Midwest Finesse Fishing: October 2015

Midwest Finesse Fishing: October 2015


Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, with one of the 121 largemouth bass that we caught on Oct 9.

This month's guide to Midwest finesse fishing features 35 logs and 24,417 words that describe the endeavors and observations of Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas; Bob Brown of Springfield, Missouri; Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas; Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; Gary Schipporeit of Denver, Colorado; John Thomas of Denton, Texas; Andrew Trembath of Kansas City, Kansas; and Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana.


Thanks to Gary Schipporeit who fished in Florida, and Bob Brown who fished in Kentucky, this month's guide contains the first logs about Midwest finesse endeavors in those two states.


To our delight, the largemouth bass fishing in northeastern Kansas, which had been wretched during September, was stellar during four of our October outings. We caught 121 largemouth bass on Oct. 9, and that was our most fruitful outing. We caught 108 largemouth bass on Oct. 2, 87 largemouth bass on Oct. 21, and 76 largemouth bass on Oct. 23. Of course, those stellar outings were tempered by several mediocre to lackluster ones. Details about the stellar and lackluster ones are revealed  in the log section below this introduction.

By month's end, the smallmouth bass fishing, which had been rather fruitful for weeks and even months on end at a couple of northeastern Kansas flatland reservoirs, petered out. (Some northeastern Kansas Midwest finesse anglers have concluded that part of this demise stems from too much angler predation, and another component in this demise revolves around the seasonal changes, which provokes vast numbers of smallmouth bass to leave the shallow water haunts that they abide in the spring and summer.)

Throughout the calendar year, Steve Reideler occasionally writes about the smallmouth bass fishing in south-central Oklahoma, and one of his October logs focuses upon a rewarding outing that he and Rick Allen enjoyed while pursuing smallmouth bass. We are eager to read how his smallmouth bass fishing unfolds as fall merges into winter in south-central Oklahoma in next month's guide.

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

Oct. 2 log

September began on a sour note, and it ended on one. And there were several sour notes situate between Sept. 1 and Sept. 30. Some of those outings were so sour and short-lived that we could not find an adequate amount of words to describe them; thus, we did not write logs about them.

To our delight, however, October began swimmingly when Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, and I fished a nearby state reservoir on Oct. 2.

It was 45 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 66 degrees at 3:52 p.m. The sun shined brightly and incessantly. The wind angled out of the northeast, east by northeast and north by northeast at 5 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.27 at 12:52 a.m., 30.30 at 5:52 a.m., 30.27 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.19 at 2:52 p.m. It was an archetypical early fall day, and many of the leaves on the trees and bushes that stipple the low-slung hills that surround this reservoir were displaying yellow and golden hues.

The water level at this heavily fished, exurban reservoir was normal. The surface temperature was 71 degrees. The water clarity exhibited enough visibility that we could see a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man Fishing Product's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig in six feet of water. The patches of American water willows that contour much of this reservoir's shorelines were green and completely surrounded by water, and they didn't exhibit any of the yellowish hints of autumn. The patches of coontail that grow on some of this reservoir's shallow-water flats were healthy looking, and several of these patches entertained a significant number of bluegill and largemouth bass.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing might occur from 2:42 a.m. to 4:42 a.m., 3:10 p.m. to 5:10 p.m., and 8:56 a.m. to 10:56 a.m. Gum and I fished from 9:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., and we caught 108 largemouth bass, and failed to put another dozen into the boat before they liberated themselves. And before I hopped into Gum's boat, he caught a dozen largemouth bass and inadvertently caught a channel catfish. Gum and I also caught two white crappies and two bluegill. In total, Gum had a 120-largemouth-bass outing.

The 74 of the 108 largemouth bass were caught in the coontail flats in the back portions of the reservoir's two feeder-creek arms. As we dissected these patches of coontail, the boat floated in five to 11 feet of water, and we caught these largemouth bass in three to seven feet of water.

We caught six largemouth bass on a series of shallow rock piles in the lower portions of the reservoir. We caught eight largemouth bass on the ends of the dam. We caught six largemouth bass from two patches of coontail on two flats in the middle sections on the reservoir. We caught 14 largemouth bass along the outside edges of four stretches of American water willows, and one of these patches is in the lower portion of the reservoir, and the other three patches are in the back portions of the two feeder-creek arms. At these locales, the boat floated in water as shallow as four feet and as deep as 12 feet. The 34 largemouth bass were extracted out of four to eight feet of water.

Bob Gum with one of the 108 largemouth bass that we caught.

Our three most effective baits were a Z-Man's pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. We caught a few largemouth bass on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Split-Tail TrailerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Z-Man's purple-haze Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man's mud minnow Rain MinnowZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

A few of the largemouth bass engulfed our baits on the initial drop. Our two most effective retrieves were the swim-glide-and-very-subtle-shake retrieve and a strolling and dragging presentation, which was punctuated occasionally with a subtle shake. But there were many retrieves when we did not execute a shake.

Our catch of 108 largemouth bass would not have won a bass tournament nor would it have impressed a television audience, but Gum and I thought it was a delightful five and a half hours of Midwest finesse fishing.

Oct. 2 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted the following log about his Oct. 2 outing at a 10,600-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir.

It was a beautiful and sunny afternoon with a hint of fall in the air. A cold front passed through north-central Texas during the early morning hours of October 2, and the nighttime air temperature dropped from the low 70s to 53 degrees. The afternoon high temperature was a pleasant 80 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.12 at noon. The wind quartered out of the northwest at 3 to 5 mph, but as the afternoon progressed, the wind's velocity increased to 10 to 13 mph, and I employed a drift sock for about 80 percent of the time.

The water level was normal. The water was stained and exhibited about two feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 80 degrees.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing times would occur from 2:50 a.m. to 4:50 a.m., 9:04 a.m. to 11:04 a.m., and 3:18 p.m. to 5:18 p.m. I fished from noon to 3:00 p.m., which did not correspond to the prime fishing periods. Nevertheless, I caught a total of 52 largemouth bass, one smallmouth bass, and one spotted bass. With the exception of six 12- to 14-inch largemouth bass and one 14-inch smallmouth bass, the vast majority were small specimens.

I spent the entire three hours probing the nooks and crannies of the riprap that covers the face of the dam. This dam forms the east boundary of this reservoir. Oodles of two-inch shad were everywhere. Two blue herons and eight white egrets were hopping from rock to rock along the water's edge and gorging themselves on the two-inch shad.

All of these 54 black bass, as well as a freshwater drum and a large bluegill, were inhabiting water as shallow as three feet and as deep as 12 feet. Several of the black bass regurgitated two-inch shad as I was lifting them across the gunnels of my boat. The boat floated in 12 to 23 feet of water.

Twenty-one largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass were allured by a Z-Man's bluegill Scented LeechZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Seventeen largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. Eleven largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught three largemouth bass.

The Scented LeechZ, 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ, and Finesse ShadZ rigs were presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The Slim SwimZ was employed with a steady swimming presentation.

Oct. 3 log

This is not a fishing log from Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia. It is instead a weather and river-condition report that he filed on the Finesse News Network on Oct. 3.

Here is an edited version of his tales of rain-saturated woe.

My last report was focused on my Sept. 29 outing, when I narrowly escaped some fairly serious lightening.

On that outing, the river was flowing at 63 cubic feet per second, and the water temperature was 70 degrees. The water clarity exhibited more than 10 feet of visibility.

Since I got off the river on Sept, 29, it has constantly been pouring rain, and it is supposed to continue raining until late Sunday night. Flood warnings have been issued incessantly. Area thermometers might reach 52 degrees during the afternoon hours of Oct. 3.

The river is now flowing at 400 cubic feet per second. The water temperature has plummeted 15 degrees since Sept. 29.

October for me has started to resemble this past March.

I have a couple of new G. Loomis spinning rods arriving during the first part of the week. I will do my best to get them bent, but common sense tells me it will be a while before I can safely float the river in my saltwater kayak. Therefore, I suspect my reports have come to an abysmal halt.

Oct. 3 log

Steve Reideler of Denton,Texas, filed this report on the Finesse News Network about a five-hour outing that Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, undertook with his grandson, Tim Michel of Dallas at an 80-acre flatland reservoir and a 50-acre flatland reservoir on Oct. 3.

Here is a condensed and edited version of Rick's Oct. 3 report:

The Weather Underground noted the weather was sunny with partly cloudy skies. The morning low temperature was 55 degrees and the afternoon high climbed to 77 degrees. A mild-mannered wind blew out of the northeast at 3 to 9 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.99 at 8:45 a.m. and was slowly falling.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the prime fishing periods occurring from 3:53 a.m. to 5:53 a.m., 10:06 a.m. to 12:06 p.m., and 4:20 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. Rick and Tim fished the 80-acre reservoir from about 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and the 50-acre reservoir from about 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The water at the 80-acre reservoir was stained with about 2 1/2- to three feet of visibility. The water level was about normal. Rick did not take a water temperature reading at this reservoir.

The flooded-timber areas begin about halfway up the reservoir and cover the entire northern half of the reservoir.

The east shoreline is fairly steep. It has two small feeder creeks, which are adorn with thick stands of flooded timber, stumps, a long submerged wall of hydrilla, and several submerged brush piles.

The north end of the reservoir is comprised of two feeder-creek arms that are enhanced with thick stands of flooded timber and submerged brush piles.

The west shoreline is comprised of a large mud flat and is adorned with two partially submerged laydowns, a large hydrilla bed, and a few widely scattered flooded trees standing in six to eight feet of water.

The south end of the reservoir is formed by a clay dam that is graced with a thin wall of hydrilla that stretches along the entire length of the dam.

Rick reported that they caught 25 largemouth bass, and on his first cast he caught a 6 1/2-pounder. They also inadvertently caught one green sunfish and one large bluegill. The other 24 largemouth bass weighed between a pound and 1 1/2 pounds.

Rick Allen and his 6 1/2-pound largemouth bass.

There was no absolute location pattern. Some of the largemouth bass were associated with the long hydrilla wall on the east side of the reservoir. Some were relating to the flooded timber and submerged brush piles in the northern portion of the reservoir. And some inhabited the large mud flat on the west side of the reservoir. They did not encounter any bass along the dam or on the mud flat that forms the southern boundary of the reservoir. All of the largemouth bass were abiding in water less than six feet deep.

A Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, which was presented with a slow and steady swimming retrieve that was punctuated with occasional shakes, inveigled every one of the largemouth bass.

After they finished fishing the 80-acre reservoir, they fished a 50-acre reservoir that lies about 15 miles north of the 80-acre reservoir.

This reservoir encompasses a large, open basin area with a small feeder-creek entering from the northwestern section of the reservoir. There is also a larger feeder-creek flowing into the southeast end of the reservoir, and it is littered with thick stands of standing timber and submerged brush piles.

The water level was at normal pool for the first time in five years. The water displayed a tannic-brown hue and exhibited about two feet of visibility. The water temperature was 77 degrees.

Rick reported that they caught 19 largemouth bass and one crappie. The fish were inhabiting water no deeper than six feet and were residing in the flooded timber areas along the main creek channel and shallow flats adjacent to the creek channel in the southeast feeder-creek arm. All but one of these largemouth bass were caught on either a 2 3/16-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin customized FattyZ tube rigged on a hand-painted chartreuse 1/16-ounce Eagle Claw weedless nail-head jig, or a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin FattyZ tail section rigged on a hand-painted chartreuse 1/16-ounce Eagle Claw weedless nail-head jig. A Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig allured one largemouth bass. These lures were presented with a hop-and-bounce retrieve across the bottom.

All totaled, they fished for five hours and tangled with 44 largemouth bass, one crappie, one green sunfish, and one large bluegill.

Oct. 3 log

Bob Brown of Springfield, Missouri, is in charge of product development at Lew's Fishing Tackle and Do Outdoors Inc., and he filed a report on the Finesse News Network about a short outing that he and his son Tyler had at Kentucky Lake during the annual Strike King Lure Company's Writers Conference.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

The wind was howling, and it was escorted by a significant cold front. My son is a power angler, and he wanted to wield his power baits on main-lake points. But the wind and waves were too much for our small bass boat to handle. And he distraughtly asked: "What are we going to do now? The best fishing is main-lake points, and we can't get there." I asked him if he had ever heard of the Midwest finesse tactic that some folks called the Ned rig, and he said that he had not heard of it. At that point, I lifted two Lew's Tournament Performance TP1 Speed Stick Series (TP167MLFS Ned Rig) rods rigged with Team Lew's Pro Speed Spin Series (TLP2000) reels spooled with six-pound-test Lew's APT Fluorocarbon Speed Fishing Line. One rod sported a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. On the second rod, we had a four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

We began fishing a relatively wind-sheltered shoreline in a feeder-creek arm, where the surface of the water was stained from the wind, but it was clear below that surface stain. We began fishing at the main-lake mouth of this feeder creek, and we worked our way towards the back of it.

Initially, Tyler was not impressed with the Midwest finesse option. So, he wielded a spinnerbait, while I employed a Midwest finesse rig. By the time we had fished the first 20 yards of the shoreline I had caught five largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. The length limit is 15 inches and three of my first five were 15 inches or better. Tyler finally said: "Let me try this." He picked up the spinning rod and made his first cast to a piece of structure, where he caught and landed a 3 1/2-pound smallmouth bass. As he released that smallmouth bass, he said: "I had thrown my spinnerbait past that piece of structure twice and didn't get bit." To make a long story short, we caught and released more than 20 black bass in the next hour, and most of them were caught in six feet of water. As the weather continued to deteriorate, it began raining, and we headed to the house. While sitting on the porch watching it rain, Tyler said that he liked the Midwest finesse rigs for two reasons. First, who doesn't like catching largemouth bass and smallmouth bass on light tackle? Second, he can take friends who are just getting into fishing, and they can catch an impressive array of fish.

Oct. 4 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted the following log about his Oct. 4 outing at a 10,600-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir with Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas.

