This guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains seven logs and 5,862 words that explain how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished during January.
It features the piscatorial endeavors of Rick Allen of Dallas; Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; and John Thomas of Denton, Texas.
January is often an exasperating time for Midwest finesse anglers to catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass in north-central Texas, northeastern Kansas, and at many other locales across the United States. During January of 2020, our extremely sorry fishing was intertwined with wind, ice, snow, rain, frigid temperatures, and murky waterways.
We are grateful that Steve Reideler penned most of these words and edited all of them. He is a topnotch Midwest finesse angler and a talented editor.
Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Jan. 1 outing.
Here is a slightly edited version of his log.
John Thomas of Denton and I had aspirations of beginning this new year by catching a few largemouth bass at a nearby U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir, but a blustery wind kept us shore bound. So, we elected to ply a couple of municipal reservoirs that are situated in two communities north of Dallas instead.
The sky was mostly overcast with a brief spell of sunshine. The morning low temperature was 32 degrees and the afternoon high temperature peaked at 58 degrees. The average low temperature in north-central Texas for Jan. 1 is 35 degrees, and the average high is 56 degrees. The irksome wind blew out of the south at 15 to 25 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.93 at noon and dropped to 29.78 by 5:00 p.m.
In-Fisherman’s solunar table indicated the best fishing would take place from 3:08 a.m. to 5:08 a.m., 9:18 a.m. to 11:18 a.m., and 3:29 p.m. to 5:29 p.m.
John and I were afoot at the first reservoir from about 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., and we fished at the second one from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The water at the first community reservoir that we fished exhibited about 14 inches of visibility. The water temperature was 50 degrees. The water level was normal.
We started fishing the east shoreline first, which is curved. The north and south ends are flat and the middle section possesses a broad point that has an incline of about 30 degrees. A long clay and gravel point extends out from the north end of this shoreline. John caught our first largemouth bass of the year from the south side of the broad middle point in six feet of water and 15 to 20 feet from the water’s edge. It was caught on a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man Fishing Products’ coppertreuse Finesse TRD rigged on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. We failed to generate any strikes from a long sand and gravel ledge and a shallow ditch on the south end of this shoreline.
From the east shoreline, we moved to the dam. The dam is constructed of large concrete slabs and forms the reservoir’s southern boundary. We caught only one largemouth bass here. It was abiding along the west end of the dam in five feet of water and was allured by a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD CrawZ fastened to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. This rig was employed with a slow and steady dragging retrieve across the bottom.
Along the west side of the reservoir, we slowly dissected a steep 35-yard section of a sand and gravel shoreline, the area around a fishing pier, and two tertiary points on each end of a steep section of this shoreline, but we were unable to generate any strikes.
The north end of this reservoir encompasses a large and shallow mud flat that is lined with tall stands of cattails and a small feeder creek that enters the reservoir from the east end of this shoreline. It is a protected migratory waterfowl nesting area, and we did not fish this area.
After we finished fishing the first community reservoir, we drove about 15 miles to the second one.
The water temperature at the second reservoir was 48 degrees. The water level was normal. The water displayed about 12 to 14 inches of clarity.
The south end of this impoundment is comprised of a decorative concrete and stone dam. The submerged terrain along the base of the dam is covered with softball-size rocks. We dissected this area with several of Z-Man’s Midwest finesse rigs, but we failed to generate any strikes.
We caught one largemouth bass along the east shoreline. This shoreline is the steepest of the four shorelines, and it is endowed with two primary points and three tertiary points. This largemouth bass was caught from the side of one of the two primary points in three feet of water on a slow drag-and-deadstick presentation with a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig dressed with a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD BugZ.
We failed to elicit any strikes from a shallow mud flat that occupies 90 percent of the northern shoreline or from a small feeder creek that enters the reservoir at the west end of this shoreline.
After that, we plied the west side of the reservoir, which is endowed with a submerged clay and gravel ledge and three small points, and we failed to garner a single strike.
In short, the fishing was wretched. We struggled mightily to catch two largemouth bass from the first reservoir and one from the second one. What a disappointing start to 2020.
Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Jan. 2 outing.
Here is an edited version of his log.
The National Weather Service reported that it was 35 degrees at 3:52 a.m. and 52 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the south, east, southeast, southwest, west, and northwest at 3 to 10 mph. The sky fluctuated from being fair to being mostly cloudy to being overcast to being partly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.50 at 12:52 a.m., 29.54 at 5:52 a.m., 29.60 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.59 at 2:52 p.m.
