Midwest Finesse Fishing: November 2014

Midwest Finesse Fishing: November 2014

When the water plunged into the low 40s in November, these were the three most effective Midwest finesse lures. The one at the top is a Z-Man's Fishing Products' green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig. The second one is a homemade black hair jig with a Z-Man's black Scented LeechZ. The third one is a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin BatwingZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

November's guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 24 logs that are chock-full of piscatorial observations from Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas; Burton Bosley of Sutton, West Virginia; Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas; Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas; Ralph Manns of Rockwall, Texas; Dennis O'Dell of Olathe, Kansas; Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas; Jeff Smith of Stone Mountain, Georgia; Walt Tegtmeier of Kansas City, Missouri; and myself.

One of the highlights of these logs features the 10-pound largemouth bass that Rick Allen caught and released on Nov. 15, which provides once again what Guido Hibdon of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, said decades ago: "Many people don't believe that little baits will catch big fish, but they do. Gosh, we've proven it for years."


There are also logs that focus upon our multispecies approaches, such as largemouth bass fishing for trout, largemouth bass fishing for crappie, and smallmouth bass fishing for white bass.


In northeastern Kansas, winter made its first appearance on Nov. 11, which caused surface temperatures on area waterways to drop precipitously from the mid-50s on Nov. 10 to 41 degrees on Nov. 18. What's more, there was some ice covering the Kansas River and the backs of the feeder-creek arms at a goodly number of the flatland reservoirs on Nov. 18 and 19. Steve Reidler and Ralph Manns noted that a similar wintry phenomenon crisscrossed north-central Texas.   Thus, some of the logs in this month's guide provide readers with facts and insights about how, when, and where largemouth bass (as well as some smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, crappie, and white bass) can be caught when the water turns nearly ice cold.

We are thankful that Steve Reideler continues to proof read all of the logs. His work made this 22,465-word guide more readable and understandable.

Nov. 1 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas,  posted this log on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 1 outing at a 24,154-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir in north-central Texas.

He wrote: "My last two trips to this reservoir had been encouraging, and I was able to set two new numbers records for this reservoir. The first record was set on September 27, when I tangled with 40 black bass, and the second occurred on October 15, when Rick Allen of Dallas and I battled 41 black bass. I had high hopes that this Nov. 1 undertaking would be just as fruitful.

"A major cold front rolled across north-central Texas on October 31, dropping temperatures over 20 degrees on November 1. The sky was cloudless and sunny. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 41 degrees and the afternoon high rose to 63 degrees. A cool wind quartered from the east-by-southeast at about 15 mph, causing the main-lake areas to white cap, and I needed to employ a drift sock the majority of the time during this venture. The barometric pressure was high at 30.44.

"The water was clear with about five feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 68 degrees. The Texas Water Development Board recorded the water level at 7.47 feet below normal pool.

"My four spinning rods sported the following baits: Z-Man Fishing Product's Blue Glimmer Sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ rigged on a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head Jig; Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; Z-Man's modified 3 1/4-inch watermelon-red FattyZ affixed on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and Z-Man's four-inch PB&J Finesse WormZ rigged on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

"In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing periods would occur between 6:23 a.m. to 8:23 a.m. and 6:49 p.m. and 8:49 p.m. A minor period would occur from 12:09 a.m. to 2:09 a.m. I was afloat from about 12:20 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.

"I fished one riprap-covered jetty with the 3 1/4-inch modified FattyZ and four-inch Finesse WormZ, but failed to elicit any strikes.

"I made a short run to the dam area in the south end of the reservoir, where I checked a shallow sand flat just north of the dam, and five steep bluff points just north of the dam. I did not fish the dam since all of its riprap embankment is out of water and only the mud bottom that borders the riprap was covered with water. I caught one spotted bass from five feet of water and relating to a boulder on the sandy flat. This bass was attracted to the 3 1/2-inch GrubZ and a steady do-nothing swim retrieve. I probed the five steep bluff points north of the dam with the 3 1/2-inch GrubZ, 3 1/4-inch modified FattyZ, and four-inch Finesse WormZ with the swim-glide-and-shake technique, and I failed to cross paths with any bass."I investigated a main-lake shoreline along the west side of the reservoir's east tributary arm of the reservoir. This shoreline is endowed with a submerged concrete roadbed, a long thin wall of brown hydrilla that courses along the deep-water edge of the roadbed, a flat rocky bank, and a timbered rocky point. I was unable to coax any bass into striking the 3 1/2-inch GrubZ, 3 1/4-inch modified FattyZ, or four-inch Finesse WormZ.

"I fished a large main-lake flat just north of the submerged roadbed area. This flat extends eastward from the west shoreline about 50 yards then quickly drops into 27 feet of water. A large hydrilla bed had occupied a large portion of this flat in three to seven feet of water, but the hydrilla bed has now died back and has turned brown. This area had relinquished 62 black bass during my last two visits to this reservoir, but I found it almost completely devoid of bass today. The Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ and slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation appealed to only one spotted bass that was associated with the deep-water edge of the hydrilla bed in five to seven feet of water. The Z-Man's Finesse WormZ, modified FattyZ , and 3 1/2-inch GrubZ were unable to induce any strikes.

"I finished the afternoon plying a main-lake rocky point at the mouth of a large feeder-creek arm in the eastern tributary arm, three rocky secondary points inside the feeder creek, and two small coves that lie between the three secondary points. The main-lake point yielded one two-pound, 10 ounce spotted bass, which is a hefty spotted bass for these parts. Two of the secondary points surrendered one largemouth bass and one spotted bass. All three of these bass were allured by the 3 1/2-inch GrubZ and slow swim retrieve. The two coves failed to produce any bass.

"All told, the fishing in north-central Texas remains dismal. My hopes of another 40-bass outing did not come to fruition. I could only muster four spotted bass and one largemouth bass during this four-hour endeavor. Z-Man's 3 1/2-inch Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ and a steady do-nothing swim retrieve enticed three spotted bass and one largemouth bass. A Z-Man's green pumpkin Scented LeechZ and slow swim-glide-shake presentation beguiled one spotted bass. Z-Man's modified 3 1/4-inch watermelon-red FattyZ and four-inch PB&J Finesse WormZ failed to garner any strikes.

Nov. 4 log

Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I ventured to a 416-acre community reservoir on Nov.4. It was our first bass fishing for trout foray of the fall.

The National Weather Service of Topeka, Kansas, noted that it was 46 degrees at 8:53 a.m. and 53 degrees at 2:53 p.m. During the first hour of this outing, Desch and I complained that our fingers were cold, and it was nippy enough that we had the hoods of our sweatshirts covering our heads. From 12:53 a.m. to 5:53 p.m., the wind angled out of the northwest at 5 to 14 mph, out of the west at 3 to 7 mph, and at 8:53 a.m., it was variable at 3 mph. The sky was blue and sun filled, but just a few miles to the south of the NWS recording station, where we were fishing, it was cloudy the entire time we were afloat. The barometric pressure was 30.11 at 12:53 a.m., 30.14 at 5:53 a.m.; 30:32 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.20 at 2:53 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 54 to 56 degrees. The water level looked to be one foot below normal. The water was exceedingly clear for a flatland reservoir in northeastern Kansas, exhibiting six or more feet of visibility in some locales, and at one locale we were sight fishing for rainbow trout. The patches of American water willows, which border much of this reservoir's shorelines, were yellow, brown and virtually leafless. Several of the flats in the back of the feeder-creek arms were graced with some significant patches of submerged vegetation, such as Eurasian milfoil, coontail, and bushy pondweed. On a 200-yard section in the upper portions of the reservoir, we crossed paths with three massive schools of gizzard shad that were dimpling the surface, which is an unusually spectacle in northeastern Kansas during the first week of November.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing should take place from 7:38 a.m. to 9:38 a.m. and 8:04 p.m. to 10.o4 p.m. There was a minor period from 1:25 a.m. to 3:25 a.m. We fished from 9:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

We spent the first two hours and 45 minutes of this outing in the upper quarter of this reservoir.

We made our first casts on a main-lake point at the mouth on the north side of a feeder-creek arm along the east side of the reservoir. This point is flat and graced with rocks, gravel, several massive boulders, American water willows and some lackluster patches of submerged vegetation. We failed to garner a strike along the point.

From that main-lake point, we plied the north shoreline and a massive flat inside the feeder-creek arm, where we caught three largemouth bass on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation, but the shake portion of this presentation was rarely utilized. One largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig that was retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. These four largemouth bass were abiding in three to four feet of water, and they were 20 or more feet from the water's edge. We also caught two rainbow trout in four feet of water on the flat in the middle of this feeder arm. One was caught on a Z-Man's Christmas Scented LeechZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation, and the second trout was caught on a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig that was retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake.

We fished an extremely flat and shallow main-lake point on the south side of this east feeder-creek arm and a stretch of the adjacent main-lake shoreline, where we failed to elicit a strike.

The next area we fished was a flat shoreline on the west side of the reservoir, which lies near the back end of the reservoir's main feeder-creek arm. The boat floated in three to seven feet of water, and we worked around many patches of submerged vegetation, two secondary points, and a few laydowns. We failed to get a strike here.

From the flat shoreline, we moved to a nearby bluff, where we caught six largemouth bass. Five of them were caught on a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin BatwingZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and they engulfed it on the initial drop. A 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig caught one largemouth bass on the initial drop. Along this bluff, the boat floated in 10 to 19 feet of water, and six bass were extracted from five to seven feet of water. The underwater terrain is adorned with boulders, ledges, laydowns, a rock-laden secondary point, patches of American water willows, and an occasional patch of submerged aquatic vegetation.

One of the largemouth bass that was inveigled by the 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin BatwingZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

After we fished the bluff, we fished a main-lake bluff point and a steep shoreline along the south side of a feeder-creek arm. The feeder-creek arm is on the west side of the reservoir, and it is laced with rocks, gravel, American water willows, laydowns, some boulders, and a long stretch of ledges. The point failed to yield a fish. But along the south shoreline the 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin BatwingZ affixed to a 1/16-ounce red Gopher jig with swim-and-glide retrieve inveigled four largemouth bass in four to six feet of water along the ledges, and the 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig caught one largemouth bass on the initial drop by a laydown.

In the back of this feeder-creek arm in about three feet of water, we caught 73 rainbow trout. The water was clear and shallow enough that we could see more than a hundred rainbow trout milling about. Desch caught the bulk of them by employing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, and he occasionally allured one with a deadstick maneuver.

From the back of that feeder creek, we traveled down the lake to the east side of the reservoir, and we spent about 15 minutes dissecting a long submerged rock fence that is covered with three to six feet of water and adjacent to 12 to 25 feet of water. The Z-Man's green-pumpkin BatwingZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-and-glide retrieve inveigled a largemouth bass in about three feet of water.

We spent the last 45 minutes of the outing on the east side of the reservoir and fishing the back end of another feeder-creek arm. The terrain is flat. It is graced with some patches of submerged vegetation and a few laydowns. The boat floated in three feet of water. The water clarity was stained more than it was elsewhere, but we could occasionally spot some rainbow trout and a golden trout milling about. A 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught one largemouth bass around a shallow laydown. The 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig and 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig inveigled 12 rainbow trout, and both of these baits were retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

In total, we caught 87 rainbow trout and 17 largemouth bass. This was the first time that we have used Z-Man's BatwingZ, and it caught 10 of the 17 largemouth bass. The 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig caught the preponderance of rainbow trout, and it enticed several hundred strikes from the rainbow trout that we failed to hook. While we were fishing, we crossed paths with Jay Melkus of Topeka, Kansas, who said that he solved the short-strike or missed-strike phenomenon with the 2 1/4-inch ZinkerZ by adding a stinger hook to the jig.

(By the way, this is the second anniversary of my broken wrist, which I broke at one of the boat ramps at this reservoir when I was launching the boat. On that day in 2012, Melkus, who is a hospice nurse, was at the ramp, and he helped me put the boat back on the trailer. He also wrapped my wrist with some cold towels that kept the swelling down while I drove home and eventually to the hospital.)

N0v. 5 log

I joined Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, on Nov. 5 at a 120-acre community reservoir that lies along the northern suburbs of Kansas City, where we attempted to bass fish for rainbow trout. During this outing, we added another species to this endeavor by bass fishing for black crappie.

The surface temperature ranged from 55 to 57 degrees. The water was slightly stained with an algae bloom and exhibited about 3 1/2 feet of clarity. The water level looked to be slightly above normal.

This reservoir used to have massive patches of coontail, but many of those patches have disappeared during the past two years. At the same time, the water clarity has also diminished at touch. Gizzard shad were also stocked in this reservoir a few years ago. And as the gizzard shad population grew and the coontail died and the water became a tad stained, the largemouth bass have become more difficult to locate and catch.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar predicted that the best fishing would take place from 8:39 a.m. to 10:39 a.m. and 9:06 p.m. to 11:06 p.m. And there would be a minor period from 2:26 a.m. to 4:26 a.m. We made our first cast around 9:45 a.m. and our last ones at 2:00 p.m.

The National Weather Service in Kansas City noted that it was 42 degrees at 7:54 a.m. and 68 degrees at 1:54 p.m. It was sunny and thin sheets of cirrus clouds raced overhead. The barometric pressure was 30.20 at 12:54 a.m., 30.16 at 5:54 a.m., 30.12 at 11:54 a.m., and 30.06 at 2:54 a.m. From 12:54 a.m. to 8:54 a.m., the wind fluctuated from being calm to angling out of the west at 3 mph. Then from that virtual snail's pace, it blew from the southwest at 14 to 26 mph.

