Midwest Finesse Fishing: July 2019

midwest-finesse-fishing-july-2019

The July guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 24 logs and 24,254 words that describe how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished. It features the piscatorial endeavors and insights of Tom Bett of Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Lou Clewell of Roslyn, Pennsylvania; James Cox of San Antonio, Texas; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas; Pat Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas; Landon Loveall of Columbia, Tennessee; Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; Issay Shields of San Antonio, Texas; and John Thomas of Denton, Texas.

As always, we are thankful that Steve Reideler proofread all of the logs. He made them more readable and understandable.

July 1

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his outing on July 1.


Here is a slightly edited version of his log: 


From 8:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., I conducted a solo excursion at a problematic north-central Texas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir that I fished on June 24. 


It was partly cloudy and sunny when I arrived at the boat ramp at 7:52 a.m. The barometric pressure was 29.99. The morning low temperature was 72 degrees. The wind was quartering out of the south by southwest at 5 to 10 mph. When I trailered the boat at 1:27 p.m., the afternoon high temperature was 93 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.95.

The water level has dropped 1.7 feet since June 24. It was 3.85 feet above its normal summer-pool level on June 24, and it was 2.10 feet above normal level on July 1. The water clarity varied from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 82 degrees.

The black bass fishing at this reservoir was what I consider to be average on June 24 when I caught 16 largemouth and spotted bass in five hours. The fishing was worse this time, and I had to work hard to scrounge up seven largemouth bass and four spotted bass in five hours. I also caught three freshwater drum and one white bass by accident. It was not the start to July that I was hoping for.


I spent all five hours plying the most promising black bass lairs I could find in the south end of the reservoir. Most of them were fairly shallow and situated in three to 15 feet of water. In addition to searching for shallow-water bass, I also spent a significant amount of time searching for largemouth bass and spotted bass in deep-water lairs located in 18 to 35 feet of water.

The shallow-water lairs encompassed three main-lake points and portions of their adjoining shorelines, a riprap-laden jetty, and the riprap that covers the dam. 

The deep-water lairs encompassed the ends of two other main-lake points that extend many yards out from the shoreline and quickly descend into 35 or more feet of water. All of these lairs had small half-inch threadfin shad present.


In the shallow-water areas, I caught two largemouth bass from two of the three main-lake points. These points and their adjoining main-lake shorelines are adorned with a few remaining patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation, some overhanging trees, a few laydowns and stumps, and submerged boulders and rocks. The slope of these points and shorelines vary from 20- to 35-degrees. The largemouth bass were caught in six to eight feet of water near the submerged boulders on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig as I was swimming, gliding, and shaking it next to the submerged boulders. 

I failed to generate any strikes from the third main-lake point and from any of the shorelines adjacent to the points.

I caught another largemouth bass from the submerged riprap on the jetty. This largemouth bass was abiding in four feet of water. It was also caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ rig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. And after I caught this largemouth, this ZinkerZ rig seemed to have lost its effectiveness for the remainder of the outing.

I then spent a little more than two hours slowly plying two deep-water lairs along the sides and ends of the other two submerged points. 

I had located several decent-size schools of unidentified fish and baitfish with my sonar units at both of these two points in 28 to 35 feet of water. The baitfish were suspended between 15 and 23 feet below the surface, and the larger unidentified fish were suspended about three to 10 feet above the bottom.

I attempted to coax them into striking a variety of Z-Man’s Finesse TRDs, four-inch Finesse WormZs, 3 1/2-inch Trick ShotZs, and shortened Hula StickZs that were used with a vertical presentation on a 3/16-ounce drop-shot rig, but to my chagrin, I was unable to provoke any of them to strike my offerings.

I then tried a three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ matched with a custom-painted chartreuse 1/5-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. This rig was cast out into the deep water and allowed to fall to the bottom. Then, it was retrieved with either a slow and steady swimming action across the bottom or hopped across the bottom with a hop-and-bounce presentation. But this Slim SwimZ rig and these two presentations failed to elicit a strike.

After that frustrating endeavor, I meandered over to the dam and fished along its submerged riprap in four to 12 feet of water. This was the most productive locale of the outing, yielding four largemouth bass and four spotted bass. None of them were grouped up, and they were caught many yards and many minutes apart from each other. All of them were caught in six to 12 feet of water on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red-flake Finesse WormZ that was fastened on a red 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

One of the four spotted bass was caught on a hop-and-bounce retrieve. Another spotted bass was caught on the initial drop of the Finesse WormZ jig while it was chasing shad on the surface in 12 feet of water and about 30 feet away from the water’s edge.

The other four largemouth bass and two spotted bass were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

I experimented with the drop-shot rig and several of the other standard Midwest finesse retrieves along the dam as well, but I failed to entice any strikes with any of them.

In closing, the black bass fishing at this Corps' reservoir remains difficult. The black bass I did locate were scattered in six to 12 feet of water and associated with riprap, rocks, and boulders. None of them were associated with the remaining patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation, laydowns, and stumps around the shorelines.

Most of the shallow-water locales produced only one or two bass, and I was unable to develop any type of deep-water bite. In retrospect, I wasted too much time searching for bass in deep-water lairs, which takes a considerable amount of time to accomplish, and that distraction may have negatively affected my catch rate. 

July 1 

Landon Loveall of Columbia, Tennessee, posted a brief on the Finesse News Network about his outing on July 1.

Here is an edited version of his brief: 

My father and I ventured to the same river I fished on Saturday.

We arrived at 6:00 a.m. The sky was fair. It was 77 degrees. The wind was mostly calm, but it occasionally turned into a variable breeze. The high temperature was 90 degrees. It was extremely humid. The sun was oppressive, and the shade was limited on this river.

The river was flowing at 187 cubic feet per second. The water temperature was 73 degrees at 6:00 a.m. and 78 degrees at 3:00 p.m. The water exhibited 3 1/2 feet of visibility with an emerald-green color, and this is clear water by middle-Tennessee standards.

Our plan was to explore downstream. A mile downstream the river encounters large hills with limestone bluffs. The bluffs force the river to bend to their will, and we expected to find deep holes, chunk rock, and narrow stretches with current.

As we floated along, we spotted a piebald river otter. He was three-quarters white with two large brown patches on his back and rump. He slid off the bank ahead and swam at some distance in front of us before popping up in a patch of American water willows to watch us float by. He was beautiful. One of the most amazing things I have encountered in the wild.

Our first cast was by my father at 7:05 a.m. In short order, he caught five smallmouth bass and one rock bass at the end of a pool where it flows into the next riffle. His bait was a shorten Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ on a 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. The Finesse ShroomZ is prone to wedging; so he retrieved it by swimming and twitching it. 

I used a two-inch Z-Man’s dirt ZinkerZ affixed to a 1/32-ounce River Rock Custom Bait’s Tactical Finesse Jig with a number-six hook. The ZinkerZ had been soaked to remove the salt, and it was extremely buoyant.

Fishing behind my father, I caught two smallmouth bass.

My father fished at a good pace and disappeared from my sight. My mistake was that I fished too slowly.

The hardest thing for me to learn as a finesse fisherman has been when to slow down, when to speed up, and how to effectively ply the various environments. 

After two hours, I switched to a 1/32-ounce Trout Magnet Fin Spin with a 1 1/2-inch Charlie Brewer’s Slider Company green-ghost Crappie Slider. The switch was out of frustration and to just have a change of pace.

I caught a white bass on the second cast. Then I proceeded to catch five smallmouth, nine rock bass, two green sunfish, and one largemouth bass. All from the same hole I started in. My presentation was to cast at a 45- degree angle upstream and tight against the strong-side bank. Most fish would take it on the drop or as I very slowly reeled and the bait occasionally ticked the rocks. One smallmouth bass vomited minnows that were even smaller than my bait and a rock bass had small craw pinchers in his throat.

I caught up with my father at noon and a half mile upstream. He had 32 fish. Most of them were smallmouth bass; two were spotted bass and a few were rock bass. He was fishing with a Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD TicklerZ affixed to a 1/32-ounce River Rock Custom Baits Tactical Finesse Jig with a number-four hook.

We continued to fish upstream together. He caught seven more, and I caught six.

We made our last casts at 3:00 p.m.

We reviewed our smallmouth bass catches on the way home. They were scattered. Our best locations yielded no more than five. The best locations offered some combination of shade, wood, chunk rock, visible current, and one to three feet of water. They were not in the riffles. Instead, they were at the head of pools or the runs below riffles.

This was the first time we have used River Rock Custom Baits' Tactical Finesse Jig. And the jig with the number-six hook is not as snag prone as the one with the number-four hook.

July 2

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his July 2 outing. 

Here is an edited version his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 71 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 92 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The sky was fair, and at times it was emblazoned with a few humongous cumulonimbus clouds. The wind angled from the east, southeast, west, southwest, southeast, and south at 3 to 13 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.97 at 12:52 a.m., 29.95 at 5:52 a.m., 29.93 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.91 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar was out of working order. 

From July 2 to July 12, I will be searching for at least five northeastern Kansas' reservoirs where our 14-year-old grandson from San Antonio, Texas, and his friend can catch a goodly array of black bass. This July 2 outing was one of those searching endeavors. It took place at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs, and I fished a tad differently than I would normally fish.

The water level looked to be about a foot above its normal level. The water exhibited about six feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 87 to 88 degrees. 

I fished from 10:40 a.m. to 2:51 p.m., and I employed three of the Midwest finesse tactics around locales that these 14-year-olders can easily use.

One tactic was to stroll around two points and their adjacent shorelines and across one offshore hump with a Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD HogZ affixed to a red 3/32-ounce mushroom-jig. I employed a drag-and-shake presentation with this rig in seven to 12 feet of water. The underwater terrains of these locales consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders that form several ledges and small humps. At one of the shoreline ledges, the TRD HogZ rig inveigled one largemouth bass in about 10 feet of water. I failed to elicit another strike at the other locales.

I spent the rest of the outing trying to thoroughly dissect six shallow-water flats that are adorned with brittle naiad, bushy pondweed, curly-leaf pondweed, and coontail.

The smallest flat is the size of a football field. The largest is the size of four football fields.

I failed to garner a strike at four of the six shallow-water flats. And across many yards of the other two flats, I failed to tangle with a largemouth bass.

At one of the flats, which is the size of about three football fields, I caught 14 largemouth bass. Ten of them were abiding near the outside edges of the patches of bushy pondweed and coontail in eight to 11 feet of water. Three were caught around patches of bushy pondweed in about five feet of water. One was caught around a log and a patch of bushy pondweed in five feet of water.

Three were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Eleven were caught on a Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and three of the 11 were caught on the initial drop of that rig, and eight were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Along the outside edge of the largest shallow-water flat, I caught 10 largemouth bass. These largemouth bass were abiding in eight to 10 feet of water around patches of coontail. I failed to elicit a strike around the patches of bushy pondweed, brittle naiad, and curly-leaf pondweed vegetation that embellish the shallower locales of this massive flat. Nine of the largemouth bass were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig on either the initial drop or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

In sum, I spent too much time dissecting patches of aquatic vegetation in four to six feet of water on these flats, which is where we used to catch scores of largemouth bass in summers of the past. On this outing, it was a struggle to catch 27 largemouth bass, and for some bizarre reason one of them was a lunker. This is the second outing in a row that this lunker deal has erupted, and it corresponded to another paltry catch rate. Rather than tangling with that big specimen, I would have preferred to catch another 27 small largemouth bass. Like our grandkids and their friends, I want to elicit a lot of strikes and catch a lot of black bass. And two weeks from now if the black bass fishing in northeastern Kansas remains as trying as it has been, our grandson and his friend will become a tad impatient with my inability to help them find and catch at least 10 black bass an hour.

July 3

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his July 3 outing.

Here is an edited version his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 69 degrees at 5:53 a.m., 85 degrees at 12:53 p.m., and 83 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The conditions of the sky fluctuated from being fair to being mostly cloudy to being partly cloudy. The wind angled out of the south and southwest at three to 18 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.91 at 12:53 a.m., 29.90 at 5:53 a.m., 29.93 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.89 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar is out of working order.

From 10:25 a.m. to 2:25 p.m., I was at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs, searching for areas that our 14-year-old grandson from San Antonio, Texas, and his friend can tangle with an array of black bass from July 15 to July 22. 

The water level at this reservoir was slightly above normal. The water exhibited about five feet of visibility in the vicinity of the dam, and it diminished to about two feet in the upper half of this reservoir. A minor algae bloom has erupted. The surface temperature ranged from 85 to 88 degrees.

