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Midwest Finesse Bass Gear & Accessories

An Addendum to the Month-by-Month Guide to Midwest Finesse: December

by Ned Kehde   |  March 1st, 2013 0

Introduction: 

The first days of December are not the most trying days of the year for the Midwest finesse anglers who ply the  flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas. But the last dozen days, as well as  most of the days in January, are the ones that vex us the most.  The reason for this  is ice often covers all of our reservoirs except for two that are warmed by power plants. Thus, during the wolf hours of winter, we are relegated to fishing those two warm-water reservoirs when ice covers our other reservoirs, and because it takes an hour and a half or more to drive to these warm-water reservoirs, we rarely fish them more than once a week.

In the lexicon of Midwest finesse anglers,  our reservoirs that aren’t endowed with a power-plant are called cold-water reservoirs.

Across the past 10 Decembers, my logs revealed I  fished the cold-water reservoirs 62 times, and often I was accompanied by another angler.  On these outings,  we caught 1,231 largemouth bass, which is a paltry average of 19.8 largemouth bass an outing or 4.9 largemouth bass an hour.  During the rest of the calendar year, our catch rate is double of what it is in December.  For instance, we averaged 10.2 largemouth and smallmouth bass an hour throughout the calendar year of 2012.

The logs also note that  Dec. 29 was the last day we fished our cold-water reservoirs in 2003. Our last outing in 2004 occurred on Dec.  21.   Ice covered our reservoirs from Dec. 7 to Dec. 15, 2005, and after a warm spell graced northeastern Kansas, the ice disappeared on Dec. 26, and we were afloat again, and from then on we fished our cold-water reservoirs for  the entire winter of 2005-06.  We fished them the entire month of December of 2006 and until Jan.11, 2007, but after that we didn’t fish them again until Feb. 27, 2007.  We fished  until Dec.21, 2007. In 2008, they froze after our Dec. 12 outing.  The winter of 2010-11 was bitterly cold, and ice began to cover our reservoirs after our Dec. 10 outing. Then in 2011, we fished until Dec. 17. In 2012, the ice didn’t develop until around Christmas.

Even if the ice doesn’t develop, we often have a difficult time locating and catching  significant numbers of largemouth bass  after the first seven days of December have run their course.  (In our minds, catching 40 largemouth bass during a four-hour outing is a significant number.) Here are the dates of our best December catches during the past ten years.  A friend and I tangled with 69 largemouth bass on Dec. 1, 2011 at a 100-acre community reservoir in the southwest suburbs of Kansas City, and at the same reservoir, we caught and released 63 largemouth bass on Dec. 3, 2010 and 50 largemouth bass on Dec. 4, 2012.  On Dec. 2, 2008, we caught 40 largemouth bass at a 416-acre community reservoir,  and ice was beginning to form in the shallow areas of this reservoir during this outing. We caught 54 largemouth bass at a 55-acre community reservoir on Dec. 2, 2005. We caught 44 largemouth bass  at a 416-acre community reservoir on Dec. 5, 2005.  As noted above, 2006 was an exceptional odd December, and consequently, we caught 41 largemouth bass on Dec. 18 and 41 again on Dec. 26 at a 195-acre community reservoir.

Our logs reveal that the number of largemouth bass that we catch plummets significantly after the first week in December. In fact, on 12 December outings from 2003 to 2012 after the week, we caught fewer than 10 largemouth bass, and on three of those outings, we caught only one largemouth bass, and on Dec. 30, 2005, we failed to garner a strike.

Although the largemouth bass fishing can be rather loathsome in our cold-water reservoirs in December, it can be at times quite rewarding  at our   2,600-acre power-plant lake. For instance at that reservoir  we caught 69 largemouth bass on Dec. 13, 2011  and 44 on Dec. 28, 2011. On Dec. 28, 2010, we caught only 27 largemouth bass, but one of them weighed six-pounds, nine ounces.

This December, I was still nursing my forearm, wrist and hand, which I broke on Nov. 6 and a surgeon reconstructed on Nov. 13. And during this 31-day span, I was able to fish only five hours, which included two bank-walking excursions with my wife, Patty.

