Midwest Finesse Fishing: October 2019

Midwest Finesse Fishing: October 2019

Our October guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 16,909 words and 16 logs. It features the perspectives and tactics of Tom Bett of Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas; Eric Gilgenbach of Winneconne, Wisconsin; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; and John Thomas of Denton, Texas.

We are thankful that Steve Reideler proofread all of the logs. He made them more readable and understandable. 

Oct. 4

Tom Bett of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 4 outing at Winnebago Pool, Butte des Morts, Wisconsin.

Here is an edited version of his log:


Brief respites from the incessant rains have become rare events for the fishermen who have endured the flood of 2019. Therefore, without much hesitation or planning, and in spite of my lackluster outing on Sept. 28, I decided to challenge the black bass to another chapter in my catch-and-release journal for 2019.


The day dawned under the auspices of a Canadian cool front. The air temperature was 43 degrees at 7:00 a.m., 48 degrees at 10:00 a.m., and 54 degrees at 3:00 p.m. The sky was cloud covered for 90 percent of the day. The wind angled out of the north around 10 to 15 mph at 7:00 a.m. It shifted to the southeast at 10-12 mph by 10:00 a.m., and then it angled out of the east at 10 mph for the remainder of the day.


The recent rains increased inflows to 11,000 cubic feet per second. The US Army Corps of Engineers increased the discharge to over 15,000 cubic feet per second in an attempt to manage the pool level. Some sections of the pool showed increased turbidity because of the recent rains and brisk wind. The water’s visibility ranged from 1 1/2 to three feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 54 degrees at 10:00 a.m. and 57 degrees at 3:00 p.m.

I fished for five hours. My first cast landed at 10:00 a.m. My rods entered the locker at 3:00 p.m.

The day can be summarized as “A Tale of Two Cities”.


During the first portion of this outing, I decided to seek shelter from the cool winds and wave action, and thus I ran the northerly shorelines. While these shorelines aided my boat control and lure presentation, all I found was dismally brown water. Nevertheless, I selected a repertoire of sites known to harbor transitioning black bass, and those locales are situated around hard cover with some current sweep to concentrate a smorgasbord of forage for the black bass.

As sound as I thought this plan would be, it bombed.

During the first three hours of this trip, I had fished 14 sites. At 10 of them, I failed to elicit a strike. Three of the other four yielded one fish each. The last, fortunately, gave me the foolish confidence to continue this outing. Along a 200-yard section of a riprap shoreline, which was more out of the relentless current than most of the others, I managed to catch six largemouth bass, two smallmouth bass, and a large walleye. While this produced a paltry 3.7 black bass an hour catch rate, it was all I needed to keep going.


All of these fish were holding along the base of the rocks in about four feet of water. All were enticed with a drag-pause-and-light-shake presentation with a green-pumpkin 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse Shroom jig affixed to a Z-Man’s yoga pants Finesse TRD. And try as I might, I could not entice a bite with any other color combinations, such as mood ring, new money, and mud bug.

I then decided to go for broke, and I drove the boat several miles into the mouth of another major tributary river. To my immediate delight, I observed relatively clearer water. But because of the backwater flooding, it was congested with wads of floating aquatic vegetation.

And this begins the second chapter of  “A Tale of the Second City.”

The first site tested was along the down-current tip of an island.  From this spot, I boated four sizeable smallmouth black bass, which averaged 17 inches in length, in short order. Again, these all were taken on the yoga pants rig with a drag-hop-drift-and-pause retrieve. These fish were residing on the lower edge of the rocks and where the current was sweeping past the tip of the underwater point. Still not confident I had a pattern, I contemplated stopping the journey.

The next site that I fished was the up-current end of an island. I found no takers there, which again challenged my desire to continue this outing.

Ultimately, I decided to continue fishing for another hour at most. So, I motored another 400 yards to a long stretch of riprap adjacent to a deep channel swing. Along a 200-yard stretch of this riprap, I boated five smallmouth bass that were caught about 40 yards apart from each other. They were 10 to 15 feet from the water’s edge and situated along the top edge of a ledge in about 3 1/2 feet of water. As the underwater terrain plummeted from this ledge, the maximum depth at that location was six feet. A drag-and-pause retrieve with the yoga pants rig proved to be the way to generate bites.

From this ledge, I looked up the river about one-half mile and decided it would not hurt too much if I visited another jetty point that possessed a good current sweep and small eddy. Because of the accumulation of floating vegetation, this locale proved to be more challenging to fish. But it provided a small semblance of the autumn pod of black bass that I have been looking for the last couple of weeks. This site is the last stretch of riprap before the shoreline converts to the native river bank, which is embellished with lotus beds and sand shoals.

Focusing on the tip of the point as a casting spot, I would drag the yoga pants rig into the swirl and then out of the current, which was full of loose pondweeds. Within 20 minutes, I boated nine sizeable largemouth bass and a big smallmouth bass. They ranged in size from 15 to 19 inches, and most were larger than 17 inches. I determined that the best presentation was either to pull the rig and allow it to drift to a pause, or snap it off the pondweeds and let it settle. It is interesting to note that I could not catch a fish on the rocks that were outside of the current seam.  Even though a substantial portion of my casts were ineffective because they became entangled with loose pondweeds and other aquatic debris, I decide not to re-rig with a Texas setup with a Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits’ Senko. At times, I would test other finesse setups that I had on deck, but after three to five casts without a bite, I would employ the yoga pants rig and ultimately catch another black bass.

My last stop was another one-half mile upriver, It was a very small bump on a deep channel swing that generates a current eddy about the size of a fishing boat. This site has been super productive for me across the years, but the excessive current flow might have overwhelmed it. But I managed to boat two smallmouth bass, one largemouth bass, and one white bass. At this spot, my thumb began to ache almost as badly as my lower back, and I decided to terminate the journey.

In sum, I caught 16 smallmouth bass, 17 largemouth bass, one walleye, and one white bass. It was a catch rate of 6.6 black bass per hour. The five biggest smallmouth bass exceeded 17 inches, and the biggest largemouth bass exceeded 18 inches. The walleye was a 25-incher.

However, the real lesson learned was that dingy water was not my friend. During the first three hours in the murk, I could only generate 3.7 black bass per hour. Then during the next two hours, I caught 11 black bass per  hour. Thus it was about location, as it mostly always is.

These fish were very color selective. I did eventually manage to catch one fish on a Z-Man’s Mud Bug Finesse TRD, but all the rest were caught on the yoga pants Finesse TRD rig.

Rest assured, I will be testing a wide array of lure types and colors on my next trip. The mantra for me is to try hard to continue to live, to learn, and to never give up --except when my wet bass thumb just won’t stop bleeding.

Oct. 6

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 6 outing with two friends at one of northeastern Kansas’ power-plant reservoirs.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

We started fishing around 8:30 a.m. We quit fishing around 2:30 p.m.

The sky was mostly cloudy. A cool breeze angled out of  the northeast. 

The surface temperature ranged from 68 to 72 degrees. The water exhibited about three feet of visibility.

It was a struggle to catch 10 smallmouth bass. We caught them around flat and rock-laden points.

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We caught more freshwater drum than smallmouth bass.

We stumbled across a patch of surface feeding white bass on a massive shallow-water flat, and we caught some of them.

Our most effective Midwest finesse rig was a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse  1/16-ounce Jade’s Jig. And we caught a few on a Z-Man’s The Deal TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Jade’s Jig.

Oct. 8

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 44 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 71 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sky was cloudless, and the sun was blindingly bright.  The wind angled out of the south at 7 to 28 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.18 at 12:53 a.m., 30.16 at 5:53 a.m., 30.12 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.04 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 7:11 a.m. to 9:11 a.m., 7:34 p.m. to 9:34 p.m., and 12:59 a.m. to 2:59 a.m.

Since Sept. 28, I have been on a nine-day hiatus from fishing. Instead of fishing, Allen Kehde, John Kehde, and I took the back roads and blue highways  to Cheyenne, Wyoming,  and to Denver, Colorado. The purpose of this trip was to show Allen where he suffered a severe traumatic brain injury 16 months ago by falling down a flight of stairs, and where he was hospitalized for more than four months. Nowadays he suffers with Wernicke’s aphasia and some memory issues. We were hoping that the trip would help him, and we think it did.

On Oct. 8, Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, took me fishing to one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs.

The surface temperature ranged from 69 to 70 degrees. The water level looks to be a tad above normal. It looked as if an algae bloom was occurring, which is a normal occurrence in October. The water exhibited 12 to 48 inches of visibility. The reservoir’s patches of brittle naiad and bushy pondweed have diminished, which is a normal autumn phenomenon, and many of its coontail patches have expanded.

We caught 50 largemouth bass, 10 smallmouth bass, two walleye, one channel catfish, and one freshwater drum. When our four hours of fishing lapsed at 1:35 p.m., our fish counter revealed that we had caught 46 largemouth bass and 10 smallmouth bass, and we decided to stay afloat until we caught four more black bass. And we finally caught black bass number 60 at 2:06 p.m. This outing began at 9:35 a.m. Thus, it was a four-hour-and-31-minute ordeal.

