Midwest Finesse Fishing: June 2018

Midwest Finesse Fishing: June 2018

Our June guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 23 logs and 18,052 words that explain how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished. It features the endeavors and insights of Tom Bett of Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas; Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Bob Hardy of St. Paul, Minnesota; Matt Hardy of St. Paul, Minnesota; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Gary Johnson of Claremont, California; Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas; Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina; John Redding of Lawrence, Kansas; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; John Thomas of Denton, Texas; Andrew Trembath of Parkville, Missouri; and Camille Trinidad of Kansas City, Kansas.


Except for Bob Hardy in northwestern Wisconsin, all reporters found their catch rates to be below normal.

Steve Reideler and his Texas colleagues found their catch rates to be extremely lackluster, and they are a disheartened lot. For years on end, they have fished some of the most demanding reservoirs in the nation, but their fishing has never been as challenging as it has been this year.

For a variety of reasons, I was able to seriously fish only three times in June. Thus, I am unable to utter a trustworthy judgment about the state of the black bass fishing in northeastern Kansas. All I can say is this month's guide contains the logs that focus on my three outings, which encompassed seven hours and 56 minutes of fishing, and 106 largemouth bass and eight smallmouth bass were caught. But I can report that during the first 181 days of 2018, my colleagues and I have failed to catch 101 black bass in a four-hour outing in northeastern Kansas, which is unusual.

We are thankful that Steve Reideler edited every word. He made them more readable and understandable.


June 1

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

Here is an edited version of his log:


The black bass fishing in north-central Texas has been in a sorry state this year. But John Thomas of Denton, Texas, and I ventured to a popular north-central Texas' U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir in an attempt to find a more bountiful venue. We had set a goal to catch 20 largemouth bass and spotted bass during this foray, and though we came close, we still came up short of our goal.

It was sunny when we arrived at the boat ramp at 7:47 a.m. There was not a cloud in sight. The morning low temperature was 76 degrees, and the afternoon high temperature reached 97 degrees with a heat index of 104 degrees. The barometric pressure fluctuated between 29.79 and 29.84. The wind angled out of the south and southwest at 12 to 20 mph.

The best fishing periods, according to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, would occur from 1:04 a.m. to 3:04 a.m. , 7:16 a.m. to 9:16 a.m., and 1:28 p.m. to 3:28 p.m. John and I fished from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

The water was stained and exhibited 2 1/2 feet of visibility. The water temperature varied from 78 to 81 degrees. The water level was normal.

We spent these four hours in the south end of the reservoir's east tributary arm, where we slowly and methodically dissected four main-lake points, two main-lake shorelines, the riprap that covers the dam, and the area around a large concrete water outlet tower.

We generated only one strike from the four main-lake points, and we were unable to hook that fish. The submerged terrain of these points consists primarily of red clay, gravel, and baseball-size rocks. A couple of these points were adorned with many yards of flooded stickups.

One spotted bass and four largemouth bass were caught in five to seven feet of water along a main-lake shoreline, which is laden with riprap, on the southeast side of the tributary arm. Four of them were enticed by a shortened Z-Man Fishing Products'mud minnow Hula StickZ attached to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One was caught on a Z-Man's white lightning Finesse TRD rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. This combo was retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

We failed to elicit a strike along the other main-lake shoreline, which is about a mile north of the dam and on the east side of the tributary.

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

The dam was our most fruitful locale. It relinquished seven largemouth bass and three spotted bass. Eight of these 10 black bass were abiding in seven to nine feet of water and 20 to 30 feet from the water's edge. One largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught in three to five feet of water. One was caught on the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ, and the other one was caught on the white lightning Finesse TRD. One spotted bass engulfed the mud Minnow Hula StickZ rig on the initial drop, but the other nine preferred the swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

We caught four largemouth bass around the concrete water outlet tower that is situated near the middle of the dam. These bass were suspended about five to eight feet below the surface in 32 to 51 feet of water. Two were caught on the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rig, and two were caught on the white lightning Finesse TRD combo. They were beguiled by the swim-glide-and- shake retrieve.

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

We failed to catch any largemouth bass or spotted bass along the riprap of the dam adjacent to the water outlet tower, or from two concrete pillars that support a walkway that extends from the dam to the tower.

Overall, our best efforts garnered 19 largemouth bass and spotted bass in four hours. We also caught seven freshwater drum, two channel catfish, and one white crappie.

A shortened Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig and a Z-Man's white lightning Finesse TRD rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig were the only effective rigs. We were unable to generate any strikes with a variety of Z-Man's TRD HogZs, 3 1/2-inch Trick ShotZs, shortened four-inch Finesse WormZs, Finesse ShadZs, and 2 1/2-inch Slim SwimZs.

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

In short, the black bass fishing in north-central Texas continues to be a grind. The vast majority of the ones that we have encountered this year have been scattered about here and there with no dominate location pattern, and we are having a difficult time locating large aggregations of them in areas where they were once plentiful.

June 2

Bob Hardy of St. Paul, Minnesota, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his June 2 outing.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

Gary Johnston of Claremont, California, my son, Matt, and I had another fantastic outing at one of northwestern Wisconsin's natural lakes. We fished this lake a few days, and this outing was even better than the first one, and it was the first time this spring that we have caught more than 100 black bass in four hours. What's more, it is our first season using Midwest finesse techniques, and they made a dramatic difference in escalating our catch rate.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 1:36 a.m. to 3:36 a.m., 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and 7:48 a.m. to 9:48 a.m.

We started fishing at 7:30 a.m. and quit at noon.

We landed 110 black bass in four hours, and since we had another trip this spring where we landed 127 black bass, Matt said we had to stay until we bested that number. We fished another half hour and caught 19 black bass. In total, we caught 171 fish in those 4 1/2 hours, and those other 44 consisted of crappie, northern pike, sunfish, and walleye

It was overcast all day. It rained intermittently with only a few heavy outbursts, which were short-lived. Barometric pressure was 30.03 to start and dropped to 29.88 during the day. The wind angled out of the southwest at 5-15 mph, which created bows in our braided line.

The surface temperature when we arrived was 68.5 degrees and 69.6 degrees when we left the lake. This is a very clear lake with 15 foot visibility. The underwater terrain consists of sand and gravel. There are minimal patches of aquatic vegetation near the shorelines and water's edge.

We worked with either black or green-pumpkin 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jigs. To those jigs, we affixed a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse TRD, Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ, Z-Man's PB&J TRD TubeZ, and Z-Man's The Deal MinnowZ.

Our spinning outfits were spooled with 10-pound-test-braided line with an eight-pound-test fluorocarbon leader.

We spent the entire outing plying the shorelines in one to eight feet of water.

We caught many of the black bass on the initial drop and a deadstick presentation, and some of the deadstick presentations consumed 20 or more seconds. We continue to be amazed at how many black bass are caught on these deadstick presentations with the Z-Man's rigs, and they are much longer than we typically let a normal rig sit still. Until this outing, Matt had not experienced as many deadstick strikes.

Some of the fish were caught while we were strolling from the rear of the boat. Others were caught while we were casting and employing a dragging presentation, a swimming presentation, or a hopping presentation. We did not shake our rigs very often, and shaking does not seem to enhance our catch rates.

The three of us concluded that our catch on June 2 was the best quality of bass we have ever caught in one trip. The largest smallmouth bass was 18 inches long, which is huge in this region. Several largemouth bass were 16 inches and longer. The average lengths were close to 14 inches, which is another rarity in most lakes in northwestern Wisconsin, which tend to have large populations of stunted black bass.

It was an amazingly fun day on the water for the three of us who are diehard fishermen, and switching to Midwest finesse tactics has really upped our fishing enjoyment and success.

June 2-3

Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his June 2-3 outings.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

On June 2, I was on the water before daylight and using my electric trolling motor to make a long journey to the most distant feeder-creek arm on our community lake. Typically it is fished by me after it has been pounded by many other anglers. So I wanted one morning of fishing it fresh.

I fished from 5:45 to noon.

The conditions were kind of spotty. We were drenched with long lasting thunderstorms on the night of June 1. The water color was changing due to inflow. The water was turbid, exhibiting only a few inches of clarity. This feeder-creek arm proved to have the best clarity.

It was humid and cloudy. The air temperature was in the seventies and heading towards the mid-eighties.

The fishing started slowly. But it eventuallyimproved as I wielded a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's molting craw Zero affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig and a Zoom Bait Company's black-red-glitter Ultravibe Speed Craw affixed to a black 1/10-ounce Z-Man's weedless Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The Zero rig was fished in an almost topwater application around patches of sparse American water willows. Occasionally, I lowered it to some hard bottom in front of the American water willows.

The Ultravibe Speed Craw rig was fished along the shady and steeper areas with sparse wood and rock cover.

I caught 35 largemouth bass, and about half of them were caught on the Zero rig, and the other half were caught on the Ultravibe Speed Craw rig. The biggest, which was a seven-pounder, was caught on the Zero as I accidentally employed a deadstick presentation while adjusting the trolling motor. Several weighed more than three pounds, but there were plenty of 12-inchers, too.

Nowadays, six hours of sitting in the back of a jon boat and working with a transom-mounted trolling motor and moving the boat backwards is as many hours that my body can take. I enjoy the boat-control aspects of this setup, but it is a young man's deal for long excursions.

As I was returning to the boat ramp, I caught one largemouth bass around a school of shad, and it was caught on a red Zoom's Mitt WEC crankbait.

This outing proved to be as good as I can ever catch them at this community reservoir. So, I went for a repeat performance during the morning of June 3.

I elected to try another feeder-creek arm first, and it was very fruitful early. By 8:00 a.m., I caught 25 of the 35 largemouth bass that I caught. I fished until noon, which totaled six hours of fishing.

Unfortunately, we were walloped by another vicious thunderstorm on June 2.

It was hot and sunny.

I used the 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's molting craw Zero affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig and the Zoom Bait Company's black-red-glitter Ultravibe Speed Craw affixed to a black 1/10-ounce Z-Man's weedless Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The Ultravibe Speed Craw rig was the most effective one. It caught the largemouth bass in shallow water on the bottom along steep shorelines around wood and rocks.

One very nice largemouth bass did hit the Ultravibe Speed Craw rig as I was quickly retrieving it like a topwater bait and dropping it along the edge of a stick. It was fun. Another really large one was battled for a relatively long time, and I am not sure it really even knew it was hooked. Had I not seen it on the surface, I would have thought it was a carp. Alas, it liberated itself.

