Midwest Finesse Fishing: April 2017

Midwest Finesse Fishing: April 2017

 Our April guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 29 logs and 24,220 words that explain how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished. It features the angling efforts of Rick Allen of Dallas; Yalel Anderson of Shawnee, Kansas; Ted Becharas of Rancho Penasquitos, California; Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas; Adam Fancovic of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area; Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri; Merit Goodman of Eudora, Kansas; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas; Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia;  George Nochta of Santee, California; Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas;  Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; Harold Rice of Ramona, California; Walt Tegtmeier of Leawood, Kansas; John Thomas of Denton, Texas; Andrew Trembath of Parkville, Missouri; Brain Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana; as well as my northeastern Kansas logs.


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

April 1 log


April Fools' Day was unseasonably cold and gloomy across northeastern Kansas.  The Weather Underground reported that it was 41 degrees at 9:53 a.m. and 46 degrees at 1:53 p.m., which are unseasonably cold temperatures.  The wind angled out of the east and east by northeast at 8 to 12 mph. The sky was overcast.  At many parts across northeastern Kansas, a lot of folks are saying that the sun has not been seen for days on end. The barometric pressure was 30.11 at 12:53 a.m., 30.14 at 5:53 a.m., 30.21 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.17 at 1:53 p.m.


I usually do not fish on Saturdays and Sundays, but our daughter-in-law's nephew has become affected with a significant case of fishing fever, and he has developed a burning desire to learn about Midwest finesse fishing. And during the school year, Saturdays are the only days that he can fish. Therefore, Yahel Anderson of Shawnee, Kansas, and I went fishing at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs.

The water level was slightly above normal.  The water clarity in the upper 60 percent of this reservoir was significantly stained from the many inches of rain that pummeled its watershed during the last week of March. But the water at various locales in the lower segments of this reservoir exhibited about three feet of visibility.  The surface temperature was 50 degrees.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 2:55 a.m. to 4:55 a.m., 3:24 p.m. to 5:24 p.m., and 9:10 a.m. to 11:10 a.m. We fished from 10:30 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.

Yahel is 13 years old, a talented soccer player who plays on the KC Fusion Academy team, and a student at Monticello Trail Middle School in Shawnee, Kansas. Though he has rarely used a spinning rod, he handled one from his first cast to his last one on this outing as if he has been wielding one for years on end.

We were hoping to spend the entire outing plying the flat and shallow shorelines and secondary points in the upper reaches of this reservoir's primary feeder-creek arm.  The water, however, was rather murky, and during the 20 minutes that we plied portions of two of those murky-water shorelines, we could not garner a strike.

After that failure, we elected to spend the next 120 minutes plying portions of two shorelines inside a small feeder-creek arm, one main-lake point, three stretches of a massive main-lake shoreline, and the entire dam and its spillway. The water was relatively clear in these locales.

At the main-lake point, we failed to elicit a strike. The underwater terrain of this point consists of gravel and rocks.  It has a 25- to 30-degree slope.  Its shoreline is graced with a few patches of winter-dead American water willows and two docks. There are some paltry patches of winter-wilted coontail that grace the rock and gravel terrain.

The underwater terrain of the three stretches of the massive main-lake shoreline, which we plied, consists of gravel and rocks. Some stretches possess a 35 — to 40-degree slope, and other stretches possess a 25- to 30-degree slope. Some stretches were embellished with patches of winter-wilted patches of coontail. Some of the water's edge is lined with concrete or rock retaining walls, and some areas are graced with winter-dead patches of American water willows. There are also a lot of docks littering these shorelines.  Along these three stretches, we caught 14 largemouth bass. They were caught on either a three-inch Z-Man Fishing Products' green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce  Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head jig or a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. The bulk of these largemouth bass were caught while we were employing a drag-deadstick-and-shake presentation. Two were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Some were caught when we were strolling, and some were caught when we were casting and retrieving.  None of them were caught adjacent to a dock. Some were caught near the water's edge, a few were caught about 20 feet from the water's edge, and some were caught from about seven to about 15 feet from the water's edge.  Several of them were caught along a retaining wall. A few were caught around patches of winter-wilted coontail. One was caught near a patch of winter-dead American water willows. We caught these largemouth bass along the steeper and the flatter segments of this massive shoreline. Some were caught in water as shallow as three feet of water, and others were caught in five to nine feet of water. In essence, there was no solidarity location and presentation pattern along this shoreline.

Yahel Anderson with one of the largemouth bass that we caught on the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We caught one largemouth bass along a portion of the south shoreline inside the small feeder-creek arm, and we caught two largemouth bass along its north shoreline. They were caught on the three-inch green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ rig. The makeup of these shorelines is similar to the three sections of the main-lake shoreline that we fished. One largemouth bass was caught as we were strolling the prototype rig and employing a drag-and-shake retrieve around a rock retaining wall in about five feet of water.  The second largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the prototype rig at the front of a dock in about four feet of water.  The third largemouth bass was caught while we were strolling and employing a drag-deadstick-and-shake presentation with the prototype rig  in about five feet of water around a paltry patch of coontail.

We caught five largemouth bass along the dam.  The dam is lined with riprap.  It possesses a 30- to 45-degree slope. Its water's edge is graced with patches of winter-dead American water willows. At both ends of the dam, there are some patches of winter-wilted coontail. Two largemouth bass were caught at one end of the dam, and three were caught at the other end.  One was caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in about four feet of water. One was caught on the prototype in about five feet of water with a total deadstick presentation. One was caught on the prototype rig with an extremely slow swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation in six to seven feet of water. One was caught on the prototype rig with a drag-and-shake presentation in six feet of water. One was caught on the initial drop of the prototype rig along the outside edge of a patch of winter-dead American water willows. We failed to elicit a strike along the many yards of riprap and patches of winter-dead American water willows between the ends of the dam.

In total, we caught 23 largemouth bass in 160 minutes. We made several dozen fruitless casts and retrieves with a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ  jig and a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig .  In our eyes, it was a difficult outing, indeed, to teach Yalel a thing or two about how, when, and where to catch largemouth bass with Midwest finesse tactics. Thus, we are hoping to do it again when the weather is warmer and the largemouth bass are easier to locate and catch.

April 1 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

The last time I enjoyed the thrill of catching 30 or more black bass in an outing occurred on Jan. 8, when Rick Allen of Dallas and I caught a combination of 30 largemouth bass and spotted bass inside a heavily fished feeder-creek arm at one of  north-central Texas' U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs. Eighty-one days have passed since that outing, and we have yet to experience another one like it.

The black bass fishing was promising during March, but it never reached its full potential. Several companions and I were able to catch 20 to 24 black bass during several afternoon outings, but there were several lackluster outings, too. And on Mar. 31, Rick Allen and I endured a trying four-hour outing at the same Corps' reservoir where we caught 30 black bass on Jan. 8, and it was a chore for us to eke out seven largemouth bass and two spotted bass.

Furthermore, our catch rates diminished this March as well. In March of 2016, we caught 217 black bass during 10 outings that spanned 37 hours. That calculates to a catch rate of 21.7 bass per outing and 5.8 bass per hour. But we caught only 149 black bass in nine outings, which totaled 35 hours, in March of 2017. This catch rate calculates to a measly 16.5 black bass per outing and 4.25 bass per hour. It was also 68 fewer bass than we caught in March of 2016.

Therefore, I thought I would try to get things started on a more positive note on April 1, and I joined Rick Allen for an afternoon bank-walking excursion at one of the many small community reservoirs that stipple the landscape throughout the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area.

The wind was troublesome in March,  and it continued to howl out of the southeast and east at 15 to 25 mph on April 1. The sky conditions fluctuated from being mostly cloudy to being overcast to having intermittent spells of sunshine. The Weather Underground reported that it was 58 degrees at 6:57 a.m. and 77 degrees at 5:00 p.m. The barometric pressure measured 29.91 at 11:00 a.m. and dropped to 29.83 by 4:00 p.m. Thunderstorms are forecast to begin during the late evening hours of April 1 and will continue into the early morning hours of April 3.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the most lucrative fishing periods would take place from 3:04 a.m. to 5:04 a.m., 9:19 a.m. to 11:19 a.m., and 3:33 p.m. to 5:33 p.m. Rick and I fished from 11:40 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.

The water level was normal. The water temperature was 71 degrees. The water was stained with about 1 1/2 feet of visibility.

The west side of the reservoir was the most fruitful area and bore the brunt of the wind. The wind raised havoc with our casts and retrieves, but we managed to catch 16 largemouth bass from this area.

Twelve largemouth bass were caught from the south end of this shoreline and they were dwelling from five to 35 feet away from the water's edge.

Four were caught along a steep sand and gravel area in five to eight feet of water. The other eight were caught from a large mud flat that lies along a section of slab concrete embankment that connects to the concrete dam on the south end of the reservoir. These eight largemouth bass were abiding in three to five feet of water and about 10 feet from the water's edge.

Three largemouth bass were caught from a steep sand and gravel shoreline adjacent to a fishing pier. The fishing pier is situated in the middle section of the west shoreline. These three bass were less than five feet away from the water's edge and abiding in about four feet of water.

One largemouth was caught in five feet of water from a small tertiary point that lies about 50 feet north of the fishing pier. It was caught about 10 feet away from the water's edge.

We failed to elicit any strikes from a thick stand of cattails and a small ditch that cuts across a large mud flat in the north end of the reservoir.

The concrete slab dam that forms the south end of the reservoir was the second best locale. It relinquished 12 largemouth bass.

Five largemouth bass were caught from a shallow mud hump that lies just north of the east end of the dam. They were relating to the south side of the hump in three to five feet of water and about 15 to 25 feet away from the dam.

Another three largemouth bass were caught from the midsection of the dam in three to five feet of water. They were caught in close proximity to a large bulge in the concrete that protrudes from the face of the dam.

Along the spillway on the west end of the dam, we caught four largemouth bass. They were extracted from less than five feet of water and about 10 feet away from the spillway.

The east shoreline surrendered three largemouth bass. One largemouth bass was caught from the north side of a broad and steep point in the middle of the shoreline, and another one was caught along the south side of that point. The largemouth bass that was caught from the south side of this point was a hefty specimen that weighed five pounds, six ounces. The third largemouth bass was caught along the south side of a long clay and gravel point that extends from the north end of this shoreline. All three of these bass were caught in three to seven feet of water and about five to 10 feet from the water's edge. We failed to garner any strikes along a shallow sand and gravel ledge that parallels the south end of the shoreline.

Steve Reideler with one of the 31 largemouth bass that they caught.

In sum, we finally got the monkey off our backs and caught 31 largemouth bass in four hours and 10 minutes. We estimated that twenty-eight of them would have weighed between 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds. Only two of them were less than 12 inches long. We lost another three that were able to pull free before we could land them. We also elicited several strikes that we failed to hook.

We experimented with a slew of Z-Man's Midwest finesse baits rigged on various sizes and colors of Gopher mushroom-head jigs. Twenty-five largemouth bass, including the five pounder, were bewitched by a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Three largemouth bass were caught on  a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ affixed on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught two largemouth bass. A chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig dressed with a shortened Z-Man's California craw Hula StickZ beguiled one largemouth bass.

As for retrieves, a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most effective presentation. A slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation was also effective at times. We failed to engender any strikes with a hop-and-bounce retrieve and a steady do-nothing swimming retrieve.

April 2 log

Andrew Trembath of Parkville, Missouri, and Merit Goodman of Eudora, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about their tournament endeavors at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir in southwestern Missouri on April 2.

Here is an edited version of their report:

Neither of us had fished this reservoir before April 2. And we had a difficult time finding areas where we felt comfortable and confident. What's more, we had never fished a reservoir as large as this one.

We eventually tangled with about 40 black bass, and the majority of them were largemouth bass, ranging in length from 10- to 14-inches. We took three of them to the tournament scales, which garnered us eighth-place honors.

The surface temperature ranged from 53 to 56 degrees. The water level was rising from the many inches of rain that had fallen on its watershed, but it was still about five feet below its normal level.  The water clarity varied from being muddy at some locales to exhibiting nearly five feet of visibility at other areas.

The weather was terrible with a steady and sometimes heavy rain from the time we launched until about noon. According to the Weather Underground, the morning air temperature when we launched at 6:45 a.m. was 51 degrees.  During the afternoon hours, the sky was blue and the sun was shining. The wind was out of the south by southeast at 10 to 15 mph.

The majority of our fish were caught in the main-lake areas of this reservoir and along steep and rocky shorelines, bluffs, and points. Secondary points and shorelines inside feeder-creek arms were not fruitful.

Besides the black bass, we caught some freshwater drum and wipers. The majority of these fish were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's ZinkerZ or a Z-Man's Finesse T.R.D. on a 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. A few were caught on a spinnerbait, deep-diving crankbait, and a skirted football-style jig.

The most effective presentation was a drag-and-deadstick retrieve, which we executed by allowing our Midwest finesse rigs to fall to the bottom with our rods held at the two o'clock position. Once our rigs would reach the bottom, we dropped our rods to the five o'clock position, and then we would drag them for a few feet, and then we would employ one twitch or slight jerk with the rod, which was followed by about a five-second deadstick pause. When we caught a black bass, it occurred immediately after the deadstick pause ended and the beginning of another dragging phase (Merit was the one who initially discovered the effectiveness of this presentation).

Most of the black bass were caught in eight to 10 feet of water.  We would cast to the water's edge and drag-and-deadstick our rigs into water as deep as 15 feet of water. Our sonar indicated that there were a significant number of fish suspended in 10 feet of water.

Along the steep bluffs, some largemouth bass were caught while we were casting and retrieving our rigs parallel to the bluff. Along the steep sections of the bluffs, we found that a 1/8-ounce mushroom-style jig was a more effective way to employ the drag-and-deadstick presentation.

