwards through the middle of the reservoir and ends at the dam. Small patches of green pond weeds are scattered along all of the shorelines. Several small beds of submerged hydrilla used to occupy the deeper sections of this reservoir, but grass carp have now eliminated almost all of the hydrilla beds. Other features that enhance this reservoir include a concrete culvert and a ditch that cuts across a shallow mud flat on the east side of the reservoir, two decorative stone walls, several laydowns, a long mud bar that extends westward from the southeastern portion of the reservoir, and several submerged brush piles.

The water was clear and displayed five feet of visibility. The water temperature was 78 degrees, and the water level appeared to be normal. We observed several male bass fanning nests along the northeast and west shorelines, and this is the first spawning activity I have seen at any waterway in north-central Texas this spring.

My two spinning rods sported a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ attached to a brown 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a Z-Man's pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Ralph is not a Midwest finesse angler, and he employed a Rapala bluegill-hue DT-6 crankbait, a nose-hooked Lunker City gold-pepper-shiner Slug-Go, and a Zoom Bait Company's five-inch Red Bug Finesse Worm rigged Texas-style with a 1/8-ounce slip sinker. According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the best fishing periods would occur from 5:48 a.m. to 7:48 a.m., 11:37 a.m. to 1:37 p.m., and 11:59 p.m. to 1:59 a.m. Ralph and I were afloat from about 2:00 p.m. to about 5:00 p.m.

We began the outing at the mud dam along the north end of the reservoir, where we caught five largemouth bass. These five bass were dwelling in less than three feet of water; they were relating to the outside edges of two patches of pond weeds.

We then worked our way southward along the west shoreline and targeted five brush piles, three laydowns, and several more patches of pond weed. Shaded areas were much more productive than sun-drenched areas, and we caught 15 largemouth bass that were scattered along this shoreline. Most of these bass were relating to the outside edges of the pond weed, and were milling about in less than three feet of water. We caught several bass on the top or along the sides of two submerged brush piles in five to eight feet of water. Ralph fished the thick center of the brush piles with the five-inch Texas-rigged finesse worm, but he was unable to entice any strikes.

When we got to the south end of the west shoreline, we probed the remnants of a hydrilla bed located in 13 feet of water next to the main creek channel that winds through the center of the reservoir. We plied this area for about 15 minutes, but we failed to elicit any strikes.

After we finished fishing the west shoreline, we slowly dissected the south shoreline and the mud bar that extends from the southeast shoreline. The south shoreline surrendered four largemouth bass. Two of them were caught from five feet of water along the north side of the creek channel in the southeast corner of the reservoir.  The other two were caught from a small submerged rock pile that is located in six feet of water on the west end of the south shoreline.

After that, we slowly meandered northward along the east shoreline, where we ventured inside a small cove that yielded two largemouth bass. Both of them were caught off a shallow flat in the back end of the cove next to two thick patches of pond weeds that were growing in about two feet of water. The concrete culvert and ditch just north of the cove yielded two more largemouth bass, and they were extracted from four feet of water along the south edge of the ditch a few yards from the concrete culvert. We also probed three partially submerged brush piles situated along the northeast shoreline, but they failed to surrender any bass.

We decided to fish the mid-section of the dam a second time before we called it a day, and it relinquished three more largemouth bass. They were caught along the outside edges of the same two patches of pond weeds as the first five largemouth bass that we caught at the beginning of this outing, and these three largemouth bass were also abiding in less than three feet of water.

Overall, we inveigled 31 largemouth bass in three hours, and we consider this a splendid outing for this reservoir. Eight of them  measured between 15 and 17 inches.

Twenty-four of the 31 largemouth bass were caught using Midwest finesse tactics. Seven were caught on the Slug-Go. The Rapala crankbait and Texas-rigged finesse worm failed to entice any strikes.

Ralph informed me that he has not had much success using Z-Man's Finesse T.R.D.s on this reservoir. I utilized the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig about 85 percent of the time, and it allured 18 of the 24 bass caught on Midwest finesse baits. Seven others were caught on the pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ rig. Ralph employed my 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rig and Finesse ShadZ rig for a short spell, and he caught one 16-inch largemouth on the Finesse ShadZ rig.

