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Midwest Finesse Fishing: September 2020

Midwest Finesse Fishing: September 2020
Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, with one of the 48 black bass that he and Rick Allen of Dallas caught on Sept. 18.

This September guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 21 logs and 20,544 words that describe how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished.

It features the outings and insights of Rick Allen of Dallas; Tom Bett of Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas; Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas; Pat Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas; Bill Kenny of Corinth, Texas;  Randi Lee Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia; Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia; Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; and John Thomas of Denton, Texas.

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

Sept. 2

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a log of the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 2 outing.


Here is an edited version of his log.


After a two-week hiatus from angling, I made a solo trip to a northeastern Kansas’ U.S. Corps of Engineers’ reservoir.

The weather was clear and significantly cooler than in had been in recent weeks. The low temperature was 66 degrees and the high temperature was 88 degrees. While I was afloat, the wind blew from the south and southeast at 3-13 mph. For much of the time, it was brisk enough to raise a few whitecaps. The barometric pressure was 29.90 and slightly falling.

The water’s surface temperature was 84 degrees. The water level was about 15 inches above normal. The water exhibited one to two feet of visibility. The algae bloom that has plagued this reservoir for most of the summer continues unabated, creating a foaminess on the surface and floating chunks of algae.

I fished from 11:10 a.m. until 4:10 p.m.


My focus was to discover some new black-bass lairs rather than plying well-known lairs.

On my last trip to this impoundment, I fished the main lake-points at the entrance to a secondary feeder-creek arm and its shorelines, where I caught several largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

On Sept. 2, one of my primary targets another secondary feeder-creek arm that is adjacent to the one I plied on my previous trip and the main-lake shorelines that separate these two feeder creeks.  I also dissected six main-lake points, several shorelines inside two medium-sized secondary feeder-creek arms, one 150-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline, and two 250-yard stretches of two main-lake shorelines.


I used six Midwest finesse rigs.  They were a Z-Man Fishing Products’ Junebug TRD TicklerZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a Z-Man’s coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ mounted on a red 1/16-ounce Jade’s Jig, a three-inch Z-Man’s The Deal Slim SwimZ mounted on a custom-painted chartreuse 1/16-ounce TT Lures’ NedlockZ jig,  a Z-Man’s molting-craw TRD CrawZ mounted on a custom-painted blue 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a Z-Man’s molting-craw TRD HogZ mounted on a custom-painted blue 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and a Z-Man’s molting-craw TRD TicklerZ mounted on a custom-painted blue 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

I made the first cast on a main-lake point. This point did not produce any strikes.

I proceeded to dissect this point’s adjacent shoreline, which leads towards the secondary feeder-creek that was my main target for the day. This 250-yard stretch of shoreline is rock-laden, and it is endowed with a shelf of rubble that consists of rocks, boulders, gravel, and sand. Along this shelf, I caught one largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig. One was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and the other one was caught on a deadstick presentation. They were abiding in seven to nine feet of water and several yards from the water’s edge.

Along the rest of this 250-yard section of shoreline, I caught two smallmouth bass on the molting-craw TRD CrawZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. A third strike failed to hook the fish and the jig was returned to the boat sans the TRD CrawZ body.

After re-dressing the jig with the molting-craw HogZ, I caught one largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass around the main-lake point at the entrance to the secondary feeder-creek arm. One of the smallmouth bass was abiding around a large boulder that sat in about 12 inches of water, and it was adjacent to a sharp drop off where the water’s depth dropped quickly from one foot to about seven feet. This fish hit the TRD HogZ rig on the initial drop. The other smallmouth bass appeared to be suspended in about four feet of water, and it was abiding next to a vertical rock that rose about one foot above the surface of the water. It was caught on the TRD HogZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the molting-craw TRD TicklerZ rig in 3 ½ feet of water at the tip of this main-lake point.

The shorelines inside this secondary feeder-creek arm did not produce any strikes, nor did the other main-lake point at the entrance of this feeder-creek arm.

Along another 250-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline, which is rock-laden, I caught one largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass on the coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ rig. Both of the smallmouth bass were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The largemouth bass was enticed into striking when I popped the coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ rig free from an underwater rock obstruction.

This 250-yard section of a main-lake shoreline ended at the mouth of another secondary feeder-creek arm. The first main-lake point at the entrance to this arm and one of the shorelines inside this arm were unproductive. However, as I dissected those areas, I noticed some surface activity along the opposite shoreline and in the back of this arm. In that area, I quickly caught two largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass in 2 ½ feet of water and a few yards from the water’s edge. They were caught on The Deal Slim SwimZ rig with a straight swimming retrieve. This rig also caught two freshwater drum and a sauger. All six fish were caught in about 20 minutes. The surface activity I observed was caused by small black bass foraging upon gizzard shad.

The other main-lake point at the entrance to the secondary feeder-creek arm was unproductive.

However, along a 150-yard section of steep and rocky main-lake shoreline, I caught two largemouth bass on the Slim SwimZ rig.  One was caught on a straight swimming retrieve, and the other was caught on the initial drop.

Earlier, I noticed a little pattern that kind of intrigued me. It occurred three times when I popped a rig free after it had become snagged on a submerged rock, and a largemouth bass and two freshwater drum engulfed the rig. I decided to try to emulate that presentation without getting snagged. I tested this presentation on another main-lake point at the entrance to a small feeder-creek arm. After casting to the shoreline, I swam and glided the molting-craw TRD TicklerZ rig into deeper water, and then I let it settle to the bottom. After I let it lie on the bottom for a few seconds, I popped the rod tip real fast and straight up, then I shook the rig gently as the rig settled back to the bottom. On my second try, a fish engulfed the lure as it was settling back, and I landed a smallmouth bass. Recasting toward shoreline, I repeated the same swim-and-glide retrieve into deeper water and allowed the rig to settle to the bottom, and after I popped the rig up and shook it as it settled back to the bottom, I was rewarded with another strike and landed a largemouth bass this time. Around the point on the other side of the mouth of this small feeder-creek arm, I could not get the pop-and-shake (for want of a better way to refer to it) technique to work again. But I did entice a smallmouth bass to engulf the rig on its initial drop.

In all, I caught nine largemouth bass and nine smallmouth bass in five hours. I also inadvertently caught three freshwater drum, one sauger, and one giant bluegill. I really was not unhappy with the results, because I am sure that if I had spent more time dissecting this reservoir’s well-known  black-bass lairs --rather than searching for new ones -- that my catch would have been much better. But on this outing, I was delighted to find a new area that harbors both largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, and I spent a lot of my time thoroughly dissecting this area to learn its secrets.  Next time, I think that I can fish the best areas that I discovered on this outing -- as well as some of the traditional black-bass areas -- and catch more fish.

Sept. 4

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his outing on Sept. 4.

Here is an edited version of his log.

On Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, something was drastically awry with our black-bass fishing in northeastern Kansas.  Pat Kehde and I struggled on Aug. 31 to catch four largemouth bass and four smallmouth bass in two hours of fishing at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs. We struggled again during another two-hour outing on Sept. 2 to catch one smallmouth bass and seven largemouth bass at another community reservoir, which has been one of our most fruitful reservoirs for the past five years.  We were so disheartened that we could not muster the wherewithal to compose logs for the Finesse News Network about those frustrating endeavors.  On Sept. 4, Patty wisely elected not to join me for a less-than-mediocre outing at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs.

The National Weather Service reported on Sept 4 that it was 49 degrees at 5:52 a.m. and 85 degrees at 4:52 p.m.  The wind was calm at times, and when it stirred, it angled out of the northwest, southeast, and east at 3 to 9 mph. The sky was fair. The barometric pressure was 30.11 at 12:52 a.m., 30.15 at 5:52 a.m., 30.22 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.18 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 12:19 a.m. to 2:19 a.m., 12:40 p.m. to 2:40 p.m., and 6:29 a.m. to 8:29 a.m.

The surface temperature ranged from 80 to 81 degrees. The water exhibited five to seven feet of secchi-stick visibility. The water level looked to be about four feet below its normal level. Its shallow-water flats are embellished with patches of bushy pondweed and coontail. Its water’s edges were lined with partially flooded terrestrial vegetation and a few patches of partially flooded American water willows.

This outing was not as fruitless as the ones on Aug. 31 and Sept. 2, but it was far from being a Midwest finesse bonanza. I fished from 10:55 a.m. to 1:55 p.m. and tangled with 33 largemouth bass and one black crappie.

 Across the years, I have been chastised as being a dink catcher. I relish catching scores of largemouth bass, and if I can catch 15 to 25 largemouth bass an hour, usually one or two of them per hour will be hefty specimens. But on this Sept. 4 outing, 30 of these 33 largemouth bass were very dinky, and the other three were not very hefty. And catching just an hourly average of 10 dinky largemouth bass didn’t erase the disheartening memories of our Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 outings.

One of the 33 largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s watermelon-red Baby Goat affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. Four of the 33 were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead.  Eight were caught on a Z-Man’s sprayed-grass TRD TicklerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead.  Twenty were caught on a Z-Man’s PB&J TRD HogZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead.

Two largemouth bass were caught around a main-lake point. This point has a 40-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, boulders, and submerged foundations of a barn and farm house. One of the largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the TRD HogZ rig in about four feet of water. The TRD HogZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation caught the other largemouth bass in about seven feet of water as I was strolling.

I spent the rest of the outing inside two feeder-creek arms, plying four shorelines, several secondary points, a few tertiary points, and an array of shallow-water flats adjacent to these shorelines and points. The underwater terrains of these areas are endowed with gravel, rocks, and boulders. The slopes of these shorelines, points, and flats ranged from 15- to 30-degrees. Several of the flats are graced with submerged creek channels and  manmade brush piles and rock piles.

The areas that were devoid of substantial patches of submerged bushy pondweed and coontail yielded four largemouth bass. They were caught on the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four to eight feet of water.

The other 27 largemouth bass were caught around patches of submerged vegetation in four to 10 feet of water. One of the 27 largemouth bass was caught on the Baby Goat rig with a swimming presentation in about five feet of water. The sprayed-grass TRD TickerZ rig caught eight largemouth bass while I was strolling and employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four to 10 feet of water. The TRD HogZ rig caught 18 largemouth bass on either the initial drop or a swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation in four to about eight feet of water.

In closing, it is interesting to note that there were very few anglers afloat at the three reservoirs that we fished this week. In fact, we were the only boat afloat on Aug. 31. There were four boats afloat on Sept. 2. And there were three boats and one kayak on the water on Sept. 4. It is quite a contrast to the chaos that we endured in March, April, and May. Perhaps, the sorry black-bass fishing that is currently plaguing our reservoirs in northeastern Kansas this summer has provoked this decline.

Sept. 4

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

Here is an edited version of his log.

The beginning of September was wet as the remnants of hurricane Laura dumped five to seven inches of rain on the countryside of north-central Texas on September 1 and 2, but it also helped drop the daytime high temperatures from 106 degrees on Aug. 31 to 83 degrees on September 2.

On September 4, local thermometers recorded the morning low temperature at 71 degrees and the afternoon high temperature reached 93 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.11 at noon and 30.07 at 3:00 p.m. The wind angled out of the southeast, east, and northeast at 5 to 8.

