Midwest Finesse Fishing: April 2020

Midwest Finesse Fishing: April 2020
Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, with a smallmouth bass that he caught at one of eastern Kansas' community reservoirs on April 15.

In April of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the angling world in a bizarre way in northeastern Kansas. Because many folks were not able to work, throngs of them went fishing. Never in my lifetime, which spans eight decades, have I seen so many anglers afloat. Consequently, there were days when it was a chore in my eyes and mind to go fishing. Some anglers described it disparagingly as a circus.

Nevertheless, a goodly number of Midwest finesse anglers fished, and this April guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 23 logs and 19,939 words that describe how, when, and where these anglers fished. It contains the piscatorial insights of Rick Allen of Dallas; Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas; Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Ned and Pat Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas; Travis Perret of Overland Park, Kansas; Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas; and Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas.

As always, we are extremely grateful that Steve Reideler composed many of these logs and proofread all of the 19,939 words. He made them more readable and understandable.

April 7

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed this log on the Finesse News Network about his April 7 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log.


Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Laura Kelly of Kansas issued a stay-at-home order in March, but she said that we could fish as long as we abided by the social-distancing parameters. And as a way to get out of our home, Patty Kehde and I have been fishing together for the past several weeks. But while we were working in one of our gardens last week, she was bitten by a brown-recluse spider, and it has made her feel a tad under the weather. Thus, we have not fished since Mar. 31. She was hoping to be able to fish on April 7, but a couple hours or so before we were to hitch-up the boat trailer, she told me it would be best if I made this one a solo outing, and I somewhat reluctantly went fishing without her.


The largemouth bass fishing in 2020 has been rather troubling hereabouts, and it remained so on this April 7 outing. Folks all over the world are finding the first 14 weeks of 2020 to be rather troublesome, too.

As a veteran fisherman and chronicler of the angling world in northeastern Kansas, and as I was beginning to compile this log for April 7, 2020, I examined my logs for the first seven days of April of 2007 to 2020 to see if the state of the black bass fishing is as dire as it seems to be in my 80-year-old mind.

Here is what I discovered. During the first seven days of April of 2007, I fished three times and caught 90 largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass. In 2008, I fished twice and caught 14 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. In 2009, I fished four times and caught 94 largemouth bass. In 2010, I did not fish until April 8, and on that outing, I caught 32 largemouth bass, nine smallmouth bass, one wiper, and one walleye. In 2011, I fished twice and caught 56 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. In 2012, I fished three times and caught 119 largemouth bass. In 2013, I fished three times and caught 176 largemouth bass. In 2014, I fished five times and caught 194 largemouth bass. In 2015, I fished twice and caught 82 largemouth bass. In 2016, I fished three times and caught 102 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. In 2017, I fished twice and caught 33 largemouth bass. In 2018, I fished once and caught 31 largemouth bass. In 2019, I fished three times and caught 74 largemouth bass. And in 2020, I fished once and caught 18 largemouth bass. On some of those outing, I was accompanied by another Midwest finesse colleague.

In factual terms, the number of largemouth bass that I have caught during the first seven days of April of 2020 are not as dreadful as it was in 2008 and 2010. Nevertheless, in my old mind, the fishing does not seem as fruitful as it used to be in what I call the good old days, and for some unknown reason the spirit of piscatorial joyhas diminished, too.


On April 7, 2020, the National Weather Service reported that it was 61 degrees at 3:53 a.m. and 77 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the south and southwest at 9 to 24 mph. The conditions of the sky fluctuated from being fair to being mostly cloudy to being overcast to being fair again. The barometric pressure was 29.83 at 12:53 a.m., 29.79 at 5:53 a.m., 29.80 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.74 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 10:56 p.m. to 12:56 a.m.., and 4:16 a.m. to 6:16 a.m.

From 1:12 p.m. to 3:56 p.m. I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs that is situated in the confines of the Kansas City metropolitan area, and it was an unwise selection. The boat ramp’s parking lot was filled to the brim. Anglers parked their vehicles every-which way along the access roadway. Nearly every shoreline, point, and offshore hump had a boat or two on it or along it.


The water level was about six inches above its normal level, and water coursed over the spillway at a vigorous pace. The water exhibited from two to 3 ½ feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 56 to 58 degrees. For many weeks in late 2019 and early 2020, I have been lamenting about the horrible state of this reservoir’s coontail patches, but to my surprise and delight, they were nearly everywhere and quite healthy on April 7. The patches of American water willows were still in their winter-dead stage, and there were massive amounts of filamentous algae clinging to underwater objects and gobs of it floating about.

During the two hour and 44 minutes that I fished, I struggled to catch 18 largemouth bass and accidentally caught one white bass. Seventeen of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man Fishing Products’ Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Finesse TRD affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. The white bass was caught on a four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

I caught three of the largemouth bass in the first eight minutes. Then during the next 74 minutes, I caught one largemouth bass. Fourteen were caught during the final 82 minutes of the outing.

Because this reservoir was so crowded, I almost blindly, mindlessly, and disheartenedly fished along two shorelines and a short portion of the dam. In essence, it was an unmethodical and nearly thoughtless endeavor.

These shorelines have a 20- to 50-degree slope. Many yards of them are cluttered with boat docks. Some of the water’s edges are graced with winter-dead patches of American water willows. And there are many yards of concrete and rock retaining walls. Patches of coontail cover the shallow-water segments of the shorelines. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, silt, and rocks, and there are a few boulders.

All of the largemouth bass were caught between the inside edge of the coontail patches and the water’s edge. A few were caught immediately adjacent to the concrete retaining walls. Two were caught adjacent to boat docks. They were abiding in two to four feet of water.

One was caught on a deadstick presentation. Four were caught on the initial drop of the TRD TicklerZ rig. The rest were caught as I was employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

All but one was caught in the upper half of this reservoir.

In conclusion, I don’t know what to deduce about this outing. But despite my historical calculations of the first seven days of April during the past 13 years, I remain disappointed about the state of the largemouth bass fishing in northeastern Kansas.

April 7

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

Here is an edited version of it.

April started off chilly and wet with daytime highs in the mid-30s to mid-40s. But it began to warm up again on April 5.

On April 7, Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, joined me for a smallmouth bass excursion at a picturesque Civilian Conservation Corps’ hill-land reservoir in south-central Oklahoma. This was Roger’s first outing at this reservoir.

The sky conditions changed from being overcast to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy. The barometric pressure measured 29.98 at 10:00 a.m. and 29.81 at 3:00 p.m. As we launched the boat at 10:13 a.m., it was 71 degrees and the wind angled out of the south and southwest at 5 mph. It was 93 degrees when we trailered the boat at 3:47 p.m., and the wind angled out of the southwest at 12 mph.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the most lucrative fishing periods would occur from 4:25 a.m. to 6:25 a.m., 10:39 a.m. to 12:39 p.m., and 4:52 p.m. to 6:52 p.m. Roger and I fished from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The water exhibited about five feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 60 degrees in portions of the east tributary arm to 65 degrees in its west tributary. The water level appeared to be dropping, but it was still two feet above its normal level.

We employed six Midwest finesse rigs: a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig; a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD BugZ attached to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig; a Z-Man’s sprayed grass TRD TicklerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig; a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Trick ShotZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig; a Z-Man’s yoga pants TRD HogZ fastened on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig; and a four-inch Zoom Bait Company’s watermelon-seed Mini Lizard threaded on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

During this five-hour foray, we caught a total of 21 smallmouth bass and one channel catfish on three of the six Midwest finesse rigs. The Z-Man’s sprayed grass TRD TicklerZ allured 15 smallmouth bass and the channel catfish; the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig enticed four smallmouth bass, and the yoga pants TRD HogZ caught two smallmouth bass.

The sprayed grass TRD TicklerZ and Yoga pants TRD HogZ rigs were most effective when we employed them with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We utilized the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ with a steady swimming retrieve.

We caught 12 of these 21 smallmouth bass in five to eight feet of water around flat and rocky secondary points that are situated about halfway to two-thirds of the way inside four large bays in the reservoir’s east tributary arm.

Seven smallmouth bass were caught inside another medium-size bay in the northwest region of the reservoir. Of these seven smallmouth bass, six were caught in eight to 11 feet of water from the end of a flat and rocky secondary point that is situated halfway inside this bay. This point is covered with three to eleven feet of water and extends about 60 feet out from the north shoreline. The end and sides of this point quickly descend into 30-plus feet of water.

The other smallmouth bass was caught in 12 feet of water near an offshore rock-covered hump that is located about two-thirds of the way inside this bay. This hump is covered with five feet of water and is surrounded by 12 to 17 feet of water.

Two smallmouth bass were caught in five to eight feet of water from the side of a flat main-lake point at the mouth of one of the four bays in the east tributary arm.

We failed to garner any strikes from a 200-yard section of a rock bluff, three rocky and steep-sloping secondary points, four pea-gravel flats in the backend of two bays that are graced with boulders, cattails and flooded stickups, and another offshore hump at the mouth of a small bay.

In closing, the smallmouth bass fishing was about average at best. We were hoping to find significant numbers of them in shallow-water areas performing their spring spawning rituals. But so far this spring, we have not seen any signs of spawning activity in this reservoir or the one north-central Texas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir that we have been relegated to fish during the past several weeks.

April 8

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed this log on the Finesse News Network about his April 8 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 56 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 87 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the south, west, northwest, and north from 3 to 38 mph. The sky was fair with a few clouds. The barometric pressure was 29.76 at 12:53 a.m., 29.73 at 5:53 a.m., 29.75 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.72 at 3:53 p.m. 

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 11:22 p.m. to 1:22, 5:09 a.m. to 7:09 a.m., and 5:36 p.m. to 7:36 p.m.

I fished from 12:33 p.m. to 3:46 p.m. at one of northern Kansas’ many community reservoirs. This waterway and its shorelines, roadways, parks, boat ramp, and parking lots were heavily populated with people. It looked like it was Saturday.

To my chagrin, the black bass fishing was trying.

The surface temperature ranged from 59 to 61 degrees. The water was affected by a brownish-colored algae bloom, and it exhibited 2 ½ to slightly more than 3 ½ feet of secchi-stick visibility. The water level looked to be about six inches above normal. 

During the first two hours that I was afloat, I struggled to catch six largemouth bass and one rainbow trout. Then from 2:33 p.m. to 3:46 p.m., I caught two smallmouth bass and 13 largemouth bass.

For weeks or even months on end, I have been wedded to a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, but this relationship waned significantly on this outing. It was replaced by an old standby, which for some unknown reason has been very lackluster for a number of years. This old-time Midwest finesse tool is a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ. On this outing, it was affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

I did catch two largemouth bass and the rainbow trout on the TRD TicklerZ rig. I also caught four largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and a gold TRD SpinZ. After that sorry and long spell of making scores of fruitless casts and retrieves, I switched to the Finesse WormZ rig, which inveigled two smallmouth bass and 13 largemouth bass.

