Midwest Finesse Fishing: September 2017

Midwest Finesse Fishing: September 2017

Our September guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 27 logs and 24,567 words that explain how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished. It features the angling efforts of Rick Allen of Dallas; Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas; Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas; Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas; Paul Finn of Olathe, Kansas; Merit Goodman of Eudora, Kansas; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia;  Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas; Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina;  Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; Robert Shue of Waynesboro, West Virginia; John Thomas of Denton, Texas; Andrew Trembath of Parkville, Missouri; and my northeastern Kansas' logs.


We are more than eternally grateful that Steve Reideler proof read all of the words. He made them more readable and understandable.

Sept. 1 log


The Weather Underground reported that it was 61 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 78 degrees at 2:53 p.m.  It was sunny. The wind angled out of the north by northeast, east by northeast, east, and northeast at 3 to 9 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.05 at 12:53 a.m., 30.07 at 5:53 a.m., 30.11 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.06 at 2:53 p.m.


In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 7:16 a.m. to 9:16 a.m., 7:40 p.m. to 9:40 p.m., and 1:04 a.m. to 3:04 a.m. I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas' many community reservoirs from 10:55 a.m. to 1:25 p.m.

The water level was a few inches above normal, and it had dropped considerably since its watershed was waylaid with 5.45 inches of rain on Aug. 21 and 22. The surface temperature was 77 degrees. The water exhibited a tea-like hue with about two feet of visibility. Some of its shorelines are adorned with patches of American water willows, and patches of coontail laced the outside edges of some of the patches of American water willows. Some of the reservoir's shallow-water flats and flat shorelines are also embellished with patches of coontail, and these patches are covered with four to seven feet of water. Patches of duckweed and mats of filamentous algae coat the surface at many locales around this reservoir.

For the past year or so, I have been thinking about retiring from the Finesse News Network, putting it in the able hands of Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas. My 77-year-old body, mind, and soul have begun to wobble and stagger and stammer.  Upon retiring, I would work on creating a geriatric fishing network, which is a sorely needed venue. Since early July, I have been thinking more and more about the need of a geriatric fishing network. The reason that I have been thinking a lot about it stems from being beset with periodic eruptions of positional vertigo.  These eruptions have prevented me from fishing as much as I used to fish. It has also interfered with my abilities to concentrate when I am afloat and to make accurate casts and to execute alluring presentations.  It makes me feel like an old man.  One of the gross manifestations of these geriatric woes occurred on Aug. 30, which is when I fell out of my boat and into the water. That tumble occurred as I was ending my outing at one of northeastern Kansas' state reservoirs, where I had fished for two hours and 23 minutes and struggled to catch 23 largemouth bass. After that plunge into the water, I did not possess the wherewithal to write and post a log on the Finesse News Network about where, how, and when I struggled to catch those 23 largemouth bass.

On this Sept. 1 outing, I worked more on the geriatric aspects of my fishing than I did on the Midwest finesse aspects. My primary goals were to fish for at least 2 1/2 hours and not fall out of the boat. I accomplished those two goals, and I also caught 30 largemouth bass.

During these 160 minutes, I fished the dam, the spillway, two main-lake points, one shallow-water flat that is endowed with patches of coontail, and short portions of three main-lake shorelines.

Along the dam, I caught 13 largemouth bass. The dam possesses about a 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of riprap. Its water's edge is adorned with patches of American water willows, and at both ends of the dam, there are patches of coontail. Six of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop, five were caught while I was executing a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation, and two were caught while I was employing a drag-and-shake presentation. One largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man Fishing Products' green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head jig. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a customized red 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Three largemouth bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man's pearl Hula StickZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Five largemouth bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Some of these retrieves were employed while I was strolling the rigs behind the boat and parallel to the outside edges of the patches of American water willows. These largemouth bass were caught in five to eight feet of water.

I caught two largemouth bass at the spillway in about seven feet of water. There was a significant amount of current flowing across the spillway. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and concrete. Most of the patches of American water willows are uprooted and situated around several steel poles and the concrete portions of the spillway. The two largemouth bass were caught on back-to-back casts with a customized 3 1/4-inch Z-Man's California craw Mag FattyZ tail affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a drag-and-shake presentation.

I failed to elicit a strike at the two main-lake points.

I caught three largemouth bass on the patches of coontail that grace a shallow-water flat in five to seven feet of water. Two were caught on the shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ rig as I was strolling it across the patches of coontail and employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One was caught on the Z-Man's pearl Hula StickZ rig as I was employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation, and it was an inside-out presentation, which means that the boat was adjacent to the shoreline and I was casting from shallow water to deeper water.

Along one of the main-lake shorelines, I caught two largemouth bass.  This shoreline possesses a 25- to 45-degree slope.  Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. The water's edge is lined with some patches of American water willows, a few patches of coontail, two docks, two rock retaining walls, a concrete retaining wall, some overhanging trees, and some minor laydowns.  The two largemouth bass were caught on back-to-back casts and on the initial drop of the Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ rig in four to five feet of water around the outside edge of a patch of American water willows.

Along another main-lake shoreline, I caught seven largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 35-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water's edge is embellished with patches of American water willows, an overhanging tree, some patches of coontail, and two docks. Some of the coontail patches are 15 to 20 feet from the water's edge. These seven bass were caught on the customized 3 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw Mag FattyZ tail affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation. They were extracted out of four to seven feet of water, and four of them were caught about 15 feet from the water's edge.

Along another main-lake shoreline, I caught three largemouth bass. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water's edge is garnished with patches of American water willows, some minor patches of coontail, and two docks. On two back-to-back casts, I caught a largemouth bass on the initial drop of the customized 3 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw Mag FattyZ tail rig in about five feet of water in the vicinity of one of the docks. The third largemouth bass was caught on the Mag FattyZ tail rig and a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation in five feet of water in the vicinity of the outside edge of a patch of American water willows.

In sum, I was pleased to see that the aftereffects of the deluge that walloped parts of northeastern Kansas had abated. I was also pleased that my dizziness was kept at bay and I was able to tangle with an average of 12 largemouth bass an hour.

Sept. 1 log

Steve Reideler posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 1 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Norman Brown of Lewisville,Texas, joined me for a six-hour excursion at one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs in north-central Texas.

The weather was delightful. It was sunny but not too hot. The sky was partly cloudy and the wind was light and variable. The morning low temperature was 64 degrees. The afternoon high temperature climbed to 90 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.02 at 8:23 a.m. and 30.00 at 2:23 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar table, the most lucrative fishing periods would occur between 5:12 a.m. to 7:12 a.m., 5:35 p.m. to 7:35 p.m., and 11:23 p.m. to 1:23 a.m. Norman and I fished from 8:10 a.m. to 2:10 a.m.

The water was stained and exhibited about 18 inches of clarity. The water level was 0.39 feet high. The surface temperature varied from 81 to 85 degrees.

We concentrated our efforts on five main-lake points, two main-lake shorelines, portions of two feeder-creek arms, two riprap-laden bridge embankments, and about three dozen concrete pillars underneath a large bridge. All of these areas are situated in the southwest tributary arm of the reservoir.

Our first spot was a main-lake point at the entrance to a feeder-creek arm and about 75 yards of its adjacent main-lake shoreline. The geology of this area is comprised of red clay, sandstone, gravel, baseball-size rocks, and many submerged boulders in three to six feet of water. We started at the main-lake point and worked our way eastward along its adjacent shoreline. The main-lake point surrendered five largemouth bass that were foraging on small one-inch threadfin shad that were within 10 to 15 feet of the water's edge and in three to six feet of water. The adjacent rocky shoreline yielded five spotted bass and two largemouth bass that were congregated in three to six feet of water around some submerged boulders in a 15-yard section of this shoreline.

We spent about 25 minutes plying a large patch of flooded terrestrial vegetation on the northeast side of a feeder-creek arm. The flooded terrestrial vegetation is surrounded by two to five feet of water, and we caught three largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one channel catfish from the outside edges of this patch of flooded vegetation in five feet of water.

From that feeder-creek arm, we travelled about a mile northwest to another feeder-creek arm. We focused on one secondary point in the middle portion of this creek arm. This secondary point is graced with one concrete boat ramp and one dilapidated asphalt boat ramp. Both ramps are adorned with submerged riprap and softball-size rocks. We caught one largemouth bass in three feet of water along the shallow portion of the concrete ramp. We caught one spotted bass from several submerged rocks in five feet of water on one side of the asphalt ramp. We also dissected a small segment of clay and gravel shoreline that separates these two ramps, but it was fruitless.

About half of a mile west of this feeder-creek arm, we fished four main-lake points and one rocky main-lake shoreline adjacent to one of the four points. We caught only one largemouth bass from one of the four points, and it was extracted from six feet of water and about 25 feet away from the water's edge. We failed to provoke any other strikes from the other three points and the rocky main-lake shoreline.

After that, we moved to a large bridge with an embankment on each end of the bridge that are covered with riprap. The bridge is supported by many large concrete pillars that stand in 10 to 35 feet of water.  We noticed that many of these pillars were entertaining small schools of 1/2-inch threadfin shad, and others were devoid of shad. We targeted about three dozen of the pillars that had small pods of shad around them, and we enjoyed catching 13 largemouth bass and three spotted bass from them. These black bass were suspended about five to eight feet below the surface in water that was 27 to 35 feet deep. The largemouth bass and spotted bass were in close proximity to the sides of the concrete pillars and a few of them were caught from underneath the small pods of shad. We failed to entice any strikes from any of the pillars that were bereft of shad.

The two riprap embankments on each end of the bridge can be quite fruitful at times, but they were not very productive this time. The embankment on the north end of the bridge failed to yield a strike or a black bass. The embankment on the south end of the bridge relinquished two largemouth bass and one spotted bass, which were relating to the submerged riprap in three to five feet of water. We had one unknown specimen that we did not see break our eight-pound-test fluorocarbon leader shortly after it engulfed our lure.

Norman Brown with one of the 39 black bass that they caught.

Overall, it was a beautiful late-summer day to be on the water, and the bass fishing was okay. All totaled, we caught 28 largemouth bass, 11 spotted bass, and one channel catfish. And during the course of this outing, we observed a few schools of threadfin shad slowly meandering along the surface inside three feeder-creek arms, but to our dismay, we caught only six bass from inside two creek arms that we fished. Thirty-three of the 39 black bass were caught from main-lake lairs where we observed shad. We also found it interesting that 36 of them were caught from the south side of the tributary arm and only three were caught from the north side.

I spent most of the day experimenting with a Z-Man's white lightning Finesse T.R.D. rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and it caught a combination of 23 largemouth bass and spotted bass. Seven were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse WormZ attached to a generic and unpainted 1/32-ounce ball-head jig. Five were caught on a shortened three-inch Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We also employed a Z-Man's bad shad Trick ShotZ affixed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig for a short spell, and it caught two largemouth bass. One largemouth bass was caught on a two-inch generic white curly-tail crappie grub on a  generic pink 1/16-ounce ball-head jig, and another largemouth bass was caught on a Gene Larew's 3.5-inch green-pumpkin Inch Worm rigged on a pink generic 1/16-ounce ball-head jig.

A slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most effective presentation.

 Sept. 1 log

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 1 outing.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his log:

I fished at one of the state reservoirs in northeastern Kansas from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The afternoon high temperature was 81 degrees. The sky was partly cloudy. The wind angled from the northeast to southeast at 4 to 10 mph.  At 1:52 p.m., the barometric pressure was 30.04 and dropping.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 7:17 a.m. to 9:17 a.m., 7:41 p.m. to 9:41 p.m., and 1:05 a.m. to 3:05 a.m.

I was a little apprehensive about my choice of reservoirs, I did not know if it had recovered from the deluge our area received on August 21 and 22.  Some areas around northeastern Kansas had received as much as eight inches of rain, and the reservoir I was headed for had been in the middle of some of the heaviest rain.  In fact, I had heard reports that the water level in this reservoir had risen as much as eight feet in the aftermath of that storm.

I was relieved to find that the water level had gone down to nearly normal level, being only a few inches above its normal level.  It was, however, still stained, exhibiting a chalky hue and a visibility of 18 to 24 inches.  The surface temperature was 80 degrees.  It also appeared that the reports of an eight-foot rise in the water level were not accurate; the residue for the high water along the shoreline was 4 to 4 1/2 feet above the reservoir's normal level.  There were many signs of high water to be observed:  a dock and several tree trunks were washed up on the riprap of the dam. Also, the patches of American pondweed, which are abundant at this reservoir, were sickly looking and thinned out, and the leaves were coated with silt from being submerged in the flood waters.  There were a few sprigs of dying coontail floating on the surface here and there.

My main goal of this trip was to thoroughly work out some of Z-Man's new soft-plastic finesse baits and see if I could create a niche for them in my finesse repertoire.

I started on the dam with a customized three-inch Z-Man's Junebug Mag FattyZ  tail on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. I fished about half of the dam's riprap shoreline with this Mag FattyZ tail rig and caught three largemouth bass.  These bass were abiding in 12 to14 feet of water.  Two of them were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The other one was caught while I was strolling and employing a shake-and-deadstick presentation.

I fished the other half of the dam with a Z-Man's  black-blue T.R.D. HogZ on a blue 1/16-ounce  Gopher jig.  I did not elicit any strikes along this half of the dam.

At the end of the dam, there is a shallow-water flat that is adorned with a large patch of American pondweed and a man-made brush pile.  Here I used a 31/2-inch  Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby Trick ShotZ on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man's TT Lures NedlockZ HD Jighead. I caught four largemouth bass on the Trick ShotZ rig by casting it to openings and edges in the American pond weeds and employing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

I used the Trick ShotZ rig as I dissected the shoreline adjacent to the dam.  This shoreline is graced with four riprap jetties, a dock, and a boat ramp.

