Midwest Finesse Fishing; September 2014

Midwest Finesse Fishing; September 2014

Bob Gum of Kansas City with one of the largemouth bass that he and a friend caught on Sept. 28.

September's guide to Midwest finesse fishing is teeming with insights from Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas; Donald Baldridge of Springfield, Missouri;  Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas; Charlie Croom of Fayetteville, Arkansas; Ethan Dhuyvetter of Manhattan, Kansas; Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas; Pat Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, Greg Monahan of Lees Summit, Missouri, Dave Weroha of Kansas City, Kansas; Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas; and Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas.

These anglers' logs provide us with facts and unique perceptions about the waterways they fished, and how they caught largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass during the 30 days of September, when the fishing at many locales across the nation was perplexing.


We are thankful that Steve Reideler continues to proof read all of the logs. His work made this 19,612-word guide more readable and understandable.


Sept. 1 log

I cannot remember the last time that I fished on Labor Day. But Ethan Dhuyvetter of Manhattan, Kansas, was in the initial throes of writing a story about Midwest finesse fishing for Wired2Fish.com. He wanted to shoot some photographs and talk about the history of Midwest finesse fishing. He also wanted a lot of details about how, when, where, and why we do it. And Labor Day was the only day that he wasn't up to his neck with work and school chores.

Dhuyvetter is a junior at Kansas State University, working on a degree in marketing in the School of Business. He also works 20 hours a week for a grocery store, fishes on the Kansas State University Fishing Team, and owns and operates the fishingtheback.com website. During the summer, he worked as an intern for Dyna-Tek in Kansas City.

We met at a 416-acre community reservoir, which is usually bustling on Memorial Day, July Fourth and Labor Day with recreational boaters and anglers. We choose this reservoir because two-thirds of it is a no-wake reservoir, and we thought we would spend the entire outing in the relatively peaceful confines of the no-wake zone.

To our surprise, we were the only bass anglers afloat. What's more, the parking lots at the boat ramps were virtually vacant, and during our outing, we crossed paths with only two jet skiers and four recreational boaters pulling water skiers. It was such a serene holiday that we were able to fish wherever we wanted to fish.

The National Weather Service at Topeka, Kansas, noted that it was 67 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 80 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the southeast at 12 to 20 mph, south at 7 to 20 mph, southwest at 10 to 17 mph, and west at 5 to 12 mph. Significant thunderstorms rolled across the area from 12:52 a.m. to 3:53 a.m., dropping 1.37 inches of rain. Another thunderstorm erupted around 8:53 p.m., dropping about a half of an inch of rain. While we were afloat it alternated from being partly cloudy, mostly cloudy, sunny, and overcast. The barometric pressure was 29.83 at 12:53 a.m., 29.81 at 5:53 a.m., 29.91 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.88 at 3:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be about two feet below normal. The water was clear, exhibiting four to six feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 80 to 82 degrees. We crossed paths with oodles of schools of young-of-the-year gizzard shad.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 4:05 a.m. to 6:05 a.m. and 4:31 p.m. to 6:31 p.m. There was a minor period from 10:18 p.m. to 12:18 p.m. We fished from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

We fished seven main-lake points. Four are steep and rocky. Three are flat and shallow points. One of the flat points is graced with emergent and submerged aquatic vegetation, as well as a riprap shoreline and a metal retaining wall. Another flat one is rocky and endowed with some American water willows and American pondweed, as well as a significant ledge that eventually plummets into 30 feet of water. The third one is very shallow, and it is strewn with gravel, rocks, a few boulders, an overhanging tree, and some nearby American water willows. We failed to garner a strike on any of the seven points.

The riprap of the dam yielded one smallmouth bass, and it was caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man's Fishing Products' Junebug Finesse T.R.D. on a black 1/16-ounce Outcast Tackle's Money Jig.

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We fished two submerged rock fences that were windblown. Both are surrounded by deep water. We caught three smallmouth bass on the shallowest and flattest portions of one of the fences. One smallmouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the Z-Man's Junebug Finesse T.R.D. and black 1/16-ounce Outcast Tackle's Money Jig. One was caught while employing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieves with a shortened four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig. The third one was caught while deadsticking the Z-Man's Junebug Finesse T.R.D. and 1/16-ounce Outcast Tackle's Money Jig.

We failed to catch either largemouth bass or smallmouth bass on the second submerged rock fence.

We fished one flat secondary point that failed to produce a strike.

A flat tertiary point in the upper portions of the reservoir yielded one smallmouth bass, which engulfed the Z-Man's Junebug T.R.D. and black 1/16-ounce Outcast Tackle's Money Jig on the initial drop.

We fished four shorelines inside three feeder creek arms. One shoreline was fruitless. We caught one largemouth bass along a steep shoreline near a secondary point, and it was enticed by swimming-gliding-and-shaking a shortened four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught a largemouth bass along a shoreline between a secondary point and a brush pile on the initial drop of the Z-Man's Junebug Finesse T.R.D. and black 1/16-ounce Outcast Tackle's Money Jig. We caught two largemouth bass along another shoreline; the Z-Man's Junebug Finesse T.R.D. and black 1/16-ounce Outcast Tackle's Money Jig caught one of them on the initial drop, and a four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ wacky rigged on a 1/16-ounce Bass Pro Shops' Flickin' Shimmy Jighead with a drag-and-shake retrieve caught the second largemouth bass.

We fished four main-lake shorelines. Portions of these shorelines are rocky bluffs that are lined with patches of American water willows, laydowns, ledges, boulders, a rare patch or two of bushy pondweed, stumps, and a few brush piles. Some segments of these shorelines are flat and littered with gravel, rocks, laydowns, stumps, patches of bushy pondweed, and lined with American pondweed.

We didn't elicit a strike on two of these shorelines.

One of the shorelines yielded three smallmouth bass. One was caught by dragging and shaking a shortened four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two smallmouth bass were caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse T.R.D. and black 1/16-ounce Outcast Tackle's Money Jig.

Along one main-lake shoreline, we caught four largemouth bass and seven smallmouth bass. Z-Man's Junebug Finesse  T.R.D. and black 1/16-ounce Outcast Tackle's Money Jig inveigled four of them, and two of them were caught on the initial drop, and two of them were caught by a drag-and-shake retrieve. Three were caught on a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Two were caught on a shortened Z-Man's PB&J Hula StickZ affixed to a 1/16-ounce blue Gopher jig that was presented with the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One was caught on the initial drop of a shortened four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One was caught by dragging and shaking a Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. on a black 1/16-ounce Outcast Tackle's Money Jig.

In sum, we caught 14 smallmouth bass and eight largemouth bass, which from the perspective of any longtime Midwest finesse angler is a paltry catch. But in the eyes of Dhuyvetter, who is power angler at heart but is trying to employ more finesse methods, it was a relatively bountiful 4 1/2 hours, and some of those 270 minutes were consumed by asking questions, taking notes, and shooting photographs. In my eyes, it looks as if the largemouth bass fishing in the small flatland reservoirs that graces the countryside of northeastern Kansas is as challenging on the first day of September as it was during all of August.

Ethan Dhuyvetter with one of the smallmouth bass that was bewitched by a Z-Man's Junebug T.R.D.

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Charlie Croom of Fayetteville, Arkansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 1 outing on a small stream in northeastern Oklahoma, where he fished from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

He wrote: "This little creek always has a trickle of current when every other stream is low and slack in late summer. It hasn't rained enough in the past few weeks to get the current moving. It has been at least five years since I fished this creek, and it didn't disappoint.

"The water was warm and clear in most areas, unless I kicked up a mudline as I made my way downstream.

"Most of the fish were cruising around eating crawdads and chasing minnows. Almost all of the fish were caught in the current. The slack water was devoid of bass, but it held carp and suckers. Most of the slack-water stretches of this creek have a mud bottom, and as I walked  in waist-deep water, I would sink into ankle-deep mud. I found one main-river area that was not passable on foot. At this spot, the mud was so thick that it would pull your shoes off. The deepest areas of riffles and runs, which were knee deep was where I focused all of my attention. The best areas had clean gravel. Root wads, stumps, or rocks along the shady banks were also holding fish.

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"I made short underhand pitches to any water deeper than two feet. Many of the strikes were almost instant. So, it was very important to keep up with your slack after a cast. If you didn't pick up immediately, they would swallow the bait, so it required me to flip the bail on the spinning reel as the worm touched down on the surface. They engulfed the bait either on the surface or on the initial drop. If they didn't hit the bait on the initial drop, I let the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ and an unpainted 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig do all the work by deadsticking it in the current. This is a very common pattern in the Ozarks during late summer and early fall.

"The ZinkerZ combo was affixed to 10-pound-test Power Pro Braid and six-foot leader made of eight-pound-test Yo-Zuri Hybrid. I used it on a six-foot, nine-inch Falcon Cara T7, medium-action, drop-shot rod and Shimano Stradic 2500 reel.

"In the first half-mile stretch of this creek, I caught 21 fish in 45 minutes. I caught 35 fish in three hours. Ten of those were spotted bass, meanmouth bass, and smallmouth bass, while the other 25 were rock bass. I could have caught more, but I was running short on time, and I injured my casting arm. I fished one mile downstream and a half of a mile back; then I had to quit fishing and just focus on getting back to the truck. There was a storm moving in as I made my way to the bridge, where I parked the truck. The hot weather is about to end and give way to nice fall weather. It actually rained pretty hard later on that night causing most of the local creeks to get swift and muddy. Perhaps the rain swept away the algae and stagnant water that haunts this creek in late summer."

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Sept.5 log.

For more than a month, some members of the Finesse News Network have been battling some extremely perplexing days afloat.

For example, Paul Finn of Olathe, Kansas, described his Aug. 31 outing to a 225-acre community reservoir that lies along the edge of the western suburbs of Kansas City as "by far my worst outing '¦ of the year."

And for more than two months, Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, has been snookered by the largemouth bass that abide in a 120-acre community reservoir in the northern suburbs of Kansas City, and on Aug. 25, he wrote: "Just when I thought the fishing couldn't get any worse'¦, another terrible outing."

Ken Lindberg of Kansas City also lamented that he was struggling throughout August to catch largemouth bass at a 407-acre community reservoir that graces the northwest suburb of Kansas City.

In mid-August, when we complained rather incessantly about the sorry largemouth bass fishing we were enduring at the small flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas, Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, wrote on Aug. 15: "I can make you feel better. I fished four hours yesterday from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and caught two bass. One bit a wacky rigged Senko and one was snagged on a buzzbait. The two together would have measured 12 inches."

Then after we uttered more words of woe, Poe wrote on Sept. 2: "Just remember it could be worse. I fished yesterday for six hours and caught three."

The most surprising note came from Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, who lives in southwest Ontario, Canada, during the summer, and he normally enjoys day after day of spectacular smallmouth bass fishing while weilding a variety of Midwest finesse baits. But on Sept. 4 Reese wrote: "Worse fishing I have ever seen."

On Sept. 5, the National Weather Service predicted that there was a significant chance that thunderstorms would erupt across northeastern Kansas. To try to avoid them while I was afloat, I journeyed about 25 miles southeast of our front door to a 100-acre community reservoir that lies along the southwest suburbs of Kansas City. I was hoping that the sorry largemouth bass fishing that had been plaguing Finn, Frazee, and Lindberg at the three suburban reservoirs that lie slightly to the north of this one would not plague me.

I avoided the thunderstorms, which eventually arrived at 3:45 p.m. Shortly after I put the boat of the trailer, it sprinkled here and there as I was driving home. I didn't, however, avoid the plague or the dearth of largemouth bass that had been confounding Finn, Frazee, and Lindberg's days afloat on the suburban waterways around Kansas City.