Six smallmouth and 18 largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s The Deal TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. We caught one smallmouth bass and nine largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. We caught one smallmouth bass and five largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s meat dog TRD MinnowZ affixed to a light blue 1/15-ounce TT Lures NedlockZ HD Jighead. One smallmouth bass and five largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. One smallmouth bass and four largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TickerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Five largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s pearl GrubZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

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Two largemouth bass were caught along the dam, which was windblown. The dam has a 40- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of rocks. Parts of the underwater terrain are embellished with patches of coontail. The largemouth bass were caught on The Deal TRD MinnowZ rig in three to four feet of water with a swim-and-glide presentation.

Around a flat main-lake point and its adjacent main-lake shoreline, which is very steep, we caught four largemouth bass. This locale is adjacent to the dam. The flat point is embellished with significant patches of coontail, and it yield one largemouth bass that was caught on the initial drop of the Finesse ShadZ rig in about six feet of water. The flat’s underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. Along the steep shoreline, we caught three largemouth bass. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and there are occasional patches of coontail gracing some of its shallow-water areas. The water’s edge has many overhanging trees, a few patches of American water willows, and some laydowns. Two of the three largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about eight feet of water. One of the three was caught on The Deal TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-and-glide presentation in about six feet of water.

Around a main-lake point, across a small main-lake patch of coontail, and along the outside edge of a massive patch of American water willows, we caught three largemouth bass. Two largemouth bass were caught on The Deal TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-and-glide presentation in about six feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on the meat dog TRD MinnowZ rig in about six feet of water with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One largemouth bass was caught on the green-pumpkin GrubZ rig with a swimming presentation in three to four feet of water. This area possesses a 35- to 50-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. This locale lies in the lower half of the reservoir.

On a massive shallow-water flat inside a small feeder-creek arm in the lower half of the reservoir, we caught two largemouth bass in about seven feet of water and about 100 feet from the water’s edge. This flat is embellished with thick patches of coontail. This area was extremely windblown, which made it difficult to meticulously dissect the patches of coontail. One largemouth bass was caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The second one was caught on the initial drop of The Deal TRD MinnowZ rig.

Around several large patches of coontail, a few patches of American pondweed, and six patches of American water willows that grace a large and  flat main-lake shoreline and its adjacent main-lake point, we caught two smallmouth bass and 13 largemouth bass. Two of these patches of coontail lie about 90 feet from the water’s edge. This shoreline and point are situated in the middle section of the reservoir. Its underwater terrain consists primarily of gravel, but it is occasionally adorned with several boulders. The Deal TRD MinnowZ rig caught nine largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass, and one  largemouth  bass was caught on a deadstick presentation, and the others were caught on a swim-and-glide presentation. One smallmouth bass and four largemouth bass were caught on the meat dog TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One largemouth bass was caught on the green-pumpkin GrubZ rig with a swimming presentation. One largemouth bass was caught of the pearl GrubZ rig with a swimming presentation. These 13 largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass were caught in five to eight feet of water.

At the back of a large feeder-creek arm in the middle section of the reservoir, we caught 10 largemouth bass. They were residing around a series of coontail patches that grace a massive shallow-water flat. These patches lie in three to eight feet of water. The water exhibited about 15 inches of visibility. Five of the largemouth bass were caught on The Deal TRD MinnowZ rig.  Two of the 10 were caught on the coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig. Two were caught on the pearl GrubZ rig. And one was caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig. A few were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Some were caught on a swimming presentation. Others were caught on a swim-and-glide retrieve. They were caught from about 40 to 250 feet from the water’s edge.

In the back of this same large feeder-creek arm, we caught two smallmouth bass and five largemouth bass as we fished around three secondary points and along about 100 yards of a shoreline adjacent to these secondary points. The water exhibited about 2 1/2 feet of visibility. This shoreline and its points have a 35-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Some of this terrain is embellished with patches of coontail. The water’s edge is adorned with many overhanging trees, some laydowns, and a few patches of American water willows. One of the two smallmouth bass was caught on the initial drop of The Deal TRD MinnowZ in about three feet of water, and this rig also caught four largemouth bass with a swim-and-glide presentation in three to five feet of water. One of the two smallmouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the green-pumpkin TRD MinnowZ rig in about three feet of water, and the initial drop of this rig caught one of the five largemouth bass around a patch of coontail in about five feet of water.

Around a main-lake point that lies in the middle portion of this reservoir, we caught seven largemouth bass. This point possesses a 25- to 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is endowed with patches of American water willows and a few laydowns. Patches of coontail lie in four to eight feet of water. And around those patches of coontail, the seven largemouth bass were caught on the green-pumpkin TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Along more than a 300-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline in the middle portion of the reservoir, we caught two smallmouth bass and three largemouth bass. This shoreline has a 25- to 55-degree slope. The water’s edge is littered with countless overhanging trees and laydowns.  Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. There are occasional patches of coontail in five to nine feet of water. The water exhibited from 12 to 30 inches of visibility. One of the two smallmouth bass was caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig in about four feet of water with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The other smallmouth bass was caught on the intial drop of the coppertruese ZinkerZ rig in three to four feet of water. Two of the three largemouth bass were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in three to seven feet of water, and one of them was caught long the outside edge of a patch of coontail. One of the three largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig around a steep tertiary point.

Across a massive shallow-water flat inside a medium-sized feeder-creek arm in the upper half of the reservoir, we caught four largemouth bass. This flat is endowed with scores of vibrant patches of coontail, and these patches  lie in two to 10 feet of water. Many of these patches have amalgamated.  Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig in about seven feet of water. The other two largemouth bass were caught on the coppertreuse ZinkerZ rig in about seven feet of water. One was caught on the initial drop. One was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Two were caught of a swim-and-glide presentation. They were caught from 30 to 70 feet from the water’s edge.

In sum, it is a rare Midwest finesse outing for us when we catch black bass on eight different rigs. We prefer to catch them on two or three rigs. Even though we caught an average of 13 black bass an hour, which is a bountiful catch rate in northeastern Kansas during the past two years, Bob and I concluded that the fishing was more trying than our catch rate reveals. But Bob also noted that it was more bountiful than his Sept. 6 outing at a northeastern Kansas' power-plant reservoir, where he and two friends struggled to catch 10 smallmouth bass in five hours.

Oct. 9

Tom Bett of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 9 outing at Winnebago Pool, Omro, Wisconsin.

Here is an edited version of his log:

Given my highly variable and generally lackluster performance on Oct. 4, 2019, it appeared the only viable option remaining would be to take the fight to the fish. Thus, when Eric Gilgenbach of Winneconne, Wisconsin, inquired as to the state of my recent productivity and advised me of his availability, I did not have any glowing description of recent results to provide for encouragement. But, like always, we did not really care; we just wanted to go fishing.

Given the flooding of the river and reservoir, the lack of the autumnal forage, and the pending onset of bad weather, we decided to attempt to intercept a few of the black bass before they totally travel out of our reach for the remainder of this calendar year.

Oct. 9 dawned in a beautifully soft and clear manner. The air temperature could be described as mild for the date at this latitude. It was 50 degrees at 8:00 a.m. and 64 degrees at 3:00 p.m.  The sky was cloudless, exhibiting a  beautiful azure-blue hue. The barometric pressure was stable and high, averaging 30.15. The wind angled out of the southeast and south-by-southeast at 12 to 28 mph.

The river’s flow and level was ridiculous. Last year, we endured a record flood, but it was not as severe as this one.

On this Oct. 9 outing, the water level was 0.2 feet above flood stage. It was 3.3 feet above the recent lowest level of the year, which occurred on Sept. 10.

What’s more, it was about 4.5 feet above the median level for this date. The river was flowing at an average rate of 2,800 cubic feet per second, which was 2,000 cubic feet more than the long-term median flow of 800 cubic feet per second for this date.

The surface temperature read 54 degrees at 8:00 a.m. and 57 degrees at 2:00 p.m. The water exhibited a tannic hue, but it was reasonably clear with secchi disk readings somewhere between four and five feet.

We fished for a total of 5 1/2 hours, beginning at 8:45 a.m. and ceasing at 2:15 p.m.

Because of the flooded conditions, we determined our priority would be to search upstream for very selective areas that were protected from strong current. Thus, boat rides were a necessary investment to get us to our potential sites.

Overall, we fished a total of 18 low-current spots. Six spots produced no bites. Seven locations produced one to two bites. Five locales produced either five or six fish. Thus, we never hit the pod, and it was what we called build-a-stringer day. We expected this would be the case, but given the dire circumstances elsewhere on this reservoir, we accepted our fate.

The best of these locations can be described as typical river wing dams, jetties, points, and recessed-backwater-entrance cuts that provided a sharp and effective current break. They also provided adequate depth for the fish. Not many fish seemed to be in one to two feet of water. Most of them are in at least four or more feet of water. And some were in eight to 10 feet around tight-eddy notches that are very  spot-on-spot locations.