One of the jetties was occupied with some pan fishermen.  However, I caught one largemouth bass on each of the other three jetties.  I caught them off of the tip of the jetties in eight to 14 feet of water by employing a very slow swim glide and shake retrieve.

Along the shoreline in between two of the jetties, I caught two largemouth bass by casting the Trick ShotZ rig to the patches of American pondweeds that lined the shoreline. I caught them in four to eight feet of water with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Along the outside edge of the American pondweeds  there are patches of submerged chara and bushy pondweed, which necessitated a faster-paced retrieve to prevent the Trick ShotZ from becoming entangled with the submerged vegetation

Then I fished the back of a minor feeder-creek arm and one of its shorelines. This shoreline is flat and covered with two to four feet of water. It is adorned with patches of American pondweeds.  I used a 2 1/-inch  Z-Man's space guppy Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. This rig allowed me to make more casts, faster retrieves, and quickly probe this shoreline and its aquatic vegetation. I focused on the edges and openings in the American pondweeds, and I used a straight-swimming retrieve to keep the bait swimming above the chara, bushy pondweed, and coontail patches. I caught three largemouth bass along this shoreline.

When I reached the main-lake point at the mouth of this minor feeder-creek arm,

I returned to the slow motif again. The water at the tip of this point is adorned with patches of American pondweed and submerged patches of chara, bushy pondweed, and  coontail.  I thoroughly dissected the entire point, and I did not elicit any strikes with the Slim SwimZ rig.  But my Slim SwimZ became snagged in an underwater brush pile, and  I broke my line trying to retrieve it.

I fished the main-lake point that separates the two primary feeder-creek arms of this reservoir.  This area is adorned with patches of American pondweed, bushy pondweed and coontail, as well as several humps and man-made brush piles.  The American pondweed patches are meager, but I quickly found that there was plenty of chara hidden by the murkiness of the water.  On my first cast on this point with a customized three-inch Z-Man's Junebug Mag FattyZ  tail on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig, I caught a largemouth bass  on the initial drop. A few casts later, I caught another largemouth bass on the Mag FattyZ tail rig wth a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.  Both of these largemouth bass were caught in about four feet of water.

I fished about 300 yards of the shoreline adjacent to this main-lake point.  This shoreline is adorned with patches of American pondweed,  and I could see isolated patches of  dying coontail here and there. There are also numerous man-made brush piles.  I caught three largemouth bass by casting the Mag FattyZ tail rig to the edges of the patches of American pondweed.  They were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The boat floated in water from eight to 14 feet deep along this shoreline.

I was not pleased with the response I was getting on the Mag FattyZ rig. So I started using a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ on a red 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. I fished that 300-yard stretch of shoreline and main-lake point again. Along the shoreline,  I caught seven largemouth bass around American pondweed patches. And around the point, I caught five largemouth bass adjacent to visible patches of aquatic vegetation. All of these largemouth bass  were caught on a swim- glide-and-shake retrieve.

In all, I caught 32 largemouth bass. I also caught one bluegill, one crappie, and seven green sunfish.  Of note, the green-pumpkin-goby Trick ShotZ rig and the green-pumpkin-red 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rig seemed to show up in my eyes in the chalky water better than the other colors I used, and they were my most effective rigs.  Twelve largemouth bass were caught on the green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ rig, and nine largemouth bass were caught on the green-pumpkin-goby Trick ShotZ rig.  I caught 17 largemouth bass during the last 80 minutes that I fished.  That was a catch rate of one bass every 4.7 minutes, and it was lots of fun.  I also found that casting to isolated and small patches of vegetation was more productive than casting to the edges of massive patches of aquatic vegetation. During the last hour, I caught three bass on three different passes around the same platter-sized patch of vegetation that was separated from the main patch of vegetation by several feet.  I made two passes around two other small patches of vegetation, and each pass yielded two largemouth bass.

 Sept. 5 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 57 degrees at 7:52 a.m. and 75 degrees at 1:52 p.m. (The average low temperature hereabouts is 59 degrees, and the average high temperature is 86 degrees.) The wind angled out of the north by northwest, northwest, west by northwest, and west at 5 to 24 mph.  The sky fluctuated from being clear to partly cloudy to scattered with clouds. The barometric pressure was 30.07 at 12:52 a.m., 30.12 at 5:52 a.m., 30.16 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.12 at 1:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., 10:40 p.m. to 12:40 a.m., and 4:03 a.m. to 6:03 a.m. I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas' many community reservoirs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

While I was afloat, I crossed paths with this reservoir's fisheries biologist and one of its managers.  They were spraying an herbicide on patches of Eurasian milfoil. As we talked, they told me that this reservoir's watershed was waylaid with an incredible amount of rain on Aug. 21 and 22. Ultimately, the water level crested at 11 feet above normal, and vast amounts of water flowed out of this reservoir's emergency spillway.

On Sept. 5, that spillway had a trickle of water coursing across it. The water level looked to be about 18 inches above its normal level. The water exhibited 10 to12 inches of visibility in the backs of two of its four feeder-creek arms. In the vicinity of the dam, the water exhibited about 24 inches of visibility. The surface temperature was 77 degrees.

The fisheries biologist and manager suspected that a vast number of fish were flushed out of this reservoir during that high-water period.

This reservoir used to be our most fruitful one in northeastern Kansas. But it was adversely affected by the largemouth bass virus in 2010, and from that nadir, it has never recovered. Too much angler predation has been a problem, too. And we suspect another one of its woes revolves around the incessant use of aquatic herbicides and terrestrial herbicides that the reservoir managers have used.

The focus of this two-hour outing was to examine the state of this reservoir after that significant deluge, and as I looked, I fished.

I fished and looked at the spillway, a portion of the dam, a short section of a shoreline inside one feeder-creek arm, two secondary points, and portions of two shorelines inside another feeder-creek arm.

Somehow I eked out seven largemouth bass.

There was no location pattern to where I caught them — except I did not garner a strike along the dam, around the spillway, and on the two secondary points.

Six of them were caught on a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One was caught on a customized 3 1/4-inch Z-Man's Junebug Mag FattyZ tail affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

One was caught on the initial drop. Three were caught while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation. Three were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Along one shoreline, I talked to a pair of power anglers who had not garnered a strike.

As I was putting the boat on the trailer, I talked to a catfish angler, who said that he fished during the high-water rampage on Aug. 22, and he caught channel catfish at nearly a hand-over-fist pace in the upper reaches of one of the feeder-creek arms.  But since then, the channel catfish fishing has been lackluster.

In my 77-year-old eyes, this examination was a sorry sight -- as was the largemouth bass fishing.

Sept. 5 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 5 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

I joined Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir that is located a few miles north of the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area.

A local television meteorologist reported that a cool front was going to pass over north-central Texas by mid-afternoon, and the wind was going to increase from 8 mph to 20 mph by 4:00 p.m. Therefore, Rick and I decided to get a fairly early start before the water became too rough from the afternoon winds.

The morning was sunny and mild, and the sky was partly cloudy. As we launched the boat at 8:00 a.m., the wind was angling out of the southwest at 3 to 5 mph. Then at 10:53 a.m., the wind shifted out of the northeast and increased to 17 mph by 12:53 p.m. The morning low temperature was 71 degrees and the afternoon high was 88 degrees.  The barometric pressure was steady at 30.01.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 4:10 a.m. to 6:10 a.m., 10:22 a.m. to 12:22 p.m., and 10:47 p.m. to 12:47 a.m. Rick and I fished from 8:20 a.m. to 11:40 a.m., and we caught 35 largemouth bass and five spotted bass during these 210 minutes.

The water was stained and varied in clarity from 3 1/2 feet of visibility at the dam to two feet of visibility about a mile north of the dam. The surface temperature was 79.3 degrees. The water level was 0.51 feet above normal pool, and the Corps was releasing water through the water-outlet tower at the dam.

We focused on the south end of the reservoir. We fished several areas along the dam, a short main-lake shoreline and its adjacent main-lake point northeast of the dam,  and another large main-lake point about a mile north of the dam.

We started at the dam, which forms the southern perimeter of the reservoir. We probed the concrete walls of the water-outlet tower, and we caught 14 largemouth bass and two spotted bass. Most of these largemouth bass and spotted bass were caught from the south and west sides of the tower. The water depth along these two sides of the tower varies from 34 to 57 feet, and these black bass were suspended about eight to 10 feet below the surface and 10 to 15 feet away from the walls of the tower.  Eight of them were caught on a shortened Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Four were caught on a Z-Man's bad shad Trick ShotZ dressed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that sported a Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ caught two. All three of these rigs were presented with a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve.

Rick Allen with one of the 40 black bass that they caught. This one was caught on a Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

A concrete support column underneath the walkway to the outlet tower yielded one largemouth bass. It was allured by a Z-Man's Drew's craw T.R.D. TubeZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a swim-glide-and-subtle shake retrieve in eight feet of water.

The riprap along the midsection of the dam was virtually fruitless. It surrendered one spotted bass that engulfed the Z-Man pearl Finesse ShadZ rig on the initial drop near the water's edge in less than two feet of water.

The riprap on the east end of the dam yielded four largemouth bass. Three were caught along the riprap in three to six feet of water. One was caught along the bottom in 12 feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on the mud minnow Hula StickZ rig and slow swim-glide-and shake retrieve. Two were caught on the bad shad Trick ShotZ combo that was presented in a swim-glide-and-shake motif. One was caught on the Drew's craw T.R.D. TubeZ rig as it was slowly and steadily dragged across the bottom and behind the boat in 12 of water, and we used the trolling motor to drag our rigs.

From the dam, we fished a short shoreline adjacent to the east end of the dam. This section of shoreline is covered with riprap. This shoreline is also endowed with a rock ledge that is situated about 15 feet from the water's edge. The top of the ledge is covered with four feet of water and the bottom of this ledge levels off in 12 feet of water.

We failed to garner any strikes from this riprap-laden shoreline.

But the rock ledge relinquished one spotted bass. It was beguiled by the bad shad Trick ShotZ rig as it was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation in eight feet of water and several feet from the top of the ledge.

We also failed to generate any strikes along a rocky main-lake point just north of the rock ledge and main-lake shoreline that we just fished.

We finished the outing at a long main-lake point about a mile north of the dam. This point courses out into the reservoir for about 150 yards. The top of this point is covered with water as shallow as two feet and as deep as 30 feet.

The first 50 yards of this point is shallow and is embellished with thick patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation. A shallow rock ledge, which is covered with six feet of water and plunges into 20 feet of water, stretches along the west side of this section of the point. The other 100 yards of this point is covered with gravel and clay, and the sides of this 100-yard segment of the point quickly drops off into 25 to 40 feet of water.

We saw several small schools of black bass foraging on small threadfin shad along the surface of the west side of the point. A couple of these  small schools were foraging at the top of the ledge in water that was as shallow as six feet deep, and a couple of other small schools were chasing shad on the surface several yards from the ledge, where the water was 14 feet deep.  We caught 16 largemouth bass and one spotted bass from this area. All but one was caught in six to 14 feet of water and in close proximity to the submerged rock ledge on the west side of the point. One largemouth was caught near the surface from a deeper section of the point that was covered with 15 feet of water, and it was many yards away from the closest patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation and the rock ledge.

One largemouth bass of the 16 largemouth bass was caught on the shortened Z-Man's mudbug Hula StickZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The bad shad Trick ShotZ was employed for a half-dozen casts, and it caught one largemouth bass. Four largemouth bass and one spotted bass that were foraging on the surface were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ attached to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. Nine largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught on a Z-Man's white lightning Finesse T.R.D. rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The white lightning Finesse T.R.D., bad shad Trick ShotZ, and three-inch mudbug Hula StickZ rigs were implemented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The 2 1/2-inch Slim SwimZ combo was employed with a steady swimming retrieve about two feet below the surface.

As we were fishing this point, the wind's direction suddenly turned from the southwest to the northeast, and its velocity began to increase from 8 mph to 15 mph.  The surface of the water became increasingly choppy and covered with endless ranks of white caps. The wind and waves finally forced us to vacate this point, and we hurried back to the boat ramp before the conditions worsened.

Overall it was a splendid outing and the first time we have caught more than 10 black bass per hour this year. And we were a bit surprised that we did not cross paths with any white bass or freshwater drum, which we enjoy catching when the black bass become too difficult for us to locate and catch.

Our most effective lures were a shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ, the white lightning Finesse T.R.D., and a bad shad Trick ShotZ rig. Several of the largemouth bass and spotted bass were allured by a shortened three-inch mudbug Hula StickZ, a Drew's craw T.R.D. TubeZ, a pearl Finesse ShadZ, and a 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ.

A slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve was the most effective presentation. But we also caught four largemouth bass and one spotted bass using a steady swim retrieve, and one largemouth bass while slowly strolling the T.R.D. TubeZ across the bottom.

Sept. 6 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 48 degrees at 6:53 a.m., and 72 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being clear to partly cloudy to mostly cloudy. The wind angled out of the northwest, west by northwest, north by northwest, and north at 4 to 20 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.14 at 12:53 a.m., 30.15 at 5:53 a.m., 30.18 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.11 at 4:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar note that the best fishing would occur from 11:02 p.m. to 1:02 a.m., 4:49 a.m. to 6:49 a.m., and 5:14 p.m. to 7:14 p.m. My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs from 9:47 a.m. to 1:50 p.m.

Four hours and three minutes is the longest I have been afloat since I fell into the lake on Aug. 30 during my battle with vertigo and old age.