I spent most of this outing working with the Strike King Lure Company’s green-pumpkin Ned Ocho affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. The Ned Ocho is a 2 3/4-inch stick-style soft-plastic bait. It is not cylinder shaped. Instead, it possesses a subtle eight-sided motif. In some anglers’ eyes, it might look like a miniature and odd-shaped carpenter’s pencil. Its dorsal and ventral areas are identical, and they are somewhat convexed. It is segmented. And each of its sides is endowed with 13 significant ribs. Its sides are significantly wider than its dorsal and ventral areas, and they are somewhat convexed. The middle portions of its torso are bigger than the tips of its anterior and posterior sections. The end of its posterior section is pointed, and the tip of it is flat. The tip of the anterior section is larger than the tip of the posterior section, and the tip of the anterior section is where most anglers will insert the hook and collar of their jigs.

To accentuate a gliding motif, I affixed the jig and its hook to the Ned Ocho’s side rather than its dorsal or ventral areas. When the tip of the anterior section became tattered and torn, I affixed the jig and its hook to the tip of the posterior section, and both riggings were equally effective.

I caught 35 largemouth bass, and 29 of them were caught on the Ned Ocho rig. Four of the 35 were caught on a Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD TicklerZ 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 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

I failed to garner a strike upon two main-lake humps, along a 50-yard stretch of a steep main-lake shoreline, and around two flat main-lake points and short portions of their shorelines.

I caught five largemouth bass along the dam. Four were caught on the Canada Craw TRD TicklerZ rig, and one was caught of the Ned Ocho rig. The dam possesses about a 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is embellished with a few minor patches of American water willows. There are occasional patches of coontail and bushy pondweed situated in three to six feet of water. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop in three to four feet of water. The other three were caught as I was strolling and employing either a swim-glide-and-shake presentation or a drag-and-shake presentation in about eight feet of water.

Two largemouth bass were caught on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig along the spillway. One was caught on the initial drop adjacent to a patch of American water willows in about three feet of water. The second one was caught in about seven feet of water with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Along about a 150-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline, I caught seven largemouth bass on the Ned Ocho rig. This shoreline lies along the middle section of the reservoir, and it has a 25- to 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge has a few patches of American water willows, which are interlaced with some patches of coontail, and it is littered with about a dozen docks. One of the largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows in about three feet of water. Six largemouth bass were caught in about nine feet of water and about 20 feet from the water’s edge as I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation.

Eleven largemouth bass were caught on the Ned Ocho rig around a main-lake point and the main-lake shoreline that is adjacent to it. This area is in the upper half of the reservoir. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 30-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is emblazoned with one overhanding tree, patches of American water willow, which are adjacent to some patches of coontail, and four docks. Two largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop in about four feet of water. Four of the 11 largemouth bass were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation in seven to 10 feet of water. Five of the largemouth bass were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in six to eight feet of water. Three of the largemouth bass were caught under the overhanging tree and along the outside edges of a patch of American water willows. The others were caught from 10 to 15 from the water’s edge, and four of those largemouth bass were caught adjacent to the docks.

Along about 175-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline in the upper half of the reservoir, I caught six largemouth bass on the Ned Ocho rig. This shoreline has a 25- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, silt, and rocks. The water’s edge is embellished with patches of American water willows, one concrete retaining wall, several overhanging trees, four docks, and a few laydowns. Some of the shallow-water areas are graced with patches of coontail. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop in about four feet of water. Four of the largemouth bass were caught as I was strolling and employing the swim-glide-and-shake presentation in five to seven feet of water. 

I caught three largemouth bass around a main-lake point. It possesses a 35-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is lined with a concrete-retaining wall, one overhanging tree, and a patch of American water willows. These three largemouth bass were caught adjacent to the concrete-retaining wall in about four feet of water on the initial drop of the Ned Ocho rig.

On a main-lake hump, I caught one largemouth bass around a patch of coontail in about five feet of water on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the Ned Ocho rig. 

In conclusion, there is an odd phenomenon taking place in northeastern Kansas. I am catching considerably more lunker-size largemouth bass than I have caught in years past, and I am also catching fewer largemouth bass than I used to catch. On this outing, for instance, I caught an average of 8.75 largemouth bass an hour. I was hoping to catch 10 or more an hour. I have not caught 101 largemouth bass in four hours since 2017. On this outing, six of the 35 largemouth bass looked as if they weighed from three to almost five pounds. My grandson and his friend would enjoy tangling with a lunker or two while they are here, but, like me, they would prefer catching an average of 10 to 25 smaller-sized largemouth bass an hour.

July 3 

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his July 3 outing at a northeastern Kansas’ state reservoir.

Here is an edited version of his report:

The National Weather Service reported that the morning low temperature was 69 degrees and the afternoon high reached 85 degrees. The sky conditions varied from being fair to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy. The barometric pressure ranged from 29.93 to 29.89. The wind quartered out of the south and southwest at 3 to 18 mph.

The water's surface temperature was 88 degrees. The water clarity was about four feet along the dam and about two feet in the upper portions of the reservoir.

I caught four largemouth bass along the dam while strolling and using a very slow swim, glide and shake retrieve. All were caught in deep water several yards from the water’s edge. One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl-haze ZinkerZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. The other three were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s molting craw Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce River Rock Custom Baits’ Tactical Finesse Jig. 

Four more largemouth bass and several green sunfish were caught on the shallow-water flat at the east end of the dam. They were caught on a Z-Man’s green- pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two were caught along the shoreline, and the other two were caught along a ledge where the flat transitions to deeper water and several yards away from the water’s edge. They were caught on either the initial drop or a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. 

Along about a 300-yard stretch of a shoreline inside one of the reservoir’s five feeder-creek arms, I caught 12 largemouth bass on a shortened Z-Man’s coppertreuse Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig while I was casting the rig into one to two feet of water and strolling with the boat in four to six feet of water. water. The water’s edge is adorned with healthy patches of American water willows. The shallow-water flats along this shoreline are endowed many patches of coontail and bushy pondweed. Along the outside edges of the shallow-water patches of American water willows, many of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the Hula StickZ rig. The others were caught while I was employing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve near the boat. The ones that I caught in shallow water were dinks, and the ones that I caught in slightly deeper water were heftier specimens.

I did not catch any fish around the reservoir’s largest main-lake points. And I noticed that it was almost completely devoid of submerged aquatic vegetation.

However, along another 300-yard stretch of a shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm, I caught 11 largemouth bass. Two were caught on the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ rig, and nine were caught on the molting craw Hula StickZ rig. This shoreline is much steeper and deeper than the first one that I fished. Some of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of my rigs, and the others were caught on a slow swim-and-glide presentation.

The last place I fished was a main-lake point at the mouth of a smaller feeder-creek arm. This was one of the few places that had a patch of bushy pondweed that reached the surface. In 20 minutes, I caught five largemouth bass on the coppertreuse Hula StickZ rig. Two of these fish were caught on the initial drop at the edge of the aquatic vegetation. The other three were caught next to the boat as I was quickly reeling my line in after ending a swim-and-glide retrieve. One of these strikes was so vicious, it rolled the Hula StickZ inside out from rear to front and left it strung on the line and completely removed it from the jig. I have never had that happen before with a Z-Man’s lure. The last largemouth bass I caught was special. As I lifted the lure out of the water next to the boat, it came clear out of the water and engulfed the lure in midair.

In all, I caught 36 largemouth bass, eight green sunfish, and one channel catfish. I was afloat from 12:10 p.m. until 4:20 p.m.

July 5

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his July 5 outing.

Here is an edited version his log: 

The National Weather Service reported that it was 71 degrees at 3:53 a.m., 84 degrees 1:53 p.m., and 81 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The sky conditions varied from being misty, foggy, partly cloudy, rain, thunderstorm, mostly cloudy, and overcast. The wind angled out of the southeast, south, east, northwest, and northeast at 3 to 16 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.99 at 12:53 a.m., 29.99 at 5:53 a.m., 30.07 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.05 at 1:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar is not functioning. Another solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 3:55 a.m. to 5:55 a.m., 4:24 p.m. to 6:24 p.m., 9:09 a.m. to 10:09 a.m., and 11:28 p.m. to 12:28 a.m.

My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs, and he helped me search for some summertime and easy-to-fish shallow-water lairs that our 14-year-old grandson and his friend can thoroughly dissect during their piscatorial visit to Kansas throughout the third week in July. They hail from San Antonio, Texas.

We fished from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 82 to 85 degrees. The water level was a few inches above its normal level. The water exhibited five to six feet of secchi-stick clarity in the lower half of this reservoir, and it diminished to about three feet of secchi-stick clarity in this reservoir’s upper reaches.

The shallow-water lairs that we like to focus on during the summer at this reservoir are adorned with significant patches of coontail, which can be interlaced with bushy pondweed and other kinds of submerged aquatic vegetation. But some of this reservoir’s traditional summertime lairs are not adorned with bountiful patches of coontail, and we suspect this is one of the residues from all of the rain and odd weather conditions that waylaid northeastern Kansas during this past spring.

Ultimately, Rick and I found four areas that were graced with patches of coontail that yielded some largemouth bass. And we tangled with two smallmouth bass and 53 largemouth bass. We inadvertently tangled with one bluegill, one warmouth, two channel catfish, and three green sunfish. But as we searched and fished, there were many areas and many minutes that were fruitless.

We employed nine Midwest finesse rigs. And six of those nine were effective.

A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig allured 16 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass.

A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught 12 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass.

Rick taught me the virtues of a Z-Man’s meat dog TRD MinnowZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. It inveigled 12 largemouth bass. In our eyes, it dances anthropomorphically when we employ a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

A Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught nine largemouth bass.

A Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught two largemouth bass. 

A three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig caught two largemouth bass.

Our most fruitful area consisted of about a 350-yard stretch of a shoreline in the upper reaches of the reservoir. It possesses a 15- to 35-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of silt, gravel, and rocks. The water’s edge is embellished with overhanging trees, laydowns, and patches of American water willows. Many of the flat areas are endowed with patches of coontail that are interlaced with bushy pondweed. Many sections of this 350-yard environment were not productive, but we eventually eked out 16 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. The Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig caught five largemouth bass. The meat dog TRD MinnowZ rig caught four largemouth bass. The green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig caught four largemouth bass. The green-pumpkin Finesse TRD rig caught two largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. And the green-pumpkin Slim SwimZ rig caught one largemouth bass. They were caught in three to five feet of water. Some were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Some were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Some were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation. One was caught on a deadstick presentation. One was caught with a swimming presentation.

We caught nine largemouth bass along a shoreline and across a coontail flat inside a small feeder-creek arm that is in the upper portions of this reservoir. The shoreline possesses a 30- to 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is lined with a few minor patches of American water willows, many major laydowns, and numerous overhanging trees. Patches of coontail grace some of the flatter areas of this shoreline. Its coontail flat is covered with three to eight feet of water, and its underwater terrain consists of silt and gravel. We caught one largemouth bass on the green-pumpkin Slim SwimZ rig. One was caught on the meat dog TRD MinnowZ rig. Three were caught on the green-pumpkin Finesse TRD rig. Four were caught on the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig. They were caught in four to six feet of water. Three were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. One was caught while we were strolling and employing a drag-and-slight-shake presentation. The others were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Nine largemouth bass were caught around and across a massive patch of coontail along a flat shoreline inside a small feeder-creek arm that lies in the lower portions of this reservoir. This area possesses a 15- to 25-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig. The meat dog TRD MinnowZ rig caught seven largemouth bass. Three were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. The others were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. They were caught in five to seven feet of water.

Inside a small feeder-creek that lies near the middle portions of this reservoir, we caught seven largemouth bass around patches of coontail that grace its flat shoreline. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. Four docks dissect the patches of coontail. This area has a 20- to 40-degree slope. The green-pumpkin Finesse TRD rig caught five largemouth bass, and the Canada craw TRD TicklerZ rig caught two. One largemouth bass was caught as we were strolling and employing a swimming presentation. Two were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. The others were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. These largemouth bass were caught in five to seven feet of water. 

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Five largemouth bass were caught around a main-lake point and its adjacent shorelines. It is located in the upper half of this reservoir. This area possesses a 30- to 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. The water’s edge is lined with some patches of American water willows, a patch of lily pads, laydowns, and overhanging trees. Two of the largemouth bass were caught near the outside edges of the lily pads in about five feet of water on the green-pumpkin Finesse TRD rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The green-pumpkin Finesse TRD rig caught two largemouth bass around the overhanging trees in three to four feet of water, and one was caught on the initial drop, and the other largemouth bass was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The initial drop of the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig caught one largemouth bass under an overhanging tree in about three feet of water.

Along a main-lake shoreline in the middle portions of the reservoir, we caught three largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. This shoreline has a 35- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is lined with some patches of American water willows. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig along the outside edge of the American water willows in about three feet of water. One of the largemouth bass was caught on the green-pumpkin Finesse TRD rig with a swim-glide-and-shake in about eight feet of water and many feet from the water’s edge. The smallmouth bass was caught on the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ with a drag-and-shake presentation around some rocks and boulders in about seven feet of water and many feet from the water’s edge.

We caught two largemouth bass along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows that adorn a shoreline in the lower portions of this reservoir. This shoreline possesses a 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. These two largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig in about three feet of water.