Because the gizzard shad population is meager, the fish appeared to be foraging on whatever is available, such as young-of-the-year panfish, log perch, shiners, and sculpins.

Our most effective rig was a Z-Man’s new money Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/8-ounce VMC jig. It caught 55 percent of the black bass. Our second most effective rig was a Z-Man’s yoga pants Finesse TRD affixed to either a black or green-pumpkin 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and it inveigled 30 percent of the black bass.  A green-pumpkin-goby Finesse TRD rig allured a few late-in-the-outing smallmouth bass. The mood ring Finesse TRD, The Deal Finesse TRD,  Drew’s craw Finesse TRD, and mud bug Finesse TRD failed to catch a black bass.

We also tested a few other offerings along the way in an attempt to improve our cast efficiency and to avoid clogging with floating pondweeds, aquatic debris, fallen leaf litter, etc. These included items such as small swim baits, three-inch Texas-rigged beaver-style baits, four-inch grubs, etc. But we found their production was not as effective as our Z-Man’s Finesse TRD rigs by a large and substantial margin. This was perhaps because our best retrieve was based on the drag-and-pause mode, which was occasionally highlighted with a little light shaking. Also, smaller was better on this day.

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We caught 17 largemouth bass, 16 smallmouth bass, three freshwater drum, and one northern pike. Several northern pike cut our lines.  The average size of the black bass ranged from 14 to 18 inches. The long boat rides and the frequent no-wake zones that we encountered reduced the number of casts that we could make on this outing. But we enjoyed the very pleasant weather and our chance to Ned rig the flood.

Oct. 10

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 63 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 71 degrees at 1:52 p.m. The sky was fair at 6:52 a.m. and 7:72 a.m., but during most of this day, it was overcast, and occasionally it rained lightly. The wind angled out of the south and southeast at 7 to 13 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.82 at 12:52 a.m., 29.69 at 5:52 a.m., 29.74 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.71 p.m. at 1:52 p.m.

The NWS predicated that more rain will fall and a significant cold front is on its way, and ultimately area thermometers will plummet to 32 degrees or lower. 

The NWS reports that 44.66 inches of rain has fallen in Lawrence, Kansas, this year, and that is 11.57 inches above normal. (It is important to note that other areas in northeastern Kansas have been waylaid with many more inches of rain than Lawrence has received.)The rain has wreaked havoc with many of the reservoirs that anglers hereabouts traditionally fish. And several of these reservoirs are so flooded that anglers have not been able to fish them since spring. In fact, Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, recently noted that one of his angling friends lamented that he has spent more money in 2019 buying gasoline for his lawnmower than he has for his boat.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing on Oct. 10 would occur from 8:34 a.m. to 10:34 a.m., 8:56 p.m. to 10:56 p.m., and 2:24 a.m. to 4:24 a.m.

I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs from 10:40 a.m. to 1:40 p.m.

The water level looked to be  about six inches above normal. The water exhibited somewhat of a tea hue with 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 66 degrees.

This reservoir’s patches of brittle naiad and bushy pondweed are experiencing their autumnal demise. Its patches of coontail, however, are flourishing, as are its patches of American pondweed and American water willows. During the five decades that I have fished this reservoir, I have never seen the American water willows as substantial as they are this fall. There are a few patches of water primrose intertwined with the patches of American pondweed and American water willows.

During the first hour and two minutes of this outing, I thought that the black-bass quagmire that has afflicted all of the public reservoirs in northeastern Kansas since 2017 had come to an end.

I caught a largemouth bass on my first cast, and during the next 60 minutes, I caught 24 largemouth bass.

They were caught on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse Worm affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-head jig.

Back in the glory days of Midwest finesse fishing, a shortened green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ rig and a Junebug one were our most effective rigs in October.  For instance, at another northeastern state reservoir, Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, and I used a green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ rig on Oct. 2, 2015, to catch 108 largemouth bass in four hours. Then on Oct 8, 2015, Rick Hebenstreit and I used that rig to catch 121 largemouth bass in four hours. These 229 largemouth bass were caught across massive patches of coontail that grace the shallow-water flats inside feeder-creek arms.

Therefore, during this 62-minute largemouth bass bonanza, I was under the delusion at 11:42 a.m. that I was on the way to tangling with 101 largemouth bass in four hours.

But during the next hour and 58 minutes, I struggled to catch 10 largemouth bass.

All 35 of the largemouth bass were caught on the Junebug Finesse WormZ rig. I worked at times with three other standard Midwest finesse rigs that failed to garner a strike.

These 35 largemouth bass were caught along the outside edges of patches of American water willows and around nine riprap jetties. Some were caught on the initial drop of the rig. One was caught on a prolonged deadstick presentation. Some were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation. Some were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. They were caught in water as shallow as 3 1/2 feet and in water as deep as about eight feet. 

The first 25 largemouth bass were caught along about a 300-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline that is enhanced with seven riprap jetties. The other 10 largemouth bass were caught hither and yon along similar shorelines and jetties.

Oct. 14

Ned Kehde posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 14 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 41 degrees at 3:53 a.m. and 72 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sky was fair, and the brightness of the sun was intense. The wind was calm until 7:53 a.m., and then it angled out of the south at 5 to 24 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.02 at 12:53 a.m., 30.02 at 5:53 a.m., 30.02 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.93 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 11:10 p.m. to 1:10 p.m., 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. and 5:21 p.m. to 7:21 p.m.

I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs from 11:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

The largemouth bass fishing at this reservoir has been dismal for a few years, and this year Mother Nature compounded the funk by flooding it several times. Some anglers suspect that a goodly number of largemouth bass were flushed out of the reservoir when several feet of water were flowing across its spillway during the flooding scenarios.

On this Oct. 14 outing, the water exhibited a tea-like hue, and visibility fluctuated from about 12 inches to more than 36 inches. The water level was several inches above its normal level, and a significant stream of water was coursing over its spillway. The surface temperature ranged from 61 to 62 degrees. Through the spring and summer, the flooded conditions seemed to foul the growth of this reservoir’s patches of coontail, but they are now exhibiting an autumnal renaissance, and scores of shallow-water areas are adorned with burgeoning patches of coontail.

I struggled to catch 23 largemouth bass in three hours. Five of them were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. Nineteen of them were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuses 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

Seven largemouth bass were caught along a relatively steep shoreline in the upper half of the reservoir. This shoreline possesses a 30- to 55-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is adorned with a few overhanging trees, three docks, a concrete retaining wall, several laydowns, and patches of American water willows. Some of the patches of American water willows are intertwined with patches of coontail. Six of the largemouth bass were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig while I was making short and delicate underhand pitches to the edges of the American water willow and coontail patches and employing a slow swim-and-glide presentation. One largemouth bass  was caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig around the outside edge of a patch of coontail with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. These largemouth bass were abiding in four to eight feet of water.

One largemouth bass was caught around a flat main-lake point in the upper half of the reservoir. This point has a 25-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. It was caught around a patch of coontail on the TRD TickerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water and about 17 feet from the water’s edge.

Along another shoreline in the upper half of the reservoir, I caught one largemouth bass. This shoreline has a 25- to 35-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is embellished with patches of American water willows, patches of coontail, one overhanding tree, and three docks. This largemouth bass was caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about seven feet of water and 20 feet from the water’s edge.

Two largemouth bass were caught along a short portion of another shoreline in the upper half of the reservoir. This shoreline has a 25- to 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is embellished with several patches of American water willows, patches of coontail, and five docks. Both of the largemouth bass were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation in six to seven feet of water and 10 to 20 feet from the water’s edge.

Along a 400-yard stretch of a shoreline in the upper half of the reservoir, I caught five largemouth bass. This shoreline has a 25- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is embellished with a few patches of American water willows, many patches of coontail, many stretches of concrete and rock retraining walls, a few overhanging trees, and scores of docks. One largemouth bass was caught under a dock in about six feet of water on the initial drop of the TRD TicklerZ.

One largemouth bass was caught around a patch of American water willows on the initial drop of the TRD TicklerZ rig in about three feet of water. Three of the largemouth bass were caught around outside patches of coontail in six to seven feet of water on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Along a very short portion of another shoreline in the upper half of this reservoir, I caught one largemouth bass. This shoreline has a 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is embellished with a minor patch of American water willows, two docks and significant patches of coontail. This largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the TRD TicklerZ rig next to the outside edge of the patch of American water willows in about four feet of water.

Along about a 90-foot stretch of a flat shoreline in the lower half of the reservoir, I caught two largemouth bass. This shoreline has a 25-degree slope. Its water’s edge is graced with patches of American water willows and thick patches of coontail. Both of the largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig around the patches of coontail in about five feet of water. One was caught on the initial drop of the rig, and the other one was caught of a swim-and-shake presentation.

Along the dam, I caught three largemouth bass. The dam possesses a 40-to 70-degree slope. Its water’s edge is graced with patches of American water willows and coontail. Some of the coontail patches are intertwined with American water willows. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. One largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the TRD TicklerZ on the outside edge of some American water willows. The other two were caught on the initial drop of the Finesse ShadZ rig along the outside edge of some American water willows that were intertwined with coontail. These three largemouth bass were caught in four to five feet of water.