The 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rig was presented with a slow drag-and shake retrieve around areas devoid of wood cover. We used a swim-glide-and-shake presentation along the top and sides of submerged brush piles. Ralph retrieved his Slug-Go and Texas-rigged finesse worm rigs with a slow lift-drop-and-deadstick presentation. The crankbait was retrieved with a moderately fast and steady swimming presentation.

April 25 log

We have noted many times in years past that the gist of Midwest finesse fishing in northeastern Kansas lies upon the goal of catching at least 10 black bass an hour and preferably 25 an hour.

Back in the early days of the Finesse News Network, we used to call our outings "Bass fishing 101," which alluded to our aim of catching 101 black bass in four hours of fishing at the heavily fished flatland reservoirs that grace the landscape of northeastern Kansas.

We have also noted that garnering a lot of strikes and catching scores upon scores of black bass is more important to us than catching a lunker or two.   But that is not to say that we do not enjoy tangling with a big black bass now and then.

On April 25, Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I had an enjoyable time tangling with 33 smallmouth bass, 17 largemouth bass, five freshwater drum, two white bass, two crappie, and one walleye at a heavily fished suburban community reservoir.  Across the three hours and 14 minutes that we fished, we caught an average of 15.3 black bass an hour.  What's more, five of the smallmouth bass looked to be lunkers in our eyes, and our Normark scale indicated that one of the smallmouth bass weighed six pounds, six ounces.

Since our focus is not set upon catching big black bass, we consider it somewhat of an accident when we catch one. Across the years, we have noticed that these accidents often occur in April. For instance, on April 19, 2013, we inadvertently caught a smallmouth bass that weighed six pounds, 10 ounces. That one was caught at the same reservoir that Desch and I fished on April 25.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 63 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 78 degrees at 3:53 p.m.  The wind angled out of the south, south by southwest, southeast, east by southeast, south by southeast, southwest, west, and west by northwest at 3 to 12 mph.  The sky fluctuated from being overcast to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy to clear.  The barometric pressure was 29.65 at 12:53 a.m., 29.65 at 5:53 a.m., 29.70 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.65 at 3:57 p.m.

The water level looked to be about a foot above normal. The water clarity exhibited five to six feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 64 to 65 degrees.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 1:26 a.m. to 3:26 a.m., 1:5o p.m. to 3:50 p.m., and 7:58 a.m. to 9:38 a.m. We fished from 9:59 a.m. to 1:14 p.m.

We fished three main-lake humps and one hump inside a feeder-creek arm. We fished five main-lake points and portions of four main-lake shorelines. We fished two shorelines inside two feeder-creek arms and about 100 yards of the riprap shoreline along the dam.  We caught black bass at all of these locales.

Steve Desch with one of the 33 smallmouth bass we caught.

These fish were extracted out of water as shallow as three feet and as deep as nine feet.  All of them were associated with an underwater terrain that was laden with rocks, boulders, and gravel. Some of the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass were caught near the outside edges of patches of winter-dead American water willows.

The two most fruitful locales were two of the three main-lake humps.  One of them yielded five smallmouth bass, and we had a humongous specimen break our line. The other hump yielded nine smallmouth bass, including the six-pound, six-ounce one.

This is the six-pound, six-ounce smallmouth bass that we caught.

We caught the fish on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, a Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  The PB&J ZinkerZ rig, green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rig, and green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rig were our most fruitful rigs. We failed to engender a strike on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig and a Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby Scented LeechZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

A significant number of the 50 black bass that we caught were caught during the initial drop of our rigs. A drag-and-slight-shake retrieve also inveigled a significant number of black bass. A few were caught with a deadstick presentation. And some were caught as we employed a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

April 25 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his April 25 0uting.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

The conditions of the river changed dramatically from what they were on April 15, 16, 17, 20, and 21. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the flow changed from 180 cubic feet per second on April 21 to 730 CFS on April 24 to 556 CFS on April 25. The water temperature remained the same as it was on April 21, which was 64 degrees.

While I was fishing, area thermometers climbed into the mid-70s. The wind was virtually nil, and there was not a cloud in the sky.

I fished a 3.8-mile stretch of the river, focusing on the weak side of the river that was covered with two to four feet of water and flowing over a terrain consisting of sand and pumpkin-sized boulders that are adjacent to the smallmouth bass' deep-water wintering holes.

