This guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 17 logs and 17,788 words that explain how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished during December.

 It features the piscatorial endeavors of Rick Allen of Dallas; Lou Clewell of Roselyn, Pennsylvania; Roger Farrish of Highland Village, Texas; Merit Goodman of Eudora, Kansas; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; as well as my northeastern Kansas logs. 

December can be a devilish time to catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass in north-central Texas and northeastern Kansas. As these eight anglers dealt with the vicissitudes that unfolded during these trying days, they fished about 68 hours and caught 411 black bass or one every 10 minutes. And after Dec. 21, none of us had the wherewithal to be afloat in pursuit of black bass. 

We are delighted that Steve Reideler proof read every word and made them more readable and understandable.

Dec. 1 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 23 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 60 degrees at 1:52 p.m.  The sky was clear. The wind was calm from 12:52 a.m. to 7:52 a.m., and then it angled out of the east, southeast, south by southeast and south at 5 to 16 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.25 at 12:52 a.m., 30.25 at 5:52 a.m., 30.16 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.04 at 3:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 7:46 a.m. to 9:46 a.m., 8:13 p.m. to 10:13 p.m., and 1:33 a.m. to 3:33 a.m. I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs from 11:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

The water level looked to be slightly above normal.  The surface temperature ranged from 47 to 48 degrees. The water exhibited three to five feet of visibility. This reservoir is affected by a planktonic algae bloom. There are algae particles suspended at various depths. Some areas have a thicker and deeper algae bloom than other areas, and it affects the water clarity. Most of the shorelines and points are embellished with thick patches of winter-dead American water willows. This reservoir possesses the finest patches of American water willows in northeastern Kansas. Many of its shallow-water flats are adorned with massive patches of coontail, which are in the midst of their winter doldrums, and the size and intensity of these patches are diminishing. In the near future, the coontail patches will be encompassed by patches of curly-leaf pondweed, which are beginning to sprout, and I crossed paths with several curly-leaf pondweed sprouts on this outing. Eventually, a significant number of largemouth bass will be abiding in and around the patches of curly-leaf pondweed.

DSCN1765

The first curly-leaf pondweed that we have crossed paths with during the cold-water season of 2017-18.

As the way a crow flies, this reservoir is situated within 18 miles of the community reservoir that Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, Jim Stegeman of Olathe, Kansas, and I fished on Nov. 29. It possesses many of the same ecological characteristics of that community reservoir. But Gum, Stegeman, and I caught 105 largemouth bass and five smallmouth bass on Nov. 29 at the nearby community reservoir, and I struggled to catch 34 largemouth bass on this Dec. 1 outing at the state reservoir.

My Dec. 1 outing was a hodgepodge endeavor, which means that I caught the largemouth bass on a variety of Midwest finesse lures and retrieves at a variety of locations.

I fished around 10 main-lake points, and four of them were fruitless.

At one main-lake point, I caught one largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s Fishing Product’s green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ affixed to a hand-painted red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in six feet of water.  The water’s edge of this point is lined with winter-dead patches of American water willows, flooded terrestrial vegetation, and a few laydowns. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It possesses a 45- to 50-degree slope. This largemouth bass was abiding near a minor laydown and along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows.

Around another main-lake point, I caught three largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle’s Mushroom Head jig in about 4 1/2 feet of water. The water’s edge of this point is lined with winter-dead patches of American water willows and flooded terrestrial vegetation.  Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. It has a 40-degree slope. It was somewhat wind-blown.  One of the largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig. One largemouth bass was caught while I was employing a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation. One was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. They were abiding along the outside edges of the flooded terrestrial vegetation, which many anglers call stickups.

I caught two largemouth bass around another main-lake point. The water’s edge of this point is lined with winter-dead patches of American water willows that are intertwined with some coontail, a minor patch of flooded terrestrial vegetation, and two minor laydowns. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some minor boulders.  It has a 35-degree slope. One largemouth bass was caught on the green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water about six feet from the outside edge of a patch of winter-dead American water willows. The other one was caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s Junebug Rain MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in about four feet of water along the outside edge of a patch of winter-dead American water willows.

One largemouth bass was caught around another main-lake point that is adorned with a significant stretch of flooded terrestrial vegetation that was somewhat wind-blown. Behind the terrestrial vegetation, there are patches of winter-dead American water willows. This point possesses a 25-degree slope.  Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. This largemouth bass was caught as I was strolling into the wind and employing a drag-and-shake presentation with the Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig in about four feet of water.

I caught three largemouth bass around another main-lake point. Its water’s edge is graced with a significant patch of American water willows and some pieces of flooded terrestrial vegetation. It has a 35- to 40-degree slope.  The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. These largemouth bass were caught on the ZinkerZ rig with a drag-and-subtle-shake retrieve in about five feet of water within a few feet of the outside edge of the winter-dead American water willows.

At another main-lake point, I caught one largemouth bass. The water’s edge is festooned with a massive patch of winter-dead American water willows.  It possesses a 30-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. This largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig in about three feet of water.

I fished short portions of five main-lake shorelines and three shorelines inside two small feeder-creek arms.

Two of the shorelines inside the two feeder-creek arms were fruitless.  And along one of the shorelines, I caught a largemouth bass by strolling the ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. This shoreline possesses a 35-degree slope.  Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. Its water’s edge is endowed with patches of winter-dead American water willows and a major laydown. The largemouth bass was caught in the vicinity of the outside edge of the major laydown, and I suspect it was abiding in six feet of water.

I failed to elicit a strike along one of the main-lake shorelines.

I caught four largemouth bass along a section of a steep main-lake shoreline, which was somewhat wind-blown.  It possesses a 75- to 85-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some humongous boulders. The water’s edge is lined with thick patches of winter-dead American water willows, several small laydowns, and some patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation. These four largemouth bass were caught in six to eight feet of water on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig while I was strolling and employing a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. Two of the four were caught near one of the laydowns.  The other two were caught within five feet of the outside edge of the winter-dead American water willows.

Three largemouth bass were caught along another main-lake shoreline. This shoreline has a 50- to 75-grade slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders; a few of the boulders are quite large. The water’s edge is lined with a few patches of winter-dead American water willows, several laydowns, some manmade brush piles, and several stretches of flooded terrestrial vegetation. These three largemouth bass were caught on a pile of rocks in about eight feet of water while I was executing a drag-and-shake retrieve with the Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig.

Along a 150-yard stretch of another main-lake shoreline, I caught four largemouth bass.  This shoreline possesses a 25- to 30-degree slope. Its water’s edge is graced with some patches of winter-dead American water willows, flooded terrestrial vegetation, some overhanging trees, and a number of laydowns that are intertwined with some coontail and young sprouts of curly-leaf pondweed. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. One of the largemouth bass was caught around one of the laydowns in about three feet of water on the ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The other three were caught along the outside edges of the patches of winter-dead American water willow patches in three feet of water. One of them was caught on the ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Two of them were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Four largemouth bass were caught along a 75-yard stretch of another main-lake shoreline. This shoreline possesses a 35- to 50-degree slope and a tertiary point. It is lined with thick patches of winter-dead American water willows, some coontail patches, a few overhanging trees, several laydowns, and flooded terrestrial vegetation. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the ZinkerZ rig in four to six feet of water with swim-glide-and-shake retrieves that were parallel to the patches of American water willows.  The other two were caught on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ in four feet of water along the outside edge of one of the patches of American water willows.

I quickly and haphazardly fished portions of the massive shallow-water flats in the backs of two major feeder-creek arms and two shallow-water flats inside two tiny feeder-creek arms. These flats are adorned with patches of coontail, sprouts of curly-leaf pondweed, and an array of flooded terrestrial vegetation. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and silt.

One of the flats inside one of the tiny feeder-creek arms was fruitless.

On the initial drop of my first casts at one of the massive shallow-water flats in the back of one of the major feeder-creek arms, I caught a largemouth bass in five feet of water on the Finesse ShadZ rig around a patch of coontail, and on the next casts and retrieves, I accidentally caught a crappie.  I elicited two strikes that I failed to firmly hook.

Around some terrestrial vegetation that is intertwined with coontail and curly-leaf pondweed at another massive shallow-water flat in the back of another feeder-creek arm, I caught two largemouth bass in four feet of water on the Finesse ShadZ rig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve.  Along another portion of this flat, I caught two largemouth bass around some coontail and flooded terrestrial vegetation in four feet of water on the Finesse ShadZ rig while I was strolling and employing a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

On a coontail-laden shallow-water flat inside one of the tiny feeder-creek arms, I caught two largemouth bass. One was caught on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig in about five feet of water. The second one was caught in about three feet of water while I strolling the ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation.

In sum, the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rig caught 16 largemouth bass.  The green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rig caught seven largemouth bass.  The Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig caught five largemouth bass.  The green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig caught four largemouth bass.  The green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ rig caught two largemouth bass.

Dec. 4 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

On Dec. 2, Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, and I fished at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir for 4 1/2 hours. The fishing was horrible, and we struggled to eke out four largemouth bass and two spotted bass.

A robust wind was howling out of the south at 17 to 21 mph on Dec. 4, and I did not have the gumption to fight the wind and waves in my boat at any of the Corps’ reservoirs. Therefore, I grabbed three of my spinning outfits and spent the afternoon meandering along the shorelines of two small community reservoirs that lie in the suburbs northwest of Dallas. I fished the first reservoir from about 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, joined me at the second reservoir from about 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Weather Underground noted that the morning low temperature was 52 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 79 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.84 at noon and 29.79 at 4:00 p.m. The sky conditions changed from overcast to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated the most fruitful fishing periods would occur from 4:21 a.m. to 6:21 a.m., 10:42 a.m. to 12:42 p.m., and 4:58 p.m. to 6:58 p.m.

The first reservoir I visited is about 12 acres in size. It was one of our more fruitful venues during the winter of 2014-2015. But it was inundated by the heavy rains during the spring of 2015, which washed vast amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides into the water and turned it a sickly chartreuse hue that lasted throughout 2016. The bountiful black bass fishing at this reservoir also evaporated in 2015.

When I first arrived, I was delighted to see that the water conditions had returned to normal.  The water displayed a pea-green tint with about 1 1/2 feet of visibility.  The water level was normal. The water temperature was 63 degrees.