I failed to elicit a strike along two-main lake shorelines in the lower half of the reservoir and across several shallow-water flats that are adorned with patches of coontail.

I fished along one main-lake shoreline twice. This shoreline is in the upper half of the reservoir. I fished it during the first 30 minutes of the outing, and caught one largemouth bass on the TRD TicklerZ rig. Then I fished it again during the last 37 minutes of the outing and caught seven largemouth bass on the Finesse WormZ rig. This shoreline possesses a 30- to 70-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is endowed with scores of laydowns, many overhanging trees, several patches of winter-dead American water willows, and occasional patches of coontail. These largemouth bass were caught in four to six feet of water. One was caught on the initial drop of the Finesse WormZ. The others were caught while I was employing either the drag-and-shake or swim-glide-and-shake presentations with the TRD TicklerZ and Finesse WormZ.

Around one secondary point in the back of a large feeder-creek arm, the Finesse TRD and TRD SpinZ rig caught three largemouth bass on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about three feet of water. And around another secondary point, the TRD TicklerZ rig caught one largemouth bass on a drag-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water. The underwater terrains around these two points consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders. These points have a 35- to 40-degree slope. Patches of coontail, some laydowns, and a few overhanging trees are nearby.

The Finesse WormZ rig caught two smallmouth bass and five largemouth bass around a main-lake point in the lower portions of the reservoir. The underwater terrain of this point consists of gravel, rocks, and significant boulders. The water’s edge is embellished with winter-dead patches of American water willows. There are also several patches of coontail flourishing in four to six feet of water. It is also endowed with a massive concrete outlet tower. One smallmouth bass was caught as I employed a deadstick presentation in about five feet of water around a patch of coontail. The other smallmouth bass and the five largemouth bass were caught as I employed a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four to seven feet of water. 

As I waited to garner a spot on the boat ramp and to put the boat on the trailer, I caught largemouth bass number 19. It was caught on the initial drop of the Finesse WormZ rig around a patch of winter-dead American water willows that are intertwined with some sprigs of coontail.

In conclusion, it was another difficult outing in northeastern Kansas. I crossed paths several times with Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas. He is a veteran Midwest finesse angler, and he struggled as well. He asked me how this April 8 compared to April 8s of the past in northeastern Kansas. I told him I would check my logs, and here is what they revealed: On April 8, 2010, I caught 32 largemouth bass and nine smallmouth bass. On April 8, 2011, I caught 74 largemouth bass. On April 8, 2012, I caught 41 largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass, On April 8, 2013, I caught 41 largemouth bass. On April 8, 2016, I caught 64 largemouth bass. All of these were four-hour outings. 

April 8

Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, filed this report about his April 8 outing at a community reservoir in northwestern Missouri.

Sometimes, plan B works out a lot better than plan A.

I got out today for three hours of fishing with the intent of forcing the bass to eat some power baits.

For the first half of the trip, I worked with nothing but a white and chartreuse spinnerbait and a black and blue jig and pig. And these rigs were failures.

That's when I went to finesse baits, and my luck changed considerably. I started with a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse TRD on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and caught six largemouth bass by retrieving it over a large brush pile. I used a slow retrieve, occasionally popping it and letting it fall, and the largemouth bass were rising to hit it. The brush was in six to 10 feet of water along a rocky underwater terrain. Most of my bites occurred over the shallowest portion of the brush pile.

Most of the largemouth bass I caught were on the small side, but they fought hard on my St. Croix Power Lite spinning rod, Pflueger President spinning reel, and four-pound-test monofilament line.

I later went to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a Z-Man’s black-and-blue Finesse TRD. This rig caught five more largemouth bass in two to five feet of water around a series of flat rocks along the main-lake shorelines.

I caught my last largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s Real Deal Finesse TRD on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and dragging it along the bottom around a main-lake point.

In sum, I caught and released 11 bass (most of them small), which usually isn't much to get excited about. But the fishing has been trying lately, and I feel like I am onto something. I hope to build off this experience during my next trip.

The surface temperature was 57 degrees at most of the areas I fished on the main lake and in the coves. The water clarity was unusually stained.

In retrospect, I need to adjust my fishing hours. I have been going out at midday, and traditionally that is usually the slowest time of the day to fish this community reservoir.

I was out from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. today. I am going to try getting out earlier next time and see if that affects the bite.

What is troubling, the bass are not where I would expect them to be at this time of the year. They should be staging up, getting ready for the spawn, but these fish were scattered.

One last thing: I use these reports that Ned issues as fishing reports. I noticed that he and others have been catching bass on Junebug baits lately, so that's the first finesse color I went to. It worked.

April 9

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

Here is an edited version of it.

From 10:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, and I fished at a state reservoir located in an exurban area of north-central Texas. I last fished this impoundment on Mar. 10 with John Thomas of Denton, and we caught 83 largemouth bass in six hours. But this reservoir was waylaid with torrential rains and an influx of muddy water in mid-March, and I have not visited this reservoir since then.

The reason we elected to fish at this reservoir was two-fold: First, this excursion was a scouting trip of sorts to see if the water conditions had improved since mid-March, and to see how badly the muddy water had affected the black bass fishing. The second reason was to find another black bass venue we could fall back on since the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, closed all of the state parks in Texas on April 7 in response to the COVID-19 virus and social-distancing regulations. The closure of the state parks includes the closure of the three boat ramps at the only open U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir that we had access to in north-central Texas.

It has been unseasonably warm in north-central Texas during the past few days. Daytime temperatures have been in the 90s, and on April 8 it reached 97 degrees, which set a new record high temperature. The old record was 93 degrees that was set in 1991.

Typically, the daytime high temperature for this time of April in north-central Texas is 75 degrees. The average low temperature is 53 degrees. But local weather forecasts indicate that a major cold front will arrive on April 11, and it will be accompanied by colder air temperatures in the low- to mid-50s and more thunderstorms.

On April 9, the sky was overcast and it remained that way throughout the day. The morning low temperature was 48 degrees and the afternoon high temperature climbed to 78 degrees. The wind angled out of the east and northeast at 10 to 15 mph. The barometric pressure dropped from 29.94 at 10:00 a.m. to 29.91 at 3:00 p.m.

The most productive fishing periods, according to In-Fisherman’s solunar table, would occur from 12:01 a.m. to 2:01 a.m., 6:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., and 12:28 p.m. to 2:28 p.m.

We spent these five hours probing portions of a small bay that is situated on the lower end of the reservoir, two riprap jetties on the east side of the reservoir, a large bay near the dam, the riprap-covered dam, and another couple of riprap jetties that form the entrance to a spillway channel on the northeast end of the reservoir.

This reservoir’s geological terrain consists primarily of clay, gravel, and rock-laden shorelines and points. The vast majority of them are bedecked with laydowns, submerged boulders, overhanging trees, flooded buck brush, and stickups. There are also some flourishing patches of green hydrilla and winter-dead patches of American pondweed in the shallow-water areas in the lower end of the impoundment. We decided to spend a goodly portion of this outing targeting the patches of green hydrilla inside the southern bay.

The water exhibited a muddy-brown hue with 12 to 14 inches of visibility in most places. We did find one portion of the south bay where the water clarity was two feet. The surface temperature was 63 degrees. The water level was 1 1/4 feet high. Floating debris was everywhere.

We began this outing searching for largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass on the west side of the south bay along two steep and riprap-covered shorelines that are separated by a prominent secondary point. These two shorelines and the secondary point are adjacent to the boat ramp where we launched. They are lined with a long and flourishing wall of green hydrilla that is covered with three to 12 feet of water. We fished this area twice and elicited a couple of tentative strikes, but we failed to hook those fish.

We then meandered to the east side of this bay, where we slowly plied another steep and rocky shoreline that is about 100-yards long. Sections of this shoreline are also graced with patches of green hydrilla, but these patches are not as thick or as long as the wall of hydrilla on the west side of the bay. This area yielded 14 largemouth bass that were scattered about in eight to 15 feet of water around the top and outside edges of the patches of hydrilla.

Thirteen of these 14 largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Of these thirteen largemouth bass, 11 were caught on top of the hydrilla patches with a slow and steady swimming retrieve while we were constantly shaking the rod. Two were caught on a slow drag-and-shake retrieve along the deep-water edge of a patch of hydrilla in 15 feet of water. The other largemouth bass was caught on a steady swimming retrieve with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ attached to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Eagle Claw mushroom-style jig.

We failed to generate any strikes from two rocky entry points at the mouth of this bay.

We then moved to the middle portion of the impoundment and dissected two riprap jetties that are situated on the east shoreline.

This area was mostly unproductive. It yielded one largemouth bass that was caught in 12 feet of water from the end of one of the jetties on a steady swimming retrieve with the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig. The other jetty was fruitless.

We then moved northward about a half of a mile and fished inside a large bay. This bay consists of five large coves and several rocky secondary points that have gradients of about 30 to 45 degrees.

We did not garner any strikes from several of the rocky secondary points at the mouths of the coves or inside one of the larger coves. A small cove on the east side of the bay relinquished two largemouth bass that were abiding in five to eight feet of water near some submerged buck brush along a steep section of the cove’s rocky shoreline. These two largemouth bass were both allured by a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Eagle Claw mushroom-style jig while we were employing it with a slow and steady swim-and-constant-shaking presentation.

After that, we ventured northward about a half of a mile where we probed the riprap that covers the dam, and we failed to generate any strikes there.

From the dam, we moved another 1 1/2 miles northward and probed two riprap jetties that form the entrance to a long channel that leads to a large concrete spillway. The water was muddier here than it was on the south end of the reservoir and exhibited less than a foot of clarity. We were unable to locate any black bass at this locale.

All told, the fishing was tough and it was a chore for us to catch 17 largemouth bass. We also caught one hefty freshwater drum, one white bass, and a large green sunfish by accident.

As for determining a location pattern, all but one of these bass were caught inside two coves in the middle and backend sections of two bays. One was caught from the end of a main-lake riprap jetty. Fourteen of them were caught around green patches of hydrilla.

The water was too dirty for us to determine if any spawning activity was occurring.

If the forthcoming thunderstorms on April 11 and 12 are not severe, it appears that we may have found an alternative black-bass venue for us to ply while the state parks and the Corps’ reservoirs are closed. 

April 10 

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief report on the Finesse News Network about his April 10 outing at one of northeastern Kansas’ power-plant reservoirs.