The rigorous pace of the wind hampered our abilities to properly dissect many of this reservoir's main-lake points and shorelines. And to our dismay, most of the wind-sheltered areas were unfruitful. Therefore, we struggled mightily to catch 20 largemouth bass, 10 crappie, and one rainbow trout.

At one laydown along a south shoreline adjacent to a main-lake point, we caught eight crappie and six largemouth bass. These 14 fish were extracted out of about five feet of water, and nine of them were caught on a Z-Man's Pearl Blue Glimmer Slim SwimZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and five of them were caught on a two-inch Bass Pro Shops black-chartreuse Squirmin' Grub on a black 1/16-ounce round jig. Both these baits were retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, but the shake was either extremely subtle or nonexistent on most of the retrieves.

Two of the 10 black crappie that we caught while bass fishing for crappie.

This laydown was the first place that we fished, and after that, we failed to establish any lure, location, and retrieve patterns for the largemouth bass and rainbow trout. For example, the next 12 largemouth bass that we caught were caught on six different Midwest finesse baits, which were a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ on a black 1/16-ounce round jig, Z-Man's green-pumpkin BatwingZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, two-inch Bass Pro Shops black-chartreuse Squirmin' Grub on a black 1/16-ounce round jig, Z-Man's Pearl Blue Glimmer Slim SwimZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's Mud Minnow Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We also experimented with six different Midwest finesse retrieves and variations on those retrieves. The fact that we used that many baits and retrieves illustrates how difficult the fishing was. In fact, Frazee became so frustrated with our inabilities to reap any substantial dividends with our Midwest finesse tactics that he occasionally wielded a hefty jig-and-trailer combo, tandem spinnerbait and tiny trout spoon on which he caught two largemouth bass and one trout. We caught these 14 largemouth bass at 13 different locations around the reservoir. Between those 13 locations, we executed scores of casts and retrieves while we fished  main-lake points, main-lake shorelines, secondary points, shorelines inside several feeder-creek, flats in the back of the four feeder-creek arms without eliciting a strike. Some of these locales were windblown, some were partially windblown, and some were relatively calm. Some spots were rocky and endowed with ledges. Some were littered with laydowns, beaver huts, and a few scanty patches of coontail. Some shorelines and points were steep and some were flat. In short, there was no rhyme or reason why we caught those 14 largemouth bass.

At the last two spots that we fished, we caught two crappie and one rainbow trout. The two crappie were on a main-lake point, and they were extracted out of six to eight feet of water along a rocky ledge that was graced with a patch of submerged vegetation. One crappie was caught on a two-inch Bass Pro Shops black-chartreuse Squirmin' Grub on a black 1/16-ounce round jig, and the other one was caught on a Z-Man's Pearl Blue Glimmer Slim SwimZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The rainbow trout was caught on a tiny trout spoon on a shallow mud flat in the back of a feeder-creek arm.

One of the 20 largemouth bass that we caught by bass fishing for crappie.

Endnotes to the Nov. 5 log:

This was the first time that we have used Z-Man's Slim SwimZ, which Z-Man introduced to the angling world at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show in July at Orlando, Florida, as panfish bait. Clyde Holscher, whose is a multispecies guide from Topeka, Kansas, has been using it at several northeastern Kansas reservoirs for more than a month, and he and his clients have caught a variety of species with it. Likewise, Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, has been using it periodically since last spring in northeastern Kansas and during the summer in southwestern Ontario, and he has caught a variety of species on it. In the future, we will write more about how, when, and where Midwest anglers can employ it.

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Burton Bosley of Sutton, West Virginia, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 5 outing.

He wrote: "I fished our local 1,500-acre reservoir with a local professional bass fisherman.

"It was overcast and drizzly the entire 10 hours we were on the water. Area thermometers eventually reached into the 50s.

"The surface temperature averaged 56 degrees. The water was turbid for this usually clear body of water, and visibility was around two feet and a bit clearer in some locations.

"This fellow is a serious power fisherman. So the opportunity to finesse fish was relegated to the few moments he was retying his crankbait or was snagged. When these occasions arose, I would whip out my ancient little spinning rod and try out Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D., which I recently received in the mail. It was affixed to a red 1/6-ounce Z-Man's ShroomZ jig.

"The fishing was difficult by Midwest finesse standards. The bass were suspended in 18 to 2o feet of water along steep shorelines. The only way I could get the lure to them was to use the 1/6-ounce ShroomzZ. I would flip the jig out a short way from the boat and let it sink with a short pendulum swing and then try and hold it still, which at my age gives it a nervous tremble." Bosley noted that when a bass engulfed the T.R.D., he could not detect the strike, and the only way he sensed it was by gently tensing the rod then he would know that a bass had engulfed the T.R.D.

He said: "The bass -- all three species -- fell for this every time I had the chance to give the little jig time to sink whilst we were flying down the bank hurling crank baits.

"My buddy was impressed, but he said he wasn't prepared to fish that way. Therefore, it was mostly a crankbait day, but I enjoyed the chance to see the little rig work in deep water. I didn't get the chance to try any of the other Z-Man baits I had with me. But on my next solo outing, I'll do some more experimenting.

"A note about moon phases: While I rarely look at solunar tables, my experiences in freshwater and saltwater point to less early activity during fuller moons. I find the fish become more active midday and that was our experience on Nov. 5. Most of the bass we caught in the morning were on the subtle little finesse rig. Midday and beyond the bass were within striking distance of the crankbaits."

 Endnotes to Burton Bosley's log:

Here is a short biographical sketch of Burt Bosely: When he was in his late twenties, he lived in Kansas City, and Bosley used to fish with the late Chuck Woods of Kansas and worked at Ray Fincke's tackle shop. Woods and Fincke are the forefathers of Midwest finesse fishing. Eventually Bosely and his family moved to Florida, where he worked as a freshwater and saltwater fishing guide from 1987 to 2010. Bosley's prowess as angler and guide garnered many accolades across those 23 years. According to Bosley, all of his angling and guiding prowess was a byproduct of being around Woods and Fincke -- especially fishing with Woods for hours on end. Nowadays, Bosley is 73 years old, retired and resides in the hinterlands of West Virginia, and he is still fishing.

Nov. 6 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed this log on the Finesse News Network about his bank-walking endeavors at two small community reservoirs.

He wrote: "November started off windy and rainy in north-central Texas, but we still have not received enough rain to offset most of the effects of our four-year drought. The fishing in the larger reservoirs has become so lackluster and vexing that I decided to switch things up a little and spend the afternoon bank-walking along some of our small community reservoirs. Normally I fish these waters from mid-December through mid-March, when the largemouth bass in our larger reservoirs seem to be in a comatose state.

"The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 43 degrees, and the afternoon high temperature was a pleasant 73 degrees. The wind quartered out of the northeast at 12 to 15 mph, and the barometric pressure was high at 30.31. I fished from about 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

"I began the afternoon fishing a 20-acre reservoir that lies in a northwest Dallas suburb. This watershed consists of a large shallow mud flat, which spans the upper third of this reservoir. This flat is lined with thick stands of cattails. The east shireline is steep and curvy, with one long, clay and gravel point that courses westward toward the center of the reservoir. A small brush pile enhances the south side of this point. The south end is formed by a smooth concrete dam. The west shoreline is much straighter than the east one, and it has a fishing pier extending eastward about 75 feet out from the bank. Its hydrilla beds are usually thick and matted across the majority of this waterway during the peak of summer, but they have now turned brown and have died back. During the spring months, this reservoir is a protected migratory waterfowl nesting area.

"The water was stained with about 1 1/2 feet of visibility throughout most of this reservoir, but the clarity increased to three feet along the face of the dam. I was unable to measure the water's temperature, but my baits felt cold to the touch as I occasionally had to pluck dead strands of hydrilla off the hooks.

"The fishing at this reservoir has always been difficult and an exercise in patience, and this outing was no exception. I plied portions of the large mud flat along the northern shoreline, the steep east side shoreline and its prominent clay and gravel point, and the shallower west shoreline area with an array of Z-Man baits, Gopher jigs, and Midwest finesse retrieves, but I failed to entice any strikes in these areas. After one hour and 47 minutes of fishing, I could conjure up only four largemouth bass. All four of these bass were caught in the clearer water along the face of the dam in about five feet of water, and all of them were allured by Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

"I then made the 15-minute drive to the second reservoir, which is about the size of a football field. The water was muddy from the recent rains with less than six inches of visibility. The water level in this reservoir has been about three feet low for most of this year, but today, I was delighted to see that the water level has returned to normal. Normally, its north shoreline, which is as straight as an arrow, is festooned with thick green sprouts of aquatic vegetation. But the aquatic vegetation has been decimated by low water levels and chemical spraying. A large island occupies the western portion of this watershed with two creek channels winding along the island's south and north shorelines. Its eastern shoreline is a steep mud bank. There is a concrete and stone wall that is enhanced by a shallow mud point on the southern shoreline.

"The fishing at this pond was also disappointing, and I could only eke out five largemouth bass that were widely scattered throughout the pond. I caught the first two bass off the north and south ends of the steep east shoreline. The third bass was extracted from a small mud point along the mid-section of the north shoreline. The fourth bass was hooked along the west end of the north shoreline. The last bass was caught at the east end of the south shoreline.

"All five bass were caught in less than three feet of water and about two to four feet from the water's edge. Two were enticed by a Z-Man's Chartreuse Sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and employed with a slow and steady swimming retrieve. One bass attacked a four-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ threaded on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and worked with a slow hop-and-bounce presentation. One bass was attracted to a four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ dressed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a slow hop-and-bounce retrieve. And one bass was allured by a wacky-rigged four-inch Z-Man's Black Neon Finesse WormZ worked in a slow lift-and-drop manner.

"Overall, this afternoon's outing was a junk-fishing ordeal. I threw a smorgasbord of Z-Man baits and Gopher jigs that were retrieved with various Midwest Finesse presentations, but I could not establish a dominate presentation or bait. The only thing I can say is that four of the nine largemouth bass were caught in five feet of water at one reservoir, and the other five largemouth bass were caught in less than three feet of water at the second reservoir."

Nov. 7 log

Black bass are the primary focus of Midwest finesse anglers. But stretching back to the 1960s, a small faction of us who regularly fished Grand Lake, Oklahoma, and Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, expanded our focus by chasing temperate bass in the fall when the wind howled and the black bass fishing often became problematic.

Guido Hibdon of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, was the trailblazer of this phenomenon, which began when he and I guided at Two Waters Resort on the Gravois Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks in the 1960s. Those were the days before electric trolling motors and to deal with the wind, we beached our boats on the windblown points and shorelines, and we walked the shorelines, wielding our 5 1/2-foot or shorter spinning rods. Day in and day out, we used either a 1/16-ounce or 1/8-ounce jig with a marabou tail and chenille body. During the daylight hours, we used either a white or a yellow jig, and at night, we opted for a black one. Eventually, we added a silver-and-gray jig, as well as a chartreuse one, for our daytime encounters with the Lake of the Ozarks' white bass. In addition to the marabou jig, some of us used Bass Buster Lure Company's Beetle and Beetle Spin, Blakemore Lure Company's Road Runner, curly-tailed grub affixed to either a 1/16- or 1/8-ounce jig, inline spinner like Worden's Rooster Tail, and Heddon Lures' Tiny Chugger. Sometimes we added a jig trailer on the Chugger, and at times that jig trailer motif allowed us to simultaneously catch two white bass. Not only did we catch scores and scores of white bass on these lures, we occasionally caught a fair number of largemouth bass and spotted bass. It was an enjoyable time and way to fish. In fact, it was so entertaining that Harold and Dusty Ensley of Overland Park, Kansas, regularly filmed a feature about fishing with Hibdon for white bass in November at the Lake of the Ozarks on their "The Sportsman's Friend" television show.

Eventually anglers in northeastern Kansas began employing Hibdon's white bass tactics at their U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs and other flatland reservoirs in October and November. And there were many fall outings when a pair of knowledgeable Midwest finesse anglers could tangle with 25 white bass an hour by plying rocky points and shorelines with some of the same tools that Hibdon used in the 1960s.

But starting about five years ago, the white bass populations began to plummet in the northeastern Kansas reservoirs, and gradually, the same phenomenon occurred at Truman Lake, Pomme de Terre Lake, and Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. Now it is a struggle to catch nine an hour on the best of days, and on most outings, knowledgeable anglers are fortunate to catch five to six an hour. To this day, the fisheries biologists in Kansas and Missouri have either been unable or unwilling to address what has happened to the white bass. And to several veteran and talented anglers' dismay, one Kansas biologist said that "there were tons of white bass" in one of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs that he manages, but he said somewhat sarcastically that he couldn't put them on the anglers' hooks for them, and he ended his short dialog by hinting that today's anglers have to employ tactics that are more creative than Hibdon's classic ones.

Because of the sorry white bass fishing in northeastern Kansas, a few Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas began in the fall of 2008 doing what we call bass fishing for trout, which was described in our Nov. 4 log. Then Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, and I somewhat jokingly described our Nov. 5 Midwest finesse outing as a bass-fishing-for-crappie-and-trout. (For more information about bass fishing for trout, please read about it at this link: http://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/bass-fishing-for-trout-2014/.)

In my eyes, the white bass fishing was so awful in 2013 that I chased them only once, and that outing was pitiful. If Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, had not asked me to join him at a 6,930-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir for what he described as a smallmouth-bass-fishing-for-white-bass outing on Nov. 7, I would not have spent a moment trying to catch a white bass in 2014.

