Midwest Finesse Fishing: December 2019

Midwest Finesse Fishing: December 2019

This December guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 13 logs and 9,867 words that describe how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished. It features the undertakings of Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas; and Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas.

In short, Mother Nature’s icy, snowy, wet, and windy ways and some of life’s necessities and obligations prevented us from getting afloat on many of December’s 31 days.

We are grateful that Steve Reideler proofread every word and made every log more readable and understandable. 

Dec. 3

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 3 outing with Rick Allen of Dallas.


Here is an edited version of his log.


It is important to note that Reideler and Allen are relegated to fishing reservoirs that lie within the metropolitan landscape of Dallas and Fort Worth, and these waterways are waylaid by heavy angler predation. What’s more, they have been unwisely stocked with Florida-strain largemouth bass, which are very difficult to catch in cold water from December to mid-March. 

Here is a slightly edited version of his Dec. 3 log.

From about 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Rick Allen and I fished at a state reservoir that is located in an ex-urban area of north-central Texas. This hill-land reservoir has become our most bountiful venue in 2019. It is also the first time we have ever fished this reservoir in December.

The sunlit sky was cloudless. The morning low temperature was 36 degrees. The afternoon high temperature was 68 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.97 at 10:00 a.m. and it fell to 29.93 by 3:00 p.m. Five to 10 mph winds blew out of the south and southwest. 


The water in this impoundment exhibited between 14 to 24 inches of clarity. Its normal clarity is about four feet. The surface temperature ranged from 52 degrees in the lower portion of the reservoir to 54 degrees in its upper end. The water level was 4.68 feet low. 

This impoundment is graced with a few patches of hydrilla and American pondweed, but they have died back substantially since October. The submerged terrain throughout this impoundment consists of clay, silt, gravel, rocks, some riprap, and scores and scores of boulders of all shapes and sizes. 

We targeted 11 steep and rocky main-lake points, a 50-yard stretch of a rock bluff inside a large main-lake cove, and a flat, pea-gravel, and rocky main-lake shoreline. These areas are spread out along the lower, middle, and upper regions of this impoundment.


The fishing was tough and a bit tedious. We had a difficult time locating and alluring 10 largemouth bass, but they were good-sized ones without a single dink in the bunch. We were a little surprised that we failed to cross paths with any smallmouth bass and spotted bass.

These largemouth bass were caught along wind-blown areas in water as shallow as 2 1/2 feet and as deep as 13 feet. They were relating to submerged rocks, large boulders, and riprap. 

The 11 main-lake points, which possess a gradient of 35- to 45-degrees, surrendered a total of eight largemouth bass. One largemouth was caught from the main-lake’s flat, pea-gravel, and rocky shoreline, and one was caught along the rock bluff inside the cove.

This outing quickly turned into a junk-fishing endeavor as we utilized eleven Midwest finesse rigs. Four of them were somewhat effective and seven of them failed to elicit any strikes.

The most effective rig was a Z-Man Fishing Products’ green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, which caught seven largemouth bass. This combo was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

One largemouth engulfed a three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Slim SwimZ matched with a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and a slow and steady swimming retrieve.

A swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig allured one hefty largemouth that weighed five pounds, 10 ouces

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One largemouth was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ attached on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. 

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Now that the water temperatures are dropping into the lower 50s, we have begun experimenting with bottom-oriented presentations that imitate crawfish, such as the drag-and-deadstick retrieve, drag-and-shake retrieve, and hop-and-bounce retrieve. We worked some of our baits along the bottom with these retrieves in water as deep as 17 feet, but we were unable to generate any strikes with them. 

Dec. 4 

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

Here is an edited version of his log. 

Family obligations have taken up much of my time lately, but I had some free time and took advantage of a couple of pleasant late-fall days on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4. On Dec. 3, Rick Allen of Dallas and I traveled to a state hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas. The water temperature ranged from 52 to 54 degrees, and we struggled to catch 10 largemouth bass in 4 1/2 hours.

On Dec. 4, I conducted a 3 1/2-hour solo excursion at a problematic U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area. And to my chagrin, the fishing was the worst that I have endured since the winter of 2018-2019.

Norman Brown of Lewisville and I plied this reservoir on Nov. 10. We enjoyed a mild fall day with an afternoon high temperature of 75 degrees. The water temperature was 60 degrees. We fished for four hours and twelve minutes, and we caught 14 largemouth bass and one spotted bass. 

It was mostly cloudy on Dec. 4. The morning low temperature was 38 degrees and the afternoon high temperature peaked at 71 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.10 at noon and 30.02 at 3:00 p.m. The wind was light and variable.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the most productive fishing would occur from 4:34 a.m. to 6:34 a.m., 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., and 4:55 p.m. to 6:41 p.m. I fished from noon to 3:30 p.m. 

The water exhibited about 14 inches of visibility. The surface temperature varied between 54 and 56 degrees. The water level was a quarter of a foot above its normal level. 

This reservoir’s underwater terrain consists of red clay, pea-gravel, rocks, and countless submerged boulders. And like most of our U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoirs in north-central Texas, there is no aquatic vegetation in this reservoir. But there are a few areas in the back of the larger feeder-creek arms with some remnants of flooded timber and submerged stumps.

This Dec. 4 outing started off on a lousy note and went downhill from there. This reservoir reminded me of a ghost town, and it seemed like there was not a largemouth, smallmouth, or spotted bass left in the reservoir. I fished the most promising black bass lairs from the southeast end of the reservoir to its northwest end, and I caught only one largemouth bass. That one largemouth was also the only strike I generated during this outing. 

