Midwest Finesse Fishing: September 2019

Midwest Finesse Fishing: September 2019

Our September guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 18,992 words and 19 logs. It features the insights and tactics of Rick Allen of Dallas; Tom Bett of Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Eric Gilgenbach of Winneconne, Wisconsin, Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas; Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia; 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.

Sept. 1

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 1 outing.


Here is a condensed and edited version of his report:


I had not visited today’s water, which I call the bobcat hole, since 2017. The numerous floods in 2018 made our river and this hole impossible to fish.


Early in 2019, I had told many of the river-smallmouth-bass anglers that I converse with regularly that my goal this year was to catch 20 smallmouth bass that measured 20 inches, which is a big task.

On this outing, I caught four 20-inchers, which upped my total to 11 20-inch smallmouth bass for 2019. And the best time for tangling with this river’s 20-inchers lie ahead during the cold-water days in the fall.

The bobcat hole is by no means an easy spot to reach. Once you’re in it, you have to be good on the paddle, and that is because steep canyon walls flank both sides of the river and it is miles upon miles to the nearest takeout. It resembles a scene from the movie “Deliverance.”


In past years, I have been brave enough to try this stretch in October. Today’s outing would be exhausting, but I would not need to carry extra thermal clothing or fire making materials. Yet, I always carry first-aid gear in my kayak for fear of a broken ankle or a snake bite.

I launched my Jackson Big Tuna kayak under extremely cloudy and menacing clouds. It was 62 degrees. The relentless clouds did not provoke a storm.

The water visibility was at a season high, exhibiting about 10 feet or more of visibility, which is a testament to how hot and dry this summer has been. On the weak side of the river, a cloak of moss covered the entire bottom in one to four feet of water.


I would keenly guess the water flow was about 85 cubic feet per second.

Upon launching, I headed downriver to the bobcat hole that is adorned with a series of undulating benthic ridges of granite flanked from the sun on both sides by sheer vertical cliffs.

It is a three-mile endeavor and before getting there, I would fish seven riffles. Before I arrived at one of those riffles, I stayed on the extreme weak side of the current, and before I reached the riffle, I anchored my kayak. Then, I walked downstream and fished. After I fished the riffle, I would walk back up the river to retrieve my kayak and float through where I had just fished. I repeated that scenario seven times.

As I fished those seven riffles, I stood on the weak side of the river and made casts to every crevice and dark spot, which were situated in three feet or less of water along the strong side of the river. I caught 29 smallmouth bass and a couple of dozen hefty panfish. Most of these fish were caught on the initial drop of my rig, and I kept the tip of my rod high and tried to execute an extremely slow drop.

When I reached the final riffle, I had to drag my kayak down what is now a ledge, which has become about a four-foot waterfall. After I dragged my kayak down the ledge and waterfall, I paddle to my aimed destination.

As I rounded the last bend, my eyes focused on what my wife and I affectionately labeled the bobcat hole. It is where we had seen a bobcat perched above the cliff's walls many times in years past. Today, I could have labeled it the black-bear hole.

Straightaway, I noticed that there were now hundreds of yards of logjams adorning the walls of the cliff on the strong side of the river. I knew from past years that the depth of the water along the strong side of the river ranged from a depth of seven to 17 feet. At the end of this stretch, there was a six-foot waterfall. I was eager to dissect those logjams and the deep water adjacent to them.

These logjams consist of giant red oak trees.

At the first logjam, I crossed to the weak side and put my Yak Attack stake-out pole into the bottom to anchor my kayak. I began to walk and wade.

I made my first cast, which was a long-range and underhand one, when I was about 40 feet from the first logjam. As soon as it reached the edge of the logjam, I could see -- even with the cloud cover -- numerous fish of various species stacked underneath.

After I thoroughly dissected the first logjam, I walked back to my kayak and moved downstream to the next logjam.

As I fished, I played with drop rates and presentations. Most strikes occurred on the drop. Underhand and long-range pitches with nary a ripple upon the surface were the most effective.

After more than 35 years of pursuing smallmouth bass in lakes and rivers, this was as good as I have witnessed.

I did get to witness at least two 20-inch or larger smallmouth bass attempt to make a pass at my rig, but a large panfish reached it first.

I also saw what may be the biggest river smallmouth bass that I have ever seen. The biggest one that I have caught is a 24-incher, which I caught in 2017.

What an outing. I spent 6 1/2 hours going down and back up the river.

I caught 17 smallmouth bass on a shortened Z-Man’s goby-bryant Finesse TRD affixed to a 1/32-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye jig. Sixteen smallmouth bass, one five-pound channel catfish, and several panfish were caught on a Z-Man’s mudbug TRD HogZ affixed to a customized 1/20-ounce jig. Six smallmouth bass, one channel catfish, and numerous panfish were caught on a shortened Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ affixed to a 1/32-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye jig. Ten smallmouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s mud bug TRD BugZ affixed to a customized 1/20-ounce jig. Six smallmouth bass and many panfish were caught on a Z-Man’s shiner Finesse ShadZ affixed to a 1/32-ounce VMC’s NME Neon Moon Eye jig.

The barbs on the hooks were flattened. And each rig was regularly coated with a customized mixture of Pro-Cure Bait Scents’ Super Gels.

As I headed back upriver and exited the canyon walls, I saw a black bear about 50 yards ahead of me. This is not a strange occurrence. We have often seen them at our bird feeders at the house. But I had not witnessed one on the river this year.

I cannot remember a more enjoyable day. I just wish that my favorite fishing partner (my wife) or my buddy Adam Fancovic of Olney, Maryland, had joined me.

Sept. 3

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 3 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

I fished at a problematic U.S. Army Corps’ of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

I have not seen any hint of fall in north-central Texas yet. The morning hours of Sept. 3 were humid with a low temperature of 83 degrees. The afternoon high temperature was 96 degrees with a heat index of 102 degrees. There was barely a hint of wind, and what little smidgeon there was of it came out of the east and northeast at less than 5 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.98 at 7:00 a.m. and 29.98 at 11:00 a.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing should occur from 2:36 a.m. to 4:36 a.m., 8:49 a.m. to 10:49 a.m., and 3:02 p.m. to 5:02 p.m.

The water level was 0.59 of a foot below its normal summer pool. Depending on where I was fishing, the water exhibited between 10 and 24 inches of clarity. The surface temperature varied from 87 to 88 degrees. I did not find any evidence of a thermocline.

I fished in the midsection of the reservoir’s southwest tributary arm, where I dissected the perimeter of a main-lake island, five main-lake points, portions of a long and rocky shoreline, a large main-lake flat, portions of a second feeder-creek arm, and the area around the north end of a bridge.

Around the perimeter of the island, I caught three white bass in eight to 11 feet of water while steadily swimming a three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ that was attached to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. I failed to locate any largemouth bass or spotted bass abiding around this island. This island is about half the size of a baseball field. The south and west ends are rocky and festooned with the remnants of flooded terrestrial vegetation. Its east and north shorelines are composed of mostly clay, pea gravel, and a few remaining patches of flooded stickups. A shallow creek channel runs parallel to the east side of this island.

From the island, I moved westward and further back in the southwest tributary arm, where I slowly dissected five prominent main-lake points.

These five points are littered with numerous submerged rocks and boulders. They have an incline of 30 to 45 degrees. They had attracted small schools of small two-inch threadfin shad, and I failed to generate a single strike from a largemouth bass or spotted bass from around any of these five points.

After that, I concentrated my efforts on a 500-yard stretch of a long shoreline on the north side of the tributary arm. This shoreline encompasses many small tertiary points, seven main-lake points, a couple of submerged rock ledges, and about a dozen small pockets or cuts. Most of this shoreline is fairly steep with a 40- to 60-degree gradient. Its underwater terrain consists of red clay, pea gravel, large rocks, and boulders.

I caught 10 largemouth bass, five spotted bass, and one freshwater drum along this 500-yard stretch of shoreline. Six of them were caught in two to three feet of water and around patches of submerged rocks inside the small pockets. The other nine were caught in less than five feet of water from the ends of the small rocky tertiary points at the mouths of the small pockets. None of the small pockets or tertiary points surrendered more than one bass. All 15 of these largemouth bass and spotted bass were enticed by a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ matched to a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

I was unable to provoke any strikes from the submerged boulders and rocks that cover the larger main-lake points along this shoreline.

Inside the second feeder-creek arm, which also lies on the north side of the tributary arm, I caught three largemouth bass. They were caught in the lower end of the creek arm near its mouth. Two were caught from the east side of the creek arm, and one was caught from the west side. One was caught from the end of one rocky secondary point in five feet of water. The second one was caught from the side of another secondary point in three feet of water, and the third one was caught from a laydown on a rocky shoreline in four feet of water. They were all caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rig.

From that feeder-creek arm, I moved back out to the main-lake and dissected a large clay and pea gravel flat that is adorned with several large patches of flooded stickups. This flat is located a short distance from the creek arm that I just left. Much to my chagrin, I failed to elicit any strikes here.

I then took about 35 minutes and ventured into the back end of this tributary arm where the water displayed 10 inches of visibility, and I did not find any shad, largemouth bass, or spotted bass in this area.

My final stop was the shaded side of a riprap-covered embankment on the north side of a bridge, I caught three largemouth bass here. They were scattered and abiding in three to six feet of water and within 10 feet of the water’s edge. They were caught on the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Overall, the bass fishing was better than I expected. I caught 21 black bass, three white bass, and one freshwater drum in 3 1/2 hours. Sixteen of the black bass were largemouth bass and five were spotted bass. Most of them were smaller specimens, but eight of them were over 14 inches. The largest one was a largemouth that weighed three pounds and 11 ounces.

During this outing, I found the majority of the black bass scattered around in the main-lake areas. I did not find any significant numbers of shad or black bass beginning their annual fall migration into the creek arms, but I did manage to catch three largemouth bass inside the lower end of one of the feeder-creek arms.

