Midwest Finesse Fishing: December 2018

Midwest Finesse Fishing: December 2018

This guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains eight logs and 6,177 words that explain how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished during December.

It features the piscatorial endeavors of Rick Allen of Dallas; Abe Cillers of Leavenworth, Kansas; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; and John Thomas of Denton, Texas. 

December can be an irksome time to catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass in north-central Texas, northeastern Kansas, and elsewhere across North America.  During this December, many of us were troubled by rain, floods, snow, ice, and various other weather woes. 

In addition to our miseries with the weather, Bob Gum, who is a veteran finesse angler and contributor to the Finesse News Network, has been plagued with neuropathy and a horrible staph infection. And when Steve Reideler was towing his boat home from a horrendous outing at one of north-central Texas' U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs, his truck was waylaid by an errant driver. 

In short, this was the worst December that we have endured since the advent of our monthly guides to Midwest finesse fishing in 2012. 

Nonetheless, we are eternally thankful that Steve Reideler proofread every word and made these logs more readable and understandable.

Dec. 2

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

Here is an edited version of his report:

Sunday found me in a quandary.  Because of the sorry water conditions from the recent floods and my deer hunting, I had not been fishing for two months.

I had had my eye on Sunday for a while as temperatures were forecasted to be in the low seventies. Alas, rain was in the picture all morning. But as the rain began to stop, I was running out of time to fish.  I had to commit to a Christmas excursion involving church, shopping, and a Christmas lighting ceremony versus a fishing trip.

Well, my heathen ego took over, and I went fishing from 2:30 p.m. until 5:15 p.m., which is a short span of time to find the largemouth bass in this waterway.  What’s more, I was on the water in a small jon boat with no electronics. In essence, I was back to my fishing roots.

This small reservoir was almost clear, but some water was flowing into it from a recent rain. I did not have a thermometer to take the water temperature, but I suspect it was in the 40s.  The wind angled out of the southwest at 12 mph, which made it a challenge for me to control the small jon boat.

I expected that the fishing would be problematic. Thus I was pleased to immediately catch a largemouth bass. It was caught on a Zoom Bait Company’s Red WEC Mutt Crankbait.

After that initial catch, I failed to elicit another strike on the crankbait, and eventually I switched to a Z-Man Fishing Products’ Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a weedless black 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. And that rig saved me by catching a dozen largemouth bass, including two three-pounders in three to five feet of water.

These largemouth bass were abiding at a few spots along steep shorelines, and these spots were wind-blown and covered with leaves that had recently fallen from the trees. It was difficult to get the Hula StickZ rig under the leave litter, but when I did, I got some bites.

In essence, it was an odd vertical presentation with the leaves being a bobber or float as my line was lying on top of them.  Short casts were a critical key to getting the rig to penetrate the leaves.

I also worked with a black-and-blue 7/16-ounce skirted jig and soft-plastic trailer, which failed to generate a strike.

The Hula StickZ rig has become a cold-water staple for us in North Carolina. And it is always fun to catch them on a Midwest finesse rig.  And in years past, before our discovery of Midwest finesse tactics, you would have found me viewing Christmas lights on Dec. 2 rather than fishing for largemouth bass.

Dec. 5

For a variety of reasons, it has been a difficult task to get afloat this fall. The wintry weather has been one of the obstacles. But on Dec. 5, the wintery weather subsided a touch, and there was a short window of time that I allowed me to get on the water.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 18 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 47 degrees at 1:52 p.m. The wind was calm for four hours, and when it stirred, it angled out of the west, west by northwest, northwest, south by southwest, and southwest at 3 to 13 mph.  The sky fluctuated from being sunny to cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.4 at 12:52 a.m., 29.4 at 5:52 a.m., 29.3 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.3 at 1:52 p.m. Another spell of wintry weather is predicted to crisscross northeastern Kansas on Dec. 6, 7, 8, and 9.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 8:20 a.m. to 10:20 a.m., 8:44 p.m. to 10:44 p.m., and 2:08 a.m.to 4:08 a.m. I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 10:13 a.m. to 1:13 p.m.  

