Midwest finesse fishing: September 2015

Midwest finesse fishing: September 2015

The best Midwest finesse baits of the month. On Sept. 15, Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, caught 132 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one smallmouth bass on the Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that is at the top of this photograph. Across eight outings in late August and September, Reideler also caught 219 black bass and 37 white bass on the Slim SwimZ and chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig at the bottom of this photograph, proving once again that Z-Man's Midwest finesse baits are extremely durable and alluring. Read more about how, when, and where he caught those fish in the logs below.

This month's guide to Midwest finesse fishing features 30 logs and 26,545 words that feature the Midwest finesse endeavors and observations of Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas; Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas; Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas; Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia; Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; John Thomas of Denton, Texas; and Andrew Trembath of Kansas City, Kansas.

In our August monthly guide to Midwest finesse fishing, we got a glimpse at the effects that angling predation has on our abilities to catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass. This was revealed in the logs that Steve Reideler wrote, which focused upon his outings in north-central Texas. He continued to expand our insights about this phenomenon in this September guide. In his logs, he explains that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs in north-central Texas were closed from mid-May until mid-August, which gave the black bass that abide in those reservoirs a respite from the incessant angling predation. Then once those reservoirs reopened, Reideler and his Midwest finesse cohorts began catching black bass at an alm0st hand-over-fist pace. In an email, he noted that this September was the best month he had ever experienced, and he has been fishing for more than 50 years. During his 11 outings in September, which encompassed 47 1/2 hours of fishing, he and his partners caught and quickly released 658 black bass, which is an average of 13.8 black bass per hour and 54.83 per outing. His best outing, which was also the best one of his life, occurred on Sept. 15 at a 10,600-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir, where he singlehandedly caught and quickly released 137 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one smallmouth bass in three hours and 56 minutes.


In contrast to the stupendous catches that Reideler and his partners relished in north-central Texas, the largemouth bass fishing was wretched at most of the flatland reservoirs that stipple the countryside in northeastern Kansas. To determine the extent of the malaise, I rather hastily explored six different reservoirs at various times throughout the month. During each outing, I was afloat for no more than 120 minutes. At one of them, I caught four smallmouth bass and no largemouth bass, and at the other five reservoirs, I struggled to catch four to five largemouth bass an hour. The fishing was so pathetic and those six outings were so short-lived that I didn't  write  about them in a log.


The smallmouth bass fishing, however, at three northeastern Kansas reservoirs was fairly fruitful. At one of those reservoirs, the largemouth bass fishing was fruitful, too. I fished two of those three reservoirs several times, and I composed logs that explain how, when, and where the black bass were caught, and Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, composed a log about his outing at the third reservoir.

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

Sept 1 log

I elected to begin September on a sour note.

My rationalization for this was to see if the largemouth bass fishing at a nearby 195-acre community reservoir was as awful as I feared it would be.

For several decades, this reservoir was the most fruitful small flatland reservoir in northeastern Kansas. During this glorious time, Midwest finesse anglers were able to catch and release thousands upon thousands of largemouth bass, as well as an occasional smallmouth bass. What's more, it was our most bountiful wintertime waterway, and we could often catch more than a hundred largemouth bass an outing. During many of those cold-water outings, we caught largemouth bass that were abiding in the burgeoning patches of curly-leaf pondweed on the shallow mud flats in the backs of the feeder-creek arms. The water temperature was 40 degrees, some thin sheets of ice floated about, and the patches of curly-leaf pondweed were in three to six feet of water.

Even though it was afflicted by the largemouth bass virus at the beginning of this decade, Midwest finesse anglers continued to enjoy some bountiful and pleasurable outings. But our bountiful catches began to wane during the past 12 months. Hints of the downturn began to erupt after the reservoir's managers started to eradicate the curly-leaf pondweed and Eurasian milfoil with a herbicide. And since this past July, the largemouth bass fishing has become extremely horrid.

On Aug. 31, when Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I were fishing at a nearby 416-acre community reservoir and catching 13.25 largemouth bass and smallmouth bass an hour, we crossed paths with Dick and Gail Bessey of Lawrence, Kansas, who reported that they had witnessed a horrible largemouth bass kill at the 195-acre community reservoir during the last week of July. And since that kill, this pair of veteran and skillful Midwest finesse anglers said they have endured and suffered through several wretched outings, when they struggled to catch ten largemouth bass in three hours of intense fishing.

The Besseys sparked my curiosity, and my curiosity provoked me to examine the conditions of this once exceptionable reservoir. My outing became a formidable task, indeed. And although I fished as hard and astutely as my 75-year-old mind, body, and soul can fish, I spent quite a few minutes pondering about the paltry state of this reservoir and paying homage to its yesteryears.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 70 degrees at 6:52 am. and 90 degrees at 1:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the south at 9 to 23 mph, out of the east at 6 to 7 mph, out of the southeast at 5-6 mph, and out of the southwest at 9 mph. It was sunny. The barometric pressure was 29.98 at 12:52 a.m., 30.01 at 5:52 a.m., 30.02 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.00 at 1:52 p.m.

The water level was normal. The surface temperature ranged from 76 to 77 degrees. The clearest water was in the vicinity of the dam, where I could not see the black propeller on the electric trolling motor. The water exhibited an icky-greenish-brown hue. Most of the submergent aquatic vegetation looked as if it is about to die. But the American water willows that line much of the shoreline were healthy looking.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing should transpire from 1:02 a.m. to 3:02 a.m., 1:29 p.m. to 3:29 p.m., and 7:16 a.m. to 9:16 a.m. I fished from 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

I began the outing along the shoreline in the back of one of the feeder-creek arms. This shoreline is lined with American water willows, a few cattails, some wilting patches of coontail and Eurasian milfoil, 17 boat docks, a few laydowns, and man-made brushpiles. Some of the terrain is silt-laden, but much of it consists of rock and gravel. It is a massive shoreline, and I fished about 65 percent of it, including the main-lake point at its mouth. The main-lake point yielded one largemouth bass, and the shoreline yielded four largemouth bass. Those five largemouth bass were caught on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's Fishing Products' Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig that was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve.

I failed to garner a strike on a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a shortened Z-Man's pearl Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which were presented with a variety of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves. (http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves/)

I spent a short spell fishing the shoreline adjacent to the dam's spillway, the spillway, and 40 yards of the dam. The terrain of the shoreline and spillway in rock-laden and lined with American water willows. The dam is rock and most of the American water willows are too shallow for largemouth bass to inhabit. I caught one largemouth bass on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with the slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

Around noon, I crossed paths with Gary Day of Topeka, Kansas, who was power fishing with a friend. They said that they had been afloat since 8:00 a.m., and from their perspective from fishing this reservoir for years on end, they described the largemouth bass fishing as being extremely paltry, explaining that they had only 10 largemouth bass, and the bulk of those were in the back portions of one of the feeder-creek arms.

As I launched my boat, Heath Spratlin of Overland Park, Kansas, who is a power angler, was putting his boat onto his trailer. We talked for a spell, and he said that he began his outing around dawn, and he estimated that he had tangled with 20 largemouth bass, which he caught by employing a short-billed crankbait around boat docks. From Spratlin's perspective, the largemouth bass fishing wasn't as dismal as the fishing that Day and his friend experienced, or from what I experienced, or from what the Besseys have been experiencing.

It is difficult to determine what has occurred, and why it erupted. Even in its heydays, this reservoir had short cycles of lackluster largemouth bass fishing. But on this Sept. 1 outing, the entire ambiance of this reservoir exhibited a morbid hue and tone in my eyes and ears that I have never seen nor heard. Intuitively, I think the blitzkrieg of herbicides that the reservoir's managers apply to the terrestrial vegetation around the shorelines and to the aquatic vegetation have adversely affected the water and its denizens. The vast amount of dying vegetation also chemically affects the water and its denizens. Of course, some observers will rightly note that I am prejudiced against herbicides. But I have observed across the years that the demise of submergent aquatic vegetation adversely affects the number of largemouth bass that Midwest finesse anglers can catch.

Sept 1 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 1 river outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

My day started at 6:00 a.m. with the unenviable task of getting our split wood stacked. This is next year's wood so I haven't been in a tremendous hurry to get this task completed.

The weatherman was calling for extreme heat and high temperatures today. He got it right. By the time I had stopped my early morning chores at 9:30 a.m., the temperature was already a very muggy 85 degrees. It was time to stop stacking the wood and go fishing.

I loaded up the ATV with the essentials for the day: Costas sunglasses, my Pro-Cure super gel concoction, my lightest wading shoes, and plenty of water in my Camelback.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the river was flowing at 65 cubic feet per second, which is the lowest it has been since July of 2014. The water temperature was 80 degrees.

On my last outing, when I was plying a massive riffle and catching smallmouth bass, I constantly had noticed literally hundreds of two- and three-inch sculpin scurrying from underfoot. During the low-water periods of the summer, I call these riffles conveyer belts for food.

So, my bait of choice today was an easy pick: I packed one bag of Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZs and a handful of various colored 1/32-ounce Gopher jigs. I over packed, because I only used one Scented LeechZ on the entire outing.

Because of the water clarity and shallowness of the riffles, I knew that I would have to fish a Z-Man's offering that had little or no salt so as to not get the bait wedged in boulders.

I got a spare reel spool out of the garage cupboard and put it on my Shimano Stradic CI4 Microline Spinning Reel. To get the best distance with the Scented LeechZ and 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, I opted for the reel spool that was filled with six-pound-test Gamma Torque, which is extremely thin (.006 mm), but it has tremendous break strength for its given diameter. This is the only line I use when I am fishing with the little-to-no-salt Z-Man ElaZtech baits, such as the Finesse WormZ, Scented LeechZ and Finesse ShadZ. It is absolutely superb on my G. Loomis Trout Series Spinning Rod and Shimano micro line system, even when I was casting into a stiff wind.

The Scented LeechZ is a spot-on match for our river sculpin. In summers' past, I have caught numerous smallmouth bass that have regurgitated sculpins.

Sculpin are highly nocturnal. Because they lack a swim bladder, they rarely come off the bottom. Instead, they scurry around the river's bottom. The smallmouth bass adore them, but because the sculpin are masters of camouflage, they are not an easily gotten meal. Thus, enters the Scented LeechZ , which is about the same length as the sculpins, and its bulbous head is another spot-on match.

I stepped into the water at 10:03 a.m., and I walked directly up river for 45 minutes without making a cast. My destination was a very long stretch of riffles, which are the only ones for a few miles either way.

I strictly fished the Scented LeechZ up and across the visible current. I completely deadsticked it upon entry, and then I would shake it and lift it up out of the boulders, and I repeated the deadstick-shake-and-lift presentation until I needed to move upstream and execute another cast.

I fished this run for three hours. Nearly every smallmouth that I would bring to hand had followers with it. At one point, I counted seven followers.

After I dissected nearly every inch of this riffle, I walked an hour back down river to another riffle, and it was well worth the walk.

The final tally for this riffle outing was 61 smallmouth bass, three largemouth bass, 17 bluegill, six rock bass, and three big fallfish.

Sept 3 log

My second outing of September was nearly as wretched as my first one.

Years ago, at the onset of the Finesse News Network, when I was the only contributor, some readers criticized it by saying that my logs looked as if they were advertisements for myself. I didn't intend for those logs to be rank with vainglory, but upon examining some of those early-day logs, I can see how readers could come to the conclusion that I was overly prideful as I described how, when, and where I and my fishing partners caught scores and scores of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass by wielding Midwest finesse tactics.

I hope age has tempered that unintentional boastfulness. And as the largemouth bass fishing has become more and more trying at several of the small flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas that we regularly fish, it is becoming virtually impossible to exhibit even the slightest hint of braggadocio. In fact, I think I might be erring in the other direction, because in my eyes, my Sept. 1 log was rank with despair. And this log, which describes my outing at a 140-acre state reservoir on Sept. 3, will undoubtedly lean in that direction, too.

The National Weather Service noted that it was 74 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 92 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the south at 3 to 24 mph, and I employed the wind sock about 80 percent of the time. The sun was shining everywhere. The barometric pressure was 29.93 at 12:53 a.m., 29.92 at 5:53 a.m., 29.92 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.88 at 2:53 p.m.

The water level was normal. The water clarity in the lower quarter portions of the reservoir exhibited three to four feet of visibility, and it declined to 18 inches or less in the upper portions. The surface temperature ranged from 76 to 77 degrees. Patches of American water willows line about 65 percent of the reservoir's shorelines, and the depth of the water along the outside edges of these patches, ranged from 2 1/2 to four feet of water. I looked in vain for patches of bushy pondweed and coontail, which used to grace this reservoir's offshore humps and mud-and-gravel flats, and they used to yield vast numbers of largemouth bass in the August and Septembers of the past.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire at 3:07 a.m. to 5:07 a.m., 3:35 p.m. to 5:35 p.m., and 9:21 a.m. to 11:21 a.m. I was a float from 10:35 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

I probed all of the humps and flats that used to be embellished with submergent aquatic vegetation, and I failed to garner a strike or find a strand of vegetation.

Many years ago in northeastern Kansas, Midwest finesse anglers discovered that our abilities to catch vast numbers of largemouth bass in the midsummer and late summer and midwinter and late winter improved dramatically when we dissected patches of submergent aquatic vegetation. When there is no offshore vegetation to ply in these small flatland reservoirs, the late-summer largemouth bass fishing can be so befuddling that it can put an angler in a state of anguish, which is a prelude to despair. And a hint of anguish was beginning to blemish my demeanor after I failed to locate any patches of bushy pondweed and coontail. That touch of anguish seemed to affect the way I concentrated on my casts and retrieves.

After those fruitless casts and retrieves on the flats and humps, I fished the dam, which is adorned with riprap and patches of American water willows. I caught four largemouth bass by strolling a shortened four-inch Z-Man's purple haze Finesse WormZ on a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig in 10 feet of water.

I fished a rocky main-lake point and its two adjacent shorelines that are lined with American water willows. I failed to elicit a strike.

I spent the rest of the outing fishing about 60 percent of a long shoreline that stretches from the dam to the back of one of the reservoir's feeder-creek arms. The underwater terrain is covered with boulders, rocks, and gravel. It is lined with American water willows. It is also embellished with five laydowns, several brushpiles, 10 riprap jetties, one boat dock, and a variety of significant and subtle points. This long stretch of water yielded nine largemouth bass. One was caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man's PB&J Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Five largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two of the largemouth bass were extracted from a brushpile by employing a swimming retrieve with the Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ rig. I executed a deadstick presentation with the Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ rig and inveigled a largemouth bass that was abiding around several massive boulders on a point. Two largemouth bass that were abiding along the outside edge of the American water willows engulfed the Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ rig on the initial drop. Three largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's purple haze Finesse WormZ affixed on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and they engulfed this Finesse WormZ rig on the initial drop along the outside edges of the American water willows.