The others ranged in size from 10 inches to a couple of pounds.

When I left this fruitful locale, I was treated with a total lack of action. Even the fruitful area that I fished on June 2 was fruitless.

The water color was ugly. And my ability to catch any largemouth bass along the shorelines evaporated. Finally, I gave up plying the shorelines and began dragging a 1/4-ounce shaky-head-jig-and-worm rig. I drug a Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Worm affixed to a 1/4-ounce shaky-head jig and caught 10 around shallow rocky points in the main-lake area. I really need to learn to use the Midwest finesse baits on these largemouth bass, but I cannot wean myself off the dragging.

June 3

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, posted a brief on the Finesse News Network about his June 3 outing.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 59 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 84 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The sky was clear. The wind was calm for six hours, and when it stirred, it angled out of the west, west by northwest, west by southwest, northwest, and north at 3 to 20 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.08 at 12:53 a.m., 30.12 at 5:53 a.m., 30.16 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.10 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 2:44 a.m. to 4:44 a.m., 3:08 p.m. to 5:08 p.m., and 8:56 a.m. to 10:56 a.m.

Andrew Trembath of Parkville, Missouri, and Camille Trinidad of Kansas City, Kansas, and I fished at a northeastern Kansas' U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The water exhibited about 3 1/2 feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 78 degrees.

We spent most of the outing fishing rocky shorelines and points, as well as stretches of riprap.

The most productive areas were main-lake shorelines that are fairly steep, and where our boat floated in eight to 12 feet of water. The best ones also had a touch of wind and waves pummeling the water's edge.

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Camille Trinidad with one of the largemouth bass that they caught.

We caught a vast array of species: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, blue catfish, flathead catfish, freshwater drum, crappie, bluegill, green sunfish, and white bass. Some fish were caught in two feet of water, but most were caught in six to 10 feet of water.

We caught them on a Z-Man's Canada craw TRD HogZ, a four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ, and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ . They were affixed to either a black or red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig that Andrew makes. Our ZinkerZ rigs were the most effective ones of the three. (Andrew caught a few on a crankbait.)

Camille presented her ZinkerZ rig by employing a straight swimming retrieve. Andrew and I used a slow swim-glide-and-occasional-shake presentation.

At 4:00 p.m., the fish counter indicated that we had caught 73 fish.

June 4

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his June 4 outing.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his log:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 59 degrees at 1:53 a.m. and 82 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The sky was clear. The wind angled out of the south by southeast, south by southwest, south, northeast, east and southeast at 4 to 23 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.06 at 12:53 a.m., 30.10 at 5:53 a.m., 30.06 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.94 at 7:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 3:36 a.m. to 5:36 a.m., 3:59 p.m. to 5:59 p.m., and 9:47 a.m. to 11:47 a.m.

Continuing our recent quest for northeastern Kansas' smallmouth bass, John Redding of Lawrence, Kansas, and I were afloat at one of northeastern Kansas' U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs from 10:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. and we fished for a total of nine hours with two 30-minute meal breaks.

As the wind increased in the afternoon, it created whitecaps and forced us to use the drift sock whenever we were exposed to it. The water level was 15 inches below normal. The surface temperature was 84 degrees. The water clarity varied from two feet to four feet.

We started the outing by fishing a main-lake point, the tip of a rock jetty, and a rocky secondary point adjacent to the dam. We did not catch any fish in these areas.

Shortly after we began plying the riprap shoreline of the dam, we caught the first fish of the day, which was a smallmouth that was beguiled by a Z-Man's Canada craw TRD HogZ mounted on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig in about four feet of water. Then along the next 150 yards of the dam and its water-outlet tower, we failed to elicit another strike.

But as we continued dissecting the riprap along the dam, we began to receive multiple strikes and catch smallmouth bass on either the TRD HogZ rig or a Z-Man's molting craw Finesse TRD affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Bass Pro Shops' Shroom Head jig. We fished the entire length of the dam and made a second pass across about one third of its length. We finished the second pass at about 1:30 p.m., and the fish counter showed that we had landed 39 smallmouth bass. Most of them were caught on either a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve or on a drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve while we were either casting to the shoreline or strolling. None of them were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Some were in shallow water near the water's edge. Some were caught in the middle of the retrieve. Some were caught at or near the end on the retrieve. Several times we observed smallmouth bass following our rigs as we quickly retrieved them to the boat at the end of our retrieves. Along the dam, the boat floated in water in three to 10 feet of water. The fishing was noticeable spotty; we executed many casts and retrieves along many yards of the dam without eliciting a strike. Then we would find areas that were quite fruitful, and we would quickly catch several smallmouth bass. There were times when both of us simultaneously caught a smallmouth bass. Several times, we observed a smallmouth bass or two chasing and harassing a smallmouth bass that we had hooked. When this occurred, we tried to quickly drop another lure in the water to catch one of the chasers, but we were unable to catch one of those chasers.

After a lunch break, we decided to try some different areas further up the reservoir. We fished a jetty at the back of a small feeder-creek arm and a portion of the shoreline adjacent to a main-lake point, and we failed to elicit a strike. However, around the main-lake point, John beguiled a largemouth bass on his molting craw TRD rig. This largemouth bass was abiding in about three feet of water. We failed to catch a black bass around two more main-lake points and along a 200-yard section of a main-lake shoreline adjacent to the entrance of a large feeder-creek arm. But around another main-lake point at the entrance to a small feeder-creek arm, John caught a largemouth bass on his TRD rig in about eight feet of water.

We fished along a massive shoreline inside a large feeder-creek arm. In fact, we estimated that we fished more than a mile of it. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. This shoreline is graced with several secondary points. At the tip of one of those secondary points, we caught two largemouth bass on a shortened Z-Man's molting craw Hula StickZ mounted on a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse Shroom jig. Along one short stretch of shoreline adjacent to a secondary point, we caught one smallmouth bass on the Hula StickZ rig. Around another secondary point, we caught two smallmouth bass; one was caught on the Hula StickZ rig, and the second one was caught on the Finesse TRD rig. We caught three smallmouth bass around another secondary point and its adjacent shoreline; two of these three smallmouth bass were caught on the Hula StickZ rig, and one was caught on the Finesse TRD. All of the black bass were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

At this point in our outing, we had 49 black bass recorded on our fish counter.

We briefly plied one secondary point on the other side of this large feeder-creek arm, and we did not elicit any strikes.

Then we decided to return to the more fruitful environs of the riprap shoreline along the dam. We made two passes over the most productive areas of the dam face and caught 22 smallmouth bass during the last hour and 45 minutes that we were afloat. While we were catching these 22 smallmouth bass, John had a massive strike on the initial drop of his Finesse TRD rig near the water's edge. A 10-minute donnybrook ensued that ended when he coaxed a 10-pound carp into the landing net. A little while later, the surface of the water erupted about 40 yards from the boat when a school of white bass tore into a school of gizzard shad. We quickly approached the eruption and caught three white bass, and then they disappeared.

We had a long and hard day of fishing and eked out four largemouth bass, 67 smallmouth bass, one bluegill, one carp, two channel catfish, four crappie, one freshwater drum, 23 green sunfish, one orange-spotted sunfish, and three white bass. While this result was not what we have experienced for black bass on this reservoir in the past, the multi-species catch was plentiful and helped bring our catch to a total of 107 fish.

The best lures were the Z-Man's Canada craw HogZ rig, molting craw Finesse TRD rig, and molting craw Hula StickZ rig. We caught some fish on a shortened Z-Man's California craw Hula StickZ mounted on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig and a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. Three smallmouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig with a straight swimming retrieve.

Our most effective retrieve was either the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve or the drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation while we were either strolling or casting and retrieving.

June 5

Tom Bett of Oshkosh,Wisconsin, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his June 5 outing on a series of interconnected lakes in eastern Wisconsin. This locale is called the Winnebago Pool, which he describes as being a heavily fished waterway.

Here is an edited version of his report:

Black bass fishing on the Winnebago Pool system appears that it has been adversely affected by the numerous cold fronts that have pummeled the region.

Nonetheless, I ventured forth in an attempt to assess the status of the annual spawning cycle. It has been five days since my last trip on this system, and I was optimistic that a few more of the big girls would have finished their business and may have turned a fresh eye towards feeding aggressively.

The weather was slightly below forecast expectations. Temperatures ranged from a morning low of 52 degrees to an afternoon high of 65 degrees. The brisk north to northeast winds blew at 10 to 15 mph, and there was a chill in the air despite the generally clear skies and intense sunshine.

Pool level was 0.1 feet above normal. Its flow was averaging around 7500 cubic feet per second into Lake Winnebago. Surface temperatures decreased since the previous outing and were running around 67 degrees. The clarity is excellent on Lake Winnebago, with most sites exceeding eight feet. The clarity on the Upper Pool lakes was once again variable, ranging from 4 1/2 feet in protected areas to as little as six inches in locations where heavy wave action disrupted the benthic sediments.

I spent the day running a number of sites along the west shore of the big lake and trailering the boat about 15 minutes west to sample some other sites on the Upper Pool. It encompassed almost nine hours of fishing.

As done previously, the target locations can be described as high-probability spawning areas. On Winnebago, these sites are generally located on very large gravel flats with limited chunk rock and some scattered pondweeds. The depth ranges from about five to 7.5 feet. On the Upper Lakes, the spawning habitat are jetties, riprap shorelines, and channel entrances, as well as a few offshore rock piles and islands generally providing depths from two to six feet.

As the day began on Winnebago, I strolled and drifted an array of soft-plastic baits at 0.5 to 0.8 mph in an attempt to learn the specifics of fish location and determine if they had a preference for one lure over another. I worked with three-inch tubes, four-inch Poor Boys' Darters, and Zoom Bait Company's Baby Brush Hogs on Carolina rigs with 1/8-ounce weights. In addition to the Carolina rigs, I used a Z-Man's The Deal or green-pumpkin-goby Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig.

These rigs were used on medium-power or medium-light-power spinning rods and 2500 series reels that are spooled with either six-pound-test copolymer or fluorocarbon line.

The first half of the day offered no fast action. It appeared the smallmouth bass were scattered, and at the best spot, which is a large gravel flat about the size of a football field, I caught three smallmouth bass. On most sites I suffered the one-and-done treatment. After sensing the low density of smallmouth bass residing on the flats, I began hunting isolated rock ribs on these large structures, hoping to find fish holding along the edges. I would then cast parallel to the length of the rib with a Z-Man's The Deal Finesse TRD affixed to a black 1/10-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. This tactic was more entertaining than strolling and dragging, and it yielded a few more smallmouth bass.