After I executed a cast and as the bait plummeted towards the bottom, I shook my rod.  Once the bait reached the bottom, I deadsticked it for about a second. Once that second lapsed, I began to execute a slow and straight swimming retrieve that was periodically enhanced with shakes. And every fish I caught was caught immediately after I stopped shaking the rig. Because the water clarity has diminished significantly since April 21, the shakes were more frequent and longer lasting than they were on April 15, 16, 17, and April 21.

I fished for four hours and 47 minutes.

I had seven nearly identical Slider rods and antique bail-less Zebco Cardinal reels rigged. I caught eight smallmouth bass and seven big bluegill on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ affixed to a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. I caught 10 smallmouth bass, one largemouth bass, three large fallfish, and seven big bluegill on a 3 3/4-inch Z-Man's pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.  I caught 11 smallmouth bass, five green sunfish, and three rock bass on a heavily customized two-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-back-and-pumpkin-belly EZ TubeZ affixed to an inserted 1/32-ounce Gopher TJ jig. I caught seven smallmouth bass and three largemouth bass on a Z-Man's blue steel Finesse ShadZ affixed to a blue-orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. All of these rigs were coated with Pro-Cure's Super Gel. And all of the barbs were removed from the hooks.

April 27 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his April 27 outing.

Here is an edited version of his report:

Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, joined me for an afternoon outing at a heavily fished U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir. Except for a couple of kayak fisherman and a pleasure boater, we had the reservoir to ourselves, which is a rare occurrence.

After several severe squalls hit the Dallas and Ft. Worth metroplex during the early morning hours of April 27, the remainder of the day was sunny and bright. The sky was cloudless. The wind angled out of the west by northwest at 10 to 15 mph, and the barometric pressure measured 29.67 at 11:00 a.m. and 29.68 at 4:00 p.m. Area thermometers recorded the morning low temperature at 59 degrees and the high for the day reached 85 degrees.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted the best fishing periods would most likely occur between the hours of 3:05 a.m. and 5:05 a.m., 9:17 a.m. and 11:17 a.m., and 3:30 p.m. and  5:30 p.m. Norman and I had originally planned to fish from about 11:30 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m., but we stayed much longer and fished until 7:00 p.m.

For some reason or reasons unknown to us, the black bass fishing at this reservoir has been horrid since March 13, and it was awful again today. We spent the first 90 minutes searching for largemouth bass or spotted bass, and we failed miserably at that endeavor.

The water in this reservoir has been muddy since the Thanksgiving weekend of 2015, but it is finally beginning to show signs of clearing. When Norman and I arrived at the boat ramp, we were delighted to find that the water clarity was stained instead of muddy, and it exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of clarity. The surface temperature ranged from 71 degrees to 74 degrees.

We began the outing by fishing three main-lake coves and a 75-yard section of a main-lake shoreline that are located along the south side of the southwest tributary arm of the reservoir.

The three main-lake coves have mostly steep shorelines comprised of clay, rock, and gravel. An abundance of flooded buck brush lines the shorelines. Two of the coves contain large marinas. We caught only one largemouth bass inside one of the three coves, and it was relating to a large patch of flooded buck brush in the back end of the cove in five feet of water. This largemouth engulfed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve through the open pockets in the flooded buck brush.

The 75-yard section of main-lake shoreline is flat and rocky, and it encompasses two dilapidated boat ramps and three small points. It separates two of the coves. This area yielded two spotted bass, one largemouth bass, and one pumpkinseed. These fish were abiding in three feet of water, and were relating to the wind-blown side of one of the two dilapidated boat ramps. They were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

After this dismal beginning, we decide to check two riprap-covered bridge embankments located about a mile west of the three coves we just fished.

The south section of the bridge embankment failed to yield any bass.

As we began to ply the north embankment, we crossed paths with a humongous school of white bass and wipers that were aggressively feeding on two-inch shad on the surface of the water. This is the first time we have seen white bass and wipers aggressively foraging on the surface this year, and we quickly changed our focus from searching for black bass to pursuing this large school of aggressive white bass and wipers.

For the remainder of the outing, we wielded two baits: a Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on  a chartreuse, black, or blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and  a Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ affixed on either a chartreuse or black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.

