The February guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains nine logs and 6,626 words that detail how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished.

It features the piscatorial endeavors of Rick Allen of Dallas; Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas; Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia; and  Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas.

Reideler is the primary log writer and editor of this guide. We are grateful, indeed, for his contributions.

Feb. 2 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

On this Groundhog Day, I conducted a solo foray to a somewhat fruitful U.S. Army Corps’ of Engineers’ reservoir in north-central Texas. It is also the only Corps’ reservoir that I and a couple of my cohorts have fished this winter.  The reason for this stems from the fact that the black bass fishing at the other Corps’ reservoirs in the Dallas and Ft. Worth metropolitan areas is so horrendous that we are unable to muster any enthusiasm to fish at these reservoirs until the second or third week of March, when our wintertime bass fishing doldrums normally come to an end.

It was sunny on Feb. 2, and about 40 percent of the sky was adorned with thin patches of wispy cirrus clouds. The wind quartered out of the east and northeast at 8 to 12 mph. The morning low temperature was 28 degrees and the afternoon high temperature reached 54 degrees. The barometric pressure was high and measured 30.55 at noon and 30.41 at 4:00 p.m.

The most lucrative fishing periods, according to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, would occur from 5:56 a.m. to 7:56 a.m., 11:42 a.m. to 1:42 p.m., and 12:09 p.m. to 2:09 p.m.

I spent four afternoon hours in the northern region of the reservoir and I plied a minor feeder-creek arm from noon to 4:00 p.m.

The shorelines in the middle and upper reaches of this creek arm are steep. They are flatter in the lower section of the creek. There are scores and scores of submerged brush piles, laydowns, and stumps throughout this creek arm.

The water exhibited about 20 inches of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 57 to 59 degrees. The water level was 1.67 feet below normal.

I began fishing about 50 yards inside the mouth of the feeder-creek arm and worked my way upstream about 1 1/4 miles. I had this feeder-creek arm to myself until about 1:30 p.m., then I shared it with six other boats of anglers.

The fishing was trying, but it was not as bad as I expected. In fact, it was my most fruitful outing since Jan. 3, when Rick Allen of Dallas and I caught 20 black bass in this same feeder creek.

On my Feb. 2 outing, I caught 13 largemouth bass and one spotted bass.  I also unintentionally caught three white crappie and two white bass.

Twelve largemouth bass, the three crappie, and the two white bass were caught along the first 300 yards of the lower end of the creek arm. The other largemouth bass and the one spotted bass were caught in the upper end of the middle section.

They were many yards apart from each other.  They were extracted from water as shallow as three feet and as deep as seven feet.

I was unable to determine a location pattern. Some of them were relating to the ends of submerged laydowns. Others were associated with a few of the submerged brush piles. Two were caught from a steep shoreline that was barren of any type of wood or rock cover. But I was able to determine that steep shorelines were more productive than flatter ones.

A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rigged on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught eight largemouth bass and one spotted bass.  A Z-Man’s California craw Hula StickZ wacky rigged on a black 1/32-ounce Owners’ Weedless Wacky Head jig allured the other five largemouth bass. I failed to garner any strikes with several hues of 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s ZinkerZs, three-inch Slim SwimZs, Finesse ShadZs, and shortened four-inch Finesse WormZs attached to either a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20- or  a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The green-pumpkin TRD HogZ was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve. The wacky-rigged California craw Hula StickZ was pitched into openings and along the edges of the submerged brush piles and between the forks of branches of the submerged laydowns. It was then allowed to slowly settle to the bottom and deadsticked for several seconds.

Feb. 4 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

I had aspirations of plying a few different locales in the southern portion of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir that I fished on Feb. 2, but a vigorous wind and endless ranks of white-capped waves prevented me from venturing out in my boat on that reservoir. Therefore, I decided to grab a couple of my spinning outfits and meander along the shorelines of a couple of smaller municipal reservoirs that are situated in two communities north of Dallas.

In-Fisherman’s solunar table indicated the best fishing would take place from 1:38 a.m. to 3:38 a.m., 7:50 a.m. to 9:50 a.m., and 2:02 p.m. to 4:02 p.m. I was afoot at the first reservoir from about 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., and I fished at the second one from about 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

It was a mild but windy day. The sky was partly cloudy, and the vibrant sun was shining everywhere. The morning low temperature was 44 degrees and the afternoon high termperature peaked at 62 degrees. A troublesome wind blew out of the north by northeast at 15 to 25 mph. The barometric pressure was steady at 30.10.

