Midwest Finesse Fishing: November 2015

Midwest Finesse Fishing: November 2015

Norman Brown with one of the 32 smallmouth bass that he and Steve Reideler caught on Nov. 2.

This November  guide to Midwest finesse fishing features 16 logs and 11,400 words that describe the piscatorial endeavors and observations of Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas; Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Greg Monahan of Lee's Summit, Missouri; Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, as well as several of my logs.


At various times throughout the month important family obligations and celebrations kept many of us at bay more than normal.

Mother Nature also played havoc with our abilities to get afloat. For instance, Steve Reideler reported in an email on Nov. 28 that north-central Texas received more than seven inches of rain on Nov. 26 and Nov. 27. He wrote: "Our area lakes are rising over their banks again. Nancy [his wife] and I drove by one of the boat ramps at Lewisville Lake, and the water level has risen to the top of the ramp and up to the edge of the parking lot. It looks like the lakes may be closed again if they rise much more."


Rain and freezing rain incessantly fell upon Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma from the day before Thanksgiving through Nov. 30.  My wife, Patty, and I made a quick survey of the conditions at a nearby 195-acre community reservoir and a 7,000-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir during the late afternoon of Nov. 29, and we found that cold and muddy water was flowing into these reservoirs at a moderate pace. Traditionally, cold and muddy water makes for problematic largemouth bass fishing at the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas; thus we suspect that our early December outings will be trying ones.

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

Nov. 1 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on Finesse News Network about his Nov. 1 outing with Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, on an U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his log:

The afternoon sky was overcast, and it rained periodically throughout the afternoon. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 50 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 64 degrees. The wind was light and variable. The barometric pressure measured 29.92 at noon and dropped slightly to 29.88 by 4:30 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing periods would occur from 3:25 a.m. to 5:25 a.m., 9:38 a.m. to 11:38 a.m., and 3:52 p.m. to 5:52 p.m. We were afloat from about 12:30 p.m. until about 4:30 p.m., but we fished only 2 1/2 hours. We spent 1 1/2 hours underneath a covered boat dock waiting for a rain storm to pass.

The severe thunderstorms, which walloped north-central Texas from Oct. 22 through Oct. 25 and from Oct. 30 through Oct. 31, caused many of our reservoirs to become muddy. This reservoir's water clarity was less than a foot. Normally, it exhibits between three and six feet of visibility. The water level was 1.08 feet high. Its surface temperature ranged from 65 degrees at the boat ramp to 68 degrees at the dam.

We concentrated our efforts in two areas. The first area was a large main-lake cove that contains a large marina. It is situated in the southeast end of the west tributary arm. The second area was the riprap-laden dam that forms the southern border of this reservoir.

The first area that we fished was inside the main-lake cove. We dissected a small mud flat located just west of the boat ramp. This flat is stippled with flooded shoreline brush in two to four feet of water. The boat floated in four to eight feet of water. We wielded a Z-Man Fishing Products' chartreuse sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ rigged on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head jig and a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The 3 1/2-inch GrubZ was presented with a steady swimming action. The Finesse ShadZ was presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and we failed to elicit any strikes.

At the east-side entrance to the marina area, we dissected the edges of a floating tractor-tire reef with the same two lures and presentations that we used to probe the mud flat, and we failed to elicit any strikes.

Next, we fished a short clay and rock levee adjacent to the north-side tractor-tire reef. This levee forms the east side of a small cove that occupies the north end of the main-lake cove. We failed to catch a bass from the levee.

We dissected the north, west, and south shorelines of the adjacent small cove, which encompasses two small tertiary points, thick patches of flooded buck brush, large submerged boulders, a small submerged rock wall, and a small creek channel that parallels the north shoreline in 12 feet of water. The boat floated in eight to 12 feet of water. We caught 12 largemouth bass in less than five feet of water, and they were scattered along the deep-water edges of the flooded buck brush that lines the shoreline about 10 to 20 feet out from the water's edge. Nine largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's chartreuse-gold Split-Tail TrailerZ affixed on a purple 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and retrieved with a slow, swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The other three largemouth bass were enticed into striking a generic two-inch chartreuse curly-tailed crappie grub rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, and it was retrieved with a steady swimming action. One largemouth bass was able to liberate itself from the Split-Tail TrailerZ before we could land it.

By the time we finished fishing this small cove, a rain storm erupted, which forced us to seek refuge underneath a covered boat dock inside the marina for the next hour and a half.

After the rain storm dissipated into a light sprinkle, we began fishing a 100-yard section of rocky shoreline along the east side of the marina. The boat floated in six to 12 feet of water. This shoreline is fairly steep, and it is endowed with flooded buck brush that is interlaced with submerged boulders. We caught one largemouth bass that was relating to a small patch of flooded buck brush in three feet of water. This largemouth bass was caught on the generic two-inch chartreuse curly-tailed crappie grub and steady swim presentation.

We also fished another rocky shoreline and one concrete boat ramp. This shoreline is adorned with flooded brush. It is located along the southwest shoreline of the main-lake cove. We failed to garner a strike, but we observed a power fisherman, who was fishing in front of us, catch one small largemouth bass off a concrete boat ramp with a small crankbait.

We ended our outing by fishing the riprap-covered dam. We began plying the midsection of the dam with the 2 1/2-inch generic crappie grub, Z-Man's chartreuse-gold Split-Tail TrailerZ, and Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ. The boat floated in eight to 15 feet of water. The Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught five largemouth bass, five spotted bass, two channel catfish, and two freshwater drum. These fish were scattered along a 50-yard portion of the midsection of the dam, and they were extracted from four to six feet of water. We failed to elicit any strikes with the Split-Tail TrailerZ and 2 1/2-inch crappie grub.

Norman Brown with a spotted bass.

All totaled, we caught 18 largemouth bass, five spotted bass, and we inadvertently caught two channel catfish and two freshwater drum in about 2 1/2 hours. Most of these black bass were smaller-sized denizens.

Ten black bass, two channel catfish, and two freshwater drum were caught on the Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Nine black bass were caught on the Z-Man's chartreuse-gold Split-Tail TrailerZ and swim-glide-and shake retrieve. Four black bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch generic chartreuse crappie grub and steady swim retrieve.

The Z-Man's 3 1/2-inch chartreuse sparkle GrubZ and steady swimming action elicited several strikes, but we failed to hook the fish.

As we were trailering the boat, it began to rain again, and we were treated to the sight of a huge and colorful rainbow that was silhouetted across the overcast sky. It was a fitting end to what we considered a wet and difficult outing.

Nov. 2 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 2 outing with Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, at a Civilian Conservation Corps hill-land reservoir in south-central Oklahoma.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his log:

I fished this reservoir with Rick Allen of Dallas on October 21, and during that seven hour foray, we tangled with 58 smallmouth bass.

