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Walt Tegtmeier of Leawood, Kansas, with one of the largemouth bass that he and his family and their friends caught in New York. See his July 7 log below.

The July guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 29 logs and 24,164 words that detail how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished. It features the endeavors of Mark Acridge of Watauga, Texas; Rick Allen of Dallas; Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas; Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas;  Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, 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; Walt Tegtmeier of  Leawood, Kansas; John Thomas of Denton, Texas; Andrew Trembath of Kansas City, Kansas; as well as my northeastern Kansas logs.

Five of these anglers fished many miles from the waters that the normally ply.  Bob Gum and Andrew Trembath ventured to Ontario, Canada. Walt Tegtmeier fished at Loon Lake, New York. David Harrison fished in eastern Colorado. Mike Poe fished the New River in Virginia.

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

July 1 log

I wrecked my boat trailer on June 20, and I bought a new trailer two days ago. My July 1 outing was aimed primarily at testing the trailer. I was, however, able to squeeze in two hours and 22 minutes to test Z-Man’s Fishing Products’ TRD TubeZ, which is their new 2 3/4-inch tube.  I did these tests at a northeastern Kansas community reservoir.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 62 degrees at 7:52 a.m. and 82 degrees at 12:52 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being clear to partly cloudy to mostly cloudy, and a few rain drops fell around 1:37 p.m. The wind was calm at times, and at other times, it angled out of the north, northeast, east by northeast, and southeast at 3 to 11 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.99 at 12:52 a.m., 30.07 at 5:52 a.m., 30.12 at 11:52 a.m. and 30.10 at 1:56 p.m.

The water was stained with some alga blooms. The visibility ranged from a foot to two feet. The water level looked to be normal.  During the process of acquiring the new trailer, I removed the electronic gear from the boat, and on this outing, I did not reattach it. Thus, I was not able to measure the surface temperature. I failed to cross paths with any patches of submerged vegetation, which had been killed by the reservoir’s managers in May. Many of its shorelines are lined with patches of American water willows, and they looked healthy and had a lot of water around them.

While I was afloat, I crossed paths with a man who works for the Kansas Bureau of Water. We talked for about 15 minutes, and he told me that this reservoir has some mercury woes. He told me how they measure it, and they do it by electro-shocking some fish.  After they capture a fish, they remove a small core of flesh from its torso. Then the fish is released.

He told me an interesting story about the behavior of a three-pound largemouth bass that they shocked along the dam during their mercury survey.  After they captured this largemouth bass and extracted a tiny sample of its flesh, they released it at the dam. Then about 15 minutes later, they were shocking an area inside a feeder-creek arm about a mile from the dam, and they shocked and recaptured this three-pound largemouth bass.  I was flabbergasted, and he said all of the biologists were flabbergasted, too.

In addition to the mercury pollution, he told me about the herbicide residue (such as Roundup) that pollutes this reservoir and pollutes nearly all of the waterways in northeastern Kansas. In sum, it was an educational but disheartening conversation.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 8:29 a.m. to 10:29 a.m., 8:58 p.m. to 10:58 p.m., and 2:15 a.m. to 4:15 a.m. I was afloat and fishing rather leisurely from 11:15 a.m. to 1:37 p.m.

I fished two main-lake points, a short section of the dam, short portions of five shorelines inside three feeder-creek arms, and short portions of two main-lake shorelines.

I was hoping that I could repeat the pattern that Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I enjoyed at another northeastern Kansas community reservoir on June 30. At that reservoir, we caught 62 largemouth bass in four hours and seven minutes by fishing shorelines and main-lake points that are graced with patches of American water willows.  But that pattern did not unfold on July 1 at this community reservoir.

In fact, the fishing was surprisingly awful. I caught only 15 largemouth bass.  One of them was caught on an offshore series of rock piles in about seven feet of water. Nine of them were caught in the shade under overhanging trees in about three feet of water. Five of them were caught around and adjacent to some minor laydowns in about three feet of water.

One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Seven largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s California Craw TRD TubeZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I tested the TRD TubeZ rigs against a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The Finesse WormZ rig caught five largemouth bass. The Finesse ShadZ caught two largemouth bass.

A swim-glide-and-very-subtle-shake retrieve was the only effective presentation.

For the next seven days we will be entertaining and fishing with our three grandsons and their parents from San Antonio, Texas, and these folks will be casting and retrieving some TRD TubeZ rigs. They are easy to cast and retrieve. They will also spend some time wielding a Finesse WormZ rig. And I will probably not write and publish logs about these family outings.

July 1 log

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a report about his July 1 outing at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in northeastern Kansas.

Here is an edited adaptation of his report:

I finally got my boat ready and on the water today after a long layoff that started last September caused by my ailing hip.  With my hip recovery progressing well, I finally rolled the boat out of the garage, caught up with the necessary trailer and engine maintenance, cleaned off a nine-month accumulation of dust and dirt, and breathed a sigh of relief when the engine started right up.  Full of elation from that victory, I headed to the reservoir for a solo expedition.

My intention was to utilize a combination of Midwest finesse tactics and ultralight spinning techniques and fish for both black bass and white bass as the opportunities presented themselves.  I fished for 5 1/2 hours from 2:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

It was 80 degrees at 2:30 p.m. The sky was partly sunny to overcast, and a light rain shower dropped some sprinkles for about 30 minutes.  The wind was light from the north when I first arrived, but soon shifted to the southeast at 2 mph with gusts to 12 mph, according to Weather Bug.

The water level was essentially at normal pool level.  The surface temperature was 83 degrees. The water was stained with about one foot of visibility in most places, but was downright muddy in a couple of spots due to wave action from the boat traffic.

I started fishing on a rocky secondary point and shoreline at the mouth of a small feeder creek.  I used a  Strike King Lure Company’s white Bitsy Minnow.  By the time I had traversed 50 yards of shoreline, I had caught my three fish: two very small green sunfish and a three-quarters-of-a-pound smallmouth bass.  However, after rounding the tip of the point and entering the cove, things slowed down for the next 150 yards.  Therefore, I picked up another spinning rod and began using a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a green-pumpkin 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShroomZ jig. I also reversed course and began working back towards the point at the mouth of the feeder creek.  The Finesse ShadZ immediately began producing strikes, but I was having difficulty hooking the fish.  I finally got a solid strike and landed a one-pound smallmouth bass. I decided that the numerous strikes were from green sunfish that were  too small to get the Finesse ShadZ in their mouths.  Since they were driving me crazy grabbing my lure, I decided to use a smaller lure so I could get at least some satisfaction from their strikes and nibbles.  So, I picked up another rod that had a shortened Z-Man’s black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.  My bite and catch rate immediately picked up.  I was still getting scores of strikes without hooking the fish, but I also began hooking and landing many little green sunfish.

After I finished fishing that point, I moved to the point on the other side of the mouth of the feeder-creek arm. I fished around that point and down 200 yards of a rocky shoreline. That shoreline ends at a riprap causeway that extends at right angles to the shoreline and provides access to a bridge midway across a secondary feeder-creek arm. I proceeded to fish along the riprap to the bridge, under the bridge, and along the riprap for 100 yards on the other side of the bridge.  After making several passes back and forth along that stretch of riprap, I moved across the channel to the other side and repeated the same, making several passes along the riprap, under the bridge, and down the riprap on the other side of the causeway.  During all of this fishing, the little sunfish continued to harass my Finesse WormZ rig on almost every cast and retrieve.  I also continued to get occasional strikes from other bigger and better fish. But the strikes from the bigger specimens were scattered, and there did not seem to be any rhyme or reason to their location.

After fishing with the Finesse WormZ for nearly five hours, I decided to finish the day doing something different.  I moved a couple of miles up lake to a small tertiary point that has proven to be a reliable sunset spot for white bass.  The wind had picked up and was blowing at 10-12 mph across the tip of the point and the boat traffic was sending a continuous barrage of waves onto shore at this location.  Using the trolling motor, I again made several passes back and forth around this point.  Using the Bitsy Minnow again, I was able to hook and land four white bass.  Much to my delight, I also landed three smallmouth bass, a freshwater drum and a channel catfish in about 20 minutes of fishing.

On this trip, I caught a total of 56 fish: five white bass, two channel catfish, four freshwater drum, one bluegill, one crappie,  22 green sunfish, nine smallmouth bass, and 12 largemouth bass.  Two green sunfish, four white bass, one freshwater drum, one channel catfish, and four smallmouth bass were caught on the Bitsy Minnow.  One smallmouth bass was caught on the green-pumpkin Finesse Shad Z.  All of the other fish were caught on the shortened black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ.

With the Finesse WormZ, I used primarily a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and occasionally I deadsticked  it for several seconds.  Most of the strikes came after the initial drop of the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Some of the black bass were caught during the deadstick portion of the presentation. Many of the small fish hit the worm on the initial drop or within a couple of seconds after I began to swim it.

The smallmouth bass ranged in size from a half to 1 1/2 pounds, and most were in the one to 1 1/4-pound range. The largemouth bass ranged from three-quarters of a pound to three pounds.

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Dave Petro’s self portrait  with one of the largemouth bass that he caught on July 1.

All in all, I was very happy with the fishing today.  My catch rate could have been somewhat better. There were several times where I had a strong fish on the line, and I lost them after a few seconds.  I finally discovered that, after a couple of these incidents, the hook on my jig was partially straightened after being freed from a rock.  I finally began checking it and rebending it anytime I got hung up on a rock.  I hooked about eight black bass that were on the line long enough to see, but they escaped because of the partially straightened hook. If I had landed them, it would have upped the count for the day.

July 5 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his July 5 outing.

Here is an edited adaptation of his report:

After having worked for 40 hours during the three-day span of the holiday weekend, I was more than ready to fish.

During those three days, I intently watched my trusty boulder that I use to gauge river conditions as I departed for work every morning. In the evening, I would do the same. The water level had dropped more than a foot and cleared substantially from when I had left for work early on the morning of July 1 and when I returned home on the evening of July 3.

I was raring to go on the morning of July 4, but the weather forecast was not on my side; it rained the entire day, and at times intermittent thunderstorms erupted.  Though we experienced nonstop rain, the volume was rather light, and upon awakening on July 5, I was delighted to see that the U.S. Geological Survey gauge had not budged.

As I sipped some morning coffee, I ventured to the back of our property,  and upon looking at the river, I knew that it was looking as if my fishing pursuits were going to be on track for the start of July.

It had been a couple of weeks since I fished. And because I am conditioned to being afloat three or more times a week this time of the year, it has felt like an eternity since I last fished. The last time that I fished the river was flowing at 165 cubic feet per second, and then within 24 hours, it was flowing at 3,000 cubic feet per second.

The horrific floods that have left many homeless and claimed lives touched my area of West Virginia, but not to the extent that it pummeled other areas.

The U.S. Geological Survey gauge noted that the river was flowing at 190 cubic feet per second and the water temperature was 72 degrees in the section of the river that I fished.

When I launched my Jackson Tuna kayak at 8:40 a.m., it was 83 degrees. The sky was cloudy. The wind was nil. The humidity was extremely high.

Upon launching my kayak, I got on the paddle heavily to head into what I call the canyons. This area consists of miles upon miles of sheer cliff walls with riffles, pools, and  riffle runs that span over 20 miles with no takeout spots in between. Once you are in these canyons, you have two options if wanting to get off the water. One is to paddle back up river. The second is to travel the entirety of the 20 miles to the nearest bridge. This stretch is the very reason I carry a first aid kit and a change of clothes on every outing in my kayak, and during the cold-weather outings, I have fire starting necessities.

The riffles that flow into pools are where our smallmouth reside in the summer months. It is work fishing these areas but it is worth the effort.

On this outing, I simply used my kayak as a taxi. And as I made my way downriver, I would use my stakeout/push pole to anchor my kayak well above a promising run. Then I would get out of the kayak and walk to the proper position along the shoreline, and from that position, I would fish. After I dissected that area, I walked back to the kayak, got into it, and continued floating downstream to the next promising run. I repeated that scenario eleven times on a three-mile stretch of the river. After I fished that three-mile stretch, I paddled back up river to my awaiting UTV and trailer.

I primarily fished the riffle areas, which are on average three feet deep. They course over boulders that range from being watermelon-size to the size of a hay bale. I could easily see the bottom in three feet of water.

As I stood on the weak side of the river, I would make my casts to the far shoreline. I let my offering zigzag in and out of the boulders. As it slowly meandered down river, I would execute a number of rod shakes. I would also at times raise and lower my rod tip while back reeling, which essentially makes an offering look susceptible or injured in the current.

I had six Charlie Brewer’s Slider Company’s rods and vintage Garcia Cardinal Four reels at the ready, and I used four of them.

I caught 22 smallmouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch tail section of a Z-Man’s Redbone Trout Trick with 5-mm eyes. It was rigged on an orange-blue-and-yellow 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

I caught 19 smallmouth bass on a Z-Man’s watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ with 5mm eyes affixed to an orange-blue-and-yellow 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

I caught nine smallmouth bass on a two-inch customized Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-back-and-pumpkin-belly EZ TubeZ affixed to an inserted 1/32-ounce Gopher Tackle’s TJ jig.

I caught eight smallmouth bass on a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s Dirt ZinkerZ affixed to a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. As I paddled back up river, I used this rig at areas I had previously fished with other offerings.

As always my barbs were removed and everything was well covered with my customized rendition of Pro- Cure’s Super Gel.

I fished a total of four hours 47 minutes. I caught only smallmouth bass.