The surface temperature was 39 degrees. There was a minor alga bloom coloring the water, and the water exhibited 2 1/2 to three feet of visibility. The reservoir’s managers are in the midst of dropping the water level, and the level looked to be a foot below normal and dropping quickly.  Ice lined some of the water’s edges – especially the ones that were shaded from the sun’s rays.

I fished around and along three locales inside one of this reservoir’s feeder-creek arms. During the first 72 minutes, I caught two largemouth bass, and during the next 48 minutes, I caught eight largemouth bass.

I failed to elicit a strike along a shoreline and around a small segment of its adjacent shallow-water flat.  This area lies about 90 percent of the way inside this feeder-creek arm. It possesses a 25-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of silt and gravel, and it is adorned with patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, such as curly-leaf pondweed and Eurasian milfoil.  The milfoil is in the midst of its wintertime wilt, exhibiting a brownish-green hue, and the curly-leaf pondweed is sprouting, growing, and green. Many of the underwater objects are coated with filamentous algae.

I caught one largemouth bass along a relatively steep shoreline that is situated about 50 percent of the way inside this feeder-creek arm. It possesses a 40- to 60-degree slope. The water’s edge is littered with some laydowns, several stumps, patches of winter-dead American water willows, and one dock. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks, and there are a few meager patches of submerged aquatic vegetation embellishing some of this terrain. This largemouth bass was caught in about six feet of water near the outside edge of a patch of winter-dead American water willows and about 10 feet from the water’s edge. It was caught on a shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a drag-and-shake presentation.

On the other side of this feeder-creek arm and about 50 percent of the way inside it, I caught nine largemouth bass along a flat shoreline and its adjacent shallow-water flat. This area possesses a 25-degree slope. The water’s edge is lined with some patches of winter-dead American water willows, four docks, and a short concrete retaining wall. The underwater terrain consists of silt, gravel, and rocks, and it is enhanced with patches of submerged aquatic vegetation. These largemouth bass were abiding in an area that is about 15 feet wide and 90 feet long and 20 to 25 feet from the water’s edge, and four of them were in the vicinity of one of the docks. One was caught on a Z-Man’s black-blue TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two were caught on the Junebug Hula StickZ rig. Six were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. They were caught while I was employing a drag-and-shake presentation in five to seven feet of water. Five of those nine were caught while I was strolling and executing the drag-and-shake presentation.

In sum, not only has it been a struggle to get afloat this fall, it has been a struggle to catch the largemouth bass in the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, and it continued to be a struggle to find and catch them on Dec. 5.

Dec. 5 

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 5 endeavors.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

The black bass fishing at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs in north-central Texas has been virtually nonexistent since the reservoirs were flooded by torrential rain storms during the last few days of September. A couple of the Corps’ reservoirs have recently opened again, but this lousy fishing trend continued on Dec. 2, when I fished the same Corps’ reservoir that John Thomas of Denton and I fished on Nov. 20. During our Nov. 20 outing, we failed to elicit a single strike. And that frustrating and perplexing scenario repeated itself on Dec. 2, when I failed a second time to generate any strikes from this same reservoir.

After being blanked at that Corps’ reservoir twice in a row, I decided to change things up, and I conducted a solo bank-walking excursion at three community reservoirs located in two suburbs northwest of Dallas. 

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the most productive fishing periods would occur from 2:13 a.m. to 4:13 a.m., 8:25 a.m. to 10:25 a.m., and 8:50 p.m. to 10:50 p.m. I fished at the first two reservoirs from noon to 2:30 p.m. and the third one from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Local meteorologists reported that the morning low temperature was 29 degrees and the afternoon high was 55 degrees. It was sunny with a cloudless powder-blue sky. The barometric pressure ranged from 30.45 at noon to 30.32 at 4:00 p.m.  The wind angled out of the south by southwest at 5 to 10 mph.

I failed to elicit any strikes at the first community reservoir. 