This reservoir’s north shoreline is steep and straight. There are two coves on the east side of the impoundment that are separated by a long and prominent point. A ditch courses through the center of both of these coves. The west and south shorelines are flatter than the north one. There are some shallow sand and gravel ledges that parallel a goodly portion of the shorelines.  The reservoir’s underwater terrain consists of sand, gravel, and a few fist-size rocks.

To my dismay, however, the water conditions may have improved, but the fishing has not. I struggle to catch four small largemouth bass inside the southeast cove. They were caught near the south side of the cove along the west side of the ditch in four to six feet of water. They were allured by a slow hop-and-bounce presentation with a Z-Man’s black-blue-flake TRD TubeZ rigged on a custom-painted blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

I then ventured to the second reservoir, where I joined Rick Allen. The fishing at this reservoir wasn’t much better than it was at the first one.

The water in the second reservoir exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water temperature was 64 degrees. The water level was normal.

We began fishing from the fishing pier on the west side of the reservoir. We shared the pier with another angler. The fishing pier is positioned along the middle section of the shoreline. The shoreline adjacent to the fishing pier is steep. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and sand. Underneath the fishing pier is a thin patch of hydrilla that is about 25 feet long and about five feet wide. It lies in about eight feet of water. A gravel and sand tertiary point lies about 50 feet south of the fishing pier. Two more tertiary points lie about 30 yards north of the pier. A small concrete culvert and a shallow ditch adorn the northern end of this shoreline. The ditch courses its way across a large mud flat on the north end of the reservoir.

We failed to catch a largemouth bass from the submerged patch of hydrilla, or from the area around the concrete culvert, or next to the steep sections of this shoreline. We elicited one tentative strike along the south side of the fishing pier with a Z-Man’s California craw TRD HogZ attached to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, but we were unable to hook the fish.

Along the south end of the shoreline, we fished behind another angler and caught four largemouth bass. These largemouth bass were abiding in five to seven feet of water. Two were caught on the California craw TRD HogZ rig. One was caught on a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. One was caught with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Three largemouth bass were caught with a slow and subtle hop-and-bounce retrieve. One was caught with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation.  We failed to elicit any strikes with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We did not fish the large mud flat on the north end of the west shoreline. It was occupied by several people feeding pieces of bread to a few colorful mallard ducks, several black coots, and a large white swan.

We fished our way eastward along the smooth concrete dam, which forms the southern boundary of the impoundment. The west end of the dam was fruitless. We caught one largemouth bass from the east end of the dam. It was extracted from a mud flat that lies adjacent to the face of the concrete dam in about five feet of water. This largemouth bass was caught on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ combo and a slow hop-and-bounce presentation.

We did not get a chance to fish the center section of the dam. It was occupied by another angler who spent a couple of hours plying that portion of the dam.

After that, we fished our way northward along the east shoreline behind two other anglers. This shoreline is curved with a steep slope.  A long point, which consists of clay and gravel, protrudes from the north end of this shoreline and extends westward toward the center of the reservoir. A broad sand and gravel point is situated in the middle section of this shoreline.

This shoreline surrendered four largemouth bass that were dwelling in five to seven feet of water along the side of a shallow sand and gravel ledge just south of the broad point. They were beguiled by our 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigs with either a slow hop-and-bounce retrieve or a 15- to 20-second-deadstick presentation after our rigs touched the bottom on the initial drop.

We failed to elicit any strikes from the large point in the midsection of the shoreline or the smaller clay and gravel point on the north end of the shoreline.

Our last spot was a small feeder creek on the north end of the reservoir. The bottom of the creek is rock-laden and one side of the creek is lined with tall stands of cattails. Thick stands of cattails border both sides of the lower section of the creek. We could not detect any current flowing through the creek; its surface was cluttered with willow tree leaves. We half-heartedly dissected the deepest pool in this creek with a few casts, but we failed to provoke any strikes.

In sum, it was a difficult task for us to inveigle a total of 13 largemouth bass: four at the first reservoir and nine at the second one. And we elicited one strike that we failed to hook.

The other power anglers that were fishing around us at the second reservoir were also having a tough time. One angler caught two largemouth bass, another caught two, and the third angler caught one.

A cold front accompanied by rain storms are expected to arrive in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area during the late evening hours of Dec. 4.  It appears that our dreaded wintertime fishing has begun a couple of weeks early this year.

Dec. 5 log

The wind has been wild and relentless in northeastern Kansas for several days. On Dec. 4, it reached 43 mph, and it hit 35 mph on Dec. 3.  It was not as ferocious on Dec. 5, but it still howled and reached 29 mph.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 27 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 46 degrees at 2:53 p.m.  The wind angled out of the northwest and west at 4 to 29 mph. The sky was clear, and the sun was bright.  The barometric pressure was 30.12 at 12:53 a.m., 30.24 at 5:53 a.m., 30.27 at 11:53 p.m., and 30.20 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 11:09 a.m. to 1:09 p.m., 11:40 p.m. to 1:40 a.m., and 5:25 a.m. to 7:25 a.m. I fished at a northeastern Kansas community reservoir from 11:37 a.m. to 2:37 p.m.

The water level was normal. The surface temperature was 48 degrees. The water exhibited two to four feet of visibility. The wind and white caps adversely affected the water clarity at some locales.

I spent one hour and 55 minutes hiding from the wind along a 350-yard stretch of a shoreline in the upper half of this reservoir. It is cluttered with more than two dozen docks.  It possesses a 25- to 70-degree slope. Its water’s edge is lined with either concrete or rock retaining walls. There are some patches of winter-dead American water willows, some overhanging trees, a few laydowns, and several brush piles. The flat terrains are endowed with patches of coontail, which are exhibiting their wintertime decline or wilt.  The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some boulders.

This shoreline yielded 29 largemouth bass. Sixteen of them were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Rain MinnowZ affixed to a charteuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Ten were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Three were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.

Seven of the 29 largemouth bass were caught along the steeper section of this shoreline in six to 11 feet of water while I was employing either a drag-and-subtle shake presentation or a drag-and-short-deadstick presentation. They were caught from eight to 15 feet from the water’s edge. Three were caught around some of the docks.

Twenty-two of the 29 largemouth bass were caught along the flatter section of this shoreline in four to seven feet of water. Except for three largemouth bass that were caught adjacent to some of the docks, the other 19 largemouth bass seemed to be abiding around the winter-wilted coontail patches.   Several were caught as far as 20 to 25 feet from the water’s edge. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop. One was caught on a protracted deadstick presentation. Some were caught while I was strolling and using either a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation or a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. The others were caught while I was casting and employing a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation, a drag-and-short-deadstick retrieve, and a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve.

I spent an hour and five minutes plying about 250-yards of a slightly wind-blown shoreline in the upper half of this reservoir.  It possesses a 20- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, some silt, and a few boulders.  The water’s edge is embellished with patches of winter-dead American water willows, a tiny bridge, several concrete and rock retaining walls, six docks, several overhanging trees, some laydowns, a few tertiary points, and one boulder-laden point. Some of the flat areas are graced with patches of winter-wilted coontail.

I caught 10 largemouth bass along this shoreline.

Along one of the flat areas, I caught six of the 10 largemouth bass. They were caught around patches of winter-wilted coontail in four to six feet of water while I was strolling into the wind and employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig. And I elicited several strikes that I failed to catch.

I caught four largemouth bass along a steep section of this shoreline on the Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig.  One was caught on the initial drop in about four feet of water. The other three were caught in five to seven feet of water during the glide segment of the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

In sum, the Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig caught 26 largemouth bass, the Junebug Hula StickZ rig caught 10 largemouth bass, and the green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rig caught three largemouth bass. Twenty-eight of the largemouth bass were caught along the flat locales that are bedecked with patches of winter-wilted coontail. Eleven of the largemouth bass were caught along steep shorelines that are devoid of coontail. Several of the largemouth bass had the tails of gizzard shad protruding from their gullets, and I did not notice any crayfish antennae protruding from the gullets of the largemouth bass.  Some of the largemouth bass were small and some of them were big.

Dec. 6 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 6 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

I conducted a solo outing at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

It was a gloomy and overcast day, and I did not feel very motivated to get on the water. The wind quartered out of the northwest at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.38 at noon and dropped to 30.30 by 4:00 p.m. It was 42 degrees at 5:57 a.m., 47 degrees as I launched my boat at 11:43 a.m., and 54 degrees at 3:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the most productive fishing would occur from 12:26 a.m. to 2:26 a.m., 6:42 a.m. to 8:42 a.m., and 12:57 p.m. to 2:57 p.m. I fished from noon to 4:00 p.m.

The water level was about four feet low. The water clarity exhibited about two feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 57 degrees on the main lake to 59 degrees inside one of the feeder-creek arms.

I searched for largemouth bass and spotted bass inside three major feeder-creek arms, around five main-lake points, along three main-lake shorelines, around 15 concrete bridge support columns, along two adjacent riprap-laden embankments of a large bridge, and at a submerged rock ledge on the south side of a main-lake island.  All of these locales are situated in the south end of the reservoir.

In my eyes, the underwater terrains in all of these areas look alike. They are composed of red clay, rocks, gravel, and boulders. Some of the shorelines are steep with 30- to 60-degree slopes with water as deep as 12 to 35 feet nearby. Others are flat and covered with three to seven feet of water. There are a few patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation or stickups embellishing some of the main-lake shorelines, several secondary points, some of the shorelines inside the three feeder-creek arms,  along the water’s edge at a couple of the main-lake points, and along the top shelf of the submerged rock ledge on the south end of the main-lake island.

Across the span of four hours, I caught 15 largemouth bass and three spotted bass.  All but two of them weighed between 1 3/4 and 2 1/4 pounds. The other two were smaller specimens that were about 12 to 13 inches long.

I failed to catch any largemouth bass or spotted bass around four of the five main-lake points, along the three main-lake shorelines, and at the submerged rock ledge near the main-lake island. I caught one largemouth bass and one spotted bass from the fifth main-lake point. This point is flat and rocky, and they were abiding in four to six feet of water, near the tip of the point,  and about 25 feet from the water’s edge.

Underneath a large bridge, I fished around 15 concrete support columns. I caught one largemouth bass next to one of the support columns near the north end of the bridge. This largemouth bass was suspended about 10 to 12 feet below the surface in 34 feet of water. I failed to elicit any strikes from the other 14 columns.