After 145 minutes had lapsed and I had tangled with only 13 largemouth bass, I was disheartened and decided to stop battling the largemouth bass and the pesky south wind. I put the boat on the trailer and headed home. Other than the demise of the submergent aquatic vegetation, I do not have a clue of what is going on with the largemouth bass at this reservoir. I do know, however, that I and a partner caught 72 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass at this reservoir in four hours on Sept. 3, 2009, when there was a lot of submergent vegetation and the surface temperature was 72 degrees, and I and a partner caught 87 largemouth bass at this reservoir in four hours on Sept. 3, 2010, when there was a lot of submergent vegetation and the surface temperature was 77 degrees.

Sept. 4 log

Midwest finesse fishing is a tactic that allows anglers to catch an average of eight to nine black bass an hour at even the most trying flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas.

But lately, the largemouth bass fishing at most of the flatland reservoirs hereabouts is so off kilter that it is difficult to describe. Some anglers would call it patternless fishing. Others call it junk fishing. Some describe it as helter-skelter fishing. Some would say it has no rhyme or reason. Some are calling it horrible. In fact, Jerry Benjamin of Lawrence, Kansas, who is a talented power and tournament angler, described it as awful, and he supported that contention by reporting that he and 33 other anglers competed at a charity tournament at an 11,600-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir on Aug. 29, which has an 18-inch size limit, and only four largemouth bass were weighed in.

And in my hands, when the black bass fishing becomes as arduous as it has been, it makes writing an intelligible log an onerous and almost an impossible task. It does, however, give us great appreciation of the perseverance and abilities of Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, who can write detailed logs about the many outings that he and his Midwest finesse colleagues have endured at the dreadful and overly fished reservoirs in north-central Texas since he became a Finesse News Network contributor in September 0f 2013. Nowadays, we are also heartened to read in his recent logs that he has filed on FNN that the Midwest finesse anglers in north-central Texas are enjoying some bountiful outings since the reservoirs have opened again after being closed since May 12 when they were overflowing with water that poured into them from the flooding rains that walloped Texas this past spring.

Lately, I have been struggling to write about how I don't catch largemouth bass instead of writing about catching them. So, nowadays I am learning about how, when, and where to catch them by reading Reideler's reports, as well as Travis Myers' FNN reports that describe his riverine experiences from around Paw Paw, West Virginia.

Here is another woeful tale from northeastern Kansas, which focuses on an outing that Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I had at a 180-acre state reservoir, which traditionally has been our easiest reservoir to tangle with 15 to 22 largemouth bass an hour. In fact, Lau and I caught 80 largemouth bass on July 16 in three hours and 20 minutes.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 69 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 93 degrees at 1:52 p.m. It was sunny. The wind angled out of the east at 5 to 7 mph, out of the southeast at 6 to 9 mph, and out of the south at 5 to 25 mph, which forced us to employ a drift sock at times. The barometric pressure was 29.89 at 12:52 a.m., 29.91 at 5:52 a.m., 29.96 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.93 at 1:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be nearly normal. The water clarity exhibited two to three feet of visibility in the upper sections of the reservoir and about five feet in its lower sections. The surface temperature ranged from 78 to 80 degrees. This reservoir is embellished with healthy and large patches of American pondweed and bushy pondweed, and some shallow-water locales in its upper reaches are graced with patches of coontail. It is interesting to note that many of the bushy pondweed patches disappeared in August, and that demise corresponded with our inabilities to locate and catch this reservoir's largemouth bass. We are hoping that the reappearance of the bushy pondweed will help us in the days to come to locate and catch them again, but this reappearance didn't help Lau and me on our Sept. 4 outing.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing might take place from 4:20 a.m. to 6:20 a.m., 2:47 p.m. to 4:47 p.m., and 10:33 a.m. to 12:33 p.m. Lau and I fished from 10:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.

One of the oddest patterns that developed occurred when one of us inadvertently caught a channel catfish, which happened three times. And the instant one of us hooked a channel catfish, one of us would also hook a largemouth bass.

Our most reliable pattern was to employ a well-worn 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig around patches of American pondweed and bushy pondweed, and one patch of coontail. This combo and tactic inveigled 14 largemouth bass. Some of the largemouth bass engulfed it on the initial drop, and others engulfed it when it was presented with a swimming retrieve that was occasionally punctuated with a slight pause. These largemouth bass were abiding in about three feet of water. It is interesting to note that we failed to elicit a strike by employing a new Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We caught two largemouth bass in about five feet of water along the riprap of the dam on a shortened Z-Man's purple haze Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We caught four largemouth bass in 12 to 14 feet of water along the riprap of the dam by strolling and dragging a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught two largemouth bass by strolling and dragging a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in eight to 10 feet of water along the riprap of the dam. One largemouth bass was caught by dragging the well-worn Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in eight feet of water along the riprap of the dam.

We caught one largemouth bass by swimming a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Dirt Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig in three feet of water around a patch of bushy pondweed. We caught two largemouth bass by swimming a shortened four-inch Z-Man's purple-haze Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig in three feet of water around a patch of bushy pondweed. We caught two largemouth bass in four feet of water on a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig on the initial drop around the outside edge of a patch of American pondweed. We caught two largemouth bass in three to four feet of water by swimming a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig around patches of bushy pondweed.

We dissected two main-lake points, many yards of riprap along the dam, two riprap jetties, many square yards of massive patches of offshore bushy pondweed, many outside edges of patches of American pondweed, and numerous laydowns without catching a largemouth bass. The strikes were so random and scarce that our concentrations tended to wane, which might have adversely affected our abilities to execute alluring casts and retrieves.

In total, we caught 30 largemouth bass. In the good old days, we would have caught 60 or more largemouth bass.

Sept. 4 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 4 outing to a 10,165-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir, which he has describes across the years as a frustrating waterway even for knowledgeable Midwest finesse anglers to catch an array of black bass.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

Some of the reservoirs in north-central Texas are experiencing what many Midwest finesse anglers would call a renaissance. Our larger reservoirs were closed on May 12 as a result of the late spring and early summer torrential rains, but several have recently opened again. As a result of the closures, these reservoirs have had a chance to recover from the constant and heavy fishing pressure they receive year round. In my eyes, this anglers' hiatus has made a drastic improvement in the black bass fishing, and I wanted to see if the renaissance was occurring at this reservoir.

The fishing at this reservoir had been wretched since March 27, when Norman Brown of Lewisville and I eked out four largemouth bass, two white bass, and one catfish during five hours of fishing. Then on April 26, I struggled again for another four hours and could only eke out three largemouth bass and I inadvertently caught 16 white bass.

During my Sept. 4 undertaking, the sun was shining in a partly clouded sky. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 78 degrees and the afternoon high was a humid 96 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.90 at 7:00 a.m. A slightly cool breeze quartered out of the south-by-southeast at 6 to 10 mph.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing might take place from 4:10 a.m. to 6:10 a.m., 4:38 p.m. to 6:38 p.m., and 10:24 a.m. to 12:24 p.m. I fished from about 7:00 a.m. to about 11:00 a.m. I spent the entire time investigating the northwest portion of the reservoir.

The surface temperature was 84 degrees. The water was heavily stained and exhibited between one and 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level has dropped from about 30 feet above normal pool in May to slightly more than five feet above normal.

I fished the first third of a major feeder-creek arm, which featured two bluffy shorelines, a small island, a 45-yard long sandbar that extends from the east-side shoreline to the southeast end of the island, and a large gravel and clay flat lined with flooded buck brush.

The large gravel and clay flat yielded three largemouth bass. These three bass were relating to the deep-water sides of the flooded buck brush in four to six feet of water. One largemouth struck a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ grub rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and presented with a fast and steady retrieve. The other two largemouth bass attacked a Z-Man's black Split-Tail TrailerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

The sandbar that courses out from the east-side shoreline to the island relinquished one largemouth bass. It was extracted from six feet of water from the top of the sandbar and was caught on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ grub and fast steady swimming retrieve.

The small island is about 30 yards long and 15 yards wide. It is surrounded by water as shallow as eight feet deep along its east side and as deep as 27 feet along its west side. The south and west sides of the island failed to yield any bass. The north and east sides surrendered two largemouth bass and one feisty spotted bass that were relating to several large boulders covered with about five feet of water. All three of these black bass attacked a Z-Man's New Money Finesse T.R.D.on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig as it was being slowly retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation between the submerged boulders.

I garnered one largemouth bass from the east shoreline along a bluff, and it engulfed the black Split-Tail TrailerZ and chartreuse 1/16 Gopher jig, which was presented in a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The west shoreline along a bluff yielded two largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one large pumpkinseed sunfish. These four fish showed a preference for the New Money Finesse T.R.D. and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

I fished one riprap jetty located about halfway inside a large main-lake cove. I wielded a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ affixed to an orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with a slow-swim-glide-and-shake presentation, and it hooked two largemouth bass that were able to unhook themselves from my lure before I could land them.

I also plied nine wind-blown main-lake points and four small main-lake gravel and sand flats that were situated next to four of the points. Some of these points were quite steep and rocky, and others were flat and enhanced with flooded buck brush and large submerged boulders. The four flats were also graced with partially submerged buck brush and were covered with four to 10 feet of water. All of these points and flats eventually dropped off into 15 to 30 feet of water, and large balls of one- to two-inch shad were cruising along the surface within 10 to 20 feet of the water's edge.

Of these nine points and four flats, only three points and one flat yielded any bass. One point surrendered two largemouth bass and one white bass. Another point yielded four largemouth bass. The third point and its adjacent flat surrendered 25 largemouth bass and one spotted bass. Three largemouth bass were able to liberate themselves before I could land them. All of these bass were relating to either flooded buck brush or submerged boulders in four to six feet of water. Twenty-nine of these largemouth bass and one spotted bass were coaxed into striking the Z-Man's black Spilt-Tail TrailerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Two largemouth bass were enticed into striking the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ grub rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a fast steady swimming presentation.

Overall, this was the best black bass fishing I have ever enjoyed at this reservoir. I was surprised and delighted to tangle with 40 largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and I inadvertently caught one white bass and one large pumpkinseed sunfish.

Of these 43 black bass, 29 largemouth bass and two spotted bass were caught on the Z-Man's black Split-Tail TrailerZ. A Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ caught six largemouth bass and one white bass. Z-Man's New Money Finesse T.R.D. caught five largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one large pumpkinseed sunfish. The shortened four-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ hooked two largemouth bass that were able to free themselves before I could land them.

After today's bountiful catch, I believe that a piscatorial renaissance is in the making. I just hope it will last through the upcoming days, weeks, months, and perhaps even a few years.

Sept 4 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his river outing with his wife on Sept. 4.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

A dense fog blanketed our early morning plans and woods around the house. We already have turkey gobbling in the nearby hills, which were enjoyable to hear as I tinkered around in the garage with our equipment during the early morning hours.

When we first stepped outside this morning, the humidity was already high. The U.S. Geological Survey noted that the river was flowing at 60 cubic feet per second, and the water temperature was 82 degrees. After a spring of seemingly endless rain and high-water conditions, some nearby areas are experiencing a drought, and some locales are asking residents to conserve water. Leaves are crunchy underfoot in the woods around our house. The log-home development where we live has extremely strict burn rules in the covenant in drought conditions. The worst part of it is that I had to spend an hour watering plants after we returned from fishing.

My wife and I rigged four G.Loomis 791-1 GLX Trout Series Spinning rods and Shimano Stradic CI4+ reels.

We stepped into the water at 10:30 a.m. under a blazing sun. We hurriedly walked downstream to a riffle that is 1,000-yards long, realizing that any water that is moving no matter the depth is holding fish right now. We also know that any area that has algae clinging to the rocks is devoid of fish — even bluegill. The presence of algae means there is not enough current and the water is too warm. Current means cooler water, no algae, and many fish; that is a plain-and-simple fact about river fishing in West Virginia in September.

We waded for more than 3 1/2 hours, and we caught 43 smallmouth bass, 21 big bluegill, four largemouth bass, and three big rock bass.

All of these fish were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ affixed to either a burnt-orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig or a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. These baits were coated with my Pro-Cure Gel Scent concoction.

We presented our Scented LeechZ rigs by casting it anywhere near fish-holding waters, and then deadsticking it, which was punctuated by shaking it without moving it forward.

When we hooked a smallmouth bass, there were several smallmouth bass following it around.

We did not hook nor see any giants on this outing. But I think I know where they are. And on Sept. 5, we will launch our Jackson Tuna kayak and venture into some more remote stretches that we only visit a few times a year, when the river's flow and temperature has exhibited similar conditions. It will be a tiring day for sure with more dragging the kayak than floating in it, and I had better be right, or I will be hearing about it for a bit.

Sept. 5 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his 17-mile river journey outing with his wife on Sept. 5

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

We started this outing with three goals.

The first one was to keep my wife's weary legs, which have scars from our recent outings, from walking umpteen miles of river.

Second, we wanted to put our Z-Man's baits in the strike zones of as many smallmouth bass and other species as possible without spooking them in the record-low water levels that we will be dissecting.

The third one was to land all the fish and not over stress them in this river water that is bath-tub warm. During these donnybrooks, we wanted to keep them away from the many followers, which we think accelerates the stress levels.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the river was flowing at 63 cubic feet per second. The water temperature was 81 degrees. It needs to be noted that we launched our kayak way above the U.S.G.S.'s gauges. So, the flow was lower and the water temperature was higher. In the nine years that we have fished this river, we have never seen the river flowing at this slow of a pace.

It was very cloudy and 75 degrees when we started our day. We were hoping the weather predictors were on the mark when they said it would not rain. It didn't rain, but it felt like it would several times. At 2:00 p.m., as my wife and I ate lunch while we were perched on a mid-river rock, we saw the sun for the first time. Then the air temperature climbed to a muggy 87 degrees, and the sun shone brightly for the rest of the day.

We wanted to get out of our neighborhood on this outing. So, we elected to take on a very long stretch of the river, which put us in three different West Virginia zip codes.

In the reports that I have recently posted on FNN, I have mentioned that we have been dissecting large swaths of riffles, which possess the coolest and most oxygenated water on the river. I also describe these riffles as being nature's conveyer belt of food. The riffles bring the smallmouth bass their food, and they don't have to move a lot to consume it; it is similar to the calorie-vs.-expenditure concept.

We have recently seen plenty of big smallmouth bass run bluegill up into inches of water. In fact, during the past week, I have tossed two bluegill back into the river after they escaped from predation by jumping onto the rocks. It is quite a sight.

Only three times since we have lived here have we attempted what we accomplished on this outing. It is a tough endeavor on foot, and it is even tougher in a kayak that is made for saltwater. We could have taken our canoe, but our kayak floats in six inches or less of water with two people in it, which would allow us to float on the weak side of the river without spooking the smallmouth bass. My wife and I covered way more miles today than normal.

After our Sept. 4 outing, I simply stated that we should do the canyon. She agreed, and we went to bed early.

We began this endeavor at 5:00 a.m., which was well before daylight, and we shuttled one of our vehicles downriver to our takeout spot. Upon returning home from the shuttle, we launched our Jackson Tuna kayak at 7:38 a.m. into the river, where miles of canyons brace each side of the river.