On the Upper Pool I found no major pods of fish, and most sites provided me a single bite.

But I did sense an element of hope at a couple of locations. One stretch of riprap yielded 11 smallmouth bass, and another jetty produced four largemouth bass, one smallmouth bass and one rock bass.

I suspect when the majority of these fish conclude their spawning activities and disperse toward their summer habitats, groups of them will be easier to find.

Similar to my last trip here on May 31, the best retrieve was a drag-shake-and deadstick presentation.. A few fish took the lure on the initial descent, but most required the bait to make bottom contact and come to rest before committing.

Once again the Z-Man's The Deal or Green Pumpkin Goby Finesse TRD rigs caught the majority of the black bass. The black 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig worked well, and I did not test an array of alternates.

In sum, I measured 35 fish that consisted of 19 smallmouth bass, 11 largemouth bass, three rock bass, one freshwater drum, and one walleye. The smallmouth bass ranged in size from eight to 18.2 inches, and three of them exceeded 17 inches. The largemouth bass ranged from 11.6 to 16.5 inches.

The 30 black bass provided me with a catch rate of three an hour, which was another below-average day on the Winnebago system. An average outing is five an hour, and 10 an hour is an excellent outing.

I am looking forward to the post-spawn; it is often a highlight of my season.

June 6

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I ventured to one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoirs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area. The black bass that inhabit these reservoirs have been difficult for us to locate and catch this year, and we were hoping to buck that awful trend by finding a significant concentration or two of largemouth bass and spotted bass during this late-spring endeavor.

During the early-morning hours of June 6, many areas in north-central Texas were pummeled by a thunderstorm, which lambasted the countryside with golf-ball- to-baseball-size hail. Many cars and houses were damaged, and broken tree limbs littered the yards of many residences. By 6:30 a.m., the thunderstorm had moved south of Dallas and the clouds quickly dispersed as the morning progressed. The wind blew incessantly out of the southeast at 12 to 18 mph. The morning low temperature was 79 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 97 degrees with a heat index of 104 degrees. The barometric pressure fluctuated between 29.80 and 29.83.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 5:16 a.m. to 7:16 a.m., 11:04 a.m. to 1:04 p.m., and 5:39 p.m. to 7:39 p.m. Norman and I fished from 8:00 a.m. to noon.

We concentrated our efforts in the reservoir's southwest tributary arm.

The water exhibited about 18 inches of visibility. The water level was about half of a foot low. The surface temperature was 83 degrees. The reservoir's underwater terrain consists primarily of red clay, gravel, rocks, and a few patches of boulders that are scattered here and there.

We focused on eight main-lake points, three main-lake shorelines, two major feeder-creek arms, 11 concrete support columns underneath a large train trestle bridge, and two riprap embankments on each end of that bridge. Some of these main-lake points and shorelines are adorned with flooded stickups, and the others are graced with baseball-size rocks and boulders.

We spent the first hour of this outing plying four of the eight main-lake points and two of the three main-lake shorelines on the south side of the tributary arm. We observed a few small pods of 1/2-inch threadfin shad moseying around the shallow-water areas at all seven of these locales, but we could generate only one strike from one of the points, and we failed to hook that fish.

From those main-lake areas, we meandered inside a major feeder-creek arm on the north side of the tributary. We were unable to locate any large concentrations of threadfin shad inside this creek arm, and we caught only one largemouth bass. It was caught in three feet of water along a steep riprap shoreline in the lower third of the creek arm.

From that feeder-creek arm, we travelled a short distance westward and investigated a train trestle bridge and the adjacent riprap-laden embankment on the north side of the bridge. The riprap embankment surrendered four largemouth bass. They were abiding in three to six feet of water and where about 10 to 15 feet away from the water's edge.

Under the train trestle bridge, we probed 11 large concrete support columns. Six of the columns that stand in 12 to 21 feet of water failed to yield a largemouth bass, spotted bass, or a strike. The other five columns are situated in 31 to 45 feet of water, and they relinquished eight largemouth bass. These largemouth bass were suspended eight to 12 feet below the surface and within a foot or two of the columns.

The riprap embankment on the south end of the bridge yielded one spotted bass. It was extracted out of 12 feet of water and about 25 feet from the water's edge.

From the bridge, we travelled about a mile westward and fished one rocky main-lake shoreline, three rocky main-lake points, and portions of another feeder-creek arm on the northwest end of the tributary.

We caught two largemouth bass and three spotted bass from a relatively flat clay and gravel main-lake shoreline adorned with several submerged coffee-table-size boulders. These black bass were relating to the sides of the submerged boulders in four to six feet of water.

At one of the three main-lake points, we caught one spotted bass about a foot below the surface in 12 feet of water that aggressively chased down our lure and engulfed it at the side of the boat.

The second of these three points surrendered one largemouth bass that was caught in six feet of water and about 10 feet from the water's edge. We failed to elicit any strikes from the third main-lake point.

Inside the second feeder-creek arm, we caught one spotted bass and one largemouth bass. The largemouth bass was caught in five feet of water along the east side of the feeder-creek arm from a steep and rocky shoreline just inside the mouth of the creek arm. The spotted bass was caught about 75 yards from the mouth of the feeder-creek near the end of a shallow clay and gravel secondary point in four feet of water. This secondary point is located on the west side of the feeder-creek arm.

All totaled, we caught a mixed bag of 23 largemouth bass and spotted bass in four hours, and we were surprised that we did not cross paths with any other species of fish.

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Norman Brown with one of the 23 largemouth bass that they caught.

Our three most potent rigs were a Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ rigged on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man's finesse ShroomZ jig, a shortened Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ attached to a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, and a Gene Larew's 3.5 inch Junebug Inch Worm affixed on a red generic 1/16-ounce ball-head jig.

Of the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves, a swim-glide-and-shake presentation was the only effective presentation. One largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop.

June 8

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his June 8 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, and I returned to the same U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir where Norman Brown of Lewisville and I caught 23 largemouth bass and spotted bass on June 6.

The sky conditions varied from mostly cloudy to partly cloudy on June 8. The barometric pressure fluctuated from 29.90 to 29.96. The wind angled out of the south, southeast, and southwest at 8 to 18 mph. The afternoon high temperature was 95 degrees. The morning low temperature was 71 degrees.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the most lucrative fishing periods would occur from 12:32 a.m. to 2:32 a.m., 6:44 a.m. to 8:44 a.m., and 7:06 p.m. to 9:06 p.m. Roger and I fished from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

We spent an hour pursuing white bass and 4 1/2 hours chasing largemouth bass and spotted bass. By the time this outing came to an end, we had tangled with 32 largemouth bass and six white bass.

When Norman Brown and I fished in this reservoir on June 6, we focused our attentions on the southwest tributary arm. But this time, Roger and I concentrated on the east tributary arm and south end of the reservoir.

The water displayed between 1 1/2 feet of visibility in the midsection of the east tributary arm and three feet of clarity at the dam on the south end of the reservoir. The surface temperature was 81 degrees. The water level was about a foot low.

This reservoir's underwater terrain consists of mostly clay, gravel, softball-size rocks, and boulders. There is no aquatic vegetation. The vast majority of the flooded timber that used to adorn the creek arms and main-river channel areas has now decayed away.

We spent the first hour on the west side of the east tributary arm searching for white bass at two offshore humps near the main river channel and along a riprap shoreline.

We failed to locate any white bass or black bass at the two offshore humps. We caught three white bass that were foraging on 1/2-inch threadfin shad along the surface near the west-side riprap shoreline. They were abiding in 12 to 15 feet of water. Two were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ that was attached to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. One was caught on a Z-Man's blue-glimmer-sparkle GrubZ rigged on a Z-Man's black 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. Both of these rigs were employed with a steady swimming retrieve.

We then moved to the east side of the tributary arm and fished around an old and dilapidated boat ramp and large boulders that are covered with 10 feet of water. This ramp lies off the end of a main-lake point and many yards from the water's edge. We fished this area for about 15 minutes, but we failed to elicit any strikes.

From the boat ramp, we journeyed into a major feeder-creek arm that is located on the south end of the tributary arm. Inside this feeder-creek arm, we dissected large patches of flooded stickups on the south side of an island, a rocky shoreline endowed with three boat ramps and some riprap, and a 200-yard section of another shoreline that is covered with riprap.

We caught our first largemouth bass of the outing from a large patch of flooded stickups on the south side of the island. It was caught on a Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ affixed on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig in four feet of water. The Finesse ShadZ rig was presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We were unable to generate any more strikes from around the island.

About halfway back and on the south side of this feeder-creek arm, we dissected a steep shoreline that is adorned with three concrete boat ramps, some riprap, and large submerged boulders. We caught eight largemouth bass along this shoreline. Six of them were abiding in less than six feet of water and were near a 20-yard stretch of riprap. The other two were caught from a patch of submerged boulders in five feet of water.

Six of the largemouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ and steady swim retrieve. One was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ rigged on a red 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig and a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The other largemouth was caught on the blue-glimmer-sparkle GrubZ rig and a steady swim retrieve.

In the southwest end of this feeder creek, we fished about 75 yards of a 200-yard riprap-laden shoreline, and we failed to generate a strike.

We finished the outing at the dam, which forms the southern perimeter of the reservoir. It is covered with large boulders. It was our most fruitful locale, and it relinquished 23 largemouth bass and three white bass. Twenty-two of the largemouth bass were caught on either a 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig or a 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ fastened on a black 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. These two Slim SwimZ rigs were retrieved with a steady swimming presentation.

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Roger Farish with one of the 32 largemouth bass that they caught.

The other largemouth bass was caught on a shortened Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ rigged on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Typically this time of year, a shortened Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ, a Z-Man's white lightning Finesse TRD, and a 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ are our three most potent black bass lures. And during this outing, the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ and steady swim retrieve allured 28 of the 32 largemouth bass and the six white bass.

June 11

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

John Thomas of Denton, Texas, joined me for a five-hour excursion to the same U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir that I fished with Norman Brown of Lewisville on June 6 and Roger Farish of Highland Village on June 8.