The riprap embankments on each end of the bridge were fruitless.

Inside one of the three feeder-creek arms, I caught four largemouth bass. They were extracted from three to six feet of water from the sides of several submerged boulders that lie along a 50-yard stretch of a flat shoreline on the northeast end of the creek arm. I failed to locate any black bass around six rocky secondary points, two small mud flats, four steep shorelines, and two concrete boat ramps in the upper and middle sections of this feeder creek.

The second feeder creek was not as fruitful as the first one. It yielded one largemouth bass. It was caught in four feet of water from a patch of flooded terrestrial vegetation stems that border a shallow ditch along the northwest shoreline. I plied several other secondary points and a flat shoreline inside this creek arm, but I failed to generate a strike.

The third feeder-creek arm was the most productive area. It surrendered eight largemouth bass and two spotted bass. They were caught in the lower and middle sections of this creek arm in three to six feet of water. Two of them were caught at a concrete boat ramp on the west shoreline in less than five feet of water.  The other nine were scattered hither and yon along several secondary points, three flat shorelines, and two steep shorelines.

In sum, I caught three of the 18 black bass from main-lake lairs. The other 15 bass were caught in the lower and midsections of the three feeder-creek arms.

Sixteen of the black bass were beguiled by a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ attached to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. One was caught on a Z-Man’s white lightning Finesse TRD affixed to a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. The other one was caught on a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD rigged on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Fourteen of them were caught with a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve. Four were caught with a hop-and-bounce retrieve. I failed to provoke any strikes with a drag-and-deadstick retrieve, drag-and-shake retrieve, or a steady swimming retrieve.

As I was loading the boat on the trailer, I concluded that it was worth the effort to get out on the water after all.

Dec. 8 log

 As David Harrison of Lawrence, Kansas, and I drove to one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs around 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 8, we noticed that some of the small ponds that stipple the countryside were covered with a skim of ice. It was our first sighting of ice since the winter of 2016-17.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 12 degrees at 3:53 a.m. and 39 degrees at 2:53 p.m.  The sky was clear except for a short spell before 9:53 a.m. and after 10:53 a.m., which is when it fluctuated from being scattered with clouds to being overcast. The wind angled out of the southwest, south by southwest, west by southwest, and west at 3 to 11 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.24 at 12:53 a.m., 30.14 at 5:53 a.m., 30.05 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.03 at 3:25 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 2:29 a.m. to 4:29 a.m., 2:56 p.m. to 4:56 p.m., and 8:43 a.m. to 10:43 a.m.  David and I fished from 11:06 a.m. to 2:07 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 43 to 44 degrees. The water level was normal. In the upper portions of this reservoir, the water exhibited about  2 1/2 feet of visibility, and in its lower half, the water exhibited four to five feet of visibility. This reservoir is affected by a minor planktonic algae bloom.

Our primary focus was aimed at dissecting the shallow-water coontail patches in the upper half of the reservoir. But we did probe two relatively steep shorelines that are basically devoid of coontail. All of the coontail patches are in the midst of their wintertime decline or wilt, and some patches, in fact, have declined so dramatically that they are nearly nonexistent.

I rarely fish the same reservoir more than once a week. But I fished this one on Dec. 5 in order to deal with the howling and incessant winds that have been pummeling northeastern Kansas.  Some weather forecasts indicated the wind would be problematic for northeastern Kansas’ anglers on Dec. 8. Therefore, we elected to fish this reservoir again. The howling wind, however, never materialized. During my Dec. 5 outing, I fished for three hours and caught 39 largemouth bass. David and I fished for three hours on Dec. 8 and struggled to catch 22 largemouth bass.

We spent 77 minutes fishing several portions of a 400-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline in the upper half of this reservoir. This shoreline is cluttered with about three dozen docks.  It possesses a 25- to 70-degree slope. Most of the water’s edge is lined with either concrete or rock retaining walls. Adorning the portions of the water’s edge, there are some patches of winter-dead American water willows, some overhanging trees, a few laydowns, and several brush piles. Some of the flat terrains are endowed with patches of winter-wilted coontail. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, silt, and some boulders.

Along the various portions of this 400-yard stretch of shoreline, we caught six largemouth bass. One was caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s blue steel Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig in about five feet of water and about 10 feet from a concrete retaining wall. One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-and-subtle-shake retrieve in about seven feet of water. One was caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Rain MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-and-shake presentation in about 10 feet of water in the vicinity of a dock. We caught three largemouth bass in three to four feet of water on our Junebug Rain MinnowZ rigs with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve around winter-wilted patches of coontail.

We quickly fished around three main-lake points and failed to elicit a strike.

On a shallow-water flat inside a small feeder-creek arm, we caught one largemouth bass in about five feet of water by dragging-and-deadsticking a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig under a pontoon boat that was tied up to a dock. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and silt.

We caught one largemouth bass along a short main-lake shoreline in the upper half of this reservoir.  This shoreline possesses a 30-degree slope.  Its water’s edge is lined with winter-dead patches of American water willows, a few patches of winter-wilted coontail, one overhanging tree, and three docks. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. This largemouth bass was caught while we were strolling a Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation in eight feet of water.

Along a 250-yard stretch of another main-lake shoreline in the upper half of this reservoir, we caught 14 largemouth bass.

This shoreline possesses a 20- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, some silt, and a few boulders.  The water’s edge is embellished with patches of winter-dead American water willows, a tiny bridge, several concrete and rock retaining walls, six docks, several overhanging trees, some laydowns, and a few tertiary points.  Some of the flat areas are graced with patches of winter-wilted coontail.

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One of the largemouth bass that we caught on the Z-Man’s Junebug Rain MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Around several patches of winter-wilted coontail that embellishes one of this shoreline’s flat terrains, we caught seven largemouth bass on our Junebug Rain MinnowZ rigs while we were either strolling it with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation or casting it and executing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in six to nine feet of water. And we caught one on the initial drop of the Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig in about six feet of water.

In the vicinity of one of the docks along this 250-yard shoreline, we caught a largemouth bass while we were strolling and dragging the blue steel Finesse ShadZ rig in about five feet of water.

Along some patches of winter-dead American water willows that are intertwined with patches of winter-wilted coontail patches that bordered a concrete and rock retaining wall, we caught two largemouth bass on a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to either a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig or a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Both of the largemouth bass were caught while we employed a drag-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water. We probed the winter-wilted coontail patches on the shallow-water flat near and adjacent to the concrete and rock retaining walls, and we failed to elicit a strike.

We caught three largemouth bass along the portion of this 250-yard shoreline that has a 45-degree slope. This shoreline is adorned with a few winter-dead patches of American water willows, some minor laydowns, several piles of rocks and minor boulders, and occasional patches of winter-wilted coontail. Two of the largemouth bass were caught in six feet of water on the Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation while we were strolling. One largemouth bass was caught in five to six feet of water on a four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in six feet of water while we were strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation.

In sum, the green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ rig caught one largemouth bass, the Junebug Finesse WormZ rig caught one largemouth bass, the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rig caught one largemouth bass, the Junebug Hula StickZ rig caught two largemouth bass, the blue steel Finesse ShadZ rig caught two largemouth bass, and the Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig caught 15 largemouth bass.

In regard to our presentation styles, two of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs, two were caught while we employed a drag-and-deadstick presentation, five were caught as we worked with a drag-and-shake retrieve, and 13 were caught with slight variations or modifications of the swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

This lackluster outing reinforced our predilections for not fishing the same northeastern Kansas’ reservoir more than once a week.

Dec. 10 log

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 10 outing with Merit Goodman of Eudora, Kansas, at one of northeastern Kansas’ power-plant reservoirs.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 26 degrees at 12:53 a.m. and 55 degrees at 2:53 p.m.  The sky was clear. From 7:53 a.m. to 3:53 p.m., the wind angled out of the northwest, west by northwest, and west at 10 to 21 mph.  The barometric pressure was 30.17 at 12:53 a.m., 30.10 at 5:53 a.m., 30.15 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.12 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated the best fishing would take place from 4:19 a.m. to 6:19 a.m., 4:43 p.m. to 6:43 p.m., and 10:31 a.m. to 12:31 p.m. We fished from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

We spent the entire outing in the warm-water plume, hiding from the wind by methodically dissecting four steep shorelines several times.  The warmest surface temperature that we found was 58 degrees. The water exhibited 1 1/2 to two feet of visibility. The water level looked to be normal.

We caught 32 largemouth bass and one freshwater drum along these steep or bluff-like shorelines in water as shallow as two feet and as deep as six feet. Our most effective rigs were a Z-Man’s California Craw TRD TubeZ and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ, which we affixed to either a black or a red 1/32- or 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

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Merit Goodman with one of the 32 largemouth bass that they caught.

Along two of these steep shorelines, we had to deal with the wind, which forced us to make short casts, keep our rods pointed down, stroll with our Midwest finesse baits, and employ a do-nothing retrieve that allowed the rig to glide or swing back to the boat. In the wind-sheltered areas, our rods were elevated, and we worked with a do-nothing retrieve that allowed the rig to swim and glide back to the boat.  Occasionally we would add a twitch or two to the rig as it glided back to the boat. During the retrieve, it glided and swung a few inches above the bottom.

Dec. 11 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 11 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

As the water temperature has fallen into the mid-50s, the Florida-strain largemouth bass that reside in all of the U.S. Army Corps’ of Engineers’ reservoirs in north-central Texas have become very lethargic and difficult to catch. And when the water temperatures drop below 50 degrees, they will become virtually comatose. But a few largemouth bass and spotted bass at one Corps’ reservoir have remained more active than the ones in the other reservoirs.

On Dec. 11, I joined Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, at that one Corps’ reservoir where the bass fishing is still somewhat productive. It is the same reservoir that I fished on Dec. 6 when I caught 18 largemouth bass and spotted bass in four hours.

A south-by-southwest wind blew at 10 to 15 mph during our Dec. 11 excursion.  It was 41 degrees at 7:00 a.m. and 78 degrees at 3:00 p.m. The average low temperature for Dec. 11 in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area is 36 degrees and the average high is 57 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.90 at 11:00 a.m. and fell to 29.78 by 5:00 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the most lucrative fishing periods would take place from 5:14 a.m. to 7:14 a.m., 11:02 a.m. to 1:02 p.m., and 5:37 p.m. to 7:37 p.m. Rick and I fished from about 11:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

The surface temperature was 59 degrees on Dec. 6 and 54 degrees on Dec. 11. The water level was still four feet below normal. The water clarity exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility.