Our upcoming forecasts have no rain in sight for a week.  Temperatures will climb into the 90s. I am finally on track.

July 7 log

Walt Tegtmeier of Leawood, Kansas, filed a brief about his family’s vacation on June 30 to July 7 at Loon Lake, New York.

Here is an adaption of his brief:

I had never been to this region of the country, let alone fished there. We were guests of some family friends of my mother-in-law, and for the first few days, two other families joined us.

It is a 545-acre, gin-clear natural lake with heavy boat traffic during the day, but not a lot of fishing pressure from what I could tell.

Nevertheless, I struggled big time to get the number of bites we are used to here in northeast Kansas. However, the quality of the largemouth bass was surprisingly good. The lake is graced with several patches of small lily pads, coontail, as well as vegetation I have always called cabbage and a stringy, weak-rooted plant that I probably misidentified as eelgrass.

Its best structural feature was a sunken island. The tips of it jutted just inches above the surface. The perimeter dropped to 10 to 15 feet of water. It was embellished with a variety of vegetation.

I was handicapped by the lack of a fishing vessel.  We fished on a 22-foot pontoon with no trolling motor or sonar and an anchor that would not hold on the rocky substrate. I armed myself and the various young’uns that joined me on the pontoon with Z-Man’s Finesse T.R.D.s and 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZs in the Canada Craw and watermelon-red-flake hues. We affixed them on 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jigs.We did not catch a lot by Midwest Finesse standards. But for these boys and their fathers, who hail from Cincinnati, it was action like they had never experienced. And like I said, the quality was very good. What’s more, I caught two chain pickerel on a ZinkerZ rig, and they are first ones that I caught in my fishing life.

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One of the largemouth bass that the Tegtmeier clan caught in New York.

By week’s end, I determined that the most effective presentation was a small topwater prop bait fished extremely early in the morning and late in the evening near lily pads or over my trusty sunken island.

Suffice it to say there are a few new Midwest finesse converts in Cincinnati. While we were still in New York, one of the other families had already ordered and received their Midwest finesse components and sent me reports of good catches from their local flooded rock quarry.

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Another largemouth bass the Tegtmeier family and friends caught in New York.

July 7 log

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a report of the Finesse News Network about his outing with a friend at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in northeastern Kansas on July 7.

Here is an adaptation of his report:

After our area got whacked early yesterday morning by a severe thunderstorm that dropped over an inch of rain and left widespread tree damage from high winds, I ventured out to a Corps of Engineers’ reservoir with a friend.  When we arrived at the lake at 2:30 p.m., the view from a bridge over one of the feeder-creek arms gave the impression that the lake was still reeling from the effects of the early morning storm.  The water was slate gray, matching the color of the sky, but a plume of muddy-orange water was tailing out of a cove and across the main body of the lake.  Initially, I surmised that the mud was the result of the rain storm.  But once we were afloat I realized that the mud must have been churned up by the wave action from the extremely high wind that accompanied the rainstorm. Nevertheless, it made for an ominous view from the bridge.

Area thermometers hovered around 90 degrees. The humidity was stifling.  The predicted 10 mph wind never materialized. It was dead calm. The reservoir’s surface was glassy smooth. Shortly after we started, clouds began to form and provided some welcome relief from the sun. A couple of times, some light precipitation dimpled the water, but it never threatened to cut short our fishing endeavors.

The water clarity was stained with 12-18 inches of visibility. The water level was 1.78 feet above normal.  According to the Corps, the surface temperature was 83 degrees.

We began fishing on a rocky point at the mouth of a feeder-creek arm.  We then moved across to the opposite point, fished around that point and down a rocky shoreline about 300 yards.  That shoreline ends where it is intersected at a right angle by a riprap causeway that provides access to the bridge I mentioned earlier, which is halfway across the feeder-creek arm.  We fished down the riprap, around and under the bridge and about 100 yards down the riprap on the other side.  After making several passes around the end of the riprap under the bridge, we took stock.  At that point, I had caught eight smallmouth bass, one largemouth bass, a couple of bluegill, and one freshwater drum.  All of these fish were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s  black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.  My friend caught one smallmouth bass on a peanut-butter colored four-inch plastic worm rigged on a generic jig.  He also had caught seven bluegill and a couple of freshwater drum on several different kinds of ultralight spoons and in-line spinners.

After nearly three hours of fishing in the stifling conditions and around windless lairs, we decided that it was time to look for more productive waters.  After formulating a hypothesis that the extremely mild-mannered wind was angling out of the north, and some waves might be washing the dam’s riprap, we headed to the dam. On our way to the dam, we also examined a couple of offshore humps with our sonar.  Upon arriving at the dam, we discovered that the Corps had closed access to the areas of riprap that have traditionally been the most fruitful ones. So, after making a few casts with no results, we quickly moved to a main lake point.  More frustration ensued when we found a lone fisherman right on the tip of the point with several lines in the water and 30 yards down the shoreline a family of campers were swimming in the most productive spot on the point. Blocked again from fishing the most productive lairs, we fished down one half mile of rocky shoreline.  On this stretch, we caught a couple of drum, a couple of bluegill, one white bass, and one channel cat.  These fish were caught on either a small gold Panther Martin in-line spinner or a white Strike King Bitsy Minnow.  All but two of the fish were caught on the spinner.

The final spot of the outing was a small tertiary point. Traditionally it is a fruitful late-in-the day locale for white bass.  We immediately began catching fish on this point.  My friend caught a white bass and two channel catfish on an in-line spinner.  I caught one white bass, one largemouth bass, and five smallmouth bass on the Bitsy Minnow.  These fish were all caught in the span of about 25 minutes as we made several passes across the tip of the point.

In all, we caught two largemouth bass and 14 smallmouth bass.  We also caught three channel catfish, three white bass, five freshwater drum, and a combination of 11 bluegill and green sunfish. About half of the black bass that were caught on the Finesse WormZ and Gopher jig combo engulfed it on the initial drop. The rest were caught during the deadstick phase of a swim- glide-and-deadstick retrieve.  There were too many rocks to use a drag retrieve.  After fishing for five hours in the stifling, miserable conditions, we were glad to call it quits at 8:00 p.m.

July 8 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his July 8 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

In my July 5 report, I noted that I had been handcuffed for days and even weeks on end by floods, and I described that outing as a successful one. I was elated to catch 60 smallmouth bass. I caught them in a stretch of the river that I call the canyons, which can be very menacing during inclement weather, such as lightening, hail, and sleet, because there is no quick and easy way out of the canyons.

The weather forecasters said that we may see lightening and a passing downpour. Given our recent humidity I fully expected it. I threw caution to the wind today and went for it.

While the river conditions are certainly returning close to being seasonable, they are nowhere near what I would prefer for July. Compared to the previous Julys that I have experienced in West Virginia, the water is more stained, slightly raised, and the fish are a month behind their transitional movements.

On July 8, I decided I would go in the opposite direction from the canyons to get a full grasp of what the flood conditions have dealt me in 2016 and where the smallmouth bass were located and their moods.

I got on the paddle of my kayak heavy and hard at 11:49 a.m. and headed well-up river through a lot of unproductive flat-water locales to fish a maze of pools that stipple the river’s remote topography.

I fished the lip or tail-out portions of each pool, which was typically covered with three feet or less of water. Then I would climb back into the kayak and paddle up river to the next lip or tail-out section. I was focusing on the smallmouth bass that had not arrived at their summer haunts. It is at the lip of these pools where they forage heavily, and there are often a goodly number of them.  They have not gotten to where they will live for the rest of the summer. But they will rest and forage in these areas until they make their final move to their summer haunts.

These fish are highly nomadic from season to season. And to put this into perspective, these smallmouth bass had in all likelihood traveled eight or more miles to arrive at the spots I fished on July 8. And I caught a few of them, including a gargantuan one.

This pristine stretch of river that is two casts wide is so remote that there has not been a canoe on it this year. And last year, I saw only three anglers on it.

Area thermometers hovered in the low 90s. The humidity was 100 percent.

The nearest U.S. Geological Survey gauge read that the river was flowing at a rate of 215 cubic feet per second and was 79 degrees. Water visibility was only four feet. I am used to seeing water visibility at 10 feet in July and the river flowing at 160 cubic feet per second or less.

At each lip or tail-out section, I would quickly fish the areas where the water would dump over a lip into the  headwaters of a riffle. Then I would get back into my kayak and paddle up river to the next tail-out section.

I had six Charlie Brewer’s Slider Company’s rods and vintage Garcia Cardinal Four reels at the ready, and I used two of them.

I caught  44  smallmouth bass on a brown-and-orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig affixed to a well-used shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Dirt Finesse WormZ. I am guessing that this Finesse WormZ has tangled with more than 170 fish since the late fall of 2015.

I caught 19 smallmouth bass on a new shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Dirt Finesse WormZ affixed to a brown-and-orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. I fished the Finesse WormZ in water shallower than three feet.

I caught 16 smallmouth bass on a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s Dirt ZinkerZ on a brown-and-orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. I fished this rig  in water that was three feet deep or slightly deeper.

I caught nine smallmouth bass on a Z-Man’s pumpkin-blue-flake Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

All of the barbs on the Gopher jigs were removed. All of the soft-plastic baits were liberally covered in my customized Pro-Cure Super Gel. I coated them every 20 minutes.

I also tangled with numerous rock bass, green sunfish, and bluegill.

All the fish engulfed the baits during the middle of the initial drop or after I executed a good shake and a deadstick pause. If I did not garner a strike upon executing those two presentations, I immediately made another cast, which allowed me to quickly cover water and to keep moving up river to the next lip or tail-out section. The biggest smallmouth bass was 2 1 1/4-inches long, and it was caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig and the shake-and-deadstick presentation.

The tail-out pattern is one that I have enjoyed many times in years past, and none of them were more textbook than this one.

I fished five hours and 43 minutes.

July 9 log

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

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

Last evening my good friend and seasonal or part-time neighbor asked if I wanted to share some time on the water with him on July 9.

I had some chores around the house to complete before I was able to enjoy a beautiful few hours on the water. Those chores revolved around splitting firewood for next winter.

At 1:27 p.m. my friend and I launched our kayaks, and we were on our paddles and headed up river.

The nearest U.S. Geological Survey’s gauge indicated that the river was flowing at 170 cubic feet per second. The water temperature was 81 degrees.
The water visibility remains stained by our standards, exhibiting three feet of visibility, but it is clearing daily. At the time that we launched the temperature hovered around 90 degrees. The humidity was high, and there was a constant breeze.

I let my friend take the lead, and I fished the water behind him. He and his wife built their log home 23 years ago. We built our home 10 years ago. He knows these waters extremely well, and he is a very good river angler. Three years ago I turned him on to Z-Man’s finesse baits and Gopher Tackle’s jigs.  Since then he has thanked me numerous times.

We fished anything and everything that looked like a fishy structure, ranging from riffles that were covered with two feet of water to mid-river boulders to deep ledges that drop into oblivion. We caught fish on all of these areas.

He caught 13 smallmouth bass on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse T.R.D. affixed to an orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. He caught 10 smallmouth bass and one 19-inch  largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on an orange Gopher jig. He employed a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

I caught 23 smallmouth bass on a shortened Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a brown-orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. I caught 13 smallmouth bass on a shortened Z-Man’s Dirt Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. I caught nine smallmouth bass on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-blue-flake Finesse ShadZ on a blue-orange-yellow 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. I caught eight on my heavily customized two-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-belly-green-pumpkin-back EZ TubeZ with an inserted 1/32-ounce Gopher TJ jig, and I fished the TubeZ rig only in the shallowest of rifles.

We caught too many bluegill and green sunfish to count.

We fished for 4 hours and 47 minutes.

July 10 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his July 10 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

I awoke at my normal time of 4:40 a.m., which allowed me to sip some coffee on the upper deck of our home, watch some deer, and then tend to my weed-eating and wood-splitting duties before the heat arrived.

At 9:45 a.m., my wife and I enjoyed a lumberjack-sized breakfast at our dear friends’ nearby vacation home. We ate and exchanged pleasantries. Then they made the journey back to their home in the nation’s capital.  And I was then ready to fish.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the river was flowing at 147 cubic feet per second, and the water temperature was 81 degrees.  The rate of flow had dropped dramatically overnight.

When I launched my kayak at 11:37 a.m. the weather was idyllic for the season. The humidity was low. Area thermometers were in the mid-80s. A cool breeze occasionally stirred.

It has been our wettest spring ever, and now the water clarity is changing for the better every day. On July 9, the visibility was three feet, and on my July 10 outing, I could easily see a chartreuse 1/32-ounce  Gopher jig in five feet of water.

As soon as I launched my Jackson Tuna kayak, I got on the paddle and headed upstream to the area that I call the canyons. It was a three-mile journey, and I did not stop to make a cast until I arrived at a run that is bordered by a steep cliff wall. The average depth of this run is seven feet during low-water times.

The bottom is completely strewn with boulders. It also contains a quagmire of timber that is the remnants of many high-water ordeals that washed the trees into the river, and across the years, this quagmire has not diminished.

I stayed on the extreme weak side of the river, using my stakeout pole to anchor the kayak. At each section of this run, I divided my casts into a grid pattern with my first casts landing at the base of the cliff’s wall and fanning out from there.  I moved upstream to a new section of the run, anchored my kayak, and executed another series of casts and retrieves within a grid pattern. I fished for three hours and 21 minutes, and then I headed home to spend the rest of the day with my wife.