The National Weather Service in Olathe, Kansas, noted that it was 75 degrees at 5:53 a.m., 77 degrees at 11:53 a.m., and 74 degrees at 1:53 a.m. From 12:53 a.m. to 5:53 a.m., the wind angled out of the south at 5 to 9 mph and out of the southwest at 8 to 15 mph. Around 9:53 a.m., the wind switched to the north and northwest at 6 to 22 mph. It was fair from 12:53 a.m. to 11:53 a.m., and then clouds began to roll across the sky, exhibiting hints that rain was in the near offing. The barometric pressure was 29.98 at 12:53 a.m., 30.00 at 5:53 a.m., 30.09 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.08 at 2:53 p.m.

The surface temperature was 80 degrees. The water level was a few inches above normal. The water clarity exhibited more than two feet of visibility at most locales in the lower two-thirds of the reservoir, and it diminished to 18 inches in the upper third of the reservoir. The coontail patches were beginning to flourish again after their midsummer hiatus. Furthermore, there were scores of floating coontail-and- duckweed islands scattered about the reservoir. All of the patches of American water willows had plenty of water surrounding them.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing times would be at 7:34 a.m. to 9:34 a.m. and 8:03 p.m. to 10:03 p.m. And there was a minor period from 1:19 a.m. to 3:19 a.m. I fished from 10:20 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

During the 200 minutes that I was afloat, I tangled with only 16 largemouth bass. All but four of these catches were so random that when I reflect upon how and where I caught them, I am unable to conjure up very many words to describe and write about what transpired. But I can say that nothing happened most of the time, and nothing might be a clever thing to write.

Nevertheless, I can say I caught three along the riprap and American water willows that cover the dam, and I caught one on the outside edge of an American water willow patch at the outlet of the dam. These four largemouth bass were caught by using a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man's California Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

I can also note that the same retrieve and T.R.D. combo bewitched three more largemouth bass along the outside edges of three different American water willows patches, and some of these patches were a hundred or more yards apart. It was impossible to determine why I caught one largemouth bass from a patch of American water willows and why I did not catch one from three dozen identical or nearly identical patches.

A 3 1/2-inch Z-Man's Bloodworm GrubZ on an unpainted 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a straight-swim retrieve extracted one largemouth bass from a submerged patch of coontail. That was the only strike that I encountered from patches of coontail. And it was the only strike I garnered on the GrubZ.

The other seven largemouth bass were caught hither and yon by executing a hodgepodge of retrieves with a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ rigged on a 1/16-ounce Bass Pro Shops' Flickin' Shimmy Jighead. In sum, I have nothing more to write.

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Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, spends his days afloat fishing some of the most unfruitful waters in America. On Sept. 5 he filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about a relatively fruitful outing on a north-central Texas reservoir.

He wrote: "I made a solo 38-mile jaunt to a 250-acre Trinity River Water District reservoir that lies along the northwestern boundary of Ft. Worth, Texas. I last fished this reservoir with Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, on August 12, and during that four-hour outing, we tangled with 24 largemouth bass and one spotted bass.

"On this September 5 excursion, the National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 76 degrees and the afternoon high reached 96 degrees. The wind angled out of the east-by-southeast at 5 to 10 mph. The sun was shining brightly, while the sky was partly cloudy. The barometric pressure was steady at 29.96.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing periods occurred between 7:43 a.m. to 9:43 a.m., 8:13 p.m. to 10:13 p.m., and a minor period occurred from 1:29 a.m. to 3:29 a.m. I was afloat from about 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

"On August 12, this reservoir's water level was only a foot low, the surface temperature was 85 degrees, and the water's clarity was stained with two feet of visibility. On this September 5 foray, the water level appeared to be about two feet low. The surface temperature was 83 degrees, and the water clarity was clear with about 4 1/2 feet of visibility.

"I began the day plying a cove situated in the southwest corner of the reservoir. The shorelines of this cove are adorned with softball and baseball-sized rocks, several laydowns, thick walls of American water willows, and tall stands of cattails. A creek channel runs along the north shoreline and about 30 feet from the water's edge.

"I began fishing its wind-swept north shoreline about half way back into the cove and worked my way eastward toward the mouth of the cove. I wielded a 3 1/4-inch Z-Man's modified green-pumpkin FattyZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's black-blue-flake ScentedZ LeechZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a two-inch Charlie Brewer Slider Company's Fire Tiger Twin Tail Grub rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. This shoreline yielded seven largemouth bass and one spotted bass that were relating to the northern ledge along the creek channel in about five to eight feet of water and about 20 to 30 feet off the shoreline. Six largemouth bass were attracted to the 3 1/4-inch modified FattyZ manipulated with a swim-glide-and-shake action. One largemouth bass engulfed the Scented LeechZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One spotted bass was beguiled by the Slider two-inch twin-tail grub and steady do-nothing retrieve.

"Once I reached the mouth of the cove, I fished the main-lake point, which is covered with fist-sized rocks and festooned with American water willows and small dollops of pondweed. I continued to utilize the modified FattyZ, Scented LeechZ, and two-inch Slider twin-tail grub, but I was unable to coax any additional strikes.

"After I finished plying this cove's entry point, I ran to the west side of the reservoir and fished a broad, shallow, clay and gravel main-lake point. This point is embellished with three dilapidated boat ramps, two laydowns, and a 25-yard stand of cattails. I caught one spotted bass that was relating to one of the dilapidated boat ramps in two feet of water, and it was enticed by the 3 1/4-inch modified green pumpkin FattyZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

"My next area was a long, wind-blown, rocky main-lake point on the north end of the reservoir, and it is embellished with small patches of American water willows, a few laydowns, and several small hydrilla beds. This point relinquished 11 largemouth bass on August 12, but it was not as fruitful today. As I began fishing the east side of this point, the wind picked up a bit and I deployed a drift sock to slow my drift. I caught four largemouth bass that were scattered along the point in two to four feet of water. Two were coaxed into striking a Z-Man's Canada Craw Hula StickZ rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and retrieved with a drag-and-shake presentation, and two were bewitched by the two-inch Slider twin-tail grub and steady do-nothing retrieve. The 3 1/4-inch modified FattyZ and swim-glide-shake retrieve failed to draw a strike. I then dissected the west side of this point, which surrendered one largemouth bass and one large bluegill that were relating to the edge of a patch of American water willows in two feet of water. These two fish were allured by the two-inch Slider twin-tail grub and steady do-nothing retrieve.

"I finished the afternoon fishing the 150-yard riprap-covered dam on the south end of the reservoir. I used the 3 1/4-inch modified green-pumpkin FattyZ with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation, and it caught four largemouth bass. All four of these bass were relating to the riprap along the dam in about four to six feet of water.

"In sum, I caught 16 largemouth bass and two spotted bass during this four hour outing. Z-Man's 3 1/4-inch green-pumpkin modified FattyZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve allured 10 largemouth bass and one spotted bass. Charlie Brewer's two-inch Slider twin-tail grub and steady do-nothing presentation inveigled three largemouth bass and one spotted bass. Z-Man's Canada Craw Hula StickZ and drag-and-shake retrieve allured two largemouth bass. Z-Man's black-blue-flake Scented LeechZ and swim-glide shake motif enticed one largemouth bass."

Sept. 6 log

Dave Weroha of Kansas City, Kansas, posted the following report on the Finesse News Network about his semi-Midwest finesse outing on Sept. 6.

The National Weather Service at Emporia, Kansas, noted that it was 56 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 75 degrees at 3:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the northwest at 7 mph, out of the north at 5 to 10 mph, and out of the northeast at 7 to 10 mph. The sky was cloudy from 12:52 a.m. to 4:52 a.m., and it was fair from 5:52 a.m. to 7:52 p.m. with a short spell of cloudiness around 11 a.m. The barometric pressure was 30.22 at 12:52 a.m.; 30.25 at 5:52 a.m., 30.28 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.21 at 4:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be more than two feet below normal. The water clarity exhibited five feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing would occur from 8:29 a.m. to 10:29 a.m. and 8:58 p.m. to 10:29 p.m. There was a minor period from 2:15 a.m. to 4:15 a.m.

He wrote: "It was an interesting solo outing at a 5,090-acre power-plant reservoir on Saturday, and not so much because I managed to catch 42 smallmouth bass whose sizes ranged from eight inches to 16 inches long while fishing from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., it was because over 90 percent of them were along a 50-yard stretch on the west side of a mile-long riprap dyke.

"I was armed with a temperature probe with a 15-foot cord. And I used it to measure the water temperature 15 feet below the surface in the upper third, middle third, and lower third sections of the reservoir. And I discovered that the coolest water, which was 77 degrees, was in the middle third section of this reservoir and along the 50-yard portion of the mile-long riprap dyke that yielded 90 percent of the smallmouth bass.

"I started fishing at the southernmost tip and along the west side of the riprap dyke, and I worked my way northbound. At the south tip of this dyke, it was 82 degrees 15 feet below the surface, and the surface temperature was 84 degrees. Until I reached the 77-degree lair, I had a few random strikes.

"When I located the 50-yard stretch, I used several Z-Man lures to determine whether the smallmouth bass would exhibit a preference, and a significantly customized 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a ¼-ounce swinging football jighead was the most effective bait. [Weroha's swing jig is not like Gene Larew Lures' Biffle Hardhead Jigs. For more information see the footnotes below.] The second most effective one was a significantly customized two-inch Z-Man's hot-chartreuse ToobZ on a 1/4-ounce chartreuse Gopher jighead. The best retrieve was executed by holding the rod tip low at the five o'clock position, quickly rotating the reel handle three times and pause while twitching the lure three times afterwards. This gives the appearance of the lure scooting along the bottom. I also tried a customized Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse Finesse WormZ on a drop-shot rig, and it failed to get a strike. In this same area, I also used a spinnerbait, a shallow-diving crankbait, a deep-diving crank bait, and a suspending jerkbait, and none of them produced a strike. I failed to catch any of the smallmouth bass along the shoreline. All of the fish were caught in eight to 12 feet of water.

There were some decent size smallmouth bass in this area, and on several occasions the bigger smallmouth bass followed a smaller smallmouth bass that I had hooked, and it looked as if they were trying to take the bait out of the other fish's mouth.

"I also took another reading of the water temperature along the dam, where the surface temperature was 81 degrees, and it was also 81 degrees below the surface. The wind was blowing onto the dam. I fished the southwest corner of the dam, and I failed to get a bite.

"I think that the temperature variations at 15 feet down in the lower-third and middle-third sections of the reservoir might revolve around the current that flows around the reservoir from the hot-water outlet along its northeastern corner of the reservoir and the cool-water intake on its southeast side. The direction of the wind might play a role, too. But no conclusions can be drawn without further studying this in a more controlled manner.

"Although the day concluded without catching a smallmouth bass over 18 inches, it was an informational experience to say the least."

Footnotes for Sept 6 log:

"The swinging jig is similar to a Carolina rig. The football head has a line tie on the front and one on the back. The front line tie is attached to my braided line. The back line tie is attached to a fluorocarbon leader, which can range in size from six to 12 inches. The other end of the leader sports a No. 2 Owner Twistlock Finesse Hook. The lure, such as a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's ZinkerZ, is Texas rigged, and it is super-glued to the twistlock.

Weroha's football sinker for his swinging jig.

"This rig achieves two goals:

1. The lure moves naturally at any depth because there is no weight on it other than the hook's weight.

2. The Lure is even more durable because the hook penetrates the lure at one spot near the tail instead of throughout the lure's torso.

"The size of the football head does not affect the action of the lure. But I sacrifice a slow fall rate on the initial drop. I use a 1/4-ounce or heavier football head because this gives me the option of fishing shallow or deep, and contend with a variety of wind speeds. My goal is to get the lure to the desired depth quickly (even in windy conditions) and still exhibit an action on the lure that looks natural while it is floating and gliding six to 12 inches behind the football head.

"I find that when I get hung up, it's not the lure and hook that is snagged. But the football head is lodged between two objects. I have not noticed a significant increase in snags with this approach compared to when I have used 1/32- and 1/16-ounce Gopher jigs with an exposed hook.