On Dec. 18, Mother Nature dropped from one to two inches of rain on the watersheds of many of the flatland reservoirs that enhance the various landscapes of northeastern Kansas. Because of these downpours, I feared that some of our flatland reservoirs might be in various stages of disarray.
In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would transpire from 3:45 a.m.to 5:45 a.m., 4:05 p.m. to 6:05 p.m., and 9:55 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.
I ventured to one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs, and upon launching the boat, I immediately observed that the surface temperature was 38 degrees and the water was rank with an intense algae bloom. Instead of making my first cast of 2020, I put the boat on the trailer and ventured to another community reservoir. Upon arriving at the second reservoir, I observed that the dam’s outlet was jettisoning a significant flow of water, and the water exhibited a very murky hue. I elected not to launch the boat. Instead, I ventured to a state reservoir.
The water level at this state reservoir looked to be about a foot above normal, and the water was relatively clear around the boat ramp. So, I launched the boat and made my first cast of 2020 at 12:25 p.m.
The surface temperature ranged from 39 to 40 degrees. There was a slight algae bloom at some locales, and the Secchi stick registered four to five feet of visibility at a few locales.
During the Januaries and Februaries of the past, when the water temperature is in the upper 30s and lower 40s, we have discovered that in order to catch a goodly number of largemouth bass it is necessary to find significant patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, such as coontail, curly-leaf pondweed, or Eurasian milfoil, adorning the shallow-water flats in the backs of the feeder-creek arms.
I failed to find any significant patches on this outing, and by the time that I made my last cast at 1:59 p.m., I had failed to elicit a strike.
At the boat ramp, I crossed paths with Eric Fortner of Olathe, Kansas, and he said he found one patch of healthy coontail in about six feet of water on a flat in the back of one of this reservoir’s major feeder-creek arms. This patch yielded two largemouth bass, which he caught on a square-bill crankbait. He fished about two hours, and those were the only strikes he garnered.
After I arrived home, I examined my January and February logs from 2008 to 2019. Those logs revealed that I failed to elicit a strike on Jan. 11, 2008, at a community reservoir where the surface temperature was 39 degrees, and there were no submerged patches of aquatic vegetation. At another community reservoir where there were a few skimpy patches of coontail and the surface temperature was 38 degrees on Jan. 24, 2016, and on Jan. 24, 2017, I failed to garner a strike. On Jan. 27, 2017, I ventured to two community reservoirs, where the surface temperature ranged from 37 to 40 degrees. At the first reservoir, which had a few insignificant patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, I failed to elicit a strike. But at the second one, I caught 27 largemouth bass in four to six feet of water around patches of Eurasian milfoil on a flat in the back of a large feeder-creek arm.
The most bountiful wintertime outing occurred on Feb 9, 2012, when Rick Hebernstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I caught 102 largemouth bass in four to seven feet of water in three hours. These largemouth bass were abiding around patches of Eurasian milfoil and curly-leaf pondweed.
As Fortner and I chatted, we spent a few minutes talking about the state of the black bass fishing in northeastern Kansas, and some of those words focused on the sorry state of the submerged aquatic vegetation in many of our community and state reservoirs. And we wished that the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism would begin cultivating submerged aquatic vegetation in the community and state reservoirs.
Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Jan. 4 outing.
Here is a slightly edited version of his log.
John Thomas of Denton and I elected to fish at a state reservoir located in an exurban area north of Ft. Worth. Neither of us have ever fished at this reservoir during January, February, and March. And when we arrived a the boat ramp, we were surprised to see that the boat ramp’s parking lot was almost full of tow vehicles and boat trailers.
This impoundment is known for its white bass and wiper fishing. Its black bass fishing is mostly overlooked by local anglers, but during 2019, it was our most bountiful black bass venue in north-central Texas.
This impoundment is also one of the few reservoirs in north-central Texas that has aquatic vegetation, which consists of some scattered patches of American pondweed and hydrilla in its lower end.
Its primary geological features are its rock-laden shorelines and points. These areas are graced with overhanging trees, submerged boulders, laydowns, and some flooded buck brush.
It was an intensely bright and sunny day. The morning low temperature was 35 degrees, and the afternoon high slowly climbed to 62 degrees. The wind was light and variable. The barometric pressure dropped from 30.39 at 10:00 a.m. to 30.30 at 3:00 p.m.
