Midwest Finesse Fishing: May 2018

Midwest Finesse Fishing: May 2018

Our May guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 323logs and 25,876 words that explain how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished. It features the endeavors and insights of Rick Allen of Dallas; Tom Bett of Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri; Lita Frazier of Moses Lake, Washington; Bret Freudenthal of Kansas City, Missouri; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Bob Hardy of St. Paul, Minnesota; David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas; Gary Johnson of Claremont, California; Pat Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas; Marcum Leman of Moses Lake, Washington; Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas; Travis Perret of Overland Park, Kansas; Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina; John Redding of Lawrence, Kansas; Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas; John Reese of Lawrence, Kansas; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; Marc Sherrell of Kansas City, Missouri, John Thomas of Denton, Texas; Ethan Turner of Springfield, Missouri; Amy Whitaker of Kansas City, Missouri; and my northeastern Kansas' logs.


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

May 4 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 55 degree at 6:53 a.m. and 81 degrees at 5:53 p.m. From 2:30 a.m. to 5:53 a.m., the sky fluctuated from being mostly cloudy to being overcast to being scattered with clouds, and for the rest of the day, it was clear, and during the midday hours, the sun burned intensely in an aquamarine sky. The wind angled out of the west, west by northwest, and north by northwest at 3 to 24 mph, and for about two hours, it fluctuated from being variable to being calm. The barometric pressure was 29.86 at 12:53 a.m., 30.00 at 5:53 a.m., 30.12 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.11 at 1:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 2:25 a.m. to 4:25 a.m., 2:49 p.m. to 4:49 p.m., and 8:37 a.m. to 10:37 a.m. I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas' state reservoirs from 10:02 a.m. to 2:03 p.m., and there were numerous anglers plying this reservoir.


The surface temperature fluctuated from 65 degrees to 67 degrees. The water clarity ranged from nearly four feet in the vicinity of the dam to about 18 inches in the upper reaches of one of this reservoir's feeder-creek arms. The water level looked to be a tad above normal. Many of the shallow-water rocks, stems of winter-dead American water willows, laydowns, and brush piles were enmeshed with gobs of filamentous algae.

For me, the largemouth bass fishing has been excruciatingly difficult this year at all of the flatland reservoirs that stipple the exurban countrysides of northeastern Kansas. (It should be noted that all of these reservoirs lie in the vicinity of the Interstate-70 corridor that stretches from Topeka, Kansas, to Kansas City, Missouri. This landscape encircles more than two million people, and the reservoirs endure significant angler predation.) As yet, neither I nor any of my regular piscatorial companions have been able to catch 101 black bass in four hours, which is our hypothetical objective on every Midwest finesse outing. The nearest that we have gotten to achieving that goal occurred on April 30, which is when Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I caught 67 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs.

To my disappointment, I failed to get out of this slump during my May 4 outing. During the four hours and one minute that I fished during this outing, I struggled to catch 40 largemouth bass, and I inadvertently caught 14 crappie and one bluegill. And largemouth bass No. 40 was caught on my last cast and retrieve.


I caught three largemouth bass along the spillway and a short section of the riprap shoreline of the dam that borders the spillway. The water's edge of this locale is enhanced with patches of winter-dead American water willows, which were cluttered with wads and globs of filamentous algae. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some silt. This area has a 20- to 40-degree slope. One largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man Fishing Products' green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water and 15 feet from the water's edge. Two largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red Finesse WormZ affixed t0 a red 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve in three to four feet of water and 10 feet from the outside edge of the American water willows.

I spent the bulk of this outing fishing one shoreline, which is about three-quarters of a mile long. It is endowed with 10 riprap jetties, several significant points, a number of minor or tertiary points, some manmade brush piles, a few laydowns, several overhanging trees, a few meager patches of curly-leaf pondweed, and many patches of winter-dead American water willows. The underwater terrain of this massive shoreline consists of gravel, rocks, some minor boulders, and some silt. There are gobs of filamentous algae clinging to the rocks, stems of American water willows and other underwater objects. This shoreline and its points possess a 25- to 40-degree slope.

This area surrendered 28 largemouth bass, and there was no significant location pattern. One was caught around one of the significant points. Another one was caught around one of the minor points. Six were caught around five of the 10 riprap jetties. Seven were caught around and under some of the overhanging trees. Eleven were caught hither and yon along the patches of winter-dead American water willows.

One of the 26 largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ attached to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce VMC's NME Neon Moon Eye Jig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation in about four feet of water. Three were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. Eight were caught on the green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig in three to six feet of water on either the initial drop or with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve. Fifteen were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig in three to six feet of water on either the initial drop or with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve.

I spent a few minutes probing around a main-lake point and short sections of its adjacent shorelines. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It possesses a 30- to 40-degree slope. Most of the water's edge is graced with patches on winter-dead American water willows. I caught one largemouth bass by strolling and employing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the Rain MinnowZ rig about six feet from the outside edge of a patch of American water willows in about five feet of water. The initial drop of the Rain MinnowZ rig caught a largemouth bass in about three feet of water around some small boulders.

I fished around two small riprap jetties and short segments of shoreline adjacent to these jetties. This area possesses about a 35-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, silt, and a few boulders. Most of the water's edge is graced with patches of winter-dead American water willows; there are a couple of overhanging trees, and there is a nearby manmade pile of brush. The Rain MinnowZ rig caught three largemouth bass. One was caught in about three feet of water on the initial drop around one of the jetties. Another one was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four feet of water around the second jetty. The third one was caught as I was strolling and employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in five to six feet of water parallel to and about five feet from the outside edge of a patch of American water willows.

Four largemouth bass were caught around another riprap jetty. It has a 30- to 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a few minor boulders. Some of the water's edge is graced with patches of winter-dead American water willows and some minor laydowns. The Rain MinnowZ rig caught one of the largemouth bass on the initial drop in about two feet of water at the edge of a patch of American water willows. Two were caught on the Rain MinnowZ rig around some rocks and minor boulders in four to five feet of water with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. The fourth one was caught on the Rain MinnowZ rig adjacent to another patch of American water willows with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in about four feet of water.

I failed to garner a strike on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig, a Z-Man's Drew's craw TRD HogZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce VMC's NME Neon Moon Eye Jig, a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce VMC's NME Neon Moon Eye Jig, and a Z-Man's Canada craw Rain MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

I elicited a number of strikes on the green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ rig and 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ that I failed to hook. I saw a few of the fish flash as they made a pass at those rigs, and they looked as if they were crappie.

Throughout the calendar year, I pursue only shallow-water black bass, which includes water as shallow as a foot and as deep as 12 feet. In winters past, we have caught 118 shallow-water largemouth bass in four hours when the surface temperature is 39 to 40 degrees. In springs past, we have caught 117 shallow-water largemouth bass when the surface temperature is 67 degrees. But during the first 124 days of 2018, I have no idea what is going on with the back bass that abide or used to abide in those depths in the small flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas. What's more, I have not caught a smallmouth bass from one of our cold-water reservoirs in 2018.

May 5 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his May 5 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

As I have been lamenting in many of my logs this year, the black bass fishing in north-central Texas has been in a sorry state during the first four months of 2018, and our catch rates remain well below average. I and several of my cohorts have fished 29 times in 2018. These 29 outings have encompassed 119 hours of fishing, and it has been a challenge for us to catch a total of 257 largemouth bass and spotted bass. This calculates to a measly catch rate of eight bass per outing or two bass per hour. We have yet to catch 25 or more bass in an outing this year.

In comparison, my companions and I fished 32 times during the first four months of 2017. Those 32 outings spanned 120.5 hours of fishing, and we caught a total of 539 largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass. Our catch rate averaged 4 bass per hour and 16 bass per outing. And though this catch rate may seem paltry to most Midwest finesse anglers across the country, it is considered a decent average for this region of Texas.

We have no clue as to why our catch rate in 2018 is less than half of what it was in 2017. But during this lull in our black bass fishing, I have sold my old boat and have ordered a new one. And while I wait for it to be delivered, I am relegated to mostly bank-walking excursions at several reservoirs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan areas.

The sky was cloudless and sun filled on May 5. The morning low temperature was 58 degrees. The afternoon high reached 82 degrees. The wind was relatively mild-mannered for the first time in many days, and it angled out of the north and northeast at 10 to 15 mph. The barometric pressure fluctuated from 30.15 at noon to 30.08 at 4:00 p.m.

I fished at one community reservoir before turning my attention to a larger U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the optimum fishing periods would take place from 3:23 a.m. to 5:23 a.m., 9:35 a.m. to 11:35 a.m., and 3:47 p.m. to 5:47 p.m.

I fished at the first community reservoir from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and I caught nine largemouth bass.

The water temperature was 72 degrees. There was six inches of visibility. The water level was slightly high.

I started fishing the south end of the reservoir, which encompasses a decorative concrete and stone dam and spillway, two submerged rock piles, and a small brush pile. The bottom terrain along the base of the dam is covered with softball-size rocks. This area was fruitless.

From the dam and spillway area, I moved northward along the reservoir's west shoreline, which features three patches of burgeoning lily pads that grace three sections of the shoreline, two tertiary points, and a shallow clay and gravel ledge. I caught three largemouth bass in three to five feet of water from a 25-yard stretch of the clay and gravel ledge that extends about five feet from the water's edge and parallels the shoreline. These largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse TRD rigged on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig that was employed with a slow swim-and-constant-shake retrieve. I failed to elicit any strikes from the three patches of lily pads and the two small tertiary points.

One largemouth bass was caught from the outside edge of a large patch of lily pads that adorns most of the northern shoreline. This bass was abiding in two feet of water and was beguiled by the Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse TRD rig as I was swimming and shaking it parallel to the outside edge of the lily pads.

Five largemouth bass were caught along the east shoreline. This one is the steepest of the four shorelines, and it is endowed with two primary points, three tertiary points, and a gravel and clay ledge similar to the one that courses next to the west shoreline.

These five largemouth bass were caught in three to five feet of water from one of the two primary points and a 15-yard section of the shallow ledge adjacent to that point. I was unable to generate any strikes from the other primary point or the three tertiary points. These largemouth bass were also allured by the Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse TRD combo that was presented with a slow swim-and-constant-shake retrieve.

After taking a short break, I ventured to a nearby U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir. I plied seven secondary points, two rocky shorelines, and portions of two coves inside a major feeder-creek arm on the north end of the reservoir from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The water temperature was 73 degrees. The water exhibited about two feet of clarity. The water level was normal.

I caught three spotted bass, one largemouth bass, and one white bass from the ends of four of the seven secondary points in four to seven feet of water. They engulfed a Z-Man's white lightning Finesse TRD attached on a custom-painted 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig that was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

I failed to garner any strikes from the two rocky shorelines and the shorelines inside the two coves.

In sum, it was another lackluster outing. I caught 10 largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and one white bass in four hours.

May 5 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his outing with two friends at one of northeastern Kansas' power-plant reservoirs on May 5.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 55 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 82 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being clear to being partly cloudy. The wind angled out of the southwest, west by southwest, west, west by northwest, south, and south by southwest at 3 to 13 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.11 at 12:53 a.m., 30.11 at 5:53 a.m., 30.11 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.05 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 3:31 a.m. to 5:31 a.m., 3:56 p.m. to 5:56 p.m., and 9:43 a.m. to 11:43 a.m. They fished for smallmouth bass from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The water exhibited four feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 64 degrees. The water level was four inches below its normal level.

He reported that it was the worst outing that he has experienced at this reservoir. They caught five smallmouth bass, and accidentally caught 10 white bass, four freshwater drum, two crappie, two walleye, one wiper, and one buffalo.

He said: "Because so few smallmouth bass were caught, there was not enough accumulated data available to say what retrieve and locations worked best. But I can say that most of the time I worked my Midwest finesse rigs painstakingly slow, frequently making contact with the bottom. As the day wore on, I began thinking of areas where I have caught either crappies or whites that were mixed with smallmouth bass in past Mays, and then we concentrated there." But those spots failed to be bountiful."

Two of the five smallmouth bass that Bob Gum and his friends caught.

As several Midwest finesse anglers have lamented this spring, Gum concluded that something is askew with the black bass fishing at most of the waterways in northeastern Kansas in 2018.

May 6 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 55 degrees at 3:53 a.m. and 84 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being overcast to being partly cloudy to being clear to being mostly cloudy to being scattered with clouds. The wind angled from the north, east, south by southwest, south, southwest, west by southwest, west, west by northwest, north by northwest, and east by northeast at 3 to 10 mph, and it was calm for a short spell around 1:53 p.m. The barometric pressure was 30.01 at 12:53 a.m., 30.01 at 5:53 a.m., 30.04 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.03 at 2:53 a.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would happen from 4:06 a.m. to 6:06 a.m., 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and 10:18 a.m. to 12:18 p.m. My wife, Patty, and I fished at a northeastern Kansas' community reservoir from 12:02 p.m. to 2:06 p.m. The surface temperature was 73 degrees. The water level was slightly above normal. The water clarity was affected by a planktonic algae bloom, and the visibility ranged from 18 inches to 30 inches. Wads and wads of filamentous algae cluttered the surface along many of the shorelines, and in shallow-water areas, it adheres to underwater objects, such as laydowns, brush piles, stems of American water willows, and stems of coontail.

We fished three main-lake points, short segments of three main-lake shorelines, short segments of six shorelines inside four feeder-creek arms, and three secondary points inside two feeder-creek arms.

Along a 25-yard stretch of a shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm, we caught five largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 30-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and silt. The water's edge is graced with a minor patch of winter-dead American water willows. There are significant patches of coontail that are intertwined with sprouts of curly-leaf pondweed in three to seven feet of water. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation in three to five feet of water around patches of coontail. Three largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's Junebug Rain MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation in three to five feet of water around patches of coontail.

Along a 60-yard stretch of a shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm, we caught one smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water's edge is graced with patches of winter-dead American water willows that are thickly laden with filamentous algae. Along the outside edges of the patches of American water willows, there are significant patches of coontail, which are entwined with filamentous algae. One largemouth bass was caught on the Finesse WormZ rig as we were strolling it and employing a swimming presentation in about six feet of water. The smallmouth bass was caught on the Rain MinnowZ rig and a swim-glide-and-subtle shake presentation in about five feet of water.