"In summary, I agree with the idea of natural movement that is accomplished by using 1/32- or 1/16-ounce Gopher jigs. But I have found that there are also other ways to achieve natural movement where the weight is not on the lure's head."

Sept. 7 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept.7 outing at a 160-acre state reservoir.

The National Weather Service in Lawrence, Kansas, noted that it was 49 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 78 degrees at 4:52 p.m. The normal low temperature is 60 degrees and normal high temperature is 82 degrees. Throughout the entire day, the wind was calm for four hours, out of the northwest at 3 to 5 mph, out of the southeast at 5 to 10 mph, out of the south at 10 mph, and out of the east at 6 to 7 mph. The sky was fair. The barometric pressure was 30.23 at 12:53 a.m., 30.22 at 5:52 a.m., 30.21 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.14 at 2:52 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the best fishing should occur at 3:33 a.m. to 5:33 a.m. and 3:59 p.m. to 5:59 p.m., as well as a minor period from 9:46 a.m. to 11:46 a.m. Gum was afloat from 7:00 a.m. until noon.

Gum wrote: "The morning was cool enough to bring my dog Josie. The lake was glassy calm early with some dense patches of fog. The surface temperature hovered around 77 degrees. The water clarity was about three feet lake wide, which was a little more dingy than my last visit there June 8 when my wife and I caught 59 fish. The dock adjacent to the boat ramp is now floating. I estimate the lake level is about three feet below normal. Back in June it was six feet below normal. Now there are plenty of newly flooded bushes and trees to get snagged on in the shallows.

"I started fishing at the ramp and worked westerly until I got to the north corner of the dam. I caught largemouth bass from as shallow as two feet of water to as deep as 10 feet.

"I then fished some of the coontail patches in the east feeder-creek arm. I caught about ten largemouth bass along a 25-yard stretch of coontail. The boat was floating in 10 feet of water. I focused on patches that where were very sparse and about six feet below the surface. Here I worked very slowly giving the bait occasional twitches.

"I concluded the outing by fishing several rock piles, where the action was sparse.

"In all, I caught 29 largemouth bass and one crappie. The average size was the smallest I've ever caught here, and a 15-incher was the biggest. Most of the time, the largemouth bass didn't show a preference for any particular bait or style of retrieve. I caught them on the four-inch Z-Man's green- pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's Coppertreuse Zero on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Purple Haze ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig."

Sept 8 log.

On Sept. 8, my cousin Rick Hebenstreit and I fished the same 6,903-acre Corps of Engineers' reservoir that Ethan Dhyuvetter of Manhattan, Kansas, and his partner, Lance Maldonado of Junction City, Kansas, fished and won the Kansas State University Fishing Team tournament on Sept. 7. Their five biggest smallmouth bass weighed nearly 15 pounds. They fished from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and employed topwater baits and four-inch tubes affixed to a 1/4-ounce jig for the entire eight hours, and in the eyes of Midwest finesse anglers, Dhyuvetter and Maldonado were power fishing. Dhyuvetter described the fishing as slow — especially from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Across the eight hours that they fished, they caught 20 smallmouth bass. Most of them were caught around shallow, wind-blown rock piles.

My cousin and I fished from 1o:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. During those four hours and 15 minutes, we employed some basic Midwest finesse tactics and baits, which allowed us to tangle with 44 smallmouth bass or 10.4 of them an hour. However, our biggest five would not have weighed 10 pounds. Of course, we are recreational anglers, not tournament anglers. Therefore, we want to be entertained by garnering 10 to 11 bites an hour during an average outing, and we always entertain the hope of having as many as 25 bites an hour on a stellar outing. This is not to say that we don't like to tangle with hefty-size largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and spotted bass. But on every outing we would prefer to catch 50 small largemouth bass or smallmouth bass or spotted bass than only five four-pounders. We have found that if we catch enough small largemouth bass or smallmouth bass or spotted bass that we will occasionally tangle with one that would make a tournament angler happy. But unlike tournament anglers, we don't give a hoot if a big one liberates itself before we can lift it over the gunnels of the boat. If fact, a couple humdingers liberated themselves on our Sept. 8 outing before we could stick one of our thumbs into their mouths.

The National Weather Service in Emporia, Kansas, noted that it was 58 degrees at 5:53 a.m. on Sept. 8, and 86 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The sky was fair from 12:53 a.m. to 10:53 a.m., and then it became partly cloudy from 11:53 a.m. to 4:53 p.m. Throughout the day, the wind blew at 6 to 28 mph out of the south and 15 to 24 mph out of the southwest. The barometric pressure was 30.08 at 12:53 a.m., 30.02 at 5:53 a.m., 29.98 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.90 at 3:53 p.m.

The Corps of Engineers noted that the water level was a third of a foot below normal. The surface temperature fluctuated from 77 to 78 degrees. The water clarity was slightly stained, exhibiting three to four feet of clarity.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted the best fishing would occur from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. We were afloat for the last 115 minutes of that 120 minute spell, and we caught about 40 percent of the smallmouth bass that we caught during that period.

The wind caused ranks of white caps to pummel many shorelines. Across the years, we have fished in much stiffer winds than the one Mother Nature created during our Sept. 8 outing, but at times this one felt as if it was going to tear the shirts off our backs, and it was a struggle to keep our hats on our heads. We had to use a drift sock to help control the boat and the presentation of our finesse baits. (We have found that it is best for Midwest finesse anglers to fish with the wind at their backs rather than in their faces, which makes a drift sock a vital tool.)

The wind kept us on the south side of the reservoir, where we probed seven main-lake points, one main-lake hump, a 50-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline, a main-lake riprap shoreline and point, nine shorelines inside three small feeder-creek arms and one cove, and five secondary and tertiary points inside the cove and three feeder-creek arms.

We caught smallmouth bass at all of those locations except at one main-lake point, the 50-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline, and the main-lake hump.

Some sections of the shorelines inside the small feeder-creek arms were lined with patches of smartweed, which were in one to two feet of water. Some smallmouth bass were associated with a few of those patches, but the bulk of the smallmouth bass that we caught were abiding around rock piles and areas that were littered with boulders along the shorelines and points.

Half of the smallmouth bass were caught from about half to three-quarters of the way inside the one cove and three small feeder-creek arms that we fished. At these inside locales, there were several confined areas that yielded three smallmouth bass, and one yielded four.

All of the smallmouth bass were caught in one to four feet of water. The biggest one that we hooked, but failed to land, might have been in less than a foot of water, and it attacked a Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which was twitched off of a stem of a smartweed.

We saw several smallmouth bass foraging on gizzard shad, which provoked us to test a grub. And along several wind-blown lairs, we wielded a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man's bloodworm GrubZ on an unpainted 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a four-inch green-pumpkin grub on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, but we caught only one smallmouth bass, and that one was caught on the green-pumpkin one.

Our four best baits were a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, the tail of a Z-Man's green-pumpkin/orange FattyZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

A goodly number of the smallmouth bass attacked these baits on the initial drop. Several were caught on a drag-and-deadstick presentation. A few were caught on a drag-and-shake retrieve. Most were caught on the swim-glide-and-a slight-shake presentation. Nearly a dozen smallmouth bass followed one of our baits to the boat, and we caught five of them by allowing the bait to plummet towards the bottom, and as it dropped, they engulfed it.

In sum, it wasn't a stellar outing, but it was much more fruitful than the largemouth bass fishing has been at our small flatland reservoirs for more than a month. And every time we catch a smallmouth bass in our northeastern Kansas waterways we are thankful, indeed, that Leonard Jirak of Hartford, Kansas, worked so hard during his tenure as a fisheries biologist at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism to stock them and encourage other fisheries biologists to stock them in our reservoirs.

Rick Hebenstreit is holding two of the smallmouth bass that he and I simultaneously caught. We experienced that joyful phenomenon several times on this outing.

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Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas posted a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 8 outing with a friend and novice angler at a 100 acre community reservoir in the western suburbs of Kansas City.

They fished from 3:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 10:10 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. and 10:38 p.m. to 12:38 a.m. There was a minor period from 3:56 a.m. to 5:56 a.m.

The National Weather Service at Olathe, Kansas, noted it was 81 degrees at 3:53 p.m. and 79 degrees at 6:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the south at eight to 13 mph. While they were afloat, it was initially cloudy and gradually the clouds began to disappear. The barometric pressure was 29.93 at 3:53 p.m. and 29.90 at 6:53 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 78 to 79 degrees. Water level was normal. There was two feet of visibility.

They caught 20 largemouth bass by using a 2 3/4-inch pumpkin-chartreuse-laminated worm on either a chartreuse 1/32- or 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. They used a variety of Midwest finesse retrieves, and all of them caught a few of the 20 largemouth bass. The most fruitful lairs were around patches of submerged coontail in the vicinity of the dam.

Sept. 10 log

I have been having minor but continuous equipment woes with my sonar units, trolling motors, boat trailer, and a few other pieces of boat paraphernalia. I repaired them on Sept. 9, and around noon of Sept. 10 I decided I should make a quick outing to a nearby 195-acre community reservoir to field test those repairs, as well as field test a pair of prototype spinning rods.

The National Weather Service in Lawrence, Kansas, noted that it was 73 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 67 degrees at 5:52 p.m. Shortly after midnight a thunderstorm rolled across these parts, and it was cloudy every hour of the day, and light rain fell at times, and it was also a tad foggy and misty. Throughout the day, the wind angled out of the southwest at 15 to 32 mph, out of the west at 5 mph, out of the north at 10 to 22 mph, out of the northwest at 8 to 25 mph, and during the two hours before the wind switched to the north, it was calm. The barometric pressure was 29.58 at 12:52 a.m., 29.63 at 5:52 a.m., 29.97 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.985 at 2:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be nearly normal. The surface temperature was 78 degrees. The water was a touched stained, exhibiting 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11:36 p.m. to 1:36 a.m. and 12:04 p.m. to 2:04 p.m. There was a minor period from 5:50 a.m. to 7:50 a.m. I fished from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

I began the outing by quickly plying the spillway area at the dam and the entire dam. I caught three largemouth bass on my first three casts. These three bass were associated with three small but nearly contiguous patches of American water willows along the spillway. All three of them engulfed a Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. and red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on the initial fall. Along the rock-laden dam, the Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. and red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a swim-glide-and-shake presentation allured six largemouth bass that were in two to four feet of water. A deadstick presentation with the T.R.D. combo inveigled another largemouth bass along the dam in about six feet of water.

After I fished the dam, I fished the first 100 yards of the north shoreline in a small feeder creek arm, where the T.R.D. rig and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve allured one largemouth bass in three feet of water.

I spent the last 50 minutes fishing three short sections of the northwest shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm. Along the portion of the shoreline adjacent to the main-lake point, which is littered with American water willows, rock piles, manmade brush piles and boulders, I failed to elicit a strike. Along the mid-portions of this shoreline, which is embellished with six boat docks, American water willows, Eurasian milfoil, rocks, retaining walls, manmade brush piles, and laydowns, the T.R.D. rig enticed three largemouth bass that were abiding in four feet of water. Along the back-segment of this shoreline, which is adorned with four boat docks, laydowns, Eurasian milfoil, boulders, rocks, and gravel, one largemouth bass engulfed a Z-Man's Canada Craw T.R.D. and red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig on the initial fall. This largemouth bass was in about 1 1/2 feet of water and situated in a gap between two patches of American water willows.

In total, the Z-Man's Canada Craw T.R.D. and red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught 14 largemouth bass, and the Z-Man's Canada Craw T.R.D. and red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught one largemouth bass, and it was the biggest one of the lot.

Sept.11 log.

A friend and I enjoyed a rather interesting afternoon and evening on Sept. 11 at a 6,930-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir, where we spent some time examining the effectiveness of Midwest finesse tactics versus Midwest power tactics.