But because weather forecasters were predicting that Old Man Winter would make his first foray into northeastern Kansas on Nov. 11, bringing with him a chance of snow and freezing drizzle and temperatures plummeting to 20 degrees by Nov. 13, I thought it would be our last chance to catch some shallow-water smallmouth bass in 2014. So, I eagerly leaped into his boat.

The Corps of Engineers noted that at 7:30 a.m. the surface temperature at the dam was 61 degrees; throughout our outing Holscher's thermometer noted that the surface temperature ranged from 57 degrees at the dam around 10:50 a.m. to 52 degrees around noon in the back half of a feeder-creek arm that lies about five miles upstream from the dam. The water level was 1.18 feet below its normal level. The dam's outlet was releasing 20 cubic feet of water per second. The water exhibited more than four feet of visibility in the lower sections of the reservoir and less than 18 inches of visibility in the back of the feeder-creek arm that lies about five miles upstream from the dam.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take palce from 10:10 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. and 10:37 p.m. to 12:37 a.m. A minor period occurred from 3:56 a.m. to 5:56 a.m. We fished from 10:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

The National Weather Service in Topeka, Kansas, noted that it was 35 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 67 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sun was shining everywhere and some cirrus clouds occasionally drifted overhead, and as we were driving home, the sky became cloudy. The barometric pressure was 30.26 at 12:53 a.m., 30.15 at 5:53 a.m., 29.95 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.83 at 2:53 p.m. Before daylight the wind angled at a moderate pace out of the south and southeast, but by 7:53 a.m., it began to howl out of the south at 8 to 37 mph and out of the southwest at 28 to 37 mph. Thus Mother Nature provided us with scores of windblown rocky pointes and shorelines to dissect with the aid of a drift sock, but many of the best smallmouth bass lairs, as well as the traditional white bass' haunts, were too windblown for us to dissect.

We began the outing by fishing the dam, which consists of about 1 1/2 miles of riprap, but the wind and ranks of white caps allowed us to ply only about a half mile of the southern portions of it. Along this half-mile stretch of riprap, we caught seven smallmouth bass and three white bass. A Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ rigged with its tentacles on the collar of an orange 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig caught one smallmouth bass, and two white bass. A Z-Man's Mud Minnow Hula StickZ rigged with its tentacles on the collar of an orange 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig caught one smallmouth bass. A Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught five smallmouth bass and one white bass. The boat floated in six to nine feet of water, and these nine fish were extracted out of two to five feet of water. Two were caught by deadsticking the Hula StickZ, and the others were caught either on the initial drop or a slow swim-and-glide retrieve.

From the dam, we ventured about five miles up the reservoir to the east side shoreline of a feeder-creek arm, and during this trek, we battled a couple miles of significant white caps. We fished about a half of a mile of the shoreline, one secondary point, and one main-lake point inside this feeder-creek. The two points and most of the shoreline were flat and rocky. The boat floated in two to eight feet of water. Parts of the shoreline were cluttered with dying terrestrial vegetation. We fished portions of the shoreline twice, and the secondary point three times. And we caught 17 white bass and one largemouth bass. The largemouth bass was caught on a Worden's Vibric Rooster Tail in Bettle Truce hue, as were eight of the white bass. Nine of the white bass were caught on a Z-Man's Blue Glimmer Sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ on a chartreuse 1/6-ounce Z-Man's ShroomZ jig. These fish were extracted out of two and three feet of water with a straight-swim retrieve, and when we failed to hook a striking fish, we stopped the retrieve for a moment, and occasionally that pause generated another strike and a hooked white bass.

Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, with one of the smallmouth bass that we caught while we were smallmouth bass fishing for white bass.

After we finished fishing the east shoreline of this feeder-creek arm and its main-lake point, we fished about a half of a mile of a rocky main-lake shoreline and another main-lake point. This shoreline and point is adjacent to the feeder-creek, where we caught 17 white bass and one largemouth bass. About 60 percent of this shoreline is flat, while 40 percent of it is a tad steeper. Along the flat sections, the boat floated in three to five feet of water, and along the steeper section, it floated in seven to nine feet of water. The Z-Man's Blue Glimmer Sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ on a chartreuse 1/6-ounce Z-Man's ShroomZ jig caught three smallmouth bass and three white bass. The Vibric Rooster Tail caught three white bass. We employed the same retrieves that we employed inside the feeder-creek arm. All of these fish were caught along the flat sections. We failed to draw a strike at the main-lake point, which is flat and laden with rocks and boulders.

The fourth spot we fished lies about two miles above the dam. It consists of a submerged roadbed that runs off of a flat secondary point, and next to the roadbed there is a series of rock humps. The roadbed and humps are situated about one third of the way inside a feeder-creek arm. This area lies on the west side of this arm. Our boat floated in two to seven feet of water. We dissected the roadbed and rock piles from a variety of angles, but we failed to garner a strike.

From the west side of this arm, we moved to the extremely flat and shallow shoreline on the east side. The boat floated in two to five feet of water. We fished about 200 yards of the shoreline, as well as a secondary point and a main-lake point. The Vibric Rooster Tail caught one smallmouth bass and one white bass along the shoreline. At the secondary point, the Vibric Rooster Tail caught three white bass and so did the Z-Man's Blue Glimmer Sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ on a chartreuse 1/6-ounce Z-Man's ShroomZ jig. Two white bass were caught at the main-lake point with the GrubZ combo. We employed the straight-swim retrieve, and we executed a pause in our retrieves when we elicited a strike but failed to hook a fish.

The sixth spot we fished was a major main-lake point that is situated about three-quarters of a mile above the dam. It is endowed with massive piles of boulders, stretches of gravel, football and softball size rocks, several ledges, and eventually it drops into the main river channel. Here we caught a smallmouth bass by swimming and gliding the Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/6-ounce Gopher jig. We caught another smallmouth bass by deadsticking the Z-Man's Mud Minnow Hula StickZ rigged with its tentacles on the collar of an orange 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig.

Our seventh spot was a nearby main-lake hump, where we failed to elicit a strike.

We ended the outing by plying two riprap jetties, a riprap shoreline, and a rock pile on a secondary point, which lie about a half of a mile from the dam. We caught a smallmouth bass by swimming and gliding the Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in about three feet of water on the point of one of the riprap jetties. We caught a largemouth by working a Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on an orange 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig around a quagmire of steel cables along the mid-section of the second riprap jetty in about four feet of water. On the initial drop of the Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D., it allured a smallmouth bass on the point of the second riprap jetty. Along the riprap shoreline, a deadstick presentation caught a smallmouth bass that was abiding in about four feet of water. We were unable to engender a strike at the rock pile on the secondary point.

In sum, we didn't catch them like we did in the good old days. Instead, we fished five hours and caught two largemouth bass, 16 smallmouth bass, and 35 white bass. But back in the good old days, we would not have caught a single smallmouth bass.

Clyde Holscher with two of the 35 white bass we caught while we smallmouth bass fished for white bass.

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Steve Reideler of Lewisville,Texas, filed this brief on the Finesse News Network about a Texas Hill Country river outing that Rick Allen of Dallas took on Nov. 7.

Rick fished the lower section of this south Texas Hill Country river, where he was afloat from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar listed the best fishing periods as occurring from 10:24 a.m. to 12:24 p.m. and 10:56 p.m. to 12:56 a.m. A minor period occurred from 4:11 a.m. to 6:11 a.m.

It was sunny with partly-cloudy skies. The National Weather Service noted that the morning low temperature in Ingram, Texas, was 54 degrees and the afternoon high reached 69 degrees. The wind was light and variable. The barometric pressure measured 30.09.

The water was stained with two to three feet of clarity. The surface temperature was 65 degrees, and the river appeared to be full after its watershed received five inches of rain earlier in the week.

During his 3 1/2-hour outing, he caught 32 largemouth bass and 6 bluegill. He caught all of them on one bait: a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Rick enticed all of these bass by hopping the ZinkerZ down the river banks in two to six feet of water, and there was 10 to 15 feet of water nearby. He also caught several bass from scattered lily pads along a section of the river's south shoreline.

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Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 7 outing to a 250-acre Trinity River Water District reservoir.

He wrote: "I last fished this reservoir on October 3, and during that 5 hour foray, I caught 17 largemouth bass and two spotted bass.

"It was bright and sunny with partly cloudy skies. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 41 degrees and the afternoon high slowly rose to 69 degrees. The wind quartered out of the southeast at about 13 mph for most of the afternoon, and I had to deploy my drift sock to control the boat's drift. The barometric pressure measured 30.05 and was steady.

"I fished from about 11:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the optimum fishing periods would take place from 10:17 a.m. to 12:17 p.m. and 10:44 p.m. to 12:44 a.m. A minor period would occur from 4:04 a.m. to 6:04 a.m.

"The water clarity was murkier than usual, and it exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility in the upper two thirds of the reservoir and 3 1/2 feet of visibility in the lower third. Normally, the water clarity is about five feet. The water's surface temperature was 64 degrees, and the water level appeared to be about two feet below normal.

"The fishing in north-central Texas has been in a frustrating funk for the past several weeks, and I have been befuddled trying to figure out the whereabouts of any significant aggregations of black bass. Throughout the span of the vexing 3 1/2 hours that I was afloat on Nov. 7, I used a vast selection of Z-Man baits, and I could only scrounge up five largemouth bass. Another largemouth bass was able to liberate itself from my lure before I could land it. There were long interludes between bites, and at times, I had difficulty keeping my attention focused on fishing. Furthermore, the fishing at this reservoir was so boring and slow that I opted to end this endeavor early.

"Four of these five largemouth bass were caught inside a cove situated in the southwest section of the reservoir. The shorelines of this cove are adorned with softball and baseball-sized rocks and festooned with water willows and cattails. A creek channel parallels the north shoreline. These four bass were inhabiting three to five feet of water and scattered along the north bank near the creek channel. They were attracted to a Z-Man's Canada Craw T.R.D. rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which was presented with a slow swim-glide-and shake retrieve.

"The other largemouth bass was caught inside the southeast cove just north of the boat ramp. This cove is also festooned with thick walls of water willows, fist-sized rocks, and tall stands of cattails. This bass was relating to the deep-water edge of a patch of water willows. It was allured by a swim-glide-and-shake presentation applied to a Z-Man's 2 1/4-inch watermelon-red FattyZ tail rigged on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

"I failed to entice any bass from the riprap-covered dam, a large and flat rocky shoreline inside another cove situated in the upper end of the reservoir, along two rocky main-lake points, or along a 50-yard stretch of water willows lining the south shoreline adjacent to the west end of the dam."

Nov. 9 log

Walt Tegtmeier of Kansas City filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his bass-fishing-for-trout outing with a friend to a 416-acre community reservoir on Nov. 9.

The National Weather Service in Topeka, Kansas, reported that it was 38 degrees at 12:53 a.m. and 70 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the south at 3 to 18 mph and out of the southwest at 6 to 22 mph. It was sunny. The barometric pressure was 30.03 at 12:53 a.m., 29.92 at 5:53 a.m., 29.89 at 9:53 a.m., and 29.78 at 12:53 p.m.

The surface temperature was in the mid-50s. The water was clear. The water level was about a foot below normal.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would transpire from 11:38 a.m. to 1:38 p.m. and 12:04 p.m. to 2:04 p.m. There was a minor period from 5:51 a.m. to 7:51 a.m. Tegtmeier and his friend fished from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Tegtmeier wrote: "Surprisingly, this was my first trip to this reservoir, and it started out quite promisingly but finished with a thud.

"We launched and idled out of the boat-ramp cove toward the dam. We fished the first couple of main-lake points on the east side, which surrendered two chunky smallmouth bass right off the bat while we were still shaking off the chill and the rust from not bass fishing for three weeks or more.

"We then ventured to the south end of the reservoir and fished a bluffy point on the west side. It also served up two quick largemouth bass, and we caught five more largemouth bass as we moved down the south shoreline of a feeder-creek arm. We could tell the trout were in the back of that cove, as that's where many shoreline anglers were congregated. We found a pod of what I'm guessing to be 50 trout and worked them over with Z-Man's 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ and marabou jigs and even wooly buggers on fly rods to no avail. We could not get a single trout to bite anything we threw at them. It was a humbling experience and we wasted a lot of time experiencing it.

"We found another school of trout inside another west-side feeder-creek arm, and it offered the same scenario, although adding insult to our injury was a man standing on shore with a fly rod, catching one trout after another for about 45 minutes, not 50 yards from us.

"One bright spot was a hefty smallmouth my partner boated. In total, we caught 14 largemouth bass, six smallmouth bass, one drum, one bluegill, one channel cat and zero trout. All but two of the fish fell for the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I threw a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ at a few locales with no luck. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's watermelon-red-flake ZinkerZ accounted for the other two bass.

"Despite our struggles, I was impressed with the girths on virtually every bass we caught. They don't look like they're missing many meals."

One of the smallmouth bass that Walt  Tegtmeier and his friend caught while they were bass fishing for trout.