I welded the Z-Man’s Dew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rig for almost this entire outing, and it caught all of the black bass. The most productive presentation was a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Sept. 5

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

Rick Allen of Dallas joined me for a three-hour excursion to a nearby U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

Rick had hip-replacement surgery the first week of June, and he has been recuperating at home this summer. His recovery has been going well, and he was ready to get back on the water for a short outing.

The weather in north-central Texas has remained the same as it has been for the past month. The days are uncomfortably hot. The humidity has been oppressive too, and during this outing, Rick and I had to put down our rods occasionally and wipe the condensation off our sunglasses.

Area thermometers registered the morning low temperature at 76 degrees and the afternoon high was 97 degrees. There was not a cloud around for miles. There also was no wind to speak of. The barometric pressure was relatively stable and measured 30.05 at 7:00 a.m. and 30.07 at 10:00 a.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the most productive fishing periods would occur from 4:28 a.m. to 6:28 a.m., 10:41 a.m. to 12:41 p.m., and 4:54 p.m. to 6:54 p.m. We fished from 7:22 a.m. to 10:22 a.m.

The water was murky and exhibited about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 87.4 degrees. The water level was 0.60 of a foot above its normal summer pool. The surface of the water was mostly calm, exhibiting barely a ripple now and then.

We spent our time searching for largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass in the northern region of the impoundment. We concentrated our efforts inside a major feeder-creek arm and along three main-lake points just west of this feeder creek.

The black bass fishing at this reservoir has been good all summer long, and it was stellar this day as well. We caught 34 largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and two white bass during this three-hour jaunt, and it has been quite some time since we have caught 12 bass per hour at any of the waterways in north-central Texas and southern Oklahoma.

We began the morning fishing inside the major feeder-creek arm. We located several small schools of largemouth bass foraging on small two-inch threadfin shad on the surface of the water in the midsection of a small creek channel. The portion of the creek channel where we encountered these bass is situated in the lower end and on the east side of the feeder-creek. It is covered with water as shallow as 15 feet and as deep as 27 feet. This stretch of the creek channel winds its way between a small island and a steep rock bluff before it ends inside a small cove. We caught 21 largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and two white bass as they were chasing two-inch threadfin shad on the surface in the middle of the creek channel.

Sixteen largemouth bass and the two white bass were caught on a swimming retrieve with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ attached to a black 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a slightly shortened Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ that was rigged on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two more largemouth bass were enticed into striking a slightly shortened Z-Man’s smelt TRD MinnowZ fastened on a black 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One largemouth engulfed a Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ that was mounted on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

The surface-schooling activity lasted for about 35 minutes, and when it fizzled out, we moved to the rock bluff just north of the small island. This bluff is about 40 yards long with water as deep as 23 feet next to it.

This bluff yielded three largemouth bass that were suspended about four to six feet below the surface. One was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s bama bug TRD BugZ that was rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. The second one was caught on a swimming retrieve with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ that was threaded on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. The third bass was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rig.

From that bluff, we moved to the west side of the creek arm to another rocky bluff. This bluff is about 75 yards long and buffeted with 19 to 32 feet of water. And as we pulled up to the north end of it, we spoke with another boat angler. During our conversation with him, he reported that he was having a difficult time locating any bass. He told us that he had fished along several secondary points further up in the creek arm where he usually catches a few bass, but this time he had caught only one largemouth bass. As we were talking, he kept fishing and he caught a bluegill on a white tandem-blade spinnerbait. He left shortly after we spoke.

As Rick and I fished down this bluff, we caught two largemouth bass and one spotted bass. One largemouth and the spotted bass were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ. The other largemouth was caught on the bama bug TRD BugZ combo and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. These three bass were suspended about four to six feet below the surface of the water and were associated with some of the submerged boulders next to the face of the bluff.

After we finished fishing this second bluff, we ventured out into the main-lake area where we dissected three prominent points.

These three points are steep with about a 45- to 60-degree incline. Their underwater terrains are similar and consist of red clay, gravel, and rocks and boulders of various sizes. One of the points has a couple of stair-step ledges along one of its sides.

We concentrated on the shady side of these three points and we caught five largemouth bass and one spotted bass in four to seven feet of water along the stair-step ledges at the first point, three largemouth bass were caught in four to six feet of water from the second point, and we failed to garner any strikes from the third point.

Six largemouth bass were caught with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rig. One largemouth was caught on the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ combo as it was being slowly dragged behind the boat and down the stair-step ledges with the trolling motor. Another largemouth bass was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man’s The Deal TRD TubeZ matched with a blue 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. And one spotted bass was caught on the bama bug TRD BugZ with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

The weather forecast is calling for more 100-plus degree days during the next week, but we are ready for cooler weather and the first signs of fall now.

Sept. 9

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

John Thomas of Denton and I ventured to a popular and heavily fished north-central Texas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir. It has also been one of the most frustrating and vexing waterways that we have fished this year.

It was sunny on Sept. 9, and about 20 percent of the sky was covered with puffy white clouds that reminded us of large cotton balls. The wind blew incessantly out of the south, southeast, and southwest at 10 to 15 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.86 at 8:00 a.m. and 29.87 at 1:00 p.m. The morning low temperature was 82 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 100 degrees.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the most lucrative fishing periods would occur between 1:32 a.m. and 3:32 a.m., 7:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., and 8:10 p.m. to 10:10 p.m. John and I fished from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The water level at this impoundment was 0.30 of a foot low. The surface temperature ranged from 84 degrees in the main-lake to 86 degrees in the back of one of the major feeder-creek arms. The water exhibited about three feet of clarity.

We focused our attentions on a riprap jetty, its adjacent riprap-laden shoreline, a rocky main-lake shoreline, five main-lake points, and portions of two major feeder-creek arms. These locales are located in the southern and middle sections of the reservoir’s east tributary arm.

We began the morning fishing areas that were shaded from the sun. We caught one largemouth bass and one spotted bass in three to five feet of water from a wind-blown riprap jetty. These bass were caught on a Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ fastened on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. It was employed with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

In three to five feet of water along an adjacent shady riprap-laden shoreline just north of the riprap jetty, we caught two spotted bass and one largemouth bass. The two spotted bass were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ. The largemouth bass was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD BugZ that was mounted on a red 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

At a shaded rocky main-lake shoreline and its adjacent main-lake point just south of the riprap jetty, we caught two spotted bass and another largemouth bass in three to five feet of water. This shoreline is flat and consists of red clay, gravel, large rocks, and partially-flooded stick ups. These three black bass engulfed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ that was matched to a black 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig as we were swimming it around the outside edges of the patches of partially-flooded stick ups.

At another shady main-lake point about a quarter of a mile north of the last one we fished, we caught two spotted bass and one large bluegill. This point is relatively flat with a submerged terrain that is composed of red clay, gravel, and large basketball-size rocks. Both of these spotted bass were attracted to the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The large bluegill was caught on the Canada craw TRD BugZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We then moved to the mouth of a major feeder-creek arm in the middle section of the east tributary arm. This feeder-creek arm encompasses several secondary points with long adjoining sections of rocky shorelines, and four large coves. Its underwater terrain consists of red clay, gravel, large rocks and submerged boulders. The coves and the upper end of this creek arm are cluttered with acres of flooded standing timber, countless submerged stumps, and some laydowns.

The south entry point to this creek arm and its adjacent rocky shoreline yielded two largemouth bass. They were scattered along the rocky shoreline in three to five feet of water. Two were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man’s The Deal TRD TubeZ on a blue 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. The other one was caught on the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We decided to investigate a submerged roadbed that lies in the back end of one of the large coves on the north side of this creek arm. It is about 75 yards long. The top of the roadbed is covered with about two to three feet of water, and its sides are lined with thick stands of standing timber.

We worked our way from the west end of the roadbed to its east end, and we caught only one largemouth bass. This bass was abiding in eight feet of water off one side of the roadbed and was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the 2 3/4-inch The Deal TRD TubeZ rig.

After we finished fishing this roadbed, we left this feeder-creek arm and travelled to the west side of the tributary arm, where we fished at a main-lake point at the entrance to another large feeder-creek arm. It was taking the brunt of the 15-mph winds and white-capping waves.

This main-lake point extends about 25 yards out from the water’s edge. The tip and one side of the point quickly descend into 41 feet of water. The other side of the point slowly drops into 11 feet of water. Its underwater terrain consists of large rocks, boulders, gravel, red clay, and some thin patches of flooded stick ups.

We used the Spot-Lok feature on the trolling motor to hold the boat in a stationary position in the wind, and we caught 43 largemouth bass and spotted bass from the end and one side of this point in six to 11 feet of water.

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Thirty of them were caught on the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Twelve were enticed into striking a Z-Man’s blue steel Finesse ShadZ that was attached to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and employed with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One was caught on a Z-Man’s white lightning Finesse TRD that was fastened to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and utilized with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Inside of this creek arm, we fished along a submerged rock ledge and its adjacent secondary point just inside the mouth of this creek arm. We caught one largemouth bass from the rock ledge in six feet of water, and one largemouth from the rocky secondary point in three feet of water. Both of them were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rig.

We also meandered to the back end of this creek arm, where we discovered that the water temperature was 86 degrees. We did not locate any threadfin shad, largemouth bass, or spotted bass in the back of this creek arm.

In sum, we were delighted to tangle with 58 largemouth and spotted bass during this five-hour endeavor. It is also the most bountiful outing we have enjoyed at this reservoir in many, many months.

Our most productive lure by far was the Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rig. A swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most effective presentation.

We were able to determine that rocky main-lake points and shorelines were the most productive areas and yielded 53 of these 58 black bass. We caught five black bass inside the two major creek arms, and four of them were caught near the mouth of those feeder creeks. One largemouth bass was caught from a roadbed in the midsection of one creek arm, and we did not find any shad or black bass in the back ends of the two large feeder-creek arms.

Sept. 10

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

It was a disheartening year for northeastern Kansas anglers in 2018. And to our dismay, 2019 has been even more heartbreaking.

Paul Finn of Olathe, Kansas, summed it up in his Sept. 9 email to the Finesse News Network by saying: “This has been the strangest and toughest year of fishing in my 35 years of fishing [in] Kansas.”