The National Weather Service at Emporia, Kansas, noted that it was 54 degrees at 7:53 a.m., 62 degrees at 2:53 p.m., and 61 degrees at 6:53 p.m. It was overcast for the entire day. While we were afloat the wind angled out of the northeast at 12 to 20 mph, and at other times during the day, it blew out of the north at 10 to 21 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.04 at 12:53 a.m., 30.15 at 5:53 a.m., 30.20 at 11:53 a.m., 30.10 at 2:53 p.m., and 30.17 at 6:53 p.m. The normal temperature for Sept. 11 is 58 degrees, and the normal high temperature is 81 degrees, which reveals that a late-summer cold front had arrived.

The Corps of Engineers reported that the water level was about six inches below normal. The water was stained, exhibiting two to three feet of clarity. The surface temperature was 77 degrees.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the best fishing occurred from 12:51 a.m. to 2:51 a.m. and 1:18 p.m. to 3:18 p.m. There was a minor period from 7:05 a.m. to 9:05 a.m. We were afloat from 2:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

My friend is a veteran and talented power angler, who has won scores of largemouth bass tournaments in Kansas and Missouri during the past 30 years. Finesse tactics and smallmouth bass fishing, however, have never intrigued him. Since I am a diehard finesse devotee, we have fished together only one other time, and that occurred in mid-October a decade ago at this same reservoir when he wanted to see how we used a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig affixed to a three-inch pumpkin-chartreuse Berkley Power Grub to catch smallmouth bass. (By the way, this was the time frame when some of the professional tournament anglers on the Bassmaster and FLW circuits were beginning to use some forms of finesse fishing, but it was more what we call power finesse than Midwest finesse.) On that mid-October outing in 20o4 with my friend, the water temperature had cooled down significantly, and as we worked with our grubs, we came to the conclusion that a goodly number of the smallmouth bass had vacated their summer and early autumn shallow-water haunts. Therefore, we tangled with only 10 smallmouth bass across the two hours that we methodically dissected the traditional late-September and early-October lairs of the smallmouth bass along the riprap of the dam with grubs. Consequently, this rather fruitless finesse outing with grubs in 2004 failed to impress him about the various virtues of using Midwest finesse tactics. So until the trying largemouth bass fishing that has perplexed many area anglers in 2014 erupted, he hadn't picked up a spinning rod. And throughout 2014, he has used a spinning rod more than he has used one for his entire life.

A couple of weeks ago, he called and asked if I would mind showing him how we use a 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rigged on a 1/16-ounce jig. So on Sept. 11, I hopped into his boat, and we fished together.

During the 255 minutes that we were afloat, we spent about 105 minutes of that time comparing the catch rate of his power methods to the Midwest finesse tactics. During this period, he wielded three casting outfits that sported a tandem-bladed spinnerbait, chatter-style bait, and shallow-diving-square-bill crankbait. With my six spinning outfits, I worked with a Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's California Craw Finesse T.R.D on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's Mud Minnow MinnowZ on a red 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ-spin on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, and the tail of a Z-Man's green-pumpkin/orange FattyZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. And during that hour and 35 minutes that he employed his power tactics, for every five smallmouth bass that the finesse baits inveigled, the power baits caught one smallmouth bass.

Eventually, he picked up a spinning rod and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and our catch rate began to improve dramatically. By the time that we executed our last casts and retrieves at 6:30 p.m., our fish counter revealed that we had caught 47 smallmouth bass, as well as a walleye, a channel catfish, a bluegill, a white bass, three freshwater drum, and seven green sunfish. We also enjoyed donnybrooks with 11 smallmouth bass that liberated themselves before we could lift them across the gunnels of the boat.

All of the finesse baits except the Z-Man's California Craw Finesse T.R.D on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught smallmouth bass, but that bait was utilized only 12 times. The three most effective finesse baits were the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and tail of a Z-Man's green-pumpkin/orange FattyZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We failed to calculate how many of the smallmouth bass engulfed the finesse baits on the initial drop, but a significant percentage of them did. The best retrieve was the swim-glide-and-shake presentation, but the shake element was very subdued. All of the fish were caught in water as shallow as one foot and no deeper than four feet.

We started the outing by quickly plying six spots on the north side of the reservoir that are 2 1/2 to three miles west above the dam. One spot was an offshore hump that yielded one smallmouth bass. The next spot was a flat and rocky shoreline, where we caught two smallmouth bass. The third north-side spot was a boulder-laden flat main-lake point that failed to garner a strike. The fourth spot was a secondary point inside a cove on which we caught one smallmouth bass. The fifth spot was a boulder-strewn flat shoreline inside a cove, which did not yield a strike. The sixth spot was a large, flat main lake point that is embellished with gravel, thousands of football-size rocks, and scores of boulders, and it produced three smallmouth bass.

The north side of the reservoir was shielded from the chilly and brisk northeast wind, but the bite was so lackluster that we decided to endure the chilly wind and ranks of waves that pummeled the south side of the reservoir.

We began our south-side endeavors by fishing a massive hump and a series of rock piles about a mile above the dam, and this wind-blown locale yielded only one smallmouth bass.

The next spot was a big, flat, wind-blown main-lake point that is endowed with several ledges, numerous rock piles, and a nearby submerged creek channel, and we caught only one smallmouth bass on it.

The third spot was inside a tertiary feeder-creek arm, where we hastily probed three offshore rock plies and a hundred yards of its shoreline, which is stippled with six minor rock or boulder piles. We caught six smallmouth bass in this area.

We spent the rest of the outing rapidly fishing shorelines, boulder piles, and secondary points inside four secondary feeder-creek arms and one tertiary feeder-creek arm. These five locales yielded 32 smallmouth bass, and most of them were caught two-thirds of the way inside these arms.

Sept. 14 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, posted the following report on the Finesse News Network about his solo outing on Sept. 14.

He wrote: "I made the 40-mile drive to a 24,154-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir that lies just east of Sanger, Texas.

"A major cold front swept across the plains of north-central Texas during the late-night hours of Sept. 10 and dropped the daytime high temperatures 20 degrees. On September 14, the National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 68 degrees and the high for the day slowly climbed to 77 degrees. The day was mostly cloudy and graced with only occasional spells of sunshine. The winds were light and variable, and at times it was calm. The barometric pressure was steady at 30.12.

The water was stained more than usual, exhibiting three and a half feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 77 degrees when I began this outing to 80 degrees when I finished. The water level has risen a couple of feet since my last visit to this reservoir in June, but the Texas Water Development Board noted that the water level remains lower than usual at 6.65 feet below normal pool.

"In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing periods would occur between 3:41 a.m. to 5:41 a.m. and 4:07 p.m. to 6:07 p.m. A minor period occurred from 9:54 a.m. to 11:54 a.m. I was afloat from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

"I spent all my time in the eastern tributary arm of this reservoir. I began the afternoon plying a clay and rock shoreline and riprap-covered jetty adjacent to the boat ramp where I launched. As I executed my first cast, I was glad to see several new patches of hydrilla and pondweed, which are beginning to take hold several yards off of the shoreline in four to eight feet of water. I took my time dissecting this area with a four-inch Berkley's smoke-red flake Power Tube rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's modified 3 1/4-inch watermelon-red FattyZ affixed on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ dressed on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, but I was unable to coax any strikes from the submerged vegetation or along the jetty.

"My next area was a 75-yard stretch of a flat and rocky bank situated just inside a main-lake cove on the eastern side of this tributary arm. I quickly covered this area with a three-inch Charlie Brewer Slider Company's pearl- glitter Bass/Walleye/Striper Grub on a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a moderately fast swimming retrieve. It enticed one largemouth bass that was milling about several feet off the shoreline in about four feet of water.

"My third spot revolved around two flat and rocky main-lake points, which are located along the eastern shoreline of this tributary arm. These two points are flat and comprised of clay, small rocks, a few stumps, and four new patches of pondweed. I plied this area with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California Craw FattyZ tail rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's Blue Steel Finesse ShadZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and Strike King Lure Company's pearl Zero rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The FattyZ tail presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve allured one crappie that was in three feet of water and relating to the outside edge of a patch of pondweed, but I failed to entice any other bites from these two points.

"I then made a short run to a shallow rocky hump and a larger island in the mid-section of the east tributary arm. I targeted the hump first. The hump is surrounded by thick stands of standing timber, and several new patches of pondweed enhanced its western side. I switched to a four-inch Z-Man's watermelon Finesse WormZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and tangled with one largemouth bass that was relating to a large patch of pondweed in three to five feet of water. The Finesse WormZ was implemented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

"After I finished fishing the hump, I made my way over to the southeast side of the island. The east side of the island is endowed with two steep rocky points and a thin wall of pondweed that stretches along the southeast, south, and southwest side of the island. Usually, this area is festooned with thick beds of hydrilla that is matted on the water's surface, but this year, there hasn't been any hydrilla beds thriving along the island's south and southwestern shorelines. I utilized just two baits while I plied the southeast, south, and southwestern shores of the island, and they were the 2 1/2-inch pearl Zero and the four-inch watermelon Finesse WormZ, and both of these baits were implemented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The south bank surrendered one largemouth bass that inhabited the deep-water edge of a patch of pondweed in about five feet of water, and it was inveigled by the four-inch Z-Man's watermelon Finesse WormZ. I did not induce any other strikes from this area.

"The next area I visited was a main feeder-creek arm located along the west side of the east tributary arm of the reservoir. The north entry point to this feeder creek arm is long and flat, and it consists of clay, large scattered boulders, and a small dollop of pondweed. The south entry point is steep and rocky, and new beds of hydrilla are scattered along its shoreline. I executed scores of fan casts along these two points with the three-inch pearl- glitter Slider grub, but both of these points seemed bereft of bass.

"My last stop for the afternoon was a flat and rocky main-lake point just south of the feeder creek arm. I was delighted to find new and flourishing hydrilla beds covering a large portion of this point. This is the first signs of any submerged vegetation I have seen on this point since the beginning of our four-year drought, and it was a pleasant and very welcomed sight indeed.

"As I was slowly motoring toward this point, a large school of surface-feeding white bass suddenly appeared between me and the point. This was another pleasant surprise because I have not seen any schools of surface-feeding white bass on any of our large north-central Texas reservoirs this summer. I took advantage of this opportunity to enjoy a bit of white bass fishing. The white bass were skittish, and I had fun playing cat-and-mouse with them for about an hour. The three-inch pearl-glitter Slider grub and a moderately fast swimming retrieve caught 30 of them, and the grub perfectly matched the size and color of the shad that the white bass were regurgitating in my boat.

"After the white bass finally disappeared, I focused on the main-lake point and began executing scores of fan casts along the top and deep-water edges of the hydrilla beds with the three-inch pearl-glitter Slider grub. I continued to use the moderately fast swimming retrieve and this combination attracted the attention of seven largemouth bass and five spotted bass. These bass were scattered along the tops and sides of the hydrilla beds in four to seven feet of water.

"In total, I tangled with 10 largemouth bass, five spotted bass, 30 white bass, and one crappie. The three-inch Slider pearl-glitter Bass/Walleye/Striper grub implemented with a moderately fast swimming retrieve was the most productive bait and presentation.

"It is interesting to note that the fishing was slow and trying for the first three and a half hours of this endeavor. I caught only three largemouth bass and one crappie before 4:00 p.m. The fishing improved immensely during the solunar calendar's predicted primary fishing period between 4:07 p.m. to 6:07 p.m., and during that two hour period, I allured seven largemouth bass, five spotted bass, and 30 white bass in one and a half hours."

Sept. 17 log

Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I made the short drive from our homes to a 7,000-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir, which Lau regularly describes as the most frustrating reservoir in these parts at which to chase black and temperate bass. And in many ways, it replicates the wailful black and temperate bass fishing in north-central Texas that Steve Reideler of Lewisville endures and writes about in his logs in the monthly guide to Midwest finesse fishing.

One of this reservoir's boat ramps is nine miles from my front door and only five miles from Lau's. It is so close that if the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing were just a tad easier, we would be afloat upon it at least a dozen times a year rather than just three or four times.