Carrying plenty of cold water to drink is a must, and I always keep a first aid kit in my dry well. We also packed a lunch. I have made this run in the cold months, and I have learned a lot from doing it. Everything we did on this 17-mile float could have been part of my U.S. Marine Corps' indoctrination test that I took years ago.

We had six G.Loomis 791-1 GLX Trout Series Spinning rods and Shimano Stradic CI4+ reels. Four of these outfits sported the following Z-Man's soft-plastic baits: green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ, heavily customized Canada Craw EZ TubeZ , 3 1/2-inch green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ, and shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ . Two of the outfits were rigged with a 2 1/2-inch Dirt ZinkerZ, which is my favorite bait. All of these baits were affixed to a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig in a variety of colors. All of the baits were liberally covered in my Pro-Cure concoction.

This outing revolved around parking the kayak and fishing the riffles on foot. So, before we reached a riffle, we parked the kayak, and then we waded downstream to the riffle. After we fished it, we waded back to the kayak, and then we paddled downstream to the next riffle.

Every lure was presented in the same manner. After we executed each cast, we employed a deadstick presentation, which allowed the smallmouth bass and other species to find the bait in the crystal-clear water. Occasionally we executed a slight shake, which put a pulse into the bait without moving it.

There were times when my Costa sunglasses allowed me to see four or more fish go head down and tail up on my offering. It was spectacular to watch the pecking order as they fed. The biggest of the lot always went first.

We caught 31 smallmouth bass on the Scented LeechZ, 28 smallmouth bass on the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ, 23 smallmouth bass on the EZ TubeZ, 17 smallmouth bass on the Finesse WormZ, and 16 smallmouth bass on the three-inch Hula StickZ. We also caught 47 big bluegill, 14 rock bass, 11 largemouth bass, and two 20-inch channel catfish.

Our state and the others nearby that I regularly fish award anglers with citations for catching a 20-inch smallmouth bass, and we caught four on this outing. The customized EZ TubeZ caught two of them. The Dirt ZinkerZ caught one. And the three-inch Finesse WormZ caught one.

In sum, it was a stellar outing. Normally, I refer to this river as being two casts wide. But on this outing it was only one cast wide, and the fish were more easily spooked than I have ever seen since we moved to West Virginia. It was more like trout fishing on a selective midge hatch in my native upstate New York.

I recently have been contemplating changing rods, reels, and lines. But after this outing, I have come to the firm conclusion that our G. Loomis 791-1 GLX Trout Series Spinning rods and Shimano Stradic CI4+ reels, which are spooled with either six-pound-test Gamma Torque braided line or four-pound-test Gamma's Touch fluorocarbon line, are the state-of-the-art outfits. They allow us to make long casts, make delicate and alluring presentations, protect our light lines, and quickly subdue hefty-sized and belligerent smallmouth bass. I am done searching for anything better. I don't think it exists for our needs. We wouldn't have caught half of the fish we caught on this outing without our Loomis-and-Shimano micro-line outfits. It is a unique system. During this outing I silently asked myself at least a dozen times today if anything could do what I just did. My answer was no. In my hands, it is magic.

What's more, I am firmly convinced that nothing I have seen in my years resists riffle snags and wedges as well as the customized EZ TubeZ on a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig -- even in the skinniest of water. It is my pride-and-joy-tinkering job. I doubt I will trump it this coming winter as I sit next to the fire, but I will undoubtedly move on to other projects.

Will I be back on the river on Sept. 6? You bet I will, but it will be an easy two-mile wade.

Sept. 6 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his outing on Sept. 6.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

I was dragging mightily this morning, as I was recovering from the 17-mile journey with my wife on Sept. 5. Thus, my Sept. 6 excursion was going to be a brief one.

The U.S. Geological Survey noted that the river was flowing at 61 cubic feet per second. The water temperature was 76 degrees.

When I stepped into the water in an extremely dense fog at 8:10 a.m, the water was noticeably warmer than the air temperature, which was a non-humid 67 degrees.

My main objective was to carefully fish two areas that are a mile apart. Both areas were graced with a noticeable current and boulders blanket the bottom. My focus was on the boulders.

I used one lure. It was the heavily customized two-inch Z-Man's Canada Craw EZ TubeZ affixed to a burnt-orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, which was well lathered with customized Pro-Cure Gel Scent.

My casts were made to every boulder that was visible to me in the fog. My casts were made in front of the boulders and behind them. And as soon as the current began to slowly move the EZ TubeZ , I executed a quick shake and deadsticked it.

I fished for 2 1/2 hours and caught 21 smallmouth bass, nine bluegill and four rock bass.

Sept. 7 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 7 outing to a 25,600-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir, which has been until Aug 24, a troublesome reservoir for power anglers and Midwest finesse anglers to catch largemouth bass and spotted bass.

Here is an edited version of his report:

The last time I fished this reservoir was on Aug. 24, and during that solo four-hour outing, I caught 37 largemouth bass and two spotted bass. I usually avoid the large reservoirs in Texas during three-day weekend holidays. They become too crowded with pleasure boaters, water skiers, and jet skiers for my tastes. Furthermore, waiting to launch or trailer a boat can take as long as 30 minutes to over an hour. But I thought I would try to get out earlier in the morning and beat the weekend crowds.

When I arrived at the boat ramp around 6:30 a.m., it was still dark, and a half-dozen pickup-truck-boat-trailer rigs were already there and preparing to launch. And much to my chagrin, a 30-minute waiting line had already formed, and the parking lot was about 25-percent full.

It was another humid day in north-central Texas, and I began to sweat as soon as I stepped out of my air-conditioned truck to launch the boat. The National Weather Service noted the morning low temperature was 78 degrees and the afternoon high was 98 degrees. The wind quartered out of the south-by-southwest at 8 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.92 at 7:00 a.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicted the best fishing periods should take place from 12:43 a.m. to 2:43 a.m., 6:56 a.m. to 8:56 a.m., and 7:21 p.m. to 9:21 p.m. I made my first cast at 7:11 a.m. and my last cast at 10:09 a.m.

The water was stained, and its clarity had improved from one - to 1 1/2-feet of visibility on Aug. 24 to two- to three-feet of visibility. The normal water clarity for this reservoir is between three and six feet of visibility. The water temperature was 83 degrees. The water level has dropped about a foot since Aug. 24 and is now just 1.20 feet above normal pool.

I targeted two areas and spent approximately 1 1/2 hours at each locale.

The first locale was a main-lake shoreline that lies along the eastern shoreline in the southeast portion of the east tributary arm of the reservoir. This shoreline is part of a state park that has remained closed while repairs from the flood damage are being completed. It is endowed with a 35-yard long riprap jetty with a concrete fishing pier that extends another 25 yards out from the west end of the jetty. There are four concrete boat ramps just south of the jetty. A small cove lies just to the south of the boat ramps. The mouth of the cove is enhanced with riprap and partially flooded buck brush. The shoreline that lies just north of the jetty is also adorned with riprap and several yards of flooded bushes that extend about 10 to 20 feet out from the water's edge. This area usually has large submerged beds of hydrilla and scattered patches of duck weed in three to eight feet of water, but I failed to find any hydrilla or duck weed.

I rigged my spinning outfits with the following lures: a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's black-blue ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's black Split-Tail TrailerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ on a purple 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Split-Tail TrailerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

I began the morning wielding the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's black-blue ZinkerZ and black Split-Tail TrailerZ along the outside edges of the concrete fishing pier with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The water surrounding the pier is 23 feet deep, and the water's surface comes within a couple of feet of the bottom of the fishing platform. I caught four largemouth bass along the south side of the fishing platform, which was wind-blown. These largemouth bass were suspended about five feet below the surface of the water. Two were enticed into striking the 2 1/2-inch black-blue ZinkerZ and two were induced into striking the black Split-Tail TrailerZ.

The riprap shoreline along the south side of the jetty failed to yield any black bass.

One spotted bass was lured from one of the four concrete boat ramps just south of the jetty, and it was abiding near the end of the ramp in about four feet of water. This bass engulfed the black Split-Tail TrailerZ as it was slowly retrieved in a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Two largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught in four feet of water along the deep-water edges of the partially-flooded buck brush at the mouth of the small cove that lies adjacent to the boat ramps. The boat floated in eight feet of water. One spotted bass and one largemouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch black-blue ZinkerZ and one largemouth bass engulfed the black Split-Tail TrailerZ. Both of these lures were presented with a swim-glide-shake retrieve.

A 20-yard section along the north side of the riprap jetty, which was sheltered from the wind and waves, relinquished six largemouth bass and five spotted bass that were abiding in five to eight feet of water while the boat was floating in 10 to 12 feet of water. Six largemouth bass and four spotted bass were allured by the 2 1/2-inch black-blue ZinkerZ, and one spotted bass struck the shortened four-inch Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ. Both of these lures were retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

The riprap-covered shoreline adjacent to the north side of the jetty failed to surrender any bass.

After I finished fishing the jetty, boat ramps, adjacent shorelines, and the mouth of the small cove, I finished the outing plying a 200-yard section of the riprap along the face of the dam.

This section of the dam yielded seven largemouth bass, one spotted bass, one channel catfish, and one seven-pound, six-ounce freshwater drum. All of these fish were milling about in four to seven feet of water and the boat floated in eight to 14 feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on the Z-Man's green-pumpkin Split-Tail TrailerZ. One spotted bass was caught on the shortened four-inch Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ. The 2 1/2-inch black-blue ZinkerZ caught six largemouth bass, one catfish, and the large freshwater drum. I then called it a day as the lake became more crowded with jet skiers, water skiers, and pleasure boaters.

All totaled, it was another splendid outing by north-central Texas standards. I inveigled 19 largemouth bass, eight spotted bass, one large freshwater drum, and one channel catfish during this three-hour foray which is an average of nine black bass an hour. Normally, I average between two to three bass per hour at this problematic waterway.

The 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's black-blue ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught 20 of the 27 black bass, the channel catfish, and the freshwater drum. The Z-Man's black spilt-tail TrailerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught four black bass. Two black bass were caught on the shortened four-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ on a purple 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass was coaxed into attacking the Z-Man's green-pumpkin Split-Tail TrailerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. All of these baits were retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and shake presentation. I employed the Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ and a fast swimming retrieve for a few casts along the face of the dam, but I failed to garner any strikes with it.

Sept. 9 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 9 outing with Rick Allen of Dallas.

Here is an edited version of his report:

I joined Rick Allen of Dallas for a 32-mile venture to an 80-acre flatland reservoir and a 65-acre flatland reservoir.

From about 2:00 a.m. to about 11:00 a.m., north-central Texas was enveloped in thunderstorms, and some locales received 1.87 inches of rain, and it remained cloudy for most of the day. The morning low temperature was 74 degrees and the afternoon high reached 86 degrees. The wind was light and variable at 3 to 5 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.90 at 9:00 a.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the optimum fishing hours would occur from 2:06 a.m. to 4:06 a.m., 8:18 a.m. to 10:18 a.m., and 8:42 p.m. to 10:42 p.m.

When we arrived at the 80-acre reservoir at about 10:00 a.m., two waves of thunderstorms erupted and we waited about an hour until they passed. We launched the boat at about 11:00 a.m. and trailered the boat at about 1:00 p.m.

Rick and I have not fished this reservoir since Jan. 18, when the water was muddy with less than one foot of visibility. The water's temperature was 43 degrees. The water level was about four feet below normal, and we struggled to catch six largemouth bass during the three hours that we were afloat.

On our Sept. 9 undertaking, the water was stained, with about two feet of visibility. The water clarity is normally about four to six feet. The water level was normal for the first time in five years. The water's surface temperature varied from 83 degrees in the southeast corner of this reservoir to 85 degrees in the main north feeder-creek arm.

We began the outing in the southeast corner of the reservoir and began fishing our way northward along the east shoreline. This shoreline is fairly steep, and adorned with two small feeder creeks, thick stands of flooded timber, stumps, a long submerged wall of hydrilla, and several submerged brushpiles. The flooded timber areas begin about halfway up the reservoir, and the timber covers the entire northern half of this reservoir.

We caught the first seven largemouth bass along the east shoreline in five to seven feet of water. These bass were relating to the deep-water edge of the submerged hydrilla wall.

After we finished dissecting the east shoreline, we continued to work our way northward into the northern half of the reservoir. The north end of this reservoir narrows down into a main feeder-creek arm on the north end, and a smaller feeder creek enters the reservoir along the middle section of the east shoreline. This entire area is enhanced with thick stands of flooded timber, stumps, submerged hydrilla beds, and brushpiles. A submerged creek channel, which is covered with 12 feet of water, winds its way through the center of both feeder creek arms.

We caught only one largemouth bass in the east feeder-creek arm, and it was abiding in about three feet of water next to the tip of a steep secondary point, which is situated about halfway inside the feeder-creek arm.

The north feeder-creek arm was more fruitful. It yielded seven largemouth bass. Four of these bass were lured from the tip of a secondary point in three feet of water and about halfway up the feeder-creek arm. The other three bass were scattered in five feet of water along two small brush-laden flats.

After we finished plying the north feeder-creek, we slowly sauntered our way southward along the west shoreline. The west shoreline is comprised of a large mud flat and is adorned with a large hydrilla bed, two partially submerged laydowns, and a few widely scattered flooded trees, which stand in six to eight feet of water. We caught four largemouth bass along this area. Three were relating to the deep-water edge of the large hydrilla bed in three feet of water, and one was associated with a brush pile in seven feet of water.

The south end of the reservoir is formed by a clay dam, and a thin wall of hydrilla stretches along the entire length of the dam. The dam is usually a fruitful lair, but we could only scrounge up one largemouth bass that was relating to the top of the hydrilla bed next to the face of the dam in five feet of water.

This reservoir surrendered 20 largemouth bass in two hours. Seven largemouth bass were caught on a customized 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug FattyZ tube on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. Five were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Four were allured by a Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's Junebug FattyZ tail section rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. A chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig affixed to a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ allured two largemouth bass.

We tried a variety of Midwest finesse retrieves, but the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the only productive presentation.

After we finished fishing the 80-acre reservoir, we turned our attention to a 65-acre reservoir that lies about 15 miles east of the 80-acre reservoir.

The water was extremely stained, exhibiting about one to 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water temperature was 90 degrees. The water level appeared to be normal.

We were afloat from about 2:45 p.m. to 4:40 p.m., and we struggled to eke out 10 largemouth bass and inadvertently caught nine green sunfish, two crappie, and one bluegill.

We started fishing along the east end of the reservoir, which is formed from a clay dam. The dam did not yield any largemouth bass, but we did inadvertently catch a couple of crappie and green sunfish that were relating to the face of the dam in four to six feet of water.

The south shoreline is relatively flat and graced with four main-lake points, three mud flats and one large partially submerged laydown. This area yielded six largemouth bass and several green sunfish that were scattered in five to seven feet of water along two points and two mud flats.

The west shoreline features two small feeder-creek arms, a mud hump, and several small main-lake points adorned with submerged hydrilla beds, flooded brush, and several submerged brushpiles. This area surrendered a couple of green sunfish, but no largemouth bass.