Here is an edited version of his report.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 30 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 53 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The sky was fair until 1:53 p.m., and after that it became mostly cloudy and overcast. The wind was calm at times, and when it stirred, it angled out of the north, northeast, southwest, west, and south at 3 to 16 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.21 at 12:53 a.m., 30.22 at 5:53 a.m., 30.21 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.21 at 2:53 p.m. 

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar reported that the best fishing would occur from 12:52 a.m. to 2:52 a.m., 1:20 p.m. to 3:20 p.m., and 7:06 a.m. to 9:06 a.m. 

The surface temperature along the dam was 60 degrees. The water exhibited about two feet of visibility along the dam. The water level looked to be normal.

The largemouth bass fishing at this reservoir used to be heralded as one of the finest in the Midwest. But during the past three years, it has become so horrendous that even talented and veteran Midwest finesse anglers -- like Bob Gum -- have had a difficult time catching an average of four largemouth bass an hour. 

In fact, it is such a trying waterway that there was only one tow vehicle and boat trailer parked at the boat ramp’s parking lot when Gum launched his boat. This is an unusual site during this time when the COVID-19 virus has caused most of our reservoirs in northeastern Kansas to be overflowing with anglers.

He fished from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and he struggled mightily to eke out 22 largemouth bass and inadvertently catch two freshwater drum and two white bass.

His two most effective Midwest finesse rigs were a 2 ½-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Jade’s Jig and a Z-Man’s California craw TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Jade’s Jig. He retrieved them by employing a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

He spent most of the outing plying hundreds of yards of riprap that grace the reservoir’s eastern shorelines and dam.

Almost straightway, he tangled with five largemouth bass. Then, the fishing became tedious. But during the last ten minutes of this six-hour endeavor, he caught largemouth bass number 21 and 22, and each of them were six-pounders.

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He noted that “the best bites occurred just as the moon was setting, and the bigger bass showed up at during the front part of the Solunar second peak period.” 

April 14

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed this log on the Finesse News Network about his April 19 outing.

Here is an edited version of their log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 28 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 51 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind was calm for several hours, and at other times, it angled out of the south, north, west, and northwest at 3 to 26 mph. The conditions of the sky ranged from being fair to being cluttered with a few clouds to being partly cloudy to being mostly cloudy to being overcast. The barometric pressure was 30.34 at 12:52 a.m., 30.31 at 5:52 a.m., 30.31 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.22 at 2:52 p.m.

For two nights in a row, area thermometers dropped into the high 20s, and most of the white blossoms on the plum thickets that adorn our roadways in northeastern Kansas have been walloped by the below freezing temperatures. And the water in our bird baths have been covered with ice.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 5:01 a.m. to 7:01 a.m., 5:28 p.m. to 7:28 p.m., and 11:14 p.m. to 1:14 a.m. 

I ventured to one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs that I have not fished since April 26, 2019. On April 16, 2015, I caught 101 largemouth bass in four hours and 20 minutes. But since that 2015 outing, it has been a struggle for us to catch an average of 10 largemouth bass an hour. This outing, however, was tad better. I made my first cast at 12:08 p.m. and my last one at 2:25 p.m., and on my last cast and retrieve, I caught largemouth bass number 40.

The surface temperature ranged from 54 to 55 degrees. The water exhibited about three feet of Secchi stick visibility. The water level looked to be several inches above its normal level.

I spent the entire two hours and 17 minutes plying portions of about a mile-long shoreline that stretches from the dam to inside one of this reservoir’s three primary feeder-creek arms. This entire shoreline was sheltered from the west and northwest wind.

The bulk of this shoreline possesses a 25- to 30-degree slope, and it is endowed with a few stretches that have a 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. A submerged creek channel graces a few spots along this massive shoreline. The water’s edge is embellished with vast patches of winter-dead American water willows, a few overhanging trees, a few laydowns, a dozen riprap jetties, two secondary points, and several tertiary points.

I failed to engender a strike during the first 12 minutes that I was afloat. The first largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and a gold TRD SpinZ. It was caught near the outside edge of the American water willows and near a partially submerged steel pipe in about five feet of water as a I was employing a swim-and-glide presentation.

During the next 50 minutes, I caught 23 largemouth bass. Twenty-two of them were caught on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. One was caught on a Z-Man’s black/blue Scented LeechZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Two were caught around laydowns in about five feet of water. Five were caught under the overhanging trees in about four feet of water. Five were caught around three of the riprap jetties in about five feet of water. Ten largemouth bass were caught in five to seven feet of water near the outside edges of the American water willows. A few were caught on the initial drop. The others were caught while I employed a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

From 1:12 p.m. to 1:48 p.m., I struggled to catch six largemouth bass. Two of them were caught around a secondary point in about five feet of water. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Its water’s edge possesses a large patch of winter-dead American water willows. It has a 25-degree slope. These two largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse WormZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation near the outside edges of the American water willows. I caught four largemouth bass along about an 80-yard stretch of the shoreline adjacent to the secondary point. This portion of the shoreline has a 30- to 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some boulders. Its water’s edge is adorned with some patches of winter-dead American water willows, a few stumps, several minor laydowns, and three overhanging trees. These four largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse WormZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation under the overhanging trees in about four feet of water.

From 1:55 p.m. to 2:25 p.m., I fished about a 75-yard stretch of a portion of the shoreline that I fished from 12:08 p.m. to 1:10 p.m., and I caught 10 largemouth bass. Three of them were caught on the Finesse WormZ rig and seven were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. One was caught around a riprap jetty in about five feet of water. Two were caught under an overhanging tree in about four feet of water. And seven of them were caught near the outside edges of the patches of American water willows in five to seven feet of water. Three were caught on the initial drop of these rigs, and seven of the largemouth bass were caught while I was executing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

In sum, I caught an average of 17 largemouth bass an hour. None of these largemouth bass would have impressed bass tournament anglers or producers of television fishing shows, but I classified it as an enjoyable 137 minutes of fishing. I also elicited 16 strikes that I failed to hook; I relish eliciting strikes even when I fail to hook the striker.

And to my delight at 1:35 p.m., I crossed paths with Terry Bivins of Lebo, Kansas, for the first time in more than a decade. Back in the 1990s, Terry and I regularly fished together. He is the most adroit angler with a variety of jig rigs that I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. What’s more, when he wields his jigs, he is the most talented multispecies angler that I have ever shared a boat with. And as he fishes, his ability to concentrate and be patient is impeccable. Around the beginning of this century, he virtually retired from fishing and returned to another one of his grand passions, which revolves around stock car racing. That love was manifested in 1975, 1976, and 1977 when he competed on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. 

Nowadays, at the age of 77, he is still racing, and he quite successful at it. Because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, his racing season has been postponed. So, he is fishing again.

To my surprise, Bivins and I were the only anglers afloat. Since the eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, our reservoirs have been brimming with anglers. And it was a joy to share parts of this reservoir with just him.

April 15

Ned and Pat Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed this log on the Finesse News Network about their April 15 outing.

Here is an edited version of their log.

Patty Kehde and I violated one of the cardinal rules of Midwest finesse fishing in northeastern Kansas on April 15 by fishing the same state reservoir that I fished for two hours and 17 minutes on April 14. That cardinal rule stipulates that we should not fish the same reservoir more than once a week.

Patty has been dealing with the aftereffects of a bite from a brown-recluse spider on April 3 and the doxycycline hyclate that the doctor prescribed. The effects of the doxycycline have really whacked her. She was finally feeling able to fish for a few hours on April 15, and she was eager to catch some largemouth bass without having to work too hard to catch them. So, we sheepishly decided to return to the waters where I tangled with 40 largemouth bass in 137 minutes yesterday.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 30 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 55 degrees at 3:52 p.m. The conditions of the sky fluctuated from being fair to mostly cloudy. From 9:52 a.m. to 6:52 p.m., the wind was variable at 3 to 5 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.05 at 12:52 a.m., 30.09 at 5:52 a.m., 30.17 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.10 at 3:52 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 55 to 57 degrees. The water exhibited slightly more than three feet of Secchi stick visibility. The water level looked to be several inches above normal.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 5:54 a.m. to 7:54 a.m., 6:20 p.m. to 8:20 p.m., and 11:41 p.m. to 1:41 a.m.

We fished from 12:47 p.m. to 2:47 p.m., and we caught 34 largemouth bass and inadvertently caught one white bass and one freshwater drum. And Patty caught three of the 34 largemouth bass in the first six minutes on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

Overall, we caught two of the 34 largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s meat dog TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. A slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught eight largemouth bass. Twenty-four largemouth bass were caught on either a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig or a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. 

We spent the entire 120 minutes fishing along several portions of one shoreline along the west side of one of this reservoir’s primary feeder-creek arms. This entire shoreline is embellished with untold numbers of patches of winter-dead American water willows, 10 riprap jetties, two significant points, an array of tertiary or minor points, about a dozen of overhanging trees, a few manmade brush piles, and several laydowns. A submerged creek channel enhances several segments of this massive shoreline. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rock, boulders, silt, and clay. There are several acres of shallow-water flats adjacent to this shoreline, which we did not fish. The shoreline possesses a 25- to 30-degree slope. 

The most productive locales were situated under overhanging trees, around significant notches in the patches of American water willows, and around two riprap jetties.

One of the 34 largemouth bass was caught on an unintentional deadstick presentation, and the freshwater drum was caught on an unintentional deadstick presentation, too. Four largemouth bass were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation. The other largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs or on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

We failed to hook 11 strikes.

As we noted in our April 14 log, none of these largemouth bass would have impressed bass tournament anglers or producers of television fishing shows. But they tickled Patty’s fancy for two hours.

April 15

Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, filed this report about his April 15 outing at a community reservoir in northwestern Missouri.

I left the baitcasters and power baits at home today. I brought only three light-action rods and reels, each outfitted with a different finesse bait.

I haven't been finding success with larger baits such as spinnerbaits or jig and pig lately, so I decided to just concentrate on smaller baits.

I fish lighter than even most Midwest finesse anglers do. I love fishing with a St. Croix Power Lite rod and a small Pflueger President reel with four-pound-test monofilament line. Some say that is too light for going to battle with bass, but I like to think that I am giving my opponent a fighting chance.

The St. Croix rod is extremely sensitive and picks up even the slightest bite. And the President reel has an excellent drag system, which is needed when using line that small.

That combination produced a fun three hours of fishing.

I wasn't expecting much after a cold front passed through and left a bluebird day in its wake. The sky was bright blue without a cloud in sight. That usually spells failure on this reservoir. Especially when you fish in the middle of the day. I was out from noon to 3 p.m. But I was pleasantly surprised.

I caught 17 largemouth bass and three rainbow trout during that time, and several of the bass looked like linebackers.