In-Fisherman's solunar table noted that the best fishing would occur from 5:15 a.m. to 7:15 a.m., 11:05 a.m. to 1:05 p.m., and 5:36 p.m. to 7:36 p.m.
John and I fished from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
We were not expecting much during this outing. But by the end of this five-hour endeavor, we had caught 11 largemouth bass and one freshwater drum, which we consider this a pretty decent catch for north-central Texas during January.
Around the main-lake, we investigated three rocky shorelines, two chunk-rock jetties, the area around a large concrete spillway, three main-lake points, a portion of an island, and an offshore hump. Inside two large main-lake bays, we probed the riprap on the dam, several rocky secondary points, and a bluff shoreline. All of these areas are situated in the lower and middle sections of the reservoir.
The water exhibited between 12 and 30 inches of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 49 degrees to 51 degrees. The water level was 4.81 feet below normal pool.
We started our search for this reservoir’s largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass at two main-lake shorelines on the lower end of the reservoir, and we were unable to locate any bass around these two shorelines.
Next, we ventured to the east side of the reservoir, where we plied another main-lake shoreline and two riprap jetties. We caught one freshwater drum from the main-lake shoreline, one largemouth bass from the first jetty, and four largemouth bass at the second jetty. These five largemouth bass were abiding in 17 to 23 feet of water and many feet away from the jetties. They were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD CrawZ that was attached to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. This rig was slowly and steadily crawled across the bottom with no additional shakes or pauses. The freshwater drum was caught in five feet of water next to a patch of large boulders on a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.
We failed to locate any black bass around the spillway, the three main-lake points, the east-side shoreline of the island, and an offshore hump.
Inside the first large bay in the midsection of the reservoir, we caught three largemouth bass. This bay consists of two coves, several secondary points, a dam, a bluff shoreline, and about two dozen boat docks.
Two of the three largemouth bass were caught on the north side of the bay along the bluff shoreline in 25 feet of water. One was caught about eight feet below the surface of the water and 25 feet from the water’s edge on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The second one was caught about 50 feet away from the bluff while we were slowly crawling a green-pumpkin TRD CrawZ along the bottom in 25 feet of water. The third largemouth was caught in the eastern portion of the bay around the riprap-covered dam. It was caught about eight feet below the surface in 20 feet of water on a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig.
The second main-lake bay is situated in the lower end of the impoundment. It encompasses several rocky secondary points and shorelines, two coves, and a small marina.
At the mouth of this bay are two rocky main-lake points. These points possess a 30-degree and 45-degree gradient. The point with the 45-degree slope yielded two largemouth bass that were dwelling about 30 feet from the water’s edge in 16 to 18 feet of water. Both of these bass were caught on the bottom with the green-pumpkin TRD CrawZ as we slowly crawled it across the bottom.
We failed to garner any strikes from the other point with the 30-degree slope.
Along a west-side shoreline, we caught our last largemouth bass. This shoreline is covered with riprap and has a 45- to 50-degree incline. There are a few scattered patches of hydrilla in less than five feet of water and close to the water’s edge. This largemouth was caught on the bottom in about 17 feet of water and about 25 feet away from the water’s edge on the green-pumpkin TRD CrawZ and slow dragging retrieve.
In closing, we caught all of these 11 largemouth bass in water as shallow as 17 feet and as deep as 25 feet. In shallow-water areas with less than 10 feet of water, we caught only one freshwater drum.
Nine of them were caught on the bottom with the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD CrawZ rig and a slow and steady crawling retrieve across the bottom. Two were caught on the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.
Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Jan. 6 outing.
Here is an edited version of his log.
The National Weather Service reported that it was 21 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 47 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being fair to being mostly cloudy to being overcast. The wind was calm for many hours, and when it stirred, it angled out of the northwest, southeast, south, west, and southwest at 3 to 8 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.26 at 12:52 a.m., 30.21 at 5:52 a.m., 30.20 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.10 at 2:52 p.m.
It was cold enough that all of the area farm ponds were coated with thin sheets of ice, but none of the streams and rivers were covered with ice.
In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would transpire from 6:24 a.m. to 8:24 a.m., 6:48 p.m. to 8:48 p.m., and 12:13 a.m. to 2:13 a.m.
I made my first cast at 11:20 a.m. and my last one at 2:20 p.m. while I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas' state reservoirs.
