Midwest Finesse Fishing: March 2017

Midwest Finesse Fishing: March 2017

Our March guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 24 logs and 23,049 words that explain how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished. It features the piscatorial efforts of Rick Allen of Dallas; Linda Allen of Dallas; Ted Becharas of San Diego; Matt Boldra of Conifer, Colorado;  Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas; Paul Finn of Olathe, Kansas; Merit Goodman of Eudora, Kansas; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Thomas Heinen of Topeka, Kansas; Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas; Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas; George Nochta of Santee, California; Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; Mike Trometer of Plano, Texas; as well as my northeastern Kansas logs.


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

Mar. 2 log


Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 2 outing.


Here is an edited version of his log:

What a splendid late-winter day. The wind had finally died down and was light and variable. The morning was cool and crisp with a low temperature of 41 degrees. The afternoon high rebounded to 66 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.48 at 11:00 a.m. and was 30.42 at 4:00 p.m.

I joined Rick Allen of Dallas at one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoirs in north-central Texas. As we were entering the state park and driving toward the boat ramp, we stopped for a moment to admire several whitetail deer that were foraging close to the roadway.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the prime fishing periods would occur from 1:23 a.m. to 3:23 a.m., 7:36 a.m. to 9:36 a.m., and 1:49 p.m. to 3:49 p.m. Rick and I fished from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

This reservoir was our most bountiful waterway in 2016, but it has never been a good wintertime venue. In fact, the few black bass anglers who ply this reservoir in January and February hope to catch only one or two black bass during an eight-hour outing, and they would consider those paltry results a successful day. The last time I fished here was on December 7, 2016, and I had to quickly end the outing after my wife, Nancy, called me on my cell phone and informed me that she had fallen and broken her leg in our garage.

On this March 2 outing, Rick and I concentrated our efforts inside two large feeder-creek arms and one main-lake cove. The two feeder creeks are located in the east tributary arm of the reservoir and the main-lake cove is situated on the south end of the west tributary arm.

The first feeder-creek arm was the most fruitful area. It encompasses several coves and secondary points, and a large island. Partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation line many yards of its shoreline.

The water in this feeder creek  was stained with about two feet of visibility. The water temperature ranged from 55 to 57 degrees. The water level was at normal pool.

We caught 15 largemouth bass inside this feeder-creek arm. Eight were caught in less than five feet of water from two points that lie at the entrance of two of the coves. Four largemouth bass were caught in six feet of water from a rocky secondary point about halfway inside the creek arm. Two largemouth bass were caught in three feet of water from a secondary point inside one of the coves. One largemouth bass was caught from the north side of the island in three feet of water.

The second feeder-creek arm lies about a mile north of the first one. It also contains several rocky secondary points, a couple of large mud flats, five coves, and several submerged rock ledges that parallel the shoreline in less than five feet of water. Partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation also adorns the water's edge of several secondary points and large portions of the interior shorelines of the five coves.

The water inside this feeder creek was 57 degrees and stained. The water clarity was about 1 1/2 feet.

This was our least fruitful locale. We caught one largemouth bass from a main-lake point at the mouth of this creek arm. This bass was relating to a thick patch of partially-flooded bushes in three feet of water. We failed to locate any black bass along the submerged rock ledges, three rocky secondary points, or at the mouth of one of the smaller coves.

The water was dingy inside the main-lake cove on the west side of the reservoir; it exhibited about a foot of visibility. The water temperature varied from 56 to 58 degrees. We caught five largemouth bass and one freshwater drum inside this cove. Three of the five largemouth bass were caught along the north shoreline in three to six feet of water. They were abiding next to a couple of patches of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation that were intertwined with several large submerged boulders.  Two of the five largemouth bass and one freshwater drum were caught in three to five feet of water from a clay secondary point on the east side of the cove.  They were caught along the outside edges of several partially-flooded bushes.

Steve Reideler with one of the 21 largemouth bass that he and Rick Allen caught.

All totaled, we caught 21 largemouth bass in 4 1/2 hours, which is the most black bass that we have ever caught from this reservoir during the month of March. We lost three others that were able to pull free before we could land them, and we elicited several strikes that we failed to hook.

Ten largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man Fishing Products'  green-pumpkin-red-flake ZinkerZ affixed on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head jig. A blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig dressed with a shortened Z-Man's molting craw Hula StickZ beguiled nine largemouth bass and the freshwater drum. Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We experimented with all six of the Midwest finesse retrieves, and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the only effective presentation.

Mar. 3 log

Mother Nature's windy ways kept me and scores of northeastern Kansas anglers at bay on Mar. 1 and 2.  To these anglers' chagrin, she did not relent on Mar. 3, which was a miserable day to be afloat. It, however, gave me an opportunity to work with a new Lindy Fishing Tackle's 48-inch Magnum Series Drift Sock at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs, and it worked well. But because of the wind, I had a difficult time keeping my hat from being blown off my bald head.  I also had a difficult time finding and catching largemouth bass, and the wind might have had something to do with that struggle.

(I have not written about drift socks since Mar. 1, 2012; see that column at this link: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/spring-winds-and-drift-socks/. Across the years, we have found them to be an essential and inexpensive tool for helping Midwest finesse anglers to deal with the wind, As the spring of 2017 unfolds, I am hoping to spend some time writing a detailed gear guide for our Midwest Finesse column about drifts socks — especially big drift socks. And this outing was the beginning of this endeavor.)

The Weather Underground reported that it was 19 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 60 degrees at 3:52 p.m.  It was sunny.  The wind angled out of the northeast, east by northeast, east by southeast, southeast, and south by southeast at 4 to 28 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.56 at 12:52 a.m., 30.61 at 5:52 a.m., 30.51 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.29 at 3:52 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 46 to 49 degrees.  The water exhibited two to four feet of visibility.  The water level looked to be normal.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 2:14 a.m. to 4:14 a.m., 2:41 p.m. to 4:41 p.m., and 8:28 a.m. to 10:28 a.m. I fished from 11:00 a.m. to 2:58 p.m., and during those 238 minutes the wind howled at 18 to 25 mph. It was angling out of the southeast, but it was swirling from a multitude of directions, which provoked me to use the drift sock about 90 percent of the time.

At times, I hid from the wind. At other times, I battled the wind. I caught seven largemouth bass when I was hiding from it, and I caught 13 when I was tangling with it.

Because of the wind, I did not ply any main-lake locales.  Instead, I fished portions of six shorelines inside four feeder-creek arms.

The underwater terrains of these shorelines consist of gravel and rocks, and some portions are littered with boulders. Some sections of the shorelines have a 45-degree slope, and other sections have a 25- to 30-degrees slope.  The water's edge along many yards of these shorelines are graced with patches of American water willows, as well as some laydowns, stumps, beaver huts, and brush piles. Some of these shorelines are endowed with patches of curly-leaf pondweed that are covered with 3 1/2 to seven feet of water.

I caught 10 largemouth bass along one of the north shorelines. These largemouth bass were abiding in five to nine feet of water.  Five of them were extracted off a pile of boulders. Two of them were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and three of them were caught on a three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype finesse creature bait affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. (On Feb. 27, I lost my prototype finesse creature bait in a brush pile, but on Mar. 2, Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, dropped by our house and gave me two of the first edition prototypes to use, and I am thankful, indeed, for his generous hand. The prototype finesse creature bait has been my most effective bait since Jan. 31.)  Along a 60-yard section of this north shoreline, I caught five largemouth bass that were abiding in five to 10 feet of water. One was caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and four were caught on the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype finesse creature bait affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I caught seven of the 10 largemouth bass by strolling and employing a drag-and-shake retrieve. I caught three largemouth bass by casting and implementing a drag-and-shake retrieve.

I caught one largemouth bass in four feet of water along a north shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm. It was caught on the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype finesse creature bait affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I caught it while I was strolling and executing a drag-and-shake retrieve.

 I caught five largemouth bass along a north shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm. One was caught in four feet of water on the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype finesse creature bait affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was employing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. I caught one largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in seven feet of water on a rock-laden ledge in seven to eight feet of water while I was strolling and using a drag-and-deadstick presentation. I caught three largemouth bass on the prototype finesse creature bait on a rock pile in four to six feet of water while I was using a drag-and-shake presentation.

I caught three largemouth bass adjacent to a minor laydown along a south shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm. These largemouth bass were abiding in three to four feet of water. They were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. One was caught on a drag-and-shake presentation.  The second one was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The third one was caught on a drag-and-deadstick presentation.

I caught two largemouth bass along an east shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm. One was caught on the prototype finesse creature bait in four feet of water while I was strolling and using a drag-and-deadstick presentation. The second one was caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in five to six feet of water while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-deadstick retrieve. I failed to elicit a strike along a 100-yard stretch of the west shoreline of this feeder-creek arm.

While the wind kept me at bay on Mar. 1 and Mar. 2, I engaged in several telephone conversations with Bill Ward of Warsaw, Missouri, and John Kehde of Sedalia, Missouri. They talked about how they were fishing and what they were catching at one of the large reservoirs in the northern Ozarks of central Missouri. Bill Ward reported that the surface temperature was 46 degrees, and he was catching a surprising and impressive number of largemouth bass and spotted bass along main-lake shorelines and points by using a Z-Man's California craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a 1/32-ounce homemade jig. John Kehde reported that he and Lakin Kehde of Sedalia, Missouri, were catching an array of species and vast numbers of them along main-lake shorelines by using a 1/8-ounce marabou jig.  They said the wind was bad, and irksome, but it is rarely as severe and debilitating in the Ozarks as it is on the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas.

Mar. 8 log

Mother Nature's windy ways have buffeted  many locales across the Midwest during the first eight days of March.  For instance, we talked with Bill Ward of Warsaw, Missouri, around 6:00 p.m. on Mar.  7, and he reported that he and Lakin Kehde of Sedalia, Missouri, had just endured one of the most blusterous days afloat that he can remember enduring, and Bill has been fishing for nearly eight decades at many locales around the world.  And at 5:27 p.m. on Mar. 8, we received an email from our daughter Anna Kehde who reported that the wind around Lansing, Michigan, was howling  at 40 to 60 mph at times.

To our relief, Mother Nature's windy ways subsided substantially around northeastern Kansas on Mar. 8.  The Weather Underground reported that between 4:53 a.m. and 3:53 p.m., the wind angled out of the south, southwest, and south by southwest at 3 to 24 mph.  From sunrise to sundown, there were a few scattered clouds occasionally littering the sky, but the sun shone intensely throughout the daylight hours. It was 35 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 64 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The barometric pressure was 30.22 at 12:53 a.m., 30.24 at 5:53 a.m., 30.21 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.11 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 6:49 a.m. to 8:49 a.m., 7:17 p.m. to 9.17 p.m., and 12:35 a.m. to 2:35 a.m.

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, Merit Goodman of Eudora, Kansas, and I took advantage of Mother Nature's change of pace, and we were afloat from 9:30 a.m. to 3:43 p.m. at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs. During this spell, we engaged in one of our traditional late-winter Midwest finesse tactics, which we call bass fishing for trout.

The water level at this community reservoir looked to be normal. The water clarity exhibited five to eight feet of visibility.  The surface temperature ranged from 47 to 49 degrees. There are coontail patches galore littering many of this reservoir's shorelines and shallow-water flats.

We fished five main-lake points, the shorelines and flats inside seven feeder-creek arms, and about a 75-yard section of the dam.

We caught 110 largemouth bass and 21 rainbow trout, during the six hours and 13 minutes that we were afloat.

Merit Goodman with one of the 21 rainbow trout that we caught.

Four of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. Five largemouth bass were caught on a jerkbait. The other 101 largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Bass Pro Shops' Shroom Heads, and a three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype finesse creature bait affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

The preponderance of the largemouth bass was caught while we were employing either a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation or a drag-and-deadstick retrieve. Some were caught on an extremely slow swimming presentation.  A few were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Several were caught when we were employing a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

The bulk of the largemouth bass were caught in six to eight feet of water.

We caught 79 largemouth bass along a 100-yard stretch of a south shoreline and its adjacent coontail flat inside one of the seven feeder-creek arms that we fished. The underwater terrain of this shoreline and flat consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, and silt; portions of this terrain are adorned with patches of coontail and a brush pile or two.  The water's edge of the shoreline is stippled with several significant laydowns.

One rock-and-boulder-laden and relatively steep main-lake point yielded two largemouth bass. Another rock-and-boulder-laden and relatively steep main-lake point yielded four largemouth bass. We caught one largemouth bass along a flat and gravel-laden main-lake point that is enhanced with patches of coontail. We failed to elicit a strike at two rock-and-boulder-laden and relatively steep main-lake points.

We caught eight largemouth bass along the rocks and boulders that litter the dam, and some of those rocks and boulders are graced with patches of coontail.