Some of the competitors told us that steep main-lake points were fruitful for them. The winners, however, caught their fish on skirted jigs around flooded timber in the upper reaches of the reservoir's southeast arm.

April 4 log

It has been a struggle to get afloat in northeastern Kansas during the first 16 days of spring. At times, the wind kept us at bay.  At other times, the rain kept us at bay.

In fact, from Mar. 24 through April 4, it rained every day except on Mar. 28 and Mar. 31. During this spell, the rain gauge in one of the gardens around our home has collected slightly more than five inches of rain. Gauges at other locales across the countryside collected considerably more drops of rain than our gauge in Lawrence, Kansas. Consequently, the water levels at the flatland reservoirs that stipple the countryside have risen — some very significantly, and some of that water is very murky.

Moreover, the high temperatures from Mar. 25 through April 4 were below normal every day except on April 2.  The average high temperature on Mar. 25 is 60 degrees, and it is 64 degrees on April 4. And even though the high temperatures on those days eventually climbed into the fifties, the bones in my 77-year old hands and the back of my neck often felt as if the temperatures were in the thirties.

During the morning of April 4, the wind did not blow, and it did not rain.  So, I went fishing at 11:00 a.m. at a state reservoir.

As I launched the boat, the back of my neck and the bones in my fingers were cold. I did not put on a pair of gloves, but I did put a stocking cap on my bald head, and the hood of my rain suit covered the back of my neck.

At 10:52 a.m., the Weather Underground reported that it was 48 degrees, the sky was overcast, the wind angled out of the west at 8 mph, and the barometric pressure was 29.88.  Around 12:25 p.m., it began to rain on me, and according to the Weather Underground, the wind was angling out of the north by northeast at 6 mph, it was 48 degrees, and the barometric pressure was 29.81. I put the boat on the trailer at 12:37 p.m. and drove home in the rain.

This reservoir's water level looked to be 18 inches above normal, and it is up about 2 1/2 feet since Mar. 28.  The surface temperature was 54 degrees. Nearly 60 percent of the water is significantly stained, exhibiting about six inches of visibility. Around the dam, the water exhibited about four feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 5:57 a.m. to 7:57 a.m., 6:25 p.m. to 8:25 p.m., and 11:43 a.m. to 1:43 p.m. During the 97 minutes that I was afloat, I struggled to catch 10 largemouth bass.

I fished three sections along the dam. Its underwater terrain consists of riprap.  It possesses a 35- to a 45-degree slope. There are two minor winter-dead American water willow patches along its water's edge and a few laydowns and logs. There are also several man-made brush piles that are anchored in 12 to 15 feet of water.  At one of the three sections, I caught five largemouth bass that were abiding in six to nine feet of water. They were caught while I was strolling and employing a drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation with a three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  At the other two locales along the dam, I failed to elicit a strike as I employed the prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ rig, a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

I fished a short segment of a shoreline adjacent to a main-lake point. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel.  It possesses a 25-degree slope, and it is graced with a ledge, and along this ledge, the bottom falls from three feet of water into 12 feet of water. There is one man-made brush pile that lies in about six feet of water and some winter-wilted patches of submerged aquatic vegetation.  The brush pile and patches of aquatic vegetation are coated with filamentous algae. I caught five largemouth bass on the prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ rig while I was casting and employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water. Three of the five largemouth bass were caught on back-to-back casts. I failed to garner a strike with the Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.I spent about 10 minutes fishing a section of a massive main-lake shoreline, where the water was stained. And the Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig failed to elicit a strike.

I spent about 10 minutes fishing a section of a massive main-lake shoreline, where the water was stained. And the Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig failed to elicit a strike.

In sum, I was surprised how fruitless the dam was. Our fishing in northeastern Kansas has been a chore so far this spring.

April 6 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his April 6 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Blustery winds, a couple of thunderstorms, and a hail storm have kept me at bay since April 2.   But April 6 was a gorgeous spring day. I took advantage of the splendid weather and pursued some largemouth bass and spotted bass at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir in north-central Texas.

Rick Allen of Dallas and I fished this reservoir on Mar. 2, and we caught 21 black bass in four hours.  Then Rick returned to this reservoir on March 3 with his wife, Linda, and they struggled to catch four black bass during that outing. On April 6, I was hoping that the black bass fishing had improved since March 3.

The sky was cloudless and exhibited a cobalt-blue hue on April 6. The sun was warm and intensely bright. The Weather Underground reported that it was 42 degrees at 7:00 a.m. and 72 degrees at 4:00 p.m. A light breeze quartered out of the west and northwest at 3 to 5 mph. The barometric pressure measured 20.24 at 11:00 a.m. and 20.19 at 3:00 p.m.

The water was dingy from recent rains, exhibiting about one to 1 1/4 feet of visibility. The water level was about six inches above normal. The surface temperature ranged from 62 to 67 degrees.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar table, the best fishing would take place from 1:31 a.m. to 3:31 a.m., 7:44 a.m. to 9:44 a.m., and 8:09 p.m. to 10:09 p.m.  I fished from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

I concentrated on two feeder-creek arms on the south end of this reservoir. One of these two feeder-creek arms is quite immense. The other one is about one-third the size of the first one. Both creek arms contain numerous rock-laden secondary points, as well as red clay and gravel flats and tertiary points. Its shorelines are littered with submerged rocks, boulders, a few partially submerged laydowns, some brush piles, some patches of flooded buck brush, and many acres of flooded terrestrial vegetation close to the water's edge. A couple of shorelines are endowed with submerged rock ledges that are covered with two feet of water and fall into water as deep as 17 feet.

I dissected hundreds of yards of shoreline inside these two feeder-creek arms, and I could only eke out 18 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and four large white crappie in four hours.

All of them were shallow and caught in three to five feet of water. Only two were caught in fairly close proximity to each other. The other 18 black bass were caught many minutes and many yards apart.

There was no rhyme or reason to fish location. I was baffled as to why one shoreline would relinquish a bass or two and another identical shoreline failed to yield a strike. The underwater terrain did not seem to make any difference as long as it possessed some type of flooded terrestrial vegetation that was surrounded by three to five feet of water. I can say that I did not generate any strikes along shorelines that were barren of flooded terrestrial vegetation.

Some of the black bass were relating to open pockets along the thick walls of flooded terrestrial vegetation that adorned flat shorelines. Some were caught next to an isolated patch or two of flooded buck brush along the top edges of a couple of shallow rock ledges. Two were caught from opposite ends of a shallow rock hump that was also graced with thin patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation.

Flat shorelines just inside the mouths of secondary coves along the north side of the first feeder-creek arm and the east side of the second feeder-creek were the most fruitful areas. I did not find any type of fish activity in the back reaches of the creek arms and secondary coves.

I caught all 20 black bass and the four white crappie on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ affixed on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the only effective presentation.

At least the delightful weather made the outing worthwhile.

April 7 log

Our weather has been rotten in northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri. Our reservoirs are in rotten shape, too, as is our largemouth bass fishing.

Our fishing is so rotten that Bob Gun of Kansas City, Kansas, didn't post a log about his trying endeavors at the finest community reservoir in northeastern Kansas, and Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, only said that he struggled to catch four largemouth bass at a northwest Missouri reservoir where we often catch 20 to 25 largemouth bass an hour this time of the year.

But Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, did take the effort to file a log on FNN about his rotten time at a state reservoir on April 7.  Here is an edited version of his log:

After the torrential rains that dumped up to five inches of rain on our local lakes and the unseasonably cool weather during the first week of April, the sun finally returned to northeastern Kansas on April 6 with some warmer temperatures, but the wind howled gusting up to 31 mph, and during the night some area thermometers dropped to 28 degrees. And with this morning's bright sunshine, I noted that everything in my yard was covered with a heavy layer of frost.  I am sure that the frost has fatally whacked my cherry crop, which was just beginning to blossom, and my peaches, which were just finishing with their annual blossoming rituals.  This will be the third year in a row that my fruit trees have been subjected to late frosts at exactly the wrong time. "Oh well," I thought, "it is supposed to be warmer this afternoon with calmer winds and apparently Mother Nature does not want me to work in the yard, so I might as well go fishing."

So, I met my friend, John Redding, after lunch and we headed out to a state reservoir.  When we arrived, the temperature was in the low 60s, heading to an afternoon high of 67.  There was a 7-10 mph breeze blowing out of the southeast, which strengthened and gusted as high as 21 mph, forcing us to employ a drift sock for much of the time we were afloat. The barometric pressure was 30.25 at 12:52 a.m., 30.24 at 5:52 a.m., 30.23 at 11:23 a.m., and 30.03 at 5:52 p.m.

The water was very stained to the color of coffee and cream, exhibiting about 12 inches of visibility. The lake level appeared to be about two feet above normal. The water temperature was 54 degrees when we started and 58 degrees when we quit.  We were afloat from about 1:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m..  The Euglena algae bloom, which had plagued this particular lake most of the winter, had either run its course or was hidden by the extremely stained water.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 8:21 a.m. to 10:21 a.m., 8:45 p.m. to 10:45 p.m., and 2:09 a.m. to 4:09 a.m.

We began fishing at the main-lake point separating the reservoir's two major feeder-creek arms and fished along a 400-yard stretch of a main lake shoreline.  The shoreline consists of rocks, flooded trees, laydowns, stickups,  and patches of American water willows that have not yet shown any signs of new growth.  Along this shoreline, we caught six largemouth bass.  Four of them were caught on a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the Hula StickZ.  Two were caught by a swim-glide-and-shake presentation of the Hula StickZ rig.  All four largemouth bass were relating to shallow shoreline cover.  The other two largremouth bass were caught on an in-line spinner.

As we fished towards the back of the creek arm, we began to get our lures hung up on underwater obstructions on a continual basis.  We soon realized that the hangups were being caused by the presence of extensive patches of submerged American water willows, extending in some areas 10 or 15 feet from the water's edge.  Normally, these patches would be at the water's edge, but the high water level had them completely submerged and the stained water prevented us from seeing them.  Consequently, we constantly casted our lures right into the middle of the patches, and became snagged on the tough stems of the winter-dead American water willows.  I tried to adjust my aim to land my lure along what would normally be the outside or front edge of the water willows and then discovered that there were extensive patches of lush and green curly-leaf pondweed  growing all along the front edge of the American water willows.  In short, it made for very trying fishing conditions.

We finally got tired of fighting the weeds and wind. And we decided to find a wind-protected area to ply, which we found along the south side of this reservoir, where we fished along several main-lake shorelines, several points, the shorelines inside two minor feeder-creek arms, and a half dozen rock jetties.  We caught three largemouth bass in about 30 minutes.  One was caught on the in-line spinner that John was wielding.  The other two were caught on a shortened Z-Man's black-blue laminated ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.  One largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig.  The other one was caught as I was swimming the ZinkerZ rig above the top of a patch of curly-leaf pondweed.

We continued to fish two other main-lake shoreline areas, but we soon noticed that the wind had become noticeably stronger, generating whitecaps and cooling the air temperature, making it very difficult to keep fishing, even with the drift sock.

In sum, while the weather was warmer and calmer, making it enjoyable to be outside, the fishing conditions were very trying.  We struggled to catch nine largemouth bass in the five hours we were afloat.  Four largemouth bass were caught on the Hula StickZ rig and two were caught on the ZinkerZ rig. Three were caught on an in-line spinner.  I failed to get a strike on a Z-Man's California craw Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man Finesse ShroomZ jig.  I hooked one largemouth bass that I failed to land and a dozen or so strikes that I failed to hook. The best retrieve was a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.  We had continual difficulties dealing with the murky water that hid the underwater obstructions and patches of curly-leaf pondweed.

April 7 log

Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his April 7 outing.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

I needed to pick up my yearly lake pass for a small community reservoir. So, I decided to spend a few hours fishing while I was there.

After getting my permits and entertaining a brief phone call from fellow Hoosier and Bassmaster Elite Series pro, Jacob Wheeler, and learning how his efforts on the second day of the tournament at Toledo Bend Reservoir, Texas, transpired, I launched the boat around 5:40 p.m.

The Weather Underground reported a temperature of 54 degrees. The wind blew at 20 to 29 mph out of the northwest. The barometer was 30.06 and rising. The sky was a brilliant blue hue. When I returned to the ramp around 8:15 p.m., the air temperature had dropped to 50 degrees.

During the preceding 36 hours, this reservoir's watershed was hit by heavy rain storms, and much of the reservoir was heavily stained. As such, I spent a goodly amount of time on its lower end where the effects of all that rain were somewhat muted. The surface temperature was a uniform 52.6 degrees everywhere I floated.

I spent the 150 minutes that I was afloat fishing a series of four small wind-protected pockets, as will as one pass on the dam and its adjacent riprap. Outside of making a few random casts with a shallow diving crankbait, I spent the entire time throwing a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse T.R.D. on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

In the first pocket I fished, I managed to catch 16 largemouth bass. In the second pocket, I landed two more. The third pocket produced seven largemouth bass. The fourth one yielded six. And I caught four largemouth bass along the  dam and adjacent riprap.

Some were caught on the initial fall of the bait, and the remainder were primarily finagled with a series of twitches and deadsticks, as I tried to imitate the movements of small invertebrates.

None of the fish were large, with 15 1/2-inchers being on the high end, but there was  enough action on a strong, post-front day to keep me entertained.

April 8 log

Walt Tegtmeier of Leawood, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his April 8 outing at a northeastern Kansas' community reservoir.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 51 degrees at 3:53 a.m. and 75 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The wind howled out of the south and southwest at 10 to 29 mph. The sky was clear. The barometric pressure was 29.93 at 12:53 a.m., 29.83 at 5:53 a.m., 29.77 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.70 at 2:53 p.m.