The only schools of threadfin shad I could find were out in the main-lake areas, and they were suspended 23 to 31 feet below the surface in water as shallow as 31 feet and as deep as 57 feet. I did not find any shad inside two large feeder-creek arms, along the dam, around seven main-lake points, or near three rocky main-lake shorelines, which made the fishing extremely trying.

I failed to elicit any strikes along the dam, which forms the eastern boundary of the reservoir. I tried slowly swimming a three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig parallel to the riprap on the dam in four to 10 feet of water without a strike. I also failed to elicit any strikes with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, hop-and-bounce retrieve, and drag-and-shake retrieve  with a variety of Z-Man’s TRD TicklerZs, Finesse ShadZs, TRD CrawZs, and TRD BugZs attached to chartreuse, green pumpkin, and black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jigs around the riprap in four to 17 feet of water. 

Around the seven rocky main-lake points, I failed to elicit any strikes with the same Midwest finesse rigs and presentations that I employed at the dam. I fished in water as deep as 15 feet and as shallow as three feet.

The three rocky main-lake shorelines were also fruitless.  About 35 yards out from one of those shorelines, I found a deep-water ledge that is covered with 21 feet of water and descends into 37 feet of water. I located a fairly large aggregation of fish that I could not identify, and they were relating to the side of the slope in 29 to 32 feet of water. I utilized a slow drag-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s black-blue TRD CrawZ rigged on a black 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig by casting it out from the top of the ledge into the deeper water at the base of the ledge, and I allowed it about 20 seconds to sink to the bottom before I began slowly dragging and shaking it up the ledge. I also experimented with a power-fishing technique here. I wielded a skirted 1/2-ounce black-blue Jewel football-head jig matched with a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Turbo CrawZ trailer. This rig was also utilized with a slow drag-and-shake retrieve, and it also failed to provoke any strikes. 

I located another offshore main-lake ledge in the northwest end of the reservoir. This one is covered with 17 feet of water and drops off into 34 feet of water. It had attracted a large aggregation of unidentified fish, and I failed to elicit any strikes from these fish while dragging and shaking the 1/2-ounce Jewel football-head jig and Z-Man’s Turbo CrawZ trailer, the Z-Man’s black-blue TRD CrawZ and black 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, and a four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ fastened on a black 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig up the slope of the ledge.

After I failed to find a deep-water bite, I ventured inside two feeder-creek arms on the north end of the reservoir. I failed to locate any black bass in the first of the two feeder-creek arms.

Inside the second creek arm, I caught one largemouth bass. It was suspended about eight feet below the surface in 19 feet of water next to a rock bluff that is located at the lower end of the creek arm.  It was caught on a four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ that was wacky-rigged on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig as it was slowly twitched and paused while it slowly sank next to the side of the bluff.

I failed to elicit any other strikes from an island where a creek channel courses next to its northern and western shorelines, three steep and rock-laden secondary points, and another rock bluff. I became so disgusted and frustrated with the wretched fishing that I decided to call it a day earlier than I had planned.

As I was trailering my boat, I was approached by a kayak angler who was also getting ready to leave. He reported that he had not caught a black bass all day. He said he had wielded a jig-and-craw rig, a spinnerbait, a medium-diving crankbait, and a Ned Rig. I was curious about his Ned Rig and asked if I could see it. His Ned Rig consisted of a six-inch senko-style plastic bait that was Texas-rigged on a 3/8-ounce shaky-head jig.

Typically between mid-December and mid-March, we expect to generate only one or two back bass strikes per outing at the Corps’ reservoirs in north-central Texas. That was definitely the case this time.

Dec. 5

Ned Kehde filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 5 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 26 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 65 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The sky was fair, and the sun was blindingly bright. The wind fluctuated from being calm to angling out of the south and southeast at 3 to 8 mph.  The barometric pressure was 29.97 at 12:52 a.m., 29.94 at 5:52 a.m., 29.90 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.83 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 5:07 a.m. to 7:07 a.m., 5:28 p.m. to 7:28 p.m., and 11:18 p.m. to 1:18 a.m.

I have not fished Nov. 25. Since then, we enjoyed the company of our oldest daughter who has been working at Rift Valley Children's Village in Tanzania and for Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone for several years. During this spell, we also relished a number of gatherings with several of our other children and grandchildren.

I tried to fish on Dec 3, but one of the wheel-bearing seals on the boat trailer failed, and I had to repair it instead of going fishing.

On Dec. 5, I ventured to one of northeastern Kansas’ many state reservoirs. Unfortunately, the largemouth bass fishing at this one has become rather trying during the past 15 months. And it continued to be trying on Dec. 5.

I fished from 10:45 a.m. to 1:38 p.m.  It was a struggle to find and catch 17 largemouth bass and accidentally catch one white crappie. I hooked three fish that I failed to see and land.

The surface temperature ranged from 41 to 42 degrees. The Secchi stick indicated that the water exhibited from three to six feet of visibility.  The water level was a tad above its normal level. Most of this reservoir’s patches of submerged vegetation are in a sorry condition, and its emergent vegetation is in its winter-dead stage.

Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce TT Lures’ NedlockZ jig. Five of the 17 were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Nine largemouth bass were caught on the Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce VMC’s Neon Moon Eye Jig.

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A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig has proven to be a very effective Midwest finesse rig on the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas from late fall to late winter. Dec. 5

I fished across a shallow-water flat and a portion of one shoreline inside one small feeder-creek arm, across the shallow-water flats and along the shorelines inside a tiny feeder-creek arm,  around three main-lake riprap jetties, and along a 300-yard stretch of a shoreline and several shallow-water flats inside the primary feeder-creek arm.