The morning of Nov. 2 was overcast and extremely foggy. A local meteorologist reported that visibility ranged from one-tenth of a mile to three-tenths of a mile. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 53 degrees. Around noon, the fog burned off and the skies cleared. The sun began to shine everywhere, and the afternoon high temperature reached 72 degrees. The wind quartered out of the east at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.01 at 10:00 a.m. and dropped to 29.91 by 4:00 p.m.

The water was clear and exhibited seven feet of visibility. The water's temperature ranged from 65 degrees to 66 degrees. The water level was normal.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the prime fishing periods should occur from 3:21 a.m. to 5:21 a.m., 9:34 a.m. to 11:34 a.m., and 3:46 p.m. to 5:36 p.m. Norman and I fished from about 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and we caught 32 smallmouth bass and inadvertently caught eight green sunfish and one large bluegill.

We began this outing in the west tributary arm, where we fished a submerged main-lake hump. This hump lies about 50 yards offshore. It is graced with gravel, large boulders, a couple of small stumps, and several old wood posts. The top of this hump is covered with about two feet of water, and it is surrounded with 20 to 35 feet of water. While we probed the south and east sides of the hump, we positioned the boat in 10 to 15 feet of water. The north and west sides of the hump were inaccessible and posted with warning buoys. We wielded a Z-Man's blue steel Slim SwimZ on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These lures failed to elicit a strike.

After that ominous start, we moved to the southeast end of the reservoir, where we fished a rocky flat that is covered with fist-size riprap and several partially submerged bushes. The deep-water edges of this flat quickly drop into 35 feet of water. The boat floated in 12 to 15 feet of water, and we caught four smallmouth bass from eight to ten feet of water on the top of this flat. Two smallmouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's watermelon Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One smallmouth bass was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and slow, swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. A shortened Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and slow, swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught one smallmouth bass.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon probing a mile-long section of a bluffy shoreline that lies along the south side of the reservoir's southeast feeder-creek arm. The boat floated in water as shallow as 15 feet and as deep as 51 feet. We caught 28 smallmouths and inadvertently caught eight green sunfish and one large bluegill. These fish were abiding in 12 to 15 feet of water, and they were scattered pell-mell along the bluff. Seventeen smallmouth bass were enticed by the shortened four-inch watermelon Finesse WormZ. Ten smallmouth bass were caught on the shortened four-inch green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ. One smallmouth bass was caught on a Z-Man's red Split-Tail TrailerZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These lures were retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Overall, the fishing was slow and vexing compared to my Oct. 21 outing with Rick Allen, when we found the smallmouth bass exhibiting an aggressive demeanor and congregating in several spots along the face of the bluffs and on top of a rocky flat. On this Nov. 2 outing, we failed to find any large concentrations of bass and there were several long spells between strikes. The smallmouth bass were scattered and the strikes were very tentative. We were relegated to working our lures in a slow and methodical manner, and the only indication of a strike was a slight tightening of our lines.

The two most effective lures were a shortened four-inch Z-Man's watermelon Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ rig was more productive while the sky was overcast, and the watermelon Finesse WormZ became the dominate bait once the skies cleared and the sun began to shine.

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

As we were preparing to trailer our boat, we spoke with two power fisherman at the boat ramp. They explained that they had fished the north end of the reservoir and caught two largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. They were astonished to learn that we had caught 32 smallmouth bass.

Nov. 4 log

From Oct. 24 to Nov. 3, I enjoyed a hiatus from my piscatorial pursuits. This respite corresponded with a delightful visit with our oldest daughter who recently ended her 24 1/2-year career with St. Vincent's Catholic Medical Centers and New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornel in New York City. On Nov. 3, she began her journey to Tanzania, where she will work for two years for the Foundation for African Medicine and Education in rural Tanzania. And on Nov. 4, I got back into the piscatorial swing of things and ventured to a state reservoir in rural northeastern Kansas.

It was 59 degrees at 12:53 a.m. and 68 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The sky was overcast incessantly. The barometric pressure was 29.95 at 12:53 a.m., 29.98 at 5:53 a.m., 29.98 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.94 at 1:53 p.m. The wind howled out of the south at 11 to 26 mph, which forced me to employ a drift sock most of the time that I was afloat.

The surface temperature fluctuated from 57 to 58 degrees. The water clarity exhibited three to four feet of visibility at most locales. The water level was about six inches below normal.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing should occur from 4:52 a.m. to 6:52 a.m., 5:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., and 11:04 p.m. to 1:04 a.m. I was afloat from 10:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.

I began my Nov. 4 outing by using the same slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that I used on Oct. 21 to catch 87 largemouth bass and on Oct. 23 to catch 76 largemouth bass, four crappie, and one humongous bluegill. On my Nov. 4 outing, I wanted to see if this Finesse WormZ possessed the wherewithal to catch 202 largemouth bass across these three outings, and it did. During the Nov. 4 outing, it caught 39 largemouth bass, one crappie, and one warmouth. I retired it upon catching largemouth bass number 202 at 12:31 p.m., and it still looks as if it can inveigle several more largemouth bass and other species before it is eventually torn asunder.

(On Oct. 24, after I reported on the Finesse News Network about catching 163 largemouth bass on this Finesse WormZ , one Midwest finesse angler asked if the Finesse WormZ is super glued to the collar of the Gopher jig. The answer to that question is no. Super glue is not needed to keep it affixed to the collar of a 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head jig.)

This is what a slightly shortened four-inch Z-man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ and a 1/16-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig looks like after they have tangled with 202 largemouth bass.

After I caught largemouth bass number 202 and retired the slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, I began employing a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and on the first cast and retrieve with this ZinkerZ combo, I caught a largemouth bass. From 12:31 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., this ZinkerZ combo caught 24 largemouth bass.

I caught 10 largemouth bass on the Finesse WormZ combo along the riprap of the dam. Six of those largemouth bass were abiding around patches of dead American water willows in two to four feet of water, and four of them were caught in one to three feet of water along portions of the dam that are devoid of American water willows. Four of those largemouth bass engulfed the Finesse WormZ on the initial drop, and six of them were caught on a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

I fished eight riprap jetties, where I caught twenty-one largemouth bass. Ten of them were caught on the Finesse WormZ combo, and 11 were caught on the ZinkerZ rig. These largemouth bass were abiding in two to five feet of water. Eight largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the bait, and 13 largemouth bass were caught on the swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve.