The second community reservoir that I fished is about 60 yards wide and 100 yards long. Its underwater terrain consists of red clay, silt, fist-size rocks, and some gravel.

The water level was normal. The water temperature was 55 degrees. The water exhibited a pleasant green hue with about 14 inches of clarity.

The fishing was difficult and I had to work hard to catch three largemouth bass, two large white crappie, and a four-pound channel catfish. All of them were caught from the north end of the reservoir. This area is relatively flat and features several small clay points and a small concrete water outlet. These fish were caught in four to six feet of water from the ends of two of the small tertiary points near the east end of the shoreline. All three largemouth bass, one of the crappie, and the catfish were allured by a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ sported on a custom-painted red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. This combo was presented with a slow and steady swim retrieve. The other crappie was caught on a Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD HogZ rigged on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, which was implemented with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve.

I failed to elicit any strikes from two ditches that run parallel to a large island on the west end of the reservoir.

I also failed to elicit any strikes from the south shoreline, which is steeper than the north and west ones. This shoreline is endowed with several prominent points and a decorative stone wall that borders one of the points.

The east end of the reservoir has the deepest water. It  is formed with a steep clay shoreline. This area also failed to yield any strikes.

After enduring such a tedious and dismal start, I made a 20-minute drive to the third community reservoir. The fishing at this impoundment was as challenging as it was at the first two, and I barely managed to scrounge up four largemouth bass.

The water displayed a muddy-brown tint and had about 12 inches of clarity. The water temperature was 50 degrees. The water level was normal.

This reservoir’s submerged terrain consists of gravel and clay.

I caught the four largemouth bass at the north end of the west shoreline. This is the steepest one, and it is embellished with a couple of scattered patches of winter-dead water lilies and two primary points. These four bass were abiding in three to five feet of water along the side of one of the two primary points. One was caught on the Canada craw TRD HogZ rig and a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve. Another one was caught on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ combo that was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The other two were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD MinnowZ that was nose hooked on a drop-shot rig. This drop-shot rig was constructed with an Owner’s No. 2 octopus-style hook, a 12-inch drop leader, and a Bass Pro Shops’ 1/8-ounce clip-on cylindrical weight. This rig was utilized with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick motif.

The south end of the reservoir is formed by a decorative concrete and stone dam that is about eight feet high. The bottom area around the dam is covered with softball-size rocks. This area was fruitless.

The east shoreline is fairly steep, curved, and adorned with several stands of cattails and a few submerged tree limbs. This area also failed to yield any strikes.

The north shoreline is straight and encompasses a shallow mud flat and a small feeder-creek that enters the reservoir at the west end of this shoreline. There are a few thin patches of winter-dead water lilies adorning most of this shoreline. I did not fish this area. 

All totaled, I caught seven largemouth bass, two white crappie, and one channel catfish in four hours. I failed to catch any fish at the first impoundment. The second reservoir surrendered three largemouth bass, both of the crappie, and the catfish. The last impoundment yielded four largemouth bass.

In short, 2018 has been an awful year for black bass fishing in north-central Texas, and we no longer expect to see any significant improvement until mid-March of 2019.

Dec. 12

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 12 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

From 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Dec. 12, I enjoyed an afternoon bank-walking excursion at a community reservoir that lies in a suburb southeast of Denton. This reservoir has become our most fruitful fall venue since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs were flooded in late September.   

The wretched black bass fishing in north-central Texas has carried over from November and into December. John Thomas of Denton and I were blanked on Nov. 20 at one of our U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs, and I was blanked a second time at this reservoir on Dec. 2.  Then on Dec. 10, Rick Allen and I eked out only out two largemouth bass at this reservoir in four tedious and frustrating hours of fishing.