I caught one largemouth bass around one of the three riprap jetties. It was caught on the Finesse TRD rig with a drag-and-shake presentation in about eight feet of water.

I caught seven largemouth bass along the 300-yard stretch of a shoreline and several shallow-water flats inside the primary feeder-creek arm. One was caught on the Finesse TRD rig and six were caught on the Canada craw TRD HogZ rig. Four of them were caught while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation in six to 12 feet of water.  Two were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water. One was caught on a drag-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water. All of them were caught around wilted patches of coontail.

Inside the tiny feeder-creek arm, I caught nine largemouth bass. One was caught on the Finesse TRD rig, three were caught on the Canada craw TRD HogZ rig, and five were caught on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig. Some were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation in four to 10 feet of water. Four of the nine were caught while I strolling with the drag-and-shake presentation. All of them were caught around or near scanty patches of coontail.

In conclusion, our largemouth bass fishing at most of the community and state reservoirs in northeastern Kansas is in a sorry state of affairs, and it looks as if it will adversely affect our catch rates during the winter of 2019-20. The sorry state of the submerged vegetation in many of these reservoirs will be another problem that might affect our abilities to locate the largemouth bass during the upcoming winter.

Dec. 7

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his outing at a northeastern Kansas power-plant reservoir with Zach DeMars of Kansas City, Kansas.

It was 24 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 49 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the south and southeast at 3 to 14 mph, and it was calm for a couple of early morning hours. The sky was fair. The barometric pressure was 30.88 at 12:53 a.m., 30.35 at 5:53 a.m., 30.29 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.19 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 6:20 a.m. to 8:20 a.m., 6:41 p.m. to 8:41p.m., and 12:10 a.m. to 2:10 a.m.

The water looked to be below its normal level, and the patches of American water willows were out of the water.  The water exhibited about 18 inches of visibility. The surface temperature inside the warm-water plume ranged from 49 to 58 degrees.

The boat was launched around 9:00 a.m. The last casts were made at 2:30 p.m. And 42 largemouth bass were caught.

Three of the 42 were caught around a large shallow-water point that is graced with a significant flow of current.  Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It is adorned with several humps and ledges.

The other 39 were caught along four steep and long shorelines. The underwater water terrains of these shorelines consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders.  The water’s edges are embellished with scores of overhanging trees and laydowns.

One steep shoreline failed to yield a strike.

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A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse  ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig were the most effective rigs. A Z-Man’s California craw TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig inveigled a few of the 42 largemouth bass.

A swim-glide-and-twitch presentation was the most effective retrieve.

Dec. 9 

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

Here is an edited version of his log.

The lackluster black bass fishing at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoirs in north-central Texas has carried over from late November and into December. Therefore, I decided to change venues and fish at a community reservoir that lies in a suburb north of Dallas instead of another Corps' reservoir. 

Dec. 9 was overcast. Rain storms mixed with some ice and snow were forecast to erupt during the evening hours of Dec. 9 and continue into the morning hours of Dec. 10. The morning low temperature on Dec. 9 was 59 degrees and the afternoon high was 74 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.78 at 9:00 a.m. and 29.86 at 1:00 p.m. The wind angled out of the west and northwest at 12 to 15 mph. 

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 1:22 a.m. to 3:22 a.m., 7:34 a.m. to 9:34 a.m., and 7:56 p.m. to 9:56 p.m. I fished from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

The water exhibited about 14 to 16 inches of clarity. The water level was normal. I was encouraged to see that the surface temperature ranged from 55.7 degrees at the north end of the reservoir to 57.1 degrees at the dam in the lower end of the reservoir. 

I started at the north end of the reservoir and worked my way southward along its western shoreline to the dam.

The north end of this reservoir encompasses a large mud flat and a shallow ditch that courses across the flat. I rarely fish this area because it is a protected migratory waterfowl nesting area, but this time, I did probe the edges of the shallow ditch on the south end of the flat, and I failed to elicit any strikes. 

Along the midsection of the west shoreline, I caught seven largemouth bass. This portion of the shoreline possesses a 25- to 30-degree slope and is endowed with a shallow sand-and-gravel ledge and several tertiary points. Three bass were caught on a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s California craw TRD HogZ rigged on a 1/15-ounce chartreuse Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two were caught on a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s mood ring TRD TicklerZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. The other two were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a slow and steady swimming retrieve that was just fast enough to cause the Slim SwimZ’s boot-tail to slowly gyrate back and forth. 

Six of the seven largemouth bass were caught near the sand- and-gravel ledge in five to eight feet of water. One was caught from the end of one of the tertiary points in three feet of water.

I failed to garner any strikes along the south end of this shoreline.

After that, I slowly dissected the concrete-slab dam that forms this reservoir’s southern boundary. The water was the warmest here at 57.1 degrees, but I did not locate any largemouth bass along any portion of the dam. 

Along the wind-blown east shoreline, I caught 17 largemouth bass.

The south end of the shoreline relinquished eight largemouth bass. This section of the shoreline is fairly flat. Its main features are a shallow ditch that courses out into the middle of the reservoir and a shallow sand- and-gravel ledge that parallels the water’s edge. These eight largemouth bass were relating to the deep-water side of the ledge in four to six feet of water. Six of them were caught on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ rig and the slow swimming retrieve. One was caught on a drag-and-shake presentation with the California craw TRD HogZ. The other one was caught on the mood ring TRD TicklerZ combo and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. I did not elicit any strikes around the shallow ditch.