Norman Brown and I concentrated on this reservoir's southwest tributary arm, and Roger Farish and I targeted the reservoir's east tributary arm and southern region. During this June 11 outing, John and I plied locales in the southern section and along the southwest tributary arm.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 2:41 a.m. to 4:41 a.m., 8:54 a.m. to 10:54 a.m., and 9:21 p.m. to 11:21 p.m. John and I fished from 7:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

It was mostly overcast. An irksome wind blew steadily out of the southeast at 15 to 25 mph. It was 78 degrees at 7:00 a.m. and 95 degrees at 4:00 p.m. The barometric pressure varied slightly from 29.76 to 29.75.

The water level was 0.85 of a foot low. The surface temperature was 83 degrees. The water exhibited from 1 1/2 to three feet of visibility. This reservoir's underwater terrain consists of red clay, gravel, rocks, and scattered patches of boulders. It is also devoid of any aquatic vegetation.

In the southwest tributary arm we targeted two main-lake shorelines, four main-lake points, six concrete support pillars underneath a railroad bridge, and an embankment on the north end of the bridge that is covered with riprap.

One of the two main-lake shorelines was fruitless.

The other main-lake shoreline surrendered three largemouth bass and three spotted bass. Three of these black bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ attached on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man's finesse ShroomZ jig that was presented with a steady swimming retrieve. Two were tricked by a Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ mounted on a custom-painted blue 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One largemouth was attracted to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig dressed with a Z-Man's bluegill Scented LeechZ. This combo was implemented with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. These six bass were abiding in three to six feet of water and were relating to several large submerged boulders.

Of the four main-lake points that we fished, three of them failed to yield a strike. One point yielded one spotted bass and one largemouth bass. They were extracted from the end of the point in six to eight feet of water and about 20 to 25 feet from the water's edge. Both of them were allured by the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ and a moderately fast and steady swimming retrieve.

We caught one largemouth bass and one spotted bass from the side of a concrete pillar underneath a railroad bridge. They were suspended in 37 feet of water and about eight to 10 feet below the surface. The largemouth bass was caught on a shortened Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ rigged on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. The spotted bass was bewitched by a Z-Man's white lightning Finesse TRD fastened on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. Both of these rigs were presented in a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We probed another five pillars underneath the same bridge, but we failed to garner any other strikes.

From the railroad bridge, we moved to an embankment laden with riprap just north of the bridge. We caught one small spotted bass on the pearl Finesse ShadZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in six feet of water and within five feet of the water's edge.

In the south end of the reservoir, we investigated a large mud flat and probed the riprap along two sections of the dam.

The large mud flat is adorned with many yards of thick patches of flooded stickups. Most of it is covered with two to six feet of water. This flat was virtually fruitless and surrendered one largemouth bass. It was caught in three feet of water next to the outside edge of a patch of flooded stickups on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ and steady swimming retrieve.

We finished the outing at the dam, which is covered with large boulders.

We failed to generate any strikes from the west end of the dam.

The middle section of the dam relinquished 13 largemouth bass.

Twelve of them were caught on a Z-Man's Canada craw TRD HogZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShrooomZ jig. One bass was caught on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ.

One largemouth engulfed the TRD HogZ rig on the initial drop. Another one was attracted to the steady swimming retrieve with the 2 1/2-inch Slim SwimZ rig. Eleven bass preferred the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the TRD HogZ.

We did not have time to fish the east end of the dam.

All totaled, we caught 25 black bass in five hours. Nineteen were largemouth bass and six were spotted bass. We also inadvertently caught three channel catfish and one white bass.

The Z-Man's Canada craw TRD HogZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig and a 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man's finesse ShroomZ jig were our two most effective rigs.

The swim-glide-and-shake and steady swimming retrieves were our two most effective presentations.

June 12

Until June 12, I have not had time to fish since May 30. During this June 12 outing, I could squeeze in only 74 minutes of fishing, which I spent at one of northeastern Kansas' state reservoirs.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 69 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 89 degrees at 5:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the west by northwest, south, south by southeast, north by northeast, southeast, south by southwest, southwest, west by southwest, and west at 3 to 27 mph. Around midnight, a heavy thunderstorm walloped parts of northeastern Kansas, and after that, the sky fluctuated from being scattered with clouds to being clear to being mostly cloudy to being partly cloudy to being overcast. The barometric pressure was 29.87 at 12:52 a.m., 29.85 at 5:52 a.m., 29.89 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.87 at 3:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 9:37 a.m. to 11:37 a.m., 10:06 p.m. to 12:06 a.m., and 3:23 a.m. to 5:23 a.m. I fished from 2:12 p.m. to 3:26 p.m.

The water level was a few inches above normal. The water exhibited four to six feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 83 degrees. Most of this reservoir's shallow-water shorelines, flats, and points are graced with massive and lush patches of bushy pondweed. Patches of American pondweed and coontail are burgeoning.

I was hoping to catch 20 largemouth bass in 60 minutes and head home. I caught 17 of them in 51 minutes, but it took me 23 minutes to catch three more, and as soon as I caught largemouth bass No. 20, I headed home.

I caught the first largemouth bass on my first cast, which I executed at the boat ramp as I was waiting for my outboard engine to warm up and making a long cast to remove a minor twist in the line on one of my spinning outfits. This largemouth bass was caught in about six feet of water on a Z-Man's PB&J TRD MinnowZ , which used to be called a Rain MinnowZ, affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, and I was slowly dragging it along the bottom.

Along the dam, I caught 16 largemouth bass and inadvertently caught five green sunfish and one channel catfish. The dam possesses a 30- to 60-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. There are some patches of bushy pondweed and three rinky-dink patches of American water willows. Some of the 16 largemouth bass were caught five feet from the water's edge, and a few were caught as far as 14 to 16 feet from the water's edge.

One of the 16 largemouth bass was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig on the initial drop in about four feet of water.

Six of the 16 were caught on the PB&J TRD MinnowZ rig. Two were caught on the initial drop in three to four feet of water, and four were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in five to eight feet of water.

Ten of the 16 were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Three were caught on the initial drop of the rig in three to four feet of water. The other seven were caught on either a drag-and-subtle-shake or a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation in four to eight feet of water.

One largemouth bass was caught around a partially submerged cedar tree on a flat main-lake point. It was caught on the PB&J TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation about three feet under the surface.

One largemouth bass was caught on another flat main-lake point in about six feet of water on the initial drop of the purple-haze Finesse WormZ rig along the outside edge of a patch of bushy pondweed.

Largemouth bass No. 20 was caught on a secondary point adjacent to patches of American pondweed and bushy pondweed. It was caught in about five feet of water on the PB&J TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

June 15

Tom Bett of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his June 15 outing on a series of interconnected lakes in eastern Wisconsin. This locale is called the Winnebago Pool.

Here is an edited version of his report:

The black bass fishing on the Winnebago Pool system in Wisconsin appears to be moving into the summer patterns. As the spawning season ends, our catch rate improves, and the size of the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass that we catch also improves.

The morning low temperature was 58 degrees, and area thermometers climbed to a high of 75 degrees. A massive complex of thunderstorms rumbled across this part of Wisconsin, and they caused us to pause fishing a few times while we waited for them to pass. Brisk winds swirled around these storm cells. We endured winds gusting to 30 mph from the north, east, and south. Rain showers occurred intermittently through the first half of the day and some locales within the watershed received more than two inches of rain, and others obtained only one-tenth that amount.

The pool level was 0.06 feet above normal. The flow into Lake Winnebago was averaging around 2500 cubic feet per second. The surface temperature averaged around 70 degrees. The water clarity the Upper Pool lakes was variable, ranging from four feet in protected areas to as little as six inches in locations where heavy.

This day provided almost nine hours of fishing time -- excluding the weather-induced timeouts.

Our target locations can be described as shoreline-feeding sites, which are generally located in proximity to probable spawning areas. When the black bass conclude spawning, some numbers of them appear to shift to rock piles, shoreline points, and riprap areas. The desirability of these sites can be enhanced if there is good current flow (wind- or river-generated current) and some growth of pondweeds. It appears that these black bass forage on minnows (shiners) as well as the crayfish that inhabit these small sites. Depth is generally shallow, ranging from about 1.5 to not much more than 4.5 feet.

As the day began we elected to begin fishing along the somewhat protected and upwind shorelines. We tested several small points, jetties, and riprap shorelines. These locales are situated near the hard-bottom flats where the smallmouth bass spawn and adjacent to the large, weed-laden backwater flats where the largemouth bass spawn.

We worked with either medium or medium-light seven-foot spinning rods and 2500 series spinning reels that were spooled with six-pound-test copolymer line. These rigs sported Z-Man's Finesse TRDs affixed to a 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jigs.

The first part of the outing offered no fast action. It appeared the black bass were not densely grouped, nor were they aggressively feeding on the sites we fished. One current break around a rock point produced two smallmouth bass. The next one produced three largemouth bass and a walleye, and so it went until the first weather timeout. It looked like what we call a hunt-pick-and-wonder scenario was about to unfold.

Following a couple hours of listening to thunder and watching lightning, we again headed out. It was raining lightly, and the wind was shifting. Our first stop was a shallow offshore rock pile, known to harbor large smallmouth during this stage of the season. Apparently they did not get that memo, and we caught three walleye on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse TRD affixed to a 1/10-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. The 1/10-ounce jig allowed the rig to crawl slowly along the bottom.

Our next stop was a large riprap complex. Some of it is submerged. Some of it is above the water's edge. The riprap is a break-water feature that protects the entrance to a complex system of residential channels. As we worked our way along the hundred yards or so of this complex we encountered a mix of fish: walleye, freshwater drum, smallmouth bass, and northern pike. They inhabited the outer and submerged portions of this structure. Some of these fish would smash the bait as soon as it hit the water, while others preferred a slow swim-and-shake retrieve. Because of the wind, the 1/10-ounce rig felt better to our hands, but the 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig affixed to a Finesse TRD was slightly more productive as it would slide and glide with the wind on semi-slack line. Our most productive offering was the Z-Man's mud minnow Finesse TRD, and the Z-Man's coppertruese Finesse TRD was a distant second. The Finesse TRDs were affixed to black Finesse ShroomZ jigs.

Along a segment of this riprap complex, particularly in the area where the breakwall tip becomes submerged, we caught a nice mix of post-spawn largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, along with a few freshwater drum, a walleye and a rock bass; it was a total of 21 fish. The majority of these fish, especially the black bass, were holding on the downwind side of the rock ledge. When our casts landed on top of the ledge, we would simply lift the rod and allow the wind to move the line and lure off the top. Once the lure attained the location just off the edge, we would push the rod forward and allow the rig to free fall to the bottom, where it was best left to rest for five to 10 seconds before we would slowly drag it back to the boat. The more subtle lure movement produced by the 1/15-ounce rig allured the majority of fish, including most of our larger ones. Again the mud minnow Finesse TRD worked best, and the green-pumpkin Finesse TRD and the coppertruese Finesse TRD produced marginal results.