Dec. 12 was overcast and rain storms were forecast to erupt during the evening hours and continue throughout Dec. 13 and into the mid-morning hours of Dec 14.  The morning low temperature was 49 degrees and the afternoon high was 63 degrees. The wind angled out of the south at 12 to 15 mph. The barometric pressure ranged from 29.98 at 1:00 p.m. to 29.87 at 4:00 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the best fishing would occur from 2:01 a.m. to 4:01 a.m., 8:13 a.m. to 10:13 a.m., and 2:24 p.m. to 4:24 p.m.

The water exhibited about 14 to 16 inches of clarity. The surface temperature ranged from 50 degrees at the north end of the reservoir to 48 degrees at the dam, which lies along the reservoir’s southern end. The water level was normal.

I started at the north end of the east shoreline, which is flat. Its main features are a shallow clay and gravel point and a shallow sand and gravel ledge that parallels the water’s edge. The south wind was blowing directly onto this point, and I was surprised that I could not generate any strikes from its deep-water side.

The middle section of this shoreline is steeper than it is along its northern end, and it possesses a 25- to 30-degree slope. This area failed to yield a largemouth bass. 

The south end of this shoreline is not as steep as the center portion, and it has a slope of about 15 degrees. The shallow sand and gravel ledge continues to run down this section of the shoreline and ends at a ditch just north of the dam. The ledge failed to yield any strikes, but the ditch surrendered one largemouth bass. This largemouth bass was abiding in five feet of water in the bottom of the ditch and about 35 feet from the water’s edge. It was caught on a Z-Man’s PB&J TRD HogZ rigged on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. This combo was employed with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve.

At the south end of the reservoir, I slowly dissected the concrete-slab dam that forms the reservoir’s southern boundary. The water temperature was 48 degrees here, which is the coldest that I have seen it this fall. I did not locate any largemouth bass along the east or center sections of the dam. 

Along the west end of the dam, I observed several small pods of baitfish flickering on the surface, which is an unusual occurrence at this reservoir when the water temperature is below 55 degrees. I caught five largemouth bass in six to eight feet of water and about 25 feet from the water’s edge. These largemouth bass were caught in close proximity to the small pods of baitfish, and these bass were enticed into striking a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ mounted on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. This rig was retrieved with an extremely slow and steady retrieve, and the pace of this retrieve was just fast enough to make the paddle tail on the Slim SwimZ undulate.

After about 25 minutes, the pods of baitfish slowly meandered northward to the midsection of the west shoreline. This portion of the shoreline possesses a 20-degree slope and is endowed with a shallow sand and gravel ledge. I followed the pods of baitfish as they moved northward and caught five more largemouth bass. These bass were also caught under and around the pods of baitfish in six to eight feet of water and 35 to 40 feet from the water’s edge. These largemouth bass were also beguiled by the 2 1/2-inch pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ rig that was slowly retrieved around and under the pods of baitfish.

After another 15 minutes passed, the baitfish suddenly disappeared and so did the bass. I continued to dissect this area with the PB&J TRD HogZ rig, a four-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse WormZ attached on a custom-painted blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD CrawZ affixed on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and a shortened Z-Man’s PB&J Hula StickZ fastened on a custom-painted blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. And I failed to provoke any other strikes.

The north end of this reservoir encompasses a large mud flat and a shallow ditch that courses across the flat. I rarely fish this area because it is a protected migratory waterfowl nesting area, and I did not fish it this time either.

In closing, I caught 11 largemouth bass in three hours. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ rigged on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and an extremely slow but steady swimming retrieve around and under small pods of baitfish that were flickering on the surface was the most effective lure and presentation.

Dec. 12

The Weather Underground reported that it was 26 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 48 degrees at 12:53 p.m.  The wind angled out of the west, west by southwest, southwest, south, and south by southeast at 3 to 9 mph.  It was sunny. The barometric pressure was 28.7 at 12:53 a.m., 28.8 at 5:53 a.m., 28.7 at 11:53 a.m., and 28.6 at 5:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from1:53 a.m. to 3:53 a.m., 2:16 p.m. to 4:16 p.m., and 8:04 a.m. to 10:04 a.m. I was afloat from 10:55 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Ice covered every farm pond and stream that bordered the roadways that I traversed on my way to a boat ramp at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs. When I arrived at this reservoir, about 50 percent of it was covered with ice. The water level was a few inches above normal. The water was the clearest that I have ever seen it, exhibiting more than six feet of clarity. The surface temperature was 37 to 39 degrees. Its patches of winter-wilted coontail were the greenest that I have ever seen them.