Along the shorelines and on the flats inside the other six feeder-creek arms, we struggled to locate and catch 16 largemouth bass, and 11 of these were associated with patches of coontail. Five of them were associated with rocks and boulders.  And there were many yards of shorelines and square yards of flats where we failed to elicit a strike.

Eight of the rainbow trout were caught along the dam. Six rainbow trout were caught along the shoreline inside the feeder-creek arm where we caught 79 largemouth bass. Five rainbow trout were caught along a north shoreline and its adjacent flat inside another feeder-creek arm. Two rainbow trout were caught on a coontail flat in the back of another feeder-creek arm.

One rainbow trout was caught on the Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. Four rainbow trout were caught on the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype finesse creature bait affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The rest of them were caught on either the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Bass Pro Shops' Shroom Heads.  The rainbow trout were caught on four of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves: a slow and straight swimming retrieve, a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve, drag-and-subtle-shake retrieve, and a drag-and-deadstick retrieve.

Mar. 8 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I fished at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas on Mar. 8. We relished fishing underneath a beautiful powder-blue sky that was decorated with a few wispy clouds. The radiant sun was warm and shining everywhere. The wind quartered out of the southeast at 15 to 20 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.27 at 12:47 p.m. and dropped to 30.15 by 4:47 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the most productive fishing phases would occur from 12:44 a.m. to 2:44 a.m., 6:58 a.m. to 8:58 a.m., and 7:26 p.m. to 9:26 p.m. Norman and I were afloat from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The water level was normal. The water was stained with about a foot of visibility. The water temperature ranged from 59 to 61 degrees.

We spent the entire 3 1/2 hours searching for pre-spawn largemouth bass inside three large coves on the south end of the reservoir. The underwater terrains inside these coves are composed of clay, rocks, gravel, and boulders. Most of the shorelines are steep and adorned with secondary points, tertiary points, a few shallow mud flats, several concrete boat ramps, and numerous covered boat docks. Remnants of a few patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation enhance a few stretches of the shorelines.

Overall, we enjoyed tangling with 24 largemouth bass, which is considered a good outing for north-central Texas in early March. The fishing, however, started off slow, and it took us about 45 minutes to cross paths with the first largemouth bass. The last hour was also trying as we struggled to catch two largemouth bass.

The first cove we fished relinquished 17 largemouth bass, and we caught them along the east side of this cove.

Eleven of those 17 largemouth bass were caught in 13 to 15 feet of water off the end of a rock-laden secondary point that lies in the middle of the cove. To counter the effects of the wind, we secured the boat to a covered boat dock that was in close proximity to the point and floated in 15 feet of water. All of these largemouth bass were caught on either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Both of these ZinkerZ rigs were employed with a drag-and-shake retrieve down the slope of the point.

Norman Brown with one of the 24 largemouth bass that he and Steve Reideler caught.

Six of the 17 largemouth bass were caught in nine to 13 feet of water, and they were situated about 15 to 20 feet away from the water's edge along a steep shoreline that is adjacent to the secondary point that yielded 11 largemouth bass.  We kept the boat close to the shoreline in two to four feet of water and made our casts into the deeper water. Four bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ and the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ rigs.  The other two were caught on a shortened Z-Man's black-blue-flake Hula StickZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and these two bass were the only ones we could allure with this combo. These bass preferred a swim-glide-and-shake presentation rather than the drag-and-shake presentation across the bottom. We also elicited a couple of strikes that we failed to hook.

The second cove was not as fruitful as the first one. It yielded five largemouth bass. They were caught in five to 13 feet of water from two secondary points on the east side of the cove. Two of the five were caught along a boulder-laden and flat secondary point near the mouth of the cove on the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Three largemouth bass were caught in 11 to 13 feet of water from a rocky secondary point about halfway inside the cove on the coppertreuse ZinkerZ and drag-and-shake presentation along the downward slope of the point. One was caught on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ implemented with a a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

The third cove surrendered two largemouth bass. They were caught along the west shoreline in less than five feet of water. One was caught on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ, and the other one was caught on the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ. Both of these rigs were employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We failed to garner any strikes with a slow drag-and-shake presentation.

In sum, the bulk of these largemouth bass were relating to the deep-water ends of three rocky secondary points in 11 to 15 feet of water in the middle sections of the coves. A few were associated with the steeper shorelines adjacent to the secondary points in nine to 13 feet of water. Twenty-two of the 24 largemouth bass were caught about 20 to 40 feet from the water's edge. The east shorelines of the coves were more fruitful than the west shorelines. The shallow mud flats, covered boat docks, and the back ends of the coves were devoid of bass. Only two bass were caught near the mouths of the coves. We did not fish around any of the boat ramps.

It appears to us that it may take another week or two of warm weather before the water warms into the low 60s, which is when we typically find largemouth bass engaging in some of their spawning rituals in the back ends of these coves.

Mar. 9 log 

The Weather Underground reported that it was 33 degrees at 6:53 a.m., 68 degrees at 12:53 p.m., and 60 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The wind was calm at times, and at other times, it angled out of the north by northwest, southeast, north, northeast, and north by northeast at 3 to 13 mph. The sky was clear for a long spell, and then in the afternoon, it fluctuated from being scattered with clouds to being mostly cloudy to being overcast.  The barometric pressure was 30.06 at 12:53 a.m., 30.04 at 5:53 a.m., 29.97 at 11.53 a.m., and 30.00 at 2:53 p.m. While we were afloat, a significant series of thunderstorms and hail storms walloped the southern portions of northeastern Kansas and traversed into western Missouri.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing on Mar. 9 would take place from 7:41 a.m. to 9:41 a.m., 8:08 p.m. to 10:08 p.m., and 1:28 a.m. to 3:28 a.m.

From 10:20 a.m. to 2:20 p.m., Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, and I went bass fishing for trout at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs. And it was a task for us to catch 26 largemouth bass and two rainbow trout. Twenty of those 26 were caught in 89 minutes, and then we fished for 151 minutes and struggled to catch six largemouth bass.

The water level was normal.  The water clarity exhibited seven to eight feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 51 to 53 degrees. But another angler reported that his boat's thermometer recorded the surface temperature at 50 degrees. We were able to find only one area that was adorned with submerged aquatic vegetation, which is on a shallow-water flat about 75 percent of the way inside a feeder-creek arm. These patches of aquatic vegetation consisted of several patches of sickly-looking Eurasian milfoil, and some of those patches were partially covered with filamentous algae.

While we were fishing six main-lake points, 50-yards of the dam, and portions of two main-lake shorelines, we failed to elicit a strike.

We fished portions of seven shorelines inside four feeder-creek arms. And we failed to elicit a strike along  one of these shorelines.

Along the south shoreline inside one feeder-creek arm, two largemouth bass and one rainbow trout were caught in four to seven feet of water.  The underwater terrain of this shoreline consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The slope of the terrain is about a 45-degree grade. The water's edge is graced with an array of laydowns and several patches of American water willows. A three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype finesse creature bait affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was strolled with a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation caught one of the largemouth bass. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's ShroomZ Finesse jig that was strolled with a straight dragging retrieve caught one largemouth bass and the rainbow trout.

Along the south shoreline and around one of its tertiary points inside another feeder-creek arm, we caught four largemouth bass in three feet of water.   The underwater terrain of this shoreline consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The slope of the terrain varies from a 35- to a 40-degree grade. The water's edge is embellished with patches of American water willows. Along this shoreline, there are three manmade brush piles that are anchored in eight to 12 feet of water. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype finesse creature bait affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One of those three was caught on the initial drop of that rig, and the other two were caught on a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation. One largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed to a  chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's ShroomZ Finesse jig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation.  Along the north shoreline of this feeder-creek arm, we caught one largemouth bass around a laydown on the initial drop of the mud minnow Hula StickZ rig. The makeup of this shoreline is similar to the south one.

Inside the fourth feeder-creek arm that we fished, we caught eight largemouth bass in four to eight feet of water along a 150-yard stretch of one of its north shorelines. The underwater terrain of this shoreline consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The slope of the terrain varies from a 30- to a 45-degree grade. Portions of the water's edge are embellished with patches of American water willows and 10 laydowns. There are several manmade brush piles that are anchored in 10 to 14 feet of water. Four of the largemouth bass were caught on the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype finesse creature bait affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was strolled with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. Two were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's ShroomZ Finesse jig that was strolled with a straight dragging presentation. One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man's California craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was strolled with a straight dragging presentation. One bass was caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was strolled with a drag-and-deadstick retrieve.Along a 75-yard stretch of another north shoreline inside the fourth feeder-creek arm, we caught six largemouth bass and one rainbow trout in three to four feet of water. The underwater terrain of this shoreline consists of gravel, rocks, and silt. The slope of its terrain is about a 20-degree grade. The water's edge is lined with riprap and patches of American water willows. This shoreline borders a shallow-water flat that is stippled with some paltry patches of Eurasian milfoil, and there were bits of Eurasian milfoil adjacent to the outside edge of some of the patches of American water willows. Four of the largemouth bass and the rainbow trout were caught on the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype finesse creature bait affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was strolled with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. One largemouth bass was caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's ShroomZ Finesse jig that was strolled with a straight dragging presentation.

Along a 75-yard stretch of another north shoreline inside the fourth feeder-creek arm, we caught six largemouth bass and one rainbow trout in three to four feet of water. The underwater terrain of this shoreline consists of gravel, rocks, and silt. The slope of its terrain is about a 20-degree grade. The water's edge is lined with riprap and patches of American water willows. This shoreline borders a shallow-water flat that is stippled with some paltry patches of Eurasian milfoil, and there were bits of Eurasian milfoil adjacent to the outside edge of some of the patches of American water willows. Four of the largemouth bass and the rainbow trout were caught on the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype finesse creature bait affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was strolled with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. One largemouth bass was caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's ShroomZ Finesse jig that was strolled with a straight dragging presentation.

Along a 50-yard stretch of one of the south shorelines inside the fourth feeder-creek arm, we caught five largemouth bass in three to six feet of water. The underwater terrain of this shoreline consists of gravel, rock, and boulders. The slope of the terrain was about 40 degrees. The water's edge has one minor laydown, two significant laydowns, and four scrawny American water willow patches.  Four of the largemouth bass were caught on the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype finesse creature bait affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One of the five largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

After we spent four arduous hours bass fishing for trout, I was ready to head home.  But Dave said he wanted to try to fish for trout with his standard Kansas trout tactics, and I said I would join him for another 30 minutes or so.  As Dave pursued the trout,  he wielded a tiny trout spoon, and I used a Z-Man's bubble gum Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Ultimately, we spent about 45 minutes dissecting the shallow-water flat and portions of its adjacent shorelines in the back of the fourth feeder-creek arm. During the final 10 minutes, Dave switched to a Z-Man's bubble gum Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, too.  Periodically, I made a few casts and retrieves with the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype finesse creature bait affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  Our bubble gum Finesse T.R.D. rigs caught three rainbow trout. Those rigs also elicited 10 strikes that we failed to hook, and we hooked two rainbow trout that liberated themselves before we could lift them across the gunnels of Dave's boat. What's more, we inadvertently caught seven largemouth bass. The three rainbow trout and four of the largemouth bass were caught as we were employing either a drag-and-deadstick retrieve or a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve with our bubble gum Finesse T.R.D. rigs in four to six feet of water. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on the prototype finesse creature bait with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve.

To my chagrin, this prototype is on its last leg, and there are no more to be had.

Mar. 10 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

I joined Rick Allen of Dallas at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

This reservoir was our most fruitful one in 2015, and it was fruitful until November of 2016.   Since then, the black bass fishing has been problematic.  For instance, on Nov. 13, 2016, the fishing became so trying and exasperating that I eked out only six black bass in three hours.  Consequently, I did not return to this impoundment again until March 3, 2017, when I endured another horrid outing and caught only nine largemouth bass in three hours.

The Weather Underground noted that the morning low on March 10 was 57 degrees and the afternoon high was 71 degrees. The sky was overcast throughout the morning and became partly cloudy by 3:00 p.m.  The wind was a nuisance as it angled out of the north and northwest at 14 to 16 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.27 at 10:00 a.m. and 30.15 at 4:00 p.m.

The water was mostly stained with about a foot of visibility. The surface temperature varied from 57 degrees on the main lake to 63 degrees in the back end of a feeder-creek arm.   The water level was normal.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar listed the most productive fishing periods occurring from 2:21 a.m. to 4:21 a.m., 8:34 a.m. to 10:34 a.m., and 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Rick and I fished from about 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Our undertaking began at the dam, which forms the east perimeter of the impoundment.  The water temperature was 57 degrees. Rick and I spent 80 minutes dissecting the many yards of the dam's riprap, and we caught three largemouth bass that were abiding in three to eight feet of water. We hooked another largemouth bass that was able to pull free before we could land it. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man's black-blue-flake Hula StickZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and one was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's black-blue Finesse WormZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These baits were employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

After we fished the dam, we ventured inside a feeder-creek arm that lies just west of the dam on the southeast end of the reservoir.