Both lures were at their best when we retrieved them at a moderately-fast and steady pace just underneath the surface of the water. We caught several wipers and white bass that struck our Slim SwimZ rigs as they were dangling motionless over the gunnels of the boat and about a foot or two underneath the surface of the water.

During the next 5 1/2 hours, we chased this large school of white bass bass and wipers up and down a section of the main river channel. The boat floated in 30 to 41 feet of water.

We tangled with 263 white bass and wipers, and six largemouth bass that were mixed in with the white bass and wipers. At times, we were catching them at a fast hand-over-fist pace. But there were a couple of spells where the action slowed a bit as the school disappeared and before they would reappear a short distance away. After we caught white bass number 263, we headed in, and this large school of fish was still foraging on the surface as we were leaving.

All totaled, we caught and released eight largemouth bass, two spotted bass, 263 white bass and wipers, and one pumpkinseed, which calculates to a 39 fish-per-hour catch rate. I have experienced 200-fish days on this reservoir a couple of times before in years past, but this was Norman's first. And we suspect we will have a tough time duplicating this 274-fish day anytime soon.

 April 28 log

From approximately 8:00 p.m. on April 26 to 4:00 a.m. on April 27,  Mother Nature walloped northeastern Kansas with a beastly amount of rain. In a flash, the Kansas River was in flood stage. Likewise, many of the flatland reservoirs that border much of the countryside and townscapes that parallels the Kansas River valley became flooded and muddy; for instance, the water level of one U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir instantaneously rose more than seven feet.

On April 28, Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I made a 93-mile tour of the countryside in search of either a community or a state reservoir that was not extremely high and muddy. Ultimately, we found one community reservoir that was only 2 1/2 feet above normal and not too murky at some of its locales.

The surface temperature at this reservoir ranged from 64 to 65 degrees. The clearest water was along the dam, and it exhibited 3 1/2 feet of visibility.  The murkiest was in the upper third portions of the reservoir, and it exhibited six inches of visibility. The patches of American water willows, which embellish most of the shorelines, were making the springtime transition from their winter-dead phase, and many bright green sprouts were protruding an inch or two above the surface of the reservoir.

The Weather Underground reported that the low temperature was 45 degrees and the high temperature was 63 degrees. The wind angled out of the west by southwest, west, northwest, north by northwest, north, and north by northeast at 8 to 21 mph. The conditions of the sky varied from being clear to mostly cloudy to overcast to scattered clouds to partly cloudy.  The barometric pressure was 29.73 at 12:53 a.m., 29.82 at 5:53 a.m., 29:97 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.99 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing might occur from 4:07 a.m. to 6:07 a.m., 4:33 p.m. to 6:33 p.m., and 10:20 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. We fished from 12:15 p.m. to 4:29 p.m.

Across the years, we have stated many times that quantity exhibits quality in our eyes. And to our delight, this was a numbers outing, not a big bass one. As we were searching in vain for a reservoir to fish, we assumed that Mother Nature's extremely rainy ways had snookered us, and thus we relished every second that we were afloat and tangling with 50 smallmouth bass, 26 largemouth bass, three white bass, and an untold number of green sunfish.

During the three hours and 53 minutes that we were afloat, we crossed paths with four bass boats, and an angler in one of the boats was employing a Midwest finesse rig.

We spent the bulk of our outing in the vicinity of the dam, where we dissected the riprap shoreline along the dam, six nearby shorelines, four main-lake points, three secondary points inside two feeder-creek arms, and two shorelines inside one feeder-creek arm. Sixty-six of the black bass that we caught were caught from those locales, and many of them were caught along the riprap of the dam.

We plied four murky-water humps and one relatively clear-water hump. We failed to elicit a strike at the clear-water hump. We caught one smallmouth bass at three of the murky-water humps, and we failed to garner a strike at the fourth murky-water hump.

One murky-water shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm yielded two smallmouth bass and three largemouth bass.  And one extremely murky main-lake point and its adjacent shoreline yielded one smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass.

The vast majority of the smallmouth bass and largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught a few largemouth bass and smallmouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's black-blue-blue ZinkerZ affixes to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a shortened Z-Man's black-blue-flake Hula StickZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. (It should be noted that Z-Man's Finesse ShadZ was our most effective bait in April.)

About 20 percent of the 76 black bass were caught during the initial drop of our rigs. Most were caught while we were employing a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation.