I spent a lot of the 95 minutes that I was afloat breaking sheets of ice that covered vast stretches of the upper half of the reservoir. And I fished three areas in the upper half that are graced with patches of coontail and a few patches that border the dam.

I caught one largemouth bass around a patch of coontail that embellishes a shallow-water flat in the reservoir’s upper half. It was caught in about seven feet of water on a Z-Man’s Canada Craw TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig while I was  strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation.

I failed to elicit a strike at the other three locales.

At 12:30 p.m., I became weary of tangling with the ice, and I put the boat on the trailer. 

This might have been my final outing of 2018. Until Jan. 2, we will be engaged in a plethora of delightful family gatherings, and one of them is our oldest granddaughter’s wedding.

Dec. 16 

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 16 outing.

Here is an edited version of his report:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 29 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 55 degrees at 1:53 p.m. It was cloudy for nine hours and fair for 15 hours. The wind was mild-mannered and angled out of the southeast, west by southwest, southwest, south by southwest, west by northwest, south, north by northwest, north, and northwest.  The barometric pressure was 29.0 at 12:53 a.m., 29.0 at 5:53 a.m., 29.1 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.0 at 2:53 p.m. 

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 4:55 a.m. to 6:55 a.m. 5:17 p.m. to 7:17 p.m., and 11:06 p.m. to 1:06 a.m. 

Gum and Abe Cilliers of Leavenworth, Kansas, fished from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at one of northeastern Kansas' power-plant reservoirs.  

This reservoir used to be one of the finest largemouth bass waterways in this part of the world. But since the winter of 2013-14, something has gone awry with the largemouth bass and temperate bass that abide here. Some anglers speculate that some kind of disease adversely affected the largemouth bass and white bass populations. Some anglers suspect that heavy angler predation -- especially the effects of too many largemouth bass tournaments -- has caused harm to the largemouth bass populations. Before the advent of this dramatic downturn, a pair of Midwest finesse anglers could tangle with 50 to 75 largemouth bass during most four- to five-hour outings in November, December, and January. This phenomenon has erupted at several other reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, and some of our smallmouth bass populations have been adversely affected, too. The fisheries biologists, however, do not agree with the anglers’ speculations about the state of the largemouth bass fishing at this reservoir. 

Before the hard times erupted, Bob Gum is one of the anglers who used to catch and release significant numbers of largemouth bass on each outing, and some of them were quite humongous specimens in this part of the world.  But during his outing with Cilliers on Dec. 16, they struggled to catch 23 largemouth bass in seven hours of fishing, and none of them were humongous specimens. And they inadvertently caught eight white bass and two channel catfish.

The power plant was generating a significant amount of electricity. Within the plume of warm water, the surface temperature ranged from 55 to 60 degrees. The surface temperature was 47 degrees along one riprap shoreline that is situated a goodly distance from the warm-water plume. The water exhibited 18 inches of visibility. The water level was nearly normal.   

Inside the warm-water plume, Gum and Cilliers plied portions of four long and steep shorelines, a large flat point, and a massive shallow-water flat. Outside of the plume, they probed a 50-yard stretch of a riprap shoreline that is situated along the east side of the reservoir.

Their most fruitful locales were along three of the four steep shorelines. These shorelines are situated along the west side of the reservoir. Their underwater terrains consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Their water’s edges are occasionally graced with laydowns, brush plies, and piles of rocks and boulders.

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They spent most of their seven hours dissecting these three locales. The most productive spots along these shorelines were the piles of rocks and boulders, which are often described as rock slides.  Several of those piles or slides yielded more than one largemouth bass – especially around midday. Before midday, the strikes they garnered and largemouth bass that they caught were scattered hither and yon. 