I thought I would sneak in a short afternoon excursion to one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoirs in north-central Texas before it became too chaotic with Labor Day weekend revelers and boat traffic.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the fishing would be average. It also noted that the best fishing would occur between 12:26 a.m. and 2:26 a.m., 6:36 a.m. and 8:36 a.m., and 12:47 p.m. to 2:47 a.m. I fished from noon to 3:00 p.m.

The significant rainfall that fell earlier in the week did not appear to have affected the water conditions at this reservoir. The water level was only 0.22 of a foot above normal. The water exhibited about two feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 83 to 85 degrees.

I spent these three hours concentrating on two deep-water lairs that were enhanced with shade and significant concentrations of threadfin shad. The first locale was a series of five floating tractor-tire reefs, and the second one was comprised of two rows of 22 concrete bridge support columns underneath two adjacent bridges. These two areas are situated in the reservoir’s southwest tributary arm. The underwater terrain in this part of the reservoir consists of red clay, pea-gravel, rocks, and boulders.

The five tractor-tire reefs are situated at the mouth of two large marinas. They vary in size from about 25 to 75 yards in length. While I was dissecting them, the boat floated in water as deep as 34 feet and as shallow as 17 feet. The water was clear enough for me to see numerous schools of threadfin shad meandering around and through the openings of the tires, and occasionally a black bass would suddenly appear and snatch one of the shad from the surface of the water near one of the tires. These five reefs surrendered a total of six largemouth bass and two spotted bass. They were suspended about eight feet below the surface along the shady side of the reef. They were allured by a Z-Man’s blue steel Finesse ShadZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead that was employed with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

From those tire reefs, I moved about 1 1/2 miles westward and concentrated my efforts around the sides of 22 concrete support columns that were shaded from the sun by the bridges. One of the bridges is a railroad-trestle bridge; the other one is an interstate-highway bridge. The depth of the water encircling these bridges is as shallow as 12 feet and as deep as 42 feet. These support columns yielded 11 largemouth bass and one white bass. These fish were suspended five to eight feet below the surface and were close to the sides of the columns. They were caught on a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the Z-Man’s blue-steel Finesse ShadZ rig.

The columns that were drenched with sunlight were fruitless.

In closing, I caught 17 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one white bass in three hours.

I employed nine Midwest finesse offerings, and the Z-Man’s blue-steel Finesse ShadZ matched with a blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead was the only effective rig. The swim-glide-and-shake was the only effective presentation.

Sept 4.

Travis and Randi Lee Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about their Sept. 4 outing.

Here is an edited version of their outing.

After returning home from my daily work duties at approximately 4:45 p.m., I asked my wife if she would like to go lip a few fish. By the time I got out of my daily uniform and headed to the garage, my wife had some rods in the UTV and was ready to depart. I checked the jigs and tied new knots, and we were ready to go.

After a 25-minute UTV trip through the woods, we stepped into the water.

The air temperature was a refreshing 76 degrees with zero humidity.

Because of some massive all-day rains that included a hail storm, the water was higher than it had been in recent weeks. It was running at 208 cubic feet per second. Even though the clarity was a bit stained, there was six feet of visibility at some of the deeper locales.

The flat that we elected to fish is 100 yards long and fifty yards across. On the weak side of the river, it is a foot deep. In the middle, it is two feet. On the strong side, it has a depth of approximately three feet, which does not seem very deep, but the edge of this strong side is shaded all day long, and there are a series of about nine depressions along the bottom that are deep enough to consolidate some fish. These depressions are about a foot deeper than the surrounding water.

I let my wife take the lead, letting her make the first casts into likely holding spots as we fished the entire 100 yards. We stood in two feet of water and made casts that were slightly upstream of the depressions, which allowed the current to move our offerings into these likely holding spots.

The bottom consists of pebbles and small rocks that we could easily feel through our rod tips ever so often until throwing slack into our line to facilitate a no-feel presentation.

My wife lipped 11 smallmouth bass and inadvertently inveigled 12 green sunfish, three bluegill and one largemouth. All of them were caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s mudbug TRD Craw affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead.

I lipped 10 smallmouth bass and inadvertently caught 16 green sunfish, two rock bass and three fallfish. All of my fish were caught on a three-week-old and well-worn Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD MinnowZ rigged on a red 1/32-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead with a complete deadstick-and-slight-shake presentation.

We fished for one hour and 47 minutes.

While unhooking our smallmouth bass, we saw crayfish in nine of their throats. Two others had what looked to be two juvenile bluegill, and two smallmouth bass had shiners protruding from their throats. As anyone who has ever fished with me could attest, I look at such things with every fish I lip. Unfortunately, I often forget to report these observations in my logs.

As always, our jigs' barbs were removed.  And both of us liberally applied our customized Pro-Cure Super Gel to our rigs after every fish that we unhooked.

Sept. 5

Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 5 outing.

Here is an edited version of his outing.

I awoke earlier than I cared to on a holiday weekend. I prepared a hearty breakfast and loaded my vehicle with the bare necessities for a morning wade on another body of water that is at least four zip-codes away.

My aim was to be on the water early to avoid encountering anyone at a local boat ramp.

I saw no one during my two hours on the water and was home before what I would guess was not anything I cared to experience.

I choose this spot because it is what I call “a long summertime conveyor belt of food.” It is approximately 75 yards and 75 yards wide.

I stood in water that was less than knee deep and made casts into three and four feet of water that had visible surface current, which was diverted here and there by large boulders that protrude above the water’s surface. The bottom consists of these large boulders and grapefruit-sized rock.

The setting for a river smallmouth-bass angler is fairly rudimentary. My casts were made up and across the visible current, and I let my offering move in and out of current seams. At any place that I saw bubbles on the surface moving up river against the current, I would let my offering deadstick longer than I otherwise did. I picked apart this stretch of river by making underhand pitches to within inches of the water’s edge. I was standing more than three-quarters of the way across the river; therefore, I was fishing a quarter of it.

I had two rods rigged.

I lipped 11 smallmouth bass on a Z-Man’s mudbug TRD TubeZ with an inserted 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, which has some of the lead of the head removed. 

I lipped 18 smallmouth bass  and inadvertently caught three rock bass on a 2 ½-inch Z-Man’s dirt ZinkerZ affixed to  a red 1/32-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead.

Sept. 6

Travis and Randi Lee Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about their Sept. 6 outing.

Here is an edited version of their outing.

If anyone has ever read any of my reports in the past when submitting them multiple times weekly, they will have read of my mentioning “Once you’re in it, you’re in it.”  Or in other words, one had better have their ducks in a row by having plenty of water, fire starting supplies in the fall, and a change of clothes while floating. Today was a perfect example of just what I referenced so very often.

The river’s flow had diminished greatly from our Friday outing. It was running at 130 cubic feet per second. And it was clearer. The water temperature was 71 degrees.

There was not a cloud in the sky. The air temperature was 78 degrees with no humidity.

It was at approximately 11:30 a.m. when my wife asked me if I wanted to go catch a few. I could see that she wanted to fish more than I did. But 39 minutes later, we were stepping into the river that we live on.

In years past, I referred to “The August hole.” For miles on each side of it, it is the deepest spot on the river. But it is not a wintering hole that fish consolidate in the cold-water months,  but it has enough depth to hold some fish that seek shelter in August during the daylight hours, and then during the night, they wander across the very lengthy two-foot-deep flat above it to feed.  During the seven years since we were transplanted here from upstate New York, this spot accounted for some very healthy smallmouth-bass specimens, measuring more than 20 inches, and my biggest was a 22 ¼-incher. This hole is the size of a tennis court. One side of it is covered by shade all day. And there is a large gathering of downed red-oak trees, which were deposited there during the year of the historic floods of 2018.

From where my wife and I parked the UT, we waded into place as I let her make the first casts into the August hole. The initial drop of her offering was intercepted by a healthy smallmouth bass. On the next cast, she caught  a largemouth bass. After she unhooked the seventh fish, I asked if she minded if I casted. She agreed, but I let her have at it, and I sat on a large boulder and just watched. After she enjoyed 23 various catches along this stretch, she yelled up “Trav ready to go down ?” I was.

I caught up to her as she was around the bend, working a series of riffles, and unhooking a healthy rock bass.

We fished this series of shallow riffles from the weak side, casting into the middle of a series of riffles that are 3 1/2 feet deep right smack dab in the middle of the river. We worked this trench by first walking to the very end of it and fishing our way back up it for 100 yards. I fished behind my wife as she was continually unhooking fish. From what I could discern her fish were intercepting her offering as it tumbled along in this trench. The bottom substrate of this stretch will eat up a pack of jigs in as many casts if the drift is not properly executed with the right amount of ElaZtech and lead. I saw her get hung only once, and she adroitly executed the bow-and-arrow maneuver to get it free from the substrate. I lipped a few behind her, fishing the well-used water, but they weren’t as hefty as hers. Every three to five minutes, she would hold one up or I would hear “Trav good one.”

In mop up duty I managed to catch nine smallmouth bass, seven rock bass, and a giant green sunfish. I threw a shortened Z-Man’s pumpkin Finesse WormZ with a customized tail on a red 1/32-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead.

When I caught up with my wife, I asked what the total damage was. She said 33 smallmouth bass, about 14 green sunfish, one rock bass,  and one fallfish. I looked at her and said “well done.” All of her fish were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead.

We had approximately 30 yards to get around the bend to the August hole. The lip of its tail out is where one better know what they are doing as there are miles to the nearest takeout with steep cliffs on each side that resembles a scene out of the movie Deliverance.

On our first initial steps as we were on our way back to our UTV,  we heard very frantic yelling. Yelling by someone that was in distress.

My wife and I began running up river. As we rounded the bend there were a group of kayakers that were yelling hysterically. It was apparent from a distance that one member of the party was either dead or had suffered a massive heart attack. Unfortunately, in my day job I see both and or worse weekly. To make a long story short, I checked for vitals, calmed the scene, and 35 minutes later the individual was being boarded and medically evacuated via helicopter from behind our home to a nearby hospital.

Quite a day on the river.

We fished just over 2 1/2 hours.

Sept. 8

Ned and Pat Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about their outing on Sept. 8.

Here is an edited version of his log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 66 degrees at 12:53 a.m., 55 degrees at 8:53 a.m., and 56 degrees at 12:53 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being mostly cloudy to overcast to drizzling to misting. The wind angled out of the north and northeast at 12 to 23 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.82 at 12:53 a.m., 29.94 at 5:53 a.m., 30.02 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.02 at 12:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 3:21 a.m. to 5:21 a.m., 3:44 p.m. to 5:44 p.m., and 9:33 a.m. to 11:33 a.m.

Patty Kehde and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs from 10:09 a.m. until we got drizzled and blown off the water at 12:25 p.m.

The water level looked to be normal.  The water exhibited four to about eight feet of secchi-stick visibility. The surface temperature fluctuated from 78 to 79 degrees.

