During the first week of the October, some Midwest finesse anglers donned shorts and T-shirt while they plied the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas. By the last week of October, some of these anglers were dressed in long underwear, hooded jackets and gloves.
The surface temperatures at these flatland reservoirs during the first seven days of the month ranged from 77 to 67 degrees, and by the last seven days of the month, the surface temperatures plummeted into the 50s.
Traditionally, October is a wind-blown time, causing anglers to seek waterways that are somewhat sheltered from the howling wind, or they fish with a drift sock, which allows them to move slowly with the wind and waves.
It is algae-bloom time, too, and this time around one of our northeastern Kansas reservoirs was pummeled with an eruption of toxic blue-green algae.
What's more, the largemouth bass fishing can be trying, which is why we used to spend a lot our October days pursuing white bass. But the white bass populations in the reservoirs of northeastern Kansas and western Missouri have deteriorated to the point that I do not enjoy fishing for them anymore. Yet, there are still a goodly number of Midwest anglers who spend a lot of October hours in chase of white bass, and consequently these anglers compiled fewer logs for this month's guide than they normally do. But Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, who is a newcomer to Midwest finesse fishing, has taken up a lot of that slack by writing nine lengthy logs about his Midwest finesse endeavors in north centralTexas. In addition, Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, Charlie Croom of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Bob Gum of Kansas City, Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, Casey Kidder of Topeka, Kansas, Nathan Parker of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, and Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana, contributed logs and insights about their Midwest finesse adventures.
I was afloat 11 times, encompassing 39 1/2 hours of fishing. On eight of those outings, I was joined by another angler, and during one outing, I shared a boat with a pair of anglers. We caught 308 largemouth bass and 74 smallmouth bass, which was an average of 34 bass an outing and 9.6 bass an hour.
Following the logs that I and the other Midwest finesse anglers wrote, describing how, when and where we fished in October, there is an endnotes section, which features two discourses. One delves into why Midwest finesse anglers fail to land some of the bass that they hook. The second is a discussion about the merits and demerits of braided line, fluorocarbon line and monofilament line in Midwest finesse applications.
Oct. 1 log
Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, filed a brief report about his miserable Midwest finesse outing to a 7,000-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir on Oct. 1.
He noted that it was sunny, and the sky exhibited a China-blue hue. The wind angled out of the southeast at 5 to 10 mph. Area thermometers climbed into the low 80s.
The water clarity was stained. The water level was about 2 ½-feet below normal. The surface temperature ranged from 72 degrees around main-lake lairs to 77 degrees inside some the reservoir's coves.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing occurred from 8:22 p.m. to 10:22 p.m. Claudell fished from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. He wanted to focus on this reservoir's burgeoning, but elusive, smallmouth bass population.
Across the six hours that he was afloat, wielding a variety of traditional Midwest finesse tactics and baits, he eked out only three smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass, and he inadvertently tangled with one walleye, one freshwater drum, and 10 white bass. Most of these fish were inveigled on 2 ½-inch Z-Man Fishing Products' watermelon-white ZinkerZs, and he rigged them on either a 1/16- or 3/32-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig.
The fish that he caught were associated with schools of gizzard shad in the back ends of coves. His main-lake endeavors on the reservoir's northside, where he focused on wind-blown rocky points and shorelines, were for naught.
Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his solo outing on Oct. 1 to two five-acre ponds.
He wrote: " I made a two-hour solo outing to two nearby five-acre ponds for a practice day.
"The ponds are situated in a quiet wooded area in the northeast corner of Flower Mound,Texas. I elected to fish from the bank today so I could concentrate on learning the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve and not concern myself with boat control and boat position issues. I'm finding that this technique is not as easy as it sounds. Keeping the lure just off bottom while retrieving the lure at a snail's pace is definitely a challenge for me. However, upon my arrival, I was disheartened to find a construction crew on site. They had already removed all the beautiful oak and elm trees that had surrounded these small placid ponds. Several crew members were busy draining one of the two ponds. They did allow me access to the other pond, which they informed me is scheduled to be drained later this week.