This feeder-creek arm contains a large marina, several rocky and steep shorelines, five coves, 10 secondary points, and a bridge. The water temperature was 57 degrees.

We plied several secondary points, a small cove, a small submerged rock ledge underneath the west end of the bridge, and a couple of the steep shorelines. We hooked one largemouth bass on the shortened black-blue-flake Hula StickZ rig in four feet of water along a rocky secondary point in the midsection of the creek arm, but it was able to break the line on a submerged obstruction. We also elicited a couple of strikes at two other secondary points that we failed to hook.

After that, we traveled to another feeder-creek arm, which is located on the north end of the reservoir.  This feeder creek splits into two arms. The east arm features a large marina, an island, several rocky secondary points, two bluff-like shorelines, several coves, and two steep shorelines with a submerged creek channel that courses next to them. The water temperature ranged from 59 degrees at the mouth of this feeder creek to 63 degrees inside a small cove in the northern region of the east creek arm. The west arm is similar to the east one, but it does not contain a marina or an island. We concentrated our efforts in the east arm.

We caught 14 largemouth bass inside this feeder-creek arm. One bluff-like shoreline yielded three largemouth bass that were caught in five to eight feet of water and many yards apart from each other.  Another largemouth bass was caught from the north side of the island in six feet of water.  A secondary point at the mouth of a cove in the middle of the creek arm relinquished three largemouth bass that were abiding in four to nine feet of water. Three largemouth bass were caught along one of the two steep creek-channel shorelines, and three more largemouth bass were caught from the other steep creek-channel shoreline.  These six largemouth bass were caught in five to 11 feet of water. The fourteenth largemouth bass was caught in five feet of water next to a patch of flooded terrestrial vegetation inside a small cove on the north end of the creek arm.

Twelve bass were caught on the shortened black-blue Hula StickZ rig and slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's black-blue ZinkerZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These rigs were employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation or a slow drag-and-shake presentation.

Rick Allen with one of the largemouth bass that he and Steve Reideler caught.

We spent about 30 minutes vertically fishing jigging spoons around a large school of fish that we were unable to identify. This large school of fish was dwelling near the bottom of the main creek channel in 35 feet of water, and we failed to generate any strikes with the jigging spoons.

Fifteen of the largemouth bass weighed between 1 1/4 pounds and 2 3/4 pounds. Two largemouth bass were under 12 inches in length.  The heftiest one weighed four pounds, six ounces.

Mar. 13 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 13 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

A cold front and a couple of rain storms passed through the Dallas and Ft. Worth metropolitan areas during the early morning hours of March. 13. But the rain did not deter Mike Trometer of Plano, Texas, and me from introducing him to the many virtues of Midwest finesse tactics at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 50 degrees at 7:00 a.m. and 64 degrees at 4:00 p.m. After the rain moved off to the southeast, the sky remained overcast until 2:00 p.m., and then it became partly cloudy. A robust wind angled out of the north at 16 to 22 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.18 at 10:00 a.m. and 30.16 at 4:00 p.m.

The best fishing periods, according to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, would take place from 5:43 a.m. to 7:43 a.m., 11:31 a.m. to 1:31 p.m., and 11:54 p.m. to 1:54 a.m. Mike and I fished from about 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The water was stained with about 1 1/4 feet of visibility. The water level was normal. The water temperature ranged from 59 to 60 degrees.

We tried to hide from the wind inside three large coves. Each of these coves contains a large marina. The shorelines and underwater terrains of these coves consist of red clay, gravel, fist-size rocks, and boulders. The shorelines are steep.

We caught 11 largemouth bass and lost two others along the east side of the first cove.  Eight of them were abiding in three to five feet of water along two steep clay and gravel shorelines. Five of these eight largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two were caught on a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and one was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. All three of these lures were employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Mike Trometer with one of the 20 largemouth bass that he and Steve Reideler caught.

Three largemouth bass were caught in 15 feet of water off the end of a rock-laden secondary point. These three largemouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which was presented with a slow  drag-and-shake retrieve.

We failed to elicit any strikes from several of the covered boat docks, three prominent secondary points, and two mud flats located on the west and south sides of the cove.

The second cove yielded eight largemouth bass. Six of these largemouth bass were caught in three to five feet of water from three secondary points on the east side of the cove. One was caught from a clay and silt-laden flat just north of the three secondary points. One largemouth bass was caught from a steep clay and gravel shoreline on the west side of the cove. They were caught on the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We failed to elicit any strikes with the shortened green-pumpkin Hula StickZ rig.

The third cove surrendered only one largemouth bass. This bass was caught from a steep west-side shoreline in less than five feet of water. It was caught on the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig as it was being retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

In sum, it was a chore for us to catch 20 largemouth bass. But this trying endeavor gave Mike the opportunity to see the effectiveness of Midwest finesse tactics in adverse conditions.

Mar. 16 log

Until Mar. 16, Old Man Winter and Mother Nature's windy ways had kept me at bay since Mar. 9.  For instance, area thermometers plummeted to 17 degrees on Mar. 14 and 15. The wind howled at 24 mph on Mar. 10 and 33 mph on Mar. 13. It snowed on Mar. 11 and Mar. 14.

It was windy on Mar. 16, but it was warm. The warm weather provoked my old bones to get afloat.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 30 degrees at 7:52 a.m. and 71 degrees at 4:52 p.m. It was sunny most of the time, but there was a brief spell when the sky became overcast. The wind angled out of the east, east by southeast, south by southeast, southeast, and south at 6 to 27 mph.  The barometric pressure was 30.28 at 12:52 a.m., 20.19 at 5:52 a.m., 30.09 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.98 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 1:51 a.m. to 3:51 a.m., 2:13 p.m. to 4:13 p.m., and 8:02 a.m. to 10:02 a.m.  I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs from 10:46 a.m. to 2:46 p.m.

The water level at this reservoir looked to be a tad below normal.  The water exhibited about 2 1/2 feet of visibility.  The surface temperature ranged from 44 degrees to 48 degrees. (It is interesting to note that the surface temperature at one of the nearby community reservoirs that Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, and I fished on Mar. 9 hit a high temperature of 53 degrees.)

I fished about 120 feet of one wind-blown main-lake shoreline, and I failed to elicit a strike. I used a mega drift sock and tried to fish a shoreline along the east side of a feeder-creek arm, where I failed to garner a strike.

During the rest of the outing, I hid from the wind inside three feeder-creek arms and focused on dissecting five shorelines. And I caught 43 largemouth bass.

The underwater terrains of these shorelines consist of gravel and rocks, and some portions are littered with boulders. Some of the boulders are humongous. There are also a couple of terrains that consist of a bit of silt and sand.  A few sections of the shorelines have a 45- to 60-degree slope, and other sections have a 20- to 30-degree slope.  The water's edge along many yards of these shorelines are graced with patches of winter-dead American water willows, as well as some laydowns, stumps, beaver huts, and brush piles. Some of these shorelines and adjacent flats are endowed with patches of curly-leaf pondweed that are covered with four to seven feet of water. Four of the five shorelines are cluttered with a few docks.  There are several concrete and rock retaining walls along three of the shorelines.

The steep shorelines failed to yield a strike.

I spent two hours fishing portions of the north and south shorelines inside one feeder-creek arm.  I caught 18 largemouth bass along the north shoreline and four largemouth bass along the south shoreline. I also garnered five strikes that I failed to hook, and I hooked a fish that liberated itself during a vigorous 30-second donnybrook.

I fished about 300 yards of the north shoreline. Thirteen of the largemouth bass that I caught along the north shoreline were abiding in five to 10 feet of water along a 75-yard stretch of this shoreline. The other five largemouth bass were caught hither-and-yon in four to 10 feet of water.  All of them were caught from about 10 to 20 feet from the water's edge.

I fished about 300 yards of the south shoreline, and the four largemouth bass that I caught were abiding in three to six feet of water, and they were 30 to 50 yards apart.  They were caught from five to 15 feet from the water's edge.

I spent 14 minutes dissecting a 40-yard section of a north shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm. And I caught three largemouth bass adjacent to the outside edge of a winter-dead patch of American water willows in four to five feet of water.

The rest of the outing was spent slowly fishing a 90-yard stretch along the south shoreline and 350-yard stretch of the north shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm.

I caught 11 largemouth bass along the north shoreline, and they were caught in six to 11 feet of water and 15 to 25 feet from the water's edge.

I caught seven largemouth bass along the south shoreline in four to five feet of water. Six were caught adjacent to a laydown, and one was caught along a deteriorated concrete and rock retaining wall.

One of the 43 largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Five largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug  ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Seven largemouth bass were caught on a tattered-and-torn three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin finesse creature bait affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Thirty largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ rig. The bulk of the 43 largemouth bass were caught while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-deadstick presentation.  Some were caught while I was casting and employing a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve.

Mar. 17 log

The Weather Channel reported that it was 54 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 72 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the south, southwest, west by southwest, west, west by northwest, north, north by northeast, and north by northwest at 3 to 24 mph. The sky fluctuated from being clear to mostly cloudy to overcast to partly cloudy to sunny. The barometric pressure was 29.83 at 12:53 a.m., 29.93 at 5:53 a.m., 30.09 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.10 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 2:56 a.m. to 4:56 a.m., 3:18 p.m. to 5:18 p.m., and 9:07 a.m. to 11:07 a.m.

Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I journeyed to one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs, where we bass fished for trout. We made our first casts at 10:36 a.m. and our last ones at 2:36 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 46 to 48 degrees.  The water clarity at most locales exhibited more than five feet of visibility, but along one wind-blown shoreline, the visibility was about 12 inches.  The water level looked to be normal.

We fished two main-lake points and about 125 yards along a steep main-lake shoreline, where we failed to elicit a strike.  At another main-lake locale, we also failed to garner a strike along a submerged rock fence.

We fished all of the shorelines inside one small feeder-creek arm, and we caught seven largemouth bass and one rainbow trout in two to nine feet of water.  The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water's edge is lined with patches of winter-dead American water willows and a few laydowns. There are also several man-made brush piles in eight to 10 feet of water in close proximity to the shorelines. The shorelines have a 20- to 30-degree slope. Five of the largemouth bass were caught while we were strolling and employing a drag-and-deadstick presentation. Two of the largemouth bass were caught while we were employing a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve. The rainbow trout was caught while we were strolling and using a drag-and-deadstick presentation.

Our first largemouth bass of this outing.

We fished two secondary points, 60 yards of the south shoreline, and portions of the shallow-water flat inside another small feeder-creek arm. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and silt. Portions of the shoreline are embellished with winter-dead American water willows. The shoreline has a 20-degree slope. We caught four largemouth bass and 14 rainbow trout in four to six feet of water.  The largemouth bass were caught along the shoreline. The rainbow trout were caught on the flat and along the shoreline. Three of the largemouth bass were caught while we were strolling with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. One largemouth bass was caught on a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve. Most of the rainbow trout were caught on a swim-glide-and shake presentation, and few were caught while we were strolling and employing a drag-and-deadstick retrieve.

We fished about 200-yards of the south shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm. The underwater  terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water's edge is adorned with several patches of winter-dead American water willows and scores of laydowns. The shoreline has a 40- to 45-degree slope. We caught 11 largemouth bass and one rainbow trout in three to nine feet of water.  Three of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our baits. The others were caught while we were executing either a drag-and-deadstick presentation or a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. The rainbow trout was caught while we were strolling with a drag-and-deadstick retrieve.

We fished about 100 yards of a north shoreline inside another feeder creek arm.  This shoreline has a 20-degree slope.  Its water's edge is lined with winter-dead American water willows, a few laydowns, and a beaver hut. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and silt.  We caught one largemouth bass in about four feet of water on a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve.

We quickly fished about a 60-yard stretch of a shoreline inside a small feeder-creek arm, where we failed to elicit a strike. But we saw an angler who was walking the shoreline catch a largemouth bass at this shoreline's main-lake point.

We spent 76 minutes inside another feeder-creek arm. We fished two secondary points, a 150-yard stretch of one of its north shorelines, another 75-yard stretch of one of its north shorelines, and a 35-yard stretch of one its south shorelines.

The secondary points were fruitless.

The 150-yard stretch of one of its north shorelines has a 35- to 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. The water's edge is graced with occasional patches of winter-dead American water willows, many laydowns, and several man-made brush piles in 10 to 12 feet of water. There are also two docks. We caught two largemouth bass and one rainbow trout in five to seven feet of water while we were employing an extremely slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

The 75-yard stretch of one of its north shorelines has a 15- to 20-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and silt. The water's edge is lined with riprap and winter-dead patches of American water willows. We caught two largemouth bass in five feet of water by strolling and using a drag-and-deadstick presentation.