The middle section of this shoreline is steeper than its southern end and possesses a 30- to 45-degree slope. It is also endowed with a shallow sand-and-gravel ledge that parallels the shoreline. This section of the shoreline yielded seven largemouth bass. These largemouth bass were caught near the side of the shallow sand-and-gravel ledge in three to eight feet of water. 

Four of these seven largemouth bass were caught on a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the mood ring TRD TicklerZ rig. The other three were caught on the slow swimming retrieve with the 2 1/2-inch pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ.

In about five feet of water next to a long and shallow pea gravel and red clay point, I caught two largemouth bass. Both of them were caught on the 2 1/2-inch pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ combo and a slow swimming action.

In closing, the bass fishing at this community reservoir was pretty good. I tangled with 24 largemouth bass in four hours. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkinseed Slim SwimZ rigged on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and an extremely slow and steady swimming retrieve was the most effective lure and presentation. 

Dec. 12 

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

Here is an edited version of his log.

I was not too enthusiastic about plying any of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan areas because the black bass fishing in them has now become quite difficult. Therefore, I opted to enjoy a late-fall afternoon by slowly meandering along the shorelines of two community reservoirs that are situated in a suburb south of Denton. 

The weather had improved after a major cold front accompanied by some winter precipitation passed through north-central Texas during the past couple of days. Dec. 12 was sunny, and there was not a cloud in sight. The morning low temperature was 35 degrees and the afternoon high was 59 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.27 at noon and 30.13 at 4:00 p.m. A 10 to 15 mph wind blew out of the south. 

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the prime fishing periods would take place from 3:54 a.m. to 5:54 a.m., 10:08 a.m. to 12:08 p.m., and 10:35 p.m. to 12:35 a.m. I fished at the first reservoir from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., and the second one from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The first community reservoir I fished is about the size of a football field. The water level was about a foot high. The water was stained from the recent rains and exhibited about 14 inches of visibility. The water temperature was 50.7 degrees. 

I slowly dissected the most high-percentage spots in this impoundment, but to my dismay, I was unable to elicit a single strike.

After that disappointing start, I ventured to the second community reservoir, which lies about 13 miles from the first one.

The water at the second  reservoir was also stained and exhibited about 14 inches of visibility. The water level appeared to be about a foot high. The water temperature was 49.6 degrees.

The submerged terrain of this impoundment is comprised of mostly clay and gravel. A couple of shallow clay ledges parallel the east and west shorelines. There are several patches of winter-dead lily pads that line the north and west shorelines.

I caught one largemouth bass along the east shoreline, which has about a 25-degree gradient. This largemouth was caught in five feet of water from the end of one of this shoreline’s two primary clay points. It was attracted to a slow swim-and-constant-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD that was matched with a blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Along the north end of the impoundment, I caught one largemouth bass and two large crappie. This area consists of a clay and gravel flat and a small feeder creek on its western end.  This largemouth bass was caught at the mouth of the creek in about four feet of water where the feeder creek enters the reservoir. The two large crappie were caught from the south end of the flat near a shallow ledge that drops off into eight feet of water. The top of the ledge is covered with about three feet of water. Both of them were also caught on the coppertreuse Finesse TRD and a swim-and-constant-shake retrieve. 

The shallow-water ledge that parallels the west shoreline, and this shoreline’s three shallow clay points were fruitless.

The south end of this reservoir encompasses a decorative concrete and stone dam. The bottom terrain adjacent to the base of the dam is covered with riprap.  An eight-foot-long tree trunk had washed up on a small rock pile that lies a short distance in front of the dam.  I caught one largemouth from the end of the tree trunk in three feet of water on a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig that was dressed with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ.

Overall, the black bass fishing in north-central Texas is now in its wintertime funk. The bass bite at the first community reservoir was nonexistent, and it was a chore to catch three largemouth bass and two white crappie at the second one. Unfortunately, this wretched bass bite will be the norm for the next three months. 

Dec. 13

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, posted a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 13 outing at a northeastern Kansas' power-plant reservoir, where he fished from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 33 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 54 degrees at 2:53 p.m.  The sky fluctuated from being fair to being mostly cloudy to being overcast. The wind angled out of the south and southwest at 3 to 10 mph.  The barometric pressure was 29.96 at 12:53 a.m., 29.91 at 5:53 a.m., 29.86 at 11:53 a.m., and 20.77 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 11:59 p.m. to 1:59 a.m., and 5:45 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.

Inside the warm-water plume, the surface temperature ranged from 58 to 64 degrees. There was about 12 inches of visibility. The water level was a tad below its normal level. 

One largemouth bass was caught on a shallow-water flat along the northern perimeter of the warm-water plume. Six largemouth bass were caught across a large shallow-water and gravel flat that is graced by the warm-water current that is jettisoned from the power plant. Twenty-five  largemouth bass were caught along four steep and long shorelines. The underwater terrains of these shorelines consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders.  The water’s edges are embellished with scores of overhanging trees and laydowns. 

The most effective rigs were a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Besides the 32 largemouth bass, these Midwest finesse rigs inveigled one channel catfish, six crappie, and seven white bass. 

Some of the largemouth bass were in two feet of water and at the water’s edge of these steep shorelines. Others were in water as deep as five feet.

The most effective presentation was a slow swim-glide-and-twitch retrieve.  A few were caught on a deadstick presentation.