Here is an edited rendition of his log:

I fished this reservoir on Oct. 2 and caught 54 black bass in three hours along the dam that forms the eastern border of this reservoir. And on our Oct. 4 outing , I was curious to see if the large aggregation of black bass that I crossed paths with on Oct. 2 were still inhabiting the dam.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing would span the hours of 4:47 a.m. to 6:47 a.m., 5:13 p.m. to 7:13 p.m., and 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. We made our first casts and retrieves along a main-lake point at about noon and our last cast and retrieve was executed along the dam at 3:54 p.m.

It was pleasant fall day as Norman and I enjoyed another marvelous afternoon of black bass fishing in north-central Texas. The Indigo-blue sky was partly cloudy, but it did not hinder the vibrant sun from shining everywhere. The morning low temperature was 53 degrees and the afternoon high was 86 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.10 at noon. The wind quartered out of the northwest at 3 to 9 mph.

The water was stained and exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was at normal pool. The surface temperature had dropped to 77 degrees.

We began the outing by fishing four main-lake points and three small clay and rock flats; these areas are bedecked with the remnants of a partially submerged buck brush and large boulders. We could see small two-inch shad occasionally flickering about the surface along three of the four points. The boat floated in eight to 10 feet of water, and we caught 10 largemouth bass from the three main-lake points where we observed the shad. We failed to elicit any strikes from the fourth point that was bereft of shad, or any of the three small flats that were also lacking any visible signs of shad.

These largemouth bass were relating to the submerged boulders in four to six feet of water, and they attacked a Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which was presented with a moderately-fast swimming retrieve.

We also fished a submerged sandbar and offshore island just inside a major feeder-creek arm. We positioned the boat in water as shallow as five feet and as deep as 23 feet. The sandbar extends out from the east shoreline to the island, and it is embellished with flooded buck brush, and we failed to elicit any strikes from the top and sides of this sand bar.

The island, however, was a bit more productive. Around it, we caught one largemouth bass from its south side, two largemouth bass from its west end, and one largemouth bass from its northeast side. Two of these four bass engulfed the pearl Slim SwimZ as it was steadily retrieved about one to two feet below the surface of the water. The other two largemouths were attracted to a shortened Z-Man's pearl Hula StickZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The Hula StickZ was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. All four of these bass were relating to submerged basketball-size rocks that encircle the island in two to seven feet of water.

We also fished a 50-yard section of a bluffy shoreline just north of the island, but we failed to elicit any strikes from this area.

We finished our afternoon plying the riprap dam that forms the east border of the reservoir. We concentrated our efforts on the middle portion of the dam, which yielded 54 black bass on Oct. 2 and 138 black bass on Sept. 15. The northwesterly wind moved the boat at a comfortable pace, and we did not need to employ our drift sock.

Shortly after we arrived at the dam, we spoke with two power-anglers that were plying the midsection of the dam before we arrived. They said they were catching nothing but small bass. They were wielding a deep-diving crankbait and a large jig-and-twin-tail grub combo, and we did not see them catch a fish.

We caught 59 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one smallmouth bass from this area of the dam. The bulk of these 62 black bass were suspended in open water about five to eight feet deep in 13 to 21 feet of water, and they were situated about 15 to 30 feet from the water's edge. We were unable to determine why these bass were suspended and such a goodly distance from the water's edge. We did catch a few largemouth bass along the riprap of the dam.

Twenty-one largemouth bass and one spotted bass were beguiled by a Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. Sixteen largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass were caught on a a Z-Man's pearl Split-Tail TrailerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Nine largemouth bass and one spotted bass preferred the shortened Z-Man's pearl Hula StickZ and black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Another 10 largemouth bass were caught on the Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. And three largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's bluegill Scented LeechZ and black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The two Slim SwimZ rigs were presented with a steady swimming retrieve with an occasional twitch and pause. The Hula StickZ, Scented LeechZ, and Split-Tail TrailerZ combos were retrieved in a slow, swim-glide-and-shake preserntation.

Overall, it was another fun and entertaining outing. Norman and I inveigled 76 black bass in three hours and 54 minutes. Seventy-three were largemouth bass, two were spotted bass, and one was a smallmouth bass. Another seven bass were able to pull free before we could land them. Most were smaller denizens, but we tangled with several keeper-size bass as well.

We do not know how much longer this bountiful black bass fishing will last, but we plan to take full advantage of it for as long as we can.

Oct. 4 log

Gary Schipporeit of Denver, Colorado, filed a report about his Midwest finesse endeavors at Disney World, Florida.

Here is an edited version of his report:

While staying at one of the resorts located on the Seven Seas Lagoon in Disney World, I decided it would be a good opportunity to get in a little fishing for Florida-strain largemouth bass. You can't go to Florida and not bass fish, right? The reservoir was stocked many years ago when it was built in the 1970s. It is a catch-and-release waterway. Disney offers guided fishing excursions on a daily basis, but not wanting to cut into family time on the trip, I elected to get up before everyone in the morning and fish on my own. In addition, the guided excursions primarily fish with live shiners, and I wanted to try Midwest finesse tactics.

From Sunday Sept. 27 to Sunday Oct. 4, I fished every morning from approximately 6:30 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. The weather at that time of day was the same all week: 75 degrees and with little to no wind. The only exception was a light rain and slightly cooler temperatures on Tuesday morning, which did not seem to have an effect on the fishing.

While I fished from shore, the primary targets were docks and inside weed lines.

The most productive inside weed lines were on points located on the main lake. The weed lines are situated in one to three feet of water. The largemouth bass were close to the shoreline feeding on baitfish. During the week, I caught eight largemouth bass in these areas. The primary bait that I used was a Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which I retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. It made for a couple of interesting fights as several of the bass buried themselves in the thick weeds after getting hooked, and I had to drag them out on light tackle.

Fishing the boat docks was a more successful pattern. During the week, I caught 33 largemouth bass on the main dock at the resort. All of these fish were relating to the outside edges of the dock in eight to 10 feet of water. A few were caught in the top of the water column, but the majority were near the bottom holding tight to the dock posts. Approximately half of the fish were caught on the initial drop of the bait. The other half engulfed the bait after the initial drop, and I implemented a hop-and-shake retrieve. And a few of the fish were caught with a constant swim-and-shake retrieve high in the water column along the edges of the dock. The most successful bait here was a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ. I rigged it on a red Z-Man's 1/15-ounce Finesse Shroomz jig, and I also wacky rigged it on an unpainted 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Overall, I caught 41 largemouth bass, which is an average of five largemouth bass an outing, and the time frame of those outings ranged from 30 to 45 minutes. Not overly exceptional numbers, but not too bad either. It was a great way to start the day before dealing with humidity, screaming and unruly children, and masses of people in the theme parks.

Oct. 5 log

Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I fished a community reservoir on Oct. 5, and it is a heavily fished and suburban waterway.

It was 53 degrees at 8:53 a.m. and 60 degrees at 2:41 p.m. It was overcast, and it rained lightly from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The wind angled out of the east at 3 to 5 mph, out of the east by northeast at 3 mph, out of the north at 3 to 5 mph, out of the west at 4 mph, out of the west by northwest at 5 mph, out of the south by southeast at 3 mph, and out of the southeast at 4 mph, and it was calm for a couple of hours. The barometric pressure was 30.18 at 12:53 a.m., 30.18 at 5:53 a.m., 30.22 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.17 at 2:41 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar predicted that the best fishing would occur from 5:33 a.m. to 7:33 a.m., 5:59 p.m. to 7:59 p.m., and 11:22 p.m. to 1:22 a.m. Desch and I fished from 10:25 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.

The water level looked to be normal. The water clarity exhibited two to three feet of visibility. There was a minor algae bloom, which diminished the water clarity and left a ring of green scum around the hull of the boat. The surface temperature ranged from 67 degrees to 69 degrees. Most of this reservoir's shorelines are bordered by American water willows, and in our eyes, they are the finest patches of American water levels in northeastern Kansas. During the late spring, throughout the entire summer, and until the last days of September, robust patches of bushy pondweed graced the outside edges of the patches of American water willows and the flat main-lake points and most of the reservoir's shallow mud flats, but they have begun to wilt and their healthy viridescent hue has become a sickly brownish one, and we struggled to extract a largemouth bass from them. The patches of American pondweed are still visible, but they are exhibiting signs of decline, and we failed to catch a largemouth bass around them. The Eurasian milfoil, however, is green, and the bulk of the 48 largemouth bass, three smallmouth bass, and 15 hefty bluegill that we caught were abiding around the patches of milfoil.

We fished 12 locations. Seven were in the lower half of the reservoir, and five in the upper half. And we wielded 10 different Midwest finesse baits.

During the first 45 minutes of this outing, we discovered that the bushy pondweed was wilting. We also deduced the offshore lairs in the lower portion of the reservoir were unfruitful, as were most of its steep shorelines and main-lake points — even if those locales were graced with milfoil, American water willows, and American pondweed.

So, we spent most of the outing searching for visible patches of milfoil in the reservoir's flatter and shallower locales. It proved to be a formidable task because there are scores and scores and scores of acres of milfoil patches to explore, and vast numbers of these patches bore no fruit. What's more, the overcast sky and the algae bloom adversely affected our abilities to see them and properly dissect them.

Ultimately, we found a bounty of largemouth bass abiding along a flat main-lake point and its adjacent shoreline in the upper reaches of the reservoir. We extracted 25 of them from the outsides edges, points, pockets, and holes in the many patches of milfoil that embellished this locale. We caught them on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig and a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. These largemouth bass engulfed our baits either on the initial drop or as we executed a fast-paced swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Our boat floated in six to nine feet of water, and the bulk of the largemouth bass were abiding in three to five feet of water.

The three smallmouth bass and the other 23 largemouth bass that we caught were scattered hither and yon, and we caught them on a variety of lures.

Thirteen largemouth bass were caught on four main-lake points. Two of those points were relatively steep and embellished with American water willows and small patches of milfoil that we could not see, but we felt the milfoil with our ZinkerZ rigs. Three of the points were flat and embellished with significant patches of milfoil that we could see. Along the two steep points, the largemouth bass were caught within six to eight feet of the water's edge. At the three flat points, the largemouth bass were caught many yards away from the water's edge.

We caught four largemouth bass along a milfoil-laden flat inside a secondary feeder-creek arm. We also caught two largemouth bass along a shoreline inside that feeder-creek arm, and that shoreline is embellished with American water willows, many patches of wilting bushy pondweed, and a few patches of milfoil, which is where we caught the two largemouth bass. These six bass were abiding in three to five feet of water.

We caught one smallmouth bass along a relatively steep main-lake shoreline that is graced with American water willows and a few patches of milfoil. It was caught on the outside edge of the American water willows in about five feet of water.

We caught the second smallmouth bass along a relatively flat and rocky main-lake shoreline that is adorned with a tad of milfoil, a few skimpy patches of American water willows, and some wilting bushy pondweed. It was abiding in about three feet of water.

The third smallmouth bass was caught along a shoreline inside another secondary feeder-creek arm. The smallmouth bass was caught in about four feet of water around a small rock pile that is embellished in a tiny patch of milfoil. We also caught three largemouth bass inside this feeder-arm. To the best of our knowledge, two of these largemouth bass were not associated with patches of milfoil, and they were caught many yards off of a shoreline that is lined with American water willows and some patches of wilting bushy pondweed. One largemouth bass was caught near the shoreline and around some wilting bushy pondweed.

Steve Desch with one of the 48 largemouth bass we caught on Oct. 5.

Here are the 10 baits we employed, and the number of black bass that we caught on them across the four hours and 15 minutes that we fished: We caught one largemouth bass on a Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. We caught one largemouth bass on a Z-Man's watermelon-red Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. We caught one largemouth bass on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Split-Tail TrailerZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. We caught two largemouth bass on a three-inch Berkley's PowerBait milky-salt-and-pepper Power Grub on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. We caught two largemouth bass on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught one smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass on a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught five largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught one smallmouth bass and six largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. We caught 10 largemouth bass on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. We caught one smallmouth bass and 18 largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ on either a red or a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

One of the 18 largemouth bass that we caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

The most effective retrieve was the swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The pace of the retrieve around the shallow patches of milfoil was a quick one in order to keep our baits from becoming ensnarled with the milfoil, and we did not execute the shake routine during those fast-paced retrieves. At times, some of the largemouth bass engulfed our baits almost as soon as they hit the water or during the initial drop.

Oct. 6 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted the following log on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 6 outing at a 74,753-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir with Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas.

Here is an edited version of his log:

I have not fished this reservoir since April 30, when Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I fished six hours and caught 20 smallmouth bass.

During the morning of Oct. 6, it was cloudy and foggy, but just after 11:00 a.m., the clouds and fog disappeared, and the sun began to shine brightly. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 60 degrees and the afternoon high temperature climbed to 79 degrees. The wind blew out of the northwest at 8 to 12 mph, and we did not need to utilize a drift sock. The barometric pressure measured 30.08 at 10:30 a.m. and dropped to 29.95 by 4:30 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing periods would take place between 12:12 a.m. to 2:12 a.m., 6:24 a.m. to 8:24 a.m., and 6:48 p.m. to 8:48 p.m. Rick and I were afloat from about 10:40 a.m. to about 4:40 p.m.

We fished the southeast section of the reservoir, where we could not find any shallow-water concentrations of shad, and the black bass were difficult to locate and catch. In fact, it took us six-hours to scrounge up 16 largemouth bass, 13 smallmouth bass, one spotted bass, as well as three freshwater drum, two channel catfish, four large bluegills, and one green sunfish.

Upon our arrival at the boat ramp, we were a little surprised and a bit dismayed to discover that the water was still muddy from the torrential rains that inundated this reservoir during the spring and early summer. The water exhibited about a foot of visibility. Normally, this reservoir's water clarity ranges from eight to 13 feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 75 degrees to 77 degrees. The water level was 2.42 feet below normal pool.