I fished three main-lake shorelines, which are graced with an underwater terrain that consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The boat floated in three to 12 feet of water. Most of these shorelines are adorned with patches of dead American water willows, as well as an occasional laydown, some manmade brushpiles, and a few tertiary points. The brushpiles did not yield a strike. Two of the laydowns yielded a largemouth bass, which were extracted out of four feet of water. Twenty-nine largemouth bass were caught either near the outside edges or slightly inside the outside edges of the patches of American water willows, and these largemouth bass were abiding in two to five feet of water. Thirteen of the largemouth bass were caught on the ZinkerZ rig, and 17 of them were caught on the Finesse WormZ combo. The bulk of these largemouth bass were caught when I employed the swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation, and a few engulfed the bait on the initial drop.

I fished one main-lake point, where I failed to elicit a strike.

In sum, 63 largemouth bass were caught in three hours. None of these bass would have won a bass tournament, and none of them would have impressed the editor and producer of a television show. But in the eyes and mind of a die-hard recreational angler, it was delightful three hours.

Nov. 5 log

My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I spent four midday hours on Nov. 5 at a heavily fished community reservoir in one of the suburban regions that surround Kansas City, Kansas.

The National Weather Service noted that it was 57 degrees at 12:53 a.m. and 68 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The sky was overcast most of the day. The barometric pressure was 29.94 at 12:53 a.m., 29.90 at 5:53 a.m., 29.84 at 11:57 a.m., and 29.77 at 1:53 p.m.

The level looked to be normal. The surface temperature ranged from 57 to 58 degrees. The water clarity exhibited three to five feet of visibility. Some of the patches of American water willows that this reservoir's shorelines are still green, but some of them have turned yellow and are slowly wilting and dying. The reservoir's coontail patches are not as bountiful as they were during the summer and early fall. What's more, many of the coontail patches are low-lying and exhibiting a brownish hue rather than a greenish one, which might be the byproduct of two sunless days. Some of the coontail patches are littered with filamentous algae. In addition to the patches of American water willows and coontail, the shoreline is ringed with scores of boat docks.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing should transpire from 5:31 a.m. to 7:31a.m., 5:53 p.m. to 7:53 p.m., and 11:20 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. We fished from 9:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.

The only bait that I employed was a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. As of Nov. 4, this particular Finesse WormZ and Gopher jig had inveigled 202 largemouth bass. (This feat was accomplished in 10 1/2 hour of fishing: four hours on Oct. 21, 3 1/2 hours on Oct. 23, and three hours on Nov. 4.) Rick made a few casts and retrieves with a shortened Z-Man green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, but he primarily wielded a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which he estimated had caught at least 100 largemouth bass during the month of October, and most of those were caught on Oct. 9, when he and I tangled with 121 largemouth bass in four hours.

We began the outing by plying the dam, which is covered with riprap and the water's edge is embellished with thick patches of American water willows. Patches of coontail grace the outside edges of some of the American water willow patches. The dam yielded three largemouth bass, which were caught on the slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The boat floated in eight to 13 feet of water, and the largemouth bass were extracted out of four to seven feet of water.

From the dam, we ventured to the upper portions of the reservoir's primary feeder-creek arm, where we searched for patches of coontail along the shorelines and across many squares of offshore mud flats. The offshore mud flats were not fruitful. Ultimately, we spent the preponderance of this outing in the reservoir's upper regions and plying shorelines that were graced with patches American water willows and coontail. Three of the shorelines were flat, and three of them were relatively steep.

Along the steeper shorelines, we caught 19 largemouth bass on our Finesse WormZ rigs, and we caught two largemouth bass on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Most of these largemouth bass were caught while we were employing a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. But a few of them were caught on either the initial drop or when we were strolling and dragging the Finesse WormZ behind the boat. The preponderance of these largemouth bass was abiding around patches of coontail that embellished the outside edges of patches of American water willows, but three of them abiding around rocks or concrete retaining walls. These steep-shoreline largemouth bass were extracted out of four to seven feet of water. The boat floated in six to 12 feet of water.

Along the flat shorelines, we caught 31 largemouth bass on our Finesse WormZ rigs. A few of them engulfed the Finesse WormZ on the initial drop, but we caught the bulk of them when we were slowly swimming the Finesse WormZ across the patches of coontail. These largemouth bass were milling about in three feet of water. The boat floated in two to six feet of water.

Rick Hebenstreit with one of the 60 largemouth bass that we caught of Nov. 5.

We spent the final 35 minutes of the outing dissecting the coontail patches inside a secondary feeder-creek arm and the coontail patches on a main-lake point in the middle portions of the reservoir. We caught four largemouth bass around the patches of coontail inside the secondary feeder-creek. Three of them were caught as we were employing the swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve with our Finesse WormZ rigs, and we caught one as we were strolling the Finesse WormZ behind the boat. These largemouth bass were abiding in three to five feet of water.

At the main-lake point, which was our finale, we caught one largemouth bass along the outside edge of a massive patch of coontail. This largemouth bass engulfed the Finesse WormZ rig as we began to implement the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The boat was floating in six feet of water, and that largemouth bass was in about four feet of water.

In total, we caught 60 largemouth bass, four crappie, and two white bass. When I arrived home, I permanently retired the slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and its final total was 238 largemouth bass. I mailed the Finesse WormZ to Daniel Nussbaum of Ladson, South Carolina. He is the general manager and executive vice president of Z-Man Fishing Products.

This is largemouth bass number 238 that was caught on the slightly shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ and a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.It was caught on the last cast of our Nov. 5 outing.

Nov. 7 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief log on Finesse News Network about his Nov. 7 outing with Greg Monahan of Lee's Summit, Missouri, at a eastern Kansas power-plant reservoir.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his log:

When we arrived at the boat ramp shortly before 8:00 a.m., we witnessed the largest flotilla of bass boats that we have ever seen. As they were beginning to blast off, we pondered about going to another reservoir. Ultimately, we decided to give it a try. And once we got on the water, it was not crowded. We could not figure out where all the anglers went. Overall, the largemouth bass fishing was spotty at best.

It was 43 degrees at 4:53 a.m. and 59 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind was mild mannered, angling out of the north by northeast at 4 mph, out of the north at 4 to 8 mph, out of the east by northeast at 6 mph, and out of the north by northwest at 5 to 10 mph. It was mostly sunny from 7:53 a.m. to sunset. The barometric pressure was 30.30 at 12:53 a.m., 30.37 at 5:53 a.m., 30.43 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.38 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing should take place from 6:47 a.m. to 8:47 a.m., 7:08 p.m. to 9:08 p.m., and 12:37 a.m. to 2:37 a.m. We fished from around 8:00 a.m. to nearly 3:00 p.m.

The water exhibited about two feet of visibility at the dam. The water level was about 1 1/2 feet below normal. The surface temperature at the dam was 61 degrees, and it was 68 degrees inside the warm-water plume.

We thoroughly dissected four main-lake bluffs, which lie inside the warm-water plume. We also fished the riprap along the dam and a 100-yard section of a riprap shoreline that lies slightly outside of the plume of warm water.