The water at the first community reservoir that I fished exhibited a brownish hue with about eight inches of visibility.  The water temperature was 52 degrees. The water level was normal.

When Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, and I fished this reservoir on Jan. 23, the water was muddy with about two inches of visibility. The water temperature was 42 degrees, and we caught two largemouth bass. During this Feb. 4 outing, this reservoir surrendered five largemouth bass in 90 minutes.

I started fishing the south end of the reservoir, which is comprised of a decorative concrete and stone dam. The submerged terrain along the base of the dam is covered with softball-size rocks. I dissected this area with a Z-Man’s black-blue-flake TRD HogZ attached to a custom-painted blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and a Z-Man’s black-blue-flake TRD TubeZ rigged on a custom-painted blue 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, but I failed to generate any strikes.

Three largemouth bass were caught along the east shoreline. This shoreline is the steepest of the four shorelines, and it is endowed with two primary points and three tertiary points. One largemouth bass was caught from each of the tertiary points in three to five feet of water.

One was caught on the black-blue-flake TRD HogZ rig and a slow drag-and-deadstick presentation. The other two were caught on a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD that was affixed on a custom-painted blue 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, which was employed with a slow and steady swim-and-constant-shake retrieve. I was unable to generate any strikes from the two primary points.

I failed to elicit any strikes from a shallow mud flat that occupies 90 percent of the northern shoreline or from a small feeder creek that enters the reservoir at the west end of this shoreline.

After that, I plied the west side of the reservoir, which is endowed with a submerged clay and gravel ledge.  Three patches of winter-dead lily pad stems enhance three sections of this shoreline. I caught two largemouth bass in about three feet of water from the clay and gravel ledge that parallels the midsection of this shoreline. They engulfed the black-blue-flake TRD HogZ rig as it was slowly dragged and deadsticked along the top of the ledge. The three patches of lily pad stems failed to yield a strike.

After I finished fishing the first community reservoir, I drove about 15 miles to the second one.

The water level was normal. The water temperature was 52 degrees at the north end of the reservoir and 53 degrees at its south end.  The water exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility.

I fished the east shoreline first, which is curved and possesses a 30-degree slope. I failed to entice any strikes from a long clay and gravel point on the north end of this shoreline.

I caught two largemouth bass from the end of a broad gravel and sand point that forms the middle section of the shoreline. They were abiding in four to six feet of water. Both of them were beguiled by a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ that was rigged on a custom-painted chartreuse Finesse ShroomZ jig, and it was implemented with an extremely slow drag-and deadstick retrieve.

I caught another largemouth bass in six feet of water along the outside edge of a sand and gravel ledge that parallels the south end of this shoreline. This bass was caught on a Z-Man’s blue-craw Finesse TRD affixed to a custom-painted blue Finesse ShroomZ jig. It was utilized with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

From the east shoreline, I moved to the dam. The dam is constructed of large concrete slabs and forms the reservoir’s southern boundary. I dissected this area with the Z-Man’s blue-craw Finesse TRD and green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rigs, but I was unable to provoke any strikes.

Along the west side of the reservoir, I plied a 35-yard section of a sand and gravel shoreline, and two tertiary points on each end of this steep section of shoreline with the same blue-craw Finesse TRD and green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rigs, but I was unable to garner any strikes.

The north end of this reservoir encompasses a large and shallow mud flat that is lined with tall stands of cattails and a small feeder creek that enters the reservoir from the east end of this shoreline. This area is a protected migratory waterfowl nesting area, and I did not spend any time fishing it.

All told, the black bass fishing continues to be slow and difficult. I fished for three hours,  and it became a laborious task to catch eight largemouth bass: five from the first reservoir and three from the second one.

None of them were large specimens, but they were respectable in size and weighed between 1 1/2 and two pounds.

A Z-Man’s black-blue-flake TRD HogZ and green-pumpkin TRD HogZ were the two most effective baits. These two rigs allured five of the eight bass. Two of the other three largemouth basss were enticed into striking the  Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD, and one was attracted to the Z-Man’s blue-craw Finesse TRD. A painfully slow drag-and-deadstick retrieve was the most effective presentation; it allured five largemouth bass. A slow swim-and-constant-shake retrieve caught two largemouth bass, and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve caught one.

