This August guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 27 logs and 25,804 words that describe how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished.  It features the piscatorial endeavors and insights of Rick Allen of Dallas; Mark Acridge of Watauga, Texas; Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas; Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas; Ace Croucher of Quenemo, Kansas; Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas;  Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas;   Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Thomas Heinen of Topeka, Kansas; Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas; Pat Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas; Casey Kidder of Topeka, Kansas, Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas; John Redding of Lawrence, Kansas; John Reese of Lawrence, Kansas; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; Chris Savoie of Topeka, Kansas; John Thomas of Denton, Texas; as well as my northeastern Kansas logs.

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

Aug. 1 log

Thomas Heinen of Topeka, Kansas, Steve Desch of Topeka, and I climbed into Clyde Holscher’s mammoth Alumacraft boat on Aug. 1.

Holscher resides in Topeka, and he is a veteran and talented multispecies guide and Midwest finesse angler, who plies a variety of the flatland reservoirs that stipple the countryside of northeastern Kansas.

Desch is a Midwest finesse patriarch and virtuoso at wielding a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Fishing Products’ ZinkerZ on a 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

Heinen will be 18 years old in September.  He is a senior at Hayden High School, a Midwest finesse devotee, and a successful tournament angler who competes in numerous local and regional events. And this year, he competed at the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship on June 22, 23, and 24 at Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee.  When he is a college student, he hopes to be a member of a college fishing team. He also possesses a hankering to compete at some of the Bass Pro Shops’ Bassmaster Opens Tournament Series in the near future.

Our mission on our Aug. 1 outing was to work with a variety of new soft-plastic baits that were introduced to the angling world at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show on July 12, 13, and 14 at Orlando, Florida. While we used the new ones, we compared them to our Midwest finesse standard-bearers, which Desch, Heinen, and Holscher wielded.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 61 degrees at 4:27 a.m. and 84 degrees at 4:54 p.m. The wind was often calm, and when it stirred, it angled out of the north, north by northwest, east, north by northeast, east by southeast, and northeast at 3 to 8 mph. The sky alternated from being clear to being scattered with some clouds to mostly cloudy to overcast. The barometric pressure was 30.12 at 12:53 a.m., 30.12 at 5:57 a.m., and 30.11 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.07 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 6:23 a.m. to 8:23 a.m., 6:46 p.m. to 8:46 p. m., and 12:12 a.m. to 2:12 a.m. We were afloat from 8:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir.

The water level was a few inches above normal. Water was being released from the dam at 20 cubic feet per second. The surface temperature ranged from 79 to 83 degrees.  The water clarity fluctuated from six inches to about two feet.

Desch described this outing as a six-hour marathon, and as we were making our last casts, he and I readily confessed that it was a difficult ordeal for us old codgers who are conditioned to fishing three to four hours per outing. We made more than a 17-mile orbit around the lower third portions of this reservoir. We fished 26 spots. Eleven of them were on the main-lake, and they consisted of points, shorelines, submerged roadbeds, and humps. Fifteen spots were inside major and minor feeder-creek arms, and they consisted of shorelines, humps, submerged roadbeds, and secondary points.

The four of us wielded a vast array of Midwest finesse rigs: Z-Man Fishing Products’ Finesse T.R.D., Z-Man’s 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ, Z-Man’s Rain MinnowZ, Z-Man’s T.R.D. TubeZ, Z-Man’s Hula StickZ, Z-Man’s Trick ShotZ, Z-Man’s T.R.D. HogZ, Z-Man’s customized Mag FattyZ, a Bass Pro Shops’ 2 3/4-inch Bass Teaser Tube, and a Bass Pro Shops’ 3.8-inch Speed Shad.

We employed a wide range of colors: black and blue flake, California craw, coppertreuse, green pumpkin, green pumpkin goby, Junebug, mudbug, molting craw, new money, PB&J, pearl, redbone, and sprayed grass.

These baits were affixed to several kinds, colors, and sizes of jigs. We used a red 1/16-ounce homemade mushroom-style jig, an unpainted 1/8-ounce homemade ball-head jig, an orange 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle’s Mushroom Head jig, a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a customized-pink 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a customized red 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s NEDLOCKZ jig, a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a green-pumpkin 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

We struggled to catch 54 smallmouth bass, seven largemouth bass, and one spotted bass. And we inadvertently caught seven white bass, six walleye, and five freshwater drum.

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Clyde Holscher with one of the 54 smallmouth bass that we caught. It was caught on a main-lake point in about six feet of water.

Main-lake locales were more fruitful than most of the locales inside the feeder-creek arms. Five of the 26 areas that we dissected were fruitless. Eighteen of them were virtually fruitless, yielding one to three black bass. Three were somewhat fruitful, yielding from six to 26 black bass.

One of the somewhat fruitful ones was a flat and shallow main-lake point that is cluttered with boulders, rocks, and gravel. It yielded six smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass that were abiding in three to five feet of water.

Another one of the somewhat fruitful ones was a submerged roadbed on a secondary point in the back of a minor feeder-creek arm. It is a gravel-, rock-, and boulder-laden terrain. It yielded six smallmouth bass that were abiding in four to six feet of water.

The third somewhat fruitful area was a long stretch of shoreline along the dam, which is covered with riprap. It yielded 26 smallmouth bass, which were abiding in two to five feet of water.

Our most effective rigs were a 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ, a Finesse T.R.D. and a shortened Hula StickZ, which are our Midwest finesse standard-bearers.

There was no dominating color. But the coppertreuse, green-pumpkin, sprayed grass, and mudbug hues elicited a few more strikes than the other hues.

We could not determine if the size and color of the jig were of any consequence.

Moreover, there was no primary presentation pattern. Besides catching some of the black bass on the initial drop of our rigs, we caught them by employing all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves and slight variations to those retrieves.

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This smallmouth bass was caught in two feet of water on the top of a rock- and boulder-laden hump inside a small feeder-creek arm.

In short, we could not make heads or tails out of what was going on with this reservoir’s black bass population. In fact, we were so confounded that it was impossible for us to describe what transpired. And likewise, I was so discombobulated about who caught what and on what rig and where each specimen was caught and how it was caught that it was impossible for me to write cogently and exactly about how, when, and where we caught the black bass that we caught.

Aug. 1 log

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

Here is a condensed and edited version of his report:

John Redding of Lawrence, Kansas, and I fished one of northeastern Kansas’ U.S. Army  Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs on Aug. 1.

We had neglected to fish this reservoir during most of the spring and summer because the water has been high and murky.

Our plan was to spend about four hours pursing black bass around a variety of rocky shorelines and points. Then, during the evening hours, we planned on targeting white bass around a main-lake hump that features two submerged roadbeds and several building foundations.

The weather was a relatively cool day for August in northeastern Kansas.  It was 62 degrees at 7:00 a.m. and 85 degrees at 4:00 p.m. It was 73 degrees at 10:00 p.m. when we finally called it quits and headed back to the boat ramp. The sky was clear.  The wind was calm most of the time, and when it stirred, it angled out of the east and northeast at no more than 6 mph.

The reservoir’s surface was smooth and glassy.  When we made our first casts at 2:30 p.m., the surface temperature was 87.5 degrees. The water had a stained green appearance with about 2 feet of visibility. The water level was 1.33 feet above normal.

From 2:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., we plied numerous locations and used a variety of Midwest finesse baits trying to inveigle a strike from the reservoir’s black bass.  During those 4 1/2 hours of hard fishing, we struggled to catch six black bass.

Two smallmouth bass were caught along the riprap shoreline of a long causeway leading to a bridge that crosses one of the reservoir’s major feeder-creek arms.  One of them was caught on a swim-and-glide retrieve in about eight feet of water on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ mounted on a black 1/8-ounce Bass Pro Shops’ Weedless  Shroom Head jig. The other smallmouth bass was caught on a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-and-glide retrieve in eight feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught in a rocky, narrow and deep cove on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s  Finesse ShroomZ jig on a swim and glide retrieve in 13 feet of water.  Another smallmouth bass  was caught on a Junebug Finesse ShadZ mounted on a black 1/8-ounce Bass Pro Shops’ Weedless Shroom Head jig along the riprap shoreline of the dam in about four feet of water on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.  At a tertiary point along a steep main-lake shoreline that is graced with rocks and numerous large boulders, we caught a smallmouth bass on a 2 1/2 -inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 1/15- ounce Z-Man’s  Finesse ShroomZ jig with a straight swimming retrieve about 12 inches under the surface of the water.  One largemouth bass was caught along the tip of a quarter-mile long riprap breakwater outside of a marina, and it was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s  PB&J ZinkerZ rig affixed to a black 1/8-ounce Bass Pro Shops’ Weedless Shroom Head jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in about 12 feet of water.

Besides the two largemouth bass and four smallmouth bass, we caught two green sunfish, one channel catfish, one crappie, one bluegill, and one white bass.

At 7:00 p.m., we headed to the main-lake hump to begin our pursuit of surface foraging white bass. When we arrived at the area, the wind was dead calm and the surface was glass smooth. We were chagrined to find that a major algae bloom was affecting the area, and the surface of the water was littered with chunks and mats of floating and slimy-looking algae. It was so thick that it completely blocked the reading of our sonar units, making it appear as if the boat was floating over a shallow weed bed. There were a couple of dozen seagulls floating on the water in the vicinity. We parked the boaton the center of the hump and began to delve into some great ham sandwiches that John had provided for our dinner, and while we ate, we watched the area for any signs of surface-feeding white bass.  As we were finishing our sandwiches, I noticed some of the seagulls about 100 yards away take flight.  As I watched, I also could see some splashes next to the birds made by feeding fish.  The flying gulls immediately turned and landed right on top of the splashes and I could see one of them pick up a shad in its beak.  All right, game on. As we got into range and made long casts with white-painted slab spoons, both of us had fish on immediately.   By the time we had landed the first two white bass, the surface activity had ceased; so, we began to play the watching game again.  After a few minutes, we saw some more fish activity a short distance away, and we caught two of them on our spoons. This scenario continued until sunset and full darkness approached.  When we could cast to the surface-foraging white bass, strikes were almost guaranteed.  Occasionally, we could entice another strike by re-casting to a spot where we had seen activity before.  Unfortunately, the surface-feeding activity was sparse; 10 to 15 minutes would transpire between eruptions.

Ultimately, we caught 22 white bass and most of them were big ones, ranging in size from 14 to 16 3/4 inches.  In the end, we were pleased with the experience and agreed that the size of the white bass made up for not catching them by the dozens as we had originally envisioned.

Aug. 2 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 2 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

It was overcast and raining during the morning hours of Aug. 2 when I joined Rick Allen of Dallas, and Mark Acridge of Watauga, Texas, at one of north-central Texas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoirs.

The morning low temperature was 70 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was a pleasant 87 degrees. The sky conditions fluctuated from overcast to mostly cloudy to overcast. The wind angled out of the northeast and east at 5 to 10 mph.  A light rain fell on us from 10:30 a.m. to about 11:30 a.m. The barometric pressure measured 30.06 at 9:00 a.m. and 29.99 at 4:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur between 12:59 a.m. to 2:59 a.m., 7:10 a.m. to 9:10 a.m., and 7:33 p.m. to 9:33 p.m. We were afloat from about 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., We fished for largemouth bass and spotted bass for about four hours, and we pursued several schools of surface-foraging white bass for about two hours.

We stayed in the lower section of the reservoir, and we fished in the reservoir’s east and west tributary arms.

In the east tributary arm of the reservoir, we fished along a riprap jetty, two rocky main-lake points, two main-lake shorelines, two sections of riprap along the dam, and a concrete water outlet tower that is situated at the midsection of the dam.

In the west tributary arm we fished a 200-yard section of a rock- and boulder-laden main-lake shoreline.

We started at the riprap jetty, which is a short distance north of the boat ramp where we launched our boat. We dissected the south side of the jetty, and it yielded two spotted bass, one largemouth bass, and a large freshwater drum. The largemouth bass, one of the spotted bass, and the large freshwater drum were relating to the submerged riprap along the jetty, and they were caught in three to six feet of water.  The other spotted bass was caught in open water several yards away from the jetty as it was foraging on some small threadfin shad near the surface in 20 feet of water. These fish were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and employed with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

One of the two main-lake points surrendered only one freshwater drum. This point is flat and its underwater terrain consists of clay and gravel. We hooked one largemouth bass along an adjacent clay and gravel main-lake shoreline. This largemouth was associated with a patch of flooded terrestrial vegetation in three feet of water. It engulfed a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig on the initial fall, but it liberated itself before we could hoist it aboard the boat.

The second main-lake point is steeper than the first one that we fished. This point’s geology is comprised of sandstone, red clay, gravel, and rocks. This point relinquished three largemouth bass and one spotted bass. They were caught in six to eight feet of water and about 15 feet from the water’s edge on the shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ rig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We caught one other largemouth bass from a submerged rock ledge in 12 feet of water.  It was caught on the shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ rig as it was slowly strolled across the bottom along the top of the ledge. As I strolled it, I executed a drag-and-deadstick presentation, and I created a three- to five-second deadstick routine by pulling line off of the spool of the reel to create slack in the line.  We used the trolling motor to move the boat and drag the Hula StickZ rig.

We failed to elicit any strikes from a 25-yard segment of riprap shoreline that lies next to the main-lake point where we caught the four black bass.

We dissected many yards of submerged riprap along the east and middle section of the dam. We caught two largemouth bass, two spotted bass, several freshwater drum, and one channel catfish from this area. They were caught on the shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ that was manipulated with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

We fished the sides of the concrete outlet tower that is positioned about 30 yards away from the midsection of the dam and is surrounded by 35 to 57 feet of water. A concrete walkway extends from the tower to the top of the dam, and the walkway is supported by two large concrete pillars.

We caught a mixture of 18 largemouth bass and spotted bass that were abiding next to the walls of the concrete outlet tower that is surround with 35 to 57 feet of water. These bass were suspended about five to eight feet underneath the surface. They were all caught on the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

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Rick Allen with one of the largemouth bass that they caught around the outlet tower.

One of the two concrete support pillars yielded one largemouth bass, but it was a hefty specimen that weighed four pounds, eight ounces. We observed the forked tail of what we believe was a large gizzard shad protruding from its gullet. This bass was suspended about four feet below the surface, and it was beguiled by the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ combo and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We did not locate any black bass relating to the other concrete pillar.

About 50 yards west of the outlet tower, we encountered a few small schools of white bass that suddenly appeared and began foraging on small 1/2-inch threadfin shad along the surface in 40 feet of water. And during the next 30 minutes, we caught 22 of them on the Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rig as we steadily swam the lures about a foot beneath the surface.