Rick and I began this outing by fishing the east shoreline of a small marina cove. This cove's shorelines are mostly flat and endowed with three rocky secondary points, two rock ledges, an abundance of fist-sized rocks, some gravel, a few scattered stumps, and some flooded shoreline vegetation. We employed a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man's chartreuse sparkle GrubZ on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The GrubZ was presented with a steady swimming retrieve, and it caught one largemouth bass that was relating to a small secondary point in about three feet of water. The Finesse T.R.D was presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and it caught one green sunfish from the same point where the largemouth bass was abiding.

We then decided to ply the riprap-laden dam in hopes of locating a substantial aggregation of smallmouths that would help us decipher the baits, presentations, and location patterns for the day. The dam is situated in the southeast corner of the reservoir. We spent 3 1/2 hours of this outing fishing about 90 percent of the dam. Our boat was positioned in water as shallow as eight feet and as deep as 25 feet.

As we probed the riprap and several small rock jetties along the face of the dam, we were constantly harassed by scores of annoying bluegills that pretzeled our baits. We also experienced an odd phenomenon where an unknown species of fish would lightly grab our baits and begin to slowly swim off with it, but we were unable to hook them. We suspected that they were bass and just holding onto the tails of our baits, and as we reeled them in, they would just let go of the baits when they were close to the boat, and when we lifted our baits out of the water, we found that our baits had been pulled down into the bend of the hook, or if our baits were glued to the collar of the Gopher jigs, our baits would be pretzeled over the point of the hook. This frustrating phenomenon took place over and over again.

We did manage to land seven largemouth bass, six smallmouth bass, two channel catfish, and four large bluegills along the dam. All of these fish were associated with the riprap along the face of the dam and were dwelling in three to six feet of water. Three smallmouth bass, three largemouth bass, and three bluegills engulfed either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ or a coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass were enticed into striking a Z-Man's pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ rigged on a brown 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A shortened four-inch Z-Man's coppertresue Finesse WormZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught one smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass. A Z-Man's mud minnow Finesse T.R.D. on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught one largemouth bass, and a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange FattyZ tail section on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught one smallmouth bass. Two channel catfish were caught on a Z-Man's chartreuse-gold Split-Tail TrailerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and one large bluegill was caught on a Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher Jig. The 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ, Finesse T.R.D.s, 2 1/4-inch FattyZ tail, Finesse ShadZ, and the Split-Tail TrailerZ were presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The Slim SwimZ was retrieved with a steady swimming motion. We also tried the drag-and-shake, drag-and deadstick, and hop-and bounce presentations, but they garnered just a few tentative bites.

We then fished two rocky main-lake points just west of the dam, where the boat floated in eight to 12 feet of water. One point surrendered five largemouth bass, four smallmouth bass, and one feisty freshwater drum that were milling about in four to six feet of water. The five largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's black-blue ZinkerZ affixed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and the four smallmouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's black Split-Tail TrailerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

The second point relinquished just one freshwater drum that struck the 2 1/2-inch black-blue ZinkerZ rig in four feet of water.

We finished the afternoon by fishing the shorelines of five steep bluff points that lie along the south shoreline west of the dam. These five points yielded three smallmouth bass, two largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and two freshwater drum that were extracted from three to eight feet of water along the tips of the points.

The 2 1/2-inch coppertruese ZinkerZ and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation allured two smallmouth bass and one spotted bass. The 2 1/2-inch black-blue ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught one smallmouth bass, one largemouth bass, and one freshwater drum. One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, and it was presented with a steady swimming retrieve.

As Rick and I began the one-hour and 45-minute drive back home, we contemplated whether or not the fishing at this reservoir was worth the time and effort for us to return later this fall, or if we should wait until the water clears up by next spring. As for now, we have not made up our minds.

Oct. 7 log

I fished a nearby state reservoir on Oct. 7. This northeastern Kansas exurban reservoir is heavily fished, and its largemouth bass have been difficult to find and catch since Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I caught 80 in three hours and 20 minutes on July 16, and John Reese of Lawrence, Kansas, Glen Hildebrand of Lawrence, Kansas, and I caught 53 largemouth bass in three hours on July 23.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 48 degrees at 6:07 a.m. and 75 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind was calm for hours on end, and when it did stir, it angled out of the north, north by northwest, and northwest at 3 to 4 mph, and then it switched out of the southeast and southwest at 3 to 4 mph. It was foggy until 9:52 a.m., and then it was sunny thereafter with an occasional scattering of clouds cluttering parts of the sky. The barometric pressure was 30.16 at 12:52 a.m., 30.16 at 5:52 a.m., 30.19 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.16 at 1:52 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 69 to 71 degrees. The water level was normal. The water was clear enough that I could see a Z-Man's PB&J Rain MinnowZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig 37 inches under the surface. There was a slight algae bloom. Many yards of American pondweed line some of this reservoir's shorelines. There are a few patches of American water willows, but 90 percent of them are in very shallow water and rarely yield a largemouth bass. There is a bounty of bushy pondweed that is flourishing on the flats and along the outside edges of some of the American pondweed patches. (It is interesting to note that the bushy pondweed is wilting and decaying at some area reservoirs, but not at this one.) Some shorelines and flats in the back portions of this reservoir's five feeder-creek arms are embellished with patches of coontail and an occasional patch of chara. The boat ramp and several of the shorelines were littered with depressing amounts of trash that bank walkers left behind and boat anglers tossed out of their boats.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing should transpire from 7:02 a.m. to 9:02 a.m., 7:25 p.m. to 9:25 p.m., and 12:51 a.m. to 2:51 a.m. I fished from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

I began the outing by plying a patch of American pondweeds along the west end of the dam, where I caught one largemouth bass on a Z-Man's PB&J Rain MinnowZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with a fast-paced swim-glide-and shake presentation. This largemouth bass was abiding in about three feet of water.

Since July, it has been a chore to catch a largemouth bass along the riprap shorelines on the dams at many of the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, and it was that way on this outing. I fished about 30 percent of the dam, and I caught one largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. This largemouth bass engulfed it on the initial drop in about three feet of water. Other than that one largemouth bass, I failed to garner another strike along the dam, which I dissected with the Rain MinnowZ rig and ZinkerZ rig. Both lures were presented with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve, and occasionally I strolled and dragged both of those baits.

From the dam, I ventured to the back of one of the feeder-creek arms, where I fished massive patches of bushy pondweed on a mud flat and failed to elicit a strike by employing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the Rain MinnowZ rig and ZinkerZ rig. A Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve also failed to garner a strike.

On this flat, I employed the Finesse ShadZ rig around four shallow brushpiles that are surrounded by bushy pondweed. One brushpile yielded three largemouth bass, and one brushpile yielded one largemouth bass. There is three to four feet of water around these brushpiles.

The Finesse ShadZ rig also caught one largemouth bass from a small patch of coontail along the outside edge of some American water willows. This largemouth bass engulfed the Finesse ShadZ on the initial drop in about three feet of water. It also caught a largemouth bass around an isolated patch of bushy pondweed on the initial drop in 2 1/2 feet of water .

Around a shallow-water combination of American pondweed and bushy pondweed, I caught one largemouth bass on the ZinkerZ rig in two feet of water with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. At that same locale, I caught a largemouth bass on the Rain MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

For the next two hours, the Rain MinnowZ rig was the only rig that I employed, and during the first 10 minutes of that two-hour span, I caught five largemouth bass. One of them engulfed it on the initial drop along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows in about two feet of water. The other four largemouth bass were caught a few feet inside several patches of American pondweed, where I executed some pinpoint casts into holes and pockets in these patches and employed a fast-paced swim-glide — and-shake retrieve.

At 11:40 a.m., I moved to the back of another feeder-creek arm, and I quickly fished various patches of American pondweed that adorned the west shoreline. The boat floated in four to nine feet of water. There are also four brushpiles and two laydowns mixed in with the patches of American pondweed. And I executed scores of pinpoint casts into the pockets, points, corners, and holes of the American pondweed patches, as well as around the brushpiles and laydowns. I presented the Rain MinnowZ rig with a rapid swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. This retrieve allows the Rain MinnowZ to virtually twist and dart from six to 24 inches under the surface, and it inveigled 17 largemouth bass along this shoreline. Sixteen of the largemouth bass were extracted out of two and three feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on a deadstick presentation at the end of a rapid swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and it was abiding in about five feet of water.

At 1:15 p.m. I moved to another locale, where I dissected the remnants of a boat dock, a brushpile, and a laydown at the site of the defunct marina. Some of these objects were graced with bushy pondweed. The Rain MinnowZ and the rapid swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught four largemouth bass, and they were abiding in two to 3 1/2 feet of water.

It was not a stellar outing. But because the largemouth bass fishing has been so pathetic at this reservoir and several nearby reservoirs for more than two months, I did not expect to tangle with 25 largemouth bass an hour.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed resurrecting the Rain MinnowZ, which unfortunately Z-Man no longer manufactures. It used to be one of our most effective baits during the Octobers of 2010, 2011, and 2012. But for some unknown reason, we have not consistently used it for a couple years. We will, however, attempt to rectify that mistake throughout this month and in the months to come, because when the largemouth bass are abiding in shallow water around American pondweed or American water willows or curly-leaf pondweed, it has few peers. (Because they are so durable, we think we have enough of them to last us for several more years.)

The Z-Man's PB&J Rain MinnowZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

From our experiences, it is essential to affix the Rain MinnowZ to a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with a No. 6 hook, which allows it to glide more alluring than any of our Midwest finesse baits. The small hook also prevents this rig from becoming entangled with the aquatic vegetation (as well as the brushpiles and laydowns), and in my eyes, the small hook also allows it to shake and quiver more alluringly than it does when it is affixed to a jig with a large hook. Contrary to popular wisdom, the small hook does not adversely affect its ability to hook largemouth bass as long as an angler does not set the hook aggressively.

On this Oct. 7 outing, I caught 36 largemouth bass, and 27 of them were caught on the Rain MinnowZ. And it looks as if this Rain MinnowZ can tangle with 150 or more largemouth bass until it is too tattered to stay affixed to a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

Oct. 9 log

My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished an exurban state reservoir on Oct 9 that is normally pounded by scores of anglers. During this outing, however, the angling pressure was virtually nil. We were the only largemouth bass anglers afloat. We crossed paths with a pair of channel catfish anglers, and we saw four anglers walking the shorelines around two riprap jetties.

It was 54 degrees at 9:52 a.m. and 64 degrees at 3:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the north, northwest, north by northeast, and north by northwest at 6 to 12 mph. The condition of the sky alternated from being mostly cloudy to partly cloudy to overcast to scattered with clouds to clear. The barometric pressure was 30.14 at 12:52 a.m., 30.20 at 5:52 a.m., 30.31 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.29 at 1:52 p.m.

The water level was normal. The surface temperature ranged from 69 degrees to 70 degrees. The water clarity exhibited nearly six feet of visibility.

This reservoir's mud flats are blessed with an abundance of healthy coontail patches, which are interlaced with patches of curly-leaf pondweed and chara. These patches lie in three to seven feet of water. The curly-leaf pondweed just has begun to sprout; it will continue to grow during the fall, winter, and spring, and it will wilt and die in June and July. Throughout the cold-water months, we will spend many hours fishing patches of curly-leaf pondweed on these shallow-water flats, where we will hope to tangle with vast numbers of largemouth bass.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 8:21 a.m. to 10:21 a.m., 8:43 p.m. to 10:43 p.m., and 2:10 a.m. to 4:10 a.m. We fished from 9:55 a.m. to 1:55 p.m.

We spent the entire outing in the back ends of two of this reservoir's three feeder-creek arms, where we dissected scores and scores of patches of coontail that are growing on two massive mud flats. One mud flat is the size of three football fields, and the other one is the size of about four football fields. The depth of the water that covers the coontail patches is as shallow as 2 1/2 feet and as deep as seven feet, and very few of the patches of coontail are visible to an angler's eyes. Two submerged creek channels meander across one flat. The other flat is endowed with one submerged creek channel and two ditches. The creek channels and ditches create a sharp border or a significant edge to the patches of coontail, and on the portions of the coontail flats that are not crisscrossed with a creek channel or ditch, the patches of coontail gradually diminish.  Some of the shallow sections of both the flats are littered with flooded terrestrial vegetation, which is the residue of the drought of 2012 and 2013.  As we fished these flats, the boat floated in three to nine feet of water.

We fished one mud flat from 9:55 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., and we caught 77 largemouth bass and two crappie. We fished the second mud flat from 12:20 p.m. to 1:22 p.m., and we caught 44 largemouth bass and 11 crappie.

The most effective bait was a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We also caught largemouth bass and a couple crappie on these baits: a shortened Z-Man's Canada Craw Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's purple Split-Tail TrailerZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's PB&J Rain MinnowZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Split-Tail TrailerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Rick Hebenstreit with one of the 121 largemouth bass that were caught and released.

In total, we caught 121 largemouth bass, 13 crappie, and several largemouth bass liberated themselves before we could lift them over the boat's gunnels. Some of the fish engulfed our baits on the initial drop, but most of the fish were caught as we employed a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and the shake was a subdued one. The largemouth bass and crappie were caught in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as seven feet.

Any time a pair of Midwest finesse anglers can catch 30 largemouth bass an hour, it is a stellar spell indeed.

Rick Hebensteit with one of the 13 crappie that we caught on Oct. 9.

Oct 9 log

Clyde Holscher, who is a multispecies guide from Topeka, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his outing with a client at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir in northeastern Kansas.

The surface temperature was 67 degrees. The Corps reported that the water level was several inches below normal. And they were releasing water through the dam's outlet at a pace of 20 cubic feet per second.