We caught 16 largemouth bass, six white bass, two green sunfish, one wiper, one channel catfish, and one freshwater drum.

The best fishing occurred along one of the main-lake bluffs and a short stretch along the dam. On two consecutive casts with a Heddon Zara Spook along the riprap shoreline, I had a lunker-size largemouth bass porpoise completely out of the water around the Spook, but I failed to hook them, and after those two strikes we did not engender another strike on this shoreline.

We caught the bulk of the fish on either a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's Bama Craw Zero affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a 2 1/2-inch Junebug Zero on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Bob Gum with one of the largemouth bass that he and Greg Monahan caught on a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Zero rig.

Nov. 9-12 log

During the second week of November, I was in Oklahoma, and during this spell, I was primarily watching other anglers fish. To read about those days, please examine the Midwest Finesse column at this link: http://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/three-days-with-gene-larew-lures-and-bill-lewis-outfitters/.

Fred Roumbanis of Bixby, Oklahoma, with one of the smallmouth bass he caught by employing Midwest finesses rigs at Tenkiller Ferry Lake, Oklahoma, on Nov. 11.

Nov. 13 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 13 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

Nov. 13 was not an easy and comfortable day to be afloat. When the wind was howling at 20 mph with gusts that breached 30 mph, I wondered more than once if I would have been better off sitting next to the fireplace.

After being at work the last few days, and then spending the morning getting wood to burn in order to keep the house warm, I wanted nothing more than to lip a few brown bass. So I went fishing, defying my common sense and yet at the same time hoping that it would be worth it.

At the spot I wanted to fish, the United States Geological Survey indicated that the river was flowing at 324 cubic feet per second, and they noted that the water temperature was 48 degrees.

The large upswing of the river's flow since my last report on Nov. 4 was the result of a massive rainstorm.

The weather forecasters predicted that the high temperature would reach 53 degrees, but I doubted that it would climb that high.

I launched the kayak at 10:20 a.m.

I made my way up river against a horrific wind. The last of this year's leaves were falling into the water, and many of them were spread throughout the water column.

After 39 minutes of rigorous paddling, I arrived at a deep hole that I hoped was sheltering an aggregation of smallmouth bass. The bottom of this hole is littered with timber. And this timber-filled hole is big enough that most smallmouth bass should find it to be a comfortable place to spend the winter.

I set up on the weak side of the river in four feet of water at the lip of the hole and near to where it dropped into 11 or more feet of water.

I had four G. Loomis SJR6400IMX Spin Jig rods spooled with four-pound-test Gamma fluorocarbon line. One rod sported a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's The Deal ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Another one sported a heavily customized two-inch Z-Man's The Deal EZ TubeZ affixed to an inserted 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The third rod sported a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Dirt Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The fourth rod sported a heavily customized three-inch Z-Man's blue-steel Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

All of the baits were covered with various kinds of Pro-Cure's Super Gels.

I began the outing with the Finesse ShadZ rig, and I could not get it near the bottom. After 10 fruitless casts with the Finesse ShadZ, I picked up the rod with the ZinkerZ rig, and I was able to swim it a few inches above the bottom, and it inveigled seven smallmouth bass. Then I used the EZ TubeZ rig with a deadstick presentation, and it caught 11 smallmouth bass. I eventually caught a smallmouth bass on the Finesse ShadZ, and it was a 19-incher, which engulfed the Finesse ShadZ on the drop.

After battling wind gusts up to 30 mph for three hours and three minutes, I called it a day. Even though it wasn't a stellar outing, I was happy to have caught a few smallmouth bass. And as I headed for home, I noticed that the wind had toppled some trees into the river, which ought to be good lairs to ply during the spring of 2016.

Nov. 17 log

Travis Perret of Overland Park, Kansas, and I spent four afternoon hours at a heavily fished community reservoir at one of the many suburbs that surround Kansas City, Kansas, on Nov. 17.

The Weather Underground noted that it was 59 degrees at 12:53 a.m., 60 degrees at 5:53 a.m., 57 degrees at 11:53 a.m., and 59 degrees at 3:53 p.m.

Except for a few afternoon hours, it rained most of the day, and by 6:31 p.m., 1.68 inches of rain had fallen. It rained during the first two hours that we were afloat, and it was overcast and sprinkled a tad during the last two hours of our outing. While we were afloat, the wind angled out of the southeast at 9 to 24 mph, out of the east by southeast at 13 to 20 mph, and out of the south by southeast at 16 to 23 mph. (Because of the velocity and angle of the wind, we had to employ a drift sock at several locales that we fished.) The barometric pressure was 29.62 at 12:53 a.m., 29.50 at 5:53 a.m., 29.48 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.39 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would transpire from 2:27 a.m. to 4:27 a.m., 2:53 p.m. to 4:53 p.m., and 8:40 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. We fished from 12:05 p.m. to 4:05 p.m.

Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished this reservoir on Nov. 5, and on that outing, the water level was normal. The surface temperature ranged from 57 to 58 degrees. The water clarity exhibited three to five feet of visibility. On the Nov. 17 outing, the water level was about eight inches above normal. The surface temperature was 53 degrees. The water clarity in the upper reaches of this reservoir was murky, exhibiting three to four inches of visibility, but in its lower portions, it exhibited three to four feet of visibility. This reservoir's shorelines are littered with hundreds of boat docks. Some of its shorelines are adorned with patches of American water willows, which are exhibiting a yellow and brown hue. Many of its shallow-water flats are graced with patches of coontail, and the coontail patches in the lower portions of the reservoir are healthier than the ones in the upper portions where the water is murky.

Travis and I began fishing around boat docks, patches of American water willows, and coontail in the murky water in the upper reaches of this reservoir. These murky water lairs yielded three largemouth bass. One largemouth bass was inveigled on a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man's smoke-purple GrubZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce darter-head jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These largemouth bass were abiding in about three feet of water around patches of coontail. We caught one of them on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig, and the other two were caught while we were employing a slow swimming retrieve.

During the rest of the outing, we stayed out of the murky water, and we spent 3 1/2 hours in the upper third of the portions of the reservoir, where the water was relatively clear, exhibiting 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet of visibility. We plied flat shorelines and points, where the boat floated in four to seven feet of water, and we plied steeper shorelines, where the boat floated in eight to 13 feet of water. We caught 48 largemouth bass at these locales. Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's The Deal Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. Three largemouth bass were caught on the 3 1/2-inch smoke-purple GrubZ rig. Four largemouth bass were caught on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Thirty-nine largemouth bass were caught on either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's watermelon ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We spent the final 30 minutes of this outing in the lower portions of the reservoir, where the terrain is flat and embellished with some significant patches of coontail.