The water level was a few inches above normal. The water had a tannic hue, exhibiting 24 inches of visibility in some spots and 12 to 14 inches in others.  The surface temperature ranged from 74 to 75 degrees.  The patches of American water willows that grace most of this reservoir's shorelines and points are the healthiest that we have seen them in a long, long time. But its patches of coontail were rather meager. Some of the points and shorelines are adorned with a few patches of water primrose.

The largemouth bass fishing on northeastern Kansas' flatland reservoirs has been a struggle for us this summer, and it remained so for Rick and me on Sept. 5.   The when, how, and where we catch the largemouth bass that we are able to catch is so random or helter-skelter  that we have not been able to find a way to accurately describe what transpired in our logs.

But we can say that we fished the dam, the spillway, six main-lake points, portions of one offshore hump, and portions of eight main-lake shorelines.

We can also say that we caught eight largemouth bass along the dam. One was caught on a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Seven were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. They were caught in four to eight feet of water. One was caught as we executed a swim-glide-and-radical-shake presentation around a patch of coontail. Two were caught on the initial drop of our rigs around patches of American water willows. Five were caught as we strolled and employed a drag-and-shake presentation along the rock- and riprap-laden bottom. It felt as if these largemouth bass along the dam caught us, rather than us catching them, and this phenomenon occurred scores of times on this outing.

We also caught three largemouth bass at the spillway by strolling and employing a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation in about six feet of water with our Junebug Finesse WormZ rigs.

One of the largemouth bass that we caught along the spillway.

The offshore hump was fruitless, as were two of the six main-lake points that we fished.

Around one of the main-lake points, we caught five largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One was caught on a deadstick presentation around a significant pile of rocks in about four feet of water. Two were caught along the outside edge of some American water willows in about four feet of water on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig. Two were caught while we were strolling the ZinkerZ rig with a drag and shake presentation, and one was caught in four to six feet of water.  We could not determine how deep of water the fifth largemouth bass was caught in, but we were strolling the ZinkerZ rig behind the boat and 25 feet from the water's edge, and the boat was floating in 12 feet of water.

Around another main-lake point, we caught two largemouth bass on our Junebug Finesse WormZ rigs. One was caught on the initial drop in about 4 1/2 feet of water, and the other one was caught on a deadstick presentation in about six feet of water. This point was graced with patches of coontail and American water willows. These largemouth bass were caught about eight feet from the outside edge of the American water willows that line the water's edge.

Around a rock-laden main-lake point, we caught a largemouth bass in about 1 1/2 feet of water on the initial drop of the Junebug Finesse WormZ rig.

Around another main-lake point, we caught one largemouth bass on a three-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig with a straight swimming retrieve.  This largemouth bass was caught in three of water; it was about six feet from the water's edge and around a pile of large rocks.

One of the main-lake shorelines was fruitless, but along the other seven shorelines, we eked out 21 largemouth bass. But there was no rhyme or reason why and where we caught those 21 largemouth bass. Some were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Some were caught while we were casting and employing either a drag-and-shake retrieve or a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Some were caught while we were strolling and using a drag-and-shake retrieve or a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Several were caught with a straight swimming retrieve.  A few were caught around patches of water primrose. Some were caught around submerged patches of coontail. A few were caught adjacent to docks.  Some were caught along steep shorelines. Some were caught around flat shorelines. A few were caught around either concrete or rock retaining walls. Two were caught around laydowns. Some were caught adjacent to patches of American water willows. Two were caught on the Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two were caught on a customized 3 1/4-inch Z-Man's Junebug Mag FattyZ tail affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Three of these largemouth bass were caught on our pearl Slim SwimZ rig. Thirteen of the largemouth bass were caught on our Junebug Finesse WormZ rigs.

Rick Hebenstreit with one of the 21 largemouth bass that we caught along the eight shorelines that we fished.

Even though we failed to establish a consistent location pattern and a reliable presentation pattern, the shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig was by far our most effective rig. It beguiled 26 of the 40 largemouth bass that we caught. It also caught a channel catfish, two bluegill, and four green sunfish.

Sept. 8 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 8 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

I thought I would spend a late-summer morning looking for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass in the backs of two large feeder-creek arms at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir in north-central Texas. This reservoir has been a difficult and challenging venue for me and my cohorts this year, but I wanted to see if the black bass fishing had improved.

The weather was delightful. The morning sun was beaming brightly in a cloudless and powder-blue sky. A local meteorologist reported that it was 62 degrees at 6:00 a.m. and 88 degrees at 4:00 p.m. The wind angled out of the southeast at 6 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.15 at 8:00 a.m. and 30.16 at 11:00 a.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar table noted that the best fishing would occur from 12:29 a.m. to 2:29 a.m., 6:41 a.m. to 8:41 a.m., and 12:53 p.m. to 2:53 p.m. I fished from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

The water in this section of the reservoir was murkier than I had expected. It exhibited a brownish hue with about 12 inches of visibility. Typically, the water clarity in this reservoir ranges from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 80 degrees. The water level was less than half of a foot high.

The two feeder-creek arms that I focused on are situated in the southeast end of the reservoir. Both contain large marinas, floating tractor-tire reefs, rocky secondary points, clay and gravel flats embellished with partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation, boat ramps, submerged stumps, rocks and boulders, and a submerged rock ledge or two. They were entertaining uncountable numbers of small 1/2-inch threadfin shad.

I fished from the lower or front ends to the upper or back ends of both creek arms. I concentrated primarily on the rocky secondary points, clay and gravel flats, boat ramps, several submerged stumps, a couple of boat houses, three short rocky sections of shorelines between the boat houses, submerged boulders, and three rock ledges, and I failed to elicit a single strike.

The only somewhat fruitful areas were the floating tractor-tire reefs at the entrances to the two marinas. I caught four largemouth bass from one floating tractor-tire reef in the first feeder-creek arm, and one largemouth bass from one of the two floating tire reefs in the other feeder-creek arm. These five largemouth bass were suspended about three to five feet below the surface and next to the outside edges of the tires. The tire reefs were floating in 27 to 41 feet of water.

After the disappointing results in the two feeder-creek arms, I ventured to the east end of the reservoir, where I dissected two-thirds of the riprap-laden dam that forms the east boundary of the reservoir. To my chagrin, I failed to generate any other strikes.

In sum, it was a shame that the bass fishing was nowhere near as splendid as the weather. It was a wretched outing, and it was a trying task to eke out five largemouth bass in three hours.

I wielded an assortment of Z-Man's Midwest finesse baits that were attached to black and chartreuse 1/16- and 3/32-ounce Gopher mushroom head jigs.

Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's bluegill-hue Scented LeechZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's bad shad Trick ShotZ affixed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man's white lightning Finesse T.R.D.

I utilized all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves throughout this outing, and a few variations of those retrieves. However, the only effective presentation was a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

And as I was driving home, I decided that I would not return to this reservoir again until October.

Sept. 10 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 10 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, I normally avoid fishing at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan areas during the weekends in order to avoid the large and busy crowds. But now that Labor Day has passed, Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, and I ventured to a north-central Texas' U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir. This Corps' reservoir is a different one than the one where the black bass bamboozled me on Sept. 8.

Roger is relatively new to Midwest finesse tactics, and when he is afloat in his kayak, he fancies a Z-Man's 2.5-inch Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and only uses a steady swimming retrieve. He is leaving on a weekend fishing trip to northwest Arkansas in a couple of weeks, and he wanted to learn how to employ the standard Midwest finesse swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Therefore, we worked with the swim-glide-and-shake technique about 97 percent of this excursion, and Roger reverted back to his favorite Slim SwimZ rig and steady swimming retrieve during one short spell just before we called it a day.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 2:20 a.m. to 4:20 a.m., 8:33 a.m. to 10:33 a.m., and 2:46 p.m. to 4:26 p.m. Roger and I fished from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The wind was blowing incessantly out of the northeast at 10 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.19 at 12:00 noon and 30.09 at 5:00 p.m. There was an abundance of sunshine throughout the afternoon, and hardly a cloud was in sight.

Roger and I concentrated our attentions on one long tractor-tire reef and a bunch of concrete support columns underneath two large bridges in the reservoir's  southwest tributary arm.

The water was as murky at this reservoir as it was at the one I fished on Sept. 8. But unlike the water's brown hue at the other Corps' reservoir, the water at this impoundment displayed a dark-green tint. The water level was 0.15 feet above its normal level. The surface temperature varied from 81 to 82 degrees.  The water clarity ranged from 12 to 14 inches.

We started off fishing the floating tractor-tire reef at the mouth of the marina were we launched our boat. There were significant aggregations of threadfin shad inhabiting this entire reef. We first observed a fruitful tire-reef pattern emerge at another Corps' reservoir on Aug. 10, and since then, it has been a reliable pattern at this reservoir as well. But we did not find it very productive during this outing. It took us 93 minutes to fish this tire reef from one end to the other while the boat floated next to the tire reef in water as shallow as 21 feet and as deep as 37 feet.  We were, however, a bit disheartened when this tire reef yielded only five largemouth bass and one white bass, and they were caught many yards apart from each other. We caught them along the outside edges of the tires, and they were suspended about 16 to 32 feet above the bottom and about five feet below the surface. Three largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's white-lightning Finesse T.R.D. attached to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The other two largemouth bass and the white bass were caught on a Z-Man's bluegill-hue Scented LeechZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. And as I mentioned above, we employed a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

After our dismal start, we moved to two large bridges that are located about a mile west of the tire reef. At this locale, we spent the rest of this outing dissecting a slew of concrete support columns underneath these two bridges. These bridge columns were much more lucrative than the tire reef, and they relinquished 34 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one white bass.

The best columns were surrounded by 38 to 44 feet of water and were positioned along the edges of the main river-channel that courses underneath these bridges. They also had the largest concentrations of small 1/2-inch threadfin shad hovering near the surface of the water and next to the sides of the columns.

Twenty-four largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught on the bluegill Scented LeechZ rig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Twelve largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught with the white-lightning Finesse T.R.D and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Roger could not resist using a Z-Man's 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig for a short spell, and it caught three largemouth bass and one white bass while he retrieved it at a steady pace about two feet below the surface.

We caught these 36 largemouth bass and spotted bass from the sides of the bridge columns, and they were suspended about five to eight feet below the surface and in close proximity to the schools of shad.  The columns that were positioned adjacent to the shoreline surrendered a few bass, but overall, they were much less productive than the ones positioned closest to the river channel.

In sum, we enjoyed catching 39 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and two white bass in five hours. And by the time this outing came to an end, Roger was feeling more comfortable with the no-feel aspect of the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Roger was also amazed at the number of bass that we caught during this part of the day, and as we were stowing our rods for the short run back to the boat ramp, he commented that he had never caught fish during the middle of the day -- even with live bait.

Sept. 12 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 57 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 75 degrees at 1:53 p.m.  The wind angled out of the north, north by northeast, east by northeast, and northeast at 4 to 11 mph.  The sky was hazy and partly cloudy in our eyes, but the meteorologists described it as being clear. The barometric pressure was 30.04 at 12:53 a.m., 30.01 at 5:53 a.m., 29.97 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.93 at 1:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 4:25 a.m. to 6:25 a.m., 4:53 p.m. to 6:53 p.m., and 10:39 a.m. to 12:39 p.m.  Paul Finn of Olathe, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas' many community reservoirs from 9:50 a.m. to 1:38 p.m.

The water level was nearly normal. The water in the upper half of this reservoir was affected by a significant algae bloom, and the visibility in this area was about 12 inches. Around the vicinity of the dam, the visibility was about 36 inches, and the algae bloom was minor. We did not measure the surface temperature. In the lower portions of the reservoir, the surface of the water around the patches of American water willows and coontail were coated with wads of filamentous algae. There were patches of filamentous algae in the upper portions of the reservoir, but they were not as intense as the ones in the lower half.

Paul and I very methodically dissected four main-lake points, the spillway, about half of the shoreline along the dam, a small segment of one shallow-water flat inside a feeder-creek arm, one main-lake and coontail-laden flat, and four main-lake shorelines. It was another one of those outings during which there was no substantial location and presentation patterns. Thus, when we caught a largemouth bass, it seemed as if the largemouth bass caught us rather than the other way around, and this phenomenon has plagued us for several weeks at the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas.  To deal with this situation, we have found that we have to employ a variety of retrieves, work with different kinds and colors of soft-plastic baits, and dissect an array of different locations, which is what Paul and I did on this outing.

We failed to catch a largemouth bass around the four main-lake points that we fished.

Along one long main-lake shoreline, which is littered with docks, concrete and rock retaining walls, some patches of American water willows, and a few submerged patches of coontail, we caught seven largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 30- to 45-degree slope.  Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some boulders. Five of the largemouth bass were caught on a three-inch Strike King Lure Company's bluegill Rage Twin Tail Baby Menace Grub affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Two were caught on a customized 3 1/4-inch Z-Man's Junebug Mag FattyZ tail affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  One of the largemouth bass was caught on a swimming retrieve many yards from the water's edge. Two were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Three were caught with a hop-and-bounce retrieve in four to eight feet of water. One was caught on a drag-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water.