"I fished from 3: 15 p.m.to 5:15 p.m. The In-Fisherman solunar calendar predicted the best fishing occurred between 8:11 a.m. and 10:11 a.m. The sky ranged from being sunny to partly cloudy. The low temperature was 52 degrees and the high for the day was 88 degrees. The wind blew from the south at 10-15 mph, and the barometric pressure was measured at 29.87. The average low for this time of year is 60 degrees and the average high is 82 degrees.
"The pond's water was clear with five feet of visibility. I was unable to measure the water's temperature. Patches of brownish vegetation surrounded the bank and extended out into the pond about ten feet from the water's edge. Only two Midwest finesse retrieves were viable at this pond, and they were the swim-glide-and-shake motif and the steady do-nothing retrieve. The bottom of the pond was covered with vegetation, which made the hop and bounce and the drag and deadstick retrieves problematic -- if not impossible.
"I kept it simple and worked with only two baits: Z-Man's four-inch watermelon-red-flake Finesse WormZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's watermelon-red-flake ZinkerZ affixed on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. These baits were wielded on Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris 6-foot 9-inch medium-light carbonlite rods, Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris JM 20 spinning reels spooled with Berkley XT four-pound-test green monofilament line.
"This was my first trip using Z-Man Fishing Products' soft plastic baits. I worked incessantly on the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. I experimented and found that using a count-down system to determine the depth of the pond's bottom, then using the same-count down system to start the retrieve just before the bait touched bottom, worked best for me. I also used the same count down method during the glide portion of the retrieve, which kept the lure close to the bottom but out of the mucky vegetation. By the end of the outing, I was beginning to see improvements in my execution of this difficult technique. However, I still realize I have a long way to go before I master it.
"I felt I had a pretty good day for what little experience I have with this new method of fishing. And with the improvement in my technique, I was able to beguile 12 largemouth bass and six large sunfish. Two of the 12 largemouth bass were able to free themselves by immediately jumping from the water once they realized they were hooked. The 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ allured six largemouth bass and five of the six sunfish. The Finesse WormZ enticed the other six largemouth bass and one sunfish. All the fish were caught in four to seven feet of water on the north side of the pond.
"As I headed home, I felt disappointed that urban sprawl had now invaded this once scenic area of Flower Mound, and I also felt a little sad that I will no longer be able to ply these pleasant waters in the future."
Oct. 2 log
This was a field-testing outing for Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, and me.
Throughout this endeavor, most our casts and retrieves were made with a Z-Man's prototype three-inch ZinkerZ in the California Craw hue. It is a Senko-style bait, and a three-inch version of Z-Man's five-inch ZinkerZ, which Midwest finesse anglers cut in half to make a 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ.
Reese rigged his prototype on a green-pumpkin 1/15-ounce mushroom-style jig that is adorned with a thin-wire bait keeper. The wire bait keeper is attached to the shank of the hook about a quarter of an inch behind the jig's mushroom lead head. This jig was designed and manufactured by Reese.
I attached my three-inch California Craw ZinkerZ to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head Jig.
We also made some casts and retrieves with a new soft-plastic and salt formulation of Z-Man's Hula StickZ. It is softer and contains more salt than the original Hula StickZ that Z-Man has been manufacturing since the spring of 2012. We rigged these California Craw Hula StickZs on the same jigs that we rigged the three-inch ZinkerZs. To compare the new Hula StickZ to the original Hula StickZ, I fished for a short spell with one of the original Hula StickZs in the PB&J hue, which was attached to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.
Reese is a veteran and extremely talented smallmouth bass angler. And every year from mid-May to mid-September, he chases smallmouth bass and catches oodles of them. For instance, he fished for them 84 times in 2012 and caught 3,247 smallmouth bass, and he fished for them 64 times in 2013 and caught 3,321 of them. The bulk of them were inveigled by Z-Man's 2 ½-inch ZinkerZ and original Hula StickZ. He also designed the Hula StickZ, and he is the primary instigator in getting Z-Man to manufacture the three-inch ZinkerZ
On this outing at a 6,930-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir, the surface temperature ranged from 71 to 73 degrees. We fished in the lower-third and middle-third segments of this reservoir, where the water clarity ranged from stained to clear. The water level looked to be 2 ½ feet below normal.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing time occurred from 8:40 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. We fished from 10:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The National Weather Service recorded the morning low temperature at 61 degrees and the afternoon high temperature at 81 degrees. The barometric pressure around 10:00 a.m. was 30:00 and falling. Initially it was foggy, then misty, then mostly cloudy, and eventually partly cloudy. The wind angled out of the south and blew at 9 to 15 mph.