Because of the 1 1/2 to two inches of rain that fell upon northeastern Kansas on Dec. 28, the water level at this reservoir looked to be slightly more than 1 1/2 feet above its normal level. Fortunately, the water did not become riled at this reservoir as it did at several other area reservoirs. Therefore, the water exhibited six to seven feet of Secchi-stick visibility. The surface temperature varied from 38 to 39 degrees.
I spent the entire three hours trying to thoroughly dissect the shallow-water flat in the back of one large feeder-creek arm and a shallow-water flat in the back of another large feeder-creek arm.
Portions of these flats are endowed with submerged patches of brittle naiad, bushy pondweed, coontail, and curly-leaf pondweed. Except for the patches of curly-leaf pondweed, which are burgeoning, the patches of brittle naiad, bushy pondweed, and coontail are in their wintertime-wilt stage.
For one hour and 10 minutes, I worked around and across portions of a flat that is the size of about five football fields in the back of one of the large feeder creeks. In an area that is about the size of a half of a football field, I caught five largemouth bass. Three of the five were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Three of the five were caught while I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation. Two were caught while I was casting and employing a drag-and-shake presentation. These largemouth bass were caught in six to eight feet of water around patches of bushy pondweed and coontail.
For the next 110 minutes, I worked around and across portions of a flat that is the size of about seven football fields. Around three relatively small locales, I caught 15 largemouth bass. Eight of the 15 were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig. Seven were caught on the TRD HogZ rig. One was caught on the initial drop. Two were caught on a prolonged deadstick presentation. Five were caught while I was trolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation. Seven were caught while I was casting and employing either a drag-and-shake presentation or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. These largemouth bass were caught in 10 to 12 feet of water around patches of coontail.
On my last presentation, which was a vertical one with the TRD HogZ rig, I hooked a fish that liberated itself before I could see it and haul it into the boat.
Even though it was not a robust Midwest finesse outing, it was considerably better than my first 2020 outing on Jan. 2, when I fished from 12:25 p.m. to 1:59 p.m. and failed to elicit a strike at another state reservoir. And it was a tad better than my last outing of 2019, when I caught 19 largemouth bass from 11:34 a.m. to 2:34 p.m. on Dec.27 at the same reservoir that I fished on Jan. 6.
Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Jan. 14 outing.
Here is a slightly edited version of his log.
John Thomas of Denton and I took advantage of a warm winter's day to fished from noon to 4:30 p.m. at an U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.
Our part of Texas was walloped with a major cold front that was accompanied by thunderstorms and then snow on Jan. 10 and 11. Air temperatures dropped from the mid-60s to the high 20s and upper 30s. But on Jan. 14, the sky conditions changed from overcast to partly cloudy. The afternoon high temperature soared to 71 degrees. The morning low temperature was 51 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.12 at noon and fell to 30.02 by 4:00 p.m. The wind was light and variable.
According to In-Fisherman’s solunar table, the most productive fishing periods would occur from 1:27 a.m. to 3:27 a.m., 7:41 a.m. to 9:41 a.m., and 1:54 p.m. to 3:54 p.m.
We spent these 4 1/2 hours inside a minor feeder-creek arm on the north end of the reservoir. Except for one other boat angler and one bank angler, we had this creek arm to ourselves.
The submerged terrain inside this creek arm consists of clay and gravel. The creek’s shorelines are steep and bluff-like in the upper reaches of the creek arm and they become flatter in the middle and lower sections. Countless numbers of flooded bushes, submerged brush piles, partially-submerged laydowns, and submerged stumps adorn the shallows around the shorelines.
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 53 degrees. The water level was 0.76 of a foot high.
Inside the lower end of this creek arm, the water clarity improved to 12 inches of visibility, and the surface temperature increased to 55 degrees. In the midsection of this creek arm, the water displayed 18 inches of visibility and the water temperature was 63 degrees.
During the first two hours that we plied the lower section of the creek arm, the black bass bite was virtually nonexistent. We caught one largemouth bass. We spoke briefly with a boat angler who was leaving. He reported that he had caught only one white bass on a crankbait next to a laydown further up the creek. After he left, we decided to turn our attentions from black bass to white bass. We moved further up into the middle section of the creek arm, and during the next 2 1/2 hours, we caught and released 36 white bass and two largemouth bass. These fish were abiding in five to eight feet of water next to laydowns and stumps that were close to the main channel in the center of the creek.