From a historical perspective, that's not a great total at this reservoir where Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, and I have combined to catch as many as 100 largemouth bass during outings in past springs. But it still represents a steady improvement from my earlier outings this spring.

I started with a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/15th-ounce mushroom-style jig, and I never went to anything else. I started in a cove with rocky shorelines and I caught the three-rainbow trout there. I used a slow retrieve with an occasional jigging motion, and each of the trout hit the bait on the drop.

From there, I fished a long stretch of riprap at the north end of the reservoir, where the depth of the water drops off fairly quickly to about 10 feet. That south-facing stretch had water that was 57 degrees, the warmest I found during the day. I caught my two biggest largemouth bass near the twin culverts that drain a marsh on the other side of the road. One of them bit when I skipped my Finesse TRD rig into the shade inside the tube.

I caught the other largemouth bass along rocky banks about halfway inside several coves.

The water was off-color from the recent rain, and the water level was slightly high. 

April 15

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief report on the Finesse News Network about his April 14 outing at one of eastern Kansas’ community reservoirs.

Here is an edited version of his brief. 

For the first time in five years, I ventured to this community reservoir.

The sunshine persisted through the day with mild mannered breezes angling out of the north. The wind eventually became light and variable during the late-morning hours.

There were a couple of other boats afloat. The surface temperature warmed to 57 degrees. The water exhibited a tea-stained hue with about two feet of visibility.

The water’s edges along the shorelines are embellished with scattered patches of winter-dead American water willows, which are covered with gobs of filamentous algae. I didn't encounter any other aquatic vegetation.

I fished from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and I struggled to catch one smallmouth bass and six largemouth bass. And I accidentally caught one channel catfish and three carp.

They were caught on a Z-Man’s California craw TRD HogZ on a red 1/16-ounce Jade’s Jig, a 2 ½-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Jade’s Jig, and a 2 ½-inch Z-Man’s coppertruce ZinkerZ affixed on a red 1/16-ounce Jade’s jig.

When the fishing is as slow as it was, I tend to fish more slowly than I normally fish. I also make each cast longer than I normally make, and this allows me to work the Midwest finesse rig into deeper water than I normally do. I kept the rod tip up and employed a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation, which allowed the Midwest finesse rigs to swim and glide all the way back to the boat.

Even though I was plying deeper water than I normally do, most of the catchable fish were shallow and abiding in two to three feet of water. 

April 17 

Travis Perret of Overland Park, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his solo and self-distancing outing on April 17 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He is the creator and manager of the Finesse News Network Facebook page, and here is the link to that site: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1790450444537568/.

Here is an edited version of his report.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 33 degrees at 8:53 a.m. and 45 degrees at 5:53 p.m. From 12:53 a.m. to 3:53 p.m., the conditions of the sky fluctuated from raining to light rain to light snow to overcast, and the wind angled out of the northeast, north, and northwest at 7 to 24 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.98 at 12:53 a.m., 30.03 at 5:53 a.m., 30.19 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.16 at 4:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 7:22 a.m. to 9:22 a.m., 7:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., and 1:11 a.m. to 3:11 a.m.

He was hoping to fish at one of northeastern Kansas’ power-plant reservoirs, where Midwest finesse anglers during many mid-April days from 1990 to 2015 tangled with a significant number of largemouth bass and a variety of other species, and the size of some of the largemouth bass and wipers was quite impressive. But as he drove across the dam, he noticed that the brisk north wind was rolling scores of white caps onto all the spots that he wanted to fish. So, he decided to venture to a nearby community reservoir, which he had fished only once before.

The surface temperature at this community reservoir was 55 degrees. The water exhibited about two feet of visibility.

The reservoir was small enough and surrounded by trees to make the wind a non-factor in boat positioning, but it was just enough to make the fishing good.

Because his previous outing at this reservoir was a rather unfruitful one, he was expecting that this April 17 outing would be a difficult one, too. To his delight, those expectations were way too pessimistic.

He fished from 12:00 to 3:00 and began fishing along the dam. He started catching them right away, and the dam yielded 10 largemouth bass during the first hour.

Not knowing the lake, he didn’t know of any other specific locations to fish. Therefore, he suspected that his catch rate of 10 largemouth bass an hour was not going to last. But he found another spot that sported a significant congregation of largemouth bass.

It was the opening of a small cove, which had a spillway area in the back of it. It is adjacent to the dam.He fished around both points of this small cove. And he exclaimed that “I and caught them pretty good, bumping up my hourly catch rate.”

In total, he caught and released 41 largemouth bass, which is an average of slightly more than 13 an hour. He also caught three huge crappie.

He had a scale in the boat and weighed five of the biggest largemouth bass, and they weighed from three pounds to almost four pounds for a total weight of almost 16 pounds.

Throughout the outing, he caught them on a 2 ½-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. They were caught after two rotations of the reel handle and a shake of the rod in one to four feet of water. A few were caught around laydowns, but most were caught along an underwater terrain that is coated with wads of filamentous algae.

April 20

Ned and Pat Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed this log on the Finesse News Network about their April 20 outing.

Here is an edited version of their log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 40 degrees at 3:52 a.m. and 71 degrees at 4:52 p.m. The wind was calm for about five hours, and then it angled out of the west, southeast, northwest, south, north, and southwest at 5 to 29 mph. The sky fluctuated from being overcast to being mostly cloudy to being partly cloudy to being fair. And around 4:52 a.m. to 5:52 a.m., it rained lightly. The barometric pressure was 29.89 at 12:52 a.m., 29.88 at 5:52 a.m., 29.87 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.79 at 5:52 p.m.

After we talked with Greg Copper of Lawrence, Kansas, who reported that he crossed paths with a significant number of largemouth bass and crappie at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs on April 19, Patty Kehde and I decided to spend an hour or so at this reservoir to see if we could cross paths with some easy to catch largemouth bass.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 9:17 a.m. to 11:17 a.m., 9:37 p.m. to 11:37 p.m., and 3:07 a.m. to 5:07 a.m.

We fished from 4:55 p.m. to 6:10 p.m., and we caught 21 largemouth bass and three crappie on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The water level looked to be a few inches above its normal level. The water exhibited 10 to 30 inches of visibility. The surface temperature at 6:08 p.m. was 58 degrees.

We spent the entire 75 minutes of this outing plying about 80-percent of a massive shoreline inside one of the reservoir’s feeder-creek arms. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 45-degree slope. The water’s edge is littered with about two dozen docks, several concrete retaining walls, a few laydowns, some manmade brush piles, a few overhanging trees, and a few skimpy patches of winter-dead American water willows. The underwater terrain consists of silt, gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. Many of the submerged objects are coated with wads of filamentous algae. And we crossed paths with a few submerged patches of curly-leaf pondweed.

Two largemouth bass were caught on an inadvertent deadstick presentation. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our TRD TicklerZ rigs. Sixteen of them were caught while we were employing a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation that allowed our rigs to swim and glide about six inches above the bottom, which was littered with wads of filamentous algae. The largemouth bass were caught in three to eight feet of water. Some were caught four feet from the water’s edge, a few were caught 20 feet from the water’s edge, and the rest were caught somewhere between four and 20 feet from the water’s edge.

April 20

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

Here is an edited version of it.

From 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, and I ventured to one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs in north-central Texas that has been closed since mid-March because of flooding. It is now open again.

At the height of the flooding in late-March, this reservoir’s water level had peaked at about eight feet above its normal pool, and its surrounding parking lots, boat ramps, and picnic areas were covered with water. But recently, the Corps has begun dropping the water level at a furious pace, and the water level is now 2.91 feet above normal. The water clarity has returned to normal and exhibited 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The water temperature ranged from 62 to 66 degrees.

The sky conditions fluctuated from being overcast to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy. The morning low temperature was 53 degrees. The afternoon high temperature was 77 degrees. The wind angled out of the east-by-southeast at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.94 at 11:00 a.m. and fell to 29.88 by 3:00 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar table, the best fishing periods would occur from 3:03 a.m. to 5:03 a.m., 9:13 a.m. to 11:13 a.m., and 9:33 p.m. to 11:33 p.m.

Roger and I fished inside five feeder-creek arms on the lower end of the reservoir. Our primary focus was centered on clay-and-pea-gravel flats, steep rocky shorelines, rock- and boulder-laden secondary points, a 75-yard section of a riprap embankment, the areas around three boat ramps, several coves, some pockets or cuts along the shorelines, and the main-lake points at the entrances to the feeder-creek arms. We fished in water as shallow as two feet and as deep as 12 feet, and it was difficult to catch six largemouth bass and two spotted bass in three hours. Since the black bass fishing was so trying, we switched our attentions to pursuing white bass during the last hour of this outing, and we caught seven of them.

We caught five largemouth bass and two spotted bass inside one of the feeder-creek arms. They were scattered around steep and rocky secondary points about halfway back inside this creek arm. One secondary point yielded two spotted bass; the other five largemouth bass were caught from five different secondary points.

The sixth largemouth bass was caught from a rocky secondary point in another creek arm.

The coves, pockets, flats, secondary points, and the 75-yard stretch of riprap embankment inside the other three feeder-creek arms, as well as the main-lake points at the mouths of all five of the creek arms, were fruitless.

Three largemouth bass, both of the spotted bass, and six white bass were caught while we were steadily swimming a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Two largemouth bass were caught on a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

One largemouth and one white bass engulfed a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man’s black neon Finesse WormZ rigged on a red 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig as it was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

In conclusion, the fishing at this reservoir, and the other Corps' reservoirs in north-central Texas, has been tough all spring.

Roger and I had the opportunity to speak with two crappie anglers and another bass angler during this outing, and they were having a rough go of it as well. The two crappie anglers reported catching only three small crappie, and the bass angler failed to garner a strike all day and was going home empty-handed.

The consensus among these three anglers, and other local anglers that I have spoken with this spring, is that this wretched bass fishing can be attributed to the rapidly rising and dropping water levels. It has been our experience that radically rising and falling water levels can confound our Florida-strain largemouth bass fishing for weeks on end. But when the Corps allows the rising water levels to stabilize and they don't drop the water levels back down to normal levels, the black bass fishing can become quite stellar.

April 21

Ned and Pat Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed this log on the Finesse News Network about their April 21 outing.

Here is an edited version of their log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 41 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 75 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The conditions of the sky were fair, except at 3:53 p.m. when it became mostly cloudy, and at 4:53 when it was littered with a few clouds. The wind angled out of the west, east, northwest, northeast, southeast, and south at 3 to 8 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.91 at 12:53 a.m., 29.98 at 5:53 a.m., 30.08 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.00 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 9:55 a.m. to 11:55 a.m., 10:15 p.m. to 12:15 a.m., and 3:45 a.m. to 5:45 a.m.