After the white bass bite petered out, we ventured to the south end of the west tributary arm, where we fished a 200-yard section of a boulder-laden main-lake shoreline. At this locale, we caught six largemouth bass and one crappie.

The six largemouth bass and the crappie were caught in three to six feet of water and were induced by the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve that we employed with the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rig.  As we were about to leave this area and return to the dam, we crossed paths with several large schools of surface-foraging white bass that were chasing small threadfin shad in 35 to 47 feet of water and many yards away from the water’s edge. We decided to pursue these schools of white bass instead of returning to the dam, and we caught and released 115 of them at a hand-over-fist pace in 1 1/2 hours. There were many times when all three of us simultaneously hooked and landed a fish. These white bass were caught on either the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rig, 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig, or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s bad shad Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.  The Slim SwimZ rigs were presented with a steady swimming retrieve and the shortened Hula StickZ was retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake action.

All totaled, we inveigled a combination of 37 largemouth bass and spotted bass in four hours, and 137 white bass in two hours.  We also inadvertently caught 13 freshwater drum, one channel catfish, and a crappie.

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Mark Acridge with one of the largemouth bass that they caught.

Our most potent lure was a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which caught 36 of the 37 black bass that we caught. A shortened 2 3/4-inch Z-Man’s California craw EZ TubeZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig allured one largemouth bass. A swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most effective presentation, and it caught 36 black bass. A slow strolling with drag-and-deadstick presentation across the bottom caught one largemouth.

We failed to catch any black bass on a four-inch Lake Fork watermelon-red Baby Ring Fry rigged on a 3/16-ounce drop-shot rig, or on a variety of Rapala No. 5 Glass Rap crankbaits and No. 7 Rapala Shad Rap crankbaits.

After a frustrating and trying month of July, this was a nice start to August.

Aug. 4 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 57 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 75 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sky was overcast until after 4:53 a.m., and then it became clear. The midday sun shined intensely in the virtually cloudless ultramarine sky. After 4:53 a.m., the wind was mild mannered, angling from the north, northeast, east by northeast, and east by southeast at 4 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.09 at 12:53 a.m., 30.14 at 5:53 a.m., 30.16 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.12 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would transpire from 8:42 a.m. to 10:42 a.m., 9:06 p.m. to 11:06 p.m., and 2:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.

I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs from 10:25 a.m. to 2:17 p.m.

The surface temperature was 81 to 83 degrees.  The water level was a few inches above normal. There was 12 inches to 40 inches of visibility.  Many mats of filamentous algae were floating on the surface adjacent to the shorelines and points in the lower half of the reservoir. This reservoir’s patches of coontail are scanty and sickly looking, which is a normal midsummer phenomenon.  At 2:00 p.m., the parking lot at the boat ramp was chockfull of vehicles and boat trailers, and many of the shorelines and points were being dissected by anglers in bass boats.

On this outing, I focused on comparing Z-Man’s T.R.D. HogZ, Trick ShotZ, and a customized three-inch Mag FattyZ to a Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

The T.R.D. HogZ, Trick ShotZ, and customized three-inch Mag FattyZ are new baits. The customized Mag FattyZ consisted of the tail section of the seven-inch Mag FattyZ, and the upper portion of the Mag FattyZ makes what we call a Fatty StickZ. I did not use the Fatty StickZ during this outing.

In years past, a Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig has been a very effective Midwest finesse rig in the summer when the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas are stained, and the water has been stained at this reservoir for more than a month.  In fact, my cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I caught 34 largemouth bass from this reservoir’s stained water on July 18, and 22 of them were caught on a Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

The purple-haze Finesse WormZ is a traditional midsummer standard-bearer for Midwest finesse anglers who ply the flatland reservoirs across northeastern Kansas’ countryside, and it has been a very effective Midwest finesse bait this summer.

I spent the first three hours and 26 minutes of this outing plying five shorelines and four points in the upper-third section of this reservoir, where the visibility in the water ranged from about 12 to 20 inches. The final 52 minutes were spent fishing one point and the dam in the lower-third portion of the reservoir, where the visibility ranged from 24 to 40 inches.

For the first 20 minutes, I worked with the pearl Finesse ShadZ rig, and I failed to elicit a strike along two points and portions of two shorelines.

During the next 160 minutes, I caught 33 largemouth bass along seven shorelines and four points in the upper-third section of this reservoir.

The first of those 33 largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Trick ShotZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig in about three feet of water around a laydown and a patch of American water willows on a flat shoreline. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks and some silt. Traditionally, this area is embellished with patches of coontail, but I failed to find any patches.

Four largemouth bass were caught on the customized three-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Mag FattyZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. They were caught along a shoreline that has a 35- to 60-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is graced with several patches of American water willows, a few laydowns, two docks, one concrete retaining wall, and a few overhanging trees. One was caught on the initial drop.  The other three were caught while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation in five to seven feet of water.

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The customized Mag FattyZ that I used is at the bottom of this photograph.

And along this same shoreline, I caught two largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s muddog T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and 12 largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s black-blue T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Four of the 14 largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the T.R.D. HogZ rigs in two to four feet of water. The other 10 largemouth bass were caught while I employed either a swim-glide-and-shake presentation or a drag-and-shake presentation. Some were caught while I was strolling in four to 10 feet of water, and the others were caught while I was employing either a swim-glide-and-shake or a drag-and-shake retrieve in three to five feet of water.

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Z-Man’s black-and-blue HogZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Many yards of this same shoreline failed to yield a strike – especially along its flatter terrains. But when I caught a largemouth bass, I occasionally caught two or three more in the same vicinity. Thus, after I caught one, I always made multiple casts and retrieves around the same area.

Along portions of another shoreline that is littered with docks, concrete retaining walls, and rock retaining walls, I caught six largemouth bass on the Z-Man’s black-blue T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Four largemouth bass were caught under an overhanging tree and around a laydown as I was employing a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in about four feet of water. One was caught on the initial drop of the T.R.D. HogZ rig in about three feet of water near a rock retraining wall. The sixth one was caught while I strolling and employ a drag-and-deadstick presentation in six feet of water between two docks. The slope of this shoreline ranges from 30- to 45-degrees.  Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. But most of this shoreline was fruitless.

Along a short shoreline that is embellished with patches of American water willows and two docks, I caught two largemouth bass on the Z-Man’s black-blue T.R.D. HogZ.  I fished this shoreline twice. When I fished it the first time, I failed to garner a strike on the pearl Finesse ShadZ.

I failed to elicit a strike along one flat shoreline and three flat points.

I caught three largemouth bass around one point. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is lined with a concrete retaining wall and a dock. Two of the three largemouth bass were caught along the side of the dock on the Z-Man’s black-blue T.R.D. HogZ in about six feet of water with a drag-and-shake presentation. The other largemouth bass was caught while I was strolling the Z-Man’s black-blue T.R.D. HogZ and employing a drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation in six feet of water.

Along a steep shoreline that is lined with a concrete retaining wall and three docks, I caught four largemouth bass while I was strolling the Z-Man’s black-blue T.R.D. HogZ and employing a drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation in seven to nine feet of water. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The slope of this shoreline is about 50 degrees.

I caught one largemouth along another shoreline on the Z-Man’s black-blue T.R.D. HogZ with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve adjacent to a dock in about six feet of water and in the vicinity of several patches of coontail. This portion of the shoreline is flat, exhibiting a 30-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rock. I failed to elicit a strike along the steeper section of this shoreline, and much of it was being dissected by other anglers.

The final 28 minutes of this outing were spent in the vicinity of the dam.

I probed a flat point that is graced with a dock and some scanty patches of coontail, and I failed to garner a strike.

I also followed two anglers in a bass boat along the dam, which is laden with riprap and embellished with patches of American water willows and meager patches of coontail. I caught one largemouth bass by strolling a Z-Man’s muddog T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-and-shake presentation in seven feet of water.

To summarize, I thought the largemouth bass fishing was difficult. Many of the 253 minutes were fruitless.  And the other largemouth bass anglers that I talked to said that it had been a heck of a struggle for them, and they were garnering fewer strikes than I was.  By the time that I executed my final cast and retrieve, my fish counters indicated that I caught 34 largemouth bass, and I inadvertently caught one bluegill, two channel catfish, and four green sunfish.

To my surprise, the Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig were totally fruitless. The Z-Man’s black-blue T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig was by far the most effective one. In retrospect, I should have used Z-Man’s black Trick ShotZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. (For more information about the T.R.D. HogZ, please see our guide tot Midwest Finesse Fishing: February 2017 at this link: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/midwest-finesse-fishing-february-2017/.)

If a largemouth bass was not caught on the initial drop of one of the Midwest finesse rigs, strolling it with a drag-and-shake retrieve was the most effective method of engendering a strike.

Aug. 4 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 4 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

A dazzling sun was shining radiantly across a partly-clouded sky when I met Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, at a challenging U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area.  A gentle breeze quartered out of the northeast at 3 to 5 mph. Area thermometers registered the morning low temperature at 74 degrees. The afternoon high temperature was 96 degrees. The average high temperature for this time of year in north-central Texas is 97 degrees.  The barometric pressure was steady at 30.02.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the most productive fishing periods would occur from 2:22 a.m. to 4:22 a.m., 8:34 a.m. to 10:34 a.m., and 8:58 p.m. to 10:58 p.m. Norman and I fished from about 8:30 a.m. to 1:11 p.m.

The water level was about normal. The surface temperature was 90 degrees. The water was stained from a light algae bloom and displayed about two feet of visibility.

I arrived at the boat ramp at about 8:00 a.m., and while I was waiting for Norman to arrive, I launched the boat and spoke to a kayak angler who was interested in Midwest finesse fishing. When the conversation turned to lures, I introduced her to Z-Man’s Midwest finesse products and we discussed how, when, and where we used these baits.

While we were talking, I caught the first largemouth bass of the outing from underneath the walkway of the dock. It was dwelling in three feet of water and was caught on a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ that was rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that was cast parallel to the walkway and retrieved with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. This was enough to convince the kayak angler of the effectiveness of Midwest finesse tactics, and she left me with the impression that she was willing to give Midwest finesse tactics a serious try.

As I was finishing up my conversation with the kayak angler, Norman arrived and we hopped into the boat. And we began fishing the shoreline adjacent to the boat ramp and dock, but we failed to elicit any other strikes from that area.

After that, we began searching for areas with large schools of threadfin shad. We plied nine main-lake points, one rocky main-lake shoreline, and two submerged rock ledges that parallel a rocky main-lake shoreline on the north side of the reservoir. The underwater terrain of these points and the main-lake shoreline consists of sandstone, clay, gravel, baseball-size rocks, and numerous submerged boulders. We found a few small pods of shad at a couple of the main-lake points, but we failed to find any significant schools of them during this outing.

We allured four largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one smallmouth bass from these nine main-lake points. One of the points yielded one spotted bass, one largemouth bass, and the smallmouth bass. Three of the other points surrendered either one largemouth bass or one spotted bass, but no more than that. We failed to elicit any strikes from five of the points. These black bass were relating to submerged boulders and rocks in three to six feet of water. Four were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed to either a red or black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and employed with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ attached to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig with a steady retrieve just below the surface of the water.  One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Bass Pro Shops’ chartreuse-white Stick-O threaded on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

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Steve Reideler with a smallmouth bass that he caught on a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed to either a red or black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig

The rocky main-lake shoreline relinquished a combination of nine largemouth bass and spotted bass. Two largemouth bass were caught in three feet of water next to a submerged rock ledge that parallels the shoreline,  and  it is covered with two feet of water and quickly drops off into five feet of water. The other seven black bass were scattered along the shoreline in four to seven feet of water,  and they were in close proximity to several of the submerged boulders. They were caught on the shortened Hula StickZ rigs with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

After we finished fishing the north side of the reservoir, we ventured to the south side of the impoundment and checked a submerged main-lake hump, a main-lake point at the mouth of a large feeder-creek arm, and the north shoreline of a main-lake island that is situated in the middle portion of the reservoir.

The submerged hump yielded one largemouth bass and one channel catfish. This hump is located at the mouth of a large main-lake cove and its underwater terrain is composed of gravel and clay. The top of the hump is covered with four to six feet of water, and it is surrounded by 17 feet of water. This largemouth engulfed the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rig as it was slowly strolled along the bottom from the base of the hump to its top.  Our strolling technique was a continuous slow drag across the bottom with the trolling motor. It began at the base of the hump in 17 feet of water and continued  up the north side of the hump and onto its top with no pauses or shakes

The channel catfish was caught on the top of the hump on the same mud minnow Hula StickZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

The main-lake point at the mouth of the feeder-creek arm yielded one spotted bass. It was caught on a 3 1/2-inch Gene Larew’s Junebug Inch Worm affixed on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We caught seven largemouth bass in 8 1/2 feet of water along the north shoreline of a main-lake island as we slowly strolled the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ rigs parallel to the shoreline in six to 15 feet of water. As we strolled, we dragged the baits across the bottom and about 50 to 60 feet behind the boat. We used the trolling motor to slowly move the baits, and we would occasionally release line from the reel spool to create slack in the line which resulted in a three- to five-second deadstick pause.

We were surprised that we were unable to generate any strikes in water shallower or deeper than 8 1/2 feet.

We were surprised that we were unable to generate any strikes in water shallower or deeper than 8 1/2 feet.

In sum, we caught 20 largemouth bass, five spotted bass, one smallmouth bass, and one channel catfish in four hours and 41 minutes. It should be noted that this reservoir has a small but burgeoning population of smallmouth bass. But this smallmouth bass is the first one that we have caught from this reservoir this year, and for some reason or reasons unknown to us, they have been extremely difficult for us to locate and catch since December of 2016.

We experimented with all six of the basic Midwest finesse retrieves. We caught 16 black bass with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation, but the effectiveness of this presentation waned as the morning progressed. Eight were caught with a slow strolling retrieve, and it became more effective later in the morning when the bass bite slowed to a crawl. Only one largemouth was caught with a steady swimming retrieve, and another largemouth engulfed the Hula StickZ combo on the initial fall. We failed to provoke any strikes with a drag-and-deadstick retrieve, hop-and-bounce retrieve, or drag-and-shake retrieve.

A shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ attached to either a black or red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig was the most productive combo. We caught one spotted bass on a 3 1/2-inch Gene Larew’s Junebug Inch Worm on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, and one largemouth was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Bass Pro Shops’ chartreuse-white Stick-O on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Aug. 7 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 62 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 80 degrees at 4:52 p.m. on Aug. 7.  The wind was calm at times, and at other times, it angled out of the north by northwest, west by northwest, northwest, west, north by northeast, and northeast at 3 to 8 mph. The sky fluctuated from being clear to being overcast to being partly cloudy to being scattered with clouds. The barometric pressure was 30.01 at 12:52 a.m., 30.02 at 5:52 a.m., 30.09 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.08 at 5:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 10:44 a.m. to 12:44 p.m., 4:32 a.m. to 6:32 a.m., and 4:56 p.m. to 6:56 p.m. My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ many state reservoirs from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.This reservoir’s water level looked to be more than a foot above normal.  The surface temperature ranged from 78 to 79 degrees. The water exhibited from four to five feet of visibility. Most of the shorelines are embellished with lush patches of American water willows, and the shorelines are also decorated with flooded terrestrial vegetation and overhanging trees. Many of its shallow-water flats are graced with patches of coontail and bushy pondweed.  The bushy pondweed is in its summer-wilt phase. The coontail patches are more robust and abundant than the bushy pondweed patches. The coontail patches, however, are exhibiting their traditional midsummer decline, but they are not as wilted as the patches of coontail that we have crossed paths with at some of the other flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas.

Rick and I spent the bulk of this outing fishing the shallow-water flats in the backs of two of this reservoir’s major feeder-creek arms and the shallow-water flats inside two of its three minor feeder-creek arms.  We also quickly fished three points and one main-lake hump.

We caught one largemouth bass on the main-lake hump in about six feet of water. This hump is laden with rocks and boulders. It is surrounded by patches of coontail and wilting bushy pondweed.

We failed to catch a largemouth bass along the three points, which are adorned with laydowns, bountiful patches of American water willows, flooded terrestrial vegetation, and some coontail patches.

In the back of one of the major feeder-creek arms, we fished a massive shallow-water flat or series of somewhat interconnected flats. We estimated that this area is the size of four or five football fields. It is adorned with coontail, bushy pondweed, laydowns, brush piles, submerged creek channels, flooded terrestrial vegetation, and a massive bed of lily pads.  The water’s edge is embellished with patches of American water willows, laydowns, and overhanging trees. This massive flat yielded 24 largemouth bass, which were caught in four to seven feet of water around coontail, bushy pondweed, and flooded terrestrial vegetation, and we caught them many yards from the water’s edge. We saw two small schools of young gizzard shad that were moseying around the surface at one of the inside corners of this massive flat, and we crossed paths with several schools of small bluegill lollygagging near the surface. In summers past, we caught scores of largemouth bass in the vicinity of the schools of bluegill, but we failed to inveigle any this time around. We did, however, catch three largemouth bass in the vicinity of the gizzard shad.

In the back of the other major feeder-creek arm, we fished another massive shallow-water flat. This area is about the size of three football fields. It is bejeweled with patches of coontail, brush piles, a submerged creek channel, some scanty patches of bushy pondweed, stretches of flooded terrestrial vegetation, and an island of American water willows. We caught 17 largemouth bass in three to eight feet of water. We caught them many yards from the water’s edge, which is graced with American water willows, flooded terrestrial vegetation, laydowns, coontail, bushy pondweed, and overhanging trees.  Four of the 17 largemouth bass were caught around the island of American water willows, and the other 13 were caught amongst the patches of coontail and bushy pondweed.

Inside one of the minor feeder-creek arms, we fished a shallow-water flat that is the size of about five tennis courts.  This flat is embellished with a submerged creek channel, some brush piles, laydowns, bushy pondweed, and coontail.  Some of its water’s edge is lined with American water willows, flooded terrestrial vegetation, overhanging trees, and laydowns. We caught five largemouth bass in about six feet of water from the patches of coontail that lie many yards from the water’s edge.

Inside another minor feeder-creek arm, we fished a shallow-water flat that is the size of three tennis courts. This flat is adorned with a submerged creek channel, several brush piles, a beaver hut, some laydowns, patches of coontail, and scattered patches of bushy pondweed. Some of its water’s edge is lined with American water willows, flooded terrestrial vegetation, overhanging trees, two riprap jetties, and laydowns. We caught six largemouth bass in four to seven feet of water around the coontail patches that are many yards from the water’s edge.

In total, we caught 53 largemouth bass. Two of them were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Two were caught on a Z-Man’s mudbug T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Eleven of them were caught on a three-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. Two were caught on the initial drop of the rig, and nine were caught on a straight or do-nothing swimming presentation. This is a new rig, which was introduced to the angling world at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show on July 12, 13, and 14 at Orlando, Florida. The 2 1/2-inch Slim SwimZ has become one of the summertime Midwest finesse standard-bearers for Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, and his colleagues.

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The three-inch watermelon-red Slim SwinZ and a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.

Twelve were caught on either a two-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a customized-red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. A few were caught on the initial drop of our rigs.  The other ones were caught when we were employing a swim-and-glide retrieve, a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and a deadstick presentation.

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One of the 12 largemouth bass that were caught on our green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rigs.

We caught 26 largemouth bass on either a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig or a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Several were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. The others were caught as we were executing either a swim-and-glide presentation or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

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One of the 26 largemouth bass that was caught on our Finesse ShadZ rigs.

We failed to catch a largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s mad dog Trick ShotZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

None of the 53 largemouth bass would impress a tournament angler or a producer and editor of a television show about largemouth bass fishing. And even though we caught an average of 13 largemouth bass an hour, Rick and I classified it as a tedious outing because we made scores and scores of fruitless casts and retrieves and probed many fruitless patches of coontail, patches of bushy pondweed, submerged creek channels, and patches of  flooded terrestrial vegetation. But when we caught a largemouth bass, we with some regularity caught more than one from the same area. So, when we caught one, we always tossed a buoy marker into the water, and then we thoroughly dissected that area with a variety of Midwest finesse rigs and presentations.  One isolated area in the center of one of the shallow-water flats yielded five largemouth bass, and a few others yielded three or four largemouth bass.

Aug. 7 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 7 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

I joined Rick Allen of Dallas, at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

Rick and I visited this same reservoir with Mark Acridge of Watauga, Texas, on Aug. 2. During that six-hour endeavor, it was mostly overcast and it rained off and on during the morning hours. The wind quartered out of the northeast and east at 5 to 10 mph. The daytime temperatures ranged between 70 degrees and 87 degrees. By the end of the outing, we had tangled with a combination of 37 largemouth bass and spotted bass, and 137 white bass.

On Aug. 7, the wind quartered out of the northeast and northwest at 8 to 15 mph. The sky conditions fluctuated from being sunny to partly cloudy to mostly cloudy. The barometric pressure measured 29.93 at 11:00 a.m. and 29.88 at 4:00 p.m. The afternoon high temperature was 84 degrees and the morning low temperature was 70 degrees.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the optimum fishing periods would occur from 4:39 a.m. to 6:39 a.m., 10:51 a.m. to 12:51 p.m., and 5:04 p.m. to 7:04 p.m. Rick and I fished from about 11:40 a.m. to 3:40 p.m.

When we arrived at the boat ramp at about 11:30 a.m., we were surprised to see that there were only two vehicles and boat trailers parked near the ramp.

The water was stained and its clarity varied from 1 1/2 to three feet of visibility. The water level was 0.60 feet low. The water temperature ranged from 83 to 84 degrees.

Our spinning outfits sported the following Z-Man’s Midwest finesse rigs: a 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch bad shad Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened pearl Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a 3 1/2-inch blue-glimmer-sparkle GrubZ on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin ZinkerZ attached to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened California craw Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a pearl Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Our Hula StickZs were shortened from four inches to three inches.

We ventured to the middle section of the dam on the south end of the reservoir, where this outing commenced. We focused on the concrete walls of a large concrete water-outlet tower, an adjacent concrete support column underneath a walkway that leads from the dam to the tower, and a 30-yard section of riprap on the dam.

This area relinquished 23 black bass on Aug. 2, but it was not nearly as lucrative this time.

We began wielding our shortened mud minnow Hula StickZs rigged on black 1/16-ounce Gopher jigs. We targeted the shady areas on the north and west sides of the tower and caught a largemouth bass on our first cast. To our dismay, we could only entice four other largemouth bass from its walls. All five of these largemouth bass were caught in the shade and were suspended five to eight feet below the surface in 57 feet of water.

Three of the five largemouths were caught on the mud minnow Hula StickZ and black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and the other two were caught on the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin ZinkerZ combo. Both of these lures were presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We failed to elicit any strikes with the 3 1/2-inch blue-glimmer- sparkle GrubZ, three-inch California craw Hula StickZ, 2 1/2-inch bad shad Slim SwimZ, and 2 1/2-inch coppertreuse ZinkerZ combos.

One largemouth bass was caught in eight feet of water next to the concrete support column under the tower’s walkway on the pearl Finesse ShadZ and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

The 30-yard section of submerged riprap along the dam surrendered one largemouth bass and one freshwater drum. They were caught on the pearl Finesse ShadZ and swim-glide-and-shake presentation in three to five feet of water.

Our next stop was a long main-lake point about a mile north of the dam. This point courses out from the shoreline about 100 yards. Clay and gravel make up its underwater terrain. The end and sides of this point plummet into 25 to 43 feet of water. The top of the point is covered with water as shallow as five feet and as deep as 20 feet.

We caught seven largemouth bass in 10 to 15 feet of water from the top of the point. Five were caught on the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two were caught on the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin ZinkerZ rig.  We used the trolling motor to employ a slow strolling presentation to drag our rigs across the bottom, and occasionally, we added a few subtle shakes or we released some line from our spinning reels to create a three- to four-second deadstick motif.  We failed to elicit any strikes with the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ on the chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, the 3 1/2-inch blue- glimmer-sparkle GrubZ, or 2 1/2-inch bad shad Slim SwimZ. We provoked a couple of strikes with the shortened pearl Hula StickZ combo in 20 feet of water near the end of the point, but we failed to hook those two fish. We also failed to locate any black bass on top of the point in water less than 10 feet deep, or along the sides of the point in 20 to 25 feet of water.

As we were fishing the point, we noticed several schools of white bass that suddenly appeared and were foraging on small 1/2-inch threadfin shad on a deep main-lake flat, which is covered with 52 feet of water. They were foraging about 50 yards east of the submerged point that we were fishing. We spent about 1 1/2 hours chasing these schools of white bass around this deep-water flat, and we allured 98 of them on either the 2 1/2-inch pearl or bad shad Slim SwimZ rigs, and we employed a steady swimming retrieve about a foot below the surface.

After the white bass frenzy came to an end, the wind picked up and the water in the main lake where we were fishing became choppy and covered with white caps. We were forced to seek shelter from the wind and waves along a 150-yard section of a rock- and boulder-laden main-lake shoreline about a half of a mile west of the point that we fished. The underwater terrain along this shoreline is comprised of clay, gravel, and submerged boulders. This shoreline was mostly fruitless, but we managed to scrounge up two largemouth bass and one spotted bass. These three black bass were scattered along the submerged boulders in three to five feet of water and were caught on the 3 1/2-inch blue-glimmer-sparkle GrubZ employed with a slow and steady swimming retrieve.

In sum, the black bass fishing was average at best. It was a difficult task for us to catch a mix of 17 spotted bass and largemouth bass in 2 1/2 hours. We inadvertently caught one freshwater drum.

The highlight of the outing was the white bass fishing, which has been splendid at this reservoir since July 7. We caught 98 of them in 1 1/2 hours, and they provided us with some fun entertainment, which took our minds off the lackluster largemouth bass and spotted bass fishing.

Our most productive black bass lure was the shortened mud minnow Hula StickZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. But the same mud minnow Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig went untouched.

As for our retrieves, we caught seven black bass utilizing the swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Another seven were caught when we used the trolling motor to employ a slow strolling presentation and dragging our rigs across the bottom with some occasional shakes and deadstick routines. Three black bass were caught with a steady swimming retrieve.

Aug. 8 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 57 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 81 degrees at 3:52 p.m. The wind was calm at times, and at other times, it angled out of the northwest, west by northwest, east by northeast, and east at 3 to 9 mph. The sky fluctuated from being clear to scattered with clouds to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy.  The barometric pressure was 30.15 at 12:52 a.m., 30.17 at 5:52 a.m., 30.19 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.16 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11:09 a.m. to 1:09 p.m., 11:33 p.m. to 1:33 a.m., and 5:21 a.m. to 7:21 a.m. I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs from noon to 3:00 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 79 to 81 degrees. The water level looked to be eight inches above normal. The water exhibited 15 to 20 inches of visibility.

During this entire outing, I worked with three new Z-Man’s ElaZtech baits: the tail-section of a Z-Man’s Junebug Mag FattyZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a Z-Man’s black-blue T.RD. HogZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s black Trick ShotZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The customized Mag FattyZ is about three-inches long.

For the first 40 minutes, I fished one main-lake point, one main-lake hump, and portions of two main-lake shorelines.  I caught a largemouth bass on the first cast of the outing. It was caught on the initial drop of the Trick ShotZ rig.  This largemouth bass was extracted from about three feet of water along the outside edge of a small patch of American water willows. After that first-cast catch, I failed to catch a largemouth bass during the next 39 minutes.

During the next 140 minutes, I fished one main-lake point and portions of four shorelines inside two major feeder-creek arms.

The underwater terrains of the point and four shorelines consist of gravel, rocks, and some boulders. A few of the boulders are humongous. The water’s edge is embellished with some patches of American water willows, a 20-yard stretch of cattails, laydowns, and overhanging trees. The slope of these shorelines ranged from 25- to 50-degrees.

The main-lake point and one of the four shorelines were fruitless.

Along a 100-yard stretch of one of the shorelines, I caught seven largemouth bass on the customized Mag FattyZ rig. Five of them were caught along the outside edges of patches of American water willows and cattails in three to four feet of water as I was strolling with a drag-and-slight-shake presentation. Two were caught near a laydown and under an overhanging tree in about four feet of water as I was employing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Along a 60-yard stretch of another shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm, I caught five largemouth bass. Three largemouth bass were caught on the customized Mag FattyZ rig around laydowns and under overhanging trees in about four feet of water as I executed a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. Two were caught along the outside edges of American water willow patches in four feet of water on the initial drop of the customized Mag FattyZ rig.

Along a 130-yard stretch,  a 10-stretch,  and a 50-yard stretch of another shoreline inside one of the feeder-creek arm, I caught 10 largemouth bass. They were caught on the 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s black Trick ShotZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Eight of them were caught in three to four feet of water along the outside edges of patches of American water willows. Two of the 10 largemouth bass were caught adjacent to laydowns in about four feet of water. Three of these largemouth bass engulfed the Trick ShotZ rig on the initial drop. The other seven were caught while I was employing either a swim-glide-and-shake or a drag-and-shake retrieve.