A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig that was employed with a slow and steady swimming retrieve allured two largemouth bass and all 36 white bass. The same slow swimming retrieve with a three-inch Z-Man’s space guppy Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig allured one largemouth bass.
We did not have time to fish in the upper end of this creek arm. We failed to entice any largemouth bass or spotted bass with nine other Midwest finesse offerings.
Mother Nature's wet, windy, and wintry ways have kept scores of Midwest finesse anglers at bay this January all across the Heartland and other locales around the nation. But Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, and Rick Allen of Dallas, who have to fish some of the most problematic waterways in America, were able to fish on Jan. 25, and they compiled the following log. Once again, they experienced how difficult it is to catch Florida-strain largemouth bass in north-central Texas in the winter.
It has been windy, wet, and chilly in north-central Texas since Jan. 15, but Jan. 25 provided a nice break from the winter doldrums of the past 10 days. The recent rains have left the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs in this area a bit muddy. So, Rick Allen and I conducted a 3 1/2-hour bank-walking foray at a community reservoir that lies on the northwest side of the Dallas metropolitan area.
The sky was overcast. The morning low temperature was 39 degrees at 5:00 a.m. By 4:00 p.m., it was 66 degrees. A southeast wind blew steadily at 10 to 20 mph throughout the day. The barometric pressure was 30.08 at noon and 29.96 at 3:00 p.m.
According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the best fishing periods would occur from 4:31 a.m. to 6:31 a.m., 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., and 4:56 p.m. to 6:56 p.m. Rick and I fished from noon to 3:30 p.m.
This impoundment has a finicky venue, and the black bass fishing can be difficult this time of year. Nonetheless, it still offered us the best chance for garnering more than one or two strikes during an afternoon outing.
The water exhibited about 14 to 18 inches of clarity. The water temperature ranged from 50.2 degrees in the main-lake area to 54.8 degrees in a small feeder-creek on the northeast end of the reservoir.
Along the east shoreline, we dissected the sides of a long clay and gravel point, a steep sand and gravel point, a ditch, and a fairly long and shallow sand and gravel ledge close to the water’s edge. But we failed to elicit any strikes.
We generated two strikes along a concrete-slab dam on the south end of the reservoir. One of the strikes yielded a largemouth bass. The other strike was also a largemouth bass, but it was able to liberate itself before we could land it. Both of these bass were abiding in four to six feet of water near the midsection of the dam. They were beguiled by a four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ that was rigged wacky-style on a 1/8-ounce drop-shot rig. This rig was retrieved with a drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation.
Along the west shoreline, we enticed one largemouth bass to strike the 1/8-ounce drop-shot rig that was sporting a wacky-rigged four-inch Z-Man’s back-blue Finesse WormZ. This bass was caught from the remaining stubble of a patch of submerged winter-dead aquatic vegetation, which is situated about 25 feet from the water’s edge in six feet of water. This rig was employed with an extremely slow drag-and-deadstick presentation, and each cast and retrieve took three to four minutes to complete. We were unable to provoke any other strikes from two tertiary points, the area around a fishing pier in the midsection of this shoreline, and a ditch at its upper end.
We spent the last 20 minutes of this outing dissecting a portion of a small feeder creek that flows into the reservoir from the east end of the north shoreline. Its underwater terrain consists of mostly clay, gravel, and fist-size rocks. Usually, there is a light current flowing through this creek, but we did not detect any current this time.
The only productive area in this creek was a relatively large pool on the north end of the creek, and it surrendered three largemouth bass. This pool is the largest one in this creek, and it is about 15 feet wide and 30 feet long. These fish were extracted from a cluster of rocks in three feet of water that lie near the west shoreline of the creek. They were coaxed into striking a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TubeZ fastened on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig as it was dragged then deadsticked for about 10 seconds around the cluster of rocks.
In conclusion, the fishing was slow and difficult. We could barely muster two largemouth bass during the first three hours and 10 minutes of this outing. But by the time this 3 1/2 hour endeavor came to an end, we had managed to dredge up five largemouth bass. Three of the five bass were caught during the last 20 minutes of the outing.
We employed a number of Z-Man’s Midwest finesse baits rigged on an array of Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jigs that were utilized with several of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves without any success.
Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Jan. 27 outing.
Here is a slightly edited version of his log.
From 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., John Thomas of Denton and I fished at a state reservoir located in an exurban area of north-central Texas. We fished this impoundment on Jan. 4, and we struggled to catch 11 largemouth bass in five hours.