The water level was slightly above normal.  The surface temperature was 53 to 55 degrees. The water exhibited about three feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 9:02 a.m. to 11:02 a.m., 9:25 p.m. to 11:25 p.m., and 2:05 a.m. to 4:05 a.m. He fished from 12:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., and while he battled the wind, he caught 17 largemouth bass.

Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's California craw Hula StickZ on a green-pumpkin 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig, and 15 were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on a green-pumpkin 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig.

He failed to elicit a strike along a 50-yard stretch of a north shoreline inside a small feeder-creek arm.

He caught seven largemouth bass along a main-lake shoreline on the west side of the middle section of the reservoir.

He caught five largemouth bass along the 30-yard stretch of the east shoreline of the primary feeder-creek arm.

And he finished the outing along the west shoreline of the primary feeder-creek arm, where he caught five largemouth bass.

April 10 log

The largemouth bass fishing at all of the flatland reservoirs that grace the countryside of northeastern Kansas has been in a sorry state of affairs since the last week of March.  Midwest finesse anglers have also been confounded by too much rain and wind, as well as a significant string of below normal temperatures.

All of it has kept me at bay except for a short outing on April 4.  And that one was aborted by rain. Before it began raining, I fished 97 minutes and struggled to catch 10 largemouth bass.

Traditionally, Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas have been able to tangle with 17 to 25 largemouth bass an hour with astonishing regularity during the last week of March and the first week or two of April. But on this April 10 outing, I suspected that it would be impossible to equal those traditional numbers. So, my mission was to see how long it would take me to catch 51 largemouth bass, and if I failed to catch 51 in four hours, I would call it a day.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 53 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 66 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the south by southwest, southwest, north by northwest, west, and west by southwest at 8 to 29 mph. From 12:53 a.m. to 5:53 a.m., the sky alternated from being clear to being overcast to being mostly cloudy. After 5:53 a.m., it became virtually cloudless until 4:53 p.m.  The barometric pressure was 29.62 at 12:53 a.m., 29.81 at 5:53 a.m., 29.97 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.99 at 1:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 10:42 a.m. to 12:42 p.m., 4:31 a.m. to 6:31 a.m. and 4:53 p.m. to 6:53 p.m. I fished from 10:30 a.m. to 1:47 p.m. at a different state reservoir than the one I fished on April 4.

The water level looked to be nearly two feet above normal.  The shoreline well above the water's edge was littered with a lot of debris, and it looked as if the water level had been about four feet above normal a few days ago. The surface temperature ranged from 58 to 60 degrees. The water clarity in the lower 10 percent of this reservoir exhibited about 15 inches of visibility, and in the reservoir's upper reaches, it was murky.

While I was afloat, the wind blew from the west and west by southwest at 15 to 26 mph.  Therefore, I tried to stay hidden from it by spending the entire outing plying a massive shoreline on the west side of this reservoir and about a 50-yard stretch of the west end of the dam.

The dam is lined with riprap and patches of winter-dead American water willows. It yielded one largemouth bass, which was caught adjacent to a patch of American water willows in about five feet of water.  It was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was strolled with a drag-and-shake presentation.

The underwater terrain of the west shoreline consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. Its water's edge is adorned with winter-dead American water willows, laydowns, brush piles, and seven riprap jetties.  There are several overhanging trees that embellish this shoreline.  There were a few sprigs of curly-leaf pondweed floating on the surface, but I did not find any patches of it.

The west shoreline yielded 50 largemouth bass. Eleven were caught on a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Seventeen were caught on a three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Twenty-two of them were caught on the shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ rig.

Sixteen were caught along five of the seven riprap jetties in four to seven feet of water. Some were caught on the initial drop. Some were caught on a drag-and-shake retrieve. A few were caught on a drag-and-deadstick retrieve. Some were  caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Seven were caught under the overhanging trees in three to four feet of water. Two were caught on the initial drop. Two were caught on a drag-and-deadstick retrieve. Three were caught on a swim-glide-and — shake retrieve.

Twenty-seven were caught around or near the patches of winter-dead American water willows in three to about eight feet of water.   A few were caught as far as 15 feet from the outside edges of the patches of American water willows in six to eight feet of water. Some were at the edges of patches in three to four feet of water.

A few of the 27 largemouth bass that were abiding along the west shoreline were caught on the initial drop. Some were caught on a drag-and-deadstick presentation.  But the bulk of them were caught on either a drag-and-shake retrieve or a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

It took me three hours and 17 minutes to catch 51 largemouth bass, and I inadvertently caught one white crappie. I garnered seven strikes that I failed to hook.  This was the first time in 2017 that I have used a Finesse WormZ rig. What's more, I was surprised that the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ rig caught 17 largemouth bass in this reservoir's stained water; it remains my most effective rig for 2017.

This outing proved once again that Midwest finesse tactics are as effective in murky-water scenarios as they are in clear-water ones. Nevertheless, the largemouth bass fishing in northeastern Kansas is not as easy as it normal is in early April.

April 10, 11, and 12 log

George Nochta of Santee, California, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about the outings that Ted Becharas of Rancho Penasquitos, California, and Harold Rice of Ramona, California, had at Clear Lake, California, where they were hoping to fish on April 10, 11, 12, and 13.

Here is an edited version of his report:

Becharas and Rice made the 600-mile and 12-hour journey to this natural lake in northern California on April 9. They fished on April, 10, 11, and 12.  The only day without wind and rain was April 10.  On April 11 and 12, the weather was horrible. When they woke up on the morning of April 13, the storm was really bad, and they decided to hunker down in their motel room and rest up for their 600-mile and 12-hour trip home.

Despite their weather woes, they caught largemouth bass and scores of crappie.

They fished the north end of the lake, which tends to be flat and shallow.  Most of their fish were caught in 7 to 10 feet of water on flats that are laden with rocks and embellished with some flooded brush. They did not keep an exact count of how many fish they caught, but April 11 was their most bountiful day.

Throughout their outings, Becharas employed a Z-Man's California craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, as well as, a lipless crankbait.

Rice, however, declined to use the Midwest finesse tactics. Instead, he employed power tactics by wielding a lipless crankbait and some Texas-rigged soft-plastic baits.

On their April 11 endeavors, Becharas' used the Finesse T.R.D. rig, as well as, a lipless crankbait while catching more than 20 largemouth bass and untold numbers of crappie. One of Becharas' largemouth bass weighed 5 1/2-pounds. Rice's power tactics caught eight largemouth bass and no crappie. Many of Becharas' crappie ranged in size from 1 1/2- to two-pounds.

Ted Becharas with one of the largemouth bass that he caught on a Finesse T.R.D. rig.

As Becharas reflected about their outings, he said the largemouth bass and crappie vigorously clobbered the Finesse T.R.D.

Ted Becharas with one of the many crappie that he caught on a Finesse T.R.D. rig.

On Thursday, when the weather sequestered them to their motel room, Becharas got tired of being a shut-in. So, he ventured into the wind and rain and sashayed down to the motel's boat dock, and ,for an hour, he caught crappie on every cast, both on his Finesse T.R.D. rig and a red and white mini jig rigged with a slip float.

It is a shame that their trip was walloped by abysmal weather.  If the weather conditions would have been better, Becharas would have really walloped the largemouth bass with his Midwest finesse tactics.

This lake is one of the hottest lakes in the country for both numbers and size of the fish.   Its food base is terrific, which consist of an abundance of crayfish and a minnow called a hitch.  Because of this food base, the size of the largemouth bass and crappie are quite impressive.

They are planning to make another trip to Clear Lake in mid-October, and I think I will try to join them and waylay the black  bass with Midwest finesse tactics.

April 11 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 39 degrees at 8:19 a.m. and 66 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the northwest, northeast, north, north by northwest, west by northwest, and north by northeast at 4 to 9 mph, and there were spells when the wind was calm.  From 12:53 a.m. to 8:53 a.m., the sky alternated from being overcast to mostly cloudy to scattered with clouds. From 9:53 a.m. to 3:53 p.m., the sun was shining intensely in a baby-blue sky. The barometric pressure was 30.25 at 12:53 a.m., 30.28 at 5:53 a.m., 30.33 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.27 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11:12 p.m. to 1:12 a.m., 5:01 a.m. to 7:01 a.m., and 5:23 p.m. to 7:23 p.m. David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas, and I were afloat from 10:40 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. at one of northeastern Kansas' heavily fished community reservoirs.

The water level looked to be about a foot above normal.  The surface temperature ranged from 58 degrees to 61 degrees. It is difficult to describe the state of the water clarity; while we were afloat, we described it as exhibiting an odd milky hue, and the visibility fluctuated from about 12 inches at some locales to nearly 4 1/2 feet at other locales.

We caught 55 largemouth bass and five smallmouth bass, and as we pursued the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, we inadvertently caught five freshwater drum, three crappie, two white bass, one warmouth, one bluegill, one green sunfish, and one rainbow trout.

Our two most effective lures were a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A shortened Z-Man's watermelon-red Hula StickZ affixed to a brown-and-orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a  shortened four-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Berkley's green-pumpkin Havoc Pit Boss Jr. affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Berkley's pumpkin Gulp! Fry affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig were effective at several locales.

Our most effective presentation was a drag-and-deadstick presentation, and we implemented this retrieve while we were strolling and casting our Midwest finesse rigs. Eleven of the largemouth and one of the smallmouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs.  A few of them were caught while we were employing a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve.

During the first hour, we caught 25 largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass along a massive shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm.

Most of this shoreline is flat, possessing a 25- to 35-degree slope, and it possesses several secondary and tertiary points. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, some silt, and a few boulders. Some of its water's edge is lined with patches of winter-dead American water willows. It is cluttered with a goodly number of laydowns, several docks, and a stretch of riprap.

A goodly number of the largemouth bass were caught in the vicinity of the American water willow patches. Some were caught along the outside edges of the patches, but a few were caught many feet from the outside edges of the patches.  A few of the largemouth bass were caught around some of the laydowns. Two largemouth bass were caught at one of the tertiary points. Three largemouth bass were caught adjacent to the metal poles of a boat lift.  One smallmouth bass was caught adjacent to a boat dock. These largemouth bass and smallmouth bass were caught in three to seven feet of water.

During the next three hours, we caught 30 largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass.

We caught five largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass along the south shoreline inside a small feeder-creek arm in three to five feet of water. We failed to catch a largemouth bass and smallmouth bass along its west and north shorelines.  Its shorelines possess a 25- to 40-degree slope. Three of the largemouth bass were abiding along the outside edge of patches of winter-dead American water willows. Two of the largemouth bass and the smallmouth bass were caught under overhanging trees.

We failed to catch any largemouth bass and smallmouth bass along the riprap shoreline of the dam.

We caught one largemouth bass in four feet of water on a submerged rock fence. It is an offshore lair on the main-body of this reservoir. We failed to elicit a strike along another offshore submerged rock fence.

We caught four largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass along a main-lake point in four to six feet of water. The point has a 40-degree slope. The underwater terrain of this point consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. Its water's edge is graced with some patches of winter-dead American water willows. The largemouth bass and smallmouth bass were caught from five to 10 feet from the water's edge.

Inside the feeder-creek arm adjacent to the main-lake point that yielded four largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass, we caught six largemouth bass along its south shoreline in four to six feet of water. This shoreline has a 25- to 35-degree slope.  The underwater terrain of this shoreline consists of gravel, rocks, sand, and a few boulders. Its water's edge is graced with patches of winter-dead American water willows, many laydowns, one floating dock, and two concrete docks. On largemouth bass was caught near one of the concrete docks.  The other five were caught near either the laydowns or the outside edges of the patches of winter-dead American water willows.  Along the shoreline in the back third section of this feeder-creek arm, we failed to elicit a strike.

Along the main-lake shoreline adjacent to the main-lake point that yielded four largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass, we caught seven largemouth bass in five to nine feet of water. This shoreline had a 35- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain of this shoreline consists of gravel and rocks. Its water's edge is adorned with massive and thick patches of winter-dead American water willows, and all of the largemouth bass that we caught were associated with the outside edges of the patches of American water willows.

We caught one largemouth bass on a massive main-lake point in about six feet of water. Much of its water's edge is embellished with patches of winter-dead American water willows. It is graced with one large overhanging tree and a few minor laydowns, as well as several man-made brush piles. Its underwater terrain consists of rocks and boulders.

We caught two largemouth bass in four to five feet of water on a secondary point inside a small feeder-creek arm, but we failed to elicit a strike along the shorelines in this feeder-creek arm. The secondary point and the shorelines are adorned with patches of winter-dead American water willows, some laydowns, and a man-made brush pile. The secondary point and the shorelines have a 20- to 35-degree slope.  The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and several massive boulders.

We failed to elicit a strike at a main-lake point and a 40-yard stretch of its main-lake shoreline.  The point and its main-lake shoreline are adorned with patches of winter-dead American water willows, some riprap, and a few minor laydowns. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and several very large boulders. The point and the shoreline possess a 30-degree slope.

Inside another small feeder-creek arm, we caught one largemouth bass on a secondary point in about four feet of water and one smallmouth bass along another secondary point in about two feet of water. These secondary points have a 30-degree slope. We failed to elicit a strike along portions of the south and north shorelines inside this feeder-creek arm.  The shorelines possess a 20- to 30-degree slope.  The underwater terrains of the secondary points and shorelines consist of silt, gravel, and rocks.  The water's edge is lined with sections of riprap, occasional patches of winter-dead American water willows, and three big laydowns.