Patty Kehde and I ventured to one of northeastern Kansas’ exurban community reservoirs. I had not fished it since the 1990s, and she had never fished it. We were afloat from 1:05 p.m. to 3:25 p.m.

The parking lot at the boat ramp was brim full of tow vehicles and trailers. On the water, we talked to an angler who reported that he had been fishing for many hours and caught three largemouth bass, two walleye, and one crappie. At the boat ramp at the end of our outing, we talked to another angler who told us that he and his companion had failed to elicit a strike.

Water was coursing over its spillway at a rapid pace, and the water level looked to be a few inches above its normal level. The water exhibited about 36 inches of secchi-stick visibility in the vicinity of the dam, and in the upper half of its feeder-creek arms, the visibility diminished to six to eight inches.

During this 140-minute outing, we struggled to catch 16 largemouth bass. And we accidentally caught four white bass, two walleye, and one crappie. We elicited 10 strikes that we failed to hook, and we failed to boat four fish that we hooked.

One largemouth bass was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Fifteen largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Because we failed to establish a significant location and presentation pattern, it is a difficult task to compose a coherent log about how and where we caught the few largemouth bass that we somehow managed to catch.

But steeper shorelines and points seemed to be more fruitful than flatter ones. Steep shorelines and points that were graced with big rocks and boulders seemed to be better than ones with gravel and small rocks. Steep shorelines and points with laydowns and stumps were slightly more fruitful than ones without laydowns and stumps.

We caught four largemouth bass along the dam and its adjacent shoreline and spillway. One of these largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the Finesse WormZ rig in about five feet of water. The others were caught on our TRD TicklerZ rigs, two were caught on the initial drop, and two were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. These three largemouth bass were caught in four to six feet of water. The underwater terrains of the dam, spillway, and shoreline consists of rocks and boulders. One of the four largemouth bass was caught around a clutter of laydowns. The others were caught around boulders.

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The other dozen largemouth bass were caught pell-mell along three shorelines in the upper half of the reservoir. Three were caught on the initial drop of our TRD TicklerZ rigs. The other nine were caught while we employed three types of Midwest finesse retrieves with our TRD TicklerZ rigs: a straight swimming presentation, a swim-glide-and-shake presentation, and a dragging and strolling presentation.

It was such a haphazard affair, Patty and I often said that it seemed as if the largemouth bass were catch us rather us catching them. We could make no sense of what was transpiring.

Even though Terry and Claudia Bivins of Lebo, Kansas, enjoyed three fruitful outings at this reservoir this April (catching 43 largemouth bass on the first outing, 63 on the second, and 72 on the third), Patty and I doubt that we will be making the 41-mile drive to this reservoir again this spring.

April 23

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted this log on the Finesse News Network about his April 23 outing.

Here is an edited version of it.

From 9:55 a.m. to 2:55 p.m., Roger Farish of Highland Village and I fished at a state reservoir located in an exurban area of north-central Texas. We last fished this impoundment on April 9, and we had a difficult time catching 17 largemouth bass in five hours.

The weather in north-central Texas has been stable during the past few days. On April 23, it was sunny and the sky was cloudless. The morning low temperature was 59 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 84 degrees. The wind was light and variable. The barometric pressure dropped from 29.80 at 9:00 a.m. to 29.75 at 3:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar table noted that the best fishing would occur between 5:13 a.m. and 7:13 a.m., 11:03 a.m. and 1:03 p.m., and 11:24 p.m. to 1:24 a.m.

We decided to spend a good portion of this outing targeting submerged patches of hydrilla inside a bay on the south end of the reservoir. And when we were not dissecting the hydrilla patches in the south bay, we slowly plied two riprap jetties on the east side of the reservoir and portions of a large bay just north of the two jetties.

The water’s surface temperature varied from 62 to 71 degrees. The water level was normal. The water exhibited a muddy-brown tint, and depending on where we were fishing, it had 12 to 18 inches of clarity.

We started on the east side of the south bay, where we slowly plied a rocky shoreline that is about 100-yards long. It has an incline of about 35 to 40 degrees. Sections of this shoreline are adorned with patches of green hydrilla. We shared this shoreline with three other boat anglers, and we could barely eke out 10 largemouth bass that were scattered around the inside edges of the patches of hydrilla in five to seven feet of water. We inadvertently caught three channel catfish, two black crappie, and one large green sunfish. We saw one of the boat anglers catch a largemouth bass on a small crankbait, but we did not see the other two anglers catch any fish.

Along two riprap-covered shorelines on the west side of the bay, we caught two largemouth bass. These two shorelines have about a 30- to 35-degree gradient. A long wall of hydrilla is situated about 10 feet out from the water’s edge. It is covered with five to eight feet of water, and patches of hydrilla parallel both of these shorelines. Both of these largemouth bass were caught from the outside edge of the hydrilla wall in eight to 10 feet of water.

The two riprap jetties that are located on the east side of the reservoir yielded one largemouth bass. It was caught from one side of the jetty in three feet of water.

While we were slowly dissecting the riprap along these two jetties, we observed several white bass foraging on shad on the surface of the water in 20 to 25 feet of water and about 50 to 60 feet away from one of the jetties. This was the first time this year that we have seen white bass schooling and chasing shad on the surface. We caught 21 of them before they dispersed and disappeared. The other jetty yielded one white bass that was caught in five feet of water from the end of the jetty.

From the two jetties, we ventured inside a large bay just north of the jetties, and we failed to locate any largemouth bass, spotted bass, or smallmouth bass in this bay. But we did catch five white bass in 15 to 20 feet of water from a rocky shoreline on the north side of the bay. A couple of rocky secondary points, two small coves, and a clay-and-gravel flat on the east side of this bay were fruitless.

Overall, the black bass bite was tough, and we worked hard to catch thirteen largemouth bass. We also caught 27 white bass, three channel catfish, two black crappie, and one large green sunfish.

Six of the 13 largemouth bass were caught on a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Trick ShotZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Another six were allured by a Z-Man’s hot snakes TRD TicklerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. One largemouth was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The submerged patches of hydrilla in the south bay of the reservoir continue to be the most fruitful locale at this reservoir.

The most effective presentation was a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. 

April 23

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed this log on the Finesse News Network about his April 23 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 52 degrees at 2:52 a.m. and 77 degrees at 4:52 p.m. From 12:52 a.m. to 8:52 a.m. it was misty and foggy, and then the conditions of the sky ranged from being overcast to being mostly cloudy to being partly cloudy to being fair. For 10 hours the wind ranged from being calm to variable, and at other times, it angled out of the east, northwest, west, and southeast at 3 to 8 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.71 at 12:52 a.m., 29.68 at 5:52 a.m., 29.72 a.m. at 11:52 a.m., and 29.67 at 3:52 p.m. 

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 10:49 a.m. to 12:49 p.m., 11:14 p.m. to 1:14 a.m., and 5:03 a.m. to 7:03 a.m.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, Patty Kehde and I have sequestered ourselves to fishing a few nearby community and state reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, and our outings are short ones, ranging from 1 1/4 to three hours in length. We had one 75-minute outing when we caught 21 largemouth bass, but during most of them, our catch rates have been quite paltry, averaging from about six to 10 largemouth bass an hour. But several of our finesse friends, such as Terry and Claudia Bivins of Lebo, Kansas, and Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, have enjoyed several bountiful outings. For instance, the Bivins fished a northeastern Kansas’ federal reservoir on April 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and tangled with a combination of 92 largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, 10 crappie and three freshwater drum, which is a superb average of 16.7 black bass per hour. Likewise, Holscher and two other anglers estimate that they caught about a 100 fish, consisting of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, sauger, freshwater drum, and crappie. 

Patty elected to stay at home and tangle with our computer woes on April 23, and I ventured to a community reservoir and fished from 3:10 p.m. to 4:41 p.m. 

The surface temperature ranged wildly from 65 to 70 degrees. At some locales the water contained dense populations of phytoplankton, which adversely affected the water clarity. The water exhibited from eight inches to three feet of Secchi-stick visibility. The water level looked to be a few inches above its normal level.

There were scores of anglers afloat and others were walking along the shorelines. There were also several paddle-boarders and array of kayakers. The swimming beach had more than a dozen folks swimming and sunbathing, and two youngsters were swimming near one of the boat ramps. I had to wait in line to launch my boat and wait in line to put it back of the trailer. For the first time in 25 years of fishing with a Honda outboard engine in northeastern Kansas, I was joined in line with two other boats with Honda engines. I have never seen so many people at this reservoir on a weekday in the 5 ½ decades that I have lived in Lawrence, Kansas. These are strange times, indeed.

I rapidly fished along portions of two shorelines inside one of the reservoir’s primary feeder-creek arms. These shorelines have a 30- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, silt, and some occasional boulders. The water’s edges are embellished with some winter-dead patches of American water willows, several laydowns, remnants of a beaver hut, some stumps, and gobs of filamentous algae. I saw one broken stem of Eurasian milfoil and several broken stems of curly-leaf pondweed floating on the surface, but I did not cross paths with any patches adorning the underwater terrain.

I quickly fished around a flat main-lake point and along short portions of two shorelines inside another primary feeder-creek arm. These shorelines have a 25- to 50-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, silt, and boulders. The water’s edges are embellished with a few patches of winter-dead American water willows, several laydowns, some stumps, gobs of filamentous algae, several concrete and rock retaining walls, and a number of docks. Along a 30-yard stretch of one of these shorelines, I saw hundreds of broken stems of curly-leaf pondweed floating on the surface, and one of my Midwest finesse rigs felt as if it was working its way through some patches of aquatic vegetation, which was a hallelujah moment for me even though these patches yielded just one largemouth bass.

I followed other anglers along three of the shorelines and the main-lake point was being fished by three anglers walking along the water’s edge. 

In total, I struggled to catch 11 largemouth bass and one crappie. 

Six of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse TRD affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to an orange 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. One was caught on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce jig. 

Three of the eleven largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of my rigs. The others were caught while I was employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. 

During much of 2019, our federal reservoirs in northeastern Kanas were inaccessible for many months because all of the boat ramps were inundated. And consequently, our community and state reservoirs were waylaid with extremely heavy angler predation. But it was never as heavy in 2019 as it has been since the COVID-19 pandemic erupted and the stay-at-home edict was announced.

April 23

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed this log on the Finesse News Network about his April 23 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his log.

On April 23, I made a solo trip to one of northeastern Kansas’ U.S. Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs. I had not fished in this reservoir for more than a year. It was flooded throughout most of 2019, reaching a level of 29.46 feet above its normal level, which is an all-time record. The water inundated many acres of the surrounding woodlands and park areas. Now, the devastation is very obvious; many acres of the shorelines remain barren of any green growth and thousands of mature trees are dead. As I observed the height of the high-water line on the tree trunks, I was awed by this sight, and from the spot where I was afloat today, I thought about how much water would have been over my head in May of 2019. 