Along a short segment of a flat and shallow-water shoreline in the back of another feeder-creek arm, we caught two largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 20-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and silt, and this terrain is enhanced with burgeoning patches of coontial. These largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swimming retrieve in about three feet of water.

We caught three largemouth bass around a main-lake point and along a 100-yard stretch of its main-lake shoreline. This point and its adjacent main-lake shoreline possesses a 45- to 75-degree slope. The underwater terrain consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and this terrain is graced with occasional patches of coontail. The water's edge is littered with scores of laydowns and overhanging trees. One largemouth bass was caught around the point in about seven feet of water on the Finesse WormZ rig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. Two largemouth bass were caught along the shoreline in five to seven feet of water on the green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve.

Inside another feeder-creek arm, we caught one largemouth bass on the Finesse WormZ rig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation in six feet of water around patches of coontail adjacent to a shoreline that has a 40-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, and silt. Much of the water's edge along this shoreline possesses laydowns and overhanging trees. And all of the shallow-water shorelines and the shallow-water flat in the back third of this feeder-creek arm is embellished with burgeoning patches of coontail.

One of the largemouth bass that we caught on a Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig.

To our chagrin and amazement, Patty and I did not possess the wherewithal to catch more than 12 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass during the two hours that we fished. Since Dec. 20, 2017, black bass fishing has been onerous for us and our fellow Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri. And we are sorry to say that we do not have a clue to what is transpiring with the black bass that abide in the community and state reservoirs in this part of the world.

May 6 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his outing with Marc Sherrell of Kansas City, Missouri, at a private community reservoir in northwest Missouri on May 6.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 55 degrees at 3:53 a.m. and 84 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being overcast to being partly cloudy to being clear to being mostly cloudy to being scattered with clouds. The wind angled from the north, east, south by southwest, south, southwest, west by southwest, west, west by northwest, north by northwest, and east by northeast at 3 to 10 mph, and it was calm for a short spell around 1:53 p.m. The barometric pressure was 30.01 at 12:53 a.m., 30.01 at 5:53 a.m., 30.04 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.03 at 2:53 a.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would happen from 4:06 a.m. to 6:06 a.m., 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and 10:18 a.m. to 12:18 p.m. They fished from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The surface temperature was 70 degrees. The water exhibited about 3 1/2 feet of visibility.

Marc wielded a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse TRD affixed to a black 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Bob used a Z-Man's white lightning Trick ShotZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Most of their retrieves consisted of simply allowing their rigs to fall, sometimes making contact with the bottom, then swimming and gliding them back to the boat.

Marc Sherrell with a largemouth bass.

They caught a combination of 71 crappie and largemouth bass, and the majority of the 71 were crappie. The crappie were caught in two to six feet of water, and the largemouth bass were caught in slightly deeper water.

May 7 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 60 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 81 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sky was cloudless. The wind angled out of the north by northeast, northeast, east by northeast, and east at 3 to 10 mph, and it was calm at 12:53 p.m. and variable at 1:53 p.m. The barometric pressure was 30.08 at 12:53 a.m., 30.12 at 5:53 a.m., 30.14 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.10 at 1:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 5:13 a.m. to 7:13 a.m., 5:36 p.m. to 7:36 p.m., and 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I were afloat at a northeastern Kansas' community reservoir from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The water level was normal. The surface temperature ranged from 70 to 73 degrees. The water exhibited four feet of visibility around the dam, two feet around the middle section of the reservoir, and less than a foot in the upper section. Wads of filamentous algae adhered to many of the shallow-water objects, such as laydowns, brush piles, stems of winter-dead American water willows, docks, rocks, and boulders. This relatively small reservoir is littered with more than 230 docks. The water's edge around many of its shorelines and points are lined with concrete and rock retaining walls. Along with the docks and retaining walls, there are occasional patches of winter-dead American water willows and burgeoning patches of coontail and bushy pondweed. There are a few sections of shorelines that are embellished with a few laydowns and overhanging trees and bushes.

During the cold-water months of the year, Rick and I periodically partake in a piscatorial endeavor that we describe as bass fishing or trout, which occurs when we inadvertently catch a significant number of rainbow trout on our Midwest finesse rigs while we are pursuing largemouth bass in several of our community reservoirs. Our May 7 outing turned out to be what we described as bass fishing for crappie. We named it that because we accidentally caught 23 crappie on our Midwest finesse rigs. Besides those 23 crappie, we accidently caught one warmouth, two bluegill, and three green sunfish. We were hoping to tangle with at least 50 largemouth bass, but we struggled to catch 30 of them.

Along the dam, we caught five largemouth bass. The dam possesses a 40- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Some of the underwater sections along the dam are endowed with patches of coontail. The water's edge is lined with some patches of winter-dead American water willows, and they are encased with gobs of filamentous algae. One of the largemouth bass was caught in five to six feet of water on a Z-Man' green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One largemouth bass was caught of the initial drop of a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig in about three feet of water next to a patch of American water willows. Two largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. One was caught on the initial drop of the Finesse WormZ rig in three to four feet of water next of a patch of winter-dead American water willows, and the other one was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

The rest of the outing was spent quickly probing 10 main-lake points, six main-lake shorelines, five short segments of shorelines inside four small feeder-creek arms, several tertiary points, and one secondary point. The portions of three of the six main-lake shorelines that we fished were rather long, ranging in length from 250 yards to more than 650 yards.

The secondary point and the 10 main-lake points failed to yield a largemouth bass. One of the shorelines inside a feeder-creek arm yielded a largemouth bass. We failed to catch a largemouth bass along two of the main-lake shorelines. Along the other four main-lake shorelines and a few of their tertiary points, we eked out 25 largemouth bass.

In short, we caught them here and there along these four main-lake shorelines. A few of them were caught adjacent to a laydown. One was caught adjacent to a dock. Several were caught adjacent to retaining walls. Some were caught in the vicinity of patches of winter-dead American water willows. Several were caught around patches of coontail. Two were caught around piles of rocks and boulders.

DSC05886

One was caught on the Rain MinnowZ rig. Six were caught on the Finesse WormZ rig. Twenty-three were caught on either a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to either a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig or a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

One was caught on a deadstick presentation in about four feet of water. The rest were either caught on the initial drop of our rigs or as we were employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. A few were caught while we executed a radical shake to the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and a few were caught while we employed a subtle shake. Some of our swim-glide-and-shake presentations were executed while we were strolling, and many of the 23 crappie were caught while we were employing the strolling tactic.

We elicited one strike on a Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. A Z-Man's Junebug Rain MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig failed to elicit a strike. And a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig failed to catch a largemouth bass, but during April and May of 2017, it was one our most effective rigs at this reservoir.

On our Finesse ShadZ rigs, Finesse WormZ rig, and green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ rig, we elicited a lot of strikes that we failed to hook. We suspected many of those missed strikes were generated by crappie.

In sum, it was another strange and baffling Midwest finesse outing for largemouth bass in northeastern Kansas.

Endnotes:

Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, called this morning, and we talked about the difficult black bass fishing that Rick and I, as well as several other Midwest finesse anglers in northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri, have been enduring since Dec. 20, 2017, at our community and state reservoirs. Drew is one of the forefathers of Midwest finesse fishing; his insights stretch back into the 1960s. During our telephone conversation, he said that he has been enjoying an extremely fruitful spring, catching incredible numbers of largemouth bass, including an eight-pounder and several other lunkers, with Midwest finesse tactics. He, however, has been spending his days fishing at an eastern Kansas' watershed lake. He suspects that our woes are centered around the community and state reservoirs that we are fishing, which we have been fishing frequently since the turn of the century with our modern-day versions of Midwest finesse lures and tactics, such as short Senko-style baits like a Z-Man's Finesse TRD or 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ. And besides us, there have been scores of other anglers who have become Midwest finesse devotees that are also fishing these reservoirs with these lures. Drew noted that ichthyologists have found that largemouth bass remember the lures that they have been caught on, and he thinks that we are dealing with significant numbers of largemouth bass in these northeastern Kansas' reservoirs that have been caught and released by Midwest finesse anglers. Consequently, we have educated the largemouth bass. Thus, they are wary of our tactics, and that has made them difficult for us to catch nowadays.

May 7 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his May 7 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, and I conducted a three-hour bank-walking jaunt at two community reservoirs in north- central Texas.

So far, May 7 has been our warmest day of 2018. Area thermometers recorded the morning low temperature at 70 degrees and the afternoon high reached 95 degrees. There was an abundance of bright sunshine, and the sky was partly cloudy. A light breeze angled out of the south by southeast at 3 to 5 mph. The barometric pressure varied from 30.14 at 9:00 a.m. to 30.06 at 3:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar table noted that the best fishing would take place between 5:04 a.m. and 7:04 a.m., 5:27 p.m. and 7:27 p.m., and 11:16 p.m. to 1:16 a.m.

At the first reservoir that we fished, the water temperature was 75 degrees. The water exhibited about two feet of clarity. The water level appeared to be normal.

This reservoir's underwater terrain consists primarily of sand, clay, rocks, and gravel. Large submerged mats of filamentous algae infested almost all of the shallow-water areas.

We plied this reservoir from 9:50 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. and we caught 12 largemouth bass, two large bluegill, and one green sunfish.

We caught one largemouth bass in three feet of water from the south end of a large mud flat on the north side of the reservoir.

We caught another largemouth bass from the end of a secondary point that lies on the north end of the west shoreline in five feet of water and about 20 yards south of the mud flat where we caught the first largemouth bass.

Along the middle section of the west shoreline is a wood fishing pier that extends outward about 75 feet from the water's edge. We extracted three largemouth bass from a couple of shaded areas underneath this pier in six to eight feet of water.

A small tertiary point just south of the fishing pier yielded one largemouth bass. It was abiding in eight to ten feet of water and was about 50 feet away from the water's edge.

A slab concrete dam forms the southern perimeter of this reservoir. We observed several large pods of small fry slowly meandering along the face of the dam. The west end of the dam was fruitless. The center section of the dam, where we observed most of the small fry, yielded one largemouth bass, two large bluegill, and one green sunfish. These fish were caught around the pods of small fry in three to five feet of water. The east end of the dam was also fruitless.

On the east side of the reservoir, we located three large concentrations of spawning bluegills. They were occupying scores of nests in less than three feet of water on top of a shallow sand and gravel ledge that parallels the entire east shoreline. One group of spawning bluegill was located on the south end of the east shoreline and just north of the dam. The second group was spawning on the north side of a primary point in the midsection of the east shoreline. The third group was spawning around a shallow clay and gravel point on the north end of this shoreline.

We caught six largemouth bass along this shoreline. We were surprised that only two of them were caught in less than five feet of water and in close proximity to the bluegill nests. The other four bass were caught about 40 to 50 feet away from the bluegill nests in eight to ten feet of water.

Nine of the 12 largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to either a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig or a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig enticed two largemouth bass. A shortened Z-Man's coppertreuse Hula StickZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig tempted one.

A slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most effective presentation. But we did catch three bass on the ZinkerZ rigs as they slowly settled to the bottom on the initial drop.

After we finished fishing the first community reservoir, we elected to take a lunch break before we travelled to the second reservoir.

We plied the second reservoir from 1:50 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. This reservoir was almost as fruitful as the first one, and it relinquished 11 largemouth bass, two large green sunfish, one large bluegill, and one white crappie. Large clusters of tiny fry were inhabiting several shallow-water areas near the water's edge.

The water at this reservoir exhibited about a foot of visibility. The water temperature was 78 degrees. The water level appeared to be normal. Its underwater terrain is composed of mostly clay and gravel.

Five largemouth bass and one white crappie were caught along the east shoreline. This shoreline is endowed with two primary points, three tertiary points, and a shallow clay and gravel ledge. These five bass were relating to the outside edge of the shallow ledge in four to six feet of water.

The northern shoreline is fairly shallow and encompasses a shallow mud flat and a small feeder creek. Its shoreline is lined with lily pads. Two largemouth bass were caught along the east end of this shoreline near the outside edge of the lily pads in three feet of water. A large eight-inch bluegill was extracted from underneath a narrow wood bridge that spans the small feeder creek on the west end of the shoreline.

The west shoreline features three patches of lily pads, two primary points, several small tertiary points, and a shallow gravel and clay ledge. This shoreline yielded four largemouth bass. Three of them were caught in three to five feet of water around the shallow ledge. One was caught in eight to ten feet of water and about 40 feet away from the water's edge.

We failed to elicit any strikes along a decorative stone dam that forms the southern boundary of the reservoir.

The most effective combo at this reservoir was a Z-Man's white lightning Finesse TRD attached to either a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig or a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

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

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

All told, this was one of our more bountiful outings in 2018. We caught 23 largemouth bass in three hours: 12 from the first reservoir and 11 from the second one. Many of them showed signs of spawn-related injuries on their tails and other fins. We also inadvertently caught three large bluegill, three green sunfish, and one white crappie

In our eyes, it appears that the black bass spawn is winding down and the post-spawn phase has begun.

May 7 log

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a report about his outing at a northeastern Kansas' community reservoir.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his report:

The Weather Underground noted that it was 62 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 86 degrees at 3:52 p.m. It was sunny. The wind angled out of the north by northeast, northeast, east by northeast, southeast, east, and east by southeast at 3 to 12 mph, and it was calm and variable at times. The barometric pressure was 30.10 at 12:52 a.m., 30.13 at 5:52 a.m., 30.15 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.01 at 5:52 p.m. The red buds and other flowering trees were still blooming, and the canopy in the woods was turning green with new spring growth. I remember thinking that if the bass are biting, this day will be a contender for the best day of spring.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 5:13 a.m. to 7:13 a.m., 5:36 p.m. to 7:36 p.m., and 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. I fished from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The surface temperature was 73 degrees. The water exhibited five feet of visibility. The water level looked to be a foot below normal.

I started fishing along a main-lake and rock-laden shoreline and main-lake point adjacent to the boat ramp. During the first five minutes of this outing, I caught a crappie on the tail section of a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Mag FattyZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Because the water was so clear, I was fascinated by being able to watch how the fish interacted with my lures as I worked them across the shallow-water areas. I was able to see many strikes-- especially from small green sunfish that followed and harassed my Midwest finesse rigs. Occasionally, a larger panfish or a small bass would grab the lure, and I could watch the chartreuse jig head disappear into a fish's mouth or get pulled sideways through the water.