I have been in such a morose state about our fishing that I have not fished since Aug. 29. On Sept. 10, I finally got a hankering to go fishing, and I ventured to one of our many community reservoirs.

One level measure of how wretched our largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing has become was exhibited at the boat ramp at this reservoir. Other than my vehicle, there was not another vehicle in the parking lot, and I did not see another angler while I was afloat.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 74 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 85 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The wind blew out of the south at 10 to 24 mph. The sky was mostly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 29.98 at 12:53 a.m., 29.99 at 5:53 a.m., 30.05 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.05 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 8:19 a.m. to 10:19 a.m., 8:43 p.m. to 10:43 p.m., and 2:07 a.m. to 4:07 a.m.

The water level looked to be a tad above its normal level. The surface temperature ranged from 79 to 81 degrees. The water exhibited three to seven feet of visibility. Patches of coontail were abundant. Some of the coontail patches were intertwined with brittle naiad and bushy pondweed. There is one massive water lily patch, and occasional patches of American water willows and American pondweed.

I fished from 9:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., and I caught 56 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass.

That smallmouth bass looked to be about a four pounder, and it is the biggest one that I have caught for many months. (The smallmouth bass population, which used to be stellar in several our reservoirs, is in a sorry state of affairs. Back in 2013 through 2016, we caught and released significant numbers of various sizes of smallmouth bass, and two of them weighed six pounds, six ounces and six pounds, 10 ounces. Back then, we were also able to occasionally catch and release100 or more largemouth bass during a four-hour outing. And the last time that we caught and released more than 100 smallmouth bass in four hours was on Aug. 9, 2016.)

A 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught 46 largemouth bass. A Z-Man’s meat dog TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught eight largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught two largemouth bass.

By 12:04 p.m., I had caught 47 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass, and during the next 101 minutes, I struggle to catch 10 largemouth bass.

Inside a medium-size feeder-creek arm in the upper half of this reservoir, I caught 17 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. They were caught across a massive shallow-water flat that is embellished with coontail patches in five to seven feet of water. Eight largemouth bass were caught on the GrubZ rig. Seven largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass were caught on the TRD MinnowZ rig. Two largemouth bass were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig. Some were caught on the initial drop of those rigs. Some were caught on a swimming presentation. Some were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Inside a large feeder-creek arm in the lower half of the reservoir, I caught 15 largemouth bass. They were caught across a massive shallow-water flat that is adorned with patches of brittle naiad, coontail and some brush piles in four to seven feet of water. They were caught on the GrubZ rig on either the initial drop or a swimming presentation.

Along a flat main-lake shoreline and point in the middle of the reservoir, I caught 13 largemouth bass. The underwater terrain consists of sand, gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. It is graced with six patches of American water willows that are interlaced with American pondweed. The submerged aquatic vegetation consists of coontail, bushy pondweed, and brittle naiad. These 13 largemouth bass were caught on the GrubZ with a swimming presentation.

Around a steep main-lake point in the middle of the reservoir, I caught six largemouth bass. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. It is graced with a patch of American water willows. The submerged aquatic vegetation consists of coontail, bushy pondweed, and brittle naiad. The boat floated in 18 to 22 feet of water. These six largemouth bass were caught in five to 10 feet of water on the GrubZ rig with a swimming presentation.

At another a steep main-lake point in the lower half of the reservoir, I caught two largemouth bass. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. It is graced with a patch of American water willows. The submerged aquatic vegetation consists of coontail, bushy pondweed, and brittle naiad. There are also several laydowns. The two largemouth bass were caught while they were foraging on the surface about 40 yards from the water’s edge. They were caught on the GrubZ. One was caught with a swimming presentation, and the other was caught on the initial drop.

Along a short stretch of the dam, I caught one largemouth bass. The underwater terrain consists of rocks. Patches of coontail abide in four to eight feet of water. I caught this largemouth bass on the TRD MinnowZ rig as I was strolling it with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation around a coontail patch in about six feet of water.

One largemouth bass was caught on a flat main-lake point in the lower half of the reservoir. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The submerged aquatic vegetation consists of coontail, bushy pondweed, and brittle naiad. There are several laydowns and some overhanging trees along the water’s edge. This largemouth bass was caught around a laydown and overhanging tree in about three feet of water on the initial drop of the GrubZ rig.

One largemouth bass was caught on a massive shallow-water flat in the upper reaches of this reservoir’s primary feeder-creek arm. It was caught around a patch of coontail in about four feet of water on the GrubZ rig with a swimming presentation.

The first 113 minutes of this outing reminded me of the good ol’ days in northeastern Kansas. But the next 101 minutes brought me back to the woeful days of 2019.

Sept. 13

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 13 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

From about 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., John Thomas of Denton and I fished at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas. It is a different Corps’ impoundment than the one we fished on Sept. 9.

Upon our arrival at the boat ramp, we were surprised to see quite a few water skiers, wake boarders, jet skiers, and other fishing boats on the water. The busy boat traffic resembled that of a weekend day instead of a weekday, and we had to share most of our fishing areas with other boat and shoreline anglers.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the best fishing would occur from 4:23 a.m. to 6:23 a.m., 10:34 a.m. to 12:34 p.m., and 10:55 p.m. to 12:55 a.m.

It is still hot and humid in north-central Texas. Area thermometers registered the morning low temperature at 84 degrees at 6:00 a.m. and the afternoon high temperature reached 102 degrees by 1:00 p.m. The barometric pressure measured 30.10 at 7:00 a.m. and 30.14 at noon. The wind was light and variable. The sky conditions varied from mostly cloudy to partly cloudy.

The water exhibited between 1 1/2 to two feet of visibility. The surface temperature varied from 84 to 85 degrees. The water level was about a quarter of a foot below normal summer pool.

Our spinning outfits sported the following Z-Man Fishing Products’ Midwest finesse offerings: a 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a black 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ fastened to a chartreuse 1/8-ounce Blakemore Roadrunner underspin jig, a white lightning Finesse TRD matched to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, a 2 3/4-inch Drew’s craw TRD TubeZ affixed on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, a Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ attached to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, a blue steel Finesse ShadZ threaded on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, a purple death TRD TicklerZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, a bama bug TRD BugZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, and a four-inch watermelon-red Finesse WormZ rigged wacky style on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The black bass bite has slowed down a tad at this Corps’ reservoir. Over the past few weeks, we have relished several 30-plus bass outings, but we had to work hard and cover a lot of water to catch 23 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one smallmouth bass this time. And while we were searching for large aggregations of black bass, we inadvertently caught two large bluegills, one green sunfish, and a freshwater drum.

Inside a major feeder-creek arm on the north end of the reservoir, we caught 12 largemouth bass and two spotted bass. Seven of them were caught in a creek channel in 18 to 27 feet of water while they were foraging on small two-inch threadfin shad on the surface of the water. Three largemouths were caught in five to 12 feet of water along a rock bluff on the east side of the creek arm, and two largemouth bass and two spotted bass were caught in eight to 15 feet of water next to a rock bluff on the west side of the creek arm.

We caught three largemouth bass from four rocky main-lake points that are situated along the reservoir’s northern shoreline.

One largemouth was caught in four feet of water off the side of one of the four points. The other two largemouths were caught in 12 feet of water from the end of another main-lake point as they were chasing shad on the surface of the water. We failed to elicit any strikes from the other two rocky main-lake points. These points are flat and their underwater terrains are composed of red clay, fist-size rocks, many submerged boulders, and gravel.

On the south end of the reservoir, we failed to locate any black bass or threadfin shad at two prominent rocky main-lake points, at an offshore submerged hump, and inside another large feeder-creek arm.

We caught eight largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass in eight to 17 feet of water and about 15 to 25 feet out from the riprap that covers the dam. This dam forms the east boundary of the reservoir, and we fished about two-thirds of it.

Ten of these 26 black bass were caught on the Z-Man’s white lightning Finesse TRD, six were caught on the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ, six were caught on the bama bug TRD BugZ, three were caught on the wacky-rigged four-inch watermelon-red Finesse WormZ, and one was caught on the purple death TRD TicklerZ.

All of these lures were presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We failed to catch a largemouth bass, spotted bass, or smallmouth bass with the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ, the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ underspin, the 2 3/4-inch Drew’s craw TRD TubeZ, and the blue steel Finesse ShadZ rigs.

In sum, we found the black bass that inhabit this Corps’ reservoir were very skittish and difficult to catch, and there were long spells were we made scores and scores of casts and retrieves without garnering a strike. And to our dismay, the surface-feeding activity has dwindled considerably, and the few largemouth bass that were foraging on the surface were difficult to approach without spooking them.

Sept. 16

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 16 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 71 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 90 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The sky was fair. The wind angled out of the south and southwest at 3 to 9 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.06 at 12:53 a.m., 30.08 at 5:53 a.m., 30.11 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.06 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 12:14 a.m. to 2:14 a.m., 12:34 p.m. to 2:34 p.m., and 6:24 a.m. to 8:24 a.m.

My 79-year-old body, mind, and soul does not have the wherewithal that it had four and five years ago. Therefore, I do not want to drive 50 to 75 miles, fish for four or five hours, and drive another 50 to 75 miles to get home. Nowadays, this old man’s driving radius is no more than 40 miles. This summer, however, many of the reservoirs that are situated within that 40-mile radius have been waylaid by Mother Nature’s rainy ways and some other woes.

So far in September we have had only 0.47 inches of rain around Lawrence, Kansas, and I was hoping that one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs that lies about 23 miles from our front door would have recovered from July’s and August’s deluges.

But when I arrived at the boat ramp, I was disappointed to see that the water clarity was lackluster. And the entire reservoir was affected by an algae bloom. The surface temperature ranged from 80 to 82 degrees. The water level was slightly above normal. Most of this reservoir’s patches of American water willows were impossible to fish because the outside edges of these patches were cluttered with thick wads of filamentous algae. The filamentous algae also cluttered the patches of water primrose and many of the shallow-water patches of coontail.

I began fishing at 11:07 a.m. And I gave up fishing at 1:30 p.m.

It was an onerous and depressing struggle to catch 12 largemouth bass.