Feb. 9 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

In an attempt to shake off our wintertime bass fishing blues, Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I ventured to a nearby U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir that has relinquished the most largemouth bass and spotted bass during the past two months.

This was Norman’s first outing in 2018, and we elected to fish a minor feeder-creek arm on the north end of the reservoir where we hoped to tangle with a few largemouth bass and spotted bass.

At 3:00 a.m., it was 40 degrees. At 3:00 p.m., it was 72 degrees. The sky was partly cloudy. The wind blew steadily out of the south by southeast at 17 to 20 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.07 around noon and dropped to 29.92 by 4:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 5:37 a.m. to 7:37 a.m., 11:25 a.m. to 1:25 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Norman and I fished from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This feeder-creek arm is narrow. It is about 20 yards wide at its broadest point. The creek channel is as deep as 14 feet and as shallow as three feet. The underwater terrain in its lower and middle sections consists of gravel and clay.

The water at the mouth of the creek exhibited about 14 inches of visibility, and the surface temperature was 57 degrees. In the middle section of the creek, the water exhibited about 2 1/2 feet of visibility. The surface temperature in this portion of the creek ranged from 58 to 60 degrees.

In sum, it was a dull and lackluster outing.  It took us five hours to inveigle nine largemouth bass, five white bass, and three large white crappie. We hooked two other unknown species of fish that were able to liberate themselves before we could see them.

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

Six of the nine largemouth bass were extracted from five to eight feet of water in the vicinity of the main-creek channel. They were many feet away from any rock or wood cover. Two largemouth bass were caught close to a steep section of shoreline in three feet of water from underneath the low branches of two large overhanging trees. One largemouth bass and one of the white bass were caught on consecutive casts from a small pocket along a steep shoreline in four feet of water. The other four white bass and the three white crappie were caught from around a submerged laydown and two small submerged brush piles in four to six feet of water.

The only effective bait was a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ sported on either a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig or a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle’s Mushroom Head jig  that was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve.

After this outing’s exiguous results, it appears that our winter bass fishing blues shows no signs of abating.

Feb. 15 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

The weather in north-central Texas has been a roller-coaster ride from January into February, but we are beginning to see a trend toward more warm days than cold ones.

Feb. 15 is a good example of one of the warmer days. The morning hours were overcast, but the sky conditions changed to partly cloudy by mid-afternoon. A vigorous south wind blew incessantly at 18 to 25 mph throughout the day, and it hindered many of our casts and retrieves. At 2:25 a.m., it was 63 degrees; it was 75 degrees at 4:25 p.m. The barometric pressure measured 30.10 at 11:00 a.m. and dropped to 29.88 by 4:00 p.m.

Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, Roger Farish of Highland Village and I conducted a six-hour afternoon bank-walking jaunt at three small community reservoirs that lie in two suburbs north of Dallas.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar table, the best fishing would most likely occur from 3:46 a.m. to 5:36 a.m., 9:58 a.m. to 11:58 a.m., and 10:21 p.m. to 12:21 a.m.

We fished the first reservoir from about 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. We plied the second and third reservoirs, which are situated next to each other, from about 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

At the first reservoir that we fished, the water level appeared to be normal. The water exhibited about six inches of clarity. The water temperature ranged from 53 degrees along its southern shoreline to 57 degrees along its northern end.

We caught four largemouth bass and one bullhead catfish in 2 1/2 hours at this reservoir.

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Norman Brown with a largemouth bass.

We started fishing along the south end and fished our way northward along the east side. We failed to entice any strikes along the decorative stone and concrete dam that forms the reservoir’s southern boundary.

Two largemouth bass were caught along the east shoreline. This shoreline is endowed with two primary points and three tertiary points. These two largemouth basss were caught in three to five feet of water from two of the three tertiary points. One was caught on a shortened Z-Man’s black-blue-flake Turbo CrawdadZ attached to a custom-painted blue 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. The other largemouth bass 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 rigs were employed with a slow drag-and-deadstick presentation. We were unable to generate any strikes from the other tertiary point and two primary points.

The bullhead catfish was caught from the outside edge of a large patch of winter-dead lily pads that line the north shoreline. On the west end of this shoreline, a small feeder creek enters the reservoir. This feeder creek surrendered one largemouth bass that was caught in four feet of water from underneath a small bridge that spans the mouth of this feeder creek. This bass engulfed the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig as it was slowly dragged and deadsticked across the bottom of the creek channel.