Dec. 13

Ned Kehde filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 13 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 33 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 54 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being fair to being mostly cloudy to being overcast. The wind angled out of the south and southwest at 3 to 10 mph.  The barometric pressure was 29.96 at 12:53 a.m., 29.91 at 5:53 a.m., 29.86 at 11:53 a.m., and 20.77 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 11:59 p.m. to 1:59 a.m., and 5:45 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.

My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs.  We made our first casts at 10:01 a.m. and our last ones at 1:54 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 40 to 41 degrees. The water exhibited four to more than six feet of visibility, which is the clearest that we have seen it since last winter. The water level was normal.

In years past, many of this reservoir’s shallow-water shorelines and flats were endowed with massive and sumptuous patches of coontail. But they have been scanty this year.

For Midwest finesse anglers to enjoy bountiful catches of largemouth bass when the water temperature is in the lower forties and upper thirties, it is necessary for us to find patches of coontail in three to eight feet of water.  Shallow-water patches of Eurasian milfoil and curly-leaf pondweed are also wonderful locales for Midwest finesse anglers to find and catch a bounty of largemouth bass in cold water. But to our chagrin, lake managers and most of the folks who use these reservoirs do not like aquatic vegetation, and they cut it, rake it, and poison it. At the reservoir that Rick and I fished on Dec. 13, a goodly number of the coontail patches have been raked, poisoned, and eaten by grass carp.

During this Dec. 13 outing, we found eight patches of coontail, and two of them were somewhat sumptuous and fruitful.

We caught 33 largemouth bass. We failed to land one feisty and heavy fish, and we accidentally caught one white bass. We elicited several strikes that we failed to hook.

All of them were caught in the upper half of the reservoir.

Two of the 33 largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Fifteen were caught on a Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Sixteen were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

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We caught sixteen largemouth bass along about a 150-yard stretch of a flat shoreline that is graced with some significant patches of coontail. Five of the sixteen were caught on the TRD HogZ rig with either a drag-and-slight-shake retrieve or a swim-glide-and-slight-shake retrieve. Eleven were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a drag-and-slight-shake retrieve or a swim-glide-and-slight-shake retrieve or on the initial drop. Some were caught while we were strolling and employing the drag-and-slight-shake and swim-glide-and-slight-shake retrieves. These largemouth bass were caught in four to about eight feet of water and from 20 to 40 feet from the water’s edge.

Two largemouth bass were caught along a 50-yard stretch of a flat shoreline that has a few relatively healthy patches of coontail.  They were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a drag-and-slight-shake presentation in about four feet of water and about 20 feet from the water’s edge.

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Thirteen largemouth bass were caught along about a 50-yard stretch of a flat shoreline that is enhanced with some nearly sumptuous patches of coontail and five docks. Nine were caught on the TRD HogZ rig. Two were caught on the Finesse TRD rig. Two were caught of the TRD TicklerZ rig. They were caught in six to nine feet of water and from 15 to 30 feet from the water’s edge. One was caught on the initial drop of the TRD HogZ rig.  The others were caught while we were employing the drag-and-slight-shake or drag-and-deadstick or swim-glide-and-shake presentations. Four of the 13 were caught while we were strolling and employing the drag-and-shake presentation.

One largemouth bass was caught around a flat main-lake point and adjacent to a dock that had a scrawny patch or two of coontail gracing it. It was caught while we were strolling the TRD HogZ rig with a drag-and-slight-shake presentation in about six feet of water.

Around a small and shallow-water hump that is graced with some meager patches of coontail, we caught one largemouth on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-slight-shake presentation in about five feet of water.

According to the weather forecasters, this might have been our last outing for 2019. So, we took a few photographs to help us remember it.

Dec. 19

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, is an extremely talented Midwest finesse angler who fishes some of the most irksome black-bass reservoirs in the world. And these reservoirs become more irksome in December until the middle of March.  What’s more, a population of more than 7,500,000 people have ready access to these waterways, and a goodly number of those folks waylay those reservoirs during the spring, summer, and fall. His Dec. 19 log is an example of how sorry his waterways are.

Here is a slightly edited version of his Dec. 19 log that he posted on the Finesse News Network:

From noon to 3:00 p.m., I conducted a solo excursion at a troublesome U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas. 

The sky was cloudless, and the sun was intensely bright.  The morning low temperature was 34 degrees. The afternoon high was 58 degrees. As I launched the boat at 11:42 a.m., the wind angled out of the south at 12 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.36. When I trailered the boat at 3:13 p.m., the wind had picked up and blew out of the southwest at 17 mph. The barometric pressure had dropped to 30.28. 

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 4:36 a.m. to 6:36 a.m., 10:48 a.m. to 12:48 p.m., and 5:01 p.m. to 7:01 p.m.

The water exhibited about 1 1/4 feet of visibility. The water level was about half of a foot high. The water temperature ranged from 51 degrees in the main-lake areas to 52 degrees inside two feeder creeks. 

To start, I made a beeline to the dam, which is covered with riprap and forms the southern boundary of the reservoir. I slowly probed the most promising areas of the dam, and I failed to generate a strike. 

From the dam, I moved westward to a main-lake shoreline in the southwest tributary arm. This shoreline consists of clay, pea gravel, rocks, and boulders. It has about a 30- to 45-degree slope. I fished a 75-yard section of this shoreline, and I failed to elicit any strikes.