Then I fished the spillway and the dam. The underwater terrain consists of rocks and boulders. Some of the water's edge is graced with patches of winter-dead American water willows and some logs and brush.

Along the dam, I caught 16 largemouth bass. Ten of them were caught around and in the vicinity of the piles of rocks and boulders that support the dam's outlet. Some of these largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the tail section of a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Mag FattyZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. Some were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation near a manmade brush pile about 10 yards from the outlet. And four of the 10 largemouth were caught on a well-worn 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's black-blue-laminated ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Three of the 13 largemouth bass were scattered hither and yon in shallow water along the dam on the tail section of a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Mag FattyZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The other three largemouth bass were caught while I was strolling with the ZinkerZ and the boat was floating in 10 to 18 feet of water.

I fished the other rocky shoreline adjacent to the dam, which eventually merges into a feeder-creek arm. The water's edge is littered with flotsam and filamentous algae. Until I became fed up with the filamentous algae, I caught three largemouth bass on the ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in seven to 10 feet of water.

Upon abandoning the shoreline, I went looking for cleaner water to ply.

Ultimately, I fished six main-lake points, portions of shorelines inside three feeder-creek arms, two 100-yard sections of a main-lake shoreline, and one 150-yard section of another main-lake shoreline.

The water's edge of the 150-yard section of a main-lake shoreline is adorned with patches of winter-dead American water willows. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rock, and boulders. I caught six largemouth bass in six casts. Five were caught on the initial drop, and one was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Two were caught on the ZinkerZ rig. On the third cast, the ZinkerZ elicited a hard strike, which ripped my well-worn ZinkerZ to smithereens; it had weathered two years of use and untold numbers of strikes and catches. I replace it with a shortened Z-Man's black-blue-flake Hula StickZ, which was affixed to a a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig, and it caught four largemouth bass on the next six casts.

In all, I caught a total of 30 largemouth bass. I also accidentally caught one crappie, one warmouth, and 13 green sunfish.

One bass was caught on a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. Three were caught on a shortened Z-Man's PB &J Hula StickZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. Four were caught on a shortened Z-Man's black-blue-flake Hula StickZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. Nine were caught on the tail section of a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Mag FattyZ on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. Thirteen were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's black-blue-laminated ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Sixteen bass were caught on the dam, eleven bass were caught along main-lake shorelines, two bass were caught along the shorelines inside feeder-creek arms, and one bass was caught on a main-lake point.

Some of the largemouth bass were caught near the water's edge. But a significant number were caught in deeper water and yards away from the shoreline. In short, there did not seem to be a dominant pattern, but I did find two areas with concentrations of largemouth bass, and these two areas yielded most of the largemouth bass that I caught.

As a footnote, I saw green sunfish inhabiting the shallow-water areas by the hundreds. I could have caught many more than I did, but I stopped trying to set the hook when I perceived that the strike I was getting was from the panfish. What's more, I stopped casting to the shallow-water flats and shelves where I could see the bottom, because those areas were holding the green-sunfish, not the bass.

As I drove home surrounded by a gorgeous and golden sunset, I remembered my earlier thought about it possibly being a contender for the best day of spring in northeastern Kansas. But after catching just 30 largemouth bass, this day became just the best day of spring so far. A better day could be just around the corner.

May 8 log

David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas, submitted a report to the Finesse News Network about his outing at a state reservoir in southeastern Kansas on May 8.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his report:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 62 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 88 degrees at 2:52 p.m. It was sunny. The wind angled out of the east by southeast, southeast, south by southeast, south, and south by southwest at 6 to 32 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.98 at 12:52 a.m., 29.94 at 5:52 a.m., 29.88 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.81 at 3:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 5:45 a.m. to 7:45 a.m., 6:08 p.m. to 8:08 p.m. and 11:34 a.m. to 1:34 p.m.

The water level was normal. The water clarity was four or five feet. The surface temperature was 74 degrees. I was afloat from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and landed 26 largemouth bass and six sunfish.

The wind was howling from the south along the main length of the reservoir, but with the proper equipment and mental attitude, I was able to fish the shoreline even in these conditions. A large drift sock helped slow my boat speed, and the water directly next to shore was often sheltered from the wind.

I fished four shorelines.

I started fishing along the shoreline adjacent to the boat ramp. And I caught my first largemouth bass along a rocky shoreline that is graced with overhanging trees. It was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-man's Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

Then I motored upwind almost to the inlet of the reservoir's primary feeder-creek arm, and I fished a long shoreline and its main-lake point. This shoreline possesses a 45-degree angle. The underwater terrain consists of chunk and shelf rocks. The water's edge is adorned with slowly-greening American water willows.

I also fished a 100-yard stretch of a shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm, as well as a short stretch of another shoreline, which is embellished with a jetty and a patch of American water willows.

I caught four largemouth bass along this shoreline on a Z-Man's California craw Hula StickZ in the affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

Three largemouth bass were caught on a three-inch vintage Northland Tackles' Dipstick affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

I did not have my full collection of Midwest finesse rigs in the boat, and because the second shoreline became steeper and deeper, dropping into 14 feet of water, I elected to work with a Texas-rigged Berkley's green-pumpkin Havoc Pit Boss Jr. with an 1/8-ounce tungsten slip sinker. It caught 18 largemouth bass with a deadstick presentation in six feet of water. I opted for the 1/8-ounce rig in order to keep my bait near the bottom as the wind pushed the boat down the shoreline. I could have used a heavy mushroom-style jig with the Havoc Pit Boss Jr, but I opted for the Texas rig because I wanted to gain confidence in another set up. I paid the price, however, because this Texas-rigged lure quickly became tattered and torn, and it constantly needed to be adjusted after I caught a largemouth bass. When it became snagged and my line broke, it took too many minutes to rig it again. These issues cost me multiple minutes of fishing time, which likely reduced my final catch.

May 9 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 60 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 87 degrees at 3:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the northwest, west by northwest, and west at 4 to 26 mph. The sky was cloudless. The barometric pressure was 29.74 at 12:52 a.m., 29.78 at 5:52 a.m., 29.84 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.82 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 6:29 a.m. to 8:29 a.m., 6:51 p.m. to 8:51 p.m., and 12:17 a.m. to 2:17 a.m. I was afloat at a state reservoir in northeastern Kansas from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The water level was a few inches above normal. The water exhibited three to six feet of clarity. The surface temperature ranged from 70 to 72 degrees.

I fished nine riprap jetties and portions of some of the shorelines and flats between those jetties. I fished inside one small feeder-creek arm, the entire dam and its spillway, one secondary point, and three large main-lake points and portions of one shoreline adjacent to one of the main-lake points.

Along the dam and around the three main-lake points, the wind was bothersome.

I caught 63 largemouth bass and accidentally caught 26 panfish, which consisted of bluegill, crappie, green sunfish, and redear sunfish.

Except around the secondary point, I caught the largemouth bass at every location that I fished.

One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man's PB&J Rain MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Three largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Fifty-seven largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

Twenty largemouth bass were caught along the dam. It possesses a 35- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and riprap. These largemouth bass were caught in three to seven feet of water and from five to 10 feet from the water's edge. A few were caught on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig, and the others were caught while I was executing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the ZinkerZ rig. Occasionally, I strolled with the wind and employed that swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Around one of the main-lake points and along one of its adjacent shorelines, I caught nine largemouth bass on the ZinkerZ rig. This area possesses a 25-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and some rocks. It is endowed with burgeoning patches of submerged aquatic vegetation. The largemouth bass were caught along the inside edges of the submerged aquatic vegetation in about five feet of water on the ZinkerZ rig. Four were caught on the initial drop, and five were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Three were caught while I was strolling with the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. All of these bass were caught from 15 to 30 feet from the water's edge.

At another main-lake point, the ZinkerZ rig caught three largemouth bass in about five feet of water around patches of submerged aquatic vegetation. They were caught as I was employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation from 20 to 30 feet from the water's edge. This point possesses a 25-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and silt. Besides the patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, it is adorned with several manmade brush piles.

The ZinkerZ rig caught nine largemouth bass around the third main-lake point that I fished. This point possesses a 25-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and silt. It is graced with significant patches of burgeoning aquatic vegetation, which is where the nine largemouth bass were caught. Four were caught on the initial drop, and five were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Some were caught along the inside edges of the patches of vegetation; some were caught along the outside edges. All of these bass were caught from 15 to 30 feet from the water's edge.

Inside the small feeder-creek arm, I caught three largemouth bass on the Finesse ShadZ rig. One shoreline possesses a 45-degree slope. The other shoreline possesses a 25- to 30-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, some silt, and a few boulders. Some of the water's edge is lined with some patches of winter-dead American water willows, a few stumps, and several laydowns. There are some patches of burgeoning aquatic vegetation gracing the shallow-water areas. One of the largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the Finesse ShadZ adjacent to a patch of American water willows in about three feet of water. The other two were caught on a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation around the patches of submerged vegetation in four to five feet of water.

Four largemouth bass were caught along the spillway. It possesses a 35- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. It is graced with bits and pieces of submerged aquatic vegetation and one manmade brush pile. The ZinkerZ rig caught three largemouth bass on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in three to seven feet of water. One was caught on a drag-and-shake-presentation in about eight feet of water.

Around the nine riprap jetties, I caught 10 largemouth bass. These jetties possess a 30- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and riprap. There are a few burgeoning patches of submerged vegetation adjacent to some of these jetties. One largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the Rain MinnowZ rig in about four feet of water. One was caught on the Finesse WormZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about four feet of water. Eight of the largemouth bass were caught on the ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in two to five feet of water.

Five largemouth bass were caught along the shorelines and on the flats between some of the jetties. These areas possess a 20- to 30-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some boulders. Some of the shorelines are adorned with patches of winter-dead American water willows. There are many patches of burgeoning aquatic vegetation that grace the flats, and there are also a number of manmade brush piles that litter the flats. One of the largemouth bass was caught on the Finesse WormZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in four feet of water. Four largemouth bass were caught on the ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in three to five feet of water.

Several times this spring, we have accidentally caught a significant number of panfish on our Midwest finesse rigs, and I cannot recall this phenomenon occurring in springs past. In sum, I elicited 96 strikes during this four hour outing, and about a third of those were generated by panfish.

May 14 log

Bob Hardy of St. Paul, Minnesota, filed a report on the Finesse News Network.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

This is my first post after joining the Finesse News Network this year. I was excited to learn about Midwest finesse tactics and compare them to other methods that I have tried in the past. I mostly ply waterways in Wisconsin and I have a cabin in northwest Wisconsin near some tremendous lakes and rivers.

After a terribly cold and long winter, Wisconsin's black bass season opened on May 5. A companion and I ventured to a lake that is chock full of black bass and panfish. The ice that covered this lake had melted on May 2. Except for the gorgeous weather, the opening weekend to our dismay was a bust. We fished hard for four hours, and it was a struggle for us to catch three black bass.

A cohort and I fished at a different reservoir on May 6. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources manages this lake for northern pike. The fishing was trying at this reservoir as well, but I did manage to catch two small black bass, and they were the first bass that I have caught while employing Midwest finesse tactics. Both of these bass were allured by a Z-Man's green-pumpkin 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig dressed with a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse TRD.

We also caught two northern pike on a perch-colored Bagley Bait Company's Balsa Minnow.

My son and I fished at a smaller mesotrophic lake on May 12. It was another gorgeous spring day. There was an abundance of bright sunshine until noon, and then thin layers of clouds covered the sky. When we launched the boat at 7:30 a.m., it was 39 degrees. It was 62 degrees when we trailered the boat at 3:30 p.m. The barometric pressure was 30.15 at 7:30 a.m. and 30.22 at 7:30 p.m. The wind was calm for most of the day, but when it did stir, it blew up to 5 mph.

During the day, the surface temperature warmed from 49 degrees to 60 degrees. The water clarity was six feet. The water level was about a foot high.

A solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing periods would occur from 8:48 a.m. to 10:48 a.m. and 9:12 p.m. to 11:12 p.m.

The aquatic vegetation that embellishes this lake is beginning to sprout after the long winter. There are also scores of submerged laydowns that litter the shallow-water areas near the shorelines.

We started fishing along a sandy shoreline adjacent to the boat ramp, and I caught three bass on the first three casts. After that encouraging start, we basically circled the reservoir and caught 60 largemouth bass and 40 large crappie during the next four hours. The bite was so good we decided to fish for another four hours and try to catch 100 largemouth bass in one outing, which is a feat that we have never accomplished. We caught largemouth bass No. 100 by 3:30 p.m., and then we called it a day.

All totaled, we tangled with 100 largemouth bass, 48 crappie, five small northern pike and one sunfish in eight hours. The largest bass was 18 inches long and weighed three pounds and four ounces. But the majority of the bass measured between 14 and 15 inches, which we considered respectable by Midwest standards. I caught the largest crappie of my life which measured 15 inches in length and weighed two pounds. It is a monster by upper Midwest standards.

Bob Hardy with one of the largemouth bass that they caught.

It was a colossal day of fishing for my son and me. We usually have a good shallow bite this time of year, but we have never caught 151 fish in eight hours. We had at least another dozen bass that were able to liberate themselves before we could land them. We have fished this particular lake a dozen or more times, and we usually catch 25 to 50 fish in four or more hours, but nothing like this. The largemouth bass were in their pre-spawn routines, and they won't spawn for another several weeks.

About half of these fish were caught in six feet of water or less around the submerged laydowns on a Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse TRD rigged on a red 1/32-ounce River Rock Tackle Company's Tactical Finesse Jig. The other half were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse TRD on a green-pumpkin 1/20-ounce Z-Man's FinesseShroomZ jig. About 15 percent of the strikes occurred as our lures settled to the bottom on the initial drop. The fish were just "there" when we started our retrieves. We developed a routine of casting toward the shore and let our lures rest for a few seconds. Then we would slowly drag, swim, and subtly shake our Finesse TRD rigs, and we occasionally let them settle back to the bottom a couple of times during the retrieve. The strikes were subtle and we would feel a little more weight during the retrieve.

May 14 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his outing at one of northeastern Kansas' power-plant reservoirs with Bret Freudenthal of Kansas City, Missouri, and Amy Whitaker ofKansas City, Missouri.