Two largemouth bass were caught around a main-lake point in the upper reaches of the reservoir. This point has a 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Patches of American water willows adorn the water’s edge. The initial drop of the green-pumpkin Finesse TRD caught one largemouth bass in about two feet of water. The other largemouth bass was caught on the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation in about eight feet of water.

We caught one largemouth bass around a main-lake point on the middle portions of the reservoir. This point has a 25- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is emblazoned with American water willows and laydowns. Patches of coontails adorn some of the flat portions of this point’s terrain. The largemouth bass was caught around a patch of coontail on the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water.

One largemouth bass was caught around a main-lake point in the lower portions of the reservoir. This point has a 25- to 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is emblazoned with a few patches of American water willows and several laydowns. Its flat portions are enhanced with occasional patches of coontail. This largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the green-pumpkin Finesse TRD rig in about five feet of water.

In our eyes, this was a hallelujah outing. We caught an average of 13.75 black bass an hour. During the past 32 months, it has been a struggle to catch more than 10 black bass an hour at all of northeastern Kansas’ flatland reservoirs. The fishing has been so sorry that we have given up our hopes of catching 101 black bass in four hours, which we used to achieve several times a year. But we have not reached that lofty goal since November of 2017.

July 5

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his outing on July 5.

Here is an edited version of his log: 

From about 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., John Thomas of Denton and I fished at a state hill-land reservoir that is virtually ignored by most black bass anglers in the Dallas-Ft.Worth metropolitan areas. But it has been quite bountiful for us in 2019. 

The sky conditions varied from being overcast to being mostly cloudy. Sunshine broke through the cloud cover off and on throughout the day. The morning low temperature was 75 degrees. The afternoon high temperature was 95 degrees with a heat index of 101 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.98 at 8:00 a.m., and it fell to 29.94 by 3:00 p.m. Ten to 18 mph winds blew out of the south and southwest, and we elected to employ a drift sock at a couple of the most wind-blown locales.

The water in this impoundment had become increasingly muddy since June 1, and its water clarity had diminished to less than a foot in many areas. But during this outing, we were delighted to find that the water was no longer displaying the brownish hue that we had become accustomed to in June. On this day, the water exhibited a pea-green tint, and the water clarity was about two feet. Its normal clarity is about four feet. The surface temperature ranged from 81 degrees in the lower portion of the reservoir to 85 degrees in its upper end. The water level is at its normal summer pool level. However, water was still being released through the spillway at a fairly-rapid pace.

This impoundment is graced with a few patches of hydrilla and American pondweed that are flourishing and expanding in some of the shallow-water areas in its lower and middle sections. 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 the shorelines of two main-lake islands, two riprap jetties in the middle section of the reservoir, two additional rocky jetties in the reservoir’s upper end that forms the entrance to a long spillway channel, two rocky shorelines inside the spillway channel that are about 50 yards long, and portions of five rocky main-lake shorelines. These areas are spread out along the lower, middle, and upper regions of this impoundment.

This outing was not as bountiful as the ones we enjoyed in June when we tangled with as many as 48 largemouth bass, spotted bass and smallmouth bass. Instead, we had to work hard during these six hours to locate and allure 24 largemouth bass, three spotted bass and one smallmouth bass. We also caught two green sunfish and one bluegill by accident.

All of these bass were caught along wind-blown areas in water as shallow as six feet and as deep as 12 feet. Almost all of them were suspended in open water and many feet away from submerged rocks, large boulders, and riprap. For some reason or reasons unknown to us, the flourishing patches of American pondweed and hydrilla have been fruitless.

The two main-lake islands surrendered a total of three largemouth bass and one spotted bass. Two largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught from the first one. The second one surrendered one largemouth.

Four largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass were caught from one main-lake shoreline, and one largemouth was caught from the second one. Another largemouth that weighed three-pounds, nine ounces, was caught from the third shoreline. The fourth shoreline was devoid of any black bass. Along the fifth shoreline, we momentarily hooked then lost one largemouth bass. All five of these shorelines are rock-laden with 25- to 35-degree slopes. 

The two riprap jetties in the middle section of the reservoir yielded six largemouth bass and one spotted bass. Four largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught from one side of the first jetty and two largemouth bass were caught from the end of the second jetty.

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The two riprap jetties at the entrance to the spillway channel were taking the brunt of the 18-mph wind, and they yielded five largemouth bass and one spotted bass.

The large boulders that border the two 50-yard stretches of rocky shoreline inside the spillway channel yielded four largemouth bass. We did manage to locate a large aggregation of baitfish and some larger fish, which we were unable to identify, in 21 to 24 feet of water in the middle of the channel. We employed a drag-and-shake retrieve, a hop-and-bounce retrieve, and a slow-dragging retrieve with an 1/8-ounce skirted Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse Micro Jig with a Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD CrawZ as a trailer in this deep-water lair, but we could generate only one tentative strike, which we were unable to hook.

This outing quickly turned into a junk-fishing endeavor as we utilized a variety of Z-Man’s Midwest finesse rigs. Five of them were ineffective and seven of them were productive.

Eight largemouth bass, including the three-pound, nine-ounce specimen, were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl SlimZ SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. This combo was employed with a steady swimming action.

A swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig allured five largemouth bass and two spotted bass.

Five largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Trick ShotZ attached on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Three largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s The Deal TRD TubeZ affixed on a green-pumpkin 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. This rig was used with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig caught two largemouth bass as we were swimming, gliding, and shaking it in open water about 30 feet away from the water’s edge.

A Z-Man’s Junebug TRD MinnowZ mounted on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig retrieved in a swim-glide-and-shake fashion tempted one largemouth bass.

A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Canada craw ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve enticed one smallmouth bass.

July 8

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

Here is an edited version his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 71 degrees at 6:52 p.m. and 86 at 5:52 p.m. The wind angled out of the east and southeast at 3 to 9 mph. The sky ranged from being fair to being partly cloudy to being mostly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.99 at 12:52 a.m., 29.99 at 5:52 a.m., 29.99 at 11:52 p.m., and 29.89 at 6:52 p.m.

My wife, Patty, and I enjoyed a 90-minute outing at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs. 

It was a celebration of sorts.

This was her first outing in 2019. And that is because she has been preoccupied with researching and writing for many months. Several days ago that peculiar endeavor came to an end. It was also my first evening outing in many years. 

In essence, it was not a traditional Midwest finesse affair. Therefore, we didn’t use the fish counter and timer. Instead, it was respite from our daily ways of life, and we merely fished and relished the greenness and the goings on of Mother Nature’s world as we leisurely fished at this reservoir that is encompassed by thousands of oak trees, hickory trees, walnut trees, cedar trees, and array of other types of terrestrial vegetation. A lot of nature’s sounds and music emanated from those trunks, limbs, leaves, and grasses.

We were afloat from about 5:45 p.m. to about 7:15 p.m.

To our surprise, we think we leisurely caught 29 largemouth bass. Since we didn’t use a counter, and our 78- and 79-year-old-minds are not what they used to be, the accuracy of this figure might be a tad wrong. But because our catch rate was surprisingly bountiful, we thought it should be lightly noted on the Finesse News Network.

These 29 largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, and a Z-Man’s meat dog TRW MinnowZ affixed to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s NedlockZ jig.

These largemouth bass were caught along portions of two shorelines, around a point, and across a minor flat. They were abiding around patches of coontail, bushy pondweed, and American pondweed in three to seven feet of water.

We caught them on either the initial drop or a swim-glide-shake presentation.

As an endnote, I need to say that I ventured to a northeastern Kansas’ community reservoir on July 9.

And to my chagrin, this reservoir, which lies about 15 miles from where Patty and I fished on July 8, is being afflicted with a horrendous algae bloom.

At many locales, the bloom was so intense that the water exhibited two to three inches of secchi stick clarity. 

I fished for about 90 minutes, and it was a tussle to catch three largemouth bass and three channel catfish.

By the way, two of the channel catfish were caught on back-to-back casts, as were two of the largemouth bass.

Many summers ago, we learned about the dastardly effects that these massive and intense algae blooms have our ability catch largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. Limnologists tell us that an algae bloom consumes a lot of a reservoir’s oxygen, which causes the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass to become quite lethargic. 

Therefore, during these algae blooms and when the black bass are in that lethargic state, they become difficult for me and my Midwest finesse colleagues in northeastern Kansas to locate and catch. 

July 10

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his July 10 outing.

Here is an edited version his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 71 degrees at 8:52 a.m. and 87 degrees at 2:52 p.m. At 8:52 a.m., the wind roared at 35 to 52 mph from the northwest, and at 9:52 a.m. the wind howled at 15 to 29 mph from the northeast. Those winds were accompanied by a thunderstorm and rain. At other times, the wind was calm, and when it stirred, it angled out of the east, northwest, northeast, southeast, west, and north at 3 to 16 mph. Before and after the thunderstorm, the conditions of the sky varied from being fair to being mostly cloudy to being partly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.96 at 12:52 a.m., 30.00 at 5:52 a.m., 30.02 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.05 at 3:52 p.m. 

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 5:59 a.m. to 7:59 a.m., 6:24 p.m. to 8:24 p.m., and 11:47 a.m. to 1:47 p.m.

My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I were afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs from 11:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

The water level at this reservoir is a few inches above its normal level. The surface temperature ranged from 85 to 87 degrees. Its water clarity is the best that we have seen during the past several weeks at the various northeastern Kansas’ reservoirs that we have fished. Many of our reservoirs are still recovering from the floods and mud that waylaid them this past spring. What’s more, algae blooms are erupting. This reservoir exhibited four to seven feet of secchi-stick visibility.

Several of our U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs are closed because of high-water conditions from this spring’s deluges. We have heard that the angling pressure has been quite intense at this reservoir because of these closures. But this morning’s wind and thunderstorm kept many of those anglers at bay.

Our primary focus was to probe offshore patches of coontail that grace some of the flat terrains around this reservoir. This summer these patches are in eight to 13 feet of water, which is unusually deep. The shallower sections of these flats are adorned with patches of bushy pondweed and a few outcroppings of brittle naiad. Normally these shallower areas are emblazoned with patches of coontail.

Two of these flats are massive, equaling the size of several football fields. The other four that we fished are as small as two tennis courts and as large as four tennis courts.

One of the offshore flats was fruitless. And we also found the fishing to be fruitless around two main-lake points, across an offshore rock-laden hump, and along a 50-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline.

At one of the massive flats, we caught 19 largemouth bass. Five of them were caught in five to six feet of water around patches of bushy pondweed. Fourteen of them were caught around patches of coontail in eight to 10 feet of water.

At the second massive flat, we caught 15 largemouth bass around patches of coontail in eight to 11 feet of water. The patches of shallow-water bushy pondweed that adorn many square yards of this flat were fruitless.

At a flat that is the size of about four tennis courts, we caught four largemouth bass around patches of coontail in seven to 13 feet of water. Some of the shallower patches of coontail were intertwined with patches of bushy pondweed, and we suspect that two of these four largemouth bass were abiding around those patches.

At a flat that is the size of about 2 1/2 tennis courts, we caught three largemouth bass around patches of coontail in eight to 10 feet of water.

We caught two largemouth bass from a flat that is the size of about two tennis courts. These largemouth bass were caught around patches of coontail in nine to 13 feet of water.

In total, we caught 43 largemouth bass, and we inadvertently caught two green sunfish, one bluegill and one black crappie. Thirty six of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to either a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig or a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Four largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s meat dog TRD MinnowZ affixed to a either a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig or a blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD BugZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

One largemouth bass was caught on a deadstick presentation. Several were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. The others were caught on either a swimming presentation or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

July 11

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his outing on July 11.

Here is an edited version of his log:

From 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., I conducted a solo excursion at a challenging U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

The last time I fished at this impoundment was on July 1, and I caught a mix of 11 largemouth bass and spotted bass during that frustrating five-hour foray.

The water level has dropped from 2.10 feet above its normal summer pool level on July 1 to 0.26 feet above its summer pool on July 11. The water exhibited 2 1/2 feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 85 degrees.

 It was partly cloudy and sunny when I launched the boat at 8:15 a.m. The morning low temperature was 79 degrees. The barometric pressure was 29.99. A steady 12- to 15-mph wind was angling out of the northeast. As I was putting the boat on the trailer at 12:17 p.m., the afternoon temperature was 97 degrees. The barometric pressure was 29.93. The wind was still blowing out of the northeast at 15 mph.

I had planned on fishing for six hours in the northern end of this impoundment, which is endowed with acres and acres of standing timber, submerged stumps, and brush piles inside three major feeder-creek arms. However, a couple of late-afternoon obligations popped up unexpectedly, and I had to settle for a four-hour outing in the lower end of the reservoir instead.

The black bass fishing at this reservoir has not changed much since July 1. The bite is still tough, and it was a tedious chore for me to inveigle eight largemouth bass and two spotted bass during these four hours. I also inadvertently caught two freshwater drum.