Therefore, the logs, endeavors and insights of Bob Gum of Kansas City, Casey Kidder of Topeka, Kansas, Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, and Dave Weroha of Kansas City grace the bulk of this  monthly guide to Midwest finesse.

Logs:

December 1

Dave Weroha of Kansas City posted a report about his Dec. 1 outing at a 2,600-acre power-plant reservoir, where he joined Bob Gum of Kansas City and Gum’s wife, Yan.

This threesome fished from 7:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. And when they launched Gum’s boat, area thermometers were in the upper 50s. The wind angled from the south by southeast at 15 to 20 mph, creating two- to three-foot white caps across the middle sections of the reservoir. When they made their last cast at 4:30 p.m., the wind’s direction and speed had changed to the south by southwest and was blowing at 10 to 15 mph.

The surface temperature ranged from 53 to 56 degree in the areas that they fished. The water level was about one foot below its normal level. An algae bloom and the wind stained the water clarity, and Weroha said that clarity ranged from two to three feet. The power plant was generating electricity during their entire outing.

They caught 36 largemouth, as well as three channel catfish, two crappie, two white bass and one wiper. Two of the largemouth bass were 18-inchers and another measured 17 ž-inches.

One of the big largemouth bass engulfed a Heddon Zara Spook. The rest of the largemouth bass and other species were allured by a Z-Man Fishing Products’ green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head jig, a 2 ½-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 ½-inch watermelon-white ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a three-inch Bobby Garland Custom Softbaits Mo’Glo Slab Slay’r in a ghastly-minnow hue on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

A swim-twitch-and-pause cadence was their most effective retrieve.

They caught the bulk of their bass along the shorelines of two bluffs, which lie on the west side of the reservoir  and in the heart of the warm-water plume, and they eked out a few largemouth  along a massive riprap shoreline along the eastern side of the reservoir.

December 2

Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a brief report on the Finesse News Network about a horrible day that he and a friend endured. Initially, they chased white bass in the upper reaches of a 6,930-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir during the morning of Dec. 2, and to their surprise and dismay, they failed to catch one. Several days prior to Lau and his friend’s outing, Rodney Hatridge of Shawnee, Kansas, and Joe Gwadera of Liberty, Missouri, caught and released 50 humongous white bass in the area that Lau and his friend fished. On their way home, Lau and his friend stopped by a 140-acre state reservoir and fished for largemouth bass from 1:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. The surface temperature was 48 degrees. The water level was about four feet below normal. An algae bloom affected the water clarity. They wielded a 2 ½-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a 2 ½-inch watermelon-white ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, but they caught only nine largemouth bass and two crappie.

The wind was mild-mannered, angling out of the southeast from 3 to 6 mph, and at times it was even calm. Until almost 11 a.m., it was a touch misty and foggy. By noon the sky was blue and sun was bright.  Between noon and 1 p.m., area thermometers ranged from 58 to 63 degrees.

While Lau and his friend were kvetching about their sorry white bass outing and looking for another reservoir to fish, my wife, Patty, took me for some piscatorial therapy for my left wrist, hand and forearm, which I broke on Nov. 6 and had a surgeon repair it on Nov. 13. She drove me to a nearby 195-acre community reservoir, where we walked about 50 yards of one of the reservoir’s northern shorelines. The water clarity was affected by a  significant algae bloom. The water level looked to be three to four feet below normal. We did not have a thermometer to measure the surface temperature, but suspected that it was in the high 40s. We fished from noon to 12:45 p.m. Our spinning rods sported a 2 ½-inch white ZinkerZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and a 2 ½-inch green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and these combos inveigled seven little largemouth bass, and they were caught from 10 to 25 feet from the water’s edge.  It should be noted that when we fish this shoreline in a boat, we rarely probe lairs that lie as far as  25 feet from the edge of this shoreline.   One of the virtues to bank walking is that it provides anglers with a different perspective and presentation angle than we get when we are in a boat, and it allows us to catch largemouth bass that we would  not catch when we are fishing in a boat. Thus one of the virtues of breaking my forearm, wrist and hand is that it allowed us to find a couple largemouth bass lairs that we had overlooked for decades. Perhaps in the months to come we will explore fishing shorelines in our boat from the inside out, which was a tactic that Guido Hibdon of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, and his family of guides used to do at the Lake of the Ozarks in the 1960s.  In fact, back in the 1930s into the 1960s, the Hibdons spent a lot of time walking the shorelines,  and so on the days when the wind allowed them to fish in a boat, they would at times row and paddle the their boats adjacent to the water’s edge and cast and retrieve their lures as if they were  walking the shoreline.