Throughout the day, Holscher and his client plied the riprap of the dam and a variety of secondary points and main-lake points, as well as main-lake shorelines and shorelines inside some feeder-creek arms and some main-lake flats and humps. All of these areas are littered with rocks, boulders, and interspersed with gravel. Some of these locales were wind-blown. They wielded a Z-Man's California Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a 1/16-ounce jig, and at some of the wind-blown areas, they occasionally employed a 3/8-ounce Worden's Vibric Rooster Tail in the Claudia hue, which inveigled a combination of 68 smallmouth bass and white bass.

One of the smallmouth bass Clyde Holscher and his client caught on Oct. 9.

Oct. 10 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 10 outing at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas. While he fished, his wife, Nancy, spent the afternoon paddle boarding.

Here are excerpts from his report:

It was a picturesque fall day. The sun was intensely bright in the clear azure sky. A light breeze meandered out of the northeast at 3 to 5 mph., and for a couple of spells, the wind was calm. And during these calm spells, the black bass fishing became very difficult. The morning low temperature was 61 degrees and the afternoon high temperature reached 84 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.22 at noon and dropped to 30.06 by 4:00 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the optimum fishing periods should take place between the hours of 2:56 a.m. to 4:56 a.m., 9:07 a.m. to 11:07 a.m., and 9:28 p.m. to 11:28 p.m. I fished from about 12:30 p.m. to about 4:00 p.m., and I struggled to catch 24 largemouth bass and two spotted bass. I also inadvertently caught a hefty freshwater drum and two bluegill.

The water was stained with about 2 1/2 feet of visibility. The water temperature was 75 degrees at 12:30 p.m. and warmed to 76 degrees by 4:00 p.m. The water level was at normal pool.

I was disheartened to discover that I was unable to fish several main-lake black bass lairs because they were already occupied by water skiers, jet skiers, or were being plied by a flotilla of boat anglers, or covered with a crowd of bank anglers. Consequently, I spent most of my time in two feeder-creek arms in hopes of finding a large aggregation of black bass chasing shad and avoiding the crowded main-lake areas.

The first feeder-creek arm I investigated lies along the west side of the east tributary arm. I fished the two main-lake entry points, six secondary points, two large mud flats adorned with partially flooded terrestrial vegetation, a long rocky ledge that drops abruptly from three feet of water into 15 feet of water, and a brushy secondary point located about halfway inside a cove. I failed to find any large concentrations of shad in this feeder-creek arm.

I caught five largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and a freshwater drum from two of the six secondary points. These six black bass were relating to the tips of both points in three to five feet of water. Five of these black bass aggressively struck a Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, which was presented with a steady swimming retrieve just underneath the surface of the water. One largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ affixed on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Two largemouth bass were caught off a secondary point inside the cove. Both of them were abiding in about four feet of water next to the deep-water edge of a long wall of flooded terrestrial vegetation that graced the top and sides of the secondary point. I caught them on the pearl Slim SwimZ rig and a steady swim retrieve.

Two largemouth bass and two large bluegills were caught from eight feet of water along the long rocky ledge that parallels a 100-yard section of the southern shoreline. This rocky ledge is situated in the first third of the feeder-creek arm. Both of these largemouth bass and the two bluegills were enticed into striking the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

I was unable to elicit any strikes from two of the secondary points, the rocky ledge, and the two large mud flats while utilizing a Z-Man's green -pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

From the first feeder-creek arm, I made my way into a second feeder-creek arm that is located along the east side of the east tributary arm. The water inside this feeder-creek arm was muddier than the rest of the reservoir's east tributary. It exhibited about a foot of visibility. I also failed to find any large concentrations of shad in this feeder-creek arm.

I targeted a submerged roadbed in the back of a cove that is lined with submerged buck brush and infested with thick stands of flooded timber. The top of this submerged roadbed is covered with less than a foot of water, but the sides of the roadbed drop off into three to eight feet of water. This roadbed and the line of flooded standing timber adjacent to the south side of the roadbed yielded 10 largemouth bass that were inhabiting three to five feet of water. These largemouth bass engulfed a shortened Z-Man's black-blue Hula StickZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and it was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

I also fished a flat and rocky secondary point inside this feeder-creek arm, and it surrendered only one largemouth bass that was abiding in three feet of water on top of the point. This largemouth bass was caught on the shortened black-blue Hula StickZ rig and slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

From this feeder-creek arm, I returned to the west side of the tributary arm and fished a main-lake point and its adjacent rocky shoreline that is graced with flooded buck brush and a submerged roadbed. It relinquished two largemouth bass that were milling about in the submerged buck brush in five to seven feet of water. Both of these largemouth bass were caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ and a steady swim retrieve. I failed to elicit any strikes with the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rig or the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ rig while employing either a swim-glide-and-shake presentation or a hop-and-bounce presentation.

I finished the afternoon fishing behind several anglers that were plying a riprap-covered jetty. I caught two largemouth bass and one spotted bass that were relating to the riprap along both sides of the jetty in three to five feet of water. Those three bass were bewitched by the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

All told, I failed miserably to locate any significant clusters of shad, which has been a key element in locating huge schools of black bass during the past few weeks. The shortened Z-Man's black-blue Hula StickZ and swim-glide-and shake retrieve allured 11 largemouth bass. The Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ that was presented with a steady swim retrieve that coursed a few inches below the surface of the water enticed eight largemouth bass and one spotted bass. Five largemouth bass and one spotted bass were coaxed into striking the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and shake presentation. I was unable to garner any strikes with the Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ.

Oct. 12 log

Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I battled the wind and some difficult largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing at a northeastern Kansas community reservoir on Oct. 12.

As we were executing our final and futile casts, which were preceded by scores of unsuccessful ones, Desch said that he doesn't know how the professional bass tournament anglers can tolerate fishing for eight hours and garnering only two or three strikes an hour, which was a phenomenon that his dear friend Stacey King of Reed Springs, Missouri, and many other competitors endured at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open at Table Rock Lake, Missouri, on Oct. 1 and 2.

Our Oct 12 outing was considerably more fruitful than the outings King and many of his fellow competitors recently suffered with at Table Rock Lake. But compared to our Oct. 5 outing at this community reservoir, when Desch and I caught 48 largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass in four hours and 15 minutes, our Oct. 12 outing was frustrating, and we didn't possess the wherewithal to put up with it for more than three hours and 45 minutes.

The average low temperature for Oct. 11 and 12 is 46 degrees, and the average high temperature is 70 degrees. The high temperature on Oct. 11 was 87 degrees, and the low temperature was 58 degrees, and the wind angled out of the south at 7 to 21 mph. On Oct. 12 it was 72 degrees at 12:53 a.m., 60 degrees at 6:53 a.m., and 79 degrees at 2:57 p.m. The wind shifted from the southwest at 9 mph to the northwest at 11 to 29 mph, and we employed a drift sock almost incessantly. The sun was blindingly bright, and the scorching-blue sky was absolutely devoid of a cloud. The barometric pressure was 29.61 at 12:53 a.m., 29.78 at 5:53 a.m., 29.87 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.82 at 1:53 p.m. During this outing, Desch periodically wondered if the wildly fluctuating weather was adversely affecting the behavior of the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

The water level looked to be a tad below normal. The surface temperature ranged from 68 to 69 degrees, which is a few degrees warmer than normal for this time of the year. The water clarity was affected by an algae bloom, and it exhibited 18 to 36 inches of visibility. The patches of American pondweed were disintegrating. Likewise, the patches of bushy pondweed were in a state of decay. (Occasionally Desch and I wondered if the algae bloom combined with the dying aquatic vegetation was affecting the whereabouts and dispositions of the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.) The Eurasian milfoil, however, was flourishing, as was the duckweed. Except for a few yellow leaves and stems, the patches of American water willows exhibited very few signs that they were about to call it a year.

We spent most of this outing probing patches of milfoil. Some of the patches were along the dam. Some of them were on flat main-lake shorelines and points in the upper reaches of the reservoir. A few patches were inside three feeder-creek arms. Two of them were situated in the middle portions of the reservoir.

And as we attempted to dissect the milfoil patches, the angle of the blinding sun, the howling wind, and the ranks of white caps made it difficult for us to see and execute accurate casts and alluring retrieves. Consequently, we caught only 18 largemouth bass and seven smallmouth bass, and that was a paltry average of slightly more than six black bass an hour. There was no consistent rhyme or reason to where we caught those largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. At times, it seemed as if the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass were catching us rather than us catching them. Therefore we could not establish an efficient and reliable location pattern as we made countless casts and fruitless retrieves around hundreds and hundreds of patches of milfoil.

Steve Desch with the first largemouth bass of the outing, which was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's bubble gum ZinkerZ.

Our most effective bait was a slightly shortened Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. And we caught some of the 25 black bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, and on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's bubble gum ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

Our best retrieve was a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

Oct. 13 log

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

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

It has been two weeks since I filed my last report on Sept. 29. On that outing, I got off the river just before lightening and torrential rains began. I have not fished since then, and I approached my Oct. 13 outing with a lot of anticipation.

On Sept. 29, the river was flowing at 63 cubic feet per second. What transpired for several days after that last outing were some of the strongest non-stop rain storms that I have seen since moving to West Virginia nine years ago.

These storms were the backlash of what was transpiring in South Carolina at the time. Over the course of five straight days of rain, the United States Geological Survey reported that the flow of the river reached 1,300 cubic feet per second.

During this high-water spell, I was battling a severe sinus infection, and the only thing that made me feel better was knowing that I was not missing a good fall smallmouth bass bite.

This coming weekend my part-time neighbor and a few close friends of his will be spending the weekend. They are the same ones that we greatly enjoyed spending time on the water with this past summer. I wanted to find some congregations of fish today in an effort to get dialed in for three straight days of fishing with them this weekend.

I launched my Jackson Tuna kayak at 9:51 a.m. At that time it was 57 degrees and very cloudy. It had been raining since 3:00 a.m., and the wind was blowing at 9 mph.

The United States Geological Survey reported that the river was flowing at 212 cubic feet per second, and the water temperature was 63 degrees. The water clarity had diminished from more than 10 feet on Sept. 29 to four feet on Oct. 13.

My spinning rods were rigged with a modified Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ on an orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a modified Z-Man's blue steel Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a homemade brown-craft-hair jig tied on an orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with a nose hooked three-inch Z-Man's dirt Finesse WormZ, a heavily customized two-inch Z-Man's pumpkin EZ TubeZ on a 1/32-ounce inserted Gopher Tackle's Tiny Mite Jig, and a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's dirt ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. And all of the baits were lathered with various combinations of Pro-Cures' Super Gels.

Initially, I wanted to see if the smallmouth bass had begun to congregate in deep-water areas. So, I probed areas that are covered with 12 to 15 feet of water with steep cliffs on the strong side of the river. The bottom is interspersed with very large logs and huge boulders.

On my third cast with the Scented LeechZ rig, I caught a fat 17-inch smallmouth bass while employing an extremely slow do-nothing retrieve. It felt great to lip a fish after my layoff.

I fished a total of four hours and 25 minutes. I caught three smallmouth bass on the Scented LeechZ. I caught four smallmouth bass and four big bluegill on my hair-jig and Finesse WormZ combo. I caught two smallmouth bass, three big bluegill, and two largemouth bass on the two-inch EZ TubeZ. I caught two smallmouth bass, two largemouth bass, and three bluegill on the ZinkerZ, which I used infrequently.

I fished seven different spots in hopes of getting a handle on what the smallmouth bass were doing. I used some new rods, which are a joy, and I enjoyed some spectacular fall colors. Even with the occasional 15-mph wind gusts that would come and go, I was glad to have gotten out even though it was not an especially fruitful trip.

Oct. 13 log

On Oct. 12, the wind created some trying fishing for Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and me at a northeastern Kansas community reservoir. Mother Nature's windy way abated on Oct. 13, and I launched the boat at 10:30 a.m. at another community reservoir, where the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing was once the finest in these parts, but it has been wretched for many months in 2015. It is interesting to note, however, that the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism's fisheries biologist who manages this reservoir said that his electro-shocking survey in May revealed that its largemouth bass population was the best of the many small reservoirs that he manages across northeastern Kansas.

A few minutes after I launched the boat and while I was getting my equipment ready to make my first cast, two veteran Midwest finesse anglers motored across the reservoir to talk with me. They reported that the largemouth bass fishing was still horrible, and in fact, they had fished for slightly more than two hours and had caught only seven largemouth bass. Upon hearing that sorry report from this pair of talented anglers, I elected to put the boat on the trailer and drive to a nearby state reservoir.

At this state reservoir, the water level looked to be a tad below normal. I failed to find any patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, and the patches of American water willows that grace much of this reservoir's shorelines were exhibiting an autumn demeanor; their brown and yellow stalks and stems were dropping brown and yellow leaves into the water, and many of the stalks and stems were already devoid of leaves. (At the nearby community reservoir that Desch and I fished on Oct. 12, the American water willows were still exhibiting their viridescent hues of summer, as were the American water willows at the community reservoir where I launched my boat at 10:30 a.m.) The depth of water along the outside edges of the patches of American water willows ranged from one foot to 3 1/2 feet. There was a minor algae bloom, and the water clarity exhibited about 2 1/2 feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 67 degrees.

According to the Weather Underground, it was 45 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 79 degrees at 3:53 p.m. There was not a cloud in sight, and the sun was blindly bright, forcing me to wear a pair of polarized sunglasses for the first time in a long, long, long time. (I have never been a fan of sunglasses, but they do allow me to see underwater objects and fish that I would not see if I were not wearing them.) The wind was calm at times, and at other times, it was very mild-mannered, angling out of the west at 3 to 8 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.92 at 12:53 a.m., 29.96 at 5:53 a.m., 30.01 at 11:53 a.m., and 29:97 at 1:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing times occurred at 11:26 p.m. to 1:26 a.m., 4:53 a.m. to 5:53 a.m., and 5:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. I fished from 11:45 a.m. to 1:55 p.m.