I caught 32 smallmouth bass on a 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a brown- orange 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, nine smallmouth bass on a shortened Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Finesse T.R.D. on a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and eight smallmouth bass on a 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s Dirt Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/32 Gopher jig. Two of the smallmouth bass were 18-inchers, and they were caught of the ZinkerZ rig. Every smallmouth bass was caught while I was employing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. I lost two rigs to some submerged timber that was recently deposited in this run during our recent high-water episodes.

July 12 log

Until July 12, I had not fished since July 1.

From July 2 to July 9, our three youngest grandsons and their parents visited us. It was a delightful time. During that spell, I accompanied our grandsons on several of their short piscatorial forays at a state reservoir in northeastern Kansas. Because they are young, and because we want to keep boredom at bay, each outing is an hour.

On their most vexing hour, they caught only three largemouth bass, which were caught during the final eight minutes of the outing.  Before they caught those largemouth bass, boredom had begun casting its spell on the boys. What’s more, they had to deal with a brisk wind, which frustrated their abilities to cast and execute alluring retrieves. The largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. They tangled with another largemouth bass, which liberated itself before it could be hauled into the boat. The boys were employing either a drag-and-deadstick retrieve or a drag-and-shake presentation when they caught those three largemouth bass.

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Our three youngest grandsons with three largemouth bass.

During the most fruitful hour, nine largemouth bass were lifted across the gunnels of the boat. One crappie, one bluegill, and one green sunfish were also lifted into the boat. Nine largemouth bass liberated themselves before they could be lifted into the boat.  All of the fish were caught on either a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

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Our grandson James with a largemouth bass that he caught.

On July 12, Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I fished the same state reservoir that our grandsons fished.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 82 degrees at 5:52 p.m. and 64 degrees at 5:52 a.m. The high temperature was 84 degrees. The average low temperature for July 13 is 67 degrees, and the average high temperature is 89 degrees. The wind angled out of the south, south by southeast, north by northeast, east by northeast, east, west by southwest, and south by southwest at 6 to 56 mph. The sky was clear from 12:52 a.m. to 2:52 a.m. Rain and thunderstorms erupted from 4:49 a.m. to 6:52 a.m. It rained .84 inches. The sky was clear from 7:52 a.m. to 12:52 p.m. At 1:52 p.m., the sky became scattered with clouds, and then it gradually became overcast. The barometric pressure was 29.74 at 12:52 a.m., 29.94 at 5:52 a.m., 29.89 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.87 at 2:52 p.m.

The reservoir’s surface temperature ranged from 82 to 84 degrees. The water clarity in the lower third section of the reservoir exhibited four feet of clarity, but it diminished in some areas to about 2 1/2 feet. The water level looked to be about two feet above normal. This reservoir is graced with vast patches of American pondweeds and bushy pondweeds. There are also some patches of coontail and American water willows, but the American water willows are in very shallow water. We also crossed paths with some chara.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 5:26 a.m. to 7:26 a.m., 5:47 p.m. to 7:47 p.m., and 11:13 a.m. to 1:13 p.m. We fished from 11:00 a.m. to 2:58 p.m.

We fished three main-lake points, three secondary points, six riprap jetties, the riprap shoreline of the dam, six main-lake shorelines, and one main-lake hump.

Along the riprap shoreline of the dam, we caught 14 largemouth bass. Ten of them were caught on either a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a shortened Z-Man’s California craw Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. Some of these largemouth bass were caught on a moderate-paced swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation.  A few were caught on a dragging presentation. Several of the largemouth bass engulfed our rigs on the initial drop. These largemouth bass were extracted out of three to seven feet of water.

One largemouth bass was caught on a main-lake hump while we executed a vertical presentation with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in 10 feet of water.

Along one shoreline we caught five largemouth bass around a partially submerged brush pile and the pilings of a derelict boat dock. Four of them were caught on a four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One was caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. These largemouth bass were abiding in two to three feet of water. The brush pile and pilings were surrounded by patches of bushy pondweed and coontail. These fish were caught on either the initial drop or a straight swimming presentation.

At one main-lake point and one of its adjacent shorelines, we caught 18 largemouth bass. These bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The largemouth bass were caught in three to six feet of water. A few of them engulfed our rigs on the initial drop. Some were caught while we executed a straight swimming retrieve, and others were caught while we employed a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

We caught eight largemouth bass on the riprap jetties.  They were caught on either a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which were retrieved with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation. These largemouth bass were abiding in two to 3 1/2 feet of water.

The second main-lake point that we fished yielded seven largemouth bass. They were associated with patches of American pondweed and bushy pondweed in about four feet of water. Five of them were caught on a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ affixed to a red 3/32-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a straight swimming retrieve. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve.

The third main-lake point and its adjacent shorelines yielded one largemouth bass, which engulfed a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on the initial drop.  This largemouth bass was relating to a patch of American pondweed in four feet of water.

A secondary point that is graced with a massive patch of American pondweed, a partially submerged brush pile, some patches of coontail, and bushy pondweed surrendered six largemouth bass. They were caught on either the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or the four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Six of these largemouth bass were associated with the outside edge of the American pondweed. One largemouth bass was caught around the brush pile. Three of the largemouth bass engulfed our rigs on the initial drop. Four of them were caught as we were employing a very slow swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve.

We caught two largemouth bass along a flat main-lake shoreline that is lined with patches of American pondweed and bushy pondweed. One was caught on the 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ affixed to a red 3/32-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a straight swimming retrieve. The other largemouth bass was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a straight swimming presentation.

In total, we caught 62 largemouth bass. The most effective baits were the four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and the shortened  four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  There was no preeminent retrieve. Twenty-two of the largemouth bass were caught on riprap. The other 40 were caught around or in the vicinity of aquatic vegetation.

July 13 log 

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

Here is an edited and condensed edition of his report:

Coming off of two longer than usual days at work, I had one mission today and that was to fish. As I looked at the conditions of our local waters on my way to work and upon my return, I witnessed conditions that were finally as they should be for a July. And they are the most favorable that I have seen for several moons. It appears my high-water woes are behind me.

The U.S. Geological Survey gauge noted that the river was flowing at 111 cubic feet per second. On July 10, it was flowing at 147 cubic feet per second. The water temperature was 78 degrees.  The water clarity is finally at the state that I prefer it to be, which is bottle-water clear. The deepest water I encountered on this outing was five feet, and I have no doubt that I could have seen the bottom clearly in greater depths had I been floating. But instead of being afloat in my kayak, I was walking and wading.

Before I could take advantage of the current conditions, I had to tend to some household duties. I ran the weed eater around our property at first light. After I conquered that task, I was on the pressure washer and cleaning our deck that needs to be stained in the near future.

At 9:27 a.m., I finally stepped into the water.   At that time, it was  79 degrees. The humidity was insignificant. The sky was partly cloudy.

I carried a camelback full of cold water, two bags of Z-Man baits, 10 1/32-ounce Gopher jigs in various colors, a bottle of customized Pro-Cure Super Gel, and a few pieces of fruit and some egg whites.  I had two rods with me.  One of them was tethered to my weak side, and it would remain at the ready as I waded my way up river.

As I was walking along a high bank, I could see plenty of smallmouth bass milling about at various depths on the flats that I was traversing.

As I made my way up river on these flats to a spot I call “big gals’ den”, I wielded an orange-and-brown 1/32-ounce Gopher jig affixed to a 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s Dirt Finesse WormZ. And as I made rather random casts, I caught smallmouth bass, rock bass, bluegill and green sunfish at a good rate.

When I arrived at a formidable log jam, I caught nine smallmouth bass and two giant rock bass behind this jam. These fish engulfed the Finesse WormZ rig as I shook it after its initial drop had reached the bottom. All nine of the smallmouth bass had other smallmouth bass following them, which is a sign that our smallmouth bass are finally consolidated and where they should be in mid-July.

Around the corner from the log jam, there is an oxbow that is filled with lily pads, which is a rarity in these parts, and they are situated in three feet of stained water.  Six years ago, I spotted and then caught my biggest riverine largemouth bass, and I suspect that he was there to forage upon the bluegill that were spawning around the lily pads. On my July 13 outing, my Finesse WormZ rig caught three largemouth bass that were abiding in the lily pads.

The area above this log jam is the tail end of a lengthy flat that I affectionately call the river birch hole.

It is three hundred yards long. At the very head of it, where the riffles begin, there used to be a massive river birch tree that hung over the area where the riffles begin. The riffles are typically two feet deep in the summer months. The average depth of this massive flat is three feet, and it has five feet of water flowing across it on the strong side of the river. The bottom is absolutely littered with watermelon-sized boulders, and there is always a distinct shade line.

I aimed my casts with the Finesse WormZ rig up river,  and I employed incessant shakes as soon as it hit the surface. This presentation inveigled  large quantities of smallmouth bass and panfish.

The river birch hole nearly always has smallmouth bass in it. Many of them are large. Last year I caught three smallmouth bass that were twenty inches or better in it. Two of them were caught when the river was flowing at 130 cubic feet per second or slower. My biggest smallmouth bass from this run last year was caught in November. The substantial riffles at the head of this run are their food conveyor belt. In late fall, the smallmouth bass will stop here before finding deeper wintering locales up river. But throughout the summer, smallmouth bass reside here. It has everything that summertime riverine smallmouth bass need. It has an extremely healthy supply of juvenile panfish. No matter how low and slow the river is flowing the riffles supply plenty of oxygenated water.  One cannot walk through this entire run without seeing literally dozens of crayfish scurrying about. Its distinct shade line lowers the midday temperatures. What’s more, it is remote.

The only difficult thing about the river birch run is that one has to wade extremely carefully. And that is because the smallmouth bass cruise and mill about this entire flat incessantly with no rhyme or reason.

Seven years ago in July, my wife and I fished this stretch on foot, and while fishing behind me in what we call used water, she caught three 18-inch and bigger smallmouth bass in less than 10 minutes. They were caught on a three-inch Charlie Brewer’s Slider Company worm affixed to a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.  And two years ago in July, I caught 96 smallmouth bass in just over four hours on three different Z-Man baits, and this unfolded during the middle of the day when many area thermometers were reaching 100 degrees.

When I got to the head of the riffles, I took my camelback off and sat down on a rock and enjoyed my boiled egg whites and fruit. A few minutes later I was back to hoofing it up river towards the “big gals’ den,” which was one mile away. In summers past, it has been very good to me over the years for yielding big smallmouth bass, but not vast numbers of smallmouth bass. For years on end, I have contended that big smallmouth bass move the smaller ones out to another locale.  And some of my biggest riverine smallmouth bass have been caught here, and it has always occurred during the heat of the summer. Another element to its uniqueness is that it is extremely remote.

As I waded up river on a shallow flat, I began sight casting to any dark spots. The strong side of the river is graced with a cliff wall. The water is at the most three-feet deep, but the cliff wall offers a distinct shade line. This time of year shade can be all it takes. While I dissected the shade line and every visible boulder, I caught 23 smallmouth bass along this nothing- looking flat.  But 33 minutes into this endeavor, I unhooked a smallmouth, and when I made another cast, I heard an unfamiliar noise. It was my Charlie Brewer’s Slider Company’s Lite Action rod. It broke above the second guide.

I had not broken a rod since I was 11 years old. As I stood in the middle of the river, I was somewhat stymied, realizing that I did not have a rod to wield the Finesse WormZ rig around the “big gals’ den.”

As I sat along the shoreline and collected my thoughts, I decided not to continue my journey up river to the den. Instead, after I strapped the broken rod to my camelback, I stepped into the water again at the river birch hole and started wading and fishing downstream, dissecting areas that I had already fished with the Finesse WormZ rig.

I worked with a vintage Charlie Brewer’s rod, which is no longer in production. It is five feet, two inches long, and it is stiffer and two inches shorter than the broken one.  It sported a heavily customized two-inch Z-Man’s EZ TubeZ, which had a pumpkin belly and a green-pumpkin back. I inserted a 1/32-ounce Gopher TJ jig into it. This rig has become a summertime mainstay for me when the smallmouth bass are foraging on small crayfish.

On my first cast, my hopes were rather low and my mind was still a bit preoccupied, but on that cast and retrieve I caught a small smallmouth bass.  Then I caught another smallmouth bass.  Then I caught a bigger one, and then I was no longer pondering the broken-rod scenario. During a 45-minute stretch, I was catching a fish either every cast or every other cast in water that I had already fished on my way up the river. By my standards, the fishing was unbelievable, and by the time I was at the end of it, the EZ TubeZ rig was entirely shredded.

Most of the fish engulfed the EZ TubeZ rig on the initial drop. When they did not engulf it on the drop, I would let it sit for a two count and then shake it.

If I had not broken my Finesse WormZ rod, I doubt that I would have made a cast with the EZ TubeZ rig.

I fished four hours and 37 minutes. The Finesse WormZ caught 37 smallmouth bass and numerous panfish. The customized EZ TubeZ caught 59 smallmouth bass and more panfish than I could count.

Now I am hoping to make it to the “big gals’ den” bright and early on July 14.

July 14 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his July 14 outing.

Here is an adaptation of his log:

I woke at my normal 4:30 a.m. and prepared for a morning of heavy-duty chores around the house at first light.  By the time that I completed my duties, it was a very muggy 84 degrees. The predications indicated that the high temperature would reach into the mid-90s.  By 10:00 a.m. the sun was in full force, and I was sweltering. Because  my household duties took so long to complete, I was not able to visit the spot that I wanted to fish.