On July 1, I wasted a considerable amount of time searching for largemouth bass and spotted bass in deep-water lairs. During this outing, I concentrated on shallow-water locations that are situated in 15 feet of water or less.

Two largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught in six to ten feet of water along a riprap jetty on the east side of the reservoir. The two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s shiner-hue Finesse ShadZ that was rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. The spotted bass was caught on a shortened Z-Man’s watermelon-red-flake Hula StickZ matched up with a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Both of these rigs were employed with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

A main-lake shoreline just north of the riprap jetty yielded one largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of clay, gravel, fist-size rocks, and some boulders. This largemouth bass was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s bad shad Slim SwimZ that was rigged on a black 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. It was presented with a steady swimming retrieve about a foot below the surface of the water.

I caught four largemouth bass and one spotted bass along the dam. The dam forms the southern boundary of this reservoir and is covered with riprap. These five black bass were suspended about five feet deep in 12 to 15 feet of water and about 30 to 40 feet from the water’s edge.

Two of the largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ attached to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. The other two largemouth bass were caught on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red-flake Finesse WormZ mounted on a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Both of these lures were utilized with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

One spotted bass was caught on a four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red-flake Finesse WormZ that was wacky rigged on a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and used with a slow twitch-and-pause presentation.

The last largemouth bass was caught in four feet of water along a shallow rock ledge that runs parallel to a flat and rocky main-lake shoreline that is located about a mile or so northwest of the dam. It was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the Z-Man’s watermelon-red-flake Finesse WormZ rig.

I failed to elicit any strikes from five rocky main-lake points and three other main-lake shorelines that are flat and covered with some partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation, laydowns, and submerged stumps.

In sum, the black bass fishing at this Corps' reservoir continues to baffle me. None of them were associated with the remaining patches of flooded terrestrial vegetation, laydowns, and stumps around the main-lake shorelines.

The few black bass I did catch were scattered in four to 15 feet of water and were abiding near riprap, rocks, and boulders.

I should mention that this was not the worst outing that I have experienced this summer. On July 9, I fished at another north-central Texas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir, and the black bass fishing was so vexing that I caught only four largemouth bass in five hours.

July 11

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his July 11 outing at a state reservoir in northeastern Kansas. 

Here is an edited version of his log:

I had a goal of fishing as much of this reservoir as I could, with an emphasis on areas I have not fished this year.

I began by fishing the six riprap jetties that adorn a 250-yard stretch of shoreline along the west side of the reservoir. And I caught 12 largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s Meat Dog TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. They were around the tips of the jetties, as I was employing a long and slow swim-and-glide presentation into deep water.

Three largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the MinnowZ rig around the main-lake point at the mouth of a small feeder creek. They were abiding around patches of bushy pondweed and American pondweed and adjacent to the submerged creek channel.

The water at these jetties and the main-lake point exhibited two to three feet of visibility.

Along the west shoreline that is adjacent to the big main-lake point that separates the reservoir’s two primary feeder-creek arms, the visibility along this shore was about four inches; the water clarity was adversely affected by a north wind and waves. I caught one largemouth bass on the TRD MinnowZ rig, and it was notable in that it was so aggressive that it struck and missed the TRD MinnowZ four times before finally getting solidly hooked on its fifth strike. After making several dozen more casts without a strike, I switched to a Z-Man’s molting craw TRD TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. This rig and a swim-glide-and-shake presentation inveigled one largemouth bass along the shoreline and three around the main-lake point. These largemouth bass were abiding in about two feet of water around patches of aquatic vegetation.

The east shoreline that is adjacent to the big main-lake point had the same visibility problem as the west shoreline. Along this shoreline, I caught one largemouth bass on a four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon-red Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse Shroom jig with a swim-and-glide presentation in about seven feet of water. It was abiding around patches of American pondweed and bushy pondweed.

Around a main-lake point and along 100 yards of the adjacent shorelines on both sides of the main-lake point, I caught nine largemouth bass. They were abiding in four to eight feet of water around patches of American pondweed and bushy pondweed on the point and American water willows along the shorelines. Four of them were caught on the TicklerZ rig, and five were caught on a three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce round Kalin's jig with a slow straight-swim retrieve. The water's clarity was affected by a significant amount of silt, and it exhibited one to two feet of clarity.

Around a secondary point adorned with a tree trunk, a large overhanging tree, and patches of American water willows, American pondweed, and bushy pondweed, I caught four largemouth bass on the Slim SwimZ rig. These bass were relating to the vegetation on the point in two to four feet of water. I failed to hook three strikes with the Slim SwimZ.

Around another main-lake point, I caught four largemouth bass on the TRD TicklerZ rig. One was caught near an isolated patch of American water willows. The other three were caught near patches of bushy pondweed. All four were caught in two feet of water on a swim-and-glide retrieve. Two of them were around the inside edge of the vegetation.

The most interesting catches of the day came along a 200-yard section of a main-lake shoreline. This section is adorned with four rock jetties, a dock, and a boat ramp. The entire shoreline has healthy patches of American water willows and thick patches of bushy pondweed mixed with American pondweed. I caught eight largemouth bass in this area. The visibility was at least four feet, so I picked up the rod with the Meat Dog TRD MinnowZ rig. On the first cast to the tip of the first jetty, I let the lure drop to the bottom and let it sit while I took a drink of water. After four or five seconds, a fish picked up the rig and ran with it, and it almost pulled the rod out of my hand when it hit the end of the slackline. Since I was trying to drink, I was not paying any attention and failed to hook the fish. I made a cast back to the same spot with a deadstick presentation. After several seconds, I was rewarded with another aggressive take. This time, I set the hook and managed to boat this largemouth bass. A third cast to the same spot produced an exact repeat with an aggressive take on a deadstick presentation. I do not recall ever having a deadstick strike as aggressive as these were. In my experiences, a largemouth bass strike on a deadstick presentation is usually very soft, exhibiting a touch of weight on the line when you pick up the slack. I was fascinated by these results, and I was able to repeat them around the other three jetties by catching six largemouth bass.

At that point, I had boated 46 largemouth bass. I decided to keep fishing until I caught largemouth bass number 50. Along the riprap of the dam, I caught three largemouth bass on the TRD MinnowZ rig. My boat floated in seven to 12 feet of water, and the largemouth bass were caught near the water’s edge. One was caught on a swim-and-glide presentation. One was caught on a deadstick presentation. One was caught on the initial drop. 

I looked at my watch and noted that I had been fishing for five hours and 15 minutes. I figured that it would only be a few minutes more before I caught largemouth bass number 50.

Alas, it was not to be. Forty-five minutes later, I had not been able to catch the 50th bass. It was like they had evacuated the area. But there seemed to be an invasion of green sunfish, which I was catching on almost every cast. 

In all, I was afloat from 12:10 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. I caught 49 largemouth bass. I also inadvertently caught two bluegill, two crappie, and at least two dozen green sunfish, but I lost count of them during the last 20 minutes of the outing. This outing verified the effectiveness of the TRD TickerZ rig and the meat-dog hue.

July 14

Tom Bett of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his family’s outings from June 22 to July 14 on the Winnebago Pool System.

Here is an edited version of his report:

I am not sure how this one might play with your hardcore Finesse News Network group, but I hesitate to not mention it for the benefit of the future of our sport.

I have not been updating the Finesse News Network lately because I have been largely delegated to kid fishing. My nephews, nieces, cousins and their kids and grandkids have been petitioning me to take them fishing since their varied arrivals in my domicile area beginning on June 21.

The North Carolina crew arrived first. Now it is the crew from Salina, Kansas.

So what does “Uncle Tom” do when deluged with such requests? He relies on “Uncle Ned” period.

On the Winnebago Pool System, we have just begun to recognize something like summer. The water levels are approaching summer target stage. There is 7,000 cubic feet per second of water flowing through the system. Blue-green algae blooms have decreased the visibility to one to five feet. The surface temperature ranges from 75 to 80 degrees.

Faced with anglers, who range in age from six to 17 years old and have varying attention spans, how can I, who is their guide, keep them happy? Thankfully, Midwest Finesse has the answer.

For the kids that have not yet developed the motor skills to cast and retrieve a jig, we use a slip bobber with a small jig (1/16 or 1/8 oz.) and a wacky- rigged finesse worm under it. 

They cast it out and reel, pause, wiggle, reel, pause, wiggle, and reel until they get a bite or they make their next cast, which is not very long in some cases.

For the more accomplished kids, it is Ned Rig time.

Mushroom-style heads in 1/15- or 1/10-ounce sizes fit the bill for anything from dock/willow tree skipping to dragging offshore rock piles and boulder flats in 7 to 15 feet of water. They pull, settle, jiggle, and repeat it.

And yes, Z-Man and Bass Pro Shops, we lose a lot of tackle. Some of it is way up in the trees, and some of it is way down in the rocks and zebra mussels. 

Our results tend to vary by the day, and the challenges that the weather presents.

They often catch five black bass an hour. But because of their attention spans being what they are, we often just take off and ride through the waves for a while -- especially if it is hot and sunny. Thus, I seem to be putting more hours on the main engine versus the trolling motor these days.

Nonetheless, all of them have captured and released a good number of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rock bass, and freshwater drum – as well as some bluegill, northern pike, walleye, and even some bowfin.

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Most of the kids do not care what it is on the hook for their bait, but for a while, they do like to pick their own colors. Our best hues seem to shift between dark ones like black and Yoga Pants, and then they trend through the green-pumpkin and watermelon-red flakes, and then to lighter hues like The Deal or Smelt.

At first blush, it seems the Hula StickZ is a favorite, and perhaps that is because it is a bit more buoyant and snag-resistant than the Finesse TRD or the Finesse WormZ. But it might be the Hula StickZ’s cute tentacles?.

Results by species did seem to vary. The smallmouth bass, freshwater drum, and walleye seemed to like the Finesse WormZ rigs. The largemouth and other backwater species seem to prefer the Hula StickZ, or the Finesse TRD or the cut-down ZinkerZ. But more data is needed for a statistically solid conclusion.

The bottom line is that Ned rigs catch a lot of fish. Kids can use them, and everyone is happy at the end of the day.

July 15

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

Lou Clewell of Roslyn, Pennsylvania, is visiting Denton for a couple of weeks and wanted to go fishing. In order to give him the best opportunity to catch some largemouth and spotted bass, I opted to avoid the two problematic north-central Texas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs, and I took him to a more fruitful state reservoir.

It was sunny, hot, and humid. Area thermometers registered the morning low temperature at 74 degrees, and the afternoon high temperature was 98 degrees. The sky was partly cloudy. The barometric pressure measured 29.91 at 8:00 a.m. and 29.83 at 2:00 p.m. A light breeze was blowing out of the northwest when we first arrived at the boat ramp, but it quickly waned. It was calm for the remainder of the day. It has been our experience that the lack of wind can be detrimental to our black bass fishing, but it didn’t seem to matter this time.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur between 3:42 a.m. and 5:42 a.m., 9:55

Depending on where we were fishing, the water clarity varied from 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 feet. The surface temperature ranged from 85 degrees to 91 degrees. The water level is at its normal summer pool level, and for the first time in weeks, we did not see any water being released through the spillway. And with the lack of any significant wind, the surface of the water was glass smooth.

Our first stop was at a rocky shoreline on the southeast end of the reservoir. Its underwater terrain consists of clay, gravel, and large rocks. It possesses a 30-degree slope. There are large patches of American pondweed that festoon its shallow-water areas. We observed many small pods of baitfish in this area, but we were unable to garner any strikes.

Our second stop was an island about 200 yards north of the rocky shoreline. The island’s shoreline is flat. Its submerged terrain is comprised of sand, gravel, and boulders. There are a few remaining tree trunks and some patches of flooded bushes that are surrounded by three to 12 feet of water. We fished all four sides of this island, and we caught one largemouth bass in four feet of water from the north side of the island. It was relating to the outside edge of a flooded bush and was beguiled by a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Scented LeechZ that was rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-

Our third stop was a rocky shoreline and its two adjoining rock jetties that lie on the east side of the reservoir. This shoreline possesses a 40- to 50-degree slope. This area has been one of our most productive areas, but it surrendered only one hefty freshwater drum this time. It was caught on the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Scented LeechZ combo and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The two rock jetties were also devoid of any largemouth, spotted, and smallmouth bass.

Our fourth stop was a main-lake point and its adjacent shoreline. Its underwater terrain consists of sand, rock, and a few scattered boulders. The water’s edge is bordered with a long decorative- stone retaining wall. We were unable to generate any strikes from this shoreline and point.

Our fifth stop was another main-lake shoreline on the east side of the reservoir. It is flat and covered with sand, rocks, boulders, and a few partially-flooded bushes in three to five feet of water. We failed to garner any strikes from the shallow-water areas.