The 35-yard stretch of one of its south shorelines has a 45-degree or more slope. Its underwater terrain consists of clay, gravel, rocks, a few boulders, and silt. The water's edge is graced by two laydowns and a scrawny patch of winter-dead American water willows. Along this shoreline, we caught 15 largemouth bass and seven rainbow trout in four to nine feet of water. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. The other 13 largemouth bass were caught while we were working with either a drag-and-deadstick presentation or a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation; some were caught while we were casting, and some were caught while we were strolling. The rainbow trout were caught with the same presentations that we used to catch the largemouth bass.

In total, we caught 43 largemouth bass and 24 rainbow trout.  We inadvertently caught two freshwater drum, one black crappie, and one white bass.  We estimated that we garnered slightly more than two dozen strikes that we failed to hook, and we suspected that the bulk of those were rainbow trout strikes.

Our last rainbow trout of this outing.

We caught one rainbow trout on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught one rainbow trout on a two-inch YUM green-pumpkin Wooly Beavertail affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught five rainbow trout on a Z-Man's bubble-gum Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  We caught six largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught 20 largemouth bass and five rainbow trout on a tattered-and-torn three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin finesse creature bait affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught 15 largemouth bass and 12 rainbow trout on a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Mar. 18 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, posted a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 18 outing at one of northeastern Kansas' power-plant reservoirs.  He was joined by his wife, Yan, and their dog. Yan, however, spent her time studying and reading some scientific textbooks. (Yan works at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She is a dedicated biomedical scientist, and she would rather work than fish during the trying fishing days of March.)

Here is an edited version of his report:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 51 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 68 degrees at 4:53 p.m.   Between 12:53 a.m. to 11:53 p.m., the wind angled out of the north, north by northeast, northeast, east by northeast, east, southeast, and east by southeast at 5 to 10 mph, but it was brisker at this reservoir than it was reported on The Weather Underground's site. The sky was clear from 12:53 a.m. to past 5:53 p.m. The barometric pressure was 30.28 at 12:53 a.m., 30.34 at 5:53 a.m., 30.39 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.21 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 3:32 a.m. to 5:53 a.m.; 3:55 p.m. to 5:55 p.m., and 9:43 a.m. to 11:43 a.m. Bob made his first cast around 9:00 a.m. and his last one around 3:30 p.m.

The surface temperature in the areas that he fished reached 55 degrees.  The water level looked to be about a foot below normal. The water clarity at one locale exhibited eight feet of visibility, and around wind-blown shorelines and points, the clarity diminished to about 12 inches. He struggled to find patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, which used to be abundant at this reservoir.

He caught 27 smallmouth bass, four white bass, three largemouth bass, and one wiper.  He caught them in water as shallow as a foot to as deep as eight feet.

One of the 27 smallmouth bass that Bob Gum caught.

This reservoir's many riprap shorelines were not fruitful, yielding only one smallmouth bass. The most productive locales were rock-laden flat points, flat shorelines, and shallow-water flats.  One flat point yielded a third of the fish that he caught.

He employed two Midwest finesse rigs: a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

When he was plying some of the shallow-water rocky flats, he retrieved his Hula StickZ rig by pointing his rod tip at the five o'clock position and twitching the rod, which caused the Hula StickZ to move like a jerkbait moves.

Even when the wind is relatively mild-mannered, this reservoir is wind-laden. To deal with the wind, he did a lot of strolling with a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation.

His ZinkerZ rig caught the bulk of the 35 fish that he tangled with during the 6 1/2 hours that he fished.  A significant number of these fish were caught when he was employing a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

The wiper that Bob Gum inadvertently caught.

Mar. 20 log

Six days ago, The Weather Underground reported that the low temperature at Lawrence, Kansas, was 17 degrees and the high temperature was 33 degrees, and it snowed. The Weather Underground reported on Mar. 20 that the high temperature was a record-breaking 84 degrees, and the low temperature was 53 degrees. At other locales in northeastern Kansas, the low temperature on Mar. 20 was 61 degrees and the high temperature was 82 degrees, which is a record, too.  The sky was clear. From 12:53 a.m. to 7:53 a.m., the wind angled out of the south by southwest and southwest at 6 to 24 mph.  Around 8:53 a.m., the wind switched to the west by southwest, then to the west, then to the west by northwest, and then to the north by northeast at 5 to 11 mph.  The barometric pressure was 29.88 at 12:53 a.m., 29.85 at 5:53 a.m., 29.91 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.88 at 2:53 p.m.

(It is somewhat interesting to note that it was warm and sunny enough around noon that I saw a lady taking a sunbath, which is a phenomenon that I had not seen on Mar. 20 in my many years of fishing in northeastern Kansas. Moreover, the unseasonably warm weather provoked scores of other anglers to fish this waterway with me.)

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur at 5:05 a.m. to 7:05 a.m., 5:29 p.m. to 7:29 p.m., and 11:17 p.m. to 1:17 a.m. I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas' many community reservoirs from 10:14 a.m. to 2:14 p.m.

(I had not fished this reservoir since Jan. 24, which is when Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished it from 10:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., and we failed to garner a strike. On that Jan. 24 outing, the surface temperature was 38 degrees, and the ice had disappeared on Jan. 21. Traditionally, our ice-off outings are very fruitful endeavors if we can find patches of submerged aquatic vegetation on the shallow-water flats in the backs of feeder-creek arms. But we could not find any vegetation and largemouth bass on that Jan. 24 outing.)

The water level looked to be normal on Mar. 20.  The water exhibited 15 to 36 inches of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 52 to 55 degrees. I found more than a dozen patches of coontail.

To my dismay, however, I failed to garner a strike during the first 49 minutes that I was afloat. It seemed as if I was enduring a rerun of Rick's and my dreadful Jan. 24 outing.

During this 49-minute spell, I fished about 50 yards of the dam, which is laden with riprap and lined with patches of winter-dead American water willows. From the dam, I ventured up the reservoir's primary feeder-creek arm, and I fished its east shoreline, which is laden with gravel and rocks. And along the portions of this shoreline that are flat and adorned with four docks, rock and concrete retaining walls, a few patches of coontail, and some patches of winter-dead American water willows, I failed to elicit a strike.

I finally caught a largemouth bass along a steeper section of the east shoreline at 11:03 a.m. This portion of the east shoreline has a 30- to 45-degree slope.  Its underwater terrain consists of rocks and gravel. The water's edge is graced with some patches of winter-dead American water willows, a few laydowns, three docks, a bridge, and one concrete retaining wall. During the next 24 minutes, I eked out four more largemouth bass.  These five largemouth bass were caught in three to seven feet of water. The first one was caught on a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-deadstick presentation.  The other four were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce  Gopher jig. Two were caught while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-deadstick presentation. Two were caught while I was casting the Finesse ShadZ rig and executing a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

At 11:27 a.m., I moved to the west shoreline, and I spent the rest of this outing probing many segments of this reservoir's vast west shoreline, as well as a 25-yard segment of one of the reservoir's north shorelines.  Along portions of these two shorelines, there are scores of docks. Their underwater terrains consist primarily of rock and gravel. Some sections are flat with a 20-degree slope, and some sections have a 35- to 40-degree slope. There are rock and concrete retaining walls along many of the water's edges. And there are some patches of coontail and winter-dead American water willows.

Upon arriving at the west shoreline, I began strolling the Finesse ShadZ rig with a drag-and-shake retrieve in about six feet of water, and straightaway I caught a largemouth bass. Then during the next 10 minutes, I caught eight largemouth bass as I was casting the Finesse ShadZ rig and retrieving it with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in six feet of water around the same area that I caught the one while I was strolling.

Along other portions of the west shoreline, I caught 43 largemouth bass by strolling and casting.

These largemouth bass were caught in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as 10 feet.

I caught two of the largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  I caught five largemouth bass on a shortened and customized Z-Man's Boar HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. (This customized Boar HogZ exhibits an unique gliding action, and it is what I am using to replace the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype finesse creature bait, which has been my most effective rig in 2017, but the rainbow trout and  largemouth bass finally tore the last one to smithereens on Mar. 17.)   I caught 36 largemouth bass on the Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and in some ways, it is similar to the prototype finesse creature bait.

The Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

When I was strolling and casting, I employed three Midwest finesse retrieves: a drag-and-deadstick retrieve, a drag-and-and-shake retrieve, and a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve. Three largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop.

I caught one largemouth bass along the north shoreline in about six feet of water as I was strolling the Finesse ShadZ rig and employing a drag-and-shake retrieve.

In total, I caught 49 largemouth bass. Some were caught along steep shorelines. Some were caught along flat shorelines. Some were caught a few feet from the water's edge. Some were caught as far as 20 feet from the water's edge.  Some were caught while I was strolling.  Some were caught while I was casting. Some were caught on a drag-and-deadstick presentation. Some were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation. Some were caught on a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. There were five locales that yielded more than one largemouth bass. And there were scores and scores of locales that failed to yield a strike.

Mar. 21 log

It was a drift-sock day again in northeastern Kansas. According to the Weather Underground, the wind howled out of the north, north by northeast, and northeast at 12 to 31 mph from 9:52 a.m. to 4:52 p.m.  Before 9:52 a.m., the wind angled out of the north, northeast, and north by northeast at 5 to 18 mph. The sky was clear from 12:58 a.m. to 8:52 a.m., and then it became overcast to mostly cloudy until about 3:52 p.m., and then it became clear again. It was 48 degrees at 7:52 a.m. and 63 degrees at 1:52 p.m.  The barometric pressure was 30.06 at 12:52 a.m., 30.12 at 5:52 a.m., 30.25 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.22 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would transpire from 5:55 a.m. to 7:55 a.m., 6:19 p.m. to 8:19 p.m., and 11:42 a.m. to 1:42 p.m.  I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas' many community reservoirs from 11:24 a.m. to 3:24 p.m.  Most of the minutes that I was afloat I was hiding from the wind.  And even when I was somewhat sheltered from it, the drift-sock was in play.

The water level looked to be slightly below normal. In the extremely wind-blown locales, the water exhibited six inches of visibility. Elsewhere, the visibility was about 36 inches. The surface temperature ranged from 51 to 54 degrees.

During my Mar. 20th outing at another community reservoir, I failed to garner a strike during the first 49 minutes that I was afloat. On my Mar. 21 outing, however, I caught a largemouth bass on my first cast. Even though the wind played havoc to where and how I fished, I somehow managed to catch 45 largemouth bass.

This is the largemouth bass that I caught on my first cast of the outing.

The wind quickly propelled the boat along a 175-yard stretch of a massive northwest shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm.  Somehow I caught three largemouth bass by strolling with the wind and using the drift sock. They were caught on a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. They were caught in five to nine feet of water, and they were situated from 10 to 20 feet from the water's edge. From my perspective, this shoreline was too wind-blown to properly present the Hula StickZ rig or any other Midwest finesse rig.

I caught seven of them along a 200-yard section of the east shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm.  Some of it was wind-sheltered, but it was swirling enough that I had to use the drift sock. These seven largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Three of the largemouth bass were caught while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-deadstick presentation in four to seven feet of water.  Four of them were caught in about five feet of water while I was casting and working with either a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve or a drag-and-deadstick retrieve, and they were caught from four to 10 feet from the water's edge.

This is one of the seven largemouth bass that I caught along the 200-yard stretch of the east shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm.

Inside a small feeder-creek arm, I caught five largemouth bass along its north shoreline and 10 largemouth bass along its south shoreline. One of these 15 largemouth bass was caught on the Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-deadstick presentation. One was caught while I was strolling a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Another one was caught on a shortened and customized Z-Man's green-pumpkin Boar HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was casting and employing a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve. Five largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was either strolling or casting it and employing either a drag-and-deadstick retrieve or a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve. I caught eight largemouth bass on a  Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was either strolling or casting it and employing either a drag-and-deadstick retrieve or a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve. These 15 largemouth bass were extracted from four to 10 feet of water.  Some were caught within four feet of the water's edge, and others were caught as far as 15 feet from the water's edge.

I caught 20 largemouth bass inside another feeder-creek arm. Sixteen of them were caught along a 250-yard stretch of its north shoreline, and four were caught along a 200-yard stretch of its south shoreline. They were extracted out of five to 10 feet of water. Some of them were within six feet of the water's edge, and some were as far as 25 feet from the water's edge. One was caught on the Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was strolling it and employing a drag-and-deadstick presentation. Two were caught on a shortened and customized Z-Man's green-pumpkin Boar HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was casting and employing a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve. Seven were caught on a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was either strolling or casting it and employing either a drag-and-deadstick retrieve or a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve. Ten were caught on a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was either strolling or casting it and employing either a drag-and-deadstick retrieve or a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve.

I fished 25 yards of a main-lake shoreline, which was sheltered from the wind, and I failed to elicit a strike. I fished two sections of a wind-blown shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm, and again I failed to elicit a strike.