Postscript:

Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 2.

Poe wrote: “The bass had shown its presence as I was walking back to be picked up after my scouting endeavors for fall turkeys. My friend drops me off, and he fishes while I roam the woods looking for turkeys.
I saw a largemouth bass chasing baitfish in the back of a pocket, and I could not believe my eyes. What’s more, my friend reported that he had been chasing some that were schooling on a secondary point across the lake. When he picked me up, we went to find that fish I saw, and it busted the surface again before we got into casting distance. As I eased up to him, the water was less than two feet deep. I saw him cruising and I made a cast with a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on a 2 ½-inch Strike King Lure Company’s green-pumpkin-red-flake Zero and on a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and he inhaled it. It was a unique occurrence for me in December. I have never sight-fished for largemouth bass in December. The surface temperature was 53 degrees, and the air temperature was 65 degrees. Traditionally, the bass bite here would be a spoon-jigging deal. In fact, I just talked with the master of that technique. His name is Abe Abernathy, and he said that he was on the lake on Nov. 29. He found that the only bite was a shallow one. The bait fish are everywhere in the feeder creeks, and the largemouth bass are there with them. It’s more like March than December. Hope it continues. Last year, we caught them on New Year’s Eve and Day.
December 4

Four weeks ago today, I slipped on some filamentous algae and fell on the boat ramp as I was launching my boat, and I severely broke my left wrist and arm. To commemorate that ordeal, Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, asked me to join him at a 100-acre community reservoir in the southwest suburbs of Kansas City.

At 10:20 a.m., I carefully climbed into Claudell’s boat, and we fished until 2:20 p.m.

I rarely sit while I fish. But Claudell thoughtfully put a low-back seat on a pedestal on the rear deck of his boat today, and I sat on that unit for the entire outing. What’s more, 80% of my casts were angled at a 45-degree angle behind the boat, and most of my retrieves incorporated a lot of dragging, strolling and deadsticking, which were punctuated with a few shakes.

 

Unless most of our bites occur during the initial drop or if we have to do a lot of dragging, strolling and deadsticking behind the boat to inveigle the largemouth bass, I prefer to make perpendicular casts and retrieves. I also like to make short cast, which are no longer than 30 feet. The reason I prefer short and perpendicular casts and retrieves is because we can’t execute the proper and subtle no-feel Midwest finesse retrieve if our casts and retrieves are long and not perpendicular. On this outing, only about 20 percent of my casts were perpendicular ones, and the retrieves following those perpendicular casts were mixed with the swim-glide-and–shake motif and the hop-and-bounce retrieve that was highlighted with a touch of shaking. The condition of my cast-bound left arm was more suited to dragging, strolling and deadsticking behind the boat than the swim-glide-and–shake and hop-and-bounce retrieves.  It needs to be noted that if the bulk of the bass strike on the initial drop of the bait, the angle and distance of the cast doesn’t make any difference.

Claudell mixed the angle of his casts, ranging from slightly in front of the boat, to perpendicular, to a 45-degree towards the back of the boat, and he primarily employed a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Our spinning rods sported the following baits: 2 ½-inch Z-Man pumpkin-chartreuse  ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, 2 ½-inch green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, 2 ½-inch pearl ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, 2 ½-inch watermelon/white ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, PB&J Z-Man  Rain MinnowZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig, and four-inch Z-Man black-neon Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. All of these baits inveigled some bass, but the most alluring one was the 2 ½-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ. The second most effective combo was the 2 ½-inch green-pumpkin ZinkerZ.