In conclusion, I was disheartened again with the state of the largemouth bass fishing at this reservoir.

Oct. 15

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 15 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 60 degrees at 8:53 a.m. and 65 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being fair to being littered with a few clouds to being overcast to being partly cloudy. The wind angled out of the south, southwest, west, northwest, and north at 8 to 26 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.86 at 12:53 a.m., 29.85 at 5:53 a.m., 29.98 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.86 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 11:33 a.m. to 1:33 p.m., 11:55 p.m. to 1:55 a.m., and 5:44 a.m. to 7:44 a.m.

Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 9:51 a.m. to 1:51 p.m.

The water level looked to be a few inches above its normal level. The water clarity looked as if it was being affected by an algae bloom that traditionally erupts at most of the flatland reservoirs that stipple northeastern Kansas. Because of this bloom, the water exhibited a half of a foot to 3 1/2 feet of visibility. (It is interesting to note that on September 27 the water at this reservoir exhibited 10 feet of visibility at several locales.) The surface temperature was 64 degrees. Many of the patches of American water willows that grace some of this reservoir’s shorelines are turning yellow. Its vast arrays of coontail patches are still very green, but they were not as robust as they have been, and a goodly number of them look as if they are somewhat wilted.

The patches of brittle naiad and bushy pondweed are wilting and dying.

We caught eight smallmouth bass and 56 largemouth bass, and we inadvertently caught one freshwater drum and one walleye.

Five smallmouth bass were caught on a slightly shortened Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Three smallmouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TickerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Twenty-nine largemouth bass were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig. Twenty-three largemouth bass were caught on the Hula StickZ rig. Three largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

Around patches of coontail on a shallow-water flat in the back of a small feeder-creek arm, we caught one largemouth bass on the Hula StickZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about seven feet of water and many yards from the water’s edge. The water exhibited about 3 1/2 feet of visibility. This feeder-creek arm is situated in the middle portion of this reservoir.

At the back of a large feeder-creek arm in the middle section of the reservoir, we caught one largemouth bass. It was extremely wind-blown, and the water exhibited six to 12 inches of visibility. This largemouth bass was caught around one of dozens of patches of coontail that grace a massive shallow-water flat. It was caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water and about 50 feet from the water’s edge.

In the back of this same large feeder-creek arm, we caught one largemouth bass. The water exhibited about 2 1/2 feet of visibility. This shoreline and its points have a 35-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Some of this terrain is embellished with patches of coontail. The water’s edge is adorned with many overhanging trees, some laydowns, and a few patches of American water willows. The water exhibited about 15 inches of visibility. This largemouth bass was caught adjacent to a laydown on the initial drop of the TRD TicklerZ rig in about four feet of water.

Around a main-lake point that lies in the middle portion of this reservoir, we caught eight largemouth bass. This point possesses a 25- to 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is endowed with patches of American water willows and a few laydowns.

Patches of coontail lie in four to eight feet of water. The water exhibited about 3 1/2 feet of visibility. And around those patches of coontail, seven largemouth bass were caught, and one largemouth bass was caught near the outside edge of a patch of American water willows in about three feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Three largemouth bass were caught on the Hula StickZ rig, and one of them was caught on the initial drop, and the other two were caught on a swim-glide-shake presentation. Four largemouth bass were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig, and two were caught on the initial drop, and two were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Around several large patches of coontail, a few patches of American pondweed, and six patches of American water willows that grace a large and flat main-lake shoreline and its adjacent main-lake point, we caught 13 largemouth bass. Two of these patches of coontail lie about 90 feet from the water’s edge. This shoreline and point are situated in the middle section of the reservoir. Its underwater terrain consists primarily of gravel, but it is occasionally adorned with several boulders. The water exhibited about 3 1/2 feet of visibility. The TicklerZ rig caught seven of the largemouth bass. The Hula StickZ rig caught six of largemouth bass. One largemouth bass was caught along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows on the initial drop of the Hula StickZ in about 3 1/2 feet of water. The other 12 largemouth bass were caught around the patches of coontail in five to eight feet of water. A few were caught along the inside edges of the coontail patches. Others were caught in the middle of the coontail patches or near the outside edges of these patches. They were caught on either the initial drop of our rigs or on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Along about a 250-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline and around two main-lake points, we caught nine largemouth bass. It possesses a 25- to 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Some of the boulders are extremely large. The water’s edge is adorned with patches of American water willows and a few laydowns. Patches of coontail adorn many spots along the shoreline and around one of the two points. The water exhibited about 3 1/2 feet of visibility. One largemouth bass was caught on the TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about seven feet of water. The Hula StickZ rig caught three largemouth bass with a strolling-and-drag presentation in about six feet of water around patches of coontail.

The TRD TicklerZ rig caught six largemouth bass, and one was caught on the initial drop in about three feet of water, and another one was caught on a deadstick presentation in about five feet of water, and  two were caught on a strolling-and-drag presentation in about six feet of water, and two were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water.

On a massive shallow-water flat inside a small feeder-creek arm in the lower half of the reservoir, we caught seven largemouth bass in about seven feet of water and about 100 feet from the water’s edge. The water exhibited from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 feet of clarity This flat is embellished with thick patches of coontail. One largemouth bass was caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Three largemouth bass were caught on the Hula StickZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught three largemouth bass.

Around a flat main-lake shoreline and its two flat main-lake points in the lower half of the reservoir, we caught one smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 35-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks.  The water's edge is embellished with American water willows, which are interlaced with patches of coontail. The Hula StickZ rig caught one largemouth bass while strolling with a drag-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water. The TRD TicklerZ with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught the smallmouth bass along the outside edge of the American water willows, and it caught a largemouth bass while strolling with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water.

We caught four smallmouth bass and three largemouth bass along the dam. One largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass were caught on the Hula StickZ rig. One smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig. They were caught in three to six feet of water. The four smallmouth bass were caught on the initial drop of these rigs. The largemouth bass were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The dam has a 40- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of rocks.  Parts of the underwater terrain are embellished with patches of coontail. The water exhibited 2 1/2 to 31/2 feet of visibility.

Along a 40-yard section of a steep shoreline adjacent to the dam, we caught three smallmouth bass. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and there are occasional patches of coontail gracing some of its shallow-water areas. The water’s edge has many overhanging trees, a few patches of American water willows, and some laydowns. This shoreline was slightly wind-blown, and the water exhibited about 15 inches of visibility. Two of the three smallmouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the Hula StickZ rig in about six feet of water.  The initial drop of the TRD TicklerZ rig caught the other smallmouth bass in about six feet of water.

Across a massive shallow-water flat inside a medium-sized feeder-creek arm in the upper half of the reservoir, we caught nine largemouth bass. This flat is endowed with scores of coontail patches that lie in two to 10 feet of water. Many of these patches have become intertwined. Seven of the largemouth bass were caught on the Hula StickZ rig on either the initial drop or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Three were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. They were caught from 40 to 90 feet from the water’s edge and in six to nine feet of water.

Despite the October woes of a significant algae bloom and a blustery wind, it was a relatively fruitful outing for 2019. Nowadays our goal is to catch 61 black bass in four hours, and we surpassed that goal. Before 2018 and 2019, our grand goal was to catch 101 black bass in four hours. We have no idea if those 101 bass days will ever return.

Oct. 15

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

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

I have not fished since Sept. 26. A couple of family obligations have taken up all of my time. But I had an opportunity to fish on Oct. 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with John Thomas of Denton, at a north-central Texas’ state reservoir that has been our most bountiful venue over the past few months. This is the first time that John and I have ever fished at this reservoir in October. 

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 5:57 a.m. to 7:57 a.m., 11:46 a.m. to 1:46 p.m., and 12:08 p.m. to 2:08 p.m. 

The morning low temperature was 69 degrees. The afternoon high temperature peaked at 92 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.88 at 9:00 a.m. and 29.82 at 2:00 p.m. Ten to 15-mph winds quartered out of the south and southwest. The sky conditions transitioned from overcast to partly cloudy.

The water level was 4.64 feet below normal. The water was murkier than usual and exhibited between 10 and 18 inches of clarity. The surface temperature varied from 72 degrees in the main-lake areas to 75 degrees inside two major creek arms in the reservoir’s upper end.

We began the outing in the southwest portion of the reservoir. We dissected five rock- and boulder-laden shorelines inside two coves and two main-lake points at the entrance to those coves. The shorelines and points have a 30- to 45-degree gradient. They are festooned with thick mats of hydrilla that are matted on the surface and extend about 25 to 30 feet from the water’s edge. We fished these areas twice, and we caught 12 largemouth bass and two spotted bass from the outside edges of the hydrilla mats in eight to 15 feet of water.

Six of these 12 black bass were caught on a Z-Man’s purple death TRD TicklerZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Six were caught on a swimming retrieve with a black 1/10-ounce  Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig dressed with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s space guppy Slim SwimZ. One largemouth bass was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ attached to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and one spotted bass was caught on a swimming retrieve with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ matched with a black 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. 