The underwater terrains of all the shorelines consist of gravel and rocks, and some are adorned with boulders. A few locales have some silt. The slope of these shorelines ranges from about 30 to almost 45 degrees.  Some of the water's edges are embellished with patches of American water willows and a few laydowns. One shoreline is littered with eight docks. Some spots are embellished with patches of curly-leaf pondweed. There are a few man-made brush piles in eight to 12 feet of water adjacent to some of the shorelines. A few of the shorelines are graced with tertiary points and tiny pockets.

The bulk of the 45 largemouth bass were caught on these two Midwest finesse rigs. At the top is a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. At the bottom is a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

In retrospect, there was no primary location pattern. I merely used the wind with the aid of the drift sock to propel the boat along massive stretches of shorelines. I spent the preponderance of the time strolling. I had no idea how, when, or where I would catch a largemouth bass. But when I caught one, I thoroughly dissected the vicinity around the area that I caught it by casting and employing three Midwest finesse retrieves, which were the swim-glide-and-subtle-shake, the drag-and-shake, and the drag-and-deadstick. Four of those areas yielded from three to six largemouth bass, but the other largemouth bass were caught hither and yon. As I strolled along a few of the more wind-sheltered spots, I also made a few casts to likely looking haunts — such as a beaver hut or a laydown or a tertiary point or a stump or a boulder pile, and occasionally one of those haunts yielded a largemouth bass, but there was no pattern to which kind of haunt would yield a largemouth bass. In short, it was another one of those hodgepodge days in northeastern Kansas, which happens often hereabouts in March.

Mar. 22 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

Historically, mid-December to mid-March is what we consider our cold-water period, when water temperatures fall into the upper 40s and the black bass fishing becomes wretched for weeks on end. But when water temperatures begin to rise into the 60-degree range in mid-March, it signals the end of our cold-water doldrums and many of the waterways in north-central Texas begin to come alive again.

March is also an extremely windy month in Texas, and lately, it has kept me and my cohorts off the water since March 13. But the winds finally waned a touch on March 22, and that gave Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I an opportunity to enjoy an afternoon outing at one of several U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoirs located in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan areas.

The morning low temperature was 62 degrees on March 22. The afternoon high temperature reached 81 degrees. The sky conditions fluctuated from overcast to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy. The sun was shining for most of the time that we were afloat. The wind angled out of the east and southeast at 8 to 14 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.10 at 11:00 a.m. and 30.02 at 4:00 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the most promising fishing periods would take place from 12:43 a.m. to 2:43 a.m., 6:48 a.m. to 8:48 a.m., and 7:31 p.m. to 9:31 p.m. Norman and I fished from about 11:30 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m.

We spent four hours pursing largemouth bass and spotted bass. We were distracted from our black bass endeavors for about an hour while we chased a school of white bass. Ultimately, we caught a combination of 22 largemouth bass and spotted bass, 38 white bass, and one channel catfish. We also elicited several strikes that we failed to hook.

The water was stained at most of the locales that we fished and exhibited about two feet of visibility. The water level was a tad low. Two coves were muddy with less than a foot of clarity, and we failed to elicit any strikes in the muddy water. The water temperature ranged from 64 degrees at the boat ramp to 73 degrees inside two feeder-creek arms.

We spent our time inside three feeder-creek arms on the south end of the reservoir, where we plied the shorelines of ten coves. Some of the shorelines that we fished are steep and rocky. Many others consisted of shallow clay and gravel flats that are adorned with partially-flooded brush, a submerged roadbed lined with flooded patches of terrestrial vegetation, several long metal poles that extended from the shoreline into five to seven feet of water, and several laydowns.

Our spinning outfits sported the following Midwest finesse offerings: a Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Zoom Bait Company's four-inch green-pumpkin Mini-Lizard on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a generic three-inch curly-tailed grub rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.

Three coves inside the first feeder-creek arm yielded 16 black bass, one scrawny and sickly-looking white bass, and one channel catfish.

We caught one largemouth bass from inside the first cove. This largemouth was abiding next to the side of one of the metal poles in five feet of water. It engulfed the four-inch Zoom Mini-Lizard that was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

The second cove yielded a combination of 12 largemouth bass and spotted bass, one white bass, and one channel catfish. Four of the black bass, the white bass, and the channel catfish were caught along both sides of the submerged roadbed and were relating to the flooded terrestrial vegetation next to the roadbed in three to five feet of water. Eight black bass were caught from several large patches of flooded bushes along the north side of the cove in three to six feet of water. All of these fish were caught on the Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ rigs and swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

The third cove in this creek arm is similar to the second cove. It relinquished three black bass. They were caught along the north shoreline adjacent to a row of flooded terrestrial bushes in three to five feet of water. They were caught on the the Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

The second feeder-creek arm surrendered four largemouth bass. One was caught off a shallow clay secondary point at the mouth of a small cove on the west side of the creek arm. It was caught on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Two largemouth bass were caught in three to five feet of water next to a patch of flooded terrestrial bushes inside another cove on the east side of the creek arm. They were caught on the watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

While we were fishing inside this feeder-creek arm, we were delighted to cross paths with a school of surface-foraging white bass. They were chasing small two-inch threadfin shad along the surface in 20 feet of water along the main creek channel that courses through the middle of the creek arm. We pursued these white bass for about an hour, and we enjoyed tangling with 37 of them before they disappeared. They were caught on a Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ and a generic three-inch white curly-tailed grub rig. Both of these  combos were retrieved with a moderately fast and steady swimming retrieve, and several times we simultaneously hooked and landed a white bass. These white bass were very aggressive and were not spooked by the boat. In fact, we were surprised when one white bass engulfed the pearl Slim SwimZ rig as it was dangling motionlessly in the water next to the boat. And a couple of times, we would drop our lure next to a hooked white bass that was struggling next to the boat, and we would hook another one. We also caught one largemouth bass that was foraging with the white bass, and it was caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ and steady swimming retrieve.  (It should be noted that this is the first time that we have encountered surface foraging white bass in 2017.)

The third creek arm was the least productive. It surrendered two largemouth bass. They were caught inside a small cove on the northwest end of this feeder-creek arm. One was caught in three feet of water from a small rocky secondary point on the south side of the cove. It was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The other largemouth bass was caught in five feet of water from a short stretch of shoreline on the north side of the cove. This portion of the shoreline was graced with a couple of small patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation in three to five feet of water. This largemouth bass was caught on the watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ that was employed with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

We fished two other coves and a couple of secondary points inside those two coves, but we failed to elicit any other strikes. We then decided to call it a day.

In sum, steep and rocky shorelines and secondary points inside feeder-creek arms and large coves were our most fruitful black bass lairs during the past three months. But they were mostly fruitless this time. We caught the majority of these largemouth bass and spotted bass from flat shorelines in shallow water. The underwater terrains consist of gravel and clay, and they are embellished with flooded terrestrial vegetation. A submerged roadbed that is also lined with flooded terrestrial vegetation was our second best spot.

The Z-Man's Finesse ShadZ and Slim SwimZ are beginning to emerge as our most productive lures.  And we plan on having a rod sporting a Finesse ShadZ and Slim SwimZ at the ready for the rest of the year.

Mar. 24 log

George Nochta of Santee, California, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 24 outing.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The temperature at 7:00 a.m. was 43 degrees and 66 degrees at 5:00 p.m. According to the Weather Underground, the wind was either calm or extremely mild mannered from 12:15 a.m. to 10:47 a.m., and then it angled out of the southwest, west, west by southwest, and west by northwest at 3 to 14 mph.  From 6:35 a.m. to 10:15 p.m., the sky was clear, and in the lingo of  anglers, it was a blue-bird sky. The barometric pressure was 30.25 at 12:55 a.m., 30.25 at 5:55 a.m., 30.23 at 11:47 a.m., and 30.17 at 5:47 p.m.

My friend Ted Becharas of San Diego and I fished a community reservoir in southern California. The surface temperature was 63 degrees at 7:00 a.m. and 67 degrees at 5:00 p.m.

The fishing was relatively productive given the post-storm conditions, rising water levels, and, of course, the water-visibility issues in some parts of the reservoir.  The good news is the warm water temperature has inspired the largemouth bass to move into shallow water, and they are starting their spawning rituals.  So, if we could locate the right areas, they were more than willing to cooperate.  Once we located the right areas, Ted Becharas and I had about six hours of actual fishing. We caught somewhere around 30 largemouth bass between us.

Once we located the right areas, Ted Becharas and I had about six hours of actual fishing. We caught somewhere around 30 largemouth bass between us.

We used three baits. I fished either a four-inch or a six-inch Zoom Bait Company's green-pumpkin Swamp Crawler, which I whacky rigged. I also used either a 2 3/4-inch or a three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin or new money Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  Ted used a five-inch Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits' green-pumpkin Senko that was Texas rigged and weighted with a tiny split shot near the nose of the Senko.

We caught the largemouth bass in one to seven feet of water in flat areas that are somewhat littered with flooded terrestrial vegetation. The underwater terrain of these flats is occasionally adorned with some rocks.

The bulk of the largemouth bass that I caught were caught on the Finesse WormZ rigs.

I finally found the rod that performed the best with the Midwest finesse rig, and it landed a better percentage of the fish that hit.  I did, however, get plenty of bites, and once I have more experience using this rig, I should be pretty darn dangerous to the fish.

The next time out Ted and I will have Midwest finesse rig rods rigged, as well as our other West Coast finesse options.

Endnotes to Nochta's Mar. 24 log

On Mar. 29, George Nochta posted a comment on the Finesse News Network about a short outing that he enjoyed on Mar. 28.

He wrote: "I needed to take my boat off the trailer to evaluate some trailer bunk repairs I need to do.  I took my measuring tape and a rod rigged with the same three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that I used on Mar. 24.

"This lake had been open for four days and had been beaten up with four club tournaments. So, it was a lousy day to fish --especially for shallow spawning-mode fish.  I got my trailer evaluations done and went out and threw the Finesse WormZ  rig for a couple of hours.  Incredibly, I got 12 bites and boated eight largemouth bass.  The four I did not boat were quick releases right at the boat.  Apparently these poor fish that had been harassed by all that weekend fishing pressure still hit the Midwest finesse rig.

"Quite amazing."

Mar. 24 log

It was another extremely windy day in northeastern Kansas, and a drift sock proved once again to be a piscatorial godsend.  The Weather Underground reported that it howled out of the south by southeast at 18 to 33 mph from 8:53 a.m. to 2:53 p.m.

According to the Weather Underground, it was 51 degrees at 4:53 a.m. and 79 degrees at 2:53 p.m.  It was overcast from 12:53 a.m. to 8:53 a.m.  The clouds began to dissipate after 8:53 a.m., and ultimately, the sun shone intensely in a cloudless and powder-blue sky.  From 12:53 a.m. to 7:53 a.m., the wind was somewhat mild-mannered, angling out of the east by southeast at 9 to 13 mph.  The barometric pressure was 30.18 at 12:53 a.m., 30.04 at 5:53 a.m., 29.92 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.82 at 1:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 7:28 a.m. to 9:28 a.m., 7:45 p.m. to 9:54 p.m., and 1:16 a.m. to 3:16 a.m.  Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, and Thomas Heine of Topeka, Kansas, and I made our first casts at 9:02 a.m. and our last ones at 1:02 p.m. at one of northeastern Kansas' heavily fished community reservoirs.

The water level looked to be nearly normal.  The surface temperature ranged from 51 degrees to 54 degrees. The water clarity at many wind-blown locales was stained to the point that there was about 12 inches of visibility, and at other locales the visibility ranged from three to about six feet.

Holscher, who is a veteran multispecies guide and longtime devotee of Midwest finesse tactics, has been trying for several months to convert Heinen into becoming a part-time Midwest finesse practitioner.  And Holscher's primary focus on this outing was to provide Heinen with some on-the-water insights about Midwest finesse fishing.

On our Mar. 24 outing, Heinen was in the midst of his school's spring break, which began on Mar. 18, and he had been fishing almost incessantly since then.

He is 17 years old and a junior at Hayden High School in Topeka.  Since he was three years old, he has been enthralled with fishing, and by the time he was 10 years old, he has had a burning desire to compete in tournaments.  Nowadays, he competes in more than 20 tournaments a year, and he has become an accomplished tournament angler.  He won his first tournament in 2014. He and Brock Bila of Overland Park, Kansas, teamed up to win the 2015 Kansas B.A.S.S. Nation Youth State Championship. In 2016, he and Bila won the Student Angler Federation Kansas High School State Championship. He also belongs to the Flint Hills Bass Association and competes and fairs well in their tourneys. On Mar. 25, he and Bila will participate in the 2017 Student Angler Federation Kansas High School State Championship. Then on Mar. 26, he will fish at a Flint Hills Bass Association event. There is no doubt that he is possessed with a whale of a dose of fishing fever.

