Midwest Finesse Fishing: October 2014

Midwest Finesse Fishing: October 2014

David Hebenstreit of Lahinch, Ireland, and Duluth, Minnesota, with one of the 58 largemouth bass and spotted bass that he, his brother, and father caught on Oct. 15 by fishing boat docks at an Ozark reservoir.

October's guide to Midwest finesse fishing is brimming with a variety of piscatorial observations from Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas; Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas; Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; David Hebenstreit of Lahinch, Ireland, and Duluth, Minnesota; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Ralph Manns of Rockwall, Texas; Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina; Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas; Doug and Evan Shoemaker of Edina, Minnesota; and Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana.


October can be a trying time for power and finesse anglers, and it was this time around for most of us. For instance, Steve Quinn of Brainerd, Minneosta, who is primarily a power angler but fishes for a variety of species and employs some finesse tactics at times, wrote the following observations in an Oct. 16 email: "I hope the fall bite is improving for you. My son and I and Jacob Wheeler from Indiana enjoyed some outstanding action on big smallmouths on the St. Croix River on Columbus Day. Otherwise, we have had a slow fall bite up here in the Northwoods, as well as in Venice, Louisiana, where redfish were the target." And Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, wrote in an Oct. 30 email: "The fishing was so tedious yesterday that I didn't have the gumption to go out today."

Because the fishing was so difficult, there were considerably fewer words written and logs compiled than are normally assembled in these monthly guides to Midwest finesse fishing. Nevertheless, this October's guide provides readers with many facts and insights about how, when, and where largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass can be caught at a variety of waterways during the 31 days of October.


We are thankful that Steve Reideler continues to proof read all of the logs. His work made this 14,176-word guide more readable and understandable.

Oct. 1 log

I made a quick afternoon jaunt to a nearby 195-acre community reservoir on Oct. 1.

The National Weather Service in Lawrence, Kansas, noted that it was 64 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 82 degrees at 4:52 p.m. The normal low temperature for Oct. 1 is 51 degrees, and the normal high temperature is 73 degrees. Since Sept. 26, the daily high and low temperatures have been significantly above normal. The wind angled out of the southeast at 3 to 9 mph, out of the south at 6 to 15 mph, out of the southwest at 13 to 21 mph, and out of the east at 6 to 9 mph. The sky alternated from being overcast to thundering and raining to foggy and misty to fair. The barometric pressure was 29.76 at 12:52 a.m., 29.75 at 5:52 a.m., 29.75 at 12:52 p.m., and 29.70 at 2:52 p.m. A nascent hint of autumn graced the low-slung hills that surround this reservoir and its riparian border, and the NWS says a frost is imminent, and perhaps it will occur on Oct. 4.

The surface temperature was 75 degrees, which is three to four degrees warmer than it was on Sept. 23. Traditionally, the surface temperature on the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas ranges from 66 to 70 degrees on Oct. 1. An algae bloom affected the water clarity, reducing the visibility to 12 inches in the most stained locales to about 20 inches in the clearest spots. The water level looked to be nearly normal. I crossed paths with eight schools of young gizzard shad, and I occasionally spotted some surface foraging fish around some of those schools.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted the best fishing would occur from 4:41 a.m. to 6:41 a.m. and 5:09 p.m. to 7:09 p.m. There was a minor period from 10:55 a.m. to 12:55 p.m. I fished from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Since mid-September, I have been spending several hours wielding and writing about Z-Man Fishing Products' Scented LeechZ. For part of this project, I interviewed David Walker of Sevierville, Tennessee, on Sept. 26 about the Scented LeechZ's history and manifold merits.

Walker is a veteran and accomplished professional bass tournament angler on the Bassmaster Elite circuit, and he played a major role in Z-Man's creation of the Scented LeechZ. Walker said he has never employed Midwest finesse tactics. Therefore, he has never affixed a Scented LeechZ to a small mushroom-style jig. Instead, he wields it on a drop-shot rig, and he only uses it when he is fishing for smallmouth bass at waterways in the northern states, such as Bay de Noc on Lake Michigan at Escanaba, Michigan. He has never used it to catch smallmouth bass that abide in the reservoirs and streams of Tennessee. During the interview, Walker said that his two most fruitful colors are the black-gold-flake Scented LeechZ and green-pumpkin one.

I had never used the black-gold-flake rendition. So, on this two-hour outing, I affixed it to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head Jig, and it was the only bait that I used.

During the first hour, I probed about 90 percent of the north shoreline of a feeder-creek arm. This shoreline merges into the dam, and I fished about 20 percent of the dam. The shoreline is embellished with one massive patch of cattails, nearly endless patches of American water willows, rocks, gravel, some clay and silt, stumps, some colossal boulders, and a goodly number of patches of Eurasian milfoil. The dam is rock-laden.

Along this stretch, the boat floated in seven to 10 feet of water. I made short casts -- ranging from 15 to 25 feet long -- to the outside edges of the cattails and American water willows, and I executed an extremely slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. In the shallow and relatively stained flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas, I am a fan of employing short casts and retrieves, and the Scented LeechZ and 1/16-ounce Gopher jig is an ideal combo for this method. During the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, which is an effective retrieve to use with a short cast, the Scented LeechZ exhibited a distinctive quiver, and its tail displayed a unique wobble.

During the first hour of this two-hour outing, the black-gold-flake Scented LeechZ and Gopher jig bewitched 17 largemouth bass. Five of these were caught at the outside edges of the American water willows, and the others were hooked from five to 10 feet from the outside edges. Some of the casts were perpendicular to the edges of the American water willows. Some casts were parallel to the edges of the American water willows. Some the parallel casts and retrieves were within a foot of the edge of the American water willows, Some of the parallel casts and retrieves were as far as six feet from the edge of the American water willows, and these focused on some of the boulders, stumps, and submerged Eurasian milfoil.

During the last hour, I quickly fished three shorelines in two other feeder-creek arms, where I employed the same short casts and slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve that I used during the first hour.

One was on the west side and about 70 percent of the way inside the reservoir's south feeder-creek arm. This shoreline is flat and graced with American water willows, rocks, gravel, clay, silt, stumps, laydowns and patches of Eurasian milfoil, as well as a secondary point and a flat that contains the submerged remnants of a bridge. This shoreline is considerably flatter and shallower than the first one I fished. The black-gold-flake Scented LeechZ and Gopher jig caught three largemouth bass. Two of the largemouth bass were extracted from three feet of water around two different laydowns, and one largemouth was caught on the secondary point adjacent to a patch of American water willows in three feet of water.

The second shoreline was on the east side and along the middle portions of the south feeder-creek arm. It is embellished with American water willows, rocks, gravel, clay, stumps, laydowns, a beaver hut, patches of Eurasian milfoil, and a short stretch of riprap. The east shoreline is a tad steeper and deeper than the west shoreline. But it yielded only one largemouth bass, which was caught between the outside edge of a patch of American water willows and a stump.

The third shoreline was along the northwest side of the reservoir's southwest feeder-creek arm. I fished about 75 yards of this massive shoreline, which is cluttered with six boat docks, three retaining walls, rocks, gravel, a secondary point, some patches of Eurasian milfoil, and a few patches of American water willows. I caught four largemouth bass in about three to four feet of water on the secondary point. Two of them were near the outside edge of a patch of American water willows, and two of them were about seven feet from the edge of the American water willows.

Until the past two summers, Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas have seldom had to contend with vast populations of small gizzard shad. Therefore, most of the time, our largemouth bass and smallmouth bass foraged primarily on invertebrates. But the gizzard shad in flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas had a rare and bountiful spawn this year, and uncountable numbers of tiny gizzard shad littered our reservoirs. And in the eyes of many Midwest finesse anglers, it has had an adverse effect on our largemouth bass fishing. But on my Oct. 1 outing, several of the largemouth bass that I caught along the north shoreline in the first feeder-creek arm regurgitated crayfish, which was a hopeful and delightful sight in my eyes. The reason for that revolves around the fact that when the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in northeastern Kansas forage on invertebrates rather than gizzard shad, it is easier for Midwest finesse anglers to catch them with the small soft-plastic baits and jigs, such as a Z-Man's Scented LeechZ and Gopher jig, that we traditionally employ.

In sum, the black-gold-flake Scented LeechZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught 25 largemouth bass, four green sunfish, and two channel catfish.

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Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, posted the following brief about his Oct. 1 outing with his father, Bill Poe.

He wrote: "We fished from 4:00 p.m. to around 7:00 p.m. We just tooled around the perimeter of a major creek arm in a small impoundment, fishing any likely looking shoreline target, such as water willows, wood, and rock.