On April 23, 2020, it was cloudy and foggy during the morning, and the sky cleared and bright sunshine dominated the afternoon sky. From a low temperature of 52 degrees, the high temperature peaked at 77 degrees. The wind was calm at times – especially during the last 90 minutes that I was afloat, and when it stirred, it blew from the west to southwest to south at 3 to 8 mph.

The reservoir’s surface was glassy smooth except for the boat wakes from dozens of watercraft plying the waters with their operators and passengers socially-distancing while enjoying a beautiful day of healthy activity.

The surface temperature ranged from 58 degrees on the main lake to 62 degrees in the back of a feeder-creek arm. Even though the water level in the lake was more than six feet above its normal level, the water exhibited from three to 4 1/2 feet of visibility.

I fished from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

After launching the boat, I headed for a small feeder-creek arm where I had discovered a submerged farm-pond dam during my last trip to this reservoir in 2018. I was eager to see if I could tempt any black bass that were abiding on the dam into striking. Alas, when I pulled in to the cove, there was another boat already fishing in the vicinity of the dam. So, I made my first cast on one of the main lake points at the entrance to the feeder creek. With the high-water level, the waves from the boat wakes were churning up an area of muddy water along the main lake side of the point. The current from the wind and waves was carrying this stream of muddy water past the end of the point and across the mouth of the cove. Along the shoreline, there was also an area of dead stalks of terrestrial vegetation, which anglers call stickups, that were inundated, and the tips of many of them were visible above water. These stickups varied from thick clumps to scattered stalks, and in deeper water, they were completely submerged. They embellish the entire shoreline inside of this small feeder-creek creek. As I approached the tip of the point to make my first cast, I could see that there was a small area of relatively clear water between the edge of the stickups and the edge of the muddy water. I began casting to the clearer water and on my third cast was rewarded with a strike and a largemouth bass. It was caught on a slightly shortened three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse Shroom jig with a straight swimming retrieve. After several more casts along the tip of the point with no results and being encouraged by catching a black bass instead of a white bass that I originally thought I might find on the point, I picked up a rod that sported a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse Shroom jig. And as it turned out, these were the only two lures I used all afternoon. 

I worked my way back to a little pocket of clear water. I made a cast with the TRD TicklerZ rig adjacent to the stickups, employed a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve and caught a smallmouth bass. Several casts later to the same general area, I caught a 16-inch walleye on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. 

I began fishing along the shoreline adjacent to the point and dissecting areas along the line of submerged stickups. And I started catching largemouth bass at a pretty good pace. This feeder-creek arm has three coves and three secondary points. I worked along the shoreline of the first cove to the first of these secondary points, making casts to the edge of the stickups, clumps of stickups, and openings in between the stickups. At some locales, I was able to cast to the water’s edge without getting hung up. I spent some time strolling, letting the boat’s movement pull the lure into deeper water and drag behind the boat. I used a combination of swim-glide-and-shake, drag-and-shake, and drag-and-deadstick presentations. At the end of the first hour, my counter showed that I had caught 14 largemouth bass, one smallmouth bass and a walleye.Thirteen of the largemouth bass were caught on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig. Some were caught on the initial drop, some were caught during a deadstick presentation, and some were caught while I was shaking it as it sat on the bottom. But the most were caught on the swim-glide-and-shake presentation. During this whole time, the boat floated in four to six feet of water. 

I caught one largemouth bass from the tip of the second point. Then I began dissecting the shoreline in the second or middle cove. I employed the same pattern that I used inside the first cove until I discovered an interesting structure feature, which is a sharp ledge where the depth radically changed from 4 ½ feet to six feet, and then there was another ledge that dropped into eight feet of water. My graph showed a significant number of fish abiding along the ledges.

I changed my tactics to focus more on strolling and dragging the TRD TicklerZ behind the boat. I made longer casts at a quartering angle to the edge of the stickups and used a drag-and-swim presentation and a shake-and-deadstick motif while the boat dragged the rig across the two ledges into deeper water. The calm wind allowed me to do this with a very slow speed, so that the rig readily got to the bottom. I continued to catch black bass in shallow water and in the deeper water. I was also rewarded with the best fish of the day, which was a 2 ½-pound smallmouth bass that was caught with a deadstick presentation in eight feet of water. By the time I reached the end of the cove another hour had elapsed. My counter showed that I had caught 28 largemouth bass, two smallmouth bass, and two walleye.

Along the opposite shoreline of this cove, I caught two more largemouth bass. On the tip of the secondary point at the end of the cove shoreline, I caught two more largemouth bass and another smallmouth bass. A short time later, I finally arrived at the place that I initially wanted to try, the submerged pond dam. I quickly surveyed its structure with my sonar. At the spot where the dam would have intersected the shoreline, but was under water due to the high-water level, there was a point of stickup stalks along the top of the dam in about two feet of water. The depth of the water dropped sharply along the slope of the dam and along the slope of the shoreline. In an area about the size of a large dining room table, I caught eight largemouth bass and a crappie in about 20 minutes. 

After catching largemouth bass number 40, I checked the time and noted that three hours had elapsed. In addition to the largemouth bass, I had also landed three smallmouths, two walleyes, and a black crappie.

I decided to try to find some white bass during the remainder of the outing. However, before leaving to hunt for some white bass, I could not resist making a couple of casts to an area along the shoreline adjacent to the submerged dam, where the stickups jut out further into the water and forms a prominent point. Five minutes later, I had boated a largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass, increasing my total to 42 largemouth bass and four smallmouth bass.

Except for the first largemouth bass, all of the fish were caught on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig. However, there was no absolute pattern. They were caught on a variety of presentations, depths, and locations. Several times after I missed hooking a fish on a strike, I let the lure sink to the bottom and shook it, and the fish came back and took it while I was shaking it. Several other times, a fish struck at the lure and missed two or three times before I successfully hooked it. I learned to never give up on a retrieve. There were many instances of catching fish on consecutive casts -- even as many as five casts in a row. The vast majority of the largemouth bass were dinks, and about half of those were what I would call super dinks, maybe 5 inches long at best.

To pursue some white bass, I moved to a small rocky point along a main- lake shoreline. During the next 45 minutes, I made several passes back and forth around this point and along 50 yards of the point’s adjacent shorelines. Unfortunately, the white bass never showed up. The high-water level had submerged most of the point and the stickups were thick enough that I could not cast all the way to the water’s edge. I used the pearl Slim SwimZ rig and made casts to the edges of the stickups and into the openings between the patches of stickups. While I did not catch any white bass, I did catch seven more largemouth bass and three more smallmouth bass on the Slim SwimZ rig with a slow and steady swim retrieve. 

In all, I caught 49 largemouth bass, seven smallmouth bass, two walleye and one black crappie. From what I observed, there were two-year classes of largemouth bass, which ranged in size from small to very small. I talked to some crappie fisherman at the boat ramp and they said that they had not caught many crappie, but had caught lots of small black bass.

Apparently, this reservoir experienced a huge recovery of its largemouth bass population in 2019. It will be interesting to watch how this new population of largemouth bass develops and grows over the next three to four years. I am looking forward to them providing some very entertaining finesse fishing as they grow up. 

April 24

Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, filed this report on the Finesse News Network about his four-hour river outing in the south Texas Hill Country with his grandson Tim Michel of Kerrville, Texas, on April 24.

Here is a condensed and edited version of his report:

The sky was clear and sunny. According to the Weather Underground, the morning low temperature was 57 degrees and the afternoon high soared to 97 degrees. The barometric pressure was low and measured 29.02. The wind angled out of the southwest at 7 to 16 mph.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the most lucrative fishing periods would occur between 6:04 a.m. and 8:04 a.m., 11:57 a.m. and 1:57 p.m., and 12:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Tim and I were afloat from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

The water exhibited about three feet of clarity. The water level was normal. The water temperature was 70 degrees.

We targeted a shallow submerged stump field in four to seven feet of water and caught eight largemouth bass. The quality of these bass was good—five of them weighed over two pounds and the largest weighed two pounds, 13 ounces. Only one was a dink.

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All eight of these largemouth bass were caught on a skirted 1/8-ounce Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Micro Finesse jig dressed with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD CrawZ as a trailer. Tim experimented with a 3/8-ounce chatterbait, a 3/8-ounce skirted jig and a green-pumpkin crawfish-imitation trailer, and some topwater baits, but he failed to elicit any strikes.

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

April 25

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

Here is an edited version of it.

Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, joined me for a four-hour excursion at a problematic U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas. The last time I fished at this reservoir was on April 1, and during that trying and tedious four-hour foray, I caught one largemouth bass, and that was the only strike that I elicited.

Upon our arrival at the boat ramp on April 25, we discovered that the boat ramp parking lot was full, and people were parking their tow vehicles and boat trailers on the shoulders of the road that leads into the ramp parking lot. We also had to wait about 10 minutes to launch our boat, which we have never done at this boat ramp before. And when we were ready to trailer the boat at the end of the outing, we had to wait about 15 to 20 minutes before we could gain access to the boat ramp.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the most productive fishing periods on April 25 would occur from 12:33 a.m. to 2:33 a.m., 6:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., and 12:56 p.m. to 2:56 p.m.

Roger and I fished from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The morning low temperature was 53 degrees and the afternoon high reached 80 degrees. The wind quartered out of the north-by-northwest at 12 to 20 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.08 at 11:00 a.m. and dropped to 30.03 by 3:00 p.m. About 40 percent of the sky was covered with thin wispy clouds.

The water level was 3.03 feet high. The water exhibited about 18 inches of clarity. The surface temperature ranged from 64 to 66 degrees.

We spent these four hours in the middle and lower end of the reservoir’s west tributary arm, where we dissected portions of three medium-size feeder-creek arms. We chose these three creek arms because they were less crowded with boat traffic and other anglers.

The majority of this reservoir’s underwater terrain is composed of red clay, pea gravel, fist-size rocks, and boulders. There are also many acres of it that are bedecked with large stands of flooded timber, laydowns, stumps, brush piles, and buck brush.

The black bass fishing at this reservoir has been in a sorry state all year. It was just as sorry during this outing, too. We had to work hard to scrounge up seven largemouth bass. We also crossed paths with one freshwater drum, a channel catfish, and one white bass while we were searching for a significant concentration or two of largemouth and spotted bass.

We caught three largemouth bass and one freshwater drum along the east shoreline and about halfway inside the first feeder-creek arm. This arm is endowed with several small coves, secondary points, and a large flat in its back end. These three bass were caught around clusters of flooded buck brush in less than five feet of water from three different flat and rocky secondary points.