Here is an edited version of his brief: The Weather Underground reported that it was 69 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 84 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The sky was clear for many hours, partly cloudy for several hours, raining and lightening for about an hour, and scattered with clouds for several hours. The wind angled out of the south by southwest, north, south, southwest, west, and southeast at 4 to 18 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.89 at 12:53 a.m., 29.87 at 5:53 a.m., 29.89 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.85 at 1:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 10:27 p.m. to 12:27 a.m., and 3:47 a.m. to 5:47 a.m. I was afloat at sunrise. Amy and Bret joined me at 10 a.m. We fished until 2:00 p.m.

The surface temperature long the dam was 75 degrees. The water clarity was around 2 1/2 to three feet. Water level was normal.

Prior to picking up Amy and Bret, I fished the riprap along an access road, and it was virtually fruitless.

Amy, Bret and I started fishing along one of the riprap shorelines on the east side of the reservoir and experienced a pretty good bite, but the wind was fairly gusty, which made it difficult for us to control retrieves.

Amy Whitaker with two of the largemouth bass that they caught.

We spent the remainder of the outing fishing along the dam, which is covered with riprap. Because the wind was rather brisk, I employed a drift sock.

Our most effective rigs were a four-inch Z-Man's coppetreuse Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig and a 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. We also used a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

Our retrieves along the riprap shorelines and dam consisted of casting our rigs as close to the water's edge as humanly possible. As our rigs hit the surface of the water, we employed a swimming motif for about five feet or so, and then we began to slowly swing or glide them with occasional twitches, sometimes making contact with the bottom. Most strikes occurred in three to eight feet of water.

We caught a mix bag of fish: 18 largemouth bass and 38 other kinds of fish, such as bluegill, channel catfish, freshwater drum, green sunfish, and white bass.

May 14 and 15 log

The Weather Underground reported on May 14 that it was 70 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 87 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sky was clear for many hours, partly cloudy for several hours, raining and lightening for about an hour, and scattered with clouds for several hours. The wind was clam and variable at times, and at other times, it angled from the south by southwest, south, east, southeast, east by southeast, south by southeast, west, northwest, north, and west by southwest at 3 to 12 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 29.79 at 3:53 p.m.

On May 15, it was 66 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 80 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being partly cloudy to being overcast to being scattered with clouds to being mostly cloudy to being clear. The wind angled out of the south, south by southwest, west, west by northwest, northwest, north, north by northeast, and north by northwest at 3 to 10 mph. And it was calm for about three hours. The barometric pressure was 29.88 at 12:53 a.m., 29.90 at 5:53 a.m., 29.97 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.94 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing on May 14 would occur from 10:04 a.m. to 12:04 p.m., 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and 3:51 a.m. to 5:51 a.m. The best fishing on May 15 would occur from 10:56 a.m. to 12:56 p.m., 11:24 p.m. to 1:24 a.m., and 4:42 a.m. to 6:42 a.m.

This is not a traditional Midwest finesse log. Instead, it describes how Marcum Leman and Lita Frazier of Moses Lake, Washington, learned to fish with Midwest finesse rigs on May 14 and May 15.

It is important to note that Marcum and Lita are not boat anglers. Instead, they walk the shorelines or climb into a state-of-the-art float tube. A float tube is the way several of the forefathers of Midwest finesse anglers preferred to fish back in the 1950s and 1960s, and a few of these old-timers, who are still alive and fishing, continue to relish their outings perched on a float tube.

On May 14 and 15, however, Marcum and Lita climbed into my boat on both days to learn the basics of Midwest finesse fishing.

Across the years, we have discovered that it is impossible to adequately teach folks about how to catch black bass with Midwest finesse rigs and tactics by writing articles, or showing and talking to them on a video, or talking with them at a seminar. By far the best way is to take them fishing, and when we are fishing with them, it is essential that we catch at least 10 black bass an hour.

When our quest began on May 14, we were hoping that we could tangle with 10 or more smallmouth bass an hour at one of northeastern Kansas' U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs. But to our disappointment, we quickly discovered that our hopes of catching at least 10 smallmouth bass an hour would not unfold. So after we struggled to catch one largemouth bass, one smallmouth bass, two channel catfish, a crappie, and tangled with three tiny smallmouth bass that we did not lift over the boats' gunnels, we put the boat on the trailer and rushed to one of northeastern Kansas' state reservoirs.

Lita and Marcum with the first two fish that they caught on their Midwest finesse rigs.

At this state reservoir, the surface temperature ranged from 72 to 78 degrees, the water level was normal, and the water exhibited 15 to 36 inches visibility. We caught 41 largemouth bass in three hours and 22 minutes and accidentally caught an array of other species.

During these 202 minutes, we spent our time using a variety of Midwest finesse rigs. And as we used them, we noted that many folks are of the opinion that Midwest finesse fishing revolves around one rig, and that is a short stick-style bait affixed to a mushroom-style jig, such as a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's ZinkerZ or Z-Man's Finesse TDR affixed to either a Z-Man's 1/15- or 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. As our outing commenced, Marcum confessed that he thought that we were totally wedded to the short stick-style bait.

Throughout this outing, we used black, blue, chartreuse, orange, and red 1/32-, 1/20-, and 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jigs. It is important to note that there are some Midwest finesse anglers who think that the color of the head of a tiny mushroom-style jig is not a significant factor. But there are some who think that the color of a jig can be a factor. Of course, the number of variables interacting with one another makes it extraordinarily complicated to prove that the color of a jig is a significant factor or an insignificant factor. Thus, it is a leap of faith, and for years on end, I have made the leap of faith that the color of the head of a mushroom-style jig helps me catch black bass on a goodly number of my outings throughout the calendar year, but, of course, there are times when I cannot determine if the color of the head of the jig is an important factor in what I did or did not catch.

Marcum, Lita, and I affixed our jigs to a Z-Man's pearl Rain MinnowZ, a Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse TRD, a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ, a shortened Z-Man's Canada craw Hula StickZ, a shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red Finesse WormZ, a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ, a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ, a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ, a Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ, and a variety of grubs. The coppertreuse Finesse TRD affixed to a red 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig was the most effective of those 11 rigs, the Junebug Finesse WormZ on a black 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig was the second most effective rig, and the Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig was the third most effective rig.

As we fished, we talked about the virtues of not making long casts and using long rods. We explained that long casts and long rods often prevent us from properly executing the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves, which are the swim-glide-and-shake presentation, hop-and-bounce presentation, drag-and-deadstick presentation, straight swim, drag-and-shake presentation, and the strolling presentation. But we did note that long casts will work well in waterways that are extremely clear and when anglers are catching black bass on the initial drop of their rigs or when they are employing a deadstick presentation after the initial drop.

Marcum, Lita, and I spent many minutes talking about the no-feel aspect of our presentations. I tried to explain to them that if they can feel their rig during the retrieve, their jigs are too heavy. Because Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas fish in one to 12 feet of water year around – even when the surface temperature is in the 30s and in the 80s, there is no need to use a heavy jig.

We noted that a no-feel presentation is anathema to many anglers. Consequently, these anglers can never make the transition to properly retrieving a Midwest finesse rig. What's more, the no-feel factor revolves around most of the strikes that we elicit from the black bass that we are pursuing, and because we cannot feel the strikes, we often say that the black bass are catching us rather than the other way around. And like the no-feel retrieve, many anglers are put-off by not being able to detect a strike.

Besides exploring the virtues of the no-feel retrieve, we talked about not setting the hook by executing a radical or hard upward or sideways movement of the rod, explaining that the best way to set the small and thin-wire hook on the small mushroom-style jig is accomplished with the reel, and the hook becomes set by revolving the reel handle quickly.

Some of the 41 largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs, and the others were caught while we employed a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. A few were caught while we were strolling and executing the swim-glide-and-shake presentation. They were caught in two to 10 feet of water. Some were caught near the water's edge, and some were caught many feet and even yards from the water's edge, which revolves around the importance of employing an effective retrieve many yards after the initial drop. In fact, some of the strolling presentations can encompass many yards and minutes.

During this three-hour-and-22-minute outing, we merely probed a variety of shorelines and points. The water's edges of these shorelines and points were often lined with winter-dead American water willows, and some of them were beginning to sprout green stems and leaves. Along these shorelines and points, there were gobs of filamentous algae cluttering the rocks, boulders, laydowns, and patches of American water willows, which made accurate casts an important endeavor.

Because we were working on the basic fundamentals of making short and accurate casts and employing a variety of presentations with different Midwest finesse rigs, we did not take the time to keep track of where we caught the 41 largemouth bass. But I can recall that we caught 11 largemouth bass along the riprap of the dam during the last 14 minutes of the outing, and they were caught on the coppertreuse Finesse TRD rig, pearl Rain MinnowZ rig, and PB&J ZinkerZ rig.

On May 15, Marcum, Lita, and I spent five hours and 14 minutes at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs. And we worked on refining their casting and presentation styles with Midwest finesse rigs.

We were afloat from 10:00 a.m. to 3:14 p.m. The surface temperature ranged from 71 to 78 degrees. The water exhibited three to five feet of visibility.

We wielded the same rigs that we used on May 14: a Z-Man's pearl Rain MinnowZ, a Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse TRD, a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ, a shortened Z-Man's Canada craw Hula StickZ, a shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red Finesse WormZ, a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ, a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ, a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ, and a Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ. We also used the same jigs: 1/32-, 1/20-, and 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jigs, which sported a variety of colors: black, blue, chartreuse, orange, and red.

We caught 64 largemouth bass, eight smallmouth bass, and a potpourri of other species.

Except for three offshore areas, we spent the entire outing fishing along a variety of shorelines and points. They were similar to the shorelines and points that we fished at the state reservoir on May 14, but several of the shorelines at the community reservoir were steeper than the ones at the state reservoir.

The Z-Man's Canada craw Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig caught five of the 72 black bass. And the Z-Man's PB&J Finesse TRD affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig caught 67 of the black bass. Some were caught on the initial drop, two were caught on a deadstick presentation, and the bulk of them were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Some were caught as we were strolling with either a swim-glide-and-shake or a drag-and-shake presentation. They were caught in water as shallow as two feet and as deep as 12 feet. Some of the black bass that we caught along the shorelines were caught within three feet of the water's edge. And when we were strolling, some were caught about twenty feet from the water's edge. Sixteen of the 72 were caught around the offshore lairs.

Marcum and Lita are 67 years old, and I am 78 years old, and as this outing came to end, the three of us remarked that Midwest finesse is a fruitful and delightful way for geriatric anglers to fish.

May 18 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 54 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 87 degrees at 3:52 p.m. The wind fluctuated from being calm to angling out of the north, west by northwest, east, and east by northeast at 3 to 21 mph. The sky was clear most of the time, but there were spells when it was scattered with clouds and partly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.91 at 12:52 a.m., 29.87 at 5:52 a.m., 29.87 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.87 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 1:32 a.m. to 3:32 a.m., 2:03 p.m. to 4:03 p.m., and 7:48 a.m. to 9:48 a.m.

I fished at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs from 10:35 a.m. to 2:35 p.m., and I caught 65 largemouth bass and inadvertently caught one crappie, three bluegill, six warmouth, and 16 green sunfish.

The water level was normal. The surface temperature ranged from 76 to 78 degrees. Around the lower portions of the reservoir, the water exhibited three to four feet of visibility, and inside one of the feeder-creek arms, the visibility was about two feet. The patches of American water willows that line many of the shorelines and points are sprouting green leaves and stems. Patches of curly-leaf pondweeds enhance some of the reservoir's shallow-water flats, and one patch in the back of one feeder-creek arm is massive and cluttering the entire surface of an area the size of a football field. But within the next 30 days, these patches will disappear, and they will not appear again until they begin to sprout again during the winter of 2018-19. As the curly-leaf pondweed wilts and dies in May and June, we traditionally catch largemouth bass around areas that are not graced with this dying and decaying vegetation. And this phenomenon materialized on this May 18 outing. Wads of filamentous algae litter most of the shorelines and points.

During the first two hours and 46 minutes, I fished along the dam, the spillway, and portions of two shorelines that are adjacent to the dam and spillway. I caught 39 largemouth bass. The slope of these locales ranges from 30 to 50 degrees. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water's edge is graced with some patches of American water willows and a few laydowns. Four largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, and 45 of them were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Along the dam, spillway, and adjacent shorelines, I did not have a dominant presentation pattern, nor did I have a location pattern. Some were caught on the initial drop in two to four feet of water. Some were caught while I was strolling and executing either a swim-glide-and-shake presentation or a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation in three to nine feet of water. Some were caught while I was casting and employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in three to five feet of water. Three were caught on a swimming retrieve in one to seven feet of water. Some were caught along shorelines with a 45- to 50-degree slope. Others were caught along shorelines with a 30-degree slope. Some were caught within three to seven feet of the water's edges, and along the flatter and shallower locales, some were caught 10 to 25 feet from the water's edge. Some were caught adjacent to the outside edges of patches of American water willows that are littered with filamentous algae. Some were caught around purely rock-laden terrains. Two were caught adjacent to a laydown. Along many yards of the dam, spillway, and shorelines, I failed to catch a largemouth bass, but some stretches, which were not visibly unique to the human eye, yielded several largemouth bass.

I fished around two main-lake points, the main-lake shoreline adjacent to these two points, and short segments of two shorelines inside two small feeder-creek arms that are adjacent to the two main-lake points. The slope of this area ranges from 25 to 55 degrees. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rock, and boulders. The water's edge is endowed with some patches of American water willows and a few laydowns. Along one of the short shorelines inside a feeder-creek arm, I caught one largemouth bass on the coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about four feet of water and near a patch of American water willows. The points were fruitless. The main-lake shoreline yielded nine largemouth bass. One was caught on the coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig, three were caught on a Z-Man's Junebug Rain MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, and five were caught on the purple-haze Finesse WormZ rig. Two were caught while I was strolling many feet from the water's edge and employing a swim-glide-and-shake around boulders in about six feet of water. Three were caught on the initial drop in about three feet of water around either a laydown or a patch of American water willows. Four were caught as I was casting and employing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in three to six feet of water.

Around a flat main-lake point and a 150-yard stretch of its adjacent shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm, I caught four largemouth bass. The point has a 25- to 30-degree slope, and its underwater terrain consists of gravel and small rocks. The shoreline possesses a 25- to 45-degree slope, and its underwater terrain consists on gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water's edge of the shoreline is graced with some cattails, a few patches of American water willows, overhanging trees, laydowns, a few tertiary points, and some shallow-water patches of curly-leaf pondweed. Along the point, I failed to elicit a strike. I caught two largemouth bass on the coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig by strolling it about 12 to 15 feet from the outside edges of the cattails in about six feet of water. The Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig caught two largemouth bass on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four to six feet of water.