This impoundment’s geological terrain consists of many rock-laden shorelines and points. It is adorned with submerged boulders, laydowns, overhanging trees, and flooded buck brush. There are also patches of winter-dead American pondweed and flourishing patches of green hydrilla in the shallow-water areas in the lower end of the impoundment.
The early morning hours were overcast with thick fog. The wind was calm. At 9:52 a.m., the sky began to clear, and it became partly cloudy. The morning low temperature was 41 degrees and the afternoon high temperature peaked at 68 degrees. As the morning progressed, the wind began to stir out of the southeast at 5 to 15 mph. The barometric pressure dropped from 30.01 at 10:00 a.m. to 29.89 by 3:00 p.m.
The best fishing, according to In-Fisherman’s solunar table, would occur from 12:05 a.m. to 2:05 a.m., 6:16 a.m. to 8:16 a.m., and 12:27 p.m. to 2:27 p.m.
We spent 4 1/2 hours probing portions of two bays and two jetties covered with riprap. The first bay is located on the south end of the reservoir, and the second one is situated in the reservoir’s midsection. The two jetties are situated close to each other on the east side of the reservoir.
The reservoir’s water level was 4.60 feet below normal pool.
In the south bay, the water exhibited between 24 and 30 inches of visibility. The surface temperature was 51 degrees.
We started our search for black 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, and we fished this area twice. These two shorelines and point are festooned with a long and burgeoning wall of green hydrilla. We caught 15 largemouth bass this first time around. These bass were relating to the outside edge of the hydrilla wall in six to 10 feet of water. They were all caught on a three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Slim SwimZ underspin that was fastened on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig as we employed it with a slow swimming retrieve along the outside edges of the hydrilla wall.
Next, we ventured to the east side of this bay where we slowly plied another steep and rocky shoreline. Portions of this shoreline are adorned with patches of green hydrilla, but these patches are scrawny and sparse compared to the wall of hydrilla on the west side of the bay. This shoreline yielded seven largemouth bass that were abiding in eight to 12 feet of water and several feet away from the outside edges of the patches of hydrilla. Five of them were coaxed into striking a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ that was attached to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. This rig was utilized with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The other two largemouth bass were allured by a slow swimming retrieve with the three-inch green-pumpkin Slim SwimZ underspin rig.
We failed to garner any strikes from the two rocky entry points at the mouth of this bay.
We then ventured to the middle portion of the impoundment and dissected two riprap jetties that are situated on the east shoreline, but we were unable to locate any black bass around these two jetties.
Inside the second bay, which is located about a quarter of a mile north of the two riprap jetties, we caught three largemouth bass. This large bay features two coves, a dam, a bluff shoreline, several secondary points, and about two dozen boat docks. The water exhibited about 14 inches of clarity. The surface temperature was 52 degrees.
These three largemouth bass were caught on the north side of the bay along the bluff shoreline where the water is 17 to 25 feet deep next to the bluff. They were caught about six to eight feet below the surface of the water and within five feet of the water’s edge near large submerged boulders. Two of them engulfed the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ combo that was worked with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One was enticed by a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig dressed with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD BugZ.
We also plied the riprap that covers the dam on the east side of the bay, but we were unable to generate any strikes along it.
We decided to return to the first bay where we started the day. We fished around the hydrilla wall along the two west-side shorelines and the secondary point where we began this outing. We caught six more largemouth bass from this area. They were caught on the three-inch green-pumpkin Slim SwimZ underspin rig as we were slowly swimming it next to the outside edges of the hydrilla wall in six to 10 feet of water.
In closing, we were delighted to tangle with 31 largemouth bass during this 4 1/2 hour endeavor, and this is by far our most bountiful outing of 2020.
Twenty-eight of them were caught in the south bay. Of those 28 largemouth bass, 21 were relating to a long wall of thick hydrilla next to a steep and rocky shoreline on the west side of the bay. Seven were caught around scanty patches of hydrilla on the east side of the bay. The other three bass were caught along a bluff shoreline on the north side of the second bay, which lies on the east side of the reservoir. We did not find any black bass inhabiting areas around winter-dead American pondweed.
Twenty-three largemouth bass were allured by a swimming retrieve with the three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Slim SwimZ underspin rig. Seven were enticed by a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ combo. One largemouth bass was caught on the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD BugZ that was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.