The northern shoreline is steeper than the south shoreline. It encompasses five main-lake points, a partially submerged barbed-wire fence, three laydowns, a mud hump, and many yards of flooded brush.

We managed to entice three largemouth bass and several more green sunfish from three to five feet of water along the outside edges of the flooded brush. One of the five main-lake points relinquished one largemouth bass and one bluegill. The remainder of this area failed to yield any additional strikes.

Seven of the 10 largemouth bass, nine green sunfish, and one bluegill engulfed a Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and presented with a swim-glide-and shake retrieve. Two largemouth bass were allured by a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug customized FattyZ tube on a chartreuse 1 1/6-ounce Gopher jig and implemented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. A blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's black-blue ZinkerZ presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve enticed one largemouth bass, two crappie, and one green sunfish.

All totaled, we inveigled 30 largemouth bass, 10 green sunfish, two crappie, and one bluegill during this four-hour endeavor. We needed to employ a variety of Z-Man plastic baits and Gopher jigs and experienced what some anglers would call a junk-fishing pattern. We were unable to determine a dominate pattern or bait, but we did determine that a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most fruitful presentation.

Rick Allen of Dallas, with one of the 30 largemouth bass they caught on Sept. 9.

Sept. 9 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his outing on Sept. 9.

Here is a shortened and edited rendition of his report:

In the 100-degree heat on Sept. 8, I spent the day stacking wood for next year and running the weed eater. After completing those two chores, I looked to see what kind of weather was in store for us on Sept. 9 and 10. The forecast predicated that the high temperature on Sept. 10 would be 74 degrees, and beginning around midnight, a great deal of rain would fall until late in the afternoon.

During the past three days, it has been 100 degrees in the shade and muggy. We have not seen a drop of rain in nearly six weeks and our local rivers and creeks look like it. These conditions provoked the smallmouth bass and other denizens to inhabit the riffles.

And when I read the weather forecast, I knew that the rain and the cooler weather would cause the smallmouth bass and other species to disperse, spreading them like a flushed covey of quail, which is good for them, but tough for me.

Because I suspected that our low-water pattern of the summer was nearing an end, I elected to make a very long walk at first light on Sept 9 to enjoy one last truly low-water outing in 2015.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the river was flowing at 60 cubic feet per second. The water temperature was 76 degrees. At first light, the thermometer on my truck indicated that it was 69 degrees.

I stepped in the water on what is a very remote stretch of the river -- even for me at 6:20 a.m. Other than how I get to it, there isn't a public takeout within 18.5 river miles.

I was toting the mere essentials: Two G. Loomis 791-1 GLX Trout Series Spinning rods and Shimano Stradic CI4+ reels, and one reel was spooled with six-pound-test Gamma Torque braided line, and the other reel was spooled with four-pound-test Gamma's Touch fluorocarbon line; 10 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Dirt ZinkerZs and 10 Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ; a bottle of my customize Pro- Cure Scented Gel; a handful of various colors of 1/32-ounce Gopher jigs with No. 6 hooks; and my Camelback filled with water and a light lunch.

The ZinkerZ was rigged to the rod and reel spooled with the four-pound-test Gamma Touch fluorocarbon line. The Finesse WormZ was on the rod and reel spooled with six-pound-test Gamma Torque braided line.

I intended to fish my way downriver, using a tactic that I hadn't yet utilized this summer. I call this tactic the summer stroll.

Instead of being on foot on the weak side of the current in ankle-deep water, this tactic puts me on foot at the head of the riffle and on the strong side of the current. From this position, I allow the current to take my bait slowly downstream as I slowly allow the handle of the spinning reel to revolve backwards or in reverse. As I allow a few inches of line to roll off the spool of the reel, I occasionally impart a shake of the rod, which I hold from the five o'clock to the 12 o'clock positions, and at the five o'clock position the rod tip is in the water. This tactic essentially keeps the bait in the strike zone much longer than when we cast it across the current of the riffle and allows it to execute a swinging presentation. This summer-stroll presentation allows the bait to flow or walk right down what I call the river's conveyor belt of food.

I didn't make a conventional cast and presentation on this outing. But when I was standing in the right spot, I executed the summer stroll numerous times.

Before I knew it I was a good four miles from the truck. Of course, that meant it would be a four-mile hike back to it up river, and the temperature was climbing, and I called it an outing.

The ZinkerZ rig caught 23 smallmouth bass and 11 bluegill. The Finesse WormZ rig caught 11 smallmouth bass and 12 bluegill. The ZinkerZ was affixed to a burnt-orange 1/32 Gopher jig. The Finesse WormZ was affixed to a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

Total fishing time was 4 1/2 hours with an additional 1 1/2 hours strictly walking.

Because of the advent of the rain tonight and tomorrow, I bid both 60-cubic-feet-per-second flow and my extremely low-water inhabitants adieu for 2015.

Endnotes to the Sept. 9 log:

When I employ the summer stroll in the current of a riffle, I move the tip of the rod from the 12 o'clock position to the five o'clock position. The position of the rod tip depends on the depth and location of my bait. As I let my bait begin its slow path down river, I lower and lift the rod tip to allow my bait to flow from just inches off the bottom, which is littered with boulders, or at times to allow it to flow near the surface. As I am lifting and lowering the rod, I am slowly back reeling, which allows line to slowly roll off the spool of my spinning reel.

When my bait makes contact with a boulder, I will lift the rod tip just a touch to make my bait rise, and after it is away from the boulder, I drop the rod tip and allow my bait to fall towards the bottom .

The smallmouth bass are facing into the current, and the summer stroll presents my bait in many different strike zones in which the smallmouth bass abide in a long riffle. It is also an excellent tactic for getting my bait under low hanging willows and in and out of log jams as well. It presents my bait right down what I call the river's food belt, and it is presented to many more fish under certain conditions than traditional casts on small rivers.

The trickiest part of this technique is locating the best spot or position to stand in the riffle in order to properly execute the stroll. What's more, the fish are essentially looking in your direction. So, it takes a bit of stealth on the approach when I am trying to get into the correct position to properly execute the summer stroll, and the under-water terrain plays a role in whether it is even possible.

I have never seen a word written about strolling for river smallmouth bass. I learned a version of it when I was a youngster. Back then, we would drop a nose-hooked crawler off the tips of our fly rods and slowly let the line out. This allowed the crawler to get up under undercut banks and into thick inaccessible alder-lined banks.

When I am plying extremely low-water riffles, I find that a soft-plastic bait that isn't impregnated with salt is the best offering. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's ZinkerZ that I have soaked in water in order to dissipate the salt is an ideal bait to summer stroll.

Sept. 12 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 12 outing at a 10,165-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir with Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas.

Across the years, Reideler has reported on the Finesse News Network that this has been a frustrating reservoir for even experienced and talented Midwest finesse anglers to tangle with a goodly number of black bass. But the black bass fishing has improved dramatically since the torrential rains provoked the Corps of Engineers to close this reservoir and several other north-central Texas reservoirs on May 12, and these reservoirs remained closed until the middle of August. For more insights on this phenomenon and how it has affected the black bass fishing, please read Reideler's logs on Sept. 4 and Sept. 7, and see his Aug. 20, Aug. 24, and Aug. 28 logs at http://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/midwest-finesse-fishing-august-2015/.

Here is an edited version of his report:

The sun shone brightly and vibrantly. The morning low temperature was 63 degrees, and the afternoon high temperature was a delightful 86 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.12 at noon. The wind quartered out of the northeast at 10 to 15 mph, but its velocity remained closer to 10 mph than 15 mph. We did not need to deploy our drift sock.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing times would span the hours of 4:17 a.m. to 6:17 a.m., 10:28 a.m. to 12:28 p.m., and 10:49 p.m. to 12:49 a.m. We made our first cast at 12:30 p.m. and our last cast at 4:51 p.m.

The water was heavily stained, exhibiting about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was 2.83 feet above normal. A month ago, this reservoir was closed and the water level was slightly more than 12 feet high. The surface temperature was 83 degrees.

We fished simply and mostly on wind-protected main-lake lairs of the north shoreline of the reservoir. We plied four main-lake points, four main-lake flats, a submerged sand bar, the rock- and boulder-strewn shorelines of an offshore island, and the riprap-covered dam along the eastern border of the reservoir.

We started off fishing three main-lake points and two mud flats stippled with boulders and partially submerged buck brush. The boat floated in eight to 12 feet of water.

One of these three points yielded 14 largemouth bass and the other two points surrendered four largemouth bass and one spotted bass. These 19 black bass were extracted from water as shallow as three feet and as deep as eight feet and were relating to either submerged boulders or the outside edges of the partially submerged buck brush.

Eight largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's black TrailerZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Eight largemouth bass and one spotted bass engulfed a generic two-inch chartreuse curly-tailed grub on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. All of these baits were presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We then checked a submerged sandbar and offshore island just inside a major feeder-creek arm. The sandbar extends out from the island's east-side shoreline, and it is graced with flooded brush. The sandbar failed to yield any strikes. The island was also bereft of bass, but it yielded one large bluegill that struck the two-inch curly-tailed grub along its north shoreline.

Our next spot consisted of three rocky main-lake points separated by a small sand flat and a small mud flat. There was an abundance of flooded buck brush on all three points and both flats in two to four feet of water.

We failed to elicit any strikes along the first rocky point. We caught one largemouth bass off the sand flat that was foraging on two-inch shad along the outside edges of the flooded buck brush. The second rocky point garnered 11 largemouth bass, and the third rocky point yielded four largemouth bass. We failed to garner any strikes from the adjacent mud flat. All 16 of these largemouth bass were abiding in water as shallow as four feet and as deep as eight feet.

Ten of these 16 largemouth bass were coaxed into striking a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The other six bass were caught on the two-inch generic chartreuse curly-tailed grub. Both baits were presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We continued to work our way eastward toward the dam, and we investigated a flat main-lake point with two mud flats adjacent to the point. The point and both flats are adorned with flooded brush. The point yielded two largemouth bass, and one of the two flats relinquished one largemouth bass. These three largemouth bass were enticed into striking the two-inch generic curly-tailed grub. Three largemouth bass were induced into striking the Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, but they were able to liberate themselves before we could land them. These three bass were abiding in three to five feet of water

We finished our afternoon at the riprap-laden dam. We started at the north end and fished our way southward and covered about two-thirds of its length.

Sept. 13 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 13 outing at a 26,471-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir where the black-bass fishing has been extremely productive since it was reopened in August.

Here is an edited version of his report:

I fished this reservoir with Rick Allen of Dallas on Aug. 20, and during that five-hour excursion, we tangled with 61 black bass. On Aug. 28, I made a solo foray to this reservoir, and I caught 52 black bass in four hours. It should be noted that catching 113 black bass in nine hours, or 12.5 bass per hour is an extremely rare feat in north-central Texas.

By 10:00 a.m., the cloud-covered sky became partly cloudy, and the sun shined brightly. The morning low temperature was 66 degrees, and the afternoon high reached 91 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.05 at noon. The wind quartered out of the southeast, south, and southwest at 9 to 18 mph.

The water clarity varied from 1 1/2 feet of visibility in the southwest tributary arm to about 2 1/2 feet at the dam. The water temperature was 83 degrees. The water level has receded another two feet since August 20, and has now reached its normal pool level.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the best fishing would take place between 4:51 a.m. to 6:51 a.m., 5:12 p.m. to 7:12 p.m., and 11:23 p.m. to 1:23 a.m. I fished from about 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., targeting parts of the southwestern tributary arm and the dam at the south end of the reservoir.

I executed my first casts and retrieves along a 75-yard section of a main-lake shoreline, which is enhanced with three dilapidated concrete boat ramps, and two small rocky points. I could see scores of two-inch shad roaming the shoreline near the surface in three to five feet of water. I positioned the boat in six to 10 feet of water, and I needed to deploy the drift sock to help slow the boat's drift in the wind and white-capping waves.

I wielded a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ and chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig; Z-Man's black Split-tail TrailerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a shortened Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

The 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ and steady swim retrieve just underneath the surface of the water allured four largemouth bass from the two rocky points. The black Split-Tail TrailerZ and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught one largemouth bass from the second rocky point. All five of these bass were relating to the tip of the rocky points in about three feet of water. I failed to elicit any strikes with the Junebug Finesse T.R.D. or the shortened four-inch green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ.

I checked a main-lake point about 500 yards east of the main-lake shoreline that I just finished fishing. I plied both sides of the point with the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ and Junebug Finesse T.R.D., but I failed to entice any strikes.

I made a 13-minute run to the riprap-laden dam that forms the southern border of the reservoir. I positioned the boat in 12 to 15 feet of water. The dam blocked most of the wind, the water's surface was much calmer, and I did not need to deploy the drift sock. I could see large balls of two-inch shad everywhere, and occasionally I saw a largemouth bass or two foraging on the shad on the surface.

The first third of the east end of the dam relinquished 50 largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one crappie. One largemouth bass was enticed into striking the shortened four-inch green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Another largemouth bass engulfed a Z-Man's Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ and a steady swimming retrieve garnered 48 largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and inadvertently caught one crappie. These 51 black bass and the one crappie were relating to the riprap along the face of the dam in four to eight feet of water.

I finished the afternoon plying a shallow rocky flat that is covered with five to eight feet of water and lies just to the north of the east end of the dam. This area yielded nine largemouth bass and one large bluegill, and they were caught on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ and a steady swimming presentation.

Overall, the black bass fishing was the best that I have ever seen it, and I have been fishing this reservoir since 1982. Most of these bass were small, but 18 weighed between 1 1/4 and 1 3/4 pounds. Rick Allen and I set a new numbers record for this reservoir on August 20 when we allured 61 black bass. I broke that record during this outing as I inveigled 65 black bass during this four-hour endeavor, which averaged 16 bass per hour.

IMG_2019

Z-Man's Pearl Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a steady swimming retrieve beguiled 62 of these 65 black bass, and I have used just one Slim SwimZ during my past six outings. This one Slim SwimZ has survived donnybrooks with 179 black bass, 15 white bass, three green sunfish, three large bluegills, and one crappie, and I'm eager to find out how many more donnybrooks it can withstand.

Sept 13 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a report to the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 13 outing to a 160-acre state reservoir with Andrew Trembath of Kansas City, Kansas.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

It was 53 degrees at 7:01 a.m. and 73 degrees at 1:52 p.m. The conditions of the sky ranged from being mostly cloudy to partly cloudy to overcast to clear. The wind angled out of the east at 4 to 5 mph, out of the southeast at 3 to 5 mph, out of the south by southeast at 8 to 17 mph, and out of the south at 11 to 16 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.08 at 12:52 a.m., 30.06 at 5:52 a.m., 30.02 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.96 at 1:52 p.m.