After plying that main-lake shoreline, I moved inside a nearby feeder-creek arm on the south side of the tributary arm, and I caught five largemouth bass. This feeder creek is endowed with steep clay and gravel shorelines, and some submerged rocks and boulders also litter parts of its shoreline. A marina occupies the first half of this feeder-creek arm. This creek arm also encompasses several steep clay and gravel secondary points, two concrete boat ramps, two small creeks that enter the creek arm from the southeast and southwest shorelines, and several shallow mudflats. 

Three largemouth bass were caught on the west side of the creek arm in six feet of water along a 40-yard section of a clay and gravel shoreline that possesses about a 30-degree slope. The other two were caught in eight feet of water from a 35-yard section of shoreline that has a 45-degree incline.

I failed to garner any strikes from five secondary points and two other clay-and-gravel shorelines.

While I was slowly idling out of this feeder-creek arm, I noticed that the wind had picked up and the main-lake areas were covered with ranks of white-capping waves. I couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to fight the wind and waves, so I decided to skip several of the main-lake lairs that I had planned to fish and took refuge from the wind inside another feeder-creek arm on the north side of the tributary arm. This creek arm lies about 1 1/2 miles west of the first one that I fished. 

Its geological features are similar to the first creek arm. But it does not contain a marina.  It is endowed with steep clay and gravel shorelines that are enhanced with submerged rocks and many boulders. It also encompasses several steep clay and gravel secondary points, two concrete boat ramps, two small creeks that enter the creek from its upper or northern shoreline, and several shallow mudflats.

I caught two largemouth bass inside this creek arm. They were caught along the east side of the creek arm on back-to-back casts at the end of a rocky secondary point in five feet of water. The remainder of this creek arm was fruitless.

As autumn comes to a close, the black bass bite in north-central Texas is tough. I wielded seven of Z-Man’s Midwest finesse rigs and I also experimented with a white 1/16-ounce marabou hair jig, but I could only eke out seven largemouth bass in three hours. All seven of these largemouth bass were caught in the middle sections of the two creek arms on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. I did not locate any black bass along the dam and a main-lake shoreline.

As for retrieves, I was surprised that I was unable to generate any strikes with the standard bottom-oriented presentations such as the drag-and-deadstick, hop-and-bounce, and drag-and-shake retrieves. We find that these techniques become more effective when the water temperature drops below 55 degrees. It is also at this point when the steady swim and swim-glide-and-shake retrieves, which are our bread-and-butter presentations throughout most of the year, lose their effectiveness. But the only effective presentation I was able to establish was a slow swim-and-constant-shake presentation, which in my eyes is a rendition of the steady-swim retrieve. 

Dec. 23

Ned Kehde filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 14 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 32 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 56 degrees at 2:53 p.m. It was misty and foggy until 8:53 a.m., and then the sky became fair.  The wind angled out of the south and southwest at 5 to 20 mph.  The barometric pressure was 30.11 at 12:53 a.m., 30.09 at 5:53 a.m., 30.08 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.02 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur the 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., 7:57 p.m. to 9:57 p.m., and 1:17 a.m. to 3:17 a.m.

I made my first cast at 10:56 a.m. and my last one at 1:53 p.m. at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs.

The surface temperature ranged from 38 to 39 degrees.  About five percent of the reservoir was covered with ice. The water level was normal. The water exhibited 2 1/2 to four feet of visibility. Small patches of snow, which was the residue of the five inches of snow that fell on much of northeastern Kansas on Dec. 15 and 16, still cluttered a few of this reservoir’s shorelines. This reservoir’s patches of coontail were severely wilted and difficult to find, but as the sun got brighter and higher in the sky, some of them became less wilted and easier to find.

During the two hours and 57 minutes that I fished, it was a chore to catch 10 largemouth bass. 

Eight of them were caught along about a 75-yard stretch of a shallow-water flat in the upper half of this reservoir. This flat was endowed with a series of coontail patches in four to six feet of water. These eight largemouth bass  were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig as I was strolling across the patches and along their outside edges. As I strolled, I employed a drag-and-shake presentation. And these largemouth bass were caught in about six feet of water.

Two of the 10 were caught around another shallow-water flat in the upper half of the reservoir. It consists of an area that is about 40-yards long and adorned with some patches of coontail in four to seven feet of water. These two largemouth bass were caught on the TicklerZ rig as I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation around the patches of coontail. One was caught in about five feet of water, and the other one was caught in about seven feet of water.

Across the many winters that we have been pursuing the largemouth bass that abide in the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas, we have found that the fruitful ones have massive shallow-water flats that are embellished with significant patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, such as coontail, Eurasian milfoil, or curly-leaf pondweed.

Unfortunately, most of the coontail patches at this reservoir have been cut, poisoned, and eaten by grass carp. Thus, it is likely that the largemouth bass fishing at this reservoir will be quite trying during the rest of this winter.

Dec. 23

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

Here is an edited version of his log. 

It was a delightfully picturesque day in north-central Texas. The sun shone radiantly in a partly cloudy and powder-blue sky. The morning low temperature was 32 degrees and the afternoon high temperature reached 68 degrees. The average low temperature for Dec. 23 in north-central Texas is 36 degrees and the average high temperature is 56 degrees. The wind was light and variable. The barometric pressure was 30.16 at noon and fell to 30.07 by 3:00 p.m. 

I took advantage of the beautiful weather and fished from noon to 3:00 p.m. at an U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir. This impoundment is located in a suburban area north of Dallas. It is the same Corps’ reservoir that I fished on Dec. 19. 

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar table, the most lucrative fishing periods would occur from 1:26 a.m. to 3:26 a.m., 7:39 a.m. to 9:39 a.m., and 8:06 p.m. to 10:06 p.m.