The fact that I worked with seven different rigs reveals how trying this 143-minute outing was. On most outings, I rarely work with more than three rigs.

Four largemouth bass were caught on a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl GrubZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig with a slow swimming presentation around the outside edges of patches of coontail along two shorelines in the upper half of the reservoir. These four largemouth bass were caught in four to six feet of water.

Four largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two largemouth bass were caught in about 5 1/2 feet of water along the front edge of a dock on the initial drop of the TRD TicklerZ. This dock is situated along a massive shoreline in the upper half of the reservoir. The other two largemouth bass were caught along the outside edges of patches of coontail along a massive shoreline in the upper half of the reservoir. They were caught on a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation in about five feet of water.

Three largemouth bass were caught on a radically shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Mag FattyZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. One was caught along the side of a dock in the upper half of the reservoir with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about three feet of water. Another one was caught on the initial drop of the FattyZ rig in about 3 1/2 feet of water around a patch of coontail along a shoreline in the upper half of the reservoir. One largemouth bass was caught along the dam in about six feet of water with a drag-and-shake presentation near the outside edge of a patch of coontail.

One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s White Lightning Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swimming presentation inside a patch of coontail in about three feet of water along a shoreline in the upper half of the reservoir.

As the summer of 2019 is coming to a close, it looks as if we have just three reservoirs within a forty-mile radius of Lawrence that are not affected by some sort of adversity.

Sept. 16

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 16 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

John Thomas of Denton joined me for a five-hour excursion to the same U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir that I fished on Sept. 3.

During my solo foray on Sept. 3, I concentrated on this reservoir’s southwest tributary arm, where I targeted main-lake shorelines, pockets, and points on the north side of this tributary arm. I wielded a Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve during most of that outing, and it inveigled 21 largemouth and spotted bass in 3 1/2 hours.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing on Sept. 16 would occur between 12:22 a.m. and 2:22 a.m., 6:32 a.m. and 8:32 a.m., and 12:43 p.m. to 2:43 p.m.

There was only a hint of wind out of the east and northeast. It was sunny and hot, but not as humid as it has been. The sky was partly cloudy. It was 83 degrees at 7:00 a.m. and 98 degrees at 1:00 p.m. The barometric pressure varied slightly from 30.02 to 30.03.

The water level was 0.93 of a foot low. The surface temperature ranged from 85 degrees at the boat ramp in the southwest tributary arm to 87 degrees at the dam. The water exhibited 18 inches of visibility.

This Corps reservoir’s underwater terrain consists primarily of red clay, gravel, rocks, and scattered patches of boulders. It is devoid of any aquatic vegetation. There are still a few areas around this impoundment where some standing timber and submerged stumps still exist.

In the southwest tributary arm, we targeted a main-lake island, two main-lake shorelines, four main-lake points, ten concrete support pillars underneath a large bridge, and portions of two embankments on each end of the bridge that are covered with riprap.

The shoreline around the main-lake island yielded three white bass that were chasing threadfin shad in the shallow water on the north side of the island. They were caught in three to five feet of water on a steady swimming retrieve with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s electric chicken Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s finesse ShroomZ jig. But the island’s shoreline did not yield any largemouth bass or spotted bass.

The two main-lake shorelines that we plied are the same ones that I fished on Sept. 3. These two shorelines yielded 14 black bass then, but they relinquished only two spotted bass this time. These spotted bass were relating to submerged boulders in three to five feet of water. They were coaxed into striking a Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ that was rigged on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. This Finesse ShadZ rig was employed with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Of the four main-lake points that we fished, one of the points surrendered a spotted bass. This point is one of the two entry points at the mouth of a feeder-creek arm. This spotted bass was caught in four feet of water off the end of the point. It was enticed into striking the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s electric chicken Slim SwimZ rig and a steady swimming retrieve. And as we were about to release this bass, we noticed that it had a large crawfish in its throat. This was a surprise to us since we are more accustomed to seeing the black bass that we catch this time of year regurgitating threadfin shad- not crawfish.

The other entry point at this creek arm and both of these points’ adjacent rocky shorelines that lead into the creek arm were fruitless.

The riprap embankment on the north end of the large bridge surrendered one largemouth bass and two spotted bass. They were caught in three to five feet of water on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man’s molting craw TRD TubeZ that was attached to a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The riprap-covered embankment on the south end of this bridge yielded one largemouth bass. It engulfed the molting craw TRD TubeZ as we were slowly swimming, gliding, and shaking it next to the submerged riprap in four feet of water.

We caught one largemouth bass from the side of one of the concrete support columns underneath the bridge. This largemouth was suspended about eight feet below the surface in 37 feet of water. It was bewitched by a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the pearl Finesse ShadZ rig. We fished around another nine support columns underneath this bridge, but we failed to garner any other strikes.

In the south end of the reservoir, we probed two stretches of riprap along the face of the dam, and the edges of a ditch that cuts across a large main-lake flat.

Along the two stretches of riprap at the dam, we caught five largemouth bass. The first section of riprap is on the east end of the dam and is about 100 yards long. It yielded three largemouth bass. The other section is about 60 yards long and is located on the west end of the dam. This section surrendered two largemouth bass. All of these bass were caught about 30 to 35 feet away from the water’s edge. They were suspended about five to seven feet below the surface in 13 to 17 feet of water.

One largemouth was caught on the pearl Finesse ShadZ rig and the other four were enticed by the 2 3/4-inch molting craw TRD TubeZ. Both of these rigs were presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

The large clay and gravel main-lake flat is located a short distance from the dam. It is adorned with many yards of flooded stickups. Most of it is covered with two to six feet of water, but it also graced with a ditch that courses its way across the flat. This ditch is covered with seven to 14 feet of water and is lined with several patches of flooded stick ups.

We caught two largemouth bass in three to five feet of water from the outside edges of the patches of flooded stickups next to the ditch. Both of them were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the 2 3/4-inch molting craw TRD TubeZ rig.

In sum, John and I fished from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and we found the fishing at this reservoir more difficult than it was on Sept. 3. We concentrated on several of the same main-lake areas in the southwest tributary arm that I focused on during my Sept. 3 outing, and when that failed to produce the numbers of black bass that we had hoped for, we moved to the south end of the reservoir and probed the two stretches of riprap at the dam and a ditch that cuts across a main-lake flat. But much to our dismay, we barely managed to scrounge up 15 largemouth and spotted bass in five hours. We also caught three white bass, two channel catfish, one green sunfish, and one bluegill.

A Z-Man’s 2 3/4-inch molting craw TRD TubeZ matched with a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig caught 10 of these 15 black bass. The Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ fastened on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig allured four bass. A 2 1/2-inch electric chicken Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig enticed one. Surprisingly, we failed to catch a black bass on the Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rig, which caught all 21 black bass that I caught on Sept. 3.

As for retrieves, fourteen bass were caught with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One was caught with a steady swimming retrieve.

Sept. 17

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 17 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 70 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 89 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The sky was fair. The wind angled out of the south and southeast at 3 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.04 at 12:53 a.m., 30.04 at 5:53 a.m., 30.06 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.01 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 1:47 a.m. to 3:47 a.m., 2:09 p.m. to 4:09 p.m., and 7:58 a.m. to 9:58 a.m.

I ventured to one of northeastern Kansas’ reservoirs that Mother Nature or mankind had not waylaid and fouled up this summer. This reservoir is a state one, and it was in much better shape than the community reservoir that I ventured to on Sept. 16.

The water level looked to be normal. The surface temperature ranged from 80 to 82 degrees. The water exhibited three to five feet of secchi-stick visibility.

This reservoir’s shorelines are graced with the finest patches of American water willows in northeastern Kansas. Its many acres of shallow-water flats are endowed with submerged patches of brittle naiad, bushy pondweed, and coontail. And patches of brittle naiad and coontail are occasionally interlaced with the outside edges of some of the patches of American water willows.

I fished from 10:28 a.m. to 2:28 p.m.

During the first 60 minutes, I caught 22 largemouth bass. Those 60 minutes were somewhat reminiscent of the good ol’ days in northeastern Kansas when we used to occasionally catch 101 black bass in four hours. But during the next 180 minutes, I returned to the doldrums of 2019 and caught 28 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass.

A 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught 27 largemouth bass. A Z-Man’s meat dog TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig caught one smallmouth bass and nine largemouth bass. A Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught 10 largemouth bass. A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught three largemouth bass. A shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig caught one largemouth bass.

Across a massive shallow-water flat in the back of a large feeder-creek arm, I caught 25 largemouth bass around patches of submerged patches of aquatic vegetation. Twenty-two of them were caught on the GrubZ rig in five to seven feet of water, and they were caught on either the initial drop or a straight swimming presentation. Two largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig in about six feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on the TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water. These largemouth bass were caught from 30 to 75 yards from the nearest shorelines.

Along a shoreline and around two points inside this feeder-creek arm, I caught eight largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. This shoreline and its two points possess about a 35- to 40-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is embellished with significant patches of American water willows, some laydowns, and a few overhanging trees. One largemouth bass was caught under an overhanging tree in about four feet of water on the initial drop of the Finesse WormZ rig. The TRD MinnowZ rig caught four largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass along the outside edges of the patches of American water willows in four to six feet of water on either the initial drop of the rig or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Two largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig in about four feet of water along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows. One largemouth bass was caught in about four feet of water around a laydown with the GrubZ rig and a swimming presentation.

On a shallow-water flat inside a small feeder-creek arm, I caught one largemouth bass in about six feet of water on the TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation around patches of submerged aquatic vegetation.

Across a series of shallow-water flats in the back of another large feeder-creek arm, I caught eight largemouth bass. This is a massive area. These eight largemouth bass were caught from 10 to 100 yards from the nearest shorelines.

Four of the eight were caught on the GrubZ rig. Two were caught around brush piles, which were embellished with some minuscule patches of submerged patches of aquatic vegetation, in about six feet of water with a swimming presentation. Two were caught in about four feet of water with a swimming presentation around patches of brittle naiad.