The water level was slightly above normal. The water clarity exhibited three feet of visibility in the vicinity of the dam. The surface temperature was 76 degrees around 1:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing times could be at 10:55 a.m. to 12:55 p.m., 11:16 p.m. to 1:16 a.m. and 4:44 a.m. to 6:44 a.m. We fished from 7:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

There was only one other boat on the water when we launched our boat. Initially, we worked the rocky shoreline east of the boat ramp, keeping the boat in 10 to 13 feet of water. The action was good, but the largemouth bass were smallish.

Then we spent most of the outing fishing the submerged patches of coontail in the back half of the two major feeder-creek arms. The action was better here and overall quality of fish was better. But the coontail patches were not as robust as they were in late June, and perhaps that is a function of poorer light penetration with the higher water levels and diminishing water clarity.

The action was especially good when we fished the submerged creek channel in the east feeder-creek arm. We kept the boat floating in about 10 feet, and we made our casts and retrieves to either side of the boat where the coontail was growing to within five to seven feet of the surface. The creek channel was well defined and easy to navigate with no coontail growing in its base.

We caught most of the largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Coppertruse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Bama Craw ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a redi 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

When the pace of the wind increased, we kept our rod tips down and mostly dragged our baits with occasional twitches.

In total we caught 94 largemouth bass, one channel catfish and one redear sunfish. Our biggest largemouth bass was a 16-incher.

Sept. 14 log

For a multitude of reasons, I had not fished since Sept. 4. One reason was the pandemonium that afflicts our waterways during the three-day Labor Day weekend kept my boat in the garage. Another reason revolved around one of my wisdom teeth, which eventually gave up the ghost on Sept. 8, and ultimately a dentist extracted it. My wife, Patty, and I had a luncheon engagement with a couple of old friends on Sept. 9. Then Mother Nature waylaid parts of northeastern Kansas with as much as four-inches of rain on Sept. 10, and the headline in the Topeka Capital-Journal exclaimed "National Weather Service in Topeka: Thursday's rain was '50-year event,' set record." All of this water quickly fouled some of our reservoirs, and when I arrived at the boat ramp at a 100-acre community reservoir on Sept. 11 and saw vast volumes of water gushing across the spillway, I elected to return the boat to the garage, where it has been for six days.

Because Mother Nature unleashed a devilish wind on Sept. 14, most northeastern Kansas anglers were at bay. In fact, the only boat and anglers that Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I saw at a 6,930-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir were in Clyde Holscher's boat. Holscher is a veteran fishing guide and Midwest finesse practitioner from Topeka, Kansas, and he was guiding and teaching a grandfather and grandson how to employ some Midwest finesse tactics.

Besides Hoslcher and his two clients, Lau and I did see two ospreys, two pelicans, numerous blue herons, some teal, a small covey of quail, a dozen turkeys, scores of gulls, several terns, a few cormorants, and some killdeers, as well as a few largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and white bass. But our catch failed to match the one that Lau and his nephew recently enjoyed, when they tangled with 105 smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass across seven hours of employing Midwest finesse tactics at this reservoir.

The National Weather Service reported that the wind howled out of the south at 16 to 36 mph. It was 63 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 86 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The sun was shining everywhere. The barometric pressure was 29.87 at 12:53 a.m., 29.85 at 5:53 a.m., 29.93 at 11:53 a.m., 29.89 at 1:53 p.m., and 29.89 at 4:53 p.m.

The Corps of Engineers reported the water level was a few inches above normal. The Corps was discharging 20 cubic feet per second of water through the dam's outlet. The surface temperature was 75 degrees. The water was stained, exhibiting 1 1/2 feet to about three feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing might transpire from 11:19 a.m. to 1:19 p.m., 11:40 p.m. to 1:40 a.m., and 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Lau and I fished from 1:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Because of the brutal south wind, we stayed on the south side of the reservoir, focusing on 14 main-lake points and some of their adjacent shorelines, two main-lake humps, two humps inside two feeder-creek arms, eight secondary points and their adjacent shorelines, and three shorelines inside two feeder-creek arms. Except along the lee-side shorelines and points, we employed a drift sock incessantly.

We fished from a mile above the dam's outlet to as far as 3 1/4 miles above the dam.

The terrains of these areas are adorned with gravel, rocks, and boulders. They are relatively flat, and our boat floated in water as shallow as two feet and as deep as 10 feet.

We were hoping to spend most of our outing dissecting wind-sheltered humps, points, and shorelines. To our chagrin, however, we caught only four smallmouth bass on those wind protected locales. The other 28 smallmouth bass, two largemouth bass, and two white bass were caught at locations that were graced by the wind, which made boat control and the presentation of our baits a problem at times.

At the areas where we caught most of the smallmouth bass, the wind and waves were moving parallel to the water's edge rather than pounding it directly with ranks of white caps. This allowed the boat --with the aid of the drift sock -- to travel parallel to the water's edge, and it allowed us to execute casts that were perpendicular to the water's edge and to slowly retrieve our baits behind the boat. At times we would cast at a 45-degree angle behind the boat, which kept the wind from creating a bow in our line. If a smallmouth bass didn't engulf the bait on the initial drop, which occurred only five times, we employed either a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve or a drag-and-deadstick retrieve. (At one leeward area, one smallmouth bass was inveigled on a deadstick presentation.)

Of the 14 main-lake points that we fished, we caught four smallmouth bass on one of them. We caught four smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass on another one. One main-lake point yielded two smallmouth bass. At four of the main-lake points, we extracted one smallmouth bass from each of them, and two of these points were graced with wind, and two of them were sheltered from the wind. We failed to catch a smallmouth bass at seven of the main-lake points, and all of them were leeward points.

The main-lake humps, which were sheltered from the wind, were unfruitful. The two humps inside two of the feeder-creek arms were a touch windblown, and each of them yielded a smallmouth bass.

One relatively windless secondary point, which lies in the backend of a feeder-creek arm, failed to yield a black bass. One secondary point near the mouth of a feeder-creek arm produced one smallmouth bass, and it was embellished with some wind. Another secondary point near the mouth of a feeder-creek arm that was blanketed by the wind and waves yielded a smallmouth bass. A wind-covered secondary point that lies about halfway inside a feeder-creek arm yielded a smallmouth bass. A wind-sheltered secondary point in the back of a feeder-creek arm yielded one smallmouth bass. A wind-blown secondary point near the mouth of a feeder-creek arm yielded four smallmouth bass.

One of the 32 smallmouth bass that we caught.

Three of the four shorelines that we fished inside three feeder-creek arms were somewhat fruitful. All of them were graced with the wind. One west side shoreline yielded one smallmouth bass. We caught two smallmouth bass along one east-side shoreline. We caught five smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass and two white bass along another east-side shoreline.

We caught one smallmouth bass on a shortened Z-Man's pearl Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught three smallmouth bass on the tail section of a Z-Man's green-pumpkin-orange FattyZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught four smallmouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ on an orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Our two most fruitful baits were a 2 1/2-inch Z-man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to an orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a 2 1/2-inch Z-man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ affixed to an orange 3/16-ounce Gopher jig. (Normally, Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas don't use a mushroom-style jig that is bigger than three thirty-seconds of an ounce, but Lau elected to use the 3/16-ouncer in the brisk wind that plagued us during this outing.)

Pok-Chi Lau with the last smallmouth bass of the outing.

Sept. 15 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 15 outing at a 10,651-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir where he singlehandedly caught 137 largemouth bass, 22 white bass, two spotted bass, and one smallmouth bass in 236 minutes.

Here is an edited version of his report:

Norman Brown of Lewisville and I enjoyed a splendid four-hour twenty-one minute afternoon foray at this reservoir on Sept. 4, when we set a new Midwest finesse numbers record at this reservoir by catching 57 black bass.

On this Sept. 15 excursion, I fished under an overcast sky. The morning low temperature was 73 degrees and the afternoon high was 91 degrees. The wind blew incessantly out of the southeast at 13 to 15 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.02 at noon. I utilized the drift sock almost the entire time I was afloat.

The water was stained, exhibiting about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was 2.11 feet above normal pool. The surface temperature was 80 degrees.

According to the In-Fisherman solunar calendar, the best fishing would occur during the hours of 12:11 a.m. to 2:11 a.m., 6:21 a.m. to 8:21 a.m., and 12:32 p.m. to 2:32 p.m. I made my first cast along the tip of a main-lake point at 12:21 p.m., and my last cast was executed along the face of the dam at 4:17 p.m.

I opted to fish the southeast end of the reservoir. Norman and I focused our attentions on the north side of the reservoir on Sept. 12.

I started off plying a steep and rocky main-lake point and two adjacent rocky secondary points at the mouth of a major feeder-creek arm. I employed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and I failed to elicit any strikes.

I probed another rocky main-lake point just east of the feeder-creek arm. I lured two largemouth bass from the side of the point in four feet of water with the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ and a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

I spent the remainder of the afternoon along the riprap of the wind-blown dam that forms the eastern boundary of the reservoir. The northern two-thirds of the dam relinquished 19 black bass on Sept. 12. I targeted the middle and southern sections of the dam during this endeavor, and I crossed paths with a humongous aggregation of black bass.

The boat floated in 12 to 15 feet of water as I tangled with 137 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, one smallmouth bass, and 22 white bass. All of the black bass were relating to the riprap along the face of the dam in four to eight feet of water.

The white bass were foraging on two-inch shad along the surface of the water and about 25 yards out from the dam in 25 feet of water.

Three largemouth bass and 22 white bass were caught on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig attached to a 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ, which was presented with a fast and steady swimming retrieve. (This is the same Slim ShadZ that I have used several days ago, and it has now survived donnybrooks with 182 black bass and 37 white bass.) One-hundred thirty-two largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one smallmouth bass viscously attacked a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ threaded onto a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The Scented LeechZ-Gopher jig combo was presented with a swim-glide-and shake retrieve, but instead of shaking the rod during the gliding or pause portion of the retrieve, two or three twitches were imparted to the lure, and the bass would aggressively strike the bait just after the last twitch was imparted and before the swimming portion of the retrieve was resumed. Normally, I shake it vigorously for two to three seconds.

One-hundred thirty-two largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one smallmouth bass were caught on this Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

I caught several largemouth bass by allowing the Scented LeechZ to fall for a couple of seconds immediately after I missed a strike. More than a dozen black bass struck the Scented LeechZ as soon as the lure hit the water. Another 19 black bass were able to pull free before I could land them.

In sum, I caught 140 black bass and 22 white bass, and my thumbs are raw and sore from handling all these fish. Most of these bass were small specimens, but there were also quite a few keeper-sized bass up to 15-inches long mixed in as well. This colossal catch of black bass is the most largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass that I have ever caught in a single outing, which for my neck of the woods, is an unheard of average of 35 black bass per hour.

Sept. 19 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 19 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed rendition of his report:

I spent the greater part of the day today customizing some of the new Z-Man baits that I have been putting off working on in recent months due to massive work commitments that have been wearing on me mentally and physically.

So, I wanted to get on the river to test some of my new purchases of baits from Z-Man, and to wet a line a bit this evening for some work relief and to clear some cobwebs.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the river was flowing at 68 cubic feet per second, and the water temperature was 74 degrees. From 9:30 a.m., it was sunny without a cloud in the sky. It was 81 degrees, and humidity was virtually nil. By all accounts, it was a gorgeous day.

Recently, our nighttime temperatures have plummeted, and a couple of them have dipped into the mid-40s. Our daylight hours are diminishing rapidly, and the leaves on the trees around our woods are very slowly changing their hues. Our fish know that the seasons are changing, and they also are moving from their traditional summertime haunts to the autumn ones. They know what is coming, as do I. And during some of my of longer outings, I have recently seen fish moving from shallow riffles and extended flats to down-river areas, where they will spend the winter. It is quite a sight to see; fish of a similar size are in single file, and they are not concerned with eating but rather where to live.

On this evening's outing, I worked with the new Z-Man's 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, which I customized with a Dremel rotary blade and made it into a 1/32-ounce jig. My main intent was to note its drop rate and how it looked in the water when it is affixed to different Z-Man soft-plastic baits.

So, I grabbed a rod and stuffed my pockets with some of the Z-Man baits that I just purchased and walked down to the river. And I walked upstream for two miles on this gorgeous September evening and fished for two hours and seven minutes.

I caught seven smallmouth bass, one channel catfish, and two large rock bass on a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man's Dirt Finesse WormZ affixed to the customized 1/20-ounce Finesse ShoomZ jig.

My heavily customized two-inch Z-Man's pumpkin EZ TubeZ on the customized 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig caught three smallmouth bass, two largemouth bass, and one channel catfish.

A customized Z-Man's blue steel Finesse ShadZ on a customized 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig caught three smallmouth bass, one largemouth bass, and a 23-inch channel catfish.

I presented these baits by swimming and constantly shaking them a few inches above the boulders and timber in four to five feet of water, as I stood in ankle-deep water on the weak side of the river.

It was a fun outing, which was highlighted by tangling with a 19-inch largemouth bass near our house. It was a delightful way to field test the new jig and customized Z-Man's baits. As I called it quits and made my way to the house, I heard an alpha-male coyote howling mightily from its den area just up river from us. It was truly memorable hearing it echo along the canyon walls.

Sept. 19 log

Mike Poe filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his outing with his mother, Mary Ruth Poe, at a community reservoir on Sept. 19.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

What a difference a couple of feet of water makes. Two weeks ago, I fished this community reservoir, and I had a grand total of four bites all morning. When my mother joined me on Sept. 19 for an early morning outing, we discovered that the water level was two feet below the normal level. Therefore, the American water willows were either out of the water or too shallow to be a factor.

It was sunny. Area thermometers fluctuated from 55 degrees in the early morning hours to the mid-80s by midday.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted the best fishing might occur from 3:17 a.m. to 5:17 a.m., 3:42 p.m. to 5:42 p.m., and 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. We fished from 6:30 a.m. until around noon.

We got strikes immediately as we made our first casts and retrieves along a riprap shoreline. I was using a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's Coppertreuse Zero on a blood-red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Mom used a wacky-rigged Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ affixed on a 1/o weightless and weedless Gamakatsu wacky hook.

Throughout our outing, it was not difficult to get a bite. Our problem was getting them into the boat. Mom hooked and lost 13 largemouth bass, and I added to our woes by losing eight, and I lost five in a row during one frustrating stretch. We had about the same amount of bites, but I landed a few more of mine. Ultimately, we landed 25 of them. The largemouth bass were abiding in two to three feet of water, and most of them engulfed our baits on the initial drop. I think the reason why we lost so many of them is because they would engulf it during the fall and them swim towards the boat, and we had a difficult time catching up with them.

We caught them on channel banks with shade and rock cover. My favorite spots, which consist of shallow laydowns, were not in play on this outing. Crankbaits and topwater baits were useless.

We had a great time wielding the wacky-rigged ZinkerZ and 2 1/2-inch Zero rig. As our outing unfolded, we developed a very effective rhythm and pace with these two baits. I am delighted that the largemouth bass were biting and Mom was able to join me. She is a jewel of a mother, grandmother, and angler.

Mary Ruth Poe with one of the 25 largemouth bass that she and Mike Poe caught on Sept. 19.

Sept. 20 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 20 outing with Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, at an extremely windblown 27,663-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir.