This reservoir was stocked with 148,217 fingerling (3/4-inch) smallmouth bass across four springs beginning in 2008 and ending in 2011. Now there is a burgeoning population of adult smallmouth bass, but they are difficult to locate and catch consistently. For instance, a pair of veteran and talented Midwest finesse anglers caught 53 smallmouth bass during a four-hour outing this past June. But on a subsequent four-hour outing, they caught only three smallmouth bass. And on our Sept. 17 outing, Lau and I eked out only 10 smallmouth bass and five largemouth bass, and we failed to land five that unfettered themselves from our hooks before we could hoist them across the gunnels of the boat.

In our eyes, it was an ideal day to be afloat. The National Weather Service in Lawrence, Kansas, noted that it was 62 degrees at 1:52 a.m. and 76 degrees at 3:52 p.m. Throughout the entire day, it alternated from being mostly cloudy to being overcast to being foggy and misty, and from 3:52 a.m. to past 4:52 a.m., more than a third of an inch of rain fell, and it was accompanied by some thunder. The wind can readily confound anglers at this reservoir, but that did not happen on this outing. In fact, the wind was mild mannered and fluctuated from being calm to angling out of the southeast at 3 to 8 mph, out of the south at 3 mph, out of the east at 3 to 6 mph, and out of the northeast at 7 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.00 at 12:52 a.m., 29.91 at 5:52 a.m., 29.93 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.89 at 3:52 p.m.

The Corps of Engineers reported that the water level was about three-quarters of a foot below normal. The surface temperature ranged from 72 to 73 degrees. There was a slight algae bloom, and the water was stained with about 24 inches of visibility at the clearest locales, and it exhibited 12 to 15 inches of visibility around the most stained locations. We crossed paths with untold numbers of three-inch gizzard shad and an astonishing number of dead midges that littered the surface at several locals. Several of the smallmouth bass that we caught regurgitated gizzard shad, and one regurgitated several hundred midges.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the best fishing would take place from 6:05 a.m. to 8:05 a.m. and 6:29 p.m. to 8:29 p.m. There was a minor period from 11:53 a.m. to 1:53 p.m. Lau and I fished from 1:20 p.m. to 4:35 p.m.

Throughout the outing, we were one to four miles above the dam. We spent the bulk of the time probing lairs along the north side of the reservoir's main arm, focusing primarily on boulder-strewn shorelines and points. We spent about 40 minutes on the south side of that arm, focusing on flat shorelines and points that are graced with gravel and rocks, as well as one short bluff, where the submerged river channel courses nearby.

We caught two largemouth bass along the south side of the reservoir, and we caught 10 smallmouth bass and three largemouth bass along its north side.

We fished two boat ramps, where we failed to garner a strike. We fished three secondary points, where we failed to elicit a strike. We fished four riprap shorelines, where we failed to catch neither a largemouth bass nor a smallmouth bass.

We fished six main-lake shorelines, where we caught six smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass. We fished six main-lake points, and we caught two smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass on one of the main-lake points on the north side of the reservoir, and one largemouth bass at two of the flat main-lake points that we fished on the south side of the reservoir. We fished three shorelines inside two coves, and along one of those shorelines, we caught two smallmouth bass.

This is one of the smallmouth bass that we caught on a Z-Man's Scented LeechZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

All of the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass were caught in two to four feet of water. We caught them on five baits: Z-Man's Christmas Scented LeechZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California Craw ZinkerZ on an orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ-spin on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and Z-Man's California Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Five of the bass engulfed these baits on the initial drop, and the rest were inveigled by a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

During our short drive home, Lau and I talked about the trying fishing that we have endured at the reservoir across the years, and we said that it was unlikely that we would fish it again until late April of 2015.

Pok-Chi Lau with one of the smallmouth bass that we caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California Craw ZinkerZ affixed to an orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Sept. 18 log

After the frustrating outing that Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I endured on Sept. 17, I was in no mood to fish on Sept 18. But the weather looked so inviting that I decided to make a quick jaunt to a nearby 195-acre community reservoir in hopes that some of the stigma that was leftover from our sorry Sept. 17 outing would be erased by tangling with at least nine largemouth bass an hour.

The National Weather Service in Lawrence, Kansas, noted that it was 62 degrees at 1:52 a.m. and 69 degrees at 2:52 p.m. Throughout the day it fluctuated from being foggy, misty, overcast, and partly cloudy. The wind angled out of the east during the morning, afternoon, and evening at 3 to 9 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.93 at 12.52 a.m., 29.97 at 5:52 a.m., 30.03 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.99 at 3:52 a.m.

The water level looked to be normal. Consequently, all of the American water willow patches that line many yards of this reservoir's shorelines were in the water and looked healthy. But the patches of submerged vegetation were not hearty looking. What's more, many areas that used to have robust patches of coontail, bushy pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil were barren. The surface temperature was 72 degrees. The water exhibited 23 to 30 inches of visibility. Many massive schools of three-inch gizzard shad frolicked about at most of the locales that I fished, but for the first time in many weeks, one of the largemouth bass that I caught had a crayfish's antennas protruding from its gullet.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted the best fishing would occur from 6:49 a.m. to 8:49 a.m. and 7:12 p.m. to 9:12 p.m. There was a minor period from 12:37 a.m. to 2:37 a.m. I fished from 11:35 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.

On June 18, 2013, I wrote a short gear-guide story about a new Z-Man's Fishing Products' soft-plastic bait called the Scented LeechZ, which Z-Man unveiled at the 2013 International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades exhibition in Las Vegas. (Here is the link to the gear guide: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/finesse-news-networks-gear-guide-z-man-fishing-products-scented-leechz/.) At that time, I thought it would become a staple in my Midwest finesse repertoire. I was (and I still am) enchanted with its texture, suppleness, and durability. When it is affixed to a No. 4 hook on a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, it looks in my eyes as a preeminent Midwest finesse bait. But for some unknown reason, I have not used it as often as I should have. In fact, I have used it only four times in the past 8 1/2 months, but on my Sept. 17 outing with Lau, I began to rectify that failure, and I continued that undertaking on my Sept. 18 outing.

On Sept. 18, I dissected the outside edges of scores of patches of American water willows with a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, as well as some patches of submerged vegetation and rock-laden points and shorelines. At times, I compared or tested the Scented LeechZ's effectiveness to a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ-spin on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. (For more information about the ZinkerZ-spinn, please examine these links: http://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/zinkerz-spin-precursors-3/ and http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/zinkerz-spin-update/.)

During the first 40 minutes of this outing, the ZinkerZ-spin was the most effective of the three baits, inveigling six largemouth bass in the back end of a feeder-creek arm. But during the last 180 minutes, the Scented LeechZ caught 17 largemouth bass, the Finesse Shad Z caught five largemouth bass, and the ZinkerZ-spin caught four largemouth bass.

The six of the 10 largemouth bass that the ZinkerZ-spin caught were associated with submerged patches of vegetation, three were caught along the outside edges of American water willow patches that were also graced with some Eurasian milfoil, and one was caught on a rocky secondary point. These fish were extracted out of three feet of water, and they were allured by a long- swim-slight-pause-and-subtle-shake retrieve.

The Finesse ShadZ caught five largemouth bass along the outside edges of the American water willows. These largemouth bass were caught in two to five feet of water, and they were enticed by a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

The Scented LeechZ caught one largemouth bass along the outside edge of an American water willow patch that was graced with some Eurasian milfoil. It caught six along the outside edges of American water willow patches that were devoid of submerged vegetation. It caught 10 largemouth bass along three rock-laden shorelines and one rocky point. Thirteen largemouth bass were enticed by a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and four were allured by a drag-and-shake retrieve, which was periodically punctuated with a short deadstick maneuver. The shake portion of these retrieves was often substantial. These 17 largemouth bass were caught in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as six feet.

In sum, I tangled with 32 largemouth bass, and failed to land five largemouth bass that unfettered themselves before I could lift them out of the water. I didn't catch an average of nine largemouth bass an hour that I was hoping to catch; my average was 8.4 largemouth bass an hour. Nevertheless, this outing also helped me to continue my task of making the Scented LeechZ an integral bait in my Midwest finesse repertoire. In the future, I will work with it on a No. 6 hook and 1/32-ounce mushroom jig, which will accentuate the important no-feel aspect in our Midwest finesse retrieves. The small hook will also allow the body and tail of the Scented LeechZ to quiver a bit more than it does on a bigger hook.

Sept. 19 log

Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, is the longtime outdoors writer, editor for The Kansas City Star, and contributor to the Finesse News Network. His reports to the FNN primarily focus on his endeavors at a 120-acre community reservoir that lies along the suburbs of Kansas City. For years on end, this reservoir has been a relatively easy waterway for a pair of Midwest finesse anglers to catch an impressive array of largemouth bass. For instance, Frazee and I tangled with 101 largemouth bass on Mar. 28, when we fished from 10:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. But since that outing, the fishing at this reservoir and many of the other small reservoirs that stipple the countryside of northwestern Missouri and northeastern Kansas has gradually become onerous. And scores of Midwest finesse anglers, as well as our power-fishing brethren, are puzzled by what has transpired and why.

On Sept. 19, Frazee filed a short update about the sorry fishing at the 120-acre community reservoir in Kansas City's northern suburbs. He wrote: "[It] is still in a coma. But that has given us a chance to experiment with some new methods.

"Well, fishing under the lights isn't new. We've tried that several times in the last two weeks, and it has been moderately successful. We're not catching as many crappies and walleyes as we did in the past, but we're catching bigger ones.

"I'm getting so desperate to catch bass during the day that I went to minnows. I slow-trolled them over the top of the weed beds in about 20 feet of water on the large main-lake flats.

"It worked, to an extent. Earlier, we were worried about last year's year-class of bass because we just weren't seeing the small fish we once had. They came out of hiding for the minnows. I caught 12 small ones just working across the dam.

"I fished the deep end of a laydown and immediately got a strong hit when I dropped my minnow down. The fish took me into the brush and got hung up on a limb. The fish was still there when I pulled up; I could feel it thumping.

"I tried everything to get that fish to swim loose, but nothing worked. Finally, I just broke my line and went on."

He concluded with tongue-in-his-cheek comment, saying that he has forgotten how to finesse fish, and he might need a lesson or two.

After receiving Frazee's report, I ventured to a 416-acre community reservoir that has been a trying waterway since mid-June, and on this Sept. 19 outing, I found the fishing to be more bewildering and ghastly than it has for the previous 96 days. And I am virtually at a loss for words to describe it.

But I can say that the National Weather Service at Topeka, Kansas, recorded the temperature at 3:53 a.m. as being 62 degrees and 82 degrees at 4:53 p.m. From 3:53 a.m. to 1:53 p.m., it was overcast, foggy, misty, and mostly cloudy; at 2:53 p.m., the clouds began to disappear. Throughout the day the wind angled out of the east at 3 to 6 mph, out of the southeast at 6 to 10 mph, and out of the south at 9 to 22 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.01 at 12:53 a.m., 29.99 at 5:53 a.m., 29.99 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.95 at 2:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be about 18 inches below normal. The water was the clearest that I have ever seen it in mid-September, when it is usually afflicted by terrible algae blooms, reducing the water visibility to a few inches rather than the five to six feet that I experienced on Sept, 19. The surface temperature was 71 degrees. There were uncountable numbers of two-inch gizzard shad milling about, which is a rare phenomenon, too. Some locales were embellished with patches of submerged aquatic vegetation.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur at 7:32 a.m. to 9:32 a.m. and 7:54 p.m. to 9:54 p.m. I fished from 10:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.

Across those 3 1/4 hours, I eked out only four smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass. One of the smallmouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ-spin on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a straight-swim retrieve on a flat and shallow secondary point. The one largemouth bass and three other smallmouth bass were caught along rocky lairs with a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in three to five feet of water.

This outing was so unspeakably difficult that I am incapable of conjuring up anymore words to describe it. But I can say that after enduring this outing and a number of other ones during the past three months that Midwest finesse tactics aren't a panacea for every angling woe.