We caught four largemouth bass around patches of submerged coontail on a main-lake flat. They were abiding in four to seven feet of water, and many yards from the water's edge. One was caught on the initial drop of a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's sprayed grass ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. One was caught on the initial drop of a customized 3 1/4-inch Z-Man's Junebug Mag FattyZ tail on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One was caught on the sprayed grass ZinkerZ rig and a hop-bounce-and-shake retrieve. One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with an extremely slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

On a 125-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline, we caught six largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 35- to 45-degree slope.  The water's edge is graced with some patches of American water willows, two patches of water primrose, several laydowns, some overhanging trees, two docks, a concrete retaining wall, a few patches of submerged coontail, and a small bridge. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. We caught one largemouth bass on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-and-shake retrieve in about five feet of water. We caught two largemouth bass on the sprayed grass ZinkerZ rig with a hop-bounce-and-shake retrieve in three to seven feet of water. We caught one largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in 10 feet of water. We caught two largemouth bass on the customized 3 1/4-inch Z-Man's Junebug Mag FattyZ tail affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; one was caught on the initial drop in four feet of water, and the second one was caught on a drag-and-shake presentation in five to six feet of water.

Along a short section of a steep main-lake shoreline, we caught one largemouth bass adjacent to a dock and along a set of concrete steps and a retaining wall. It was caught in about three feet of water on the initial drop of the sprayed grass ZinkerZ rig.

On a shallow-water flat inside a feeder-creek arm, we hooked a largemouth bass on a three-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig in about three feet of water, and this largemouth bass jumped and liberated itself. Along a flat main-lake shoreline that is graced with patches of American water willows, a few patches of water primrose, patches of submerged

Along a flat main-lake shoreline that is graced with patches of American water willows, a few patches of water primrose, patches of submerged coontail, overhanging trees, some minor laydowns, and a concrete retaining wall, we caught four largemouth bass. Two were caught on the initial drop of the sprayed grass ZinkerZ rig in about three feet of water.  Two were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with s swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about three feet of water.

At the spillway and dam, we caught 11 largemouth bass. This area possesses a 25- to 45-degree slope.  Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It is embellished with patches of American water willows and patches of coontail. We caught these 11 largemouth bass on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's sprayed grass ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig and the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Some were caught on the initial drop of our rigs along the outside edges of the patches of American water willows in three to four feet of water. Some were caught while we employed a swim-glide-and-shake presentation around and across the patches of submerged coontail. Some were caught on a hop-and-drop presentation. Some were caught on a strolling presentation with a drag-and-shake retrieve.

In sum, we caught 33 largemouth bass in three hours and 48 minutes, and since we caught them every which way and at a hodgepodge of locations, we do not have a clue as to how we did it.

Sept. 13 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 52 degrees at 7:37 a.m. and 86 degrees at 3:52 a.m.  The wind fluctuated from being calm to angling out of the northwest, west by northwest, west, and east by northeast at 3 to 8 mph. It was sunny.  The barometric pressure was 29.82 at 12:52 a.m., 29.82 at 5:52 a.m., 29.81 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.77 at 1:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 5:08 a.m. to 7:08 a.m., 5:37 p.m. to 7:37 p.m., and 11:22 p.m. to 1:22 a.m. I was afloat from 10:54 a.m. to 1:55 p.m. at one of northeastern Kansas' state reservoirs.

The water level was about a foot above normal.  The water exhibited six to seven feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 77 degrees. The shallow-water flats and shorelines are spilling over with bountiful patches of coontail, and they are also graced with some patches of bushy pondweed. Its shorelines and points are replete with thick patches of American water willows. And there is one significant patch of lily pads and several patches of water primrose.

The largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing at the community, federal, and state reservoirs around northeastern Kansas has been excruciating for weeks on end, and it remained that way on Sept. 13.

We suspect that vast numbers of the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass that inhabit these reservoirs are in a pelagic state. Therefore, they are roaming far and wide, and they are not abiding around the patches of aquatic vegetation. But in their pelagic state, they occasionally roam across and around these patches of aquatic vegetation, and when they do that, they occasionally cross paths with one of our Midwest finesse tactics.  When this occurs, there seems to be no rhyme or reason why it occurred. And as we have remarked in recent logs, it seems as if these largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are catching us rather than the other way around.

Around 1:00 p.m. on this Sept. 13 outing, the surface of the water was nearly glass smooth, and as far as I could see in every direction and in deep water and in shallow water, there were bluegill foraging on insects, and as they consumed these insects, they dimpled the surface. There were hundreds and hundreds (maybe thousands and thousands) of these surface dimples. It is interesting to note that none of them were along the shorelines.

I fished the shallow-water flats in the backs of this reservoir's two major feeder-creek arms, the shallow-water flats inside two of its minor feeder-creek arms, portions of one shoreline inside one of the major feeder-creek arms, and one offshore rock pile.

The shallow-water flat in the back of one of the major feeder-creek arms is about the size of five football fields. It is covered with three to 12 feet of water, and there are two submerged creek channels meandering across this flat. It is adorned with uncountable patches of coontail, which are interlaced with patches of bushy pondweed and flooded terrestrial vegetation.  During the late summers of past years, our Midwest finesse rigs inveigled scores and scores of largemouth bass around this flat, but on this outing, I struggled to catch four. Three were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in about six feet of water. One was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-radical-shake retrieve in about four feet of water.

Along the shoreline inside one of the major feeder-creek arms, I caught 15 largemouth bass.  This shoreline possesses a 25- to 35-degree slope. Its water's edge is embellished with thick patches of American water willows, some minor patches of bushy pondweed and coontail, flooded terrestrial vegetation, and more than a dozen laydowns. I rarely probe laydowns, and in fact, I have said that they are rarely worth the time it takes to dissect them. But on this outing, I extracted 14 largemouth bass from around nine of the laydowns. I caught them in three to four feet of water on the shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. I caught one largemouth bass from a patch of bushy pondweed on the Finesse WormZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in three to four feet of water.

On a shallow-water flat inside a minor feeder-creek arm, I caught five largemouth bass around patches of coontail in five to seven feet of water. One was caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Four were caught on the shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-radical-shake retrieve.

I caught seven largemouth bass on the shallow-water flat in the back of another feeder-creek arm. It is covered with three to 10 feet of water, and there are two submerged creek channels meandering across this flat. It is adorned with an island, uncountable patches of coontail, which are interlaced with patches of bushy pondweed, several man-made brush piles, and flooded terrestrial vegetation.  It is the size of about four football fields. The seven  largemouth bass were caught on the shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-radical-shake retrieve in four to seven feet of water.

At a shallow-water flat inside another minor feeder-creek arm, I caught two largemouth bass around patches of coontail in about five feet of water. One was caught on the shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-radical-shake retrieve.  The other one was caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

I failed to elicit a strike on the offshore rock pile.

In sum, I fished for three hours and one minute, and I caught 32 largemouth bass. Twenty-eight were caught on the shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The swim-glide-and-shake was the dominant presentation.

Sept. 13 log

 Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 13 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

John Thomas of Denton, Texas, and I drove 1 1/2 hours to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir where we hoped to tangle with a significant number of smallmouth bass that reside in this reservoir.

When we arrived at the boat ramp at about 8:45 a.m., the wind was light and variable, and as the morning unfolded, it became calm. The sky was partly cloudy and the sun was intensely bright and shining everywhere. It was 64 degrees at 7:00 a.m. and 84 degrees at 5:00 p.m. The barometric pressure fell slightly from 29.83 to 29.77.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the most productive fishing periods would occur from 5:13 a.m. to 7:13 a.m., 11:03 a.m. to 1:03 p.m., and 5:42 p.m. to 7:42 p.m. John and I fished from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and we caught 31 smallmouth bass, four largemouth bass, and two spotted bass. We also inadvertently caught one green sunfish and one large bluegill.

The water was clear and displayed five feet of visibility. The water level was 0.21 feet above its normal level. The surface temperature ranged from 79 degrees to 81 degrees.

We fished a submerged rock ledge inside one main-lake cove, six main-lake points, the riprap along the dam, and a main-lake bluff along the southeast end of the reservoir.

The rock ledge inside the main-lake cove yielded two smallmouth bass. The top of the ledge is covered with five feet of water and it descends into 42 feet of water. Both of these bass were caught from the top of the ledge in five feet of water and about 15 to 20 feet from the water's edge.

Three of the six main-lake points were the most fruitful areas. They have a 20- to 35 -degree slope and are covered with fist-size rocks and large boulders. Eight smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass were caught from one point. Another point surrendered 12 smallmouth bass, one largemouth bass, and one spotted bass. The third point yielded three smallmouth bass. We failed to elicit any strikes from the other three points. The 23 smallmouth bass, one spotted bass, and one largemouth bass were caught in close proximity to the larger submerged boulders in six to 10 feet of water.

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We fished about two-thirds of the dam and concentrated on the submerged riprap that adorns the face of the dam. This locale was not very fruitful. It yielded only two largemouth bass, three smallmouth bass, one green sunfish, and one large bluegill. All of these fish were caught in four to six feet of water.

The main-lake bluff that we fished is located about two miles west of the dam. It is several hundred yards long. But we probed the most promising section of it, which is only about 100 yards long and is graced with many large submerged boulders.

This segment of the bluff relinquished five smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass. They were abiding in six to eight feet of water. They were relating to the sides of several of the large submerged boulders.

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We wielded an array of Z-Man's Midwest finesse baits throughout this six-hour endeavor. Fifteen black bass were bewitched by a shortened Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ rigged on either a black or pumpkin-pepper 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Eight were beguiled by a Z-Man's white lightning Finesse T.R.D. affixed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A Z-Man's bad shad Trick ShotZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught seven. A Z-Man's bluegill Scented LeechZ attached to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught  three bass. Two were caught on a Z-Man's bubble gum Finesse T.R.D. on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One smallmouth bass was caught on a three-inch Z-Man's bad shad Slim SwimZ attached to a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. One smallmouth was caught with a Z-Man's green-pumpkin T.R.D. HogZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

A slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was overwhelmingly the most effective presentation. It caught a combination of 35 smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and spotted bass. One smallmouth was caught with a steady swimming retrieve with the three-inch bad shad Slim SwimZ. Another smallmouth was caught with a hop-and-bounce retrieve with the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rig.

In our eyes, it was a splendid smallmouth bass outing. And as summer transitions into fall, we hope to spend more of our time chasing smallmouth bass instead of largemouth bass.

Sept. 14 log

Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, filed a brief with the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 14 outing at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar reported that the best fishing would occur from 6:02 a.m. to 8:02 a.m., 6:31 p.m. to 8:31 p.m., and 11:47 a.m. to 1:47 p.m. I fished from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and 30 minutes of this outing was consumed with lunch.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 60 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 86 degrees at 2:53 p.m.  The sky fluctuated from being clear to partly cloudy to mostly cloudy to scattered with clouds. The wind angled out of the south at 4 to 16 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.78 at 12:53 a.m., 29.80 at 5:53 a.m., 29.83 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.79 at 2:53 p.m.

The water level was normal. The surface temperature was 77 degrees.  The water exhibited three to five feet of visibility.

Unfortunately, I failed to keep an accurate tally of the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass that I caught. I am guessing that it was around 100, and one out of eight was a smallmouth bass. I also tangled with two walleye and one freshwater drum.

These fish were caught in three to eight feet of water, and about 85 percent of them were abiding around patches of coontail.

Many times, I caught a fish on three consecutive casts and retrieves, and once I caught a fish on four back-to-back casts.

I fished the dam, two main-lake points, several shorelines inside three feeder-creek arms, and three shallow-water flats that are laden with coontail patches in the backs of the three feeder-creek arms.

My most effective Midwest finesse rigs were a Z-Man's blue steel Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's sprayed grass ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

There was no dominant Midwest finesse retrieve.

Sept. 16 log

Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 16 outing.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

It is taking a while, but as I gain experience,  I am coming to appreciate Midwest finesse methods more and more.

Sept. 16 was a fine day to be afloat. It was warm, humid, and partly cloudy. The water level was approximately four feet below normal.

I suspected that fishing would be easy, but my only problem was my granddaughter's 12:30 p.m. soccer game. Well, I had one of those "what would Ned do" moments,  and I decided that Ned would fish his normal four hours and be done with it. So, I started fishing as early as feasible, making my first cast at 6:45 a.m. and my last one at 10:45 a.m.

The fishing was as easy as it should be given the lack of cover and the cooling water temperature.

A red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig affixed to a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lures' green-pumpkin Zero garnered bites immediately from the largemouth bass that were  abiding along the shallow-water and rocky shorelines.

From my perspectives, the low-light conditions had them in shallow water and in a mood to attack this small Midwest finesse rig.

I wielded the Zero rig on a Mudhole spinning rod that my son-in-law Preston Parks from Pittsboro, North Carolina, created for me. It is designed for employing Midwest finesse tactics. And as I was using it, I really thought I was a champ.

I even had a new 2500 Shimano Sedona reel that is spooled with 10-pound-test Berkley NanoFil with a 12-pound-test Seaguar InvizX 100% Fluorocarbon leader.  My son-in-law says that heavier braid slows the fall of the Midwest finesse rig, which is an asset.

I was almost able to ignore the fact that this reel precludes back reeling, which I think is a fatal flaw. And I wish I had known about this flaw before I purchased it.

For decades, I have not had a new rod and reel, and ultimately, it worked fine.

Various locations held little aggregates of largemouth bass. A couple of times I caught them on consecutive casts.

Shallow-sloping shorelines trumped steep-sloping ones, which is what I expect if the largemouth bass are actively feeding.

I caught some on the initial drop of the rig, and others were caught while I executed a steady-swimming-and-slight-shake retrieve.

After 9:00 a.m. or so, my catch rate slowed down along the shallow and rocky shorelines, and then I began to catch some around isolated patches of wood.

Throughout the outing, the Zero was productive, but I caught a couple of largemouth bass on a Zoom Bait Company's black-red-flake Ultra Vibe Speed Worm affixed to a 3/16-ounce Buckeye Lure's Spot Remover Jig.

The solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would begin at 10:30 a.m., and I was catching them  at that time, but I had to get off the water at 10:45 a.m.