In the middle portions of this reservoir, we fished along two short segments of a shoreline and across parts of two shallow-water flats inside one small feeder-creek arm, where we caught one smallmouth bass and three largemouth bass. The shoreline has a 25-degree slope. Its water edge is embellished with a few patches of American water willows, American pondweeds, several docks, a couple of laydowns, and two boat ramps. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and a few boulders that are occasionally clothed with patches of coontail. The smallmouth bass was caught on a concrete boat ramp in about seven feet of water on a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse TRD affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead with a dragging presentation. One largemouth bass was hooked on a Z-Man’s PB&J TRD HogZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead on the initial drop in about four feet of water between the inside edge of a patch of coontail and the outside edge of a patch of American water willows. One largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the PB&J Finesse TRD rig around a patch of coontail and a corner of a dock. One largemouth bass was caught on the PB&J Finesse TRD rig with a swim-and-glide presentation around patches of coontail in about five feet of water.

Around a main-lake point and along about three-quarters of a mile of a main-lake shoreline, we caught three smallmouth bass and 32 largemouth bass.

It was too windy, misty, and drizzly for us to keep an accurate account of how and where we caught each of the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. So, the following words are based on our best recollections of what transpired.

The boat was tethered to a wind or drift stock the entire time that we fished this area, which stretches from the middle region of the reservoir well into its upper region. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and scores of boulders. The shoreline has a 25- to 80-degree slope. The water’s edge is endowed with occasional patches of American water willows and numerous laydowns and overhanging trees. It is graced with several tertiary points, which yielded four of the 32 largemouth bass that we caught. Most of the flatter portions of the shoreline are bejeweled with significant patches of coontail, and these flatter areas are as small as a tennis court to as large as a half of a football field. The flatter areas were more fruitful than the steeper areas.

Around the main-lake point, we caught two largemouth bass on the PB&J HogZ rig with a swim-and-glide presentation in about seven feet of water and next to patches of coontail.

Along the shoreline, we caught 30 largemouth bass and three smallmouth bass.

One of the 30 largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead on the initial drop in about five feet of water under an overhanging tree.

We caught three of the 30 largemouth bass on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 3/32-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. Two were caught on the initial drop adjacent to overhanging trees in about four feet of water. The other one was caught on a swim-and-glide presentation in about five feet of water.

One smallmouth bass and four largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead in four to six feet of water. Two of these six were caught on the initial drop of this rig, and four were caught on a swim-and-glide presentation. Four were caught around patches of coontail.

We caught two smallmouth bass and 22 largemouth bass on either the PB&J Finesse TRD rig or the PB&J TRD HogZ rig.  Most of them were caught in three to six feet of water on either the initial drop of these rigs or on a swim-and-glide presentation. A few were caught on a drag-and-slight-deadstick presentation in about five feet of water.

Across a coontail-adorned flat inside a medium-size feeder-creek arm in the upper half of the reservoir, we caught one smallmouth bass and five largemouth bass. One largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the PB&J Finesse TRD rig in about six feet of water around a patch of coontail. One smallmouth bass was caught of the Junebug Finesse ShadZ rig on a swim-and-glide presentation around a patch of coontail in about six feet of water. The Finesse ShadZ rig caught a largemouth bass on the initial drop in about six feet of water on top of a patch of coontail. Three largemouth bass were caught on the PB&J TRD HogZ with a swim-and-glide presentation in about six feet of water around patches of coontail.

In sum, we caught an hourly average of 18 black bass. Our most effective rigs were the Z-Man’s PB&J TRD HogZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead and Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse TRD affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. We caught the five smallmouth bass and 40 largemouth bass on a variety of presentations.

Sept. 10

Tom Bett of Oshkosk, Wisconsin, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 10 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log.

Sept. 10 arrived in eastern Wisconsin with the same weather conditions that we have observed for the past two days: record low temperatures, precipitation, and persistent north and northeast winds. Because of these conditions, I delayed my launch time by several hours. Yet, when I arrived at the landing just before 10:00 a.m., the air temperature had warmed to only 48 degrees, and the intermittent light-rain showers, which were pushed by a north wind at 10 to 15 mph, made it feel much cooler. I stayed bundled up all day beneath full rain gear. Upon my return to the landing in the middle of the afternoon, the air temperature had warmed to only 58 degrees.

The lake’s surface temperature had crashed from the mid-sixties a week ago to 56 degrees. Because of the heavy cloud cover, I observed no diurnal heating. The water clarity has been improving, as the blue-green algae blooms dissipate with the strong winds and cooler temperatures. The secchi disk exhibited 2.8 to 3.7 feet of visibility. The submerged vegetation has not begun to dissipate yet, and I estimated this year’s crop is around 95-percent intact. The water level was within the control band for this date, and because of the recent precipitation, the river inflows were increasing to 4,000 cubic feet per second through Oshkosh.

My plans for the day was to assess the progress of the fall transition, which occurs across the Winnebago system each autumn. As the length of daylight wanes and the temperatures cool, the submerged aquatic vegetation becomes senescent for the winter. This is analogous to the deciduous trees dropping their leaves each autumn. When this happens in our waterways, it mandates major shifts in the locations for the predators and their prey. I very much enjoy this time of the year.

The first part of my script was to examine hard-cover lairs for agglomerations of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. The system contains a multitude of manmade channels and harbors, and the majority of them are protected by break walls made of riprap. The black bass generally do not exhibit pelagic behaviors, and these riprap sites become ambush points for them as the forage fish lose their cover in the submerged vegetation.

The second part of my script was to ply a few first-rate backwater and marshy areas to determine if the shallow-water largemouth bass were starting to abide in the cuts and ditches.

The day played out like the tale of two cities. Hard-cover areas were productive, while my backwater bash was a total bust. In all, I handled 27 smallmouth bass, six largemouth bass, three walleye, two white bass, and one freshwater drum during 4.1 hours of casting time. This ultimately provided a black-bass catch rate of eight per hour, making it a touch above average for my level of fishing on this system. I also spent one hour without making a cast, and I spent this time doing some sonar scanning to evaluate the forage fish density at some additional locations. My log indicated I fished at 18 different sites, with 12 producing at least one fish and six providing me nothing.

At the hard-cover locations, I fished the Z-Man's The Deal TRD TicklerZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. I briefly tested a Z-Man’s black/blue TRD CrawZ rigged on a black 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and a Z-Man’s yoga-pants Finesse TRD rigged on a black 1/10-ounce Z Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, but I found these dark hues did not excite the fish on this day.

When in the backwaters and marsh cuts, I flipped a conditioned Z-Man green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ mounted on a green-pumpkin 1/16-ounce Berkley’s Fusion 19 weedless wacky jig.

My first stop of the day was at a submerged line of riprap, which is actually a washed-out shoreline that is now offset from the bank by about 20 yards. This structure sits on a sand flat near the main river channel, with water depths of three to 4 ½ feet on the outside and less than three feet and heavily vegetated with pondweeds along the inside edge. I started on the upwind end and allowed the boat to drift parallel to the riprap. On my second cast with the TRD TicklerZ rig, I caught a 17 ½-inch largemouth bass that raced up and grabbed the lure as I was about to lift it from the water (sometimes it is better to be lucky than good). During the next eight minutes, I extracted two smallmouth bass from open pockets in the pondweeds that were located on the inside edge of the riprap. One came on a drag-and-pause retrieve in the small opening, and the other came as I snapped the line to free the lure from a snag on a rock. I took this as a good sign, thinking that it was a decent start for the first 10 minutes.

The second stop was on a break wall point that drops into about six feet of water. This site has been improved by the owner within the last few years, and as it was rebuilt, not all of the rocks were relocated. I call it a thumb, and it protrudes perpendicular to the new axis of the point. It has a depth of about two feet. When I was using a slow swim-and-glide retrieve on the fourth cast, my rig loaded up as I passed the tip of this thumb. The result was a thick 22-inch walleye. I proceeded around the point at a slow troll speed, casting into the rocks, and pausing the retrieves as the rig cleared the shallow zone. Only one smallmouth bass was willing to take the TRD TicklerZ rig during a two-second pause at the base of the rocks.

At this point in the morning and 20 minutes of fishing, I was glad the fish were available, but I was concerned the fish density per site was going to wear me down.

Site number three was a long rock point back in a bay and well off the river flow. In 10 minutes, I had only one more smallmouth bass to show for the effort. This fish came on the initial drop of the TRD TicklerZ in probably two feet of water or less and near the water’s edge.

My concerns about fish density kept building. And at the next four locations, I added only three smallmouth bass and another decent walleye to the log sheet. All were taken on the TRD TicklerZ rig using drag-and-pause retrieves across the rocks in three to seven feet of water.

I decided to explore some backwater locales for largemouth bass. So, I ran about a mile into a large shallow and heavily vegetated bay to explore some cuts and ditches. This proved to be my poorest decision of the day. I consumed 1 1/2 hours of flipping a wacky-rigged ZinkerZ in delicious-looking pockets without a bite at four locations within about one-half mile of each other.

Convinced the weed-oriented largemouth bass were not ready for me yet this autumn, I returned to my hard-cover pattern determined to spend the rest of my day hunting for a significant pod of fish.

Things did not start any differently for me at first. I fished a series of four short wing dams, garnering two zeroes and three smallmouth bass from the other two.

I thought if I could find the fish, the TRD TicklerZ rig I was using would take them. So, I was committed to press on. This mandated a significant run down the lake and into another major tributary river.

My first stop in the other river was at the head of an island. This site provides about the same type of habitat as the others possessed: a rock bank, a sand bottom, and beds of pondweeds. With 10 minutes invested, only one more smallmouth bass was added to the log sheet by using the TRD TicklerZ with a drag and pause retrieve.

The next stop was a more sizeable length of riprap with a deep channel swing flowing along it.  In about 15 minutes, I fished about a 150-yard section of it that was graced with deep water and current, which yielded a walleye and three smallmouth bass. My sonar screen was continuously exhibiting a solid color from the top to the bottom of the water column, revealing that this location hosted a tremendously dense accumulation of bait fish. Although my catch rate was not great, I like seeing abundant forage, and I was determined to press on.

My second to last stop is one of my seasonal favorites. This is a subtle line of riprap that touches the edge of the river channel. It is embellished with rocks and a clam bed in four to 6 ½ feet of water. It also is the last man-made improvement in the lower river. The bank downstream from this line of riprap is undeveloped and heavily vegetated. My second cast was rewarded with a nice smallmouth bass as I popped the TRD TicklerZ rig off a rock and let it settle to the river bed. I thought here we go again, but was dead wrong: the sought-after pod of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass was lurking here. Within 25 minutes, I boated seven smallmouth bass, six heavy largemouth bass, and shook off a few white bass. The large fish were very lazy and would not touch the lure if it was moving. My only recourse was to allow the lure to settle on bottom, drag it a foot, pause for at least three seconds, and then repeat. All strikes were not felt. The line would simply tighten and move slowly in a non-current driven direction. Finally, I had found some fun, and I never took the boat off Spot Lock until I decided I had the spot worn out.

My last stop on this day was another short wing dam that has a major eddy and 10-foot-deep washout hole on its tip. Again, the fish on this spot were lazy, and they would not take the lure if it was off bottom and moving. In 20 minutes, the TRD TicklerZ rig caught four smallmouth bass and two 15- to 17-inch white bass. The bite in this location was what I call paced, which means that fish were routinely circulating through the eddy rather than holding on any specific piece of cover. Thus, my catch rate was averaging about one fish every four minutes.

As the clock hit the top of the hour, I decided it had been a good day -- given the less than beautiful weather conditions -- and I put up the rod for the run home.