We spent the final seven minutes of this outing inside the feeder-creek arm were we spent the first hour of this outing, and we quickly fished a short segment of its south shoreline and two of its secondary points. One of the secondary points yielded two largemouth bass that were abiding in about four feet of water. The water's edge of this secondary point is lined with patches of winter-dead American water willows and one laydown. Its underwater terrain consists of silt, gravel, and rocks. It possesses a 20-degree slope.  The unfruitful secondary point and shoreline possess a 20- to 35-degree slope.  Their underwater terrains consist of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. Their water's edges are lined with a few patches of winter-dead American water willows, several laydowns, and one overhanging tree.

David Harrison with one of the 55 largemouth bass that we caught on April 11.

This outing is emblematic of what largemouth bass fishing is like day in and day out on the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas for Midwest finesse anglers in the spring. There was no overall location pattern and no overall presentation pattern.  In other words, we had to fish a wide variety of areas and use an assortment of Midwest finesse lures and presentations in order to catch the 55 largemouth bass and five smallmouth bass that we caught on this April 11 outing. In short, there was no way for us to foretell how and where we would find and catch them. The classic piscatorial formula that In-Fisherman devised back in the 1970s, which is Fish+Location+Presentation=Success, does not work on our flatland reservoirs in the late winter and early spring.

April 11 log

Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his April 11 outing at one of northeastern Kansas' power-plant reservoirs.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 39 degrees at 8:19 a.m. and 66 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the northwest, northeast, north, north by northwest, west by northwest, and north by northeast at 4 to 9 mph, and there were spells when the wind was calm.  From 12:53 a.m. to 8:53 a.m., the sky alternated from being overcast to mostly cloudy to scattered with clouds. From 9:53 a.m. to 3:53 p.m., the sun was shining intensely in a baby-blue sky. The barometric pressure was 30.25 at 12:53 a.m., 30.28 at 5:53 a.m., 30.33 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.27 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11:12 p.m. to 1:12 a.m., 5:01 a.m. to 7:01 a.m., and 5:23 p.m. to 7:23 p.m.  He was afloat from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and 30 minutes was spent eating lunch.

The water clarity fluctuated from three to five feet of visibility. The surface temperature at the dam ranged from 64 to 66 degrees.

He caught 64 smallmouth bass, 12 white bass, two walleye, one channel catfish, and one largemouth bass.

They were caught on a 2 1/2 Z-Man's ZinkerZ in the following hues: green pumpkin, green pumpkin/orange, PB&J, and pumpkin/chartreuse. They were rigged on either a 1/32-ounce or a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  The heads of the jigs were either red or black-chartreuse. The 1/16-ounce rig was the most effective one.

And all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves was effective.

He caught one smallmouth bass that had a Z-Man's molting craw Finesse T.R.D. and a 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig in its mouth. He removed that rig and released the smallmouth bass, and then he used that rig to catch several smallmouth bass.

He fished one massive riprap shoreline and about half of the dam, which is embellished with riprap.  The dam was the most fruitful locale. The fish were abiding in two to eight feet of water.

April 12 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse New Network about his April 12 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I conducted a five-hour jaunt to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir on April 12.

Area thermometers recorded a morning low temperature of 58 degrees and 79 degrees for the afternoon high temperature. It was overcast. The wind quartered out of the east and southeast at 9 to 12 mph.  Around 10:00 a.m., the barometric pressure was 30.23 and fell to 30.19 by 3:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 5:52 a.m. to 7:52 a.m., 11:41 a.m. to 1:41 p.m., and 12:04 p.m. to 2:04 p.m. Our outing commenced at 10:30 a.m. and ended at 3:30 p.m.

The water was stained and exhibited a slight greenish hue. The water's temperature varied from 64 to 67 degrees. The water level was slightly above normal.

We fished portions of the eastern half of this reservoir. We fished inside three large feeder-creek arms and two main-lake coves, searching for visible signs of spawning black bass. We plied many shorelines that were lined with partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation close to the water's edge, many gravel and rocky areas graced with patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation that were standing several yards away from the water's edge, one submerged rock pile, a couple of brush piles, a portion of a submerged stock pond, and a large flat inside a cove that was littered with flooded timber. We failed miserably to find any signs of spawning activity or any significant aggregations of black bass.

We employed five spinning rods. The first rod sported a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ affixed on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The second outfit was dressed with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The third rod was rigged with a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig affixed to a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Finesse WormZ in a black-neon hue. The fourth rod had a Z-Man's pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ on a red 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.  A shortened Z-Man's Mud Minnow Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig adorned the fifth rod.

During the five hours that we were afloat, we struggled to catch 12 largemouth bass and two spotted bass, three white crappie, and two black crappie. Thirteen black bass and four crappie were caught in the first two hours of the outing. Only one black bass and one crappie were caught during the last three hours.  The black bass were scattered about and were abiding in three to five feet of water. We failed to land three largemouth bass that we hooked.

The 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ rig caught nine black bass and three crappie. The shortened four-inch black-neon Finesse WormZ combo caught three black bass and two crappie. The 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ caught two largemouth bass. We failed to garner any strikes with the pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ and shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rigs.

A swim-glide-and-shake retrieve provoked all but one strike. The other strike occurred on the initial drop of the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ.

Steve Reideler with one of the largemouth bass that they caught on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig affixed to a Z-Man's black-neon Finesse WormZ.

The majority of the strikes occurred within two to four feet of the outside edges of the flooded terrestrial vegetation. A couple of largemouth bass struck our baits right next to the boat just before we lifted the baits out of the water. We did not encounter any black bass relating to brush piles, flooded timber, laydowns, or any section of shoreline that was barren of any type of flooded terrestrial vegetation.

April 13 log

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

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that the low temperature was 55 degrees at 3:53 a.m. and the high temperature was 78 degrees around 3:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the south at 7 to 22 mph. The sky fluctuated from being overcast to partly cloudy to mostly cloudy to scattered with clouds.  The barometric pressure was 30.12 at 12:53 a.m., 30.14 at 5:53 a.m., 30:15 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.08 at 3:53 p.m.

The surface temperature was 62 degrees, which should have had them in the shallows. The water was stained, but still with enough visibility for them to see the bait. Water level was slightly high.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 12:19 a.m. to 2:19 a.m., 12:41 p.m. to 2:41 p.m., and 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.   I fished from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

This has been the strangest spring I can remember at this reservoir.

Normally, there is a stair-step progression as spring slowly arrives. We catch bass on stickbaits as the water warms into the 40s. Then by late March, when the water temperature gets into the high 40s, we have some of the best fishing days of the year, at least for vast numbers of largemouth bass. Several times, Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, and I have caught close to 100 bass in four hours of fishing on late-March days. But that never materialized this year, and we are blaming our woes on the up-and-down weather patterns.

On April 13, I went out for another trying day of fishing. I finally got in double digits, but I caught only 14 bass and two crappies.

One of the largemouth bass measured 18 inches, and one of the crappies was 14 inches long. But all in all, it was another trying day.

I caught seven of the largemouth bass and both of the crappies on a Swimming Minnow grub, which is a finesse lure I have been using since the 1980s. I also caught some largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug  ZinkerZ, a black-and-blue skirted jig and trailer,  and Strike King Lure Company's Bitsy Tube.

I caught the largemouth bass everywhere from rocky main-lake points to riprap to brush in coves. It was one here, one there.

I keep waiting for the fishing to turn on -- and I know it will. But this is frustrating. I had several trips in late February when we caught more bass than we are catching right now.

At least I know what they are not hitting on. I might go out tomorrow and totally switch it up.

April 14 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

The black bass fishing in north-central Texas has been awful since March 13.  For instance,  Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I fished at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir where we could only scrape up 14 black bass in five hours on April 12 . Norman and I tried again on April 14, but this time we fished at a different Corps' reservoir.

The sky conditions on April 14 fluctuated from overcast to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy. While we were afloat, it was sunny. An annoying wind quartered out of the southeast at 12 to 20 mph and generated endless ranks of white caps on the open main-lake areas. The barometric pressure measured 30.11 at 11:00 a.m. and  30.02 at 4:00 p.m. The morning low temperature was 61 degrees and the afternoon high was 84 degrees.

The best fishing, according to In-Fisherman's solunar table, would occur from 1:19 a.m. to 3:19 a.m., 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., and 1:41 p.m. to 3:41 p.m. Norman and I fished from about noon to 5:00 p.m., and the fishing had not improved one iota.

The water was stained with about 18 inches of visibility. The water temperature ranged from 69 to 72 degrees. The water level was at normal pool.

When we arrived at the boat ramp, we were surprised to see an unusually high amount of people and boat traffic. There were bass boats, pleasure boaters, water skiers, jet skiers, kayak fisherman, and bank anglers everywhere we went, and we fished behind many of them.

We stayed in the reservoir's southwest tributary arm and within a mile of the boat ramp. We tried to screen ourselves from the wind by fishing inside four main-lake coves and one feeder-creek arm. The underwater terrains inside the coves and the feeder-creek arm are similar. They are composed of red clay, silt, fist-size rocks, gravel, and boulders. Most of the shorelines are endowed with secondary points, tertiary points, several floating tractor-tire reefs, a few shallow mud flats, several concrete boat ramps, and numerous covered boat docks. Along the water's edge, there are scores and scores of patches of submerged and partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation, as well as a few laydowns.

It was a grind to catch seven spotted bass, seven largemouth bass, and one channel catfish in five hours. We lost a couple of other bass that were able to jettison our lures from their mouths when they acrobatically cartwheeled across the surface of the water. One hefty but unknown species of fish that we hooked was able to free itself after a robust and entertaining donnybrook that ended when it entangled itself in a submerged bush. And another large and unknown specimen broke our eight-pound fluorocarbon leader when it viciously attacked one of our lures. All of the fish that we hooked and landed, or hooked and lost, were abiding in less than six feet of water.

We caught our first fish, which was a nice spotted bass, within the first five minutes of the outing. But we caught only four more black bass and one channel catfish during the next 75 minutes. It took us another 220 minutes and hundreds of casts and retrieves to catch another nine black bass.

The best locale was a submerged roadbed and an adjacent mud flat along the north side of one of the main-lake coves. Both sides of the roadbed and the mud flat are cluttered with thin patches of either partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation or submerged bushes. We observed numerous three-inch threadfin shad flickering along the surface next to the wind-blown side of the roadbed in four to eight feet of water. This portion of the roadbed yielded one spotted bass and one largemouth bass, and the mud flat surrendered two largemouth bass.

Other than that small aggregation of black bass, the other ten black bass were scattered here and there. Two black bass were caught many yards apart from each other at a large wind-swept main-lake point. One spotted bass was caught along a 50-yard stretch of a rocky main-lake shoreline. Another spotted bass and one largemouth bass were caught from two small rock-laden secondary points in the middle and on the east side of one of the four coves. One largemouth was caught along a steep clay and gravel shoreline on the east side of another cove. Two other black bass were caught from the west side of a flat clay, gravel, and brush-laden shoreline inside the third cove, and two largemouth bass were caught from a small rock ledge in the back of that same cove.

The most potent lure was a Z-Man's pearl GrubZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. This rig caught a combination of seven largemouth bass and spotted bass as it was presented with a slow and steady do-nothing swimming retrieve.

Three were caught on Z-Man's blue steel Finesse ShadZ affixed on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  A shortened 2 1/4-inch tail section of a  Z-Man's green-pumpkin FattyZ on a black 1/32-ounce Gopher jig allured two bass. A Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ dressed on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig enticed one. A shortened four-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse WormZ on a black 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught one. A 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught the one channel catfish. These baits were presented with a slow swim-glide-and shake retrieve.

We also experimented with a four-inch YUM Bait's green-pumpkin dinger, which is a senko-style bait. We rigged it wacky style on an Owner's weedless wacky hook. We pitched this bait into the center of flooded bushes and into the middle of thick patches of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation in three to six feet of water. We then let it settle to the bottom on slack line and deadsticked it for several seconds before we twitched it once or twice, but it failed to provoke any strikes.

During the past few weeks, we have been concerned that we have not found any signs of spawning activity along the shorelines inside several coves that have historically entertained large numbers of spawning black bass. We spoke to one bank angler who told us that he had seen a few largemouth bass spawning along a shoreline on the east side of a cove a couple of weeks ago, but those bass have since disappeared.

April 17 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 50 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 73 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the northeast, north by northwest, north, north by northeast, east, and southeast at 3 to 10 mph. The sky was virtually cloudless, and the sun illumined the world with its radiance.  The barometric pressure was 30.09 at 12:53 a.m., 30.12 at 5:53 a.m., 30.14 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.08 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 3:47 a.m. to 5:47 a.m., 4:11 p.m. to 6:11 p.m., and 9:59 a.m. to 11:59 a.m.  Gabe Bonanno, who is our grandson from New York City,  Allen Kehde, who is our nephew from Sedalia, Missouri, and I were afloat at a northeastern Kansas' community reservoir from 10:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Since Mar. 26, many of the watersheds of the flatland reservoirs across northeastern Kansas have been pummeled with more than seven inches of rain. Consequently, most of the water levels of these reservoirs hereabouts are brimful, and their water clarities range from being stained to murky. The water level at the community reservoir that we fished on April 17 looked to be about two feet above normal. The clarity fluctuated from about eight inches to 24 inches of visibility; it traditionally exhibits more than six feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 61 to 62 degrees.

This was our traditional post-Easter outing. For decades, the many members of our family have gathered to celebrate Easter and Thanksgiving, and during the day after those celebrations several of us went fishing. But as our family has grown and become older and work bound and moved to locales such as Jakarta, Indonesia, and Rift Valley Children's Village in Tanzania, our post-Easter and post-Thanksgiving fishing outings have disappeared.