Across my four hours of fishing, I caught 28 largemouth bass, and a couple of them were four-pounders. Traditionally, it would take me eight hours to catch 28 largemouth bass at this reservoir. I know of no other presentation that would have been as effective as this standard Midwest finesse rig was around the shallow and rocky shorelines.

It was fun, and I may get addicted to these four-hour forays.

 Sept. 17 log        

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 17 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

My wife, Nancy, and I ventured to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas. And to our surprise, this waterway was crowded with fishing boats and other various watercraft when we pulled up to the boat ramp at about 7:10 a.m. Nancy does not fish, but while I was afloat, she enjoyed the morning exploring several of the reservoir's shorelines, main-lake coves, and a feeder-creek arm on her paddle board.

The Weather Underground reported on Sept. 17 that it was 73 degrees at 7:00 a.m. and 93 degrees at 5:00 p.m. The wind angled out of the south at 5 to 9 mph. It was sunny and the sky was partly cloudy. The barometric pressure measured 30.00 at 7:00 a.m., and 30.03 at 11:00 a.m.

According to the Texas Water Development Board, the water level at this impoundment has dropped a quarter of a foot during the past week, and it was 0.02 feet high on Sept. 17. The surface temperature ranged from 79 to 80 degrees. The water clarity varied from 1 1/2 to three feet of visibility.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 2:21 a.m. to 4:21 a.m., 8:34 a.m. to 10:34 a.m., and 2:47 p.m. to 4:47 p.m. I fished and Nancy paddle boarded from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

I fished a three-mile stretch in the lower portion of the reservoir, concentrating on the back ends of two large feeder-creek arms, the shoreline of a large island, two rocky shorelines, two main-lake rocky points, one rock-laden hump, the concrete walls of a  large concrete outlet tower at the dam, and a submerged rock ledge. I shared most of these locales with at least one other boat and as many as five other boats.

I caught 10 largemouth bass and five spotted bass. One largemouth bass was able to liberate itself before I could hoist it across the boat's gunnels. I also tangled with three freshwater drum, which kept me entertained during a couple of long spells between black bass strikes.

I failed to garner a single strike from the back of the two feeder-creek arms, the two rocky shorelines, along the entire shoreline of the large island, and the two main-lake points.

The rock-laden hump yielded one freshwater drum.

The concrete walls of the dam's outlet tower yielded seven largemouth bass and three spotted bass.

I caught three largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and two freshwater drum from the submerged rock ledge, and another largemouth bass was able to pull free shortly after it was hooked.

The most effective bait was a shortened Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher mushroom-head jig, and it was retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. It enticed 10 largemouth bass and four spotted bass.

A  Z-Man's bluegill Scented LeechZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher mushroom-style jig that was retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught one largemouth bass.

I also employed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's bad shad Trick ShotZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man's white lightning Finesse T.R.D. on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These three combos failed to catch a largemouth bass or a spotted bass.

Seven largemouth bass and three spotted bass were caught as they were suspended about 10 feet below the surface in 35 to 52 feet of water next to the walls of the dam's outlet tower. The other three largemouth bass and two spotted bass were caught in three to six feet of water along the submerged rock ledge.

In short, it was a mediocre outing where I spent most of my time fishing behind other anglers. But in retrospect, I was pleased that Midwest finesse tactics could still put a few bass in the boat under such intense angling pressure.

Sept. 18 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 18 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

I conducted a solo outing at one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoirs in north-central Texas that lies about 10 miles from my driveway.  Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, and I fished this reservoir on Sept. 10 and we enjoyed catching 39 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and two white bass in five hours.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the optimum fishing periods would occur from 3:21 a.m. to 5:21 a.m., 9:34 a.m. to 11:34 a.m., and 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.  I fished from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.

The barometric pressure on Sept. 10 was 29.99 at noon and dropped to 29.88 by 4:00 p.m. The sky was partly cloudy and the sun was shining everywhere. A light wind blew out of the east and southeast at 5 to 9 mph. The morning low temperature was 71 degrees at 6:53 a.m., and the afternoon high temperature was 93 degrees at 3:00 p.m.

I spent the first two hours in the south end of the reservoir where I dissected the riprap that covers the dam and a flat rocky shoreline just east of the dam. During the last two hours, I fished a series of concrete support columns underneath a large bridge in the reservoir's southwest tributary arm.

The water level was been fairly stable at this impoundment. It was 0.13 feet below normal during this outing, but it has dropped only 0.21 feet in the last month. The surface temperature  was 82 degrees. The water clarity was about 18 inches.

I began fishing at a 200-yard stretch of riprap on the dam and wielded a Z-Man's bluegill Scented LeechZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. On my first cast, I caught a large white crappie, but the remainder of this section of riprap surrendered only seven largemouth bass. They were caught in three to eight feet of water.  Five of them were caught on the Z-Man's bluegill Scented LeechZ rig. One largemouth was caught on a Z-Man's white lightning Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The other one was caught on a Z-Man's smelt-hue Finesse ShadZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These three rigs were employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

After I fished the dam, I fished a rocky shoreline that is adjacent to the dam.This main-lake shoreline is a couple of hundred yards long, but I fished only 50 yards of it. This section of shoreline yielded one largemouth bass that was abiding in four feet of water and about 10 feet from the water's edge. It was caught on the smelt Finesse ShadZ rig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.  I also utilized a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and the white lightning Finesse T.R.D. combo, but I was unable to provoke any other strikes with these two rigs.

From the rocky shoreline, I made a three-mile run to a large bridge in the reservoir's southwest tributary arm. I executed scores and scores of casts and retrieves around dozens of concrete support columns underneath this bridge and caught 36 largemouth bass and three spotted bass.

The vast majority of these bass were caught from the columns that line the edges of the main river-channel that courses underneath the center of the bridge. These support columns are surrounded by 38 to 44 feet of water, and these bass were suspended about five to eight feet below the surface and within a foot or two of the columns.

Four largemouth bass were caught on the white lightning Finesse T.R.D.  Eight largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught on the smelt Finesse ShadZ.  Twenty-four largemouth bass and two spotted bass were caught on the bluegill Scented LeechZ rig. These three rigs were presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Overall, I was delighted to tangle with 44 largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and one white crappie in four hours. It was also one of this year's rare outings where I have been able to catch 10 or more black bass per hour.

The Z-Man's bluegill Scented LeechZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was implemented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most effective combo on our Sept. 10 outing at this reservoir, and it was the most potent rig on this outing as well.

Sept. 19 log

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, my mother spent a lot of her time trying to teach me not to complain.  I am sorry to say that I have failed for 77 years to heed her stellar advice. That failure erupted again from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 as I tried to find and catch the largemouth bass that abide in one of northeastern Kansas' state reservoirs.  During this two-hour ordeal, I complained about the three inches of rain that walloped the watershed of this reservoir and other nearby reservoirs on Sept. 17 and 18. Since Sept. 17, the water level at this reservoir climbed nearly three feet. The water clarity became murky.  This deluge uprooted vast patches of coontail, and coontail was floating from one end of the reservoir to the other.

On Aug. 20 and 21, the watersheds of many of our flatland reservoirs, including the one I fished on Sept. 19, were waylaid with as much as eight inches of rain. In my eyes, it created a piscatorial quagmire. And the aftereffects of the Aug. 20 and 21 and Sept. 17 and 18 deluges have caused me to utter untold numbers of complaints about the conditions of our reservoirs and my inabilities to find and catch the largemouth bass that abide in them or used to abide in them before the deluges. (It is interesting to note that one of our reservoirs had 11 feet of water coursing over its emergency spillway on Aug. 21, and the fisheries biologists who manages this reservoir suspected that a significant number of black bass were washed out of it.)

On Sept. 19, the Weather Underground reported that it was 66 degrees at 7:52 a.m. and 84 degrees at 12:52 p.m.  The sky fluctuated radically from being clear to partly cloudy to mostly cloudy to raining lightly to scattered with clouds. The wind angled out of the east, east by northeast, northeast, southeast, and south by southeast at 3 to 24 mph.  The barometric pressure was 29.89 at 12:52 a.m., 29.85 at 5:52 a.m., 29.81 at 11:57 a.m., and 29.78 at 12:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., 10:39 p.m. to 12:29 a.m., and 4:02 a.m. and 6:02 a.m. I fished from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

As noted above, the water was murky and three feet above its normal level. The surface temperature was 72 degrees.

I fished the dam, a main-lake point, 50-yards of a main-lake shoreline, a secondary point, three riprap jetties, and the shallow-water flat that surrounds the three riprap jetties.

I caught seven largemouth bass along the dam. It possesses a 35- to 45-degree slope.  Its underwater terrain consists of riprap. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation in three to six feet of water. Two largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation in three to four feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on a customized 3 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug FattyZ tail affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation in four to five feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation in five feet of water.

Along the main-lake shoreline, I caught one largemouth bass on a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was swimming it in six feet of water.

At the main-lake point, I caught one largemouth bass on a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was swimming it in five feet of water.

At one of the riprap jetties, I caught one largemouth bass on a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a drag-and-shake presentation in 10 feet of water.

Around another riprap jetty, I caught one largemouth bass on the initial drop of a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in about three feet of water.

One riprap jetty was fruitless. The secondary point yielded a humongous white crappie. The shallow-water flats were unrewarding.

After two hours of struggling to catch 11 largemouth bass and enduring the words of my mouth and the mediations of my heart being filled with complaints, I decided the best way to stop complaining was to stop fishing.

Sept. 19 log

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 19 outing.

Here is a condensed and edited version of it:

When I arrived at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs around 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 19, the temperature on my vehicle's thermometer was 79 degrees.  It would top out with a high temperature of 89 degrees later in the afternoon.  The wind was blowing briskly from the southeast at 14 mph, enough to raise whitecaps across the main body of the reservoir.  Later, the wind speed would increase to 22 mph with gusts as high as 33 mph.  The sky was clear, and the sun was hot.  Three inches of rain fell upon many areas of northeastern Kansas on Sept. 17 and 18, and this reservoir was overflowing, and water was flowing out of the dam's outlet and its emergency spillway.  The water was stained with about 12 inches of visibility. The surface temperature was 76 degrees.

After launching the boat and spending some time tying Midwest finesse lures on several rods, I finally got afloat and made my first cast about 11:30 am.

During the first 50 minutes, I fished a main-lake point, the entire dam, and the spillway, and I did not catch a fish.  My luck finally changed where the riprap of the dam joins a steep rocky shoreline.  A thick bed of American water willows extends a few yards from the water's edge.  I caught two largemouth bass on a Z-Man's molting craw T.R.D. Finesse HogZ mounted on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in about six feet of water.

Then, I fished a shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm.  After dissecting about 200 yards of this shoreline with no strikes, I cast the HogZ rig a couple of feet past a stump that was several yards from the edge of the American water willows.   As I swam the jig past the stump, it came to an abrupt halt with a solid feel of a woody hang-up on an unseen tree limb.  Sure that this was the case, I gave the line a snap to see if it would come free and all hell broke loose.  Five minutes later after an intense donnybrook, I managed to lip and lift a 4 1/2-pound largemouth bass into the boat. This is now the largest largemouth bass that I have caught to date using a Midwest finesse tactic.

I continued to fish along this shoreline, and I caught one more largemouth bass.  This fish was caught in about four feet of water on the initial drop of a shortened Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig.

When the water depth at the back of the feeder-creek arm was less than two feet,  I moved over to the other shoreline, and I fished half of it.  I caught two largemouth bass along this shoreline on the mud minnow Hula StickZ rig in five to six feet of water. One was caught on the initial drop of the rig, and the other one was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

During the two hours that I had been afloat, the wind velocity had increased significantly and was now howling, and there were white caps galore on the main-body of the reservoir.

Part of this feeder-creek's main-lake point and its adjacent shoreline was somewhat protected from the wind and waves. And I caught largemouth bass by strolling and employing a deadstick presentation with the mud minnow Hula StickZ rig in 12-14 feet of water.

I knew that if I wanted to continue fishing, I would have to find some more water that was shielded from the wind and waves.  To do that, I moved up the reservoir to a main-lake point that separates two feeder-creek arms.  And about 400 yards of its adjacent shoreline was protected from the wind and waves. Ultimately, it yielded eight largemouth bass, which were caught on a customized three-inch Z-Man's Junebug Mag FattyZ tail on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. These largemouth bass were caught in four to 12 feet of water. Two were caught on the initial drop of the rig along the openings and edges of the patches of American water willows and overhanging terrestrial vegetation that embellishes this shoreline. Some were caught on a swim-and-glide retrieve.  The rest were caught while I strolled and employed a deadstick presentation.

Hoping to repeat what had become the effective pattern for the day, I moved to another main-lake point at the mouth of a smaller feeder-creek arm.  I fished the point and about 100 yards of its adjacent shoreline that was protected from the wind.  It yielded five largemouth bass, which were caught on the Mag FattyZ rig.  Two of them were caught on the initial drop along openings in the American water willows.  I caught three by employing a swimming-and-deadstick presentation in eight to 14 feet of water.

As I landed the fifth largemouth bass, my watch read 5:05 p.m.,  and I decided to call it quits and get out of the wind.

In all, I fished for approximately 51/2 hours.  I caught 21 largemouth bass and nine green sunfish.

The wind plagued me at every location I fished, and in some very odd ways.

Inside one feeder-creek arm, the wind was blowing overhead and rebounding off the steep shoreline so that it was actually blowing back in the opposite direction.

At a main-lake point, the wind was blowing in two different directions -- one way next to the water and a different way a couple of feet above the water.  This had the effect of not just putting a bow in my line, but actually putting an S curve in it.