Nov. 10 log

The National Weather Service at Olathe, Kansas, noted that it was 49 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 69 degrees at 3:53 p.m. From 12:53 a.m. to 9:53 a.m., the wind howled out of the south at 12 to 30 mph, and from 11:53 a.m. to 2:53 p.m., it switched to the southwest at 14 to 31 mph. The sun was shining brightly and warmly in a cloudless sky. The barometric pressure was 29.63 at 12:53 a.m., 29.51 at 5:53 a.m., 29.40 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.44 at 3:53 p.m. The NWS and other weather forecasters were predicting throughout the day that Old Man Winter was arriving soon, and upon his arrival, the wind would turn and angle out of the north at 20 to 30 mph, area thermometers would plummet to 26 degrees, and there was a 20 percent chance that it would snow. And according to the NWS, some unknown frozen precipitation fell from 12:53 a.m. to 2:53 a.m. on Nov. 11, and various weather forecasters thought that Old Man Winter would be lingering hereabouts until at least Nov. 17, and what's more, the high temperature for Nov. 12 and 13 were predicted to be 32 degrees, and the low temperatures would be 16 degrees on Nov. 12 and 15 degrees on Nov. 13.

Even though it was hellishly windy on Nov. 10, I thought that I should be afloat and relish one of the last balmy days of 2014. So, I made a short outing to a 100-acre community reservoir, where the water exhibited three to four feet of visibility in the vicinity of the dam, and it declined to two to three feet of clarity in the upper reaches of the reservoir. The surface temperature was 54 degrees. The water level was normal. Many of the reservoir's lush coontail patches were waning. The patches of American water willows that line its shorelines were dying, but many of them still exhibited significant tints of green. The geography of this reservoir sheltered me from some of the wind's dastardly gusts, but most of the time, I had to employ a drift sock.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing should take place from 12:32 a.m. to 2:32 a.m., and 12:58 p.m. to 2:58 p.m. There was a minor period from 6:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. I fished from 11:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Fourteen largemouth bass were extracted from patches of coontail along two flat shorelines and on one massive mud flat in the upper reaches of the reservoir. At these locales, the boat floated in three to six feet of water. A Z-Man's Blue Glimmer Sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/6-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig, which was retrieved with a slow straight-swim retrieve caught 11 of them. A Z-Man's green-pumpkin 3 1/2-inch GrubZ on a red 3/32-ounce Gopher jig caught three of them.

In the upper half of this reservoir, six largemouth bass were caught along a relatively steep shoreline that is endowed with American water willows, rocks, gravel, laydowns, a bridge, a nearby submerged creek channel, a concrete retaining wall, a few patches of coontail, and two boat docks. The boat floated in six to 14 feet of water. A Z-Man's green-pumpkin 2 3/4-inch BatwingZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was presented with a swim-and-glide retrieve inveigled five of the six largemouth bass. (The swim-and-glide retrieve normally has a shake component to it, but as of late, the shake has been counterproductive). One largemouth bass engulfed a Z-Man's green-pumpkin 2 3/4-inch BatwingZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/6-ounce Finesse ShroomZ on the initial drop. Five of these largemouth bass were associated with American water willow patches in about three to five feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught adjacent to a concrete retaining wall in about 3 1/2 feet of water.

Four largemouth bass were caught along the outside edges of the American water willow patches that line the riprap of the dam. Z-Man's green-pumpkin 2 3/4-inch BatwingZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig inveigled them in three to six feet of water. One was allured by a deadstick presentation, and three were allured by a swim-and-glide retrieve.

I fished one main-lake point and two shorelines in the upper half portions of the reservoir, and these three locations did not yield a largemouth bass.

In sum, I fished for 3 1/2 hours and tangled with 24 largemouth bass. I had to share several of this reservoir's best November lairs with another angler who was afloat from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and I suspect that this might be one reason why I caught an hourly average of only 6.8 largemouth bass.

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Burton Bosley of Sutton, West Virginia, filed the following brief about his short outing at a 1,500-acre reservoir on Nov. 10.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 12:36 a.m. to 2:36 a.m. and 1:01 p.m. to 3:01 p.m. There was a minor period from 6:48 a.m. to 8:48 a.m.

Bosley reported: "I fished from 12:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It was a sunny day with the air temperature in the 50s. The wind was mild mannered. The surface temperature ranged from 58 to 60 degrees, which was somewhat warmer than it was on Nov. 5 when I fished with a local pro. The water was clearer, too, exhibiting four to six feet of visibility, which is still somewhat stained.

"I expected the fish to be shallower than they were last week. But the bass in this lake have never bothered to consult with me. And I finally found the bass in 18 to 25 feet of water in very specific nooks in cliffs that plunged into depths of 40 to more than 60 feet of water.

"It was an enjoyable endeavor to hunt them. I find it is difficult to use small finesse baits as search tools on this trying fishery. I threw a deep-running crankbait at first, thinking this would let me find fish that I could then dissect with Z-Man's Finesse T.R.D. But I managed to catch only three small bass with the big bait. Eventually, I figured out the location of the bass when I dropped a T.R.D. on a Z-Man's 1/6-ounce Finesse ShroomZ down the face of a cliff and got distracted by squirrel watching. When I moved the rod tip I had a fish on. From then on I went from cliff to cliff making short flips, letting the Finesse T.R.D. sink to the bottom, which is a time consuming endeavor. I would gently lift the lure enough to have feeling and wait. There were no strikes as such; the bass would just be there. Surprisingly these bass were all largemouth and all over 15 inches in length.

"Since the presentation pattern is a very slow one, it allows time to watch eagles and other wildlife, as well as to contemplate how much faster the fishing is in shallow-water venues.

"The downside of this pattern was I lost my supply of that particular weight of jig head and couldn't replicate my success with either heavier or lighter jigs. This reservoir is riverine, and its entire watershed from its source high in the mountains to the lake itself is heavily forested, and therefore the bottom of lake has lots of woodland debris, which eats an amazing amount of lures.

"I used the PB&J Finesse T.R.D on Nov. 10 and the Coppertreuse one on Nov. 5. Both were rigged on unpainted jigs. I've never been much of a fan of painted jig heads. I know that painted jigs sometimes help, but day in and day out, I prefer the neutrality of unpainted lead.

"Another note of perhaps some interest is that I have put REC Component's Recoil Tip Top Guides on my spinning rods, and I believe they give more sensitivity, which gains importance once my little jig passes depths deeper than 10 feet of water. For more information of Recoil Tip Top Guides, see http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/finesse-news-networks-gear-guide-rec-components-recoil-tip-top-guide/.

"It was very trying fishing by most standards. But I found it a very satisfying three hours on this reservoir, which can be more than difficult at times."

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Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, posted the following report about his Nov. 10 bank-walking outing.

He wrote: "Mother Nature is about to lambaste north-central Texas with one heck of a cold front on November 11. But on November 10, I enjoyed one last day of sauntering around the banks of three small waterways with a couple of spinning rods in my hands before the cold wintertime temperatures put an early end to this year's bass bite.

It was a sunny but windy day across north-central Texas. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 42 degrees and the afternoon high was a pleasant 81 degrees. The average low temperature for November 10 is 46 degrees and the average high is 69 degrees. A blustery wind quartered out of the south-by-southwest at 23 to 35 mph. The barometric pressure was low at 29.61.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted the best fishing periods would occur from 12:49 a.m. to 2:49 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. A minor period occurred from 7:02 a.m. to 9:02 a.m. I fished from about 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

I began the afternoon at a 12-acre community reservoir. This reservoir's southern shoreline consists of a large mud and gravel flat. The north shoreline is mostly straight, and it is endowed with a three-foot mud and gravel ledge that extends outward from the water's edge and drops off into five feet of water. The west shoreline appears to be similar to the north one, and it is comprised of sand, gravel, and a few scattered fist-sized rocks. This shoreline is also enhanced with a shallow ledge that extends about three feet from the water's edge before slowly descending into five feet of water. The east side of this reservoir is composed of two coves that are divided by a prominent sand and gravel point. The southeast cove is formed by steep mud and rock banks, and a ditch cuts across this cove from the south shoreline to the northeastern corner of the cove. A mud and gravel point courses outward toward deeper water from the southern shoreline and forms the southern mouth to the cove. The northeast cove encompasses a large mud flat with a small ditch that courses across the middle of the cove from the east shoreline toward the west bank. This reservoir has two small patches of hydrilla. One patch lies in five feet of water, and it is adjacent to the southwest end of the prominent east bank point. The second patch occupies the southern portion of the northeast cove in three to five feet of water.

The water was muddy with less than one foot of visibility. I was unable to measure the water's temperature. The water level appeared to be normal. This pond surrendered 10 largemouth bass and one large green sunfish. Six of these 10 bass and the green sunfish were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's black-blue-flake FattyZ tube rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and it was retrieved with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation. The other four were caught on a 1/16-ounce Cabela's black hair jig with a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's black-blue-flake FattyZ tail affixed as a trailer. This bait was also presented with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve. Two bass were caught from the deep-water edge of the mud and gravel ledge along the wind-swept north shoreline. The green sunfish was caught along the shallow east shoreline inside the northeastern cove, but this cove failed to yield any bass. Four bass were extracted from the windward, south side of the prominent point on the east shoreline. Two bass were caught along the west-side ledge of the creek channel in the southeast cove. And the last two bass were coaxed from the entry point to this cove along the south shoreline. I failed to catch any bass from the west shoreline. All 10 of these bass were abiding in shallow water that was no deeper than four feet.

After I left the first pond, I ventured to a 20-acre reservoir in a northwest Dallas suburb, which has always been a difficult venue. This reservoir consists of a smooth concrete slab dam that forms the southern boundary of the reservoir. The west shoreline is straight with a fishing pier extending eastward about 75 feet out from the shoreline. A large and shallow mud flat spans the upper third of this reservoir, and it is lined with thick stands of cattails. The east shoreline is steep and curved, with one long, clay, and gravel point that extends westward into the middle of the reservoir, and it is adorned with a small brush pile on the south side of this point. Hydrilla beds occupy the majority of the bottom in this watershed.

The water had cleared since I last visited this reservoir on November 6, and it was slightly stained with about 3 1/2 feet of visibility. During that November 6 outing, I caught four largemouth bass.

On Nov. 10, I plied this reservoir with three baits: a Bomber Lure Company's blue/silver/orange Pro Model Long A suspending jerkbait, 1/16-ounce Cabela's brown/orange hair jig with a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ trailer, and 1/16-ounce Cabela's black hair jig with a 2 1/4-inch black-blue flake FattyZ tail trailer. I caught only one bass from this waterway, and it was caught along the concrete dam in about four feet of water. It was fooled by the 1/16-ounce brown-orange hair jig and Scented LeechZ , which was presented with a slow hop and bounce retrieve. The other two baits failed to entice any bites.

My last stop for the day was a community reservoir, which is about the size of a football field. I was surprised and disappointed to find that the water color had changed from stained green to an odd muddy-gray color. And I have found that when the water color turns gray in this watershed, the fishing becomes very difficult. The water exhibited only a couple of inches of visibility. The water level appeared to be normal. This pond features a large island that occupies the western portion of this watershed with two creek channels that course along the island's north and south shorelines. Its relatively straight north shoreline is shallow and during the peak of summer, this bank is festooned with thick green sprouts of aquatic vegetation, but the vegetation has now turned brown and has died back. The eastern border of the pond is formed by a steep mud shoreline. The southern shoreline is enhanced by a decorative concrete and stone wall that borders a shallow mud point. I experimented with the 1/16-ounce Cabela's black hair jig and 2 1/4-inch black-blue-flake FattyZ tail trailer, and it tricked two largemouth bass that engulfed the bait during the initial drop of the jig combo. Both of these bass were abiding close to the bank along the south shoreline in less than three feet of water. I failed to entice any bass from the east-side mud dam area, along the entire north and west shorelines, along the two creek channels by the island, or along the concrete and stone decorative wall and mud point.

Altogether, I tangled with 13 largemouth bass, which is the most I have caught since October 15. I experimented with two hair jigs with Z-Man plastic trailers, a suspending jerkbait, and a Z-Man's 2 1/2-inch FattyZ tube. The two hair jigs with a Z-Man's FattyZ tail and Z-Man's Scented LeechZ trailers enticed 7 largemouth bass. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's FattyZ tube allured six largemouth bass. Bomber's suspending jerkbait failed to induce a strike. A slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve was the most productive presentation.

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Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 10 outing to a 6,930-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir with Dennis O'Dell of Olathe, Kansas, and Jeff Smith of Stone Mountain, Georgia. Smith recently retired from a 17-year career with Bass Pro Shops. O'Dell has been a sales representative for sporting goods products in the outdoor industry for more than 30 years, and since 2013, he and Dennis Smith of Shawnee, Kansas, have been joint proprietors of Outdoor Outfitters Group.

Throughout the day of Nov. 10, the National Weather Service of Emporia, Kansas, predicted that a significant cold front was soon to come, and it would walloped this reservoir and all of northeastern Kansas with a blustery north wind, and as time wore on, area thermometers would plummet into the teens on Nov. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17. The NWS noted at 6:53 a.m. on Nov. 10 that it was 47 degrees; then it was 73 degrees at 1:53 p.m., and at 4:53 p.m., it was 66 degrees. Throughout the outing, the sun shined brightly and warmly. During the morning hours, the wind howled out of the south at 15 to 31 mph. It switched to howl out of the southwest at 20 to 28 mph at 1:53 p.m., and during the midafternoon hours it slowed down to 9 mph out of the west and 6 mph out of the southwest. But by 5:53 p.m., the NWS noted that the wind was howling out of the northwest at 24 to 38 mph, and Holscher exclaimed that this wind had more than hints of winter on its breath. In fact, except for a tornado, Holscher had never seen the wind change so quickly, dramatically, and violently. What's more, by the time Holscher returned to Topeka around 5:30 p.m., the thermometer in his truck had dropped from 72 degrees to 42 degrees.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recorded the water level at 1034.86 feet, which is 1.32 feet below the normal level. There were 20 cubic feet of water per second being released from the dam's outlet. Holscher said the surface temperature ranged from 56 degrees in the vicinity of the dam and 54 degrees inside a feeder-creek arm about five miles above the dam. The water was windblown, which affected the clarity. But at some locales in the lower sections of the reservoir, Holscher estimated that the clarity reached eight feet of visibility. But the visibility diminished to less than two feet inside one feeder-creek arm that lies five miles upstream from the dam, and in Holscher's eyes, the water exhibited what he called a perfect white-bass stain.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 12:38 a.m. to 2:38 a.m. and from 1:03 p.m. to 3:03 p.m. There was a minor period from 6:50 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. Holscher, O'Dell, and Smith fished from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Holscher said they were smallmouth bass fishing for white bass, which is a tactic that is described in our Nov. 10 log.