During the four hours and 15 minutes that we were afloat, we caught 38 smallmouth bass. Thirty-three of them were caught on the prototype three-inch ZinkerZ. Five of them were caught on the original PB&J Hula StickZ. Five of the smallmouth bass weighed from 2 ½ to 3 ½-pounds.
We fished three offshore rocky humps, where we extracted only one smallmouth bass. We caught eight smallmouth bass on the five rock-laden main-lake points. We caught four smallmouth bass along a short stretch of a main-lake shoreline. Twenty-three smallmouth bass were caught on rocky secondary points and rocky shorelines inside five large coves. Two smallmouth bass were caught in a tiny and extremely shallow cove adjacent to a main-lake point, and the geology of this tiny cove was gravel and clay that was mixed with a few big rocks.
All 38 smallmouth bass were caught in 1 ½ to four feet of water. Flat, rocky shorelines and points were the most productive.
A third of them were caught on the initial drop of the three-inch ZinkerZ and Hula StickZ. We also caught them on a swim — glide-and-minor-shake retrieve, a drag-and-occasional-deadstick retrieve, and a hop-and-bounce retrieve.
Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed this report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 2 outing with a friend.
"Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, joined me for the 38-mile jaunt to a 24,154-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir in north central Texas.
" The In-Fisherman's solunar calendar predicted the best fishing time was between 8:51 a.m. and 10:51 a.m. We fished from 11: 00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
"The morning was cloudy, and the wind quartered annoyingly out of the southeast at 15 to 20 mph. The sun didn't break through the clouds until 3:00 p.m. The high temperature for the day was 88 degrees, and the low was 59 degrees. The barometric pressure was steady at 29.95.
"The water had an emerald green hue with three and a half feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 77 degrees. The water level was 6.58 feet below normal.
"I had prepared the following baits for the day: a four-inch Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a Z-Man pearl Finesse ShadZ on a 1/16-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig; a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man watermelon-red flake ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and a Charlie Brewer Slider Company's 2 1/8-inch smoke-blue-flake Slider Minnow/Grub on a 3/32-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig. Rick Allen's rods were rigged with a Charlie Brewer Slider Company's three-inch pearl-chartreuse Bass/Walleye/Striper Grub on a 1/8-ounce Original Flat Slider Head; a Charlie Brewer Slider Company's four-inch watermelon-chartreuse Slider worm on a 1/16-ounce Snagless Slider Head; and a Charlie Brewer Slider Company's 2 1/8-inch smoke-blue-flake Slider/Minnow Grub on a 3/32-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig.
"The fishing was perplexing and dismal. We were unable to establish any solid pattern, bait or retrieve. We struggled to grind out eleven largemouth bass and four spotted bass, using a mixed-bag of baits and retrieves. Three bass were able to disengage themselves from our lures before we could land them.
"We started the day plying a rocky bank near the marina. Rick caught one bass deadsticking his four-inch-worm combo. I received no bites on the watermelon-red flake ZinkerZ while alternating between the swim-glide-and-shake and the hop-and-bounce retrieves. I also did not elicit any strikes while swimming the 2 1/8-inch Slider/Minnow Grub combo.
"Then we crossed to the east side of the reservoir and fished a roadbed that was adjacent to a rocky shoreline. Due to the windy conditions, we could only fan-cast the area with our 2 1/8-inch Slider/Minnow Grubs, and we coaxed one bass off the roadbed and two bass from the rocky bank by employing the steady do-nothing retrieve.