At other times, the wind would cause the line to act like a sail, actually moving the lure through the water and not allowing it to sink.

The extra weight of the Mag Fatty Z rig was an advantage under these conditions. It was not quite as prone to be moved by the wind and would sink more readily as long as I allowed my line to get in contact with the water.  And it was the most effective lure.

Sept. 20 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 73 degrees at 7:52 a.m. and 84 degrees at 1:52 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being clear to partly cloudy to mostly cloudy. The wind angled out of the south by southeast, east by southeast, east, and southeast at 8 to 20 mph.  The barometric pressure was 29.70 at 12:52 a.m., 29.69 at 5:52 a.m., 29.77 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.77 at 1:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11:26 p.m. to 1:26 a.m., 4:51 a.m. to 6:51 a.m., and 5:14 p.m. to 7:14 p.m. Paul Finn of Olathe, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas' community reservoirs from 9:35 a.m. to 1:01 p.m.

Between Aug. 20 and Sept. 18, much of this reservoir's watershed was whacked with about 11 inches of rain. But to our surprise and delight, the water level was a few inches above normal. The water clarity exhibited 12 to 16 inches of visibility. In contrast to the riled-up reservoir that I tried to fish on Sept. 19, this community reservoir looked like a piscatorial nirvana. That riled-up reservoir had me in a minor state of piscatorial despair on Sept, 19, and I incorrectly suspected that I would be filled with more despair and anguish on Sept 20.

For two hours and 37 minutes, Paul and I thoroughly and methodically dissected 90 percent of the two shorelines inside one of this reservoir's four feeder-creek arms. The water's edge along most of these shorelines is embellished with thick patches of American water willows, and there are a few skimpy laydowns and some overhanging trees.  The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, and patches of silt. Some of the boulders are humongous. There are a number of submerged stumps gracing one of the shorelines.  The slope of these shorelines ranges from 25 degrees to 50 degrees. The flatter sections were more fruitful than the steeper ones.

Along these two shorelines, we caught 44 largemouth bass. Twenty-one largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's sprayed-grass ZinkerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. A shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught 15 largemouth bass. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught seven largemouth bass. One largemouth bass was caught on a customized 3 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug FattyZ tail affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The bulk of these 44 largemouth bass were caught of the initial drop of our rigs along the outside edges of the patches of American water willows in three to 4 1/2 feet of water. Three were caught on a swimming retrieve. A few were caught by strolling and executing a drag-and-shake presentation in six to 10 feet of water.

We caught one largemouth bass along a main-lake point on the initial drop of the Z-Man's sprayed-grass ZinkerZ rig in about three feet of water adjacent to a patch of American water willows. The underwater terrain of this point consists of gravel, rocks, and some boulders.  It possesses a 35-degree slope.

Along a 75-yard stretch of a shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm, we caught nine largemouth bass. This shoreline is lined with patches of American water willows, two overhanging trees, and several laydowns. It possesses a 30- to 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders.

Along this shoreline, five of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the Z-Man's sprayed-grass ZinkerZ rig in three to four feet of water along the outside edges of the patches of American water willows.  The Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ caught four largemouth bass, and one of them was caught on the initial drop under an overhanging tree in about three feet of water. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop along the outside edges of the patches of American water willows in three to four feet of water.  One largemouth bass was caught by slowly swimming the Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ adjacent to a laydown in about three feet of water.

In sum, we fished  for three hours and 27 minutes. We caught 53 largemouth bass, and we inadvertently caught one channel catfish, eight green sunfish, one longear sunfish, and one orange-spotted sunfish. Traditionally, this reservoir becomes more riled up after a deluge than the one I tried to fish on Sept. 19, and that ordeal put me in a funk and provoked me to utter one complaint after another about Mother Nature's rainy ways. But for some unknown and delightful reason, it did not happen this time around.

Sept. 22 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 73 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 88 degrees at 2:53 p.m.  The wind angled out of the south and southwest at 9 to 18 mph.  It was sunny. The barometric pressure was 29.88 at 12:53 a.m., 29.90 at 5:53 a.m., 29.94 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.91 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 12:16 a.m. to 2:16 a.m., 12:39 p.m. to 2:39 p.m., and 6:27 a.m. to 8:27 a.m. Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, Merit Goodman of Eudora, Kansas, and I fished from 9:00 a.m. to 2:33 p.m. at a northeastern Kansas' community reservoir.

The water level looked to be about a foot above normal. The surface temperature was 77 degrees. The water exhibited five to eight feet of visibility. This reservoir is embellished with massive shallow-water and deep-water patches of coontail. The outside edges of some of the coontail patches are bordered with 14 to 20 feet of water.  Some of its shorelines are graced with patches of American pondweed and American water willows. Many of its shorelines and points are adorned with laydowns and overhanging trees.

We caught 80 largemouth bass, 21 smallmouth bass, three crappie, one walleye, and several green sunfish in five hours and 33 minutes. We caught 22 of these 101 black bass during the first 35 minutes that we were afloat. (Before I arrived, Bob and Merit were afloat for slightly more than an hour, and they caught 22 largemouth bass and battled a hefty smallmouth bass that liberated itself.)

Four of the 80 largemouth bass were caught on a three-inch Z-Man's watermelon-red Slim SwimZ affixed to a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.  Eleven of the black bass were caught on either a Z-Man's molting craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Bass Pro Shops' Shroom Head jig or a a Z-Man's mudbug Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Bass Pro Shops' Shroom Head jig.  Bob, Merit, and I are 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's ZinkerZ devotees, and 86 of the black bass were caught on our 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rigs. We caught them on a 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch California craw ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Bass Pro Shops' Shroom Head jig, a 2 1/2-inch Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Bass Pro Shops' Shroom Head jig, a 2 1/2-inch PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Bass Pro Shops' Shroom Head jig, and a 2 1/2-inch sprayed grass ZinkerZ affixed to either a black or a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig.

A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's sprayed grass ZinkerZ affixed to a small mushroom-style jig was a very effective rig on our Sept. 22 outing. And it has been effective on other outings in September. The one at the top is affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. The one in the middle is affixed to a chartresue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The one on the bottom is affixed to a black 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig.

We fished a short section of the dam. We fished six main-lake points. We fished five main-lake shorelines. We fished five secondary points inside one feeder-creek arm, and one secondary point inside another feeder-creek arm. We fished one flat in the back of a feeder-creek arm.  We fished portions of four shorelines inside two feeder-creek arms.

We caught black bass at all of those 22 locales. But some of them, such as the dam, yielded only one black bass. The flat in the back of the feeder-creek arm yielded nine largemouth bass.

The six main-lake points and five main-lake shorelines were the most fruitful locales. The underwater terrains of these locales consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Some of the boulders look to be the size of a picnic table. These shorelines possessed a 45- to 60-degree slope. The points possess a 40- to 50-degree slope. Some of the black bass were caught along the outside edges of patches of American water willows. Many of the black bass were abiding around the patches of coontail. Some of the black bass were caught around laydowns. A few were caught under overhanging trees. Several were caught around boulders. We caught them in water as shallow as two feet and as deep as 15 feet.

We caught a significant number of the black bass on the initial drop of our ZinkerZ rigs. Some were caught on a swim-and-glide presentation. Some were caught on a swim-and-shake presentation. Some were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. A few were caught while we were strolling and executing either a drag-and-shake presentation or a swim-and-shake presentation. The four largemouth bass that we caught on the Slim SwimZ rig were caught on a slow swimming presentation around patches of coontail on a flat in the back of a feeder-creek arm.

It is always delightful to tangle with 101 black bass on an outing.

Sept. 22 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 22 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

From about noon to 4:00 p.m., I conducted a solo excursion at a nearby north-central Texas' U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir. This is the same impoundment that I fished on Sept. 18. During that four-hour outing, I fished around this reservoir's riprap-laden dam on the south end and many concrete support pilings underneath a bridge in the southwest tributary arm. The water was stained with about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water temperature was 82 degrees. And I caught 44 largemouth bass and three spotted bass.

But instead of fishing in the southern region again, I elected to fish inside a feeder-creek arm located on its northern end.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the best fishing periods for Sept. 22 would occur from 12:26 a.m. to 2:26 a.m., 6:37 a.m. to 8:37 a.m., and 12:48 p.m. to 2:48 p.m.

Sept. 22 felt as hot as a furnace on this first day of fall.  It was sunny and humid. The sky was partly cloudy. Area thermometers measured the morning low temperature at 72 degrees. The afternoon high temperature peaked at 91 degrees, and the heat index temperature was 100 degrees. The wind blew steadily out of the southeast at 12 to 18 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.96 at noon and 29.87 at 4:00 p.m.

The water around the vicinity of the boat ramp was muddy with only an inch or two of clarity. It was white capping from the wind. The water level was 0.21 feet below normal. The surface temperature at the ramp was 82 degrees.

As soon as I launched the boat, I made a quick run to a nearby feeder-creek arm to seek shelter from the wind and waves. The water inside this creek arm was stained by an algae bloom and exhibited between a foot and 1 1/4 feet of visibility. The surface temperature varied from 83 to 86 degrees. The bottom terrain of this creek is composed of clay, gravel, and a few shallow rock ledges.

I fished from the mouth to the upper reaches of this creek arm. I focused my attention on the scores of partially-submerged laydowns that extend from the shorelines out toward the middle of the creek. The boat floated in four to nine feet of water.

The fishing was lousy. It was a chore to inveigle 11 largemouth bass and one spotted bass. I also inadvertently caught 10 white bass and one freshwater drum.

All of these fish were caught in three to five feet of water and next to the submerged ends and sides of the laydowns. The laydowns located on the shallower and flatter shorelines were more fruitful than the ones situated on steeper shorelines. I failed to catch a bass from any of the shallow rock ledges.

A Z-Man's 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig is our most effective combo in this creek arm during the cold-water periods of winter, but it caught only one largemouth bass this time. I also wielded a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig dressed with a Z-Man's bluegill Scented LeechZ for about 15 minutes, and it caught two largemouth bass, one white bass, and a freshwater drum. I employed a Z-Man's white lightning Finesse T.R.D. affixed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig for about 90 percent of this outing, and this rig enticed eight largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and nine white bass. I made a few casts with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a shortened Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, but I failed to generate any strikes with these two lures.

The 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ, bluegill Scented LeechZ, and white lightning Finesse T.R.D. rigs were presented with a slow swim-glide-and-subtle shake retrieve.

Unfortunately, the submerged aquatic vegetation such as hydrilla and milfoil that once flourished in the feeder-creek arms, coves, and main-lake flats at several of the Corps' reservoirs in north-central Texas were eradicated when water levels dropped as much as 30 feet during the 2010-2015 drought. Nowadays, main-lake haunts such as points, submerged rock ledges, floating tire reefs, and concrete support columns underneath bridges have become our most fruitful locales. And until the water temperatures drop below 75 degrees and the threadfin shad begin their annual fall-migration routines into the feeder-creeks arms, it is likely that we will find that main-lake lairs will continue to be more fruitful than the ones inside of the feeder-creeks.

Sept. 21-22 logs

On Sept. 25, Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted a 2,678-word report on the Finesse News Network about his outings with Robert Shue of Waynesboro, Virginia.  Shue is the proprietor of River Rock Custom Baits, and Myers has become a devotee of Shure's handiwork.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

On September 21, I met Robert at a local gas station, which is the nearest point of civilization from where we live. We feared that he would get lost trying to find our home. So, we met him, and he followed me through the woods and to our home.

As soon as he exited his truck, he commented on our remoteness. Then he handed me a couple of large bags of tubes in a color that I wanted to try. Despite his busy schedule, he so graciously had taken the time to pour and cut them for me prior to his visit.

I packed some of the new tubes, six Gamakatsu 1/0 dropshot hooks, a pack of Venom tube rattles,  and some four-inch River Rock Custom Baits'  Sticks into my camelback.

After he exchanged pleasantries with my wife, he and I were sitting side by side on the UTV and snaking our way through the woods to the river.

Leading up to Robert's visit, I had felt more pressure than I could ever remember. The fishing conditions were the most abysmal summer conditions I have experienced in eleven years.

As I thought about where to fish during Robert's visit, one thing that kept entering my mind and putting it at ease was that during the past seven weeks I had broken my personal best-size record twice.

For more than three weeks, we have not experienced a drop of rain. The rain that we experienced before then was minimal, too.

Consequently, the river is flowing at 60 cubic feet per second, which is the lowest level that we have experienced in eleven years.  What's more, the river is bottle-water clear.  Area thermometers have been climbing into the 90s, and the sun has been shinning intensely in a bluebird sky. The only high point is that we have been experiencing relatively cool nights, dropping area thermometers into the upper 50s, and these cool nights have lowered the water temperature nicely.

Upon getting to the river, I showed Robert a tube rigging method that he had never seen before, but he had heard me singing the praises about it for much of the summer. And I quickly showed him what it looks like in the water, which he was delighted to see. He also marveled at the water clarity, saying that it is like trout fishing for smallmouth bass.

I chose this stretch of the river based on one factor, which revolved around the fact that there is visible current. Straightaway, I commented to Robert that we would find fish anywhere we saw white bubbles and visible current. Robert is an experienced angler and can read rivers with the best of us.

As we worked our way up the river, I used the custom-made tube that Robert had perfected to my specifications early last spring. Robert showed me his three-inch River Rock Single Tail Grub, which he rigged on a light wire 1/16-ounce jig. It was the first time that I had seen it, and I quickly commented that it moves unlike any grub I had even seen. It will soon be another River Rock rig in my repertoire.