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As we were preparing to leave this spot, we saw a few largemouth bass pursuing small threadfin shad on the surface in open-water several hundred feet from this shoreline. We moved out to that area, and we caught four largemouth bass and one white bass. The boat was floating in 28 to 33 feet of water. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Trick ShotZ matched to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ attached to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig and a steady swimming retrieve. The white bass was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-goby Scented LeechZ rig.

Our sixth stop was located on the northeast end of the reservoir where two rock jetties form the entrance to a spillway channel.

There were several schools of largemouth bass foraging on small threadfin shad on the surface in 27 to 35 feet of water and about 75 to 150 feet from the end of the two jetties. We caught 25 of them and a large white crappie. Thirteen of them were bewitched by a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s white lightning Finesse TRD threaded onto a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. The other twelve were caught on a four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon Finesse WormZ the was wacky rigged on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. This combo was allowed to sink about five seconds on its initial drop then slowly twitched and paused back to the boat. Several of the strikes on this rig occurred on the initial drop.

Our seventh and final stop of the outing was at an offshore main-lake hump that is located in the midsection of the reservoir and several hundred yards from the nearest main-lake shoreline. The top of the hump is covered with rocks and boulders. It is covered with five to 10 feet of water and surrounded by 30-plus feet of water.

We fished this hump for about 20 minutes, and we caught three largemouth bass from the top of the hump. They were suspended about three feet below the surface in eight to ten feet of water. All three of them were coaxed into striking the 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Trick ShotZ and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

In sum, we caught a total of 33 largemouth bass, one freshwater drum, one white bass, and one large crappie in five hours. Four largemouth bass were caught in 10 feet of water or less around a main-lake island and a main-lake hump. The other twenty-nine were caught on or near the surface in open-water areas where they were chasing and foraging on shad in water that was as shallow as 28 feet and as deep as 35 feet.

Our two most effective Midwest finesse offerings were a Z-Man’s white lightning Finesse TRD on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig and a four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon Finesse WormZ wacky rigged on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The white lightning Finesse TRD rig was used with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. A slow twitch-and-pause presentation was the most effective presentation with the four-inch wacky-rigged Finesse WormZ.

July 18

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about a series of outings that he had with James Cox and Issay Shields.

Here is an edited version his log:

For years on end, we have contended that the most effective and efficient way for novice anglers to catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass is to employ Midwest finesse tactics.

This phenomenon occurred again on July 15, 16, 17, and 18. It revolved around the arrival of James Cox and Issay Shields to Lawrence, Kansas.

They hail from San Antonio, Texas. James is our 14-year-old grandson. Issay is James’ friend, and he is 14 years old.

In Julys of the past, they attended the Sea Camp at Texas A&M University at Galveston, Texas, where they learned about and pursued a variety of saltwater species.

This July, however, they opted to travel to northeastern Kansas to learn about and pursue the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass that abide in the flatland reservoirs that stipple the landscapes of this part of the world.

According to Issay and several members of his family, he is often afflicted with a severe case of fishing fever. And to temporally alleviate it, he has fished at various saltwater venues and conducted some occasional freshwater forays. But none of these endeavors involved wielding Midwest finesse techniques.

In addition to his adventures at the Sea Camp, James has fished for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in northeastern Kansas several times each year since he was four years old. He is not vexed with the intense fishing fever that haunts Issay. But every cast that James has ever made in northeastern Kansas has been executed with a Midwest finesse rig. Those outings were short ones -- usually 75- to 100-minute endeavors.

Upon their arrival in Lawrence, both of these anglers readily admitted that they were novices. Thus, they wanted to spend four days learning about the manifold virtues of Midwest finesse fishing for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

Besides fishing, they spent a lot of time talking and learning about rods, reels, lines, leaders, jigs, hooks, sonar devices, electric trolling motors, outboard motors, drift socks, boats, trailers, casts, retrieves, and soft-plastic finesse baits.

For instance, they experimented with a variety of spinning rods.

Before Issay’s piscatorial endeavors in northeastern Kansas, he used a hefty and long saltwater spinning rod, and the thought of using a small Midwest finesse rod never crossed his mind. And initially, he was a touch hesitant about using one.

The longest spinning rod that they worked with is a six-foot, seven-inch rod with a medium-light power and a fast action, which some folks describe as being a state-of-the-art Midwest finesse rod. The shortest one is an old-fashioned one that is five feet long with a light action. Ultimately they concluded that their two favorite rods are old-fashioned ones: one is five feet, nine inches long with a medium action; the other one is six feet long with a medium action. At times, James expressed a hankering for the lightness of the five-foot rod, and it is one that he has been using for about a decade during his family’s yearly visits to Lawrence.

By the time that they made their final casts on July 18, they were able to employ four casting techniques with their spinning rods. They had become relatively proficient at employing the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, the drag-and-shake-retrieve, and the drag-and-deadstick retrieve.

They know how to use a Seaguar knot to affix either a monofilament or a fluorocarbon leader to the braided line. They can tie either a palomar knot or an improved clinch knot to affix a jig to the leader. They can operate a hand-control-bow-mounted electric trolling motor and simultaneously fish.

They fished at two of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs and two of its community reservoirs. Angler predation is quite intense at these reservoirs.

James and Issay were afloat during the middle of the day, and during those midday hours, many northeastern Kansas’ anglers are not afloat. And while James and Issay fished, they did not cross paths with another black bass angler.

On July 17, area thermometers soared to 100 degrees. The high temperature was 97 degrees on July 18, 94 degrees on July 16, and 89 degrees on July 15.

The wind howled from the south and southwest on July 18, and James and Issay learned how to employ a drift sock. The wind was mild-mannered on July 15, 16, and 17.

The surface temperatures ranged from 82 degrees on July 15 to 87 degrees July 16, 17, and 18.

The water levels at these reservoirs were slightly above their normal levels.

The water at one of the community reservoirs was adversely afflicted by a significant algae bloom, and in its upper reaches, the visibility was about eight inches, and in the vicinity of the dam, the visibility was about 36 inches. At the other community reservoir and the two state reservoirs, the water exhibited 3 1/2 to six feet of visibility.

During these four outings, they fished for slightly more than 15 hours. They tangled with 131 largemouth bass and four smallmouth bass. They inadvertently caught 15 green sunfish, five freshwater drum, three bluegill, two warmouth, and one channel catfish. They caught an average of nine black bass an hour, which is the best per-hour catch rate that Issay had ever experienced for any freshwater or saltwater fish.

They caught the 161 fish on the following Midwest finesse rigs: Z-Man’s Canada crawZ TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, Z-Man’s Junebug TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, Z-Man’s Meat Dog TRD MinnowZ affixed to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s NedlockZ jig, Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a blue 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig, Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company’s Junebug Zero affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, and a slightly shortened four-inch Strike King’s Junebug Super Finesse Worm affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

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At one of the state reservoirs, they caught 44 largemouth bass, and all but one was caught around offshore patches of coontail and bushy pondweed in six to 11 feet of water. At the other reservoirs, they caught the bulk of the black bass along shorelines and around main-lake points, which were adorned with patches of American water willows, American pondweed, overhanging trees, and laydowns. Some of the flatter and shallower areas along several of these shorelines and points were embellished with bushy pondweed and coontail, which yielded several largemouth bass.

The swim-glide-and-shake presentation inveigled the majority of the black bass. But some were caught on the initial drop. Others were caught with a deadstick presentation. A few were caught on a drag-and-subtle-shake retrieve. Several were caught on a rather rapid swimming retrieve.

July 18

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his outing on July 18.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Lew Clewell of Roslyn, Pennsylvania, and I spent six hours pursuing smallmouth bass at a Civilian Conservation Corps’ hill-land reservoir in south-central Oklahoma.

Typically, my companions and I ply this reservoir from mid-March to the end of May, and then we return at the end of summer and fish it from mid-September into the first week of December. I have never fished this impoundment during the dog days of summer.

There was an abundance of bright sunshine on July 18. The afternoon high temperature was 100 degrees, and the morning low temperature was 81 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.94 at 9:00 a.m. and 29.85 at 3:00 p.m. An irksome wind blew out of the south at 15 to 20 mph.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the most lucrative fishing periods would occur from 12:02 a.m. to 4:02 a.m., 6:14 a.m. to 8:14 a.m., and 12:26 p.m. to 2:26 p.m. Lou and I fished from about 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and it quickly became a bewildering and frustrating endeavor.

The water was clear with four to six feet of visibility. The water level appeared to be two feet high. The water temperature was 86 degrees.

We focused our attentions on four main-lake humps, seven main-lake points, four main-lake shorelines, a submerged roadbed inside a minor feeder-creek arm, and two bluff shorelines inside a larger feeder-creek arm.

One of the four main-lake humps lies in the mid-section of the reservoir’s west tributary arm. Its underwater terrain is comprised of gravel, sand, rocks, boulders, and a few submerged stumps. It is surrounded by water as deep as 23 feet. The top of the hump was covered with about two feet of water.

During the spring and fall months, this hump is one of our most fruitful locales, but it relinquished only one smallmouth bass this time. This smallmouth bass was caught from the east side of the hump in nine feet of water. It was attracted to a swimming retrieve with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s electric chicken Slim SwimZ on a red 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s finesse ShroomZ jig.

We failed to locate any smallmouth bass, spotted bass, or largemouth bass at the other three main-lake humps.

After we dissected the four main-lake humps, which are situated in the reservoir’s west tributary arm, we spent the next couple of hours searching for smallmouth bass along seven rocky main-lake points, four boulder-laden main-lake shorelines, and a submerged roadbed inside a minor feeder-creek arm.

Two of the seven main-lake points are located in the upper end of the west tributary arm. The other five are situated in the middle section and lower end of the east tributary arm. None of them yielded a smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, spotted bass, or a strike.

Two of the four rocky main-lake shorelines are located in the upper end of the west tributary arm, and two are in the midsection of the east tributary arm. But we did not find any bass inhabiting any of them.

Inside a feeder-creek arm in the east tributary arm, we probed the sides and top of a submerged roadbed that is situated in the midsection of the creek arm. The edges of the roadbed are lined with large submerged boulders and rocks and buffeted with at least 20 feet of water. Three sections of the roadbed that we fished are covered with four to 12 feet of water. This roadbed was also devoid of black bass.

We finished the outing probing the shorelines along several sections of two long bluffs. One of the bluffs is on the north side of the creek arm and the other one forms the south side.

The south-side bluff shoreline was fruitless.

The northern bluff relinquished 17 smallmouth bass. This bluff is located at the mouth of the creek arm. It is adorned with numerous submerged boulders, large rocks, patches of cattails, and some submerged stumps and tree trunks. It is buffeted with water that varies in depth from 28 to 44 feet.

All of these 17 smallmouths were suspended about five to eight feet below the surface of the water and within 20 feet of the water’s edge.

We utilized a variety of Z-Man’s Midwest finesse offerings, but only three were effective during this difficult outing. Eleven were caught on a four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon Finesse WormZ that was wacky rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Six were caught on a four-inch Z-Man’s EZ Money Finesse WormZ that was wacky rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s ShroomZ jig. One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's electric chicken Slim SwimZ rigged on a red 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The two wacky-rigged Finesse WormZ rigs were employed with a twitch-and-pause presentation. The Slim SwimZ combo was employed with a slow swimming retrieve.

In short, we had a tough time locating and catching 18 smallmouth bass in six hours. We probed 18 spots and caught smallmouth bass at only two of them.

The wacky-rigged four-inch Z-Man’s Finesse WormZs that were slowly twitched and paused were the most effective rigs.

July 22

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his outing on July 22.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Lou Clewell of Roslyn, Pennsylvania, and I ventured to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir that has just opened again since it was flooded and closed on May 13. This reservoir is located north of Dallas.

The last time I fished at this impoundment was on April 23. Norman Brown of Lewisville had joined me for a 6 1/2-hour outing, and we struggled to catch nine smallmouth bass, six largemouth bass, and two spotted bass.

On July 22, the sky fluctuated from being mostly cloudy to overcast, and it rained on us three times. The wind quartered out of the south, west, and northwest at 10 to 15 mph. The high temperature reached 96 degrees. The morning low temperature was 76 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.94 at 8:00 a.m. and 29.85 at 2:00 p.m.

The In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 12:02 a.m. to 2:02 a.m., 6:14 a.m. to 8:14 a.m., and 12:26 p.m. to 2:26 p.m. Lou and I were afloat from 8:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

The Corps has been releasing water from this reservoir continuously during the past 30 days, and though the water level has dropped 14 feet during that time, it was still 2.57 feet above normal on July 22. The water clarity varied from 18 to 24 inches of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 86 degrees on the west side of the reservoir to 87 degrees on its eastern side.

During the six hours that we were afloat, we fished for black bass for about 3 1/2 hours and we pursued surface-foraging white bass for another 1 1/2 hours. We spent another hour waiting out two rain showers underneath a covered boat dock inside a marina.