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By the time we finished plying these two coves and points, the sky conditions began to change from overcast to partly cloudy, and when the sun began to shine, our black bass bite quickly petered out. 

In the midsection of the reservoir, we failed to locate any threadfin shad or black bass around two main-lake islands, on an offshore submerged hump, around seven main-lake points and along three adjoining rocky main-lake shorelines, around two rock jetties that form the entrance to a spillway channel, along the riprap of the dam and two secondary points adjacent to the dam, around four rocky secondary point and in the back ends of two coves inside a minor feeder-creek arm, and around a rock-covered causeway. 

We did catch two spotted bass from two other rock jetties in five to eight feet of water on the east side of the reservoir. These rock jetties form the entrance to two coves. One was caught on a swimming retrieve with the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig, and the other one was enticed by a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rig.

We located three pods of shad inside the two coves next to the rock jetties, but we were unable to elicit any strikes along the shorelines close to where we found the shad.

After that miserable and frustrating spell, we decided to move to the north end of the impoundment, and we ventured inside two major feeder-creek arms. We caught five largemouth and spotted bass inside the first creek arm.

One largemouth was caught along  one of two rock bluffs on a swimming retrieve with the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig in 11 feet of water. We hooked and lost two other bass along this same bluff on the same Slim SwimZ rig and the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ combo. 

Two largemouth bass were caught in five feet of water from a flat and rocky secondary point about a quarter of a mile north of the rock bluff. One was caught on a slow swimming retrieve with a Z-Man’s pearl GrubZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and the other one was caught on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig and a swimming retrieve.

One spotted bass was caught in three feet of water along a flat clay and gravel shoreline inside a cove adjacent to the rocky secondary point where we caught the two largemouth bass. It was caught on the initial fall of the pearl GrubZ.

We did not locate any other black bass from another rock bluff and two other steep secondary points.

Inside the other major creek arm just south of the one we just fished, we were disheartened to find that the water was muddy with less than a foot of visibility. We decided not to waste any time plying this muddy creek arm, so we left without making a cast.

In closing, it appears that the annual fall black bass migration has begun. Main-lake lairs that were once fruitful during the summer are now devoid of any shad and bass. We had to cover a lot of water, and these 21 black bass were scattered here and there. They were caught inside one major creek arm, inside three coves, and around two rock jetties. We probed more locales where we did not elicit a strike or catch a bass than areas where we caught a bass or two. 

We used several Midwest finesse offerings throughout the day. And four of them were effective. Those four were the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig, 2 1/2-inch space guppy rig, 3 1/2-inch pearl GrubZ rig, and the purple death TRD TicklerZ rig. We employed our Slim SwimZ and GrubZ rigs with a swimming retrieve, and the TRD TicklerZ  was used  with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Oct. 17

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 17 outing. 

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

Fall is definitely in the air. A couple of significant cold fronts have passed through north-central Texas during the past few days, and it looks like the long streak of  humid 100-degree days have come to an end for this year.

Norman Brown of Lewisville and I relished a beautiful fall day at one of several U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs that grace the countryside in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area.

It was partly cloudy with an abundance of sunshine. The morning low temperature was a chilly 46 degrees and the afternoon high temperature peaked at 75 degrees. A light 3- to 5-mph wind meandered out of the south and southeast. The barometric pressure measured 30.08 at 11:00 a.m. and 29.96 at 3:00 p.m. 

According to In-Fisherman’s solar calendar, the most productive fishing would occur from 1:12 a.m. to 3:12 a.m., 7:24 a.m. to 9:24, and 1:36 p.m. to 3:36 p.m. 

The water exhibited about 14 inches of visibility. The surface temperature was 72 degrees. The water level was 2.58 feet low. 

This reservoir’s underwater terrain consists of red clay, gravel, rocks, and countless submerged boulders. There is no aquatic vegetation, but there are a few areas in the back of the larger feeder-creek arms where the decaying remnants of flooded standing timber and submerged stumps still exist. 

Norman and I made our first casts around 11:30 a.m. We made our last ones at 3:42 p.m. 

It was disappointing that the fishing failed to as pleasant as the weather. We had to work hard and cover a lot of water for the few bites we could muster, and our best efforts garnered 14 largemouth bass and one spotted bass.

We caught them inside three feeder-creek arms around two rock bluffs, a floating tractor-tire reef, two steeply-sloped rocky shorelines, and three rocky secondary points with gradients of 35 to 50 degrees. Significant schools of threadfin shad were also present at these locations. Thirteen of the black bass were abiding in three to 12 feet of water, and the other two were suspended about three to five feet below the surface in 31 to 39 feet of water in close proximity to a floating tractor-tire reef.

We failed miserably to locate any large concentrations of black bass. One rocky secondary point relinquished four largemouth bass, but the other seven locales that we probed inside the creek arms yielded only one or two bass each. 

Main-lake points, flats, and the riprap that covers the dam were fruitless.

Our most potent Midwest finesse rig was a Z-Man’s white lightning Finesse TRD matched with a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

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

Oct. 21

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 15 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

In northeastern Kansas, the months of March and October battle each other for being the windiest times of the year. Oct. 22 was a windy day indeed. It began howling before 5:00 a.m. and continued past 5:00 p.m.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 45 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 58 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the southwest and west at 7 to 35 mph. The sky fluctuated from being fair to being mostly cloudy to being overcast. The barometric pressure was 29.54 at 12:53 a.m., 29.54 at 5:53 a.m., 29.57 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.63 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would transpire from 5:05 a.m. to 7:05 a.m., 5:34 p.m. to 7:34 p.m., and 11:19 p.m. to 1:19 a.m.

I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs from 10:51 a.m. to 2:19 p.m.

The water level looked to be six inches below normal. The surface temperature was 60 degrees. The water clarity fluctuated from exhibiting about 12 inches to about 30 inches of visibility. Only very minor remnants of this reservoir’s once bountiful patches of submerged aquatic vegetation are in existence, and those remnants look to be on their death beds.

During this three-hour and 29-minute windblown ordeal, I struggled to catch 27 largemouth bass and inadvertently tangled with three green sunfish, two crappie, and one channel catfish. I elicited 11 strikes that I failed to hook.

A Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught 15 largemouth bass. A Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShrooomZ jig caught five largemouth bass. A Z-Man’s purple death  TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught five largemouth bass. Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s pearl TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

I used a gargantuan wind-sock to ply a windblown shoreline inside a small-feeder creek arm, another windblown shoreline inside a large feeder-creek arm, and one main-lake point.

Around the windblown main-lake point, I caught two largemouth bass on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig as I was strolling and employing a swimming presentation in about six feet of water. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It possesses a 45- to 50-degree slope.

Along a 50-yard stretch of a wind-blown shoreline inside a small feeder-creek arm, I caught two largemouth bass. It has a 45-degree slope. The water’s edge is adorned with patches of American water willows and two overhanging trees. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. One largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows in about 2 1/2 feet of water. The other largemouth bass was caught on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-shake presentation in about three feet of water near the outside edges of some American water willows.

Along about a 250-yard stretch of a windblown shoreline inside a large feeder-creek arm, I caught two largemouth bass. This shoreline has a 45-to 70-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. Its water’s edge has scores of patches of American water willows, four docks, several stumps, seven laydowns, and several overhanging trees. These largemouth bass were caught on the pearl TRD TicklerZ rig. One was caught on the initial drop in about three feet of water along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows. The other one was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about four feet of water in the vicinity of patches of American water willows.

Along two shorelines inside a large feeder-creek arm that was relatively wind-free, I caught one largemouth bass along about a 150-yard stretch of one of the shorelines and 18 largemouth bass along about a 200-yard stretch of the other shoreline. These shorelines possess a 30- to 50-degree slope. Their water’s edges are adorned by patches of cattails, American water willows, laydowns, stumps, overhanging trees, and the remnants of a beaver hut. Their underwater terrains consist of gravel, rocks, and some occasional boulders.

Five largemouth bass were caught on the purple death TRD TicklerZ rig on either the initial drop or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The Junebug Finesse ShadZ rig caught five on either the initial drop or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig caught nine largemouth bass on either the initial drop or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. They were caught in two to about five feet of water.  Six of the 19 largemouth bass were caught under overhanging trees. Three were caught around laydowns. Three were caught around rocky terrains. Seven were caught around patches of American water willows.

I caught two largemouth bass along about a 200-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline that was sheltered from the wind. This shoreline has a 25- to 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and boulders. It is graced with eight patches of American water willows and one dock. Both of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig along the outside edge of one of the patches of American water willows in about 2 1/2 feet of water.

In conclusion, the state of the largemouth bass fishing at this reservoir has been very trying since early July. And Mother Nature’s windy ways on Oct. 21 made it even more difficult. 

Oct. 21

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 21 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log: 

Two intense thunderstorms walloped north-central Texas during the evening hours of October 20 and early morning hours of October 21. But by 7:00 a.m., the storms had moved to the east and the overcast sky had cleared. The morning low temperature on Oct. 21 was 52 degrees. The afternoon high temperature climbed to 74 degrees. The barometric pressure was 29.92 at 11:00 a.m. and 29.88 at 4:00 p.m. A 10- to 20-mph wind quartered out of the north and northwest throughout the day. 