"It was sunny and 80 degrees. The surface temperature was 78 degrees. The water had about 18 inches of clarity.

"We had a good natured contest. He loves the wacky rigged Senko, and I was committed to the 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's Zero. We landed 15 largemouth bass. The Zero caught nine of them, and the Senko caught six. But I was in front and hit some of the best targets first. So, I should have caught more of them.

"We had a jar of Berkley Gulp! Alive Shrimp in the boat, and we dipped our baits into the liquid scent in that jar, and in our eyes it had some positive effects. What occurred was exactly what happens in saltwater, and everything in the water started nibbling at the baits, including the largemouth bass. In the near future, I am going to follow the lead of Doug Stange, who is In-Fisherman's edit0r in chief, and use the whole Berkley Gulp! Alive Shrimp on a jig in freshwater.

"We caught nothing over three pounds, and Dad got that one. Most of the bass were caught in three feet of water, and they engulfed our baits on the initial drop. We both lost two good-sized bass that chased our baits as we were winding them in. We could not duplicate that chase bite until twilight, when a largemouth bass tried to annihilate Dad's buzzbait , but it missed the hook. We caught one channel catfish and failed to land a whale of a crappie.

"It was a very enjoyable evening with my Dad. He swears he will be building himself a Gopher rod for next year. I thought I had him sold after catching the nine-pounder this spring, but you know what they say about old dogs."

Oct. 3 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following report of the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 3 solo outing to a 250-acre reservoir in north-central Texas.

He wrote: "A cold front roared across north-central Texas during the evening hours of October 2, bringing rain showers, hail, and wind gusts of 70 to 90 mph. A local television meteorologist reported that these wind gusts equaled an EF-1 tornado or a Category-1 hurricane. On October 3, the National Weather Service reported that the morning low temperature was 60 degrees and the afternoon high was a comfortable 82 degrees. A pesky wind angled out of the north-by-northeast at 10 to 20 mph. The sun was dazzlingly bright in the clear light blue sky, and there was not a cloud in sight until late in the afternoon. The barometric pressure measured 30.17 and was slowly rising.

"In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted the best fishing periods occurring from 6:38 a.m. to 8:38 a.m. and 7:06 p.m. to 9:06 p.m. A minor period would take place from 12:24 a.m. to 2:24 a.m. I was afloat from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

"The water level appeared to be about two feet low. The surface temperature was 77 degrees. The water clarity was much dingier than normal, exhibiting one foot of visibility in the north end of the reservoir and two feet of visibility along the dam that forms the southern perimeter of this reservoir. I suspect the water clarity was adversely affected by the rain and gusty winds on October 2.

"I began the day plying the riprap-covered dam. I wielded a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin GrubZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The GrubZ was retrieved in a slow do-nothing swim technique and it beguiled four largemouth bass. The T.R.D. was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake cadence, and it allured two spotted bass. All six of these bass were relating to submerged riprap along the dam in three to six feet of water.

"I checked 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. I started fishing the wind-swept south shoreline, targeting the outside edges of the water willows with a 3 1/2-inch green-pumpkin GrubZ and slow do-nothing retrieve, and this tactic produced two largemouth bass. I then probed a large and partially submerged beaver hut in the back of the cove with the GrubZ, and it yielded a two-pound, three-ounce largemouth bass. These three bass were abiding in three to five feet of water. I worked my way along the north shoreline of this cove, and this area relinquished four more largemouth bass. Three of them were caught on the T.R.D. with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation, and one was tricked by a four-inch Z-Man's pumpkinseed Finesse WormZ rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve. These four bass were about 30 feet off the water's edge and relating to the north ledge of the creek channel in six to 10 feet of water.

"I made a short run to the north end of the reservoir and fished a cove in the northeast end of the reservoir. I concentrated on the rocky west bank of the cove, and it is stippled with small patches of water willows, a few laydowns, and several small hydrilla beds. The wind had picked up by this time and for the remainder of my outing, I deployed a drift sock to control my drift. I wielded the same 3 1/2-inch green-pumpkin GrubZ and a Z-Man's Canada Craw Hula StickZs on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and retrieved with a drag-shake-and-deadstick action, and I enticed two largemouth bass from three feet of water that were associated with a clay and gravel flat that lies just inside the mouth of the cove. Both of these bass were enticed by the GrubZ and slow do-nothing swim retrieve. The Hula StickZ was untouched.

"I explored another cove located in the northwest portion of the reservoir. This cove is festooned with thick walls of water willows, fist-sized rocks, and several laydowns. A creek channel courses along the north side of the cove. I continued to utilize the Hula StickZ and GrubZ while targeting the outside edges of the water willows and laydowns in five to eight feet of water. The north shoreline failed to yield any bass. The south shoreline surrendered one largemouth bass. This bass attacked the GrubZ as it was retrieved with a slow do-nothing swim technique along the edge of the water willows in four feet of water.

"I tested three wind-swept main-lake points along the west side of the reservoir, but I caught only one largemouth bass from one of these three points. This bass was relating to a dilapidated concrete boat ramp in three feet of water and was fooled by the 3 1/2-inch GrubZ and slow do-nothing swim presentation.

"I finished the day plying another cove on the west side of the reservoir. It is graced with softball and baseball-sized rocks, thick walls of water willows, and tall stands of cattails. I failed to garner any strikes along the north shoreline with the GrubZ and T.R.D. As I worked my way down the south shoreline, I extracted two largemouth bass from five feet of water along the outside edges of the water willows. Both of these largemouth bass were coaxed into striking the GrubZ and slow do-nothing swim retrieve.

"In sum, I tangled with 17 largemouth bass and two spotted bass during this five-hour foray. Z-Man's 3 1/2-inch green-pumpkin GrubZ and slow do-nothing swim retrieve enticed 13 largemouth bass. Z-Man's California Craw T.R.D. and swim-glide- and-shake technique caught three largemouth bass and two spotted bass. Z-Man's four-inch pumpkinseed Finesse WormZ and drag-shake-and-deadstick action coaxed one largemouth bass. Z-Man's Canada Craw Hula StickZ and drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve failed to entice any strikes."

Oct. 6 log

Steve Desch and I apprehensively decided to venture to a 416-acre community reservoir 0n Oct. 6. Despite our trepidations about spending four midday hours fishing this waterway, we possessed a few subdued hopes that we could catch at least an average of 10 largemouth bass or smallmouth bass an hour. But all of our angsts proved to be on the mark.

This reservoir has been a problematic one for Desch and me for months on end. In fact, after we caught 81 largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, six walleye, three channel catfish, three crappie, and one rainbow trout in five hours of fishing on May 21, we have fished this reservoir seven times. And across those seven outings, which encompassed about 35 hours of fishing, we caught a total of only 170 largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, or an average of only 24 per outing, or an average of 4.8 per hour. On one of those sorry outings, which occurred on Sept. 16, when Desch wisely didn't join me, I caught only six largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass.

The National Weather Service at Topeka, Kansas, noted that it was 51 degrees at 2:53 a.m. and 75 degrees at 2:53 p.m. on Oct. 6. The normal low temperature for this date is 49 degrees, and the normal high temperature is 71 degrees. From 12:53 a.m. to 1:53 p.m., the wind angled out of the west at 3 to 9 mph, out of the southwest at 6 to 7 mph, out of the northwest at 5 mph, and around 2:53 p.m., it began to blow out of the west and southwest at 12 to 20 mph. It alternated from being partly cloudy to fair. The barometric pressure was 29.97 at 12:53 a.m., 29.87 at 5:53 a.m., 29.81 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.74 at 2:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be more than 1 1/2 feet below normal. The surface temperature ranged from 67 to 68 degrees. The water exhibited more than seven feet of visibility, and Desch, who used to fish a lot at Table Rock Lake, Missouri, periodically called it ether Ozark clear or Table Rock clear, and that is clear water indeed. Across the many years that Desch and I have fished this 419-acre reservoir, we have never seen the water as clear as it has been throughout 2014. We crossed paths with a lot of patches of bushy pondweed, which we have not encountered at this reservoir until this year, and as of Oct. 6, it has become a lake-wide phenomenon. What's more, we tangled with a number of clusters of Zebra mussels for the first time. In the upper reaches of the reservoir, a significant number of schools of young gizzard shad were milling about near the surface.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing took place from 8:59 a.m. to 10:59 a.m. and 9:26 p.m. to 11:26 p.m. There was a minor period from 2:46 a.m. to 4:46 a.m. Desch and I fished from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and during the first 25 minutes, we caught eight smallmouth bass, and during the next 50 minutes, we caught nine smallmouth bass. Then we caught only one smallmouth bass during the next 165 minutes that we fished.