Sept. 20 log

Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, filed the following brief on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 20 outing to a 32-acre reservoir in southeastern Kansas.

The National Weather Service in Joplin, Missouri, noted that it was 67 degrees at 1:53 a.m. and 84 degrees at 3:53 p.m. Throughout the day, the wind angled out of the southeast at 7 mph, out of the south at 6 to 15 mph, and out of the southwest at 10 to 16 mph. It alternated from being foggy, misty, fair, mostly cloudy, and partly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.99 at 12:53 a.m., 30.01 at 5:53 a.m., 30.07 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.03 at 1:53 p.m.

The water level was normal. The surface temperature was 71 degrees. There was 12 inches of clarity.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 8:07 a.m. to 10:07 a.m., and Claudell fished from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Across his five hours of fishing, he caught 22 largemouth bass. Sixteen of them were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Six of them were caught on a NetBait's green-pumpkin Baby Papa Craw affixed on a No. 2 hook and weighted with a 1/16-ounce slip sinker. All of them were extracted from two to six feet of water along the riprap of the dam and several jetties.

Sept. 21 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed this report of the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 21 outing.

He wrote: "I made a solo three-mile jaunt from my driveway to a nearby problematic 21,280-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir that lies along the northern city limits of Lewisville, Texas. I have been bellyaching about the lackluster fishing at this reservoir since mid-June, and I find myself frustrated but also a bit intrigued by the challenge of trying to unlock the piscatorial mysteries that this waterway holds. Thus, I wanted to take advantage of an approaching cold front that is expected to push through north-central Texas during the evening hours of September 21, hoping that the largemouth and spotted bass that inhabit this perplexing waterway might be a little more active before this cold front arrives.

"The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 67 degrees and the afternoon high was a bit warm at 93 degrees. A mild-mannered wind meandered out of the east-by-southeast at 3 to 5 miles per hour. The barometric pressure was steady at 30.01.

"In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing would occur from 8:55 a.m. to 10:55 a.m. and 9:17 p.m. to 11:17 p.m. A minor period would occur from 2:44 a.m. to 4:44 a.m. I was afloat from about noon until 5:00 p.m. I spent one hour attempting to locate schools of white bass, and when I failed at that endeavor, I spent the next four hours fishing for largemouth and spotted bass.

"The water was murky with about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water temperature ranged from 85 degrees at the boat ramp to 87 degrees in the western portion of the southwest tributary, where I spent my entire afternoon. The water level has receded a tad since my last visit, and it is now 6.32 feet below normal pool.

"My first stop was a rocky ledge covered with 10 feet of water and embellished with three strategically stacked brush piles. I probed the ledge and edges of the brush piles with a four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ threaded on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Both of these baits were manipulated with a swim-glide-and-shake cadence, but I failed to elicit any strikes from this area.

"My next local was two riprap-laden bridge embankments and several concrete bridge support pilings. The southeast embankment of the bridge surrendered three largemouth bass that were chasing minnows in three to five feet of water. The largest of these three weighed 3-pounds, 3-ounces. These three bass were fooled by a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and Z-Man's green- pumpkin Finesse ShadZ dressed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These two baits were implemented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The northeast bridge embankment was also productive, and it yielded two largemouth bass and two spotted bass. Two largemouth bass were caught on the pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ and two spotted bass were caught on the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ. All four of these black bass were relating to the riprap bank in five to seven feet of water and were allured by a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Seven concrete bridge support pilings failed to relinquish any bass.

"My third area encompassed five gravel points that lie to the northwest of the bridge embankments. Three of these five points were harboring bass. I caught one three-pound, five-ounce largemouth bass and one spotted bass on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ. A second spotted bass and a large bluegill were coaxed into striking the four-inch green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ. All three of these bass were lurking around the tip of the points in five to seven feet of water and were tempted by the slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

"My fourth spot was a main-lake cove located along the northern shoreline. I focused on the two points at the entrance to the cove, one secondary point just inside the cove, and a 25-yard stretch of bank covered with riprap with the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ and Finesse ShadZ, but I failed to entice any strikes from these areas.

"My fifth stop was another main-lake cove situated about a quarter mile west of the previous cove. This cove is also located along the north shoreline and is endowed with two steep and rocky channel banks and three secondary points. This cove did not yield any bass.

"My sixth local of the afternoon consisted of a main-lake bank along the southern shoreline and enhanced with three dilapidated concrete boat ramps and a rocky point about 50 yards east of the boat ramps. I dredged up four spotted bass and one largemouth bass from seven feet of water just in front of the three boat ramps. All five of these bass were inveigled by the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ worked in the same swim-glide-and-shake manner. The rocky point east of the boat ramps relinquished one largemouth bass that was relating to the point in three feet of water. It was also caught on the same 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

"My last spot of the afternoon was another main-lake point that lies further east of the three boat ramps and last rocky point. It is long and broad, and courses in an east to west direction. The south side of this point is flat and shallow, and consists of clay, gravel, a couple of stumps, and sprinkled with basketball-size rocks. The north side of this point is also comprised of clay and gravel, but is much steeper than the south side of the point. Several large coffee table-size boulders are scattered and submerged along the north side of the point in three to five feet of water. I caught one largemouth bass and one spotted bass from three feet of water along the south side of the point, and both of these bass struck the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ and swim-glide-shake technique. I found no bass associated with the north side of the point.

"All told, I had a good day by north-central Texas standards. I was able to tangle with 18 black bass, nine of which were largemouth bass and the other nine were spotted bass. I also enticed one large bluegill. Thirteen bass succumbed to the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ; four were fooled by the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ; and one spotted bass and one large bluegill engulfed the four-inch green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ. A slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most fruitful presentation."

Sept. 23 log

My wife, Pat, and I sashayed to a nearby 194-acre community reservoir with hopes of enjoying a quick rendezvous with a goodly number of its largemouth bass on Sept. 23.

The National Weather Service noted that the temperature was 48 degrees at 1:52 a.m. and 74 degrees at 1:52 p.m. From 12:52 a.m. to 1:52 p.m., the wind alternated from being calm to blowing out of the southeast at 5 to 23 mph, out of the east at 3 to 7 mph, and out of the south at 16 mph. The sky ranged from being mostly cloudy to partly cloudy, and it sprinkled for a spell. The barometric pressure was 30.22 at 12:52 a.m., 30.21 at 5:52 a.m., 30.20 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.19 at 1:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be a tad below normal. The water was stained with a minor alga bloom, reducing the visibility to 12 to 16 inches. The surface temperature ranged from 71 to 72 degrees.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 10:08 a.m. to 12:08 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. There was a minor period from 3:57 a.m. to 5:57 a.m. We fished from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Across the two hours that we were afloat, we fished two-thirds of the dam and both shorelines adjacent to the dam, where we caught 1o largemouth bass. We also fished 90 percent of the north shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm, where we caught 14 largemouth bass. We fished about 90 percent of the north shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm, where we caught four largemouth bass, and inside that same feeder-creek arm, we fished about 20 percent of its south shoreline, where we failed to catch a largemouth bass.

Six of the largemouth bass that we caught along the dam were inveigled by a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. A Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse T.R.D. on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a drag- and-deadstick retrieve enticed four largemouth bass. Ranks of waves were pounding this rock-laden dam, and the largemouth bass were extracted from two to five feet of water.

The bulk of the 18 largemouth bass that we caught along the north shorelines in the two feeder-creek arms were associated with either the outside edges of patches of American water willows that lined those two shorelines or along several patches of submerged aquatic vegetation that bordered a few of the American water willows patches. Two of the 18 largemouth bass were caught along a patch of cattails. These bass were abiding in three to six feet of water.

A Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse T.R.D. on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a Z-Man's California Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught nine of the largemouth bass. And these two baits were retrieved with either a drag-and-deadstick presentation or a swim-glide-and shake presentation. A Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a swim-glide-and shake retrieve caught eight  largemouth bass. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ-spin on an unpainted 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a straight-swim retrieve caught two largemouth bass.

In sum, we caught 28 largemouth bass in two hours, and 20 of them were caught during the first hour.

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Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his outing on the autumn equinox.

He wrote: "I conducted a solo 4 1/2-hour foray to a local 5,107-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir that splits the city limits of two adjacent cities just west of Lewisville, Texas. I last fished this reservoir with Rick Allen of Dallas on Sept. 16, and we had to hustle to dredge up 12 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass during that 5 1/2-hour undertaking. During our drive home, Rick commented about how the trying black bass fishing has caused his enthusiasm to dwindle this past summer, but he anticipated that our local north-central Texas reservoirs would come to life again this fall.

"A moderate cold front passed through north-central Texas on Sept. 21, and it lowered our temperatures by 10 degrees. On Sept. 23, the National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 59 degrees, and the afternoon high reached a comfortable 84 degrees. It was bright and sunny, and occasionally a wispy cloud drifted slowly across the blue sky. A pleasant breeze angled out of the east-by-southeast at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure was steady at 30.18.

"I fished from about noon until 4:30 p.m. In-Fisherman's solunar calendar listed the best fishing periods taking place from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 10:37 p.m. to 12:37 a.m. A minor period would occur from 4:04 a.m. to 6:04 a.m.

"The water was murkier than it was on Sept 16, exhibiting about one foot of visibility in the western portion of the reservoir and 1 1/2 feet of visibility in the eastern end. The water's temperature dropped from 81 degrees on Sept. 16 to 79 degrees on Sept 23. The water level has also dropped a tad from 11.08 feet below normal pool on Sept. 16 to 11.25 feet below normal on Sept. 23.

"During these 4 1/2 hours, I could barely scrounge up six largemouth bass, one smallmouth bass, and one spotted bass. These bass were caught during the first two hours of this endeavor. One four-pound, five-ounce freshwater drum and one large bluegill helped fill in some of the long spells between bites during the next two hours and 23 minutes. I caught the last largemouth bass during the last seven minutes of the outing.

"All of these fish, except for one largemouth bass, were caught in three to five feet of water on four rocky main-lake points that lie along the northern shoreline in the eastern half of the reservoir. One largemouth bass was caught in seven feet of water along the riprap covered dam, which forms the eastern boundary of this waterway.

"One largemouth bass, one smallmouth bass, one spotted bass, and a freshwater drum were allured by a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

"Three largemouth bass and one large bluegill were enticed by Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ affixed on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and worked in the same swim-glide-and-shake manner.

Two largemouth bass were beguiled by Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

"On Sept. 16, Rick Allen and I caught several bass along several of the main-lake points located in the western portion of this reservoir. But on this Sept. 23 venture, none of these previously fruitful points or their adjacent clay and gravel flats yielded a single bite.

"I failed to elicit any strikes from the rocky banks of an island situated at the mouth of a major tributary arm that enters the main lake from the northern shoreline in the mid-section of the reservoir. Two steep secondary points and one long rocky bank just north of the island also failed to surrender any bass.

"I also failed to catch any bass from three steep and rocky points along the reservoir's southern shoreline about a mile west of the dam.

"The only thing that made this effort noteworthy for me was pulling off a rare hat-trick for this part of Texas, which is catching a largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass from the same reservoir during the same outing."

Sept. 24 log

Donald Baldridge of Springfield, Missouri, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 24 outing to a strip pit in west-central Missouri.

He wrote: "This strip pit is only about 1,000 yards long. I'd say it is a little wilder, making access very difficult. What's more the shorelines are steep, which makes most of it inaccessible to bank fisherman. It harbors a decent population of largemouth bass, crappie, green sunfish, bluegill, and channel catfish.

"Because I fished in another location in the same conservation area in the morning, I didn't enter the water in my Cumberland model float tube until roughly 1:00 p.m. I was on the water until 4:30 p.m.

"The sky was initially partly cloudy, but a mild-mannered east wind eventually blew the clouds out.