Allen and Gabe, however, resurrected it on April 17. So, this three-hour outing was more of a celebration of our family's lapsed tradition than a hard-edged piscatorial event. Thus, this will not be a traditional Midwest finesse log from northeastern Kansas that is filled with scores and scores of details. We did not take the time to think about and record how, when, and where we fished and caught fish. Instead, we spent time reminiscing about how and where their grandfathers, fathers, and uncles used to fish on the day after the Easters and Thanksgivings of the past.

Gabe, 28, is a musician and a locksmith who works in New York City. Allen, 48, is an artist who works for EverGreene Architectural Arts all across the United States.  And nowadays they rarely fish.

Here are a few brief details about their three-hour outing:

Allen and Gabe used Lew's TP167MLFS spinning rods with  Lew's Speed Spin Tournament T200 spinning reels that were spooled with 10-pound-test  Lew's APT -8 Braid with  a five-foot leader made from 10-pound-test Lew's APT Fluorocarbon.

One of Allen's rods was rigged with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and his other rod was rigged with a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

One of Gabe's rods was rigged with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and his other rod was rigged with a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

I used a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ  affixed to a  chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We caught 29 largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass, and we inadvertently caught two freshwater drum, one channel catfish, one warmouth, one crappie, and one bluegill.

The most effective rig was the Junebug ZinkerZ rig. The second most effective one was the Junebug Finesse WormZ.  The other two rigs were failures.

Our most effective presentations were a drag-and-deadstick retrieve and a drag-and-shake presentation, and more than 50 percent of the time these two presentations were executed while we were strolling. A few were caught during the initial drop of our rigs.

Our most fruitful location was along portions of a very long shoreline on the north side of a big feeder-creek arm. This shoreline has four docks. It possesses a 20- to 35-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rock, and some boulders. Portions of its water's edge are adorned with patches of winter-dead American water willows, several laydowns, and some overhanging trees.  Ten largemouth bass were caught along the areas that had about a 20-degree slope and lined with winter-dead American water willows and several laydowns. Two largemouth bass were caught adjacent to one of the metal poles of a boat lift at one of the docks. One largemouth bass was caught about 20 feet from the water's edge along a portion of the shoreline that possesses a 35-degree slope. These 13 largemouth bass were caught in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as nine feet.

The south shoreline inside a small feeder-creek arm yielded four largemouth bass, and its west shoreline yielded one largemouth bass. Along its north shoreline, we failed to elicit a strike. These shorelines have 30- to 35-degree slopes. They are adorned with patches of winter-dead American water willows and some overhanging trees. These five largemouth bass were extracted out of about five feet of water.

One largemouth bass was caught at a steep and rock- and boulder-laden main-lake point in about 10 feet of water.

Five largemouth and two smallmouth bass were caught along a steep rock- and boulder-laden main-lake shoreline in five to 10 feet of water.

Along a flat main-lake point and its flat adjacent main-lake shoreline, we caught five largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass in three to five feet of water. This point and shoreline has a 25-degree slope.  Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Some of the boulders are gigantic. Some of the shoreline is embellished with patches of winter-dead American water willows and several laydowns.

We fished about 60 percent of the riprap-laden dam, where we failed to elicit a strike.

We fished two offshore rock piles, where we failed to elicit a strike.

A steep main-lake point and about 50-yards of its two adjacent shorelines failed to yield a fish.

Gabe Bonanno with one of the 29 largemouth bass that we caught.

From the get go, we suspected that it would be a struggle to tangle with more than 10 black bass an hour. We naively blamed the many days of rain and the high- and stained-water conditions as our nemeses, saying that those factors prevented us from tangling with 15 to 25 black bass an hour.  But, of course, we are mere anglers who do not possess the scientific wherewithal to delineate the causes for our failings and the behavior of the black bass that we pursue.  As anglers, we have never been able to determine the cause and effect of the goings on in the world of the black bass. Therefore, we merely describe how, when, and where we catch black bass and how, when, and where we fail to catch them. But this log just briefly touches on a few of the details about how, when, and where Allen, Gabe, and I fished. While we were fishing on this day after Easter, we were more concerned about engendering a sense of joy and gratitude for all of the days our family has enjoyed fishing together since the late 1940s than about catching fish at a hand-over-fist pace. Nevertheless, we would have relished tangling with 25 black bass an hour. Perhaps that will occur on the day after Easter in 2018.

April 18 log

Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his outing on April 18 with his uncle at a northeastern Kansas' power-plant reservoir.

Here is an edited version of his report:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 53 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 75 degrees at 3:53 p.m.  The sky fluctuated from being clear to partly cloudy to mostly cloudy to overcast.  The wind angled out of the southeast, south by southeast, south, and south by southwest at 5 to 24 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.07 at 12:53 a.m., 30.02 at 5:53 a.m., 30.04 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.95 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 4:34 a.m. to 6:34 a.m., 4:58 p.m. to 6:58 p.m., and 10:46 a.m. to 12:46 p.m. We fished from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. And when our outing began at 9:00 a.m., the reservoir was covered with a dense fog, and it was cool enough that we opted to don stocking caps.

The water level looked to be two feet above normal. The water clarity exhibited two feet of visibility in the lower portions of the reservoir, dropping to a foot of visibility in its upper reaches.  At 9:00 a.m., the surface temperature ranged from 59 degrees to 69 degrees.

We caught 23 largemouth bass, as well as seven freshwater drum, four channel catfish, and two crappie.  About a half of a dozen of the largemouth bass liberated themselves before we could lift them across the boat's gunnels. Some of the largemouth bass exhibited scars from the spawning rigors. Six of the largemouth bass ranged in size from 17 to 20 inches in length.

We caught the largemouth bass at two locales. One was along a segment of the riprap-laden dam. The second one was along a short riprap-laden shoreline along the east side of the reservoir.

There was no dominant bait. We caught the largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ affixed to either a red or a chartreuse-black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to either a red or a chartreuse-black  1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Our best retrieve was a painfully slow one. We executed it by slowly lifting the rod from the two o'clock position to the 12 o'clock position. Then we would deadstick it. After the deadstick routine, we would twitch the rod and lower the tip and drag our rig along the bottom.  We have found that this is our most productive retrieve when the largemouth bass are not active, which seemed to be their motif on April 18.

April 20 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 51 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 66 degrees at 3:53 p.m.  It rained a quarter of an inch from 3:45 a.m. to 5:45 a.m.  The sky alternated from being overcast to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy to scattered with clouds to sunny. The wind angled out of the southwest, west, west by northwest, northwest, north by northwest, and north at 4 to 21 mph.  The barometric pressure was 29.89 at 12:53 a.m., 29.97 at 5:53 a.m., 30.07 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.04 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 6:10 a.m. to 8:10 a.m., 6:35 p.m. to 8:35 p.m., and 11:58 a.m. to 1:58 p.m.  Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, and I fished at a community reservoir in northwestern Missouri  from 9:15 a.m. to 4:01 p.m.

The water level looked to be a foot or so above normal.  The water clarity at a few locales exhibited less than a foot of visibility, and at some other locales, it exhibited about 3 1/2 feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 65 degrees to 69 degrees.

For many days in a row, which is now stretching into several weeks in a row, Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri have struggled to catch the largemouth bass that abide in our flatland reservoirs. And we have not been able to decipher what is awry.

As we fished today, Frazee noted that he enjoyed better largemouth bass fishing in February than he has endured during the past 30 days. He suspected that the radically changing weather patterns -- coupled with 14 consecutive days of rainfall and many spells of incessant and unruly winds -- have played a significant hand in fouling our abilities to find and catch our quarries. He described it as the most baffling spring that he has endured in his many decades of pursuing largemouth bass.

At this reservoir in springs of the past, we caught 101 largemouth bass on Mar. 28, 2014; 99 largemouth bass on April 14, 2011; 75 largemouth bass and 25 rainbow trout on Mar. 24, 2015; 60 largemouth bass on Mar. 25, 2009, and 47 largemouth bass on an extremely wind-blown outing on April 5, 2016. But on this April 20 outing, which encompassed six hours and 46 minutes of intense fishing, we struggled and struggled to catch 28 largemouth bass,  five walleye, and four crappie.  We also battled with seven largemouth bass that we failed to lift over the gunnels of the boat.

We fished around many main-lake points and along many yards of main-lake shorelines. We fished around many secondary points and along many yards of shorelines inside several feeder-creek arms. We also probed the shallow-water flats in the backs of several of the feeder-creek arms.

The underwater terrains of the main-lake points and shorelines consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water's edges of some of these shorelines and points  are cluttered with scores of laydowns. The slopes of the points and shorelines range from about 25 to 40 degrees.

Inside the feeder-creek arms, the underwater terrains of the points and shorelines consist of gravel, rocks, and some boulders. The underwater terrains of the shallow-water flats consist of silt, gravel, and some rocks. The water's edges of some of the shorelines and points are occasionally embellished with laydowns. The slopes of the flats, points, and shorelines range from about 20 to 40 degrees.

The most fruitful area was a series of three riprap shorelines in the upper reaches of the primary feeder-creek arm.  The first riprap shoreline yielded two largemouth bass. We failed to garner a strike along the second one. We caught five largemouth bass along the third one, and they were abiding around two galvanized-steel culverts. These seven largemouth bass were abiding in three to six feet of water.  Some were near the water's edge, and some were about 15 feet from the water's edge.

One the five largemouth bass that we extracted from around the two culverts.

The other 21 largemouth bass were caught hither and yon in two to six feet of water. Some were caught adjacent to the water's edge, and a few were caught between 15 and 20 feet from the water's edge.  Some were caught along main-lake shorelines. A few were caught around several of the main-lake points. Several were caught along the shorelines inside the feeder-creek arms.

But the vast majority of the shorelines and points that we dissected were fruitless.

A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig was our most effective rig. We worked with an array of Midwest finesse rigs that were either fruitless or virtually fruitless.

One of the largemouth bass that Bob Gum caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ rig.

Our most effective presentations were either a drag-and-shake retrieve or a drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve.  Four largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop.

In essence, it was another challenging and dispiriting day to be afloat in this part of the world.

April 21 and 22 log

Adam Fancovic of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his river outings on April 21 and 22.

Here is an edited version of his report:

I spent the weekend of April 21 to April 23 on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River with my wife and her family.

To my dismay, the initial weather forecast of two weeks ago, which was when we were planning this outing, predicted it would be sunny and the temperatures would climb into the 80s was way off the mark.  Instead, it was a wet weekend, and area thermometers hovered in the 50s.

Luckily,  when we arrived at our cabin late on the afternoon of April 21, it was sunny and the temperature was still in the 80s.  The cabin had several kayaks; so I used one to ply the waters in front of the cabin.

The water was low for this time of year. It exhibited three to four feet of visibility.  The river in this area possesses a series of riffles and runs. The riffles had a foot of water coursing across them.  The runs were covered with two to four feet of water.

The river in this area possesses a series of riffles and runs. The riffles had a foot of water coursing across them.  The runs were covered with two to four feet of water.

To ply these riffles and runs, I paddled the kayak upstream through several sets of them.  Then I drifted downstream through them. And I repeated this scenario several times.

I used a spinning rod that sported a 2.75-inch River Rock Custom Baits' North Branch Craw Pro Series Tube affixed to a 1/32-ounce jig, which was inserted into the tube. The tube is impregnated with crayfish scent.

I caught 14 smallmouth bass. I caught five of the 14 in five consecutive casts, and all five of them were longer than 14 inches. A few of them inhaled the tube on the initial drop, but most of them, including the bigger ones, were caught on a slow no-feel retrieve right above the bottom. During the retrieve, I employed some intermittent shakes.

I awoke to light rain and colder temperatures on April 22.  I got out early for about 45 minutes, and was able to catch seven smallmouth bass before hard rain drove me off the river.  When the storm finally passed, I was able to get back out late in the evening for about 80 minutes and finished out the trip with another 11.

A few of the smallmouth bass were 18-inchers.  I had several smallmouth bass, which were true monsters for this section of the river, liberate themselves before I could put my thumb into their mouths.

This is the biggest smallmouth bass I caught on the evening of April 21. Because of the weather, I did not have my camera with me on April. 22.

April 21 and 22 log

David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a report about his outing with his father on April 21 and 22 at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir in northeastern Kansas. On April 22, they competed in the Kansas State University Fishing Team's Big Bass Bash tournament, which was a fund-raising endeavor for the team.  This was the first time they had fished this reservoir, and they had to deal with a cold front and murky-water conditions.

Here is an edited version of his report:

On April 21, the Weather Underground reported that it was 57 degrees at 12:53 a.m., 46 degrees at 12:53 p.m., and 54 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being overcast to clear to scattered with clouds to partly cloudy to mostly cloudy, and it rained from 5:53 p.m. to 11:53 p.m.  The wind angled out of the east by northeast, east, northeast, and north at six to 31 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.06 at 12:53 a.m., 30.03 at 5:53 a.m., 30:12 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.97 at 4:53 p.m.

On April 22, the Weather Underground reported that it was 45 degrees at 12:53 a.m. and 63 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the north by northeast and north at 6 to 23 mph. It rained from 12:14 a.m. to 1:53 a.m. From 2:53 a.m. to 5:53 p.m., the sky fluctuated from being overcast to mostly cloudy to scattered with clouds to partly cloudy. At 6:53 p.m., the sky became clear.  The barometric pressure was 30.09 at 12:53 a.m., 30.09 at 5:53 a.m., 30.19 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.15 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing on April 21 would occur from 7:01 a.m. to 9:01 a.m., 7:26 p.m. to 9:26 p.m., and 12:49 a.m. to 2:49 a.m., and on April 22 from 7:46 a.m. to 9:46 a.m., 8:12 p.m. to 10:12 p.m., and 1:34 a.m. to 3:34 a.m.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported that the water level was 1.36 feet above normal. They were releasing 500 cubic feet of water per second through the dam's outlet.  The surface temperature at 8:00 a.m. on April 22 was 60 degrees.  The water was heavily stained, exhibiting less than 12 inches of visibility throughout the reservoir.