Steve Desch with a pair of smallmouth bass that we caught.

The first three smallmouth bass were caught in about four feet of water along a submerged rock fence. The next five smallmouth bass were caught in three to four feet of water along another submerged rock fence. Both of these fences are offshore lairs.

Then nine smallmouth bass were extracted from three to eight feet of water along the riprap of the dam.

The last smallmouth bass was caught on a main-lake point in four feet of water. During this outing, we fished five main-lake points, and only one of them yielded a smallmouth bass.

We fished portions of five main-lake shorelines, which failed to garner neither a largemouth bass nor a smallmouth bass.

We fished one secondary point, and portions of four shorelines inside three feeder-creek arms, and these locales failed to yield neither a largemouth bass nor a smallmouth bass.

In sum, we failed to tangle with a largemouth bass, which is a bizarre occurrence. Even though the largemouth bass population at this reservoir has been ravaged by the largemouth bass virus for the past four or five years, we usually tangled with a respectable number of them on most outings. But that has not been the case during the summer and early autumn of 2014.

We caught 18 smallmouth bass. All of them were caught on either a Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom style jig. We could not engender a strike on any other Midwest finesse lure. Some of the smallmouth bass were inveigled by the swim-glide-and-shake presentation, some were bewitched by a drag-and-deadstick retrieve, and some engulfed the baits on the initial drop. One of the smallmouth bass that we caught regurgitated a 2 ¾-inch gizzard shad, and all but three of the smallmouth bass were chunky and looking as if they were well fed.

As our outing came to a close, Desch and I said that we will not fish this reservoir again until Nov. 3, which is when we will be employing a tactic that we call bass fishing for trout. To read about this tactic, please check these links: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/bass-fishing-for-trout/ and http://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/bass-fishing-for-trout-2014/.

Steve Desch with one of the smallmouth bass we caught on  a Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Oct. 7 log

After the largemouth bass foiled Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and me at a 416-acre community reservoir on Oct. 6, I decided to see what was up with the largemouth bass in a 140-acre state reservoir that lies, according to the Goggle Maps, exactly 21 miles south of the 416-acre reservoir where Desch and I were snookered.

The National Weather Service in Topeka, Kansas, noted that it was 56 degrees at 3:53 a.m. and 81 degrees at 3:53 p.m. From 1:53 a.m. to 10:53 a.m., the wind fluctuated from being calm to blowing out of the west at 3 to 10 mph, and then from 12:53 p.m. to 5:53 p.m., it angled out of the northwest at 5 to 21 mph and out of the west at 10 to 22 mph. The NWS described the sky as being fair, but until 11:15 a.m. there were some clouds floating overhead, and then they disappeared, allowing the sky to exhibit a China-blue hue and the sun to burn as bright as a newly minted silver dollar. The barometric pressure was 29.71 at 12:53 a.m., 29.75 at 5:53 a.m., 29.79 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.91 at 3:53 p.m.

There was more than a hint of fall embracing our countryside and waterways. The leaves on the American water willows were turning yellow and dropping off. The leaves on some of the hardwood trees exhibited yellowish and brassy hues, and a few of those leaves were beginning to litter the surface of our reservoirs. Black walnuts and hickory nuts littered the ground. The poison ivy and sumacs exhibited a brilliant and attractive russet hue. And scores of farmers were in the fields harvesting soybeans.

The water level looked to be 18 inches below normal. Therefore, some of the American water willows, which line much of this reservoir's shorelines, had only several inches of water covering their roots, while others had 12 or slightly more inches covering their roots. The surface temperature ranged from 66 to 68 degrees. The water exhibited three to four feet of clarity in the vicinity of the dam, and the visibility diminished to about 18 inches in the upper reaches of this reservoir. This reservoir's patches of bushy pondweed are in a sorry state, and its patches of coontail have disappeared; it is an amazing spectacle to see how our reservoirs change from year to year, and from decade to decade, the changes are more than astounding.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing times would occur from 9:49 a.m. to 11:49 a.m. and 10:16 p.m. to 12:16 a.m. There would be a minor period from 3:36 a.m. to 5:36 a.m. I fished from 10:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

During the first 2 1/2 hours that I was afloat, I didn't start the outboard motor. I began fishing at the boat ramp, and I dissected the southwest corner of the dam and 75 percent of the reservoir's west shoreline. This entire area is lined with American water willows and embellished with gravel, rock, boulders, manmade brush piles, two main-lake points, several secondary and tertiary points, nine riprap jetties, and a few sorry patches of bushy pondweed. Along some of the flat areas, the boat floated in three to six feet of water, and at its steeper locales, it floated in eight to 15 feet of water.

My catch rate per hour at the corner of the dam and along the west shoreline was not white-hot, but it was substantially more fruitful than it was on Oct. 6 for Desch and me. It yielded 38 largemouth bass in three hours. Three largemouth bass were caught in four feet of water in a patch of bushy pondweed. Four largemouth bass and three black crappie were extracted from a pair of brush piles that were anchored in four feet of water. Six largemouth bass were caught at five of the riprap jetties. Twenty-five of the largemouth bass were caught along the outside edges of the American water willow patches. The steeper sections of the shoreline was more fruitful than the flatter section. I made scores of casts and retrieves without garnering a strike, and then there were locales where I would catch two to four largemouth bass in back-to-back casts.

Along the west shoreline, a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a Z-Man's PB&J Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce jig inveigled the bulk of the 37 largemouth bass. A Z-Man's black/blue LeechZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught 10 of the 37 largemouth bass. I employed several of the six Midwest finesse retrieves, but the swim-glide-and-shake was the most productive, and it was best when I didn't employ the shake routine.

I spent about 25 minutes fishing a flat point and a steep ledge in the middle portions of a feeder-creek arm. Both of these areas used to be graced with substantial patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, which entertained vast numbers of largemouth bass during past Octobers. But both of them were virtually barren of vegetation, and they failed to yield a strike.

The last 35 minutes was spent along the dam, which yielded 13 largemouth bass. Three of them engulfed the bait on the initial drop, and they were residing in two to three feet of water. Four largemouth bass were caught in four to five feet of water by employing an extremely slow straight-swim retrieve. Six of them were caught in seven to 10 feet of water with a strolling presentation, and according to my sonar, these six largemouth bass were associated with several significant concentration of fish that were milling about in 10 to 13 feet of water. The Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught seven of these 13 largemouth bass. The black/blue Scented LeechZ caught two of them, as did the PB&J Hula StickZ and Junebug Finesse ShadZ.

In sum, I caught 51 largemouth bass in four hours.

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Steve Reideler of Lewisville , Texas, filed this report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 7 solo outing to a 5,107-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir in north-central Texas.

He wrote: "I fished this reservoir twice in September, and during those 9 1/2-hours, Rick Allen of Dallas and I could only muster 18 largemouth bass, two smallmouth bass, and one spotted bass. And this paltry catch rate calculated to only 2.2 bass per hour.

"Oct. 7 was hot and humid. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 71 degrees and the afternoon high soared to 96 degrees. The average low for this time of year is 58 degrees and the average high temperature is 81 degrees. The sun was radiant in a China-blue sky. The wind quartered out of the southeast at 10 to 18 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.83 and was rising.

"I fished from about noon until 3:30 p.m. In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the optimum fishing periods would take place from 9:55 a.m. to 11:55 a.m. and 10:22 p.m. to 12:22 a.m. A minor period would occur from 3:41 a.m. to 5:41 a.m.

"The water clarity was as murky as it was on Sept. 23, exhibiting about one foot of visibility throughout the reservoir. The water's temperature dropped from 79 degrees on Sept 23 to 77 degrees on October 7. The water level continues to drop from 11.25 feet below normal on Sept. 23 to its current level of 11.58 feet below normal pool.

"During the course of these perplexing 3 1/2 hours, I dredged up only four largemouth bass and one white bass. There were long spells between strikes. Furthermore, the fishing at this reservoir was so laborious and languid that I gladly ended this outing early.

"All five of these fish were caught on five different rocky main-lake points that lie along the northern shoreline, and they were extracted out of two to five feet of water.

"Three of these four largemouth bass and one white bass were inveigled by a Z-Man's New Money Finesse T.R.D. rigged on a brown-and-orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

"One largemouth bass was caught on a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man's Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ affixed to a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and presented with a slow and steady swimming retrieve.