Since he began tournament fishing, Heinen has been a dyed-in-the-wool power angler, and every casts he has made has been accomplished with a baitcasting outfit. In fact, he had never caught a largemouth bass or smallmouth bass with a spinning rod and a Midwest finesse rig until Mar. 20, and that occurred when he fished with Larry Brumley of Topeka, Kansas, at one of northeastern Kansas' power-plant reservoirs.

Brumley is a longstanding member of the Flints Hills Bass Association, and he has played a vital role in the FHBA's programs for school-age anglers.  His presentation at Hayden High School allured Heinen, and for several years, he has been Heinen's and Bila's boat captain at various high-school and youth tournaments.

Brumley also shuns spinning tackle. So, until Heinen crossed paths with Holscher no one had talked to him about the manifold virtues of employing a spinning rod and a Midwest finesse rig -- such as a Z-Man's Finesse T.R.D. or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's ZinkerZ affixed to a small mushroom-style jig with a small exposed hook — to catch vast numbers of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas.

On his Mar. 20 outing with Brumley, Heinen employed a spinning rod with a Midwest finesse rig for the first time. The spinning rod was a gift from Holscher.  Heinen's spinning rod also sported one of the Midwest finesse rigs that Holscher gave him. Heinen also shared some of those Midwest finesse rigs with Brumley. And they wielded them from 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and caught 154 smallmouth bass, as well as four largemouth bass and eight white bass, and the bulk of these fish were caught on a Z-Man's mudbug Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/10-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig.  (Brumley, by the way, used his Midwest finesse rig on a baitcasting outfit.)

During our Mar. 24 outing, Holscher showed Heinen how to deal with the wind and a flatland reservoir that is afflicted by heavy angler predation.  To do that, Holscher introduced him to the virtues of a drift sock, a 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig, and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's mudbug ZinkerZ.  And from Heinen's first cast to his last one, he wielded a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's mudbug ZinkerZ on a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig, which inveigled an array of fish.

Holscher worked with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig.

I wielded four Midwest finesse baits: a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a three-inch prototype of Z-Man's Finesse T.R.D. HogZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

(On Mar. 17, I lamented that I had no more three-inch prototypes of Z-Man's Finesse T.R.D. HogZ.  But in the mail on Mar. 21, I received four of the second-edition prototypes of the Finesse T.R.D. HogZ to field test, and I was delighted indeed. From Jan. 30 to Mar. 17, the prototype caught 210 largemouth bass and about a dozen rainbow trout, but two of them were lost on a man-made brush pile, one was lost around a zebra-mussel-laden lair while I was engaged in a donnybrook with a largemouth bass, and the other four were eventually torn to smithereens by the largemouth bass and rainbow trout.)

Both of the Finesse ShadZ rigs failed to garner a strike. But our other four rigs were effective. And across the four hours that we wielded those four rigs, they caught 55 largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass, and we inadvertently caught 13 rainbow trout, two freshwater drum, one crappie, and one walleye.

We fished three main-lake points. We caught two largemouth bass on one of them, and the other two main-lake points yielded one largemouth bass.

We fished three main-lake shorelines.  We caught four largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass along about a 250-yard stretch of shoreline. We caught three largemouth bass along a 75-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline. And we caught four largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass along a 100-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline.

(It is significant to note that the two smallmouth bass were the first ones that we have caught at this reservoir in 2017, and the 15 largemouth bass  that we caught along the main-lake points and shorelines were the first ones that we have caught along the main-lake portions of this reservoir in 2017.)

We fished about 200 yards of the south shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm, where we caught two largemouth bass.

We fished about a 75-yard segment of the south shoreline and a 75-yard segment of the north shoreline, as well as the portions of a shallow-water flat, inside a small feeder-creek arm, where we caught five largemouth bass.

Along the south shoreline, the west shoreline, and about a 60-yard stretch of the north shoreline inside another small feeder-creek arm, we caught 24 largemouth bass. One confined spot along the south shoreline yielded six largemouth bass, and we caught 13 largemouth bass from a 50-foot section along the north shoreline. These three shorelines were relatively wind-sheltered.

We failed to garner a strike along a 50-yard stretch of the south shoreline inside another small feeder-creek arm.

Inside another large feeder-creek arm, we caught nine largemouth bass along a 50-yard stretch of one of its south shorelines, at one of its secondary points, and along a 100-yard stretch of one of its north shorelines.

Our two most effective presentations were the drag-and-deadstick retrieve and the drag-and-shake retrieve. Some were caught while we employed a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve, and a few were caught on the initial drop of our rigs.  We spent a lot of time strolling, which is always a handy tactic to employ when the wind is howling and a drift sock is in play. Strolling allows us to explore and dissect many yards of shorelines fairly quickly and efficiently — especially when there are three anglers in the boat.

The underwater terrains of the shorelines and points that we fished consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders. A few locales in the backs of the feeder-creek arms were littered with silt. A few shorelines and points had a 45-degree of more slope; some had a 30- to 35-degree slope; some had a 20- to 25-degree slope.  The steepest locales were not fruitful.

Most of the water's edges of the points and shorelines that we fished are graced with significant patches of winter-dead American water willows. Some shorelines are embellished with laydowns. There are some man-made brush piles in close proximity to the water's edges along some of the steeper shorelines.

We caught fish from water as shallow as three feet and as deep as 10 feet. Some were caught within three feet of the water's edge. Some were caught as far as about 25 feet from the water's edge.

Thomas Heinen with one of the 55 largemouth bass that we caught.

In essence, there was no overall location pattern to where we found and caught the largemouth bass. However, locales inside feeder-creek arms were more fruitful than main-lake areas. We caught them by plying yard after yard after yard of shorelines, and every once in a while we would find a few yards that would be fruitful.  Then, there would be an uncountable number of yards that were fruitless.

At the end of our outing, Heinen described it as a bountiful one, saying that this reservoir had always been a troublesome one for him. He courteously confessed to Holscher that he had learned a lot. And from Holscher's perspective from this outing, it looked as if Heinen's recent conversion to Midwest finesse fishing was on the verge of becoming more and more steadfast.  Now Holscher is interested to see if Heinen will employ any Midwest finesse tactics during his tournament endeavors on Mar. 25 and 26.

Endnotes to the Mar. 23 log

(1) Heinen and Bila garnered the second-place prize at the 2017 Student Angler Federation Kansas High School State Championship on Mar. 25, and they did it by employing Midwest finesse tactics.

(2) Heinen and his partner won the Flint Hills Bass Association tournament on Mar. 26, and they did it by employing Midwest finesse tactics.

Mar. 25 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

John Thomas of Denton, Texas, and I elected to avoid the  hustle and bustle generated by the throngs of folks who flock to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs in north-central Texas on the weekends.

Instead, we decided to enjoy an afternoon bank-walking excursion at a smaller community reservoir located in a suburb northwest of Dallas. We shared this reservoir with six other anglers.

The Weather Underground noted that the morning low temperature was 50 degrees at 6:55 a.m. and the afternoon high temperature reached 71 degrees at 4:55 p.m. The barometric pressure measured 30.03 at 11:00 a.m. and 29.92 at 4:00 p.m. The wind blew incessantly out of the northwest at 11 to 14 mph.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the most fruitful fishing periods would occur from 2:52 a.m. to 4:52 a.m., 9:04 a.m. to 11:04 a.m., and 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. John and I were afoot from about 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The water was stained and exhibited about two feet of visibility. The water temperature was 66 degrees. The water level was normal.

We began the outing by fishing from a fishing pier situated on the west side of this reservoir. The fishing pier is positioned along the middle section of this shoreline. The shoreline adjacent to the fishing pier is steep and its underwater terrain consists of sand and gravel. Underneath the fishing pier is a patch of hydrilla that is about 25 feet long and about five feet wide. It lies in about eight feet of water. Two tertiary points lie about 30 yards north of the pier. Another tertiary point lies about 50 feet south of the fishing pier. A small concrete culvert and a shallow ditch also adorns the northern end of this shoreline and courses across a large mud flat on the reservoir's north end.

We caught four largemouth bass and inadvertently caught one large bluegill from the fishing pier. They were caught in close proximity to the patch of hydrilla in eight to 10 feet of water and about 35 feet away from the water's edge.

Along the south end of the west shoreline, we fished behind three power anglers and caught five largemouth bass. These largemouth bass were abiding in less than five feet of water, and they were less than 10 feet from the water's edge.

We did not fish the north end of the west shoreline. It was occupied by one of the other anglers and several people feeding pieces of bread to a large aggregation of black coots, a few colorful mallard ducks, and a large white swan.

Our next spot was a small feeder creek on the reservoir's north end. The bottom of the creek is rock-laden, and one side of the creek is lined with tall stands of cattails. A relatively deep pool in the upper end of this small creek yielded one largemouth bass and two large green sunfish. This largemouth bass was caught in three feet of water next to a patch of fist-size rocks near the west side of the creek. Thick stands of cattails line both sides of the lower section of this feeder creek, and they prevented us from fishing the remainder of the creek. After we finished fishing the creek, we moved to the east shoreline and fished from its north end to its south end.  This shoreline is curved and steep.  A long, clay and gravel point lies on its north end. This point extends westward toward the center of the reservoir. A broad sand and gravel point is situated in the middle section of this shoreline.

After we finished fishing the creek, we moved to the east shoreline and fished from its north end to its south end.  This shoreline is curved and steep.  A long, clay and gravel point lies on its north end. This point extends westward toward the center of the reservoir. A broad sand and gravel point is situated in the middle section of this shoreline.

We caught two largemouth bass that were relating to the south side of the long clay and gravel point on the north end of the shoreline. These largemouth bass were abiding in four to six feet of water and about 25 to 30 feet from the water's edge. The broad center point surrendered four largemouth bass. These largemouth bass were caught about 10 to 15 feet from the water's edge in five to seven feet of water along the end of the point. We failed to elicit any strikes from a sand and gravel ledge along the shoreline's south end.

The last area that we fished was along the east end of the concrete dam, and we caught five largemouth bass. They were extracted from a small mud flat adjacent to the face of the concrete dam in less than five feet of water and about 10 feet away from the water's edge.

We did not get a chance to fish the center section of the dam. It was occupied by four anglers who spent a couple of hours plying that portion of the dam. The west end of the dam was fruitless.

Overall, the fishing was decent but not great. We caught 21 largemouth bass and lost another one that was able to shake our lure from its jaw when it jumped a couple of feet out of the water. We also elicited three other strikes that we failed to hook.

We caught 16 largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Five largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.

We retrieved the ZinkerZ rig with a slow swim-glide-and-shake action. Two of the five largemouth bass that we caught on the Slim SwimZ rig were beguiled by a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve; two were caught with a hop-and-bounce retrieve; and one was caught with a steady swimming retrieve. We failed to generate any strikes with a Zoom Bait Company's watermelon-red Mini-Lizard affixed on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Mar. 26 log

Paul Finn of Olathe, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 26 outing at a community reservoir in northeastern Kansas.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 43 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 46 degrees at 4:52 p.m. The sky was overcast, and it rained from 8:15 p.m. to 11:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the northwest, west, northeast, west by southwest, southwest, south by southwest, and north at 4 to 10 mph. It was calm at 7:38 a.m. and 6:52 p.m. The barometric pressure was 29.91 at 12:52 a.m., 29.92 at 5:52 a.m., 29.95 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.91 at 3:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 9:43 a.m. to 11:43 a.m., 10:09 p.m. to 12:09 a.m., and 3:31 a.m. to 5:31 a.m.

I fished from 9:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. This year I am going to fish with either really big power baits or with Midwest finesse rigs.  On this outing, I used Midwest finesse tactics for four hours and 30 minutes. For 15 minutes, I used six-inch crankbaits and nine-inch swimbaits, and they failed to inveigle a largemouth bass. In my limited experience with fishing these larger baits, I seem to do better with them when the water is warmer.

The water level appeared to be a little lower than normal. The water was stained. Since I do not use a sonar anymore, I do not have a way to record the surface temperature.

I spent the entire outing inside one feeder-creek arm, and I caught 33 largemouth bass. Twice I caught four largemouth bass on four consecutive casts. The bulk of the 33 largemouth bass were caught along the south shoreline of this feeder-creek arm. Most of them were caught within two feet of the water's edge.

A Z-Man's green-pumpkin T.R.D. TubeZ affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig caught 32 of the largemouth bass. A Hook Set Tackle's Junebug Bailey Magnet Magnum affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig caught one largemouth bass.

If the largemouth bass did not engulf these Midwest finesse rigs on the initial drop, I caught them on a swim-and-glide retrieve.

Mar. 26 log

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 26 outing.

Here is an edited version of his report:

I went to a local community reservoir to bass fish for trout.