During the seven hours that they were afloat, they fished seven areas. Five were on the south side of the reservoir. One was on the north side of the reservoir. And one was along the dam.

They spent a lot of time plying the east shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm that is situated five miles above the dam. They fished about a half of a mile of the shoreline and one secondary point inside this feeder-creek, and they also fished the main-lake point at the mouth of this arm. The two points and most of the shoreline are flat and shallow. They are littered with gravel, rocks, and some silt. The boat floated in two to eight feet of water. Parts of the shoreline were cluttered with dying terrestrial vegetation. And this massive shoreline and points yielded 31 white bass and four smallmouth bass, which were caught on Worden's Vibric Rooster Tail, which is an inline spinnerbait. They used three different hues of the Vibric: Bettle Truce, Clyde, and Claudia. These fish were extracted out of two and three feet of water with a straight-swim retrieve, and when they failed to hook a striking fish, they stopped the retrieve for a moment, and occasionally that pause generated another strike and a hooked white bass. And this is the retrieve that they employed with their Vibric Rooster Tails throughout the entire outing.

Jeff Smith with a hefty white bass that was caught on a Vibric Road Runner.

After they fished the east shoreline of the feeder-creek arm and its main-lake point, they fished about a half of a mile of a rocky main-lake shoreline and another main-lake point. This main-lake shoreline and point is immediately adjacent to the feeder-creek arm. About 60 percent of this shoreline is flat, while 40 percent of it is a tad steeper. Along the flat sections, the boat floated in three to five feet of water, and along the steeper section, it floated in seven to nine feet of water. The Vibric Rooster Tails caught 15 white bass and one largemouth bass along this area.

The third spot they fished was inside another feeder-creek arm that lies about four miles above the dam. And they focused on two flat secondary points on the east side in the back end of this arm. One point is enhanced with a submerged roadbed. Both are relatively shallow and endowed with gravel, rocks, and football-size boulders, as well as some submerged aquatic vegetation and dying terrestrial vegetation. Here they wielded the three colors of the Vibric Rooster Tails, as well as Z-Man's Junebug Finesse T.R.D., Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D., and Z-Man's California Craw Finesse T.R.D., and all of the Finesse T.R.D.s were affixed to 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jigs. They used three different colors of jigs: black, olive, and lavender. They retrieved the Finesse T.R.D.s with a swim-and-glide retrieve. And O'Dell occasionally worked with a vintage Storm's Wiggle Wart in a perch hue. These baits caught six largemouth bass and several white bass in three to five feet of water.

Their next stop was inside another feeder-creek arm that is about 3 1/4 miles above the dam. They focused on an extremely flat and shallow shoreline on the east side of this arm. The boat floated in two to five feet of water. They fished about 100 yards of the shoreline, as well as a secondary point and a main-lake point. Here they wielded the three colors of Vibric Rooster Tails, as well as Z-Man's Junebug Finesse T.R.D., Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D., and Z-Man's California Craw Finesse T.R.D., and all of the Finesse T.R.D.s were affixed to 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jigs. They retrieved the Finesse T.R.D.s with a swim-and-glide retrieve. And O'Dell occasionally worked with a vintage Storm's Wiggle Wart in a perch hue. At this stop, they caught a goodly number of white bass, a few smallmouth bass, and one largemouth bass. The bulk of these fish were caught in two to three feet of water.

Their fifth stop was along the east shoreline of a feeder-creek arm that lies about 1 1/4 miles above the dam. This shoreline is about 800 yards long. It is flat and shallow. It is littered with gravel, rocks, boulders, some submerged aquatic vegetation and dying terrestrial vegetation. This shoreline yielded only one white bass.

After they were virtually kayoed at their fifth stop, they crossed to the north side of the reservoir, where they fished a main-lake point and adjacent main-lake shoreline that lies about a mile above the dam. And they used all three hues of the Vibric Rooster Tails to catch 29 white bass, two smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass.

Their seventh stop was a major main-lake point that is situated about three-quarters of a mile above the dam. It is endowed with massive piles of boulders, stretches of gravel, football and softball size rocks, several ledges, and eventually it drops into the main river channel. Here they caught two smallmouth bass on a Z-Man's Finesse T.R.D. on a 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

They ended their day at the dam, where they fished about a third of a mile of riprap and tangled with a bounty of smallmouth bass, which were caught on their Z-Man's Finesse T.R.D. rigs. They retrieved the Finesse T.R.D.s with a swim-and-glide retrieve. But when they failed to hook a striking smallmouth bass, they stopped the retrieve for a moment, and then they deadsticked the Finesse T.R.D., and that deadstick routine occasionally generated another strike and a hooked smallmouth bass.

Jeff Smith, left, and Dennis O'Dell with two of the 23 smallmouth bass that they caught with Clyde Holscher.

In sum, they caught nine largemouth bass, 23 smallmouth bass and 77 white bass. The Vibric Rooster Tail caught the bulk of the white bass, Z-Man's Finesse T.R.D.s caught the bulk of the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. And O'Dell's Wiggle Wart inveigled three smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass.

Nov. 15 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about a bank-walking foray at a three-acre spring-fed reservoir in Gillespie County, Texas, that Rick Allen of Dallas conducted on Nov. 15.

The National Weather Service noted that the morning low temperature in Harper, Texas, was 23 degrees and the afternoon high slowly climbed to 52 degrees. The sky was covered with clouds. The wind quartered out of the south-by-southwest at 10 to 15 mph. The barometric pressure was steady at 30.02.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing periods would take place from 4:58 a.m. to 6:58 a.m. and 5:19 p.m. to 7:19 p.m. A minor period occurred from 11:09 p.m. to 1:09 a.m. He was afoot from about 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.

This spring-fed waterway is tear-drop shaped, and it is about 120 feet across at its widest point. The only interesting features of this reservoir are a concrete and stone dam at the lower end of the pond and a wall of hydrilla that stretched along the shorelines. The water was stained with about two feet of visibility. The water level appeared to be about five feet low. He was unable to measure the water temperature.

Before Rick Allen released this 10-pound largemouth bass, he snapped a cellphone photograph of it. It is the biggest largemouth bass that we are aware of that has been caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's ZinkerZ and 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. As Guido Hibdon of Sunrise Beach used to say: "These little baits will catch some big fish."

During the 75 minutes that he fished, Rick caught 30 largemouth bass and 6 bluegills. One of the bass he caught was a humongous specimen, and Rick estimated its weight at close to 10 pounds. (Rick has a mounted 9 1/2-pound largemouth bass displayed on the wall at his home, and if he compared this bass to the 9 1/2 pounder at his home, he believed this bass was larger.) He caught two-thirds of these fish, including the lunker bass, on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The other one-third of these fish were allured by a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin FattyZ tail rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green pumpkin FattyZ tube affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Rick employed two retrieve techniques: a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve and a slow twitch-and-pause presentation. All of these fish were milling about in about two to six feet of water. Some were associated with the deep-water edge of the hydrilla wall, and others were as far as 10 feet away from that deep-water edge.

Nov. 18 log

When area thermometers hit 34 degrees around noon on Nov. 18, I hitched up the boat trailer and hightailed it to a nearby 195-acre community reservoir. It was the first time that I have hitched it up since Nov. 10. Since that Nov. 10 outing, Old Man Winter has been hounding us with unseasonably cold temperatures. For example, the high temperature on Nov. 11 was 36 degrees, 30 degrees on Nov. 12, 33 degrees on Nov. 14, 32 degrees on Nov. 15, 30 degrees on Nov. 16, and 30 degrees on Nov. 17. What's more, the low temperature plummeted into the single digits four times and into the teens three times. Thus, when area thermometers reached 34 degrees, it seemed as if we were being graced with a piscatorial nirvana.

The National Weather Service in Lawrence, Kansas, noted that it was 7 degrees at 2:52 a.m. on Nov. 18, and the low temperature was 6 degrees, which set a record. It climbed to 37 degrees at 2:52 p.m, and high temperature was 38 degrees. The normal low temperature for Nov. 18 is 32 degrees, and the normal high temperature is 53 degrees. From 9:52 a.m. to 3:52 p.m., the wind angled out of the south at 9 to 14 mph and out of the southwest at 9 to 24 mph. The sun was eye-squintingly bright in a China-blue sky. The barometric pressure was 30.34 at 12:52 a.m., 30.32 at 3:52 a.m., 30.34 at 8:52 a.m., 30.27 at 11:52 a.m., and 30:15 at 2:53 p.m. As I was driving to this reservoir, I noticed that most of the small farm ponds were covered with ice, as were several of the small creeks.

This reservoir's water level looked to be nearly normal. There was a slight algae bloom, and the visibility ranged from three to five feet. The surface temperature was 40 degrees at one location and 41 to 43 degrees five other locales. The back 10 percent of this reservoir's south feeder-creek arm was covered with ice. A year ago, the surface temperature at the small flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas ranged from 48 to 52 degrees on Nov. 18 and 19.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 6:40 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. and 7:02 p.m. to 9:02 p.m. There was a minor period from 12:29 a.m. to 2:29 a.m. I fished from 12:35 p.m. to 3:05 p.m.

I was hoping to find a couple of spots where I could hide from the brisk and chilly wind. To do that, I rather quickly dissected five somewhat wind-sheltered areas where there were some patches of submerged vegetation in three to eight feet of water. Three of these spots were two-thirds of the way inside the south feeder-creek arm; one was on the east side of this arm, and two were on the west side. The fourth spot was about a third of the way inside this reservoir's southwest feeder creek arm along its southeast shoreline. The fifth locale was about three-quarters of the way inside the southwest feeder-creek arm along the northwest shoreline. To my chagrin, I failed to elicit a strike at these locales.

Ultimately, I crossed paths with a minor aggregation of largemouth bass that were milling about on a flat about a third of the way inside the southwest feeder-creek arm. At this locale, the boat floated in six to 1o feet of the water. This flat is adorned with nine boat docks, many patches of submerged vegetation, one laydown, some brush piles, gravel, an occasional boulder, a lot of silt, and a meager ledge that drops from five feet of water into eight feet. I fished about 100 yards of this area, and I caught 18 largemouth bass from a 30-yard stretch of it. Six of them were caught on a vintage 1/16-ounce Jim Roger's black aspirin-head hair jig that was dressed with a black Z-Man's Scented LeechZ. Nine of them were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin 2 3/4-inch BatwingZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Three of them were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Because this flat was windblown, I spent a lot of time strolling these baits behind the boat, and there was a considerable amount of deadsticking as I strolled them. Ten of the largemouth bass were caught by the strolling presentation. One largemouth bass that was abiding near a boat dock inhaled the Finesse ShadZ on the initial drop. The Finesse ShadZ and a swim-and-glide retrieve inveigled two largemouth bass. Three largemouth bass were caught when I was employing a drag-and-deadstick retrieve with the BatwingZ combo, and two largemouth bass were caught while I was dragging and deadsticking the hair jig and Scented LeechZ. These bass were caught in four to eight feet of water.

Nov. 19 log

During the spring, summer, and fall, we always employ a drift sock when the wind blows, which it does quite frequently in northeastern Kansas. But on cold winter days, we prefer not to use a drift sock. The reason for that is that we do not want to get our feet and clothes wet when we haul the sock across the gunnels. And we have found that becoming wet and cold adversely affects our concentration and abilities to fish.

To deal with the winter winds, we attempt to find largemouth bass' lairs that are not windblown. But finding a fruitful lair that is not windblown and battered by ranks of white caps on our small flatland reservoirs can be an exasperating ordeal during the winter.

For instance, I failed to find a fruitful wind-sheltered lair on my Nov. 18 outing at a 195-acre community reservoir. During that outing, this reservoir was buffeted by 9 to 24 mph winds that angled out of the south and southwest, and the only productive area I found was laced with white caps. Even though that area yielded 18 largemouth bass, it was trying fishing, and that was because the wind and waves created boat-control issues, as well as some major bows in my line while I was executing my retrieves. Therefore, I spent most of the time strolling the lures behind the boat, which is not my favorite way to fish.

On Nov. 19, a pesky and cold wind blew out of the north and northwest at 13 to 18 mph while I was afloat at the same 195-acre community reservoir, and since the direction of the wind had changed, I was hoping to find several fruitful lairs along the northern sections of this reservoir that the south and southwest wind prevented me from dissecting on Nov. 18.

The National Weather Service in Lawrence, Kansas, noted that it was 18 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 40 degrees at 10:52 a.m., 39 degrees at 2:52 p.m. (It was considerably warmer than it was during the early morning hours of Nov. 18, when a record low temperature was established at 6 degrees.) The sky was virtually cloudless from 12:53 a.m. to 7:53 a.m.; then it fluctuated from being mostly cloudy to being overcast; around 2:52 p.m. the clouds began to disperse, and the sky exhibited a robin's egg blue hue. The barometric pressure was 29.93 at 12:52 p.m., 30.01 at 5:52 a.m., 30.15 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.17 at 3:52 p.m. Ice still covered many of the ponds and small streams across northeastern Kansas.