"The largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass completely ignored a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Both of these baits were presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

"I failed to encounter any black bass along six additional gravel and rock main-lake points, three clay and gravel main-lake shorelines, two steep and rocky bluffs at the entrance to a large feeder-creek arm, two sand and gravel secondary points and one long and rocky channel bank just north of one of the two rock bluffs, and a 100-yard section of the riprap-covered dam that forms the eastern boundary of this reservoir."

Oct. 11 log

Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana, posted the following report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 11 outing to a 320-acre reservoir.

He wrote: "I have had a lot of family stuff going on the past couple of weeks, but I finally got out on the water this afternoon for a good spell. I fished from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

"The morning low temperature was 43 degrees, and the afternoon high temperature was 57 degrees at 3:54 p.m. The air temperature while I was afloat ranged from 53 to 56 degrees, with a steady barometer at 30.19. The wind angled lightly out of the northeast at 6.9 to 9.2 mph. it was mostly cloudy. The relative humidity ranged from 47 to 51 percent. "The surface temperature was 61.5 degrees. The water clarity slightly surpassed the 3-foot mark.

"This outing was meant initially to be a test of the Kahara's Kaharaba Round Head Finesse Rubber Jig that was featured in the Sept. 29 Midwest Finesse column on In-Fisherman's website. I ordered about half a dozen of these to try from Tackle Warehouse in two sizes: 1.8 grams and 2.6 grams in three different colors. I threw the 2.6 grams or 3/32-ounce version in black with red highlights. I trimmed the skirt slightly from its original length. I also utilized a small hand- poured trailer to match the small size of the jig. Speaking of which, when I say small, this jig is tinier than a Strike King Lure Company's Bitsy Bug; it is a true finesse package. I have included a picture of the jig and trailer alongside a quarter to show the perspective. It's about the size of the coin. I threw this bait on three-pound-test micro braid with a six-pound-test fluorocarbon leader with a six-foot medium-light-action custom-made spinning rod.

"This bait fishes well around lairs in one to eight feet of water, which is typical Midwest finesse territory. It has a nice sharp hook that is not much larger than what we would traditionally throw on a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. It features a small nylon weedguard comprised of just 2 strands, and I had no problem hooking fish with this setup. I managed to catch about 24 bass on the little jig, and the jig bite wasn't particularly great. I say that because I had three fish over the course of the early afternoon chase the bait back to the boat as I was reeling the little jig in, and that suggested that the fish were a bit more active than a jig presentation would allow. So I eventually switched to a 76mm Japanese finesse jerkbait. That move paid off immediately, and I was able to land another 30 bass on it for a total of 54 bass in five hours. Largest fish today was a 16-incher. I also found a school of white bass roaming a main lake point, and spent about 45 minutes of that 5 hr. time tossing a jigging spoon to them, landing about two dozen, the largest being a 14-incher. There were also half a dozen crappie and a couple bluegill thrown in throughout the evening. Beside the jerkbait and Kahara jig, an inline spinner accounted for two largemouth bass.

One of the largemouth bass that Brian Waldman caught on the Kahara jig.

"My first impressions of the jig were good, and I will continue to toss it as the season progresses. I can't wait to catch the bass on a good jig bite to see what it can really do. It will be fun comparing the Kahara rubber jig to my standard hair jig and 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's ZinkerZ this fall and to see how well each fares to the other under similar conditions."

Kahara's Kaharaba Round Head Finesse Rubber Jig and the trailer that Brian Waldman used.

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Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 11 outing at a three-acre community reservoir with Ralph Manns of Rockwall, Texas. Manns is a veteran In-Fisherman field editor and fisheries biologist.

Reideler wrote: "Ralph enjoys spending most of his fishing time in his two-man, eight-foot bass boat, plying the various shallow-water black bass hideaways inside and around a marina at a 21,671-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir close to his home. Unfortunately, low-water levels have made boat access almost impossible now, and many of his shallow-water lairs are on dry land and the few remaining ones are covered with just a foot or two of water. Consequently, he now spends most of his angling time plying this three-acre community pond behind his house.

"According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the best fishing periods would occur from 1:10 a.m. to 3:10 a.m. and 1:37 p.m. to 3:37 p.m. A minor period would take place from 7:24 a.m. to 9:24 a.m. Ralph and I were afloat from about 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

"North-central Texas relished a nice cold front, which passed through our area during the late night hours of October 10. The cold front brought three-tenths of an inch of much needed rain, and dropped our daytime high temperatures from the low to mid-90s to the mid-60s. A hint of fall is now in the air, but it will be another three to four weeks before we see the foliage on the elms, oaks, silver maples, and Bradford pear trees begin to glow with their beautiful golden yellow and red hues that everyone associates with the fall season. October 11 was an unusually dark and cloudy day. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 53 degrees and the afternoon high temperature barely made it to 66 degrees. A chilly wind blew out of the north-by-northwest at 10 to 20 mph, and Ralph and I donned light-weight hooded jackets for the first time since early spring.  The barometric pressure was steady at 30.11.

"The three-acre community reservoir behind Ralph's home has an elongated shape, exhibiting a southeast to northwest orientation. One small feeder creek enters along the east shoreline in the lower third of the reservoir, and a second feeder creek enters from the southeast corner. A mud dam forms the boundary on the northwestern end, and the main creek channel courses its way northward from the southeast corner northwards through the middle and ends at the dam. Small patches of American water willows are scattered along the shoreline, and several small beds of submerged vegetation that occur throughout the pond have died back. The shorelines of this watershed are enhanced with several laydowns, a couple of decorative stone walls, a concrete culvert and ditch that cuts across a shallow mud flat, several submerged brush piles, and a prominent mud bar covered with two to six feet of water that extends westward from the eastern shoreline.

"The water level was about six inches low. The water was slightly stained with about three and a half feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 77 degrees.

"We began the outing fishing the dam, and it surrendered three largemouth bass and one unusual albino tilapia. A Z-Man's pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and presented in a swim-glide- and-shake retrieve attracted one largemouth bass and the one tilapia. Z-Man's New Money Finesse T.R.D. affixed on a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught another largemouth bass. Zoom Bait Company's five-inch Redbug finesse worm Texas-rigged with a 1/8-ounce slip sinker enticed the third largemouth from a laydown that was situated along the west end of the dam. These three largemouth bass were extracted from two to four feet of water.

"After we finished checking the dam, we slowly worked our way southward along the east shoreline. This area was the most fruitful area, and it relinquished 31 largemouth bass. Z-Man's pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve allured 15 of these bass. A four-inch Gary Yamamoto Bait Company's watermelon-gold/black flake Senko nose hooked on a No. 1 Owner's weedless wacky rig hook and implemented with a slow lift-drop-and-deadstick technique tempted 11 bass. A four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and presented with a slow swim-glide-and shake action induced three. A five-inch Zoom's Redbug finesse worm and slow drag-and-deadstick presentation inveigled two largemouth bass. Most of these bass were relating to the shallow mud flat along this shoreline. A few were caught along the edges of a couple of American water willow patches, several were caught off a couple of laydowns, and one was extracted from a concrete culvert.

As we worked our way eastward along the south shoreline, we crossed paths with only one largemouth bass, and it was relating to a ledge of the small feeder creek extending from the southeast corner of the pond in three feet of water. This bass was caught on the pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ and a slow swim-glide-and-shake cadence.

Working our way northward along the west shoreline proved less productive than the east shoreline. We coaxed two largemouth bass into striking a Z-Man's New Money T.R.D., two largemouth bass were fooled by a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ on a 1/32-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig, and Ralph shocked me by trying a pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ for about five minutes. This was the first time Ralph has tried Midwest finesse tactics, and his efforts garnered one largemouth bass during those five minutes. Ralph was experiencing some difficulty casting the light Finesse ShadZ-Gopher jig combo with the spinning outfit that he had with him, and he went back to using his four-inch Senko which was easier for him to cast. But he continued to surprise me when he said that he may rig up another spinning rod with lighter line for Midwest finesse baits. These five bass were dispersed along the west shoreline in three to five feet of water, and they were relating to one laydown, two patches of American water willows, and two brush piles.

We tangled with 40 largemouth bass and one tilapia during three hours of fishing, which calculates to 13.3 bass per hour. We had several other largemouth bass that were able to disengage themselves from our hooks before we could land them. Z-Man's pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ allured 18 largemouth bass, Gary Yamamoto's watermelon-gold/black flake Senko tricked 11, Zoom's Redbug Finesse Worm enticed three. Z-Man's four-inch PB&J Finesse WormZ enticed another three largemouth bass, Z-Man's New Money Finesse T.R.D. tempted three, and Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ attracted two. We also tried a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ and a Z-Man's white Chatterbait, but these two baits failed to attract the attention of any bass. A slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most productive presentation.