Three of the eight were caught on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation around patches of submerged aquatic vegetation in six to 10 feet of water.

One of the eight was caught on the initial drop of the TRD MinnowZ rig around patches of submerged aquatic vegetation in about six feet of water.

Around a point inside this large feeder-creek arm, I caught two largemouth bass along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows. This point has a 35-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. They were caught on the initial drop of the Junebug TicklerZ rig in about five feet of water.

Three largemouth bass were caught around a main-lake point. This point possesses a 30- to 40-degree slope. The water’s edge is graced with patches of American water willows and a couple of laydowns. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. These largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig in three to four feet of water.

I fished around two riprap jetties, and each one yielded a largemouth bass. They were caught on the TRW MinnowZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water.

One offshore rock pile yielded a largemouth bass. It was caught on the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water.

This outing was considerably better than my Sept. 16 outing at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs, where it was a struggle to catch 12 largemouth bass in 143 minutes, which was an hourly average of slightly more than four bass an hour. In contrast, I caught an hourly average of slightly more than 12 an hour on Sept. 17.

Most of our community, state, and federal reservoirs in northeastern Kansas are in a sorry state of affairs.

A reflection of how sorry the black bass fishing has become in northeastern Kansas during 2018 and 2019 is that I have fished just three times this September. There are not many public reservoirs worthy of fishing. Thus, I have had a difficult time getting the gumption to fish. What’s more, on my three September outings, I have yet to cross paths with another black bass angler. In fact on Sept. 10, at our most fruitful community reservoir in northeastern Kansas, I did not see another angler. On Sept. 16, at another community reservoir, I saw a crappie angler. And on Sept. 17, I saw a channel catfish angler.

Sept. 19

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 70 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and 88 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind fluctuated from being calm to angling from the south, southwest, and east at 3 to 9 mph. The sky fluctuated from being fair to being littered with a few clouds to being partly cloudy to being mostly cloudy, and some nearby thunderstorms erupted at 3:53 p.m. and 4:53 p.m. The barometric pressure was 29.98 at 12:53 a.m., 29.97 at 5:53 a.m., 30.04 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.97 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 2:37 a.m. to 4:37 a.m., 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and 8:48 a.m. to 10:48 a.m.

I fished from 11:06 a.m. to 3:06 p.m. at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs.

The water exhibited from five to 10 feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 82 to 85 degrees. The water level looked to be normal. Many of this reservoir’s shallow-water flats are graced with bountiful patches of submerged aquatic vegetation: brittle naiad, bushy pondweed, and coontail. Other shallow-water shorelines and points are embellished with these three species of aquatic vegetation.

A significant number of largemouth bass were abiding around these patches on Sept. 19, and I caught 68 of them. I elicited more than a dozen strikes that I failed to hook. I also saw about two dozen largemouth bass swimming around these patches of vegetation.

A Z-Man’s meat dog TRD MinnowZ affixed to a blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught 52 largemouth bass. Twelve largemouth bass were caught on a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Three largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught one largemouth bass.

Two largemouth bass were caught along a 75-yard stretch of the dam. Its underwater terrain consists of rocks and boulders. It has about a 40-degree slope. Patches of aquatic vegetation and some brush piles and laydowns are situated in four to six feet of water along this area. Both largemouth bass were caught of the TRD MinnowZ rig. One was caught adjacent to a laydown with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water. One was caught on the intial drop of the rig in about three feet of water.

Four largemouth bass were caught around a large patch of submerged coontail that embellishes a main-lake shoreline in the lower half of the reservoir. They were caught on the TRD MinnowZ rig in about six feet of water on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Across a shallow-water flat inside a small feeder-creek arm, I caught eight largemouth bass on the TRD MinnowZ rig around many patches of submerged aquatic vegetation. They were caught on either a swim-glide-and-shake presentation or on the initial drop of the rig in five to seven feet of water.

I caught five largemouth bass around a flat main-lake point in the middle section of the reservoir. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. It is graced with substantial patches of submerged aquatic vegetation. One was caught on the GrubZ rig with a swimming presentation in about seven feet of water. Four were caught on the TRD MinnowZ rig, and they were caught long the inside edges of the patches of submerged aquatic vegetation with a swim-glide-and–shake presentation.

Four largemouth bass were caught around patches of submerged coontail that adorn a shallow-water main-lake flat in the middle section of the reservoir. They were caught on the TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water.

Across a large shallow-water flat inside a medium-size feeder-creek arm, which lies in the upper half of the reservoir, I caught four largemouth bass on the TRD MinnowZ rig around patches of submerged coontail. One of the four was caught on the initial drop of the TRD TicklerZ rig in about six feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on the GrubZ with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water. Two were caught on the TRD MinnowZ rig and a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in five to seven feet of water.

Around a secondary point inside this medium-size feeder-creek, I caught a largemouth bass on the TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water. This point possesses a 25-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. It is embellished with laydowns and patches of submerged aquatic vegetation. This largemouth bass was caught between a laydown and a patch of coontail.

Three largemouth bass were caught around a main-lake point, which is in the upper half of the reservoir. It has a 30- to 35-degree slope. The water’s edge is adorned with patches of American water willows. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. Several patches of submerged aquatic vegetation are growing in about six feet of water around this point. These three largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse TRD rig. One was caught on the initial drop in about four feet of water. The other two were caught as I was strolling and employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water.

Around scattered patches of coontail on a massive shallow-water flat in the upper reaches of this reservoir’s primary feeder-creek arm, I caught three largemouth bass on the TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in three to five feet of water.

In the middle portion of the reservoir, thirty-four largemouth bass were caught across a massive shallow-water flat in the back of a large feeder-creek arm. Ten were caught on the GrubZ rig. Twenty-four were caught on the TRD MinnowZ rig. About half of them were caught on the initial drop of these rigs. And the others were caught on either a swimming presentation or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. They were caught in three to seven feet of water.

In sum, this was my most fruitful outing in 2019, and it has been many days in coming. It has been since Mar. 18 that Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I caught 60 largemouth bass. Then Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, and I caught 65 largemouth bass on Mar. 22. I am still a long way from reaching the coveted 101 mark.

Sept. 19

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 19 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

I conducted a solo excursion to a nearby U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

The weather was unsettled, but it was cooler. The sky was overcast and scattered rain storms were erupting around the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area. The morning low temperature was 70 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was a pleasant 84 degrees. The wind quartered out of the east-by-northeast at 5 to 13 mph. The barometric pressure varied slightly from 29.88 to 29.90.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 2:46 a.m. to 4:46 a.m., 8:57 a.m. to 10:57 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. I fished from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

During the first four hours that I was afloat, I fished for largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass. And during the last 30 minutes, I was distracted by a couple of decent-size schools of white bass that were chasing threadfin shad on the surface of the water close to where I was fishing for black bass, so I took advantage of the situation and pursued them.

The water clarity varied between one and 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 85 to 86 degrees. The water level was 0.77 of a foot below its normal summer pool.

Because the rain storms were so sporadic and unpredictable throughout the day, I elected to stay fairly close to the boat ramp. Therefore, all of my time was spent in the northwest region of this reservoir. It lightly rained on me twice.

I caught 15 largemouth bass around several large submerged boulders in eight to 12 feet of water at a main-lake point. This point has a 35-degree gradient. It is covered with clay, gravel, large rocks and boulders.

Seven of them were caught on a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s chartreuse-sparkle GrubZ fastened on a black 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, which was used with a steady swimming retrieve. Three largemouth bass were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD MinnowZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Another three largemouth bass were caught on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig dressed with a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ, which was employed with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. And two largemouth basss were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s purple death TRD TicklerZ mounted on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

In the lower end of one large feeder-creek arm, I caught 10 largemouth bass and one spotted bass. The underwater terrain inside of this creek arm consists of red clay, gravel, large rocks, and boulders about the size of a coffee table. There are a couple of areas in its midsection that are still graced with the remnants of flooded timber and stumps, but I did not find any black bass or shad there.

Six largemouth bass were caught along the north side of a small island in three to eight feet of water and in close proximity to a deep-water creek channel. This island is also situated in the lower end of the creek arm near its mouth. These bass were foraging on 2 1/2- to three-inch threadfin shad along the surface of the water. They were caught on a steady swimming retrieve with the GrubZ rig that was retrieved about a foot below the surface near several large submerged boulders.

Three largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught in six to 10 feet of water near a rock bluff on the west side of the creek arm. Both of these bass were caught with a slow swimming retrieve with the GrubZ combo. I also employed the Junebug TRD MinnowZ and Junebug Finesse ShadZ rigs around portions of this bluff, but I was unable to elicit any strikes with them.

Another largemouth bass was caught in six feet of water from the side of a rocky secondary point. It was also allured by the GrubZ rig that was utilized with a slow swimming retrieve.

I failed to garner any strikes from two other steep and rocky secondary points and a small section of shoreline that is adorned with riprap, a boat dock, and clusters of submerged boulders in the midsection of this creek arm.

In the main-lake area, I dissected seven main-lake points and small segments of their adjoining shorelines. These points and shorelines are composed of red clay, gravel, large rocks, and numerous submerged boulders. They have an incline that varies from about 25 to 50 degrees.

In four feet of water next to one of the seven main-lake points, I caught one largemouth bass. It was relating to a small patch of flooded stickups. It was caught on the GrubZ as I was swimming it through an opening in the flooded stickups.

The other six main-lake points were fruitless.

Just inside the mouth of a minor feeder-creek arm, I crossed paths with a few small pods of largemouth bass and some larger schools of white bass that were chasing threadfin shad on the surface of the water in the middle of a small creek channel that runs down the center of this minor creek arm. The creek channel is covered with water that is 15 to 21 feet deep. The few small pods of largemouth bass that I encountered appeared to consist of three to five bass. They foraged on the surface for only a few minutes, but I was able to catch eight of them before they completely disappeared. All of them were allured by a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the TRD TicklerZ rig.