Except for the last five minutes, we spent the entire outing in the upper third of the reservoir, focusing on the main-feeder creek arm. Within this area, we plied points, shorelines, boat docks and patches of coontail. Our boat floated in water as shallow as four feet and as deep as 16 feet.

The most fruitful spot centered on a large area adjacent to a boat dock were a submerged creek channel made a bend. Here the boat floated in 13 to 14 feet of water, and our casts were made into five feet of water, and we retrieved our baits into 13 feet of water, which in northeastern Kansas is deep-water largemouth bass fishing. Normally we prefer to catch our largemouth bass in depths of three to seven feet of water – even in the dead of winter when the surface temperature hovers from 39 to 42 degrees. On this outing, we caught very few largemouth bass in water shallower than four feet. In fact, most were caught in five to eight feet of water.

Most of the bass that we caught were associated with the patches of coontail – especially the outside edges of these patches.

This 100-acre reservoir is lined with hundreds of boat docks. But during the many years that we have fished it, boat docks normally haven’t yielded a significant number of largemouth bass. But on this late fall outing, we caught a surprising number of largemouth bass around several of these docks. And we caught only five largemouth bass around rocky lairs, which typically yield more largemouth bass than docks. (It needs to be noted that the best rocky lairs are usually embellished with either coontail or American water willows, but that was not so on this Dec. 4 outing.)

We caught 39 largemouth bass on the western side of the reservoir’s main-feeder creek arm. We caught only three on the eastern side. Then along a northern shoreline and two points, we eked out seven largemouth bass. One largemouth bass was caught along a section of the dam that was adorned with a massive patch of coontail. We failed to hook and land about a dozen strikes that we elicited, and we did land one white bass.

We have been graced with some wonderful Indian-summer weather for the past several weeks, which has many of our duck-hunting friends in a state of chagrin. In fact, it was so warm on December 2 that my wife, Patty, and I saw a water skier at a nearby 7,000-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir as we were driving across the dam. We witnessed this spectacle when we were heading home from a short bank-walking excursion at a nearby 195-acre community reservoir, where we had made about a 75 casts and caught seven largemouth bass.

Claudell and I didn’t see any water skiers on Dec. 4, but area thermometers registered a morning low of 28 degrees and an afternoon high of 63 degrees. The wind was nearly nil at times, and other times it was angling out of the west to northwest at about 5 mph. Barometric pressure was 30.29 and falling. It was sunny, and its rays felt good on my left arm and wrist as they penetrated the black cast that protects the broken and surgically repaired bones.

The water level was nearly normal; this is, by the way, the only small flatland reservoir hereabouts that was blessed with a normal water level on this date; other reservoirs are three feet to about 10 feet below normal. The surface temperature was 49 degrees. (It is interesting to note that on Dec. 8, 2011 the surface temperature at this reservoir ranged from 39 to 41 degrees.) A minor algae bloom stained the water a tad, but it was clear enough that we could see the black propeller of the trolling motor.

According to the solunar calendar, the best fishing time occurred from 2:36 p.m. to 4:36 p.m.

December 15

Casey Kidder of Topeka, Kansas, reported to the Finesse News Network that he and Alex Fulkerson of the Kansas State University Fishing Team fished from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at a 416-acre community reservoir.

The morning low temperature was 41 degrees, and the afternoon high temperature hit 54 degrees. The wind was from the west at 13 to 17 mph. The sky was overcast. Around 10 a.m. the barometric pressure was 29.52 and rising. The surface temperature was 43 degrees. The water level was about four feet below normal. The water was relatively clear. All of this reservoir’s massive milfoil patches were gone.

According to the solunar calendar, the best fishing times occurred from 11:31 a.m. to 1:31 p.m.

They caught 25 largemouth bass, and inadvertently caught about 25 white bass. Kidder noted that the “largemouth bass looked really healthy and fat,” which he was pleased to see because this reservoir was recently whacked by the largemouth bass virus.