In sum, we measured 60 fish on this day, consisting of 27 smallmouth bass, 22 largemouth bass, five walleye, four freshwater drum, one northern pike, and one rock bass. The smallmouth bass ranged in size from 7.8 to 20.2 inches, and four of them exceeded 17 inches. The largemouth bass ranged in size from 9.6 to 20.5 inches, and three of them exceeded 17 inches.

The 47 black bass provided a catch rate of three an hour, which is a below average catch rate on the Winnebago system. However, given the imperfect weather conditions, we were grateful to have experienced the bounty that was provided.

We were encouraged to have observed the onset of what we call the peak bite window that occurs during the post-spawn period. This phenomenon often provides us an abundant volume of bites, as well as a nice variety of fish lengths to admire.

June 16

Bob Hardy of St. Paul, Minnesota, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his June 16 outing with his son in northwestern Wisconsin.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The air temperature was 74 degrees. The sky was overcast. The wind angled from the west at 1 to 5 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.01 when we made our first casts and 29.92 when we made our last ones.

This is our third outing on this small lake this spring. The surface temperature was 72 degrees. The water exhibited eight to 10 feet of visibility.

The underwater terrain consists of mostly sand and gravel -- with minimal muck. The shorelines are steep, and the water is as deep as 30 feet within 30 feet of the water's edge. A moderate number of laydowns are embellishing the water's edge, and some aquatic vegetation is emerging along most of the shorelines, but it is thin enough that we can easily and efficiently present our Midwest finesse rigs to the largemouth bass.

My son, Matt, worked with a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD TubeZ affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. I used a Z-Man's The Deal Finesse ShadZ on a black 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. We used spinning gear with 10-pound-test braid with an eight-pound-test fluorocarbon leader.

We fished most of the lake's shorelines from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. by casting our Midwest finesse rigs into very shallow water and employing a slow lift-and-drop retrieve back to the boat. Most fish were caught within 10 feet of where our rigs hit the water. Often we caught the largemouth bass on the initial drop of our rigs, or when we employed a deadstick presentation partway back to the boat.

For the day, we landed 75 largemouth bass and 32 others, which were mostly small crappies, one green sunfish, which is a rarity in northwest Wisconsin, and a few bluegills.

June 17

Bob Hardy of St. Paul, Minnesota, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Father's Day outing with his son, Matt, and daughter-in-law, Becky, in northwestern Wisconsin on June 17.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

This was the third time that I fished this mid-size lake this spring. It is adorned with a very nice park, a swimming beach, and one of the better boat ramps in the area. Lots of people were out enjoying a very pleasant spring day, and most of them were at the beach and the picnic areas. Even though the weather was gorgeous, there were only five boat trailers in the boat ramp's parking lot when we arrived at 9:00 a.m. There was a moderate amount of recreational-boat traffic from cabin owners, but it did not affect our ability to have a very enjoyable fishing outing.

Neither of the major solunar periods for the day occurred during the time we were on the water, but there was a minor one from 8:56 a.m. to 10:56 a.m. Barometric pressure ranged from 29.85 to 29.79.

The water at this lake exhibited eight to 10 feet of visibility. The underwater terrain consists of sand and gravel. There is some sparse emergent vegetation gracing parts of the shorelines. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has placed limbs and trunks from trees along a small segment of this lake's shorelines.

Traditionally, we ply those trees, as well as the scores of boat docks and boat lifts that ring this lake.

We used spinning outfits that were spooled with 10-pound-test braided lines and eight-pound-test fluorocarbon leaders. We worked with either black or green-pumpkin 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jigs. We dressed these jigs with a Z-Man's black TRD TubeZ, a green-pumpkin TRD TubeZ, a black Scented LeechZ , and a green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ.

We started fishing at the boat ramp, plying some of the trees that the DNR placed along the shoreline, and straightaway we caught about a dozen largemouth bass.

Then we fished the lake' east shoreline, plying lairs that were in one to 10 feet of water.

This was the first time my daughter-in-law had used Midwest finesse tactics. Even though she would rather relax and sunbath than fish, she did extremely well as a novice angler. In fact, she caught several of the largest black bass of the day when she decided to interrupt her sunbathing to make a few casts. I am impressed with how easily rookies can learn how to catch black bass by employing Midwest finesse rigs. All they have to do is be patient and deadstick the rig after the initial drop, and then slowly retrieve it.

We caught 62 black bass (mostly largemouth) and 12 other specimens in four hours. It was a very fun day for me, my son, and daughter-in-law.

June 18

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his June 18 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

From 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., John Thomas of Denton, Texas, and I spent five hours at a problematic U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

Area thermometers recorded the morning low temperature at 76 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 92 degrees. The wind angled out of the southeast at 12 to 18 mph. The sky was mostly overcast during most of our outing, but there were a couple of short spells of sunshine. The barometric pressure measured 29.96 at 7:00 a.m. and 29.94 at 1:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 12:17 a.m. to 2:17 a.m., 6:33 a.m. to 8:33 a.m., and 12:49 p.m. to 2:49 p.m

The water exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was 0.66 of a foot below normal. The surface temperature ranged from 83 degrees on the north side of the reservoir to 80 degrees in its south end.

Along the north side of the reservoir, we plied six main-lake points, two flat shorelines inside two feeder-creek arms, and a 50-yard section of a rocky main-lake shoreline.

We caught three largemouth bass along one flat clay and gravel shoreline inside one feeder-creek arm. This flat is adorned with a few patches of flooded stickups and a concrete boat ramp. These three largemouth bass were caught in three to five feet of water next to the outside edges of the flooded stickups. We failed to garner any strikes from the sides or end of the boat ramp.

Another three largemouth bass were caught in four to six feet of water along another gravel and clay shoreline inside a second feeder-creek arm. This shoreline is also flat and graced with several large patches of flooded stickups. These largemouth bass were abiding along the outside edges of the flooded stickups.

The six main-lake points and the 50-yard stretch of main-lake shoreline were fruitless.

From the north end of the reservoir, we travelled to the dam, which forms the east boundary of the reservoir. It is situated about two miles east of where we launched the boat. We probed the riprap that covers the dam, and it yielded three largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass that were abiding in seven to 12 feet of water and about 10 to 15 feet from the water's edge. John caught both of the smallmouth bass, and they were the first smallmouth bass that he has caught in 2018.

In the reservoir's southern region, we dissected a rocky shoreline just inside the mouth of a large feeder-creek arm, two main-lake points, and a secondary point and a short section of its adjacent shoreline inside a smaller feeder-creek arm.

The rock-and boulder-laden shoreline inside the larger feeder creek yielded one largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass that were relating to several large submerged boulders in three to six feet of water.

One of the two main-lake points that we plied is steep and bluff-like, and it relinquished one largemouth bass. It was caught around a patch of submerged boulders in eight feet of water.

The other main-lake point that we fished is flatter than the other one. It is comprised of small gravel, clay, and fist-size rocks. It yielded another largemouth bass that was caught in three feet of water and about 10 feet from the water's edge.

We failed to elicit any strikes from the rocky secondary point and a short section of shoreline next to the secondary point.

//www.in-fisherman.com/files/2018/06/IMG_2979.jpg
Steve Reideler with one of the largemouth bass that they caught.

In sum, the fishing was slow and tedious. It was a trying task for us to catch 12 largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass in five hours. We also caught one large bluegill.

This outing turned into another day of wielding numerous sizes and colors of Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jigs sporting a variety of Z-Man's Midwest finesse lures such as TRD HogZ, Finesse TRDs, 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ, Hula StickZ, and 3 1/2-inch Trick ShotZ, but we failed to generate any strikes with these baits.

The only effective rig was a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ fastened to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The only effective presentation was a moderately-fast swimming retrieve about a foot or two beneath the surface.

June 19

Tom Bett of Oshkosh,Wisconsin, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his June 19 outing on a series of interconnected lakes in eastern Wisconsin. This locale is called the Winnebago Pool.

Here is an edited version of his report:

Although the black-bass fishing on the Winnebago Pool system in Wisconsin can now be described as adhering to the typical summer patterns, the weather often continues to be less than summerlike. On June 19, I planned to sample a few black-bass lairs on the lower portions of the tributary rivers and in one of the upper-pool lakes of the system. On June 18, we were walloped with more than three inches of rain. So, I expected some turbidity, high-water levels, and heavy current flows.

The morning low temperature was 62 degrees, and the afternoon high temperature was 65 degrees. An overcast sky and constant light-rain showers were accompanied by brisk winds of 10 to 18 mph coming from a northeasterly direction. This wind generated what we call a good walleye chop on the lake and in the larger bays. The wind also backed up some of the storm's inflow at the mouths of tributary rivers.

The water level jumped to 0.46 feet above normal. The current was flowing into Lake Winnebago at 7,500 cubic feet per second. The surface temperature was 74 degrees. The water clarity on the Upper Pool lakes ranged from three feet in protected areas to as little as six inches in locations affected by turbid inflows. A blue-green-algae bloom is now widespread, but the strong winds and wave action are preventing a heavy concentration of the bloom near the surface.

I fished for six hours.

I focused on shorelines and offshore sites. It appears many of the black bass have concluded spawning and fair numbers of them appear to have relocated to rock piles, shoreline points, and riprap areas that they will inhabit for the bulk of the summer period. These sites can be enhanced if there is good current flow (wind or river generated) and some growth of aquatic vegetation. It appears that the black bass forage on minnows (shiners) as well as the crayfish that inhabit these sites that lie in 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 feet of water.

For the first stop, I elected to begin fishing along some riprap points and break-water walls in the immediate proximity of the mouth of a large tributary river. Although the water was turbid and current stronger than expected, the first five minutes showed the fish were not blown out by the recent surge of water. I caught one smallmouth bass and one freshwater drum at the riprap point. Both were caught on a 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse Shroom jig mated to a Z-Man's Trick ShotZ using a swim-and-glide retrieve.

The I moved across the channel and fished a 300-yard break wall and caught six smallmouth bass, two rock bass, and one largemouth bass on the Trick ShotZ rig using the same system I started with. The black bass were less than 14 inches long; so I moved to a different habitat in the quest for some larger specimens.