After that, we dissected the west side of the reservoir which features two clay and gravel points, a submerged clay ledge, and  three patches of winter-dead lily pads. The top of the clay ledge yielded one largemouth bass that was extracted from about five feet of water. This bass engulfed a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD rigged on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. It was employed with a slow swim-and-constant-shake retrieve.  We failed to garner any strikes from the points and patches of lily pads.

After we finished fishing the first community reservoir, we drove about 15 miles to the other two.

The water at the second community reservoir was about a foot below normal and exhibited about 1 1/4 feet of visibility. The water temperature varied from 56 to 58 degrees.

This reservoir surrendered one largemouth bass. It was caught from a small submerged sand and gravel ledge on the north end of the east shoreline. It was caught on the shortened black-blue-flake Turbo CrawdadZ rig that was dragged and deadsticked along the top of the submerged ledge.

We failed to garner any strikes from the edge of a mud flat along the south shoreline, a large primary point on the west side of the reservoir, and the steep  shoreline along the north side. We hooked another largemouth bass next to a short section of riprap that lines the north end of the west shoreline, but it was able to liberate itself by severing our eight-pound-test fluorocarbon leader on an unknown submerged object.

At the third reservoir, we meticulously dissected a steep clay and gravel shoreline that forms the east perimeter of the impoundment, several steep clay and gravel points that lie along the north and south shorelines, two creek channels that run parallel to the southern and northern portions of an island, and a large cove on the west end of the reservoir.

The water exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water temperature was 59 degrees along the south shoreline and 60 degrees along the north shoreline.

We caught 14 largemouth bass from this reservoir.

One largemouth bass was caught in eight to ten feet of water  and about 40 feet away from the water’s edge near the east end of the south shoreline.

Four largemouth bass were caught in three to five feet of water inside a large pocket or cove on the west end of the north shoreline.

Two largemouth bass were caught and a third largemouth bass was lost from the north-side point at the entrance to the cove on the west end of the reservoir.

Inside the west cove, we caught seven largemouth bass. Five of them were caught along the cove’s north shoreline that leads into the back end of the cove. They were about 10 feet from the water’s edge and were abiding in less than five feet of water. The other two largemouth bass were caught in three to five feet of water along the west end of the north shoreline.

We failed to elicit any strikes from several prominent points and a large sand flat located along the south shoreline, and from the two creek channels next to the island.

Twelve of the largemouth  bass were beguiled by a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ that was rigged on a custom-painted blue 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two were coaxed into striking a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ attached to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

Thirteen of the largemouth bass showed a preference for a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One largemouth engulfed one of the TRD HogZ rigs after it had settled to the bottom on the initial cast.

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Roger Farish with a largemouth bass.

All totaled, we caught 19 largemouth bass and one bullhead catfish in six hours. Four bass and the one catfish were caught at the first community reservoir. One largemouth was caught from the second reservoir, and 14 were caught from the third one.

To our dismay, another cold snap, accompanied by blustery winds and rain, is expected to push through north-central Texas on Feb. 16, and it will probably keep us at bay for the next few days.

Feb. 17 log

Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his two-hour river outing in the south Texas Hill Country on Feb. 17.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his report:

The Weather Underground noted that the sky was mostly cloudy. The morning low temperature was 51 degrees and the afternoon high was 75 degrees. The wind was light and variable. The barometric pressure measured 30.08 at 1:35 p.m. and 30.07 at 3:35 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the optimum fishing periods would occur between 5:31 a.m. and 7:31 a.m., 11:19 a.m. and 1:19 p.m., and 11:42 p.m. and 1:42 a.m.  I fished in the midsection of the river from about 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The  water displayed about four feet of clarity. The water level was normal. The water temperature was 59 degrees.

I caught eight largemouth bass and five large white crappie.

The eight largemouth bass were caught in the river channel and many yards from the water’s edge. They were relating to large submerged boulders in 10 to 12 feet of water.

The five crappie were caught from a large submerged brush pile that was also located in the river channel.

Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s California craw TRD HogZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Six largemouth bass and the five crappie were allured by a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

A slow hop-and-bounce retrieve was the most fruitful presentation.

Feb. 17 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

We were expecting a significant cold front with gusty winds and rain to lambaste the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan areas on Feb. 16, but to our delight, a much less severe one arrived instead. It was 41 degrees at 6:00 a.m. on Feb. 17, and a light rain began to fall. The rain ended at about 10:15 a.m., and the sky conditions transitioned from overcast to partly cloudy. The afternoon high reached 65 degrees by 3:00 p.m. The barometric pressure was 29.94 at 12:13 p.m. and 29.93 at 4:13 p.m. The wind was calm for a few short spells, but for most of the afternoon, it was light and variable.