We concentrated our efforts inside three major feeder-creek arms, and four main-lake points in this reservoir’s southwest tributary arm.

The shorelines and points at these locales are either flat and shallow or steep with deep water close to the water’s edge. The underwater terrain is comprised of red clay, gravel, rocks, and boulders. There is no aquatic vegetation in this reservoir.

We began the outing inside one of the three feeder-creeks,  which contains a large marina and is located on the south side of the tributary arm. We focused our attentions on two concrete boat ramps, three rocky and steep shorelines, and five secondary points. Two largemouth bass were caught from three to five feet of water along a clay and gravel shoreline along the northwest end of the feeder creek. One largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught from one of the two boat ramps and a short 20-yard section of shoreline just south of the boat ramp in three to six feet of water along the west side of the feeder creek. One spotted bass and one channel catfish were extracted from three to five feet of water along a steeply-sloped and rock-laden shoreline along the south end of the creek arm. One largemouth bass was caught from a 50-yard stretch of shoreline along the northeast end of the creek arm in four feet of water. We failed to elicit any strikes from any of the secondary points or the other concrete boat ramp that are situated on the south shoreline.

The second feeder-creek arm that we fished lies about a mile west of the first one. It is located on the north side of the tributary arm. Inside this creek arm, we dissected several secondary points, two steep shorelines, a boat house, and a shallow ditch in a small cove along the west shoreline. One secondary point yielded one largemouth bass, but the remainder of this creek arm was fruitless. This largemouth bass was abiding in six feet of water and about 15 feet from the end of the point.

The third feeder-creek arm is located about half a mile west of the second feeder-creek, and it lies on the north side of the tributary arm as well. It was our most bountiful locale. It relinquished 20 largemouth bass and one spotted bass.

Eight largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught from the west shoreline. This shoreline is endowed with two concrete boat ramps, several secondary points, and three rocky shorelines.

Two largemouth bass were extracted from a shallow patch of riprap that lines the side of one of the concrete boat ramps. One spotted bass was caught from one of the rocky secondary points. Six largemouth bass were caught from a 35-yard stretch of a shallow rock ledge that parallels the south end of the west shoreline.

The east side of the feeder-creek arm surrendered 12 largemouth bass. Ten were caught from a 25-yard stretch of rocky shoreline that is adorned with the remnants of several thin patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation or stickups. Two largemouth bass were caught from another 15-yard segment of steep shoreline that is devoid of any flooded stickups.

All 21 of these black bass were extracted from three to eight feet of water.

Two largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught from a wind-blown main-lake point at the mouth of the third feeder-creek arm. These three black bass were extracted from two to five feet of water and about three to 15 feet from the water’s edge.

We failed to garner any strikes from the other three main-lake points.

All told, we had what we consider a splendid outing.  We were delighted to catch 27 largemouth bass, four spotted bass, and one channel catfish in five hours, which is a rare feat to accomplish at any of the Corps’ reservoirs in north-central Texas in December.

As for location patterns, one bass was caught in the upper reaches of the feeder-creek arms. Five were caught from the midsections of the feeder-creek arms. Twenty-two bass were caught from the lower-third portions of the feeder-creek arms. Three were caught from one of the four main-lake points. All of them were caught in eight feet of water or less. The flat and rocky shorelines were more productive than the steeper ones.

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Steve Reideler with one of the spotted bass that they caught.

Twenty of the 31 black bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Six were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s white lightning ZinkerZ attached to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. Four were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ attached to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. One was caught on a Z-Man’s smelt Finesse ShadZ rigged on a white 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Twenty-eight of them were allured by a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve. Two were bewitched by a slow hop-and-bounce presentation, and one engulfed the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig on the initial fall.

As we were slowly motoring into two of the feeder-creek arms, our sonar devices located several large concentrations of baitfish and other large schools of unknown species of fish suspended in the middle of the creek channels in about eight to 21 feet below the surface, and the water was 23 to 31 feet deep. We tried to inveigle these fish by vertically jigging a three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/5-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig and slowly drifting the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rigs with the wind and behind the boat, but it was for naught.

Dec. 12 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 17 degrees at 7:52 a.m. and 44 degrees at 2:52 p.m.  The sky was clear.  The wind angled out of the northwest and west by northwest at 6 to 15 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.32 at 12:52 a.m., 30.37 at 5:52 a.m., 30.35 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.22 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 5:48 a.m. to 7:48 a.m., 6:11 p.m. to 8:11 p.m., and 11:37 a.m. to 1:37 p.m. I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 11:47 a.m. to 2:47 p.m.

The surface temperature was 43 degrees. The water level looked to be about a foot below normal. The water exhibited two to 3 1/2 feet of visibility. This reservoir was waylaid with an atrocious algae bloom in early November, and the aftereffects are still lingering around. Some of the shorelines and patches of American water willows are coated with the dried residue of the bloom, and it is thick enough around some areas that it looks as if it the American water willows and terrestrial vegetation are coated with plaster of paris; it is an ugly sight. Even though the bloom has moderated, there are millions of planktonic cells of algae homogenized throughout the reservoir at a variety of depths. This reservoir used to have many acres of luscious submerged aquatic vegetation, but the managers of this reservoir elected to kill it. The demise of the submerged aquatic vegetation has affected the habits and location of the largemouth bass during the cold-water months of the year. Vast numbers of largemouth bass used to mill around the patches of submerged vegetation that adorned many of this reservoir’s shallow-water flats in the backs of its feeder-creek arms. But nowadays those shallow-water flats are silt laden, and they entertain a mere smidgen of largemouth bass.

For three hours, I dissected portions of three shorelines inside two feeder-creek arms.

Inside one of the feeder-creek arms, I fished about a 250-yard stretch of one shoreline. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 45-degree slope. The water’s edge is lined with patches of winter-dead American water willows that are coated with the dried-residue from the algae bloom, and most of these patches are out of the water. There are also a few stumps, some minor laydowns, and several small brush piles. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Adjacent to a 75-foot section of this shoreline, there is a significant hump, and it consists of rocks and a few boulders that are half of the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and several massive stumps that are about a quarter of the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.

I probed this shoreline and hump for an hour, and it yielded five largemouth bass.

One of the five was caught on the hump in about eight feet of water on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye Jig with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. I elicited another strike, which I failed to hook.

About 15 feet from the water’s edge along this 250-yard stretch of shoreline, I caught one largemouth bass in eight feet of water on a Z-Man’s Junebug Rain MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce VMC’s  NME Neon Moon Eye Jig with a drag-and-shake presentation. The other three largemouth bass were caught on the TRD HogZ rig with a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve in five to eight feet of water and 10 to 15 feet from the water’s edge.

I spent the next 120 minutes inside another feeder-creek arm.

For 52 minutes, I fished about a 125-yard stretch of a shoreline and a small portion of its adjacent shallow-water flat in the back of the second feeder-creek arm.

This shoreline has a 20- to 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a lot of silt. The water’s edge is embellished with some winter-dead patches of American water willows, some laydowns, a few stumps, some minor brush piles, and five docks.

I caught six largemouth bass along this 125-yard stretch of shoreline, and I failed to elicit a strike from the silt-laden flat.

One of the six largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the TRD HogZ rig next to a laydown in about four feet of water. The other five were caught on the TRD HogZ rig in four to six feet of water while I was employing either the drag-and-shake retrieve or the glide portion of the swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

During the last 68 minutes of this outing, I caught 23 largemouth bass on the TRD HogZ rig.  They were caught along a 175-yard section of another shoreline that is about halfway inside the second feeder-creek arm.  This shoreline possesses a 25- to 85-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. Its waters edge is graced with patches of winter-dead American water willows, many laydowns, several stumps, six docks, and a couple of short concrete and rock retaining walls.

Three of the 23 largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the TRD HogZ rig in five to seven feet of water. Three were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation in five to 10 feet of water. Seventeen largemouth bass were caught on a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation in six to 12 feet of water. The bulk of the 23 largemouth bass were caught around and near laydowns and stumps, and most of them were caught on the glide portion of the swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. Nine of the largemouth bass were caught while I was making casts and retrieves that were parallel to this shoreline or when I was strolling parallel to the shoreline.  Five of the largemouth bass were caught on back-to-back casts.

In sum, 33 of the 34 largemouth bass were caught on the TRD HogZ rig. The most effective retrieve was the swim-glide-and-shake presentation or some variation of it.

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The Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ and charteuse 1/32-ounc VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye jig.

During the winter of 2016-17, a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to either a chartreuse or a red 1/32- or 1/16-ounce Gopher jig was our most effective Midwest finesse rig. And as the water temperatures drop, it is becoming very effective again. On our Dec. 12 outing, we affixed it to the chartreuse 1/32-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye Jig.

Two weeks ago, Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted a brief on the Finesse News Network about the manifold merits of the 1/32-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye Jig. He reported that he had been using it throughout the fall and catching smallmouth bass galore with it in the rivers and streams that he fishes in northeastern West Virginia, and he has used it to catch the smallmouth bass in water as cold as 36 degrees by employing a no-feel-swim-and-glide presentation.

Dan Quinn of Hudson, Wisconsin, is Rapala’s Field Promotions Manager, which entails working with VMC’s tackle, and he sent us several 1/32- and 1/16-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye Jigs.  We talked to Quinn on Dec. 11, and he thought that the light-wire No. 6 hook on the 1/32-ounce jig and the light-wire No. 4 hook on the 1/16-ounce jig might be too small and bendable for black bass angling. But we told him that they are ideal, explaining that we had been using similar size hooks for years on end, and we have never had a largemouth bass or smallmouth bass bend them.  But we have bent some of them when we worked on removing them from the tissue around the mouths of channel catfish and freshwater drum that we inadvertently caught.

A 1/32-ounce jig and a No. 6 hook are very beneficial when Midwest finesse anglers have to fish around laydowns. They allow the rig to swim and glide slowly around the limbs and prevent the jig from becoming snagged. I used the same TRD HogZ and chartreuse  1/32-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye Jigs throughout the entire outing, and after tangling with 33 largemouth bass, they look as if they have the wherewithal to tangle with another 64 largemouth bass or more before they will have to be retired.