Inside the second feeder-creek arm, we plied several rocky secondary points, two small coves, four shallow pea-gravel flats, and a short section of steep shoreline in the back of the creek arm. All of these areas failed to yield a largemouth bass and spotted bass.

The third feeder-creek arm yielded four largemouth bass, one white bass, and one channel catfish. Two of these four largemouth bass were caught about halfway back inside the creek arm along a flat and rocky shoreline located on the east side of the creek arm. They were abiding in three to five feet of water and were many yards apart from each other.

They were abiding in three to five feet of water and were many yards apart from each other. The other two largemouth bass were caught in less than five feet of water from a 50-yard section of a clay-and-pea-gravel shoreline that has a 30- to 35-degree gradient. This section of shoreline is located in the back third and along the west side of this creek arm. These two bass were caught about 30 yards apart from each other.

In conclusion, we failed to find any significant aggregations of black bass in these three feeder-creek arms. Furthermore, we failed to find any signs of spawning activity or pods of small bass fry that would indicate that the black bass have spawned.

We also failed to establish a dominant lure pattern. We caught two largemouth bass on a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a slightly-shortened four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ threaded on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two largemouth bass were snookered by a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s hot snakes TRD TicklerZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. One largemouth bass was coaxed into striking a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. A slow swimming retrieve with a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl GrubZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig allured one largemouth bass. One largemouth bass engulfed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and a steady swimming retrieve.

While I was trailering the boat, Roger spoke with three local anglers at the boat ramp. One told him that he caught two largemouth bass. Another one said he had caught three largemouth bass, and the third angler reported that he had caught five largemouth bass. And between the five of us, none of us had a clue as to the whereabouts of any significant aggregations of black bass in this reservoir.

April 27

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed this log on the Finesse News Network about his April 27 outing.

Here is an edited and condensed version of his log.

On April 27, I returned to the same U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir that I fished on April 23.

How things had changed in four days. During this spell, more than two inches of rain has fallen at many locales across northeastern Kansas.

On April 27, the sky was clear. The morning low temperature was 54 degrees, and the afternoon high temperature reached 77 degrees. When I got to the reservoir, I found that the 5-10 mph winds that had been forecast had grown and were howling from the south and southwest at 12-15 mph and gusting as high as 26 mph.

The lake level had risen another 1 ½ feet, and it was now over 7 ½ feet above its normal level. The breakwater that protected the boat ramp was completely submerged allowing the white-capped waves whipped up by the wind to roll unhindered against the ramp and over my boat’s transom as I backed it off of the trailer. On the plus side, there were only a dozen tow vehicles and boat trailer rigs parked in the parking lot; on April 23, this parking lot was overflowing with tow vehicles and boat trailers.

Straightway, I knew I would be limited to fishing areas that had some protection from the wind and waves. I headed for a main-lake shoreline that I knew would provide that protection. This rocky shoreline is graced with a steep bluff. It is also endowed with a small feeder-creek arm.

The surface temperature was 62 degrees. The water exhibited about 18 inches of visibility.

I started fishing at one of the main-lake points at the entrance to the small feeder creek. Although the shoreline was mostly sheltered from the wind, there was still a significant breeze pushing some moderate-size waves parallel to the main-lake shoreline. As I had found on my previous trip, the wind and waves were churning up muddy water along the shoreline and the current from the wind was also moving it along the shoreline. The wind was also blowing out of the feeder-creek arm cove, which intersected with the wind and waves at the main-lake point, which provided an interesting area of wind and water currents mixing together.

I made my first cast on the tip of the point to a dead bushy stickup in the shallow water next to shore. After several quick casts, I finally received a strike and caught a largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TickerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about 10 feet of water. I continued to make short casts along the tip of the point where the stickups adorned the water’s edge. Five minutes later I had caught two more largemouth bass from the same small area on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

I moved off of the point and began to dissect the adjacent shoreline inside the small feeder-creek arm. This area was not as productive, producing only one smallmouth bass.

Then, I returned to the tip of the point. As soon as I got back into the area of mixing currents, I began catching largemouth bass again. After 30 minutes of fishing, my fish counter indicated that I had caught eight largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. All of them were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig. Some were caught on the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve following short casts to the area of stickups. Others had been caught on a deeper deadstick presentation further out from the shoreline and in clearer water. I began to notice that virtually all of the largemouth bass that I caught on casts to the stickups, which were in shallow and muddy water, were dinks. And some of the largemouth bass that I caught from the deeper water and a few feet further from the water’s edge were bigger heftier specimens.

I moved across the mouth of the small feeder-creek arm to the other point. I was curious to see if the wind and waves blowing against the shoreline adjacent to the point would make any difference in fishing success. I caught more bass along and adjacent to this point. The wind was more of a factor in this area and boat control was much more difficult. I found that I was having more success casting to the outside edge of the stickups along the shoreline and letting the lure settle all of the way to the bottom. Several bass were caught on the initial drop. After letting the TRD TicklerZ rig reach bottom, I began a swim-glide-shake-and-deadstick retrieve with the boat moving into the wind. Most of the fish were picking up the lure during the deadstick phase. In fact, I would have to rate the deadstick as the most effective retrieve for the day. When the boat was moving with the wind, it was moving much too fast to do anything with different retrieve styles. It was impractical to try to use my drift sock to help neutralize the wind.

On one pass, I reached the edge of the area where the wind and wave currents from inside the feeder creek and the main lake were swirling together. A higher gust of wind actually moved the boat backwards several feet against the thrust from the trolling motor. Consequently, I ended up with the lure straight down under the boat. I gave it a couple of bounces and shakes and received a massive strike. After a fierce tussle with what I initially thought was a large catfish, I was finally able to see that it was a hefty smallmouth bass, and I was able to get it in the net and into the boat. It weighed 3 ½ pounds and was 18-inches long.

I also caught another smallmouth bass, and as I was removing my hook, I noticed the end of a length of fishing line trailing out of its mouth. I gently pulled on it and out popped an eight-inch Texas-rigged soft-plastic lizard, a hook, and a sinker. This smallmouth bass had engulfed this entire rig, but the hook point had remained embedded in the plastic. So, it was never hooked. This is the second time in the past three years that I have removed a large soft-plastic lure from a smallmouth bass’ throat, and the hook was embedded in the lure. I am now wondering how this occurs.

After I had been fishing for about an hour, my counter showed that I had caught 15 largemouth bass and four smallmouth bass on the TRD Tickler Z rig. And they were caught around and immediately adjacent to the two points at the entrance to the feeder-creek arm. 

I decided it was time to move to another area, and I began to ply a 500-yard stretch of the main- lake shoreline adjacent to the first point. Along this shoreline, the boat floated in water from seven to 25 feet deep. The shoreline is steep and very rocky with all sizes of rock from gravel to large boulders. There was a plume of muddy water next to the water’s edge, but the water began to clear five to 10 feet out from the water’s edge. There were a few laydowns and patches of stickups gracing the shallow-water environs of this shoreline. As I worked my way along this shoreline into the wind, I began to notice that most of the strikes that I received occurred when the TRD TicklerZ rig reached the area where the water began to clear. In fact, you could look ahead and see that there was a noticeable dividing line. I began following this line and soon noticed that it seemed to follow the eight-foot depth contour. So, I kept the boat in eight feet of water and began casting the lure straight ahead to land on or close to the line between the muddy and clearer water. After letting the lure settle to the bottom, I began a sort of hop-shake-and-deadstick retrieve by raising the rod tip and cranking the reel handle two or three times, then shaking while I let the lure settle back to the bottom. After letting it deadstick for a few seconds, I would repeat the same motif. This turned out to be more productive that making random casts to the water’s edge in the muddy water. The majority of the strikes came on the deadstick phase, and some were on the settle-and-shake phase of the retrieve. I did continue to make some casts to brushy spots or large rocks along the shore, but this did not produce as many strikes as the deeper retrieves. 

My original plan for the day had been to fish for black bass for a couple of hours and then concentrate on trying to catch some white bass to take home for the freezer. However, I kept up the black bass fishing along the main-lake shoreline for a little longer than I intended. After two hours and 20 minutes, I decided that I had better get on with the white bass fishing. My counter showed that I had caught 24 largemouth bass and nine smallmouth bass. I had also gotten dozens of strikes from fish that were never hooked, and at least 20 times, I lost a fish after a short donnybrook. Most of the lost fish were dinks, and many of the ones that I was able to identify appeared to be smallmouth bass. On several occasions, I got a strike and as I swept the rod tip back to try to set the hook, it seemed that I could feel the ElaZtech material of the TRD TicklerZ stretching as if the fish only had ahold of the tail. In fact, upon inspecting theTRD TicklerZ after one short-strike incident, I found that it was missing one of its tentacles.

I decided to try fishing the riprap of the dam for spawning white bass, which I knew would be another area that afforded some protection from the wind. After arriving, I realized that the wind was basically blowing parallel to the dam face. Although the dam was providing some protection from the full brunt of the wind, it was still strong enough to churn up some whitecaps. I decided to float with the wind and cast a three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse Shroom jig. This particular Slim SwimZ was old and well used, and it was shortened bythree-eighths of an inch so that it would stay mounted on the jig. Although I was floating along at a pretty fast pace, I was still able to cast and retrieve the Slim SwimZ rig pretty effectively. I thought that if I caught any white bass, I could turn around and thoroughly dissect that area for more. It wasn’t long before I missed a strike from a fish about 10 feet out from the water’s edge. I quickly made a cast back to the same spot and caught a smallmouth bass on a straight swimming retrieve. I continued to float along the face of the dam, eventually covering approximately three-quarters of a mile. The white bass didn’t show up, but I did continue to elicit strikes and catch seven largemouth bass and six smallmouth bass on the Slim SwimZ rig with a straight-swim retrieve. 

When I got to the end of the dam, I realized that the sun was going down, the temperature was going down, the wind was not going down, and I was getting chilly in my warm weather shorts and shirt. It was time to call it a day. 

In all, I fished from 3:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. and caught 31 largemouth bass, 15 smallmouth bass, and two green sunfish.

April 29

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, postehis log on the Finesse News Network about his April 29 outing.

Here is an edited version of it.

From 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., I conducted a solo outing at one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs in north-central Texas.

I fished this reservoir on April 20 with Roger Farish of Highland Village, and we could muster only six largemouth bass and two spotted bass in three hours.

The sky was partly cloudy on April 29. A robust wind quartered out of the west-by-northwest at 19 to 25 mph. The morning low temperature was 59 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 79 degrees. The barometric pressure was 30.08 at 11:00 a.m. and 30.03 at 3:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar table noted that the best fishing would occur from 4:17 a.m. to 6:17 a.m., 10:31 a.m. to 12:31 p.m., and 4:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.