In-Fisherman’s solunar table noted that the most lucrative fishing periods on Oct. 21 would occur from 5:12 a.m. to 7:12 a.m., 11:03 a.m. to1:03 p.m., and 5:41 p.m. to 7:41 p.m. 

From about 11:08 a.m. to 4:08 p.m., Norman Brown of Lewisville and I plied the southwest tributary arm of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir that lies in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area. This reservoir is a different one than the one we fished on Oct. 17, and this one has been one of our more challenging venues this year.

The aftereffects of the thunderstorms made the water murkier than usual; it exhibited between eight and 14 inches of clarity. Floating leaves, branches, and other debris littered the water’s surface in a couple of the feeder-creek arms. The surface temperature ranged from 71 to 72 degrees. The water level appeared to be more than four feet low, and many of the productive clusters of submerged boulders and patches of flooded stickups that we usually dissect in the shallow-water areas are now on dry land or are situated in only an inch or two of water along the water’s edge.

Red clay, gravel, rocks, and numerous submerged boulders make up the majority of this reservoir’s submerged terrain. There is no aquatic vegetation.

The black bass fishing at this reservoir was not as difficult during this outing as it has been, but it was still slow. We caught 15 largemouth bass, four spotted bass, and one white bass in five hours, and none of them were grouped together. 

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Fifteen of them were scattered in two to five feet of water inside three feeder-creek arms. Thirteen of them were associated with several steeply-sloped and rocky secondary points and a boat ramp in the lower half of those three creek arms. The other two were residing on a pea-gravel flat inside one of the three creek arms.

One largemouth and two spotted bass were caught around two wind-blown main-lake points in three to five feet of water.

One largemouth was caught in four feet of water next to a riprap-covered embankment underneath a large bridge.

We failed to locate any shad or black bass along two other riprap-laden bridge embankments, two flat main-lake shorelines, and around several concrete support columns underneath a bridge. 

A steady swimming retrieve with a three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ matched with either a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig or a 1/8-ounce Blakemore Roadrunner underspin-type jig caught 18 of the 19 black bass and the one white bass. 

A swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rigged on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Mans’s Finesse ShroomZ jig inveigled one largemouth bass.

Seven other Midwest finesse rigs that we employed with either a steady swimming action or a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve failed to generate any strikes.

Oct. 22

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

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

From about 11:30 a.m. to 4:41 p.m., John Thomas of Denton and I plied an exurban U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in north-central Texas. 

The best fishing, according to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, would occur from 6:08 a.m. to 8:08 a.m., 11:54 a.m. to 1:54 p.m., and 6:37 p.m. to 8:37 p.m.

It was a beautiful fall day. The sunlit sky was cloudless. The morning low temperature was 46 degrees, and the afternoon high temperature was 75 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.24 at 11:00 a.m. and 30.16 at 4:00 p.m. The wind was light and variable.

The water exhibited about 2 1/2 feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 71 to 73 degrees. The water level was about a foot low.

Our goal was to catch 32 black bass in four hours, but we failed to reach it. Instead, we caught 30 largemouth bass and three spotted bass in five hours and 11 minutes, which is a decent outing for the waterways in this part of Texas. 

We caught them on two Midwest finesse rigs. A three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught 23 of these 33 black bass. And a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ affixed to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig allured the other 10 black bass. 

The three-inch pearl Slim SwimZ was employed with a steady swimming retrieve. The mud minnow Hula StickZ was utilized with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. 

We spent the afternoon searching for threadfin shad, largemouth bass, and spotted bass inside four feeder-creek arms, along two main-lake bluffs, around the east end of the dam, and at three main-lake points. All of these locations are located in the lower end of the reservoir.

We caught one largemouth bass and one spotted bass in seven to 10 feet of water around several large boulders that adorn one main-lake point at the mouth of one of the four feeder-creek arms. Three largemouth bass were caught from another main-lake point at the mouth of another feeder-creek. The third main-lake point and a short section of its adjoining main-lake shoreline were unproductive.

We were unable to locate any shad or black bass around the riprap that covers the east end of the dam.

The two main-lake bluffs were also devoid of threadfin shad and black bass. 

Of the four feeder-creek arms that we investigated, three of them were productive. The first creek arm was fruitless. The second one surrendered seven largemouth bass and one spotted bass. The third one yielded 12 largemouth bass and one spotted bass. The fourth one relinquished seven largemouth bass. 

All of these 28 black bass were caught in the lower half of the creek arms near small schools of shad. We found a few pods of shad in the upper ends of the creek arms, but we did not find any largemouth or spotted bass associated with them. 

The bulk of these bass were caught in three to five feet of water from flat pea-gravel shorelines and pockets with patches of American pondweed, hydrilla, and flooded stands of timber. A few of them were caught next to two shallow rock ledges in five to eight feet of water. 

We failed to elicit any strikes from steep and rocky secondary points and shorelines, floating tractor-tire reefs, and patches of flooded stick ups in these creek arms.

In short, the mouths and lower portions of feeder-creek arms have become more fruitful than main-lake lairs. And as the water temperatures continue to fall from the low 70s and into the 60s in the upcoming days and weeks, we hope it will become easier for us to locate larger aggregations of black bass and catch them in the midsections and upper ends of the feeder-creek arms.

Oct. 24

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 24 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I have not been members of the Bass Fishing 101 Club since Oct. 9. 2015. To become members, we have to catch 101 black bass in four hours, and on that 2015 outing, we caught 121 largemouth bass between the hours of 9:55 a.m. and 1:55 p.m. We almost garnered that membership during our Oct. 24, 2019, outing, but it took us four hours and one minute to catch largemouth bass number 101.

Nevertheless, it was our most fruitful outing in 2019 and 2018 and 2017. In fact, it was so fruitful and delightful that we decided to fish a little longer by allowing the mild-mannered north wind to gently propel us back to the boat ramp, which took 53 minutes.  During that spell, we caught another 21 largemouth bass, which is a total catch of 122 largemouth bass in four hours and 53 minutes and an hourly average of 25 an hour.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 41 degrees at 8:53 a.m. and 46 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being overcast to being mostly cloudy to being partly cloudy. The wind has howled for a number of days, but it finally ceased howling after 5:53 a.m. (I tried to fish on Oct. 22 at a state reservoir and on Oct. 23 at a community reservoir, but upon arriving at the boat ramps at these reservoirs, the wind and the ranks of white caps were walloping these ramps so severely that I opted to go home rather than launch the boat and try to fish.)  At 6:53 a.m. on Oct. 24, the wind was angling mild-manneredly out of the north at 9 mph, and from then on, it angled out of the north and northeast at 7 to 15 mph. This was the first cold wind of the fall, and our old bodies -- especially our fingers --became very uncomfortable at times during the first 2 1/2 hours that we were afloat. The barometric pressure was 30.15 at 12:53 a.m., 30.28 at 5:53 a.m., 30.38 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.31 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 7:43 a.m. to 9:43 a.m., 8:10 p.m. to 10:10 p.m., and 1:29 a.m. to 3:29 a.m.

We fished seriously at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs from 10:38 a.m. to 2:39 p.m. And then we rather nonchalantly fished from 2:39 p.m. to 3:32 p.m. During this outing, we were the only anglers afloat, which is a rare occurrence at this exurban reservoir.

The water level was normal. The surface temperature was 58 degrees. The water exhibited about six feet of seechi-stick visibility.  In our eyes, this reservoir has the finest patches of emergent and submerged patches of aquatic vegetation in northeastern Kansas.

While we were seriously fishing, we caught 40 largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. A slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig caught 39 largemouth bass. Seventeen largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce TT Lures’ NedlockZ jig. A  3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig caught three largemouth bass. A Drew’s craw Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught two largemouth bass.

Across a massive shallow-water flat in the back of one large feeder-creek arm, we caught 48 largemouth bass. This flat is adorned with submerged patches of brittle naiad and many vibrant patches of coontail. It is also graced with patches of American water willows and lily pads. A few locales are littered with several laydowns and brush piles. We fished a portion of this flat that is the size of 2 1/2 football fields. The entire flat is the size of six football fields. Twenty-one largemouth bass were caught on the green-pumpkin Finesse TRD rig. Seventeen of the 48 were caught on the Finesse Wormz rig. Nine were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig. One was caught on the Drew’s craw Finesse TRD rig. Most were caught around patches of coontail. A few were caught along the outside edges of the American water lilies and lily pads. Four were caught in the vicinity of laydowns and man-made brush piles. Some were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Some were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One was caught on a deadstick presentation. They were caught in three to seven feet of water.

Across a small shallow-water flat inside a tiny feeder-creek arm, we caught three largemouth bass. This flat is the size of about three tennis courts. It is embellished with patches of coontail and American water willows, as well as several man-made brush piles. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the green-pumpkin Finesse TRD rig with a slow swimming presentation in about five feet of water around patches of coontail. The third one was caught on the initial drop of the Drew’s craw Finesse TRD rig around a brush pile and patches of coontail in about five feet of water.