I decided to take advantage of this unexpected development at one of north-central Texas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs. When I arrived at the boat ramp around 11:40 a.m., I was surprised to find the parking lot almost completely full of tow vehicles and trailers.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 5:22 a.m. to 7:22 a.m., 11:11 a.m. to 1:11 p.m., and 11:34 p.m. to 1:34 a.m. I was afloat from about noon to 4:00 p.m., and I spent this time in the southwest region of the reservoir.

I plied portions of three feeder-creek arms, five main-lake points, two riprap-laden bridge embankments, and a series of concrete support columns underneath a large bridge.

The water temperature ranged from 48 to 50 degrees. The water exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was 1.70 feet below normal.

I caught four largemouth bass in the lower-third section of one of the three feeder-creek arms. Two of the largemouth bass were caught from a steeply-sloped secondary point on the east side of the feeder creek. The other two were caught from a steep chunk-rock shoreline just south of the secondary point where the first two largemouth bass were caught. These four largemouth bass were abiding in eight to ten feet of water. They were caught on a Z-Man’s black-blue-flake TRD HogZ affixed to a custom-painted blue 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. This combo was employed with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve. I failed to elicit any strikes from several secondary points and two rocky shorelines adjacent to a couple of the secondary points on the west side of the creek arm.

The five main-lake points and the other two feeder-creek arms were fruitless.

Underneath the large bridge, I caught one largemouth bass that was relating to the concrete base of one of the large support columns in 12 feet of water. This largemouth bass was caught on the Z-Man’s black-blue-flake TRD HogZ rig that was implemented with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation. I failed to elicit any strikes from 12 other bridge support columns.

I finished the outing dissecting the riprap that covers the embankments on each end of the bridge. The embankment on the north end of the bridge failed to yield a strike. Along the embankment on the south end of the bridge, I caught one largemouth bass. This largemouth bass was caught in six feet of water on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Turbo CrawdadZ affixed to a custom-painted blue 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, which was retrieved with a drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation.

In conclusion, I eked out six largemouth bass in four hours. Five largemouth bass were caught on the Z-Man’s black-blue-flake TRD HogZ. They weighed between 1 1/2 pounds to 2 1/2 pounds. The largest bass was caught on the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Turbo CrawdadZ. It weighed three-pounds, five ounces.

I failed to generate any strikes with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, a Z-Man’s white lightning Finesse TRD affixed to a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, or a Z-Man’s The Deal TRD TubeZ attached to a custom-painted blue 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

A slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve was the only effective presentation. The deadstick portion of the retrieve lasted from three to five seconds.

Feb. 20 log

Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, filed this report on the Finesse News Network about his 2 1/2-hour river outing in the southTexas Hill Country on Feb. 20.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his report:

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the most lucrative fishing periods would occur between 1:52 a.m. and 3:52 a.m., 8:04 a.m. and 10:04 a.m., and 2:16 p.m. and 4:16 p.m.  I was afloat from noon to 2:30 p.m.

The sky was overcast with intermittent drizzle. The morning low temperature was 65 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 73 degrees. The barometric pressure varied from 29.94 to 29.90.  The wind was light and meandered out of the east by southeast at 3 to 5 mph.

The water was not as clear as it was on Feb. 17, and it displayed about 3 1/2 feet of visibility. It exhibited about four feet of clarity on Feb. 17. The water level was normal. The surface temperature had risen from 59 degrees on Feb. 17 to 61 degrees on Feb. 20.

I returned to the same section of the river where I caught eight largemouth bass on Feb. 17. I plied a steep clay and gravel shoreline before I dissected some submerged boulders that are situated in 10 to 12 feet of water near the edge of the river channel. The fishing was slow, but I managed to catch 11 largemouth bass in 2 1/2 hours. Most of them were caught along the steep shoreline and were abiding in less than 10 feet of water.

I caught five big white crappie from a brush pile in the river channel along this same section of the river on Feb. 17, but I was unable to elicit any strikes from that same brush pile during this short outing.

These 11 largemouth bass were beguiled by a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed on a Z-Man’s chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. I failed to garner any strikes with a shortened Z-Man’s redbug Finesse WormZ rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a shortened Z-Man’s watermelon-red Hula StickZ affixed on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.