Along a 150-yard stretch of a shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm, I caught two largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 30- to 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. The water's edge is graced with patches of American water willows, overhanging trees, laydowns, a beaver hut, and several submerged stumps. One largemouth bass was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig on the initial drop in about three feet of water adjacent to a stump. One was caught on the Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about three feet of water.

Two largemouth bass were caught on the coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig while I was strolling it and employing a drag-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water and 15 feet from the water's edge along a flat main-lake shoreline. I fished about 50 yards of this shoreline. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. Much of the water's edge is embellished with patches of American water willows. The surface was cluttered with globs of filamentous algae and scores of curly-leaf pondweed stems, which made it difficult to fish.

Five largemouth bass were caught around a main-lake point and about 200-yards of its adjacent shorelines. This locale possesses a 20- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some boulders. There are a few patches of American water willows embellishing the water's edge and two laydowns; the rest of it is gravel and rocks, which are highlighted by an occasional boulder. The five largemouth bass were caught on the purple-haze Finesse WormZ rig. Two were caught while I was strolling and employing a swimming presentation in five to seven feet of water and 15 to 20 feet from the water's edge. The other three were caught while I was working with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation in four to five feet of water and within six feet of the water's edge, and one of them was caught near a patch of American water willows.

I ended the outing around a main-lake point, and along 40 yards of its main-lake shoreline and along 20 yards of its shoreline inside a small feeder-creek arm. This area possesses a slope of 35- to 50-degrees. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It is also endowed with a concrete boat ramp. The water's edge is adorned with some patches of American water willows and a dock. I failed to garner a strike along the main-lake shoreline and around the main-lake point, but I caught two largemouth bass on the initial drop of the purple-haze Finesse WormZ rig in about four feet of water near a patch of American water willows along the shoreline inside the feeder-creek arm, and on the last cast of this outing, I caught largemouth No. 65 on the initial drop of the Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig in about six feet of water and about six feet from the outside edge of a patch of American water willows.

In sum, 47 largemouth bass were caught on the purple-haze Finesse WormZ rig, 10 were caught on the coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig, seven were caught on the Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig, and one was caught on the Junebug Finesse WormZ rig. On May 12 and May 15, a Z-Man's PB&J Finesse TRD and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ waylaid the largemouth bass at a nearby state reservoir and a community reservoir, but on this outing, those rigs failed to catch a largemouth bass. On this outing, I had seven spinning rods rigged with different kinds and colors of Midwest finesse rigs, and I periodically tested them. This is the first outing in 2018 that the purple-haze Finesse WormZ dominated an outing, and traditionally, it is a very effective hue during the springtime and much of the summertime in northeastern Kansas. Unfortunately, it is no longer available. Once again, this outing proved that there is more to Midwest finesse fishing than wielding a short soft-plastic stick-style bait affixed to a jig and hopping it and dragging it along the bottom.

May 17 and 18 log

Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, posted a brief on the Finesse News Network about his May 17 and 18 outings at a community reservoir in northwestern Missouri.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

I fished on May 17 and May 18 with different friends, and the fishing was the best I have seen it this year, at least for numbers.

We started at 7:00 a.m. both days and got off the water about noon.

The water was clear, with a light green stain. The surface temperature was 75 degrees. The sun was bright. Area thermometers reached 87 degrees. The wind was virtually nil and hardly a ripple on the water.

We started off with power baits--jigs and spinnerbaits--and didn't get so much as a bump.

Then when we switched to 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's ZinkerZs, the fish started biting.

We failed to catch them along the rocky but barren shorelines. So, we tried something different by targeting big brush piles and retrieved the ZinkerZ rigs over the top of them. Most of the fish were caught in brush that was 15-20 feet deep, and they were suspended over the top of it. I held my rod tip high and retrieved my bait with a lift-and-fall retrieve. It was a modified swim-and-glide retrieve, and most of the fish were caught as the ZinkerZ rig was falling.

Each of the fish we caught hit it on the fall. Surprisingly, we caught as many crappies as largemouth bass doing this.

Color seemed to make a difference. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ attached to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig was by far the most productive.

We caught a mixed bag of 32 fish May 17 and 36 on May 18. Another surprise is that we did better during the late-morning hours than we did during the early morning hours. Maybe the bright sun concentrated the fish in the brush.

May 19 log

Travis Perret of Overland Park, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his May 19 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his log:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 64 degrees at 12:53 a.m. and 77 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The wind was calm for seven of the 24 hours, and when it blew, it angled out of the east, east by southeast, north by northwest, north by northeast, south, southwest, west by southwest, south by southeast, and southeast at 4 to 28 mph. From 4:53 a.m. to 10:53 a.m., it rained, and other times the sky fluctuated from being clear to being partly cloudy to being overcast to being mostly cloudy to being scattered with clouds. The barometric pressure was 29.82 at 12:53 a.m., 29.83 at 5:53 a.m., 29.81 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.85 at 4:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 2:38 a.m. to 4:38 a.m., 3:09 p.m. to 5:09 p.m., and 8:53 a.m. to 10:53 a.m. We got pretty lucky and missed the rain. I fished with Ethan Turner at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

He lives in Springfield, Missouri. Ethan is my cousin's 13-year-old son. He was in the Kansas City area for a baseball tournament, and he had some free time on Saturday afternoon to get on the water. He loves to fish, but he does not get much of a chance to do it.

On this 2 1/2-hour outing, he caught the biggest largemouth bass that he has ever caught and caught the most largemouth bass he has ever caught on an outing. I would say that qualifies as a successful trip.

The surface temperature was 78 degrees. The water level was a tad above normal. The water exhibited two to four feet of visibility, which is the typical visibility at most Kansas reservoirs.

Ethan started fishing with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Nedlock jig. I began working with a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Nedlock jig, and every 10 minutes I would switch to a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Nedlock jig.

The TDR HogZ rig quickly outshined our ZinkerZ rigs, and from then on, we both focused on using it, as we probed shorelines in the upper half and lower half of this reservoir.

We had a great time and ended up with 31 bass and inadvertently caught six bluegill, two crappie, and one channel catfish.

May 20 log

Bob Hardy of St. Paul, Minnesota, filed a report of the Finesse News Network about his outing with his son at a massive lake in the Heartland region of Minnesota.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

We were faced with a cold front. When we launched our boat at 6:00 a.m., the air temperature was 31 degrees. The wind fluctuated from being calm to angling out of the east to the east by northeast to the northeast at 3 to 12 mph. It was sunny. And area thermometers hit a high of 71 degrees by 4:53 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 49 to 52 degrees. The water level was about a foot below normal. There was about 11 feet of visibility.

We fished exclusively with a black 3/32-ounce marabou jig, which is the Feider Fly, and under the marabou and on the shank of the hook, we affixed about a one-inch piece of a Gary Yamamato Bait Company's Senko. The Senko adds weight to the jig, and it improves our casting distance.

These jigs are primarily fished the way Midwest finesse anglers stroll with their soft-plastic rigs. (See http://www.in-fisherman.com/gear-accessories/the-marabou-jig-according-to-seth-feider/) We used the bow-mounted electric trolling motor and strolling mostly into the wind at 0.8 to 1.0 mph. We made long casts at a 45-degree angle to each side of the boat. We did not impart movement to these jigs, and in other words, we merely held onto our spinning rods and waited until we felt a very slight increase in weight on the rod, and then we set the hook. It is amazing how softly these large fish pick up this bait.

We fished rocky reefs that topped out at about eight feet of water and bottomed out around 20 feet of water. Most of the fish were caught in eight to 10 feet of water. The bite was slow, but it was consistent all day in spite of the relatively calm winds and the bright sun. The walleyes were more eager to bite than the smallmouth bass, but the size of every fish we caught was very impressive. All of them were over 18 inches in length. The largest of the walleyes was a 28-incher and weighed six pounds. Our biggest smallmouth bass was 21 inches long and weighed five pounds, 12-ounces. All the walleyes were in their post-spawn phase. All of the smallmouth bass were in their pre-spawn stage and bulging with eggs.

It was an impressive array of big fish by any standards in the upper Midwest. And it was our best day ever for catching large walleyes. And our five biggest smallmouth bass are the heaviest we ever caught in one outing.

The bite will better for smallmouth bass as the water temperature rises and they concentrate on top of the many rock reefs.

May 21 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 59 degrees at 8:52 a.m. and 73 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the west by northwest, north by northwest, and west at 3 to 11 mph. The sky fluctuated from being mostly cloudy to being overcast to being scattered with clouds to being partly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 30.04 at 12:52 a.m., 30.03 at 5:52 a.m., 30.09 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.04 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 4:47 a.m. to 6:47 a.m., 5:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., and 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. I fished at one of northeastern Kansas' state reservoirs from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The water level was a few inches above normal. The surface temperature ranged from 74 to 75 degrees. The water exhibited 3 1/2 to seven feet of clarity. Many of its shallow-water areas are covered with vast and thick patches of curly-leaf pondweed, and wads of filamentous algae litter many of the shallow-water areas around this reservoir. Many of this reservoir's shorelines and points are adorned with many lush patches of American water willows, and some of them are interlaced with curly-leaf pondweed.

I caught 64 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass, and 23 of the largemouth bass and the one smallmouth bass were caught during the first hour.

I fished around four main-lake points, two corners of the dam, the spillway, seven main-lake shorelines, and short portions of two shorelines inside two small feeder-creek arms.

I began this outing by fishing along a main-lake shoreline and its three tertiary points. This shoreline and its tertiary points have a 35- to 50-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, and silt. The water's edge is embellished with some overhanging trees, laydowns, flooded terrestrial vegetation, manmade brush piles, burgeoning patches of American water willows, and patches of curly-leaf pondweed. A few of the patches of curly-leaf pondweed patches are so thick and tight to the outside edges of the American water willows that I did not fish them. Along this shoreline and its tertiary points, I caught 15 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig in four to nine feet of water. Some were caught on the initial drop of the rig. Some were caught while I employed a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Two were caught as I was strolling and working with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. Some were caught along or near the outside edges of the American water willow patches. A few were caught around laydowns. Several were caught adjacent to the outcroppings of flooded terrestrial vegetation. A few were caught as far as 25 feet from the water's edge.

The other six main-lake shorelines and their tertiary points that I fished possess the same characteristics as the shoreline and tertiary points described above. Along these six shorelines, I caught 39 largemouth bass. Three were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Seven were caught on a shortened Z-Man's PB&J Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Twenty-nine were caught on the TRD HogZ rig. They were caught in four to 10 feet of water. Several of them were caught on the initial drop. Some were caught while I employed a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Three were caught as I was strolling with the Hula StickZ rig and working with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation along the outside edge of a massive patch of curly-leaf pondweed, which was about 30 feet from the water's edge. Most of the other 36 were caught near the outside edges of the American water willow patches, but a few were caught around laydowns and the occasional patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation.

Only once during this outing did I fish around the outside edges of a massive patch of curly-leaf pondweed, and, as noted in the paragraph above, it yielded three largemouth bass that were caught while I was strolling with the Hula StickZ. I did, however, fish around thick patches of curly-leaf pondweed that possess a significant alley between the inside edges of the curly-leaf pondweed patches and the outside edges of the patches of American water willows, and I caught seven largemouth bass along these alleys.

At one of the four main-lake points that I fished, I caught four largemouth bass in six casts. This point possesses a 60-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water's edge is embellished with a dense and burgeoning patch of American water willows, as well as a few minor laydowns and a scattering of flooded terrestrial vegetation. These largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the TRD HogZ rig in about seven feet of water. The other main-lake points were fruitless.

The two shorelines that I fished inside the two feeder-creek arms are graced with the same characteristics as the main-lake points. Each shoreline yielded two largemouth bass. These four largemouth bass were caught in four to five feet of water. Two were caught around a laydown adjacent to a patch of American water willows on the initial drop of the Hula StickZ rig. The other two were caught along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows on the Hula StickZ rig with a swim-glide-shake presentation.

Around the spillway, I caught three largemouth bass. It possesses a 25-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water's edge is adorned with patches of American water willows, which are interlaced with bits of curly-leaf pondweed. There are a lot of wads of filamentous algae clinging to the rocks and boulders. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the TRD HogZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four to six feet of water. One was caught on the Hula StickZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four to six feet of water. All three of the largemouth bass were associated with filamenous-algae-cluttered rocks and boulders.

Since the winter of 2016-17, the TRD HogZ rig has been our most effective cold-water Midwest finesse rig. But in 2017, we struggled to catch largemouth bass and smallmouth bass on it when the water warmed up. And that same phenomenon erupted this March. So, we stopped using the TRD HogZ. But after Travis Perret of Overland Park, Kansas, told us that he and his cousin's young son used it to inveigle an impressive array of largemouth bass at a northeastern Kansas' community reservoir on May 19, we began wielding it again on May 21, and straightaway it caught 51 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass.

In addition to those 52 black bass, the Hula StickZ rig caught seven largemouth bass, and the Finesse WormZ rig caught three. I periodically worked with three other Midwest finesse rigs, which failed to elicit a strike.

May 22 log

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his May 22 outing with John Redding of Lawrence, Kansas, at one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs in northeastern Kansas.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his report:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 57 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 86 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind was calm or relatively calm for many hours, and it also angled out of the east, south, north, and southeast at 3 to 10 mph. The sky was clear for many hours, and around 12:52 a.m. it became partly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 30.01 at 12:52 a.m., 30.01 at 5:52 a.m., 30.03 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.00 at 1:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 5:42 a.m. to 7:42 a.m., 6:08 p.m. to 8:08 p.m., and 11:29 a.m. to 1:29 p.m.

We fished from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The surface temperature was 76.5 degrees. The water clarity was four to five feet. The water level was 14 inches below normal.