Lou and I focused our efforts along a series of 17 main-lake points and three flat and rock-laden main-lake shorelines in the northwest region of the impoundment, a 150-yard stretch of riprap along the dam that forms the reservoir’s eastern boundary, and a 25-yard section of a clay and gravel shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm that is located in the southeast portion of the impoundment. There were 1 1/2- to two-inch threadfin shad at all of these locales.

We caught 21 largemouth bass and three spotted bass that were scattered in four to 12 feet of water along the 17 main-lake points. None of these points relinquished more than three black bass and most of them yielded only one or two. A couple of them were fruitless.

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We also caught 129 white bass, three large bluegills, one freshwater drum, and a channel catfish from these main-lake points.

The three flat and rocky main-lake shorelines were fruitless.

Along the 150-yard stretch of riprap along the dam, we caught two smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass. They were scattered and abiding in six to 12 feet of water.

While we were waiting out one of the rain showers inside a marina, we observed some white bass and largemouth bass foraging on shad along a 25-yard section of a nearby sand-and-gravel shoreline. When the rain stopped, we moved over to this shoreline and quickly caught one largemouth bass and three white bass in three to five feet of water before their surface-feeding activity came to a stop a couple of minutes later.

We used eleven Z-Man Fishing Products’ Midwest finesse baits rigged on either 1/15- or 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jigs. We caught 28 black bass, 134 white bass, one freshwater drum, three bluegill, and one channel catfish on two of them: a 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and a 2 1/2-inch electric chicken Slim SwimZ matched up with a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Both rigs were implemented with a steady and moderate-paced swimming retrieve about a foot underneath the surface of the water.

July 23

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

From 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., I conducted a solo outing at the same U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas that I fished with Lou Clewell on July 22. The black bass fishing at this Corps’ reservoir has been awful since mid-November of 2017, but now it appears to be on the mend.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the best fishing would occur from 4:04 a.m. to 6:04 a.m., 10:14 a.m. to 12:14 p.m., and 4:24 p.m. to 6:24 p.m.

It was clear and sunny on July 23, which is a stark contrast compared to the overcast and stormy weather Lou and I experienced on July 22. Area thermometers recorded the morning low temperature on July 23 at 70 degrees and the afternoon high temperature reached 89 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.10 at 7:00 a.m. and it dropped slightly to 30.09 by 11:00 a.m. The wind angled out of the northwest at 10 to 18 mph.

The water exhibited between 1 1/2 to two feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 86 degrees. The water level was 2.54 feet high.

I opted to investigate three main-lake points and a rocky shoreline on the north side of the impoundment. On the south end of the reservoir, I fished an offshore hump, an island, two main-lake points, and the adjoining shoreline between these two points. I also fished about 85 percent of the submerged riprap that covers the dam on the reservoir’s east end.

There were pods of various sizes of two-inch threadfin shad present at all of these locales.

The first three main-lake points on the north side of the reservoir were protected from the northwest wind. The underwater terrain consisted of red clay, gravel, rocks, and boulders.

These three points surrendered 91 white bass during the first 60 minutes of my July 22 outing with Lou. But to my dismay, all three of them were fruitless this time.

I moved to the southwest end of the impoundment and probed the sides and top of an offshore main-lake hump. The top of this hump is covered with five feet of water and its sides drop off into 20-plus feet of water. The top and sides of this hump are littered with rocks, wood debris, and a few scattered boulders. I fished around the entire perimeter of this hump but I was unable to locate any largemouth bass, spotted bass, or smallmouth bass.

I moved eastward along the south shoreline and stopped at two wind-blown main-lake points and a 50-yard section of shoreline that separates these two points. The underwater terrain at this spot consists of red clay, gravel, and fist-size rocks. There are a few scattered patches of flooded buck brush and stickups that grace the shallow-water areas near the water’s edge. The shoreline has a slope of about 30 degrees.

I caught one largemouth bass in five feet of water from the end of the first main-lake point. It was enticed into striking a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ that was attached to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. This rig was employed with a steady swimming retrieve.

I was unable to generate any strikes from the adjacent 50-yard stretch of shoreline, and the other main-lake point was also unproductive.

From these two points and shoreline, I moved eastward to a nearby island. The underwater terrain around this island is composed of mostly sand and gravel. There are many flooded bushes and trees along its south and east sides.

This island wasn’t very productive either. It surrendered one largemouth bass that was caught from a shady area near a flooded bush and tree in less than five feet of water. It engulfed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s electric chicken Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig as it was slowly retrieved around the edges of the flooded bush and tree.

Next, I moved to the northeast end of the reservoir and dissected a short section of rocky shoreline near the dam. This shoreline is flat and is graced with flooded bushes that are intertwined with some submerged rocks and boulders. Its underwater terrain is comprised of red clay and gravel.

Along this shoreline, I caught one largemouth bass from the side of a flooded bush in four feet of water. It was coaxed into striking a Z-Man’s black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig that was dressed with a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man’s The Deal TRD TubeZ. This combo was utilized with a slow swim-glide-and shake presentation.

From that shoreline, I worked my way down the dam from its north end to its southern end, and I caught 22 largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass.

The sides of a large concrete water outlet tower, which is positioned about a third of the way down from the north end of the dam, relinquished sixteen largemouth bass. They were suspended between three and eight feet below the surface in water that ranged from 24 to 37 feet in depth.

The other six largemouth bass and the three smallmouth bass were scattered, and they were caught in six to 14 feet of water around the submerged riprap that covers the dam.

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Twelve of the 22 largemouth bass and two of the three smallmouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch electric chicken Slim SwimZ rig. The other 10 largemouth bass and the other smallmouth were caught on the 2 3/4-inch The Deal TRD TubeZ rig.

A few of them were caught on the initial drop of the electric chicken Slim SwimZ and The Deal TRD TubeZ rigs. But the majority of them were beguiled by either a slow swimming retrieve with the electric chicken Slim SwimZ or a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with The Deal TRD TubeZ.

Overall, the largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass have been biting reasonably well at this Corps’ reservoir. I was able to catch a total of 28 black bass, which consisted of 25 largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass, in 3 1/2 hours. I also caught 10 white bass, six bluegills, and a channel catfish.

The bulk of these black bass were smaller specimens. By my best estimation, the five biggest ones measured between 14 and 16 inches. Nonetheless, they were fun to catch and all of them kept me entertained with their antics.

There were also a few small schools of white bass that would occasionally feed on the surface for a few brief seconds before they would disappear. I did not waste my time attempting to pursue them since they would not stay on the surface long enough for me to move the boat into casting range. However, when they did unexpectedly surface near the boat and within my casting range for several brief moments, I was able to catch one or two of them each time.

July 25

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

From about 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., I fished at the same north-central Texas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir that I fished on July 22 and 23.

Since a cold front and some rain storms pushed through this part of Texas on July 22, the weather has been a bit cooler than usual for the past three days. I relished the cool 66-degree morning air as I launched the boat at 7:20 a.m., and it was still a pleasant 89 degrees when I trailered the boat at 12:50 p.m. The average high temperature for July 25 is 97 degrees and the average low is 76 degrees, and the record high temperature is 106 degrees, and the record low temperature is 65 degrees. The wind blew out of the south at 8 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure was steady at 30.10.

The best fishing, according to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, would occur from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., 11:17 a.m. to 1:17 p.m., and 5:52 p.m. to 7:52 p.m.

The water conditions in this reservoir haven’t changed much since July 22. The water exhibited between 1 1/2 to two feet of visibility. The surface temperature has dropped from 86 degrees to 84 degrees. The water level has also dropped a tad from 2.54 feet above summer pool to 2.35 feet above the normal level.

Eleven largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and one smallmouth bass were caught in three to 12 feet of water from a series of nine main-lake points on the northwest end of the impoundment. The most productive points were covered with various sizes of rocks and boulders. A couple of them had some partially-flooded bushes and stickups near the water’s edge. They all possessed a slope of at least 30 degrees, and several of them had steeper gradients of 40 to 60 degrees. All of them were inhabited with significant numbers of threadfin shad.

Thirteen of them were beguiled by a four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ that was wacky rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. A 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s electric chicken Slim SwimZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ enticed another largemouth bass. Another largemouth bass was caught on a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man’s The Deal TRD TubeZ rigged on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The four-inch Junebug wacky-rigged Finesse WormZ rig was employed with a slow twitch and pause presentation. The 2 1/2-inch electric chicken Slim SwimZ was used with a steady swimming action. The 2 3/4-inch The Deal TRD TubeZ was retrieved in a swim-glide-and-shake manner.

Along a 50-yard stretch of shoreline on the northeast end of the reservoir, I caught two largemouth bass and four white bass. This shoreline is fairly flat. Its underwater terrain consists of red clay, gravel, rocks, and some scattered boulders. They engulfed the 2 1/2-inch electric chicken Slim SwimZ rig as I was swimming it around three large boulders that were submerged in five to seven feet of water.

I finished the outing fishing a 100-yard portion of the dam. This dam is covered with riprap and forms the eastern perimeter of this impoundment. It has a north-to-south orientation. A large concrete water outlet tower is positioned along the northern portion of the dam and is surrounded by 24 to 37 feet of water.

Though the riprap on the dam has yielded a few scattered black bass, the most consistent bite has been around the concrete water-outlet tower. During this outing, the water-outlet tower surrendered 16 largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one smallmouth bass. They were caught close to the walls of the tower and were suspended between three and eight feet below the surface of the water. I caught several of them as they were chasing and foraging on small threadfin shad on the surface of the water.

One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s blue steel Finesse ShadZ rigged on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s BulletZ jig as I was swimming, gliding, and shaking it next to one of the tower’s walls. The smallmouth bass was enticed into striking a twitch-and-pause retrieve with a four-inch Z-Man’s watermelon Finesse WormZ that was wacky-rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. The other 15 largemouth bass and the spotted bass were allured by a moderate-paced swimming retrieve with the 2 1/2-inch electric chicken Slim SwimZ rig.

In closing, the black bass fishing at this reservoir has been improving by leaps and bounds this summer, and the largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass were still biting during this five-hour endeavor. All totaled, I caught 29 largemouth bass, four spotted bass, and two smallmouth bass. I also caught 13 white bass.

July 24

Tom Bett of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his July 24 outing on the Upper Pool Lakes of the Winnebago System.

Here is an edited version of his log:

It has been five weeks of primarily performing fishing guide duties for a number of children, and while I am entertained by the dynamics and energy of that endeavor, it does eventually make me long for the days when I can solidly focus my attentions on pursuing and catching the various species residing within the local waterways. Thus, on July 24, with this annual duty fulfilled, I spent my first solo afternoon afloat trying to reacquaint myself with a more systematic and focused approach than I have recently been able to deploy.

On July 24, the sun shined, and its rays were delightfully warm. Area thermometers climbed to the low 80s.There was a touch of summertime humidity. The barometric pressure dropped from 30.15 to 30.10. The wind angled out of the southwest and west at 3 to 6 mph.

The water clarity varied depending on location. In the lake basins proper, a blue-green algal bloom limited the visibility to 1 1/2 feet. In the tributary rivers, the water exhibited three to four feet of visibility, but a tannic stain was quite apparent in these zones. The surface temperature ranged from 79 to 82 degrees The pool level was about 0.2 feet above its target level, and the flows into Lake Winnebago were running between 5,000 and 7,000 cubic feet per second.

I was on the water for six hours. My first cast was at 12:30 p.m., and my last cast arrived in the boat right at 6:30 p.m..

At this point in the summer, our black bass often feed on a mixture of crayfish, small panfish, minnows, and shad. This may require the angler to contemplate multiple pattern options during the course of a single trip.

I fished 11 sites, and I caught fish from seven of them. The sites were selected to permit testing of a small array of shoreline, inshore/near shore, and more remote offshore structures. The water depths varied from 1 1/2 to six feet. All of them had a mix of aquatic vegetation. Their underwater terrains consist of sand and with a proximity to rocks. I fished at the mouth of a small tributary stream, which possessed low to no water flow. I fished several strips of degraded riprap, which used to be shorelines until they were washed out, but they are still near the shoreline. I fished along some main tributary channel swings, and these shorelines and points are high flow zones with more than 2,000 cubic feet per second of water flowing along and around them. And I fished around isolated and offshore rock piles that were adorned either with or without a significant current flow.

On this trip, I landed 22 smallmouth bass, three largemouth bass, five freshwater drum, one northern pike, one channel catfish, and one flathead catfish. All fish were taken on a Z-Man's Finesse TRD affixed to a black 1/10-ounce mushroom-style jig. Twenty-five of these fish were caught on The Deal Finesse TRD, five fish were caught on the Drew’s Craw Finesse TRD, and three fish were caught on the green-pumpkin Finesse TRD. I was not at all creative in testing a variety of lures on this outing. The focus of the trip was to identify a few productive locations and understand specific pattern details for upcoming forays.