In sum, the day showed me that the season has progressed into the fall transition period, but it is not yet far along. The system appears to have abundant forage this year. This excites me because the game fish transitioning from their upriver summer habitats may often hold on prime foraging sites well into October, providing a seasonal bounty for anglers who are willing to find ways to entertain overfed and very lazy predators. Even if the weather conditions were less than ideal, my finesse methods allowed me to enjoy a productive day on the lake. I do plenty of cranking, jerking, and other power tactics, but I am absolutely sold on the virtues of the Midwest finesse methods to generate both good quality and high volume of bites.

Sept. 11

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

Here is an edited version of his log.

Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, and I fished from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at a challenging U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the fishing would be poor, and it was. It also noted that the best fishing would occur from 5:57 a.m. to 7:57 a.m., 11:44 a.m. to 1:44 p.m., and 6:24 p.m. to 8:24 p.m.

Area thermometers recorded the morning low temperature at 62 degrees and the afternoon high temperature reached 79 degrees. The sky was mostly overcast with a few brief spells of sunshine. The barometric pressure measured 30.15 at 11:00 a.m. and 30.03 at 4:00 p.m. The wind quartered out of the north-by-northwest at 5 to 10 mph.

The water’s surface temperature ranged from 79 to 81 degrees. The water level was 1.18 feet above normal. The water was stained more than usual from recent rains and exhibited 12 inches of clarity at best.

The black bass bite at this reservoir has been poor for months on end, but we were hoping that the recent drop in the water temperature, coupled with the shorter daylight hours, would provoke the black bass to group up and begin their annual fall migration into the backs of the feeder-creeks arms.  Unfortunately, our hopes failed to materialize. Instead, we failed miserably to locate any large aggregations of black bass, and our best efforts could muster only 10 largemouth bass, 2 spotted bass, and one bluegill in five hours. It took us almost an hour to elicit our first strike of the day.

To start off, we searched for large concentrations of black bass and threadfin shad inside a large feeder-creek arm on the north end of the reservoir. This creek arm has steep shorelines. Its underwater terrain consists of red clay, pea-gravel, hand-size rocks, and an abundance of submerged boulders of all shapes and sizes. We found significant concentrations of threadfin shad only in the lower end and at the mouth of this creek arm, and there was virtually no black bass to be found around those concentrations of shad. We dissected a number of secondary points, rocky shorelines, and a couple of rock-laden bluffs, but we caught only one spotted bass in this creek arm. It was caught in the lower end of the creek arm in eight feet of water along a steep and rocky shoreline. It was coaxed into striking a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ matched with a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Eagle Claw Pro-V Finesse jig.

We also investigated another large feeder-creek arm on the south end of the reservoir. It also entertained large concentrations of threadfin shad but very few black bass.  A small cove near the mouth of this creek arm yielded one largemouth bass. It was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig in four feet of water from a flat shoreline that consisted of red clay, pea gravel, and partially flooded terrestrial vegetation lining its water’s edge. The remainder of the creek arm was fruitless.

As the afternoon unfolded, we discovered that our most productive locations were rock- and boulder-laden main-lake points and a main-lake island. The main-lake points were located in the northern section of the reservoir. The island is situated in the midsection of the impoundment.

We caught four largemouth bass from the island.  They were caught in three to seven feet of water around submerged stumps and laydowns mixed with pea-gravel and fist-size rocks. Three were caught on a steady do-nothing retrieve with a three-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. The other one was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce OG Mushroom Jighead.

In three to 10 feet of water along a series of 12 steep and rocky main-lake points, we struggled to catch five largemouth bass and one spotted bass. All of these bass were scattered and many yards apart from each other. They were all caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ combos.

In short, we discovered that the threadfin shad have begun migrating into the feeder-creek arms but not the black bass. Main-lake lairs were more productive than those in the feeder-creek arms.

Sept. 12

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

Here is an edited version of his log.

After a lackluster outing on Sept. 11 at a perplexing U.S. Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in north-central Texas, John Thomas of Denton and I fished from 7:41 a.m. to 11:41 a.m. at a state reservoir located in the rural countryside of north-central Texas.

When we arrived at the boat ramp parking lot, we were surprised to see that it was chock-full of tow vehicles and boat trailers. We also noticed that the overflow parking lot was crammed full as well, and vehicles with boat trailers were relegated to parking along a grassy shoulder of a nearby gravel maintenance road. We later learned from a couple of anglers that there were no bass tournaments in progress; it was just weekend anglers getting out and about.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the fishing would most likely be poor again like it was on Sept. 11, and the best fishing would occur from 12:37 a.m. to 2:37 a.m., 6:51 a.m. to 8:51 a.m., and 7:18 p.m. to 9:18 p.m.

It was sunny on Sept. 12. The morning low temperature was 61 degrees. The afternoon high temperature was 87 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 29.99 at 7:00 a.m. and 29.98 at noon. The wind was mostly light and variable, and at times, it was calm.

The majority of this reservoir’s shorelines are rock- and boulder-laden. Some of the shorelines are adorned with flooded buck brush, stickups, overhanging trees, and laydowns. Its underwater terrain is composed of mostly red clay, gravel, rocks and boulders. There are some flourishing patches of hydrilla, American pondweed, and American water willows in the middle section and south end of the reservoir.

Depending on where we were fishing, the water exhibited between 1 1/2 to two feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 78 to 81 degrees. The water level was 1.70 feet low.

We spent four hours on the east side of the reservoir plying the perimeter of a main-lake island, an offshore hump, four riprap-covered jetties, and one main-lake shoreline.

The island that we investigated is located in the southeast end of the reservoir. We shared it with two other anglers in a boat. Its shorelines are flat and somewhat rocky and festooned with a continuous wall of partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation. The east side of the island has some patches of American pondweed in five to eight feet of water, and there is a small stand of flooded timber on its south end.

This island yielded four largemouth bass and three spotted bass. These bass were caught from the north end of the island. They were associated with the outside edges of the flooded terrestrial vegetation that is interlaced with some submerged boulders in three to five feet of water. Three were enticed with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s blue-steel Finesse ShadZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. Three more were induced into striking a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a blue 3/32-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. One was tempted by a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Trick ShotZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead.

From the island, we moved about a mile and half northward, where we dissected a rocky main-lake shoreline. This shoreline is relatively flat and adorned with large submerged boulders and a few partially-flooded bushes and stickups. There is also a long-submerged ledge that parallels this shoreline about 20 to 30 yards out from the water’s edge. This ledge is covered with about three feet of water and quickly descends into 20-plus feet of water. We shared this spot with another angler.

We concentrated on the deep-water side of the submerged ledge, and we caught six spotted bass and four largemouth bass that were extracted from eight to 12 feet of water. Five of these black bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rig with a steady swimming retrieve. Three were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the blue-steel Finesse ShadZ rig. Two were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse TRD attached to a blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead.

After that, we probed the riprap that covers two main-lake jetties about half of a mile north of the main-lake shoreline that we just fished. The first jetty relinquished four largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one freshwater drum. The second jetty was fruitless.

Four of these black bass and the freshwater drum were allured by the blue-steel Finesse ShadZ rig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The other two bass were fooled by a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the PB&J Finesse TRD combo. All of these fish were abiding in eight to 17 feet of water and about 10 to 15 feet from the water’s edge.

We then travelled about a mile westward and fished around a submerged main-lake hump. This hump is located in the middle section of the impoundment. It is covered with three to 10 feet of water. It is about 35 yards long and is encircled with more than 20 feet of water. There is a large patch of submerged boulders on its northern end, and these boulders yielded five largemouth bass and two spotted bass. All of them were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the blue-steel Finesse ShadZ rig.

We then meandered northward another mile and a half, where we fished along two more riprap-covered jetties and a rocky main-lake point that is situated just south of these two jetties, but we failed to cross paths with any black bass at these two locales.

In conclusion, the fishing was much better than the In-Fisherman’s solunar table had indicated. We relished tussling with 30 black bass, which consisted of 17 largemouth bass and 13 spotted bass. We also caught one freshwater drum by happenstance.

All of the areas we fished were entertaining good concentrations of small one- to two-inch threadfin shad.

We employed a total of nine Midwest finesse rigs, and four of them were productive. The two most effective ones were the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ and the Z-Man’s blue-steel Finesse ShadZ combos.

A steady swimming retrieve was utilized with the 2 1/2-inch Slim SwimZ rig, and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most effective presentation with the Finesse ShadZ combo.

Sept. 14

Dave Petro of Lecompton, Kansas, filed a log of the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 14 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log.

I returned to the same U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in northeastern Kansas that I fished on Sept. 2.  On that trip, I caught only 18 black bass in five hours of enduring poor water conditions, which were induced by a significant algae bloom and breezy weather conditions.

On Sept. 14, I found everything to be vastly improved.

During the week of Sept. 5-12, northeastern Kansas had a spell of cool and rainy weather. Since then, our overnight lows have been in the low 50s and daily highs have been in the 60s and low 70s.

On Sept. 14, after an overnight low of 50 degrees, the afternoon high was 81. While I was afloat, the wind blew from the northeast, east, and southeast at 5 to 10 mph. The sky was clear and sunny. The barometric pressure was 30.31 and slowly falling.

The water conditions have improved significantly. The algae bloom that has plagued this impoundment for most of the summer seems to be finally waning. The foaminess on the water’s surface and the clumps of floating algae that I had noted on my previous outing are gone. While the water is still stained green, it appears to be a healthier and more transparent green than it had been previously. The water clarity varied from 18 to 24 inches. The water level was 1.37 feet above normal.

On this trip, I fished for 5 1/2 hours, from 1:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. My goal was to visit some of my most productive black-bass lairs and catch as many fish as I could.  I used five Midwest finesse rigs on this trip. They were a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ mounted on a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse Shroom jig, a Z-Man’s PB&J TRD HogZ mounted on a hand-painted blue 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a shortened Z-Man’s coppertreuse  Hula StickZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Jade’s Jig, a Z-Man’s molting-craw Hula StickZ  on a 1/15-ounce hand-painted blue Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and a three-inch Z-Man’s The Deal Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce TT Lures’ Nedlock jig.

I dissected four main-lake points, a 200-yard section of rocky main-lake shoreline, and the shorelines inside a medium-sized feeder-creek arm.

Around a rocky and steep main-lake point at the entrance to the feeder-creek arm, I caught two largemouth bass.  One was enticed to strike the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The second one hit the PB&J TRD HogZ rig on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.  These two fish were relating to shoreline cover while the boat floated in 10-12 feet of water.

Along a section of a rocky shoreline midway inside the feeder-creek arm, I caught a largemouth bass on the coppertreuse Hula StickZ rig with a deadstick presentation in seven feet of water. This fish was about five yards away from the water’s edge. I continued to dissect that shoreline for another 250 yards without receiving any strikes.  However, about three quarters of the way into the feeder-creek arm, the rocks that adorned the shoreline gave way to dirt and clay, and this shoreline is steep. Where this transition occurred, I caught another largemouth bass on a fast retrieve of the coppertreuse Hula StickZ as I was reeling it in at the end of a retrieve. I noticed that there was some intermittent surface activity from gizzard shad on a nearby shallow-water flat, and there was a largemouth bass chasing them of the surface. I traded the Hula StickZ rig for The Deal Slim SwimZ rig and began casting across the shallow-water flat where I was seeing the surface activity. During the next 25 minutes, I caught five largemouth bass on the Slim SwimZ rig using a straight swimming retrieve.