We began fishing at a bridge inside a major feeder-creek arm. There is a 300-yard long riprap causeway leading to the bridge and a 100-yard long span where the channel flows under the bridge. We started fishing under the bridge and down 100 yards of the riprap along the causeway, and we failed to catch a black bass. We turned and made a second pass back under the bridge, and we caught a smallmouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's purple-haze ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in eight feet of water. We fished the entire length of the riprap causeway, making three complete passes up and down and caught a couple dozen fish. Most of them, however, were crappie that we caught accidently on our Midwest finesse rigs. We did, however, catch five more smallmouth bass and four largemouth bass during these three passes along the riprap. These fish were caught in six to 14 feet of water. Some were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Some were caught on a drag-and-shake retrieve while we were strolling, The most effective retrieve was a deadstick-and-shake presentation while strolling. All of the bass were caught many feet away from the water's edge. About half of them were caught on the purple-haze ZinkerZ rig, and the other half were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ mounted on a black 1/8-ounce Bass Pro Shops' weedless Shroom jig.

We fished a main-lake point at the mouth of a small feeder-creek arm, and we caught one largemouth bass on the green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rig on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in 14 feet of water.

We fished a long section of steep rocky main-lake shoreline and its tertiary points, which are lined with boulders, rocks, and gravel. We failed to catch a black bass.

We fished a 100-yard section of the same shoreline, a main-lake point at the entrance to a small feeder-creek arm, 30 yards of the shorelines on both sides of the small feeder-creek arm, 200 yards of another main-lake shoreline, the shorelines inside another small feeder-creek arm, and both main-lake points at the entrance to this small feeder-creek arm.

These locales rendered seven smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass. The largemouth bass was caught inside the first feeder creek arm in about seven feet of water adjacent to a log. It was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Some of the smallmouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig, and the others were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ mounted on a black 1/8-ounce Bass Pro Shops' weedless Shroom jig. Two were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One was caught on a deadstick presentation after the initial drop. The rest were caught while we were strolling and employing a drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation in seven to 20 feet of water.

We fished another main-lake point at the mouth of a small feeder-creek arm. We caught one smallmouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ mounted on a black 1/8-ounce Bass Pro Shops' weedless Shroom jig while we were strolling and employ a drag-and-deadstick presentation in 16 feet of water and many yards from the water's edge.

We fished 200 yards of a main-lake shoreline adjacent to the main-lake point and caught three smallmouth bass. One of them was caught on the Junebug ZinkerZ rig. Two were caught on a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. They were caught while we were strolling and executing a drag-and-deadstick presentation in nine to 14 feet of water.

We fished a flat main-lake point, which yielded two smallmouth bass. One of them was caught on the Junebug Hula StickZ rig on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in five feet of water. The second one was caught on a deadstick presentation after the initial drop in seven feet of water.

Overall, we caught a total of 19 smallmouth bass and six largemouth bass. During the past couple of years, it has been a chore to catch black bass at this reservoir. Therefore, we were very pleased with these results. One smallmouth bass was a 16-incher and weighed 2 1/2 pounds and another was an 18-incher that weighed 2 3/4 pounds. We also accidently caught one white bass, four green sunfish, five freshwater drum and 26 crappie. The color and size of the jig did not seem to matter to the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. But chartreuse and smaller jigs caught more of the crappie, freshwater drum, and green sunfish than the heavier and black jigs.

May 22 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

From 10:10 a.m. to 2:10 p.m., Rick Allen of Dallas and I fished at a north-central Texas' U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the best fishing periods for May 22 would occur from 5:49 a.m. to 7:49 a.m., 11:36 a.m. to 1:36 p.m., and 5:49 p.m. to 7:49 p.m.

The sky was partly cloudy. It was sunny and humid. Area thermometers measured the morning low temperature at 71 degrees. The afternoon high temperature peaked at 90 degrees. The wind was variable and blew at 6 to 12 mph. While we were afloat, the barometric pressure dropped from 29.99 to 29.90.

The water exhibited about two feet of clarity. The water level was 0.34 feet below normal. The water temperature was 81 degrees.

We concentrated our efforts in the southern portion of the reservoir. We plied two main-lake points and a 50-yard shoreline between those two points, a rock- and-boulder-strewn main-lake shoreline, portions of a large brush-laden mud flat, the riprap along the east end of the dam, a chunk-rock flat adjacent to the east end of the dam, two bridge embankments that are covered with riprap, and a series of concrete support columns underneath a railroad trestle bridge.

We began the outing dissecting patches of flooded stickups that adorn two main-lake points and a short shoreline between the two points. This area is located on the south side of the southwest tributary arm at the mouth of a main-lake cove. The underwater terrain consists of clay and gravel.

We caught one largemouth bass from the outside edge of a patch of flooded stickups at the first main-lake point and one largemouth bass from a patch of flooded stickups on the second main-lake point, but we failed to generate any strikes along the clay and gravel shoreline between the two points. The largemouth bass were extracted from three to five feet of water. One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ attached to a Z-Man's chartreuse 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. The other largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's white lightning ZinkerZ fastened to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. The Slim SwimZ rig was presented with a steady swimming retrieve through the openings in the stickups. The ZinkerZ combo was retrieved with steady twitches.

We caught one small spotted bass along a rock- and-boulder-strewn main-lake shoreline that is situated on the south side of the tributary arm and about a mile east of the two main-lake points that we just fished. This spotted bass was relating to a submerged boulder in about five feet of water. It was caught on the 2 1/2-inch white lightning ZinkerZ combo that was presented with a slow twitch-and-pause retrieve.

From that main-lake shoreline, we travelled another mile southward and dissected a 75-yard section of a large mud flat just north of the west end of the dam. This flat is graced with many yards of flooded stickups, and it yielded one largemouth bass. This largemouth bass was caught on a shortened Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ rigged on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in six feet of water.

Along the east end of the riprap-laden dam, we caught seven largemouth bass, one spotted bass, five black crappie, one hefty freshwater drum, and one channel catfish. All of these fish were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ and 2 1/2-inch white lightning ZinkerZ rigs. These fish were abiding in three to nine feet of water. Some were relating to the submerged riprap along the dam, and several others were caught about 10 to 15 feet away from the submerged riprap.

After that, we dissected about 35-yards of a large chunk-rock flat that is adjacent to the east end of the dam, but it was fruitless.

We finished the outing at two riprap bridge embankments and a row of 11 concrete support columns under a railroad trestle bridge.

The two riprap embankments surrendered two largemouth bass and two spotted bass that were relating to the submerged riprap in less than six feet of water. Two were caught on the mud minnow Hula StickZ and the other two were caught on the 2 1/2-inch white lightning ZInkerZ. They were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

The support columns underneath the railroad trestle bridge was our most fruitful locale. We caught a mix of 16 largemouth bass and spotted bass, and one black crappie. They were suspended about eight to 10 feet below the surface and within a foot or two of the support columns. The columns were surrounded by 21 to 37 feet of water.

These black bass were also beguiled by the mud minnow Hula StickZ and 2 1/2-inch white lightning ZinkerZ rigs with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

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

All totaled, we were delighted to catch a combination of 32 largemouth bass and spotted bass. We also caught six black crappie, one freshwater drum, and one channel catfish during this four-hour endeavor. And this is the first time that we have caught 30 or more black bass in one outing in 2018.

The mud minnow Hula StickZ and 2 1/2-inch white lightning ZinkerZ were our two most fruitful rigs. The swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most effective presentation.

May 22 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 57 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 86 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind was calm or relatively calm for many hours, and it also angled out of the east, south, north, and southeast at 3 to 10 mph. The sky was clear for many hours, and around 12:52 a.m. it became partly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 30.01 at 12:52 a.m., 30.01 at 5:52 a.m., 30.03 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.00 at 1:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 5:42 a.m. to 7:42 a.m., 6:08 p.m. to 8:08 p.m., and 11:29 a.m. to 1:29 p.m. John Reese of Lawrence, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas' many state reservoirs from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The water level was slightly above normal. The surface temperature ranged from 75 to 78 degrees. The water exhibited four to seven feet of visibility. Since May 9, many of this reservoir's shallow-water shorelines, flats, and points have become adorned with lush and large patches of bushy pondweed. Besides the bushy pondweed, its shorelines, flats, and points are littered with filamentous algae galore, and there are some burgeoning patches of coontail.

John and I caught 52 largemouth bass and inadvertently caught 22 panfish (bluegill, crappie, and green sunfish) in 120 minutes. Twenty-four largemouth bass were caught in the first 60 minutes.

We caught 38 largemouth bass along the dam and its spillway, which constitutes about 300 yards of shoreline. This area possesses a 35- to 65-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. There are three tiny patches of American water willows situated in very shallow water along the water's edge, and these patches failed to yield a largemouth bass. There are a few patches of bushy pondweed and oodles of clusters of filamentous algae cluttering the rocks and boulders. Twenty-five of the 38 largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Six were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig. Five were caught on a shortened Z-Man's PB&J Hula StickZ affixed to a blue 1/32-ounce round jig. Two of the 38 were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. A few were caught on the initial drop of those rigs, and most of them were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. They were caught in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as 10 feet, and as close as four feet from the water's edge to as far as 20 feet from the water's edge.

Around one flat main-lake point we caught three largemouth bass. The underwater terrain consists of clay and gravel. It is becoming embellished with significant patches of bushy pondweed and some minor patches of coontail. It has a 25-degree slope. Several manmade brush piles are anchored in six to 12 feet of water. The three largemouth bass were caught around the patches of bushy pondweed on the PB&J ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in five to seven feet of water and many yards from the water's edge.

We caught two largemouth bass on another flat main-lake point, and its terrain and make-up is similar to the point described in the paragraph above. The largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the TRD HogZ rig around patches of bushy pondweed in about five feet of water and many yards from the water's edge.

Along a 200-yard stretch of a shoreline in the back of a large feeder-creek arm, we caught nine largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of clay, gravel, and rocks. The water's edge is embellished with some laydowns, a few scanty patches of American water willows, some patches of bushy pondweed, scanty patches of coontail, and several manmade brush piles. Two largemouth bass were caught on the purple-haze Finesse WormZ rig. Three were caught on the PB&J ZinkerZ rig. Four were caught on the PB&J Hula StickZ rig. Three were caught on the initial drop of our rigs in two to four feet of water. Six were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in 3 1/2 to eight feet of water. Seven were caught within 10 feet of the water's edge, and two were caught 20 and 30 feet from the water's edge.

In sum, the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig caught 30 of the 52 largemouth bass. The swim-glide-and-shake presentation was the most effective retrieve.

May 24 log

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his May 24 outing at the same U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir that he and John Redding of Lawrence, Kansas, fished on May 22.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his report:

I decided to return to this reservoir and ply some different locations.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 68 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 88 degrees at 2:43 p.m. The sky was clear at times, and at other times it fluctuate from being partly cloudy to being mostly cloudy to being scattered with clouds to being overcast and to having a thunderstorm. The wind angled out of the southeast, south, south by southwest, east, and east by southeast at 3 to 29 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.03 at 12:53 a.m., 30.04 at 5:53 a.m., 30.03 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.99 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 7:17 a.m. to 9:17 a.m., 7:41 p.m. to 9:41 p.m., and 1:05 a.m. to 3:05 a.m.

The surface temperature was 76.5 degrees. The water clarity was four to five feet. The water level was 14 inches below normal.

Several weather forecasts predicted that there was a small chance for a pop-up rain shower. But by the time I made my first cast around 2:15 p.m. I could see a black cloud beginning to loom in the southwestern sky. When I checked the radar on my cell phone, it confirmed that there was a thunderstorm building, but its track looked like it might bypass my area. However, I committed to keeping a wary eye on the sky. Fifty minutes later, I could see a sheet of rain coming over the dam, and I realized it was time to flee. I made one last cast before I headed for the boat ramp, and a two-pound smallmouth bass engulfed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's purple-haze ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. I fought the smallmouth bass to the side of the boat, and as I was lifting it out of the water, the hook broke at the bend and the smallmouth bass dropped back into the water with my purple-haze ZinkerZ still in its mouth. With no time to waste, I crammed rods and tackle bags into hatches and raced across the lake to the boat ramp. I got the boat on the trailer and was tightening the winch strap when the rain finally hit with a vengeance, pummeling the area with large wind-driven drops.

Instead of the isolated pop-up showers, we continued to get several waves of thunderstorms during the remainder of the afternoon and evening, and I was able to fish for about 50 minutes. I dissected a 100-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline and a shoreline in an adjacent small cove. Because the foul weather was still a threat, I did not want to venture far from the boat ramp. So, I made several passes along these shorelines and caught three smallmouth bass and two freshwater drum.

The smallmouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's purple-haze ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Two of them were caught while I was strolling and working with a drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation in 14 feet of water. The third was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in about 10 feet of water. The freshwater drum were caught with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in shallow water close to the water's edge, which is laden with rocks.

May 24 log

Clyde Holsher of Topeka, Kansas, is a talented and veteran black-bass guide and Midwest finesse angler. But to his grief and that of his family and friends, he had to wait until May 25 to tangle with his first largemouth bass and smallmouth bass of 2018. Many weeks ago he was waylaid by an extremely toxic blood inflection, which hospitalized him for days on end. Since then, it has taken him many weeks to mend the damage, and he is still recuperating, which he occasionally describes as "taking a few baby steps at a time." He took a few of those baby steps into my boat around 10:30 a.m. on May 24. Then we spent a few hours talking about the good old days and leisurely fishing around one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 68 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 88 degrees at 2:43 p.m. The sky was clear at times, and at other times it fluctuate from being partly cloudy to being mostly cloudy to being scattered with clouds to being overcast and to having a thunderstorm. The wind angled out of the southeast, south, south by southwest, east, and east by southeast at 3 to 29 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.03 at 12:53 a.m., 30.04 at 5:53 a.m., 30.03 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.99 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing would occur from 7:17 a.m. to 9:17 a.m., 7:40 p.m. to 9:40 p.m., and 1:05 a.m. to 3:05 a.m.

The surface temperature was 79 degrees. The water level was about a foot below normal. The water clarity was affected by a significant algal bloom, and the visibility ranged from 10 to 15 inches. This algal bloom is a recent phenomenon. We were pleased to see that some locales around this reservoir have been blessed with patches of curly-leaf pondweed and bush pondweed, but we did not fish around any of those patches.

We casually fished around four secondary points, along the dam, along portions of four main-lake shorelines, around three main-lake points, along portions of four shorelines inside three feeder-creek arms, and along two offshore rock-and-boulder-laden humps.

Along the dam, we caught one largemouth bass on a Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse TRD affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom jig and three smallmouth bass on a Z-Man's Junebug Rain MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom style jig. These fish were caught as we were strolling and employing either a drag-and-deadstick presentation or a slow swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation in eight to 10 feet of water and 15 to 20 feet from the water's edge. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It possesses a 35- to 45-degree slope.