Some of the 34 largemouth bass were small. Some of them were large.  I rarely take the time to weigh or measure the length of a fish, but because Dan Quinn was concerned about the ability of the No. 6 hook on the 1/32-ounce jig to withstand the abuse that a big bass can render, I spent two minutes weighing the largest one, and it weighed 5.88 pounds.

During the cold-water outings in the years past, I have rarely caught a largemouth bass along the shoreline that yielded 23 during this outing.  Perhaps the demise of the submerged aquatic vegetation is affecting the cold-water whereabouts of the largemouth bass that abide in this reservoir. I am hoping, however, that some of the curly-leaf pondweed that used to grace the shallow-water flats will emerge as December and January unfolds, and then Midwest finesse anglers can enjoy catching scores and scores of largemouth bass in three to six feet of water when the water temperature is in the upper 30s and lower 40s.

Dec. 14 log

According to the weather forecast, it looked as if Dec. 14 would be a splendid day to be afloat in northeastern Kansas.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 26 degrees at 12:57 a.m. and 44 degrees at 1:52 p.m.  The wind was calm at times, and when it stirred, it angled out of the west by northwest and northwest at 3 to 8 mph.  The sky was primarily overcast; there was a short spell when it fluctuated from being partly cloudy to mostly cloudy.  The barometric pressure was 29.98 at 12:52 a.m., 30.07 at 5:52 a.m., 30.12 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.09 at 1:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 7:07 a.m. to 9:07 a.m., 7:20 p.m. to 9:29 p.m., and 12:56 a.m. to 2:56 a.m. I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs from 10:57 a.m. to 1:27 p.m.

The water level looked to be normal.  The surface temperature ranged from 42 to 43 degrees.  The water exhibited about four feet of visibility.  There was a minor planktonic algae bloom, and there were particles of algae suspended in the water. This reservoir’s submerged aquatic vegetation was enduring the winter-wilt phenomenon, and it had lost most of its greenish hue,  and it exhibited a rusty or reddish-brown hue.  Patches of curly-leaf pondweed should be sprouting and growing, but I did not find any of it.

This reservoir looks as if it should be an excellent waterway to catch an array of cold-water largemouth bass. But for some unknown reason, it has always been a difficult venue in late fall and early winter. I was hoping, however, that with the mild-mannered wind that I could find a significant aggregation of cold-water largemouth bass abiding in the patches of submerged vegetation that graces the shallow-water flats in the backs of the feeder-creek arms or along some of the steep shorelines that are embellished with thick patches of winter-dead American water willows, flooded terrestrial vegetation, coontail, and laydowns.

For two hours and 30 minutes, I quickly probed portions of three main-lake shorelines, five shallow-water flats, and seven main-lake points, and I failed to locate an aggregation of cold-water largemouth bass. In fact, I struggled to catch three largemouth bass.

One of them was caught along a main-lake shoreline on a Z-Man’s Junebug Rain MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye Jig as I was strolling and employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in six feet of water about 10 feet from the outside edge of a patch of American water willows and flooded terrestrial vegetation.

One largemouth bass was caught around a main-lake point in seven feet of water on the Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in the vicinity of a patch of American water willows, a laydown, and some flooded terrestrial vegetation.

The third one was caught around a patch of winter-wilted coontail and chara in seven feet of water on a shallow-water flat in the back of one of the reservoir’s major feeder-creek arms.  It was caught on the Junebug Rain MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

In short, it was a rare and disappointing Midwest finesse day in northeastern Kansas. I was hoping that I could finally decipher where the largemouth bass in this reservoir abide and how to catch them in mid-December. But I learned once again to not venture to this reservoir in mid-December and throughout January.

Dec. 15 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 30 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 44 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being overcast to mostly cloudy from 12:53 a.m. to 5:53 a.m., and except for a short spell around 8:53 a.m., when it was overcast, it was clear for the rest of the day. The wind angled out of the northwest, west by northwest, west, southwest, and south by southwest at 4 to 23 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.14 at 12:53 a.m., 30.17 at 5:53 a.m., 30.15 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.06 at 2:53 p.m. Several ponds that stippled the countryside had minor skims of ice floating on them around 10:00 a.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 7:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., 8:07 p.m. to 10:07 p.m., and 1:34 a.m. to 3:34 a.m. I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 10:19 a.m. to 1:56 p.m.

The water level was normal.  The surface temperature was 42 degrees. The water exhibited a visibility of four to five feet in its lower regions, and in its upper regions, it exhibited a tea hue and a visibility of two to three feet.  An algae bloom is more prevalent in the upper half of the reservoir than in its lower half.

The largemouth bass fishing can be extremely trying in northeastern Kansas during the second week of December. For instance, we caught three largemouth bass on Dec. 11, 2005; 12 largemouth bass on Dec. 13, 2006; 13 largemouth bass on Dec. 14, 2007; five largemouth bass on Dec. 15, 2011; 11 on Dec. 15, 2014; and 15 on Dec. 18, 2015.

On this Dec. 15 outing, I fished three hours and 36 minutes and caught 11 largemouth bass, and the day before that I fished for three hours and caught three largemouth bass.

Despite those sorry outings, there have been some relatively bountiful ones in mid-December.  We caught 41 largemouth bass on Dec. 11, 2006; 38 largemouth bass on Dec. 9, 2010; 49 largemouth bass on Dec. 12, 2016; and 34 largemouth bass on Dec. 12, 2017.

We cannot definitively or scientifically prove that the largemouth bass are pelagic and affected with wanderlust when the water temperature is in the low 40s and upper 30s in the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas. But for winters on end in northeastern Kansas, we have suspected that the largemouth bass become pelagic and slowly meander around in the upper reaches of our flatland reservoirs. At times, they seem to wander around in congregations, and there are spells when they spend a lot of time sashaying around the massive shallow-water flats in the backs of the primary, secondary and tertiary feeder-creek arms that are endowed with patches of  submerged aquatic vegetation, such as coontail or curly-leaf pondweed or Eurasian milfoil.  Occasionally, they roam near and along some shorelines. (We must note that we rarely catch them along a shoreline, but on Dec. 12, we caught 23 largemouth bass along a shoreline in about 56 minutes.) And if Midwest finesse anglers fail to cross paths with these meandering largemouth bass, their catch rate will be very meager. But if Midwest finesse anglers cross paths with them, their catch rate can be quite bountiful. And we have caught a goodly number of them on back-to-back casts and retrieves, which has allowed us to tangle with 15 to 25 of them in an hour.

When we do cross paths with them, it often seems to be a mysterious and random encounter. And in our eyes, it seems as if the largemouth bass are finding and catching us – rather than the other way around.

Some of this December’s problem might stem from the fact that the submerged aquatic vegetation at the northeastern Kansas’ reservoirs that I fished on this outing and the day before are afflicted with some severe wintertime wilt and decay. And angling lore has it that largemouth bass avoid abiding around decaying vegetation.  We suspect that the decay is more prominent this December than in some of the Decembers of the past because the algae bloom that erupted this fall have prevented the sunlight from reaching the patches of submerged aquatic vegetation.

Here is a description of what transpired during my Dec. 15 outing:

I spent 46 minutes meticulously probing a shallow-water flat that is about the size of five tennis courts in the upper half of this community reservoir. It is embellished with sporadic patches of winter-wilted coontail that are covered with five to nine feet of water. I caught three largemouth bass along the outside edge of one of the coontail patches in about nine feet of water.  They were caught on back-to-back casts and retrieves with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye Jig as I was strolling and employing a slow swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation. On the initial drop of a Z-Man’s Junebug Rain MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye Jig, I hooked a largemouth bass in about five feet of water that I failed to catch.

I spent 65 minutes probing a massive shallow-water flat in the upper half of the reservoir.  It is graced with an assortment of winter-wilted coontail patches in three to six feet of water. I caught one largemouth bass on the ZinkerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-minor-shake retrieve in about four feet of water. I caught four largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Rain MinnowZ affixed to a hand-painted red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. One was caught on the initial drop of the Rain MinnowZ rig in about three feet of water. The other three were caught while I was employing a swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation in four to six feet of water.  Two of the largemouth bass were caught on back-to-back casts.

On top of a rock-and-boulder hump that graces another flat in the upper half of this reservoir, I caught two largemouth bass on the ZinkerZ rig with a drag-and-minor-shake presentation in about eight feet of water.

Around another flat in the upper half of this reservoir, I caught one largemouth bass that was abiding in about five feet of water around a patch of winter-wilted coontail. It was caught on the ZinkerZ rig as I was strolling and employing a swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation.

I failed to elicit a strike along two shorelines that I fished in the upper half of the reservoir. Portions of these shorelines are steep and other portions are flat. They are graced with gravel, rocks, some boulders, some laydowns, some brush piles, some patches of winter-wilted coontail, some winter-dead patches of American water willows, some docks, and some concrete and rock retaining walls.

I failed to garner a strike along a 50-foot stretch of a steep shoreline in the lower half of the reservoir.

I failed to get a strike along patches of winter-wilted coontail that border a 60-yard stretch of shoreline in the lower half of the reservoir.

And I failed to engender a strike around some minor patches of winter-wilted coontail and winter-dead patches of American water willows adjacent to the dam.

In short, nine of the 11 largemouth bass were caught around lairs that are traditionally fruitful during the cold-water time of the year. I do not have a clue about what is going on with the largemouth bass at this reservoir, but when I occasionally turned on a sonar unit as I crisscrossed it, I noticed that there was a lot of fish life suspended and milling about at various depths in the upper half of the reservoir, and that phenomenon was not as prevalent in the reservoir’s lower half.

Many years ago, I gave up trying to inveigle those suspended sonar findings with a jerkbait or some forerunners to the modern-day swimbaits.  I know some anglers who employ jerkbaits, and they occasionally catch a few suspended largemouth bass this time of the year, but in my eyes, it is not an enjoyable way to spend three or four hours afloat.

Dec. 15 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 15 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

I elected to return to the same U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir that Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, and I fished on Dec. 11.