We quickly plied coontail patches in one small cove and a secondary point, where we failed to elicit a strike. At this spot, we were following a pair of power anglers along these coontail patches, and we saw them catch one largemouth bass on a white spinnerbait.

During the last 20 minutes, we quickly fished portions of a secondary feeder-creek arm and one of its main-lake points, where we caught six largemouth bass. Three largemouth bass were caught on the watermelon ZinkerZ rig and three were caught on the Junebug ZinkerZ rig. Three of these largemouth bass were caught along a concrete retaining wall halfway inside this secondary feeder-creek arm, where there are a few scraggly American water willow patches surrounded by some scanty coontail patches. One largemouth bass was extracted out of four feet of water from a massive coontail patch along a flat shoreline about a third of the way inside this secondary feeder-creek arm. On Travis' final cast and retrieve, he caught a largemouth bass on the main-lake point, and I did too. These two largemouth bass were abiding in a patch of coontail in about four feet of water.

Travis Perret with one of the 57 largemouth bass that we caught on Nov. 17.

In sum, we caught 57 largemouth bass, two channel catfish, and one crappie. Ten largemouth bass liberated themselves from our barbless hooks before we could lift them across the gunnels of the boat.

We failed to establish a dominant retrieve. Thus, we worked with a variety of retrieves throughout the outing. We caught a goodly number of largemouth bass while our rigs were either strolled or dragged behind the boat; sometimes they were strolled and dragged on the bottom, and at other times they were strolled and dragged through or over patches of coontail. We also caught a significant number of largemouth bass while we were slowly swimming our rigs through, over, and around patches of coontail. We caught some while we were executing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve around patches of coontail and along the outside edges of patches of American water willows. Along the steeper lairs and shorelines, we employed a subtle hop-and-bounce presentation, which was occasionally punctuated with a deadstick routine. Some of the largemouth bass engulfed our Midwest finesse rigs on the initial drop.

For more information about Travis Perret, please use these links:

(a) http://www.felixfishing.com/category/help-with-chronic-pain/.

(b) http://exercisetherapykc.com.

(c) http://www.in-fisherman.com/2012/02/14/brent-chapman-and-travis-perret-team-up/.

(d) http://www.in-fisherman.com/2012/11/14/egocuse-perret-and-me-an-update/.

(e) http://www.in-fisherman.com/2012/02/20/perret-egoscue-and-me-my-quest-for-pain-free-fishing/.

(f) http://www.in-fisherman.com/2013/04/13/the-genius-of-travis-perret/.

(g) http://felixfishing.com/.

(h) Anglers can talk to Perret by calling 913-424-9354. He can also work with angler via the Internet, and he can be reached by e-mail at travis@exercisetherapykc.com.

Nov.19 log

For the past several outings we have been having power-steering problems with our tow vehicle, and we had an appointment at 2:00 p.m. to have it fixed. Before we delivered it to the mechanic, I made a quick trip to a nearby community reservoir.

Throughout 2015, this reservoir, which used to be one of the most bountiful largemouth bass reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, has treated Midwest finesse anglers wretchedly. In fact, it had been so dreadful this past summer that I have avoided fishing it for the past 57 days.

Here are two examples of how trying the largemouth bass fishing has been: I fished it from 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Sept. 1, and I eked out six largemouth bass. Then the last time that I fished it occurred on Sept. 22, when I was afloat from 11:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., and I caught 10 largemouth bass.

I expected that this Nov. 19 outing would be a horrible ordeal, too, but to my surprise, I caught 41 largemouth bass, and I tangled with five fish that I did not see before they liberated themselves from the barbless hooks on my Gopher jigs.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 33 degrees at 7:52 a.m. and 51 degrees at 2:52 p.m. It was sunny, and there was rarely a cloud in sight. While I was afloat, the wind angled out of the northwest at 9 to 18 mph and west by northwest at 11 to 13 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.96 at 12:52 a.m., 30.15 at 5:52 a.m., 30.27 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.25 at 1:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be a few inches below normal. The surface temperature was 54 degrees. The water was stained with an algae bloom, which limited the visibility to the point that I could not see a hooked two-pound largemouth bass two feet below the surface.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 4:33 a.m. to 6:33 a.m., 4:59 p.m. to 6:59 p.m. and 10:46 a.m.to 12:46 p.m. I fished from 10:15 a.m. to 12:55 p.m.

For the entire 160 minutes that I was afloat, I fished portions of two shorelines inside one of the reservoir's four feeder-creek arms. These shorelines are shallow and mostly flat. As I fished, the boat floated in three to 10 feet of water. Thirty-one boat docks clutter these shorelines. The water's edge along some of the sections of the shorelines are graced with patches of American water willows, and some of the American water willows are still exhibiting hints of green, but the bulk of them are turning yellow and a tad brown. I saw some sprigs of coontail and Eurasian milfoil floating on the surface, but I failed to find any patches of coontail, curly-leaf pondweed and milfoil. (Traditionally, the curly-leaf pondweed begins to sprout in this reservoir this time of the year.) The geological features of the underwater terrain consist of gravel, rock, silt, and some boulders. The shorelines are also embellished with a few laydowns.

About 97 percent of my casts and retrieves were made with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ on a charteruse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The other bait that I used was a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The ZinkerZ rig inveigled 39 of the 41 largemouth bass.

A few of the largemouth bass engulfed the bait on the initial drop or when I was employing a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve, but the bulk of them were allured by either a slow hop-and-bounce retrieve or a slow drag-and-short-deadstick presentation.

About 15 percent of the largemouth bass were caught when the ZinkerZ rig was from 15 to 20 feet from the water's edge or outside edge of the patches of American water willows. About 65 percent of them were caught within 10 feet of the water's edge or outside edge of the American water willows. Twenty percent of them were caught adjacent to the water's edge or outside edge of the American water willows.

When I caught one largemouth bass, I usually caught two to five more from the same area. Then I would make scores of casts and retrieves and dissect many yards of the shoreline without eliciting a strike.

These 41 largemouth bass were caught in water as shallow as two feet and no deeper than six feet of water. Most of them were caught in three to four feet of water.

I am now hoping that this outing wasn't an anomaly, and the wintertime largemouth bass fishing at this reservoir will be fruitful once again.

Nov. 22 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on Finesse News Network about his Nov. 22 on an U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

Here is a slightly edited and condescend version of his log:

November was turned upside down on Nov. 4, when my wife's mother suffered a massive stroke. She remained in a coma until Nov. 10, when she passed away. Our family flew to Michigan on Nov. 15, where we attended her funeral and visited with distant relatives during the following four days. We returned home on Nov. 20. Therefore, Nov. 22 was the first opportunity I have had to fish since Nov. 2.