Their most effective rig was a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD MinnowZ affixed to either a black or a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. They employed this rig with a swim-glide-and-occasional-twitch presentation, and at times they strolled it and used the swim-glide-and-occasional-twitch presentation. The largemouth bass were caught in two to six feet of water.

Dec. 19

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

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

On Dec. 17,  I spent four hours plying a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir that lies about 13 miles from my driveway. The fishing was so horrendous that I could garner only one strike, and that strike turned out to be a six-pound freshwater drum.

And to end that day on a sourer note, I was involved in a motor vehicle accident as I was driving home from the lake. My truck suffered significant damage and had to be towed to a collision-repair shop. Fortunately, neither I or the other driver were seriously injured during this ordeal, and my boat was not damaged. But I will be shore bound for the next two to three weeks while my truck is being repaired.

On Dec. 19, I thought I would try to break this latest string of bad luck. So, John Thomas of Denton and I spent four hours traipsing around the shorelines of two community reservoirs that lie in a couple of suburbs northwest of Dallas. We fished the first one from 11:10 a.m. to 1:40 p.m., and the second one from about 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. We spent some of the afternoon inspecting a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir that had been closed for several weeks in November, but we did not fish there.

It was mostly overcast with a couple of short spells of sunshine. A light rain began to fall at 3:49 p.m.  The morning low temperature was 51 degrees and the afternoon high peaked at 61 degrees. There was a light breeze meandering out of the south at 4 to 6 mph, and every once in a while, it was calm. The barometric pressure measured 29.85 at 11:00 a.m. and 29.73 at 4:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 12:55 a.m. to 2:55 a.m., 7:05 a.m. to 9:05 a.m., and 7:33 p.m. to 9:33 p.m.

At the first community reservoir that we fished, the water displayed about 20 inches of visibility.  The water temperature was 50 degrees. The water level appeared to be a foot low.

It was a chore for us to catch six largemouth bass in 2 1/2 hours. 

One largemouth was caught in three feet of water off the side of a gravel and clay point on the north end of the west shoreline. It was caught on a slow drag-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s PB&J TRD HogZ that was threaded onto a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.
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About 15 yards south of the clay and gravel point, we caught another largemouth in five feet of water along the bottom of a shallow trough that parallels a short segment of the east shoreline. It was enticed into striking a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ that was affixed on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. This combo was retrieved with an extremely slow and steady retrieve that barely activated the boot-shaped tail on the Slim SwimZ.
 
From the sides of a broad and steep primary point in the midsection of the east shoreline, we caught two largemouth bass. They were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-red-flake ZinkerZ rigged on a custom-painted red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig as it was worked with a slow swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation in four to six feet of water. 
One largemouth was caught in five feet of water from the deep-water side of a shallow sand and gravel ledge that runs parallel and close to the lower end of the east shoreline. This largemouth engulfed the PB&J TRD HogZ combo as it was employed with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve.

On the south end of the reservoir, we caught one largemouth bass from the spillway area on the west end of a concrete dam. It was attracted to a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve with the PB&J TRD HogZ rig in four feet of water.  

We were unable to generate any strikes from a section of steep shoreline on the west side of the reservoir and a large mud flat on the reservoir’s northern end.

At the second reservoir that we fished, the water exhibited 14 to 18 inches of clarity.  The water temperature was 51 degrees. The water level was normal.

We had a little more success at this reservoir than we had at the first one, and we caught eight largemouth bass and two white crappie in 90 minutes.

One largemouth was caught from a small tertiary point in the midsection of the east shoreline. It was coaxed into striking a custom-painted blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig dressed with a Z-Man’s black-blue-flake TRD HogZ that was worked with an extremely slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation close to the end of the point in three feet of water. 

We caught six largemouth bass and two white crappie in three to five feet of water from a mud flat that forms the north end of the reservoir. The other largemouth was caught in four feet of water from a creek channel that courses through the west end of the mud flat. All of these largemouth and crappie were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ rig and a very slow and steady swimming action. 
 