The ice that had covered 10 percent of the backend of this reservoir's south feeder-creek arm on Nov. 18 was gone. The surface temperature ranged from 42 to 44 degrees. The water exhibited three to five feet of clarity. The water level looked to be normal.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 7:35 a.m. to 9:35 a.m. and 7:58 p.m. to 9:58 p.m. There was a minor period from 1:23 a.m. to 3:23 a.m. I fished from 10:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

I fished 100 yards of the rock-laden dam, where I failed to elicit a strike.

I fished 75 yards of a north shoreline inside a small feeder-creek arm on the east side of the reservoir. This shoreline is lined with dead American water willows and a few cattails, some submerged aquatic vegetation, rocks, gravel, some minor ledges, and boulders. I didn't garner a strike.

I fished 150 yards of a north shoreline inside a large feeder-creek arm on the east side of the reservoir. It was embellished with many patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, laydowns, stumps, boulders, rocks, gravel, patches of dead American water willows, and a nearby submerged creek channel. I caught one largemouth bass along this shoreline by strolling a Z-Man's green-pumpkin BatwingZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in seven feet of water.

I fished a 50-yard section of a wind-blown and steep shoreline about one-third of the way inside this reservoir's southwest feeder-creek arm. Along this south shoreline, which is adorn with one concrete retaining wall, laydowns, boulders, stumps, three boat docks, patches of submerged vegetation, and dead American water willows, I failed to get a strike.

I spent the bulk of the four hours that I was afloat plying the north shoreline and its adjacent flats inside the southwest feeder-creek arm. I fished 500 yards of this shoreline and its flats, which are graced with 17 boat docks, some ledges, many patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, several secondary points, stumps, brush piles, humps, concrete retaining walls, patches of dead American water willows, silt, rocks, and gravel.  Along 420 yards of this shoreline and flats, I did not catch a fish. But two locales (and both were about 40 yards long) yielded 20 largemouth bass. Seventeen of them were caught along or near the outside edges of the patches of submerged aquatic vegetation in three to five feet of water. Three were caught along three boat docks in five to eight feet of water. Eighteen of them were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin BatwingZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A drag-and-deadstick retrieve allured 15 of them, and the strolling motif inveigled five of them.

Twice I caught three largemouth bass in consecutive casts. Three times I caught two largemouth bass in back-to-back casts, and one of those pairs consisted of a largemouth bass that weighed three pounds, 12 ounces and one that weighed four pounds, 12 ounces.

Since this reservoir was wacked by the largemouth bass virus in 2009 and 2010, scores of anglers have complained that it has been difficult to catch good-sized largemouth bass. But the vast majority of the 39 largemouth bass that I caught on Nov. 18 and 19 were relatively hefty ones. As I have gotten older, however, hefty bass don't enchant me like they used to. Instead, I am enthralled when I get 15 to 25 largemouth bass bites an hour, and I don't care what size the largemouth bass are. Therefore, I would have preferred to have caught 139 small and mediocre-size largemouth bass during the 6 1/2 hours that I fished on Nov. 18 and 19 rather than the 39 two- to four-pounders that I caught. Last year at this time, I nearly achieved that lofty goal on Nov. 18 and 19, 2013, when I caught 135 fish; then I fished 8 1/2 hours and caught 113 small largemouth bass, 13 white bass, seven rainbow trout and two smallmouth bass. To my chagrin, I think Old Man Winter's ways have foiled any chance that I have at tangling with 20 to 30 largemouth bass bites an hour during the last 43 days of 2014. The next opportunity for one of those largemouth bass bonanzas will occur as soon as the ice melts, which usually occurs in February, and the largemouth bass are milling about in the curly-leaf pondweed flats in the back ends of the feeder-creek arms in one of our small flatland reservoirs.

In conclusion, it looks as if Z-Man's green-pumpkin BatwingZ is on the verge of playing a major role in our Midwest finesse repertoire. We are thankful, indeed, that Don Baldridge of Springfield, Missouri, discovered this new Midwest finesse option.

Nov. 20 log

On Nov. 18, a brisk and chilly southwest wind adversely affected where and how I could fish. Then a sharp and cold north and northwest wind on Nov. 19 interfered with where and how I could fish.

On Nov. 20, the wind was extremely mild mannered. In fact, it was calm for long stretches, and when it did stir, it angled out of the east at 6 mph, out of the north at 5 to 8 mph, and out of the northeast at 3 to 8 mph. (And what a joy it was to fish and not battle the wind.) The sun burned radiantly in a cobalt-blue sky, and for a spell, its rays penetrated the many layers of my winter wardrobe and warmed the back of my neck. But it was cold enough at times that I had to wear a pair of brown cotton jersey work gloves. The low temperature was 10 degrees, and the high temperature was 41 degrees. The normal low temperature for Nov. 20 is 30 degrees, and the normal high temperature is 51 degrees. According to the National Weather Service in Olathe, Kansas, the barometric pressure was 30.19 at 12:53 a.m., 30.18 at 5:53 a.m., 30.22 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.17 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 8:25 p.m. to 10:25 p.m. And there would be a minor period from 1:48 a.m. to 3:48 a.m. I was afloat at a 100-acre community reservoir from 11:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

The water level was normal. This small northeastern Kansas flatland reservoir is often afflicted with algae blooms, which diminishes the visibility, but on Nov. 20, there was more than five feet of visibility. The surface temperature fluctuated from 40 to 42 degrees. The upper five percent of the main feeder-creek arm was covered with a thin sheet of ice. Inside some of the patches of American water willows that line some of the shorelines, there was a minor skim of ice. And there were some icicles, which were created by several days of brisk and bitter winds, hanging off of a few shoreline rocks.

As I reflect upon this three-hour outing, I would say that it would have been a good day to have filmed a 15 to 20-minute segment for a television show about how to catch largemouth bass in cold water with Midwest finesse tactics. Since the 1960s, I have occasionally helped various folks create a TV fishing show, and it can be a long and tedious ordeal, taking as much as two or three days of fishing to generate a 20-minute piece. The easiest one that I was ever involved with happened on this 100-acre community reservoir on Dec. 9, 2010, when I gave Stacey King of Reeds Spring, Missouri, a little help in creating the "In Depth" portion of "The Bass Pros" television show. It featured King wielding Midwest finesse tactics, and within about three hours, he caught enough largemouth bass for the show. On that December day, there was a little more ice covering the upper reaches of this reservoir, and the surface temperature ranged from 38 to 40 degrees, but the air temperature was much warmer, ranging from a low of 30 degrees to a high of 50 degrees. The wind angled out of the south at 9 to 31 mph, and to deal with the wind, King spent most of the time dissecting one massive, wind-sheltered, main-lake point in the upper third of the reservoir.

On my Nov. 20 outing, I started fishing the main-lake point that King spent most of his time upon. It is flat with a rock and gravel bottom. Much of it is embellished with scores of submerged coontail patches. It is bedizened with five boats and nine small patches of American water willows, and it is bordered by a concrete retaining wall. The boat floated in five to 10 feet of water. I fished this massive point for about 90 minutes, and it yielded 15 largemouth bass and one big black crappie. One largemouth bass was caught on a 1/16-ounce black hair jig dressed with a Z-Man's black Scented LeechZ with a subtle swim-glide-and-shake presentation along the outside edge of a coontail patch in about seven feet of water. Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's pearl Rain MinnowZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a subtle swim-glide-and-shake presentation on top of the submerged coontail patches in about four feet of water. Three largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a swim-and-glide retrieve around submerged coontail patches in three to four feet of water. Nine largemouth bass and the one crappie were caught on a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin BatwingZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The Batwing Z combo and a strolling presentation caught three of the largemouth bass, which were extracted out of six to eight feet of water and near the outside edges of the deepest patches of coontail. Two largemouth bass engulfed the BatwingZ on the initial drop, and these two largemouth bass were associated with a coontail patch in five feet of water in front of a boat dock. Five largemouth bass were inveigled by employing a subtle swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the BatwingZ around patches of coontail in four to six feet of water. Three of the 15 largemouth bass were caught about five feet from the water's edge, and the rest of them were 10 to 25 feet from the shoreline.

After I fished that massive, flat point, I fished a steep shoreline that is adjacent to the point. It is rocky and blessed with a few minor ledges. The boat floated in 10 to 14 feet of water. I did not elicit a strike.

The third stop was a very shallow and flat main-lake point. The bottom consists of silt and coontail, as well as some gravel and rock. The boat floated in three to five feet of water. The ice covered the water about 100 feet to the south of this point. Traditionally this is a fruitful late-winter location, and occasionally a good late-fall spot, but I failed to garner a strike until I moved 100 yards north to a secondary point that is enhanced with a concrete retaining wall, a boat dock, and some patches of submerged coontail in three to five feet of water. From these coontail patches, the BatwingZ combo and a swim-and-glide retrieve, which was punctuated with a deadstick routine, caught two largemouth bass. And two more largemouth bass engulfed the BatwingZ combo on the initial drop. One of these largemouth bass was about five feet from the shoreline, and the other three were nearly 20 feet from the shoreline.

After catching those four largemouth bass at that secondary point, I quickly fished about 75 yards of its adjacent shoreline. It is flat terrain that is endowed with five docks, concrete retaining walls, various kinds of concrete and steel rubble, and many patches of submerged coontail. Along this stretch, I made long casts with the BatwingZ combo that landed about 10 feet from the shoreline, and I retrieve it by strolling it until it was directly behind the boat. The boat floated in five to seven feet of water. This tactic yielded only one largemouth bass, which was extracted from five feet of water around some coontail and a nearby slab of concrete.

Ultimately, this flat shoreline merged into a flat secondary point that contains some extensive patches of coontail. These contiguous patches of coontail are contained within a rectangle that is about 75 feet long and 20 feet wide. The boat floated in seven to 10 feet of water. The coontail patches sit in three to seven feet of water. Around these patches of coontail, I caught 12 largemouth bass. Once I caught three largemouth bass in three back-to-back casts, and three times, I caught two largemouth bass on consecutive casts. One largemouth bass was caught on the Z-Man's pearl Rain MinnowZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on the initial drop. Four largemouth bass were caught on the 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin BatwingZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on either the initial drop or a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Seven were caught on Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig on either the initial drop or with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve that was occasionally punctuated with a deadsticking routine.

The last area that I fished was a 60-yard stretch of a relatively steep shoreline that is adjacent and to the north of the flat secondary point where I caught 14 largemouth bass. This shoreline is adorned with American water willows, rocks, gravel, laydowns, a bridge, a nearby submerged creek channel, and a few patches of coontail. It yielded neither a largemouth bass nor a strike.

In sum, I caught 32 largemouth bass, and all of them were caught in shallow water on a flat terrain that was adorned with submerged patches of coontail, and thirty one of them were caught within close proximity to one another. What's more, all of them were in the upper end of the reservoir. Across many winters, the bulk of the largemouth bass that we have caught have been abiding is similar shallow and flat locales in the small flatland reservoirs that grace the countryside of northeastern Kansas. We have also discovered that submerged aquatic vegetation is a critical ingredient. This Nov. 20 outing was far from being a Midwest finesse bonanza, but all but five were good ones and fit for showing on a television show.

It is interesting to note that years ago Rick Clunn of Ava, Missouri, and Bassmaster tournament fame, wrote in one of his "Angler's Quest" series that wintertime bass anglers have to think vertically, and thus, they need to probe deep-water lairs. But we have yet to locate and catch a significant number of deep-water largemouth bass during the winter in the small, flatland reservoirs that we religiously fish. Clunn's findings and observations, however, might apply to anglers who fish highland and hill land reservoirs.

When we catch largemouth bass in northeastern Kansas during the winter, we often catch a significant number of them within the same area. Aggregations of them seem to meander around a large flat that is graced with aquatic vegetation. For instance, at one northeastern Kansas small flatland reservoir during the late winter, massive numbers of largemouth bass slowly swim around a shallow flat that is adorn with curly-leaf pondweed, and this flat is the size of about five football fields. Some of these groups of largemouth bass are massive enough that we have caught them at a rate of 25 an hour. To locate them on a flat that is the size of five football fields, we do a lot of strolling, and once we pinpoint their whereabouts, we cast and usually employ a subtle swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. This phenomenon usually occurs in late winter as soon as the ice melts. Therefore, it seems to take about 10 or more weeks of winter weather for our cold-water largemouth bass fishing to reach the point where we can occasionally catch 25 of them per hour.

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Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, posted the following log on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 20 outing at a 21,280-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir in north-central Texas, where the black bass fishing is always difficult.

He wrote: "North-central Texas is rebounding from a week of what we consider harsh wintertime temperatures, which began on November 11. Our temperatures ranged from the low 20s at night to the mid to upper 30s during the day, and during the night of November 14, we received an unusual light dusting of snow. Normal temperatures for this time of year average between 41 degrees at night to 66 degrees during the day.

"On November 20, area thermometers climbed to above average temperatures. Initially it was cloudy. Then it became mostly cloudy by about 11:00 a.m. By 3:00 p.m., it was sunny and warm with a beautiful blue sky The morning low temperature was 44 degrees and the afternoon high was a very pleasant 71 degrees. The wind quartered out of the southwest at 6 to 12 miles per hour. The barometric pressure was steady at 29.98.