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Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, filed the following brief on the Finesse News Network about his outing to a small community reservoir on Oct. 11.

The history link at wunderunderground.com noted that the low temperature was 59 degrees and the high temperature was 83 degrees. The barometric pressure fluctuated around 30.01. The wind angled out of the southwest at 6 to 17 mph. There was some rain.

The water level was about 12 inches below normal. The surface temperature was 70 degrees. The water was stained, exhibiting about 12 inches of clarity

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 1:03 a.m. to 3:03 a.m. and 1:29 p.m. to 3:29 p.m. There was a minor period from 7:16 a.m. to 9:16 a.m. He fished from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

He focused most of his attention inside three feeder-creek arms.

Poe is not a full-fledged Midwest finesse angler. Therefore, he periodically wields a variety of power-fishing options, and on this outing, he caught two largemouth bass on a 3/8-ounce Z-Man's  black-blue ChatterBait with a soft-plastic worm trailer. He also used heavy casting tackle and a Zoom Bait Company's Black Sapphire Ultravibe Speed Worm to extract a five-pound largemouth from a brush pile in seven feet of water.

But he caught 14 largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's Junebug Zero affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

The most fruitful feeder creek was embellished with brush piles that Poe had anchored in four feet of water, and the tops of those piles were visible, which allowed Poe to easily swim the Zero and Gopher jig through those piles of brush. Four of those piles yielded five largemouth bass.

Some of the smaller largemouth bass were caught on the edges of the remaining water willows, which were littered with small baitfish.

The Zero and Gopher jig inveigled a four-pound, five-ounce largemouth bass on a rocky terrain in five feet of water on the initial drop.

He said the fishing was considerably more fruitful than it was two weeks ago, when he tangled with only two largemouth bass.

Oct. 12 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 12 outing to a 2,600-acre power-plant reservoir. He was joined by his dog, Josie.

The history link at wunderunderground.com noted that the low temperature was 5o degrees and the high temperature was 55 degrees. The barometric pressure was 29.84. The wind angled out of the southeast at 7 to 18 mph. It was cloudy.

The water level was about six inches below normal. The water was stained with an algae bloom, exhibiting about two feet of visibility at the dam. The surface temperature ranged from 86 degrees within the warm-water plume to 66 degrees along the dam, which lies a long distance from the warm-water plume.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 2:04 a.m. to 4:04 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. A minor period would occur from 8:17 a.m. to 10:17 a.m. Gum fished from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Gum wrote: "When I arrived a small club tournament of about 10 boats was just getting started. When they rocketed off, all but one of the boats headed up the river.

"I fished four areas: two stretches of riprap along the east side of the reservoir, a rock pile along a roadbed on the west side of the reservoir, and most of the riprap along the dam.

"Overall the fishing was very slow, and the most fruitful fishing was along the dam.

"I caught fish on a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's purple-haze Zero on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, four-inch Strike King's Coppertreuse Super Finesse Worm on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red-flake Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These fish were caught in two to 10 feet of water with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

"At times, I used a Heddon Bait Company's bullfrog-hue Zara Spook periodically throughout the day, and it caught the biggest largemouth bass of the day. I was able to get several other fish to react to the Spook, but they failed to engulf it. After a while, when I'd get a fish to react to the Spook, I'd immediately set my rod down while the Spook was still in the water, and I made a cast with a finesse bait just beyond the Spook, and then I retrieved it by swimming and gliding it under the surface, hoping they'd hit it. Unfortunately this strategy was fruitless. If I had a partner in the boat, who could rapidly cast after a topwater strike, he might have had better luck than I.

"I also caught one largemouth bass on a black quarter-ounce buzzbait.

In sum, I caught 16 largemouth bass, one wiper, one white bass, and one freshwater drum."

Oct. 15 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 15 outing with Rick Allen of Dallas to a 24,154-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir.

Reideler wrote: "I last fished this reservoir on September 27, and during that six-hour undertaking, I enjoyed catching 40 black bass, which set a new numbers record for me at this reservoir.

"October 15 was a perfect-picture day. A brightly shining sun filled the cloudless powder-blue sky. A couple of major cold-fronts accompanied by high winds and much needed rain had lingered over north-central Texas for the past several days. The morning low temperature felt a tad chilly to us at 50 degrees but the high for the day warmed to 87 degrees. The winds were light and variable at 5 to 10 mph, and for several long spells, it was calm. The barometric pressure was steady at 29.98.

"Initially, Rick and I were a touch apprehensive about this outing, suspecting the post-cold-front conditions would adversely affect our catch rates. But our concerns were soon alleviated.

"The water was stained more than usual, exhibiting two and a half feet of visibility. This reservoir usually has four to five feet of water clarity, but we suspect the high winds and rain over the past several days attributed to the stained-water conditions. The water's surface temperature was 72 degrees, which was eight degrees cooler than my last visit on September 27. The Texas Water Development Board noted that the water level was 7.16 feet below normal pool.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing periods would occur between 4:56 a.m. to 6:56 a.m. and 5:20 p.m. to 7:20 p.m. A minor period occurred from 11:08 p.m. to 1:08 a.m. Rick and I fished from about 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

"I have discovered over the past few years that the eastern tributary arm of this reservoir is much more productive than the western tributary arm. Therefore, Rick and I spent all of our time in the eastern tributary arm. We began the afternoon plying a clay and rock shoreline and riprap-covered jetty with several patches of hydrilla and pondweed that had recently taken hold several yards offshore in four to eight feet of water adjacent to the boat ramp where we launched. We slowly plied this area with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's modified watermelon-red FattyZ tube rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Rick caught one largemouth bass from six feet of water next to a patch of hydrilla along the south side of the jetty on the FattyZ tube and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. I caught one spotted bass from the submerged riprap in five feet of water along the north side of the jetty. This spotted bass was attracted to the Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. and slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

"The second area we checked was a flat and rocky main-lake point, which was graced with several healthy hydrilla beds covering a large portion of this point. This point relinquished 34 black bass on my last visit to this reservoir, and it did not disappoint us today. We battled with 24 largemouth bass and four spotted bass that were relating to the deep-water edges of the hydrilla beds in five to ten feet of water. Z-Man's Blue Glimmer Sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ on a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and Chartreuse Sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ rigged on blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, which were retrieved with a steady swim presentation, allured 22 of these 28 bass. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher Jig attracted three largemouth bass, one catfish, and one freshwater drum. A four-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ dressed on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig enticed two largemouth bass, and a Z-Man's Pearl Finesse ShadZ threaded on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig tricked one largemouth bass. The ZinkerZ, Finesse WormZ, and Finesse ShadZ were employed in a swim-glide-and-shake manner.

"The third area we investigated was a main feeder-creek arm located along the west shoreline of the east tributary arm of the reservoir. The north entry point to this feeder creek arm is long and flat, and it consists of clay, large scattered boulders, and small dollops of pondweed. This point yielded two largemouth bass that were relating to the deep-water edges of two patches of pondweed in about three feet of water, and they were beguiled by the .3 1/2-inch Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ and a slow, steady swim retrieve. The south entry point is steep and rocky, and it is enhanced with beds of hydrilla scattered along its shoreline. This point surrendered one spotted bass and the rocky bank just west of this point yielded one largemouth bass. Both of these bass were coaxed into striking the Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ with a slow swimming presentation. Both of these bass were milling about in three to five feet of water.

"Our fourth local consisted of a shallow rocky hump and a larger island in the mid-section of the east tributary arm. We targeted the southeast end of the island first, utilizing the 3 1/2-inch GrubZ, Finesse T.R.D., and four-inch Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ, but we failed to garner any strikes. We then turned our attention to the nearby hump. This hump is surrounded by thick stands of standing timber, and several patches of pondweed enhance its western side. Rick switched to a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin FattyZ tail rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and tangled with two largemouth bass that were relating to a large patch of pondweed in three to five feet of water. I used the Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. and it failed to draw a strike. Both of these baits were retrieved in a slow swim-glide-and-shake manner.

"After we finished fishing the hump, we made a short run to two flat and rocky main-lake points, which are located along the eastern shoreline of this tributary arm. These two points are comprised of clay, small rocks, a few stumps, and four large patches of pondweed. These two points surrendered one largemouth bass and one spotted bass that were tricked into striking the 3 1/2-inch GrubZ and steady swim retrieve.