In sum, the customized Mag FattyZ rig caught 12 largemouth bass, and the Trick ShotZ rig caught 11 largemouth bass. The T.R.D. HogZ rig elicited one strike that we failed to hook it, but during our Aug. 4 outing, it was the most effective rig. We have learned across the years that it is essential to work with a variety of Midwest finesse rigs on every outing. In fact, we usually have six spinning rods that sport six different kinds of Midwest finesse rigs at the ready throughout each outing. We used only three on Aug. 8 because we wanted to concentrate on those three new baits and not be tempted to use some of our standard-bearers.

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The black-blue T.R.D. HogZ is a the top of this photograph. The black Trick ShotZ is in the middle. The tail section of the Mag FattyZ is at the bottom.

Normally in August, our most fruitful largemouth bass fishing on the small flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas takes place around patches of submerged aquatic vegetation on the shallow-water flats in the backs of the feeder-creek arms. But this reservoir’s submerged aquatic vegetation was eradicated with several applications of herbicides during the past couple of years. So, I was relegated to dissecting points and shorelines, and during the three midday hours that I fished them on Aug. 8, I struggled to catch seven largemouth bass an hour.

Aug. 8 log

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 8 outing.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his report:

John Redding of Lawrence, Kanas, and I headed out after lunch to visit one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs in northeastern Kansas.

The last time we fished this reservoir was on June 6.  And we experienced typical late-spring weather conditions. The afternoon high temperature was 82 degrees. The wind angled out of the east to northeast at 6 to 21 mph.  The reservoir’s surface temperature was 75 degrees. The water was stained and exhibited 18 inches of visibility.  On that trip, we fished for eight hours and caught 89 smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass.

On our Aug. 8 outing, the weather was unseasonably cool, and we found it to be so similar to our June 6 outing that it left us feeling a little like we were in the Twilight Zone.  The morning low temperature was 57 degrees. The afternoon high temperature was 81 degrees. The sun shone intermittently in a partly-cloudy sky.  The wind angled from the northeast, east, and southeast at 5 to 8 mph, and there were occasional gusts as high as 15 mph.

The water level was nearly normal. The surface temperature was 82 degrees. The water clarity exhibited about 12 inches of visibility inside some of the feeder-creek arms and three feet in the vicinity of the dam.  Twenty cubic feet of water per second were being released from the dam’s outlet.

There were other anglers afloat.  We could see two boats along the dam and three boats along the riprap jetties and main-lake points.  We assumed that most of these anglers were pursuing black bass. During our June 6 outing, we did not have to contend with other anglers.

We decided to repeat our successful strategy from the previous trip, and we begin fishing along the face of the dam before we traveled up the reservoir to probe some main-lake points and shorelines.

But we decided to get some separation from the other boats along the dam. So, we headed to the north end of the dam and a 200-yard stretch of rocky and flat shoreline adjacent to the dam.  We made our first casts at about 2:00 p.m. along the rocky shoreline.  For the first 20 minutes, we failed to elicit a single strike as we dissected the rocks along this shoreline.  The boat floated in 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 feet of water.  We finally worked our way past the point where the shoreline blended into the riprap of the dam. The water was gradually getting deeper, and shortly after we were on the dam, we caught the first fish of the day. It was a smallmouth bass that was beguiled by a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which we were strolling in about 6 1/2 feet of water. From that point on, we began catching fish on a regular basis as we worked along the riprap of the dam.  In fact, by 3:00 p.m., our fish counter showed we had caught 15 smallmouth bass; at 4:00 p.m., the counter had 33 smallmouth bass; by 5:00 p.m., we had caught 47 smallmouth bass; at 5:40 p.m. when we reached the south end of the dam,  the counter showed that we had caught 54 smallmouth bass.

Adjacent to the south end of the dam, there are a flat and rocky shoreline and point.  For the next 20 minutes, we plied the rocks along this point and shoreline, and we caught five more smallmouth bass.

During those four hours, we caught 59 smallmouth bass along the dam and close-by environs.  At that point in time, we talked about traveling up the reservoir to other environs.  As we discussed our options, we thought that it would be very satisfying if we could catch smallmouth bass number 60 before we made that journey as long as it did not take too long to accomplish that feat.  So, we decided to fish the point and shoreline again.  Five minutes later, we caught number 60 and 61.

After a short cruise up the reservoir to a main-lake point at the entrance to a major feeder-creek arm, we took a short break to eat, and we began fishing again at about 6:30 p.m.  Unfortunately, we were unable to elicit many strikes. And after an hour and 20 minutes, we had caught only one smallmouth bass on the point and its adjacent shorelines. This fish was caught in about 4 1/2 feet of water close to the tip of the point that is littered with basketball-size rocks, but they are cubed-shaped rather than round. It was caught on a Z-Man’s  coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on a strolling presentation. On June 6, this area and the dam had been our most productive locales.

As the sun was setting, we decided to head back to the most productive part of the dam and finish our outing there. The smallmouth bass at this spot along the dam were feeding about as unabatedly as they had been when we crossed paths with them earlier in the afternoon.  During the next 40 minutes, we caught 14 smallmouth bass along a 200-yard section of the dam.  When the sun went down and the afterglow had nearly faded to complete darkness, we quit fishing at about 8:30 p.m. and headed for home.

In all, we fished for a total of six hours and caught 76 smallmouth bass.  We also caught five freshwater drum, three green sunfish, one blue catfish, and one channel catfish.

Along the dam, the boat floated in water from four to 12 feet deep.  Most of the time, it floated in six to 7 1/2 feet of water, which was the depth that kept the boat a comfortable casting distance from the water’s edge.

We used a variety of Midwest finesse lures, and all of them caught at least one smallmouth bass.  One smallmouth bass was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce  Gopher jig. One smallmouth bass was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.  Another smallmouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s California craw Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Three smallmouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  Three were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ on a customized-red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ  jig.  Four bass were caught on a Z-Man’s coppertreuse  Finesse T.R.D. on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  At least 15 were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  Approximately a half dozen were caught on a Z-Man’s molting craw Hula StickZ on a black 1/8-ounce Bass Pro Shops’ Weedless Shroom Head jig. By far the most productive lure was a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ.  It caught 43 smallmouth bass.  We used it on a black 1/8-ounce Bass Pro Shops’ Weedless Shroom Head jig, a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. The reason why we employed that array of jigs stemmed from the fact that we lost a lot of our rigs in the rocks and riprap, which allowed us to experiment with a variety of colors, sizes, and styles.

About half of the smallmouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs, and this occurred primarily when our casts were executed so that the Midwest finesse rigs landed a foot or two from the water’s edge.  The rest of the smallmouth bass were caught while we were either strolling or employing a deadstick presentation.

I fished from the front of the boat, and I found it effective to cast either parallel to the shoreline or slightly ahead of the boat.  If I did not get an immediate strike, I began to employ a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve that was enhanced by a deadstick pause or two.  After I retrieved my rig halfway back to the boat and when it was at a 45-degree angle behind the boat, I would start strolling it by letting the motion of the boat pull the rig along.  As I strolled, I would give it a few shakes and allow it to sink to the bottom and deadstick it briefly.  Many of my smallmouth bass catches came shortly after I began the strolling routine.

John fished out of the back of the boat, and he spent much of the time strolling with some shaking and deadsticking. Many times he would get a hint that a fish was about to strike by detecting a slight mushy feel, or a very subtle bump, which felt as if a minnow had run into his line.  Then he would employ an immediate shake or the deadstick routine, and almost invariably those tactics would produce a harder strike right away.

We quickly learned not to give up on a retrieve after we failed to hook a striking smallmouth bass. Many times, when we failed to hook a strike from a smallmouth bass, we would either slow the retrieve down or deadstick it, and those tactics would often elicit a second strike within a few seconds.

As we were driving home, we agreed that we had had a very satisfying trip, and we were eager to return to this impoundment.

Aug. 9 log

 Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 9 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

The weather in north-central Texas has not been as hot this summer as it usually is. Typically in July and August, we see daytime highs that range between 98 to 109 degrees for days on end, but we have not had to endure such scorching temperatures this year. The morning low temperature on Aug 8 was 69 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 91 degrees.

I took advantage of the cool temperatures and conducted a solo excursion to a different U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir than the one I fished on Aug. 7 with Rick Allen of Dallas.  The black bass fishing has been lackluster at this reservoir all year.

It was sunny as I launched the boat at 9:07 a.m. The sky was partly cloudy.  The wind was angled out of the northeast at 6 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.05 at 9:00 a.m. and 30.03 at 2:00 p.m.

The best fishing, according to In-Fisherman’s solunar table, would take place from 12:07 a.m. to 2:07 a.m., 6:19 a.m. to 8:19 a.m., and 12:31 p.m. to 2:31 p.m. I fished from about 9:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

I fished in the east tributary arm for three hours, where I plied several main-lake points, an offshore submerged boat ramp, a section of a creek-channel ledge at the mouth of a major feeder-creek arm, several main-lake shorelines, a 200-yard section of riprap that covers the dam, and a large main-lake mud flat.

And I also spent about an hour fishing a main-lake point and a rocky shoreline in the southwest tributary arm.

The water was stained, exhibiting about 1 1/2 feet of visibility at a main-lake point in the east tributary arm to about three feet of visibility at the dam in the south end of the impoundment. The water level was 0.60 feet below normal. The surface temperature was 85 degrees.

I started fishing at a large main-lake point close to where I launched the boat in the southwest tributary arm. This point is mostly flat, and its geology consists of clay, gravel, and baseball-size rocks. Two asphalt boat ramps are situated on the west side of the point. As I lowered the trolling motor into the water, I could see a few small pods of 1/2-inch threadfin shad balled up near the surface in six to eight feet of water and several yards out from the water’s edge. I caught only one largemouth bass from this point, and it was relating to the end of one of the two boat ramps in six feet of water. It was caught on a  2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig that was retrieved with a steady swimming action about six inches below the surface of the water. I failed to generate any strikes with a three-inch Z-Man’s mud Minnow Hula StickZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-red-flake ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

From that main-lake point, I ventured to the middle section of the east tributary arm where I checked an offshore submerged boat ramp. This ramp is located at a broad main-lake point and is about 50 yards from the water’s edge. The shallow portion of the ramp is covered with seven feet of water and the deep end lies in 13 feet of water. Large chunks of concrete debris litter the bottom on both sides of this ramp.

I caught five largemouth bass from the shallow end of the ramp in seven feet of water on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rig. I caught one largemouth bass in 13 feet of water from the deep-water end of the ramp on the three-inch Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ combo. The Slim SwimZ was retrieved at a slow-paced swimming retrieve about three to four feet below the surface. The mud minnow Hula StickZ rig was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. I also experimented with a hop-and-bounce retrieve, drag-and-shake retrieve, and a slow strolling presentation along the bottom with the three-inch mud minnow Hula StickZ rig and the shortened four-inch Junebug Finesse WormZ rig  in five to 17 feet of water, but I was unable to generate any other strikes.

One largemouth bass was caught from seven feet of water along the top ledge of a creek channel at the mouth of a large feeder-creek arm on the shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ rig. This largemouth bass engulfed the Finesse WormZ as it was slowly strolled across the bottom with the trolling motor. I also dissected a large patch of flooded terrestrial vegetation in three to five feet of water along a secondary point just inside the feeder-creek arm with the shortened four-inch Junebug Finesse WormZ rig, 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig, and three-inch mud minnow Hula StickZ rig, but I failed to elicit any strikes.

I also failed to locate any largemouth bass or spotted bass along three other main-lake points and two main-lake shorelines in the midsection of the east tributary. But I did eke out two largemouth bass from a 30-yard section of a flat and rocky shoreline on the south end of the reservoir. The underwater terrain of this segment of shoreline is composed of clay, gravel, and a large patch of submerged boulders. Both of these largemouth bass were caught from the patch of submerged boulders in three to five feet of water. They were caught on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ, which was slowly swum next to the sides of the submerged boulders.

The riprap along the face of the dam was not very productive. I caught one spotted bass and one largemouth bass from the east end of the dam and two largemouth bass from the middle section of the dam. The two black bass that were caught from the east end of the dam were caught in three to six feet of water on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red Finesse WormZ attached to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. This combo was retrieved in a swim-glide-and-shake fashion. The two largemouth bass that were caught from the center of the dam were abiding in 10 feet of water. They were caught on the shortened four-inch watermelon-red Finesse WormZ rig as it was slowly strolled  across the bottom with the trolling motor. I was so bored with the tedious fishing along the dam, that I did not waste any more time fishing the west end of it.

From the dam, I moved to a large main-lake flat just north of the dam. Its underwater terrain is made up of clay and gravel. It is endowed with a ditch that cuts across the south end of the flat, and several long walls of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation embellish the north edge of the ditch in two to five feet of water. The submerged ditch is covered with about 14 feet of water.

I caught two largemouth bass from this flat. They were caught in three to five feet of water and were relating to the outside edge of the long wall of flooded terrestrial vegetation. One was caught on the shortened four-inch watermelon-red Finesse WormZ rig and the other one was caught on the three-inch mud minnow Hula StickZ rig. Both of these lures were presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. I failed to elicit any strikes with the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-red-flake ZinkerZ rig or the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig.

The last locale was a main-lake shoreline on the south side of the southwest tributary arm. This shoreline has a steep slope and consists of clay, gravel, large submerged boulders, and a couple of laydown trees. I wielded the three-inch mud minnow Hula StickZ rig, 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig, 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-red-flake ZinkerZ rig, and the shorten four-inch watermelon-red Finesse WormZ rig, and I failed to provoke any strikes with  any of the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves.

Overall, it was another mediocre day of bass fishing. It was a chore to locate and catch 16 largemouth bass and one spotted bass in four hours. Seven largemouth bass were allured with the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig with a steady swimming retrieve.  The shortened four-inch watermelon-red Finesse WormZ bewitched four largemouth bass and one spotted bass. They were caught with either a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve or a slow strolling presentation across the bottom. The three-inch mud minnow Hula StickZ and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation enticed four largemouth bass. One largemouth bass engulfed the four-inch Junebug Finesse WormZ as it was slowly strolled across the bottom behind the boat.  I failed to generate any strikes with the 2 1/2-inch green-pumpkin-red-flake ZinkerZ rig.

Aug. 10 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

I decided to challenge myself and test my Midwest finesse skills on this outing. My mission was to locate a bevy of black bass on deep-water lairs that are located in at least 10 feet of water or more. And they had to be offshore lairs. I found six of them that caught my eye, and to make the challenge a bit more interesting, I limited myself to jig heads that were no heavier than 1/16-ounce.

This challenge took place at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area.