The white bass were much more aggressive than the largemouth bass, and their surface-feeding activity lasted for about 30 minutes. Since the largemouth bass were nowhere to be found, I turned my attention to the white bass and caught 24 of them before they scattered and disappeared. Seventeen of the white bass were caught on a steady swimming retrieve with the TRD TicklerZ rig. Seven were caught on a steady swimming retrieve with the GrubZ rig.

In short, the fishing was pretty decent. I was able to catch 34 black bass in four hours and 24 white bass in 30 minutes.

Now that fall is just around the corner, I have not found any significant concentrations of black bass or shad migrating into the middle or back portions of the feeder creeks yet. It appears that most of the black bass are still relating to schools of threadfin shad near rocky points in the main-lake areas and around the creek channels located in the lower ends of the feeder-creek arms.

Sept. 21

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

I joined Rick Allen of Dallas at a challenging U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir that lies in the suburbs north of Dallas.

John Thomas of Denton and I fished at this same reservoir on Sept. 16, and it was a chore for us to catch 15 largemouth and spotted bass in five hours.

This reservoir’s submerged terrain consists of red clay, pea gravel, fist-size rocks, and an abundance of submerged boulders. There are a few areas with flooded standing timber, laydowns, and submerged stumps, and most of those areas are in the middle and upper regions of the feeder-creeks. There is no aquatic vegetation in this impoundment.

Rick and I fished from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

The best fishing, according to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, would occur from 4:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., 10:44 a.m. to 12:44 p.m., and 4:57 p.m. to 6:57 p.m.

The sky conditions changed from overcast to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy. The morning was humid with a low temperature of 81 degrees. The afternoon high temperature reached 92 degrees. A blustery wind angled out of the south and southeast at 12 to 25 mph. The barometric pressure varied little from 30.02 at 7:00 a.m. to 30.03 at noon.

The water level was 1.06 feet below its normal summer pool. The water exhibited between 14 and 20 inches of clarity. The surface temperature had dropped from the mid-80s to 80.7 degrees as an aftereffect of the cooler rain we received on Sept. 19. We saw no signs of a thermocline.

Rick and I stayed in the lower end of the reservoir. We concentrated on areas that provided protection from the wind, and we caught 24 largemouth bass, three spotted bass, nine white bass, six crappie, one channel catfish, and one freshwater drum.

Twenty-three largemouth bass, one spotted bass, eight white bass, six crappie, one channel catfish, and one freshwater drum were caught on a Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ that was matched with a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. One largemouth bass and two spotted bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ attached to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. One largemouth bass and one white bass were caught on a Z-Man’s The Deal TRD TicklerZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

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In three feet of water next to a small island on the east end of a large clay and gravel main-lake flat, we caught one largemouth bass and one white bass on the Z-Man’s The Deal TRD TicklerZ rig, which was employed with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. Several white egrets and a blue Herron were wading and foraging on small baitfish in the shallow water areas around this island.

The east end of this large flat is graced with patches of flooded stickups. Most of this flat is covered with two to six feet of water. There is a ditch that winds its way across the flat. This ditch is covered with seven to 14 feet of water and is lined with patches of flooded stick ups. We observed several pods of small threadfin shad meandering around the outside edges of the flooded stickups bordering the ditch, but Rick and I were unable to generate any strikes from the edges of the flooded stickups or anywhere along the ditch.

We also had difficulty locating threadfin shad and black bass around the riprap-laden dam. However, we did eventually stumble upon a significant concentration of fish consisting of threadfin shad, largemouth bass, white bass, black crappie, freshwater drum, and channel catfish along a 35-yard segment of a rock ledge near the center portion of the dam. From that area on the ledge, we caught 21 largemouth bass, eight white bass, six crappie, one channel catfish, and one freshwater drum from the top of this ledge. These fish were suspended about five to seven feet below the surface in 13 to 26 feet of water. They were all caught on the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rig. One white bass and the freshwater drum were caught with a vertical jigging technique in 24 feet of water, while the others were caught with a swim-glide-and-shake motif.

At a rocky main-lake shoreline about a mile north of the dam, we caught two largemouth bass and three spotted bass in three to 11 feet of water. This shoreline is about 75 yards long. It is adorned with several small tertiary points, a couple of laydowns, a public fishing barge, and a main-lake point on its west end. It has a 40- to 60-degree incline. The three spotted bass were caught on a steady swimming retrieve with the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig. The two largemouth bass were allured by the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rig that was implemented in a swim-glide-and-shake manner.

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During this outing, we caught 27 largemouth and spotted bass around main-lake locales. Around a small island on a large flat and along a rocky main-lake shoreline, we were catching one bass here and another one or two there. But at the rock ledge along the dam, we were delighted to catch 21 largemouth bass.

We welded the Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rig about 75-percent of the time, and it was the most effective rig by far. We also utilized five other Midwest finesse combos that failed to produce a strike.

We were able to establish the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve as the most effective presentation.

Sept. 23

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 56 degrees at 4:52 a.m. and 81 degrees at 2:52 p.m. The sky was cloudless, and the sun was intensely bright. The wind was calm until 10:52 a.m., and then it angled out of the south and southeast at 6 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.05 at 12:52 a.m., 30.08 at 5:52 a.m., 30.13 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.07 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 6:13 a.m. to 8:13 a.m., 6:42 p.m. to 8:42 p.m., and 11:58 a.m. to 1:58 p.m.

I spent from 10:58 a.m. to 1:13 p.m. upon one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoir’s that Mother Nature has crushed several times this year with voluminous amounts of rain, which appears to have adversely affected the water clarity, water levels, and submerged aquatic vegetation.

What’s more, it seems as if something has happened to its largemouth bass population. There is speculation that the largemouth bass virus has rendered its dastardly effects.

The surface temperature was 77 degrees. The water level looked to be a foot above normal. The water exhibited 10 to about 36 inches of visibility.

During the 135 minutes that I was afloat, the largemouth bass fishing was awful. I spent 77 of those minutes probing several shallow-water flats that are adorned with brush piles and patches of coontail and American pondweed.

Four largemouth bass were caught on a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl GrubZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Three largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. One largemouth bass was caught on a radically shortened Z-Man’s Junebug Mag FattyZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.

Around a flat main-lake point, I caught one largemouth bass in about four feet of water around a patch of American pondweed and some coontail on the GrubZ rig with a swimming presentation.

Around another flat main-lake point, I caught three largemouth bass. They were caught around patches of American pondweed, American water willows, and coontail in about four feet of water. One was caught on the initial drop of the Finesse WormZ rig. The second one was caught on the GrubZ rig with a swimming presentation. And the Mag FattyZ rig caught the third one with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

On a massive shallow-water flat, I caught one largemouth bass around a patch of coontail and a partially submerged brush pile in about four feet of water on the GrubZ rig with a swimming presentation.

Along a flat shoreline adjacent to the dam, I caught one largemouth bass around a patch of American pondweed in about three feet of water on the initial drop of the GrubZ rig.

Two largemouth bass were caught along the dam. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. It possesses a 45- to 60-degree slope. Both largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse WormZ rig. One was caught on the initial drop in about three feet of water. The second was caught on a drag-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water.

In sum, I suspect that it will be many days before I venture to this reservoir again. Until this year, we used to have a bounty of small flatland reservoirs where a Midwest finesse angler could tangle with an average of eight to 12 black bass an hour, and this reservoir used to be one of them. In fact, there were many outings at this reservoir when we tangled with more than 20 largemouth bass an hour.

Sept. 24

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 60 degrees at 3:53 a.m. and 80 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being fair to being partly cloudy to being mostly cloudy to being overcast. The wind angled from the south and southeast at 3 to 24 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.00 at 12:53 a.m., 29.96 at 5:53 a.m., 29.92 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.84 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 8:04 a.m. to 10:04 a.m., 8:33 p.m. to 10:33 p.m., and 1:49 a.m. to 3:49 a.m.

On Sept. 24, I was afloat from 11:12 a.m. to 2:12 p.m. at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ flatland reservoir that I had not fished since May 14, 2018.

The black bass fishing had become so lackluster for months on end that I could not garner the gumption to make a 58.6 mile drive from our front door to the boat ramp at this reservoir. But after my horrendous outing on Sept. 23 at a state reservoir that lies 14.6 miles from our front door, my nearly 80-year-old body, mind, and soul decided to make the 117.2 mile round trip to this reservoir, which has been recently affected by the largemouth bass virus and overwhelmed by Mother Nature’s rainy ways.

The water level was 2.42 feet above its normal level. The surface temperature ranged from 76 to 77 degrees. The water exhibited 12 to about 36 inches of visibility. There were 500 cubic per second flowing out of the reservoir.

I traversed about five miles of water in the lower half of the reservoir. And I tried to hide from the wind. Within this five-mile stretch of water, I tangled with 23 largemouth bass, 10 smallmouth bass, four green sunfish, three humongous freshwater drum, and one flathead catfish. Two of the smallmouth bass were quite impressive creatures, but all of the largemouth bass were a long way from being impressive.

A 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl GrubZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught six smallmouth bass and seven largemouth bass.

A Z-Man’s meat dog TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom jig caught two smallmouth bass and seven largemouth bass.

A Z-Man’s pearl TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig caught two smallmouth bass and three largemouth bass.

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

One largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass were caught on top of an offshore rock and boulder hump in about five feet of water as I was strolling with the pearl Rain MinnowZ rig and employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Around a riprap jetty at the mouth of a small feeder-creek arm, three largemouth bass were caught in three to five feet of water on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The TRD MinnowZ rig caught one smallmouth bass on the initial drop in about four feet of water and two largemouth bass on the initial drop in about two feet of water.

Around another riprap jetty at the mouth of the same small feeder-creek arm, two largemouth bass were caught in about three feet of water on the initial drop of the TRD TicklerZ rig.

Along a flat shoreline and around a tertiary point inside a small feeder-creek arm, three largemouth bass and six smallmouth bass were caught on the GrubZ rig with a straight swimming presentation in three to four feet of water and many feet from the water’s edge. This area has a 20- to 25-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and there is a tad of flooded terrestrial vegetation adorning the water’s edge.