A four-inch Z-Man Junebug Finesse WormZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig was the best bait, and it also caught the biggest largemouth bass. They used 1/32-, 1/16- and 3/32-ounce jigs, and the 1/16-ounce one caught the vast majority of the fish.

A chrome/black back/orange belly Smithwick Suspending Rattlin’Rogue and a Luck “E” Strike USA herring-bone-chartreuse RC STX also caught a few fish, but a GP pro-blue Megabass Vision 110 caught only one white bass. Fulkerson also had some success with a Damiki Fishing Tackle’s green-pumpkin Spoon Tail Miki on either a 3/16- or 1/8-ounce Outkast Tackle jig, as well as a four-inch Snack Daddy tube with either a 3/16- or 1/8-ounce jig inserted into the tube.

Bluffy shorelines were the most fruitful, and most of the largemouth bass were extracted from four to six feet on water.

December 16

Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, reported on the Finesse News Network that he had a solo outing on Dec. 16, fishing from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. To his dismay, he eked out only 17 largemouth bass, and he garnered only three during the first two hours of his outing.

The solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing time occurred from 12:35 p.m. to 2:35 p.m.

As for the weather conditions, the wind was calm. The sky was filled with clouds and some showers erupted. Area thermometers reached a high of 50 degrees. The reservoir had been drawn down, and its surface temperature was 50 degrees.

In retrospect, Poe concluded that he spent too much time plying what he called the deeper lairs during the first hours that he was afloat. Ultimately, he found the biggest bass milling about in only three to four feet of water, and the small ones were in eight feet of water. He caught them on either a 2 1/2-inch  Strike King Lure Company Zero green-pumpkin-red affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a crayfish-hue No. 5 Rapala Shad Rap. He noted that he wielded the Shad Rap on a vintage Fenwick 505 fiberglass spinning rod, which was spooled with 10-pound-test SpiderWire Stealth braided line, and he has discovered that the soft-action of that vintage rod is “great for casting and detecting light bites in cool water.”
December 18

On Dec. 18, I had hoped to fish with Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, and his son Eric at a 2,600-acre power plant reservoir, but left hand and arm, which I broke on Nov. 6, radiated with intense pain for much of the night. So, I opted not to join them. But the weather so delightful that my wife, Patty, decided to drive me to a nearby 195-acre community reservoir, and we walked the shoreline and made a few casts on that splendid afternoon. The fishing, however, was trying, and we caught only four largemouth bass. This was our third bank-walking outing since I broke my arm, wrist and hand. Across those three short outings, we estimated that we made about 250 casts and retrieves, and we caught 15 largemouth bass and failed to land another half dozen. Most of these 15 largemouth bass were caught on either a pearl or a green-pumpkin 2 ½-inch ZinkerZ, which were affixed to either a 1/32- or 1/16-ounce red Gopher jig.

Claudell sent the following report to the Finesse News Network about their outing.

He wrote: “The weather was delightful. The air temperature upon our arrival at 11 a.m. was 50 degrees, and it was 56 degrees when we ended it at 2:30 p.m. The wind angled out of the west by southwest at 10 to 18 mph.

“The solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing times  happened from 3:55 p.m. to 5:55 p.m.

“The reservoirs’ surface temperature was 64 degrees at the hot-water outlet, 52 degrees along some of the riprap shorelines along the east side of the reservoir and 50 degrees along the riprap of the dam.

“Other than alluring some white bass along a stretch of wind-blown riprap, we failed to develop a pattern. Consequently, we caught only seven largemouth bass and 12 white bass. Our most effective bait was a 2 ½-inch watermelon-white ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.”

December 22

Dave Weroha of Kansas City filed a report on the Finesse News Network about at an outing that he and Bob Gum of Kansas City had at a 160-acre state reservoir.

He noted that 48 hours prior to their outing, Old Man Winter walloped northeastern Kansas with cold, pesky winds and the first blanket of snow. Then on Dec. 22, area thermometers recorded a morning low temperature on 24 degrees, and the afternoon high reached 51 degrees. The wind angled from west and southwest at 8 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.13.