The weather was overcast and 55 degrees when I started at 2:00 p.m. The wind was mild mannered and out of the west. As the afternoon wore on, the wind changed to the north and began gusting up to 10 mph, and the temperature, instead of increasing to a forecast high of 59 degrees, fell to 51 degrees by 4:00 p.m.

The water exhibited three to four feet of visibility in most locations.

I was afloat until 6:00 p.m.

I began fishing inside a large feeder-creek arm, using a Z-Man's bubble gum Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. The Finesse T.R.D. had been stored in a plastic bag with some other Finesse T.R.D.s and ZinkerZs of various colors, and I was chagrined to find that it was no longer a bubble-gum hue. It had picked up some of the colors of the other lures in the plastic bag, which rendered it to a pinkish-flesh color. In fact, it looked like I was casting someone's pinky finger rigged on a jig. Nevertheless, I proceeded to cast it toward an area where an eight-inch diameter pipe entered the water and ran parallel to the north shoreline for about 20 feet.  Much to my delight, a largemouth bass grabbed it almost immediately. After landing and returning the bass to the water, I again cast toward the pipe and caught a nice rainbow trout. A third cast toward the pipe was retrieved with no strike, so I began to work my way along the shoreline, which is lined with riprap and many patches of winter-dead American water willows.  During the next 10 minutes, I caught three largemouth bass and another rainbow trout along this north shoreline. I worked my way to the end of the riprap, and then I crossed over to the south shore and plied a 50-yard section of that steep shoreline. Before I could catch a fish at this location, I realized that an hour had passed and it was time to return to the boat ramp to pick up a friend who had arranged to meet me.  During this first hour, I caught 10 bass and the two rainbow trout.

After I got my friend aboard, we began working the shoreline of a cove adjacent to the boat ramp. I caught several small bass along this shoreline. We then moved back to the steep south shoreline, where I caught several largemouth bass and another rainbow trout.

At 4:30 p.m., we noticed that the wind had changed and the temperature was getting colder. By that time, I had caught 17 largemouth bass and four rainbow trout. We decided to move up the lake to a large feeder creek that sported a couple of coves. Here I managed to catch two more largemouth bass.

Before our outing ended at 6:00 p.m., we fished a main-lake point, which produced two largemouth bass.

In all, I caught 21 largemouth bass and four rainbow trout.  All of them were caught on the same flesh-colored Finesse T.R.D. rig. The red head of the Finesse ShroomZ jig had faded to a pinkish hue. I used all of the six Midwest finesse retrieves and caught fish with all of them.  The best retrieve was a drag-and-shake presentation. The second best one was a drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve, and the deadstick pause was often a long one. Some of the fish were caught on the initial fall or shortly after beginning the retrieve. Others were caught in deeper water, either following a deadstick pause or during the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Some of the fish were relating to shoreline cover, while others were abiding in deeper water.  The only common denominator was that I used a subtle slow shake on every retrieve.  I had a dozen or so strikes that I failed to hook.  My friend did not use Midwest finesse tactics, and during the three hours that he was afloat, he did not catch a fish.

When we returned to the dock at the end, a kayak angler, who had been fishing in our vicinity most of the afternoon, struck up a conversation with me by commenting that it seemed like I had a fish on my line every time he looked at me. When he inquired about what I was catching them on, I took great delight in showing him various Midwest finesse rigs and telling him about how they are used. After I showed him what we used and how we used them, I told him that he could find a lot of information about Midwest finesse fishing online. I also invited him to accompany me if he wanted to get some firsthand experience in using Midwest finesse techniques.  I hope that I will hear from him and have a chance to take him out with me.

Mar. 25-26 log

Rick Allen of Dallas posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his and his wife's outings at Lake Amistad, Texas.

Here is an edited version of his log:

My wife, Linda, and I enjoyed a two-day excursion on Mar. 25 and 26 to Lake Amistad on the Texas-Mexico border near Del Rio, Texas.

A cold front had pushed across south Texas on Mar. 25,  and it ushered in an abundance of bright sunshine and bluebird skies. The Weather Underground reported that the morning low temperatures ranged from 53 degrees on Mar. 25 to 56 degrees on Mar. 26. The afternoon high temperatures ranged from 84 degrees on Mar. 25 to 92 degrees on Mar. 26.  The wind angled out of the north by northwest and southeast at 5 to 17 mph. A few wind gusts reached 23 mph.

The water was clear with 10 feet of visibility. The water temperature was 70 degrees. The water level was 21.34 feet below normal pool.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing periods for Mar. 25 would occur between 3:07 a.m. to 5:07 a.m., 9:20 a.m. to 11:20 a.m., and 9:45 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. After a three-hour drive and checking in at our hotel, Linda and I fished from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

It was our first trip to this reservoir. After we launched our boat, we observed that most of the other anglers were dissecting patches of flooded buckbrush in shallow water.  So we did the same.  It appeared that the black bass had just finished their spawning rituals, and we could see many small largemouth bass cruising along the outside edges of flooded buckbrush and patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation that lined the shorelines near the water's edge.

We had read the reports of Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, on the Finesse News Network, and his successful endeavors with Midwest finesse tactics on Feb. 21-26 at Lake Amistad, and we decided to follow his lead. We rigged our spinning outfits with the following Midwest finesse baits: a Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ affixed on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man's California craw Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We caught 11 largemouth bass and inadvertently caught one hefty freshwater drum in three hours of fishing.

We are not accustomed to fishing such clear water, and it was amazing for us to watch the majority of the largemouth bass come up and engulf our Finesse ShadZ rigs as we retrieved them with a slow swim-and-glide presentation. The 11 largemouth bass were caught in water as shallow as two feet and as deep as 10 feet. They were extracted from the small pockets and other openings in the  patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation and buckbrush close to the shoreline. We failed to generate any strikes with the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ or the California craw Hula StickZ combos. All of these bass ranged in size from one to 2 1/2 pounds.

During our Mar. 26 outing, we decided to experiment with a Z-Man's watermelon-red Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig and a Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the optimum fishing periods for Mar. 26 would take place from 3:53 a.m. to 5:53 a.m., 10:06 a.m. to 12:06 p.m., and 10:32 p.m. to 12:32 a.m.  Linda and I fished from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

We had hopes of catching some larger bass by probing some patches of submerged terrestrial vegetation in six to 10 feet of water. To our surprise, the watermelon-red Slim SwimZ rig was a little more effective than the watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ that we employed on Mar. 25, and we caught 13 largemouth bass in 3 1/2 hours. We were delighted that the average size of the bass were larger, too, and perhaps that might have  been the byproduct of fishing in a little deeper water. We failed to elicit any strikes with the Space Guppy Slim SwimZ rig.

In total, we caught 24 largemouth bass  in 6 1/2 hours of fishing.  Linda tangled with and landed a four-pound freshwater drum, and I am not sure who actually won that battle -- Linda or the drum. As usual, she caught the first and the largest fish.

In reflection, this was the first time that we have ever fished this reservoir. We were a bit disappointed to discover that the black bass spawn was over, and the cold front seemed to have put a damper on the bass bite. But overall, it was an enjoyable affair.

Mar. 28 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 48 degrees at 7:52 a.m. and 57 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The sky was overcast, and it was misting at times. The wind angled out of the north, north by northeast, northeast, and east by northeast at 4 to 13 mph.  The barometric pressure was 30.03 at 12:52 a.m., 30.02 at 5:52 a.m., 30.08 at 11:52 a.m. and 30.01 at 3:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 10:53 a.m. to 12:53 p.m., 11:24 p.m. to 1:24 a.m., and 5:10 a.m. to 7:10 a.m. I fished from 11:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at one of the many state reservoirs that graces northeastern Kansas' countryside, where I spent the entire outing wielding a three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

The three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ and a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

The water level looked to be slightly more than a foot below normal. In the upper reaches of one of the reservoir's feeder-creek arms, the water clarity was stained by an algal bloom, diminishing the visibility to about 15 inches. Around the dam, the visibility was four to five feet.  The surface temperature ranged from 53 to 54 degrees.

I fished the entire dam twice.  It yielded 18 largemouth bass, which were caught in four to eight feet of water. Some were caught while I was either strolling or casting the prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ rig and employing either a drag-and-shake or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Some were caught about eight feet from the water's edge, and some were caught from 12 to 20 feet from the water's edge. It is embellished with nearly 400 yards of riprap. The water's edge is graced with a few laydowns and two meager patches of winter-dead American water willows. There are several man-made brush piles anchored in 12 to 15 feet of water. The slope of the dam has a 30- to 40-degree angle.

I failed to elicit a strike on a flat main-lake point. But along one of its adjacent shorelines, which is flat and has a 20-degree slope, I caught nine largemouth bass as I was casting the prototype rig into four to five feet of water and employing either a drag-and-shake or a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. These largemouth bass were extracted out of four to seven feet of water, and they were about 25 feet from the water's edge.  I failed to elicit a strike along this point's other shoreline. The underwater terrain of this main-lake point and its two shorelines consist of gravel and clay.

I dissected four riprap jetties. They have a 30-degree slope. Portions of these jetties are adorned with scrawny patches of winter-dead American water willows. I caught one largemouth bass in three to four feet of water near the tip of one of the jetties as I was employing a drag-and-shake presentation. At another jetty, I caught one largemouth bass in three feet of water adjacent to a shallow patch of winter-dead American water willows on the initial drop of the prototype rig. One of the largemouth bass was caught about seven feet from the water's edge, and the other one was caught about three feet from the water's edge and a foot from the outside edge of a patch of American water willows. I failed to garner a strike at one of the jetties, but I hooked but failed to land a fish in four feet of water at the tip of another jetty while I was employing a drag-and-deadstick presentation.

I caught 19 largemouth bass along a 300-yard stretch of a massive main-lake shoreline. Most of this shoreline is flat with a 20-degree slope, and all of the largemouth bass were caught along the flat portions of this shoreline.  I failed to garner a strike along a 50-yard stretch that has a 35- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, clay, and a few rocks. There are a few more rocks, as well as some boulders, along the steeper section of this shoreline. The water's edge has a few patches of winter-dead American water willows, which are in extremely shallow water. There are scores of laydowns and man-made brush piles, as well as a few stumps, adorning this shoreline. The 19 largemouth bass were caught in three to seven feet of water, and they were caught 15 to 30 feet from the water's edge, while I was either strolling or casting the prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ rig and employing either a drag-and-shake or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. A few of them were caught in the vicinity of the laydowns and brush piles, and to my dismay, a largemouth bass became entangled around one of those brush piles, and during that encounter, my fluorocarbon leader broke. Therefore, I had to replace the leader and attached a new three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig to the new fluorocarbon leader.

I caught five largemouth bass on a flat main-lake point.  These largemouth bass were extracted out of four feet of water as I was casting the prototype rig and retrieving it with an extremely slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. These largemouth bass were abiding about 20 feet from the water's edge. The underwater terrain of this point consists of gravel, clay, and a few rocks.  I fished a 100-yard section of this point's adjacent main-lake shoreline, and I failed to elicit a strike.

In sum, I caught 53 largemouth bass on the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Since Jan. 31, it has been my most effective Midwest finesse rig.

Mar. 28 log

David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 28 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 50 degrees at 8:00 a.m. and 52 degrees at 12:00 p.m. The sky was overcast, and it was misting at times. The wind angled out the north, north by northwest, and northeast, at 2 to 4 mph.  I do not have information on the barometric pressure.  According to the solunar app on my phone, it was a "six-tuna day," indicating a potentially high level of animal activity, but during our 31/2 hours of chasing largemouth bass only the first 15 minutes were within a minor solunar period.

I fished with Matt Boldra of Conifer, Colorado, at a northeast Kansas' community reservoir that I had visited only once in my life, and that occurred in January.  Matt was in town with his family for spring break and a morning on the water was a good way to show him the charms of Kansas living.

I handed Matt a Fenwick HMX medium-action spinning rod with a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig affixed to a Z-Man's California craw Hula StickZ. He did not relinquish that lure all day.  I used a Z-Man's California craw Hula StickZ on an orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  All of our fish were caught on our California craw rigs.

We did not start the outboard motor. Instead, we began fishing along a rocky shoreline adjacent to the boat ramp and inside a feeder-creek arm.  Our fish counters quickly climbed to nearly ten largemouth bass, and they were caught while we were employing a deadstick retrieve in about four feet of water.  This shoreline eventually changed to a mixture of clay, mud, rock, and patches of winter-dead American water willows, and our catch rate slowed down. The next five largemouth bass came from some very minor points in these areas.  Patches of curly-leaf pondweed started to show on the graph under the boat, and twigs of it were floating on the water's surface at times. Along the shoreline in the back of this feeder-creek arm, we caught only four largemouth bass.

The next fifteen largemouth bass were caught along a shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm. This shoreline has a grassy section, and some of it is littered with logs. There is also a spot were there is a transition from rock to dirt or clay.  We caught the last largemouth bass of the outing around one of the logs, and it looked as if it weighed more than two pounds. Along the dirt-and-rock transition section along this shoreline, I caught a fine common carp by deadsticking  my ZinkerZ rig.