Along a 75-yard stretch of a shoreline and a secondary point inside one of this reservoir’s large feeder-creek arms, we caught four largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 30- to 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is adorned with American water willows, laydowns, and overhanging trees. Patches of coontail are intertwined with some of the laydowns and patches of American water willows. These four largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the Finesse WormZ rig along the outside edges of the American water willows in about four feet of water.

Across another enormous shallow-water flat in the back of another large feeder-creek arm, we caught 46 largemouth bass. This flat is adorned with significant patches of coontail. Its shorelines and one partially submerged hump are embellished with patches of American water willows. A few spots are adorned with laydowns and man-made brush piles. This flat is about the size of four or five football fields. We rather meticulously dissected significant portions of this flat. Three of the 46 largemouth bass were caught on the 3 1/2-inch GrubZ rig. Eight of them were caught on the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig. The green-pumpkin Finesse TRD rig caught 17 largemouth bass. The Finesse WormZ rig caught 18 largemouth bass. They were caught in four to seven feet of water. All of them were caught around patches of coontail. A goodly number were caught with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Some were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. One was caught on a deadstick presentation. We caught largemouth bass number 101 on this flat.

After we caught largemouth number 101, we made the slow and relaxing jaunt back to the boat ramp by allowing the north wind to propel the boat along about 350 yards of shorelines, across several small shallow-water flats, around some tertiary points, around two main-lake points, and over several significant rock piles. The shorelines have a 25- to 70-degree slope, and the water’s edges are lined with American water willows, some laydowns, and a few overhanging trees. The underwater terrains of the shorelines consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The shallow-water flats are graced with patches of coontail and a few man-made brush piles. While we were leisurely blowing with the wind and casually fishing, we caught 21 largemouth bass. The Drew’s craw Finesse TRD rig caught one largemouth bass, a Z-Man’s purple death TRD TicklerZ caught seven largemouth bass, and the green-pumpkin Finesse TRD rig caught 14 largemouth bass. One largemouth bass was caught on a rock pile. One was caught on a small coontail-endowed shallow-water flat. Four were caught on a slightly larger coontail-endowed shallow-water flat. Two were caught around one of the main-lake points. Thirteen of the 21 were caught along the shorelines. Two were caught while we were strolling. The rest were caught on the initial drop of our rigs or with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. They were caught in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as seven feet.

In short, we old codgers had a difficult time keeping our hands warm, but those 122 largemouth bass kept us from complaining too much about our first cold-weather outing of the fall. 

Oct. 25

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 39 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 55 degrees at 3:53 p.m. It was overcast until after 10:53 a.m., and then it was fair for the rest of the day. The wind angled out of the north and northeast at 3 to 18 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.33 at 12:53 a.m., 30.34 at 5:53 a.m., 30.35 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.21 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 8:35 a.m. to 10:35 a.m., 9:02 p.m. to 11:02 p.m., and 2:22 a.m. to 4:22 a.m.

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, took me fishing to one of northeastern Kansas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs. The water level was 1 1/2 feet above its normal level. There were 20 cubic feet per second of water being released through the dam’s outlet. The water exhibited 10 to 19 inches of seechi-stick visibility. The surface temperature was 58 degrees.

We fished from 9:47 a.m. to 3:16 p.m. in pursuit of this reservoir’s largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass.

Since 2017, this reservoir’s bountiful population of smallmouth bass has dwindled dramatically. The last time that I had a stellar smallmouth-bass outing at this reservoir was on Aug. 9, 2016, when Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, and I caught 111 smallmouth bass from 10:25 a.m. to 2:25 p.m. along the dam.

During the 1980s, this reservoir’s largemouth bass population began to wane significantly, and for years on end, it was a struggle for Midwest finesse anglers to catch a goodly number of them. What’s more, it has been recently affected by the largemouth bass virus. But during this summer and fall, several Midwest finesse anglers have noticed that there is a minor largemouth bass renaissance occurring, and at times, these anglers are able to catch eight to 10 tiny largemouth bass an hour.

During the five-hours, 29-minutes that Bob and I were afloat, we struggled to catch 28 largemouth bass, 13 smallmouth bass, and two spotted bass. But as we worked to catch those 43 black bass, we accidentally caught several other species: 30 white bass, seven freshwater drum, one channel catfish, one crappie, and one green sunfish. That bumped our catch rate from 7.8 black bass an hour to 15 fish per hour, which somewhat helped us to keep the sorry-fishing tedium at bay.

In short, it was such a helter-skelter affair that I do not have the ability to adequately describe what transpired.

But I do know that seven largemouth bass, two smallmouth bass, and one spotted bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Six largemouth bass and eight smallmouth bass were caught on a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl GrubZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Five largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. A Z-Man’s pearl Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig caught seven largemouth bass, one smallmouth bass, and one spotted bass. Two largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s pearl TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. A Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce TT Lures’ NedlockZ jig caught one largemouth bass.

But I do not remember how, when, and where we caught the channel cat, crappie, freshwater drum, green sunfish, and white bass.

Some of the 83 fish were caught on the initial drop of our Midwest finesse rigs. Some were caught on a swimming-and-shake-or-twitch presentation. Others were caught on a swim-and-glide presentation. They were caught in about two to five feet of water.

We began the outing inside a medium-size feeder-creek arm that is situated slightly more than four miles from the dam. The nearest that we ventured to the dam was a main-lake shoreline about three-quarters of a mile from it.

The underwater terrains that we fished consist of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Some of the water’s edges of the areas that we fished were adorned with slightly flooded terrestrial vegetation. Some of these areas had a 20-degree slope; some had a 30-degree slope; some had a 45-degree slope.

We fished around 10 main-lake points, and four of the 10 were somewhat fruitful. Those four points yielded five smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass.

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We fished short portions of three main-lake shorelines, which yielded one spotted bass and four largemouth bass.

The other 32 black bass were caught along shorelines, tertiary points, and secondary points inside small and medium-size feeder-creek arms. Inside these feeder-creek arms, scores of small gizzard shad and some brook silversides were abiding along the water’s edges of some of the shorelines and points.

We failed to establish a solid or consistent location pattern. We caught some around boulders and rock piles many feet from the water’s edge. Others were caught around the slightly flooded terrestrial vegetation and a few from the water’s edge. We caught a few around relatively flat and gravel-laden locales. We caught some along rock-laden shorelines that had a 25- to 30-degree slope. The flatter locales seemed to be more fruitful than the steeper ones, but we failed to keep a detailed analysis of what we call the slope factor.

During every outing, I hanker to catch vast numbers of black bass, and the size of them does not matter. Thus, this outing’s hourly average of 7.8 black bass an hour did not impress me. Bob, however, likes to catch big fish. He was impressed with the size of five of the smallmouth bass that we tangled with, and he also liked the size of several of the freshwater drum and the channel catfish.

Oct. 28

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 28 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

John Thomas of Denton, Texas, and I journeyed to a Civilian Conservation Corps’ hill-land reservoir in south-central Oklahoma to pursue smallmouth bass.

The main purpose of this outing was to determine the effectiveness of the Z-Man’s yoga pants TRD HogZ on smallmouth bass. It was matched with a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and employed with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

We have used the yoga-pants TRD HogZ rig for largemouth bass in several north-central Texas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs with mixed results, but we have not tried this rig on smallmouth bass until now.

The local weather forecast for Oct. 28 was way off the mark. The original forecast reported that the morning low would be 46 degrees and the afternoon high would be 75 degrees. It was also supposed to be mostly sunny.

Much to our dismay, the day was cold, overcast, and dreary. We were not properly dressed for the cold, and our hands and feet became numb by the time this four-hour and 18-minute endeavor came to an end. A light drizzle also fell on us during the early afternoon hours, which made it feel colder. The morning low temperature was 44 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 45 degrees. The barometric pressure varied from 29.98 to 29.87. The wind blew incessantly out of the north and northwest at 13 to 15 mph.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would most likely occur from  4:53 a.m. to 6:53 a.m., 5:20 p.m. to 7:20 p.m., and 11:33 p.m. to 1:33 a.m.  John and I fished from 10:00 a.m. to 2:18 p.m.

An eerie fog was covering most of the impoundment. The 64-degree water temperature was 20 degrees warmer than the air temperature.  The water was murkier than usual from recent thunderstorms and exhibited about two feet of clarity. The water level appeared to be a couple of feet high.

Since we were inadequately dressed for these cold-weather conditions, we wanted to stay out of the cold north wind as much as possible. Therefore, we spent our time in the lower end of the reservoir searching for a few smallmouth bass lairs that were protected from the wind. Ultimately, we plied two main-lake points and portions of their adjacent main-lake shorelines, a section of a main-lake island’s shoreline, a small segment of a submerged roadbed inside a minor feeder-creek arm, and two rocky bluffs inside a major feeder-creek arm. We also used our sonar to look for smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, spotted bass, and threadfin shad inside another major feeder-creek arm without any success.