"We made a short run to a major tributary along the east side of the reservoir, and deployed a 42-inch Lindy's drift sock, which enabled us to fish several wind-swept points in the area. We caught two bass swimming the 2 1/8-inch Slider/Minnow Grub, and one bass on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the pearl Finesse ShadZ.
"As we drifted from point to point, we came across a small cove that was embellished with some aquatic vegetation growing next to a rocky bank. We had observed an angler unsuccessfully dissecting this area with a crankbait a short time earlier. We waited until he left, then we slipped into the cove to find a moment of relief from the persistent wind. We probed the vegetation with a four-inch Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse WormZ, using the swim-glide-and-shake motif, and slowly hopping a Zoom Bait's Company's watermelon-purple-flake Finesse Worm on a 1/16-ounce Snagless Slider Head across the bottom, and we garnered four bass.
"Our next spot was a tributary bank with a significant amount of brownish-green aquatic vegetation. Rick caught two bass from the edges of the vegetation by slowly hopping his four-inch Slider Worm across the bottom. But I was unable to garner a strike on the 2 1/2-inch watermelon-red-flake ZinkerZ, four-inch watermelon-red Finesse WormZ, and pearl Finesse ShadZ using the swim-glide-and-shake and hop-and-bounce retrieves.
"We finished the day fishing the east end of the dam and several rocky points just north of the dam area. We elected to bypass the dam since the low water levels left only a mud bottom and the dam's rip-rap high and dry. Rick eked out two bass on his Slider Worm by slowly hopping it across the bottom. I failed to draw a strike using several hues of the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ, a 2 1/2-inch green- pumpkin FattyZ, and the pearl Finesse ShadZ, while executing the swim-glide-and-shake, drag-and-deadstick-and-shake, and hop-and-bounce retrieves."
Oct. 3 log
Normally we would not include a log about white bass fishing in our monthly guide to Midwest finesse fishing, but we fish for white bass in October the same way we fish for black bass. Therefore, it has some minor connections to our Midwest finesse methods. What's more, this log looks at the sorrowful state of the largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and white bass fishing at the 11,600-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir that Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I fished on Oct. 3 with hopes of catching 75 to 100 white bass and an occasional largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.
Traditionally, early October is a delightful and fruitful time fish for catching white bass along the rocky and windblown points and shorelines at this 11,600-acre reservoir. During this outing, we thought that we would spend a few hours plying a massive stretch of riprap that lies along one of the reservoir's causeways, which used to be the one of the first shoreline areas where vast numbers of white bass would inhabit in September, and they would remain there until nearly Thanksgiving. On many late September and early October outings in the past, we used to fish three to four hours and inveigle 50 to 125 white bass along this riprap, as well as at a half dozen nearby lairs, and while we were catching white bass at a nearly hand-over-fist pace, we would also tangle with 10 to 12 largemouth bass.
But to our dismay, the largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and white bass fishing at this reservoir is in a sorrowful state.
It is white bass population and fishing has been on the decline for nearly a decade. Ten summers ago, we could take two of our young grandchildren to this reservoir, and in about an hour, the two of them would catch 50 to 60 white bass while using a vertical presentation with a spoon at one of its many offshore white bass lairs. This year these kids are in high school, and during this past summer, it would have been a struggle for them to catch one white bass. In fact, Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, who is an ardent white angler, and I went largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and white bass fishing at this reservoir on July 23, and we failed to catch a smallmouth bass. Nor did we catch a white bass. And we caught only five largemouth bass during our five hours of hard fishing.
As for the decline in its largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, a good way to measure of that decline is to compare the sorry outing that Lau and I endured on July 23, when we caught only five largemouth bass, to the outing that Steve Desch, Dick Bessey of Lawrence, Kansas, and I enjoyed on Aug. 25, 2010, when we caught 86 largemouth bass and seven smallmouth bass in less than five hours.
On our Oct. 3 outing, Desch and I estimated that the water level was about a foot above normal. The water clarity in the secondary feeder creek arm where we fished was stained to the point that we could not see the propeller on the trolling motor. The surface temperature was 72 degrees.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing occurred from 9:21 a.m. to 11:21 a.m. Desch and I fished from 10:40 a.m. to 1:50 p.m.