When I left this flat, I began to dissect this feeder-creek arm’s other shoreline. This shoreline is endowed with two small coves and four secondary points. This shoreline's terrain consists of dirt, clay, and small rocks, and other portions are completely covered with rocks. I did not receive any strikes along this shoreline until I reached a secondary point at the mouth of one of the small coves. I caught one largemouth on the point with the Slim SwimZ rig with a straight swimming retrieve in 2 ½ feet of water. On the shallow flat at the back of this cove, I caught three largemouth bass on the Slim SwimZ rig in three feet of water. These fish were caught by casting towards the back of the flat where there were a few dead stalks of terrestrial plants sticking out of the water. All three of these largemouth bass seemed to be relating to those sticks. The opposite shoreline and point leading out of this small cove were unproductive, as was a short section of the feeder-creek arm’s shoreline.

Upon reaching the second cove, I dissected the secondary point at its entrance and both shorelines inside this cove. I did not receive any strikes in these areas. However, around the other secondary point and its adjacent shorelines, I caught four largemouth bass on the Slim SwimZ rig with a straight swimming retrieve in two to six feet of water.

The shoreline of the feeder-creek arm adjacent to the secondary point becomes adorned with rocks and boulders of all sizes. It also has a concrete boat ramp, which consists of a dock and short sections of riprap. Because the underwater terrain was becoming steeper, deeper, and rockier, I decided that my results would be better by fishing slower and deeper, so I picked up the coppertreuse Hula StickZ rig and began to dissect the riprap and boat ramp. On one of the concrete portions of the ramp, I caught the first smallmouth bass of the day on the Hula StickZ rig on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in about four feet of water. A cast along the side of the dock produced a largemouth bass with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve parallel to the side of the dock. On the riprap next to the boat ramp, a largemouth was enticed into striking the Hula StickZ rig on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in seven feet of water.

After leaving the area of the boat ramp, I began plying a long section of a steep and very rocky shoreline that technically is part of the feeder-creek arm, but could also be construed as a main-lake shoreline. It is adorned with rocks and small to large boulders. A submerged creek channel swings in next to the shoreline so the water becomes very deep close to the water’s edge. Along this section, the boat floated in nine to 20 feet of water, and I caught three smallmouth bass on the coppertreuse Hula StickZ rig. One hit on the initial drop, and the other two hit on a swim glide and shake retrieve.

On the main-lake point at the end of this long shoreline, I caught one largemouth on the coppertreuse Hula StickZ rig with a swim glide and shake retrieve in 14 feet of water.  I also caught two largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass on this point with the molting-craw Hula StickZ rig. One of these largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the rig in five feet of water. The other largemouth and the smallmouth were caught on a deadstick presentation as I was strolling along the shoreline immediately adjacent to the point in about seven feet of water and five to seven yards from the shoreline. I also hooked a very hefty smallmouth bass on a deadstick presentation at the tip of the point. Unfortunately, I did not land this fish because it managed to dislodge the hook when it acrobatically cleared the water for the sixth time during the fierce donnybrook.

Along a 200-yard long section of rocky main-lake shoreline, I was able to entice strikes from two largemouth bass and one smallmouth. All three fish were relating to shoreline cover while the boat floated in seven to 10 feet of water. The smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass hit the molting-craw Hula StickZ rig on the initial drop. The other largemouth bass hit the Hula StickZ rig on a short swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

On a flat rocky main-lake point at the end of this main-lake shoreline, I caught five largemouth bass and five smallmouth bass on the molting-craw Hula StickZ rig.  A couple of these fish struck on the initial drop of the rig. Others were caught while I was strolling and deadsticking the rig. But most were caught as I was casting and executing the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One cast produced a massive strike on the initial drop. What followed was an intense championship prizefight that lasted the better part of 10 minutes. For a good part of that time, I could only watch as the fish pulled many yards of line off of my reel against the drag. I finally gained the upper hand, regained the line, and finally got the fish into my landing net. It was a brute of a largemouth bass that measured 22 inches and weighed six pounds on my digital scale. I feel very fortunate to have landed it with my six-pound-test line.

At the end of the outing, my counter showed that I had caught a total of 41 black bass: 30 largemouth bass and 11 smallmouth bass.  I also caught four green sunfish, one freshwater drum, and one channel catfish. This greatly improved result I take as an indication that the summer doldrums are now a thing of the past, and I can look forward to enjoying productive fall fishing in the coming weeks.

Sept. 15

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his outing on Sept. 15.

Here is an edited version of his log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 52 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 82 degrees at 3:52 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being foggy, misty, and fair. The wind fluctuated from being calm to angling out of the south and southeast at 3 to 7 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.26 at 12:52 a.m., 30.23 at 5:52 a.m., 30.23 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.14 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 9:13 a.m. to 11:13 a.m., 9:41 p.m. to 11:41 p.m., and 2:59 a.m. to 4:59 a.m.

Patty Kehde has been my only fishing partner since March and the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. But she severely cut her left hand last week and will be unable to fish for a week or two.

Therefore, I fished without her at one of northeastern Kansas’ many state reservoirs from 11:51 a.m. until 2:21 p.m.

The water level looked to be about four feet below its normal level. The water exhibited five to about seven feet of secchi-stick visibility. The surface temperature fluctuated from 73 to 75 degrees.

The black bass fishing at the community, state, and federal reservoirs in northeastern Kansas hasn’t been as fruitful during the past three years as it was from 2009 through 2017. And that fruitlessness occurred again of Sept 15. Upon arriving at the boat ramp, I crossed paths with a veteran Midwest finesse angler who reported that he had fished from 7:00 a.m. to about 11:15 a.m., and he struggled to catch eight largemouth bass. Another finesse angler complained that the largemouth bass fishing was dreadful. Two power anglers echoed the moans and groans of the two finesse anglers.

I began my outing by plying a main-lake point and short portions of its adjacent shorelines. And I failed to elicit a strike.

I spent the next two hours and 15 minutes trying to thoroughly dissect an assortment of coontail patches that embellish the massive shallow-water flats in the backends of two of the reservoir’s primary feeder-creek arms. I tangled with 29 largemouth bass and elicited five strikes that I failed to hook.

The bulk of these largemouth bass were caught in seven to 10 feet of water around patches of coontail. The patches in four to five feet of water yielded six of the 29 largemouth bass. Three adjoining patches that lie along the outside edge of one of these massive flats yielded 17 of the 29 largemouth bass, and these patches are rarely fished by other anglers.

Ten of the 29 largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s PB&J TRD HogZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. They were caught on either the initial drop of the rig or a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Seven were caught on a Z-Man’s sprayed-grass TRD TicklerZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse Shroom Jig on either the initial drop or a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Five were caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead on either the initial drop or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Four were caught on a Z-Man’s PB&J Hula StickZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Three were caught on a Z-Man’s The Deal Baby Goat affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead on a slow and straight swimming presentation.

I failed to elicit a strike on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse WormZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead.

I rarely work with six Midwest finesse rigs during a 2 ½-hour outing. But throughout this outing, I was repeatedly dissecting several of these patches of coontail, and I thought it was a way to create a touch of versatility to my presentations to the largemouth bass that were abiding around these patches. My hourly catch rate was a tad more than 11 largemouth bass per hour.

Sept. 16

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

Here is an edited version of his log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 56 degrees at 6:52 a.m. and 83 degrees at 1:52 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being foggy, misty, fair, littered with a few clouds, and partly cloudy. The wind fluctuated from being calm to angling out of the southwest, southeast, north, and northwest at 3 to 5 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.08 at 12:52 a.m., 30.06 at 5:52 a.m., 30.10 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.05 at 3:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 10:03 a.m. to 12:03 p.m., 10:31 p.m. to 12:31 a.m., and 3:50 a.m. to 5:50 a.m.

I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 1:00 p.m. to 3:29 p.m.

The water level at this reservoir was normal.  The surface temperature ranged from 75 to 77 degrees. The secchi-stick measured one to three feet of visibility. The water was afflicted by a significant algae bloom, which created a brownish-green ring around the entire hull of the boat, and this ring was difficult to remove.

Recently, this reservoir’s managers applied a heavy application of aquatic herbicide to kill patches of Eurasian milfoil. Some biologists have discovered across the years that significant algal blooms are often a byproduct of the killing of aquatic vegetation with herbicides. What’s more, these herbicides at times have been found to adversely affect the fish populations in a reservoir. It is also interesting to note that 21 mature trees were accidentally killed along one of this reservoir’s shorelines by an application of a ground sterilizer, which is a herbicide, and it is thought that some of that poison seeped into the reservoir.

It is also sorry to note that since this most recent application of aquatic herbicide, several patches of American water willows along one shoreline have been nearly destroyed.

After the reservoir’s managers began applying aquatic herbicides during the past decade, Midwest finesse anglers’ catch rates at this reservoir have decreased measurably. Some anglers fear that the ground sterilizer and other terrestrial herbicides that the managers have used along the shorelines and the dam might also have affected the fish population.

In the eyes of several Midwest finesse anglers, this reservoir has become a sorry-looking site.

It has been a long-standing tradition for us to fish this reservoir on Sept. 16. But because of all of its woes, this outing was less than a half-hearted one for me. I thought that it would be unlikely that I could catch 20 largemouth bass. Therefore, I decided to either fish for 2 ½ hours or until I hooked 20 of them. To my surprise. I caught 20 largemouth bass in two hours and 29 minutes. And I also caught one black crappie, one channel catfish, and one redear sunfish.

Because all of the offshore patches of submerged aquatic vegetation have been eradicated, I spent the entire 149 minutes fishing along portions of six shorelines inside three major feeder-creek arms.

The six shorelines that I fished are situated from halfway to 80 percent of the way inside the three feeder-creek arms.

They possess a 25- to 50-degree slope. The underwater terrains consist of gravel, rocks, boulders, and silt. Portions of the water’s edges of these shorelines are lined with patches of American water willows, a few stumps, some laydowns, some docks, and several overhanging trees. There were numerous schools of gizzard shad meandering across shallow-water flats and along the shorelines inside the feeder-creek arms.

One largemouth bass was caught around a stump. Five were caught around laydowns. One largemouth was caught around a shallow pile of rocks and boulders. And 13 were caught around the outside edges of the patches of American water willows.

One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation around a stump in about five feet of water.

Three largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead on the initial drop adjacent to the outside edges of patches of American water willows in about four feet of water.

Sixteen of the largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s pearl TRD TicklerZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead on either the initial drop or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One was caught on a pile of rocks and boulders in about three feet of water. Five were caught around laydowns in three to six feet of water. And 10 were caught along the outside edges of patches of American water willows in about four feet of water.

Sept. 16

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

Here is an edited version of his log.

From 12:07 p.m. to 4:13 p.m., Norman Brown of Lewisville and I conducted an afternoon jaunt at one of several U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoirs in north-central Texas.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur between 3:37 a.m. and 5:57 a.m., 10:10 a.m. and 1:10 p.m., and 10:38 p.m. to 1:38 a.m.