"Our sixth spot was a 75-yard stretch of a flat and rocky shoreline and a small secondary point situated just inside a main-lake cove on the eastern side of this tributary arm. We quickly combed this 75-yard section of rocky bank with the 3 1/2-inch GrubZ using a moderately fast swimming retrieve, and it enticed two largemouth bass that were scattered along the shoreline in about four feet of water. The smaller secondary point relinquished one spotted bass that struck the green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ and slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The 3 1/2-inch GrubZ did not appeal to any bass on this point.

"As we were slowly motoring out of this main-lake cove, we observed several small schools of white bass surface-feeding over a large deep-water flat in the mid-section of the eastern tributary arm. Surface-feeding white bass have been a rare occurrence on many of our north-central Texas reservoirs this summer and early fall, and we tried to take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy a bit of white bass fishing. The white bass were extremely skittish, and they seemed to be toying with us as they would quickly disperse before we could get within casting range. We were able to catch three white bass on the 3 1/2-inch Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ and moderately fast swimming retrieve before they finally disappeared.

In sum, we had a splendid day by north-central Texas standards. We set another new numbers record for this reservoir by battling with 41 black bass. Thirty-three were largemouth bass and eight were spotted bass. We also tangled with three white bass, one channel catfish, and one freshwater drum during this seven-hour venture. Twenty-three largemouth bass, six spotted bass, and three white bass were allured by the 3 1/2-inch Blue Glimmer Sparkle and Chartreuse Sparkle GrubZs and steady swim presentation. The 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ and slow swim-glide-shake presentation enticed three largemouth bass, one spotted bass, one channel catfish, and one freshwater drum. The four-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ and 2 1/4-inch green-pumpkin FattyZ tail caught two largemouth bass apiece. Z-Man's modified 2 1/2-inch watermelon-red FattyZ tube, Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D, and pearl Finesse ShadZ utilized with a swim-glide-shake action caught three largemouth bass and one spotted bass.

"Rick and I also had the opportunity to speak with two other anglers who said they were enduring a slow fishing day, catching only two small largemouth bass during their outing. We did not have the heart to tell them of our success, but we both felt delighted and very satisfied with our feat as we drove home."

Rick Allen of Dallas with one of the spotted bass that he and Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, caught on Oct. 15.

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Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, filed this brief about his Oct. 15 outing to a 126-acre community reservoir that lies in the northern suburbs of Kansas City.

The National Weather Service in Kanas City noted that it was 47 degrees at 5:54 a.m. and 70 degrees at 3:54 p.m. The wind angled out of the northwest and west at 7 to 20 mph. It was sunny. The barometric pressure was 29.92 at 12:54 a.m., 29.99 at 5:54 a.m., 30.03 at 11:54 a.m., and 29.95 at 3:54 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing occurred from 4:46 a.m. to 6:46 a.m. and 5:09 p.m. to 7:09 p.m. A minor period took place from 10:57 a.m. to 12:57 p.m.

The surface temperature was 64 degrees. The water was stained. The water level was two feet above normal.

He wrote: "I finally got back on the water after a week layoff for hunting stories.

"I took the winner of a Kansas Wildlife Federation auction, and I was a bit worried because the fishing had been off.

"We got on the water at sunup, and the fish were still in their coma. But as the morning went on, the bite steadily improved.

"We started off with big baits (jig and pig and spinnerbait), and they didn't do well. When we switched to finesse baits, it made a big difference.

"With the water being dingy from the recent rains, we went to a two-inch Bass Pro Shops black/chartreuse Squirmin' Shad on a black 1/16-ounce jig, and that was the bait of the day. The highlight was when we fished a laydown where I've caught fish in previous falls. We started catching big crappies and the action was nonstop for a while. We ended up with almost 20 crappies from that spot alone, almost cookie-cutter in size. I measured several of them and they went from 12 1/2 to 14 inches.

"We caught a number of miniature bass, which was encouraging. I hadn't been seeing small bass lately and I was worried there might be a gap in our year-classes. All in all, we had 53 fish, a mix of bass, crappies and big bluegills. A good day on the water. Finally."

Oct. 16 log

Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, filed this brief on the Finesse News Network about his outing with his brother and father at a 55,000-acre reservoir in the northern Ozarks of central Missouri 0n Oct. 16. And it is essential to note that the first three weeks of October are traditionally a trying time for Ozark anglers.

Some of this reservoir's watershed had been swamped with rain during the first half of October. Therefore, the water level was 659.1 feet above sea level, which was about a half of a foot above normal for this time of the year, and it had dropped more than a half of a foot since Oct. 13. The surface temperature was 66 degrees. The water in the section of the reservoir where they were fishing, which was 37 miles above the dam, was clear.

The National Weather Service in Jefferson City, Missouri, noted that it was 42 degrees at 4:53 a.m. and 76 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The wind was calm at times, and at other times, it angled out of the southeast at 3 to 5 mph, out of the south at 6 to 8 mph, and out of the southwest at 6 mph. It fluctuated from being Foggy and misty to being fair with haze and to being fair. The barometric pressure was 29.80 at 12:53 a.m., 29.91 at 5:53 a.m., 29.89 at 11:53 a.m., 29.77 at 3:53 p.m., and 29.73 at 5:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 5:22 a.m. to 7:22 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. There was a minor period from 11:11 a.m. to 1:11 p.m.

Rick wrote; "We fished from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. We spent the first half hour fishing for white bass, and we caught only two. So, we switched to fishing docks for largemouth bass and spotted bass. We caught 39 of them. The best docks and biggest bass were caught along docks that were floating in 15 or more feet of water. Most of them were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and Z-Man's Blue Glimmer Sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ on a red 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. We made precision casts to corners and gaps and slips around each dock, and after allowing our baits to fall two to three feet below the surface, we retrieved them with a straight-swim presentation.

"We went back out after lunch and fished from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and we caught another 20 using the same lures and fishing only docks. In all we caught 58 largemouth bass and spotted bass, which is a fairly good day for this lake."

David Hebenstreit of Lahinch, Ireland, and Duluth, Minnesota, with one of the 58  largemouth bass and spotted bass that he, his brother, and father caught on Oct. 15.

Oct. 17 log

Evan Shoemaker of Edina, Minnesota, competed in a hockey game during the afternoon of Oct. 16, and then about 9:00 p.m., he, his two brothers, and their parents hopped into their car and drove to Lawrence, Kansas. They arrived in Lawrence, Kansas, at 4:00 a.m., checked into a motel, and went to sleep. At 8:55 a.m., Evan and his father, Doug, were driving with me as we towed a boat in route to a 140-acre state reservoir.

Before we got on the road, we spent about 10 minutes discussing where we would fish. We thought about fishing a 6,930-acre U.S Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir for smallmouth bass. But the National Weather Service in Topeka, Kansas, predicted that the wind would angle out of the northwest, and some gusts would approach 25 mph, which could create ranks of white caps at the 6,930-acre reservoir. As we talked, we noted that one of the purposes of this outing was to introduce Evan, who is 14 years old, and his father to some of the virtues of employing Midwest finesse tactics rather than the power tactics that Evan wields for the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in the Minnesota and Wisconsin waterways that he plies. We noted that contending with wind and waves can make for some trying casts and retrieves for novice Midwest finesse anglers. What's more, we wanted to garner a lot of strikes and tangled with a lot of largemouth bass or smallmouth bass, because catching vast numbers of bass would be the best way to show Evan and Doug how, when, and where to use Midwest finesse baits. Therefore, we opted to fish the 140-acre reservoir, because much of it would be sheltered from a pesky northwest and west wind, and traditionally Midwest finesse anglers can inveigle more than 10 largemouth bass an hour at this reservoir in October.

The National Weather Service in Topeka, Kansas, noted that it was 47 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 69 degrees at 3:53 p.m. During the first ghost light of dawn, the wind was mild mannered, angling out of the west at 3 to 7 mph, but by 9:53 a.m., it picked up its pace and blew 10 to 22 mph out of the northwest and west. The barometric pressure was 29.86 at 12:53 a.m., 29. 91 at 5:53 a.m., 30.03 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.01 at 3:53 p.m. The sun was shining everywhere, and it was blindingly bright at times.

The water level at the 140-acre reservoir looked to be normal. The surface temperature ranged from 62 to 64 degrees. The water clarity exhibited about 3 1/2 feet of visibility in the vicinity of the dam and less than a foot in the upper reaches of its three feeder-creek arms. Most of the American water willows that line much of its shorelines were nearly brown and leafless. The patches of bushy pondweed, which have been meager all year, remained meager and almost lifeless.