I spent the entire three hours that I was afloat inside a minor feeder-creek arm on the north end of the reservoir, and I was surprised that I had this creek arm to myself, which is an unusual occurrence. 

The water in the main-lake area outside of this creek arm was muddy with less than a foot of visibility. The surface temperature was 49 degrees. The water level was 0.38 of a foot high. And as I slowly meandered into the lower end of this creek arm, the water conditions improved somewhat. The water clarity improved to 14 inches of visibility, and the surface temperature increased from 49 to 55 degrees.

The shorelines are steep and bluff-like in the upper reaches of the creek arm and they become flatter in the lower and middle sections. The submerged terrain consists of clay and gravel. This creek’s lower and midsection areas are endowed with submerged rock ledges that are situated a few feet from the water’s edge. And in the upper end of this feeder-creek arm, the ledges lie along both shorelines.  Scores and scores of flooded bushes, submerged brush piles, partially-submerged laydowns, and submerged stumps clutter the shallows around the shorelines.

Overall, it wasn’t a great day of fishing. The largemouth bass were few and far between, and I failed to locate any significant concentrations of them. In total, I caught four largemouth bass and 10 large black crappie. 

All of these fish were caught in the lower-third section of the creek arm. They were milling about in three to six feet of water along the edge of the feeder-creek's channel and next to laydowns and brush piles that are close to the creek channel.

A  2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig allured three largemouth bass and six of the 10 black crappie. A Z-Man’s bad shad Trick ShotZ rigged on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig allured one largemouth bass. A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ attached to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig failed to tempt any black bass, but it did bewitch four large black crappie. 

I failed to entice any largemouth bass or spotted bass with a three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ underspin on a 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, a white 1/16-ounce maribou hair jig, and a four-inch green-pumpkin Yum Dinger rigged wacky-style on a black 1/16-ounce Owner’s weedless wacky-rig jig.

I experimented with several of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves, but the only effective presentation was a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake retrieve.

The weather forecast calls for mild daytime temperatures in the mid-60s to low-70s for the next few days, so we’re hoping the bass bite will improve with the stable and delightfully mild weather. 

Dec. 26 

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

Here is an edited version of his log.

It was a wonderfully mild and sunny day on Dec. 26, and I spent some of the day fishing at one of several U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoirs in north-central Texas.

This reservoir is one of our most bountiful ones during the warm-weather months, but the black bass bite becomes extremely difficult when the water temperature drops below 55 degrees, and that usually occurs during the first week of December. From that point on, we rarely return to this impoundment again until March.

I last fished this reservoir with Norman Brown of Lewisville on Nov. 5. It was overcast and misting rain that day. The water temperature was 60 degrees, and we caught 17 largemouth bass and one spotted bass during that four-hour outing.

The morning low temperature was 50 degrees on Dec. 26. The afternoon high was 67 degrees. The wind sauntered out of the south at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.06 at 11:00 a.m. and 30.00 at 3:00 p.m. 

The water displayed about two feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 50.3 to 52.9 degrees. The water level was at normal pool.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the most productive fishing periods would most likely occur from 4:10 a.m. to 6:10 a.m., 10:14 a.m. to 12:14 p.m., and 10:42 p.m. to 12:42 a.m.

 I was afloat from 11:18 a.m. to 3:18 p.m. 

I concentrated my efforts in the lower end of the reservoir, where I slowly and methodically dissected four main-lake bluffs, the dam, and portions of a major feeder-creek arm. My goal was to catch one largemouth or spotted bass, which is a challenging endeavor for this reservoir.

After I launched the boat, I started at the four main-lake bluffs that are situated just north of the dam.  In the deep water many yards away from the bluffs, I discovered large concentrations of fish that were suspended 35 to 48 feet below the surface in water that was 41 to 73 feet deep. I used several vertical presentations with a variety of jigging spoons and vibrating blade baits, but I was unable to garner a single strike. I later spoke with a couple of boat anglers that were fishing in the same area. They informed me that the fish that I discovered were crappie with a few white bass mixed in with the crappie. They had caught about 40 of the crappie while they were spider-rigging live minnows.

I then continued to the bluffs. There are numerous submerged boulders of all sizes that clutter the areas around these bluffs. More than 20 feet of water covers most of the areas around these bluffs. I was hoping to find some spotted bass relating to the submerged boulders, and I was disappointed that I was unable to locate any spotted bass or largemouth bass around them. 

From the main-lake bluffs, I meandered over to the dam. 

The dam is covered with riprap. Its main feature is situated in the middle section. It is a large, square-shaped, concrete water-outlet tower with a connecting walkway that leads from the top of the dam to the tower. The walkway is about 30 feet above the water and is supported by three large and circular concrete support columns. The tower is surrounded by water as shallow as 31 feet and as deep as 57 feet. The walkway’s support columns are encircled with eight to 12 feet of water. 

The east end of the dam was fruitless.

I caught the first black bass of this outing in eight feet of water from the side of the center concrete support column under the tower’s walkway. It was a spotted bass that engulfed a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ that was rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig as I was slowly swimming, gliding, and shaking it around the support column.

In 37 feet of water along the west side of the water-outlet tower, I caught a largemouth bass. It was suspended about 10 to 12 feet below the surface of the water and within a foot or two of the tower. It was caught on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. I was unable to generate any other strikes from the other three sides of the tower. 