I was hoping to find a couple of decent concentrations of active largemouth bass and spotted bass in the southeast and eastern regions of this impoundment. But I became disheartened when my plans did not work out the way I had hoped.  In fact, I failed to elicit a single strike in these two sections of the reservoir.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 34 degrees at 4:49 a.m. and 55 degrees at 2:50 p.m.  The sun shined brightly in a partly-cloudy sky. The wind angled out of the northwest at 5 to 10 mph.  The barometric pressure was 30.32 at noon, and 30.24 at 4:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated the best fishing would occur from 1:42 a.m. to 3:42 a.m., 7:54 a.m. to 9:54 a.m., and 8:16 p.m. to 10:16 p.m. I fished from noon to 4:00 p.m.

I spent the entire outing in the south end of the reservoir.

The surface temperature varied from 52 degrees to 54 degrees. The water level was four feet below normal. The water exhibited a slightly brownish tint and exhibited about 1 1/4 feet of visibility.

I failed to cross paths with any largemouth bass or spotted bass along the dam or at a riprap-laden flat adjacent to the dam.

I also failed to locate any black bass around several secondary points, the shoreline of an island, and a couple of clay and gravel flats adorned with partially-flooded stickups inside a feeder-creek arm on the southeast end of the reservoir.

Two main-lake points on the east side of the reservoir’s east tributary arm were not fruitful.

At this point, I was completely baffled as to the whereabouts of the largemouth bass and spotted bass in the eastern region of this reservoir. So, I moved to the west side and slowly dissected portions of two feeder-creek arms, two main-lake points, and the area around a large bridge in the southwest tributary arm.

At these west-side locales, I caught 17 largemouth bass and one freshwater drum.

As late-fall turns into winter, the water temperature begins to play an important role in our abilities to locate and catch the Florida-strain largemouth bass that inhabit the Corps’ reservoirs in north-central Texas. As the water temperature drops from 58 degrees to 50 degrees, the black bass fishing slows to a crawl. And when the water temperature dips into the 40-degree range, the black bass fishing comes to a virtual standstill. All of the black bass that I caught during this outing were extracted out of 54-degree water. None were caught in the 52- to 53-degree water.

Two largemouth bass and one freshwater drum were caught from one of the two rocky main-lake points in three to five feet of water.

Three were caught from the two riprap embankments on each end of the large bridge in four to six feet of water.

Twelve were caught in two to 10 feet of water from four rock- and boulder-strewn shorelines just inside the mouths of the two feeder-creek arms.

Nine largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s white lightning Finesse TRD rigged on a Z-Man’s chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig caught five. Three largemouth bass were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ attached to a white 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. I was unable to generate any strikes with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. A Z-Man’s bluegill Scented LeechZ on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig provoked one strike, which I failed to hook.

During this outing, I employed all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves. Fifteen bass were allured by a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve. Two were caught with a slow hop-and-bounce presentation.

Once the water temperature reaches 52 degrees or lower, we find that the bottom-oriented presentations such as the drag-and-deadstick retrieve, drag-and-shake retrieve, and hop-and-bounce retrieve become more effective than the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve and the do-nothing swimming retrieve.

 Dec. 16 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 16 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Lou Clewell of Roslyn, Pennsylvania, is visiting Denton for about a week. He had several hours of free time on Dec. 16. So, we ventured to the same U.S. Army Corps’ of Engineers’ reservoir that I fished on Dec. 15.  Lou is a newcomer to Midwest finesse methods, and this was his fourth Midwest finesse excursion.

The day started off clear and sunny. By 1:00 p.m., the sky became overcast, and by 3:30 p.m., it began to rain, which forced us to quickly scurry back to the boat ramp earlier than we had planned. Local meteorologists predicted that the cold rain would begin falling around 5:00 p.m. The morning low temperature was 34 degrees and the afternoon high temperature reached 62 degrees before it quickly dropped to 46 degrees when it began to rain. The wind blew incessantly out of the south at 15 to 20 mph. There were a few wind gusts that reached 23 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.07 at noon and 30.01 at 4:00 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the most productive fishing periods for Dec. 16 would occur from 2:24 a.m. to 4:24 a.m., 8:35 a.m. to 10:35 a.m., and 8:58 p.m. to 10:58 p.m.

Lou and I fished from about noon to 3:30 p.m. inside a minor feeder-creek arm on the north end of the reservoir where we sought shelter from the vigorous south wind.

The water inside this creek arm exhibited 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was four feet below normal. The surface temperature ranged from 57 to 60 degrees.

The underwater terrain consists of clay and gravel in the lower and middle sections of the creek and changes to a hard rock bottom with submerged rock ledges in the upper section. The shorelines in the upper reaches are steep and bluff-like,  and they are flat in the lower and middle portions of the creek. There are numerous partially-submerged brush piles, laydowns, and stumps that litter the shallow water areas and shorelines.

We caught 20 largemouth bass that weighed up to three pounds, and we accidentally caught one bluegill during this 3 1/2-hour undertaking.

We began fishing at the mouth of the feeder-creek arm and fished our way upstream about a mile. We had this entire feeder-creek arm to ourselves.

Sixteen of the largemouth bass were caught in the lower-third section of the creek arm in the vicinity of the submerged main creek channel or next to a laydown or brush pile that was close to the main creek channel in four to seven feet of water. The other four were caught along a submerged rock ledge in the middle portion of the creek in about five feet of water.

 

IMG_2828

Lou Clewell with one of the 20 largemouth bass that they caught.

A Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD affixed on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught five largemouth bass.  A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ attached to a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig caught the other 15 largemouth bass. We failed to garner any strikes with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

All of these bass were enticed with a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve. We were unable to generate any strikes with a slow do-nothing swimming retrieve. The debris that clutters this creek’s bottom prevented us from utilizing the drag-and-shake retrieve, drag-and-deadstick retrieve, or hop-and-bounce presentation.

Dec. 18 log

A year ago on Dec. 18, it was -13 degrees in Lawrence, Kansas. This time around area thermometers climbed to 55 degrees, and some of the forsythia bushes in our yard began to bloom.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 33 degrees at 6:49 a.m. and 55 degrees at 2:52 p.m.  Before 6:49 a.m., the sky fluctuated from being overcast to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy, and then it became clear.  The wind angled out of the south, south by southwest, west by northwest, west by southwest, and southwest at 3 to 18 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.03 at 12:35 a.m., 30.04 at 5:33 a.m., 30.07 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.99 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occurr from 9:59 a.m. to 11:59 a.m., 10:23 p.m. to 12:23 a.m., and 3:47 a.m. to 5:47 a.m. I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 11:02 a.m. to 2:02 p.m.

The surface temperature was 43 degrees. The water level was about six inches below normal. The water exhibited five feet of visibility.  This reservoir was walloped with a terrible algae bloom in early November, and the aftereffects were still lingering around during the second week of December. But as of Dec. 18, it has finally vanished.

For two hours and 17 minutes, I fished three shorelines inside a major feeder-creek arm.

As I fished these three shorelines, I had to contend with a pesky west by southwest wind that fouled a goodly number of my presentations.

I thoroughly dissected about a 100-yard section of a shoreline that is about halfway inside this feeder-creek arm, and it yielded 12 largemouth bass.  This shoreline possesses a 25- to 85-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. Its water’s edge is graced with a few patches of winter-dead American water willows, many laydowns, several stumps, and two docks. Six of the largemouth bass were caught in seven to 11 feet of water on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye Jig.  The other six were caught in seven to 11 feet of water on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Three of the largemouth bass were caught while I was employing a deadstick presentation. The others were caught while I was employing either a drag-and-shake retrieve or a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. The most effective presentations occurred when my casts where parallel to the shoreline.

I fished about a 90-yard stretch of a shoreline in the back of this feeder-creek arm, and it yielded 12 largemouth bass. This shoreline has a 35-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is embellished with some winter-dead patches of American water willows, some laydowns, a few stumps, some minor brush piles, and two docks.  Ten of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s California craw TRD HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye Jig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. They were abiding in about six feet of water and from 10 to 25 feet from the water’s edge. I think that the bulk of these largemouth bass were caught around burgeoning patches of curly-leaf pondweed. I did not, however, see or hook any curly-leaf pondweed, but at times it felt as if the TRD HogZ rig became slightly entangled with some curly-leaf pondweed stems. Two of the 12 largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig in five to six feet of water and about 15 feet from the water’s edge, and one was caught on a deadstick presentation, and the second one was caught on a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

I failed to elicit a strike along a 30-yard stretch of another shoreline in the back of this feeder-creek arm.

I spent 39 minutes hopscotching along a massive shoreline inside another major feeder-creek arm, and I caught two largemouth bass. This shoreline was sheltered from the wind.  It possesses a 20- to 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some boulders. The water’s edge is lined with patches of winter-dead American water willows, stumps, overhanging trees, and laydowns.

One of the largemouth bass was caught on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig with a deadstick presentation in nine feet of water. The second one was caught on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve in about 10 feet of water.

I spent the final four minutes of the outing fishing along a shoreline inside a small feeder-creek arm, and I caught one largemouth bass. This shoreline was sheltered from the wind. It possesses a 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. Its water’s edge is embellished with patches of winter-dead American water willows and a few laydowns. This largemouth bass was caught on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig while I was strolling and employing a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve in about eight feet of water.

In sum, I caught 27 largemouth bass in three hours. Eight were caught on the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rig. Nine were caught on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig. Ten were caught on the California craw TRD HogZ rig.

Five were caught with a deadstick presentation. Five were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation. Seventeen were caught on a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

Most of the 27 largemouth bass that I caught were small, but six of them were large, and the largest one looked as if it would weigh nearly six pounds.

Dec. 19 log

A year ago on Dec. 19, it was minus-six degrees around Lawrence, Kansas.  On Dec. 19, 2017, The Weather Underground reported that it was 35 degrees at 1:16 a.m. and 50 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The sky was clear from 12:52 a.m. to 3:52 a.m., and then it fluctuated from being partly cloudy, mostly cloudy, overcast, and hazy. The wind fluctuated from being calm to angling out of the east by southeast, east, south by southwest, south, west by southwest, west by northwest, northeast, and north by northeast at 3 to 8 mph.  The barometric pressure was 30.00 at 12:52 a.m., 30.01 at 5:52 a.m., 30.09 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.09 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 10:20 a.m. to 12:20 p.m., 4:36 a.m. to 6:36 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs. Because the wind was very mild-mannered, I would be able to thoroughly dissect a variety of cold-water lairs. Not having to deal with the wind is an important factor for helping Midwest finesse anglers to catch more than 10 largemouth bass an hour. Therefore, I was hoping that I could tangle with at least 50 largemouth bass, and my plan was to fish until I caught 50 largemouth bass or my stopwatch indicated that I fished for four hours.