A slow hop-and-bounce retrieve continues to be the most effective presentation.

Feb. 24 log

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Feb. 24 outing.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his report:

It has been a long spell since I have submitted a daily report to the Finesse News Network. Up until a year ago, I used to submit my riverine smallmouth exploits with great regularity. I will make a conscience effort to resume those efforts with past regularity in 2018.

My Feb. 24 outing was going to be a vast departure from the last real outing that I had in very late December.

Recently, I have been doing some research and development duties for River Rock Custom Baits, and those duties were performed behind our house, where I simply tested the drop rate of various rigs. On those outings I did not much care if I caught anything, but I inadvertently caught some.

On this outing, I was going fishing. First, I was going to leave my Jackson Big Tuna kayak in the garage and set out on foot. Second, I faced extremely different conditions in late December than those I experienced today. At that time, the water temperature was 34 degrees with visibility of 15 feet, and ice was very quickly beginning to form at the water’s edge on the strong side of the steep canyons that receive very little to any direct sunlight.

On that bountiful day I caught nearly 50 smallmouth bass, and two of them were 20-inchers. The river was flowing at 90 cubic feet per second.

It is customary for me to take a mental and physical break from my river smallmouth fishing right at or about every January 1st.  And I resume fishing again as the days grow longer, and I begin hearing turkeys carrying out their mating calls, which coincides with water temperatures climbing. This respite allows me to formulate a game plan for the coming seasons, get my gear squared away, and get refreshed from my 10 months of being on the water three or more days a week.

In late February into early March, I normally set off on foot to take in nature’s sites and examine what winter has done to the river. Specifically, what I am looking for are the deposits of new timber that will be new lairs for me to probe as the year unfolds.

On Feb. 24, the river had six times the amount of water in it than it did in very late December, but the smallmouth bass had not moved. They are still very much consolidated in their winter haunts in massive numbers. They began gathering in those wintertime locales in October, when the daylight hours diminish and the water temperature drops below 50 degrees. These areas contain the deepest water within a four- to eight-mile stretch of the river, and they are embellished with massive red oak trees that are sunken and intermingled with giant boulders.

On Feb. 24, the river was flowing at a rate of 640 cubic feet per second. The water temperature was 39 degrees. The water exhibited four feet of visibility.

It was raining and 41 degrees. The wind was calm.

I donned my foul-weather gear. I stuffed my pockets with some soft-plastic baits, jigs, a bottle of scent, and off I went walking from our property to the river with a spinning rod in my hand.

As I walked along the river’s bank I would make very short casts to areas with downed timber, but not just any timber.  I focused on a large V-shaped trench that snakes its way for a couple of miles, and I dissected the deep-water run along the strong current side of the river. Every spot where the benthic zone was within a few feet of the bank I would hook fish. I hooked a lot of them, but they were far from easy participants.

All of the fish were abiding in this deeper zone that has a mix of boulders and submerged large red oak trees that are well cemented into the bottom. In fact, the structure that I was fishing has not moved in twelve years. In this benthic zone, the water  depth varies from nine to 16 feet. It is approximately 12 feet wide. The water outside of this trench varies in depth from three feet to seven feet, and the bottom is littered with pumpkin-sized rock and no timber.

I made very short casts into this trench. As my bait hit the bottom, I would keep my rod tip entirely still, and I simply retrieved the bait by slowly rotating the reel handle. Then every 10 seconds or so, I would shake the rod. But the shakes did not move my bait forward or lift it. Instead, they simply put a subtle pulse into it.

When a smallmouth bass engulfed the bait, it radiated either an extremely light tic or pressure bite that felt like a wet rag or leaf had found the point of  the hook.

For two hours and 21 minutes, I worked with a River Rock Custom Baits’ Dark Special Helgripede on a red 1/32-ounce River Rock’s Tactical Finesse Jig with a No. 4 hook.  The Helgripede was covered liberally in my customized garlic-crayfish-nightcrawler Pro-Cure Super Gel.

I caught 41 smallmouth bass, and three of them were 18-inchers.

I was extremely delighted in what were otherwise abysmal conditions. It was a great start to 2018 and good to be back reporting as I once so much enjoyed doing.