At 10:58 a.m. I stepped into the water and headed straight down river. And instantly it was welcomed relief.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the river was flowing at 103 cubic feet per second, which was down 70 points from five days ago. The water temperature was 79 degrees. The water exhibited more than eight feet of clarity.

By the time I got off the water my truck’s temperature gauge indicated that it was 96 degrees. The sun was in full force for the entire outing.  There was a strong and welcomed breeze that would show itself every 20 minutes or so.

I fished two miles of river, focusing on every two- to three-foot riffle that had visible surface current. The bottom has a maze of watermelon-sized boulders. Some of them are much larger than watermelons, and they are clearly visible above the water’s surface.

I worked with two Charlie Brewer’s Slider Company’s Slider rods. One rod sported a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. on an orange/brown 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. The other rod sported a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Scented LeechZ on a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

The Finesse T.R.D. had been soaked in water until the impregnated salt was leeched out of it, and then it was stored for months on end in a bag of customized Pro-Cure’s Super Gel.

The Scented LeechZ is not impregnated with salt. Therefore, it was not soaked in water.  But it was stored for months on end in a bag of customized Pro-Cure’s Super Gel.  All of the barbs on the Gopher jigs were removed and I applied a lathering of Pro-Cure Super Gel to the baits every 15 to 20 minutes.

I presented the Finesse T.R.D. rig to the smallmouth bass by standing on the extreme weak side of the river at the head of the riffles.  I would cast to the strong side and let the Finesse T.R.D. rig sweep or create a big U. When it reached the furthest point from me, I would shake it.  Then I would begin to slowly retrieve it in a do-nothing manner, and I held my rod tip high, which allowed me to keep the Finesse T.R.D in the mid-column area or halfway between the river’s surface and its bottom. Some of the fish hit on the swing of the U, while others would follow before taking it on the do-nothing retrieve.

After each cast and retrieve, I walked 10 feet down river and repeated the presentation scenario.

Upon reaching the end of the last riffle, I put away the Finesse T.R.D. rod, and I picked up my second rod and the Scented LeechZ rig for my return up the river.
As I walked in the middle of the river, I made casts upriver that landed within inches of the water’s edge along the strong side of the river. I would also direct my casts to the many boulders that adorned that side of the river. I would execute a flip cast of the Scented LeechZ rig so it would have a quiet entry into the water for the smallmouth bass that were abiding in two feet of water.

When I was going down river, my aim was to focus on the active smallmouth bass that would come up and out of the boulders to engulf the Finesse T.R.D. rig. On my return up the river, I was walking in the middle of the river, where I caught them when I was walking down river. As I walked upriver, my aim was to present the Scented LeechZ to the smallmouth bass that were holding extremely tight to the far shoreline and had not seen the Finesse T.R.D.presentation.

I fished three hours and 19 minutes.

The Finesse T.R.D. rig caught 26 smallmouth bass, four healthy rock bass and 11 big bluegill.

The Scented LeechZ caught 23 smallmouth bass and four bluegill.

Nearly every smallmouth bass I caught had similar size smallmouth bass following it. At one point I witnessed two smallmouth bass eyeballing a small bluegill as I was reeling it in.  The smallmouth bass are consolidated for summer, and they are very competitive.

July 15 log

The combination of Mother Nature’s thunderstorms, which were accompanied by horrendous gusts of wind, and the weather forecasters’ errorful predications about what areas of eastern Kansas were going to be walloped kept me at bay on July 12, 13, and 14.  On July 15, I did not examine the National Weather Service’s, AccuWeather’s, and Weather Underground’s forecasts. I merely looked at the blue sky overhead and the direction of the wind, which is the way we used to do it back in the good old days, and I went fishing at a heavily fished suburban community reservoir in northeastern Kansas.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 64 degrees at 6:13 a.m. and 84 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The wind fluctuated from being calm to angling out of the east by southeast, north by northeast, north by northwest, northwest, northeast, and north at 3 to 10 mph. The sky alternated from being clear to partly cloudy to mostly cloudy, and at some nearby locales it rained lightly. The barometric pressure was 30.00 at 12:53 a.m., 30.02 at 5:53 a.m., 30.09 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.07 at 1:53 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 83 to 85 degrees. The water level looked to be nearly normal. A minor algae bloom tinted the water and covered the surface of the water at some locales with a greenish scum. The shorelines on this reservoir are lined with magnificent patches of American water willows, and the outside edges of some of the patches have more than four feet of water along them. There are countless patches of bushy pondweed and Eurasian milfoil, as well as an occasional patch of American pondweed.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 7:44 a.m. to 9:44 a.m., 8:07 p.m. to 10:07 p.m., and 1:32 a.m. to 3:32 a.m.  I fished from 10:01 a.m. to 1:40 p.m.

I fished about 60 percent of the dam, which is a riprap terrain, and it is enhanced with vast patches of bushy pondweed and Eurasian milfoil, as well as a few scrawny patches of American pondweed. I fished three main-lake points, which are adorned with rocks, boulders, patches of American water willows, bushy pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil. I fished short segments of two main-lake shorelines, which are relatively steep and embellished with patches of American water willows, bushy pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil. I fished one steep and rocky shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm that is graced with patches of American water willows, bushy pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil. I fished short segments of two flat shorelines inside two feeder-creek arms, which are lined with patches of American water willows, bushy pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil.  I fished two submerged rock fences.  To my dismay, I failed to elicit a strike at most of these locales.

Before I made my first cast, I anticipated that I would catch largemouth bass and smallmouth bass along the insides and outside edges of the patches of bushy pondweed, Eurasian milfoil, and American water willows with either a shortened four-inch Strike King Lure Company’s green-pumpkin-red Super Finesse Worm affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig or a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. But I caught only one smallmouth bass using those rigs, and I caught it in seven feet of water on the Junebug one along a steep and rocky main-lake shoreline where the boat floated in 14 feet of water. That was the only strike that I provoked along that shoreline.

I caught one channel catfish along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows and bushy pondweed on a main-lake shoreline. I hooked and battled a hefty specimen along the outside edge of another patch of American water willows and bushy pondweed along a flat shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm, but that brute liberated itself before I could see and identify it.

Along the dam, I caught two largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass in the area between the water’s edge and the inside edge of the patches of bushy pondweed and Eurasian milfoil. Those fish engulfed a Z-Man’s Molting Craw TRD TubeZ  affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig on the initial drop, and those fish were abiding in about 2 1/2 feet for water. I caught one largemouth bass on the TRD TubeZ along the outside edge of a patch of Eurasian milfoil in about six feet of water. I caught one smallmouth bass while employing a straight swimming retrieve on the top of a patch of Eurasian milfoil with a Z-Man’s blue steel Slim SwimZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

I caught nine largemouth bass and five smallmouth bass along a submerged offshore rock fence. One smallmouth bass was caught in four feet of water on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation, and this smallmouth bass was associated with two scrawny patches of American pondweed that adorned the piles of rocks and boulders of this old fence.  I caught one smallmouth bass and three largemouth bass on the Z-Man’s Molting Craw TRD TubeZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve. I caught three smallmouth bass and six largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s California Craw TRD TubeZ affixed to a black 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s ShroomZ jig. Seven of those nine black bass were caught while I was employing the swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve, and two of them engulfed it on the initial drop.

I caught four smallmouth bass under an overhanging elm tree at a steep main-lake point. They were caught on the Z-Man’s California Craw TRD TubeZ affixed to a black 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig in three to seven feet of water. Two of the smallmouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the TRD TubeZ.  The other two were caught when I was employing a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve.

On every outing, my mission or hope is to tangle with 25 black bass an hour.  I do not care if they are little ones or big ones, and in fact I seldom catch big ones. But on this outing, two of the smallmouth bass were relatively big. They looked and felt as if they weighed more than 3 3/4 pounds, which is a big smallmouth bass in northeastern Kansas in July. These two hefty specimens erased some of the boredom that plagued the three hours and 39 minutes that I fished and tangled with only 14 largemouth bass and 11 smallmouth bass. But it was meager consolation for tangling with only 6.6 black bass an hour.

July 15 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas filed this log on the Finesse News Network about his July 15 outing.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his log:

During this past spring, the outboard motor on my boat developed gear-shifting problems, and I decided to take it to a repair shop on May 27. I have been mostly shore bound since then, and I finally got my boat back from the shop on July 14.

On July 15, I was eager to get back on the water, but a couple of violent thunderstorms accompanied by 60 mph winds erupted at 6:22 a.m. and drenched the Dallas and Ft. Worth metropolitan areas with an inch of rain. The thunderstorms moved off to the east at about 11:00 a.m. At about 11:30 a.m., I decided to venture to a nearby but problematic U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in north-central Texas for a short three-hour outing.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted the best fishing opportunities would occur from 1:24 a.m. to 3:24 a.m., 7:35 a.m. to 9:35 a.m., and 7:59 p.m. to 9:59 p.m. I was afloat from about noon to about 3:00 p.m.

When I arrived at this reservoir at about 11:45 a.m., the sky was still overcast. The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 76 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 90 degrees. A brisk wind quartered out of the west, southwest, southeast, and northeast at 15 to 20 mph. The barometric pressure was steady at 29.66. By 1:00 p.m., the sky had cleared and the sun was shining brightly everywhere.

The bass fishing at this reservoir has been horrendous since mid-March. The last fruitful black bass outing I experienced at this reservoir occurred on March 16, when Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I caught and released 27 black bass. Since then, the largemouth bass and spotted bass that inhabit this reservoir have disappeared to lairs that I have been unable to find.

I spent the entire three hours in the southwest tributary arm of the reservoir. I concentrated my efforts on six main-lake points, six main-lake flats, two bridge embankments covered with riprap, a series of concrete bridge pilings, and the south end of a large main-lake island. I struggled the entire three hours. I eked out seven largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and I accidentally caught four white bass and one channel catfish.

The water was murky from the morning’s thunderstorms and displayed about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was 2.11 feet high. The water temperature ranged from 81 to 84 degrees.

The boat floated in water as deep as 18 feet along the sides of the concrete bridge pilings, and as shallow as five feet on the main-lake flats.

There was no location pattern. Four largemouth bass were caught in less than six feet of water along the deep-water edges of flooded buck brush on four of the six main-lake points. One largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one channel catfish were caught many yards apart off one of the two riprap embankments in less than five feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught off the side of one of the concrete pilings. This largemouth was suspended about six feet below the surface in 18 feet of water. One largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught from the outside edge of a large patch of flooded buck brush situated on the south end of the main-lake island in seven feet of water.

I failed to locate any black bass on any of the six main-lake flats. The four white bass were caught on three of these main-lake flats.

I wielded an array of Z-Man’s Midwest finesse baits affixed to a variety of colors and weights of Gopher Tackle’s Mushroom Head jigs.  A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught five largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one catfish. A Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig caught one largemouth bass and four white bass. A Z-Man’s black Split-Tail TrailerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught one largemouth bass.

The Slim SwimZ rig was only effective when it was presented with a moderately-fast and steady swimming retrieve. The ZinkerZ and Split-Tail TrailerZ rigs were presented with a slow swim-glide-and- shake retrieve. I failed to garner any strikes with a drag-and-deadstick retrieve, drag-and-shake retrieve, hop-and-bounce retrieve, and strolling retrieve.

After enduring yet another tedious and lackluster outing at this reservoir, I no longer have any desire to return here anytime soon.

July 15 log

Bob Gum of Kanas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his five days in Ontario, Canada, with Andrew Trembath of Kansas City.

Here is an adaptation of his brief:

We fished Irene Lake, Sanford Lake, and Doan Lake, and for much of the week we were plagued by brisk winds. Nevertheless, we caught lake trout, ling, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and walleye.   We caught several 18-inch smallmouth bass, a 14-pound northern pike, and walleyes that weighed eight and nine pounds. We caught an average of 50 smallmouth bass a day.

The surface temperature at Lake Irene hovered around 73 degrees, and the water clarity exhibited 12 to 15 feet of visibility. Its deepest spot is covered with 200 feet of water.

Lake Doan had five to seven feet of clarity. It was warmer than Lake Irene. It is embellished with a significant amount of aquatic vegetation. It has an abundance of smallmouth bass but no walleye.

Lake Sanford is the biggest of the three lakes. Its water clarity exhibits 20 feet of visibility. The day that we fished it the surface temperature was 65 degrees.

We caught the preponderance of the smallmouth bass along shorelines, on humps, and around points. All of these areas are littered with a mixture of baseball- to basketball-sized rock. We caught most of the smallmouth bass in two to 15 feet of water.  But one afternoon, we caught suspended smallmouth bass at a wind-blown point. The water was  20 feet deep.  We caught them on a variety of baits, including some topwater baits.

Because of the wind and clear water, we often had to use heavier jigs than we normally use. Therefore, we used either a black or a white 1/8-ounce Gopher jig, which we affixed to either a four-inch Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits’  Single Tail Grub or a three-inch Kalin’s grub.

Send to Bob

Bob Gum and one of the many smallmouth bass that he and Andrew Trembath tangled with during their Midwest finesse outings in Ontario.

On July 15, the wind was calm, and I primarily used a blood-red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig affixed to either a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red ZinkerZ.

In general, the strikes were very aggressive when we were plying shallow-water lairs.  We regularly retrieved our baits on slack line. We did a lot of strolling and shaking.