According to The Weather Underground, the morning low temperature was 70 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 88 degrees. The high humidity was awful, and it made the air feel heavy. The barometric pressure measured 30.01 at noon and 29.93 at 4:00 p.m. A mild-mannered wind quartered out of the north and northwest at 5 to 8 mph.

The water level was about half of a foot above normal. The water exhibited about two feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 85 to 87 degrees.

Norman and I spent about 3 1/2 hours in the shade probing a total of 57 concrete bridge support columns underneath four large bridges. The other 45 minutes was used to make a quick search for threadfin shad and black bass inside two feeder-creek arms and along portions of two floating tractor-tire reefs at the mouth of a marina.

Three of the bridges are located in the reservoir’s southwest tributary arm and the fourth one is situated in the northwest end of the impoundment.

This reservoir’s underwater terrain consists of red clay, pea-gravel, rocks, and boulders. There is no aquatic vegetation in this impoundment.

We caught 18 largemouth bass and one spotted bass around the 57 bridge support columns. Some of the columns are surrounded by 12 to 24 feet of water. The others are encircled with 32 to 41 feet of water. Most of them had attracted good numbers of threadfin shad.

These 19 black bass were suspended about five to eight feet below the surface of the water and were in close proximity to the sides of the columns. The corners of the square- and rectangular-shaped columns were much more productive than round ones.

Fifteen largemouth bass were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s blue-steel Finesse ShadZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. Three largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s blue-steel Slim SwimZ affixed on an unpainted generic 3/32-ounce ball-head finesse jig and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The one spotted bass was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rigged on  a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Eagle Claw Pro-V Finesse jig.

The two floating tractor-tire reefs at the mouth of a large marina were not as fruitful as they were on Sept. 4, when they yielded six largemouth bass and two spotted bass. This time, they relinquished three largemouth bass. These two reefs float in 19 to 37 feet of water. These three largemouth bass were suspended about five feet below the surface and were about five to 10 feet away from the tires. Two largemouth bass were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the blue-steel Slim SwimZ rig. One largemouth bass was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s The Deal TRD TicklerZ attached to a black 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead.

In closing, we caught 21 largemouth bass and one spotted bass during this four-hour and 13- minute endeavor, which we consider an above-average outing for this reservoir. We also caught two white bass and one channel catfish by accident.

We did not locate any significant concentrations of threadfin shad and black bass in the two feeder-creek arms.  All of these fish were caught from main-lake lairs.

Sept. 17

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

Here is an edited version of his log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 60 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 73 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The sky was fair. The wind angled out of the north and northeast at 7 to 12 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.12 at 12:53 a.m., 30.13 at 5:53 a.m., 30.19 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.16 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11.22 a.m. to 1:22 p.m., 11:48 p.m. to 1:48 a.m., and 5:35 a.m. to 7:53 a.m.

I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 11:49 a.m. to 2:01 p.m.

The water level at this reservoir was normal. The surface temperature ranged from 73 to 74 degrees. The secchi-stick measured about 1 1/2 to slightly more than three feet of visibility, and the best visibility was in the vicinity of the dam.  Significant patches of coontail cover the underwater terrains across some of this reservoir’s shallow-water flats and along the shallow-water areas adjacent to some of its shorelines.

Lately, as I have become an 80-year-old angler and a member of the Geriatric Fishing Network, I have established a fairly regular habit of fishing for no more than 2 ½ hours. And at reservoirs like the one that I fished during this outing, which can be a very difficult venue, I usually fish until I catch 20 largemouth bass, and if I am lucky, I can accomplish that task in less than 2 ½ hours.

During this outing, I caught 20 largemouth bass in two hours and 12 minutes.

Here is how these 132 minutes unfolded.

I spent about five minutes on the cellphone conversing with my wife.

I also spent some time talking with Luke Kowalewski, who is the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism’s fisheries biologist that manages this reservoir. He and a colleague were preparing to conduct an electro-shocking survey on this reservoir. During our conversation, he startled me by revealing that 54 percent of the community, federal, and state reservoirs that KDWPT tested have been afflicted with the largemouth bass virus, and we fish at a significant number of those reservoirs.

During the 122 minutes, when I was fishing rather than listening and talking, I caught one largemouth bass on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD TicklerZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. I caught four largemouth bass on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. Six largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s pearl TRD TicklerZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. A Z-Man’s PB&J TRD HogZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead caught nine largemouth bass.

In the upper half of the reservoir, I caught two largemouth bass along a very short stretch of a main-lake shoreline that is adjacent to a main-lake point. This shoreline has about a 35-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and some significant boulders, and there are patches of coontail covering some of that terrain. The water’s edge is lined with American water willows and two docks. These largemouth bass were caught on the pearl TRD TicklerZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation in six to seven feet of water.

I failed to garner a strike while I fished across a large and shallow-water flat in the upper half of this reservoir. This flat is adorned with untold numbers of coontail patches and an array of duckweed that covers the surface.

Around a main-lake point in the upper half of the reservoir, I failed to elicit a strike.

Along about a 200-yard stretch of a shoreline in the upper half of this reservoir, which I shared with two other anglers, I caught seven largemouth bass. This shoreline has a 25- to 50-degree slope. The water’s edge is lined with some patches of American water willows, three docks, two concrete retaining walls, a few overhanging trees, and some laydowns. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and there are patches of coontail covering the shallow-water portions of some of this terrain.

Five largemouth bass were caught along one of the steeper portions of this shoreline.  They were caught in about seven feet of water and about seven feet from the water’s edge. A patch of American water willows that is intertwined with some coontail graces the water’s edge. One largemouth bass was caught on the Junebug TRD TicklerZ rig with a drag-and-shake presentation. Four largemouth bass were caught on the pearl TRD TicklerZ rig with a drag-and-shake retrieve.

Two of the seven largemouth bass were caught along the outside edges of the patches of coontail in about four feet of water, and they were caught on the initial drop of the Finesse WormZ rig. One was about 15 feet from the water’s edge, and the second one was about 25 feet from the water’s edge.

In the lower half of the reservoir, one largemouth bass was caught on an offshore pile of boulders and rocks.  It was caught on the Finesse WormZ rig in about four feet of water as I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation.

Along an offshore ledge in the lower half of the reservoir, I caught one largemouth bass. This ledge’s underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and segments of it are adorned with some skimpy patches of coontail. Some of the boulders are humongous. This largemouth bass was caught on the Finesse WormZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation around a patch of coontail in about five feet of water.

I caught nine largemouth bass along the dam. It has a 50- to 70-degree slope.  Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders.  The water’s edge is embellished with American water willows and several kinds of emergent vegetation. There are also some scattered patches of coontail gracing the outside edges of some of the patches of American water willows. These nine largemouth bass were caught on the TRD HogZ rig. Two were caught on the initial drop of the rig in about five feet of water. The others were caught on a very slow swim-and-glide presentation in five to seven feet of water.

Sept. 18

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

Here is an edited version of his log.

Rick Allen of Dallas and I fished from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at a state reservoir located in an ex-urban area of north-central Texas. It is the same state reservoir that John Thomas of Denton and I fished on Sept. 12, when we caught a total of 30 largemouth and spotted bass during that four-hour excursion.

The morning low temperature was 70 degrees on Sept. 18. The afternoon high was 86 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.10 at 8:00 a.m. and 30.12 at noon. The wind quartered out of the northeast at 5 to 10 mph until 10:43 a.m., then it was calm. It was sunny, but the sky was hazy with a slight smoky-grey tint. Rick and I speculated that the haze might have been the result of smoke that was blown down from the massive California forest fires by the upper atmospheric jet stream, but we could not confirm our suspicions.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the best fishing would occur from 5:47 a.m. to 7:47 a.m., 11:34 a.m. to 1:34 p.m., and noon to 2:00 p.m. It also indicated that the fishing would be average.

As I noted in my Sept. 12 log, this impoundment’s submerged terrain consists of mostly red clay, gravel, rocks and boulders. Besides the gravel, rocks and boulders, the vast majority of its shorelines are graced with laydowns, stickups, flooded buck brush, and overhanging trees. There are some large patches of hydrilla, American pondweed, and American water willows in the midsection and lower end of the reservoir.

The water clarity varied from 2 1/2 to three feet of visibility. The water’s surface temperature ranged from 79 to 80 degrees. The water level was 1.39 feet below normal.

We focused our attentions on the perimeter of a main-lake island, an offshore hump, a rocky main-lake ledge, and two steep and rocky shorelines inside two major feeder-creek arms.

We began the outing at an island that is situated in the southeast end of the reservoir. Its shoreline is relatively flat and somewhat rocky. Its shallow-water areas are cluttered with submerged boulders and rocks, partially-flooded terrestrial vegetation, patches of American pondweed, and a small stand of flooded timber on its south end.

This island relinquished a mix of 21 largemouth bass and spotted bass. Most of these bass were caught from the north and east side of the island. Many of them were associated with the outside edges of the flooded terrestrial vegetation that is interlaced with some submerged boulders in three to five feet of water. A few of them were relating to the outside edges of the patches of American pondweed in five to eight feet of water.

Fourteen of them were caught on a steady swimming retrieve with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ matched with a blue 3/32-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. Five were attracted to a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s blue-steel Finesse ShadZ that was attached to a blue 1/16-ounce OG Mushroom Jighead. One was caught on a Z-Man’s The Deal TRD TicklerZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce OG Mushroom Jighead and a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One was caught on a slow drag-shake-and-pause presentation with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s white-lightning ZinkerZ that was nose hooked on a 3/16-ounce drop-shot rig, and it was the only bass the drop-shot rig would produce during this outing.

About a mile and half north of the island, we probed a submerged main-lake ledge. This ledge is relatively flat and is adorned with large boulders, a few partially-flooded bushes, and some stickups. This ledge is about 50-yards long, and it is situated about 20 to 30 yards from the water’s edge. This ledge is covered with about three feet of water, and it quickly plunges into 20 and more feet of water.

The deep-water side of this ledge yielded a mixed bag of five largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and two hybrid spotted bass that were abiding in six to 17 feet of water. Seven of these 10 black bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rig and a steady swimming retrieve. Three were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the blue-steel Finesse ShadZ rig. Two of the largemouth bass were caught simultaneously as they were chasing small threadfin shad along the surface of the water in 17 feet of water.

About a mile west of the submerged main-lake ledge is a main-lake hump. This hump is located in the midsection of the impoundment. It is about 35 yards long and is encircled with 20-plus feet of water. It is covered with three to 10 feet of water. There is a large cluster of submerged boulders that lies on the north end of the hump. This hump yielded five largemouth bass and two spotted bass on Sept. 12, but it surrendered only one large bluegill this time. It was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the blue-steel Finesse ShadZ rig.

We then searched for threadfin shad and black bass around two riprap-laden jetties on the northeast end of the reservoir. When we failed to locate any shad or black bass there, we left without making a single cast.

We finished this outing inside two major feeder-creeks on the northwest end of the reservoir.