During the first 33 minutes of this outing, I plied the dam and its two adjacent shorelines. It is a riprap-covered dam, which is adorned with several patches of American water willows. The underwater terrain of the two shorelines consists of rocks and gravel and several man-made brushpiles, and each of the shorelines is embellished with thick patches of American water willows. The boat floated in five to 12 feet of water. I caught 10 largemouth bass. Two were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two were caught on a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two were caught on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. Two were caught on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two were caught on a Z-Man's PB&J Rain MinnowZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Four of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the bait in two to three feet of water. Two were caught as I was strolling in about eight feet of water. Four were caught while I was executing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in three to six feet of water. Three were caught along the outside edges of the American water willow patches, and the other seven were abiding around the riprap and rock-laden terrain.

From 12:20 p.m. to 1:55 p.m., I fished a long main-lake shoreline that is adorned with seven riprap jetties and several laydowns and brushpiles, as well as long stretches of American water willows. The boat floated in three to 15 feet of water. I caught 42 largemouth bass. Twenty-three of them were caught on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Nineteen were caught on a Z-Man's PB&J Rain MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A few of them were caught on the initial drop of the bait, and the rest were caught when I employed a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The pace of the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve varied from being extremely slow and punctuated with an occasional deadstick presentation to being a fast-paced retrieve that was enhanced with some significant shakes and even a jerk or two. These largemouth bass were extracted out of water as shallow as two feet and as deep as seven feet. About three-quarters of them were caught along the outside edges of the American water willows. A few of them were associated with the laydowns and brushpiles. Some of them were abiding around the riprap jetties. Several of them were caught under trees that overhung the surface of the water, and these overhanging trees created a break or at least a minor dent in the patches of American water willows.

At the end of this two-hour-and-10-minute outing, my fish counter indicated that I had tangled with 52 largemouth bass.

Oct. 13 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 13 outing with John Thomas of Denton, Texas, at a Civilian Conservation Corps hill-land reservoir in south-central Oklahoma, where they spent four hours and 53 minutes pursuing smallmouth bass.

Here is a condensed edition of his report:

The weather was delightful. The morning low temperature was 51 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 87 degrees. The sun was radiant in the beautiful China-blue sky. There was not a cloud in sight for miles. At times, a light breeze blew out of the northwest at less than five miles per hour, and it was calm a good portion of the day. The barometric pressure measured 30.05 at 10:00 a.m.

The water was clear and displayed a beautiful emerald-green tint. The water's clarity was five feet. The surface temperature ranged from 73 degrees to 75 degrees. The water level was normal. For most of the afternoon, the water was calm and its surface was as smooth as glass.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing periods would occur between 4:15 a.m. and 6:15 a.m., 5:17 p.m. and 7:17 p.m., and 11:04 p.m. and 1:04 a.m. John and I fished from 10:45 a.m. to 3:38 p.m.

We began this outing at a steep and rocky main-lake point in the southeast end of the reservoir, and we employed a Z-Man's chartreuse sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The GrubZ was presented with a slow and steady swimming retrieve, and the ZinkerZ was implemented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We failed to elicit a strike at this point.

Then we traveled northward to a west-side tributary arm and fished a hump that is located about halfway inside the tributary arm. This hump lies about 50 yards offshore, and it is graced with gravel, large boulders, a couple of small stumps, and several old wood posts. The top of this hump was covered with about two feet of water, and the sides dropped off into 20 feet of water. We positioned the boat in 10 to 15 feet of water and plied the south and east sides of the hump. The north and west sides of the hump were buoyed off and were inaccessible.

We caught 10 smallmouth bass, three stocky freshwater drum, and one large bluegill that were dwelling in six to ten feet of water along the east side of the hump. The southern and northern sections of this hump did not yield a strike.

Five smallmouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig. Four smallmouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's California Craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and one smallmouth bass was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Red Bug Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Most of these smallmouth bass engulfed the lures as they were slowly retrieved down the side of the hump with a slow hop-and-bounce presentation, and two of them were hooked when they struck the lure as soon as it hit the water. Several of the strikes were very tentative, and the only indication we had of a strike was seeing our bright-yellow braided line moving slowly to the side.

Next, we fished two steep and rocky main-lake points at the mouth of a large feeder-creek arm. The boat floated in 12 to 26 feet of water. One point yielded one smallmouth bass and one green sunfish. The second point yielded one small green sunfish.

The smallmouth bass was relating to a throng of boulders that were situated along the tip of the first point in ten feet of water, and it was enticed into striking the 2 1/2-inch Coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig that was presented with a slow hop-and-bounce retrieve.

After we finished fishing those two main-lake points, we made an eight-minute run to the reservoir's east tributary arm. We dissected a main-lake point along the east shoreline that is covered with basketball-size rocks and drops into 21 feet of water. We plied this point with the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ and the California Craw Finesse T.R.D. while the boat floated in 10 to 23 feet of water, and we failed to elicit a strike.

After that, we fished a submerged roadbed that courses across the midsection of a main-lake cove. The top of the roadbed is covered with three to 12 feet of water, and it is bordered with water as shallow as eight feet and as deep as 26 feet. The sides of the roadbed are adorned with gravel, fist-size rocks, and large boulders.

We slowly strolled with our 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ and California Craw Finesse T.R.D. rigs in seven to 12 feet of water along the west side of the roadbed, but that tactic failed to pay any dividend.

We then positioned the boat on top of the roadbed, and we focused on fishing the top of it and the edges. While the boat floated in 10 to 12 feet of water on top of the roadbed, we observed several smallmouth bass chasing two- to three-inch shad across the surface of the water.

Ultimately, we caught 11 smallmouth bass from this roadbed. Six smallmouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ while we employed a slow hop-and-bounce retrieve. Five smallmouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's smoke hologram Slim SwimZ rigged on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, which was retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Eight of these smallmouth bass were extracted from the top of the roadbed in 10 to 12 feet of water, and three of them were caught from several large boulders that lie along the west side of the roadbed in 13 to 21 feet of water.

We finished the day by probing a submerged main-lake hump that is located at the mouth of a main-lake cove in the east tributary arm. The top of this hump is covered with six to eight feet of water, and the sides drop off into 27 feet of water. We observed two schools of smallmouth bass chasing two- to three-inch shad across the surface of the water in the vicinity of the hump. We caught one smallmouth bass from a school that was chasing shad on the north side of the hump in 12 feet of water, and it was caught on the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and shake retrieve. We caught seven smallmouth bass from a school that was abiding in eight to 23 feet of water on the top and south side of the hump. Four of them were caught on the Z-Man's smoke hologram Slim SwimZ and a steady swim presentation. Three of them were caught on a Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig that was quickly and steadily retrieved just underneath the surface of the water.

Overall, it was an enjoyable fall day on the water. The fishing was slow and at times tedious, but we managed to inveigle 30 smallmouth bass, three freshwater drum, two green sunfish, and one large bluegill. Most of the smallmouth bass were adults, and many weighed between 1 1/4 pounds and 1 3/4 pounds. One of our most effective lures and presentations was the 2 1/2-inch Coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig and hop-and-bounce retrieve. The Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and Z-Man's smoke hologram Slim SwimZ rigged on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, which were presented with a steady swim retrieve, were also effective.

Oct. 14 log

Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and his wife, Kathy, are spending eight days at the Lake of the Ozarks, and he filed a short report on the Finesse News Network about their catch on Oct 14.

Here is an edited rendition of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 44 degrees at 3:35 a.m. and 75 degrees at 3:55 p.m. The sky was cloudless. During the early morning hours the wind was calm, and around 4:00 a.m. it began to stir, and it angled out of the west and west by southwest at 3 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.95 at 12:55 a.m., 29.98 at 5:55 a.m., 30.08 at 11:55 a.m., and 30.04 at 3:55 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing occurred from 11:18 a.m. to 1:18 p.m., 11:40 p.m. to 1:04 a.m., and 5:29 a.m. to 7:29 a.m. They fished about six hours; three in the morning and three during the afternoon.

The surface temperature was 70 degrees. The water level was slightly less than a foot below the normal level. The water was clear.

The fishing was better on Oct. 14 than it was on Oct. 13. They caught 36 largemouth bass and spotted bass. Thirty-three of them were caught on a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and three were caught on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

All 36 of them were suspended. Twenty-five of them were caught along the shady sides of boat docks that floated in water that was as shallow as 10 feet and as deep as 30 feet. Nine were caught around bridge piers.

Rick Hebenstreit with a spotted bass that was caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig around a boat dock.

Oct. 15 log

I did not intend to write a blog about my Oct. 15 outing at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir. Instead, my mission was to quickly locate and catch a few smallmouth bass, and once I caught two or three of them, I would go home. I did not want to spend more than an hour on the water. But when the smallmouth bass eluded me cast after cast, I kept casting, searching, failing, and catching only largemouth bass. And the fishing was so bewildering that I decided I need to write about it for historical reasons.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 39 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 75 degrees at 1:52 p.m. At times the wind was calm, but most of the time it angled out of the north by northwest, north by northeast, and north at 3 to 16 mph. It was sunny until noon, and then it was partly cloudy, mostly cloudy, and overcast. The barometric pressure was 30.07 at 12:52 a.m., 30.07 at 5:52 a.m., 30.11 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.11 at 2:52 p.m.

The Corps reported that the water level was 1.55 feet above normal. The surface temperature was 67 to 68 degrees. Seven cubic feet per second of water was being released from the dam's outlet. The water was slightly stained, exhibiting two to 3 1/2 feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would transpire from 12:15 a.m. to 2:15 a.m., 12:38 p.m. to 2:38 p.m., and 6:26 a.m. to 8:26 a.m. I fished from 11:15 a.m. to 2:25 p.m.

I quickly fished four riprap shorelines, three riprap points, five main-lake points, three secondary points, portions of three rocky shorelines, seven tertiary points along the three rocky shorelines, a submerged rock fence, one submerged roadbed, more than a dozen rock piles, four boat docks, two boat ramps, and seven laydowns. All of these locales are situated along the north side of the reservoir, and they were sheltered from the wind.

One main-lake point yielded four largemouth bass. Another main-lake point yielded three largemouth bass. One riprap shoreline yielded one largemouth bass. Another riprap shoreline yielded one largemouth bass. The boat docks yielded four largemouth bass. One rock pile yielded a largemouth bass. One laydown yielded two largemouth bass. One rocky shoreline yielded three largemouth bass. One riprap point yielded six largemouth bass.

One largemouth bass was caught on a shortened Z-Man's watermelon-red Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Eleven largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Thirteen largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. All 25 of them were caught when I was employing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and the shake was subtle, and there were spells when I did not implement the shake routine. They were caught in two to five feet of water.

Across the years in the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas, we have noticed that around the middle of October the smallmouth bass become difficult to locate and catch around the shallow-water lairs that we catch them from early April through early October. Even though the surface temperature was 67 to 68 degrees on this Oct. 15 outing, which is slightly above normal, it seemed as if this reservoir's smallmouth bass have already moved away from their shallow-water haunts. After the smallmouth bass vacate the shallow-water locales, we do not pursue them. The reason for that is that Midwest finesse tactics focus on black bass that abide in one to about 12 feet of water (there have been spells when we probed a few lairs in 15 feet of water), and we fish that way from January through December.

Of course, I am merely guessing that the annual move from the shallows by the smallmouth bass has transpired. My comments about the whereabouts of the smallmouth bass might be dead wrong. I can report only what I caught and where I caught them, and I can also report where I did not catch them. I do not possess the abilities to explain why I was unable to catch the smallmouth bass or why I was able to catch 25 largemouth bass. The focus on our Midwest finesse logs is to chronicle where, when, and how black bass are caught.

But I do know that the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass populations in this reservoir are paltry, and it has been that way for years on end. Thus, it is a rare feat, indeed, to catch 25 largemouth bass in three hours and 10 minute. I also know that the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has been stocking several thousand intermediate-size largemouth bass in this reservoir during the past three years, and before their largemouth bass stocking efforts began, they stocked about 150,000 fingerling-size smallmouth bass. Those stockings seem to have improved the black bass fishing a tad.

Endnote: When I returned home from my sorry smallmouth-bass expedition, I received an email report from my cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas. He and his wife, Kathy, are fishing at the Lake of the Ozarks. He reported that they caught 42 largemouth bass and spotted bass on Oct. 15 across two three-hour sessions. All but one was caught on the shady corners of boat docks. The most fruitful boat docks floated in 20 and more feet of water. The best lure was a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A shortened Z-Man's PB&J Hula Stick Z on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig was also effective.

Kathy Hebenstreit holds two of the 42 largemouth bass and spotted bass that she and her husband, Rick, caught and released around the shady side of boat docks on Oct. 15. The largemouth bass on the right has a Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in its mouth.

Oct. 16 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 16 outing at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

Here is an edited version of his report:

It was a bright and sunny day with a partly clouded sky. The morning low temperature was 58 degrees. The afternoon high temperature reached 84 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.27 at noon and dropped to 30.19 by 4:00 p.m. The wind quartered out of the northwest at 10 to 17 mph, and I employed a drift sock for most of the afternoon.

The water was stained and exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 75 degrees. The water level was 0.42 feet below normal pool.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted the best fishing periods would take place from 1:21 a.m. to 3:21 a.m., 1:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., and 5:13 p.m. to 7:13 p.m. I fished from noon to 4:00 p.m. During one of the best-time periods, stretching from 1:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., I caught only 11 black bass during that phase. But I caught 22 black bass before this major fishing period began.

I concentrated on the dam, three main-lake coves, and four main-lake points. The dam forms the eastern perimeter of the reservoir, and the main-lake coves and points lie along its north shoreline.

The midsection of the dam was the most productive area, and it yielded 24 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. I could see a few scattered pods of two-inch shad flickering along the surface of the water along the face of the dam.

I caught eleven largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass on a Z-Man's black Split-Tail TrailerZ rigged on a 1/16-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig. I caught 12 largemouth bass on a shortened Z-Man's black-blue Hula StickZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These 25 black bass were abiding in eight to 12 feet of water and were about 25 to 35 feet out from the water's edge. All three of these baits were employed with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and the shake was quite vigorous. I also tried a Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a fast and steady retrieve just underneath the surface of the water, but I failed to elicit any strikes.