July 19 log

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

Here is an adaptation of his report:

I stepped into the water today at 11:22 a.m. I had not looked at the U.S. Geological Survey’s gauge, but I guessed that the flow was about 105 cubic feet per second and the water temperature was 80 degrees.

Upon getting home and looking at the USGS gauge, my guess was nearly on the mark. The river was flowing at 103 CFS, and the water temperature was 82 degrees.

The sun shined relentlessly. The air temperature reached the upper 90s, and it was humid.

I fished two spots on this outing. They are a mile and a half apart. They were riffles, and I could see the water flowing over the riffles. The water was about three feet deep.

As I fished my way upstream through the two riffles, I used a well-worn 2 1/4-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. affixed to an orange 1/32-ounce orange Gopher jig.

As I fished my way downstream, I used a heavily customized two-inch Z-Man’s EZ TubeZ with a green- pumpkin back and pumpkin belly. It was affixed to a 1/32-ounce Gopher’s TJ jig.

Both rigs were well lathered with my customized formula of Pro-Cure Super Gel. And I reapplied the Super Gel every 20 minutes. The barbs on the hooks were removed.

I caught 13 smallmouth bass on the Finesse T.R.D. rig and 31 smallmouth bass on the EZ TubeZ rig.

I have long contended that my heavily customized two-inch EZ TubeZ is the single best offering I have ever used as a river angler at resisting getting wedged and snagged in the shallow riffles. What’s more, I literally caught one smallmouth bass after another for more than a half hour. Those smallmouth bass were situated behind a myriad of large boulders. These smallmouth bass forage regularly upon baby or small crayfish.

Every smallmouth bass that I caught on the Finesse T.R.D. engulfed the bait when I shook it incessantly after the initial drop.

My EZ TubeZ rig caught the smallmouth bass as it ambled its way across the bottom and after I gave it two quick sideways jerks.

There is no better way in this angler’s eyes to enjoy a nearly 100-degree day than knee deep in the middle of nowhere. It was a fun outing. I fished three hours and 48 minutes, and most of that time occurred while I  was walking between the two riffles.

July 19 log

This is a brief report about my two-hour-and-26-minute outing at a U.S. Army’s Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in northeastern Kansas. It has not been a fruitful black bass waterway for many decades. But during the past four years, its smallmouth bass population has begun to burgeon. And several times a year I spend a few hours assessing the state of its smallmouth bass, but it is a rare feat to tangle with more than seven black bass an hour. This was the second time I fished this reservoir in 2016.

On this outing the water level was one foot above normal. The water clarity exhibited three to four feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 83 to 85 degrees.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 73 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 91 degrees at 1:52 p.m. It was sunny at times, and at other times it was partly cloudy and sometimes there was a scattering of clouds. The wind was calm for a few of the early morning hours, and then it angled out of the east, east by southeast, south, south by southwest, and south by southeast. The barometric pressure was 30.13 at 12:52 a.m., 30.14 at 5:52 a.m., 30.14 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.12 at 1:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 10:31 a.m. to 12:31 p.m., 10:57 p.m. to 12:57 a.m., and 4:18 a.m. to 6:18 a.m. I fished from 10:15 a.m. to 1:41 p.m.

I quickly fished two secondary points, four main-lake points, portions of three main-lake shorelines, and one short shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm. I failed to garner a strike at most of these locales.

I caught one largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass along one main-lake shoreline. These fish were associated with rock piles. They were abiding in three to five feet of water. One smallmouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s The Deal T.R.D. TubeZ affixed on a black 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ with a swim-glide-and-very-subtle-shake retrieve. One largemouth bass was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve. Two smallmouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s California Craw  T.R.D.TubeZ affixed on a black 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ with a swim-glide-and-very-subtle-shake retrieve.

I caught four smallmouth bass along one main-lake point, and these fish were abiding around piles of rocks and boulders. Three of them were caught in three feet of water, and one was caught in five to six feet of water. Two were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two were caught on a Z-Man’s California Craw TubeZ affixed on a black 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ. One was caught on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig. Two were caught on a swim-glide-and-very-subtle-shake retrieve. One was caught on a drag-and-no-shake presentation.

I caught one largemouth bass on a secondary point while dragging a shortened four-inch Strike King green-pumpkin-red Super Worm affixed on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. This fish was caught in about four feet of water.

I caught one smallmouth bass on the initial drop of the Z-Man’s California Craw TubeZ rig along a shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm. This smallmouth was caught in 2 1/2 feet of water.

In sum, I caught two largemouth bass, eight smallmouth bass, and inadvertently caught two freshwater drum. It was another sorry outing on this reservoir, but I will probably fish it two more times in 2016 in hopes of being able to catch at least eight black bass an hour.

July 19 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his July 19 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

For the first 18 days of July, I have lamented about the lackluster black bass fishing in north-central Texas. For example, I have fished three times this month, which totaled 11 hours. During those 11 hours, I have caught only 27 black bass, which calculates to a paltry catch rate of nine black bass per outing and 2.4 bass per hour.

In an attempt to remedy this situation, John Thomas of Denton, Texas, joined me for a four-hour jaunt at a fruitful U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in north-central Texas, where we spent the morning hours searching for significant aggregations of largemouth bass and spotted bass. I last fished this reservoir on June 29 with Rick Allen of Dallas, and during that 5 1/2-hour undertaking, we crossed paths with 117 white bass and 30 black bass.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the optimum fishing periods would most likely occur from 4:25 a.m. to 6:25 a.m., 10:39 a.m. to 12:39 p.m., and 4:25 p.m. to 6:25 p.m. John and I were afloat from about 8:00 a.m. to about noon.

It was a beautiful and sunny day.  The Weather Underground recorded the morning low temperature at 77 degrees and the afternoon high was 94 degrees. The barometric pressure was high and measured 30.40 at 7:47 a.m. and 30.39 at 11:47 a.m. A light wind quartered out of the southeast at 4 to 8 mph.

About a mile from the boat ramp, we stopped and enjoyed watching a half dozen white-tailed deer feeding next to the road.

We concentrated our efforts in the east tributary arm, where we plied six main-lake points, a rock jetty, a stretch of riprap-covered shoreline, a main-lake rocky ledge, a secondary point, a rocky ledge just inside a major feeder-creek arm, and a small section of a riprap-covered dam.

The water was stained with about three feet of visibility. The water temperature ranged from 83 degrees at the boat ramp to 85 degrees at the dam. The water level was about normal.

Two of our spinning rods sported Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZs rigged on chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jigs. Another rod donned a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s EZ Money Finesse WormZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The fourth rod was rigged with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A fifth rod was fitted with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s chartreuse-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The sixth rod was equipped with a 3 1/4-inch black-blue-flake Hula StickZ threaded on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

As we were launching the boat, we noticed several black bass and white bass foraging on quarter-inch threadfin shad on the surface of the water at the end of a nearby rocky main-lake point. We began wielding the Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigs that we presented with a moderately fast and steady do-nothing retrieve just underneath the surface of the water. The Slim SwimZ combos enticed three largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and two white bass. We caught a fourth largemouth bass on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig that was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. All of these fish were foraging in three to five feet of water.

We then meandered a short distance from that main-lake point, and we began dissecting a riprap-laden jetty that lies just north of the boat ramp. This jetty yielded one largemouth bass and one spotted bass. Both of these bass were relating to the riprap along the south side of the jetty in three to five feet of water. They were caught on the four-inch EZ Money Finesse WormZ with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The north side of the jetty failed to yield any bass. We did not fish the end of the jetty, which was occupied by a couple of crappie fisherman.

After we fished the jetty, we fished our way northward along a 50-yard stretch of shoreline that is covered with riprap. This stretch of shoreline relinquished two largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one catfish that were abiding in four to six feet of water. All of these fish were enticed by the pearl Slim SwimZ rigs with a steady do-nothing retrieve just below the surface of the water.

Then we fished five main-lake points that are situated along the east side of the east tributary arm of the reservoir. One point yielded two largemouth bass that were caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ combo and steady do-nothing retrieve and the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The Slim SwimZ combos hooked another largemouth bass and an unknown specimen that we did not see in five feet of water off the end of the second point, but they were both able to free themselves before we could lift them across the boat’s gunnel. A third point yielded one freshwater drum that was caught on the Slim SwimZ rig and steady do-nothing retrieve. We failed to elicit any strikes from the other two points.

IMG_2456

After we finished fishing the five main-lake points, we ventured inside a major feeder-creek arm on the west side of the east tributary arm. We fished a rocky secondary point and a rocky ledge inside a small cove just inside the feeder-creek arm.  This secondary point was the most fruitful locale that we fished, and it surrendered seven spotted bass and six largemouth bass. All of them were dwelling in less than eight feet of water and were beguiled by the pearl Slim SwimZ rigs and steady do-nothing retrieve. The rock ledge inside the small cove adjacent to the secondary point yielded three spotted bass, and they were enticed into striking the pearl Slim SwimZ rig and steady do-nothing retrieve.

Our next spot was another rocky ledge that is located just north of the dam in the southeast region of the reservoir. This rock ledge relinquished four largemouth bass and one large bluegill that were abiding just off the deep-water side of the ledge in five to eight feet of water. Three largemouth bass were bewitched by the four-inch EZ Money Finesse WormZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The fourth largemouth bass was caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ rig with a steady do-nothing retrieve.

The  last spot was a short section of the riprap covered dam, which is situated on the southeast end of the reservoir. As we were dragging and deadsticking the four-inch EZ Money Finesse WormZ rig and 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig, we caught one largemouth bass on the EZ Money Finesse WormZ from the submerged riprap along the face of the dam in about five feet of water.

All told, it was the most enjoyable and fruitful outing we’ve had this month. We were delighted to tangle with 21 largemouth bass, 13 spotted bass, and we inadvertently caught two white bass, one catfish, one freshwater drum, and one large bluegill during this four-hour endeavor.

The Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigs and a moderately fast and steady do-nothing retrieve allured 27 of the 34 black bass that we caught. The shortened four-inch EZ Money Finesse WormZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve garnered five black bass. The 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig enticed two. The green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ failed to elicit any strikes. We did not get around to using the shortened 3 1/4-inch black-blue-flake Hula StickZ rig.

July 19 log

David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his July 19 outing in eastern Colorado.

Here is an adaption of his report:

On July 19, I was able to fish with my old neighbor at a 1,800-acre reservoir in eastern Colorado.  Before we moved to Lawrence, I fished this reservoir often for five years. On those many outings, I had incorrectly used Midwest finesse tactics.  So my goal on this outing was to use the correct tactics.

We started fishing at 7:00 a.m. and fished for black bass until 11:00 a.m.  During the afternoon, I continued to explore parts of the reservoir with Midwest finesse tactics, but I also included some traditional walleye jigging and rigging techniques. And I did not include those hours in this report.

The water clarity in this reservoir exhibited four feet of visibility.

When we started fishing, there was a 10-15 mph breeze from the south.

My report will focus on everything but the lures used.  Many people (myself included) consider the Ned Rig as the key part to Midwest finesse tactics. But it is actually only the tip of the iceberg. There are many other details to it.

Our first spot was near the boat ramp. It consisted of the riprap shoreline along the dam. This riprap is particularly lure-eating, and the Gopher Tackle’s Mushroom Head jigs did their job of remaining snag-free.  A Z-Man’s California Craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught three largemouth bass. My neighbor started with a small white spinnerbait, which caught one bass.  I have to admit that I know this dam very well, and from my many experiences of fishing it, we fished the three sections of the dam that traditionally yield black bass. This was the start of my change in perspective, because I know that Midwest finesse does not rely on plying traditional hot spots. Instead it focuses on dissecting a locale quickly and effectively in the quest and hopes of finding a new and different hot spot on each and every outing.  But the wind was rocking our boat, making it too difficult to dissect the entire dam; so we headed for the other end of the lake.

As we drove to the south end of the reservoir, my new Midwest finesse habits kicked in.  We fished a stretch of shoreline that I had never fished during the more than 200 times that I had fished this reservoir.

The shorelines at this reservoir do not at all resemble the lush, green, vegetated reservoirs in northeast Kansas.  They look like desert lakes. They possess very little visible vegetation. The underwater terrain is sand and rock.  Milfoil exists in this reservoir, but most anglers cannot tell you where it is or how to fish it.  It is submerged and grows in two or three specific spots. I had ignored these shorelines because they seemed too desolate, but Midwest finesse tactics call for an angler to work a shoreline, especially in unexciting-looking areas, and let the bass tell you where they are.  So I turned off the sonar, which is another key Midwest finesse tactic, and we worked the area using my senses.  The sonar tends to distract anglers, which confounds their abilities to concentrate on the presentations of the lures that they are employing.

We landed five smallmouth bass. Three were caught on the Finesse T.R.D. rig, and two were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s black-blue-blue ZinkerZ on a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Without the sonar on we worked the shoreline, and we caught the smallmouth bass in the section that had a mix of sand, rock, and a few patches of milfoil.  Although the next 200 yards did not look like bass habitat, which is a sand bottom below bluffs, we continued on and fished the area without regard to its outward appearance.  This area turned out not to be fruitful this trip.  It was at this point I realized that I had finally internalized the heart of Midwest finesse fishing, and we put it to work along a shoreline by using two stalwart Midwest finesse baits.

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David Harrison with one of the smallmouth bass that he caught on July 19.

It also allowed my former neighbor and I to have a good time talking about life instead of focusing on the highly-technical fishing that this reservoir typically requires, which revolves around focusing on its maze of offshore drop offs and gravel pits.