In short, the smallmouth bass fishing was wretched. And the wind was so strong that our drift sock had an extreme workout both days.

We fished 12 hours on April 21. We fished a main-lake point, a rocky main-lake shoreline, three small feeder-creek arms, three large feeder-creek arms, some riprap jetties, and a portion of the dam. We also dissected some large flat areas and some locales that looked as if they would entertain some spawning smallmouth bass.

We caught one smallmouth bass along a riprap jetty that was parallel to the east-by-northeast wind. It was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce jig in about 9 feet of water with a drag and deadstick presentation.

We caught two smallmouth bass on the wind-sheltered-side of a main-lake point, and they were caught on a 3 1/2-inch Berkley's black-and-blue Power Bait Power Tube with an 1/8-ounce internal weight.  The fish were inhabiting 3 to 6 feet of water and hit a hop-and-bounce retrieve.  In all cases the lure was drenched in shad flavored Smelly Jelly scent.

We inadvertently caught a channel catfish and one white bass.  The channel catfish was also on the lee side of a heavily wind-blown main lake point.

On April 22, the Big Bass Bash began at 6:30 a.m. with 40 boats.  It ended at 3:00 p.m.

We fished the riprap along the dam, a riprap jetty near the dam, two minor feeder-creek arms, and one major feeder-creek arm.

When the wind was relatively calm, we caught two smallmouth bass at the riprap jetty near the dam.  They were extracted out of 10 feet of water with a deadstick presentation. They were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

When the wind began to blow, we moved to a main-lake point that was somewhat sheltered from the wind.  We spent an hour meticulously dissecting this point, focusing primarily along an area that I call a scum line that the wind and waves created when they merged with the water inside the point.  Ultimately, we caught a smallmouth bass on our green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ rig. It was caught on the initial drop in shallow water near the water's edge along this point.

During the rest of the day, we failed to catch another smallmouth bass.

We fished areas similar to the main-lake point, where we caught the third smallmouth bass. At these points, we made repetitive casts to a scum line, and at times, we employed a long-winded deadstick presentation.  We also fished some deep-water drop-offs since large groups of baitfish or small crappies were stationed along multiple drop-offs around the lake.

At the end of the outing, we fished a wind-blown shoreline inside a large feeder-creek arm in one large cove, where we employed traditional Midwest finesse tactics by casting our rigs near the water's edge and utilizing some of the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves.  In many cases throughout the weekend we fished all the way up into the back of the coves and back out the other side.

In total, two of the three smallmouth bass that we caught were large enough to weigh in. They were, however, not large enough to win, but very few anglers were able to weigh in two black bass on this demanding day.  In fact, only 27 black bass were weighed in for 40 boats entered in the event. The winner caught a 3.6-pounder. Each of our smallmouth bass weighed 1.75 pounds.

Across the two days, which encompassed 20 hours of fishing, we did a bunch of strolling.  We did not spend a lot of time casting to the water's edge along the shorelines, jetties, points, and dam. We tried a bunch of presentations in different locations.  We event spent some of the time around a few ledges and drop offs in eight to 15 feet of water. We also trolled and experimented with vertical presentations,  and we wielded some spinnerbaits, crankbaits, Biffle Bugs, and topwater lures. The six smallmouth bass that we caught across the 20 hours were caught on Midwest finesse lures and retrieves.

The results of the tournament revealed that all of the anglers struggled in their attempts to locate and catch this reservoir's black bass.

April 23 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief about his outing with his wife, Yan, to one of northeastern Kansas' power-plant reservoirs, where the largemouth bass fishing has been laborious since 2014.  And it remained that way on this outing.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 41 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 69 degrees at 5:53 p.m.  The wind angled out of the north, north by northwest, north by northeast, southeast, and south at 3 to 6 mph, and it was calm from 11:53 a.m. to 3:53 p.m.  The sun burned brightly in a cloudless sky. The barometric pressure was 30.18 at 12:53 a.m., 30.16 at 5:53 a.m., 30.16 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.10 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 8:28 a.m. to 10:28 a.m., 8:53 p.m. to 10:53 p.m., and 2:15 a.m. to 4:15 a.m. We fished from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The water exhibited 2 1/2 feet of visibility. The power plant was not generating electricity, and it had not generated any electricity for several days. The surface temperature was 63 degrees along the shorelines on the east side of the reservoir and 65 degrees along the dam. The water level looked to be a foot or more above its normal level.

We did not fish the dam.  We spent the entire outing dissecting the east side of the reservoir, focusing primarily on the massive stretches of riprap that line the water's edge along this side of the reservoir.

Our most effective Midwest finesse rig was a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. A Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig were effective at times.

The most effective presentation was a slow drag-and-deadstick presentation that was highlighted with some occasional twitches.

We caught 28 fish. Fourteen of them were largemouth bass; the rest were a combination of channel catfish, freshwater drum, and white bass.

These fish were abiding in two to eight feet of water.

While we were afloat, there was a bass tournament taking place, and we caught two of our biggest largemouth bass as we were following a pair of tournament anglers around a point.

Bob Gum with one of the largemouth bass that he and his wife caught.

April 23 log

Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his April 23 outing with his son-in-law at one of northeastern Kansas' power-plant reservoirs.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 39 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 68 degrees at 5:53 p.m.  The wind angled out of the northwest, north by northwest, west by northwest, east, southeast, and south at 4 to 9 mph, and it was calm at 11:53 a.m., 1:53 p.m., and 2:53 p.m., and it was variable at 10:53 a.m. and 4:53 p.m.  The sun shone intensely in a cloudless sky. The barometric pressure was 30.21 at 12:53 a.m., 30.19 at 5:53 a.m., 30.18 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.04 at 5:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 8:31 a.m. to 10:31 a.m., 8:57 p.m. to 10:57 p.m., and 2:18 a.m. to 4:18 a.m. We fished from 9:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The water clarity fluctuated from three to five feet of visibility. The surface temperature reached a high of 68 degrees.  Water level is a few inches above normal.

Throughout the day, there were 49 boats afloat, and 84 anglers fishing. Because this reservoir was teeming with anglers, we fished areas that we normally do not fish.

We focused on areas where the underwater terrain changes from rocks and boulders to gravel, pebbles, and sand. We also focused on locales where deep-water areas quickly become shallow-water flats. We called these areas transition spots.

In these transition areas, we were doing some sight fishing, and we saw some smallmouth bass milling around some carp. We also saw a carp that looked as if it was foraging on the eggs at a smallmouth bass' spawning bed.

We caught 74 smallmouth bass, six crappie, five channel catfish, and two largemouth bass.  Ten smallmouth bass liberated themselves before we could lift them into the boat.

Two-thirds of these fish were caught in about six feet of water, and a third of them were caught in three to five feet of water.

We caught the bulk of these fish on a 2 1/2-inch  Z-Man's ZinkerZ in the following hues: green pumpkin, green pumpkin/orange, PB&J, and pumpkin/chartreuse. They were rigged on either a 1/32-ounce or a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  The heads of the jigs were either red or black-chartreuse. The 1/16-ounce rig was the most effective one.  We caught a few on a Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. My son-in-law caught seven smallmouth bass on either a five-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin or a pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/8-ounce shaky-head jig.

And all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves were effective.

April 23 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

The wind has been troublesome in north-central Texas for weeks on end, but when local meteorologists forecasted lighter winds on April 23, Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I opted to fish at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's hill-land reservoir, which has been a problematic waterway for us.

It was a delightful spring day. The sky was cloudless and exhibited an Indigo-blue hue. The morning low temperature was 46 degrees and the afternoon high reached 71 degrees.  The barometric pressure dropped from 30.21 at 11:00 a.m. to 30.08 at 4:00 p.m. While we were afloat, the wind blew incessantly out of the north and northwest at 14 mph.

The water level was about three-tenths of a foot high. The water was dingy with a brownish tint, exhibiting one to 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water temperature varied from 68 to 70 degrees.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the best fishing would take place from 2:42 a.m. to 4:42 a.m., 8:37 a.m. to 10:37 a.m., and 9:02 p.m. to 11:02 p.m. We fished from noon to 5:00 p.m.

To our dismay, it was another slow and trying day of fishing at this reservoir, which was teeming with scores of pleasure boaters, water skiers, kayaks, boat fisherman, and bank anglers. Our best efforts produced only 14 largemouth bass, and we also accidentally caught one white crappie during this five-hour endeavor.

We spent all of our time on the north end of the reservoir where we concentrated on areas that were sheltered from the wind. We fished inside two feeder-creek arms, three main-lake coves, portions of two flat and rocky main-lake shorelines, and nine main-lake points.

We failed to elicit any strikes from any of the nine main-lake points. Many of these points had already been pummeled by other bass anglers in boats or anglers fishing from the bank.

The two main-lake shorelines were fruitless.

We also failed to locate any black bass inside the first of two feeder-creek arms that we investigated.

We caught three largemouth bass inside the second feeder-creek arm. One largemouth was caught at one secondary point and the other two were caught at another secondary point adjacent to the first one. Both of these points are situated near the mouth and on the east side of the feeder creek. They are flat and comprised of pea gravel, clay, and a few thin patches of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation, which are located a few feet away from the water's edge. All three of these largemouth bass were extracted from less than five feet of water. We also checked two other steep secondary points further inside this feeder-creek arm and a large mud flat on the east side of this feeder creek, but we failed to elicit any other strikes.

At the mouth of the first main-lake cove that we fished, there is a 25-yard stretch of shoreline on the west side of the cove that is comprised of rocks, red clay, a few submerged stumps, a few thin patches of flooded bushes, and several large submerged boulders. A nearby creek channel parallels this portion of the shoreline. We observed a few two- to three-inch threadfin shad flickering around on the surface in about eight feet of water and about 25 feet from the water's edge. This section of shoreline yielded nine largemouth bass and one white crappie that were caught in three to nine feet of water. The remainder of this cove was fruitless.

The second main-lake cove surrendered one largemouth bass. It was caught along the west side of the cove from a shallow and rock-laden flat in three feet of water. We dissected two other rocky secondary points and another mud flat in the northwest section of this cove, but we failed to elicit any other strikes. We did not fish along the east side of the cove because it was being pummeled by several bank anglers.

Inside the third main-lake cove, we fished behind another bass angler in a boat, and we were unable to fish the back and east side of this cove because those areas were already occupied by bank anglers. We did manage to catch one largemouth bass along the rocky shoreline along the west side of this cove. It was caught in four feet of water and next to one of several thick patches of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation.

We caught seven largemouth bass and  one white crappie on a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  Three largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's pearl GrubZ affixed on a green 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. Three largemouth bass were caught on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig dressed with a Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ. A Z-Man's pearl GrubZ rigged on an unpainted 1/16-ounce generic ball-head jig caught one largemouth bass. We failed to generate any strikes with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a Z-Man's blue steel Finesse ShadZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

The GrubZ and Slim SwimZ rigs were presented with a steady swimming retrieve. A slow hop-and-bounce presentation was the most effective retrieve with the Hula StickZ rig. One largemouth bass struck the GrubZ combo on the initial fall.

In sum, we had difficulty establishing any type of location pattern. There were far more areas where we did not cross paths with any black bass than areas where we did locate a few bass. Main-lake points and shorelines were unproductive. A couple of secondary points near the mouth of one feeder-creek arm yielded three largemouth bass, but another similar feeder-creek arm seemed completely devoid of bass. Eleven largemouth bass were caught inside three main-lake coves. Nine of them were caught inside one of the three coves, and the other two coves produced only one largemouth bass each. However, we did notice that these 11 largemouth bass were caught along small stretches of rocky shoreline near the mouths of all three coves.

 April 25 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 57 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 71 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sky was clear until 10:53 a.m., and then it became mostly cloudy and eventually overcast.  From 12:53 a.m. to 2:53 p.m., the wind angled out of the south, south by southeast, east by southeast, and southwest at 5 to 13 mph.   After 3:53 p.m., the wind switched out of the northwest and north by northwest at 6 to 13 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.53 at 12:53 a.m., 29.44 at 5:53 a.m., 29.38 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.39 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 10:06 a.m. to 12:06 p.m., 10:33 p.m. to 12:33 a.m., and 3:52 a.m. to 5:52 a.m.  Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas' many community reservoirs from 10:35 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.

The water level was about an inch above normal.  The water clarity at the dam exhibited five feet of visibility.  The surface temperature was 64 degrees. Most of the American water willow patches that line this reservoir's shorelines are sprouting green leaves, which is always a delightful sight for us to relish in late April and early May. We also saw the first water skier of the year.

We caught 42 largemouth bass and 25 smallmouth bass, and we inadvertently caught six crappie, three freshwater drum, three green sunfish, two warmouth, and two bluegill.

One of the 42 largemouth bass that we caught.

We caught seven smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass along the dam, which is littered with riprap, a few minor laydowns, several minor patches of American water willows, and three skimpy rock reefs. The dam possesses a 35-degree slope. The smallmouth bass and largemouth bass were extracted out of water as shallow as three feet and as deep as eight feet. Two of the smallmouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ affixed to an unpainted 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Four smallmouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The largemouth bass and one of the smallmouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig. One smallmouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rig. The other smallmouth bass were caught while we were executing a drag-and-deadstick presentation.