The National Weather Service at Topeka recorded the low temperature at 64 degrees and the high temperature at 85 degrees. A thunderstorm enveloped the reservoir and the surrounding counties around 9 a.m., and some locales received about three-quarters of an inch of rain. While we were afloat the sky was cloudy for a spell, and it eventually became partly cloudy and then the sun made its appearance. The wind angled out of the east and southeast at 9 to 13 mph. Around 10 a.m. the barometric pressure was 29.86 and falling.
We meticulously dissected many yards of the riprap shoreline around a long causeway by wielding a two-inch yellow single-tail grub affixed to 1/16-ounce jig, a three-inch pearltreuse grub on a 1/16-ounce jig, a bluegill-hue Z-Man's Scented LeechZ on a 1/16-ounce jig, a 2 ½-inch pearl Z-Man's ZinkerZ on a 1/16-ounce jig, a 2 ½-inch watermelon-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a 1/16-ounce jig, a Junebug 2 ½-inch ZinkerZ on a 1/16-ounce jig, a 1/16-ounce grayish-silver marabou jig, and small lipless crankbait in a silver hue. We eked out only 14 white bass and one tiny largemouth bass, and the ZinkerZs allured the bulk of those 15 fish.
After we methodically fished the riprap, we slowly probed 150 yards of two rocky shorelines with the same lures. To our dismay, we caught only one white bass and an extremely tiny largemouth bass. Then we decided to surrender and to go home.
After we put the boat of the trailer, we crossed paths with Dennis Hewitt of Ozawkie, Kansas, who is the proprietor of Rock Creek Marina and Resort and Ozawkie Boat Company. He is also a talented recreational and tournament angler. We asked him about the state of this reservoir's largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and white bass populations. Without a hitch, he said the largemouth bass population was in pathetic shape, its once burgeoning smallmouth bass population has been overfished and damaged, and its white bass population was skimpy compared to what it used to be in the 1990s.
According to Hewitt, one of the things that whacked the reservoir's largemouth bass population, as well as its smallmouth bass population, occurred in 2012, when Bassmaster magazine ranked this reservoir as one of the 100 best bass lakes in the United States. After that notoriety, scores of bass tournaments arrived, and their many competitors beat the lake's largemouth and smallmouth bass to smithereens. In addition to the whipping that the tournament anglers dealt, Mother Nature walloped the bass with a harsh drought and extremely hot weather.
Hewitt has fished this reservoir for decades, and he has noticed that there is virtually no largemouth bass recruitment. He contends that the only way that this reservoir supplements its largemouth bass population occurs when there are floods in its watershed, and the farm ponds overflow, washing thousands of largemouth bass into the reservoir. After a flood stocks the lake with largemouth bass, Hewitt says the fishing for them is quite fruitful for about three years, and then it becomes trying again until there is another flood.
Hewitt said the largemouth bass fishing has been so sorry throughout 2013 that he has pursued them only a few times. He said one way to determine of how bad the largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing is can be seen by examining results of the Kansas Buddy Bass tournament that was staged on Sept. 21, when 34 teams competed and caught only 44 largemouth and smallmouth bass.
After corresponding with one of the teams that competed at the Kansas Buddy Bass event, we asked Kirk Tjelmeland, who is the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism's fisheries biologist at this reservoir, for his observations. He responded with an e-mail on Sept, 26, saying: "Sorry the largemouth bass have caused you and other fishermen problems this year. I was just out and electrofished a very small portion of it with a group of students on Tuesday and saw pretty good numbers of smaller fish (5-15") up shallow. We pulled a couple nicer fish out of some deeper piles (8') and missed one smallmouth off the rocks in about 12" of water. You know we had low water this spring and then high water right about spawning time, and it looks like we had pretty good production. We seined and electrofish young fish in August. I can't put them on the end of your line but I will continue to work on habitat/water level so there will be plenty of young fish coming up in the reservoir."