After I finished probing the dam area, the fishing turned sour for the remainder of the afternoon, and I could barely scrounge up eight more black bass in the remaining two hours.

Two largemouth bass were caught in the back of the first main-lake cove, and they were relating to the remnants of partially submerged buck brush interlaced with large submerged boulders in three to five feet of water. Both of these bass were caught on the shortened Z-Man's black-blue Hula StickZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. I did not find any significant aggregations of shad in this cove.

I caught one largemouth bass and one spotted bass from five feet of water along the top of a large gravel and rock flat inside the second main-lake cove. Both of these bass were enticed into striking a Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and steady swim retrieve. I observed very few shad flickering along the surface of the water in this cove.

Two largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught from the back of the third main-lake cove. The two largemouth bass were inhabiting a mud flat that was covered with five feet of water and littered with partially submerged buck brush. The spotted bass was relating to a patch of submerged boulders in four feet of water. This cove also appeared to be bereft of shad. One largemouth bass struck the Space Guppy Slim SwimZ and steady swim retrieve. The other largemouth bass and the spotted bass engulfed the shortened black-blue Hula StickZ and swim-glide-and shake presentation.

The four rocky main-lake points were unproductive. And furthermore, I did not find any concentrations of shad in the vicinity of any of these points. I failed to elicit any strikes from three of them. The fourth point surrendered just one spotted bass that was abiding in three feet of water next to a partially submerged piece of brush, and it was caught on the Space Guppy Slim SwimZ and steady swim retrieve.

In sum, I caught 33 black bass in four hours. The fishing started off at a quick pace and I caught twenty-five black bass in the first two hours. But as the afternoon progressed, the fishing turned sour, and I struggled to eke out eight bass during the last two hours. With the exception of the dam area, I was unable to locate any significant aggregations of shad, and that might be one reason why I failed to cross paths with any large schools of black bass.

Fourteen largemouth bass and one spotted bass were beguiled by a shortened Z-Man's black-blue Hula StickZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Eleven largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass were caught on the Z-Man's black Split-Tail TrailerZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Two largemouth bass and two spotted bass were allured by the Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ and steady swim retrieve.

Oct. 16 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 16 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his log:

Upon getting home from work  during the night of Oct. 15 and getting out of my uniform, I loaded the truck with the Jackson Big Tuna kayak to prepared for my Oct. 16 quest.

The overnight low temperature was 39 degrees, and it felt that chilly when I awoke at 5:30 a.m. And I made the first fire of the fall, which my wife enjoyed when she awoke. Area thermometers struggled to hit 65 degrees. The wind blew constantly.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the river was flowing at 147 cubic feet per second. The water temperature was 59 degrees. The water exhibited seven feet of clarity.

In my last report on Oct. 13, I mentioned that I would be joined by our dear friend and part-time neighbor and a few of his friends. We had breakfast together, and I gave them a rundown of what to expect. As always, they followed my suggestions to the letter, and all of them used Z-Man's Midwest finesse rigs.

Our flotilla launched at 9:10 a.m. I insisted on being the last boat down river behind them giving them first shot.

I went up the river from our launch site to a stretch of deep water that I referenced in my Oct. 13 report. It is where a significant aggregation of smallmouth bass inhabits during the cool- and cold-water months. My move up the river also allowed the other anglers to get a goodly distance down river from me, and after an hour had lapsed, I headed down the river.

My three G. Loomis SJR 6400 IMX spinning rods were rigged with the following baits: a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's dirt ZinkerZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, an orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig dressed with brown-craft-hair and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's dirt Finesse WormZ (which is my version of the classic hoss fly), and a heavily customized two-inch Z-Man's pumpkin Ez TubeZ affixed to an inserted Gopher Tackle's Tiny Mite Jig. All of these bait were coated with my concoction of Pro-Cure's Super Gels.

I caught 14 smallmouth bass, three big bluegill, and two rock bass on the ZinkerZ. I caught 17 smallmouth bass, seven largemouth bass, 13 big bluegill, and two channel catfish on the Finesse WormZ and craft-hair jig. I caught a 21-inch smallmouth bass along with 19 others, eight largemouth bass and 11 big rock bass on the EZ TubeZ. And I fished six hours and 11 minutes.

Most of the presentations were a slow and steady do-nothing retrieve. But occasionally I employed a straight-swim retrieve with an occasional shake. At one of the deepest spots that I fished, it took a full four seconds to make a complete turn of the reel handle.

The smallmouth bass that I caught were either abiding in their wintertime holes or they were on their way to their wintertime holes, where they will reside until spring. It is a transition period: I caught fish in water as shallow as two feet to as deep as 13 feet.

A few observations: First, the Gopher Tiny Mite Jig is the best jig that I have found for inserting into the two-inch EZ TubeZ. Second, my StormR foul-weather gear has no equals on a river. Both of those impressed me, which doesn't come easily.

Oct 17 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 17 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his log:

One could truly state that fall had arrived on Oct. 17. My part-time neighbor and his guests joined me for a 10:00 a.m. launch. We shuttled vehicles and began our float way down river.

At the time of our launch, it was 44 degrees, and occasionally the wind would blow at more than 20 mph. Twenty-five minutes into our float, the wind would occasionally carry in a very cold rain, which would erupt every 30 to 40 minutes. It was extremely cloudy, and by all accounts, it was miserable weather. I was truly astounded today at just how comfortable my StormR foul weather gear performed. It was a great investment. I wish I had it 30 years ago.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the section of the river that we were fishing was flowing at 136 cubic feet per second. The water temperature was 55 degrees.

I floated 500 or more yards behind my friends. Thus, I spent the entire outing fishing used water. My three G. Loomis SJR 6400 IMX spinning rods were rigged with the following baits: a 2 1/4-inch and well-worn Z-Man's dirt ZinkerZ on an orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig dressed with brown-craft-hair and a three-inch Z-Man's dirt Finesse WormZ (which is my version of the classic hoss fly), and a heavily customized two-inch and well-worn Z-Man's pumpkin EZ TubeZ affixed to an inserted Gopher Tackle's Tiny Mite Jig. These baits were well covered with a Pro-Cure's Super Gel concoction made from night crawler, crayfish, and garlic scents. I liberally covered the baits every 30 minutes.

My G. Loomis Trout Series Spinning Rod GLX sported a customized three-inch Z-Man's blue steel Finesse ShadZ on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The Finesse ShadZ was covered with Pro-Cure's Shad Super Gel. All of the barbs on the hooks were removed.

As I probed the smallmouth bass' wintering holes, I fished every undulation along the bottom that was lying in 10 or more feet of water. I dropped my chain anchor on the kayak to combat the heavy wind and to present my offerings extremely slowly.

The ZinkerZ caught nine smallmouth bass, two largemouth bass, and three big bluegill. The hair-jig-and-Finesse WormZ combo caught 11 smallmouth bass, three largemouth bass, seven bluegill and three big rock bass. The EZ TubeZ caught seven smallmouth bass and 11 big bluegill, and one of the smallmouth bass was an 18-incher. The Finesse ShadZ caught four smallmouth bass, two largemouth bass, a 21-inch channel catfish, an 18-inch fallfish, and seven big bluegill.

Every bait was presented with a painfully slow retrieve. It took three or more seconds to make a complete revolution of the reel handle. What's more, I deadsticked all of my offerings, and I would shake them occasionally. When it rained and the wind howled, I kept my rod tip right at the water's surface (if not slightly submerged) so that my line would not skate across the surface.

We fished five hours and 13 minutes.

I expect some superb fishing to occur this coming week. During two of the days, the weather forecasters are predicting that the high temperatures will be in the mid-70s, and I know where I will be on the river on those two days.

Oct. 18 log

Steve Reideler of Denton,Texas, filed this report on the Finesse News Network about a three-hour bank-walking endeavor that Rick Allen of Dallas undertook with his grandson, Tim Michel of Dallas, at a small flatland reservoir in north-central Texas.

Here is a condensed and edited version of Rick's Oct. 18 report:

The Weather Underground noted the weather was sunny with clear skies. The morning low temperature was 56 degrees and the afternoon high was 81 degrees. A mild-mannered breeze meandered out of the northwest at 2 to 4 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.59 at 7:17 a.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the prime fishing periods should take place between 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., 9:13 a.m. and 11:13 a.m., and 3:26 p.m. and 5:26 p.m. Rick and Tim were afoot from about 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

The north end of this reservoir is composed of a large, shallow mud flat with tall stands of cattails lining the shoreline. It is a protected migratory waterfowl nesting area.

The east shoreline is steep and curved. To the south of the nesting area is a long clay and gravel point that extends westward into the middle of the reservoir. A small brushpile is positioned on the south side of this point. A broad sand and gravel point is located along the mid-section of this shoreline, and it is steeper than the long clay and gravel point.

The southern perimeter of this reservoir is formed by a smooth concrete slab dam.

The western shoreline is comprised of two steep sand and gravel shoreline and a 75-foot fishing pier that is positioned along the mid-section of the west shoreline.

All of these shorelines are festooned with thick beds of hydrilla that have grown to within a foot of the water's surface, and around some of the spots, the hydrilla beds were matted on the surface.

The water was stained with about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was about normal. Rick did not have the means to take a water temperature reading at this reservoir.

Rick estimated that they caught 30 largemouth bass. The bulk of these largemouth bass were caught around the dam area on the southern end of the reservoir, and along the steeper eastern shoreline. They were associated with the outside edges of the hydrilla beds, and some were caught on the top of the submerged portions of hydrilla in about four feet of water or less. The largest bass weighed 3 3/4 pounds.

One of the 30 largemouth bass that Rick Allen and his grandson caught on Oct. 18.

Their most effective lure was a radically customized 2 3/16-inch Z-Man's Junebug FattyZ tube affixed on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and it was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Oct. 21 log

On Oct. 19 and 20, Mother Nature allowed a south wind to howl incessantly across northeastern Kansas, and those gusts, which exceeded 30 mph, kept me at bay.

But on Oct. 21, the wind's velocity declined markedly, and it angled out of the south, south by southwest, and southwest at 3 to 11 mph. It was 66 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 82 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sun shined through and around layers of cirrocumulus and altostratus clouds. The barometric pressure was 29.98 at 12:53 a.m., 30.04 at 5:53 a.m., 30.12 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.06 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur at 5:38 a.m. to 7:38 a.m., 6:05 p.m. to 8:05 p.m., and 11:24 a.m. to 1:24 p.m. I was afloat at a state reservoir from 10:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 61 to 62 degrees. The water clarity exhibited two to three feet of visibility. The water level looked to be a few inches below normal.

During this entire outing, I used a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Across the four hours that I was afloat, it caught 87 largemouth bass, and it looks as if it has the wherewithal to endure 87 or more donnybrooks with some largemouth bass and perhaps some smallmouth bass to boot.

I had four other spinning outfits rigged with Midwest finesse baits, but I never made a cast with them.

Since Z-Man introduced the Finesse ShadZ, Finesse T.R.D., and Hula StickZ, the effectiveness of the Finesse WormZ has been given a short shrift. In fact, even the folks at Z-Man don't consider it to be an integral part of Midwest finesse fishing. But for those of us Midwest finesse devotees in northeastern Kansas who have been wielding it since the fall of 2006, it and the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ have been the cornerstones of our angling endeavors. (It is necessary to note that in 2006 we were using a Strike King Lure Company's slightly shortened four-inch Super Finesse Worm and Strike King's 2 1/2-inch Zero, which are made by Z-Man for Strike King, and they are identical to Z-Man's Finesse WormZ and ZinkerZ.)

During the first three hours and 25 minutes of this Oct. 21 outing, I did not start the outboard motor. Instead, I put the bow-mounted electric trolling motor into the water at the boat ramp, and straightaway I began wielding the Finesse WormZ.

I spent these 205 minutes plying nearly a mile of a shoreline that lies along the west side of this reservoir. Its underwater terrain is relatively flat, and it is graced with rocks, some boulders, gravel, and silt. It is also endowed with 12 riprap jetties, and while I was afloat, three of the jetties were fully occupied by channel catfish anglers; so, I dissected nine of them. In addition to the jetties, there are several tertiary points and one secondary point. Most of the shoreline is bordered with patches of American water willows, and the bulk of them are dead. There are four overhanging trees that create gaps in the American water willow patches. There are several manmade brushpiles, submerged stumps, and six laydowns. Along one short segment of this shoreline, a submerged creek channel bend makes a curve against it, and here the boat floated in 16 feet of water. Elsewhere along this shoreline and its jetties, the boat floated in three to seven feet of water.

This shoreline yielded 79 largemouth bass. The bulk of them were caught when I was employing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and the others were caught on the initial drop of the Finesse WormZ. None of them were caught around the manmade brushpiles. One was caught adjacent to a submerged stump. A few of them were caught around the laydowns. The preponderance of them was caught along the outside edges of the American water willows and around the riprap jetties, and they were extracted out of water as shallow as 2 1/2 feet and as deep as about six feet.

For about 19 minutes, I fished a main-lake point and its adjacent shorelines. One of those shorelines yielded three largemouth bass, and the other one yielded two largemouth bass. These largemouth bass were caught in two to three feet of water along the edges of the American water willows.

For about 10 minutes, I fished a small portion of the dam, where I caught three largemouth bass in three to six feet of water.

There will be spells during the calendar year when a Finesse ShadZ affixed to a lightweight mushroom-style jig will be more effective than the Finesse WormZ on a lightweight mushroom-style jig. There will also be outings when the Finesse T.R.D., the Hula StickZ, and the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ will be more effective than the Finesse WormZ. But there will be outings galore, similar to the one that I relished on Oct 21, when the Finesse WormZ reigns supreme.