I did note several locations where the bass were pursuing very small minnows. I did not see any of the fish regurgitating crayfish near or in the boat. This is the opposite of what I experienced during the past few weeks, and as recently as July 12 at a few of the same structures. However, this is typical of the black bass behavior on this system. Generally, if the annual forage base is adequate, the black bass will shift to a diet largely based on forage fish by mid-to late July.

Because of this apparent focus on forage fish, many strikes came as the lure entered the water, or on the initial descent of the bait and before it hit bottom. In higher current areas, the best retrieve was a drag and pause, which allowed the rig to walk downstream and slightly ticking the bottom. In some of the non-current areas, I used a slow swim#8211;pause–shake-and-lift presentation in order to fish faster and cover water.

While I could not determine any specific habitat pattern, I did very poorly on the isolated offshore rock piles. Channel swings with good current across the rocks and a few jetty points with good current flow were most productive. However, the largest of the smallmouth bass and largemouth bass came from shallow water along the strips of degraded riprap that were without substantial current.

A catch rate of five black bass an hour is a very ordinary one for this system. However, given my need to re-train myself to be an adequate adult angler and a host to other highly focused colleagues, I was satisfied with the experiences the day offered.

July 25

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his July 25 outing.

Here is an edited version his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 61 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 80 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The sky’s conditions varied from being fair to being partly cloudy to being mostly cloudy. The wind was calm during the early morning hours, and then it angled from the south and southeast at 3 to 21 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.15 at 12:53 a.m., 30.15 at 5:53 a.m., 30.17 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.13 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 5:23 a.m. to 7:23 a.m., 5:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., and 11:10 a.m. to 1:10 p.m.

I was float at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 11:05 a.m. to 3:05 p.m.

The water level at this reservoir was a few inches above its normal level. The surface temperature was 82 degrees. At many locales, the water exhibited three to 3 1/2 feet of secchi-stick visibility. This reservoir’s patches of coontail were in a miserable condition, and many of them were coated with filamentous algae.

Along the dam, I caught five largemouth bass. The dam has a 45- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is graced with patches of American water willows, and a few feet from the outside edges of some of the patches of American water willows there are a few scanty patches of coontail. One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water. Three largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed wacky style to an unpainted 1/16-ounce wacky-style jig with a swim-glide-and shake presentation in five to eight feet of water. (In summers past, a wacky-style Junebug Finesse WormZ was a very effective rig at this reservoir, but I have never been enamored with it. Therefore, I did not spend a lot of time employing it on this outing.)

Around a main-lake point that is adjacent to the spillway, I caught one largemouth bass on the Finesse ShadZ rig in about four feet of water with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation around some meager patches of coontail.

I failed to garner a strike along a 125-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline and a series of offshore humps and ledges that parallel this shoreline. I also failed to elicit a strike on another offshore hump. These areas are situated in the lower half of this reservoir.

I spent the rest of the outing in the upper half of the reservoir.

Along a 35-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline, I caught seven largemouth bass in eight to 11 feet of water. This shoreline possesses a large and flat shelf that radically plummets into 27 feet of water. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge sports seven docks and several patches of American water willows. A few meager patches of coontail are situated in three to five feet of water. These largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD BugZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Five of the largemouth bass were caught with a slow drag-and-shake presentation. Two of them were caught with a vertical-and-deastick presentation.

I failed to acquire a strike along a 50-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline.

Around a main-lake point, I caught three largemouth bass. This point possesses about a 35-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, sand, and rocks. The water’s edge is endowed with three docks, some minor patches of American water willows, and a few scanty patches of coontail. These largemouth bass were caught on the TRD HogZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in three to six feet of water around the patches of coontail

One largemouth bass was caught on the TRD BugZ while I was strolling and employing a swimming retrieve in six feet of water around another main-lake point. This point has a 30-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. It is littered with three docks, a few measly and sickly-looking coontail patches, and some shallow-water patches of American water willows. This largemouth bass was caught around some of the coontail patches.

The TRD BugZ rig inveigled a largemouth bass around another main-lake point. This point is adorned with a concrete-retaining wall. It has a 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. This largemouth bass was caught in about five feet of water as I was employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Along about a 300-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline, I caught seven largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 20- to 50-degree slope. There are three docks. The water’s edge has two relatively short concrete retaining walls, some overhanging trees, patches of American water willows, and a few laydowns. Its flatter areas are embellished with occasional and sickly patches of coontail. Two of the seven largemouth bass are caught around one of the docks on the TRD BugZ rig in about seven feet of water; one of these two largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop, and the second one was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Four of the seven largemouth bass were caught around patches of American water willows and in the vicinity of the overhanging trees on the TRD BugZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in five to seven feet of water. One of the seven was caught on the initial drop of the TRD BugZ in three to four feet of water around a patch of coontail.

Along about a 250-yard portion of another main-lake shoreline, I caught seven largemouth bass. This section of shoreline is cluttered with 13 docks. It has a 25- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is lined with rock and concrete retaining walls, as well as a few overhanging trees and some minor patches of American water willows. Some of its shallower and flatter areas contain some flimsy patches of coontail. These seven largemouth bass were caught on the TRD BugZ rig in four to seven feet of water. Three of them were caught on the initial drop of the rig. One was caught on the TRD BugZ rig while I was strolling and employing a swimming presentation around a patch of coontail. Three were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

In total, I caught 32 largemouth bass in four hours, and inadvertently caught three green sunfish, two warmouth, and one channel catfish. Twenty-six of the 32 largemouth bass were caught on the TRD BugZ rig. They were caught around a potpourri of locations and on a variety of retrieves. Throughout this outing, I felt as if the largemouth bass were catching me rather than the other way around.

July 25

Tom Bett of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his July 25 outing on the Upper Pool Lakes of the Winnebago System.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Local legend says “The mother lake is a fickle beast.” I will spare you the rest of the details. At any rate, it was high time in summer of 2019 for me to try to recalibrate with the smallmouth bass that call the multitude of nearshore and offshore structures in the big lake their home. The challenge on this 130,000-acre dish-pan lake is all about location. If an angler has weekly or better connections, it can exponentially improve their catch rate. If not, one might expect to have to just go fishing for a while.

Being in that later classification rather than the better one, I set forth to discover what I did not know.

On July 25, it was sunny. Area thermometers reached 84 degrees. It was humid with a dew point of 62 degrees. The wind angled from the south and southwest at 8 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure was stable at 30.12.

The water clarity was moderately affected by a blue-green algal bloom, and the visibility was 3 1/2 feet. The average water temperature was 77 degrees. The water level is about 0.1 feet above its target level. Because of recent rainstorms, the flows into Lake Winnebago are running between 5, 000 and 7,000 cubic feet per second.

I was on the water for five hours, my first cast landing at 9:30 a.m. and my last cast arrived in the boat right at 2:30 p.m.

I fished 10 sites, and I took fish from four of those locations. I probed a small array of shorelines, some shallow offshore reefs that are embellished with small and dense patches of aquatic vegetation, some offshore structures, and some major structures that possess complex and varied underwater terrains. The water depths varied from 4 1/2 to 16 feet. The common theme on all of these is a hard bottom. All have rock: chunk rock on gravel, cobble, car-sized boulders, and more. All of these sites have been productive for me over the years, but success and locations change weekly, if not daily, and history never guarantees success here.

On this trip, I landed 10 smallmouth bass, five walleye, four freshwater drum, and one rock bass. All fish were taken on a Z-Man's Finesse TRD affixed to a black 1/10-ounce mushroom-style jig. Nine of these fish were taken on The Deal Finesse TRD, eight fish were caught on a Drew’s Craw Finesse TRD, and three fish were caught on the green-pumpkin-goby Finesse TRD. I was not systematically testing a large variety of lures on this outing. The focus of the trip was to search specific areas, identify a few productive locations, and understand specific pattern details for upcoming outings.

I had literally many square miles of potential habitat to search. Therefore, I spent considerable time employing a strolling presentation around the drop off zones on reefs and rock piles versus spot-on-spot casting to specific structural targets. This is very similar to the tactic for finding and catching roaming walleye by keeping lures wet in high-probability areas. I used my Minn Kota Terrova trolling motor to move me from waypoint-to-waypoint, and I had a rod in each hand, which allowed me to drag Ned rigs across several miles of habitat at a leisurely 0.5 to 0.8 mph.

What I did learn again is that a subset of very wonderful looking structures held nice game fish only if a substantial concentration of forage was apparent on the sonar. The most productive recipe for the day was to probe boulder breaks in 8 1/2 to 10 1/2 feet of water that are adjacent to larger gravel flats in 10 to 13 feet of water. I did stop and Spot Lock on a couple of fruitful sites.

While it was not a day for large numbers, I could not argue about the quality of the fish that I caught. The top five smallmouth bass ranged from 18.1 to 19.2 inches. The freshwater drum averaged 22 inches, and the best walleye was 22.5 inches in length. All were fierce fighters in the warm water.

In the lessons-learned category, I hereby resolve to conduct a bit more sonar scanning before wetting a line. Finding the bait seemed to be the key to having some nice fish to catch.

July 29

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his outing on July 29.

Here is an edited version of his log:

From 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., I conducted a solo outing at an U.S. Army Corps’ of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir. This reservoir lies in a suburb north of Dallas, and it has had me befuddled for months on end.

The sky was overcast and scattered rainstorms were erupting everywhere around this reservoir. The morning low temperature was 77 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 94 degrees. It was also very humid. A 10 to 15 mph wind blew out of the south and southeast. The barometric pressure measured 30.10 at 7:00 a.m. and 30.09 at noon.

I have avoided this troublesome reservoir since the last time I fished here on July 9. During that outing, the black bass fishing was difficult. Roger Farish of Highland Village and I fished hard for four hours, and we mustered four largemouth bass and three Kentucky bass.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar table, the most productive fishing periods on July 29 would occur from 2:21 a.m. to 4:21 a.m., 8:36 a.m. to 10:36 a.m., and 9:06 p.m. to 11:06 p.m.

The water level was 3.67 feet above its normal summer pool on July 9. This time it was 0.03 of a foot below normal. The water exhibited close to 18 inches of clarity. The surface temperature was 84 degrees.

Rain showers were erupting periodically. Therefore, I elected to spend my time plying areas in the lower section of the reservoir that were close to a large marina in case the unstable weather forced me to get off the water in a hurry.

The largemouth bass and spotted bass were biting better this time around than they were on July 9. I caught 14 largemouth bass and three spotted bass during these four hours. I also crossed paths with a large school of surface-feeding white bass, and I caught 50 of them.

Three largemouth bass were caught around two tractor-tire reefs at the entrance to a large marina. These two tire reefs were floating in 24 to 36 feet of water. I observed small schools of two-inch threadfin shad lollygagging around the openings and sides of the tractor tires.

These three largemouth bass were caught about five to eight feet below the surface of the water and within a foot or two of the floating tires. They were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s white lightning Finesse TRD affixed to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Along a 35-yard section of a clay and gravel shoreline on the west side of the marina, I caught one largemouth bass. This section of shoreline has about a 30-degree incline. It is adorned with numerous softball-size rocks, gravel, a partially-submerged chain-link fence, several covered boat docks, and overhanging trees. This largemouth engulfed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s electric chicken Slim SwimZ and a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig as I was swimming it parallel to the shoreline and in close proximity to a patch if rocks in four feet of water.

At a main-lake island located about a quarter of a mile west of the marina, I caught three largemouth bass and one spotted bass. This island is about the size of a softball field. Its shoreline is fairly flat and rocky. A few patches of flooded stickups and buckbrush embellish portions of its south and east shorelines. These four black bass were mixed in with the 50 white bass that I was catching at a hand-over-fist pace while they were chasing shad on the surface in 10 to 15 feet of water. All of these fish were allured by the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s electric chicken Slim SwimZ rig as it was being steadily retrieved about a foot below the water’s surface.

Around 24 large concrete support columns underneath a bridge that is located a short distance from the island, I caught five largemouth bass and two spotted bass. The columns under this bridge are encircled by water as deep as 51 feet and as shallow as 12 feet. I chose this bridge because it was a convenient place for me to find cover from an approaching rain shower. While it was raining, I continued to fish under the bridge. But to my dismay, only seven of the 24 support columns yielded a black bass.

These bass were suspended about eight to 12 feet below the surface and within two feet of the columns. All of them were enticed into striking the white lightning Finesse TRD rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation next to the columns.

The last two largemouth bass were caught from a riprap-covered embankment on the north side of the bridge. They were abiding in five to seven feet of water around the submerged riprap. They were caught on the white lightning Finesse TRD rig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

I failed to elicit any strikes from another riprap embankment on the south side of the bridge, and at two rocky main-lake points east of the bridge.

At this point, I decided to get off the water earlier than I had planned when I observed another large rainstorm approaching from the west.

Overall, the bite has improved but it is still inconsistent. The black bass were scattered and I had trouble locating any significant numbers of them at locales that are usually fruitful this time of year. Most of the time I caught only one or two bass per spot. I then had to move to another spot in order to garner one or two more bites.