After we made our final casts and retrieves for largemouth bass, our fish counter revealed that we had caught 30 largemouth bass, which were caught from a multitude of terrains. We caught them by covering a lot of water. And we could not predict where we would catch one.

Then, we spent 30 minutes fishing for crappie around a man-made brush pile.

Although 30 largemouth bass is a good number, there are more to be had.   I have had a limited experience with Midwest finesse rigs and tactics. And there are a number of details that new Midwest finesse anglers need to keep in mind.

Here are some of my insights to what newcomers need to focus upon:

The different retrieves are key.  I find myself stuck with my favorite (or the simplest) retrieve when I should be working the different retrieves.  For example, when I was deadsticking the rocks early on, I caught all of the largemouth bass, and when Matt was doing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve on the tiny points, he was catching the largemouth bass.  The largest largemouth bass and the carp were caught on the deadstick presentation. In retrospect, I suspect that we could have doubled our catch if we had focused on a variety of retrieves, such as the drag-and-shake presentation and the stroll. Consequently, I am going to keep a list of the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves (http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves) and keep them in my boat and refer to them during the outings to come.

Another key revolves around colors.  Every hour an angler should spend five to ten minutes with a new color. This task can be accomplished very easily when there are two or three anglers in the boat. One angler can use the most effective color at that point in the outing, and the other angler or anglers can test other color patterns.  Most anglers ignore this detail. I find that a green, blue, orange, and white are the colors to work with.  I typically add in some Berkley products at times, but I did not have those with me on this outing.

I did use Smelly Jelly scent on my lures, but our best catch rate occurred before we started doing this regularly on this trip.

Midwest finesse tactics are the best way to learn how, when, and where to catch largemouth bass at a reservoir that an angler has never fished before.  If I fished this community reservoir on Mar. 29, I would fish the many shorelines -- including the dam -- that Matt and I did not fish on Mar. 28, and then I would return to the most fruitful shorelines that we found on Mar. 28 and assess the similarities and differences. I would also quickly explore all of the feeder-creek arms and pinpoint where the submerged creek channels are adjacent to the shorelines. I would do more strolling to discover if the largemouth bass are abiding at a variety of depths.  On a third day, if I was trying to find bigger largemouth bass, I would use bigger lures in the spots I suspect that entertain lunker-size largemouth bass. I would also explore deeper areas, as well as offshore brush piles.

Mar. 29 log

Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his 20-minute outing on Mar. 29.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

While I was in the midst of doing some chores, I drove by a pond several times, and I kept seeing signs of fish activity.

Once my chores were completed, I stopped and began wielding a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's purple-haze Zero affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

On the first cast, second cast, and nearly every cast thereafter, I elicited a strike. In fact, I merely tossed the rig into the water while I was releasing a largemouth bass, and a small largemouth bass inhaled it.

During this 20-minute foray, I unhooked 15 largemouth bass, which ranged in size from being extremely tiny to being close to weighing five pounds.

I retrieved the rig with a steady swimming-and-shaking presentation a few feet from the water's edge. A few of the largemouth bass that bulged the water behind the rig, but did not engulf it, were caught when I stopped the retrieve, and the rig essentially fell right in front of their faces.

This adventure was cut short by my need to travel with my wife. Nevertheless, I enjoyed a good and quick fix.

This rig is tailor-made for pond applications, and by far, it produces the highest catch rates for me in these situations.

I am sending this report because I suspect that scores of FNN members have access to some kind of pond fishing. And it is just a reminder to them to put the rig to good use at those small waters.

It is the most predictable and fruitful method I have ever enjoyed in all my years of angling.

Mar. 31 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 43 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 50 degrees at 4:53 p.m.  The sky was incessantly overcast. The wind angled out of the west by northwest, north, north by northeast, and northwest at 5 to 11 mph. The humidity ranged from 80 percent to 97 percent. The barometric pressure was 29.83 at 12:53 a.m., 29.86 at 5:53 a.m., 30.00 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.97 at 3:53 p.m.

The average high temperature for Mar. 31 is 62 degrees, and while Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I were afloat at a northeastern Kansas community reservoir, area thermometers ranged from 46 degrees to 48 degrees. And to our old bones and souls, it was bone-aching cold.  I even donned a wool stocking cap and a lot of my winter wear, and we often kvetched about how cold the backs of our necks and the bones in our fingers felt.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 1:55 a.m. to 3:55 a.m., 2:24 p.m. to 4:24 p.m., and 8:09 a.m. to 10.09 a.m. We fished and were cold from 10:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

The water level looked to be about two feet above normal, and at some locales inside several of the feeder-creek arms, the water exhibited less than 12 inches of visibility. The high-water level and the stained water are a result of about three inches of rain that fell upon this reservoir's watershed from Mar. 26 to Mar. 29.  The clearest water was around the dam, and it exhibited more than five feet of visibility.  The surface temperature ranged from 50 degrees to 52 degrees. We fished six main-lake points. At two of them, we failed to elicit a strike. At one, we garnered a strike, which we failed to hook. At another main-lake point, we caught one smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass.  At another main-lake point we caught one largemouth bass, and at another one, we caught one largemouth bass.  The underwater terrains on these six main-lake points consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and they exhibited a 25-degree to a 35-degree slope. Some of them were embellished with patches of winter-dead American water willows. One of the flattest and shallowest main-lake points yielded the smallmouth bass and largemouth bass, but another flat and shallow one failed to yield a black bass. We failed to garner a strike along the steepest main-lake point. The smallmouth bass was caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig that was retrieved with a drag-and-deadstick presentation in about four feet of water. The three largemouth bass were caught while we were strolling a three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-shake-and deadstick presentation in four to seven feet of water.

We fished six main-lake points. At two of them, we failed to elicit a strike. At one, we garnered a strike, which we failed to hook. At another main-lake point, we caught one smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass.  At another main-lake point we caught one largemouth bass, and at another one, we caught one largemouth bass.  The underwater terrains on these six main-lake points consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and they exhibited a 25-degree to a 35-degree slope. Some of them were embellished with patches of winter-dead American water willows. One of the flattest and shallowest main-lake points yielded the smallmouth bass and largemouth bass, but another flat and shallow one failed to yield a black bass. We failed to garner a strike along the steepest main-lake point. The smallmouth bass was caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig that was retrieved with a drag-and-deadstick presentation in about four feet of water. The three largemouth bass were caught while we were strolling a three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-shake-and deadstick presentation in four to seven feet of water.

On the main body of this reservoir, we fished portions of a submerged rock fence. And it was not fruitful.

We fished about 75 yards of the dam, which is laden with riprap. We caught two smallmouth bass on the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ rig while we were strolling it in five to nine feet of water with a drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation.

We caught three largemouth bass along a flat and shallow shoreline inside a large feeder-creek arm. The water's edge of this shoreline is adorned with patches of winter-dead American water willows and riprap.  It possesses a 20-degree slope. The largemouth bass were abiding in three to four feet of water, and they were caught a few feet from the outside edges of the patches of the American water willows. Two were caught on a 2 1/2-inch generic green-pumpkin-orange stickbait affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. One largemouth bass was caught on a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was strolled and presented with a drag-and-deadstick retrieve.

We fished four main-lake shorelines.

Along a 75-yard stretch of a flat main-lake shoreline, we caught two largemouth bass in about three feet of water. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. It possesses a 25-degree slope. Its water's edge is graced with some patches of winter-dead American water willows and one minor laydown.  These two largemouth bass were caught while we were casting and employing a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation with the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One of these largemouth bass was caught adjacent to the minor lay down.

Along about a 250-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline, we caught five largemouth bass. The underwater terrain of this shoreline consists of gravel, rocks, and some humongous boulders. It possesses a 25-degree to a 35-degree slope. Its water's edge is endowed with patches of winter-dead American water willows, some minor laydowns, and several major laydowns. These five largemouth bass were caught in three to six feet of water while we were strolling and casting either a three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation or a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig that was retrieved with a drag-and-deadstick presentation.Inside a large feeder-creek arm, and along about a 100-yard segment of its south shoreline, we caught four largemouth bass in four to seven feet of water. The underwater terrain of this shoreline consists of gravel, rocks, and two concrete jetties. Its water's edge is embellished with some patches of winter-dead American water willows, a few submerged logs, and several laydowns. These four largemouth bass were caught while we strolling either a three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation or  a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig that was retrieved with a drag-and-deadstick presentation.

Inside a large feeder-creek arm, and along about a 100-yard segment of its south shoreline, we caught four largemouth bass in four to seven feet of water. The underwater terrain of this shoreline consists of gravel, rocks, and two concrete jetties. Its water's edge is embellished with some patches of winter-dead American water willows, a few submerged logs, and several laydowns. These four largemouth bass were caught while we strolling either a three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation or  a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig that was retrieved with a drag-and-deadstick presentation.

We caught a largemouth bass in five feet of water on a flat in the back of a small feeder-creek arm. It was caught on a Z-Man's bubble gum Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. The south and north shorelines in this feeder-creek arm failed to yield a black bass.

Inside another small feeder-creek arm, we caught 22 largemouth bass on either the three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin prototype Finesse T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. Ten of them were caught along a 35-yard segment of its north shoreline, and 12 largemouth bass were caught along its south shoreline.  The underwater terrains of these shorelines consist of gravel, rocks and a few minor boulders. Its water's edge is embellished with two docks and patches of winter-dead American water willows, as well as some minor laydowns. Adjacent to the shorelines, there are several man-made brush piles that lie in eight to 12 feet of water. The slope of these shorelines ranges from 25-degrees to nearly 40-degrees. Five of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. And 17 of them were caught when we were employing a drag-and-deadstick presentation.  Some were caught immediately adjacent to the patches of American water willows, and some were caught as far as 20 feet from the water's edge, and the others were caught between those two distances. In total, we caught 41 largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass, and we also tangled with seven rainbow trout and five freshwater drum.

In total, we caught 41 largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass, and we also tangled with seven rainbow trout and five freshwater drum.

DSCN1529

Mar. 31 log

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Mar. 31 outing with John Redding of Topeka, Kansas, at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir in northeastern Kansas.

Here is an edited version of his report:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 43 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 50 degrees at 4:53 p.m.  The sky was incessantly overcast. The wind angled out of the west by northwest, north, north by northeast, and northwest at 5 to 11 mph. The humidity ranged from 80 percent to 97 percent. The barometric pressure was 29.83 at 12:53 a.m., 29.86 at 5:53 a.m., 30.00 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.97 at 3:53 p.m.

The water was stained with about 12 inches of visibility. There was quite a bit of floating debris from the recent rains. We had several fishermen tell us the lake level had come up 2 1/2 feet with the influx from the rainfall. The surface temperature fluctuated from 51 to 52 degrees.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 1:55 a.m. to 3:55 a.m., 2:24 p.m. to 4:24 p.m., and 8:09 a.m. to 10:09 a.m. We fished from 3:00-6:00 p.m.

John had expressed some interest in Midwest finesse fishing after hearing about some of my experiences from a mutual friend. He had purchased some Z-Man's  ZinkerZs and  Finesse ShroomZ jigs and experimented with them, but had not had any luck catching a fish with them. I had promised him that I could help him.

We began our endeavors at the boat ramp, and we fished the east shoreline, which is comprised of about 100 yards of riprap and ends on a main-lake point. Almost immediately, I had a strike on a 2 1/2- inch Z-Man's  pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce  Gopher jig and caught a largemouth bass.  After missing another strike, I had another good bite and landed another largemouth bass. John made some comments about how it was working good for me, but not for him.  Then he suddenly yelled: "That is not a rock, it is a fish!" He proceeded to fight and land his first ever fish on a Midwest finesse bait, and it was a handsome largemouth bass caught on a shortened Z-Man's The Deal ZinkerZ mounted on a black 1/10-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ weedless jig. After releasing the bass, he said that he could not believe that he actually had a fish on his finesse jig. He was convinced that he had snagged a rock, until it became obvious that rocks do not swim and pull back.

We continued to fish around the end of the point and down the west shore of the next cove, which had many large boulders and rocks. John caught two more largemouth bass. I had another strike and lost my rig to the zebra mussels. I picked up another rod, which was rigged with a shortened Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and I caught another largemouth bass and a large white bass.

After that, things slowed down. We fished two more main-lake points and the shorelines inside two coves. I caught a giant crappie at the back of one cove on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Copher jig. I caught a largemouth bass on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Then I caught another giant crappie, and John caught three freshwater drum on his 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rigs.

In sum, we struggled to catch six largemouth bass, three freshwater drum, two crappie, and one white bass. And we got very cold.

We used two Midwest finesse retrieves:  the swim-glide-and-shake presentation and the straight swimming presentation.

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