Winter made its first appearance on Nov. 21, when a severe cold front accompanied by 25 to 35 mph winds roared across north-central Texas and dropped area temperatures from a high of 71 degrees on Nov. 20 to a high of 46 degrees on Nov. 21. By 5:00 a.m. on Nov. 22, area thermometers measured the nighttime temperature at 27 degrees and frost covered everything. It was also the first freeze we have seen since March 8. The average date for the first freeze in these parts is Nov. 22, and our first winter-like cold spell was right on schedule. The sky was clear and cloudless. The sun was intensely bright. The afternoon high temperature reached 53 degrees by 3:00 p.m. The barometric pressure measured 30.39 inches of mercury at 11:00 a.m. and dropped to 30.27 inches by 5:00 p.m. A light breeze blew out of the south and southeast at 4 to 8 mph.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the best fishing periods should occur between the hours of 12:38 a.m. and 2:38 a.m., 6:51 a.m. and 8:51 a.m., and 7:19 p.m. to 9:19 p.m. I fished from 12:15 p.m. to 4:11 p.m., and I spent the entire time in the southwest tributary arm of the reservoir.

I was not very optimistic about my chances of enjoying the splendid largemouth bass fishing that we had been relishing during the past three months. The first major cold front of November traditionally marks the turning point where the largemouth bass fishing in north-central Texas begins to wind down. It continues to decline into late November and early December. And then our Florida-strain largemouth bass become nearly comatose during the cold-water period that begins in mid-December and ends in mid-March.

During my Nov. 22 foray, the water clarity was stained and exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water temperature was 61 degrees. The water level was a tad high, measuring 1.07 feet above normal pool.

I made my first casts and retrieves along two main-lake points and a large mud flat that separates the two points. These two points and mud flat are situated along the south shoreline and about halfway inside the tributary arm. Both points and the mud flat are covered with large patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation in two to five feet of water. The leaves of the flooded vegetation are brown and many of the branches are bare. I began wielding a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man's Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I targeted the small points, deep-water edges, and open-water areas in the flooded vegetation while the boat floated in six to eight feet of water, but I failed to garner any strikes.

I fished another main-lake point that is located along the south shoreline and about a quarter mile west of the first two points. This main-lake point is endowed with a submerged roadbed that courses northward from the shoreline. Flooded brush lines the shoreline on both sides of the point in three to six feet of water. The boat floated in eight to 10 feet of water. I utilized a Z-Man's black Split-Tail TrailerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and it was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. I caught two largemouth bass that were relating to the flooded brush adjacent to the submerged roadbed in three to five feet of water.

After I fished the main-lake point, I dissected the southeast and northwest sections of a riprap-covered bridge embankment and several concrete support pilings that stand in 10 to 15 feet of water. The southeast end of the embankment yielded three largemouth bass that were associated with the riprap along the water's edge in three feet of water. All three of these largemouth bass were caught on a customized 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's black-blue laminate EZ TubeZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was presented with an aggressive and exaggerated rendition of the hop-and bounce retrieve. (This presentation is performed by aggressively snapping the bait off the bottom about two to three feet, then the bait is allowed to slowly fall back to the bottom on a semi-slack line with no additional action added to the bait. The moment the bait settles on the bottom, the bait is immediately snapped upward again, and it is allowed to slowly fall back to the bottom on a semi-slack line. This routine was repeated about a third of the way back to the boat before it was reeled in for another cast.)

One largemouth bass was caught next to the side of a concrete support piling, and it was suspended about five feet deep in 12 feet of water. This bass engulfed the customized 2 3/4-inch EZ TubeZ that was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve next to the concrete piling.

I did not elicit any strikes along the northeast section of the embankment.

Next, I worked my way northward into a main-lake cove on the north side of the tributary arm. I fished two secondary points and one large mud flat that are located about halfway back inside the cove. The mud flat was adorned with many yards of flooded terrestrial vegetation in three to five feet of water, but it failed to surrender any bass. Both points are enhanced with large concrete boat ramps, riprap, and flooded vegetation.

The first point relinquished two largemouth bass and two spotted bass. The two largemouth bass were relating to patches of riprap that reinforce the sides of the concrete boat ramp in three to five feet of water. Both of the spotted bass were relating to the deep-water end of the boat ramp in five feet of water. The two largemouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig and a slow-swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The two spotted bass were caught on the customized 2 3/4-inch black-blue laminate EZ TubeZ that was employed with the aggressive hop-and-bounce presentation.

The other secondary point surrendered four largemouth bass that were relating to the sides of the second boat ramp in three to five feet of water. All four of these largemouths were caught on the customized 2 3/4-inch EZ TubeZ and exaggerated hop-and-bounce retrieve.

After that, I fished a large main-lake cove that is situated about a mile east of the previous cove. This cove is about the size of four football fields. The east-side entry point is steep and rocky, with several large boulders that lie about 10 feet off the tip of the point in about four to six feet of water. The west-side entry point is flat, and its underwater terrain consists of hard clay and gravel. The cove's underwater topography encompasses a large clay and gravel flat, and it is adorned with several small tertiary points. About 50 yards of the south shoreline and 100 yards of its east shoreline are enhanced with partially flooded terrestrial vegetation. About 25 yards of the south shoreline is covered with riprap.

This cove was brimming with two-inch shad on Oct. 29 and yielded 30 largemouth bass. But on this Nov. 22 outing, I was unable to locate any significant numbers of shad in this cove, and this cove yielded only two largemouth bass.

Both of these largemouth bass were caught in five feet of water along the east shoreline and were relating to the deep-water edges of the flooded brush. One engulfed the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ that was retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The other largemouth bass was caught on the customized 2 3/4-inch black-blue laminate EZ TubeZ and swim-glide-and-shake motif. The south shoreline failed to yield any bass.

The last area I fished was another large main-lake cove that is situated along the south shoreline of the tributary. I fished three secondary points, two small sections of a steep and rocky shoreline, and one asphalt boat ramp that are located about midway inside the cove.

The boat ramp did not surrender any bass. One of the three secondary points yielded three largemouth bass. All three bass were relating to the tip of the point in five to eight feet of water, and they were caught on the customized 2 3/4-inch black-blue laminate EZ TubeZ and exaggerated hop-and-bounce retrieve. One of the two sections of the steep and rocky shoreline relinquished two largemouth bass that were abiding in ten feet of water and about 15 to 20 feet from the water's edge. Both of these largemouth bass were caught on the customized 2 3/4-inch EZ TubeZ and aggressive hop-and bounce retrieve.

All told, the fishing was better than I expected. I caught 19 largemouth bass and two spotted bass during this three hour and 56 minute endeavor. I failed to find any significant concentrations of shad, and I also failed to cross paths with any large aggregations of bass.