Inside the mouth of the first creek arm, we dissected about a 100-yard stretch of a rocky shoreline. This shoreline has a 45- to 50-degree incline. Its water’s edge is adorned with numerous large rocks and boulders. This shoreline yielded a combination of 10 largemouth bass and spotted bass, and a large bluegill. They were caught in three to eight feet of water and were relating to the deep-water sides of the larger submerged boulders. Six black bass were caught on a 2 1/4-inch tail section of a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin-orange FattyZ that was rigged on a blue Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. Three were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s watermelon ZinkerZ that was fastened on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. One was caught on a 1/16-ounce chartreuse Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead dressed with a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD.  These three combos were employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Just inside the mouth of the second feeder-creek arm, we plied a 50-yard stretch of a steep and rocky shoreline. In our eyes, this shoreline appeared to be identical to the shoreline we fished in the first creek arm. This shoreline was also fairly productive. It relinquished a combination of seven largemouth and spotted bass that were associated with the deep-water sides of several large submerged boulders in five to eight feet of water. Four of them engulfed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s California-craw ZinkerZ that was rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. Three were tempted by the 2 1/2-inch watermelon ZinkerZ rig. Both of these rigs were utilized with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

All told, we relished catching and releasing a mixed bag of 48 largemouth bass, spotted bass, and hybrid spotted bass in 4 1/2 hours. We also caught two large bluegills while we were searching for black bass.

We employed a total of nine Midwest finesse rigs, and all of them were productive. The most effective ones were the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ, the Z-Man’s blue-steel Finesse ShadZ, and the 2 1/4-inch tail section of a green-pumpkin-orange FattyZ.

The 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig was employed with a steady swimming retrieve. The blue-steel Finesse ShadZ and the 2 1/4-inch FattyZ rigs were used with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Sept. 19

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

Here is an edited version of his log.

Bill Kenny of Corinth, Texas, joined me for a morning outing at a perplexing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas. Bill is an elementary school teacher and does not get many opportunities to fish. He recently became interested in Midwest finesse tactics, and this was Bill’s first Midwest finesse endeavor.

I have not fished at this reservoir since Aug. 4, when Rick Allen of Dallas and I struggled to catch eight largemouth bass in three hours. And when Bill and I arrived at the boat ramp on Sept. 19, we were surprised to see that the boat-ramp parking lot was almost filled to the brim with tow vehicles and boat trailers. (I had hoped that with the opening of hunting season in north-central Texas on Sept. 1, many of these anglers would be in the surrounding countryside hunting mourning doves in the corn fields and pastures covered with sunflowers instead of fishing at this popular reservoir. I was greatly mistaken.)

Area thermometers reported that it was 65 degrees at 6:00 a.m. and 83 degrees at 5:00 p.m. The conditions of the sky fluctuated from being overcast to clear. When we launched the boat at 7:00 a.m., an irksome wind was blowing out of the southeast at 15 to 20 mph. When we trailered the boat at 11:45 a.m., the wind had calmed down significantly and was angling out of the east at 5 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.14 at 7:00 a.m. and 30.17 at 11:00 a.m.

The best fishing, according to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, would occur between 12:28 a.m. to 2:28 a.m., 6:41 a.m. to 8:41 a.m., and 12:54 p.m. to 2:54 p.m. It also indicated that the fishing would most likely be average. To our delight, the fishing was above average.

Bill and I fished from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The water level was a few inches above normal.  The surface temperature was 80 degrees. The water exhibited about two feet of visibility.

To start, we were forced to seek protection from the wind and white-capped waves, so we immediately moved inside a nearby feeder-creek arm on the south end of the west tributary arm. So did quite a few other anglers, and we were relegated to fishing behind several of them.

In spite of the intense angler pressure and boat traffic inside this creek arm, we managed to catch six largemouth bass and two spotted bass. We caught four of the largemouth bass and the two spotted bass in two to three feet of water on top of a long and curvy clay and pea-gravel ledge on the east side of the creek arm. We shared this ledge with eight other anglers. This ledge is covered with three to five feet of water, and it quickly drops off into 17 to 24 feet of water. It is covered with chunk rock, large boulders, several patches of American pondweed, some patches of flooded stickups, and a couple of large tractor tires that had broken loose from a nearby floating tractor-tire reef and washed ashore. These black bass were scattered here and there, and they were caught on a steady swimming retrieve with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ that was affixed on a blue 3/32-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead.

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While we were fishing behind another five anglers, Bill caught one largemouth bass in five feet of water from the side of an old red-clay and gravel stock-pond dam. This dam is located on the south end of the creek arm. He caught it on a steady swimming retrieve with the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig. I wielded a Z-Man’s blue-steel Finesse ShadZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. I manipulated it with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, but I was unable to generate any strikes with it around the stock-pond dam.

We decided to move to the northwest end of the creek arm to get away from the other anglers. We dissected a small floating tractor-tire reef that floats in 20 feet of water, a 20-yard segment of a steep and rocky shoreline adjacent to the tractor-tire reef, a large concrete boat ramp with thick patches of American pondweed bordering each side of the ramp, several concrete support pillars underneath two large concrete piers, and about 40 yards of a clay and pea-gravel shoreline, but we did not locate any largemouth or spotted bass at these spots.

We caught one largemouth bass from a small 10-yard stretch of a riprap-covered shoreline that is adjacent to the large concrete piers. It was abiding near the riprap in three feet of water and engulfed a Z-Man’s pearl TRD TicklerZ that was matched with a blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. This rig was implemented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

From that feeder-creek arm, we decided to move across to the north side of the tributary arm to a large main-lake point and its adjoining main-lake flat. This point and flat are covered with thinning patches of flooded stickups. Their underwater terrains consist of mostly red clay and pea-gravel. There are some burgeoning patches of hydrilla covering a large portion of the shallow-water areas on the east end of the flat, and the remnants of several concrete building foundations that lie on the west end of the flat.

The point was taking the brunt of the wind and waves, which hindered our casts and retrieves, and we did not elicit any strikes there.

We then fished across the adjacent main-lake flat as the wind propelled our boat, and we caught one largemouth bass in five feet of water. This bass was associated with the outside edge of a large patch of hydrilla, and it was caught on a swimming retrieve with the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ. We did not cross paths with any other bass on this flat.

After that, we moved inside a minor feeder-creek arm that is located on the west end of the main-lake flat that we just fished. It provided us, and seven other anglers, some shelter from the wind and waves.

This feeder-creek arm is adorned with thick stands of flooded timber, a few patches of American pondweed, some clusters of flooded stickups, and a couple of large laydowns. Its submerged terrain is relatively flat and composed of red clay, pea-gravel, stumps, chunk rock, and a few boulders. We fished behind several of the other anglers, but we could muster only two freshwater drum from a flat gravel shoreline on the northwest end of the creek arm. Both of them were caught in less than 10 feet of water on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the blue-steel Finesse ShadZ rig.

From that creek arm, we traveled about two miles to the west where we spent the last hour of this outing plying a small red-clay-and-pea-gravel flat just inside the entrance of another minor feeder-creek arm. We shared this creek arm with five other anglers.

This flat is about 50 yards long and is covered with two to eight feet of water. The shallow-water areas near the water’s edge are littered with chunk rock and a few submerged boulders. This flat was our most fruitful spot of the morning, and we were relieved that we did not have to share this portion of the creek arm with the other anglers. This small flat yielded 17 largemouth bass and one spotted bass. They were caught in less than five feet of water around the submerged chunk rock on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig and a swimming retrieve. We tried a couple of other Midwest finesse rigs as well, but we were unable to elicit any strikes with them.

In conclusion, the wind and rough water determined where we fished for most of the morning. We fished for four hours, and most of that time was spent fishing inside three feeder-creek arms that provided decent shelter from the wind. And by the time this foray came to an end, our counter had tallied 24 largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and two freshwater drum.

We caught 26 of these 27 black bass on a steady swimming retrieve with the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig. One was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with the pearl TRD TicklerZ combo.

It was a splendid start for Bill and his Midwest finesse endeavors.

Sept. 20

Brandon Marlow of LaFollette, Tennessee, filed a log on the Finesse News Network about his Sept. 20 outing.

Here is an edited version of his log.

Jason Marlow and I fished in a feeder-creek arm of a highland reservoir in eastern Tennessee from 3:05 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The air temperature when we arrived at the reservoir was 71 degrees. It was a bluebird sky. The wind was out of the south at 5 to 10 mph. The lake level was 5.19 feet below its full pool. There was seven to 10 feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 80 degrees.

The In-Fisherman solunar calendar said the best times to fish were between 1:15 a.m. to 3:15 a.m.  and 1:43 p.m. to 3:43 p.m.

In our three-hour and 25-minute trip, we managed to catch 11 smallmouth bass, seven largemouth bass and one bluegill.

To keep from having to battle the barrage of pontoon and wake boats that have kept us off the water for the past couple of months, we stayed within the confines of the cove where we launched the boat.

This cove offered a variety of cover from laydowns to floating docks. It is adorned with a couple of secondary points, which is where we started.

We caught three smallmouth bass on the steeper side of the first point we fished. Two were caught on a Z-Man’s PB&J Hula StickZ cut down to roughly three inches long, and it was affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. The third one was caught on the Z-Man’s watermelon-red Baby Goat affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. All three were caught with a deadstick presentation in 10 to 15 feet of water on what appeared to be a boulder or large rock pile.

We continued along the shoreline towards the mouth of this cove, fishing the laydowns and floating docks and catching eight smallmouth bass and five largemouth bass. Around the seven docks that we fished along this stretch, five of them produced a largemouth bass. The shoreline is lined with riprap, and the largemouth bass were sitting in less than five feet of water on the shaded side of the walkways leading to the docks. Four were caught on the Baby Goat rig, and one was caught on a Z-Man’s hot-snakes Finesse TRD affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig.  Seven of the smallmouth bass were caught around laydowns in 10 feet of water on a Z-Man’s PB&J Finesse TRD affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. One smallmouth bass was caught on the Baby Goat rig with a vertical presentation with the aid of Garmin's Panoptix LiveScope.

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Our two biggest fish, which were largemouth bass, and the bluegill were caught around the mouth of the cove, where the boat traffic had created mud lines. They were caught in eight feet of water on a Z-Man’s The Deal Baby Goat affixed to a green-pumpkin 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig by bumping the bottom with a slow and steady retrieve.

Sept. 23

Ned and Patty Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about their outing on Sept. 23.

Here is an edited version of their log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 61 degrees at 12:53 a.m. and 76 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being partly cloudy to overcast to mostly cloudy. The wind angled out of the south and southeast at 3 to 8 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.07 at 12:53 a.m., 30.06 at 5:53 a.m., 30.07 at 11:53 a.m., and 30.02 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 4:21 a.m. to 6:21 a.m., 4:50 p.m. to 6:50 p.m., and 10:36 a.m. to 12:36 p.m.

Patty and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 11:36 a.m. to 1:36 p.m.

The water level at this reservoir was normal. The surface temperature was 72 degrees.  We spent the entire two hours in the upper half of the reservoir, where the secchi-stick measured 2 ½ to four feet of visibility. Significant patches of coontail cover the underwater terrains across some of this reservoir’s shallow-water flats and along the shallow-water areas adjacent to some of its shorelines, and some of these patches of coontail were our most fruitful lairs.

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The

Along about a 250-yard stretch of a main-lake shoreline, we caught two smallmouth bass and 14 largemouth bass. This shoreline has a 20- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders.