Here is an edited version of his report:

The afternoon sky was overcast. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 66 degrees, and the afternoon high temperature was a comfortable 82 degrees. The wind was light and variable early in the day, but by 1:30 p.m. it was howling out of the north and northeast at 15 to 25 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.94 at 1:30 p.m.

We attempted to launch our boat at a ramp in the midsection of the reservoir's east tributary arm, but we found that the incessant wind caused unending ranks of white- caps to pummel all the main-lake lairs that we had planned to fish. In fact, the wind and waves were causing so much havoc that many fisherman were coming off the lake. We decided not to risk launching the boat in this wind-swept area. So, we drove to another boat ramp positioned in the southeast end of the western tributary arm, which offered more protection from the wind and waves than the east side. As we drove across the long dam that forms the southern boundary of this reservoir, we noticed how rough and dangerous the main-lake waters had become, and we did not see a single boat afloat in the main-lake areas of the reservoir.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar predicted the best fishing periods might occur between 4:19 a.m. to 6:18 a.m., 10:32 a.m. to 12:32 p.m., and 4:44 p.m. to 6:44 p.m. We fished from about 1:45 p.m. to about 4:45 p.m.

The water clarity remained heavily stained, varying from about a foot to 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water temperature was 79 degrees. The water level appeared to be at normal pool.

We began our outing by dissecting a small mud flat that is located just west of the boat ramp, which is stippled with flooded terrestrial vegetation covered with two to four feet of water, and a nearby floating-tractor-tire reef forms the east-side entrance to the marina area. We needed to deploy a drift sock to help slow our drift and help control the boat in the wind and white-capping waves. The boat floated in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as 11 feet.

We plied the mud flat and the north end of the tractor-tire reef with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, and a generic two-inch chartreuse curly-tailed grub on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.

We failed to elicit any strikes on the mud flat. We caught one largemouth bass that was abiding in eight feet of water along the outside edge of the north portion of the floating-tractor-tire reef. This largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ with a steady swimming retrieve. The remainder of the north portion of the tire reef failed to yield a fish. We were unable to fish the southern end of the tractor-tire reef because of the fierce northeasterly wind.

The wind and waves became such a problem that we were forced to seek shelter behind a short clay and rock levee that lies just to the west of the north-side tractor-tire reef. We fished the relatively calm west side of the levee, as well as about 50 yards of a shoreline adjacent to the levee that is adorn with a rocky terrain and flooded terrestrial vegetation. We failed to garner any strikes.

The wind continued to pick up speed as the afternoon progressed. So, we elected to fish a 100-yard stretch of a rocky shoreline along the east side of the marina, which provided us with a good amount of protection from the wind. This shoreline is fairly steep, and it is endowed with flooded terrestrial vegetation and submerged boulders. The first 75-yard section of this shoreline relinquished 31 largemouth bass and four spotted bass that were relating to the flooded terrestrial vegetation and submerged boulders in two to eight feet of water. The boat floated in eight to 12 feet of water, and we did not need the wind sock in this area. Thirty-three of these 35 black bass were coaxed into striking a Z-Man's chartreuse-gold Split-Tail TrailerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The generic two-inch chartreuse curly-tailed grub and steady swim presentation garnered two largemouth bass.

We also fished three nearby rocky shorelines, two concrete boat ramps, and one concrete pier adorned with flooded brush, but these areas failed to surrender any strikes.

Overall, we caught 36 black bass in three hours, while battling the wind and white caps at a reservoir that is notorious in years past for surrendering fewer than two black bass an hour. Even though most of the black bass were small, we considered it to be a fun and fruitful outing.

Norman Brown with one of the largemouth bass that he and Steve Reideler caught on Sept. 20.

Sept. 20 log

Except for about 69 minutes, the wind and rain kept me at bay from Sept. 14 through 18. On that 69-minute outing to a 160-acre state reservoir on Sept. 17, when the south wind howled at 24 mph. I didn't record a fishing log about that outing because I was lucky to tangle with seven largemouth bass, and I didn't have the words that adequately described how I was graced with the luck to catch those seven.

On Sept. 20, my wife, Patty, and I made a quick evening outing to a nearby 7,000-acre United States Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir with hopes of tangling with a few smallmouth bass, but the likelihood of tangling with them at this local reservoir was a slim one, indeed.

The recent rains had raised the water level to 2.68 feet above normal. Consequently, there were oodles of tiny button bushes, willow trees, cottonwood trees, sycamore trees, and various kinds of terrestrial vegetation surrounded by water along the shorelines. The water clarity was stained and exhibited about 2 1/2 feet of clarity. The surface temperature was 74 degrees. The Corps was releasing 21 cubic feet of water per second out of the dam's outlet. The aquatic bird life was phenomenal, which was a sight to see and hear.

It was 48 degrees at 5:00 a.m. and 75 degrees at 4:52 p.m. It was sunny and cloudless. The wind fluctuated from calm to angling out of the east at 3 to 5 mph to out of the southeast at 6 to 13 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.11 at 12:52 a.m., 30.12 at 5:52 a.m., 30.11 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.02 at 6:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 4:12 a.m. to 6:12 a.m., 4:38 p.m. to 6:38 p.m., and 10:25 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. Patty and I fished from 4:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.

During our 90-minute outing, we quickly fished three spots.

We used four baits: a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ on an orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

At one main-lake point, we caught one smallmouth bass on the Scented LeechZ rig in about four feet of water with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One largemouth bass was extracted from the outside edge of a clump of flooded willow trees on the Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ, and that largemouth bass engulfed the ZinkerZ rig on the initial drop.

We caught five largemouth bass at the point of a riprap jetty. These largemouth bass were abiding along the outside edge of some flooded willows in about three feet of water. Three were caught on the ZinkerZ rig. One was caught on the Scented LeechZ. One was caught on the Finesse ShadZ. All of them were caught as we employed a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We quickly probed three sections of a steep shoreline, where we caught only one smallmouth bass. It was caught on a submerged rock fence in about five feet of water as we were employing the Finesse ShadZ with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Pat Kehde with one of the smallmouth bass that we caught on Sept, 20.

Sept. 20 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a report to the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 20 outing to a 5,090-power-plant reservoir with Andrew Trembath of Kansas City, Kansas.

Here is an edited version of his report:

It was 51 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 77 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The condition of the sky ranged from being clear most of the time to being partly cloudy to mostly cloudy to overcast a few hours. The wind angled out of the southeast at 3 to 12 mph, out of the east by southeast at 4 to 5 mph, and out of the south by southeast at 8 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.10 at 12:53 a.m., 30.10 at 5:53 a.m., 30.09 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.06 at 1:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be slightly above normal, and some of the terrestrial vegetation was flooded. The water clarity along the dam exhibited five feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 76 degrees.

Since I fished this reservoir this past spring, it has experience a remarkable growth of aquatic vegetation. Massive patches of American pondweed cover the flats, and it is flourishing along stretches of the riprap jetties and dam. There are also patches of bushy and curly-leaf pondweed. This vegetation is growing in three to seven feet of water. At times when the wind became a tad gusty, we had a difficult time executing accurate casts and retrieves around and through these patches of vegetation.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would happen at 4:14 a.m. to 6:14 a.m., 4:39 p.m. to 6:39 p.m., and 10:27 a.m. to 12:27 p.m. We fished from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

We caught 59 fish: one blue catfish, one white bass, one walleye, two largemouth bass, several freshwater drum, and the rest were smallmouth bass. Most of these fish were caught on either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught a few on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Our Coppertreuse ZinkerZ rigs were not fruitful.

Even when the wind isn't blowing at an extremely brisk pace, it can be a problem at this reservoir, and it was problematic at some locales during this outing. So, our best presentation style was to keep our rod tips low and drag our baits. Most of the fish were caught in one to six feet of water.

Bob Gum with one of the largemouth bass that he and Andrew Trembath caught on Sept, 20

Sept. 22 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 22 outing with John Thomas of Denton, Texas, at 10,165-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir.

Here is an edited version of his report:

On this final day of summer, my neighbor John Thomas of Denton, Texas, joined me for a four-hour sojourn to a 10,165-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir, where he was introduced to the Midwest finesse methods. I fished this reservoir on Sept. 15 and experienced one of the best fishing outings of my lifetime by catching 140 black bass and 22 white bass.

On Sept. 22, the morning low temperature was 72 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 94 degrees. A mild breeze meandered out of the south by southeast at 3 to 5 mph, and it was calm for about an hour. The barometric pressure measured 30.04 at noon. The sky was at times partly cloudy, at other times mostly cloudy, and a few times endowed with a scattering of clouds.

The water was stained and exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level had dropped another two feet since September 15, and is now at normal pool. The surface temperature varied from 80 degrees to 83 degrees.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing would occur from 6:02 a.m. to 8:02 a.m., 11:49 a.m. to 1:49 p.m., and 6:29 p.m. to 8:29 p.m. We fished from about 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and we spent about 79 minutes trying to capitalize on the 11:49 a.m. to 1:49 p.m. time period, and we caught nine largemouth bass during that phase.

We inveigled 42 largemouth bass, three smallmouth bass, two spotted bass, two large bluegills, and one channel catfish, and we had 17 black bass that were able to liberate themselves before we could land them. The bulk of these 47 black bass were caught between 12:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m., and when the wind was calm for about an hour, we failed to elicit a single strike.

We made a few casts at the boat ramp before we launched the boat and we caught one small largemouth bass on a Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig as it was snapped loose from a snag in two feet of water next to the ramp.

We fished eight steep and rocky main-lake points that are adorned with submerged boulders and flooded terrestrial vegetation. These points are situated along the northern side of the reservoir. The best spot was one of the eight main-lake points that we fished twice, and it surrendered eight largemouth bass the first time we fished it and 15 largemouth bass and two spotted bass the second time. The other seven main-lake points surrendered just three largemouth bass. All 28 of these bass were caught in four to six feet of water and were relating to the deep-water side of the submerged boulders.

We spent the majority of the afternoon along the midsection and southern end of the riprap-covered dam that forms the eastern boundary of the reservoir. On September 15, this area was holding a gigantic school of black bass, and I caught 138 black bass and 22 white bass from this area before my thumbs became too sore and raw from handling all those fish and I called it a day.

This area of the dam was not as fruitful on our Sept. 22 outing. Nevertheless, we caught 15 largemouth bass, three smallmouth bass, two large bluegills, and one channel catfish in three to 10 feet of water along the riprap of the midsection of the dam.

Twenty-six largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one bluegill were induced into striking a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig attached to a Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ and a fast, steady swimming retrieve. Eleven largemouth bass, three smallmouth bass, one bluegill, and one channel catfish were beguiled by a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and it was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. A Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a swim-glide-and-shake technique bewitched five largemouth bass.

John Thomas with one of the three smallmouth bass that he and Steve Reideler caught on Sept. 22.

Sept. 23 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed the following log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept 23 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

I had planned to get on the water before 9:00 a.m., but I elected to wait for the extremely thick fog to lift from our mountainous landscape. At 9:00 a.m. it was a non-humid and chilly 53 degrees, and during the night, the temperature dropped to 47 degrees. By the time I launched our Jackson Big Tuna kayak at 11:30 a.m., it was sunny and 73 degrees.

My sole intention for this outing was to continue to test some the Z-Man baits that I had been working on -- test the drop rates with Z-Man's 1/20-ounce green-pumpkin Finesse ShroomZ jig, which I have customized with a Dremel tool, making it a 1/32-ounce jig and painting it red.

Our waters remain extremely low and our nighttime temperatures have dropped dramatically during the past couple of weeks. The length of daylight is drastically changing. The fish seem to be sensing this change. They are slowly moving to their autumn haunts, which are deeper than their summer ones. At this moment, they have not fully arrived at their autumn hangouts, but they are certainly headed in that direction.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the river was flowing at 63 cubic feet per minute. The water temperature was 71 degrees, and it was 82 degrees two week ago. The water clarity exhibited 10 feet of visibility.

I rigged four rods for this outing. One sported a greatly customized three- inch Z-Man's blue steel Finesse ShadZ affixed to a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The second one was rigged with a shortened Z-Man's dirt Finesse WormZ on the customized red 1/32-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. The third one sported a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's dirt ZinkerZ on the customized red 1/32-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. The fourth one was rigged with an extremely customized 2 1/4-inch Z-Man's pumpkin EZ TubeZ affixed to the customized red 1/32-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig.

These baits were liberally coated with my customized Pro-Cure Super Gel scent, which I make by mixing their garlic, crayfish, and nightcrawler scents together . And I reapply it every 30 minutes or so.

During this lure-testing outing, I wanted to fish sections of the river that I am intimately familiar, which are not the best early fall locales for catching smallmouth bass. Nevertheless, the smallmouth bass fishing was fairly productive.

Upon launching the kayak, I paddled for 35 minutes to a scoured-out hole that is embellished with plenty of large crisscrossing elm and red oak trees, which are situated on the bottom and entangled in the extremely large boulders. This entanglement occurs during our high-water periods.

This scoured-out area is 12 feet deep and 75 yards long. Above this spot and below it for 500 yards, the depth of the water is two feet.

On my second cast with the Finesse ShadZ, I caught a 19-inch smallmouth bass that engulfed it within a foot of the bottom as soon as I began my first shake of the rod tip. It was a great start.

Throughout the outing, I continued to retrieve the lures so that they executed what the late Charlie Brewer used to describe as polishing the rocks, which is executed by allowing the lure to travel extremely slowly and just above the obstructions along the bottom. And I would occasionally shake the lure as it moved.

I fished three hours and nine minutes. I caught nine smallmouth bass, two largemouth bass, six big bluegill, and three rock bass on the customized Finesse ShadZ rig. I caught four smallmouth bass, one largemouth bass and three bluegill on the Finesse WormZ rig. I caught seven smallmouth bass and six big bluegill on the ZinkerZ rig. I caught three smallmouth bass two largemouth bass and 10 bluegill on the EZ TubeZ.

Sept. 23 log

The largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing has been dreadful for me at all but two of the flatland reservoirs that I have fished in northeastern Kansas since Sept. 1. In fact, my outing on Sept. 16 at a 160-acre state reservoir, and the outing on Sept. 21 at a 11,600-acre United States Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir, and the one at a 195-acre community reservoir on Sept 22 were so awful and short-lived affairs that I didn't bother writing a log about them. I have been hesitant to return to our two fruitful impoundments because they and their black bass denizens have been overwhelmed by anglers during the past six weeks. But to get out of my piscatorial funk, Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I elected to spend 3 3/4-hours fishing one of those fruitful reservoirs on Sept. 23.

It was 64 degrees at 11:53 a.m. and 82 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The condition of the sky alternated from being scattered with clouds to being partly cloudy to being clear. The wind angled out of the east at 5 mph, out of the south by southeast at 5 to 9 mph, out of the east by northeast at 4 mph, out of the east by southeast at 4 to 9 mph, out of the south at 9 to 10 mph, and out of the southeast at 10 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.07 at 12:53 a.m., 30.08 at 5:53 a.m., 30.10 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.04 at 2:53 p.m.