The Corps has been releasing water from this reservoir for the past three weeks after it was flooded by severe thunderstorms in mid-March. Now, it is 1.87 feet above normal pool. The water exhibited between one to 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 66 to 70 degrees.

The robust winds and white-capped waves forced me to abandon several main-lake areas I had planned to fish, and I sought shelter inside three feeder-creek arms on the lower end of the reservoir. Inside these three creek arms, I targeted clay-and-pea-gravel flats, rocky shorelines, rock- and boulder-laden secondary points, several coves, and many small pockets along their shorelines.

I caught one largemouth bass and one large bluegill inside the first feeder-creek arm. This creek arm is located on the south side of a major tributary arm. It contains a large marina, several steep sections of rocky shorelines, a few rocky secondary points, and a large mud flat. This largemouth bass was caught in four feet of water along the outside edge of some flooded buck brush around one of the two rocky secondary points adjacent to the large mud flat. This spot is located about halfway inside the creek arm. This largemouth bass and the large bluegill were caught on a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ that was attached on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

I caught two largemouth bass, one white bass, and one channel catfish inside the second feeder-creek arm. This creek arm is situated on the north side of the tributary. These fish were caught along the outside edges of flooded buck brush in three to five feet of water in this creek arm’s upper end. The two largemouth bass and the channel catfish were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ rig. The white bass was caught on a swimming retrieve with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ that was matched to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Two largemouth bass and two spotted bass were caught in the third creek arm. This creek arm features four small coves, seven rocky secondary points, and several steep sections of rocky shoreline. Inside one of the coves is a shallow ditch that is lined with flooded buck brush.

The two largemouth bass were caught from the middle of the shallow ditch in five feet of water. The two spotted bass were caught from two rocky secondary points in the midsection of the creek arm in five to eight feet of water. All four of these black bass were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ rig.

In closing, the black bass fishing is still tough. I caught five largemouth bass, two spotted bass, one channel catfish, one white bass, and one large bluegill. The seven black bass, the channel catfish, and the large bluegill were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the Z-Man’s pumpkin-green-flake Finesse ShadZ combo. The white bass engulfed the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ while I was employing it with a slow swimming retrieve,

In short, I have been bellyaching about the horrendous black bass fishing at the Corps' reservoirs in north-central Texas this year, and it appears that this awful trend will continue into May.

April 30

Ned and Pat Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed this log on the Finesse News Network about their April 30 outing.

Here is an edited version of their log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 46 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 73 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the northwest and west at 5 to 10 mph. The sky was fair. The barometric pressure was 30.03 at 12:52 a.m., 30.04 at 5:52 a.m., 30.06 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.02 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 5:07 a.m. to 7:07 a.m., 5:35 p.m. to 7:35 p.m., and 11:21 p.m. to 1:21 a.m.

Pat Kehde and I ventured to one of northeastern Kansas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs. We fished from 10:55 a.m. to 1:22 p.m. And it was the first time that we have fished this reservoir since Aug. 17, 2015. 

The water level was 7.90 feet above its normal level. The surface temperature in the lower portions of this reservoir, which is where we fished, ranged from 58 to 60 degrees. The water exhibited from 2 1/2 to 3 ½ feet of Secchi stick visibility.

We fished along portions of a 900-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline, along about a 75-yard stretch of a shoreline inside a small feeder-creek arm, along a 50-yard stretch of a riprap shoreline, around three main-lake points, along portions of a 100-yard stretch of another main-lake shoreline, and around a main-lake boat ramp.

We caught 26 largemouth bass and four smallmouth bass in two hours and 27 minutes, and we accidentally caught two freshwater drum and one crappie.

One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s hot snakes TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16 mushroom-style jig. The four smallmouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Twenty-five largemouth bass were caught on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig. We elicited a significant number of strikes on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig that we failed to hook.

The portions of the 900-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline that we fished possess a 35- to 90-degree slope. It is endowed with four tertiary points and two main-lake points. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and anarray of impressive boulders. And there is one stretch that consists of clay. Portions of its water’s edges are adorned with laydowns and occasional patches of stickups or flooded terrestrial vegetation. A submerged creek channel butts against the steepest section of this shoreline. 

The steeper sections of this shoreline were not fruitful.

Around two of the tertiary points and one of the main-lake points and along segments of the shorelines that possessed a 40- to 45-degree slope, we caught 13 largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass on our Junebug TRD TicklerZ rigs. They were caught in six to 10 feet of water. Some were caught five feet from the water’s edge. Some were caught as far as 20 feet from the water’s edge. Four were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. A few were caught on a drag-and-deadstick presentation. Most were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation. 

We caught three largemouth bass along the 75-yard stretch of the shoreline inside the small feeder-creek arm. This shoreline has a 40- to 90-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of clay, gravel, rocks, and many massive boulders. Its water’s edge is laced with occasional patches of stickups. One largemouth bass was caught on the hot snakes TRD TicklerZ rig on the initial drop in about five feet of water. Two largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig in four to five feet of water.

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We caught five largemouth bass along the 50-yard section of riprap. They were caught on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig in three to six feet of water. Two were caught on the initial drop of the rig, and the other three were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation.

Along the 100-yard stretch of another main-lake shoreline and its main-lake point, we caught three largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. This shoreline has a 25- to 35-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of clay, gravel, rocks, and scores of boulders. Some of the boulders are humongous. Many yards of this shoreline are littered with flooded honey locust trees and stickups. One largemouth bass was caught along the outside edges of the stickups on the initial drop of the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig in about five feet of water. The smallmouth bass was caught along the outside edge of the stickups in about six feet of water on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ with a drag-and-shake presentation. We caught two largemouth bass around the main-lake point in about four feet of water on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation.

Around a main-lake boat ramp, we caught two largemouth bass as we were strolling and dragging and subtly shaking the TRD TicklerZ rig in about four feet of water.

In conclusion, we failed to keep an accurate count on the number of strikes that we failed to hook, but we think it occurred at least 20 times, and it bewildered Patty. She had never experienced such a piscatorial phenomenon. But she was somewhat relieved to hear that Kevin Davis of Oklahoma City, who fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs on April 30, was perplexed by failing to hook a goodly number of strikes that he elicited. Likewise, Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, endured a similar phenomenon at another U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in northeastern Kansas.

Throughout most of this month, our reservoirs have been virtually overwhelmed by hundreds and thousands of anglers and other folks. And Patty and I witnessed this situation again on this last day of April of 2020. 

April 30

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted this log on the Finesse News Network about his April 30 outing.

Here is an edited version of it.

For this last day of April, I thought I would conduct a solo jaunt at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir that Roger Farish of Highland Village and I fished on April 25. This challenging reservoir is located in an ex-urban area of north-central Texas, and Roger and I had a difficult time catching seven black bass there on April 25.

On April 30, the morning low temperature was 50 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 84 degrees. The wind quartered out of the south-by-southwest at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.14 at 10:00 a.m. and dropped to 30.05 by 2:00 p.m. The sky was cloudless and exhibited a powder-blue hue.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the most productive fishing periods would take place between 5:15 a.m. and 7:15 a.m., 11:04 a.m. and 1:04 p.m., and 5:42 p.m. to 7:42 p.m.

I was afloat from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The water level has dropped a foot since April 25 but it was still 2.10 feet above normal. The water exhibited about 3 1/2 to four feet of clarity, which is the clearest I have seen it this year. The water temperature varied from 67 to 70 degrees.

I spent four hours in the middle and lower end of this reservoir’s east tributary arm, where I plied portions of two large feeder-creek arms and a minor-size bay.

This reservoir contains acres and acres of laydowns, flooded stickups, stumps, brush piles, buck brush, and flooded timber. Its underwater terrain is comprised of mostly pea gravel, red clay, fist-size rocks, and boulders.

The first feeder-creek arm that I investigated features five coves of various sizes, nine rocky secondary points, and an island. In years past, this creek arm was one of the most fruitful areas in this reservoir during the spring months, but not this year. I dissected the most promising areas inside this creek arm, but I was unable to locate any largemouth bass or spotted bass in this creek arm.

After that dismal start, I moved to the minor-size bay that lies about 1 1/2 miles west of the feeder-creek arm that I just fished. This bay yielded two largemouth bass, and they were abiding along the east shoreline and many yards apart.

The first largemouth was caught in a small pocket next to a rocky secondary point in five feet of water and about halfway back in the bay. It was bewitched by a four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red Finesse WormZ that was threaded on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and it was utilized with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

The second largemouth bass was caught in three feet of water from a shallow rocky flat in the back end of the bay. It was caught on a slow swim-and-pause presentation with a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

I failed to entice any other strikes in this bay.

From that bay, I moved two miles northward to the second feeder-creek arm. On the south side of this creek arm, I dissected a rocky main-lake point at the mouth of the creek arm, a shallow rock ledge adjacent to the main-lake point, and two rocky secondary points near the rock ledge.

I failed to elicit a strike from the main-lake point.

As I fished my way along the shallow rock ledge, I caught one hefty freshwater drum on a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the four-inch watermelon-red Finesse WormZ rig in eight feet of water, but I did not cross paths with any largemouth or spotted bass along this ledge.

One of the two rocky secondary points surrendered one spotted bass. Both of these secondary points have a gradient of 30 to 35 degrees. This spotted bass was caught from the first point in 10 feet of water and about 35 feet from the water’s edge. It engulfed the four-inch watermelon-red Finesse WormZ rig as I was strolling it and employing a slow drag-and-deadstick presentation behind the boat.

The other secondary point was fruitless.

Along the creek arm’s north shoreline, I fished inside one small cove and around a rocky secondary point in the upper end of the creek arm.

I fished about 75 percent of the cove. It is adorned with many laydowns, flooded patches of buck brush and stickups, and some clusters of submerged boulders. I caught one spotted bass in five feet of water from a cluster of submerged boulders on the south side of the cove. It was caught on a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s hot snakes TRD TicklerZ that was dressed on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

I finished the outing dissecting a rocky secondary point in the upper end of the creek arm. This point is graced with patches of flooded stickups, submerged rocks and boulders. It has about a 25-degree incline. There is also a large patch of American pondweed along one side of this point.

This point was the most productive spot I found, and it relinquished 11 largemouth bass. All of them were abiding in four to seven feet of water and in close proximity to the patch of American pondweed on the side of the point. All of them were caught on the hot snakes TRD TicklerZ rig that was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

In sum, I caught 13 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one freshwater drum, and this is the most black bass I have caught at this reservoir this year.

The most effective lure was a Z-Man’s hot snakes TRD TicklerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The most effective presentation was a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

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