At our third stop of the outing, we moved closer to the reservoir’s inlet, and we repeated the tactics that we employed at the first two locales. This section yielded one bass and the giant carp which attacked the Ned Rig in shallow water near a patch of milfoil.  With the reel’s drag squealing and the tiny (but strong) hook on the Gopher jig holding we landed the 14-pound beauty.

In four hours, we caught 15 black bass, and we caught eight more during the rest of the outing.  It was a trip that will be remembered more for the change of perspective than for success.  I will continue to use the work ethic and details of Midwest finesse fishing in future trips here as well as other waterways that I may ply during my travels.

 July 20 log

My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I ventured to a heavily fished community reservoir that lies in the suburbs of the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 73 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 91 degrees at 12:53 p.m. The sky was clear and sunny except for two hours in the afternoon when it was partly cloudy. The wind angled out of the south and south by southwest at 3 to 20 mph.  The barometric pressure was 30.08 at 12:53 a.m., 30.11 at 5:52 a.m., 30.11 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.08 at 1:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be nearly normal. The surface temperature ranged from 86 to 90 degrees. The water was stained with a significant algal bloom, and the water clarity fluctuated  from six inches in the upper reaches of the reservoir to 24 inches in its lower portions. This reservoir’s massive patches of coontail are in the midst of their mid-summer and algal-bloom wilt. Some of the homeowners have wacked, hacked, and destroyed a goodly number of the patches of American water willows that border this reservoir’s shorelines, but there are still scores of  shorelines and points that have bountiful patches.

The solunar calendar indicated the best fishing ought to occur from 1:41 a.m. to 3:41 a.m., 2:07 p.m. to 4:07 p.m., 6:57 a.m. to 7:57 a.m., and 9:10 p.m. to 10:10 p.m.  Rick and I fished from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

We fished the dam, two offshore humps, three main-lake points, and portions of four main-lake shorelines.  None of these areas were exceptionally fruitful. But the steeper shorelines, where the boat floated in eight to 20 feet of water, were more fruitful than the flatter and shallower ones. Yet, there were many yards along the steeper shorelines where we failed to tangle with a largemouth bass.

We failed to garner a strike at the three main-lake points that we thoroughly dissected. These points are not flat, and they have deep water nearby.

A flat and shallow shoreline that is embellished with many patches of coontail and patches of American water willows did not yield a largemouth bass or a strike. The water clarity along this shoreline was heavily stained from the algal bloom.  Some anglers might say that the algal bloom adversely affected the dissolved oxygen content in the water, which caused the largemouth bass to be lethargic. But we do not possess the wherewithal to assess why we caught or failed to catch the largemouth bass that we were pursuing. Therefore, an observation about the adverse effects of the algal bloom is pure speculation.  Across the years, we have made it a policy to never speculate why the black bass do what they do. Instead, we write about where, when, and how we caught them.

We caught six largemouth bass along the dam. It is graced with riprap, and its water’s edge is totally lined with American water willows. 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. We caught two largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s California Craw TRD TubeZ affixed to a black 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. We caught three largemouth bass on a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The boat floated in nine to 14 feet of water.  We extracted these bass from water as shallow as three feet and as deep as eight feet. Three of them engulfed our rigs on the initial drop. Two were caught while we employed a drag-and-deadstick presentation. One was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Three of the largemouth bass were abiding along the outside edges of the American water willows.

We caught eight largemouth bass along a steep and rocky main-lake shoreline that is littered with boat docks. Between several of the docks there are patches of American water willows and some rock and concrete retaining walls. Along the outside edges of the American water willows, there are some patches of coontail.  These 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 shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  One of the largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the Hula StickZ rig adjacent to a patch of American water willows and next to a patch of coontail. The other seven were caught while we employed either a drag-and-deadstick retrieve or a drag-and-shake retrieve, and these largemouth bass were many feet from the water’s edge. At times, the boat floated in water as deep as 21 feet. These largemouth bass were abiding in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as 11 feet.

We caught six largemouth bass along another steep and rocky main-lake shoreline that is littered with boat docks, as well as some concrete and rock retaining walls.  This was the longest shoreline that we fished. We caught four largemouth bass along the outside edges of American water willow patches. The other two were caught along the rock-laden terrain, and one of those two largemouth bass was in the vicinity of a boat dock. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Four of them were caught on the Junebug Hula StickZ rig.  Three of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs, and the other three were caught as we executed a drag-and-deadstick retrieve. The boat floated in eight to 15 feet of water. The largemouth bass were abiding in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as eight feet.

We caught five largemouth bass along another steep and rocky main-lake shoreline that is littered with eight boat docks and several concrete and rock retaining walls, as well as some American water willow patches. The boat floated in nine to 14 feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on the Hula StickZ rig in front of one of the boat docks with a drag-and-deadstick retrieve.  Two largemouth bass were  caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in the vicinity of patches of American water willows. The other two were caught while we were dragging and deadsticking  the Hula StickZ rig.  These largemouth bass were abiding in four to six feet of water.

We caught six largemouth bass along a steep and rocky main-lake shoreline that is bordered by a few overhanging trees, some laydowns, two boat docks, a concrete retaining wall, a stone bridge, and many patches of Amercian water willows. These largemouth bass were caught on either  a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or  a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Two were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Two were caught on the drag-and-deadstick presentation.

In total, we caught 31 largemouth bass and inadvertently caught one crappie and one bluegill. It was my final July outing in northeastern Kansas. My wife, Patty, is taking me fishing in the Northwoods of Minnesota. During the last week of July, she will show me how she wields a 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ on a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and executes a retrieve that she calls a slow-roll-and-deadstick presentation and catches largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

July 22 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

I returned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in north-central Texas, where John Thomas of Denton, Texas, and I caught 34 black bass during a four-hour outing on July 19.

This reservoir used to be one of our most frustrating and problematic reservoirs in north-central Texas. Now, however, it has become one of our most bountiful spring, summer, and fall venues. It has never been a fruitful wintertime locale.

The Weather Underground recorded the high temperature at 98 degrees and the low temperature was 77 degrees. A light wind quartered out of the southeast at 3 to 8 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.06 at 6:31 a.m. and 30.04 at 10:31 a.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the most fruitful fishing periods should occur from 12:57 a.m. to 2:57 a.m., 7:10 a.m. to 9:10 a.m., and 1:22 p.m. to 3:22 p.m. I fished from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

On July 19, John and I spent our time in the east tributary arm of this reservoir, where we dissected six main-lake points, a rock jetty, a stretch of riprap-covered shoreline, a main-lake rocky ledge, a secondary point and rocky ledge just inside a major feeder-creek arm, and a small section of the riprap-covered dam. A key element to locating the black bass during that outing was the presence of small 1/4- to 1/2-inch threadfin shad. I stayed in the east tributary arm for the entire three-hours that I was afloat, and I searched for black bass lairs with an abundance of threadfin shad in close proximity to those lairs.

The water level was about normal. The surface temperature ranged from 85 degrees at the boat ramp to 87 degrees inside a major feeder-creek arm. The water was more stained than it was on July 19, exhibiting about two feet of visibility.

One of my four spinning rods was rigged with a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. A shortened four-inch Z-Man’s EZ Money Finesse WormZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig adorned the second rod. The third rod sported a Z-Man’s bluegill-hue Scented LeechZ affixed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The fourth rod was rigged with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

I fished four rocky main-lake points, a 35-yard section of the riprap-laden dam, four shallow main-lake flats adorned with many yards of flooded buck brush, and three rocky secondary points, and one rock ledge located along the south shoreline of a large feeder-creek arm.

I caught 17 spotted bass and 10 largemouth bass. All of the spotted bass and largemouth bass were caught in less than five feet of water. Scores of 1/4- to 1/2-inch threadfin shad were just about everywhere. At the locales where I did not see any shad, I failed to elicit any strikes.

The boat floated in four to 12 feet of water.

I caught two largemouth bass at the four rocky main-lake points. One point was steep and adorned with large submerged boulders.  The other three points were flat and shallow. Both of these largemouth bass were relating to the large submerged boulders that were situated on the steep point.

Six spotted bass and one largemouth bass were caught along a 35-yard section of riprap that covers the mid-section of the dam.

Two of the four main-lake flats yielded one spotted bass and seven largemouth bass. The other two flats were devoid of shad, and I failed to elicit any strikes from either of them.

Inside the large feeder-creek arm, the three secondary points yielded nine spotted bass. A shallow flat that lies between two of the three secondary points was bereft of shad, and this shallow flat failed to yield any strikes.

The Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rig and a moderately fast and steady do-nothing retrieve has become the most dominate lure and presentation at this reservoir. On July 19, it enticed 27 of the 34 black bass that we caught. During this July 22 outing, it inveigled 23 of the 27 black bass. I wielded the shortened four-inch EZ Money Finesse WormZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve for about a dozen casts, and it caught one largemouth bass. The 2 1/2-inch pearl ZinkerZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught three black bass. I used the bluegill-hue Scented LeechZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve for about a half-dozen casts, and during that short spell, I failed to elicit any strikes with it.

July 22, 23, and 24 log  

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his three outings on July 22, 23, and 24.

Here is an edited version of his report:

It is not often that I combine three outings in a single report. But because the conditions were nearly identical, I opted for a three-day report.

It was sunny and muggy. Area thermometers flirted with 100 degrees.

The water exhibited more than eight feet of clarity. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the river was flowing at 75 to 80 cubic feet per second, and the water temperature was 80 degrees.

My game plan for the three days was a simple one. I concentrated on a distinct shade line later in the day on flats that had a V-shaped trench close to the shoreline. As I waded these flats in the middle of the river, the water was knee deep, and typically the water was two feet deeper in the V-shaped trench that parallels the distinct late-day shade line. On all three outings,  I fished three areas with nearly identical depth and topography.

After fishing these flat areas rather quickly and looking for active smallmouth bass, I would make my way to visibly moving water at the head of these areas. During the summer time, when the river is low and flowing, I often refer to these riffle areas as the food conveyor belts.

I worked with two offerings the entire weekend.

On the shallow-water flats, I fished a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Dirt Finesse WormZ on a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher.

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Travis Myers fishing a shade-line on what he calls a shallow-water flat.

When I dissected the riffles, which had two to three feet of water flow over them, I threw only my significantly customized EZ TubeZ rigged on an inserted 1/32-ounce Gopher TJ jig.

As always I liberally applied my customized Pro-Cure Super Gel to the Z-Man’s baits, and all of the barbs were removed from the hooks.

My most effective retrieve in the V-shaped and shaded trench areas with the Finesse WormZ was a deadstick-and-incessant-shake presentation. Some of the smallmouth bass engulfed the Finesse WormZ on the initial drop, but nearly all of my strikes would occur as I began the shaking routine. On these shade lines it was common to see more than one and as many as four smallmouth bass go tail down to closely inspect my offering. Upon battling a hooked smallmouth bass, it was common to see more than one smallmouth follow the hooked fish as far out to where the shade line ended.

In the riffles, I saw as many as three smallmouth bass at times tracking my EZ TubeZ as it meandered over the bottom hugging boulders. When my EZ TubeZ would come to rest, a smallmouth bass would often strike my offering with a distinct thump. As on the flats, a hooked smallmouth bass often had fish of similar size following it.

The bite in the two areas was extremely different. On the flats, I had to do everything in my angling quiver to coax those fish to hit as they stared down my Finesse WormZ. In the riffle areas, the fish were extremely active. The current in the riffles seemed to provide the fish with a sense of security that the fish on the flats did not have.

The Finesse WormZ caught 73 smallmouth and four sizable largemouth bass on the flats.

My EZ TubeZ caught 62 smallmouth in the riffles.

I caught more green sunfish, bluegill and rock bass on the Finesse WormZ than I could keep up with on my counter. I caught larger panfish in the riffle areas, and they were much larger than a smallmouth bass would call food.

The fish were in these two areas for distinctly two different reasons. The riffle run areas allowed them easy meals without expending much energy, and it also afforded them oxygenated water. In the shade line, the water was slightly cooler and in the V-shaped trench, the water was slightly deeper, and there was a never-ending smorgasbord of small panfish for the smallmouth bass to feast upon.

I fished no more than three hours each day in the stifling heat. All three outings commenced at or around 4:45 p.m.

July 25 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his July 25 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, has developed an interest in learning Midwest finesse methods. Because the black bass fishing at several of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs in north-central Texas has been awful for the past several weeks, I opted to take him to the only Corps’ reservoir in north-central Texas where we would have a reasonable chance to catch a minimum of eight black bass an hour during his maiden Midwest finesse outing.

According to the In-Fisherman solunar calendar, the prime fishing periods would take place from 3:48 a.m. to 5:48 a.m., 10:01 a.m. to 12:01 p.m., and 4:14 p.m. to 6:14 p.m. We fished from about 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and after taking a 30-minute lunch break, we continued to fish from noon to about 1:30 p.m.

The day was hot and humid, and we began sweating as soon as we stepped out of the air-conditioned truck. The sky was overcast when we arrived at the boat ramp, and it became partly cloudy by 10:00 a.m. Around 1:00 p.m., the sky became overcast again and a thunderstorm erupted along the northeast end of the reservoir. The thunderstorm was accompanied by thunder and lightning, and it sent us scurrying back to the boat ramp at 1:30 p.m.