I utilized the customized 2 3/4-inch Z-Man black-blue laminate EZ TubeZ and exaggerated hop-and bounce retrieve about 70 percent of the time, and it inveigled 16 of the 21 black bass. Three largemouth bass were allured by the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation, which was used about 20 percent of the time. Two largemouth bass were coaxed into striking a Z-Man's black Split-Tail TrailerZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, which was employed about five percent of the time. During the remaining five percent of the time, I wielded a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man's Blue Glitter Sparkle GrubZ and steady swim retrieve, which failed to generate any strikes.

Nov. 23 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 23 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

When I got afloat on the river around midday, the United States Geological Survey was indicating the water temperature was 43 degrees, and the river was flowing at 210 cubic feet per second. I calculated that there was 10 feet of water clarity. Area thermometers hovered at 30 degrees, and they never breached 40 degrees, and there were occasional wind gusts.

I had four rods rigged. The 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's The Deal ZinkerZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught 17 smallmouth bass. The two-inch and heavily customized Z-Man's The Deal EZ TubeZ with an inserted 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught three smallmouth bass. The customized three-inch Z-Man's blue-steel Finesse ShadZ on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught 13 smallmouth bass. A 3 1/2-inch Z-Man's Dirt Finesse WormZ on an orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught seven smallmouth bass. All of these rigs were liberally covered with one of my Pro-Cure Super Gel concoctions. Except for the EZ TubeZ rig, these rigs were retrieved in a straight and slow manner with an occasional small shake-and-quiver presentation. The EZ TubeZ was popped off the bottom and allowed to settle and remain stationary for extended periods. I submerged my rod tip to combat heavy wind gusts.

After I caught 40 smallmouth bass in just more than three hours, I called it a day. Two of them were 18-inchers, and one was close to being a 20-incher. None of them were less than 15 inches long. The three largest smallmouth bass were huddled in an area no bigger than the size of my truck.

There were hundreds of big fallfish milling about under my kayak. They winter in the same areas as the smallmouth bass, but they abide a bit higher in the water column than the smallmouth bass do.

Every smallmouth bass was caught from a 50-yard stretch of the river. To get to it I had to traverse three miles of the river, and there is another three-mile stretch of virtually fishless wintertime water above it.

The bottom on this stretch of river contains a series of undulating granite ledges that are interspersed with very old and massive logs that fall from atop the extremely high cliffs that border this hole. Many eagles and various hawk species call those high cliffs that overlook the river their home.

These massive logs have not moved in the nine years that I have fished this hole, and I suspect that they rarely do. And every spring during the high-water spell, this hole garners more timber along its undulating bottom.

The granite ledges or spines run from the base of the strong side of the river's cliff walls to half or even three quarters of the way across the river. They almost resemble fingers on an angler's hand.

The water varies in depth from six feet at the top of the ledges or spines and drops down to fifteen feet at the base or bottom of the ledges or spines. Along a 50-yard stretch, there are four ledges or spines.

The smallmouth bass position themselves in the deepest or most cavernous sections of these granite ledges, and they typically remain there until mid-April.

Once riverine smallmouth bass inhabit their wintering areas, they do not like to move or experience any changes. Thus, they are no longer nomadic, and they forage upon a constant food source, which is small chubs and tiny panfish.

This is what I call a textbook wintering area. I found it seven summers ago, when the water level was low. Since then, I begin fishing it during the third week of October.

Nov. 23 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about the smallmouth bass outing that he and Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, had at a Civilian Conservation Corps hill-land reservoir in south-central Oklahoma.

Here is an edited and slightly condensed version of Reideler's log:

We last fished this reservoir on November 2, and during that five-hour undertaking, we tangled with 32 smallmouth bass.

On Nov. 23, the sun was shining in a partly cloudy sky. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 32 degrees, and the afternoon high temperature was 62 degrees. During the morning hours, the wind quartered out of the southeast at 5 to 10 mph, but by 1:00 p.m., the wind velocity increased to about 15 mph out of the southeast. The barometric pressure measured 30.29 at 10:35 a.m. and dropped to 30.17 by 3:35 p.m.

The water was clear and exhibited five feet of visibility. The surface water temperature was 59 degrees. The water level was normal.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the prime fishing periods would occur between 1:26 a.m. and 3:26 a.m., 7:40 a.m. to 9:40 a.m., and 8:07 p.m. to 10:07 p.m. Norman and I fished from about 10:40 a.m. to 3:40 p.m.

We spent the vast majority of this outing probing a mile-long section of a bluffy shoreline that lies along the south side of the reservoir's southeast feeder-creek arm. The boat floated in water as shallow as 23 feet and as deep as 51 feet. On Nov. 2, this area surrendered 28 smallmouth bass, but during our Nov. 23 undertaking, it yielded only seven smallmouth bass, two largemouth bass, and two green sunfish.

These fish were suspended and in about 15 feet of water, and they were randomly scattered along the bluff. We have found that the most fruitful technique for plying the sides of this bluff is to have the angler in the front of the boat and the angler in the back of the boat execute 40- to 50-feet casts straight out from the side of the boat and perpendicular to the face of the bluff. We try to cast our lures as close to the face of the bluff as possible, then we slowly swim, glide, and shake our baits away from the bluff. Most of the strikes have been extremely light and occur when the bait is in deep open water about halfway back to the boat. We failed to garner any strikes when we tried casting parallel to the face of the bluff.

Four smallmouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two smallmouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's Redbug Finesse WormZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-green-flake Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. All of these lures were retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. We also employed a Cabela's 1/16-ounce black hair jig and a customized 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin EZ TubeZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, but these two baits failed to garner any strikes.

The next spot we fished was a rocky main-lake flat that is situated along the south shoreline and adjacent to the bluffs. This flat is littered with fist-size riprap and several partially submerged bushes. The deep-water edges of this flat quickly descend into 35 feet of water. We utilized the Cabela's black 1/16-ounce hair jig, Z-Man's pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ, and the four-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-green flake Finesse WormZ, but we failed to garner any strikes.

After we fished the main-lake flat, we ventured into the east tributary arm of the reservoir, where we plied a wind-swept submerged main-lake hump that is located at the mouth of a main-lake cove. The top of the hump is covered with six feet of water and its sides are surrounded by 25 to 40 feet of water. The wind made boat control difficult at best, and we could eke out only one smallmouth bass before we were forced to return to the protection of the bluffs in the southeast feeder-creek arm. This smallmouth bass was relating to the top of the hump in six feet of water, and it engulfed the customized 2 3/4-inch green pumpkin EZ TubeZ that was presented with an aggressive and exaggerated hop-and-bounce retrieve. We spent about five minutes strolling the customized EZ TubeZ and the four-inch pumpkin-green-flake Finesse WormZ across the hump in eight to 17 feet of water. The four-inch Finesse WormZ enticed one strike, but we failed to hook the fish.