This is the slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that inveigled 87 largemouth bass on Oct. 21. And it looks as if it can tangle with another 87 or more largemouth bass before it has to be retired. The four-inch Finesse WormZ is five inches long, and we usually shorten it by trimming three-quarters to an inch off of its head.

Endnotes for Oct. 21 log:

Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, is a multispecies guide, and he reported briefly that he and his clients spent the day at a U.S. Corps of Engineers flatland reservoir, where they chased smallmouth bass and white bass. They caught 100 of them by employing a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ on a 1/16-ounce jig, a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's sprayed grass ZinkerZ on a 1/16-ounce jig, and Worden's 1/4-ounce Vibric Rooster Tails. They used four colors of the Vibric Rooster Tail: Claudia, Clyde, Beetle Truce, and Classy.

Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana, and master of bigindianabass.com responded by email to the observations in the Oct. 21 log about the effectiveness of Z-Man's four-inch Finesse WormZ, which is actually five inches long. He wrote that a green-pumpkin and PB&J Finesse WormZ have been the only Midwest finesse baits that he has used during the past six weeks. And they have "been working like a charm around here. As you stated, it along with a [2 1/2-inch] ZinkerZ have been the gold standard for soft plastic [Midwest finesse baits] for me. Everything else is just playing around with different shapes and sizes for variety and to 'keep 'em honest' most times. That said, my favorite hair jigs are about to dominate my [Midwest finesse] arsenal for the next [six] months."

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, also commented by email, and he wrote:

"Couldn't agree more '¦ concerning your thoughts regarding the Finesse WormZ. There are very few reports of mine despite season that it isn't mentioned. It's a huge producer for me. Like the ZinkerZ and my little EZ TubeZ, I don't leave home without them. It was my love of [Charlie Brewer's] sliding finesse worms that initially led me to [Z-Man' Finesse WormZ]. I used Roboworms, original Sliders and Yamamoto versions for years [and] literally going through hundreds every season. The Finesse WormZ has no peers in catch ability and of course durability. My largest smallmouth this season was taken on one. The one I'm throwing tomorrow has accounted for 139 fish and counting."

Oct 21 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 21 outing. Here is an edited version of his report:

Even if one were a very talented landscape artist, I am not entirely sure that the beauty of this morning's mountainous landscape could be captured on canvass. The many sounds from the large flocks of turkeys near our house and the scores of eagles that sat atop of the river's canyon walls made the scene even more grandeur.

Upon getting home from work last night, I loaded the Jackson Tuna kayak on the truck. And in anticipation of this outing, I could barely sleep.

During the weekend, I fished in a driving rain storm with wind gusts over 20 mph, and area thermometers hovered near 50 degrees.

I had been tracking the weather forecast with a very keen eye since my last outing over the weekend, and I was hoping that the forecast held up. And it did. The projected forecast was for temperatures in the mid-70s and accompanied by a sun-filled sky. The weather on Oct. 20 was a carbon copy of that forecast, and as my fishing fever raged, it was very difficult watching that beautiful day unfold from my office window. Oct.21 was the second day of a huge warm front, and it is forecasted to be warmer on Oct. 22.

I launched this morning at 8:33 a.m., and the air temperature was 44 degrees. By 11:00 a.m., it was 64 degrees and climbing.

According to the U.S Geological Survey, the river was flowing at 95 cubic feet per second, dropping more than 30 cfs since my last outing on Oct. 17. The water temperature was 54 degrees. Although we had seen a very heavy frost on the morning of Oct 20, the water temperature climbed a few degrees with this warming trend. The water clarity increased four feet, reaching nearly 10 feet of visibility.

All the piscatorial stars were perfectly aligned for a great outing.

I decided to fish long and hard, probing locales that were fruitful when conditions in years past were similar to the ones that were occurring currently.

My three G. Loomis SJR 6400 IMX spinning rods were rigged with the following baits: a 2 1/4-inch and well-soaked Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ on an orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, an orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig dressed with brown-craft-hair and a three-inch Z-Man's dirt Finesse WormZ, and a heavily customized two-inch Z-Man's pumpkin EZ TubeZ affixed to an inserted unpainted 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These baits were well covered with a Pro-Cure's Super Gel concoction made from night crawler, crayfish, and garlic scents. I liberally covered the baits every 30 minutes.

My G. Loomis Trout Series Spinning Rod GLX sported a customized three-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-blue-flake Finesse ShadZ on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The Finesse ShadZ was covered with Pro-Cure's Shad Super Gel.

All of the barbs on the hooks were removed.

Because we had two nights when area thermometers were hovering around the freezing mark and one night when they dropped into the 20s, I was anticipating that significant numbers of smallmouth bass were arriving at their wintering lairs. Therefore, I decided to fish an area that has very steep canyon walls that abruptly drop into 12 to 18 feet of water. This is a very long stretch of river. The bottom is completely covered with very large logs that are both old and new with a healthy mix of Volkswagen- sized boulders. The fish were there.

All the baits were retrieved so that they coursed an inch or two above the bottom. As I executed my retrieves, my elbow was pinned to my inner knee and the rod's tip rarely moved. I would shake and quiver my rod occasionally as the bait dropped to the bottom and before I began executing a simple do- nothing or straight retrieve.

I caught 23 smallmouth bass, two largemouth bass, and 11 enormous bluegill on the ZinkerZ. I caught 19 smallmouth bass, five largemouth bass, four big bluegill, and one big channel catfish on my hair-jig-and-Finesse-WormZ combo. On the EZ TubeZ, I caught 16 smallmouth bass, 12 bluegill, three rock bass, and one of the rock bass was the largest one that I have ever seen. I caught nine smallmouth bass, three largemouth bass, two bluegill and one rock bass on the Finesse ShadZ.

One smallmouth bass was nearly 21 inches long, and it was caught on the EZ TubeZ. I caught one largemouth bass on the Finesse ShadZ that was 20 inches long. I caught three 18-inch smallmouth bass on my hair jig combo. I caught four 17-inch smallmouth bass on the Finesse ShadZ.

I fished a total of 6 hours and 17 minutes.

Oct. 21 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his outing with Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, to a Civilian Conservation Corps hill-land reservoir in south-central Oklahoma.

Here is an edited version of his log:

John Thomas of Denton, Texas, and I fished this reservoir for five hours on October 13, and we caught 30 smallmouth bass. On our Oct. 21 outing, Rick Allen and I were hoping to tangle with 50 or more smallmouth bass.

The sky was cloud covered during the morning hours, but around noon it became partly cloudy. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 51 degrees and the afternoon high temperature climbed to 80 degrees. The wind quartered out of the southeast at 10 to 15 mph, which provoked us to utilize a drift sock for a couple of hours. The barometric pressure measured 30.14 at 10:00 a.m. The weather forecasters are saying that north-central Texas will be pummeled by several waves of thunderstorms from October 22 through October 25.

The water was clear and displayed about six feet of clarity. The water's temperature ranged from 69 degrees to 70 degrees. The water level was normal.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted the best fishing periods occurred from 5:44 a.m. to 7:44 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and 6:10 p.m. to 8:10 p.m. Rick and I were afloat from about 11:00 a.m. to about 6:00 p.m.

We began this outing in the west tributary arm and fished a submerged main-lake hump. The hump lies about 50 yards offshore, and it is adorned 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 the sides drop off into 20 to 35 feet of water. We positioned the boat in 10 to 15 feet of water while we employed a drift sock and probed the south and east sides of the hump. The north and west sides of the hump were inaccessible and posted with warning buoys.

This hump yielded six smallmouth bass, and we lost one freshwater drum at the side of the boat. These six smallmouths were abiding in six to ten feet of water along its east side. Three of the smallmouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a 1/16-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig and a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Two smallmouths were caught on a Z-Man's smoke hologram Slim SwimZ and black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, which was quickly retrieved about a foot underneath the surface of the water. A shortened Z-Man's California Craw Hula StickZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a slow drag-and-shake presentation enticed one smallmouth.

After we finished fishing the main-lake hump, we made our way to the east tributary arm of the reservoir. We concentrated on a submerged roadbed that courses across the midsection of a main-lake cove. The sides of the roadbed are adorned with gravel, fist-size rocks, and large boulders. The top of the roadbed is covered with three to 12 feet of water, and it is surrounded with water as shallow as eight feet and as deep as 26 feet. We garnered four smallmouth bass from this roadbed. Three of them were caught on the 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ and a slow hop-and-bounce retrieve. One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch California Craw ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. All four of these smallmouths were relating to several large boulders that lie along the west side of the roadbed in eight to 12 feet of water.

Rick Allen with one of the 57 smallmouth bass that they caught.

Our next spot was a submerged main-lake hump that is located at the mouth of a main-lake cove in the east tributary arm. The top of this hump is covered with six to eight feet of water, and the sides drop off into 27 feet of water. We caught four smallmouth bass from the top of the hump in about eight feet of water. Three were caught on a Z-Man's pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig implemented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. A 2 3/16-inch Z-Man's California Craw FattyZ customized tube on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a swim-glide-and shake retrieve caught one smallmouth bass.

We fished two rocky main-lake points and a 50-yard portion of a steep and rocky shoreline adjacent to one of the rocky points. One of the main-lake points yielded one smallmouth bass that was relating to a patch of basketball-size rocks in five feet of water. This smallmouth was caught on the Z-Man's pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ rig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We failed to garner any other strikes from the other rocky point or along its adjacent rocky shoreline.

We spent about 20 minutes checking three submerged humps that lie just inside a major feeder-creek arm in the southeast end of the reservoir. These three humps are in close proximity to each other, and they are covered with water as shallow as 12 feet and as deep as 34 feet. We did not graph any fish activity around any of these three humps, and we did not spend any time trying to fish them.

After we finished checking the three submerged humps, we investigated a 300-yard section of a long and bluffy shoreline that lies along the south shoreline inside the southeast feeder-creek arm. The bluff that forms this shoreline is buffeted by water as shallow as 30 feet and as deep as 76 feet. We caught 27 smallmouths and one largemouth bass from this 300-yard section of shoreline, and all 28 of these black bass were situated in 10 to 15 feet of water along the bluff. All 28 of them were caught on the Z-Man's pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ and a slow swim-glide-and shake motif.

Steve Reideler with one of the 57 smallmouth bass that they caught.

We also fished an adjacent rocky flat that is covered with fist-size riprap and several partially submerged bushes. The depth of the water ranged from four to 15 feet. The deep-water edges of this flat quickly drop into 35 feet of water. We caught 15 smallmouth bass in six to ten feet of water along the top of this flat. Nine were caught on the Z-Man's Finesse ShadZ and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Five were caught on a Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ affixed on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and presented with a fast and steady swimming retrieve about a foot below the surface of the water. One smallmouth was caught on the 2 1/2-inch California Craw ZinkerZ and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

All totaled, we caught 57 smallmouth bass, one largemouth bass, and we inadvertently caught 18 green sunfish and two large bluegills in seven hours. Most of the smallmouth bass were over 12 inches in length, and many of them weighed between 1 1/4 and 2 1/4 pounds.

The most effective lure was the Z-Man's pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig combo. The most fruitful presentation was a slow swim-glide-and shake retrieve.

Oct. 22 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 22 outing. Here is an edited version of his report:

Oct. 22 was the third day of a major warm front. I had to go fishing even though I was still weary after my six-hour-and-17-minute outing on Oct 21. I feared that I would not see another day like this one for the rest of 2015.

The weather forecasters predicted it would be a balmy 78 degrees. Until noon there was not a cloud in the sky and zero wind. After that the wind picked up, and it got extremely cloudy.

I elected to fish a remote deep-water spot. And it is the deepest and most unique spot along a six-mile stretch of the river. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that this section of the river was flowing at 95 cubic feet per second, and the water temperature was 56 degrees. The water clarity exhibited more than 10 feet of visibility.

To get to this area and back was going to take a lot of effort, but I thought that it may be worth it. In Octobers past, I have made this run and fared well. And that was my motivation for getting up early and completing some household duties before I got on the river.

I launched the Big Tuna kayak at 8:25 a.m., knowing that I had a lot of paddling ahead of me. I always have a first aid kit in my kayak's dry storage. This long run is why I started doing it no matter the time of year.

The average depth of the area is eight feet, and the deepest spots plummet into 15 feet of water, and it is an undulating granite bottom. Both sides of this stretch of river are flanked by extremely high cliffs.

My three G. Loomis SJR 6400 IMX spinning rods were rigged with the following baits: a 2 1/4-inch and well-worn Z-Man's dirt ZinkerZ on an orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a 3 1/2-inch well-worn Z-Man's dirt Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and a heavily customized two-inch Z-Man's pumpkin EZ TubeZ affixed to an inserted unpainted 1/32-ounce Gopher Tiny Mite Jig, which has a No. 4 hook.

The barbs on the hooks were removed, and a customized Pro-Cure Gel Scent was added to the baits every 20 minutes.

I did not make a cast until I got to the exact spot that I intended on fishing. Upon arriving I immediately began catching fish, and every one that I hooked had followers. At one point, I caught nine smallmouth bass in 11 casts.

My two biggest ones were caught a minute apart on back to back casts. The fish were consolidated and I was in the right spot. The ZinkerZ caught 17 smallmouth bass. The Finesse WormZ caught 19 smallmouth bass. The EZ TubeZ, in limited duty, caught seven smallmouth bass.

Most fish hit on the drop. The two biggest ones engulfed the ZinkerZ as I shook it incessantly when it reached bottom.

This outing could not have been scripted any better. But I had to bid these fish adieu for this year because I will not be making this treacherous run for the remainder of the year. But I will see them again in March. I fished for three hours and 37 minutes, and I was afloat for six hours. The paddling encompassed two hours and 23 minutes.