We extracted these black bass from water as shallow as two feet and as deep as eight feet of water.  Most of them  were associated with rocks, and a few of them were situated on a rocky terrain that paralleled the outside edges of patches of American water willows.

 April 30 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his April 30 outing at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

Here is an edited version of his log:

A couple of thunderstorms swept through my neck of the woods during the early morning hours, and it remained overcast until 2:37 p.m. But as the afternoon progressed, the rays of the sun were able to cut through a few small openings in the clouds. Initially, the wind quartered out of the west at 13 mph, but it gradually subsided to 7 mph around 4:00 p.m. The Weather Underground reported that the  low temperature was 59 degrees and the high temperature was 79 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.79 at noon and fell slightly to 29.73 by 4:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar listed the prime fishing periods occurring between 5:46 a.m. and 7:46 a.m., 11:33 a.m. and 1:33 p.m., and 6:12 p.m. and 8:12 p.m. I fished  from about 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

I concentrated my efforts in the mid-section of the east tributary arm of the reservoir. The water was stained, and exhibited about two feet of visibility. The water temperature ranged from 69 degrees to 71 degrees. The water level was 2 1/2 feet above normal.

One of my four spinning rods sported a Z-Man's green-pumpkin GrubZ affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. My second rod donned a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. My third rod was rigged with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ affixed on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. My fourth rod sported a Z-Man's California craw EZ TubeZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

It was another difficult and crowded day of fishing. This reservoir was bustling with activity: water skiers, jet skiers, pleasure boaters, kayaks, bank fisherman, and scores of fishing boats were everywhere.

I caught 22 largemouth bass and one large white crappie, and they were all abiding in water less than six feet deep. All but two of them were relating to patches of flooded buck brush. The other two were caught from the sides of two large laydowns. I did not find any signs of spawning activity in the back of any of the coves, and I did not see any pods of bass fry milling about in the shallow-water areas of the coves.

I focused on two main-lake coves and two large feeder-creek arms. Inside the two feeder-creek arms, I fished four coves, eight secondary points, and one submerged roadbed. Almost all of these areas were flat, fairly shallow, and adorned with acres of flooded buck brush, standing timber, and laydowns. Three of the secondary points were steep and rocky and devoid of any wood cover.

The mid-sections of feeder-creek coves with shallow clay and gravel flats, which are littered with flooded buck brush and wood,  were more fruitful than steep rocky lairs or the backends of the feeder-creek coves.

I caught two largemouth bass and one crappie in one of the two main-lake coves. Both of these largemouth bass were found in the backend of the cove and relating to the sides of two laydowns. One was a lunker and weighed five pounds, four ounces. These were the only two bass I caught in the back of any of the coves. I failed to locate any black bass inhabiting the other main-lake cove.

I caught three largemouth bass on the top of the submerged roadbed that courses across a cove situated in the middle of one of the feeder-creek arms. The top of the roadbed is covered with four feet of water, and its sides are lined with flooded timber that stand in eight to 12 feet of water. Two of these three largemouth bass were nice ones and weighed between 2 1/4 and 2 1/2 pounds. The third one weighed less than two pounds.

The second feeder-creek arm was my last and most fruitful locale.  Inside this feeder-creek arm, I dissected two coves and six secondary points. One cove yielded two largemouth bass and the second cove yielded six largemouth bass. One secondary point relinquished nine largemouths. All of these bass were associated with thick patches of buck brush in three to five feet of water, but none of them weighed more than 1 1/4 pounds. The other five secondary points failed to yield any strikes.

The Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ and red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig was the most productive combo, which caught 10 largemouth bass, including the five-pounder and both two-pound specimens. Six largemouth bass were caught on the Z-Man's green-pumpkin GrubZ rig. Another six were caught on  the Z-Man's green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ rig. I could only generate a couple of tentative strikes with the Z-Man's California craw EZ TubeZ rig.

As for retrieves, the Finesse ShadZ rig and 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rig were presented with a slow swim-glide-and shake presentation. The GrubZ was retrieved with a steady, do-nothing swimming action. The EZ TubeZ was presented with a slow drag-and-shake retrieve, hop-and-bounce retrieve, and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Both strikes on the EZ TubeZ were elicited during the swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

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