In-Fisherman's solundar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 6:20 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. and 6:42 p.m. to 8:42 p.m. There would be a minor period from 12:09 a.m. to 2:09 a.m. We fished from 10:35 a.m. to 3:55 p.m.

Initially, Evan and his father worked with their traditional Minnesota power tackle, which consisted of an assortment of soft-plastic baits affixed to big jigs or big hooks with hefty slip sinkers.

Once the first 15 minutes had lapsed, Doug had put away his power tackle, and for the rest of the outing, he wielded three different spinning outfits and Midwest finesse lures. One outfit was rigged with a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The second one was rigged with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ on a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man's ShroomZ jig. The third one was rigged with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ-spin on a red 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. Once he stopped using power tactics, he began catching largemouth bass. And since he was in the back of the boat, he presented those baits by using either a drag-and-shake retrieve or strolling one, and at times, he punctuated both presentations with a deadstick routine.

While his father and I employed Midwest finesse tactics, Evan continued to wield his power baits. But at times, he toned it down a touch by Texas-rigging a six-inch Roboworm Straight Tail Worm on a black 1/8-ounce shakyhead jig, which was still a far cry from being a Midwest finesse tactic. He worked with two different hues of the Straight Tail Worm: Bold Bluegill and Red Crawler.

Before Evan began using the Midwest finesse rods that we had rigged for him, he wanted to get a thorough measure of the effectiveness or ineffectives of his power tactics. So, he didn't pick up a Midwest finesse rod for about two hours. At that time, the three of us had caught 39 largemouth bass, but according to Evan's calcualtions, his power tactics had caught only three of them. Then for the rest of the outing, he primarily used a Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and occasionally he used a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. He retrieved these two baits with a drag-and-shake presentation, and straightaway he began to catch an impressive array of largemouth bass.

We fished for 320 minutes and caught 79 largemouth bass. But when his father and I were loading the boat onto the trailer and putting the tackle away, Evan continued to fish. And as he was casting and retrieving the Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. and Gopher jig along the outside edges of the patches of American water willows that are adjacent to the boat ramp, he caught largemouth bass No. 80. It is interesting to note he never stopped fishing during the entire outing. He occasional took a quick sip of water, but he didn't have a bite to eat. It looked as if he could have fished until dark. In my eyes, he is the most steadfast, ardent, and talented young angler that I have crossed paths with in my many decades of fishing youngsters.

During the entire outing, I didn't use the same lures that Evan and his father used. I used Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man's ShroomZ jig until Evan began using it, and it was the most effective of the four other baits that I used. Besides the Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D., I used Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Strike King Lure Company's green-pumpkin-red-flake Super Finesse Worm on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and Z-Man's Blue Glimmer Sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ on an unpainted 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. I failed to catch a bass on the Hula StickZ and 3 1/2-inch GrubZ. My most productive retrieve was the swim-glide-and-shake presentation, and the shake was subtle and infrequent.

We fished the dam, five shorelines, seven rock jetties, five main-lake points, five manmade brush piles, and one beaver hut. We caught some of the bass in two feet of water and a few in nine to 10 feet of water. The bulk of them were caught in four to six feet of water.

Most of the largemouth bass that we caught were inhabiting rocky terrains, and a significant number of them were either along the outside edges or within close proximity to the outside edges of the patches of American water willows. A few were milling about around the puny patches of bushy pondweed.

We caught 17 largemouth bass along the riprap of the dam. We caught two largemouth bass at the beaver hut. The five main-lake points yielded just four largemouth bass. The seven rock jetties yielded six largemouth bass. We caught only two largemouth bass from the five manmade brush piles.

We caught 49 bass along the five shorelines that we fished.

In sum, 77 of the 80 largemouth bass were caught by our Midwest finesse tactics. As we reflected upon the outing, Evan and Doug called it an educational and fun experience, and in the years to come, they are hoping to hone what they learned about several Midwest finesse tactics on Minnesota's largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Evan Shoemaker with one of the 80 largemouth bass that were caught on 0ct. 17.

 

Doug and Evan Shoemaker with a largemouth bass that engulfed a 21/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Endnotes to the Oct. 17 log:

On Aug. 10, we published a story about Evan entitled "Evan Shoemaker: The Making of an Angler." Here is the link to that story: http://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/evan-shoemaker-making-angler/.

Oct. 20 log

I made a quick trip to a nearby 190-acre community reservoir, where I fished for only two hours.

The National Weather Service in Lawrence, Kansas, noted that it was 43 degrees at 7:52 a.m. and 75 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind was mild-mannered and occasionally calm, and at times, it angled out of the northwest at 3 to 5 mph, out of the west at 5 mph, out of the northeast at 8 mph, out of the north at 3 to 9 mph, and variable at 3 to 7 mph. The sky exhibited a brilliant blue hue, and the sun was eye-squintingly bright. The barometric pressure was 30.01 at 12:52 a.m., 30.01 at 5:52 a.m., 30.06 at 12:52 p.m., and 30.04 at 2:52 p.m.

The water was stained with a minor algae bloom, and it exhibited 18 to 24 inches of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 63 to 65 degrees. The water level looked to be nearly normal. The American water willows were still green and healthy looking. The patches of bush pondweed and Eurasian milfoil were relatively healthy. The back half of one feeder-creek arm on the east side of the reservoir was virtually inundated with schools of small gizzard shad, but I did not cross paths with any schools of gizzard shad in this reservoir's southwest feeder-creek arm. And the largemouth bass were much easier to catch in the southwest feeder-creek arm than they were to catch in the east one.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 8:14 a.m. to 10:14 a.m. and 8:36 p.m. to 10:36 p.m. There was a minor period from 2:03 a.m. to 4:03 a.m. I fished from 1:10 p.m. to 3:10 p.m.

I spent the first 35 minutes quickly plying a 30-yard segment of a short bluff on the south side of the east feeder-creek arm and a 100-yard portion of the south shoreline of this feeder-creek arm. I did not elicit a strike along the bluff, and I eked out only four largemouth bass along the nouth shoreline, which is endowed with American water willows, stumps, Eurasian milfoil, rocks, gravel, and boulders. The largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce ShroomZ jig, which was presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and the shake element was almost negligible. These largemouth bass were extracted out of five to eight feet of water, and the Finesse T.R.D. was swimming and gliding just a few inches above the rocks on the bottom. The American water willows and patches of Eurasian milfoil did not produce a strike.

I spent the last 85 minutes of this outing by quickly fishing about 90 percent of the southeast shoreline inside the southwest feeder-creek arm. This shoreline is several hundred yards long, and it is embellished with many patches of American water willows, laydowns, stumps, rocks, gravel, boulders, 15 boat docks, one retaining wall, and some patches of Eurasian milfoil. About 30 percent of this shoreline is relatively steep, and the boat floated in 10 to 12 feet of water. The rest of the shoreline is flat, and the boat floated in three to six feet of water.

The back half of this shoreline failed to yield a largemouth bass, but the front half produced 20 of them.

I caught 10 largemouth bass along the steeper section of this shoreline on the Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. and chartreuse 1/15-ounce ShroomZ jig, which was presented with an extremely slow swim-and-glide retrieve. These largemouth bass were abiding in four to eight feet of water.

I caught one largemouth bass inside a boat slip of one of the docks, and this largemouth bass engulfed a deadstick presentation with the Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. and chartreuse 1/15-ounce ShroomZ jig in five feet of water.

Five largemouth bass were caught in two to four feet of water along the outside edge of the patches of American water willows or within a yard or so of those patches of American water willows. Two of the largemouth bass engulfed the Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. and chartreuse 1/15-ounce ShroomZ on the initial drop, and three of them were caught when I was executing an extremely slow swim-and-glide retrieve. (It is interesting to note that the shake component of the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve seemed to inhibit the largemouth bass on this outing. Therefore, I didn't use it during the 80 minutes that I was afloat.)

A fast-paced swim-and-glide retrieve with the Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. and chartreuse 1/15-ounce ShroomZ jig allured one largemouth bass out of a laydown.

The Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. and chartreuse 1/15-ounce ShroomZ jig and the swim-and-glide retrieve inveigled two largemouth bass that were extracted from three feet of water and not associated with any kind of objects or aquatic vegetation.

In sum, I caught 24 largemouth bass in two hours. All of them were caught on the Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. and chartreuse 1/15-ounce ShroomZ jig. Two of them were the healthiest and heftiest specimens that I have tangled with at this reservoir for many months; perhaps the aftereffects of the largemouth bass virus have begun to wane.