Along two shorelines in the back of a large feeder-creek, we caught 13 largemouth bass. The underwater terrain of this area consists of gravel, rocks, a stretch of riprap, a few boulders, and some silt. The water's edge is lined with patches of American water willows, laydowns, and overhanging trees. Two of the shorelines have a 20- to 25-degree slope, and another one has a 35-degree slope. Eleven of the largemouth bass were caught along the 20- to 25-degree slope shorelines, and two were caught along the 35-degree shoreline.    We caught three largemouth bass on a heavily customized 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's green-pumpkin-red Zero affixed to an unpainted 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught three largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught seven largemouth bass on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These largemouth bass were caught in three to four feet of water. Three of them were caught on the initial drop of our rigs.  Three were caught while we employed a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Seven were caught while we executed a drag-and-deadstick presentation. The bulk of these largemouth bass were caught adjacent to patches of Amercian water willows or adjacent to a laydown.

At one offshore massive rock pile on the main lake, we failed to elicit a strike. But along another offshore massive rock pile on the main lake, we caught five smallmouth bass and five largemouth bass in three to six feet of water. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a three-inch Z-Man's The Deal Finesse HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two of the 10 were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. The other eight were caught while we employed either a drag-deadstick-and-shake presentation or an extremely slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Along a flat main-lake shoreline and a flat main-lake point, we caught four smallmouth bass and three largemouth bass on either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or  a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on an unpainted 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  This shoreline has a 25-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some massive boulders. Portions of the shoreline are lined with patches of American water willows and several laydowns. These largemouth bass and smallmouth bass were caught in three to four feet of water. Two of the largemouth bass were caught while we were using a swim-glide-and-radical shake presentation around several boulders. The others were caught when we were using a drag-deadstick-and-shake presentation adjacent to the patches of American water willows.

We caught one smallmouth bass at a main-lake point in six feet of water. It was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. The underwater terrain consists of rocks, gravel, and a few boulders. The water's edge is lined with American water willows. It has a 35- to 40- degree slope.

We caught four largemouth bass along two shorelines inside a large feeder-creek arm.  A section of one of the shorelines has a 40-degree slope. The other sections have a 20- to 35-degree slope. The underwater terrains consist of gravel, sand, rocks, and a few boulders. The water's edge is embellished with patches of American water willows, numerous laydowns, two concrete jetties, two docks, and several overhanging trees.   One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on the initial drop adjacent to a laydown.  Three of the largemouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation adjacent to patches of American water willows.

We failed to catch a largemouth bass and smallmouth bass along a main-lake shoreline and point.

We caught two largemouth bass along the south shoreline inside a small feeder-creek arm. This shoreline is embellished with patches of American water willows and a few very minor laydowns. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, a few minor boulders, and some silt. One largemouth bass was caught in three feet of water within five feet of the outside edge of a patch of American water willows on the initial drop of the Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The other largemouth bass was caught in three feet of water on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation in the vicinity of a minor laydown in four feet of water.

We caught one smallmouth bass at a main-lake point in about nine feet of water and about 20 feet from the water's edge on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation.

Along a main-lake shoreline and the reservoir's spillway, we caught six smallmouth bass and seven largemouth bass.  Most of the shoreline possesses a 30- to 45-degree slope. The spillway has a 20- degree slope. The underwater terrain of the shoreline and spillway consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The shoreline is adorned with patches of American water willows, several tertiary points, some overhanging trees, and a few laydowns. The spillway possesses a bridge that has three piers, and it is graced with some patches of American water willows.

At one of the bridge piers in about 3 1/2 feet of water, we caught two largemouth bass while deadsticking a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and we caught another one by deadsticking a Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ affixed to an unpainted 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. On top of a pile of boulders in the center of the spillway, we caught one largemouth bass by deadsticking the Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ affixed to an unpainted 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in about three feet of water.

Along the main-lake shoreline, we caught three smallmouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation in five to six feet of water. We caught three smallmouth bass on the Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation in five feet of water. We caught two largemouth bass on the initial drop of the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rig adjacent to a patch of American water willows at a tertiary point in about four feet of water. Along that same tertiary point, we caught a largemouth bass by employing a drag-and-deadstick presentation in four to five feet of water with the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We failed to elicit a strike around a relatively flat main-lake point, but along a 50-yard stretch of that main-lake point's adjacent shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm, we caught three largemouth bass and four smallmouth bass.

This shoreline is graced with a secondary point, patches of American water willows, two docks, many laydowns, and several overhanging trees. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some boulders.  It possesses a 30- to 40-degree slope.

Along the secondary point, we caught three smallmouth bass in four to seven feet of water. One was caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. Two were caught on the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation.

One smallmouth bass was caught along the shoreline in three feet of water on the initial drop of the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rig.

One largemouth bass was caught adjacent to one of the docks in about six feet of water while deadsticking the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rig.

Two largemouth bass were caught adjacent to laydowns on the initial drop of the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

There are five hallmarks of this outing: the winter-dead patches of American water willows are turning green; a significant number of  smallmouth bass have left their wintertime haunts and are abiding in shallow-water haunts; we saw the first water skier of 2017; the male crappie are exhibiting their spawning decor; and my fish counter, which was 12 years old and has recorded thousands of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass that we have lifted across the gunnels, went haywire as we tried to count largemouth bass 21 of this outing.  So, we purchased a new one on our way home, which we will inaugurate on our next Midwest finesse outing.

April 25 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his April 25 outing.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his log:

As I woke on the morning of April 25 at 5:00 a.m., I heard exactly what I did not wish to hear. It was the patter of rain hitting the roof, which for the entire week seemed like a never ending affair.

We had received a recent barrage of rain. But because of an extremely mild winter and much thanks to a lack of ground moisture during those winter months, our waterways have remained relatively low.

As I sat in our screened-in porch, area thermometers were in the mid-40s, and the wind was gusting to 20 mph. And the thought of getting a fire going and tinkering with some tackle was very appealing.

The thought of fishing in rising, cold, and stained water in a downpour with 20-mph wind gusts, which at times had rain going sideways, was not holding much appeal to me.

And as I was donning foul weather bibs that I was more accustomed to wearing in winter months, loading my kayak on the truck, and slipping into waterproof boots, I was questioning my sanity a bit.

Nevertheless, I launched the kayak at 10:47 a.m. At that time, the air temperature had still not reached 45 degrees, and the wind was still as relentless as it had been all morning as it howled through the woods around our house.

I had made my mind up that this was going to be an extremely to-the-point outing. I was strictly going on a hunch to one area, carrying one bag of baits, one rod and five pieces of lead.

This hunch was based upon what my wife and I saw while we were hunting for morel mushrooms on a delightful spring day when the temperature climbed into the 80s. During our hunt, we took the opportunity to look at the river. From our perch high atop the river's edge, we saw many sizable smallmouth bass cruising the weak side of the river. This, of course, was prior to all of the rain and unseasonably cool weather. Thus, the river was flowing at a slow pace, and the water was nearly crystalline.

Across my many years of pursuing smallmouth bass, I have noticed that the largest smallmouth bass in a river are the first ones to spawn. And because of the rain and cooler water, I figured that all of the spawning activity we saw during our mushroom hunt would be curtailed.

Because the water level was rising and it was getting colder,  my hunch was that not all of the river's smallmouth had abandoned their wintertime haunts, where they had been abiding since last November.  Therefore, I got on my kayak's paddle and headed straight to an area that I had last fished in early January.

On this April 25 outing, the water temperature was 58 degrees. It had dropped six degrees in two days. The water exhibited three feet of clarity.  It was running at 450 cubic feet per second, which was up from 325 cubic feet per second on April 23.

The bottom of this wintertime haunt is littered with an equal mixture of giant red oak trees and massive boulders. Its depth ranges from 12 to 16 feet of water.  It is a classic wintering run, and its bottom structure of trees and boulders does not move even when the river is on an extremely high-water rampage. It is a two-mile stretch of water, and it has a canyon-like cliff on its strong side.

My hunch proved to be correct. In two hours and 35 minutes, I lipped 30 smallmouth bass before calling it a day.  They were caught on a custom-made 2 3/8-inch River Rock Custom Bait's North Branch Craw tube affixed to an 1/8-ounce River Rock Custom Bait's Crawler Head Jig, which I crawled and deadsticked in the timber cluttered along the bottom.  The tube is impregnated with crayfish scent.

Every smallmouth bass engulfed the tube with a very distinct thump. All of them were hooked in the roof of the mouth with the No. 2 light-wire hook of the jig.

I did not lose a single jig head despite the gnarled nature of the bottom structure in which they were presented.

After this two- hour-and-35-minute flurry I got on my kayak's paddle and headed downstream to my truck. And while I paddled, I was heading straight into 20-mph wind gusts and the rain was almost parallel to the water and blowing into my face.

As I am writing this log on April 28, the river is flowing at 1,700 cubic feet per second. Thus, we will be hunting for morels rather than fishing for smallmouth bass until the river calms down.

April 27 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 42 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 62 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the northwest, west, west by northwest, and west by southwest at 6 to 20 mph, and it became calm for a spell around 2:30 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being overcast to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy to scattered with clouds, and at times the sun shone brightly.  The barometric pressure was 29.67 at 12:53 a.m., 29.96 at 5:53 a.m.; 29.87 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.72 at 2:53 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the best fishing would occur from 11:24 a.m. to 1:24 p.m., 11:53 p.m. to 1:53 a.m., and 5:39 a.m. to 7:39 a.m. Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, and I fished from 7:00 a.m. to 3:11 p.m., at one of our favorite community reservoirs in northeastern Kansas.  Marc Sherrell of Kansas City, Missouri, took a short break from his demanding job and joined us from about 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

This reservoir's water clarity around the dam exhibited nearly eight feet of visibility, and in the upper reaches of its primary feeder-creek arm and several of its secondary feeder-creek arms, the visibility ranged from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 feet. The water level looked to be about normal.  The surface temperature ranged from 60 to 64 degrees.

Since 2005, most of my Midwest finesse outings have been four-hour affairs that begin around 10:00 a.m. and end around 2:00 p.m. But Gum is in his early sixties, and still young at heart. Thus, he still relishes engaging in what I call piscatorial marathons.  Back in the 1960s, when Gum and Sherrell were students at Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park, Kansas, they were serious practitioners of piscatorial marathons. In fact, there were a few times when they would fish all night and all day. On this April 27 outing, my 77-year-old mind, body, and soul had the wherewithal to somehow endure an eight-hour, 11-minute, and 45-second piscatorial marathon with Gum.

As this marathon wore on, our hope was to eventually tangle with 101 black bass. But that hope was not realized.

Instead, we caught 52 largemouth bass and 18 smallmouth bass, which is significantly less than our average catch rate of 10 bass an hour. (We, also, inadvertently caught two rainbow trout, two crappie, and one freshwater drum.)

As is often the case at the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, we could not establish a significant location pattern. The way we caught the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass that we caught on this April 27 outing was by making hundreds and hundreds of casts and retrieves along unending yards of shorelines. We also made scores of casts and retrieves around numerous main-lake, secondary, and tertiary points.  Moreover, we made casts and retrieves galore across shallow-water flats in the backs of several feeder-creek arms as we attempted to dissect patches of coontail and curly-leaf pondweed, and many of those patches were covered with filamentous algae.

Most of the locales that we fished and most of our casts and retrieves were fruitless. But we did catch 13 largemouth bass and five smallmouth bass along the rock-laden dam. It was the most bountiful locale.  Yet, many yards of the dam were unrewarding.

But we did catch 13 largemouth bass and five smallmouth bass along the rock-laden dam. It was the most bountiful locale.  Yet, many yards of the dam were unrewarding.

Bob Gum with one of the 13 largemouth bass that were caught along the dam.

We caught 10 largemouth bass on a shallow-water flat in the back of a feeder-creek arm around patches of coontail that were covered with filamentous algae. We caught six largemouth bass on a shallow-water flat in the back of another feeder-creek arm around patches of coontail. But identical locales elsewhere around this reservoir were not productive.

One main-lake shoreline produced five smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass. And we caught six largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass along another main-lake shoreline.  The other main-lake shorelines, however, were either fruitless or nearly fruitless.

We caught three smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass around one main-lake point.  But we failed to catch them around other main-lake points.

One tertiary point yielded three largemouth bass, but the other tertiary points that we fished were not fruitful.

We caught one largemouth bass around one secondary point, and that was the only fruitful one of the many secondary points that we fished.

We caught a few largemouth bass that were abiding around laydowns and overhanging trees. This reservoir's shorelines and points are graced with hundreds of laydowns and overhanging trees, and we fished around many of them without eliciting a strike.

Most of the shorelines and points are embellished with boulders, but very few of the boulders yielded a largemouth bass or a smallmouth bass.

A goodly number of the main-lake, secondary, and tertiary points were adorned with patches of coontail, but those patches of coontail were not productive.  Moreover, the coontail patches along the dam were not rewarding. The 13 largemouth bass and five smallmouth bass that we caught along the dam were situated between the water's edge and the inside edge of the patches of coontail.

Our presentation patterns were as much of a mishmash as our location patterns. We caught some of the 70 black bass on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught one on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Punch CrawZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught a few on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. We caught a couple on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. We caught some on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught a couple on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught some on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  We caught two on a three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We caught a few of the 70 black bass on the initial drop of our rigs. Around the patches of coontail on the shallow-water flats in the backs of two of the feeder-creek arms, we caught the largemouth bass by employing a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Elsewhere around this reservoir, we caught a few of the black bass by executing a swim-glide-and-significant-shake retrieve. We caught some by using a drag-and-subtle shake presentation. We caught a few by using a drag-and-radical-shake presentation.  As Gum and I periodically talked about how this marathon was unfolding, we would often conclude that the drag-and-deadstick presentation was our most effective one, but soon after we made that conclusion, we would catch either a smallmouth bass or a largemouth bass by employing another kind of retrieve.

In essence, while we were fishing, we had no idea how, when, and where we would catch a largemouth bass or a smallmouth bass. And when we caught one, we were surprised.  Some anglers call it junk fishing.