We slowly made our way up river, and I made comments along the way as to where the fish would be holding and why. I took some pride in that nearly everywhere that I expected there to be a willing participant there was.

Robert soon settled into a groove.  And we experienced multiple doubles along a shade-line riffle with visible overhead current in about two feet of water. This area had numerous watermelon-sized boulders that were ideal holding spots for the smallmouth bass.

As we continued to work up the river we continued to catch fish.

As dinner time approached and knowing that we had a fine one awaiting us, I commented that it was time for us to start back.

Upon returning home, Robert immediately checked on the day's incoming orders, and he was soon on the phone with a gentleman from Louisiana and double-checking about an order. I marveled at his dedication to this customer, and I heard him mention to the gentleman that he had just gotten off the water and that we had taken 60-70 fish in less than four hours.

At 5:30 a.m. on Sept. 22, my wife prepared us some fine breakfast sandwiches before we departed. While she certainly was not asked to do so, it was greatly welcomed on what would be a Lewis-and-Clark-like outing to come.

I had planned for us to make an eight-mile float on Sept. 22. But as water levels have continued to drop, I was second guessing this plan. In essence, I would rather walk up behind the smallmouth bass in these conditions than float down river to them.

In the fog at 7:00 a.m., I climbed into my kayak, and Robert got on his one-man pontoon.  As we made our way upstream in the fog, we traversed an extremely deep section of the river.  We sporadically caught some smallmouth bass, including two hefty ones, but I was all about getting out of this deep stretch of river and heading well north to a series of ledges that I knew had visible current, which is a pond-like run that is the size of three tennis courts.

While we were working  our way up the river, we admired a bald eagle flying overhead.

As we traversed one riffle after another, we would make occasional casts to moving water that fell over shallow ledges, which is where we suspected the smallmouth bass to be abiding. Much of this time I was content to watch Robert trying to coax a strike, and we marveled at how difficult it was to elicit a strike in an area that we knew was holding fish. The area was a foot deeper than the surrounding water, and it had visible current flowing over a quagmire of football-shaped boulders and granite ledges that were well shaded from the early morning sun. Ultimately, Robert rigged a lightly weighted River Rock Helgripede, and he began catching the reluctant biters at a hand-over-fist pace, while I sat in my kayak and applauded his efforts. We grinned and I told him that he was going to like the water that was upstream from this locale.

So it went. We made our way up the river, and we caught a few smallmouth bass on our light rigs, but we constantly marveled at how difficult it was to garner a strike.

I primarily fished with the custom-made River Rock Texas Tea tube rigged in my oddball fashion. I also used that tube on an 1/8-ounce River Rock Crawler Head Jig.  In addition, I worked with a four-inch River Rock Stick and a CBC River Rock Fat Stick. Robert used his lightly weighted three-inch River Rock grub and the Helgripede.

We eventually arrived at the pond-like run. It was shaded on one side throughout the day.  It is endowed with intermittent areas of three to four feet of water. There is a v-shaped trench along the bottom, which is bordered by the shade line.

Both of us quickly caught a smallmouth bass. We pushed our Yak Attack push poles into the bottom, and then we again endured a 30-minute spell when we struggled to elicit a strike.

Eventually Robert concluded that the smallmouth bass were foraging upon crayfish, and they were reluctant to chase a bait.  He discovered that the most effective retrieve was to employ a five-second deadstick presentation after his rig reached the bottom. Then he would execute a gentle shake.

I watched as Robert continually caught smallmouth bass while deadsticking a tube.

Then I went to work with a rig that I had been experimenting with in recent months. It is a 4 1/2-inch River Rock SM Killer in the Light Special hue. It is a soft-plastic worm. I used my side cutters to cut a finishing nail in half and pushed half of it into the nose of the worm. Two inches above the nose of the worm, I affixed a No. 1 Gamakatsu TGW Drop Shot Hook, creating a Neko rig.  It exhibited an extremely slow and alluring fall, and it stands perpendicular off the bottom. It looks like a pencil with a gently waving tail.

I proceeded to catch five smallmouth bass in my first seven casts with it. Three of them had crayfish antennas sticking out of their mouths. Robert's observations were on the mark.

For more than an hour, Robert and I simultaneously tangled with smallmouth bass after smallmouth bass.

I received a message from my wife, reporting that two full racks of ribs had been cooking for four hours, and they would be ready to eat in about two hours.

So, we worked our way down the river, snaking our way around and over one ledge after another and zigzagging our way through the canyon. As we paddled and rowed our crafts back to our awaiting trucks through the deep-water stretch where we started this outing, we both commented on what an exhausting upriver trip it was.

Upon getting in the driveway, my wife asked how we did and Robert stated "70 or more, I wasn't counting". Nor was I. Robert proceeded to check on orders, and then we sat down to a delightful meal.

Sept. 26 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 26 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

I spent four hours at one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoirs that stipple the countryside in north-central Texas.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar table, the most productive fishing would occur from 3:48 a.m. to 5:48 a.m., 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and 4:12 p.m. to 6:12 p.m. I was afloat from 12 noon to 4:00 p.m.

The day was overcast. A minor cold front and rain are expected to arrive on Sept. 27. The wind was light and variable. The morning low temperature was 72 degrees and the afternoon high was 87 degrees. The barometric pressure was 29.96 at 11:00 a.m. and 29.87 at 4:00 p.m.

The water level was less than a foot below normal pool.  The water clarity varied from four feet of visibility in the vicinity of the dam on the south end of the reservoir to 1 1/2 feet of visibility in the upper end of a large feeder-creek arm in the middle of the reservoir's east tributary arm. The surface temperature ranged from 79 to 83 degrees.

In the southern section of the reservoir, I fished a 75-yard stretch of riprap that covers the dam, the walls of a large water-outlet tower, three prominent main-lake points, a 100-yard section of a rocky main-lake shoreline, and a large main-lake cove.

At the dam, I caught two largemouth bass and six white bass. The two largemouth bass were relating to the submerged riprap in three to six feet of water. The white bass where caught many yards from the water's edge as they were foraging on two-inch threadfin shad along the surface of the water.

The walls of the water-outlet tower have been one of our most lucrative areas at this reservoir for the past several months, but it yielded only three largemouth bass and one spotted bass on this outing. The four black bass were suspended about eight to 10 feet below the surface in 34 to 57 feet of water and five to 10 feet away from the walls of the tower.

The 100-yard section of the rocky main-lake shoreline surrendered one largemouth bass. It was caught in three feet of water next to the side of a submerged concrete building foundation.

I failed to generate any strikes around the three main-lake points.

I fished the main-lake cove from front to back. It is endowed with several rocky secondary points, large stands of flooded timber, and quite a few submerged stumps. I failed to cross paths with any threadfin shad, largemouth bass, or spotted bass inside this cove.

In the east tributary arm, I fished at four main-lake points, inside three large main-lake coves, one major feeder-creek arm, and one riprap jetty.

I caught one largemouth bass at one of the four main-lake points on the west side of the tributary arm. These four points look similar in my eyes and are comprised of red clay, gravel, baseball-size rocks, and adorned with many shallow patches of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation that line the water's edge. This largemouth was abiding next to one of the large patches of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation in three feet of water. The other three rocky points failed to yield a largemouth bass or spotted bass.

Inside the three large main-lake coves, which are on the west side of this tributary arm, the shorelines are graced with thick stands of flooded timber,  stumps, a submerged roadbed, and many patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation. I failed to elicit a strike inside these coves.

The major feeder-creek arm just north of the three main-lake coves relinquished two largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one freshwater drum. The two largemouth bass and freshwater drum were caught from a long submerged rock ledge along the south shoreline in the lower end of the creek arm. The top of this ledge is covered with two feet of water and the bottom of the ledge lies in about 20 feet of water. These two largemouth bass were caught in about 10 feet of water and about five feet away from the top of the ledge.

One spotted bass was caught in four feet of water from a small patch of submerged boulders at the end of one of the three rocky secondary points in the midsection of the feeder-creek arm, but the other two secondary points, portions of a large mud flat, and two smaller coves in the upper section of this creek arm were fruitless.

The riprap jetty on the east side of the tributary arm was the most productive locale. A concrete fishing pier extends from the tip of this jetty. The deep-water end of the fishing pier stands in 21 feet of water, and it relinquished four largemouth bass and one spotted bass. They were suspended about 13 feet above the bottom and eight feet below the surface. They were caught within a couple of feet of two concrete pillars that support the end of the fishing pier.

In sum, the fishing was disappointing. It was a trying task to inveigle a combination of 16 largemouth bass and spotted bass during this four-hour excursion.

Thirteen black bass and the freshwater drum were caught on a Z-Man's smelt Finesse ShadZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  A shortened Z-Man's mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig allured two largemouth bass. One spotted bass was caught on a Z-Man's bad shad Trick ShotZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  The white bass were caught on a three-inch Z-Man's pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on a black 1/10-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig.

A slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve was the only effective presentation with the smelt Finesse ShadZ, mud minnow Hula StickZ, and bad shad Trick ShotZ rigs. The three-inch Slim SwimZ combo was employed with a steady swim retrieve.

Sept. 27 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 57 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 64 degrees at 2:53 p.m.  The sky was clear from 12:53 a.m. to 2:53 a.m. and at 1:53 p.m. At other times, the sky fluctuated from being scattered with clouds to being mostly cloudy to being overcast. And it rained lightly for a short spell. The wind angled out of the north by northwest, north, north by northeast and east by northeast at 4 to 11 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.12 at 12:53 a.m., 30.15 at 5:53 a.m., 30.24 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.21 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 4:45 a.m. to 6:45 a.m., 5:09 p.m. to 7:09 p.m., and 10:57 a.m. to 12:57 p.m.  My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished one of northeastern Kansas' many community reservoirs from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The water level looked to be a few inches above normal. The surface temperature was 74 degrees. The water exhibited four feet of visibility in the vicinity of the dam, and it declined to 2 1/2 feet in the upper reaches of the reservoir's primary feeder-creek arm. The patches of American water willows that grace some of the shorelines and points are in the early stages of traditional autumnal decline, as are some of the patches of winter primrose. The patches of coontail that embellish many of the shallow-water flats and some of the shorelines and secondary points are green, but a significant amount of it is interlaced with filamentous algae, and it fouled a number of our retrieves.

We fished the dam and its adjacent shorelines, the spillway and a few yards of its adjacent shorelines, two offshore humps, five main-lake points and short segments of their adjacent shorelines, and portions of six main-lake shorelines.

We caught 71 largemouth bass. We also caught two warmouth, six green sunfish, and one white crappie, and in our old eyes, it looked to be the biggest white crappie that we have caught in our many decades of fishing at some of Kansas' and Missouri's finest crappie reservoirs.

One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  One largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch sprayed grass ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Eight largemouth bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. Fifty-eight largemouth bass were caught on either a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We caught 17 largemouth bass along the dam in three to eight feet of water. Most of the dam has a 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of riprap. Much of its water's edge is lined with patches of American water willows that are interlaced with some coontail and water primrose. Some of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs along the outside edges of patches of American water willows. Several were caught while we were employing a drag-and-shake presentation.  Three were caught while we worked with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. A few were caught as we used a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. All but four of the largemouth bass were caught on either a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Nineteen largemouth bass were caught along a 400-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 30-degree slope.  It is cluttered with docks. Some of the water's edge is lined with either concrete or stone retaining walls, and some of it is graced with patches of American water willows and coontail. We plied about 300-yards of this shoreline. All of the largemouth bass were caught on either a shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We caught them in three to seven feet of water. Some were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Some were caught on either a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake or a drag-and-shake presentation.

We caught two largemouth bass on one of the offshore humps. They were caught on the Junebug ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in eight feet of water adjacent to a submerged patch of coontail.  The other offshore hump was fruitless.

Four largemouth bass were caught around the spillway in five to seven feet of water on the shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two were caught while we employed a drag-and-shake retrieve.  Two were caught on the initial drop. One was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The spillway is relatively flat with a 20-degree slope, but there is 20 feet of water nearby. It is graced with a few bedraggled patches of American water willows.

Rick Hebenstreit with one of the 71 largemouth bass that we caught.

Along a 75-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline, we failed to elicit a strike.

Around a main-lake point, we caught four largemouth bass and the biggest white crappie of our lifetimes. They were caught in four to seven feet of water on the shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while we were employing a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. One largemouth bass was caught around a stump. Another largemouth bass was caught next to a dock. Two largemouth bass were caught around patches of coontail. This point possesses a 20- to 25-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some boulders. Some of its water's edge is lined with patches of American water willows.

Rick Hebenstreit with a handsome crappie.

At another main-lake point, we caught 10 largemouth bass in two to four feet of water. Six of them were caught next to a retaining wall on the initial drop of the shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  Three largemouth bass were caught on the Junebug ZinkerZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation around the outside edge of patches of American water willows. The Junebug ZinkerZ rig caught one largemouth bass on the initial drop next to a retaining wall.

We failed to elicit a strike at two main-lake points.

Along a short section of a massive main-lake shoreline, we caught two largemouth bass in about four feet of water on the shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. They were caught in the vicinity of the outside edges of patches of American water willows. This shoreline possesses a 35- to 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. Several docks clutter the stretch that we fished.

We fished about 75 yards of a main-lake shoreline and about 50 yards of another main-lake shoreline, and we failed to elicit a strike along these shorelines.

Around a main-lake point and its adjacent shoreline, we caught two largemouth bass on the shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. One was caught on the initial drop of the rig under an overhanging tree, around a pile of rocks, and next to a minor patch of American water willows in about three feet of water. The other was caught near a concrete retaining wall as we were executing a drag-and-shake presentation. The underwater terrain of this main-lake point consists of gravel and rocks.  It has a 35- to 45-degree slope.