A local television meteorologist reported that the morning low temperature was 72 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 96 degrees.  The humidity was 91 percent, and the heat index was 106 degrees. The wind angled out of the south and southeast at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.06 at 9:00 a.m. and it fell slightly to 30.02 by 2:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m., 7:12 a.m. to 9:12 a.m., and 8:58 p.m. to 10:58 p.m. I was afloat from 9:13 a.m to 2:00 p.m., but I fished for only four of those hours. The remainder of the time was spent using my sonar devices to search for offshore black bass haunts in 10 to 25 feet of water.

The surface temperature was 85 degrees. The water was stained and exhibited about 2 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was 0.60 feet high.

The first spot I fished is a 50-yard section of a rock ledge on the north side of the reservoir. The top portion of the ledge is covered with 11 feet of water and the base of the ledge bottoms out in 17 feet of water. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, clay and baseball-size rocks.

I used the trolling motor to slowly drag a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig along the top of the ledge in 11 feet of water, and I caught one largemouth bass. I repeated the process along the bottom portion of the ledge in 17 feet of water, and I failed to generate any strikes. I also strolled a three-inch Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ attached to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, but I failed to elicit any strikes. Besides the strolling presentation, I also utilized a drag-and-shake retrieve and a hop-and-bounce retrieve down the slope of the ledge, but I was unable to elicit any strikes.

The second spot was another offshore ledge that is about 75 yards long. It is situated along the north side of an island on the south side of the reservoir. The top of this ledge lies in 15 feet of water. It drops off into 27 feet of water.

I caught one largemouth bass and lost another one on the three-inch Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ rig. Both of these bass were hooked in 15 feet of water along the top of the ledge. I elicited one strike along the bottom of the ledge in 27 feet of water on a four-inch Zoom Bait Company’s green-pumpkin Mini-Lizard rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, but I missed hooking this fish. I also experimented with the four-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse WormZ rig and a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man’s California craw T.R.D. TubeZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, but I was unable to generate any strikes with these two lures as I dragged them up and down the slope of the ledge.

The third area was a rock ledge inside a major feeder-creek arm. This ledge is covered with 16 feet of water and quickly descends into 23 feet of water, but I failed to locate any black bass along this ledge.

The fourth locale was a series of covered boat docks with multiple boat slips. These docks are part of a marina inside the same feeder-creek arm as the ledge that I just fished. These docks float in water as shallow as 20 feet and as deep as 35 feet, and I failed to entice any strikes from any of the covered boat slips.

The next locale was a tractor-tire reef that is positioned at the entrance to the same marina. It floats in 28 feet of water. I could see swarms of one-inch threadfin shad cruising along the surface and swimming through the openings in the tires. I caught four largemouth bass and four white bass that were suspended about five feet below the surface and were foraging on the small shad next to the tires. One white bass was caught on the four-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse WormZ. Four largemouth bass and three white bass were caught on the three-inch Hula StickZ. Both of these lures were implemented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve parallel and in close proximity to the floating tires. I did not garner any strikes with the four-inch Zoom’s green-pumpkin mini-lizard or the 2 3/4-inch California craw T.R.D. TubeZ.

The last spot was at the mouth of another feeder-creek arm that is located about half a mile from the one I just fished. I targeted two tractor-tire reefs that float in 15 to 44 feet of water at the entrance to another marina.

Both of these tire reefs were entertaining oodles of one-inch threadfin shad. I caught three largemouth bass and one white bass from the first reef, and nine largemouth bass and one white bass from the second reef. All of these fish were suspended about five to eight feet below the surface and were caught on the three-inch mud minnow Hula StickZ combo that was retrieved next to the tires with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. I failed to provoke any strikes with the four-inch Zoom’s green-pumpkin mini-lizard or the 2 3/4-inch Z-Man’s California craw T.R.D. TubeZ rigs.

Overall, my deep-water challenge was not as successful as I had hoped. I fished six deep-water lairs and caught 18 largemouth bass and six white bass in four hours. Two of them were caught in 11 to 15 feet of water. Sixteen largemouth bass were caught while they were foraging on threadfin shad about five to eight feet below the surface in water that was 28 to 44 feet deep.  All of them were caught many yards away from any shoreline.

Seventeen largemouth bass and five white bass were caught on the three-inch mud minnow Hula StickZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass and one white bass were caught with the shortened  four-inch coppertreuse Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I elicited one strike with the four-inch Zoom’s green-pumpkin Mini Lizard on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I failed to induce any strikes with the 2 3/4-inch Z-Man’s California craw T.R.D. TubeZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

I did not feel too hindered by the 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in water as deep as 27 feet, but I did learn that I had to move the boat slower  and I had to release more line off the spool of my spinning reel to get the lure down to the bottom.

Aug. 12 log

Casey Kidder of Topeka, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about a team bass tournament that he and Chris Savoie of Topeka, Kansas, fished at an U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s reservoir in central Kansas on Aug. 12.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

Until the fall of 2016, this reservoir had been afflicted with severe low-water conditions for several years, which devastated its black bass population.  Since the water level has risen, many of its shorelines are embellished with flooded terrestrial vegetation and some kind of flooded green-stalky vegetation. The water level is normal. The water is very clear by Kansas standards.

We practiced on Aug. 11 for eight hours, and we competed for eight hours during the tournament on Aug. 12.

The fishing was tough for catching significant numbers of black bass. But the body conditions of the bass that we caught were good, and in our eyes, that is a good sign.

Our tally on the practice day was two keeper-size smallmouth bass, and about a dozen small black bass, and the majority of them were largemouth bass.  We caught them on topwater baits, Texas-rigged soft-plastic craw baits, and Midwest finesse rigs.

On tournament day, we brought in two smallmouth bass, one largemouth, and a rare chunky spotted bass to the tournament scale. A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. on a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s  Finesse ShroomZ jig  caught one of the smallmouth bass and the spotted bass in the afternoon to salvage a fourth-place finish for us. Only one team caught a limit of five black bass.

We hope this reservoir and its bass population will recover to its pre-drought condition.

Aug. 13 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

Several rounds of thunderstorms rolled across north-central Texas during the late evening hours of Aug. 12, and it rained off and on until 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 13. I had a hankering to get out and wet a line, so I waited until the rain ended before I headed out to a problematic U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in the Dallas- Ft. Worth metropolitan area.

When I arrived at the ramp, it was overcast and there was a light sprinkling of rain. The parking lot was packed full of vehicles and boat trailers, and the boat ramp area was bustling with anglers and skiers launching their boats. The wind was angling  out of the northeast at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.91 at 12:15 p.m. and 29.85 at 4:15 p.m. I made my first cast at 12:15 p.m. and my last one at 4:09 p.m.

The black bass fishing at our Corps’ reservoirs in north-central Texas has been mediocre at best this summer. The submerged ledge bite that has been our most fruitful pattern during the past couple of months is now beginning to evaporate. The riprap along the dams has been mostly fruitless, and the boat dock bite vanished in May. But we noticed that a floating tire-reef pattern had emerged at another Corps’ reservoir that I fished on Aug. 10, and I wanted to see if that pattern had developed at this reservoir as well.

I spent three hours and 54 minutes dissecting three floating tractor-tire reefs at the entrance of two large marinas. All three of these tire reefs float in water as deep as 37 feet and as shallow as 16 feet. They are also many yards away from the water’s edge. There were large concentrations of 1/2-inch threadfin shad inhabiting all three of these tire reefs, and in our eyes, the presence of shad is a key ingredient for us to locate and catch significant numbers of black bass in the Corps’ reservoirs in north-central Texas.

The water level was 0.60 feet low. The water temperature was 87 degrees. The water clarity was stained with 1 1/2 feet of visibility.

I spent the entire time wielding a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig dressed with a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ. We cut an inch off the front of the Hula StickZ, which makes the Hula StickZ three inches long instead of four inches. This combo has become our go-to rig when we need to slowly ply black bass lairs that are inhabited with large aggregations of threadfin shad.

I fished behind seven other bass anglers in six bass boats during this outing, and I caught and released 37 largemouth bass, five spotted bass, and two white bass.

 Eleven largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught from the first tire reef, which is about 75 yards long. Twenty-one largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught from the second reef, which is about 100 yards long. The third reef is only about 25 yards long, but it relinquished five largemouth bass and three spotted bass.

These 42 black bass were suspended about four to six feet below the surface and were relating to the outside edges of the floating tires. They engulfed the three-inch mud minnow Hula StickZ rig as it was retrieved parallel and within a foot or two of the tires with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. My casts that were more than a couple of feet away from the tires were ignored.

In sum, this reservoir was one of our most bountiful waterways in the late summer of 2015 and most of 2016. But now we have been baffled as to why it has become one of our most trying ones in 2017. This is the first outing of 2017 where we have caught 40 or more black bass from this impoundment, and it has relinquished 30 or more black bass just one other time in 2017, and that occurred on Jan. 8 when Rick Allen of Dallas and I caught 30 black bass.

After I enjoyed this stellar outing, I am hopeful that perhaps the trying black bass fishing at this impoundment may finally be improving.

Aug. 13 log

Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, posted a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Aug. 13 outing at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 63 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 79 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the east by southeast, south by southeast, southeast and south at 3 to 11 mph. The sky fluctuated from being clear to being overcast to being scattered with clouds to being mostly cloudy to being partly cloudy.  The barometric pressure was 30.04 at 12:53 a.m., 29.99 at 5:53 a.m., 29.98 at 11:57 a.m., 29.89 at 5:53 p.m., and 29.87 at 7:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 3:31 a.m. to 5:13 a.m., 3:56 p.m. to 5:56 p.m., and 9:44 a.m. to 11:44 a.m. I fished from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and I spent an hour towing another boat back to the marina, and I spent some of that time helping someone get their boat onto their boat trailer.

The water exhibited five feet of visibility in areas that were not pummeled by boat wakes.  About 75 percent of the shorelines are graced with patches of coontail.

I caught 38 largemouth bass, and I hooked five that liberated themselves. I also caught two channel catfish and one freshwater drum.

They were caught on three Midwest finesse rigs: a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

One steep main-lake shoreline and the riprap shoreline of the dam were the most bountiful areas. And most of the 38 largemouth bass were caught along the dam in about 10 feet of water around patches of coontail.

Aug. 14 log 

The Weather Underground reported that it was 69 degrees at 7:52 a.m. and 84 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the south by southeast, southeast, south, and west by southwest at 3 to 10 mph. From midnight to 5:52 p.m. the sky fluctuated from being clear to being overcast to being scattered with clouds to being mostly cloudy to being partly cloudy.  The barometric pressure was 29.88 at 12:52 a.m., 29.86 at 5:52 a.m., 29.84 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.81 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 4:27 a.m. to 6:27 a.m., 4:53 p.m. to 6:53 p.m., and 10:40 a.m. to 12:40 p.m.

I wanted to see if I could catch 40 largemouth bass in less than three hours, and I accomplished that feat in two hours and 44 minutes. I fished from 12:20 p.m. to 3:04 p.m. at a state reservoir.

The surface temperature ranged from 79 degrees to 81 degrees.  The water level looked to be four inches above its normal level.  The water at the boat ramp exhibited six feet of visibility.  Many of this reservoir’s shorelines and points are embellished with patches of American pondweed, and the outside edges of many of the American pondweed patches are graced with patches of bushy pondweed and coontail. Many portions of the shallow-water flats in the backs of the feeder-creek arms are adorned with patches of bushy pondweed and coontail. The bushy pondweed and coontail patches have recovered from their summer-time wilt, and they are beginning to look a lot more robust than they did in late July.

I fished about a 60-yard stretch of the riprap shoreline of the dam, where I failed to catch a largemouth bass. But around a patch of American pondweeds and bushy pondweed along a shoreline immediately adjacent to the dam, I caught a largemouth bass in about five feet of water on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

During the rest of this outing, I fished two main-lake points, one secondary point, one main-lake shoreline, three shorelines inside two feeder-creek arms, and two shallow-water flats in the backs of two feeder-creek arms. These areas are adorned with patches of American pondweed, bushy pondweed, coontail, and an assortment of man-made brush piles.

I caught 39 largemouth bass from these locales. They were extracted out of four to seven feet of water. Most of them were caught around the outside edges of the patches of American pondweed. A few were caught around some of the man-made brush piles. Some were caught around either patches of bushy pondweed or patches of coontail.

Five were caught on a three-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red Slim SwimZ affixed to a red 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a straight swimming retrieve.

Thirty-four were caught on either a customized four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Mag FattyZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a  customized  four-inch Z-Man’s California craw Mag FattyZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Some were caught on the initial drops of these rigs.  Some were caught on a slowly executed swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve. A few were caught on a protracted deadstick presentation. Around the brush piles, I caught them while I employed a rapid swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation.

One main-lake point, one shoreline inside one of the feeder-creek arms, and one of the shallow-water flats in the back of one of the feeder-creek arms were the most bountiful of the seven spots that I dissected.

I was the only angler afloat, which is one of the virtues of a  midday outing.

There were, however, a number of fisheries biologists, including Richard Sanders of Lawrence, Kansas, and Luke Kowalewski of Shawnee, Kansas, at this reservoir. They were using one of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s electro-shock boats and executing several tests and tasks with this reservoir’s denizens and water.

Aug. 14 log

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a brief about his outing on Aug. 14.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

John Redding of Lawrence, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ U. S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs.

The Weather Underground reported that the low temperature was 66 degrees and the high temperature was 86 degrees.  The wind angled out of the south by southeast, southeast, south, west by southwest, south by southwest, and east by southeast at 3 to 10 mph. The sky fluctuated from being clear to scattered with clouds to mostly cloudy to overcast to partly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.88 at 12:52 a.m., 29.86 at 5:52 a.m., 29.84 at 11:52 a.m., 29.79 at 3:52 p.m., and 29.77 at 7:52 p.m.

The water level was 2.47 feet above normal. The surface temperature was 82 degrees.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar reported that the best fishing would occur from 4:27 a.m. to 6:27 a.m., 4:53 p.m. to 6:53 p.m., and  10:40 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. We fished from 2:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

We caught four largemouth bass and seven smallmouth bass.

Three of the largemouth bass were caught in the vicinity of one of the boat ramps along the north side of the reservoir. The other largemouth bass was caught along a riprap jetty on the reservoir’s north side. And they were caught between 2:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

We caught the seven smallmouth bass between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and they were caught along the riprap shoreline of the dam.

We caught them on a Z-Man’s 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ and a Z-Man’s Hula StickZ. We caught them on five colors: molting craw, purple haze, Junebug, PB&J, and green pumpkin goby.   They were affixed to a variety of mushroom-style jigs.

Besides the 10 black bass, we caught 13 freshwater drum, three channel catfish, one blue catfish, two crappie, three bluegill, and one green sunfish. The most exciting incident was watching a four-pound blue catfish chase and engulf my 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze ZinkerZ rig right next to the boat as I was reeling it in at the end of a retrieve. But I wish it had been a four-pound smallmouth bass.