Along the western section of the dam, I caught one spotted bass and two large freshwater drum. This spotted bass and one of the two drum were caught in seven feet of water and about 15 feet from the water’s edge on a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ. The other drum was caught in five feet of water and about 10 feet from the water’s edge on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce  Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

After I finished fishing along the dam, I traveled about 1 1/2 miles northward to a major feeder-creek arm on the west side of the east tributary arm.

I caught one largemouth bass inside this creek arm. It was caught in 10 feet of water near a rock ledge that lies at the mouth of the creek arm.  It was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ. I failed to entice any strikes from three steep and rocky secondary points and a rocky shoreline adjacent to one of the secondary points.

In closing, I was able to generate only six bites in four hours. I was surprised that I exceeded my one-black-bass goal by catching two spotted bass, two largemouth bass, and two freshwater drum in four hours. It is the most bass I have ever caught in one outing from this reservoir this late in December. It is also the most bass I have ever caught in an outing from this reservoir in January or February. 

I experimented with all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves and variations of those retrieves, and some vertical presentations as well. A slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the only effective presentation.

I employed an array of Z-Man’s Midwest finesse rigs, some jigging spoons, and vibrating blade baits. Two of the Z-Man’s Midwest finesse rigs were effective: a green-pumpkin Finesse TRD on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig,  which allured the four black bass and one of the two freshwater drum, and a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig sporting a Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ that caught one freshwater drum. The jigging spoons and vibrating blade baits were ineffective and failed to produce any strikes.

Dec. 27 

Ned Kehde filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 27 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 22 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 46 degrees at 2:52 p.m.  The sky fluctuated from being misty, foggy, overcast, fair, and mostly cloudy. The wind angled out of the northwest, north, and east at 3 to 9 mph.  The barometric pressure was 30.24 at 12:52 a.m., 30.27 at 5:52 a.m., 30.23 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.15 at 2:52 p.m. 

In-Fsherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 10:33 a.m. to 12:33 p.m., 11:04 p.m. to 1:04 a.m., and 4:50 a.m. to 6:50 a.m.

I made my first cast at 11:34 a.m. and my last one at 2:34 p.m. at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs.

The surface temperature was 39 degrees. The water level looked to be normal. According to the seechi stick, there were more than six feet of visibility at several locales. 

I spent most of the three hours trying to thoroughly dissect a massive shallow-water flat in the back of one feeder-creek arm and a massive shallow-water flat in the back of another feeder-creek arm.

I also spent a few minutes quickly probing three minor shallow-water flats and one flat secondary point, which were not fruitful. 

The two massive flats are graced with  some patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, such as winter-wilted brittle naiad and coontail -- as well as some burgeoning patches of curly-leaf pondweed that begins sprouting in the late fall and early winter.  

Across many winters of fishing the scores of small flatland reservoirs that stipple northeastern Kansas, we found that the most fruitful locales for Midwest finesse anglers to inveigle largemouth bass are situated on massive shallow-water flats that are embellished with substantial patches of submerged aquatic vegetation. And for years on end, we have expressed our wishes that the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism and other mangers of these reservoirs would begin to cultivate coontail and other kinds of submerged vegetation. But those wishes have fallen upon deaf ears. 

On one of the massive shallow-water flats, which is the size of about five football fields, I caught eight largemouth bass from an area that is about the size of five ping pong tables. This area was covered with 10 to 12 feet of water and endowed with some magnificent patches of coontail. 

To find this locale, I spent a lot of time strolling with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce TT Lures’ NedlockZ jig and employing either a drag-and-shake or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

These eight largemouth bass were abiding in 10 to 12 feet of water. One was caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. The others were caught on the TRD TicklerZ while I was either casting or strolling around and across this tiny locale. Most of them were caught while I was executing a drag-and-shake presentation on top and through the stems of coontail. A few were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

On the other massive shallow-water flat, which looks to be the size of six football fields, I caught  11 largemouth bass in an area that is about the size of a baseball infield. This area was covered with six to nine feet of water and adorned with winter-wilted patches of brittle naiad and some patches of coontail. It is also cluttered with an array of manmade brush piles, which were fruitless.

These 11 largemouth bass were caught in about six to eight feet of water around the brittle naiad and coontail patches. Seven of the 11 largemouth bass were caught on the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig while I was either strolling or casting and employing either a drag-and-shake presentation or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. During the last 15 minutes of this outing, I caught the other four on a Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD TicklerZ rig affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a drag-and-shake presentation. 

In retrospect, I wish that I had used the 1/20-ounce jig and TRD TicklerZ more often while I was trying to methodically dissect the second massive shallow-water flat.  The 1/15-ounce rig often became cluttered with strands of filamentous algae and stems of the winter-wilted brittle naiad, but the 1/20-ounce rig rarely became cluttered. 

Even though these 19 largemouth bass were caught in two relatively confined areas, we have always suspected that the largemouth bass, which abide in these shallow-water flats during the winter, do not constantly abide in these small areas.  What’s more, they are not lethargic.  Instead, it seems as if they are active and very pelagic, and they wander far and wide across and around these massive shallow-water flats. And throughout an outing, we will occasionally cross paths with one another.  But, of course, I have never had the tools to scientifically appraise this notion about the energetic and pelagic nature of the largemouth bass in the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas during the winter. In essence, this is merely an anthropomorphic observation that has interested us for many winters. 

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The ExoSwim is adorned with a paddle-like tail.

Its paddle-style tail is thin and flat with a length of 1 1/16 inches. Midwest Finesse

Reins Fishing's Paddle Tail Worm

Ned Kehde - February 17, 2020

Its paddle-style tail is thin and flat with a length of 1 1/16 inches.

See More Midwest Finesse

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