July 29

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his outings in Ontario, Canada, during the third week of July.

Here is an edited version of his report:

I spent the bulk of last week fishing in Ontario based on Halfmoon Lake and White Otter Lake in Ontario. The size of Halfmoon is about 600 surface acres. White Otter is much larger, and I spent most of the time at White Otter.

The weather, for the most part, was mild throughout the week. Early in the week, the wind angled out of the northwest, and then it angled out of the south. A couple of thunderstorms erupted later in the week.

The water exhibited about 10 feet of visibility at both lakes.

The smallmouth bass seemed to be most active early in the afternoon. Therefore, I usually spent a couple of hours in the morning fishing for walleye.

The most bountiful locale was a flat that was covered with 20 feet of water and littered with scattered piles of rocks. And the most fruitful spot of this flat was a 15-square-yard locale adjacent to a drop off that plummeted into 25 to 30 feet of water. I exclusively used a Z-Man’s The Deal Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/8-ounce Jade’s Jig. I mostly strolled this rig and occasionally it made contact with the bottom. If there was any breeze, I back trolled and stroll, keeping the bait in the water for two to three minutes before recasting.

The walleye fishing throughout the week seemed very consistent and predictable, but not so much for the smallmouth bass fishing. The timing was everything when I was smallmouth bass fishing.

One of the best concentrations of smallmouth bass in White Otter was a narrow 10-yard gap with a significant flow. I recall one afternoon around 12:30, which was when I was working a variety of finesse baits in this location, and I was able to catch only a few northern pike. At one point, I could easily see six or seven smallmouth bass silhouetted against the sandy bottom. It was like fishing in an aquarium. But regardless of what I dangled in front of them, there were no takers. I decided to take a break, beach the boat and eat some lunch. I returned to the same spot an hour later, and a different story unfolded. I estimate I caught 30 smallmouth bass in short order.

Other good areas I targeted for smallmouth bass had a mix of baseball-sized to volleyball-sized rock along the points and shorelines with a steep slope. At these locales, I mostly threw a shortened Z-Man’s PB&J Hula StickZ, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ, and a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD CrawZ. These baits were affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Jade’s jig.

Even though the TRD CrawZ is small, it is easy to cast, it has a very slow fall rate, and it will stay snug on the jig without being glued.

Other areas I focused on for smallmouth bass were patches of curly-leaf pondweed. The thickest patches were in six to eight feet of water. If the water was calm, I was able to locate these patches by the flower or fruiting structure that would extend an inch or two above the surface of the water. Sometimes you could see these at a considerable distance. I typically would slowly work a black 1/8-ounce buzzbait across the top of this vegetation, and I had a few memorable blowups.

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I estimate that on the best days I caught more than 100 smallmouth bass and around 20 walleye. A lot of the smallmouth bass were in the 16- to 18-inch range. The walleye weighed from three to four pounds. No behemoths.

July 31

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his July 31 outing.

Here is an edited version his log:

Many outings in July of 2019 have been sorry ones for Midwest finesse anglers who reside in northeastern Kansas. And my July 31 outing was the sorriest one that I endured.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 69 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 84 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the southeast, east, and northeast at 3 to 24 mph. During the early morning hours, it thundered, lightning, and rained. Then the sky fluctuated from being overcast, mostly cloudy, partly cloudy, and fair. The barometric pressure was 30.06 at 12:53 a.m., 30.06 at 5:53 a.m., 30.11 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.09 at 1:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would take place from 10:23 a.m. to 12:23 p.m., 10:54 p.m. to 12:54 a.m., and 4:08 a.m. to 6:08 a.m.

I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 10:52 a.m. to 1:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be normal. The surface temperature ranged from 81 to 82 degrees. The water was affected by an algae bloom, and in the reservoir’s upper reaches, the visibility was less than 12 inches, and in the vicinity of the dam, the visibility was about 26 inches.

During the three hours that I was afloat, I made untold numbers of casts and retrieves that failed to engender a strike. Most of the locales that I thoroughly dissected were fruitless. But somehow, I did catch six largemouth bass, five smallmouth bass, three freshwater drum, and one white bass.

One largemouth bass was caught along a shoreline in the upper reaches of this reservoir. It possesses a 45- to 70-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is graced with patches of American water willows, overhanging trees, and laydowns. This largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water.

Along a submerged rock fence, I caught two smallmouth bass and four largemouth bass. They were caught in four to six feet of water. The two smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation. Two largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of a four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ rigged wacky style to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Three smallmouth bass were caught along the end of the dam and a short segment of its adjacent shoreline on the Finesse TRD rig. This area possesses a 25- to 30-degrees slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is adorned by shallow-water patches of American water willows. Occasional patches of submerged aquatic vegetation are situated several yards from the outside edges of the American water willows. One smallmouth bass was caught while I was strolling and employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in six to seven feet of water. One smallmouth bass was caught on the initial drop in about three feet of water. The third smallmouth bass was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about three feet of water.

Along a main-lake shoreline, I caught one largemouth bass on the Finesse TRD rig. This shoreline has a 45- to 55-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is embellished with some patches of American water willows, one dock, and one laydown. This largemouth bass was caught in about seven feet of water while I was strolling and working with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

I failed to elicit a strike around six main-lake points, around one secondary point, along portions of three main-lake shorelines, along a short portion of a secondary shoreline, and across one offshore rock pile.

For the past 21 months, the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing in northeastern Kansas has gone horribly awry in the flatland reservoirs that we normally fish. The smallmouth bass fishing is sorrier than the largemouth bass fishing. Our last bountiful smallmouth bass outing occurred on Aug. 9, 2016, which is when Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, and I caught 111 smallmouth bass in four hours at one of our U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs.

Mother Nature walloped us with massive amounts of precipitation this year, which affected all of the flatland reservoirs hereabouts.

Our rain woes continued this evening.

From 8:14 p.m. on July 31 to 10:05 a.m. on Aug. 1, it rained, lightning, and thundered incessantly. One of the rain gauges in one of our gardens indicated that more than eight inches of rain has fallen, and there are massive pools of water all over our yard. Some of the nearby streets are flooded. One of our nearby community reservoirs was inundated by 11 inches of rain.

The National Weather Service in Lawrence, Kansas, reported that it collected 4.08 inches of rain. The National Weather Service in Topeka, Kansas, collected 2.72 inches of rain.

The National Weather Service in Olathe, Kansas, received only 0.61 inches of rain. The National Weather Service in Kansas City, Missouri, received only 0.11 inches. Therefore, the reservoirs to the east of Lawrence will not be affected.

But the National Weather Service is predicting that northeastern Kansas will be waylaid again by heavy rains on Aug. 1 and 2.

July 31

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his July 31 outing at a state reservoir in northeastern Kansas.

Here is an edited version of his log:

After several years of trying, I was finally able to get my friend Tad Tranbarger of Macksville, Kansas, to come to northeastern Kansas and learn about Midwest finesse fishing. He arrived during the night of July 30.

We were not sure what kind of conditions we would find after an extended round of thunderstorms hit our area overnight with multiple rounds of heavy rain.

As it turned out, the weather conditions were pretty favorable for the last day in July. After an overnight low temperature of 69 degrees, the afternoon high temperature was 87. The wind was brisk at times, ranging from 8 to 22 mph. It was angling from the east and southeast, and we were forced to use the drift sock most of the afternoon.

We started fishing at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs from 10:45 a. m. and made our last casts at about 5:15 p.m. We fished for approximately six hours, and we enjoyed a 30-minute lunch break.

The water along the dam exhibited about four feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 82 to 85 degrees. Some of the areas in the upper end of the reservoir exhibited two feet of visibility.

We made our first casts along the riprap of the dam. In short order, Tad was able to catch his first largemouth bass on a Midwest finesse rig. He caught it on a shortened Z-Man’s mood ring Bang StickZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-and-glide retrieve. His Bang StickZ was shortened to about three inches.

We fished about a third of the western end of the dam, moving along it from east to west, and then we turned around and fished the entire length moving from its west end to its east end. We caught nine largemouth bass along the dam. A couple of them were caught in shallow water shortly after beginning a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. But most were caught in deeper water while using a do-nothing glide, which allows the rig to glide to the bottom or on a deadstick presentation on the bottom. The boat floated in seven to 10 feet of water, and many of the largemouth bass were caught in five to 10 feet of water and a number of yards away from the shoreline. The strikes were very soft and did not amount to more than a little glitch or a feeling of pressure when you took up the slack in the line. In several instances, we were able to detect the strike only by observing the line moving sideways. Some of these fish were caught on the shortened Bang StickZ rig. One was caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse Shroom jig. One was caught on a Z-Man’s meat dog TRD MinnowZ on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse Shroom jig. Several others were caught on a Z-Man’s The Deal TRD TicklerZ on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Along a 200-yard section of a main-lake shoreline, we caught four largemouth bass. This section of shoreline is adorned with four rock jetties, a dock, and a boat ramp. The area is adorned with healthy patches of American water willows and submerged patches of coontail and bushy pondweed. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on swim-glide-and-shake retrieves around aquatic vegetation that lies between the jetties. The other two were caught off the end of the jetties with a do-nothing glide. All of them were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig.

We fished about half of the shorelines on both sides of a feeder-creek arm and did not catch a fish. The submerged coontail and bushy pondweed patches were so thick and close to the surface that we switched to a three-inch Z-Man’s Baby Bass Slim ZwimZ on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, and we employed a straight-swimming retrieve in this area in an effort to keep our lures out of the vegetation.

On a main-lake point, we caught two largemouth bass. Tad caught both of these fish on the TRD TicklerZ rig by strolling it behind the boat.

We fished another 150-yard section of a shoreline inside another feeder-creek cove. The TRD TicklerZ rigs were not able to induce any strikes, but we caught several crappie along the edges of the submerged patches of aquatic vegetation on the Slim SwimZ rigs with a very slow swimming retrieve.

On another main-lake point, we caught three largemouth bass. They were caught on our TRD TicklerZ rigs. One was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Two were caught while strolling and deadsticking the TRD TicklerZ behind the boat.

Around this main-lake point, we caught several more crappie along the submerged vegetation on the Slim SwimZ rig and a very slow retrieve. It is interesting to note that we caught more crappie on this outing than any other species except for largemouth bass. All of them were caught on our Slim SwimZ rigs. It seemed the slower we were able to retrieve these rigs, the more crappie we caught. Whenever we tried to speed up the retrieve, we failed to catch a crappie.

Along a 300-yard main-lake shoreline adjacent to the point, Tad caught two more largemouth bass while strolling the TRD TicklerZ behind the boat. I continued to elicit strikes from crappie with a Slim SwimZ rig around openings and edges in the aquatic vegetation. The thick patches of American water willow, coontail, and bushy pondweed hindered the use of anything but a swimming retrieve when we were casting towards the shoreline.

After a lunch break in the handy shade of an overhanging tree, we fished a 400-yard portion of a main-lake shoreline. Six largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. Some of them were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Some were caught on strolling retrieves in deeper water. The boat floated in six to 12 feet of water along this shoreline, which had thick patches of American water willows and submerged vegetation, numerous manmade brush piles, many laydowns, and scores of overhanging trees.

Around the main-lake point at the end of the 400-yard stretch of shoreline, we caught four largemouth bass. Two of them were caught on the coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ rig, and two were caught on a Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig. All of them were caught in about four feet of water.

Along a 300-yard section of another main-lake shoreline, we caught seven largemouth bass. Tad caught several of these while strolling and deadsticking behind the boat. The rest were caught on a coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ rig while using a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Three largemouth bass were caught at the mouth of a small feeder creek. One was caught on a TRD Junebug Tickler Z that was being strolled behind the boat, and when this rig crossed the edge of a patch of vegetation and ventured into open water of a submerged creek channel, this largemouth bass engulfed it. The other two largemouth bass were caught on casts to the edge of the submerged vegetation and on the initial drop of the coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ rig.

Around a series of seven rock jetties along a 250-yard section of main-lake shoreline, we caught six largemouth bass. Three of the jetties did not yield any fish. Two of the jetties yielded one largemouth bass each. Two jetties produced two largemouth bass each. Most of them were caught on a do-nothing glide or deadstick presentation several yards off the end of the jetties. Two were caught in shallower water along the rocky sides of the jetties on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We decided to end the outing by fishing the face of the dam one more time. However, we quickly found that the wind had picked up to the point of raising whitecaps. Even with the drift sock, we could not adequately control the boat.

The result was the boat was turned perpendicular to the dam face and moving much too fast to make effective lure presentations. After about 10 minutes and no strikes, we gave up that effort in frustration and decided to call it a day.

All in all, we decided it was a fun and successful first outing for Tad. We caught 46 largemouth bass. We thought three of them were at least three pounders. We also caught two bluegills, nine green sunfish, and 11 crappie. That is an average of six largemouth bass an hour.

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