"The water level at this reservoir was 7.47 feet below normal pool. The surface temperature fluctuated from 46 degrees to 54 degrees. The water clarity ranged from less than a foot to two feet of visibility.

"In-Fisherman's solunar calendar listed the best fishing periods occurring from 8:09 a.m. to 10:09 a.m. and 8:33 p.m. to 10:33 p.m. A minor period would occur from 1:57 a.m. to 3:57 a.m. I was afloat from about 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

"I began the afternoon in the northwest section of the reservoir. Because of the low-water levels, the few boat ramps in this area are closed, and I was relegated to make the 35-minute boat ride to this area from the southwestern tributary arm of this reservoir. I had planned to target one particular feeder creek that is known for its warm-water discharge, with hopes of finding a significant aggregation of largemouth bass residing in the plume of the warm-water discharge. But when I finally arrived at the feeder creek, I was disheartened to find that the water level was extremely low, with only three feet of water in the creek channel, and the surrounding stump-covered flats and steeper rocky bank areas that border the creek channel were almost completely out of water. The water was muddy with less than a foot of visibility, and instead of finding warm water being discharged through the creek, I found the creek's water temperature to be 46 degrees. It has been my experience that cold, muddy water is not conducive to good bass fishing, so I turned around and made the 35-minute boat ride back to the south end of the reservoir. Consequently, my first 70 minutes of this outing was a big disappointment.

"My second locale was a 600-yard section of the riprap-laden dam that forms the southern boundary of this reservoir. The water temperature along the face of the dam was significantly warmer at 54 degrees, and the water clarity was about two feet. I plied this area with a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's pearl Zero threaded on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rigged on a 1/16-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig, Cabela's 1/16-ounce brown-orange marabou hair jig dressed with a Z-Man's black Scented LeechZ trailer, and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California Craw FattyZ tube affixed to a 1/16-ounce brown-orange Gopher jig. I employed all the Midwest finesse retrieve techniques, and I caught only one largemouth bass. This bass was enticed by the 2 1/2-inch pearl Zero presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and it was relating to the riprap along the face of the dam in about four feet of water.

"My third spot was two riprap-covered bridge embankments and several concrete bridge support pilings located in the southwest tributary arm of the reservoir. The southeast embankment of the bridge yielded one largemouth bass that was beguiled by the 2 1/2-inch pearl Zero. The northeast bridge embankment surrendered two largemouth bass that were bewitched by the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ. These three largemouth bass were relating to the riprap embankment in five to seven feet of water and were goaded into striking by a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The concrete bridge support pilings failed to relinquish any bass. The west side of the bridge embankment was inaccessible due to a bridge construction project.

"I finished the afternoon fishing three small coves in the back of two marinas. These coves were embellished with three steep channel banks, several steep and rocky points, four concrete boat ramps, and a slew of covered boat docks. I spent most of the remaining time probing these structures with the 1/16-ounce marabou hair jig and Scented LeechZ trailer, but it failed to entice any bites. I also worked with the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ, but it also failed to coax any strikes.

"I was concerned that last week's winter weather woes would negatively affect the bass fishing in our north-central Texas reservoirs, and my concerns were right on target. I could only muster four largemouth bass during this five-hour endeavor. Two largemouth bass were fooled by the 2 1/2-inch pearl Zero, and two were attracted to the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ. The 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California Craw FattyZ tube and Cabela's 1/16-ounce brown-orange marabou hair jig with a black Scented LeechZ trailer failed to allure any strikes. A slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the only productive retrieve.

"I'm not looking forward to the awful mid- December to mid- March bass fishing period, which seems to have come early this year, and I now find myself having to devise a new bass fishing strategy for the remainder of 2014."

Nov. 22 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 22 outing to a 2,600-acre power-plant reservoir.

The National Weather Service in Olathe, Kansas, noted that it was 49 degrees at 12:53 a.m. and 59 degrees at 1:53 p.m. At times throughout the day, it varied from being misty and foggy to being mostly cloudy to being overcast. The wind angled out of the south at 6 to 23 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.96 at 12:53 a.m., 29.97 at 5:53 a.m., 29.85 at 12:53 p.m., and 29.80 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing occurred from 9:38 a.m. to 11:38 a.m. and 10:05 p.m. to 12:05 a.m. There was a minor period from 3:24 a.m. to 5:24 a.m. Gum fished from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The water level was about six inches below normal. The water exhibited 2 1/2 feet of visibility. Along the southwest fringes of the warm-water plume, the surface temperature was 54 degrees, and along the dam, the surface temperature dropped to 44 degrees.

He started the outing by fishing the riprap shoreline on the east side of the reservoir in the vicinity of the power plant, where he caught only one largemouth bass.

The second spot that he fished consisted of various stretches of the riprap along the dam. Along one 50-yard segment, he caught nine largemouth bass, and he failed to land one humdinger, but he did land one that was 20 1/2 inches long.

The third spot was a shallow and rocky flat adjacent to the dam, where he caught one largemouth bass on a rock pile and one on a point.

The fourth spot of his outing was a wind-blown endeavor at a rock pile situated on a submerged roadbed on a flat along the reservoir's west side. He failed to elicit a strike around this roadbed and its man-made rock pile.

From that rock pile, he traveled up the reservoir to a main-lake point, which sits on its west side. This point yielded only one wiper.

He concluded his outing by slowly dissecting two bluffs that lie along the southwest border of the warm-water plume. He inveigled four largemouth bass, two white bass, and two wipers along these two bluffs.

In sum, he caught 14 largemouth bass, three wipers, and two white bass. Those fish were caught on three baits: Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ, Strike King's Coppertreuse 2 1/2-inch Zero, and Strike King's Purple Haze 2 1/2-inch Zero. Where the wind was calm along the dam and at one of the bluffs, those baits were affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and at the windblown lairs, he affixed them to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These fish were caught in two to six feet of water while he executed a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. And while he was fishing one of the bluffs, his baits occasionally made contact with the bottom.

He occasionally wielded a small crankbait and jerkbait with his spinning tackle, but both of those lures failed to beguile a fish.

Nov. 23 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, posted this log on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 23 outing.

He wrote: "I drove 18 miles to two small community reservoirs in two suburbs just north of Dallas, for an afternoon of bank fishing.

"The day was warm and bright. There wasn't a cloud around for miles. The wind blew incessantly out of the southwest at about 15 mph, out of the west at about 20 mph, and then it turned out of the northwest at 25 to 38 mph, and this wind confounded my casts and retrieves for much of the afternoon.

"According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the best fishing periods would take place from 10:10 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. and 4:27 a.m. to 6:27 a.m., and a minor period would occur from 4:55 p.m. and 6:55 p.m. I fished from about noon until 4:00 p.m.

"The first reservoir that I fished is about 12-acres in size. The last time that I fished it was on November 10, and during that five-hour undertaking, it surrendered 10 largemouth bass.

"Its north shoreline is mostly straight, with a three foot mud and gravel ledge that extends outward from the bank and drops off into five feet of water.

"The west shoreline is straight and comprised of sand, gravel, and a few scattered fist-sized rocks. This shoreline is adorned with a shallow ledge that extends about three feet from the water's edge and slowly descends into five feet of water.

"Its south shoreline borders a large mud and gravel flat.

"The east side of the reservoir encompasses two coves that are divided by a prominent sand and gravel point.

"The southeast cove consists of steep mud and rock shoreline and a ditch that runs from its south shoreline to the northeast corner of the cove. A mud and gravel point courses outward toward deeper water from the southern shoreline, and this point forms the south mouth of this cove.

"The northeast cove is comprised of a large mud flat with a ditch that cuts westwardly through the middle of the cove from its east shoreline.

"This reservoir has two small patches of hydrilla. One patch lies in five feet of water, and it is adjacent to the southwest end of the prominent east shoreline point. The other patch lies in the southern portion of the northeast cove in three to five feet of water, but both patches have now died back.

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

"The fishing at this reservoir has slowed considerably this month, but it is still better than the larger reservoirs that I have been plying.

"On Nov. 23, I caught one largemouth bass off the ledge that stretches along the west shoreline in about three to five feet of water. This bass was allured by a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's black-blue BatwingZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

"I caught one largemouth bass along the ledge that runs along the north shoreline in three feet of water. This bass was attracted to a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's black-blue-flake FattyZ tube attached to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

"Two largemouth bass were caught along the south side of the wind-swept point that extends from the east shoreline. Both of these bass were milling about in three feet of water and were coaxed into striking the 2 1/2-inch FattyZ tube.

"The fifth bass was extracted from a submerged concrete culvert that lies along the south shoreline in the southeast cove, and it was caught on the 2 1/2-inch FattyZ tube.

"In sum, the 12-acre reservoir surrendered five largemouth bass. Four were seduced by the 2 1/2-inch FattyZ tube and one was enticed by the 2 3/4-inch BatwingZ. Both baits were implemented with a slow drag-and-shake retrieve.

"After I finished fishing the 12-acre reservoir, I made a 15-minute drive to a 30-acre reservoir. I haven't fished this reservoir in some time, and I thought I would spend my last hour scouting it out.

"This reservoir has an unique horseshoe shape. Its entire shoreline is lined with a decorative concrete and rock wall. The base of the wall is reinforced with concrete bricks. Thick hydrilla beds usually border the deep-water edge of the concrete bricks, but I found that the hydrilla had died back. The water was stained with about two feet of visibility. Usually, this reservoir is clear with about four feet of clarity. The water level was normal.

"I used only two lures at this reservoir: Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's  green pumpkin BatwingZ attached to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

"The wind's velocity had picked up to over 25 mph, and I was limited to fishing the somewhat wind-protected northeast portion of the reservoir. I caught a total of four largemouth bass. All four bass were caught along the concrete decorative wall and were moseying about in three to five feet of water. Three of the four bass were caught on the T.R.D. with a hop-and-bounce retrieve. One was caught on the BatwingZ and a hop-and-bounce presentation.

"All totaled, I caught nine largemouth bass during this four-hour bank-walking excursion. Four were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's black-blue-flake FattyZ tube and drag-and-shake presentation. Three were allured by the Canada Craw T.R.D. and hop-and-bounce retrieve. Two were enticed by the 2 3/4-inch BatwingZ; one was allured by the drag-and-shake retrieve, and the other one was bewitched by a hop-and-bounce retrieve."

Nov. 25 log

Steve Reideler compiled the following report for the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 25 outing.

He wrote: "I joined Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, for a 45-mile sojourn to an 80-acre reservoir in north-central Texas.

"It was a vibrant and sunny day. The morning low temperature was 37 degrees, and the afternoon high reached 59 degrees. The wind quartered out of the southwest at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure was steady at 30.24.

"The In-Fisherman solunar calendar indicated the optimum fishing periods would occur from 12:18 a.m. to 2:18 a.m. and 12:47 p.m. to 2:47 p.m. A minor period would occur from 6:32 a.m. to 8:32 a.m. We were afloat from about 10:45 a.m. to about 1:45 p.m.

"Rick and I have not fished this reservoir since Mar. 9, when the water temperature was 52 degrees, and the water level at this reservoir was 15 feet below normal. During the four hours that we were afloat on Mar. 9, we battled 22 largemouth bass and three large crappies. When this reservoir is full and at its best, the water is clear with about four to five feet of visibility, and it is embellished with hydrilla beds.

"On this November 25 foray, the water was very muddy with about one foot of visibility. The water level has risen substantially since March 9, but it was still about three feet below normal. The surface temperature varied from 52 degrees along the southeast corner to 50 degrees inside the main feeder-creek arm that lies on the north end of this reservoir.

We launched the boat in the southeast corner of the reservoir and began fishing our way northward along the east shoreline. This shoreline is fairly steep, and endowed with two small feeder creeks, thick stands of flooded timber, stumps, and brush piles. The flooded timber areas begin about halfway up the reservoir and cover the entire northern half of this reservoir. Rick began wielding a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I used a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig affixed to a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ. The Finesse ShadZ was employed with a drag-and-deadstick retrieve and the ZinkerZ was retrieved with a slow hop-and-bounce presentation. The Finesse ShadZ caught two largemouth bass and the ZinkerZ allured one largemouth bass. Two of these three bass were relating to a thin wall of hydrilla that graces the east shoreline in four feet of water. The other bass was holding next to the east side of a tall and thick tree trunk standing in six feet of water.

"As we continued to work our way northward into the thick stands of flooded timber, we ventured eastward into a feeder creek. One largemouth bass engulfed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Sprayed Grass ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig as it was jiggled free from the side of a submerged stump in four feet of water. This bass was able to unfetter itself from the hook before we could land it. A second largemouth bass was caught at the mouth of the feeder creek on a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's black-blue BatwingZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which was retrieved with a drag-and-deadstick presentation in three feet of water.

Steve Reideler with a largemouth bass that was caught on a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's black-blue BatwingZ on a 1/6-ounce blue Gopher jig.

"The third area that we fished was inside the reservoir's north feeder-creek arm. It is enhanced with thick stands of flooded timber, stumps, and brush piles that line both sides of the main creek channel, which winds its way through the center of the feeder creek arm. During our Mar. 9 outing, this feeder creek arm was mostly dry and the main creek channel was only partially filled with water. But on Nov 25, the creek channel is overflowing with water, and the higher water level now covers most of the adjacent flats and steeper shorelines that were high and dry last March. We fished the first third of this feeder-creek arm with the ZinkerZ, Finesse ShadZ, and BatwingZ, but we decided not to go any further when we failed to garner any strikes. We observed two other kayak anglers fishing the mid to upper section of this feeder creek arm with white spinnerbaits, and we did not see them catch a bass.