Portions of its water’s edge are adorned with lily pads, patches of American water willows, laydowns, and overhanging trees. The two smallmouth bass were caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s mudbug Finesse TRD affixed to a light-blue or baby-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead in about four feet of water around the outside edges of meager patches of coontail and American water willows. Three of the largemouth bass were caught around laydowns on our mudbug Finesse TRD rigs with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about four feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on the mudbug Finesse TRD rig around a patch of coontail and an overhanging tree in about four feet of water with a swimming presentation. Ten of the largemouth bass were caught around patches of coontail in four to five of water on our mudbug Finesse TRD rigs on either the initial drop or a swim-and-shake presentation.

We failed to elicit a strike along a shoreline and across a massive shallow-water flat in the back of a medium-size feeder-creek arm.

We caught one largemouth bass around a main-lake point.  Its water’s edge is graced with patches of American water willows and laydowns. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders, which are occasionally clothed with patches of coontail. The largemouth bass was caught on the mudbug Finesse TRD rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation around a patch of coontail in about six feet of water.

Around a tertiary point along a main-lake shoreline, we caught one largemouth bass on the mudbug Finesse TRD rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water near the outside edge of a patch of American water willows. The underwater terrain of this point consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders, which are embellished with a few meager patches of coontail.  It has a 45-degree slope.

Around a flat main-lake point and along one of its adjacent shorelines, we caught two largemouth bass. This point and shoreline have a 15- to 20-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and silt, and many yards of this terrain is endowed with patches of coontail. The water’s edge is adorned with patches of American water willows, and there is a short segment that possesses an overhanging tree and some minor laydowns. One of the largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the mudbug Finesse TRD rig under an overhanging tree in about three feet of water. The other largemouth bass was caught along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows on the initial drop of the mudbug Finesse TRD rig in about two feet of water.

We ended the outing by plying several large patches of coontail and several patches of American water willows and American pondweeds that embellish a main-lake shoreline and point. The shoreline and point have a 25-degree slope. Their underwater terrains consist of gravel and rocks, and they are occasionally endowed with a boulder. We caught eight largemouth bass across and around the patches of coontail on either the initial drop or a swim-glide-and-shake presentation of our mudbug Finesse TRD rigs in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as eight feet. We caught one largemouth bass on the initial drop of the mudbug Finesse TRD rig along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows in about 2 ½ feet of water.

In total, we caught 27 largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass. A catch rate of 14 ½ black bass an hour is not a stellar Midwest finesse outing. But we are in the midst of a dreadful spell of black bass fishing in northeastern Kansas that commenced in 2018, and anytime that we can catch 14 ½ black bass an hour nowadays, we describe it as a surprisingly fruitful endeavor. And all 29 of them were caught on our mudbug Finesse TRD rigs.

What’s more, it was significantly more fruitful than my outing to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in northeastern Kansas on Sept. 22, which was so disappointing that I elected not to spend time composing a log about it.  But in short, I fished that reservoir for 2 ½ hours and struggled mightily to catch two largemouth bass and nine tiny smallmouth bass. The highlight of that outing revolved around tangling with 11 hefty and spunky freshwater drum.  Another highlight was that all but two of those fish were caught on the mudbug Finesse TRD rig. I had never used that hue before. But during a telephone conversation with Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, on the morning of Sept. 22, he alerted me to the effectiveness of the mudbug hue, and he was on the mark.

Sept. 24

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

Here is an edited version of his log.

The National Weather Service reported that it was 54 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 80 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The sky was fair. The wind angled out of the south and southwest at 3 to 22 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.77 at 12:53 a.m., 29.94 at 5:53 a.m., 29.95 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.89 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 5:20 a.m. to 7:20 a.m., 5:48 p.m. to 7:48 p.m., and 11:10 a.m. to 1:10 p.m.

I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 12:16 p.m. to 3:16 p.m.

The water level at this reservoir was normal.  The surface temperature ranged from 71 to 73 degrees. The secchi-stick measured about 1 1/2 to slightly more than three feet of visibility, and the best visibility was in the vicinity of the dam. Significant patches of coontail cover the underwater terrains across some of this reservoir’s shallow-water flats and along the shallow-water areas adjacent to some of its shorelines.

The black-bass fishing at the community, state, and federal reservoirs in northeastern Kansas is becoming as trying as the black-bass fishing that Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, and his colleagues have endured for years on end. This sorry state of affairs in northeastern Kansas began in 2018.

Before this demise commenced, we enjoyed a goodly number of fruitful outings at this community reservoir. For instance,) Glenn Young, who is the national sales manager for Z-Man Fishing Products and I caught 101 largemouth bass at this reservoir on May 25, 2011, while we contended with a tornado warning and a massive thunderstorm.  And during the first 17 years of this century, there were scores of outings when I and a Midwest finesse colleague tangled with 46 to 76 largemouth bass in four hours.

This reservoir used to be known as a lunker haven. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, a few area anglers became bucket-biologists, and they transplanted a significant number of lunker-sized largemouth bass from Hillsdale Lake, Kansas, and La Cygne Lake, Kansas, into this community reservoir.

But nowadays, it is a whale of a struggle to catch 10 largemouth bass an hour at this reservoir, and since the advent of the largemouth bass virus in 2010, the lunker-size largemouth bass are not as plentiful as they used to be.

My Sept. 24 outing reflects how difficult the largemouth bass fishing has become at this reservoir. I caught 18 largemouth bass in three hours. Five of them were minor lunkers, which means they weren’t the proverbial five-pounders; they looked as if they weighed from 3 ½ to four pounds. Of course, I am a numbers hunter, not a lunker hunter, and I would have much preferred catching 101 one- to 1 1/2-pound largemouth bass in place of those five minor lunkers.

Here is how this three-hour outing unfolded.

During the first 38 minutes, I caught 10 largemouth bass. I mistakenly thought that I was on a roll to catch at least 30 largemouth bass in two hours, but during the next two hours and 22 minutes, I caught nine largemouth bass.

I caught 17 of them on a Z-Man’s mudbug Finesse TRD affixed to a baby- or light-blue Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. (In yesterday’s log, I mistakenly labeled the Z-Man’s mudbug Finesse TRD as a Z-Man’s muddog Finesse TRD.) One largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s pearl TRD TicklerZ affixed to a baby- or light-blue Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead.

Eleven of the largemouth bass were caught along the dam on the Finesse TRD rig. It has a 50- to 70-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders.  The water’s edge is embellished with American water willows and several kinds of emergent vegetation. There are also some scattered patches of coontail gracing the outside edges of some of the patches of American water willows. Four largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the rig in about five feet of water. The others were caught on a slow swim-glide-and-subtle-shake presentation in six to seven feet of water. They were about five to eight feet from the water’s edge.

Along about a 200-yard stretch of a shoreline in the upper half of this reservoir, I caught one largemouth bass This shoreline has a 25- to 50-degree slope. The water’s edge is lined with some patches of American water willows, three docks, two concrete retaining walls, a few overhanging trees, and some laydowns. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. There are patches of coontail covering the shallow-water portions of some of this terrain, and some patches of coontail are also intertwined with some of the outside edges of the patches of American water willows along the steeper sections. Blankets of duckweed cover some of the patches of coontail.  The largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the TRD TicklerZ rig adjacent to a patch of American water willows and a patch of coontail in about six feet of water.

Along about a 50-yard stretch of another shoreline in the upper half of this reservoir, I caught four largemouth bass. This shoreline has about a 25-degree slope.  Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. Much of this terrain is embellished with patches of coontail.  Seven docks litter this shoreline. These largemouth bass were caught on the Finesse TRD rig in about six to seven feet of water near the outside edges of the coontail patches and about 25 feet from the water’s edge. Three of them were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation, and the four one was caught on a deadstick presentation.

One largemouth bass was caught along a 100-yard stretch of a shoreline in the middle portions of this reservoir. The shoreline has a 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders, which are embellished with occasional patches of coontail. The water’s edge is endowed with a few patches of American water willows and 10 docks. This largemouth bass was caught on the Finesse TRD rig with a drag-and-shake presentation in nine feet of water and about 20 feet from the water’s edge.

Along an offshore ledge in the lower half of the reservoir, I caught one largemouth bass. This ledge’s underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and segments of it are adorned with some skimpy patches of coontail. Some of the boulders are humongous. This largemouth bass was caught on the Finesse TRD rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation around a patch of coontail in about five feet of water.

Sept. 30

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted this log about his Sept. 30 outing on the Finesse News Network.

Here is an edited version of his log.

From 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., John Thomas of Denton and I conducted an afternoon excursion at a popular but challenging U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

This reservoir has been quite stingy surrendering its largemouth bass and spotted bass in 2020. The last time this reservoir surrendered 30 or more black bass in an outing was on Oct. 22, 2019, when John Thomas and I caught a combination of 33 largemouth and spotted bass in five hours.

Sept. 30 was a warm and sunny fall day. Area thermometers reported that it was 52 degrees at 6:00 a.m. and 93 degrees at 5:00 p.m. There was not a cloud in sight. The wind was mostly mild mannered and quartered out of the south and southeast at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.04 at 11:00 a.m. and 29.97 at 3:00 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the most lucrative fishing periods would occur from 3:51 a.m. to 5:51 a.m., 10:01 a.m. to 12:01 p.m., and 10:22 p.m. to 12:22 a.m. It also indicated that the fishing would most likely be average. To our surprise, the fishing was stellar by north-central Texas’ standards.

The water level was a few inches below normal.  The surface temperature was 75 degrees. The water exhibited about two feet of visibility.

Now that fall has arrived and the water temperature has dropped into the mid-70s, we opted to concentrate our efforts searching for significant schools of threadfin shad, largemouth bass, and spotted bass inside two feeder-creek arms and two large bays that are located in the lower and middle sections of this reservoir. We did not catch 33 black bass as we did on Oct. 22, 2019, but we did catch 32 black bass, which consisted of 29 largemouth bass and three spotted bass. We also caught one white bass and one freshwater drum.

Thirty-one of these 32 black bass were caught offshore in three to seven feet of water along the edges of shallow-water flats where they quickly drop into 10 or more feet of water. One largemouth was caught in eight feet of water next to a clay-and-gravel wall of a stock-tank dam that has a 60-degree gradient.

The stock-tank dam wall is located at the mouth of one of the two feeder-creeks.  The flats are situated in the middle and upper sections of the two bays and feeder-creek arms.

The flats are covered with three to seven feet of water. Their submerged terrains were similar and consist of red clay, pea-gravel, and flat rocks that are similar in size to a dinner plate. They were also adorned with patches of flooded stickups, American pondweed, and hydrilla. We found large concentrations of threadfin shad meandering around and across these flats. We also discovered a few small pods of shad near the stock-tank-dam wall.

We caught 30 of these 32 black bass on a steady swimming retrieve with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a blue 3/32-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. One largemouth was caught on a steady swimming retrieve with a three-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a blue 3/32-ounce Z-Man’s OG Mushroom Jighead. And one largemouth was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation with a Z-Man’s white-lightning Finesse TRD rigged on a blue 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Besides the edges of the shallow-water flats, we also dissected a couple of main-lake points at the entrance to these bays and creek arms, and 13 rocky secondary points and tertiary points in the back or upper regions of these bays and creek arms. We found some small aggregations of threadfin shad around some of the secondary points, but we did not cross paths with any black bass around these shad or points.

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