We used three Midwest finesse retrieves: the swim-glide-and-shake, the stroll, and drag-and- shake retrieves. Most of the fish were caught on the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. A few were caught as we strolled and employed a drag-and-shake presentation behind the boat. And they were caught in three to eight feet of water.

Aug. 15 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 66 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 84 degrees at 2:53 p.m.  The sky was clear from midnight to 8:53 a.m., and then it fluctuated from being partly cloudy to scattered with clouds to mostly cloudy.  The wind angled from the south, south by southwest, and southeast at 3 to 9 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.83 at 12:53 a.m., 29.84 at 5:53 a.m., 29.88 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.84 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 5:18 a.m. to 7:18 a.m., 5:46 p.m. to 7:46 p.m., and 11:08 a.m. to 1:08 p.m. My cousin Rick Hebenstriet of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 10:10 a.m. to 2:10 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 77 degrees to 82 degrees.  The water level was normal. The water was stained with an algal bloom, and it was not a pretty sight.  The visibility ranged from six inches to 12 inches. Wads of floating filamentous algae covered many yards of the shorelines in the lower half of this reservoir.  There is a significant bloom of duckweed, too.  A few weeks ago, this reservoir’s patches of coontail were experiencing their normal summertime wilt. But on this Aug. 14 outing, they were beginning to exhibit a more robust demeanor, and we caught some largemouth bass around some of the coontail patches.

Some anglers are apt to say that finesse tactics are not effective when the water exhibits six to 14 inches of visibility. But across the many years that we have wielded Midwest finesse tactics, we have inveigled oodles of black bass in some of the stained and murky waterways in northeastern Kansas. And on this outing, we caught 48 largemouth bass with our Midwest finesse tactics in four hours from this reservoir’s stained water.

We spent the entire outing in the upper half of the reservoir.  We fished six main-lake points, seven main-lake shorelines, and portions of two shallow-water flats inside two minor feeder-creek arms.

Because there was no location pattern, it is impossible to distinctly describe where we caught those 48 largemouth bass.

Three of the main-lake points yielded several of the largemouth bass, but three of them were fruitless. Some of the steep main-lake shorelines yielded a few of the largemouth bass, but along some of the other steep main-lake shorelines, we failed to elicit a strike. Some flat main-lake shorelines that are embellished with patches of coontail yielded a few of the largemouth bass, but other flat main-lake shorelines that are embellished with patches of coontail were fruitless. Many of the shorelines are littered with docks, and we caught a few largemouth bass around a few of the docks, but the vast majority of the docks were unproductive.

Some of the largemouth bass were caught in three feet of water; some were caught in four to seven feet of water; some were caught in eight to 11 feet of water.

Some of the largemouth bass were caught near the water’s edge; some were caught five to 10 feet from the water’s edge; some were caught many yards from the water’s edge.

Likewise, our presentation patterns were askew.  One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s black Trick ShotZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  Two largemouth bass were caught on a Gene Larew Lures’ Junebug Inch Worm affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s black-blue T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Four largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s purple-haze Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Four largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s California craw Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Five largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. The other 27 largemouth bass were caught on either a shortened Z-Man’s The Deal Hula StickZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a customized 3 3/4-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Mag FattyZ tail.

DSCN1691

Rick Hebenstriet with one of the largemouth bass that was caught on a shortened Z-Man’s The  Deal  Hula StickZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

We caught them on a variety of retrieves. A few of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. A few of them were caught as we were dragging and shaking our rigs around and over patches of coontail. Some of the largemouth bass were caught while we were employing a straight swimming presentation around patches of coontail. Some were caught as we were executing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Two of them were caught while we employed a drag-and-deadstick presentation. A few of them were caught on a hop-and-bounce retrieve.  Three were caught as we were strolling and employing either a drag-and-shake or a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation in seven to eight feet of water.

In short, it was a helter-skelter ordeal. In the nomenclature of some folks in the world of black bass fishing, our outing would be called junk fishing.  When this phenomenon occurs, it is often handy to have two or three Midwest finesse anglers in the boat and simultaneously employing a variety of Midwest finesse rigs and retrieves, which is how Rick and I tried to spend our four hours.  Because we employed so many rigs and retrieves, we are sorry to say that it is impossible to precisely describe in this log what we did and where we did it.

Aug. 17 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 66 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 87 degrees at 3:53 p.m.  The wind angled out of the west by northwest, west, southwest, and north by northwest at 3 to 20 mph. It was sunny.  The barometric pressure was 29.83 at 12:53 a.m., 29.90 at 5:53 a.m., 29.96 at 11:53 a.m. and 29.93 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated the best fishing would transpire from 7:08 a.m. to 9:08 a.m., 7:38 p.m. to 9:38 p.m., and 12:53 a.m. to 2:53 a.m. John Reese of Lawrence, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ many state reservoirs from 10:15 a.m. to 1:21 p.m. And as we fished, we occasionally crossed paths with Ace Croucher of Quenemo, Kansas, and we talked about how difficult it was for the three of us to elicit strikes.

The surface temperature ranged from 78 to 80 degrees. The water level was several inches above normal. The water clarity ranged from eight inches to 24 inches of visibility.

Many of this reservoir’s shorelines are graced with patches of American water willows, and they are flourishing. In fact, we have never seen them this robust, and some of them are in two to three feet of water. We suspected that some of the largemouth bass were abiding within these thickets of American water willows, which are the providence of pitchers and flippers, not Midwest finesse anglers. But Ace did some pitching and flipping, which proved to be trying, too.

In summers past, we used to probe this reservoir’s shallow-water flats that were graced with submerged patches of bushy pondweed and coontail, and from these humongous patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, we caught vast numbers of largemouth bass – as many as 20 largemouth bass an hour on some of those outings.  We caught them on shortened four-inch soft-plastic worms affixed to either a 1/32- or 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and four-inch soft-plastic curly-tailed grubs affixed to either a 1/16- or 1/8-ounce jig. But to our chagrin, those patches of bushy pondweed and coontail have totally disappeared, and our bountiful summertime largemouth bass fishing has waned significantly.  For example, I fished at this reservoir on June 27, and the largemouth bass fishing was so difficult that I fished for an hour and 19 minutes. During that 79-minute ordeal, I caught four largemouth bass and one channel catfish. Then I ventured to another state reservoir, which is blessed with an array of submerged aquatic vegetation, and I caught 30 largemouth bass in 2 1/2 hours.

On Aug. 17, John and I fished the entire riprap-laden dam, portions of five main-lake shorelines, three main-lake points, nine riprap jetties, portions of three shorelines inside two feeder-creek arms, and one massive shallow-water flat inside a feeder-creek arm.

The underwater terrains of the shorelines and points consist of gravel and rocks; one of the points is graced with several humongous boulders, and there are a few boulders scattered along the shorelines.  The dam possesses a 35 to 40-degree slope. The slope of the shorelines and points ranges from 20 to 35 degrees, but there is a short section of one main-lake shoreline that has a 60-degree slope. Besides the patches of American water willows that line the water’s edge, there are a few laydowns and some overhanging trees.

Most of the locales were fruitless.  It was a struggle to eke out 20 largemouth bass in three hours and six minutes.

We failed to elicit a strike on two of the main-lake points.  One point yielded one largemouth bass. One of the three shorelines inside the two feeder-creek arms yielded one largemouth bass. The dam yielded one largemouth bass. The massive shallow-water flat yielded two largemouth bass.  A 500-yard stretch of one main-lake shoreline, which is endowed with six of the nine riprap jetties that we dissected, yielded 10 largemouth bass.  A 50-yard stretch of another main-lake shoreline, which is endowed with two jetties, yielded five largemouth bass, and we caught them in about eight minutes.

Three largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Seven were caught while we employed a swim-glide-and-incessant-shake of our rigs. Five were caught as we employed a drag-and-shake presentation. Three were caught when we executed a drag-and-deadstick presentation. These largemouth bass were extracted from three to seven feet of water. One was caught on a straight swimming presentation.

We caught two largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin T.R.D. HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.  We caught four largemouth bass on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  One was caught on a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse T.R.D. affixed to an unpainted 1/32-ounce jig. Five were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. affixed to an unpainted 1/32-ounce jig. Seven were caught on a 3 3/4-inch customized Z-Man’s Junebug Mag FattyZ tail affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Ace fished for about three hours and 51 minutes, and he caught 15 largemouth bass and five smallmouth bass.  He caught five smallmouth bass and five largemouth bass during the last 30 minutes that he was afloat, and they were caught on a drop-shot rig in 10 to 13 feet of water in the vicinity of one of the riprap jetties.  He caught the other largemouth bass on a jigworm along the outside edges of the patches of American water willows.

As we said goodbye to Ace, the three of us were in a minor piscatorial funk and hoping that the submerged aquatic vegetation will reappear at this reservoir in the summers to come.

Aug. 18 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 62 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 90 degrees at 2:52 p.m.  The wind fluctuated from being calm to being variable to angling out of the east by northeast, southeast, south by southwest, south, and southwest at 4 to 9 mph. The sky was clear most of the time, but there were a few hours when it was mostly cloudy and partly cloudy.  The barometric pressure was 29.95 at 12:52 a.m., 29.92 at 5:52 a.m., 29.95 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.89 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 8:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., 8:45 p.m. to 10:45 p.m., and 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.  I fished from noon to 3:00 p.m. at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs, which lies about 20 miles from the state reservoir that John Reese and I fished on Aug. 17 and suffered the woes of no submerged aquatic vegetation.

Both of these reservoirs have become denuded of their once bountiful patches of submerged aquatic vegetation.  The managers of the community reservoir spent a lot of time and money eradicating the patches of submerged aquatic vegetation that once graced many of the shallow-water haunts around this reservoir. We have no idea what caused the demise of the submerged aquatic vegetation at the state reservoir. But this denuding has made for some trying black bass fishing during the month of August. Before this denuding, we rarely had to suffer with the piscatorial plague that is often called the dog-days of summer. We could usually catch an average of 10 black bass an hour, and sometimes we caught many more than 10 an hour by dissecting the patches of submerged aquatic vegetation.

The water was stained with algal blooms, exhibiting eight- to 24-inches of visibility.  The surface temperature ranged from 80 to 81 degrees. The water level looked to be about two inches above normal.

On this Aug. 18 outing, I caught a largemouth bass on the initial drop of my first cast. And during the first hour and 37 minutes, I caught 17 largemouth bass. But during the final hour and 23 minutes, I struggled to catch five largemouth bass.

I fished two main-lake points, two secondary points, a short portion of one main-lake shoreline, three offshore humps, one massive shallow-water and stump-laden flat in the back of a feeder-creek arm, and portions of three shorelines inside two feeder-creek arms.

One main-lake point was fruitless. At the other main-lake point,  I caught one largemouth bass around a patch of American water willows in about 2 1/2 feet of water on the initial drop of a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

(The American water willows are emergent aquatic plants, and they adorn some of the water’s edges of this reservoir’s shorelines and points.)

One of the secondary points was fruitless. At the other secondary point, I caught one largemouth bass in about six feet of water amongst some rocks and boulders on a shortened Z-Man’s  green-pumpkin-goby Big T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-and-shake presentation.

I failed to garner a strike on the three offshore humps.

I fished about 200 yards of a shoreline inside one of the feeder-creek arms, and it yielded eight largemouth bass. This shoreline has a 20- to 40-degree slope.  Its water line is embellished with some cattails, patches of American water willows, overhanging trees, and laydowns. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, some stumps, one patch of boulders, and parts of it are laden with silt.  Schools of gizzard shad were moseying around near the surface in the back half of this feeder-creek arm, which is covered with three to 12 feet of water. The largemouth bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in three to six feet of water. Two were caught around stumps. Two were caught under an overhanging tree. Two were caught along the outside edge of some American water willows. Two were caught around laydowns.  Three were caught as I employed a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One was caught on the initial drop of the Hula StickZ rig. Two were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation. One was caught on a straight swimming presentation. One was caught when I deadsticked the Hula StickZ rig around a stump.

On the stump-laden flat inside this feeder-creek arm, I caught five largemouth bass on the shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in about three feet of water with a slow straight-swimming presentation.

I fished about 100 yards of another shoreline inside this feeder-creek arm, and it yielded one largemouth bass. This shoreline has a 25- to 35-degree slope.  Its water line is embellished with some patches of American water willows, overhanging trees, a beaver hut, and laydowns. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some stumps. I caught the largemouth bass by deadsticking the Hula StickZ adjacent to a stump in about four feet of water.

Along a 70-yard stretch of a shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm, I failed to elicit a strike. This shoreline possesses a 35- to 45-degree slope.  It is adorned with patches of American water willows, several overhanging trees, and a few laydowns. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks.

I fished about a 200-yard stretch of a shoreline in the back of this feeder-creek arm and caught three largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 20- to a 30-degree slope.  It is lined with patches of American water willows, seven docks, a concrete retaining wall, some overhanging trees, a few stumps, and several downs.  One largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of a green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in about three feet of water along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows. One largemouth bass was caught on the green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. rig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation along a laydown in about four feet of water.  One largemouth bass was caught between the outside edge of a patch of American water willows and a small laydown in about 3 1/2 feet of water on the green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. rig as I was slowly executing a swim-glide-and-no shake presentation.

I fished about a 70-yard stretch of the same shoreline in the front or lower portions of this feeder-creek arm.  It possesses a 35- to 45-degree slope. It is lined with patches of American water willows, one dock, one concrete retaining wall, two overhanging trees, and several laydowns.    It yielded one largemouth bass that was caught on the initial drop of the green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. rig along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows in three feet of water.

I fished about a 30-yard stretch of a rock-laden main-lake shoreline.  It possesses a 45-degree slope, and it is graced with a few patches of American water willows.   The outside edge of one of the patches of American water willows yielded one largemouth bass, which was caught in about 2 1/2 feet of water on the initial drop of the green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. rig.

Aug. 18 log

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

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

John Thomas of Denton, Texas, and I ventured to a north-central Texas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir. We had our hearts set on chasing large schools of white bass, but when we failed to cross paths with any large aggregations of them, we were forced to change our plans and finished the outing pursuing largemouth bass and spotted bass.

It was mostly cloudy throughout the morning with a few intermittent spells of sunshine. It began to rain at 11:37 a.m. The wind angled out of the northeast at 3 to 8 mph, then it turned out of the south at 12 to 15 mph. The morning low temperature was 79 degrees and the afternoon high was 96 degrees.  The barometric pressure measured 29.99 at 8:00 a.m. and 29.97 at 12:00 noon.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the best fishing periods would occur from 1:52 a.m. to 3:52 a.m., 8:07 a.m. to 10:07 a.m., and 8:37 p.m. to 10:37 p.m. John and I were afloat from about 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, but we fished for only 3 1/2 hours.