"After we left the north feeder-creek arm, we slowly meandered southward along the west shoreline. The west shoreline consists of a large mud flat that extends southward to the dam. It is adorned with a large hydrilla bed, one partially submerged laydown, and a few widely scattered flooded trees that stand in six to eight feet of water. We caught three largemouth bass along this bank, and they were relating to the large hydrilla bed in four to six feet of water. One was caught on the Finesse ShadZ with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. The other two were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's black-blue flake modified FattyZ tube rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and presented with a slow hop-and-bounce manner.

"After we finished dissecting the west shoreline, we investigated the south end of the reservoir, which is formed by a clay and gravel dam and accented with a thin wall of hydrilla that stretches along the length of the dam. We caught four largemouth bass from three to six feet of water along the face of the dam. Three bass were tempted by the 2 1/2-inch FattyZ tube and one was tricked by the BatwingZ. Both baits were retrieved with a slow drag-and-shake technique.

"When we first arrived at this reservoir we had our doubts that we could generate any bites in this cold and muddy water environment. But during our three-hour undertaking, we were delighted to tangle with 16 largemouth bass. Eight largemouth bass were hooked on the 2 1/2-inch FattyZ tube and seven of those eight bass were landed. Three were caught on the 2 3/4-inch black-blue BatwingZ. Three were caught on the green- pumpkin Finesse ShadZ. One bass engulfed the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ. One was hooked and lost on the 2 1/2-inch Sprayed Grass ZinkerZ as the ZinkerZ was being freed from a snag on the side of a stump.

"We experimented with all six Midwest finesse presentations, and three of those were productive, and they were the drag-and-deadstick, drag-and-shake, and hop-and-bounce retrieves."

Nov 29 log

Steve Reideler compiled the following report for the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 29 outing.

He wrote: "It was another bright and windy day in north-central Texas. The sun was dazzling in the unclouded powder-blue skies. The National Weather Service noted the morning low temperature was 50 degrees, and the afternoon high rose to 74 degrees. A robust wind quartered incessantly out of the southwest at 18 to 24 mph, and on several occasions, it almost snatched my wide-brimmed Tilley hat from my head. The barometric pressure measured 29.94.

"In-Fisherman's solunar calendar listed the best fishing periods occurring from 4:13 a.m. to 6:13 a.m. and 4:39 p.m. to 6:39 p.m. A minor period would take place from 10:26 a.m. to 12:26 p.m. I fished from about noon to 4:30 p.m.

"The wind prevented me from venturing out onto one of our larger local reservoirs. Therefore, I opted to return to a 12-acre community reservoir located in a northern suburb of Dallas that I fished on Nov 23.

"This reservoir's northern shoreline is straight. It has a three foot mud and gravel ledge that extends outward from the bank and drops off into five feet of water.

"The west shoreline is straight and comprised of sand, gravel, and a few scattered fist-sized rocks. This shoreline is adorned with a shallow ledge that extends about three feet from the water's edge and slowly descends into five feet of water.

"Its south shoreline borders a large mud and gravel flat. Because of a construction project, the western two-thirds of this shoreline is inaccessible.

"The east side of the reservoir encompasses two coves that are divided by a prominent sand and gravel point.

"The southeast cove consists of steep mud and rock shorelines and a ditch that runs from its south shoreline to the northeast corner of the cove. A mud and gravel point courses outward toward deeper water from the southern shoreline, and this point forms the south mouth of this cove.

"The northeast cove is comprised of a large mud flat with a ditch that cuts westwardly through the middle of the cove from its east shoreline.

"This reservoir has two small patches of hydrilla. One patch lies in five feet of water, and it is adjacent to the southwest end of the prominent east shoreline point. The other patch lies in the southern portion of the northeast cove in three to five feet of water, but both patches have now died back.

"The western two-thirds of this shoreline is now inaccessible due to a construction project. I last fished this reservoir on November 23, and it relinquished only five largemouth bass during that slow and vexing outing.

"The water was muddy with about one foot of visibility. The water level was normal. I was unable to measure the water's temperature.

"On this November 29 foray, this reservoir surrendered only six largemouth bass and one large bluegill.

"One largemouth bass was caught off the shallow ledge along the south shoreline in three feet of water, and it was fooled by a Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

"Two largemouth bass and the large bluegill were caught along the west-side ledge of the creek channel where it enters the reservoir in its northeast corner of the southeast cove. These three fish were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug FattyZ tube on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

"Three largemouth bass were caught on the FattyZ tube, and they were abiding on the south side of a wind-blown point.

"I failed to garner any strikes along the west shoreline, north shoreline, and inside the wind protected northeast cove.

"All six of these bass and the large bluegill were dwelling in shallow water that was no deeper than five feet. Five of these six bass and the large bluegill were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug FattyZ tube as it was retrieved with a slow drag-and-shake presentation. One bass was caught on the Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ, and it was also presented in the same drag-and-shake manner. I also tried a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's black-blue-flake FattyZ tail on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's black-blue flake FattyZ tube affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, four-inch Z-Man's black-blue Finesse WormZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's black-blue ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, but these baits failed to entice any strikes.

"I spent the rest of the outing at a 20-acre reservoir that lies in a suburb northwest of Dallas.

"This reservoir is comprised of a large and shallow mud flat that occupies the northern third of this reservoir, and this flat is bordered with thick stands of cattails.

"A smooth concrete slab dam forms the southern perimeter of the reservoir. The west shoreline is relatively straight with a fishing pier extending eastward about 75 feet out into the reservoir.

"The east shoreline is steep and curved. It is endowed with a long clay and gravel point that protrudes westward into the middle of the reservoir. The south side of the point is enhanced with a small brush pile.

"Hydrilla beds flourish across the bottom of this waterway, but a significant portion of them have died back.

"I fished this reservoir on November 10, and it yielded only one largemouth bass.

"During this November 29 undertaking, the water was stained with about 1 1/2 feet of visibility, and the water level appeared to be normal.

"I experimented with just two lures: Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug FattyZ tube rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I utilized an array of Midwest finesse retrieves and several variations of those retrieves, but neither one of these baits could entice any bites from this reservoir."

Nov. 30 log

Steve Reideler compiled the following report for the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 30 outing.

He wrote: "Mother Nature is about to deliver another brief round of wintertime weather to north-central Texas, but it is not expected to be as severe as the cold stretch we endured between November 11 and November 17. Local meteorologists have forecasted drizzling rain and daytime high temperatures in the mid-40s for the next couple of days, and this round of cold and wet weather is predicted to roll in during the early morning hours of December 1.

"I enjoyed a windy afternoon of bank walking along the shores of two small community reservoirs.

"The In-Fisherman solunar calendar designated the optimum fishing periods occurring from 5:05 a.m. to 7:05 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. A minor period would take place from 11:17 a.m. to 1:17 p.m. I was afoot from about noon until about 4:00 p.m.

"The day was almost a carbon copy of November 29. There was an abundance of bright sunshine and an incessant wind that continuously hindered my casts and retrieves. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 61 degrees, and the afternoon high reached 79 degrees. The average low temperature for this time of year is about 42 degrees and the average high temperature is 61 degrees. A sustained wind quartered out of the southwest at 15 to 25 mph, with wind gusts up to 38 mph. The barometric pressure was steady at 29.92.

"The first reservoir I visited is about the size of a football field. The water color had an odd muddy-gray hue, and it has exhibited this strange characteristic since my last visit on November 10. I have found that when the water turns to this odd grayish color, the fishing becomes extremely trying. The water clarity was minimal, exhibiting just four inches of visibility. The water level was normal. I did not have the means to measure the water temperature.

"This reservoir's north shoreline is straight but enhanced with a concrete structure surrounding a water drain. A large island occupies the western portion of this reservoir with two creek channels that course along the island's northern and southern banks. Its east shoreline is steep and lined with mud. The south shoreline is enhanced by a decorative concrete and stone wall that borders a shallow mud point.

"I experimented with a 1/16-ounce Cabela's black marabou jig and a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's black-blue-flake BatwingZ trailer. I also employed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's black-blue-flake FattyZ tube rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which has become our standard bearer during the cold water months of December, January, and February. I used the marabou jig-BatwingZ combo about 60 percent of the time.

"I plied this small waterway for about three hours, and I struggled to eke out five largemouth bass. All five of these bass were inveigled by the 1/16-ounce marabou jig and BatwingZ that was presented with a subtle hop-and-bounce retrieve. The FattyZ tube with a drag-and-shake presentation failed to render any strikes.

"Two largemouth bass were caught along the south end of the steep east-side shoreline. Two others were caught along the wind-swept north shoreline. One was caught along the island's southeast shoreline.

"I failed to allure any bass from the creek channel that runs parallel to the north side of the island, the west cove, or along the mud point adjacent to the decorative concrete and stone wall.

"All five of the largemouth bass were scattered and gamboling about in less than three feet of water and within five feet of the water's edge.

"After I finished fishing this small reservoir, I spent my last hour plying a nearby 30-acre reservoir. I last fished this reservoir on November 23, and during that hour-long undertaking, I could only muster five largemouth bass.

"This reservoir has a horseshoe shape with a north-to-south orientation. Its entire shoreline is lined with a decorative concrete and rock retaining wall, and the base of the wall is reinforced with a layer of concrete bricks that forms a three-foot ledge that extends outward from the base of the retaining wall. Thin hydrilla beds border the deep-water edge of the concrete bricks at the base of the wall.

"The water was stained with about 2 1/2 feet of visibility, and the water level was normal.

"I continued experimenting with the 1/16-ounce Cabela's black marabou jig, but switched out the BatwingZ trailer to a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ trailer. I also worked with a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. I used both baits about an equal amount of time.

"I only had time to probe the east bank along the northeast end of the reservoir. The marabou jig-LeechZ combo and a subtle hop-and-bounce retrieve finagled four largemouth bass. The Finesse ShadZ and subtle hop-and bounce presentation allured three largemouth bass. All seven of these bass were caught from four feet of water and within 10 feet of the concrete wall.

"During this four-hour endeavor, the 1/16-ounce Cabela's marabou jig with the Z-Man's BatwingZ and Scented LeechZ trailers enticed nine of these 12 largemouth bass. Z-Man's Finesse ShadZ attracted the other three bass. The 2 1/2-inch FattyZ tube failed to garner any strikes. The only fruitful presentation was a subtle hop-and-bounce retrieve.

"Overall, November was a trying time for bass fishing in north-central Texas. I could only muster 79 largemouth bass and spotted bass during nine outings, which spanned a total of 37.5 hours. This calculates to only 2.10 bass per hour and 8.77 bass per trip. Ralph Manns of Rockwall, Texas, sent two emails reporting his struggles to catch just a few largemouth bass from a three-acre reservoir behind his house and at a larger 17,382-acre U.S. Corps of Engineers' reservoir close to his home. He wrote that during one recent outing to a nearby marina at the larger reservoir, he was unable to entice a single strike. Ralph and I both agree that the slow and exasperating wintertime bass fishing has arrived earlier than usual in north-central Texas, but in a couple more weeks, what little bass bite that still exists will become almost nonexistent."

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Burton Bosley of Sutton, West Virginia, filed the following brief on the Finesse News Network about his maiden float-and-fly endeavor on Nov. 30.

When Bosley lived in Kansas City in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he fished incessantly with Chuck Woods of Kansas City, who many of us trumpet as the architect of the art and science of Midwest finesse fishing. After he left Kansas, Bosley was a saltwater guide, who fished nearly all over the world, and a largemouth bass guide in south Florida. Without a doubt, he is the most versatile angler and contributor on the Finesse News Network.

Here's what he wrote: "Winter is a great time for small baits and slow retrieves. Not content with catching fish on the Z-Man's Finesse T.R.D., which has been reliable, I have built myself a float-and-fly rod from an old 10-foot, eight-weight G. Loomis fly rod, which I once used for bonefish and permit.

"I went out last Sunday with a friend, who is a professional bass fisherman and who had also built a float-and-fly rod, and we tried our floats and flies for suspended bass on a maddeningly difficult reservoir.

"The surface temperature was 48 degrees, and the air temperature was 48 degrees. The wind was strong and gusty, and it rained on and off. We knew there were more effective ways to target bass with that set of parameters but we brought only the float-and-fly equipment.

"We fished from 7:00 a.m to noon, which was enough for me.

"We rigged a 1/16-ounce hair jig eight to 12 feet below the float. The float was attached to braided line, and below the float, we used six-pound-test fluorocarbon line for the leader.

"I was happily surprised that we caught seven spotted bass. They were in steep drains (or nooks) and bluffs.

"Except for the depth of water and length of rods, it was reminiscent of the times I floated a jig or a Beetle below a bobber for largemouth bass back in windy Kansas. There was a learning curve involved with casting such a long leader. But this method lets you put a small unthreatening bait right in their face and keeps it there for an indefinite period. I decided it was a finesse application that will be more fruitful when the water gets even colder, and when it is difficult for me to hold the Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a jig in their face for a length of time.

.

"In the near future, I intend to try Z-Man's Scented LeechZ. I tried Z-Man's Finesse ShadZ without success, but when the shad kill hits when the water temperature is around 42 degrees, I believe it may be effective. I am fascinated by the challenge of suspended bass, and I think this will add to my finesse arsenal for the dead of winter, which is our big fish time here. But I still have much to learn about this method, and whether it will become a regular part of my cold-water arsenal only time will tell.

"An afterthought: after spending the last few decades in south Florida and points south, I was very appreciative of the advances in cold-weather rain gear that keeps an old guy warm and dry in such onerous conditions."

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