We did not locate any bass inhabiting areas around a couple of small points, a shallow clay and gravel ledge, another mud flat, and a riprap section of shoreline along the west shoreline.

We also failed to entice any strikes from some submerged rocks along the base of a stone and concrete dam on the south end of the reservoir.
 
All totaled, we caught 14 largemouth bass and two white crappie in four hours, which we consider a decent outing for this time of year in north-central Texas. Six largemouth bass were caught at the first reservoir and eight largemouth bass and two crappie were caught at the second one.
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Eight of the largemouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ rig.

A steady and extremely slow swimming retrieve was the most lucrative presentation.  

We are finding out that a 2 1/2-inch Slim SwimZ can be effective in cold-water conditions, and we will continue to experiment with it as the fall season transitions into winter.  

Dec. 26

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 26 outing. 

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

Anglers in north-central Texas have been relishing the weather during the mild-mannered transition from late fall to the early days of winter. The average high temperature for Dec. 26 in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan areas is 62 degrees and the average low temperature is 42 degrees. It was 60 degrees at 6:00 a.m. and 68 degrees at 12:15 p.m. on Dec. 26. The sky was overcast. A minor cold front, which was to be accompanied by thunderstorms, was forecasted to arrive during the mid-afternoon hours. The barometric pressure fell from 29.93 at 9:00 a.m. to 29.87 at noon. A problematic wind quartered out of the southeast at 15 to 20 mph before it turned out of the south and increased to 25 to 30 mph as the morning unfolded.   

Before the cold front, thunderstorms, and howling winds arrived, Rick Allen of Dallas and I thought we would take advantage of a four-hour window of opportunity and conduct a morning bank-walking jaunt at a heavily fished community reservoir. This reservoir is located in a northwest Dallas’ suburb. Rick and I were afoot from 9:45 a.m. to noon, and we caught 13 largemouth bass.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the most productive fishing periods would occur from 1:32 a.m. to 3:32 a.m., 7:46 a.m. to 9:46 a.m., and 2:10 p.m. to 4:10 p.m. 

The water level was normal. The water exhibited about 14 inches of visibility. The water temperature was 53 degrees. 

This reservoir’s underwater terrain is composed of primarily clay, sand, and gravel. 

We attempted to keep the robust wind at our backs as much as possible. We made our first casts around the spillway on the west end of a concrete dam, which forms the southern perimeter of the reservoir, and a steep sand and gravel shoreline on the south end of the west shoreline.

We caught six largemouth bass from the spillway area of the dam and two largemouth bass from a 20-yard section of steep shoreline north of the dam. These bass were caught in three to eight feet of water and within 15 feet of the water’s edge.

A large bulge in the concrete, which protrudes from the center section of the dam, relinquished two largemouth bass that were abiding in three to five feet of water. Another one was hooked in this same area, but it managed to pull free before we could land it.

We failed to generate any strikes from the east end of the dam.
 
The east shoreline yielded three largemouth bass. One was caught in five feet of water and about 10 feet from the water’s edge along the deep-water side of a sand-and-gravel ledge on the lower or south end of this shoreline. The second largemouth bass was caught from the south side of a broad and steep point in the midsection of this shoreline. It was caught in less than three feet of water and within five feet of the water’s edge. 
 
The last largemouth was caught from a wind-blown clay and gravel point on the north end of the shoreline in six feet of water.

At this time, the wind was howling at 25 to 30 mph and was causing havoc with our casts and retrieves, so we called it a day. 

We did not fish the north end of this reservoir, which encompasses a large and shallow mud flat and a small feeder creek. We also did not ply the middle and north end of the west shoreline.
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In sum, seven largemouth bass were allured by a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ fastened on a Z-Man’s chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. This rig was employed with an extremely slow and steady swimming retrieve.

A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ attached to either a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig or a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig allured six largemouth bass. These two combos were utilized with either a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve or a slow hop-and-bounce retrieve.

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