The water level looked to be six inches or so below its normal level.  The surface temperature ranged from 43 to 44 degrees.  The water exhibited more than five feet of visibility.

I made my first cast at 10:55 a.m., and I caught largemouth bass No. 50 at 2:53 p.m. Thus, I fished for three hours and 58 minutes.

I began the outing by focusing on an offshore hump that lies about 20 percent of the way inside a feeder-creek arm. The underwater terrain of this hump consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and it is enhanced with several gigantic stumps and some dilapidated brush piles. This hump yielded eight largemouth bass. Five of them were caught in seven to 10 feet of water on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye Jig with either a swim-glide-and-subtle shake retrieve or a drag-and-minor-deadstick presentation.  Three of the largemouth bass were caught in seven to nine feet of water on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a drag-shake-and-minor-deadstick presentation. Three of the eight largemouth bass were caught on back-to-back casts.

After tangling with those eight largemouth bass, I stayed inside this feeder-creek arm and spent 53 minutes probing about a 150-yard stretch of a shoreline, about a 50-yard stretch of a shoreline, about a 25-yard stretch of a shoreline, and about a 15-yard stretch of a shoreline. These shorelines possess 25- to 60-degree slopes. Their underwater terrains consist of gravel, rocks, and some boulders. The water’s edge is lined with some meager patches of winter-dead American water willows, one beaver hut, a few laydowns, several minor piles of brush, and some stumps.

I caught one largemouth bass along the 150-yard stretch of shoreline in about seven feet of water on the TRD HogZ rig while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation. This largemouth bass was about halfway inside the feeder-creek arm and 15 feet from the water’s edge.

I caught one largemouth bass along the 50-yard stretch of shoreline in about five feet of water on the TRD HogZ rig with a drag-and-shake-and-minor-deadstick presentation. This largemouth bass was abiding about 75 percent of the way inside this feeder-creek arm and about 10 feet from the water’s edge.

Along the 25-yard stretch of shoreline, I caught two largemouth bass in four to five feet of water on the TRD HogZ rig on back-to-back casts. One was caught on the initial drop of the rig, and the second one was caught while I was executing a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation. One of the largemouth bass was caught adjacent to a patch of American water willows. The second largemouth bass was caught about six feet from the patch of American water willows.

One largemouth bass was caught along the 15-yard stretch of shoreline in about eight feet of water as I was fishing parallel to the shoreline, which is steep and quickly plummets into 20 to 25 feet of water. It was caught on a Z-Man’s California craw TRD HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye Jig with a deadstick presentation. This largemouth bass was about seven feet from the water’s edge.

From 12:20 p.m. to 2:39 p.m., I fished inside another feeder-creek arm. And I focused on five areas or locales.

One of those locales was an offshore hump that lies about 75 percent of the way inside this feeder-creek arm, and I failed to elicit a strike.

Another area was about a 175-yard stretch of a shoreline that is about 25 percent of the way inside this feeder creek.  Along this section of shoreline, I caught 16 largemouth bass. It possesses a 25- to 85-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. Some of its water’s edge is graced with patches of winter-dead American water willows, laydowns, several stumps, four docks, and some retaining walls. These 16 largemouth bass were extracted out of six to 10 feet of water and caught on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig. Four were caught adjacent to the laydowns. One was caught on the initial drop of the TRD HogZ rig. Some were caught while I strolled and employed a drag-shake-and-minor deadstick presentation. The others were caught as I was casting and executing either a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation or a drag-and-deadstick presentation. Perpendicular casts and retrieves to the water’s edge were not as effective along this shoreline as were the casts and retrieves that were either parallel or at a 45-degree angle to the water’s edge. Several of these largemouth bass were caught on back-to-back casts.

The other three areas that I fished were situated along another shoreline inside this feeder-creek.  One stretch or section of this shoreline was about 110-yards long, another section was about 80-yards long, and the third stretch was about 40-yards long.

Along a 40-yard section of the other shoreline, I failed to garner a strike. This section is about 20 percent of the way inside this feeder-creek arm.

I caught seven largemouth bass along the 80-yard section of this shoreline.  This section lies from 30 to 35 percent of the way inside this feeder creek. It possesses a 20- to 35-degree slope. Its water’s edge is lined with some patches of winter-dead American water willows, six docks, a few laydowns, some concrete retaining walls, a tertiary point, and a few manmade brush piles. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. One largemouth bass was caught adjacent to one of the concrete retaining walls in six feet of water on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation. Four largemouth bass were caught between three of the docks in six to nine feet of water on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig with a drag-and-deadstick presentation, and two of these four largemouth bass were on back-to-back casts.  One largemouth bass was caught along the outside edge of one of the docks in 11 feet of water on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig with a deadstick presentation. The seventh largemouth bass was caught in five feet of water around the tertiary point and within six feet of a patch of winter-dead American water willows, and it was caught on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig with a drag-shake-and-minor-deadstick presentation.

Eleven largemouth bass were caught along the 110-yard section of shoreline. This section of shoreline is about 75 percent of the way inside this feeder-creek arm. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, a few boulders, and some silt. The water’s edge is embellished with some patches of winter-dead American water willows, some laydowns, and two docks. One of the 11 largemouth bass was caught adjacent to one of the docks in about six feet of water on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation. One largemouth bass was caught adjacent to a significant laydown on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig with a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation in five feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught around a pile of boulders in about four feet of water on the initial drop of the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig.  The other eight were caught from 10 to 20 feet from the water’s edge as I was either casting and retrieving or strolling the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig with a drag-shake-and-short-deadstick presentation.

From 2:41 p.m. to 2:53 p.m., I quickly fished a 20-yard stretch of a shoreline and another short stretch of a shoreline inside a small feeder-creek arm. These shorelines possess about a 40-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders.  The water’s edge is adorned with patches of winter-dead American water willows and a few meager laydowns.  I caught two largemouth bass on back-to-back casts with the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig.  One was caught on the initial drop in about four feet of water next to a patch of winter-dead American water willows. The second one was caught in five to six feet of water as I was employing a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve.  The third largemouth bass, which was largemouth bass No. 50, was caught in eight feet of water and about 10 feet from the outside edge of the patches of winter-dead American water willows as I was strolling and working with a drag-shake-and-minor-deadstick presentation.

In sum, 46 largemouth bass were caught on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig. Three were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One was caught on a Z-Man’s California craw TRD HogZ affixed to chartreuse 1/16-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye Jig. Throughout this outing, I did a lot of dragging and shaking and some minor deadsticking, and those presentations caught the bulk of the largemouth bass. There were times, however, when the swim-glide-and-subtle-shake and swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation inveigle some largemouth bass.

Most of these 50 largemouth bass were small. The small ones were occasionally intermixed with some large ones, but none of them looked to be larger than 3 3/4 pounds.

It is interesting to note that I have been using the same Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye Jig since Dec. 12.  This rig has caught 88 largemouth bass, and it looks as if it has the wherewithal to tangle with many more largemouth bass before it becomes too tattered and torn to stay firmly affixed to the jig’s bait keeper.  What’s more, some of the paint has been scraped off of the jig’s lead head, but the hook is still sharp and strong, and its aspirin-head shape works well with all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves.

Dec. 20 log

The Weather Underground reported that it was 36 degrees at 8:53 a.m. and 43 degrees at 3:53 p.m. After 3:53 a.m., the sky was persistently overcast. The wind angled from the northeast, east by northeast, north by northeast, east, east by southeast, and southeast at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.08 at 12:53 a.m., 30.06 at 5:53 a.m., 30.03 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.95 at 2:53 p.m.

The surface temperature was 42 degrees.  There was about five feet of visibility. The water level looked to be about a foot below normal.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would transpire from 11:31 a.m. to 1:31 p.m., and 11:55 p.m. to 1:55 a.m., and 5:43 a.m. to 7:43 a.m. I was afloat at a northeastern Kansas’ community reservoir from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

During this three-hour outing, I caught 30 largemouth bass, and accidentally caught one white crappie and one rainbow trout.

I fished inside a major feeder-creek arm, inside a minor feeder-creek arm, and around two main-lake points.

I fished about a 40-yard section of a relatively steep shoreline that lies about 80 percent of the way inside the major feeder-creek arm.  Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. This shoreline is endowed with several significant laydowns. It yielded one largemouth bass that was caught while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation with a  Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye Jig in about seven feet of water. It was caught about 15 feet from the water’s edge.

I fished a secondary point and about a 60-yard section of a flat shoreline that is situated about 80 percent of the way inside the major feeder-creek arm, and I failed to elicit a strike.

Around a secondary point inside the major feeder-creek arm, I caught 15 largemouth bass. This is the first time that I have caught a cold-water largemouth bass around this secondary point since Jan. 18, 2006, when the surface temperature was 39 degrees and sheets of ice covered some of the water, and during that 2006 outing, this secondary point yielded 33 largemouth bass. It is situated about 20 percent of the way inside this feeder-creek arm. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The boulders create several minor ledges.  A submerged creek channel meanders nearby. It possesses a 35- to 50-degree slope. There are several manmade brush piles that garnish this terrain. Thirteen of the largemouth bass were caught on the TRD HogZ rig in six to 10 feet of water. Some were caught on the glide portion of the swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation, and others were caught on a drag-and-minor-deadstick presentation. One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a swim-glide-and-minor-deadstick presentation in six feet of water.  One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s PB&J Rain MinnowZ affixed to a hand-painted red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation in nine feet of water. These largemouth bass were caught from 15 to 25 feet from the water’s edge.

Along a 40-yard section of a steep shoreline inside this feeder creek, I caught one largemouth bass on the TRD HogZ rig in about eight feet of water on the glide portion of the swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation. It was caught about eight feet from the water’s edge. The TRD HogZ rig elicited two strikes that I failed to hook. This shoreline possesses a 60- to 70-degree slope.  The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some boulders. A submerged creek channel meanders nearby. The water’s edge is endowed with a few laydowns, a couple of stumps, and some patches of winter-dead American water willows.  This shoreline lies about 15 percent of the way inside this feeder-creek arm.