As this marathon came to a close, and Gum and I talked about what transpired, we concluded that we could not make heads or tails out of what transpired.

And because it was such a haphazard ordeal, I have not been able to write a coherent log about it.

In short, we fished for eight hours, 11 minutes, and 45 seconds, and we made hundreds of casts and a variety of retrieves at scores and scores of locations with a variety of Midwest finesse rigs. And somehow we tangled with 70 black bass.

April 28 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 48 degrees at 5:53 a.m., 60 degrees at 12:11 p.m.,  57 degrees at  12:53 p.m., and 64 degrees at 4:53 p.m.  From 12:53 a.m. to 4:11 p.m., the sky was overcast, and it rained lightly at times, and after 4:52 p.m., the sky fluctuated from being partly cloudy to sunny.  The wind angled out of the northeast, east by northeast, east, east by southeast, south, and south by southeast at 3 to 23 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.75 at 12:53 a.m., 29.65 at 5:53 a.m., 29.67 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.69 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 12:27 a.m. to 2:27 a.m., 12:57 p.m. to 2:57 p.m., and 6:42 a.m. to 8:42 a.m.  Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished at one of the many community reservoirs that grace northeastern Kansas from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The water level was a few inches above normal. The water clarity around the dam exhibited three to almost five feet of visibility, and the clarity diminished in the upper reaches of this reservoir to about  2 1/2 to three feet. The surface temperature ranged from 61 to 62 degrees. The American water willow patches that line some of the reservoir's shorelines are sprouting green leaves, and there are many healthy patches of coontail embellishing a variety of locales around this reservoir in four to six feet of water.

In our April 27 log, we noted that it is often a difficult task to establish a significant location pattern at the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas.  But during our April 25, 27, and 28 outings, we did determine that we could catch a lot more largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in the lower-third sections than we could catch in the upper-two-third sections of the three community reservoirs that we fished.

On our April 28 outing, Rick and I caught 76 largemouth bass, and we accidently caught four crappie, two warmouth , and one green sunfish in four hours. All but 12 of the largemouth bass were caught in the lower-third section of this community reservoir.

Twenty-four of the largemouth bass were caught along the dam, and eight largemouth bass were caught along a 15-yard section of the west shoreline immediately adjacent to the dam. We fished the dam and the 15-yard section of the shoreline twice. During our first endeavor along the dam and its adjacent shoreline, we caught 24 largemouth bass in 25 minutes, which is a feat that we have never accomplished before. As we were in the midst of that hand-over-fist spell,  we thought that we were well on the way to catching 101 largemouth bass in four hours.

But diminishing returns set in when we plied various locales along the east side of this reservoir's main body and when we fished main-lake points and shorelines in the upper region of the reservoir. During that spell on the east side and its upper reaches, we caught only three largemouth bass. One largemouth bass was caught along the reservoir's spillway, and two largemouth bass were caught along a northern shoreline in the upper portions of the reservoir.

We failed to garner a strike around a secondary point and along portions of the shorelines inside a small feeder-creek arm.

But we caught 41 largemouth bass along the west shoreline of the reservoir's main body. Thirty-one of these largemouth bass along this shoreline were caught in the lower third section of the reservoir, and as we plied into the upper portions of this west shoreline, our catch rate diminished significantly.

Rick Hebenstreit with one of the 41 largmouth bass that we caught along the west main-lake shoreline of this reservoir.

The underwater terrain of the dam consists of riprap. It possesses a 35- to 45-degree slope.   Most of the water's edge is lined with patches of American water willows, and there are some patches of coontail enhancing the riprap in four to six feet of water.

The underwater terrain of the west shoreline consists of gravel and rocks, as well as some occasional boulders. Some of the water's edge is graced with patches of American water willows, and there are scores and scores of patches of coontail growing in four to six feet of water.  This shoreline is also lined with many rock and concrete retaining walls, and it is also littered with docks. There are some segments of the shoreline that have a 35- to 45-degree slope, but most of it has a 20- to 30-degree slope. The 20-degree sections of this shoreline were not as fruitful as the steeper sections.

The underwater terrain and water's edge of the east shoreline and inside the feeder-creek arm are identical to the west shoreline.

By a significant margin, our most effective Midwest finesse rig was a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Our second most effective rig was a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, but its effectiveness diminished dramatically after the first hour.  A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught a few largemouth bass, but it could not keep pace with the green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ.

Rick and I were flabbergasted about the effectiveness of the green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ compared to the green-pumpkin one. In our eyes, they looked to be identical rigs.   It is also interesting to note that a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rigged to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig had failed to garner a strike. Traditionally, we have found that a red Gopher jig is more effective in April and May than a chartreuse one.

Rick Hebenstreit with one of the scores of largemouth bass that we caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We did not have a dominant presentation pattern. Some of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs adjacent to the rock and concrete retaining walls and outside edges of the American water willows. Many were caught while we were employing either a drag-and-subtle-shake retrieve or a drag-deadstick-and-subtle-shake retrieve. And a few were caught around the patches of coontail with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. (It is necessary to note that the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve used to be our dominate retrieve in Aprils of the past, but during this April, the drag-and-deadstick retrieve and the drag-and-shake retrieve replaced it.)

April 27 and 28 log

Walt Tegtmeier of Leawood, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his two outings at a community reservoir on April 27 and a power-plant reservoir on April 28 in northeastern Kansas.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

I am sorry that I do not have time to compose a full, detailed report, but I will share some nuts, bolts and musings.

The weather conditions on April 27 were classic post-cold front conditions; a bluebird sky, and below-normal air temperatures. But since I have become a Midwest finesse angler, I do not worry about such things anymore.

The wind was mild-mannered and angling out of the west.

The surface temperate ranged from 61 to 63 degrees. The water level was a few inches above normal. And the water was relatively clear.

I fished from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and a 30-minute work-related phone call disrupted me at 12:30 p.m.

When I am fishing alone I often do not move around much, nor do I experiment with different Midwest finesse soft-plastic baits to affix to my mushroom-style jig heads like I do when others are in the boat.

On April 27, I started fishing with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig and a shortened Z-Man's California craw Hula StickZ on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig.

I began the outing along the east shoreline in the upper reaches of the primary feeder-creek arm, and I fished it for most of the outing. It yielded 20 largemouth bass.  Most of them were caught in 1 1/2 to three feet of water on the initial drop or soon after the initial drop and after I executed several shakes.  But the bigger specimens were caught in five to six feet of water on a deadstick presentation.

I also fished the shoreline in a minor feeder-creek arm along the west side of the reservoir, where I caught 10 largemouth bass.

In sum, I caught 30 largemouth bass on the ZinkerZ rig.

On April 28, it rained during about half of my drive to the power-plant reservoir.

As I had hoped, the wind was negligible, which is the only way my boat can effectively traverse this reservoir. The surface temperature ranged from 60 to 65 degrees.

There were about 25 trailers in the parking lot, but I only saw four boats, and one was the marshal's boat.

I started on the big flat between the two dikes,  and I caught a chunky smallmouth on my third cast, a channel catfish on my fourth, and a good-sized wiper on my fifth using the same Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ rig that I used on April 27.

I ventured west along one of the riprap dikes, covering approximately 200 yards, and I would have many fruitless casts until I crossed paths with a small group of smallmouth bass and the occasional jumbo white bass.

I spent the rest of the outing along another riprap dike, probing the northern third of it and the southern tip of it.  And the pattern was identical to the one at the other riprap dike — except I switched to a shortened Z-Man's California craw Hula StickZ on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig, and it was more effective than the ZinkerZ rig.

I caught 31 smallmouth bass, 28 jumbo white bass, three enormous crappie, a huge freshwater drum, one channel catfish, and one wiper. I had at least a dozen smallmouth bass shake free at the boat, including a couple of toads. I suspect most of the female smallmouth bass were in the act of spawning because every single time I trolled up to free a snag, I saw and spooked them off of their spawning beds in two to four feet of water, which is where I was casting all day. I also was engaged in four unsuccessful all-out donnybrooks with fish that came off before I could see them. I suspect one was a blue catfish, two were freshwater drum or other rough fish. But one I did see and could not identify. I had never seen such a fish before: dark grey but not a freshwater drum. It showed no orange, red, or other telltale carp markings, and it porpoised four times immediately after being hooked.  Perhaps, it was a buffalo.

It was a fun four hours in relaxing conditions for that lake. I even had loons keeping me company practically everywhere I went.

 April 28 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

John Thomas of Denton, Texas, and I drove 73 miles to a Civilian Conservation Corps' hill-land reservoir in south-central Oklahoma, where we enjoyed our first smallmouth bass foray of 2017.

The sky was mostly cloudy with occasional short spells of sunshine. The barometric pressure measured 29.57 at 9:00 a.m. and 29.55 at 4:00 p.m. The wind was mild-mannered and quartered out of the south by southeast at 7 to 10 mph. It was 60 degrees at 5:00 a.m. and 81 degrees at 4:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar predicted that the best fishing would occur from 12:36 a.m. to 2:36 a.m., 6:51 a.m. to 8:51 a.m., and 1:06 p.m. to 3:06 p.m. This endeavor began at 9:30 a.m. and ended at 3:00 p.m.

The water exhibited an emerald-green hue, and the visibility varied from five feet at the boat ramp to eight feet in the southeast feeder-creek arm. The water temperature ranged from 66 degrees to 68 degrees. The water level appeared to be normal.

Our outing began at a wind-blown offshore hump that lies in the mid-section of the reservoir's west tributary arm. Its underwater terrain is composed of sand, gravel, rocks, boulders, and several submerged stumps. We caught a smallmouth bass from the south end of the hump on our first cast, and another eight as we fished along the east and north sides of the hump. We did not garner any strikes from the west side of the hump. These nine smallmouth bass were abiding in two to five feet of water. Six of them were caught with a  2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A Z-Man's pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig caught three. The 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig was presented with a slow and steady do-nothing retrieve. The pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ rig was retrieved with a relatively fast-paced and steady swimming retrieve.

Our second locale was a rocky main-lake point at the entrance to a feeder-creek arm and a 200-yard stretch of main-lake shoreline adjacent to this point. These areas lie in the northwest region of the reservoir. Both of these areas are adorned with large patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation, fist-size rocks, cattails, and numerous coffee-table-size boulders.

The main-lake point failed to yield any strikes.

The adjacent main-lake shoreline just north of the point relinquished seven smallmouth bass. They were mostly relating to the sides of the large submerged boulders in five to seven feet of water. Five of them were caught on the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig and a slow but steady do-nothing retrieve. Two smallmouth bass were caught on the pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ rig and a moderately-paced and steady swimming retrieve.

After we fished the main-lake point and its adjacent main-lake shoreline, we fished at two rocky secondary points inside a feeder-creek arm just south and west of the main-lake point and main-lake shoreline that we had fished. Both of these secondary points are located along the north side of the feeder-creek arm. The first secondary point yielded only one white bass.  The second point surrendered one largemouth bass that was caught on the pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ with a steady swimming retrieve.  One smallmouth bass was caught on the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ with a slow and steady do-nothing retrieve. The largemouth bass was abiding along the east side of the point in five feet of water. The smallmouth bass was relating to the west side of the point in three feet of water.

After we finished fishing inside the feeder-creek arm, we ventured to the east side of the reservoir, where we fished a rocky main-lake point and a 50-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline adjacent to the main-lake point at the mouth of another feeder-creek arm.

We failed to entice any strikes at the main-lake point. The 50-yard section of shoreline adjacent to the point surrendered three smallmouth bass that were abiding in three to five feet of water and less than 10 feet from the water's edge.  Two of them were caught on the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rig with a steady do-nothing retrieve. One was caught on the pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ rig with a moderately-fast swimming retrieve.

Inside the feeder-creek arm, we fished a submerged roadbed that courses across the middle of the creek arm, and we failed to elicit any strikes.

Our next spot was a submerged main-lake hump that is situated at the mouth of a large main-lake cove. This hump is covered with six feet of water and surrounded by 17 to 25 feet of water. It is graced with a small rock pile that is situated on the top of the hump. We caught only one smallmouth bass, and it was relating to the rock pile. This bass was tempted by the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig and the slow do-nothing retrieve.

We finished the outing  by plying a rocky main-lake point at the mouth of another large feeder-creek arm on the south end of the reservoir. Inside this feeder-creek arm, we fished along two massive bluffs and one riprap-laden flat that is located about a third of the way inside the feeder-creek.

The main-lake point was fruitless. One of the bluffs on the north side of this feeder-creek arm yielded 12 smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass. These black bass were suspended, and we caught them adjacent to the bluff in 10 to 12 feet of water and 20 to 22 feet above the bottom. They were caught on the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

On the south side of the feeder-creek arm, we fished a 200-yard segment of the second bluff and caught six smallmouth bass on the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. They were caught in close proximity to the face of the bluff and about five to 10 feet below the surface and 20 to 25 feet above the bottom.

Inside this same feeder creek, we caught one smallmouth bass at the riprap-laden flat in five feet of water. This smallmouth was caught on the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Overall, this was our most bountiful outing in 2017.  We were delighted to tangle with 40 smallmouth bass, three largemouth bass, and one white bass in 5 1/2 hours. We hooked another five smallmouth bass that were able to pull free before we could land them.

John Thomas with one of the black bass that he and Steve Reideler caught.

We wielded a slew of Z-Man's Midwest finesse baits rigged on Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head jigs, but the smallmouth bass and largemouth bass showed interest in only two of the baits that we used. The most fruitful combo was the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse  ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig presented with either a slow and steady do-nothing retrieve or a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.  A pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig with a faster-paced and steady swimming retrieve was the second best rig and presentation.

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