The Weather Underground recorded the afternoon high temperature at 98 degrees and the morning low temperature was 77 degrees. A light breeze quartered out of the east by southeast at 3 to 5 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.96 at 8:27 a.m. and 29.94 at 1:27 p.m.

During the past three weeks, the best location pattern at this reservoir has revolved around the presence of small threadfin shad abiding in shallow water and in close proximity to the traditional black-bass haunts in the reservoir’s east tributary arm. That pattern continued during this outing as well.

The water was stained and exhibited about 2 1/2 to three feet of visibility. The water level was about normal. The surface temperature ranged from 84 degrees at the boat ramp to 89 degrees along a main-lake point that is situated along the east shoreline of the east tributary arm.

We began the outing in the southeast end of the reservoir, where we fished two rocky main-lake points and two clay and gravel flats. One of the flats lies between the two points. The other flat is situated along the south side of the second point. Partially flooded terrestrial vegetation bordered the shoreline of the two points and both flats in two to three feet of water.  Small pods of threadfin shad were roaming in less than eight feet of water around the two points and on one of the two flats. We caught one spotted bass at the first point and one largemouth bass at the second point. We caught four largemouth bass and one freshwater drum on the flat that lies between the two points, where there were pods of shad milling about. These black bass were abiding in five to seven feet of water, and they were several yards away from the deep-water edges of the flooded vegetation. Three largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught on a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, which was retrieved at a moderately-fast pace about a foot underneath the surface of the water. The two other largemouth bass and the one freshwater drum engulfed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and implemented with a slow swim-glide-and shake presentation. These two largemouth bass would be the only two bass that the ZinkerZ rig would entice for the remainder of the outing. The second flat that lies just to the south of the second point failed to yield any strikes, and there were no signs of threadfin shad associated with this flat.

Our second spot consisted of a steep and rocky main-lake point and a shallow rock ledge that extends along a short riprap-laden shoreline just north of the dam. We did not see any threadfin shad inhabiting this area. We enticed only two strikes with the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rig along the tip of the steep rocky point, and we failed to hook these two fish. We failed to elicit any strikes along the rock ledge with the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ and pearl Slim SwimZ rigs.

Next we made a short run to the mid-section of the dam, where we dissected a 50-yard section of submerged riprap along the face of the dam. We wielded the pearl Slim SwimZ rigs with the same steady do-nothing swimming retrieve just beneath the surface of the water, and we caught two largemouth bass that were abiding in six feet of water. The 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve failed to attract the attention of any bass.

After we finished dissecting the mid-section of the dam, we ventured to a large main-lake spot where the east and west tributary arms meld together in the southern portion of the reservoir.

This area is about three hundred yards long, and encompasses three small main-lake points and three main-lake flats. Two of the three main-lake points are flat and rocky. The third point is longer than the first two and is buffeted with 18 to 27 feet of water along its west side. Partially flooded terrestrial vegetation festoons the entire length of this shoreline and on top of all three of the points in three to five feet of water. Scores of threadfin shad were everywhere. Small schools of black bass and white bass were foraging sporadically on the shad along the surface, where the water was as shallow as eight feet and as deep as 17 feet.

This area relinquished 36 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and four white bass. A few of these black bass were caught in less than eight feet of water off the first two points and a large flat that separates those two points. But the majority of these black bass and the four white bass were caught off the deep-water side of the longer third point. Some black bass were relating to a rock ledge that runs along the deep-water side of this point in less than five feet of water. The other black bass and the four white bass were caught in open water and many yards out from the west side of the point in 17 feet of water. They were foraging on small shad along the surface of the water, and one largemouth bass that we landed had a two-inch threadfin shad protruding from its gullet.

Thirty-five largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and four white bass were caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ rigs and steady do-nothing retrieve just underneath the surface of the water. One largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/4-inch tail section of a Z-Man’s watermelon-red FattyZ affixed on a blood-red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. This FattyZ-tail rig was implemented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation, and this one largemouth bass was the only black bass that this combo enticed during this outing.

After we enjoyed a 30-minute lunch break, we traveled to a large feeder-creek arm that lies along the west side of the east tributary arm. We fished a steep and rocky main-lake point at the mouth of the feeder-creek arm. This point is adorned with thick patches of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation, and we induced one strike off the tip of the point with a pearl Slim SwimZ rig, but we failed to hook this fish.

Just inside the mouth of this feeder-creek arm, we fished a short section of rocky shoreline, two rocky secondary points, and a long rock ledge. The short section of rocky shoreline failed to yield any bass. The rock ledge surrendered one largemouth bass and one two-pound spotted bass, which is quite a large specimen for our neck of the woods. We caught two largemouth bass off one of the two secondary points, and one largemouth bass off the other secondary point.

After that, we traveled to the east side of the east tributary arm and fished two main-lake shorelines which are covered with riprap, two main-lake points, and the deep-water end of a fishing pier that stands in 32 feet of water.

Neither of the two riprap-laden shorelines yielded any strikes.

One of the two main-lake points relinquished one largemouth bass and one spotted bass. These two bass were foraging on shad along the surface of the water in eight to 12 feet of water off the end of the point. They were both caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ rigs and steady do-nothing retrieve just beneath the surface of the water. We observed a few other bass foraging on the surface off the end of this same point, but we were unable to entice them to strike. The other main-lake point failed to yield any strikes.

We finished the outing on the deep-water end of a concrete fishing pier close to the boat ramp where we launched. We were able to catch one largemouth bass at the end of the fishing pier before we were forced off the reservoir by the approaching thunderstorm and lightning. This largemouth bass was caught on the pearl Slim SwimZ rig and a steady do-nothing retrieve that was presented parallel and next to the end of the fishing pier. This largemouth bass was suspended about four feet deep just underneath the end of the fishing pier, where the water was 32 feet deep.

Overall, it was an outstanding maiden Midwest finesse outing for Roger. We caught and released 49 largemouth bass, five spotted bass, and inadvertently caught four white bass and one freshwater drum during this 4 1/2-hour endeavor, which calculates to a catch rate of 12 black bass per hour. And this catch rate is an uncommon feat in north-central Texas.

The pearl Slim SwimZ and steady do-nothing retrieve has been the most effective combo on this reservoir for the past three weeks, and it continued to be the dominate bait and presentation today. It allured 51 of the 54 black bass that we caught; it also caught the four white bass and freshwater drum. We also lost about a half dozen black bass that were able to liberate themselves before we could hoist them into the boat. The 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught two largemouth bass. The 2 1/4-inch tail section of a watermelon-red FattyZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught one largemouth bass. We had several other rods rigged with Z-Man’s Midwest finesse baits, but we did not feel the need to employ them.

The majority of these black bass were caught in less than eight feet of water. The boat floated in water as shallow as seven feet along several of the main-lake flats, and as deep as 32 feet of water off the end of the concrete fishing pier.

As we were driving home, Roger commented that he was delighted with the results and was amazed that we were able to catch so many summertime black bass in shallow water during the heat of the day. He was impressed with the effectiveness and durability of Z-Man’s Midwest finesse baits, and he is going to stock his tackle box with a good selection of them.

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Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, with one of the spotted bass that he and Steve Reideler caught.

July 26 log

David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a report about his outing at a reservoir in eastern Colorado on July 26.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his report:

My friend and I fished the same reservoir we fished on July 19.

The surface temperature was 73 degrees.  The air temperature was 83 degrees. The sky was mostly overcast.  One small rainstorm came through during our 4 1/2 hours on the water.  The wind was minimal.

We were afloat from 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Our rods sported 1/16-ounce Gopher jigs and 1/6-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jigs, which were affixed to either a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. or a Z-Man’s Canada Craw Finesse T.R.D. We also employed some 2 1/2-inch generic watermelon-colored tubes affixed to 1/8-ounce jigs, as well as some four-inch Berkley Gulp! Crawlers, and a small Rebel Pop-R.

We hoped to repeat the success that we enjoyed during our July 19 outing, when we employed Midwest finesse tactics. We also wanted to compare the effectiveness of scented lures versus unscented lures.

During this July 26 outing, we caught smallmouth bass and inadvertently caught one walleye in eight to 16 feet of water.

We began the outing plying a shallow ledge that parallels the face of the dam, and it yielded the first four smallmouth bass of the evening.  We also dissected a portion of the dam that transitions into a shallow main-lake flat and is covered with six feet of water. We observed an abundance of shad associated with this flat, and we caught three smallmouth bass from this spot.

After we fished the main-lake flat, we fished an underwater roadbed that is located in the middle of the reservoir and is covered with 12 feet of water. We utilized the Finesse T.R.D. rigs with a variety of Midwest finesse retrieves, and the strolling presentation was the only fruitful one.

We moved to another underwater ledge where we strolled the edge of the drop off with one of the small green tubes. We caught several smallmouth bass in eight to 16 feet of water.  This effort brought our total to 15 black bass for the evening.

From that ledge, we ventured to a main-lake shoreline that consists of sand, rocks, and weeds, but we failed to elicit any strikes from this shoreline.

Our next spot was another main-lake shoreline that is graced with rocks and scattered patches of milfoil. We shared this shoreline with several bank fishermen, and we caught one smallmouth bass.

The final location was another submerged roadbed that typically holds walleyes. We continued to wield one of the Finesse T.R.D. rigs and a five-inch Berkley Gulp! Jerk Shad affixed to an orange 3/8-ounce jig. We caught one walleye and enticed three other strikes just as the sun dipped below the Rocky Mountains.

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David Harrison with a Colorado smallmouth bass.

July 27 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his July 27 outing.

Here is an adaption of his log:

Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, joined me for his second Midwest finesse outing at a nearby problematic U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir where the black bass fishing has been horrible all year. The main focus of this outing was to find several black bass lairs that Roger could ply in his kayak, but we did not expect to cross paths with very many black bass during this outing.

The National Weather Service recorded the low temperature at 75 degrees and the afternoon high temperature reached 91 degrees. The morning sky was overcast, and thunderstorms were forecast to erupt during the mid-afternoon hours.  We enjoyed a refreshing light breeze that quartered out of the east by southeast at 3 to 7 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.94 at 7:53 a.m. and 29.93 at 10:53 a.m.

The water was stained and exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 87 degrees. The water level was at normal pool.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted the best fishing periods would take place between 5:35 a.m. and 7:35 a.m., 11:24 a.m. and 1:24 p.m., and 6:02 p.m. and 8:02 p.m. We fished from about 8:00 a.m. to about 11:00 a.m.

We spent the entire three hours of this outing in the southwest tributary arm of the reservoir. We plied six main-lake points, two main-lake flats, one riprap-laden bridge embankment, and the south end of a large main-lake island.

Throughout this outing, we kept the boat positioned in water as shallow as five feet on one of the two main-lake flats and as deep as 18 feet at the end of one of the main-lake points.

For the past few outings, a key component of our success has centered on our ability to locate large concentrations of threadfin shad, and wherever we found large aggregations of shad, we found significant numbers of black bass. We continued to follow that protocol today, and we were surprised and delighted to tangle with 38 largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and we inadvertently caught six white bass.

We caught 37 of the 41 black bass and all six of the white bass from four to 18 feet of water off the ends of the six main-lake points. The preponderance of them were foraging on threadfin shad along the surface of the water.

Two largemouth bass were caught from the deep-water side of a large patch of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation on one of the two main-lake flats in less than five feet of water. We failed to locate any bass relating to the second flat.

One largemouth bass was caught in five feet of water off the south end of the main-lake island, and it was associated with a patch of partially-flooded vegetation.

One largemouth bass was caught from a covered boat slip of a small boat house, which was positioned along the side of one of the main-lake points.

We failed to elicit any strikes from the riprap that covers the bridge embankment.

A Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig with a moderately-fast swimming retrieve just underneath the surface of the water has emerged as our most potent bait and presentation, and it enticed 29 of the 41 black bass and all six of the white bass that we caught on this outing.

A shortened 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s California Craw Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught ten black bass. Five largemouth bass were caught on the Hula StickZ while we employed a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The other five engulfed the Hula StickZ as it was presented with a slow hop-and-bounce technique across the bottom in 11 to 15 feet of water.

Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The ZinkerZ rig was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

We failed to generate any strikes with a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

This reservoir used to be one of our most bountiful warm-water black bass venues, but it has been a disappointment this year. Now after this fruitful outing, we plan on returning to it more often.

July 28 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his July 28 outing.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his log:

The black bass fishing in north-central Texas has become as hot as the Texas summer heat, and I have been fishing more often than I usually do this time of year in order to take full advantage of the unusually bountiful fishing that we are currently enjoying.

On this July 28 outing, I joined Rick Allen of Dallas and Mark Acridge of Watauga, Texas, for a 4 1/2-hour excursion to our most fruitful U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in north-central Texas. Mark Acridge is mostly a power-angler, who will employ a drop-shot rig on occasion, and this was his first Midwest finesse outing.

It was hot and humid. The sky was overcast when we arrived at the boat ramp around 8:15 a.m., and it became partly cloudy by 9:00 a.m. The Weather Underground recorded the morning low temperature at 74 degrees and the afternoon high temperature reached 95 degrees. The wind quartered out of the southwest at 3 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.93 at 7:53 a.m. and 29.92 at 12:53 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the optimum fishing periods would take place from 12:13 a.m. to 2:13 a.m., 6:27 a.m. to  8:27 a.m., and 6:55 p.m. to 8:55 p.m. We fished from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

As I noted in my July 25 and 27 logs, the predominant pattern for locating black bass in our north-central Texas reservoirs has centered on finding large concentrations of 1/4- to 1/2-inch threadfin shad. And when we locate these large aggregations of threadfin shad around main-lake points, flats, and rock ledges, we usually find significant numbers of actively foraging black bass.