Around another secondary point, I caught one largemouth bass on the TRD HogZ rig with a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation in about seven feet of water. It was caught within 10 feet of the water’s edge. This secondary point is near the mouth of this feeder-creek arm.  It possesses a 35- to 40-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is graced with some shallow-water patches of winter-dead American water willows, some overhanging cedar trees, and a few minor laydowns. Several manmade brush piles are anchored in 12 to 15 feet of water.

I caught five largemouth bass around one of the main-lake points. They were caught on the TRD HogZ rig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation in seven to 10 feet of water and 15 to 20 from the water’s edge. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The boulders create a series of minor ledges, and the five largemouth bass were abiding around these ledges, and they engulfed the TRD HogZ rig as it glided off of the ledge.  The main-lake point possesses a 30-degree slope. The water’s edge is cluttered with several docks and meager patches of winter-dead American water willows.

I failed to elicit a strike around the second main-lake point that I fished.

I caught seven largemouth bass along a 25-yard section of a shoreline inside the minor feeder-creek arm. This shoreline possesses a 35- to 40-degree slope. Its water’s edge is graced with winter-dead patches of American water willows, a dock, some nearby manmade brush piles, and one significant laydown. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some boulders. Four of the largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig with a drag-and-minor-deadstick presentation in seven to 10 feet of water and about 10 feet from the water’s edge. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on the TRD HogZ rig as I was strolling it and employing a drag-and-minor-deadstick presentation in six to 10 feet of water.

Around a secondary point and its adjacent shorelines inside this minor feeder-creek arm, I failed to elicit a strike.

In sum, the PB&J Rain MinnowZ rig caught one largemouth bass, the Finesse ShadZ rig caught four largemouth bass, and the TRD HogZ rig caught 25 largemouth bass.  Since Dec. 12, this same TRD HogZ rig has caught 112 largemouth bass in four outings, and it looks as if it has the wherewithal to tangle with several dozen more before it needs to be retired.

Some of the 30 largemouth bass were caught on variations of the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, but others were caught on three dragging motifs: the drag-and-minor-deadstick, the drag-shake-and-minor-deadstick, and the drag-and-shake.

Dec. 20 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 20 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Lou Clewell of Roselyn, Pennsylvania, and I fished at a heavily fished U.S. Army Corps’ of Engineers’ reservoir that lies in the northern suburbs of the metropolitan Dallas area. We fished inside a minor feeder-creek arm in this reservoir’s northern region for 3 1/2 hours on Dec. 16, and we enjoyed tangling with 20 largemouth bass before a rainstorm forced us off the water. Besides the half inch of rain that fell during the afternoon and evening hours of Dec. 16, another 1 1/2 inches of rain drenched the north-central Texas countryside on Dec. 19.

The morning of Dec. 20 was overcast and a blanket of thick fog cut visibility down to 1/16 of a mile. The National Weather Service issued a fog warning until 10:00 a.m., but the fog did not dissipate until noon. The wind was light and variable. The morning low temperature was 41 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 61 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.02 at 11:00 a.m. and 29.93 at 4:00 p.m.

Lou and I fished from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and we caught 17 largemouth bass and one spotted bass.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur between 5:35 a.m. and 7:35 a.m., 11:23 a.m. and 1:23 p.m., and 11:47 p.m. and 1:47 a.m.

The recent rains have muddied this reservoir’s feeder-creek arms where the water displayed less than a foot of visibility. The water in the main-lake areas and inside one main-lake cove that we plied exhibited between 1 1/2 to two feet of clarity.  The water level was a couple of feet below normal.  The surface temperature varied from 54 to 55 degrees.

We spent 4 1/2 hours plying portions of two major feeder-creek arms, two main-lake points, two riprap bridge embankments, a series of large concrete support columns under a railroad trestle bridge, and portions of a main-lake cove.

This reservoir is devoid of any aquatic vegetation. The underwater terrain inside the two feeder-creek arms, the main-lake cove, and the two main-lake points consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, and red clay. The submerged terrain around the two bridge embankments is comprised of riprap.

Inside the two muddy feeder-creek arms, the water’s surface was littered with leaves and small branches. We focused our attentions on a concrete boat ramp, seven secondary points, and six rocky and steeply-sloped shorelines.

We caught three largemouth bass, and they were caught near the mouth of one of the two feeder-creeks.  One of them was caught in three feet of water from the side of a steep and rocky secondary point. Two were caught along a clay, gravel, and chunk rock shoreline in three to five feet of water. They were caught on a Z-Man’s white lightning Finesse TRD that was rigged on a custom-painted chartreuse Z-Man’s 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig and employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We failed to generate any strikes inside the other creek arm.

One spotted bass was caught in six feet of water from one of the two riprap-laden bridge embankments. Four largemouth bass were caught from the other riprap embankment in five to eight feet of water. Three of these five black bass were caught on the white lightning Finesse TRD rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. A slow hop-and-bounce presentation with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig enticed the other two largemouth bass.

One largemouth bass was caught from the side of one of the concrete support columns underneath the railroad trestle bridge. This largemouth was suspended about 10 feet below the surface. The water surrounding this column was 30 feet deep. This largemouth was beguiled by a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the white lightning Finesse TRD rig.

Three largemouth bass were caught from one of the two main-lake points at the mouth of a feeder-creek arm. These three bass were extracted from two to five feet of water and were caught on the white lightning Finesse TRD rig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. We failed to provoke any strikes from the other main-lake point.

We caught six largemouth bass inside the main-lake cove in three to 15 feet of water around a steep shoreline and a rocky secondary point on the east side of the cove. Four were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two were caught on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ combo.

One was caught on the initial drop of the Finesse WormZ. One was enticed by a slow drag-and-deadstick retrieve. One was caught with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Two were caught with a slow drag-and-no-shake presentation across the bottom. One was caught with a slow hop-and-bounce retrieve.

In sum, we caught 15 of the 18 black bass in water that exhibited at least 1 1/2 feet of clarity. Three were caught in water with a foot or less of clarity.

The most effective lure was a Z-Man’s white lightning Finesse TRD attached to a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. The most effective presentation was a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Dec. 21 log

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 21 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

The first day of winter in north-central Texas was a delightful one. Throughout the day, the sky conditions varied from being clear to partly cloudy to overcast. The afternoon high temperature reached 76 degrees. The low temperature was 49 degrees. The barometric pressure was 29.82 at noon and 29.76 at 5:00 p.m. The wind quartered out of the south by southwest at 10 to 15 mph.

Roger Farrish of Highland Village, Texas, and I were not enthusiastic about plying any of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan areas, and this is because the recent rains have made them too muddy. Therefore, we opted to enjoy the warm winter afternoon by slowly meandering along the shorelines of two small community reservoirs that are situated in two suburbs northwest of Dallas.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the prime fishing periods would take place from 12:15 a.m. to 2:15 a.m., 6:27 a.m. to 8:27 a.m., and 12:39 p.m. to 2:39 p.m.  We fished the first reservoir from about noon to 2:00 p.m. and the second one from about 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The first community reservoir we fished is about 20-acres in size. But to our dismay, we could eke out only six largemouth bass in two hours.

The water level was normal. The water was muddy from recent rainstorms and exhibited about six inches to a foot of visibility.

The underwater terrain of this reservoir consists of sand, gravel, and fist-size rocks.

Along the west side of the reservoir, the water temperature was 55 degrees. We caught two largemouth bass that were associated with a patch of hydrilla that runs underneath a fishing pier in about six to eight feet of water. This patch of hydrilla is about 35 feet long and five feet wide. These two largemouth bass were caught on a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation that was employed with a shortened Z-Man’s black-blue-flake Hula StickZ attached to a custom-painted blue Z-Man’s 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.  We failed to generate any other strikes along this shoreline.

From the west shoreline, we moved southward to the concrete-slab dam that forms the south perimeter of this reservoir. The water temperature was 54 degrees, and we failed to elicit a single strike.

After we fished the dam, we moved to the east shoreline, which is curved and possesses a 15- to 30-degree slope. The water temperature was 56 degrees. We caught four largemouth bass in four to six feet of water along a broad gravel and sand point that forms the middle section of this shoreline. Three of them were caught on the shortened Z-Man’s black-blue-flake Hula StickZ rig that we used with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation. We failed to entice any strikes from a smaller clay point on the north end of this shoreline.

The fishing at this reservoir was too slow and tedious for our tastes, so we ventured to the second community reservoir, which is about two-acres in size. We fished this reservoir from about 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and it was quite a chore for us to inveigle four largemouth bass.

When we first arrived at this reservoir, we were disappointed to find that the water was muddy, exhibiting less than a foot of visibility. The water level appeared to be about a foot high. The water temperature was 57 degrees.

The underwater terrain of this impoundment is comprised of mostly clay and gravel. A couple of shallow clay ledges parallel the east and west shorelines. There are several patches of lily pads that line the north and west shorelines. Their leaves were still exhibiting a late-summer green hue, but their stems were turning yellow and brown.

We caught two largemouth bass along the east shoreline, which is fairly steep and graced with several stands of cattails. These largemouth bass were caught in three to five feet of water from two clay points. One was caught on a heavily-customized 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s black-blue-flake FattyZ tube rigged on a custom-painted blue 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, and the other one was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Both of these lures were presented with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve.

IMG_2835

Roger Farrish with one of the largemouth bass that they caught.

One largemouth bass was caught in less than two feet of water along the outside edge of a patch of lily pads along the north shoreline. Another largemouth was caught near the outside edge of another patch of lily pads on the west side of the reservoir in three feet of water.  Both of them were caught on a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation with the customized 2 1/2-inch black-blue-flake FattyZ tube.

The south end of this reservoir encompasses a decorative concrete and stone dam. The bottom terrain adjacent to the base of the dam is covered with riprap. We failed to elicit any strikes from this area.

Overall, it was a struggle to catch 10 largemouth bass in four hours. Six were caught from the first reservoir and four were caught from the second one.  And to make matters worse, local meteorologists are forecasting that north-central Texas will be pummeled with more rain along with our first blast of winter on Dec. 22. We suspect that this change in weather will keep us at bay for the next few days, and the rain and colder air temperatures will put an end to our last remaining black-bass bite of 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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