After talking to Hewitt, reading Tjelmeland's observations, and pondering our observations of the many goings on at this waterway since the 1970s, Desch and I concluded there is a whale of a lot that anglers and biologists do not know about what's taking place in the murky waters below our boats. Because of this murkiness, anglers and biologists are confounded by our unadulterated ignorance about the ways of the largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and white bass. Thus, what we do to ameliorate the conditions is often wrong.
To come to peace with this realization, I have begun to read a book of essays edited by Bill Vitek and Wes Jackson entitled "The Virtues of Ignorance." Jackson is a Kansan and is president of the Land Institute in Salina, and the essays he and Vitek collected contend that "uncritical faith in scientific knowledge has created many problems." They also argue that "we must simply accept the proposition that our ignorance far exceeds our knowledge and always will."
Desch and I were so discouraged with the state of the largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and white bass fishing at this 11,600-acre reservoir that we vowed not to return unless a piscatorial miracle occurs in the near future.
Oct. 4 log
Pok-Chi Lau recently returned to Lawrence, Kansas, from China, where he worked on several of his many stellar photography endeavors.
He called this morning, saying that he was slowly recovering from jet lag and thought a few hours of finesse fishing for largemouth bass would help to stabilize his world once again. So, we battled a horrendous wind at a nearby 195-acre community reservoir.
The National Weather Service at Lawrence, Kansas, revealed that the morning low temperature was 74 degrees and the afternoon high was 90 degrees. The wind howled out of the south at 20 to 32 mph. The barometric pressure around 11 a.m. was 29.78 and falling. The sky fluctuated from sunny to mostly cloudy to sunny. A significant storm and cold front was predicted to hit northeastern Kansas during the evening, and the NWS said there was an 80 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Some of the storms could be severe. The temperature would drop to 48 degrees. A south wind at 10 to 15 mph would switch to the northwest with gusts reaching 25 mph. On Oct. 5, it was predicted to be mostly sunny with a high near 60 degrees and a west wind blowing at 10 to 25 mph. During the night of Oct. 5, area thermometers were predicted to plummet to 40 degrees with a west wind blowing at 15 to 20 mph.
The water level at this reservoir looked to be about 12 inches below normal. A significant stain affected the water clarity in its south and southwest feeder- creek arms. The water clarity in the vicinity of the dam was clear enough that we could easily see the propeller on the electric trolling motor. The surface temperature was72 degrees.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing occurred from 10:06 a.m. to 12:06 p.m. We fished from 11:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
As Lau and I were executing our first casts and retrieves, we crossed paths with two talented Midwest anglers who had been afloat for nearly four hours and had tangled with 75 largemouth bass. So, not only would the wind adversely affect our abilities, but most of the best largemouth bass lairs in this small community reservoir had already been pummeled. Therefore, our focus for about 60 percent of this outing was upon what we called outlier locales, which we rarely fish because they rarely are fruitful, and they weren't very fruitful on this outing. What's more, many yards of these outlier lairs had been sprayed on Sept. 30 with a herbicide to kill the Eurasian watermilfoil that graced many areas of this reservoir. Thus, there were dying patches of milfoil, American pondweed, and American water willows at all of these areas, which in our eyes made them unappealing places to fish. The water color around these patches of dying vegetation had a milky hue. In essence, the uncomely ambience of these outlier lairs affected our abilities to properly concentrate, which seemed to adversely affect our abilities to inveigle the largemouth bass.
Moreover, when we plied the heavily wind-blown locales, it was a struggle to implement a seductive retrieve and entice a goodly number of largemouth bass.
Ultimately, we were able to eke out 40 largemouth bass, and the bulk of them were allured by a 2 ½ -inch Z-Man's California Craw ZinkerZ on a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Lau's jig was a red one, and my jig was chartreuse. Because of the wind, we retrieved the ZinkerZ combo by either slowly swimming it near the bottom or dragging it slowly along the bottom. Occasionally we attempted to implement the deadstick motif, but the wind often fouled our deadsticking endeavors.
Even though it was a lackluster largemouth bass outing, it helped Lau get set for his favorite time of the year, which is chasing white bass and wipers on wind-blown shorelines and points at several reservoirs in Kansas and Missouri throughout the fall. And as we ended our outing, he said he was hoping to be afloat at a 4,000-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir on Oct. 5 and 6, battling the wind and cold-front conditions and catching scores of white bass and wipers by using some of the same Midwest finesse tactics and tackle that we used on this outing.