Surface temperature ranged from 73 to 75 degrees. The water clarity exhibited three to five feet of visibility. The water level was normal. The patches of bushy pondweed and Eurasian milfoil were bountiful and hardy, and we caught a goodly number of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass that were abiding around some of those patches. The American pondweed was not as plentiful and in fine shape as the bushy pondweed and milfoil, and we did not catch a significant number of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass around it.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing would occur at 6:48 a.m. to 8:48 a.m., 7:15 p.m.to 9:15 p.m., and 12:34 a.m. to 2:34 a.m. We fished from 10:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

We fished one offshore hump, where the boat floated in five to 20 feet of water. The terrain is graced with boulders, American pondweed, bushy pondweed, and milfoil. A slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig caught two largemouth bass and a smallmouth bass. A slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's purple haze Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught three smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass. A Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught two smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass. Three of these bass engulfed the bait on the initial drop in the vicinity of aquatic vegetation. Five of them were caught when we implemented a swimming retrieve around and through the aquatic vegetation.

We spent the rest of the outing swimming a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's purple haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man's bloodworm Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig around patches of American pondweed, bushy pondweed and milfoil.

The bloodworm Slim SwimZ caught one largemouth bass. The slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig caught a couple black bass. The slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's purple haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, the slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, and the slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig caught the rest of the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

One of the 18 smallmouth bass that Steve Desch and I caught on Sept. 23.

In total, we caught 44 largemouth bass and 18 smallmouth bass. The bulk of them were caught on a straight swimming retrieve. Two of them were caught on a deadstick presentation. A few on them were caught on the initial drop of our Finesse WormZ rigs. All of them were caught around patches of aquatic vegetation, and they were abiding in three to seven feet of water.

At one flat main-lake point we caught two smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass.

At a steep main-lake point and steep main-lake shoreline, we caught three smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass.

Along a flat shoreline on the south side and a portion of a flat shoreline on the north side of a feeder-creek arm, we caught 11 largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass.

We caught one largemouth bass along a 75-yard section of a flat main-lake shoreline.

We caught three largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass at a large and steep main-lake point.

We caught nine largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass along a 200-yard stretch of a flat main-lake shoreline.

We caught four largemouth bass on a flat main-lake point.

We caught four largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass along the north shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm.

We caught two largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass along a flat main-lake point and adjacent shoreline.

We caught one smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass along a steep shoreline along the south side of a feeder-creek arm.

We failed to catch a largemouth bass and smallmouth bass inside one small feeder-creek arm and along a 100-yard section of a flat main-lake shoreline.

A Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man PB&J ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig failed to catch a fish.

Besides the 62 black bass that we caught, we inadvertently caught one walleye, two black crappie, and about a dozen bluegill and green sunfish.

One of the 44 largemouth bass that Steve Desch and I caught on Sept. 23.

Endnote to the Sept 23 log: Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 23 outing at a 120-acre northwest community reservoir, where the largemouth bass fishing has been extremely sour throughout the summer. But on the first day of fall, he reported that this reservoir "returned from the dead." The surface temperature was 75 degrees. The water was the clearest that he has seen this year. He and a friend fished from 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and they caught 49 fish. About half of them were good-sized crappie, and the other half was a mix of largemouth bass, a few big bluegills, a walleye and a channel catfish. Most of the fish were caught around brushpiles on either a four-inch Bass Pro Shops' green-pumpkin plastic worm on a black 1/16-ounce black round jig or a Bass Pro Shops' black and chartreuse curly-tail grub affixed to a black 1/16-ounce round jig.

The resurrection of the largemouth bass fishing that Frazee experienced on Sept. 23 has scores of Midwest finesse anglers in northwestern Missouri and northeastern Kansas hoping that the other reservoirs that stipple the area will experience a similar phenomenon.

Brent Frazee with one of the largemouth bass that he and a friend caught on Sept. 23.

Sept. 23 log

Don Baldridge of Springfield, Missouri, post a link to his YouTube video that features him using a customized Z-Man's EZ TubeZ and mushroom-style jig at a strip pit in west-central Missouri on Sept. 23.  Here's the link to his  video: EZ Float Tube Strip Pit Fishing.

Sept 24 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 24 outing with John Thomas of Denton, Texas, at a 25,640-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir. This was Thomas' second Midwest finesse outing.

Here is an edited version of his report:

It was sunny and humid in north-central Texas. The sky conditions changed from partly cloudy to mostly cloudy. The morning low temperature was 68 degrees and the afternoon temperature high was 94 degrees. A light breeze angled out of the east at 3 to 5 mph., and for a couple of short spells, the wind was calm. The barometric pressure measured 30.06 at noon.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the best fishing periods would take place between the hours of 1:29 a.m. to 3:29 a.m., 7:43 a.m. to 9:43 a.m., and 8:11 p.m. to 10:11 p.m. We fished from about noon to about 4:30 p.m., and we caught 46 largemouth bass and four spotted bass. We also inadvertently caught two freshwater drum and one channel catfish.

The water was stained and exhibited two to three feet of visibility. The normal water clarity for this reservoir is between three and six feet of visibility. The surface temperature varied from 79 degrees to 85 degrees. The water level was just slightly above normal pool.

We launched the boat at a boat ramp situated along the east shoreline in the southeast portion of the reservoir's eastern tributary arm.

The area surrounding the boat ramp encompasses a 35-yard long riprap jetty with a concrete fishing pier that extends another 25 yards out from the west end of the jetty. The boat ramp we utilized and three other ramps lie just south of the jetty. The mouth of a small cove lies just south of the boat ramps and is enhanced with riprap and partially flooded buck brush. The shoreline that lies just north of the jetty is also adorned with riprap and flooded terrestrial vegetation. We caught 22 largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and one freshwater drum from this area.

We caught one two-pound, two-ounce largemouth bass on our first cast, and this bass was relating to the side of a laydown log positioned along a rocky shoreline at the mouth of the small cove just south of the boat ramps in three feet of water.

Eight largemouth bass were lured from a section of riprap that borders the south side of the concrete boat ramps, and they were inhabiting water as shallow as three feet and as deep as eight feet.

One spotted bass was extracted from five feet of water behind a bass boat that was idling on a trailer on one of the concrete boat ramps.

Six largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught along both sides of the riprap-laden jetty in three to five feet of water.

Eight largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one freshwater drum were caught off the tip of a main-lake point about 60 yards north of the jetty. The spotted bass and seven of the largemouth bass were holding just off the tip of the point in three to five get of water. One largemouth bass was caught behind the boat as we were drifting about 40 yards offshore in 32 feet of open water, and we were baffled as to why this bass was caught in the middle of nowhere.

A blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig affixed to a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green- pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ bewitched 17 of these 25 black bass. A Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig allured five black bass. A chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ enticed two largemouth bass and one freshwater drum. A shortened Z-Man's four-inch PB&J Finesse WormZ rigged on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig tricked one spotted bass.

The two 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ combos and the shortened four-inch PB&J Finesse WormZ rig were retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The pearl Slim SwimZ was worked with a steady swimming retrieve.

Our next spot was a 75-yard portion of riprap along the midsection of the dam. This dam is about two miles long and forms the southern perimeter of the reservoir.

This area of the dam surrendered six largemouth bass, one freshwater drum, and one channel catfish. Three largemouth bass were enticed into striking the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Two largemouth bass, one freshwater drum, and the channel catfish were caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ with a steady swim presentation. A Z-Man's Space Guppy Swim SlimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and steady swim motif beguiled one largemouth bass.

All of these fish were abiding in two to five feet of water and were in close proximity to the riprap along the face of the dam.

After we finished fishing the dam, we made a five-minute run northward into the eastern tributary arm of the reservoir, where we fished three main-lake points, two secondary points inside a major feeder-creek arm, and a steep rocky ledge that separated the two secondary points. One of the three main-lake points is flat and adorned with flooded terrestrial vegetation and a submerged roadbed. This point and roadbed yielded eight largemouth bass and one spotted bass that were abiding around the deep-water edges of the flooded vegetation and along the south edge of the roadbed in three to five feet of water.

Five of these eight largemouth bass and the one spotted bass engulfed the Space Guppy Slim SwimZ, which was presented with a steady swim retrieve. Two largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One largemouth bass was coaxed into striking the shortened four-inch PB&J Finesse WormZ and swim-glide-and-shake action.

The other two main-lake points were a bit steeper, and they were also graced with flooded terrestrial vegetation, and they yielded one largemouth bass. This largemouth bass was abiding in four feet of water and was relating to the deep-water edge of a patch of flooded shoreline vegetation. It was coaxed into striking the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

We finished the afternoon inside a major feeder-creek arm located along the west shoreline of the east tributary arm.

We fished two secondary points that were situated near the mouth of this feeder-creek, and we garnered two largemouth bass. These two largemouth bass were relating to some scattered basketball-size rocks in three feet of water along the side of one of the two secondary points, and they were caught on the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

As we were about to call it a day, we observed a school of about a dozen largemouth bass cruising along the edge of a rock ledge that separates the two secondary points in five feet of water. We caught seven largemouth bass from this school. Three largemouth bass were caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ and a steady swimming retrieve. Three others were caught on the shortened four-inch PB&J Finesse WormZ, which was presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. After largemouth bass number 50 engulfed the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation at about 4:30 p.m., we called it a day.

The Z-Man's 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ and blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig combo was the most fruitful lure. The swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most productive presentation.

The fishing in these parts has been so delightfully bountiful during the past few weeks that we felt like we were fishing in northeastern Kansas or Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, instead of north-central Texas. We are unsure how long this piscatorial nirvana will last; so, we are trying to make the most of this stupendous and unusual phenomenon by fishing as often as we can.

Steve Reideler with one of the 46 largemouth bass that he and John Thomas caught on Sept. 24.

Sept. 24 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed the following log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept 24 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his log:

The weather started out much like what I faced on the morning of Sept. 23: thick fog.

The air temperature was a brisk 55 degrees when I woke at 6:00 a.m. The weatherman predicted that 81 degrees would be our high temperature, and it would be sunny . He was on the mark.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the river was flowing at 63 cubic feet per second. The water temperature was 73 degrees. The water was clear enough that I could nearly have seen whether it was heads or tails on a quarter in 10 feet of water.

I launched the Kayak at 9:50 a.m. The sun was finally breaking through the dense fog, and area thermometers were registering 73 degrees.

Recently, I had seen groups of five to six smallmouth bass on massive shallow flats, and they were acting as if they were on the move to some of their deep-water haunts. So, I had elected to fish deep water, which I had not plied since March, when I was focusing on the aggregations of wintertime smallmouth bass. Because we are in the midst of a radical transition, this could have been an abysmal outing.

Initially, I rigged four spinning rods for this outing, but I decided to use only two of them. One of the rods sported a heavily modified Z-Man's blue steel Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The second rod sported a shortened four-inch Z-Man's dirt Finesse WormZ affixed to a burnt- orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. All of the baits were coated with my Pro-Cure garlic-crayfish-nightcrawler concoction.

I had decided to fish sheer cliffs that are truly massive in height. The depths vary from eight feet to more than 20 feet in some of the scoured out areas. The bottom is completely covered with old logs and massive boulders. I thought that the groups of smallmouth bass that I saw moving might now be abiding along these sheer-cliff areas. As I examined and fished these locales, I searched for unique objects to dissect with my baits. Thus, I proceeded to dissect every tree that had fallen into the river since spring. These trees jut out from the cliffs, and there is deep water flowing under their limbs.

This time of the year oodles of leaves float along the surface of the river, and eventually they become intertwined with the trunks and branches of the trees, forming a thick canopy of leaves and tree limbs.

In front of these trees, I could easily see the bottom of the river, but under the leaf-littered trees, I could not see the bottom. My aim was to cast my bait as tightly as I could to this leaf canopy, and then I would execute the slowest possible rate of fall that I could create, and once the bait was on the bottom, I would deadstick and shake it until I allured a smallmouth bass to engulf it or I made another cast.

I am pleased to report that I made the right decision on where and how to fish. I fished a total of five hours and 12 minutes. I caught 32 smallmouth bass, three largemouth bass, 13 truly huge bluegill on the customized Finesse ShadZ rig. My dirt-colored Finesse WormZ rig caught 29 smallmouth bass, four largemouth bass, and 12 behemoth bluegill. Nothing huge bass wise, but I did hook one in the limbs that was truly a big largemouth bass but it shook off.

It was a gorgeous early fall day to be afloat on the river.

Sept. 27 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his 3 1/2-hour outing on Sept. 27 with Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, at a 26,471-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir.

Here is an edited version of his report:

The last time I fished this reservoir was on September 13, and I was accompanied by Rick Allen of Dallas. On that outing, we set a third Midwest finesse numbers record for this reservoir in about a month by catching 75 black bass in three hours and 41 minutes.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing periods would take place between 4:09 a.m. to 6:09 a.m., 10:23 a.m. to 12:23 p.m., and 10:51 p.m. to 12:51 a.m. We fished from about 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and although we didn't fish during any of the prime fishing periods, we still managed to inveigle 40 largemouth bass, four spotted bass, and two large bluegills.

It was mostly cloudy. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 66 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was a humid 92 degrees. The barometric pressure was low and measured 29.69 at noon. A mild-mannered breeze blew out of the east at 3 to 5 mph. A super-moon lunar eclipse occurred later in the evening.

We concentrated our efforts mostly on the west end of the reservoir's southwest tributary arm, and we were besieged by scores of annoying jet skiers, water skiers, pleasure boaters, and party barges.

The water clarity varied from about a foot to about two feet of visibility. The water temperature ranged from 80 degrees to 82 degrees. The water level was at normal pool level.

We started the afternoon plying a main-lake point that separates two large mud flats. The point and both flats were stippled with flooded buck brush. We caught five largemouth bass that were relating to the outside edges of the flooded buck brush situated on top of the point in four to six feet of water. We failed to garner any strikes on the two mud flats.

After we fished the main-lake point and two mud flats, we fished the north and south ends of two riprap-laden bridge embankments and several concrete support pilings underneath a bridge. We could see several pods of baitfish cruising close to the surface along the riprap about 10 to 15 feet from the water's edge.

The embankment on the north side of the bridge relinquished four largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and one large bluegill that were relating to the embankment's riprap in four to six feet of water. Another spotted bass was lured from the side of a concrete support piling, and it was suspended about eight feet down in 15 feet of water.

The south end of the bridge embankment yielded five largemouth bass that were scattered along the riprap in four to six feet of water.

We made a short run westward along the south shoreline and fished two main-lake points, a flooded brush-covered main-lake mud flat, a small main-lake cove, and a 25-yard section of riprap shoreline just inside the small cove. The water in this area was muddier than the water surrounding the bridge embankments, and it exhibited about a foot of visibility. There were no visible signs of baitfish in this area, and we failed to elicit any strikes.