Clyde Holscher's first largemouth bass of 2018.

Along the main-lake shoreline that is adjacent to the dam, which has a 25-degree slope and an underwater terrain that consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders, we caught a smallmouth bass and a largemouth bass. They were caught on the Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water and 15 to 20 feet from the water's edge.

Clyde's first smallmouth bass of 2018.

We caught two smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass along a main-lake shoreline. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some boulders. It possesses a 25- to 30-degree slope. The two smallmouth bass were caught on the Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig while we were strolling it and working it with a drag-and-deadstick presentation in about six feet of water and many yards from the water's edge. The two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. One of the largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the Finesse ShadZ rig in about six feet of water and 25 feet from the water's edge. The second one was caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water many yards from the water's edge.

We caught one largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass along a short and steep shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm. This shoreline has about a 70-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of sand, gravel, rocks, and some boulders. The water's edge is graced with a few patches of American water willows and overhanging trees. Both fish were caught on our Junebug Rain MinnowZ rigs with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation in about eight feet of water.

Along one of the offshore rock-and-boulder-laden humps, we caught two largemouth bass. They were caught on our Junebug Rain MinnowZ rigs on a swim-and-glide presentation in four to five feet of water.

Five smallmouth bass and five largemouth bass were caught along the other offshore rock-and-boulder-laden hump. They were caught in three to seven feet of water on our Junebug Rain MinnowZ rigs. Two were caught of the initial drop. Some were caught on a drag-and-deadstick presentation. One was caught on a straight swimming presentation. The others were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. It is interesting to note that this hump had been thoroughly dissected twice by a power angler.

This was not a typical and hardedge Midwest finesse outing. At one point, Clyde called it a therapy session. And during this therapy session, we exchanged many words and caught 12 largemouth bass and 12 smallmouth bass.

May 25 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 68 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 86 degrees at 3:52 p.m. After 6:52 a.m., the sky became clear, but before then, it fluctuated from being partly cloudy to raining and thundering to being mostly cloudy to being scattered with clouds. The wind angled out of the northeast, southeast, west, west by northwest, north, south by southwest, east, east by southeast, and south by southeast at 3 to 23 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.95 at 12:52 a.m., 29.91 at 5:52 a.m., 29.91 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.83 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 7:57 a.m. to 9:57 a.m., 8:20 p.m. to 10:20 p.m., and 1:45 a.m. to 3:45 a.m. I fished at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The water level looked to be normal. The water had five to six feet of visibility in the vicinity of the dam and about three feet of visibility inside one of its feeder-creek arms. It is the nicest and clearest that I have seen this water in many months. The surface temperature was 77 degrees. Large wads of filamentous algae litter the shorelines and underwater objects. The portions of the backs of two of its feeder-creek arms were covered with patches of curly-leaf pondweed.

I caught 33 largemouth bass and accidentally caught 19 various panfish. Throughout the three hours that I fished, I experimented with a variety of Midwest finesse rigs and all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves.

Along the dam, spillway, and their adjacent shorelines, I caught 13 largemouth bass. The slope of these locales varies from 25 to 50 degrees. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Patches of American water willows adorn some of the water's edges, and there is a minor patch of cattails. Several manmade brush piles lie within 15 to 20 feet from the water's edge. Four largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's mudbug TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig. Three largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's PB&J TRD HogZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a shortened Z-Man's PB&J Hula StickZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom style jig. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop. The other ones were caught on either a swim-glide-and-shake presentation or a drag-and-shake presentation. Some were caught in three to six feet of water near the outside edges of the patches of American water willows and cattails and in close proximity to the water's edge. A few were caught many feet from the water's edge, and in seven to 10 feet of water.

Seven largemouth bass were caught on top of an offshore rock-and-boulder hump inside a feeder-creek arm. Besides the rocks and boulders, this hump is embellished with two gigantic stumps. The seven largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig in six to eight feet of water. Three were caught on the initial drop, and four were caught on a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

One largemouth bass was caught along the shoreline that is adjacent to the offshore hump. This shoreline has a 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain is graced with gravel, rocks, boulders, stumps, and brush piles. Patches of American water willows clutter the water's edge. This largemouth bass was caught on the Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four to five feet of water near a patch of American water willows.

Five largemouth bass were caught along a short segment of a main-lake shoreline. This shoreline possesses a 35- to 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. These largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's sprayed grass ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Two of them were caught on the initial drop in two to three feet of water. Two of them were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four to six feet of water. One was caught on a drag-and-deadstick presentation in about eight feet of water.

Around a main-lake point and its adjacent main-lake shoreline, the sprayed grass ZinkerZ rig caught six largemouth bass. This area possesses a 25- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain is endowed with gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water's edge is trimmed with several patches of American water willows and one laydown. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop in about three feet of water. Two were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four to five feet of water. One was caught while I was strolling and employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four feet of water.

On top of a small rock-and-boulder reef, I caught one largemouth bass on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation of the sprayed grass ZinkerZ rig in about six feet of water.

Largemouth bass No. 33 was caught along a shoreline inside a large feeder-creek arm. The short segment of this shoreline that I fished possesses a 30- to 35-degree slope. Its water's edge is embellished with patches of American water willows, laydowns, overhanging trees, and two docks. This largemouth bass was caught under an overhanging tree in four feet of water on the sprayed grass ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

I failed to catch a largemouth bass around two main-lake points and short portions of their adjacent shorelines and across two main-lake flats that are cluttered with scattered piles of rocks and boulders.

In sum, the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's sprayed grass ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig caught 13 of the 33 largemouth bass. The swim-glide-and-shake presentation or slight variations of it was the most effective retrieve.

May 26 log

Bob Hardy of Saint Paul, Minnesota, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his May 26 outing with his friend Gary Johnson of Claremont, California, and son Matt Hardy in northwestern Wisconsin.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

After enjoying a 100-black-bass outing two weeks ago, we did not expect to enjoy another one anytime soon. Gary, Matt, and I had decent action by catching 50 largemouth bass on May 24 and 51 largemouth bass on May 25. Then on May 26, we fished a relatively small natural lake in northwest Wisconsin from 11:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. And we manage to catch 127 largemouth bass.

Area thermometers registered 86 degrees at 11:00 a.m. and 93 degrees at 3:15 p.m. The wind fluctuated from being calm to angling out of the south and southwest at 5 mph.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 8:23 a.m. to 10:23 a.m., 8:46 p.m. to 10:46 p.m., and 2:11 a.m. to 4:11 a.m.

The water exhibited six feet of visibility. The emergent aquatic vegetation is still immature.

We used medium to medium-light spinning rods. Our reels were spooled with either eight- or 10-pound-test braided line with either an eight- or a 10-pound-test fluorocarbon leader.

We worked with a variety of Midwest finesse rigs: Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ, Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ, Z-Man's Canada Craw TRD TubeZ, and Z-Man's PB&J TRD TubeZ. All of these rigs worked, but the TRD HogZ was the most effective one. We rigged them on either a red 1/32-ounce jig or a green-pumpkin 1/20-ounce jig.

We fished in one to six feet of water inside two major bays around shoreline vegetation, downed trees and edges of aquatic vegetation that are just beginning to become visible.

Seven largemouth bass were caught in the first three minutes, and all totaled we caught 127 largemouth bass and accidentally caught 43 other kinds of fish, such as bluegill, crappie, rock bass and northern pike.

Some were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Some were caught as we employed a deadstick presentation immediately after the initial drop. Others were caught while we employed swimming, hopping, and dragging retrieves all the way to the boat.

None of the largemouth bass were longer than 15 inches. A modest number were 12 to 14 inches long. And a goodly number of them were six to 10 inches long. We enjoy catching fish and having tugs on our lines. So, it was a fun day on a beautiful Wisconsin lake.

In spite of it being the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, the number of boaters was minimal. There were some recreational boaters, water skiers, and a rare jet ski, but almost no other fishermen were enjoying this lovely spring day. We continue to be impressed with the effectiveness of Midwest finesse tactics. We fished this lake last spring, and we had a good day by catching 51 largemouth bass, which was virtually nothing compared to the action we enjoyed on this May 26 outing . Gary is here for another 10 days, and we hope to continue this amazing trend.

May 27 log

Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his May 27 outing.

Here is an edited version of his report:

My turkey-hunting forays are over, as are my saltwater pursuits of cobia. And as we were honoring our family members at church services on May 27 and during our family gathering after those services, I was informed by my uncle and my son-in-law about how good the local largemouth fishing had been while I was chasing cobia.

After the gathering, I decided to take a short trip to test the accuracy of those fishing reports, and I went to my closest community reservoir.

The afternoon was very warm and humid. It was 88 degrees. It was partly cloudy. The wind angled out of the southwest at 7 to 10 mph.

The water was stained with about eight inches of visibility.

Typically by this time, our largemouth bass are through with their spawning activities and are residing on shallow main-lake points. But my uncle and son-in-law reported that the largemouth bass were "right on the banks.

We all know how fruitless it can be to chase reports, but in this case their report turned out to be the ticket.

There are three rocky and steep shorelines near where I launched the boat. These steep shorelines are adjacent to a submerged creek channel.

And the first one that I fished, I caught four largemouth bass a few feet from the water's edge on a Zoom Bait Company's black-red-glitter affixed to a Ultravibe Speed Craw a black 1/10-ounce Z-Man's weedless Finesse ShroomZ jig.

These largemouth bass were residing around tiny pockets of shade around shallow-water boulders. The shorelines are graced with a lot of overhanging trees and limbs. And it was an exacting chore to get the rig to the largemouth bass. When you hooked one, you had the fun and chore of getting a good-sized largemouth bass out of that quagmire.

I proved not so good at getting my hands on what I hooked. I tied poor knots twice and lost nice-sized bass. I played one for an eternity that was bigger than any I caught and it twisted off.

One of the 21 largemouth bass that Mike Poe caught.

I fished from 4:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. I probed three steep shorelines adjacent to a submerged creek channel and one area of riprap.

I caught 21 largemouth bass around the shallow-water rocks and boulders.

Seventeen were caught on the Ultravibe Speed Craw rig.

Four were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's green-pumpkin Zero affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, and they were the biggest and the most fun. They were the last four that I caught. They were caught along the riprap shoreline, and they were so shallow that I would have seen them if the water was clearer. The largest one was extremely feisty, and it gave me a fit because my newest spinning reel has no reverse; so, I did not have the luxury of back reeling.

May 28 log

Bob Hardy of Saint Paul, Minnesota, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his May 28 outing with Gary Johnson of Claremont, California, in northwestern Wisconsin.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

We had a tremendous day on a lake that we have not fished before. It has a reputation for yielding decent numbers of good-size largemouth bass, northern pike, crappie, and sunfish, which it lived up to.

It was hot and humid. When we launched the boat, it was 86 degrees, and when we put the boat on the trailer, it was 94 degrees. The surface temperature ranged from 72 to 79 degrees. The water exhibited three to four feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 9:47 a.m. to 11:47 a.m., 10:10 p.m. to 12:10 a.m., and 3:53 a.m. to 5:35 a.m. We fished from 11:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

The action was brisk for the first 2 ½ hours. Then it slowed somewhat, but we never experienced more than five minutes between fish.

We used the same Z-Man's soft-plastic baits for the entire outing. I used a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse TRD on a green-pumpkin 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. Gary used a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ on a green-pumpkin 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. My Finesse TRD has weathered through three intense outings, and it is about ready to be retired. These are amazingly durable and effective soft-plastic baits.

Our rigs were affixed to 10-pound-test braided line with a 10-pound-test fluorocarbon leader.

The entire lake has a fairly steep shoreline. About 30 feet of it possesses a gradual slope, and then it descends rapidly into 30 feet of water. The outside edge of the submerged aquatic vegetation is in about eight feet of water, and it is moderately thick, which allows our rigs to be retrieved through it without becoming hung up in it or cluttering our rigs.

We caught 62 largemouth bass and accidentally caught 62 other kinds of fish: the majority of them were black crappie, a dozen were sunfish, three were yellow perch, and one 30-inch northern pike. The TRD HogZ caught the northern pike and many of the crappie. After Gary caught the northern, we said: "Who says finesse jigs don't catch big fish."

Gary Johnson with a northern pike that he caught on a Midwest finesse rig.

The largemouth bass ranged in size from eight to 17 ½ inches. A third of them were longer than 14 inches, which is a very respectable size for a natural lake in northwestern Wisconsin.

The largemouth bass were caught in one to eight feet of water and from the water's edge to almost adjacent to our boat.

We strolled, and we employed a steady swimming retrieve, and we executed a hop-and-glide presentation, and we embellished those presentations with small shakes. No retrieve was better than another.

The crappie were caught in six to 11 feet of water, and we were amazed how they would totally engulf the TRD HogZ.

During this beautiful spring day, there was a lot of traffic on the lake : water skiing, jet skis, party pontoons, and others types of water sports. And a few anglers were taking advantage of this great day. All of this hubbub did not seem to adversely affect the fishing.

May 30 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 64 degrees at 7:33 a.m. and 89 degrees at 5:52 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being partly cloudy to being scattered with clouds to being clear. The wind angled out of the east by northeast, north by northeast, east by southeast, northwest, west by northwest, west, west by southwest, and southwest at 3 to 27 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.73 at 12:52 a.m., 29.69 at 5:52 a.m., 29.73 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.68 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11:12 a.m. to 1:12 p.m., 11:36 p.m. to 1:36 a.m., and 5:24 a.m. to 7:24 a.m. I was afloat from 12:30 p.m. to 2:10 p.m.

The surface temperature was 82 degrees. The water exhibited three to six feet of visibility. The water level was normal.

I was hoping to catch 30 largemouth bass in an hour at one of northeastern Kansas' state reservoirs, and I wanted to catch the bulk of them on a variety of Z-Man's Rain MinnowZs, which has not been manufactured since 2012. But it is about to have a rebirth and a name change. It will be called the TRD MinnowZ.

It is a stick-style bait. And since 2010, it has played an important role in the repertoire of several Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas who stockpiled a supply of them in 2012. And there have been scores of outings throughout a calendar year when it has been significantly more effective than our other Midwest finesse rigs, such as the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ, Finesse ShadZ, shortened four-inch Finesse WormZ, shortened Hula StickZ, TRD HogZ, Scented LeechZ, Finesse TRD, shortened FattyZ, and several other soft-plastic baits.