Terry Claudell posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his solo outings on Oct. 4, when he fished a 101-acre state reservoir from 9 a.m. to noon and a 32-acre community reservoir from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
He described the weather as beautiful but windy. The wind angled from the south at 15 to 20 mph. Area thermometers ranged from 70 degrees into the mid-80s.
His largemouth bass fishing, however, was exceedingly trying. He caught only five largemouth bass at the 101-acre impoundment and 12 at the 32-acre reservoir.
Early October is traditionally a challenging time for Midwest finesse anglers that ply the waterways of northeastern Kansas, northwestern Missouri and central Missouri, and this early-October phenomenon might have adversely affected Claudell's catch. But in Octobers past at this 101-acre reservoir, he regularly caught 50 to 75 largemouth bass, including many 15- to 18-inchers, as well as an occasional 20-incher. But during this past year, his catches have been meager.
Likewise the 32-acre reservoir used to yield 20 to 30 hefty largemouth bass an outing, but now there are fewer bass, and they are much smaller.
Claudell suspects that angler predation might one of the factors that has caused the largemouth bass fishing to turn sour at both waterways. Another one might be the largemouth bass virus, which has walloped several nearby Kansas reservoirs during the past few years. A third cause might stem from the great drought of 2012-13 and the horrendous heat during the summer of 2012.
Oct. 5 log
Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed a report about his Oct. 5 outing on the Finesse News Network:
"The first major cold front of the fall season plowed through north central Texas this morning, causing area thermometers to plunge more than twenty degrees. The recorded high temperature was 74 degrees before the front came through and dropped temperatures to a low of 50 degrees. A crisp wind rolled across the north Texas plains at 15 to 25 mph. The sky was overcast throughout the day. The barometric pressure measured 29.94 and was rising.
"The high winds kept me off the larger reservoirs, but I made a bank-walking excursion to three city park ponds in the northwest Dallas suburb of Carrollton, Texas. I fished from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The In-Fisherman solunar calendar indicated the best fishing times were between 10:55 a.m. and 12:55 p.m.
"My rods sported the following Z-Man's soft-plastic baits: a 2 1/2-inch black-and-blue ZinkerZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig; a Junebug Hula StickZ on a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a Junebug Hula Stick Z on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Gopher jig; a 2 1/2-inch purple-haze Zinker Z on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig; a 2 1/2-inch black-and-blue FattyZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig; and a 2 1/2-inch California Craw ZinkerZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig.
"The first 10-acre pond appeared to be at its normal water level. It was heavily stained, with about two feet of visibility. I did not have the means to register water temperatures. I fished this pond for about one and a half hours. I switched between the 2 1/2-inch black-and-blue ZinkerZ on the red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and the Junebug Hula StickZ on the black 1 /16-ounce Gopher jig. I tangled with six bass, but landed only five. The black-and-blue ZinkerZ enticed four of the bass, and the Hula StickZ coaxed the other two. All six bass were hooked in less than three feet of water, around a concrete wall on the northeast side of the pond. I was unable to draw a strike from anywhere else in the pond.
"I then went to the next pond, which was about five miles northwest of the first pond. The water level in this 50-acre pond seemed to be at full capacity, but the water color exhibited an odd gray color. The water clarity was less than one foot. All my retrieves were impeded by matted aquatic vegetation and green filamentous algae, which choked the shoreline banks and extended twenty-five to thirty feet out into the pond. The algae was a constant nuisance, clinging to my lures on what seemed to be every cast. I attempted to work the few small open alleys in the vegetation with the 2 1/2-inch black-and-blue ZinkerZ on the red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig and a Junebug Hula Stick on the black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. I employed the swim-glide-and-shake and the steady do-nothing retrieves, which were the only two retrieve options available in this situation. I endured this loathsome fishing for an hour, and after not finding any fish and receiving no bites, I gladly moved on to the next pond.