"I had no way to read the water temperature, but the water clarity was about two feet. Water level was roughly three feet low, and this caused the patches of willows that lined many sections of the shoreline to be nearly high and dry and not the normal fish magnets they are at full pool. There were some patches of aquatic vegetation here and there along the shorelines, but far less than in previous years.

"I used only two Z-Man finesse lures. Across four hours of fishing these two lures enticed three species: largemouth bass, green sunfish, and bluegill, and for a total of 55 fish, which equals about 14 fish an hour. There are some larger 15-inch and longer largemouth bass in this pit, but most of the ones I caught were 14-inchers and smaller. I didn't keep a precise tally of how many of the 55 were largemouth bass, but I am guessing that about 30 of them were largemouth bass, 20 were green sunfish, and five were bluegill.

"The first bait I used was a Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/32-ounce Big Bite jig. I fished it for about two hours, and it performed very well.

Then I switched to a Z-Man's PB&J Finesse T.R.D. on a brown-and-purple 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and fished it for about 2 1/2 hours. I'll give the nod to the Finesse T.R.D. for the number of fish caught, which was about 60 percent. However, this is a changeable judgment, because I fished the south side of the pit with the Finsse ShadZ and the north side with the Finesse T.R.D. The north side is steeper and rockier, and I fished it a bit longer. Therefore, those factors could have accounted for the difference in fish numbers.

"Most strikes occurred on the initial descent. The remainder came on the swim-glide-and-drop method.

"This strip pit is the only body of water I've found in these parts with a population of larger green sunfish; many of them are longer than eight inches. What's more, I was happy to see them attack the Finesse ShadZ and Finesse T.R.D. They fought like smallies, too. I also tangled with several nice-sized bluegill."

Here is a link to a YouTube video about Baldridge's afternoon  at the west-central Missouri  strip-pit: http://youtu.be/aLAd21jluaE .

Sept. 25 log

Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, and I spent several hours on Sept. 25 working on three gear-guide stories for In-Fisherman's online Midwest Finesse column. The focus of our attention was primarily upon Z-Man Fishing Products' 3 1/2-inch GrubZ, Slim SwimZ, and ShroomZ. The ShroomZ is a jig that Reese created. What's more, he spent the entire summer wielding the GrubZ in Canada, and he has caught more smallmouth bass on it than any angler in North America. He also field-tested a prototype of the Slim SwimZ at several northeastern Kansas waterways last spring, and he fished with it a few times in Canada. In short, his knowledge about how, where, and when to use these three baits is beyond encyclopedic.

While we worked on these gear-guide stories, we also spent some time fishing for smallmouth bass at a 6,930-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir.

The National Weather Service in Emporia, Kansas, noted that it was 61 degrees at 4:53 a.m. and 83 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the south at 8 to 14 mph and southeast at 12 mph. From 12:53 a.m. to 9:53 a.m. the sky alternated from being overcast to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy, and by 10:53 a.m. its hue became a brilliant robin's egg blue. The barometric pressure was 30.17 at 12:53 a.m., 30.18 at 5:53 a.m., 30.21 at 9:53 a.m., and 30.17 at 1:53 p.m., and 30.14 at 3:53 p.m.

According to the Corps of Engineers, the water level was about two-thirds of a foot below normal. The water exhibited four to five feet of clarity around some of the lower section of the reservoir to less than two feet in the backs of several feeder-creek arms and on some wind-blown locales on the main-lake. At 7:30 a.m., the Corps of Engineers noted that the surface temperature was 69 degrees; while we were afloat it ranged from 71 to 72 degrees. At several of the areas that we fished, we found patches of bushy pondweed mixed with strands of filamentous algae, and because Reese uses a heavier jig than I do, the pondweed and algae occasionally fouled his baits and presentations.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing would occur from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 11:52 p.m. to 1:52 a.m. There was a minor period from 5:41 a.m. to 7:41 a.m. We fished from 9:55 a.m. to 3:25 p.m., and about 15 minutes were consumed when we had to fix a couple mechanical problems with the trolling motor.

We fished rather quickly and hopscotched around the reservoir, ranging from a mile up the lake from the dam to 6 1/2 miles above it. We fished 25 spots. Six of these spots failed to yield a smallmouth bass. Some of the smallmouth bass were in two to four feet of water and relatively near the water's edge, and they engulfed our baits on the initial drop or shortly after that initial drop. Others were a considerable distance from the water's edge in four to eight feet of water. Reese caught one suspended around a brush pile that is anchored in 15 feet of water on a main-lake point.

We primarily fished flat shorelines and points; some of them yielded smallmouth bass and some did not. We caught smallmouth bass on some rock piles and three humps, and we failed to catch smallmouth on some rock piles and one hump. We fished a short section of a main-lake bluff, which did not produce smallmouth bass. There was a spell during the first hours of the outing when we found that slightly deeper terrains were more fruitful than shallow ones, and then there was a period later in the outing when shallower terrains yielded a goodly number of smallmouth bass. Throughout this outing, Reese and I continually observed that there was no consistent pattern to how and where we caught the 57 smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass that we caught.

Three of the spots we fished were on the north side of the reservoir. Two of them were shallow and rocky main-lake humps, and one was a rock-laden main-lake shoreline. One hump failed to yield a strike. We caught one smallmouth bass at one of the humps on a Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught two smallmouth bass along the rock-laden main-lake shoreline; the Z-Man's 3 1/2-inch Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ affixed to a hand-painted white 1/10-ounce Z-Man's ShroomZ inveigled one of those, and the Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig inveigled the other one.

The other 21 locales were situated on the south side of the reservoir, where we fished six main-lake points, eight secondary points, three humps, and many yards of shorelines inside five small feeder-creek arms. All of these areas are covered with gravel, rocks, and some boulders, as well as an occasional stump or two. Some of the shorelines are adorned with significant piles of rocks and boulders, which, at times, can be quite fruitful, but a goodly number of them were fruitless on this outing.

One secondary point in the back of one of the feeder-creek arms yielded five smallmouth bass, and at another secondary point about halfway inside another feeder-creek arm, we caught five more smallmouth bass. We caught five smallmouth bass on one main-lake point and four on another main-lake point. The other 36 smallmouth bass, as well as the one largemouth bass, were caught in what we called a either here-and-there or random pattern.

The Z-Man's 3 1/2-inch Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ affixed to a hand-painted white 1/7-ounce Z-Man's ShroomZ caught seven smallmouth bass, and the Z-Man's Pearl Slim SwimZ on a 1/10-ounce hand-painted white ShroomZ caught one smallmouth bass. These baits were retrieved with a slow straight-swim retrieve. When the GrubZ combo or Slim SwimZ combo was about two thirds of the way back to the boat, the combo was allowed to plummet to the bottom, and after it rested on the bottom for a second, a subtle double twitch or shake was executed and followed by the slow straight-swim retrieve back to the boat.

The two most productive baits were a Z-Man's Canada Craw Hula StickZ on a green-pumpkin 1/10-ounce ShroomZ and a Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. If the smallmouth bass didn't engulf these baits on the initial drop, they were caught by a subtle hop-and-bounce retrieve, swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, drag-and-shake retrieve, and drag-and-deadstick retrieve. Around the areas that were cluttered with bushy pondweed and filamentous algae, the Hula StickZ and 1/10-ounce jig was retrieved with a slow swimming presentation.

Drew Reese with one of the smallmouth bass that engulfed a Z-Man's Canada Craw Hula StickZ.

A Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange FattyZ tail on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ-spin on a 3/32-ounce unpainted Gopher jig caught several smallmouth bass.

Besides the 57 smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass that we caught, we tangled with eight smallmouth bass that liberated themselves before we could lift them out of the water, and there were a number of fish that we hooked but were unable to identify before they liberated themselves. We also had four encounters with some bulky freshwater drum and five hefty white bass.

Drew Reese with a smallmouth bass that was caught on the Z-Man's 3 1/2-inch Blue Glimmer Sparkle GrubZ.

An endnote to the Sept. 25 log:

A jig lies at the heart of all Midwest finesse presentations, but it is important to note that there are two schools of thought about Midwest finesse presentations. One is the no-feel school, which revolves around using the lightest jig possible when presenting a soft-plastic bait to largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass. The origins of the no-feel tactic began with Guido Hibdon at Lake of the Ozarks back in the 1960s, when he discovered that a light jig (such as a 1/32- and 1/16-ounce one) was more alluring to shallow-water largemouth bass than an 1/8- ounce or larger one is. Reese, who is 67 years old, and one of the forefathers of Midwest finesse fishing and used Midwest finesse tactics when he finished in seventh place at the first Bassmaster Classic at Lake Mead, Nevada, doesn't subscribe to the no-feel and tiny-jig tactic. Reese has found that a 1/10- and 1/7-ounce ShroomZ jig makes a soft-plastic bait like the 3 1/2-inch Z-Man's GrubZ and Hula StickZ move, undulate, and quiver more alluringly than a 1/32- and 1/16-ounce jig does. He also likes to feel his finesse bait hop and bounce on the bottom. In addition, Reese doesn't subscribe to the tiny hook tactics that some of the no-feel devotees use on their 1/32- and 1/16-ounce jigs. Nowadays Reese spends most of his days fishing the extremely clear waterways of southwest Ontario, where he prefers to make long casts and retrieves, which necessitate heavier jigs. Whereas Midwest finesse anglers who ply the relatively stained flatland reservoirs of northeast Kansas, northwest Missouri and west-central Missouri prefer to make short casts, and these short casts allow them to use a lighter jig and manipulate it more than Reese can with his long casts with a heavier jig. Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas fish in shallower water than Reese does in Canada, which also allows them to use lighter jigs and employ the no-feel retrieve.

Sept. 26 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville,Texas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about a Texas Hill Country river outing that Rick Allen of Dallas took on Sept. 26.

Allen reported that he fished the lower section of this Hill Country river. He was afloat from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. In-Fisherman's solunar calendar listed the best fishing periods taking place from 12:19 a.m. to 2:19 a.m. and 12:43 p.m. to 2:43 p.m. A minor period occurred from 6:31 a.m. to 8:31 a.m.

Rick wrote that the day was cloudy. The National Weather Service noted that the morning low temperature in Ingram,Texas, was 64 degrees and the afternoon high reached 81 degrees. The wind quartered out of the east-by-southeast at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.06. Thunderstorms were forecast for later in the night.

Allen described the river's water as stained with two to three feet of clarity. The water temperature was 78 degrees and the river appeared to be full.

His fishing started off slow, and he did not get his first bite until noon. But by 3:00 p.m., Allen was able to catch 10 largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and three bluegills.

Allen caught his first four largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ rigged on a hand painted blue 1/16-ounce prototype weedless Gopher jig. These four bass were relating to a drop off in eight to 10 feet of water. One of those four largemouth bass regurgitated a green-and-orange crawfish claw. Allen then switched to a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ rigged on the blue 1/16-ounce prototype weedless Gopher jig, and this ZinkerZ-Gopher-jig combo inveigled six more largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and three bluegills. These fish were inhabiting a large lily pad field along the south bank of the river in two to five feet of water. Allen also experimented with a Charlie Brewer Slider Company's three-inch Plum-Glitter Bass/Walleye/Striper grub and a Slider three-inch Blue Ice-Chartreuse Bass/Walleye/Striper grub, but these two grubs failed to garner any strikes.

The largest bass weighed two pounds,14 ounces, and it was caught on the 2 1/2-inch PB&J ZinkerZ. Both ZinkerZ-Gopher-jig combos were presented in a swim-glide-shake manner.

*********************************************************************************************************************************************

Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his and a friend's outing to a 6,930-acre reservoir on Sept. 26.

The National Weather Service in Emporia, Kansas, noted that it was 59 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 81 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the southeast at 7 mph and out of the south at 5 to 18 mph. From 2:53 a.m. to 10:53 a.m., the sky alternated from being partly cloudy to being overcast, and during the rest of the day, the NWS described it as fair. The barometric pressure was 30.15 at 12:53 a.m., 30.14 at 5:53 a.m., 30.17 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.11 at 3:53 p.m.