The next stop was a sizable offshore rock pile located in the center of a 600- acre bay. These rocks are dangerously shallow on top (minimum depth of 1.5 feet), and the complex is surrounded by about 4.5 feet of water and mud bottom. I planned to position the boat alongside the structure and cast across the shallow top using the wind to sweep the offering along the bottom. After two casts, I determined the 1/15-ounce jig was allowing the Trick ShotZ rig to plane faster than I desired, at least given my boat position relative to the structure and wind direction and velocity. Taking the convenient route, I picked up my skipping rig, which is my relatively snag-free system, that I expected to use along the river's shorelines later in the trip due to the high water levels. This is generally a small tube, internally weighted, and rigged with a small EWG hook.  I use it to probe under overhanging trees and into fallen tree tops where anything with an exposed hook point would surely be lost. This rig consisted of a 2 1/2-inch green- pumpkin-chartreuse-tipped tube with a 1/8-ounce internal weight, and I worked with it on a 6 1/2-foot and medium-heavy-power rod with 10-pound-test fluorocarbon line. It caught six nice smallmouth bass and a large freshwater drum. I also experienced three jump offs by other nice-size smallmouth bass. Thus, I concluded I had found a reasonable pod of smallmouth feeding atop the rock pile. Remnants of partly digested crayfish littered the floor of the boat.

Logistics dictated the next stop to be a rock point exposed to strong river current from one side and stiff chop and lake wind from the other. This created a nice swirl, and I hoped there would be another pod holding on the rubble bottom in this vicinity. After 15 minutes of probing this area from various angles, my hopes were not fulfilled. I caught two smallmouth bass, and one was a beautiful 18.4-inch specimen. Both were caught by swimming a Z-Man's The Deal Trick ShotZ on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

For the next few hours, I focused on structural features generally comprised of shallow rock areas -- such as jetty points and riprap -- that possessed some current sweeps to focus the fish. Only two of the 12 areas were not fruitful. Most of the fish were caught on standard Midwest finesse rigs, such as Z-Man's Finesse TRDs, TRD HogZ, and Trick ShotZ, and they were reasonably effective. The most productive colors were The Deal, mud minnow, green pumpkin, and green pumpkin goby. Depending upon the wind, wave action and current velocity, I worked with either a 1/10-ounce or a 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ.

The small tube rig worked reasonably well, but I concluded that a better percentage of strikes could be boated using Midwest finesse rigs. Additionally, I noted that the fish did not totally reject standard bass offerings, but when I used 3 1/2- and four-inch tubes, I failed to hook more than a half a dozen strikes, which is too many.

In sum, I measured 34 fish on this outing, consisting of 22 smallmouth bass, eight largemouth bass, two freshwater drum, and two rock bass. The smallmouth bass ranged in size from 8.3 to 18.4 inches, and three exceeded 17 inches. The largemouth bass ranged from 10.2 to 16.5 inches. About half of the black bass were 14-inches or larger. I caught five black bass an hour, which is a normal average on the Winnebago Pool.

Despite the somewhat dismal weather conditions, I was happy my rain gear performed well and that I was able to observe a reasonable volume of bites, as well as a nice variety of fish to admire.

June 21

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his June 21 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

I conducted a solo excursion to another challenging U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir that lies on the outskirts of the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan areas. This reservoir was bustling with pleasure boaters, water skiers, and jet skiers.

The black bass fishing in this part of Texas has been awful in 2018, and I set a goal to catch 20 black bass during this foray. And to my dismay, I failed miserably to reach that meager goal.

It was a hot and humid day in north-central Texas. There was not a cloud in sight, and the sun was ablaze in a powder-blue sky. The morning low temperature was 71 degrees and the afternoon high temperature soared to 99 degrees with a heat index of 105 degrees. The barometric pressure fell slightly from 29.97 to 29.94. The wind was light and variable, and for a couple of long spells, it was calm.

The best fishing periods, according to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, would occur from 12:02 a.m. to 2:02 a.m., 6:13 a.m. to 8:13 a.m., and 6:37 p.m. to 8:37 p.m. I was afloat from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The water exhibited 2 1/2 feet of clarity. The surface temperature was 87 degrees. The water level was about half of a foot low.

I slowly dissected a long rocky shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm, nine main-lake points, and portions of three long rock-and boulder-laden main-lake shorelines in the west tributary arm.

I caught one largemouth bass in five feet of water along the rocky shoreline inside the feeder-creek. It was enticed into striking a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. This combo was presented with a steady swimming retrieve about a foot below the surface of the water.

The nine main-lake points were mostly devoid of black bass. But one of them surrendered one spotted bass that was abiding in six feet of water. This bass struck a Rapala No. 7 Helsinki shad-hue Glass Rap crankbait as it was steadily retrieved and ricocheted off a couple of large submerged boulders.

The other eight main-lake points and the three lengthy main-lake shorelines adorned with large boulders and rocks were fruitless.

In the south end of the impoundment, I probed about 80 percent of the riprap that covers the dam and the walls of a large concrete water-outlet tower near the center of the dam.

One spotted bass and one largemouth bass were caught next to the west wall of the concrete water-outlet tower. They were suspended about 10 to 13 feet below the surface in water that was 43 feet deep. The spotted bass was caught on a Z-Man's 1/15-ounce green-pumpkin Finesse ShroomZ jig dressed with a Z-Man's The Deal TRD TubeZ. The largemouth bass engulfed a Z-Man's black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig that sported a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's white lightning ZinkerZ. Both of these rigs were employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

The 2 1/2-inch white lightning ZinkerZ combo bewitched another six largemouth bass, two spotted bass, five freshwater drum, and two channel catfish that were scattered along the dam in four to seven feet of water. They were caught within 15 feet of the water's edge and in close proximity to the submerged riprap.

In conclusion, I failed to find any significant aggregations of black bass. It was a frustrating grind to scrounge up eight largemouth bass and four spotted bass in five hours. In short, the bass fishing continues to be lousy in north-central Texas.

June 22

Tom Bett of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his June 22 outing.

Here is an edited version of his report:

The black bass fishing on the Winnebago Pool system in Wisconsin is showing the vagaries of the weather in June of 2018.

On June 22, a colleague and I set out to sample a few black bass on the lower portions of the tributary rivers and one of the upper pool lakes of the system.

Once again, the weather was not summerlike. Temperatures ranged from a morning low of 62 degrees to an afternoon high of 72 degrees. Once again, the sky was overcast, and there were intermittent light rain showers. The wind angled from the northeast at 10 to 15 mph, which generated a good "walleye chop" out on the lake and in the larger bays.

The pool level was 0.3 feet above normal. The inflow into Lake Winnebago was 9,900 cubic feet per second. The surface temperature was 71 degrees. The water clarity in the Upper Pool lakes exhibited six inches in locales affected by turbid inflows to three feet in protected areas. A blue-green algae bloom is widespread, and the strong winds and wave action prevented a heavy concentration of the bloom along the surface.

This day provided us 7.5 hours of fishing time.

Target locations can be described as either shorelines or offshore feeding sites. Many of the black bass have concluded spawning, and fair numbers of them appear to have relocated to rock piles, shoreline points, and riprap areas that they will inhabit for the bulk of the summer period.The desirability of these sites can be enhanced if there is good current flow (wind or river generated) and some growth of pondweeds. It appears that these bass forage on minnows (shiners) as well as the crayfish that inhabit these small sites. At these locales, the depth of the water ranges from about 1 1/2 feet to about 4 1/2 feet.

As we focused on structural features, which are generally comprised of shallow rock (such as jetty points and riprap) that offers some current sweep to focus the fish, we determined that not all of the potential sites would produce bountiful results. Ultimately, we sampled 10 sites. Only one on the 10 sites was not fruitful. But at the other nine, we never found the significant pod of black bass that we were hunting for.

Most fish came on Midwest finesse presentations, and a variety of setups proved successful. Z-Man's Finesse TRD proved to be the most productive style. The most productive colors were The Deal, mud minnow, and green pumpkin goby. Depending upon the wind, wave action, and current velocity, either a 1/10-ounce or a 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig performed well. Most fish were taken using a drag-and-hop retrieve across the bottom, but around some very shallow locations, a slow swim-and-glide retrieve worked well.

In sum, we measured 44 fish on this day, finding the final mix to consist of 17 smallmouth bass, 12 largemouth bass, nine walleye, four northern pike, and two freshwater drum. The smallmouth bass ranged in size from 8.3 to 17.6 inches. The largemouth bass ranged in size from 9.8 to 14.7 inches. We caught an average of three black bass an hour, which made it a below-average day on the Winnebago syste

June 22

As of June 22, Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, had not fished for a variety of important reasons since May 7. And for a multitude of other reasons, I have not seriously fished since June 12, and that outing encompassed only one hour and 14 minutes. I did attempt to fish on June 19 and 21, but Mother Nature confounded me with lightning, rain, and wind. I wrote a short log about the June 12 outing, but I was too wet and browbeaten to describe Mother Nature's dastardly ways after my short affair with her on June 19 and 21. So, during the first 21 days of June, I caught only 36 largemouth bass and five smallmouth bass.

Rick and I were hoping that Mother Nature's recent watery and windy ways would be restrained on June 22. But as we were driving to one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs, it began to rain. It was raining while we launched the boat, and it rained on us for the first 30 minutes that we were afloat. Then she relented – except for a brief shower around 10:30 a.m.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 61 degrees at 9:53 a.m. and 62 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sky was overcast, and it failed to rain at their reporting site, which is about 10 miles by the way the crow flies from where we fished. The wind angled from the north, northwest, and north by northwest at 5 to 9 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.79 at 12:53 a.m., 29.80 at 5:53 a.m., 29.85 at 11:53 a.m. and 29.83 at 2:53 p.m.

The surface temperature was 79 degrees. The water exhibited three to 5 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was normal.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing occurred from 6:47 a.m. to 8:47 a.m., 7:10 p.m. to 9:10 p.m., and 12:35 a.m. to 2:35 a.m. Rick and I fished from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and we caught 57 largemouth bass, eight smallmouth bass, two bluegill, one channel catfish, and one green sunfish.

We caught 11 largemouth bass across a shallow-water flat in the back of a small feeder-creek arm. The underwater terrain consists of clay, gravel, and rocks. The shoreline possesses a 25-degree slope. Many yards of this flat are embellished with patches of bushy pondweed and coontail. The largemouth bass were caught on either a four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig or a shortened four-inch Z-Man's purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a black 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. They were caught in three to four feet of water around patches of bushy pondweed and coontail on either the initial drop of our rigs or when we were executing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

One largemouth bass was caught on the green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ rig along a shoreline that is littered with patches of coontail inside this small feeder-creek arm. It was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in about five feet of water around the patches of coontail.