Oct. 23 log

The National Weather Service reported that it was 62 degrees at 8:52 a.m. and 75 degrees at 3:52 p.m. During four of the early morning hours, it rained lightly, and after that it was misty and foggy for a spell, and then the sky fluctuated from being overcast to being mostly cloudy. The wind angled out of the south and southeast at 7 to 15 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.01 at 12:52 a.m., 29.97 at 5:52 a.m., 29.89 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.82 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman' solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 7:16 a.m. to 9:16 a.m., 7:43 p.m. to 9:43 p.m., and 1:03 a.m. to 3:03 a.m. I was afloat at a suburban state reservoir, which is heavily fished, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, and I caught 108 largemouth bass at this reservoir on Oct. 2, and Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I caught 121 largemouth bass at this reservoir on Oct. 9. On this outing, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism was conducting the fall gill-net survey, and a residue of dead walleye, channel catfish and other species littered the bottom at one of the areas that I fished.

The water level was normal. The surface temperature ranged from 63 to 64 degrees. The water clarity exhibited more than five feet of visibility. The patches of American water willows that line much of the reservoir's shoreline exhibited the yellow and brown hues of autumn. The patches of coontail seemed to be diminishing. Most of the coontail patches lie many yards off of the shoreline. I crossed paths with one rather decimated patch of bushy pondweed, and I failed to see any burgeoning patches of curly-leaf pondweed, but I suspect that most of these plants are only a few inches tall.

Except for the six casts and retrieves that I made with a Z-Man's PB&J Rain MinnowZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, I spent the entire outing casting and retrieving a slightly shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. It is the same Finesse WormZ rig that I used on Oct. 21 to catch 87 largemouth bass at another northeastern Kansas state reservoir. And on my Oct. 23 outing, this combo inveigled 76 largemouth bass, four crappie, and one humongous bluegill. Although it has become tattered from enduring the donnybrooks with 163 largemouth bass, four crappie, and one humongous bluegill, it looks as if it possesses the wherewithal to endure several more donnybrooks before it has to be retired.

This is the slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that has caught 163 largemouth bass, four crappie, and one bluegill. We have found the the Finesse WormZ becomes more effective as it ages. From the perspective of scores of Midwest finesse anglers, it is the world's finest finesse worm.

I spent most of this outing in the back portions of two of this reservoir's three feeder-creek arms. At these locales, I fished coontail patches that lie on two massive mud flats. One mud flat is the size of three football fields, and the other one is the size of about four football fields. Some of the coontail patches are in three feet of water, and some of the patches sit in six feet of water, and none of them were visible to the eye, which is often the case when the sun does not shine. Two submerged creek channels meander across one flat. The other flat is endowed with one submerged creek channel and two ditches. The creek channels and ditches create a sharp border or a significant edge to the patches of coontail, and on the portions of the coontail flats that are not crisscrossed with a creek channel or ditch, the patches of coontail gradually peter out. Some of the shallow sections of both the flats are littered with flooded terrestrial vegetation. There are several minor humps scattered across the mudflats. Some of the steeper shorelines are bordered with patches of American water willows. Intermixed with the coontail patches are several manmade brushpiles. As I fished these flats, the boat floated in three to nine feet of water.

I fished one flat for one hour and 40 minutes, and I caught 34 largemouth bass. I fished the second flat for one hour and 30 minutes, and I caught 38 largemouth bass. And I spent several minutes quickly fishing two rocky main-lake points and two tiny coontail patches in the middle section of the reservoir; these four spots yielded four largemouth bass.

The vast majority of the largemouth bass were caught while I was executing the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and the shake was subtle and rarely implemented. Some engulfed the Finesse WormZ on the initial drop.

The largemouth bass were abiding in three to six feet of water.

(It is interesting to note that the bulk of the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass that Midwest finesse anglers catch at the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas throughout a calendar year are not caught by hopping, dragging, bouncing, and deadsticking a jig-and-soft-plastic bait along the bottom, but they are caught swimming, gliding, and shaking it from several inches to several feet off the bottom. It is a relatively fast presentation, which allows us to ply lairs almost as quickly as power anglers do when they wield a crankbait or spinnerbait. An excellent example of this can be examined by reading Rick Hebenstreit's Oct. 14 log, as well as his report in the endnote of my Oct. 15 log. Rick and several members of his family spent a week at the Lake of the Ozarks, and when they fished, they primarily used a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened Z-Man's PB&J Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The Hebenstreits fished these standard Midwest finesse baits around bridge pilings and along the shady sides of boat docks by employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation that was retrieved many feet above the bottom. Rick reported on Oct. 24 that their young granddaughter Isabel caught her first black bass by swimming a Hula StickZ around a bridge piling. This tactic allured 160 largemouth bass and spotted bass.)

Oct. 25 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief about his Oct. 25 outing with Andrew Trembath of Kansas City, Kansas, to a relatively small and heavily fished U. S. Army Corps of Engineers' flatland reservoir in northeastern Kansas, which was bombarded by scores of  tournament anglers on Oct. 24 and 25.

The archives at the Weather Underground reported that it was 35 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 66 degrees at 2:53 p.m. It was sunny. The wind was mild mannered and variable, angling out of the northwest, west by northwest, east by northeast, and east at 3 to 11 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.29 at 12:53 a.m., 30.32 at 5:53 a.m., 30.34 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.35 at 3:53 p.m.

The water level was 0.63 inches below normal. The surface temperature was 64 to 65 degrees. The water clarity exhibited four feet of visibility along the dam.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 8:55 a.m. to 10:55 a.m., 9:22 p.m. to 11:22 p.m., and 2:41 a.m. to 4:41 a.m. They fished from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

They began the outing by fishing a rocky shoreline inside a tertiary feeder-creek arm about 2 3/4-miles west of the dam. For nearly five hours, they fished the middle portions of the reservoir, focusing on rocky main-lake shorelines and points, as well as rocky shorelines and secondary points inside several tertiary feeder creeks. At all of these locales, they found the smallmouth bass fishing to be very trying. In fact, many areas failed to yield a smallmouth bass, and the ones that they did catch were in about a foot of water. By 2:00 p.m., they had caught only 20 smallmouth bass.

They spent most of the last hour probing the riprap of the dam, where the boat floated in 12 to 14 feet of water, and they made their casts into six to seven feet of water. They employed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Bama Craw ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's Junebug Zero on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. They strolled these baits until they were nearly behind the boat. During the stroll, they occasionally allowed their baits to make contact with the bottom. This tactic yielded 30 smallmouth bass.

Andrew Trembath with one of the 50 smallmouth bass that he and Bob Gum caught on Oct. 24.

Oct. 27 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his outing with Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir on Oct. 27.

Here is an edited version of his log:

North-central Texas was waylaid with severe thunderstorms from Oct. 22 to Oct. 25 that dumped five to 13 1/2 inches of rain across the region. On Oct. 27, the weather improved significantly, and an abundance of sunshine filled a partly-clouded sky. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 54 degrees and the afternoon high temperature climbed to 76 degrees. The wind angled out of the northwest at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.87 at noon and dropped to 29.73 by 4:30 p.m.

The In-Fisherman solunar calendar noted that the best fishing periods occurred from 4:13 a.m. to 6:13 a.m., 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. to 7: 00 p.m. Norman and I were afloat from noon to 4:30 p.m., and we caught 38 largemouth bass, nine spotted bass, two crappie, and one bluegill.

The water was stained and exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water temperature was 70 degrees. The water level was 0.79 feet above normal.

Norman and I focused our attentions on four main-lake coves and a 75-yard section of main-lake shoreline located along the south side of the reservoir's southwest tributary arm. Three of the coves harbor large marinas with three floating tire reefs, nine secondary and tertiary points, five steep and rocky banks, and four mud flats covered with partially flooded terrestrial vegetation. The covered boat docks in the marinas float in water as shallow as eight feet and as deep as 35 feet, and there are narrow passageways between the boat docks and the adjacent shorelines.

The first cove surrendered four largemouth bass and two spotted bass. We could see several large pods of small one-inch shad and a couple of small schools of six-inch largemouth bass cruising just below the surface along the shoreline in the back of the cove. Two spotted bass were caught in three to five feet of water on the top of a shallow mud flat just south of the boat ramp where we launched, and they engulfed a Z-Man's black Split-Tail TrailerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and this combo was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Two largemouth bass were caught in six feet of water along a steep and rocky bank in the back of the cove. The other two largemouths were caught in the backend of the cove in the vicinity of a covered boat dock in three to six feet of water. Two of these four largemouths were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and two largemouth bass were caught on the black Split-Tail TrailerZ rig. The ZinkerZ and TrailerZ rigs were retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. We also checked several covered boat slips in the back of this cove, but we failed to catch any bass relating to any of the boat slips.

We caught four largemouth bass inside the second cove, which lies just east of the first one. We did not see much baitfish activity in this cove. One largemouth bass was caught off the corner of a covered boat dock that was floating in 15 feet of water. Three largemouth bass were caught in five feet of water off a long and steep clay and gravel shoreline, which is enhanced with flooded terrestrial vegetation. Two largemouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and shake presentation. Two largemouth bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man's black-blue Hula StickZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and shake retrieve.

The third main-lake cove is smaller than the first two, and it does not contain a marina. It encompasses a large shallow mud flat with a shallow mud and gravel point that extends out from the northwest mouth of the cove. The shoreline in the back of this cove is adorned with flooded terrestrial vegetation and a short 25-yard section of riprap. Small pods of two-inch shad were visible along the edges of the flooded vegetation. This cove yielded 15 largemouth bass and one spotted bass that were relating to the outside edges of the flooded vegetation in three to six feet of water. Seven largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch generic chartreuse curly-tailed crappie grub rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Seven largemouth bass struck a Z-Man's Blue Glimmer Sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ affixed to a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught on the black Split-Tail TrailerZ rig. Both grub combos were presented with a slow and steady swimming retrieve, and the Split-Tail TrailerZ was presented in a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Three spotted bass and two largemouth bass were caught along the 75-yard section of main-lake shoreline that divides two of these four coves. This stretch of shoreline is endowed with two submerged roadbeds, a shallow rock ledge, and two small tertiary points.

All five of these black bass were caught in four feet of water on one of the two submerged roadbeds. They were caught on the Blue Glimmer Sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ with a steady swim retrieve. We saw several largemouth bass chasing four-inch gizzard shad about 10 yards out from the water's edge and adjacent to one of the two submerged roadbeds, but we were unable to elicit any strikes from them with our grub combos.

We finished our outing inside the fourth main-lake cove, which lies between the second and third coves. The terrain inside this cove is steep and rocky with flooded shoreline vegetation lining portions of its southern and eastern shorelines. This cove contains a large marina, five steep, clay and rock secondary points, three spawning coves, two boat ramps, and two small creeks. One creek is located along the southeast end of a small spawning cove, and the second creek enters at the southwest corner of another small spawning cove. We observed small shad flickering on the surface throughout this main-lake cove. This cove surrendered 13 largemouth bass and three spotted bass. Two largemouth bass were caught in five feet of water about halfway back along a steep and rocky east-side shoreline. Three spotted bass, two largemouth bass, and one bluegill were extracted from three to five feet of water along a boat ramp positioned in the midsection of the cove on the west shoreline. Six largemouth bass were caught in three feet of water off the ends of three steep and rocky points. Three largemouth bass were caught off a steep and rocky bank with flooded shoreline vegetation in the back end of the cove. The two small creeks yielded one crappie apiece. Three of these 16 black bass were caught on the black Split-Tail TrailerZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Three largemouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch generic curly-tailed grub and steady swim retrieve. Ten bass were caught on the Blue Glimmer Sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ and steady swim presentation.

Overall, it was a fun and bountiful afternoon outing. The Z-Man's Blue Glimmer Sparkle 3 1/2-inch GrubZ and steady swimming retrieve was the most productive lure and presentation.

Steve Reideler with one of the spotted bass that he and Norman Brown caught on their Oct. 27 outing.

 Oct. 29 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed the following log, which has been edited and condensed, on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 29 outing.

My wife, Nancy, and I were looking forward to spending the early evening hours with my three-year-old grandniece and 29-year-old niece at an early Halloween festivity, so I had a limited amount of time to fish. Therefore, I conducted a short two-hour and 23 minute foray at a nearby U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir.

The weather was delightful. The sky was blue and filled with bright sunshine. The morning low temperature was 54 degrees. The afternoon high was 76 degrees. The wind quartered out of the east at 6 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.96 at 10:00 a.m. and fell slightly to 29.93 by 2:00 p.m. Another round of thunderstorms is forecasted to begin on October 30 and are expected to continue into the early morning hours of November 1.

I made my first cast at 11:34 a.m. and my last cast was completed at 1:57 p.m.

I spent the entire two hours and 23 minutes inside a large cove that is located along the south shoreline of this reservoir. The east-side entry point is steep and rocky, and several large boulders 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. This cove is about the size of four football fields. Its topography is mostly a large clay and gravel flat, which is endowed with several small tertiary points. About 100 yards of its east shoreline and about 50 yards of the south shoreline are festooned with partially flooded brush. About 25 yards of the south shoreline is covered with riprap, but there is a wall of flooded terrestrial vegetation about 10 yards out from the water's edge that makes access to the riprap shoreline difficult at best.

I focused primarily on the partially flooded terrestrial vegetation along the 100-yard section of the east shoreline and the 50-yard portion of the south shoreline, where I could see scads of two-inch shad dimpling the surface of the water along the deep-water edges of the partially flooded vegetation.

The boat floated in water as shallow as four feet and as deep as nine feet, and I caught 30 largemouth bass inside this cove.

Three largemouth bass were caught in four feet of water and were relating to the submerged boulders on the tip of the east entry point.

Eighteen of the largemouth bass were caught in three to six feet of water along the outside edges of the partially flooded brush along the east shoreline.

Nine of the largemouth bass were associated with the deep-water edges of flooded terrestrial vegetation along the south shoreline and were caught in four to six feet of water.

A Z-Man's blue steel Slim SwimZ affixed to a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and steady swim retrieve caught 16 largemouth bass.

A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation allured 12 largemouth bass.

Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green pumpkin Scented LeechZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and it was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

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