The water was the clearest that we have seen it this year, exhibiting about 5 1/2 feet of visibility.  The surface temperature was 83 degrees. The water level was 0.24 feet below the normal pool.

As we were driving across the dam on the way to the boat ramp, we saw a decent-sized school of white bass foraging on the surface along the west end of the dam. The dam forms the southern boundary of this impoundment.

We launched the boat in the southeast end of the reservoir, and we immediately travelled to the west end of the dam where we hoped to tangle with the school of white bass that we had seen earlier. To our chagrin, they had disappeared and we were unable to locate them. We then spent the next two hours trolling Rapala No. 7 shad-hue Shad Raps along a rock ledge that lies just north of the dam. The top of the ledge is covered with 10 feet of water and the bottom of the ledge levels out in 23 feet of water. We trolled the Shad Raps along the top of the ledge in 10 to 12 feet of water, and we caught 14 white bass and five freshwater drum that were scattered along the ledge. We failed to locate any large concentrations of white bass along this ledge.

After we finished trolling for white bass, we checked an offshore main-lake hump that is located a short distance from the rock ledge that we had just fished. This hump is encircled with 23 feet of water, and the top of the hump is covered with 12 feet of water. We failed to locate any white bass or black bass at this hump.

Then, we ventured to the middle of the dam where we slowly dissected the walls of a large concrete water-outlet tower. We had observed several other bass anglers in three bass boats plying the walls of this tower while we were trolling for white bass, but we did not see if any of them caught any largemouth bass or spotted bass.

This tower is surrounded by 32 to 77 feet of water. We caught 16 largemouth bass and one spotted bass in the vicinity of the tower. Typically, we find the largemouth bass and spotted bass abiding within a couple of feet of the tower’s walls. But during this outing, we caught them about 40 to 50 feet away from the sides of the tower.  They were suspended about five feet below the surface and 51 to 72 feet above the bottom of the reservoir. They were foraging on small pods of 1/2-inch threadfin shad.  Sixteen largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. The mud minnow Hula StickZ combo was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The pearl Slim SwimZ rig was presented with a steady swimming retrieve about two to three feet below the surface. One largemouth was caught within a foot of one of the walls of the tower on the initial fall of the mud minnow Hula StickZ rig.  (Our Hula StickZ are shortened from four inches to three inches.)

As we were fishing the west side of the tower, a school of white bass suddenly appeared about 50 yards west of the tower. They were gorging themselves on 1/2-inch threadfin shad along the surface in 62 feet of water. They fed for only a minute or two, and by the time we were able to get within casting distance of them, they were beginning to disperse. We caught four of them before they completely disappeared. Two were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s bad shad Slim SwimZ on a black 3/32-ounce gopher jig, and two were caught on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. Both of the Slim SwimZ rigs were retrieved about a foot below the surface and at a moderately-fast and steady pace.

Next, we caught three largemouth bass in eight feet of water from the top of another rock ledge that runs parallel to the dam and about 30 yards east of the water-outlet tower.  The top of this ledge is covered with 10 to 12 feet of water and it quickly descends into 35 feet of water. These three largemouth bass engulfed the shortened three-inch Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ rig as it was presented with a slow swim-glide-and shake retrieve.

We failed to elicit any strikes from the riprap that covers the dam or from two concrete pillars that support a walkway that leads from the dam to the tower.

From the dam area, we moved about a mile to a long submerged point. This submerged point extends about 100 yards into the reservoir from a main-lake shoreline. The top of the point is covered with six to 12 feet of water. The sides of the point plunge into 40-plus feet of water. But as we were about to begin fishing this point, the wind’s velocity increased out of the south and the surface of the water became covered with white caps and was too choppy for us to effectively control the boat. We abandoned this point and moved to the east end of the dam where we found refuge from the wind and waves.

As we began to dissect the riprap along this section of the dam, we noticed a large rain storm creeping towards us from the west side of the reservoir. We quickly scurried back to the boat ramp and trailered the boat as it began to rain.

In conclusion, the white bass fishing was trying, and we caught only 18 white bass and five freshwater drum in two hours.

The black bass fishing was more lucrative, and we caught 19 largemouth bass and one spotted bass in 1 1/2 hours.

The shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig was the most productive combo. It allured 19 of the 20 black bass. A slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most effective presentation.

Aug. 19 log

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

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

From 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., I conducted a solo excursion at one of several north-central Texas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoirs.

I  fished this reservoir on Aug. 16 with Rick Allen of Dallas.  During that outing, the sky was overcast and the wind was howling out of the southeast at 20 mph. We fished for only two hours before the wind forced us to end the outing early, and by the end of those two hours, our counter revealed that we had caught 20 black bass. The bulk of them were caught on shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZs attached to black 1/16-ounce Gopher jigs. They were employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

The afternoon of Aug. 19 was sunny and uncomfortably hot. The sky was partly cloudy. Area thermometers recorded the afternoon high at 97 degrees and the morning low temperature was 79 degrees. The wind angled out of the southeast at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.96 at 1:00 p.m. and 29.92 at 4:00 p.m.

My three spinning rods sported the following Z-Man’s Midwest finesse baits: a 2 1/2-inch white lightning ZinkerZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Canada craw T.R.D. HogZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a bad shad Trick ShotZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

In summers past, we have discovered that the black bass in the Corps’ reservoirs in this part of Texas have shown a preference for the Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, which we shorten from four inches to three inches,  and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. Both of these rigs closely mimic the small 1/2- to three-inch threadfin shad that provide the primary forage for the black bass that inhabit these Corps’ reservoirs. But I am always searching for other effective Midwest finesse lures to wield in conjunction with the mud minnow Hula StickZ and pearl Slim SwimZ rigs.

I decided to fish around the same floating tractor-tire reefs that I fished during my solo outing on Aug. 13 and on my Aug. 16 outing with Rick Allen. Normally, we try to avoid fishing the same reservoirs two or more times in a week. But the black bass fishing has been so lackluster and trying this year, I elected to ply these floating tractor-tire reefs again in hopes of duplicating my Aug. 13 catch of 42 black bass.

These tire reefs float in 16 to 37 feet of water. Since Aug. 13, I have observed large concentrations of 1/2-inch threadfin shad inhabiting these tire reefs. But during my Aug. 19 outing, I noticed that there was a significant decline in their numbers, and there also seemed to be a dwindling number of black bass abiding around these tire reefs as well.

The water was stained with about two feet of visibility. The water level was 0.13 feet above normal level. The surface temperature was 86 degrees. This reservoir was as crowded with boat anglers and other types of watercraft as it was on Aug. 13.

I positioned my boat within a foot of the tires, and I presented these three lures parallel and in close proximity to the tires with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. (It should be noted that the swim-glide-and-shake presentation has been our most effective standard Midwest finesse retrieve for black bass this summer.)

By the end of this three-hour endeavor, my counter showed that I had caught 19 largemouth bass and one spotted bass.

The 2 1/2-inch white lightning ZinkerZ caught one largemouth bass and enticed several other delicate bites that I failed to hook. The Canada craw T.R.D. HogZ beguiled two largemouth bass. The Trick ShotZ in the bad shad hue allured 16 largemouth bass and one spotted bass.

These black bass were relating to the outside edges of the floating tires and were suspended about six to eight feet below the surface.

Although I failed to catch 42 black bass this time,  I still considered this an above-average outing for this reservoir. The bad shad Trick ShotZ appears to be a new and productive addition to the mud minnow Hula StickZ and 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rigs. And in the outings to come, I am eager to try the Trick ShotZ, 2 1/2-inch white lightning ZinkerZ and T.R.D. HogZ combos around other lucrative black bass haunts such as boat ramps, submerged riprap on dams and bridge embankments, and submerged rocks and boulders along rocky points and shorelines.

Aug. 21 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 73 degrees at 6:52 a.m., 87 degrees at 11:52 a.m., 75 degrees at 1:52 p.m., and 86 degrees at 3:52 p.m. The sky was clear from midnight to 6:52 a.m., and then it fluctuated from being mostly cloudy to overcast to clear to heavy rain to light rain to mostly cloudy to scattered with some clouds to partly cloudy to clear. Some locales were walloped with two to four inches of rain, and during the evening hours of Aug. 21 and early morning hours of Aug. 22, some areas around Lawrence, Kansas, received eight inches of rain, and flash floods erupted at spots in northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri. The wind angled out of the south by southeast, south, east by southeast, east, east by northeast, northeast, and north by northeast at 3 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.00 at 12:52 a.m., 30.00 at 5:52 a.m., 30.00 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.97 at 2:52 p.m. In addition to the radically fluctuating temperatures, sky conditions, and wind directions, northeastern Kansas experienced a solar eclipse.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 10:40 a.m. to 12:40 p.m., 11:07 p.m. to 1:07 a.m., and 4:26 a.m. to 6:26 a.m.  My wife, Patty, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs from 12:16 p.m. to 2:01 p.m. A thunderstorm sent us home.

The water level was slightly above normal.  The surface temperature was 82 degrees. The water exhibited about five feet of visibility. The shallow-water flats in the backs of this reservoir’s feeder-creek arms are graced with lush patches of coontail, which Midwest finesse anglers consider to be a godsend in July, August, and September.

We were fishing about 6o miles from the heart of the total eclipse. As we fished, we witnessed about 90 percent of the total eclipse, which occurred around 1:09 p.m.  Because it was cloudy and sprinkling, we did not see the moon cover the sun. But we experienced the darkness, which was darker than twilight, and in our eyes, it was darker than the ghost light of dawn.  The first phases of the eclipse began around 11:39 a.m. and the final phases ended around 2:30 p.m. During the 231 minutes of the eclipse, we fished for 105 minutes of it.

From 12:16 p.m. to 1:16 p.m., we dissected a shallow-water flat in the back of one of the feeder-creek arms. This flat is about the size of five football fields. It is adorned with coontail, two submerged creek channels, several humps, stretches of flooded terrestrial vegetation, and some brush piles.  Some of  its shorelines are embellished with American water willows, flooded terrestrial vegetation, laydowns, and lily pads.  Before 1:00 p.m., a school of bluegill and three schools of small gizzard shad incessantly dimpled the surface of one section this flat, which was about the size of a half of a football field.

Across this flat, we caught 22 largemouth bass.

One largemouth bass was caught on a three-inch Z-Man watermelon-red Slim SwimZ affixed to a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig with a slow swimming retrieve in about five feet of water near a school of bluegill that were dimpling the surface.  One largemouth bass was caught on a customized 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s California craw Mag FattyZ tail affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water around a brush pile and a patch of coontail.  Twelve largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and they were caught on the initial drop or on a swimming retrieve or on a swim-and-deadstick retrieve around patches of American water willows, a massive laydown, and patches of coontail in three to six feet of water. Ten were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ on either a blue or a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-slight-shake retrieve in three to seven feet of water around patches of coontail.

From 1:20 p.m. to 1:40 p.m., we dissected a shallow-water coontail flat in the back of another major feeder-creek arm. The flat is about the size of three football fields. It is adorned with coontail, one submerged creek channel, an island, several humps, a few  brush piles, and some flooded terrestrial vegetation.  Some of its shorelines are embellished with American water willows, laydowns, and flooded terrestrial vegetation. We shared this flat with another angler, who was wielding a spinnerbait.

Across this flat, we caught eight largemouth bass.

One of the eight largemouth bass was caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-slight-shake retrieve in three feet of water around patches of coontail adjacent to the island.  Seven were caught on our three-inch Z-Man watermelon-red Slim SwimZ rigs around patches of coontail, a brush pile, and flooded terrestrial vegetation in three to six feet of water, and we retrieved our Slim SwimZ rigs with a swimming presentation.

We failed to elicit a strike at the main-lake point.

From 1:48 p.m. to 2:01 p.m., we quickly fished a portion of a shallow-water flat in the back of a minor feeder-creek arm. This flat is about the size of six tennis courts. It is adorned with coontail, one submerged creek channel, several brush piles, some flooded terrestrial vegetation, and a submerged rock fence.  Some of its shorelines are embellished with American water willows and laydowns.

In an area of about the size of one tennis court, we caught three largemouth bass. They were caught on our three-inch Z-Man’s  watermelon-red Slim SwimZ rigs with a swimming retrieve around patches of coontail in about four feet of water.

At 2:01 p.m. lightning, thunder, and a torrential downpour erupted, and we went home.

It was interesting to note that the bird life was extremely a twitter from 12:20 p.m. to 12:55 p.m. During the darkest point of the eclipse, the world around us was virtually silent for a spell – even the breeze seemed to momentarily subside. After the total eclipse, the bird life was rather placid. What’s more, we saw only one school of gizzard shad dimpling the surface after the total eclipse until we made our final casts at 2:01 p.m.

DSCN1695

Patty with the second largemouth bass of our outing.

We caught 22 largemouth between 12:16 p.m. and 1:16 p.m., and 11 largemouth bass between 1:16 and 2:01 p.m. At the heart of the darkness of the total eclipse, we caught one largemouth bass, eighteen largemouth bass were caught before the total eclipse, and 15 were caught after the total eclipse.

Aug. 24 log

After the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, Mother Nature walloped northeastern Kansas with a deluge. During the afternoon and evening hours of Aug. 21 and the early morning hours of Aug. 22, some areas received more than eight inches of rain. The water level at one of our reservoirs climbed eight feet during those hours.

On Aug. 24, the Weather Underground reported that it was 57 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 78 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The high temperature was 80 degrees.  From midnight to 7:53 a.m., the wind was calm, and then it angled out of the east by southeast, southeast, and south by southeast at 5 to 12 mph. It was sunny.  The barometric pressure was 30.04 at 12:53 a.m., 30.03 at 5:53 a.m., 30.04 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.01 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 12:59 a.m. to 2:59 a.m., 1:22 p.m. to 3:22 p.m., and 7:10 a.m. to 9:10 a.m. I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 11:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

The water level looked to be about 2 1/2 feet above normal.  The surface temperature ranged from 79 to 80 degrees.  The water clarity in the back of the primary feeder-creek arm exhibited about eight inches of clarity, and the clarity in the vicinity of the dam exhibited about five feet of visibility.

This reservoir used to have massive patches of submerged aquatic vegetation gracing many of its shorelines and shallow-water flats.  And it used to have extremely robust patches of American water willows adorning many of its shorelines and points.  But the reservoir’s managers spent a lot of money to unwisely eradicate the submerged vegetation, which also harmed many of the patches of American water willows.  A few of the patches of American water willows were completely annihilated, and most of them thinned out.