We then crossed to the north side of the tributary arm and fished a large main-lake flat that was covered with several large patches of partially submerged terrestrial vegetation. This flat was about the size of a football field, and the water clarity exhibited about two feet of visibility. We could see an abundance of baitfish inhabiting this large flat. We caught 20 largemouth bass, and they were relating to the deep-water sides of the patches of flooded brush in three to five feet of water. We were able to see several of these bass strike our lures near the boat, which was floating in six feet of water.

Next, we fished two rocky main-lake points that are situated a short distance east of the large mud flat. One point was flat and embellished with several large submerged boulders. The second point was steeper, rockier, and adorned with partially flooded buck brush. The first point surrendered three largemouth bass that were extracted from four feet of water off the tip of the point. The second point yielded one largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one large bluegill. The two black bass were suspended about eight feet down in 12 feet of water. The large bluegill was relating to a patch of submerged rocks on top of the point in about three feet of water.

We finished the afternoon at a main-lake shoreline located along the south shoreline in the midsection of this tributary arm. This area has been fairly productive over the past few weeks, but it was not fruitful during this outing. We probed this area for the last 30 minutes of this endeavor, and we caught just one largemouth bass that was abiding in eight feet of water.

All of the large north-central Texas reservoirs that we have fished since mid-August have enjoyed an explosion of two-inch baitfish. Consequently, Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZs affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig have been two of our most effective baits. On this outing, a 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig allured 14 of the 44 black bass that we caught. Z-Man's green-pumpkin Split-Tail TrailerZ and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig enticed nine. Z-Man's black Split-Tail TrailerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig bewitched seven black bass. A Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ and a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig fooled seven black bass and one large bluegill. A Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig beguiled seven black bass and the other large bluegill. A generic two-inch chartreuse curly-tailed grub rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a generic three-inch white curly-tailed grub rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig elicited several missed strikes.

The Finesse ShadZ rigs and Split-Tail TrailerZ rigs were retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The 2 1/2-inch Z-Man pearl Slim SwimZ, two-inch generic chartreuse curly-tailed grub, and the three-inch generic white curly-tailed grub were presented with a steady swimming retrieve.

Sept. 29 log

Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I were hoping to replicate the outing we enjoyed on Sept. 23 at a northeastern Kansas community reservoir.

But when we returned to this reservoir on Sept. 29, we were not properly dressed. Thus, we had a difficult time tolerating the misty and brisk north wind that we had to contend with. What's more, the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass were difficult to catch, which adversely affected our ability to tolerate Mother Nature's cool and windy mist.

When we launched the boat around 10:25 a.m. and executed our first casts and retrieves at 10:35 a.m., it looked as if it would be an ideal outing. The weather was exhibiting some of the pleasant touches of fall, and straightaway, Desch tangled with two smallmouth bass. But within an hour, that rosy perspective began to change, as the fishing became trying and the weather became too cool for our old bones and joints to endure for several hours of lackluster fishing.

Steve Desch with the first smallmouth bass of the outing.

The National Weather Service noted that it was 60 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 70 degrees at 10:53 a.m. Then around 11:00 a.m., the wind shifted from the east at 5 mph to the north and northwest at 9 to 12 mph. The sky changed from being clear to mostly cloudy to overcast, and a tad of cool mist periodically covered the lenses of our glasses and penetrated our summertime wardrobe. When the temperature dropped to 64 degrees, it caused goose bumps to periodically erupt on our legs and the backs of our neck. The barometric pressure was 29.94 at 12:53 a.m., 29.98 at 5:53 a.m., 30.07 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.07 at 1:53 a.m.

The water level was normal. The water clarity exhibit three to six feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 73 degrees. The American water willows are beginning to exhibit the yellowish hue of autumn, as is some of the terrestrial vegetation that adorns the shorelines. But this reservoir's many patches of American pondweed, bushy pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil are still burgeoning and exhibiting their summertime hues.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing should take place from 11:36 a.m. to 1:36 p.m., 12:04 p.m. to 2:04 p.m., and 5:50 a.m. to 7:50 a.m. We were afloat from 10:30 to 1:25 p.m., and it was a struggle for us to catch 12 largemouth bass and 10 smallmouth bass.

Ten of the largemouth bass and nine of the smallmouth bass were caught on either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's dirt ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. Two largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Coppertreuse Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

Ten of the largemouth bass engulfed these baits on the initial drop, as did four of the smallmouth bass. Two of the smallmouth bass and one of the largemouth bass were caught while we executed a drag and strolling presentation. Four smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass were caught as we executed a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

Three smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass were caught on an offshore hump that is littered with rocks and boulders, as well as some patches of American pondweed, bushy pondweed, and milfoil. These five fish were abiding in three to six feet of water, and our boat floated in six to 20 feet of water.

Two smallmouth bass and four largemouth bass were caught around shallow patches of bushy pondweed and Eurasian milfoil inside a feeder-creek arm. One largemouth bass was caught adjacent to a partially submerged piece of brush and surrounded by bushy pondweed and milfoil. These fish were extracted out of five feet of water, and the boat floated in four to 12 feet of water.

We caught one largemouth bass around a patch of American pondweed that is situated along a steep and rocky main-lake shoreline. This fish was abiding in four feet of water. The boat was floating in 13 to 14 feet of water.

We caught two largemouth bass along the outside edge of a patch of submerged milfoil inside another feeder-creek arm. These fish were abiding in four feet of water, and the boat was floating in seven feet of water.

We caught one smallmouth bass at a steep and rocky main-lake point that was adjacent to the outside edge of a patch of American water willows and along the inside edge of a patch of milfoil. This smallmouth bass was abiding in about two feet of water. The boat was floating in 12 feet of water.

We caught one largemouth bass at another rocky and steep main-lake point, and it was caught along the outside edges of a patch of American water willows in about three feet of water. The boat was floating in 15 feet of water.

We caught one largemouth bass and four smallmouth bass inside a small feeder-creek arm. Two smallmouth bass were abiding many yards off the shoreline in about nine feet of water. The other two smallmouth bass were caught about six yards off the shoreline and in about six feet of water. The largemouth bass was caught around a patch of milfoil in five feet of water.

We inadvertently caught one black crappie, one white crappie, three green sunfish, and four bluegill. We also hooked eight fish that we didn't see before they liberated themselves.

We fished one steep and rocky main-lake point, one flat and rocky main-lake point, and one steep and rocky main-lake shoreline. All three of these locales were graced with patches of aquatic vegetation. All three of them failed to yield a largemouth bass and a smallmouth bass.

Our largemouth bass fishing has been pathetic in northeastern Kansas during much of September. For instance, Desch talked with Ace Croucher of Quenemo, Kansas, who reported that the largemouth bass fishing on Sept. 26 and 27 at another nearby community reservoir, which is normally a very fruitful waterway, was surprisingly difficult. Likewise, Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, reported that the largemouth bass fishing at a northeastern Kansas power-plant reservoir on Sept. 27 was wretched, and on top of that, the water was affected by a horrendous algae bloom. Gum described it as a sorry state of affairs.

Sept. 29 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed the following report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 29 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his log:

During the past several days while I was at work, I kept a keen eye on the weather forecast because I wanted nothing more but to get on the water on Sept. 29. It was, however, an iffy proposition, and the forecasts said thunderstorms would roll by and the rain would be heavy.

Nevertheless, I threw caution to the wind, and I launched the kayak at 7:10 a.m. and began a three-mile float. I knew I had to get an early start in order to avoid any possibility of being caught in one of the approaching storms far from the truck. At the time I launched, it was sprinkling rain and 68 degrees, and the United States Geological Survey reported that the river was flowing at 68 cubic feet per second and the water temperature was 70 degrees. I was in the truck and on my way home at 11:33 a.m.

Throughout the entire outing, I used my heavily customized two-inch Z-Man's pumpkin EZ TubeZ affixed to an inserted unpainted 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, which I retrieved inches above the bottom, and throughout the retrieve I would continuously lift it and then let it fall towards the bottom. As I floated downstream, I worked it in and out of the current seams. And later in the day, I worked it along a distinct mud line that began to form from the runoff of the rain.

I caught 23 smallmouth bass, one largemouth bass, 13 big bluegill and seven big rock bass. My largest fish today was an 18-inch smallmouth bass that had three followers of similar size, and that fish came from less than two feet of water.

The weather forecasters were correct about the heavy rain and thunderstorms. Within 35 minutes of getting home, the sky lit up with lightening, and I am glad to be home. The river has risen 30 cubic feet per second since I got off the water. It is the most rain we have seen since spring. By the way, it gave me a chance to test some new rain-and-foul weather gear, and it performed extremely well.

Sept. 30 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 30 outing with John Thomas of Denton, Texas, at a 26,471-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir.

Here is an edited version of his report:

I fished this reservoir on Sept. 27 with Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and during that 3 1/3-hour outing, we caught and released 44 black bass and two large bluegills.

The National Weather Service noted the morning low temperature was 66 degrees and the afternoon high temperature reached 92 degrees. The wind quartered out of the north-by-northeast at 5 to 13 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.02 at 10:00 a.m. The sun was shining brightly as a small cloud or two occasionally drifted across the powder-blue sky. In our eyes, it was a beautiful but hot fall day.

According to the In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the best fishing periods would occur during the hours of 12:43 a.m. to 2:43 a.m., (space needed) 6:57 a.m. to 8:57 a.m., and 1:11 p.m. to 3:11 p.m. John and I were afloat from about 10:30 a.m. to about 3:40 p.m., but we fished only four hours. We fished during the entire 1:11 p.m. to 3:11 p.m. phase, and we caught 22 black bass during that time period.

The water temperature ranged from 80 degrees to 83 degrees. The water level was at normal pool level. The water clarity exhibited about two feet of visibility.

We began our outing by plying a shallow and rocky flat along the south end of the reservoir. The north wind was blowing small waves onto this flat and we had hoped to find a significant aggregation of largemouth bass and spotted bass foraging on large schools of two-inch shad all along this flat and along the face of the adjacent riprap-laden dam. We positioned the boat in five to seven feet of water, but to our chagrin, we quickly discovered that there were no visible signs of shad or large concentrations of black bass inhabiting this flat. Thus, we eked out only one small largemouth bass that was abiding in four feet of water and about 10 feet from the water's edge. This largemouth engulfed a Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, and it was presented with a steady swimming retrieve.

We continued fishing our way westward along the face of the dam that forms the southern boundary of the reservoir. The boat floated in eight to 15 feet of water. The dam's face is covered with riprap that extends out from the water's edge into 15 feet of water. We slowly dissected the riprap along the east end and middle section of the dam with a Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ rig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California Craw ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Split-Tail TrailerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The Slim SwimZ was presented with a steady swim retrieve, and the 2 1/2-inch California Craw ZinkerZ and green-pumpkin Split-Tail TrailerZ were retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake technique. The black bass bite was slow, but we managed to catch 15 largemouth bass and one large bluegill. The Slim SwimZ inveigled 12 largemouth bass and the one large bluegill. Two largemouth bass were caught on the green-pumpkin Split-Tail TrailerZ, and one largemouth bass was caught on the 2 1/2-inch California Craw ZinkerZ. All of these fish were relating to the riprap along the dam, and were extracted from water as shallow as three feet and as deep as eight feet.

While we were fishing the dam, we crossed paths with James Anderson of The Colony, Texas, and Howard McBride of Double Oak, Texas. They had started fishing earlier in the morning, and though they had caught a few fish, they found the fishing slow and trying. Howard has developed an interest in Midwest finesse methods and had one spinning rod rigged with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ rigged on what appeared to me to be a red Bass Pro Shops finesse jig head. While we were talking, Howard made a cast toward the face of the dam with his ZinkerZ rig, and he caught a largemouth bass. About 10 minutes later, he caught a freshwater drum on the same ZinkerZ rig.

After we finished fishing the dam, Howard, James, John, and I made a long run into the southwest tributary arm, where we plied two riprap-laden bridge embankments. James and Howard began fishing the southern embankment, and John and I plied the northern embankment.

John and I observed a couple of small pods of two-inch shad cruising along the riprap of the northern embankment. We caught two largemouth bass on the 2 1/2-inch California Craw ZinkerZ and swim-glide -and-shake retrieve. One largemouth bass was caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ and steady swim retrieve. These three bass were dwelling in three to five feet of water and were associated with the riprap that adorns the shoreline of the embankment.

John and I then joined James and Howard along the south-side embankment. John lured one largemouth bass from three feet of water along the southeast side of the embankment with the Slim SwimZ and steady swim retrieve. I coaxed two largemouth bass from the side of a circular concrete bridge support piling, and they were suspended about five feet down in 15 feet of water. Both of these bass engulfed a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and worked in a slow swim-glide-and-shake manner.

John and I then took about a 40-minute break and had a shoreline lunch at a nearby dock. We did not cross paths with Howard and James again until about an hour later. They told us they had caught a total of seven or eight fish, which were comprised of five different species, and they were calling it a day.

After lunch, John and I fished a nearby rocky secondary point about midway back in a main-lake cove and less than 100 yards from the dock where we enjoyed our lunch. The boat floated in seven feet of water. This secondary point and a short stretch of adjacent rocky shoreline is covered with gravel, fist-size rocks, two concrete boat ramps, and riprap that borders the edges of the boat ramps. We garnered three spotted bass and one largemouth bass from this area. The three spotted bass were abiding in five feet of water and were relating to the deep-water edge of one of the concrete boat ramps. The largemouth bass was caught along the short stretch of rocky shoreline adjacent to the secondary point, and it was milling about in four feet of water. Two of the three spotted bass and the one largemouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch California Craw ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The other spotted bass attacked the pearl Slim SwimZ and steady swim presentation.

We also fished a series of four rocky main-lake points and an adjacent large brush-covered main-lake flat that lie along the north shoreline of the southwest tributary. This series of four main-lake points relinquished six largemouth bass and one spotted bass. All seven of these black bass were abiding in five to eight feet of water and were relating to the deep-water sides of the points. The six largemouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch California Craw ZinkerZ implemented with a swim-glide-and-shake action. The spotted bass was caught on the green-pumpkin Split-Tail TrailerZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

We finished our outing at a large main-lake flat that is covered with several large patches of partially submerged terrestrial vegetation. This flat is about the size of a football field, and we spotted a few small pods of two-inch shad darting around the flooded vegetation in about two feet of water. We caught 11 largemouth bass that were scattered along this flat, and they were relating to the deep-water sides of the patches of flooded brush in two to four feet of water.

All totaled, we caught 44 black bass and one large bluegill during the four-hours that we fished. Most of the black bass were small specimens, but we caught several keeper-size bass as well. We had difficulty locating large schools of shad, and we failed to elicit any strikes at locales were there were no visible signs of shad.

The pearl Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and steady swim retrieve continues to be our most fruitful lure and presentation. The Slim SwimZ and Gopher jig combo allured 27 of the 44 black bass. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California Craw ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught 12 black bass. The Z-Man's green-pumpkin Split-Tail TrailerZ and swim-glide-and-shake technique caught three. Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught two.

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