Our usual goal is to catch 32 black bass in four hours, and we accomplished that goal this time. We caught 29 smallmouth bass and three largemouth bass in three hours and 56 minutes. We fished for another 22 minutes after we caught smallmouth bass number 32, but we could muster only one more smallmouth bass before we became too cold to continue fishing and headed back to the boat ramp. All of them were caught on the yoga pants TRD HogZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

The west shoreline of the main-lake island yielded one largemouth bass and five smallmouth bass. This shoreline is covered with two to eight feet of water and is adorned with large submerged boulders, a couple of small patches of cattails, and a few small submerged stumps. These black bass were caught around the submerged boulders in three to five feet of water.

We caught five smallmouth bass from the first main-lake point and a 50-yard stretch of it’s adjoining shoreline. Another 40-yard main-lake shoreline and its adjacent main-lake point that lies about a mile from the first one, yielded three smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass. The underwater terrains of these points and shorelines are similar and are comprised of sand, gravel, baseball-size rocks, and some large boulders. They also possess a 30- to 45-degree gradient. These nine black bass were caught in three to eight feet of water and were relating to the sides of the larger submerged boulders.

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Inside one minor feeder-creek arm, we probed a small portion of a submerged roadbed that courses across the middle of the creek arm and is covered with four to 12 feet of water. The edges of the roadbed are lined with large submerged boulders and rocks. This roadbed yielded one smallmouth bass that was caught from the top of the roadbed in 11 feet of water. The remainder of the roadbed that we fished was fruitless.

Inside one of the two major feeder-creek arms that we investigated, we slowly probed a rocky bluff on the north side of the creek arm and another long bluff on its south side.

The north-side bluff yielded 10 smallmouth bass, three green sunfish, and one channel catfish. They were suspended about five to eight feet below the surface in 14 to 31 feet of water. Most of these smallmouths were caught next to submerged boulders along the face of the bluff, but a couple of them were caught in more open water about 15 to 20 feet from the water’s edge.

The long bluff on the south side of the creek arm was not as bountiful as the north one, but it surrendered another six smallmouth bass, one largemouth bass , and one large bluegill. These bass were also suspended about five to eight feet beneath the surface in water that was as shallow as 15 feet and as deep as 44 feet. Four of them were associated with the large submerged boulders that adorn the face of the bluff. Two were caught about 25 to 30 feet away from the water’s edge.

In short, we caught 30 smallmouth bass and three largemouth bass in these winter-like weather conditions, and we will add the yoga pants TRD HogZ rig to our repertoire of smallmouth bass offerings.

Oct. 29

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 29 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 32 degrees from 12:53 a.m. to 8:53 a.m., and by 2:53 p.m. it warmed up to only 34 degrees. The sky was overcast. Before midnight, it snowed a tad. The wind angled out of the north, northwest, and northeast at 5 to 13 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.16 at 12:53 a.m., 30.22 at 5:53 a.m., 30.30 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.24 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11:26 a.m. to 1:26 p.m., 11:53 p.m. to 1:53 a.m., and 5:39 a.m. to 7:39 p.m.

My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 10:31 a.m. to 2:43 p.m., and we were dressed in our heart-of-the-winter wardrobes. I even had to resort to using a hand warmer at times.

The surface temperature ranged from 52 degrees in the upper reaches of this reservoir’s primary feeder-creek arms to 56 degrees around a main-lake point in the middle portions of this reservoir. The water exhibited three to four feet of seechi-stick visibility, but there were a few locales where the visibility looked to be  slightly less than three feet. The water level looked to be a few inches above its normal level. This reservoir’s vast patches of lily pads are dead and brown, and its patches of American water willows are beginning to exhibit their wintertime motifs. Its patches of coontail are quite vibrant.

In four hours, we caught 77 largemouth bass, two smallmouth bass, and one white crappie. And we fished for 11 more minutes and caught four more largemouth bass.

One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. We caught two smallmouth bass on a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Four largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Eleven largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig. Sixty-five largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD affixed to either a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig or a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

Three of the 83 black bass were caught on a deadstick presentation. Some were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. The others were caught on either a swimming presentation or a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

We caught them in water as shallow as two feet and as deep as seven feet.

One flat main-lake point that is endowed with a vast array of coontail was fruitless. This point is situated in the middle of the reservoir.

A 75-yard stretch of a steep main-lake shoreline was fruitless.

We caught one largemouth bass on the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig around patches of coontail on a shallow-water flat in the back of a small feeder-creek arm that is situated in the middle portions of the reservoir. It was caught on a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

Around a main-lake point in the middle of the reservoir, we caught four largemouth bass. Three of them were caught of the Finesse TRD rig with a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. One was caught on a deadstick presentation with the Finesse ShadZ rig. This point has a 25- to 50-degree slope. It is surrounded by deep water. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is adorned with patches of American water willows and several significant laydowns. It is also embellished with an array of coontail patches. Two of the four largemouth bass were caught around the coontail patches. The other two were caught around laydowns.

Inside a large feeder-creek arm, we caught four largemouth bass along about a 125-yard stretch of a shoreline. This feeder creek is situated in the middle of the reservoir. One of the largemouth bass was caught on the Finesse ShadZ , and three were caught on the Finesse TRD rig. This shoreline has a 25- to 35-degree slope.  Its shoreline is adorned with laydowns and overhanging trees. Two of the largemouth bass were caught in the vicinity of the laydowns and overhanging trees. The other two were caught around some of the rocks and boulders. Around one of this shoreline’s secondary points, we caught a smallmouth bass on the Finesse TRD rig in the vicinity of some coontail patches. All of these fish were caught on a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation.

Across a massive shallow-water flat in the back of this large feeder-creek arm, we caught 21 largemouth bass. This flat is endowed with untold numbers of patches of coontail, which are highlighted with a few shallow-water brush piles. We dissected an area about the size of 2 1/2 football fields. Nineteen of the 21 largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse TRD rig on either the initial drop or with a swimming presentation, which was occasionally highlighted with a slight pause. The Slim SwimZ rig with a swimming retrieve inveigled two of the largemouth bass. These largemouth bass were abiding around the patches of coontail and from five yards to 50 yards from the water’s edge.

In the upper half of the reservoir and across a shallow-water flat inside a medium-size feeder-creek arm, we caught 14 largemouth bass.  Seven of them were caught on the Slim SwimZ rig with a swimming presentation, and seven were caught on the Finesse TRD rig on either the initial drop or a swimming presentation. This flat is about the size of three football fields, and it is festooned and interlaced with a multitude of coontail patches.  These largemouth bass were abiding around the patches of coontail. They were many yards from the water’s edge.

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Along a massive shoreline in the upper half of the reservoir, we caught one smallmouth bass and 19 largemouth bass.  This shoreline possesses a 25- to 55-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders.  It possesses two secondary points and several tertiary points. Its water’s edge is garnished with occasional patches of American water willows, one patch of wilting water primrose, many laydowns, and an array of overhanging trees. Patches of coontail also grace some of this shoreline’s flatter terrains. The smallmouth bass was caught on the Finesse TRD rig. Two largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig, and one of them was caught on a deadstick presentation, and the other one was caught on a swimming presentation. The Slim SwimZ rig caught two largemouth bass on a swimming presentation. And the Finesse TRD rig caught 19 largemouth bass on either the initial drop or a swim-glide-and-subtke-shake presentation. Some were caught along the outside edge of the patches of American water willows. One was caught in the vicinity of a patch of American water willows and water primrose on a secondary point. Some were caught around the laydowns. Some were caught around patches of coontail. A few were caught along the rock-laden terrain. Two largemouth bass were caught around one of the tertiary points.

On a massive shallow-water flat in the back of this reservoir’s primary feeder-creek arm, we caught six largemouth bass. These largemouth bass were abiding around patches of American water willows and patches of coontail in two to three feet of water. They were caught on the Finesse TRD rig with a swimming retrieve.

Along  a 150-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline in the upper reaches of this reservoir, we caught 12 largemouth bass on the Finesse TRD rig on either the initial drop or a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation. This shoreline is endowed with several tertiary points. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It has a 25- to 55-degree slope.  Its water’s edge is endowed with occasional patches of American water willows, many laydowns, and several overhanging trees.  Some of its flatter and shallower areas are furbished with coontail patches. These largemouth bass were caught around either the patches of American water willows or the laydowns.

In short, it was our second most fruitful outing of 2019. Our best outing occurred five days ago when Rick and I caught 122 largemouth bass at one northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs in four hours and 53 minutes.

During the first hour of our Oct. 29 outing, it was a struggle to catch 10 largemouth bass. But during the following three hours and 11 minutes, we caught 71 largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass, which is an hourly average of 19. Even though we failed to reach our coveted goal of catching  25 black bass in four hours, it was a classic and fruitful cold-weather outing in northeastern Kansas. We caught them in the traditional cool- and cold-water locales. And as long as these reservoirs are ice-free, we should be able to catch significant numbers of largemouth bass on the shallow-water flats that are endowed with a bounty of submerged aquatic vegetation in November, December, January, February and early March.

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