Two largemouth bass were caught around a flat main-lake point. The underwater terrain mainly consists of gravel. It possesses a 20-degree slope. The gravel is enhanced with patches of bushy pondweed and coontail. The two largemouth bass were caught on the green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in four to six feet of water around the patches of bushy pondweed and coontail.

Along a relatively steep main-lake point and its adjacent main-lake shoreline, we caught five largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The shoreline possesses a 35- to 45-degree slope. The water's edge is graced with some patches of American water willows, a few laydowns, and some overhanging trees. Patches of coontail adorn portions of this point and shoreline. We caught these black bass on a Z-Man's PB&J TRD MinnowZ (which used to be called the Rain MinnowZ) affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, and the purple-haze Finesse WormZ rig. Some were caught on the initial drop of our rigs; others were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. They were caught in four to six feet of water. A few were caught near patches of American water willows. Some were caught around the patches of coontail.

A smallmouth bass was caught in about five feet of water around a main-lake point on the initial drop of a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD CrawZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. We failed to elicit a strike along this point's adjacent shorelines. The underwater terrain of the point and its shorelines consists of gravel, rocks, and some humongous boulders. The water's edge is graced with patches of American water willows. There are scores of patches of bushy pondweed and coontail that enhance many yards of the point and its shorelines.

Along a 75-yard segment of the dam, we caught two largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. This area possesses a 40-degree slope, and it is a rock- and boulder-laden terrain. There are a few patches of bushy pondweed and coontail scattered along the dam. One largemouth bass was caught on the green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ rig in about five feet of water and 15 feet from the water's edge as we were strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation. The smallmouth bass and the other largemouth bass were caught on the TRD CrawZ rig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation in about five feet of water 10 to 15 feet from the water's edge.

We failed to elicit a strike around one steep main-lake point.

We fished a small portion of a massive shallow-water flat in the back of a major feeder-creek arm, which is littered with patches of bushy pondweed and coontail. We elicited two strikes, but failed to catch a black bass.

Around another steep main-lake point and along its adjacent main-lake shoreline and its adjacent shoreline that borders a large feeder-creek arm, we caught 15 largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass. This point and its adjacent shorelines possess a 35- to 70-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water's edge is adorned with occasional patches of American water willows, a couple patches of American pondweed, some overhanging trees, and many laydowns. There are significant patches of coontail littering portions of the shorelines. These black bass were caught on the PB&J TRD MinnowZ rig, the green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ rig, and a Z-Man's Junebug TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. They were caught either on the initial drop of these rigs or as we were employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

We caught 17 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass around a main-lake point, along a massive main-lake shoreline, and around another main-lake point. These points and shoreline possess a 25- to 50-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of clay, gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water's edge is lined with a few patches of American water willows, occasional patches of cottontail, scores of overhanging trees, and many laydowns. One largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. One was caught on the Junebug TRD MinnowZ rig. One smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass were caught on the TRD CrawZ rig. Four largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig. The rest of them were caught on either the PB&J TRD MinnowZ rig or the green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ rig. The bulk of them were caught on the initial drop of our rigs around the overhanging trees and laydowns. The others were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. We caught them in water as shallow as two feet and no deeper than six feet.

Four largemouth bass were caught around another main-lake point. It possesses a 35-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of clay, gravel, rocks, and some boulders. The water's edge is adorned with American water willows. There are significant patches of bushy pondweed and coontail in four to seven feet of water surrounding this point. One of the largemouth bass was caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig and three were caught on the PB&J TRD MinnowZ rig. We caught two on the initial drop of our rigs in about three feet of water near the outside edge of the American water willows. One was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation around a patch of coontail. One was caught on a deadstick presentation under the boat and on top of a patch of coontail.

Throughout the four hours that we were afloat, we worked with a variety of Midwest finesse rigs, including Z-Man's new TRD CrawZ. A significant number of the 65 black bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. One was caught on a drag-and-shake presentation. Another one was caught on a drag-and-deadstick presentation. One was caught on a deadstick presentation. The rest were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

June 24

Bob Hardy of St. Paul, Minnesota, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his outing in northwestern Wisconsin on June 24.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

I invited a good friend of mine to join me on June 24 to fish the same lake that my son, daughter-in-law, and I fished on June 17.

The air temperature was 74 degrees and the surface temperature was 74 degrees when we started fishing at 9:00 a.m. Both were 77 degrees when we left the lake at 1:00 p.m.

There is eight to 10 feet of water visibility around this lake. The underwater terrain consists of sand and gravel. There is some sparse emergent vegetation gracing parts of the shorelines. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has created spawning habitat by placing limbs and trunks from trees along a small segment of this lake's shorelines.

Most of this lake's black bass relate to the docks, boat lifts, and trees around the shorelines.

My friend fished as a boy and young man with his father, but he had not fished for many years. Yet, his casting skills with spinning gear were very good. Apparently, his muscle memory was still intact. What's more, he managed to catch three largemouth bass before I had a bite.

We used spinning outfits that were spooled with 10-pound-test braided lines and eight-pound-test fluorocarbon leaders. He used a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD TubeZ affixed to a black 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. I worked with a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig.

We caught 48 largemouth bass, two smallmouth bass, one northern pike, some rock bass and bluegill.

I continue to be impressed at how relatively easy it is for neophytes to fish with Midwest finesse rigs and tactics once they get a short introduction to it.

We encountered several fishermen who were actively working areas we were fishing, but we caught black bass from sites they had fished just minutes before we came behind them.

The black bass ranged in size from six to 16 inches. Most were 13 to 15 inches in length, which is quite respectful for an upper Midwest lake.

June 26

The Weather Underground reported that it was 69 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 82 degrees at 12:53 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being clear to being mostly cloudy to raining lightly to being overcast to being scattered with clouds and to having a thunderstorm. The wind angled out of the south, south by southwest, west by southwest, northwest, and north by northwest at 3 to 24 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.87 at 12:53 a.m., 29.86 at 5:53 a.m., 29.89 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.83 at 12:53 a.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 9:33 a.m. to 11:33 a.m., 9:57 p.m. to 11:57 p.m., and 3:21 a.m. to 5:21 a.m. Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished at one of the many community reservoirs that lies within the Kansas City metropolitan area. We began this outing at 10:00 a.m., and we fished until a thunderstorm erupted and a tornado warning was declared in an area east of where we were fishing.

The water clarity at this reservoir was affected by a minor algae bloom, which reduced the visibility to 12 to 20 inches. The surface temperature ranged from 80 to 81 degrees. The water level is normal.

During the two hours and 42 minutes that we fished we caught 29 largemouth bass, two warmouth, and one green sunfish.

In the lower half of the reservoir, we fished the dam, portions of the spillway, a tertiary point, and two offshore ledges and humps.

In the upper half of the reservoir, we fished four main-lake points and portions of three main-lake shorelines.

The underwater terrain of these areas consists of gravel, rocks, and some boulders. In the upper reaches of the reservoir, silt is part of the underwater terrain. These areas possess a slope of 20 to 55 degrees. The water's edges are littered with scores of docks, concrete retaining walls, and rock retaining walls. There are some shorelines and points that are adorned with patches of American water willows and coontail. Along portions of a few of the shorelines, there are a few overhanging trees.

The offshore humps and ledges were fruitless, as were the four main-lake points.

We caught five largemouth bass along the dam. Two were caught on a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. Three were caught on a Z-Man's Drew's craw TRD CrawZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Three were caught on the initial drop of these rigs in front of patches of American water willows in about three feet of water. Two were caught on a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in four to six feet of water.

//www.in-fisherman.com/files/2018/07/DSCN1939.jpg
Rick Hebenstreit with the first largemouth bass of the outing, and it is the first that he has caught on the new Z-Man's TRD Craw.

We caught one largemouth bass along the spillway in seven feet of water while we were employing a drag-and-shake presentation with the Finesse ShadZ rig.

We caught two largemouth bass associated with patches of American water willows and coontail around a tertiary point. One was caught on Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water around patches of coontail. The other one was caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig around a patch of American water willows.

We failed to catch a largemouth bass around the four main-lake points.

Along a 35-yard stretch of one shoreline, we caught two largemouth bass on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. They were caught on the initial drop in about three feet of water around patches of American pondweed and coontail.

Along a 350-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline we caught 13 largemouth bass. One of the 13 largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the TRD CrawZ rig in about four feet of water around an overhanging tree. One was caught in about three feet of water on the initial drop of a Z-Man's pearl Rain MinnowZ (which will soon be called the TRD MinnowZ) affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Two largemouth bass were caught along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows in about two feet of water on the initial drop of a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce VMC's NME Neon Moon Eye Jig. The other nine largemouth bass were caught on either a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig or a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. These nine largemouth bass were caught on either the initial drop of our rigs in about three feet of water or while we were employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in three to six feet of water. Some of the nine were associated with patches of coontail, and some were abiding in the vicinity of patches of American water willows, and some were abiding around overhanging trees, and one was adjacent to a concrete retaining wall.

We caught eight largemouth bass along a 200-yard stretch of another main-lake shoreline. They were caught on our Finesse ShadZ rigs and Hula StickZ rig. One was caught as we were dragging and shaking the Hula SitckZ rig in eight feet of water adjacent to a dock. The other seven were caught on either the initial drop of our rigs or as we were executing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Two were caught adjacent to concrete retaining walls in three to four feet of water. One was caught adjacent to a rock retaining wall in about three feet of water. One was caught in front of a patch of American water willows in about two feet of water. Two were abiding around patches of coontail in three to four feet of water. One was caught around an overhanging tree in about three to four feet of water.

In the sum, Mother Nature did not allow us to be afloat long enough to find the most effective location and presentation. But we did determine that a Junebug Midwest finesse rig was the most effective color. We did note that the flatter shorelines were as fruitful as the steeper ones. A friend, who is a power angler, was dissecting a massive offshore hump and ledge, where he caught several largemouth bass, but our offshore endeavors were for naught.

June 27

Tom Bett of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his June 27 outing.

Here is an edited version of his report:

As a colleague and I headed out for a day on the water on June 27, the weather forecast for east-central Wisconsin was somewhat optimistic. If correct, it appeared we would not be continuously operating in rain gear and fighting strong, cool winds.