The water level was approximately 10 feet low, making it difficult to launch a boat. The water exhibited about four feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 39.5 to 40.5 degrees.

According to the solunar calendar, the best fishing time occurred from 5:31 a.m. to 7:31 a.m. and 5:54 p.m. to 7:54 p.m., and since they fished from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., they didn’t partake in those best of times.

They eked out only 17 largemouth bass, which they extracted from patches of submergent aquatic vegetation, consisting of curly-leaf pondweed and some coontail, which sat in four to five feet of water in the backs of the reservoir’s two feeder-creek arms. They failed to garner a strike along any of the reservoir’s rock-laden points and deep-water lairs, as well as the riprap of the dam.

There best four baits were a 2 ½-inch green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 ½-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a red a/16-ounce Gopher jig, a pearl-and-blue fluke-style bait on a red 1/16-ounce jig and a green-pumpkin grub on a red 1/8-ounce jig.

Gum’s most effective retrieve revolved around a drag, three shakes and  three-second deadstick. Weroha wrote that he retrieved his baits with a swim and glide that was accentuated with slight shakes during the glide phase of the retrieve, and all of the strikes occurred during the glide. All of the strikes were faint and difficult to detect.

Bob Gum of Kansas City shows off one of the early winter bass that he and Dave Weroha of Kansas City caught.

Weroha concluded his Dec. 22 log with the following observations: “As I reflect on my Saturday outing and correlate the strategies employed of casting into submersed weedbeds in the flats with your Jan. 11, 2012 “Month-by-Month Guide to Midwest Finesse” blog, the events Saturday unfolded precisely as you described in that blog , in which you wrote:

“‘Many anglers think that wintertime largemouth bass abide in deep water, but we catch the bulk of our cold-water bass in five to eight feet of water situated about one-third to two-thirds of the way inside coves. Some of the best locales in these coves are enhanced with submerged aquatic vegetation. … The most prolific retrieve is a snail-paced shake-swim-and-glide motif. If there is vegetation, we like to drape our line and lure over a piece of vegetation and then we subtly twitch the rod.’

“I appreciate the explanation that foretold bass locale and behavior in the winter time. It was a great decision to request information from you ahead of this outing. Anglers can glean golden nuggets of invaluable information from your articles and blogs.

“Please feel free to share my comments of your evidence-based recommendations with others.”

Dave Weroha holds another largemouth bass that he and Bob Gum caught.

December 25

Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, posted a brief report on the Finesse News Network about his Christmas Day outing and his son-in-law’s outing on Dec. 20.

He wrote: “In between trips to family functions, I squeezed in a three-hour trip to the local lake. I fished from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The lake level was way down, which usually makes it easier to locate the largemouth bass.  Weather was perfect, reaching a high of 60 degrees, and the sky became cloudy as massive storm front approached from the west. I landed ten largemouth bass, and they were good ones. I had it in my mind to catch them on lipless rattling baits, and I did catch one immediately,  but it was dead calm,  and the bass liked my standard 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with the 2 1/2-inch  green-pumpkin-red-flake Zero better. Fish were extremely shallow with a number of bites coming on the initial fall. Surface temperature was still around 50 degrees. The trip was a nice Christmas present to myself.”

One of Mike Poe's Christmas Day largemouth bass.

In a footnote to his Christmas Day report, Poe wrote:

“My son-in law had a very fruitful  trip to the Haw River  on Dec. 20, catching 53 largemouth bass in a few hours on Z-Man’s watermelon-red Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-ounce  Gopher jig. They caught some that weighed three pounds. The river they were on has some deep holes and they found the bass concentrated at the head of some of the deep holes. He is becoming well versed in the use of the Midwest finesse rigs.

“Floating streams around here is generally not done in December. But I am glad he is expanding his season. Canoes and cold water aren’t my cup of tea though; therefore, I may have to pass on these trips.

“I had been thinking that Midwest finesse rigs had to work great in stream environments. I wish I had known of it back in the days when we floated the James River in Virginia for smallmouth bass. It would have been the perfect bait. Back then, we used small tubes but the Zero would have been better.”

 

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