We dissected nearly 300 yards of another main-lake shoreline. Its slope ranges from 20 degrees to 50 degrees. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some boulders. The water's edge is adorned with patches of water primrose, American water willows, several laydowns, two retaining walls, some overhanging trees, and two docks. Many of the flatter sections are graced with submerged patches of coontail. This shoreline yielded 11 largemouth bass.

Two of the 11 largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig next to a concrete retaining wall in about three feet of water. This rig also caught two largemouth bass around patches of submerged coontail in about six feet of water with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Five of the eleven largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Three of the five were caught in about three feet of water around patches of American water willows that were adjoined by patches of submerged coontail.  Two of the five were caught in five to six feet of water around laydowns that are intertwined with patches of American water willows and coontail.

Two of the eleven largemouth bass were caught by dragging and shaking the shortened Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in about four feet of water along the outside edges of patches of American water willows.

In sum, it was a fruitful four hours, and the shortened Junebug Hula StickZ and 2 1/2-inch Junebug ZinkerZ garnered a lot of dividends. Throughout the year, they and the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig are frequently our most fruitful rigs at this reservoir.

Sept. 29 log

David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 29 outing at a northeastern Kansas' state reservoir.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his detailed report:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 50 degrees at 6:30 a.m. and 65 degrees at 10:30 a.m. The sky was partly cloudy although later in the day the clouds dissipated. The wind angled out the north, north by northwest, and northeast, at 0 to 2 mph. The barometric pressure started at 30.20 and rose to 30.25 by 11:30 a.m.

According to the solunar app on my phone, it was a three-tuna day with a major period from 7:22 a.m. to 9:22 a.m.

The water exhibited three to five feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 73 to 75 degrees.

I am a test designer at a major government defense contractor.  I use the scientific method on a daily basis to design effective test matrices and do the statistical analysis to prove that the tests are effective. On this outing, I designed a test to help understand if covering a lot of water is actually an advantage.

Covering water is generally regarded as a good aspect of any productive bass fishing presentation.  Many people view that a downside of Midwest finesse presentations are that they do not cover much water, and that is because the casts are usually short and the retrieves are slow. Some of this revolves around the word finesse, but I have always been amazed by how much water Ned Kehde and I can probe in a four-hour outing with Midwest finesse tactics.

I conducted this test along a main-lake point and a 300-yard stretch of a west-facing shoreline. I used three rigs: a generic black buzzbait, which caught some largemouth bass during my last outing at this reservoir, a crankbait, and a shortened Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

I chose this section because there is a shallow-water flat that extends out into the reservoir, and much of it is covered with six feet of water. It is graced with American pondweed, American water willows, submerged bushy pondweed, and submerged coontail. The buzz bait and crankbait would allow me to probe many more feet of this flat than I could achieve by working with the ZinkerZ rig.

I started the test at 6:30 a.m., and I fished the first round of this area with the buzzbait.  While I worked with the buzzbait, I strolled the ZinkerZ rig in a rod holder behind the boat with a straight swimming presentation.  This tactic performed two purposes: it allowed the ZinkerZ a chance to be used with each of the three series of tests, and it also provided a potential data point for the largemouth bass located on the flat, but possibly not responding to the other presentations.

For this test, I put the trolling motor on constant at a setting of 2.5 to 3 mph.  With the buzz bait, I was able to make multiple 45-yard casts to the shoreline and work all of the emergent and submerged vegetation that embellish this flat. The buzzbait was the fastest presentation. It allowed me to completely cover each and every detail on this flat.  My first fish came on the fourth cast with the buzzbait next to the shoreline.

The first round ended in 45 minutes. The buzzbait caught three largemouth bass, and the ZinkerZ caught two largemouth bass. Interestingly enough, all of the buzzbait fish came on the initial landing or immediately after starting the retrieve.  This result negates the idea of covering water.

I used the outboard motor to return to the start of my fishing area.  I threw the crankbait a few times and realized it was not going to work with the vegetation in the area.  I changed the lure to one of Matt Endsley's 1/4-ounce custom-made and thin-wire spinnerbaits with a willow-leaf blade and a small Colorado blade, and I continued my research. The spinnerbait was the only lure to achieve a strike at the edge of the aquatic vegetation and away from the shoreline. At the end of the second lap, the spinnerbait caught one largemouth bass, and the strolled ZinkerZ caught one largemouth bass.

On the third lap, I pulled or trolled the spinnerbait and the crankbait behind the boat, and I made casts and retrieves with the ZinkerZ rig.  And I plied the same flat and shoreline that I plied on lap one and two. On this lap, I caught one largemouth bass on the ZinkerZ rig, and I failed to elicit bites on the crankbait and the spinnerbait.  At this point the sun was up, but most of the area was still in the shade.   I was able to cast the ZinkerZ rig only half as far as the other lures; therefore, I positioned the boat closer to the shoreline. This lap ended at 8:45 a.m.

The total fish count for the experiment was nine largemouth bass in two hours and 15 minutes.  Five were caught on the ZinkerZ rig --four strolling and one casting. Three largemouth bass were caught on the buzzbait. The spinnerbait caught one.

The first take away from this experiment is that when the area around the boat is wood-free and graced with scattered patches of aquatic vegetation, a one-person fishing system is benefitted by strolling a Midwest finesse presentation.  The largemouth bass that were caught by strolling the ZinkerZ rig ignored the buzzbait and spinnerbait presentation that was probing the same water.

The second conclusion is that the initial drop of the buzzbait caught four largemouth bass.  Since all of my casts landed near shore or the edge of the American water willows, it was not an advantage to cover a lot of water with my retrieves with the buzzbait. The spinnerbait did catch one largemouth bass while I was employing a long cast and retrieve.

Interestingly enough, the long-cast-and-retrieve scenario allowed the boat to stay around the outside edges of the submerged aquatic vegetation on this flat, which is where some of the largemouth bass were hooking themselves on the strolled ZinkerZ.  Therefore, the optimum situation for the start of a day is to stroll a ZinkerZ rig at the edge of the fishable area, and at the same time, an angler can cast a lure to the shoreline or edge of emergent aquatic vegetation, such as American water willows. Sometimes the distance to the shoreline and emergent vegetation warrants a power-fishing lure that is heavy enough to reach it.

My second experiment continued with the buzz bait versus ZinkerZ comparison. First, I probed a shoreline with a buzzbait. Then I fished it again with the Junebug ZinkerZ rig, a Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's California craw ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Berkley Half Head Jig.  The buzzbait caught one largemouth bass from an open area and the Finesse ShadZ caught three largemouth bass from small points and in gaps around the patches of American pondweed.

This experiment continued along another shoreline, where the largemouth bass exhibited a preference for a deadstick presentation.

In total, this test consumed six hours and 15 minutes. I caught 24 largemouth bass and four crappie. After 8:45 a.m., I caught only one largemouth bass by strolling.

In many ways, this test confirmed that covering water with a long-cast and power-fishing tactics might be useful at the beginning of a fishing trip, but only when it is paired with or complementing a strolled finesse presentation. The extra reeling and coverage of the power presentation is not always an advantage when compared to pinpoint casts with a standard finesse rig.

Sept. 29 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 29 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I ventured to one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoirs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area. The black bass have become more difficult for us to locate and catch during the past few weeks, and we were hoping to buck that awful trend by finding a significant concentration or two of largemouth bass and spotted bass during this early-fall endeavor.

The water exhibited about 18 inches of visibility. The water level was about half of a foot low. The surface temperature was 79 degrees.

It was overcast and intermittent spells of light rain fell throughout the morning and early afternoon hours. The wind angled out of the northeast at 8 to 10 mph. The morning low temperature was 62 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 77 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.17 at 11:00 a.m. and 30.11 at 4:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 6:12 a.m. to 8:12 a.m., 11:59 a.m. to 1:59 p.m., and 6:36 p.m. to 8:36 p.m. Norman and I fished from about noon to 2:15 p.m., and after taking a 30-minute break, we continued fishing from 2:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

We fished in the reservoir's southwest tributary arm.

We focused on 41 concrete support columns underneath a large bridge and an adjacent train-trestle bridge; a steep clay, gravel, and rock main-lake shoreline; two rocky main-lake points; a 50-yard segment of flat shoreline inside a main-lake cove; a 65-yard section of steep shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm; and two floating tire reefs at the mouth of a large marina.

We began the outing by fishing around the 32 concrete support columns underneath a bridge and nine concrete columns under an adjacent train-trestle bridge.  A few of the support columns had attracted several small schools of 1/2-inch threadfin shad. We caught 20 largemouth bass and two white crappie that were suspended about eight feet below the surface in 24 to 37 feet of water next to the sides of these concrete columns. Fifteen of the largemouth bass and the two crappie were caught on a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse Trick ShotZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was presented with a slow swim-glide-and shake retrieve. Three largemouth bass were caught on a four-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse WormZ affixed on an unpainted 1/16-ounce generic ball-head jig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We also wielded a Z-Man's bluegill Scented LeechZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig for about a dozen casts and swim-glide-and-shake retrieves, and it enticed one largemouth bass. The swim-glide-and-shake action employed with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on an unpainted 1/16-ounce generic ball-head jig caught one largemouth bass.

Norman Brown with one of the largemouth bass that they caught.

From the two bridges, we travelled about 1 1/2 miles eastward to a long rocky main-lake shoreline and its adjacent main-lake point, but we decided to take a thirty-minute break before we began dissecting the main-lake shoreline and point. After we finished our break, we fished about 75 yards of the main-lake shoreline where it eventually ends at a main-lake point and cove. This shoreline and point have a steep slope. Their underwater terrains are comprised of red clay, gravel, boulders, and softball-size rocks. There are several laydown trees that litter the shoreline. We caught six largemouth bass and one spotted bass from the main-lake shoreline and one largemouth bass and one spotted bass from the point. They were caught in three to six feet of water. Three were caught on a Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. attached to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on an unpainted 1/16-ounce generic ball-head jig. Another largemouth was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ rigged on an unpainted 1/16-ounce generic ball-head jig. One largemouth was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Space Guppy Slim SwimZ  on a black 1/10-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. The coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D, 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin ZinkerZ, and 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigs were retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The Space Guppy Slim SwimZ was retrieved with a steady swimming presentation about six to 12 inches beneath the surface of the water.

From that main-lake shoreline and point, we fished our way inside the cove just south of the main-lake point. We dissected several large patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation that adorn the north shoreline in two to four feet of water, but we failed to elicit any strikes.

After that, we meandered over to a nearby feeder-creek arm that contains a large marina. We fished a rock-laden main-lake point at the mouth of this feeder-creek arm, a 65-yard section of the steep shoreline on the northeast side of the creek arm, and two tractor-tire reefs that float in 18 to 31 feet of water at the entrance to the large marina.

The rocky main-lake point relinquished two largemouth bass and one spotted bass that were caught in three to five feet of water. They were relating to a submerged patch of large rocks near the tip of the point. One largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught on the Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. dressed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass was caught on the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin ZinkerZ attached to an unpainted 1/16-ounce generic ball-head jig.

We caught one largemouth bass in five feet of water along the steep clay and gravel shoreline just south of the entry point to the feeder-creek arm. This bass was caught on the Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. and chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig combo that was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake action.

We finished this outing fishing the two floating tractor-tire reefs located at the entrance to the large marina. The first floating tire reef is about 25 yards long, and it relinquished six largemouth bass and one spotted bass. They were caught on either the coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D or 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin ZinkerZ rigs. These bass were suspended about five feet below the surface and within a foot or two of the outside edges of the floating tractor tires. We failed to generate any strikes from the second tire reef, which is about 75 yards long.

All totaled, we were delighted to catch 35 largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and two whitecrappie in four hours. Thirty-seven of the 38 black bass were caught from main-lake lairs or from a tire reef at the entrance to a feeder-creek arm. One largemouth bass was caught from a steep shoreline inside the feeder-creek. We did not garner any strikes from inside the main-lake cove. We did not fish the upper ends of the feeder-creek and cove.We did not garner any strikes from the cove or feeder-creek, and we did not fish the upper ends of the feeder creek and cove.

The 3.5-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse Trick ShotZ and Z-Man's coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. rigs were the two most effective rigs.

A swim-glide-and-shake presentation was the most effective retrieve by far. We caught one largemouth bass utilizing a steady-swim retrieve.

 Sept. 30 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 30 outing with Merit Goodman of Eudora, Kansas, and Andrew Trembath of Parkville, Missouri, at a northeastern Kansas' power-plant reservoir.

Here is an edited version his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 59 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 79 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the east by northeast, south by southeast, and south at 3 to 24 mph.  The sky fluctuated from being clear to being overcast to being mostly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 30.22 at 12:53 a.m., 30.22 at 5:53 a.m., 30.23 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.14 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 6:51 a.m. to 8:51 a.m., 7:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m., and 12:39 a.m. to 2:39 a.m. We fished from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 73 degrees at the dam to 76 degrees at the boat ramp. The water exhibited five feet of visibility. There are vast patches of American pondweed and other kinds of aquatic vegetation embellishing the shallow-water flats and many of the points and shorelines.

The wind and aquatic vegetation hampered our abilities to execute affective presentations around the reservoir's black bass habitats.

There were no substantial location and presentation patterns.

We caught 16 smallmouth bass, four freshwater drum, four white bass, two walleye, and one largemouth bass. Three white bass, one walleye, and one freshwater drum were caught on a spoon in 20 to 25 feet of water in the vicinity of a riprap point.

Merit Goodman with one of the smallmouth bass that they caught.

Our most effective Midwest finesse rigs were either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

 

 

 

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