Again, water conditions still resembled spring levels and flows, as the pool level was 0.2 feet above its normal summer level, and the flows into Lake Winnebago averaged 10,500 cubic feet per second. A blue-green algae bloom had erupted, causing water clarity to be less than two feet at all of the locations we fished.

We targeted the same types of locations that we fished on our June 22 trip, albeit in slightly different corners of the Winnebago Pool system. The day did provide us pleasant summer weather. A light wind angled out of the west. The sky exhibited a scenic mix of sun and clouds. The air temperatures were in the upper 70s. The surface temperature ranged from 74 to 77 degrees as function daytime heating.

We fished for 9.5 hours on this trip. We wanted to assess the morning bite. So, it began at 6:30 a.m.

It appeared the morning bite was a good thing to sample. At our first stop at the mouth of a small tributary stream, we experienced eight strikes on the first eight casts, and put six fish in the boat. The fish inhabited a shallow sand flat that is adorned with scattered pond weeds in two to three feet of water. These fish were actively feeding. They readily chased down our small swimbaits or the Z-Man's Finesse ShadZ that we retrieved with occasional pumps of the rod. The spot offered us a nice mix of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, and freshwater drum. Unfortunately, a number of northern pike were also present, and they were successful at reducing our supply of lures.

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One of the 17 largemouth bass that they caught.

As the day went on, we never hit another large pod of feeding fish. At the next 10 spots that we sampled, we did catch a few doubles, but mostly it was what we call a "build-a-stringer" routine, which consists of a very systematic probing of a location, which generated a fish here and a fish there.

By far our most productive lure was the Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby Finesse TRD affixed to a black 1/10-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig that we retrieved with a drag- hop-and-pause presentation. The Finesse ShadZ affixed to a 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig caught the biggest smallmouth bass of the day.

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One of the 28 smallmouth bass that the caught.

In sum, we measured 55 fish on this trip. The final total showed 28 smallmouth bass, 17 largemouth bass, seven walleye, two freshwater drum, and one channel catfish. Fifteen of the black bass were longer than14 inches. The biggest largemouth bass and smallmouth bass were 19-inchers. Additionally, we caught three tagged black bass from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Winnebago Pool Black Bass Pilot Study.

Our 45 black bass gave us a paltry four-bass-an-hour rate, which we did not mind a bit. Instead, we enjoyed pleasant weather and a nice mix of species to admire. The only downside to the day was the volume of tackle lost to voracious northern pike. We hope the local shops will be well stocked with replacement finesse baits so we can support our upcoming trips in a reasonable manner.

June 28

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

I conducted a solo outing at one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoirs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan areas.

When I arrived at the boat ramp at 7:30 a.m., it was sunny and 82 degrees. I was surprised to see that the boat ramp area was busy with anglers and skiers launching their boats. The wind was angling out of the south at 12 to 20 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.95 at 8:00 a.m. and 29.93 at noon. The afternoon high temperature was a scorching 101 degrees.

The black bass fishing at our Corps' reservoirs in north-central Texas has been mediocre at best in 2018. The submerged-ledge bite, which is typically one of our most fruitful patterns during the summer months, has not materialized. The riprap along the dams and bridge embankments have yielded a few bass now and then, but it has not been consistent. The boat-dock bite evaporated in May, and we have not found any threadfin shad or black bass inhabiting the floating tractor-tire reefs since the early fall of 2017. We did find some success fishing around some concrete support columns underneath a couple of bridges in late May and early June, but that pattern has petered out as well.

So, I spent four hours running around the south end of this reservoir, concentrating mostly on main-lake points, in search of 20 black bass, but I could inveigle only seven largemouth bass and six spotted bass.

The water level was 1.47 feet below normal. The surface temperature was 84 degrees. The water exhibited 18 to 24 inches of visibility.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, I could expect the best fishing to occur between 5:03 a.m. to 7:03 a.m., 5:28 p.m. to 7:28 p.m., and 11:16 p.m. to 1:16 a.m. I was afloat from 8:00 a.m. to noon.

My five spinning rods sported the following Z-Man Fishing Products' Midwest finesse rigs: a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig dressed with a 2 1/2-inch white lightning ZinkerZ, a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig sporting a 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ, a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig dressed with a prototype 2 1/2-inch Canada craw TRD CrawZ, a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig attached to a green-pumpkin TRD HogZ, and a green-pumpkin 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig affixed to a 2 3/4-inch The Deal TRD TubeZ.

I fished behind several other bass anglers in boats during this outing. They were power anglers and were employing topwater baits, deep-diving crankbaits and Carolina-rigged soft-plastic baits, but none of them reported that they were having much success.

I caught three largemouth bass and three spotted bass in three to five feet of water from four wind-blown main-lake points. These points are fairly flat with about a 15- to 20-degree slope. Their underwater terrain consists of red clay, gravel, baseball-size to basketball-size rocks, and a few submerged boulders that are about the size of a coffee table. I fished five other main-lake points that appear to be similar to the other four that surrendered the six largemouth and spotted bass, but I was unable to garner any strikes from them.

I caught three spotted bass from a 35-yard section of a clay, gravel, and boulder-strewn main-lake shoreline. These bass were relating to a group of submerged boulders in four to seven feet of water. Two were caught on the prototype 2 1/2-inch Canada craw TRD CrawZ as it was hopped and bounced across the bottom next to the submerged boulders. One was caught with the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ as it was retrieved over the top of a submerged boulder with a steady swimming presentation.

Four largemouth bass were caught from a rocky shoreline inside a large feeder-creek arm. This shoreline is flat and adorned with three concrete boat ramps, riprap, submerged boulders, and flooded stickups. These four largemouth bass were extracted from three to five feet of water and were relating to the ends of the three boat ramps. Three of them were beguiled by the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ and steady-swim retrieve. One was caught on the 2 1/2-inch white lightning ZinkerZ and a slow swim-glide-and shake retrieve.

I failed to cross paths with any black bass along the riprap that covers the dam and two bridge embankments, 11 concrete bridge support columns underneath a railroad trestle bridge, several large patches of flooded stickups on the south side of a main-lake island, two gravel and clay main-lake shorelines, and along the deep-water edge of some thick patches of flooded stickups that border a ditch that courses across a large mud flat inside a main-lake cove.

In sum, this was another lackluster outing. The 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ and steady swimming retrieve allured 10 of these 13 black bass. The prototype 2 1/2-inch Canada craw TRD CrawZ and a slow hop-and-bounce retrieve caught two spotted bass. The 2 1/2-inch white lightning Zinker and slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught one largemouth bass.

I failed to generate any strikes with The Deal TRD TubeZ and the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rigs.

June 29

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

It was another hot and humid day. The high temperature was 98 degrees with a heat index of 102 degrees. The morning low temperature was 76 degrees. The wind quartered out of the south by southeast at 15 to 25 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.84 at 8:00 a.m. and 29.76 at noon.

After I endured a frustrating and paltry outing at one of north-central Texas' U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs on June 28, I thought I would try to redeem myself at a different Corps' reservoir on June 29. Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, joined me for this four-hour endeavor.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar table, the best fishing would take place between 12:06 a.m. to 2:06 a.m., 11:41 a.m. to 1:41 p.m., and 12:06 p.m. to 2:06 p.m. Roger and I fished from 8:00 a.m. to noon.

The water exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 85 degrees. The water level was 1.05 feet low.

We concentrated our attentions along a series of 11 main-lake points and five main-lake shorelines in the northwest region of this impoundment. Along the southern end, we plied two main-lake points, a small portion of a large feeder-creek arm, two-thirds of the riprap that covers the dam, and a section of open water in front of the dam, which we call "the boils."

Some of the main-lake points are flat and their underwater terrains consist of clay and gravel. The other ones are steeper, and their underwater terrains consist of sandstone, rocks, and submerged boulders.

None of these locales were very productive. We caught one spotted bass from one of the points in the northwest section of the reservoir. It was extracted from the side of a submerged boulder in five feet of water at one of the steeper points that was entertaining a few pods of small half-inch size threadfin shad fry that were abiding in three to eight feet of water and within 20 feet of the water's edge.

One of the two main-lake points that is situated on the reservoir's southern shoreline relinquished two largemouth bass. These largemouth bass were foraging on the small threadfin shad along the surface in five feet of water. The other main-lake point was fruitless.

The five main-lake shorelines that we fished varied in size from 25 to 40 yards in length and were adjacent to several of the main-lake points. Their geology consisted of red clay, gravel, and rocks, and they are adorned with patches of partially flooded terrestrial vegetation. None of them attracted any significant concentrations of threadfin shad, and none of them yielded any largemouth bass, spotted bass, or smallmouth bass.

In the upper reaches of the feeder-creek arm, we fished portions of a flat clay and gravel shoreline and its adjacent secondary point, which is rock laden and close to the main creek channel. We did not locate any black bass along the flat shoreline. We caught one largemouth bass from the tip of the rocky secondary point in six feet of water and 10 feet from the water's edge.

We spent about an hour dissecting the submerged riprap along the dam, and that endeavor was mostly a waste of time. It yielded one largemouth bass, which was abiding in four feet of water and about five feet from the water's edge.

We finished the outing at "the boils." There are three boils. Each of them are about 35 yards long and about 10 to 15 yards wide. The "boils" are formed by several large submerged aerator vents. The vents release large columns of oxygen that makes the surface of the water appear to be boiling. The aerator vents are on the bottom of the reservoir and are covered with 53 feet of water. It is a well-known white bass hot spot.

This was our most fruitful locale. We caught five largemouth bass and one white bass that were suspended about five feet below the surface in 53 feet of water. They were relating to the outside edges of the "boils," which is where the water was not being churned up by the large columns of released oxygen.

Overall, we felt a bit discouraged by today's results, and we quickly came to the conclusion that our long streak of wretched bass fishing is not over. We caught a measly total of nine black bass and one white bass in four hours. Eight of the black bass were largemouth bass, and one was a spotted bass. We failed to cross paths with any smallmouth bass.

Of all the Midwest finesse lures and presentations that we employed during this outing, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on either a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig or a chartreuse 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig, which were presented with a moderately-fast-paced steady retrieve, bewitched seven of the nine black bass and the one white bass. A shortened Z-Man's pearl Hula StickZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve tricked one largemouth bass. A Z-Man's shinerFinesse ShadZ fastened on a green-pumpkin 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught the other largemouth bass.

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