According to the Corps of Engineers, the water level was about two-thirds of a foot below normal, and the surface temperature was 69 degrees at 7:30 a.m. The water clarity along the riprap of the dam exhibited about three feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 12:07 a.m. to 2:07 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. A minor period took place from 6:19 a.m. to 8:19 a.m. Claudell and his friend fished from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

During those 6 1/2 hours, they caught 84 smallmouth bass, and 90 percent of them were caught along the dam, which consist of about 7,600 feet of a riprap shoreline. They also spent 2 1/2 hours plying other lairs around this reservoir, but these endeavors produced only five smallmouth bass.

All of the smallmouth bass were caught on either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ or Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D., which were afflixed to either a chartreuse or a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

A goodly number of the smallmouth bass did engulf the ZinkerZ combo or T.R.D. combo on the initial drop. And the other ones were allured by the deadstick phase of the drag-and-deadstick retrieve.

Sept. 27 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his solo outing on Sept. 27 to a 24,154-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' north-central Texas reservoir.

He wrote: "The day was sunny and hazy with partly cloudy skies. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 66 degrees and the afternoon high rose to 87 degrees. An east wind blew at 5 to 10 mph, and the barometric pressure measured 29.98.

"The water was clear with a light-green tint, and the water clarity was more than five feet. The water's temperature was 80 degrees. The Texas Water Development Board recorded the water level at 6.91 feet below normal pool.

"I rigged my four spinning rods with the following baits: Kalin's three-inch clear-hologram Lunker Grub on a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's Bluegill hue Scented LeechZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's watermelon-red FattyZ tail affixed on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and four-inch Z-Man's pumpkinseed Finesse WormZ rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

"In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing periods would occur between 1:03 a.m. to 3:03 a.m. and 1:27 p.m. to 3:27 p.m., with a minor period occurring from 7:15 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. I was afloat from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

"I began the day fishing a clay and gravel jetty that extends from the north shoreline at the entrance to a marina in the southeast end of the west-side tributary arm of the reservoir. The jetty is adorned with a tractor-tire reef and several patches of pondweed. I wielded the 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's watermelon-red FattyZ tail that was retrieved in a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation, and it tempted one largemouth bass and two crappie that were associated with the pondweed in about four feet of water. I also used the bluegill Scented LeechZ with the hop-and-bounce retrieve and drag-and-shake retrieve, but it failed to entice any bass.

"The second area encompassed a rocky shoreline along the south entry of the marina, and it is festooned with a thin wall of hydrilla in three feet of water. Eleven long rows of covered boat docks are positioned just south of this shoreline. I plied the rocky shoreline and several of the covered boat slips with the watermelon-red FattyZ tail and pumpkinseed Finesse WormZ while utilizing a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, but I failed to coax any strikes from this area.

"The next spot was located in the southeast end of the reservoir, and it was comprised of a 100-yard section of the dam, a shallow, sand flat just north of the dam, and five steep bluff points that lie to the north of the dam. The dam failed to yield any bass. I caught one spotted bass on the shallow, sandy flat, and four spotted bass that were inhabiting three of the five bluff points. Kalin's three-inch clear hologram Lunker Grub and a steady do-nothing swim retrieve caught one. The four-inch Z-Man's pumpkinseed Finesse WormZ and swim-glide-shake action allured two spotted bass. One spotted bass inhaled the 2 1/4-inch FattyZ tail on the initial drop. All five of these spotted bass were inhabiting three to five feet of water.

"The last spot I visited was a main-lake clay and gravel flat that lies along the west shoreline of the east tributary arm of the reservoir. This flat extends eastward from the west shoreline about 50 yards then quickly drops into 27 feet of water. A flourishing hydrilla bed occupies a large portion of this flat in three to seven feet of water. I was delighted to discover an unexpected treasure trove of black bass milling about along the deep-water edge of this hydrilla bed, and it relinquished 28 largemouth bass and six spotted bass during the last 1 1/2 hours of this foray. The Kalin's three-inch Lunker Grub inveigled 14 largemouth bass. The four-inch Z-Man's pumpkinseed Finesse WormZ caught eight largemouth bass. The Z-Man's bluegill Scented LeechZ caught four largemouth bass and three spotted bass. The 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's FattyZ tail caught two largemouth bass and three spotted bass. All of these bass were associated with the deep-water edge of the hydrilla bed in seven to 10 feet of water. The Z-Man's Finesse WormZ, FattyZ tail, and Scented LeechZ were worked in a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The Kalin's Lunker Grub was retrieved with a steady-and-do-nothing presentation.

"This is by far the best results I have ever enjoyed on this reservoir, and I consider it a splendid outing for my neck of the woods. I last fished this waterway on Sept. 14, and I tangled with 10 largemouth bass, five spotted bass, 30 white bass, and one crappie. On this Sept. 27 endeavor, I battled 29 largemouth bass, 11 spotted bass, and two crappie during six hours of fishing. The two biggest largemouth bass weighed three-pounds, 13-ounces and three-pounds, 10 ounces. Another eight largemouth and spotted bass were able to liberate themselves before I could land them.

Kalin's three-inch grub and steady-and-do-nothing retrieve beguiled 15 of the 40 black bass. Z-Man's four-inch pumpkinseed Finesse WormZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve allured 10 of them. Z-Man's bluegill hue Scented LeechZ and swim-glide-shake action enticed eight of them. Z-Man's FattyZ tail and swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught seven.

Sept. 28 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas,  filed the following brief on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 28 outing to a 2,600-acre power-plant reservoir with Greg Monahan of Lees Summit, Missouri.

The National Weather Service in Olathe, Kansas, noted that it was 60 degrees at 7:52 a.m. and 82 degrees at 12:53 p.m. it was calm until 9:53 a.m., and then the wind was extremely mild mannered, angling out of the south at 3 to 7 mph, out of the east at 6 mph, and out of the southwest at 5 mph. The sky alternated from being fair to foggy and misty to partly cloudy to mostly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 30.11 at 12:53 a.m., 30.12 at 5:53 a.m., 30.14 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.11 at 1:53 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 76 to 78 degrees. A significant algae bloom stained the water to the point that visibility ranged from 12 inches to 18 inches. And Gum noted that there were definitive streaks of algae along the surface, and the algae was especially thick along the dam. What's more, the shoreline rocks were coated with algae. The water level was about 18 inches below normal.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 1:48 a.m. to 3:48 a.m. and 2:14 p.m. to 4:14 p.m. There was a minor period from 8:01 a.m. to 10:01 a.m. Gum and Monahan fished from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Gum wrote: "Action was very spotty. We encountered no concentrations of largemouths, although our sonars marked lots of fish in close proximity to some riprap areas. The flats were virtually void of fish.

"The action along the riprap on the east side of the reservoir was slightly better than it was anywhere else. We caught some fish along the riprap along the east end of the dam, along the access road, and along the riprap north of the power plant. We fished one of the submerged farm pond dams, which yielded only one white bass.

"We caught fish on Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's purple-haze Zero on a red 1/16 Gopher jig, three-inch Kalin's pumpkin-chartreuse Triple Threat Grub on a black 1/8-ounce Gopher jig, and four-inch Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits' watermelon black/red Double Tail Hula Grub on the black 1/8-ounce Gopher jig. We fished these baits with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation, and we were shaking the bait half of the time.

"We caught one big largemouth bass that literally launched itself out of the water when he hit a Heddon Fishing Lures' Zara Spook. We had another nice one swirl at the Zara Spook, but it wouldn't take it. That was our only topwater action.

"We caught 16 largemouth bass, four flathead catfish, three green sunfish, and one white bass. The largemouth bass were caught in two to six feet odf water. The flatheads were just off the bottom in 8 to 10 feet of water, and landing them was strangely satisfying."

Bob Gum and one of the largemouth bass that he and Greg Monahan caught on Sept. 28.

Sept. 30 log

Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his solo outing on Sept. 30 to a 21,280-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' north-central Texas reservoir.

He wrote: "I fished this reservoir on September 21, and that undertaking resulted in 18 black bass, which is considered a good outing for this troublesome reservoir.

"Although it was partly cloudy, it was mostly a bright and sunny day. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 70 degrees and the afternoon high was a warm and humid 90 degrees. The wind quartered out of the east-by-southeast at 8 to 12 miles per hour. The barometric pressure was measured at 29.75.

"In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing would occur from 3:51 a.m. to 5:51 a.m. and 4:18 p.m. to 6:18 p.m. A minor period would occur from 10:05 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. I was afloat from about 11:40 a.m. until 4:40 p.m.

"The water clarity varied from one foot of visibility at the boat ramp in the southwestern tributary arm to two feet at the dam, which forms the southern boundary of the reservoir. The water temperature had dropped from 85 degrees on September 21 to 81 degrees on Sept. 30. This month has accentuated our four-year drought woes. Normally we see an average of 2.33 inches of rain during the month of September, but during a local morning news broadcast, a meteorologist pointed out that we had only received 0.06 inches of rain, which makes this the driest September ever recorded in Texas history. Consequently, we continue to see our reservoirs' water levels continue to drop. The water level at this reservoir receded a bit more since my last visit on September 21, when it was 6.32 feet below normal pool, and on this September 30 outing, the Texas Water Development Board recorded this reservoir's water level at 6.66 feet below normal pool. Several other reservoirs in this area are 10 to 23 feet below normal pool, and they are currently at the lowest levels I have ever seen.

"I checked two riprap-laden bridge embankments and 16 concrete bridge support pilings in the southwestern tributary arm of the reservoir. The southeast bridge embankment surrendered five largemouth bass and two spotted bass that were relating to the submerged riprap in three to five feet of water. The northeast embankment relinquished one largemouth bass that was also relating to the submerged riprap in five feet of water. None of the 16 concrete bridge support pilings yielded any bass.

"I investigated a main-lake cove located along the north shoreline in the southwest tributary arm. I focused on the two points at the entrance to the cove, one secondary point just inside the cove, three dilapidated boat ramps, and a 35-yard stretch of a clay and gravel bank with two large boulders about halfway back in the cove. I caught one largemouth bass and one crappie from three feet of water along the clay and gravel bank. I failed to catch a bass at the two entry points, three dilapidated boat ramps, and secondary point.

"I plied two main-lake points. One point lies along the east shoreline of the eastern tributary arm of this reservoir, and it is comprised of clay, large boulders, and the remnants of a demolished building and its concrete foundation. This point yielded one largemouth bass that was abiding in five feet of water just off the tip of the point. The second main-lake point is situated along the south shoreline in the southeastern portion of the southwest tributary arm. This point is flat and shallow, and it consists of clay, gravel, a couple of stumps, and several submersed basketball-size rocks. I did not elicit a strike from this point.

"I probed a broad and shallow rocky flat along the southeast shoreline just north of the dam. I enjoyed a five-minute tussle with a belligerent six-pound, 12-ounce flathead catfish, but I failed to find any black bass inhabiting this flat.

"I examined a 200-yard section of the dam's riprap-covered embankment along the southeast end of the dam. This area of the dam produced five largemouth bass and one freshwater drum. All of these fish were lingering close to the riprap embankment in three to five feet of water.

"I finished this five-hour jaunt fishing a main-lake bank along the southern shoreline, and it encompassed three dilapidated concrete boat ramps, a submerged roadbed, and a small rock and clay point. I failed to eke out any bass from this area.

"All totaled, I was able to tangle with 14 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, one crappie, one flathead catfish, and one freshwater drum. Five largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one crappie were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and implemented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Six largemouth bass and one freshwater drum were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California Craw FattyZ tube rigged on an orange/brown 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and manipulated in a slow hop-and-bounce manner. Two largemouth bass and one flathead catfish were allured by a three-inch Kalin's green-pumpkin-purple-flake Lunker Grub on a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and employed with a slow and steady do-nothing-swim presentation. A Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ threaded on a 1/16-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig and presented with a slow swim-glide-and- shake action enticed one largemouth bass."

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