On top of a submerged roadbed at a main-lake point, two largemouth bass were caught in about five feet of water on the initial drop of the TRD MinnowZ rig. This area has a 25-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks.

Inside a medium-sized feeder-creek arm, two smallmouth bass and four largemouth bass were caught along a shoreline and around two secondary points. They were caught on either the initial drop or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation of the TRD MinnowZ rig. The underwater terrain of this area consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Much of the water’s edge is adorned with flooded terrestrial vegetation. It possesses a 25- to 35-degree slope.

Inside another medium-sized feeder-creek arm, one largemouth bass was caught around a secondary point in about two feet of water of the initial drop of the TRD MinnowZ. Five largemouth bass were caught along one of the shorelines of this feeder creek and its main-lake point in three to five feet of water on the GrubZ rig. One of those five was caught on the initial drop of the GrubZ rig and the other four were caught on a swimming presentation.

In sum, I tangled with two smallmouth bass and eight largemouth bass during the first hour. During the second hour, I tangled with two smallmouth bass and six largemouth bass. During the last sixty minutes, I caught six smallmouth bass and nine largemouth bass. And it ended with an hourly average of 11 black bass an hour.

Sept. 24

Tom Bett of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 24 outing at the Winnebago Pool.

Here is an edited version of his log:

The first one-third of September 24 provided most of Wisconsin with a brief respite from the record precipitation and unsettled weather conditions that have become common for us during the last few years.

A warm and strong southwesterly flow ushered in prairie winds that possessed gusts up to 35 mph. The high temperature reached 80 degrees with moderate dew-point temperatures. Mostly sunny skies prevailed throughout the day. It was more reminiscent of summer than early autumn in these latitudes, and I enjoyed it.

The surface temperature averaged 67 degrees, The clarity averaged from two to 2 1/2 feet in most of the main-river and main-lake areas. The clarity was somewhat better in the protected backwater areas. The river was flowing at 10,000 cubic feet per second.

I was grateful to take advantage of this opportunity to reconnect with the Upper Pool portion of the Winnebago System. It has been weeks since my last outing there.

I fished for 3 1/2 hours, launching the first cast at noon and making my last retrieve at about 3:30 p.m.

I fished a sample of 14 sites, taking at least one fish off of 12 of them. In total, I garnered 21 smallmouth bass, six largemouth black bass, and one northern pike, which is an hourly average of eight black bass an hour.

At the first five sites, I used a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rigged on a yellow-perch 1/16-ounce VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig Head. I employed either a swim-and-glide retrieve or a drop-and-lift retrieve, depending upon wind velocity and current force on each site. These sites were either rip-rap shorelines or break walls with substantial current or jetty points with washout holes and good current around the end of the tips. Five of the six sites produced fish. I found the largemouth bass were residing in the downstream locales of the somewhat lower current zones, and the smallmouth bass were on the current breaks along the upstream ends of the structures.

I had six rods on the deck. And after I endured several bite offs and striped rigs from northern pike, I decided not to re-rig those rods. Instead, I picked up a rod that sported a Z-Man’s yoga pants Finesse TRD affixed to a Z-Man’s 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. And the remainder of the afternoon was reasonably productive, provided I could manage to generate an effective retrieve in the high-wind conditions. This required repositioning the boat on each site to achieve the proper direction and lure action and velocity. Initially, I tested a few down-wind sites along the north shorelines, and while they were moderately productive, I spent the rest of the outing on the upwind shorelines.

At those upwind shorelines, I worked with the 1/10-ounce Z-Man Finesse ShroomZ jig and a 1/8-ounce VMC Neon Moon Eye Head Jig, and they provided me with enough lure control to keep the bait in the strike zone as I employed a lift-and-drift retrieve.

The most effective Finesse TRD colors were green pumpkin goby, mud bug, and yoga pants.

I briefly tested some power finesse rigs, such as 3 1/2- and four-inch grubs and creature baits. I found the fish would bite but not eat these rigs, which resulted in too many missed strikes.

As for fish quality, 13 of the 27 of the black bass exceeded the limit for legal length, which is 14 inches. One smallmouth bass was 18.1 inches long. The smallest smallmouth bass was 10.3 inches. All of the largemouth bass exceeded the legal length.

Sept. 26

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

Here is an edited version of his log:

I elected to fish at a popular U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas. I have not fished at this reservoir since Sept. 9, when John Thomas of Denton and I had a splendid five-hour jaunt that garnered 58 largemouth bass and spotted bass.

It was overcast on Sept. 26, and the morning low temperature was 74 degrees. When I arrived at the boat ramp at 7:07 a.m., a robust wind was quartering out of the southwest at 15 to 20 mph. I could see several scattered rain showers erupting just east of the reservoir, but they were moving southward. But while I was trailering my boat at 11:53 a.m., the dark ominous clouds had vanished and a pleasant southeasterly wind was blowing at 5 to 10 mph. It was uncomfortably humid as the afternoon high temperature reached 96 degrees with a heat index of 101 degrees. The barometric pressure was 29.85 at 7:00 a.m. and 29.89 at 11:00 a.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing periods would occur from 2:45 a.m. to 4:45 a.m., 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and 9:29 p.m. to 11:29 p.m.

I fished for four hours, from 7:31 a.m. to 11:31 a.m.

The water level was half of a foot below its normal pool. The surface temperature was 82 degrees. The water exhibited 2 1/2 feet of clarity. I looked for a thermocline in the deep-water areas, but I did not find any evidence of one.

I stayed in the lower region of this reservoir, where I searched for largemouth bass, spotted bass, and threadfin shad at a riprap jetty, seven main-lake points, three main-lake shorelines, around several coves, an island, and five secondary points inside a major feeder-creek arm.

The upper end of this reservoir is endowed with acres and acres of standing timber, submerged stumps, and brush piles.

The lower end is just the opposite. Most of the standing timber in this region was removed years ago when this reservoir was first impounded. However, there are still plenty of submerged stumps and brush piles.

This impoundment’s geology consists primarily of red clay, gravel, rocks, and numerous large boulders about the size of a golf cart. There are a few remaining patches of hydrilla and American pondweed scattered throughout this reservoir, but most of it met its demise during the severe 2010 to 2015 drought.

This outing started off slowly. I failed to locate any black bass or threadfin shad around the riprap jetty and an adjacent rocky shoreline just north of the jetty.

What’s more, I was unable to generate any strikes along another main-lake point and its adjoining clay and gravel shoreline about a hundred yards south of the jetty.

And to make matters seem worse, I was unable to locate any black bass or shad inside four coves, around the perimeter of an island, and at five rocky secondary points inside a major feeder-creek arm on the southeast end of this impoundment.

About an hour and 13 minutes into this outing, the fishing began to improve. At a wind-blown main-lake point and its adjoining main-lake shoreline, I caught five largemouth bass and one spotted bass. This point and shoreline divide the reservoir’s east and west tributary arms. The shoreline is about 75 yards long. The point and shoreline are covered with large patches of flooded stick ups, some submerged boulders, and the remnants of four small building foundations. Five of these bass were relating to the outside edges of the stickups in three feet of water, and one was associated with one side of the four building foundations in five feet of water. The wind and white-capping waves relegated me to using a steady swimming retrieve, and I utilized this technique with a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl GrubZ that was fastened to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Three largemouth bass were caught in four feet of water next to a small cluster of submerged boulders along a wind-blown main-lake shoreline that is situated about two hundred yards west of the main-lake point and shoreline where I caught the five largemouth bass and one spotted bass.

This shoreline is flat, and besides the small cluster of boulders, it is also adorned with large rocks, stumps, and laydowns. These three largemouth bass were enticed by a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ matched with a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The wind and waves were making boat control and lure presentations difficult. So, I traveled to the southeast section of the east tributary arm and dissected three steep main-lake points that provided me with some protection from the wind.

The first of these three main-lake points is broad and steep. It forms the south-side entrance to the large feeder-creek arm that I plied earlier in the morning. It has a 50- to 60-degree incline. It is also adorned with many large submerged boulders.

I shared this point with two other boats. One boat had two anglers and was positioned on the north side of the point. The other boat had three anglers who were probing the south side of the point.

I fished along the center portion of this point, and it yielded 20 largemouth bass. They were suspended about 25 to 30 feet away from the water’s edge and five to seven feet below the surface in 12 to 17 feet of water. All of them were allured by a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the Z-Man’s Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rig.

The second of these three points lies a short distance and just south of the first one. I did not have to share this point, and it relinquished seven largemouth bass. Like the bass I caught at the first of these three points, these seven largemouth bass were suspended five to seven feet below the surface in 12 to 15 feet of water and about 25 feet from the water’s edge. They were coaxed into striking the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

At the third point, I caught one largemouth bass. It was caught on the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ rig in five feet of water from a rock ledge that parallels the south side of the point.

In closing, the bass fishing has improved significantly at this reservoir since July. And during this excursion, I caught 36 largemouth bass and one spotted bass.

Twenty-nine of them were caught on the Drew’s craw TRD TicklerZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The other eight were beguiled by the 3 1/2-inch pearl GrubZ combo and a swimming retrieve.

Main-lake points with submerged boulders, especially those situated at the mouths of feeder creeks, were attracting groups of largemouth bass.

It is early fall, and I have yet to find any black bass or shad migrating into the feeder-creek arms.

Sept. 27

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a long on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 27 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log:

The National Weather Service reported that it was 69 degrees at 2:53 a.m. and 88 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind howled out of the south and southwest at 10 to 32 mph. The sky fluctuated from being littered with a few clouds to being overcast to being overcast. The barometric pressure was 29.75 at 12:53 a.m., 29.66 at 5:53 a.m., 29.63 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.61 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 9:42 a.m. to 11:42 a.m., 10:09 p.m. to 12:09 a.m., and 3:28 a.m. to 5:28 a.m.

I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas; community reservoirs from 10:12 a.m. to 2:04 p.m.

The water level at this reservoir was a few inches above its normal level. The surface temperature fluctuated from 76 to 77 degrees. The water exhibited from three to about 10 feet of visibility.

During the three hours and 52 minutes that I was afloat, I caught one smallmouth bass and 57 largemouth bass.

The smallmouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s meat dog TRD MinnowZ affixed to a light blue 1/15-ounce TT Lures NedlockZ HD Jighead.

A 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin GrubZ affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig caught 29 largemouth bass.

The Z-Man’s meat dog TRD MinnowZ rig that caught the smallmouth bass also caught 22 largemouth bass.

A Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig caught four largemouth bass.

Two largemouth bass were caught on a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl GrubZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

I caught 11 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass along the dam, which was being bashed by ranks of white caps. The wind and white caps reminded me of my days as a youthful temperate bass angler at the Lake of the Ozarks, where I spent virtually countless October and November days plying wind-blown main-lake points. The underwater terrain consists of rocks. I has a 40- to 50-degree slope. Parts of the underwater terrain are embellished with submerged aquatic vegetation, and much of it is coontail. The smallmouth bass was caught on the meat dog TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about five feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught around a patch of coontail on the green-pumpkin GrubZ rig with a swimming presentation in about six feet of water. Ten largemouth bass were caught on the meat dog TRD MinnowZ rig in three to about six feet of water. Two were caught on the initial drop of that rig. The others were caught while I was employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation, and because of the wind and waves, I did a lot of strolling while I was using the swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

At a main-lake patch of coontail that is about 40 yards long and five yards wide, which lies in the lower half of the reservoir, I caught 11 largemouth bass, and seven of those largemouth bass had two to five largemouth bass escorting them as I was bringing them to the boat. They were caught in about seven to nine feet of water. This patch of coontail is about 40 feet from the water’s edge. Some were caught along the outside edge of the coontail, and some were caught along or near the inside edge. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the green-pumpkin TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. Four of them were caught on the green-pumpkin GrubZ rig with a swimming presentation. Five of them were caught on the meat dog TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

On a massive shallow-water flat inside a small feeder-creek arm in the lower half of the reservoir, I caught four largemouth bass. This flat is embellished with patches of coontail and dwindling patches of bushy pondweed and brittle naiad. The largemouth bass were caught on the green-pumpkin GrubZ with a swimming presentation in about seven feet of water. They were caught about 120 feet from the water’s edge.

Around three large patches of coontail that grace a flat main-lake shoreline and its adjacent main-lake point, I caught five largemouth bass. Two of these patches of coontail lie about 90 feet from the water’s edge. This shoreline and point is situated in the middle section of the reservoir. Its underwater terrain consists of primarily of gravel. Portions of this locale were extremely wind-blown, and I employed a drift sock to help manipulate the boat’s speed and positioning. These largemouth bass were caught in six to 12 feet of water on the green-pumpkin GrubZ rig with a swimming presentation.

At the back of a large feeder-creek arm in the middle section of the reservoir, I caught 15 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 from two to four feet of visibility. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the pearl GrubZ rig with a swimming presentation in about six feet of water. Two of the 15 were caught on the green-pumpkin TRD MinnowZ rig on the initial drop in about five feet of water. The green-pumpkin GrubZ rig caught 11 largemouth bass with a swimming presentation in three to six feet of water. They were caught from about 20 to 300 feet from the water’s edge.

Across a massive shallow-water flat inside a medium-sized feeder-creek arm in the upper half of the reservoir, I caught 11 largemouth bass. This flat is endowed with scores of patches of coontail, and they lie in two to 10 feet of water. Some of these patches have amalgamated. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the green-pumpkin TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about seven feet of water. Four of them were caught on the green-pumpkin GrubZ in about seven feet of water, and one was caught on the initial drop, and the other three were caught on a swimming presentation. Five of them were caught on the meat dog TRD MinnowZ rig in seven to nine feet of water, and two were caught on the initial drop, and three were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. All of them were caught from 50 to 90 feet from the water’s edge.

In sum, this outing was much more fruitful than the one that I endured on Sept. 26. During that miserable outing, I fished at a state reservoir that lies about 19 miles west of the community reservoir that I fished on Sept. 27. I began that Sept. 26 outing at 11:55 a.m. But my abilities to locate and catch the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass that abide in that reservoir were so paltry that I gave up at 1:39 p.m. My fish counter noted that I had eight largemouth bass. And there was no rhyme or reason to how and where I caught those eight stragglers. Therefore, I did not compose a detailed log about that woeful endeavor. In my eyes, there is something extremely askew going on with the black bass fishing at most of the flatland reservoirs that lie along what we call the Interstate 70 corridor between Kansas City, Kansas, and Topeka, Kansas. The reservoirs that stipple this corridor used to be the most bountiful ones that I had encountered in my many years of pursing black bass. I am thankful that this community reservoir has not become as funky as the other community and state reservoirs have become. But since 2017, it is not as bountiful as it used to be.

Sept. 28

Tom Bett of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 28 outing at the Winnebago Pool.

Here is an edited version of his log:

In late September, Wisconsin anglers welcome what many of them dream of all year. It is a period that is locally known as the fall transition. This is the point when the rapidly decreasing length of daylight induces a substantial response in the submerged aquatic vegetation. This underwater phenomenon is similar to what occurs with the terrestrial vegetation. During this spell, the fish move from what we call soft cover or submerged vegetation to hard cover. This typically generates a concentration of fish from their more dispersed summer ranges to what we call peak-bite locations.

However, following the absolute record of weirdness in weather patterns in 2018, our weather in 2019 has exceeded all our unreasonable and foulest expectations. As we look to analytics to console us, we have had in 2019 below-average temperatures, above average cloudiness, all-time record precipitation and river flows. Moreover, we have been plagued by low recruitment of our black bass populations during this decade. Yet, while I whine pathetically, I none-the-less must fish if I am to recreate and exist. Thus, I made arrangements with Eric Gilgenbach of Winneconne, Wisconsin, to fish on Sept. 28 on the Upper Pool Lakes of the Winnebago system.

Our boat launch was at 7:00 a.m. The sky was cloudy. A nasty and biting wind angled out of the north at 10-12 mph. The wind did not relent, and it increased with gusts hitting 20 mph for the bulk of the morning. The air temperature ranged from 51 degrees to slightly above 60 degrees. The sky became fair on our drive home.

The surface temperature ranged from 59 degrees to 61 degrees. The water clarity varied considerably. The windblown shorelines were showing only about 1 1/2 feet of visibility. The windless shorelines and backwaters exhibited three feet of visibility with a tannic stain. Very high inflows persist on this system due to record September precipitation. The lake level was about 0.2 feet above normal. The inflows were racing at 10,250 feet per second.

On this excursion, we fished for 6 1/2 hours and sampled 20 hard-cover sites. These sites are adjacent to the soft-cover and summertime habitats, and they are typically endowed with numerous forms of minnows that black bass and other predators feed voraciously upon. As the forage and predators move toward the channel and other wintering habitats, they tend to concentrate. Thus, the probability of hitting a mother lode increases dramatically versus preceding periods of the year.

Unfortunately, our timing was not in our favor. We failed to boat a single fish from six of the 20 sites. We only boated between one and four fish from 13 of the 20 sites. The most fruitful site yielded only seven fish. Thus, we were beaten down, and never found the mother lode that we were desperately seeking. Consequently, our mantra became: hunt, cast (again and again) and wonder.

What we did discover for our knowledge bank was that all fish were feeding down. This is the direct opposite of the seasonal expectation for this calendar date. The black bass regurgitated crayfish versus minnows. We observed small schools of very small forage minnows on the sonar rather than robust gizzard shad we expect to observe. The senescence of the submerged vegetation is belated, and it sprouting in the spring was a belated affair. And the bottom line is that I have endured a pathetic existence as a black bass angler on this pool system in 2019. In contrast, on Sept. 28, 2017, Eric and I handled 122 largemouth bass and 30 smallmouth bass from these 20 sites.

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However, on the bright side, we have the Ned Rig, and its prowess to generate bites from finicky fish under very trying conditions. And we managed to catch 22 smallmouth bass and seven largemouth bass. We also tangled with two northern pike, one white bass, one freshwater drum, and one flathead catfish. The biggest smallmouth bass was just over 18 inches, and the biggest largemouth bass was just less than 17 inches.

Our most productive lures were rigged on either a 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jigs or 1/8-ounce VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig Heads. The Z-Man’s Finesse TRD was the most effective rig. We worked with the yoga pants Finesse TRD affixed to a green-pumpkin Finesse ShroomZ jig, the new money Finesse TRD affixed to an orange Neon Moon Eye Jig Head, and the mood ring Finesse TRD affixed to a chartreuse Finesse ShroomZ jig. The green-pumpkin-goby Finesse TRD and Drew’s craw Finesse TRD are usually our most productive color patterns, but they totally whiffed on this outing.

All retrieves were based on drag and pause, or drag and hop. The fish would not chase; all strikes were generally light and tentative.

In sum, we took a whale of a beating on this day. But we resolved to continue the good fight. Even if we cannot comprehend the complexities that nature has cast upon us in 2019, we will launch again soon to test our resolve.

Sept. 28

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Sept 28 outing at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in northeastern Kansas.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

There were trailers in the parking lot when I arrived at the boat ramp around 8:30 a.m., and it was empty when I quit fishing around 2:30 p.m.

The surface temperature was around 75 degrees. The water exhibited slightly more than a foot of clarity.

The wind angled out of the northeast, and it occasionally generated white caps.

I concentrated on fishing main-lake points and their adjacent shorelines inside the feeder-creek arms. Along those shorelines, I ventured about halfway inside the feeder-creek arms, which is where the bites diminished.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/infisherman/content/photos/Midwest-Finesse-Fishing-September-2019-5.jpg

I caught one channel catfish, one flathead catfish , three green sunfish, four white bass, 15 smallmouth bass, and 16 largemouth bass. They were caught in one to five feet of water.

My most effective Midwest finesse rigs were a Z-Man’s The Deal TRD MinnowZ, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ, and a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD CrawZ. They were affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Jade’s Jig. I employed these rigs with a slow swimming-and-twitch retrieve, which was highlighted with a deadstick presentation. Most of the strikes occurred during the deadstick routine.

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