Feb. 25 log

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

From Feb. 20 through Feb. 24, Mother Nature walloped north-central Texas with about 7 1/2 inches of rain. The average rainfall for north-central Texas in February is 2.92 inches. After the torrential rainstorms came to an end during the morning hours of Feb. 24, I hopped in my truck and spent a couple of afternoon hours driving around and inspecting seven community reservoirs and two U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan areas.

Almost all of the reservoirs that I examined were extremely muddy and littered with debris,  such as dead leaves, brown grass clippings, and small tree limbs. The water levels at several of the reservoirs had risen about three to four feet.

During that afternoon jaunt, I was able to find only one community reservoir and portions of one Corps’ reservoir that were not affected with vast amounts of muddy water and floating debris.  And given the choice between those two reservoirs, Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, and I chose to fish the smaller community reservoir on Feb. 25.

The sky was cloudless and displayed a powder-blue hue on Feb. 25.  It was 37 degrees at 7:00 a.m. and 66 degrees at 4:00 p.m. The wind quartered out of the south by southeast at 3 to 10 mph.  The barometric pressure measured 30.08 at noon and 29.98 at 4:00 p.m.

Roger and I fished from about 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Roger had to leave at 3:00 p.m.,  but I continued to fish until 4:00 p.m. In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 6:13 a.m. to 8:13 a.m., 11:58 a.m. to 1:58 p.m., and 6:44 p.m. to 8:44 p.m.

I have not visited this reservoir for three years. It has never been a very fruitful venue, and we fish it only as a last resort. It has limited shoreline access and is linked to a series of four other adjacent community reservoirs.

Except for a smooth concrete spillway that occupies about one quarter of its north shoreline and a large concrete culvert that forms about one third of its south shoreline, all of the shorelines are adorned with a decorative concrete retaining wall that surrounds the entire reservoir. Thick walls of hydrilla usually flourish along the deep-water edge of the submerged base of the retaining walls during the summer months, but we did not find any hydrilla during this outing. There are numerous submerged brush piles and laydowns scattered throughout the reservoir.

There is only one cove in this reservoir, and it is situated along the middle of the west shoreline. It is about half the size of a football field and is enhanced with many rows of 12-foot concrete pillars that stand in eight to 10 feet of water. Several submerged brush piles lie between the concrete pilings along the north side of the cove in about six to eight feet of water.

The water exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water’s temperature was 50 degrees at the south end of the reservoir and 53 degrees at its north end. The water level appeared to be about a foot high.

Roger and I began the afternoon slowly meandering northward along the south end of the west shoreline. We dissected several submerged brush piles and laydowns that adorn this area in five to eight feet of water, but none of them yielded a largemouth bass.

As we worked our way northward, we ventured inside the west cove.  We probed many of the concrete pillars and a couple of submerged brush piles on the north side of the cove, and we failed to catch a largemouth bass.

After that, we returned to the main lake areas and fished the north shoreline and concrete spillway. This locale is graced with several submerged brush piles and a few submerged laydowns that are situated  in three to five feet of water. I fished this area twice. The first time was with Roger and we caught one large wiper from the end of one of the submerged laydowns in five feet of water on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ attached to a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. The TRD HogZ rig was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. I fished it again about two hours later after Roger had left. This time, I caught one largemouth bass next to a submerged brush pile in five feet of water. It was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ rigged on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig that was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

The concrete spillway and the areas around both sides of the concrete spillway were fruitless.

The reservoir’s east shoreline was the most productive area. It relinquished two largemouth bass and two hefty wipers. The water depth next to the concrete wall that borders this shoreline is five feet deep.  A long submerged ledge parallels this shoreline and is covered with 10 feet of water. The deep-water side of this ledge quickly plummets into 20-plus feet of water.

One of the two largemouth bass and both of the wipers that were caught along this shoreline were caught on the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ rig that was presented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. These fish were abiding in six to eight feet of water and were about 15 feet away from the concrete wall.

The other largemouth was caught in 10 feet of water from the top of the submerged ledge. It engulfed a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ rigged on a custom-painted red 1/20-ounce Z-Man Finesse ShroomZ jig.  The Finesse WormZ combo was slowly dragged and occasionally deadsticked about 50 feet behind the boat and along the top of the ledge as the boat drifted with the wind.

In short, it was another perplexing and frustrating outing that garnered three largemouth bass and three wipers.  And with the torrential rains transforming our regular wintertime black bass venues into flooded mud holes, we are running out of options where we can reasonably expect to tangle with a few black bass while we wait for this miserable winter to come to an end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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