After we returned to the bluffs, we fished for about an hour and we caught one smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass that were suspended about 15 feet down in 48 feet of water. Both of them were caught on the Z-Man's Redbug Finesse WormZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We then called it a day.

Overall, it was a difficult and disappointing outing. The fishing was slow and trying, with long spells between strikes. We struggled to inveigle eight smallmouth bass, two largemouth bass, and we inadvertently caught two green sunfish during this five-hour endeavor. We also had two bass that were able to break off, and one pulled free before we could land it.

The two most fruitful baits were the Z-Man's pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ and four-inch Redbug Finesse WormZ. The swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most fruitful presentation.

Nov. 26 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

Thanksgiving of 2015 was the first Thanksgiving Day that I had enjoyed being off from work in six years. I was going to take advantage of the balmy weather and enjoy just being on the river. From the fishing aspect, it was going to be either a great outing or a complete bust. It was going to take place at a destination that I found on a map five years ago, and I fish it only once a year.

The weather forecast indicated that area thermometers would hit 62 degrees, and it would be mostly cloudy.

I woke early and helped my wife with the Thanksgiving Day meal that we would enjoy during the evening, when we entertained some of our neighbors.

At 9:20 a.m., I had the truck loaded with our Jackson Kayak and was on the road to fish an area that I had not visited this year.

For me this was a major road trip. I normally I do not venture very far from the many rivers near our home.

My plan on this day was to venture into northern Virginia to fish a very small river that is a feeder to a much larger well-known and extremely popular river for scores of anglers to ply.

There is no United States Geological Survey gauge on this particular flow, but I would guess it to be flowing at 125 cubic feet per second and the water temperature to be 41 degrees. It exhibited bottled-water clarity, and this small river's depth doesn't exceed eight feet.

I have crossed paths with only three fishermen all season, and even though I was fishing in the vicinity of a very heavily fished river, I suspected that on a Thanksgiving Day in late November that I would not be adding any more anglers to that tally. I was correct. I saw no one.

I arrived an hour and eleven minutes after departing from the garage. I picked this particular body of water because it has held massive numbers of good-sized smallmouth late in the season in years past.

By 10:51 a.m. I made my first paddle stroke on this creek that is a little over a cast wide. This very small feeder creek has all the things wintering riverine smallmouth seek. It rarely floods like the big river and each bend of it is completely covered in large boulders and old giant red oaks. What's more, there are massive schools of two- to four- inch chubs and juvenile suckers, and they are easy to see.

As I made my way up this little body of water, the deepest section of each bend contained impressive numbers of fish.

I had three rods rigged. All of the barbs on the hooks were removed. A well-used 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's Dirt ZinkerZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught 16 smallmouth bass. A well-used 3 1/4-inch Z-Man's Dirt Finesse WormZ on an orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught nine smallmouth bass. A customized three-inch Z-Man's blue-steel Finesse ShadZ on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught 10 smallmouth bass, including an 18 1/4-inch smallmouth bass, which is considered to be a behemoth on this creek. Every bait was covered with one of my Pro-Cure Super Gel concoctions every 20 minutes. Every fish engulfed the bait on the drop as I shook my rod tip.

I dissected every little bend that this small flow offered until I reached a log jam that goes from one bank to the other, and to get past it, I would have needed a chainsaw.

I fished a total of three hours and eight minutes. I was pleased with the outing and venturing to a flow that I had not visited in a year. I was also pleased that many healthy fish still inhabited this little flow that can be very easily exploited in the wrong hands.

Upon returning home and enjoying a great meal, it was evident that I had a lot to be thankful for.

Nov. 27 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Nov. 27 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Upon returning home from my Thanksgiving Day jaunt into nearby Virginia, I asked my wife if she would like to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather for a short outing on Nov. 27. She emphatically took me up on my offer.

The weather forecasters predicted that the high temperature would hit 68 degrees, it would be sunny, and the wind would be nil. Their predictions were on the mark — except the thermometer on my truck hit 72 degrees. I am guessing that we will not enjoy another balmy outing like this one during the remainder of the year.

At 9:40 a.m., my wife and I launched our two-person kayak near our home. My single hope was to put my wife on a large congregation of smallmouth bass on her final outing of 2015.

I picked a stretch nearly within sight of our house that I had fished a few weeks back. On that outing, I encountered the single biggest aggregation of riverine smallmouth bass that I had ever come across in all my years on any river on the East Coast.

The United States Geological Survey indicated that the water temperature was 44 degrees, and the water was flowing at 145 cubic feet per second. The water clarity was more than 10 feet.

As my wife and I began fishing, it was quickly evident that the smallmouth bass had not moved.

We concentrated on a stretch of river that is the deepest water within three river miles in either direction. The bottom is littered with giant oak trees and boulders, and it is 13 feet deep.

Before leaving the garage, I opened up my jig box and had 15-20 bags of various Z-Man offerings on the counter and asked my wife what she wanted to throw. Her choice was her beloved three-inch Z-Man's Mud minnow Hula StickZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, which inveigled 11 smallmouth bass.

I had four rods rigged. A 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's green- pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ on a red 1/32 — ounce Gopher caught 13 smallmouth bass. A well- worn (I have used it for nearly a month) three-inch Z-Man's Dirt Finesse WormZ on an orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught nine smallmouth bass and a 20-inch channel catfish. A customized three-inch green-pumpkin-blue-flake Finesse ShadZ on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught 11 smallmouth bass. A heavily customized two-inch Z-Man's pumpkin EZ TubeZ with an inserted unpainted 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught three smallmouth bass, and I made very few casts with the EZ TubeZ rig.

All of the barbs on the hooks were removed. Every rig was coated with one of my Pro-Cure Super Gel concoctions, and they were recoated every 20 minutes.

When the action slowed with the Hula StickZ, my wife began wielding a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and that combo caught seven smallmouth bass and two very healthy 16-inch largemouth bass.

The largemouth exhibited a very distinct dark-green lateral line, which is a cold-water phenomenon that I relish and marvel at this time of year.

All of our retrieves were executed with a very slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The bulk of the fish engulfed our baits on the glide, and we had to watch our lines to detect the strikes, which were extremely soft.

We fished a total of four hours and eight minutes. We enjoyed a couple of turkey legs as we sat on a giant rock and called it a day.

I am leaving these particular fish alone for the remainder of the year. Fishing for them twice is enough in my eyes.

During one of the first days of December, I hope to make a solo trip to an extremely remote stretch of the river that should have similar numbers of consolidated smallmouth bass. I have not visited it since last year. This particular 80-yard stretch yielded 73 smallmouth bass on the first week of November of 2014. My hopes are high.

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