During the first hour and 35 minutes of this outing, I dissected one flat shoreline inside a major feeder-creek arm, a secondary point inside a minor feeder-creek arm, three main-lake points and their adjacent shorelines, the spillway, and a flat shoreline inside another major feeder-creek arm. And I failed to elicit a strike.

At 12:50 p.m., I caught a largemouth bass along a steep shoreline on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in about four feet of water in front of some overhanging trees. On the next cast, I caught a smallmouth bass in about eight feet of water while I was employing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve around some of the rocks and boulders that embellish this shoreline.

At 1:06 p.m., I caught a largemouth bass along another steep shoreline inside a major feeder-creek arm. It was caught on the Junebug Finesse ShadZ rig under an overhanging tree in about seven feet of water as I was executing a drag-and-shake presentation along the bottom that is littered with gravel, rocks, and boulders.

On the main-lake, I failed to garner a strike along a submerged and offshore rock fence. But along another submerged and offshore rock fence, I caught eight largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These largemouth bass were caught about two feet below the surface while I employed a straight swimming retrieve. They were part of a congregation of largemouth bass that were foraging upon schools of young gizzard shad that were moseying around near the surface in the vicinity of this submerged and offshore rock fence. (It is important to note that this phenomenon rarely occurs at most of the flatland reservoirs across northeastern Kansas, but we have experienced it several times in summers past at this reservoir. When it occurs, we have found that a bait, such as a green-pumpkin-goby Finesse T.R.D. rig, that does not resemble a small gizzard shad is more effective than using a swimbait that resembles a small gizzard shad.)

I failed to elicit a strike when I fished a secondary point and a shoreline inside a minor feeder-creek arm.

In the upper reaches of this reservoir’s primary feeder-creek arm, I failed to garner a strike while I fished a flat main-lake point and two flat main-lake shorelines.

During the final 20 minutes that I was afloat, I caught 11 largemouth bass.

Ten of them were caught in about eight feet of water around  several massive boulders that form a ledge along a steep main-lake shoreline in the upper reaches of this reservoir’s primary feeder-creek arm. Eight of the largemouth bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that I retrieved with either a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation or a drag-and-shake presentation. Two of them were caught on the Junebug Finesse ShadZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

One largemouth bass was caught on a main-lake point that is near the ledge of boulders.  It was caught in about six feet of water as I was employing a drag-and-shake presentation with the Junebug Finesse ShadZ.

As I was heading to the boat ramp, I crossed paths with some largemouth bass foraging along the surface, and I made a cast and a swimming retrieve with the Junebug Finesse ShadZ, and I caught a largemouth bass about six inches under the surface. I hooked and enjoyed a short donnybrook with another one that eventually liberated itself.

In sum, 141 minutes of this 180-minute outing were absolutely fruitless.  This is another one of our reservoirs that have recently become denuded of submerged aquatic vegetation, and when that happens, it is often a chore to locate and catch the largemouth bass in July, August, and early September.  When there is no offshore and shoreline submerged aquatic vegetation, we think that the largemouth bass become extremely pelagic, which makes them very difficult for us to find and catch. It is important to note that I failed to catch a largemouth bass along the many thinned-out patches of American water willows that I fished.

Aug. 24 log

Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his outing with a friend at one of northeastern Kansas’ many state reservoirs.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 12:59 a.m. to 2:59 a.m., 1:22 p.m. to 3:22 p.m., and 7:10 a.m. to 9:10 a.m. We were afloat from 8:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., which included a 30-minute lunch break.

The water was stained, exhibiting about 12 inches of visibility. At many locales, the surface of the water was coated with algae, and we surmised that it was the byproduct of the fertilizer that had washed into the reservoir from the two corn fields that border parts of it. The surface temperature was 77 degrees.  There are extensive patches of lily pads in the back portions of the reservoir’s two feeder-creek arms, and they are the biggest patches of lily pads that I have ever seen.  The submerged aquatic vegetation is very minimal.

The weather was cool and beautiful. The sky was partly cloudy. The wind angled out of the southeast, and during the early afternoon hours, it was blowing at 12 mph.

We caught 24 largemouth bass and two crappie. Our most effective rigs were  a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse T.R.D., a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D., and a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ, which were rigged on either a black or chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  I did elicit some strikes in several of the man-made brush piles on a five-inch Z-Man’s ZinkerZ that I used on a neko rig with a 1/16-ounce nail weight.

We caught the bulk of the largemouth bass on the initial drop of our rigs  along the shorelines or in and around the man-made brush piles.

Aug. 25 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

The largemouth bass doldrums in north-central Texas have persisted all year.

On Aug. 21, Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, and I fished at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area. A solar eclipse was scheduled to begin for our portion of Texas at 10:10 a.m. and peak at about 1:10 p.m.

Roger and I fished from 8:23 a.m. to 12:29 p.m. The moon had blocked out about 30 percent of the sun by 12:30 p.m., and its effects were minimal even during its peak time. We were hoping the black bass fishing would improve as we fished through the first two hours of the eclipse, but we barely managed to scrounge up nine largemouth bass, three smallmouth bass, and one spotted bass from three floating tire reefs, the riprap along the face of the dam, several rocky main-lake points, and two rocky main-lake shorelines. Roger caught his first smallmouth bass of his life, which was the highlight of the outing.

On Aug. 22, Mark Acridge of Watauga, Texas, Rick Allen of Dallas and I journeyed 2 1/2 hours to east Texas, where we fished at Lake Fork from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. It was a hot 96-degree day. The sun was burning brightly in a clear powder-blue sky. We spent our time probing a concrete boat ramp, several deep-water points, two riprap-laden portions of the dam, a main-lake point that is embellished with patches of American water willows and pondweed, and several boat houses.  The fishing was slow and tedious with long spells between bites, and we struggled to catch 10 largemouth bass in five hours.

After those two dismal endeavors, Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I elected to fish at another north-central Texas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir on Aug. 25.

A cold front had passed through north-central Texas on Aug. 24, and we enjoyed cooler daytime temperatures on Aug. 25. During this outing, the sky was overcast. A pesky wind blew out of the east by northeast at 12 to 15 mph.  According to a local television meteorologist, the morning low temperature was 70 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was a comfortable 86 degrees. The barometric pressure was 29.96 at 7:25 a.m. and rose slightly to 29.98 by 11:25 a.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar table indicated that the optimum fishing periods would occur from 1:57 a.m. to 3:57 a.m., 8:09 a.m. to 10:09 a.m., and 2:20 p.m. to 4:20 p.m. Norman and I fished from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

The wind relegated us to fishing the more wind-protected portions of three floating tractor-tire reefs and about 75 yards of a rock- and boulder-laden main-lake shoreline. These locales are located in the southwest tributary arm of this reservoir.

The surface temperature ranged from 82 to 84 degrees. The water exhibited 18 inches of visibility.  The water level was a tad above normal level.

The floating tire reefs were the most fruitful areas and yielded 25 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one white bass. We could see scores and scores of 1/2-inch threadfin shad cruising in and out of the openings, nooks, and crannies of the tires and near the surface of the water. These largemouth bass and spotted bass were relating to the outside edges of the tractor tires and were suspended about three to five feet below the surface. The depth of the water ranged from 15 to 25 feet. Occasionally, we watched a few black bass forging on the small shad next to the floating tires. But one over-zealous largemouth jumped out of the water and beached itself between two tires while chasing a shad, but it was liberated when a couple of good-size waves struck the tires and washed the bass back into the water.

The majority of these 27 black bass were caught on either a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Trick ShotZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig or a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. attached to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  Two of them were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s The Deal MinnowZ affixed on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. The MinnowZ is three-inches long and was trimmed down to about 2 1/2 inches.

The best presentation was casting our lures parallel to the reefs and employing a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation while we kept the boat positioned within a foot or two of the tires. The closer we retrieved our lures to the tires, the more strikes we received.

The 75-yard stretch of rocky main-lake shoreline relinquished nine spotted bass and two largemouth bass. Its underwater terrain consists of boulders, baseball-size rocks, red clay, and gravel. It is also adorned with several partially-flooded laydown trees. The boat floated in eight to 15 feet of water.

Nine of the 11 black bass were relating to the submerged boulders in four to six feet of water.  Two were caught near the tips of some submerged limbs of a laydown in three feet of water. Two  black bass took a swipe at our lures as we were quickly retrieving them back to the boat in order to make another cast.

 

Four black bass were caught on the coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. combo. Two black bass and one channel catfish were caught on a Z-Man’s mud minnow Finesse T.R.D. rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two black bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. Two were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ rigged on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. These lures were presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. A couple of bass were caught on the initial drop of the lure.

Overall, we were delighted to catch 27 largemouth bass, 11 spotted bass, one channel catfish, and one white bass in 4 1/2 hours.  Another four bass were able to pull free before we could bring them into the boat.

Aug. 29 log    

The Weather Underground reported that it was 57 degrees at 4:42 a.m. and 77 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind was mild mannered, angling out of the west, north by northwest, west by northwest, northwest, northeast, north by northeast, and east by northeast at 3 to 9 mph, and it was calm at times. The sky alternated from being clear to overcast to mostly cloudy to being scattered with clouds. The barometric pressure was 30.05 at 12:52 a.m., 30.07 at 5:52 a.m., 30.10 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.08 at 1:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 5:04 a.m. to 7:04 a.m., 5:27 p.m. to 7:27 p.m. and 11:16 p.m. to 1:16 a.m. I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ many state reservoirs from 11:37 a.m. to 1:59 p.m.

Some of our reservoirs are still in disarray from the post-eclipse deluge that walloped parts of eastern and northeastern Kansas on Aug. 21 and 22. And this reservoir is one that is in disarray. The water level looks to be three feet above normal. From clutter that litters the shorelines, it looks as if it had been about six feet above normal. I have been fishing this reservoir for four decades, and I have never seen it murky until this outing. It exhibited six to 12 inches of visibility. The clearest water is along the dam. Most of its emergent aquatic vegetation was flooded. Most of its submerged vegetation was covered with very murky water. The surface temperature ranged from 75 to 76 degrees.

I fished one main-lake point, very short portions of four main-lake shorelines, the shallow-water flat in the back of one of the reservoir’s six  feeder-creek arms, and the entire dam.

I failed to engender a strike along the main-lake point and the four main-lake shorelines.

I caught one largemouth bass around a brush pile and some patches of bushy pondweed and coontail on the shallow-water flat in the back of one of the feeder-creek arms. It was caught in about six feet of water on the initial drop of a 3 3/4-inch customized Z-Man’s Junebug Mag FattyZ tail affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

I caught 16 largemouth bass along the dam, which is covered with riprap.  It possesses a 45-degree slope.  It is adorned with two small patches of American water willows.

Five of them were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation in five to seven feet of water.

Seven largemouth bass were caught around a patch of American water willows and the dam’s outlet. This area was embellished with a significant amount of current. They were caught in three to six feet of water on the Hula StickZ rig. Four were caught on the initial drop of the rig. Three were caught while I was working with the swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

Four were caught along the outside edge of another patch of American water willows in three to four feet of water on the initial drop of the Hula StickZ rig.

In sum, I caught 17 largemouth bass in two hours and 23 minutes. I failed to elicit a strike on a three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  I talked to a power angler who had been afloat for more than four hours, and he reported that he had caught three largemouth bass on a spinnerbait. He also said that he had never seen this reservoir in such a wretched condition.

Aug. 29 log

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

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

From 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., I fished at one of several U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoirs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area. Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I fished this reservoir on Aug. 25, and we caught 27 largemouth bass and 11 spotted bass in 4 1/2 hours.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar table, the most lucrative fishing periods would occur from 5:12 a.m. to 7:12 a.m., 5:35 p.m. to 7:35 p.m., and 11:23 p.m. to 1:23 a.m.

During my Aug. 29 outing, it was windy, and it felt more like early-fall than summer. The sky conditions fluctuated from being overcast to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy. I did not see the sun until 9:41 a.m. The wind angled out of the northeast, north, and northwest at 12 to 20 mph. The afternoon high temperature was 85 degrees, and the morning low temperature was 68 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.92 at 7:00 a.m. and 29.96 at 11:00 a.m. North-central Texas was spared the torrential rains and devastating floods from the hurricane  that walloped south Texas, but a few of its remnant rain storms are forecast to saturate the countryside around Denton on Aug. 30 and 31.

I fished two locales in this reservoir’s southwest tributary arm. The first area was a wind-blown main-lake shoreline, and the other was a series of three floating tractor-tire reefs at the mouth of two large marinas.

The water was dingier than it was on Aug. 25, and it exhibited about 14 inches of clarity. The water level was 0.13 feet above normal. The water temperature was 82 degrees. Along a 50-yard segment of a main-lake shoreline, I caught nine spotted bass and three largemouth bass. This shoreline has a steep slope. Its underwater terrain is comprised of red clay, gravel, boulders, and softball-size rocks. There are several laydown trees that litter the shoreline at the water’s edge.

Along a 50-yard segment of a main-lake shoreline, I caught nine spotted bass and three largemouth bass. This shoreline has a steep slope. Its underwater terrain is comprised of red clay, gravel, boulders, and softball-size rocks. There are several laydown trees that litter the shoreline at the water’s edge. These 12 black bass were relating to the submerged boulders in five to eight feet of water. I positioned the boat in 12 to 15 feet of water.

Six spotted bass were caught on a Z-Man’s white lightning Finesse T.R.D. affixed on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught on a shortened three-inch Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ attached to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Two spotted bass and one largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. All three of these combos were employed with a slow swim-glide-and-vigorous-shake retrieve.

The floating tire reefs relinquished 11 largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and two white bass. The largemouth bass and spotted bass were in close proximity to the outside edges of the tractor tires. The depth of the water ranged from 15 to 25 feet, and they were suspended about five feet below the surface.

Seven of these 14 black bass were caught on a 3.5-inch Z-Man’s bad shad Trick ShotZ affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Six were caught on a 3.5-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse Trick ShotZ attached to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse T.R.D. on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught one. These rigs were cast close to the tires and retrieved parallel to them with a slow swim-glide-and-vigorous-shake presentation. The boat was positioned next to the tires.

In sum, I caught a combination of 26 largemouth bass and spotted bass in 3 1/2 hours. I also caught two white bass from one of the tire reefs. Thus, this outing was not as fruitful as the one I enjoyed with Norman Brown on Aug. 25.

The 3.5-inch Z-Man’s bad shad Trick ShotZ and 3.5-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse Trick ShotZ were the two most effective rigs. A swim-glide-and-vigorous-shake retrieve was the only effective presentation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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