To the human eye, the TRD MinnowZ exhibits an exotic darting and subtle quivering action that the other rigs cannot replicate when it is affixed to a 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

The TRD MinnowZ is a 3 1/2-inch stick-style bait. Its head and torso are round. Its tail is flat and fan-shaped. Its tail is five-sixteenths of an inch wide and a quarter of an inch long. Its torso is three-eighths of an inch wide at it widest spot, and at that spot, it has a circumference of 1 1/8 inches. The tip of its somewhat bullet-shaped head is flat, and it is about a quarter of an inch wide at the tip.

It is not impregnated with salt, which many of us call a godsend. And it is extraordinarily buoyant, which causes it to perform (twist, turn, gyrate, and undulate) differently than other stick-style baits perform when we employ them with our six standard Midwest finesse retrieves.

The surface temperature at this reservoir ranged from 82 to 83 degrees. The water exhibited three to six feet of visibility. The water level was normal.

I spent the entire outing dissecting the riprap shoreline along the dam. It has a 30- to 60-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rock, and boulders. The water's edge is graced with two minor patches of American water willows. There are patches of bushy pondweed and coontail that occasionally embellish a few locales along the dam.

Rather than catching 30 largemouth bass in an hour, I caught 30 in one hour and 40 minutes, and during this 100 minutes, I accidentally caught 13 green sunfish and one channel catfish. I caught 22 largemouth in the first 60 minutes.

Twenty-five of the 30 largemouth bass were caught on the five TRD MinnowZ rigs that I used. Seven of the 25 largemouth bass were caught on a Canada Craw TRD MinnowZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Six were caught on a PB&J TRD MinnowZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Four were caught on a green-pumpkin TRD MinnowZ affixed to red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Four were caught on a meat dog TRD MinnowZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Four were caught on a baby bass TRD MinnowZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

Five of the 30 were caught on a TRD HogZ rig. Three of the five were caught on a PB&J TRD HogZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Two were caught on mudbug TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

These 30 largemouth bass were caught in water as shallow as two feet and as deep as about nine feet. Eight were caught on the initial drop. The others were caught as I was employing a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation while I was either casting and retrieving or strolling.

May 30 log

Bob Hardy of Saint Paul, Minnesota, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his May 30 outing with Gary Johnson of Claremont, California, in northwestern Wisconsin.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

Gary Johnston and I had a very fun day of Midwest finesse fishing. We explored a new lake, which was reported to have a decent smallmouth bass population and reasonable numbers of largemouth bass. The size of the specimens was reported to be good.

I love smallies and would rather catch them than just about anything.

The lake is a very clear seepage lake, exhibiting about 15 feet of visibility. The lake bottom is 70 percent sand and 30 percent gravel with zero muck. It is a beautiful northwestern Wisconsin lake. It is heavily wooded and not littered with too many cabins and docks. Thus, there is little disturbance to the shoreline by the cabin owners. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has aided spawning habitat for black bass by placing large logs and laydowns around various shallow-water places, but we found only one area where this was obvious to us.

We had some rain overnight and a short hail storm during the evening hours of May 29. So, we were worried that the aftereffects of the storm might adversely affect our fishing. But we should not have been worried. We started fishing at 9:30 a.m. and quit at 2:30 p.m. The air temperature was 66 degrees when we started and 62 degrees when we ended. The sky was overcast all day, and it rained lightly and intermittently rained until our last hour of fishing, and then it rained hard. The wind remained light. Barometric pressure was 29.85 at 9:30 a.m. and 29.64 at 2:30 p.m.

A major solunar period occurred from 11:27 a.m. to 1:27 p.m., and we fished through it.

We began fishing adjacent to the launching ramp, which is where the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources placed the logs into the water along the shoreline, and there was also some sparse aquatic vegetation. We had seven largemouth bass in the first 5 minutes and two very nice crappie that were 12 inches and 13 inches long.

Besides the logs, this shoreline is stippled with some docks. Nearly all the logs and docks yielded a black bass. We caught them in water as shallow as one foot and as deep as eight feet, and most were caught in four to eight feet of water.

The size of the black bass that we caught was the best that we have caught at the seven lakes that we have fished this past week. The largest smallmouth bass was 17 1/2 inches long, and the largest largemouth bass was 16 1/2 inches. Very few of them were dinks, and most were 13 to 17 inches long.

Gary Johnson with one of the smallmouth bass that they caught.

For the entire outing, we used two Midwest finesse rigs. I used a Z-Man's black Scented LeechZ affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. Gary used a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig, and during this outing, Gary finally wore out the TRD HogZ that he had used during the past two outings, and he replaced it with a new one.

Most of the black bass that I caught were caught while I was deadsticking the Scented LeechZ rig after the initial drop. Some of the deadstick presentations were 20 to 30 seconds long. We also caught them by employing a slow and steady swimming retrieve and a lift-drop-and-pause presentation.

We caught 50 black bass. About two-thirds of them were largemouth bass. We also caught 18 panfish: crappie, rock bass, and bluegill.

Overcast skies and rain put an end to the oppressive heat wave that we have been enduring. It was fun to fish in the light, warm spring rain. Virtually no other fishermen were on the lake. We saw only one other boat. When the outing ended, I was standing in an inch of water in the bow of the boat.

May 30 log

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his May 30 outing.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his report:

While I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas' U.S. Corps of Engineers' reservoirs in pursuit of smallmouth bass, it was another warm and sunny day. After an overnight low of 64 degrees, the temperature peaked at a high of 90 degrees. The sky was clear, exhibiting a deep-blue hue. The wind angled from northwest to west to southwest at 5 to 12 mph. During most of this outing, the wind blew consistently out of the southwest, and it slowly accelerated, producing significant whitecaps that forced me to use my drift sock during the afternoon hours. The water level was about 14 inches below normal. The surface temperature was 82 degrees. The water exhibited four to five feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11:12 a.m. to 1:12 p.m., 11:36 p.m. to 1:36 a.m., and 5:24 a.m. to 7:24 a.m.

I fished from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.

I fished this reservoir on May 22 and 24. On May 22, John Redding and I caught 19 smallmouth bass and six largemouth bass while plying this reservoir's steep rocky shorelines. When I returned on May 24, I was only able to fish for a total of 50 minutes before a thunderstorm blew me off the water. But, I was able to catch three smallmouth bass. Since then, the lake had been pummeled with several rounds of strong thunderstorms and a long holiday weekend.

On my May 30 outing, I wanted to check some of the shoreline areas that had been fruitful on my previous trips to see if the smallmouth bass were still present and unaffected by the weather and boating activity. After I fished those shoreline, I explored some new areas to see if they held any concentrations of smallmouth bass.

I began fishing at a bridge inside a major feeder-creek arm. I fished under the bridge and then along a 300-yard stretch of a riprap causeway. This had been one of the most productive areas for black bass on my May 22 outing with John Redding. It was unproductive on May 30, yielding only one fish, which was a small green sunfish that I accidently hooked on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Although I did not catch another fish, I was encouraged by having dozens of strikes along the riprap, but I surmised that they were green sunfish and too small to get the hook into their mouths.

After I fished the causeway, I fished a quarter-mile section of a steep and rocky shoreline. Along this area, the water's edge is adorned with boulders, rocks, gravel, and a few laydowns. It is graced with several main-lake and tertiary points. I caught one smallmouth bass on a shoreline adjacent to a main-lake point on the ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve while strolling in about 14 feet of water. I caught two largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's purple-haze ZinkerZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation around laydowns in four and nine feet of water. I caught another smallmouth bass while strolling and using a drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve in 18 feet of water. I elicited a strong strike that separated my line at the leader knot, and when I retied, I opted for a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ mounted on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. I immediately caught another smallmouth bass on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in 17 feet of water

I fished a flat main-lake point and did not catch any fish.

Along a 150-yard stretch of rocky main-lake shoreline adjacent to a main-lake point, I caught a smallmouth bass while strolling in 14 feet of water with the Finesse WormZ rig with a swim-shake-and-deadstick retrieve.

Around a main-lake point, I did not catch any fish. However, along the shoreline inside a small feeder-creek arm adjacent to the point, I caught two smallmouth bass on the Finesse WormZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One of them was very small, about four inches, and it harassed my rig from the initial drop near the shoreline and for several yards out into deeper water before it finally got impaled on the hook. Both of these fish were caught in 17 feet of water.

Along the opposite shoreline inside the same feeder-creek arm, I caught three smallmouth bass on the Finesse WormZ rig in four to seven feet of water. Two of them were very small -- four to five inches long, and they harassed the rig for many seconds before they were hooked. The third bass was taken with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

I began to think that a lot of the little strikes I was getting in shallow water might be little smallmouth bass, rather than green sunfish. So, I decided to try to figure out how to catch them. I ended up catching two more tiny smallmouth bass, and I did it by letting them swim with the lure for a few seconds after they picked it up. After feeling a strike, I would endeavor to keep the slack out of the line, but not let it get too taut if they tried to run too fast with it. Then, after a few seconds, I would gradually increase the pressure on the line until it felt like the fish was hooked. If I let the line become too tight or tried to set the hook too hard, it would pull the lure out of their mouths without hooking them.

At the other main-lake point at the mouth of the small feeder-creek arm, I caught another smallmouth bass on the Finesse WormZ rig while strolling with a drag-shake-and deadstick retrieve in 14 feet of water.

I fished a 100-yard section of a steep main-lake shoreline, which is rock- and boulder-laden, where I failed to catch a black bass.

The last place I fished was a 200-yard stretch of a rocky shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm. It is graced with tertiary points and tiny pockets. It yielded five smallmouth bass, which were caught on the Finesse WormZ rig. Two were tiny ones, and they were caught on the initial drop of the rig. But one was a 18 1/2-incher, and another one was a 16 1/2- incher. The other three were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The two larger ones were caught in 14 feet of water, and the third was caught in 17 feet of water.

In all, I fished for 5 hours and caught two largemouth bass and 15 smallmouth bass. I also accidently caught one bluegill, one white bass, two channel catfish, three green sunfish, and seven freshwater drum. The Junebug Finesse WormZ rig was the most effective rig. I failed to catch a fish on shortened Junebug Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. Most of the fish were caught while I was strolling and employing either a drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve or a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Virtually all of the tiny smallmouth bass hit on or shortly after the initial drop. However, since they were not engulfing the rig, they would harass it with a series of strikes and pickups as it was retrieved into deeper water. None of the larger bass hit on the initial drop, but they would strike as it was strolled or retrieved into deeper water several yards away from the shore. There was no dominant location pattern. Some fish were caught around main-lake points but not around all of them. Some were caught along a main-lake shoreline, but not along all of them. Some were caught along shorelines inside feeder-creek arms.

I am pleased with the results of this outing. I caught a decent number of smallmouth bass and several sizable ones. All of the new locations that I tried were fruitful. I believe there are many more locations on this reservoir that hold concentrations of smallmouth bass, and I am eager to try to find them

May 31 log

Tom Bett of Oshkosh,Wisconsin, filed this report on the Finesse News Network about outing on a series of interconnect lakes in eastern Wisconsin, which is called the Winnebago Pool.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his report:

A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' fisheries biologist from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, joined me on this outing

The black bass fishing has been a feast-or-famine affair at this waterway during the spring of 2018, and we attempted to assess the status of its annual black bass spawning cycle.

The weather was as variable this day as it has been all spring. Temperatures ranged from a morning low of 68 degrees to an afternoon high of 85 degrees. Strong southwest winds and light rain greeted us at the onset. A cold front passed through the area during the early afternoon hours which ushered in a clear sky, bright sunshine, and gusty 20 mph winds out of the northwest.

The water level was 0.1 foot above normal. The water current was flowing at an average rate of 9000 cubic feet per second. The surface temperature ranged from 74 to 77 degrees. The water's clarity varied from six inches to 4 1/2 feet.

We spent a full day afloat. We executed our first casts at 8:30 a.m. and our final casts around 4:00 p.m.

Most of the areas that we fished were comprised of firm bottom compositions and in close proximity to deep water with some type of cover and a current break. We concentrated our efforts on many jetties, riprap-laden shorelines, channel entrances, and a few offshore rock piles and islands. We focused on water depths as shallow as two feet and as deep as six feet.

As the day unfolded, we discovered that the smallmouth bass and largemouth bass were exhibiting a finicky disposition and were difficult to catch. The smallmouth bass were generally favoring upstream locations in current seams and deeper ledges. The largemouths were generally holding on the downstream ends of structures and in back-eddy areas within a few yards of the smallmouths.

Our standard finesse offerings were mostly ignored. Only a few smallmouth bass were caught on a Zoom Bait Company's Baby Brushhog, Super Fluke Junior, and a Keitech Swing Impact Fat 3.3 swimbait that were affixed on either 1/8-ounce or 1/16-ounce jigs.

What did work well was the Z-Man Fishing Products' Finesse TRD rigged on either a 1/15- or 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. On wind-blown shorelines and out in the open-water areas, we had to rely on the 1/10-ounce jigs to minimize the effects of the wind on our lines and keep the baits moving slowly enough to allow the fish to bite. Our most productive colors for the largemouth bass were green-pumpkin-goby followed by mud bug. The smallmouth bass preferred The Deal hue. The color of our jigs did not seem to make any significant difference; we used a mix of black, green pumpkin, and chartreuse.

We employed 6-foot, 6-inch- or 7-foot spinning rods with medium or medium-light actions, 2500-series spinning reels, and six-pound-test copolymer or fluorocarbon line.

By far, the most effective presentation was a drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve. It seemed that the lure had to rest on the bottom before any fish would gently engulf it.

In sum, we methodically dissected a total of 20 locations, and we caught fish from 18 of them. We caught and measured a total of 52 fish which consisted of 27 smallmouth bass, 20 largemouth bass, three rock bass, one freshwater drum, and one channel catfish.

The length of the smallmouths ranged from 8.3 to 19.0 inches. Three of them exceeded 18 inches. The largemouth bass ranged from 8.5 to 16.7 inches in length.

Our catch rate averaged three black bass per hour, which we consider below average. We consider five black bass per hour as average, and a real strong bite consists of 10 black bass per hour.

We look forward to these bass completing their spawning rituals as it often provides us with one of the most enjoyable peak-bite opportunities of the season.

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top In-Fisherman stories delivered right to your inbox.