Oct. 29 log

For a variety of reasons, it is always difficult for me to find time to fish in October, and it has been that way this time around, too.

In some ways, it is a blessing that I am not able to get afloat frequently in October, and that is because the largemouth bass fishing throughout most of the month is often perplexing, and once the water temperature drops into the low 60s and upper 50s, the smallmouth bass fishing in northeastern Kansas often becomes equally confounding. But I did miss a whale of a spell of great smallmouth bass fishing during the first 15 days of October, which is when Terry and Claudia Bivins of Lebo, Kansas, fished a 6,930-acre reservoir eight times, and they caught more than 300 smallmouth bass, and some of them were extremely handsome brutes, weighing as much as five pounds, 10 ounces. But by Oct. 19, it petered out for the Bivins.

Consequently, this is just the sixth log that I have compiled this month, and it focuses on an outing with my cousin Rick Heberstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, at a 100-acre community reservoir.

The National Weather Service in Olathe, Kansas, noted that it was 42 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 61 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sun was shining brightly everywhere. The wind angled out of the northwest at 5 to 7 mph, out of the north at 3 to 7 mph, and northeast at 7 mph; it became variable at 3 mph around 1:53 p.m., and switched to the south, southwest, and southeast after 3:53 p.m. at 3 to 5 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.14 at 12:53 a.m., 30.20 at 5:53 a.m., 30.26 at 10:53 a.m. and 30.18 at 2:53 p.m. Fall is on the downhill side of its apex, and the colors of the leaves are fading, and in fact, a goodly number of the hardwood trees are leafless. The National Weather Service at Lawrence, Kansas, noted that it was 31 degrees at 7:52 a.m., and a heavy frost covered some windshields.

The water level was slightly above normal, and a few inches of water coursed over the dam's spillway. The surface temperature ranged from 61 to 63 degrees. In years past around this date, the surface temperatures range from 55 to 60 degrees. The water exhibited three to four feet of visibility in the lower third of the reservoir and 2 1/2 to three feet in the upper third of the reservoir. The patches of American water willows, which border some of the shorelines, are no longer vibrant, and they are beginning to turn yellow and brown. But many patches of coontail are flourishing all over the reservoir — especially on the mud flats and shallow portions of many of the shorelines. Filamentous algae seemed to be omnipresent — especially around the patches of coontail.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 3:27 a.m. to 5:27 a.m. and 3:55 p.m. to 5:55 p.m. There was a minor period from 9:41 a.m. to 11:41 a.m. We fished from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The most fruitful location was a massive mud flat situated in the upper end of the reservoir. It is stippled with incalculable numbers of patches of coontail. Our boat floated in three to five feet of water, and we dissected this flat with three baits: Z-Man's green-pumpkin 3 1/2-inch GrubZ on a red 3/32-ounce gopher, Z-Man's watermelon-red 3 1/2-inch GrubZ on a red 3/32-ounce Gopher, and Z-Man's Blue Glimmer Sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ on a white 1/6-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. These baits were retrieved with a straight-swim retrieve, which inveigled 13 largemouth bass.

We caught eight largemouth bass along the dam, which is embellished with riprap, American water willows, coontail, and a concrete outlet tower. Two largemouth bass were caught adjacent to the concrete outlet tower, five largemouth bass were caught along the American water willows, and one was caught in a coontail patch. These largemouth bass inhabited water as shallow as three feet and as deep as six feet. Two largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which was retrieved with a swim-and-glide presentation around the concrete outlet tower. Three largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which was retrieved with a swim-and-glide presentation, and one of these was associated with a patch of coontail, and the other two were along the outside edges of the patches of American water willows. Three largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and it was presented with a swim-and-glide retrieve along the outside edges of the American water willow patches. (Traditionally, we add a shake routine to the swim-and-glide retrieve, but throughout much of October, we have found that the swim-and-glide retrieve has been more effective than the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.)

We caught eight largemouth bass along an east shoreline in the upper end of the reservoir. Portions of the shoreline are steep, and portions of it are flat. It is graced with gravel, laydowns, boulders, a small bridge, rocks, two boat docks, a nearby submerged creek channel, American water willows, and a few patches of coontail. A Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which was retrieved with a swim-and-glide that was punctuated occasionally with a deadstick routine, caught four largemouth bass. A Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-and-glide presentation caught three largemouth bass. And a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught one on the initial drop.

We also plied a small coontail flat, two main-lake humps, five main-lake points, and segments of seven main-lake shorelines, which yielded only seven largemouth bass. Four of them were inveigled by the Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which was retrieved with a swim-and-glide presentation. Two were caught on a Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and it was presented with a swim-and-glide retrieve. One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-and-glide retrieve.

In total, we caught 37 largemouth bass. Rick and I simultaneously caught eight of the largemouth bass, and another 15 of them were caught in close proximity to one another. We also caught one channel catfish and one black crappie.

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Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his solo outing to a 21,280-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir on Oct. 29.

He wrote: "It was a beautiful fall day. The sun was radiant in the clear azure sky. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 54 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was a comfortable 81 degrees. The wind quartered out of the east-by-northeast at 6 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure was steady at 30.17.

"In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted the optimum fishing periods would occur from 3:36 a.m. to 5:36 a.m. and 4:04 p.m. to 6:04 p.m. A minor period would occur from 9:50 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. I fished from about 11:40 a.m. to 3:40 p.m.

"I spent the afternoon in the southwestern tributary arm of the reservoir. The water was stained with about one and a half feet of visibility. The water's surface temperature was 72 degrees. The water level continues to recede from 6.32 feet below normal pool on September 21 to 7.06 feet below normal pool on October 29.

"My first local was a rocky ledge covered with 10 feet of water and embellished with three brush piles. I probed the ledge and edges of the brush piles with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ threaded on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and retrieved it with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. I failed to elicit any strikes from this area.

My next area was a small cove in the back of a marina. The east shoreline is steep and consists of clay and gravel. The west shoreline is flat and enhanced with two large covered boat docks with multiple boat slips. A steep and rocky secondary point extends from the east shoreline just north of the covered boat docks. I caught one largemouth bass from four feet of water on the tip of the rocky secondary point on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. I caught a second largemouth bass from a shallow clay and gravel flat along the west shoreline on a Z-Man's  Blue Glimmer Sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ rigged on a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a slow, steady swim presentation. Though I observed scores of two-inch baitfish flickering about the surface of the water in this area, I did not find any largemouth or spotted bass along the steep east shoreline or around any of the covered boat slips.

"My third spot was two riprap-laden bridge embankments and several concrete bridge support pilings. The southeast embankment of the bridge yielded two largemouth bass that were beguiled by the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ and a four-inch Z-Man's black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ dressed on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The northeast bridge embankment also surrendered two largemouth bass. These two largemouth bass were caught on the four-inch black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ and a Z-Man's California Craw Hula StickZ rigged on an orange and brown 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. All four of these black bass were relating to the riprap bank in five to seven feet of water and were allured by a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The concrete bridge support pilings failed to relinquish any bass.

"The fourth area I checked was a main-lake cove located along the northern shoreline. I focused on two points at the entrance to the cove, two secondary points just inside the cove, and a 50-yard stretch of riprap-laden shoreline. I employed the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ and four-inch Hula StickZ, but this area failed to produce any bass.

"After checking the main-lake cove, I explored another main-lake cove situated about a mile west of the previous cove. This cove is also located along the north shoreline and is endowed with two steep and rocky channel banks and three rocky secondary points. I caught one largemouth bass along one channel bank and one largemouth bass from a secondary point. Both of these bass were extracted from three to five feet of water by the four-inch black-blue flake Finesse WormZ worked in a slow swim-glide-and-shake manner.

"My last spot of the afternoon consisted of one main-lake point and a main-lake shoreline situated along the south side of the reservoir. It is endowed with three dilapidated concrete boat ramps and a small rocky secondary point about 50 yards east of the boat ramps. I plied these areas with the four-inch Finesse WormZ, 3 1/2-inch GrubZ, and 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ but this area failed to yield any bass.

"Overall, the fishing was awful. I could only entice one bass here and there, and I failed to find any significant concentrations of bass. I toiled all afternoon and could only amass eight largemouth bass during this tedious four-hour undertaking. Four largemouth bass were caught on the four-inch black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ, two were allured by the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ, one was enticed by the California Craw Hula StickZ, and one was bewitched by the 3 1/2-inch Blue Glimmer  Sparkle GrubZ. A slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most fruitful presentation."

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