The water was stained and exhibited about two feet of visibility. The water temperature was 86 degrees. The water level was normal.

We focused our attentions in the east tributary arm of the reservoir, where the boat floated in water as deep as 27 feet of water at the end of a main-lake point, and as shallow as six feet of water along a couple of main-lake flats.

We began the outing in the southeast end of the reservoir by fishing a rocky main-lake point and an adjacent clay and gravel flat. This point and its adjacent flat are adorned with thin patches of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation in two to three feet of water. A few small pods of threadfin shad were milling about the point and the flat, where the water was less than eight feet deep. We caught one spotted bass in four feet of water on the point and eight largemouth bass from the flat that were foraging on shad along the surface of the water. The largemouth bass were abiding in seven to 12 feet of water and were about 40 to 50 feet away from the patches of flooded vegetation.

After we finished plying the main-lake point and its adjacent flat, we made a short run over to a massive main-lake area where the east and west tributary arms merge together in the south end of the reservoir.

This area is about the size of six football fields, and consists of several main-lake points and large main-lake flats. A couple of the flats are rocky. One point is larger and longer than the other points, and it drops off into 27 feet of water along its west side. A wall of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation adorns the entire shoreline and all of the points. Most of the threadfin shad were roaming along the end of the longest point. We observed many small schools of black bass roaming around this entire area.

They were foraging on large pods of shad along the surface of the water, and the water was as shallow as eight feet and as deep as 17 feet.

This area was the most fruitful area of the outing, and it surrendered 89 largemouth bass and one spotted bass. The vast majority of these black bass were caught along a rock ledge that runs along the deep-water side of the longest point, and these black bass were abiding in less than five feet of water. A few others were caught in open water and many yards from the shallower east side of the point in 10 to 12 feet of water, and they were foraging on the surface. We also caught nine white bass, and they were also foraging on shad along the surface of the water, many yards out from the end of one of the points, where the water was 15 feet deep.

After that, we fished a submerged roadbed, an adjacent rocky shoreline, and a rocky main-lake point on the west side of the east tributary arm. We failed to elicit any strikes from the roadbed and the adjacent rocky shoreline. We caught five black bass and two large freshwater drum at the end of the main-lake point in five to eight feet of water.

Next, we ventured northward about a mile to a large feeder-creek arm that lies along the west side of the east tributary arm. About 50 yards inside the mouth of this feeder-creek arm, we fished a short section of rocky shoreline, two rocky secondary points, and a long rock ledge. The short section of rocky shoreline yielded one largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one freshwater drum. The rock ledge surrendered two largemouth bass and one spotted bass. We caught two largemouth bass and we inadvertently caught two freshwater drum at one of the two secondary points. We caught only one freshwater drum at the other secondary point, and we missed two strikes.

We finished our outing on the east side of the east tributary arm, where we fished a broad and rocky main-lake point.  We did not see any shad inhabiting this locale, and we caught only one largemouth bass at the end of this point in eight feet of water.

The pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a steady do-nothing swimming retrieve just below the surface of the water continues to be our most effective lure and presentation. This combo beguiled 91 of the 110 black bass and all nine of the white bass. Our second best offering was a shortened 3 1/4-inch Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Hula StickZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which bewitched 13 black bass and all six of the freshwater drum. A swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught 13 black bass, and a slow hop-and-bounce presentation across the bottom caught the six freshwater drum.

(It is interesting to note that when we dragged or hopped our baits across the bottom, we only caught freshwater drum. When we  employed a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve just under the surface or  above the bottom, we caught black bass and white bass.) We also wielded a shortened three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Hula StickZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl GrubZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig for a couple of short spells. The pearl Hula StickZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught three black bass. The pearl GrubZ rig and steady do-nothing swimming retrieve caught three black bass.  We also lost about a dozen other bass that were able to pull free before we could land them. We had several other rods rigged with other Z-Man Midwest finesse baits, but we did not get around to employing them.

Overall, it was a phenomenal day of fishing. We caught and released 106 largemouth bass, four spotted bass, and we inadvertently caught nine white bass and six freshwater drum.  We consider it a very unusual feat to catch 110 black bass during 4 1/2 hours of fishing in north-central Texas, and we will be hard pressed to duplicate this accomplishment anytime soon.

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Mark Acridge of Watagua, Texas, with a handsome spotted bass.

July 29 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

John Thomas of Denton, Texas, fished with me at a nearby U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir, where Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, and I relished catching 41 black bass during a three-hour outing on July 27.

During this July 29 outing, I was interested in seeing if my fruitful July 27 outing with Roger Farish was the beginning of the end of this reservoir’s wretched streak of lackluster black bass fishing that has beleaguered many north-central Texas anglers since mid- March, or was it just a one-time fluke of good fortune.

July 29 was a bright and sunny day. The morning low temperature was 76 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 95 degrees with a heat index of 102 degrees. The sky was overcast when we arrived at the boat ramp at about 8:25 a.m., and we could see a couple of small rain showers erupting in the distance. By 9:30 a.m., the small rain showers had ended, and the sky became mostly clouded.  The wind quartered out of the south by southwest at 8 to 13 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.97 at 8:00 a.m. and 29.96 at 11:00 a.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would happen from 1:04 a.m. to 3:04 a.m., 7:18 a.m. to 9:18 a.m., and 7:46 p.m. to 9:46 p.m.  We were afloat from about 8:30 a.m. to noon.

The water was mostly stained and exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was normal. The water temperature ranged from 85 degrees at the boat ramp to 87 degrees at one of the main-lake points.

John and I spent the morning plying six main-lake points and one large main-lake flat in the southwest tributary arm of the reservoir.

Our first spot was a main-lake point about a quarter of a mile west of the boat ramp. This point lies on the south side of the southwest tributary arm. It is endowed with a submerged roadbed, thin patches of flooded buck brush, fist-sized rocks, gravel, and clay. We caught five largemouth bass. Three of the largemouth bass were relating to the top of the submerged roadbed in four feet of water, and the other two were associated with a thin patch of flooded buck brush on the east side of the point in three feet of water. All five of them were attracted to a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, which was presented with a steady swimming action just underneath the surface of the water. We failed to elicit any strikes with a three-inch Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Hula StickZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Our second spot was another main-lake point that lies on the north side of the southwest tributary arm and about half of a mile west of the first point that we just fished. This point was embellished with gravel, submerged boulders, and flooded buck brush. We caught four largemouth bass that were relating to the submerged boulders in four to eight feet of water.   They were caught on the Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rig and steady swimming retrieve. We failed to elicit any strikes with the shortened three-inch Mud Minnow Hula StickZ rig.

From that main-lake point, we moved westward to another main-lake point. The east side of this point is adorned with flooded buck brush, boulders, and a rock ledge that borders the shoreline of the point in three feet of water. The tip and west side of the point is graced with submerged boulders and several small concrete piers that stand in two to four feet of water. The east side of the point yielded 20 largemouth bass and one spotted bass. The tip of the point yielded one two-pound spotted bass, which is considered a large specimen in north-central Texas. We caught nine largemouth bass and two spotted bass on our first pass along the point with our pearl Slim SwimZ rigs with a steady swimming retrieve. We made a second pass along this same point, but this time we wielded the three-inch Mud Minnow Hula StickZ rigs with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. We caught another 11 largemouth bass and one spotted bass off the east side of the point. A few of these black bass were foraging on 1/2-inch shad on the surface of the water, and all 23 of these black bass were abiding in less than six feet of water.

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John Thomas with a spotted bass that was caught on a shortened Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Hula StickZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Our fourth locale was a large main-lake flat that is the approximate size of a football field. It is situated along the north shoreline of the southwest tributary arm, and it is covered with three to eight feet of water. This flat is comprised of mud, gravel, and flooded patches of buck brush. We fished the deep-water edge of this flat and caught five largemouth bass. They were associated with the flooded buck brush in three to five feet of water, and they engulfed the pearl Slim SwimZ rigs and steady swimming retrieve. We failed to generate any strikes with the three-inch Mud Minnow Hula StickZ rig and the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

After that, we fished three rocky main-lake points along the south side of the tributary arm. We failed to garner any strikes at two of the points. The third point was flatter than the other two, and was adorned with a dilapidated concrete boat ramp. This point relinquished 10 largemouth bass that were relating to the submerged portion of the boat ramp that was covered with four to six feet of water. These largemouth bass were larger than the others we had caught, and they were caught on the three-inch Mud Minnow Hula StickZ rig and the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

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Steve Reideler with a largemouth bass that was caught on a shortened Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Hula StickZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

In sum, the fishing was quite satisfying. We were delighted to tangle with 47 black bass during this 3 1/2-hour jaunt. The most effective  lure continues to be a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher Mushroom Head jig. The most effective presentation was a steady do-nothing swimming retrieve.  This Slim SwimZ combo caught 25 of the 47 black bass. A shortened three-inch Z-Man’s Mud Minnow Hula StickZ affixed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher Mushroom Head jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve has become our second best combo this month, and it caught 22 black bass today. (It should be noted that this shortened 3 1/4-inch Mud Minnow Hula StickZ and black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig combo was our most fruitful smallmouth bass offering in northeastern Wisconsin during two vacations in Door County in June of 2015 and 2016. It was also Rick Allen’s most effective smallmouth bass rig during his vacation this past June at Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota.)

Early in July, we were concerned about the state of our black bass fishing in north-central Texas, but as the month unfolded, it became the  most bountiful July that we have ever experienced. We fished a total of 33 1/2 hours during nine outings, and we caught 340 largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass. This calculates to 37.7 bass per outing and 10.14 bass per hour, which we consider a sterling catch rate for north-central Texas.

We have also determined that the most fruitful location pattern for the largemouth bass and spotted bass that inhabit our U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs in north-central Texas has been rocky main-lake points and ledges that are inhabited with large aggregations of threadfin shad, and they are also adorned with flooded terrestrial vegetation in three to eight feet of water.

July 30 log

Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his July 30 outing on the New River in Virginia.

Here is an edited version of his report:

We have a saying down here that fit my New River float trip. The saying is: “It’s hard to catch another man’s fish.”

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, spent a lot of time explaining to me what size of jigs and kinds of soft plastic baits that he would use to catch the smallmouth bass that abide in the New River. And members of the Finesse News Network know from his trip reports that he knows whereof he speaks.

Alas that knowledge was not easily transferred to me.  I had an epic failing at trying to catch Travis’s fish.

My friend Carl Thomason and I floated a section of the New River near Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. We fished from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

We were guided by Marty Shaffner of Tri-State Angler Guide Service. Marty oared us around in a three-man raft.

The river was in good shape, and it was slightly up with enough flow so that we did not have to walk around any rapids. The water clarity ranged from four to five feet.

Carl and I had fished by wading for a couple of hours on Friday evening, and I quickly discovered that I was a lost puppy or that this river was not teeming with fish. We only caught four smallmouth bass . Carl caught his on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I caught mine on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Carl was not impressed at all with my bait selections and declared that on Saturday he would follow  Marty’s advice. That was a wise move. Carl caught the largest smallmouth bass of the day and also the first one of the day on a four-inch Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits’  green-pumpkin Senko, which was rigged weightless. He used that rig all day.

I really struggled with my presentations. My 1/16-ounce jig  and 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s ZinkerZ  was getting snagged repeatedly as I tried to let it drift per Marty’s instructions. Meanwhile, Carl caught seven of the first eight fish. So, I went over to the dark side for a spell and drifted a weightless Senko just to see if I could catch a smallmouth bass. I did entice a few, but later reverted back to the 1/16-ounce Gopher and ZinkerZ rig.
The only smallmouth bass that I could consistently catch were positioned up stream of large boulders, which are areas Marty referred to as push water. When I dropped my Midwest finesse rig on their head, I could get the smallmouth bass to bite.

We did fish a short section with fly rods and I caught one on a floating sponge fly. It was my biggest of the day and a delight for sure.

Weather was partly cloudy and warm — maybe 80 degrees. The river itself was beautiful and not crowded.  It was a wonderful sight.

We ended with 36 bass and one panfish. After the initial disparity, my ZinkerZ rig kept pace with Carl’s weightless Senko.

To be perfectly honest, if I went back to the river tomorrow, I have no idea how I would try and catch more. The Gopher jig and ZinkerZ looked to have the perfect drift speed. In fact, it looked really good to me. Why they would latch onto that ugly Senko floating by is beyond me.

I was extremely disappointed in the number of smallmouth bass that we caught. I am not sure if that is all of the smallmouth bass that are available in that stretch or if my fishing was that horrible.  But throughout the outing, I was never comfortable with my ability to locate the whereabouts of the smallmouth bass in the current. Marty told Carl that we would have caught 50 or more smallmouth bass if I had fished the weightless Senko exclusively. I am not sure about that, but my pre-trip boasting about having a magic bullet for the New River’s smallmouth bass sure led to a humbling experience.

Nevertheless, I am thankful for Travis’ help.  But in this case, he just did not have a pupil worthy of his great knowledge.

(Myers and Poe exchanged several emails on Aug 1. And Myers suggested that Poe should use a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig rather than the 1/16-ouncer. He should also use a 2 1/4-inch ZinkerZ with the salt leeched out of it rather than a 2 1/2-inch one that is impregnated with salt.)

 

 

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