"I drove to a 10-acre pond in the northeast region of Carrollton. The water level at this pond was normal, and the water was muddy with the visibility of about one foot. Up to this point, I had only eked out five bass from two ponds for the day. And at this pond, I had an inauspicious beginning: I unsuccessfully plied the northwest corner of this pond with a 2 1/2-inch black-and-blue ZinkerZ on the red 1/32-ounce Gopher head with no results. After approximately 45 minutes, I finally landed my first bass on a Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a 1/16-ounce black Gopher jig. A few minutes later, I snagged the Hula Stick on an underwater obstruction, and I was unable to free the lure before my six-pound-test line snapped. I was disappointed to lose my first Hula StickZ after catching only one largemouth bass on it. I retied with another Junebug Hula StickZ, but rigged it on a 1/32-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig to reduce the chance of snagging. I also changed from the black-and-blue ZinkerZ to a 2 1/2-inch purple-haze ZinkerZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig head. I continued fishing along the north shoreline. I caught one sunfish on the Junebug Hula StickZ, but was unable to produce any fish on the purple-haze ZinkerZ and 2 1/2-inch black-and-blue FattyZ. I caught two more bass on the Junebug Hula StickZ. I changed the FattyZ to a 2 1/12-inch California Craw ZinkerZ on a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. As the afternoon progressed, I was able to beguile a total of twenty bass and four sunfish. Two of the twenty bass were able to pull free before I could land them. The Junebug Hula Stick on the 1/32-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig combined with the drag-deadstick-shake retrieve produced 15 bass and three sunfish. The 2 1/2-inch California Craw ZinkerZ on the red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig with the hop-and-bounce technique caught five bass and one sunfish. The swim-glide-and-shake and the steady do-nothing retrieves yielded no fish from this pond.
"The total catch for all three ponds was 23 bass and four sunfish. I had hoped to catch thirty fish for the day, but an approaching thunderstorm ended my outing before I reached my goal."
Oct. 7 log
Back in the late 1960s, my cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I lived in Columbia, Missouri, and we used to spend a lot of hours fishing the Gravois Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. During those days of old, we always found that the first three weeks of October bedeviled us with some of the most exasperating fishing of the fall. Back then the World Series was played during the first week of October rather than the last week as it is played nowadays. Because the World Series corresponded with our sorry largemouth bass fishing, we began to call this period the World Series doldrums. Two of those years, however, were the years when the St. Louis Cardinal defeated the Boston Red Sox and then lost to the Detroit Tigers in game seven. We were Cardinal fans, and during the World Series in 1967 and 1968, our minds were more on the plight of the Cardinals than the Lake of the Ozarks' largemouth bass. But in 1969 and thereafter, the World Series doldrums befuddled and confounded us again and again
Nearly a half of a century has lapsed since our first encounters with that old World Series doldrums, and to our chagrin, my cousin and I encountered those largemouth doldrums again on our Oct. 7 outing at a 100-acre community reservoir that lies along the southwestern suburbs of Kansas City.
The National Weather Service at Olathe, Kansas, recorded the morning low temperature at 44 degrees and the afternoon high temperature at 70 degrees; the NSW at Lawrence, Kansas, recorded the morning low at 39 degrees and afternoon high at 74 degrees. The wind angled out of the west at 6 mph, but occasionally it angled out of the south at about 6 mph, and the NWS at Olathe and Lawrence classified it as variable. There wasn't a cloud in sight, and the sun burned brightly in the marine-blue sky. The barometric pressure around 10 a.m. was 30:15 and relatively steady.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing time occurred from 1:06 p.m. to 3:06 p.m. My cousin and I fished from 10:05 a.m. to 2:05 p.m.
The water level was normal. The surface temperature was 67 degrees. The water was stained with a minor algae bloom, which prevented us from seeing the propeller on the electric trolling motor at many locales on this 100-acre reservoir. This reservoir is graced with the best coontail patches in northeastern Kansas, and on this outing, they were extremely green and thick. Its shorelines are also embellished with some of the finest American water willows in northeastern Kansas.
We caught nine largemouth bass around several of the reservoir's many coontail patches, and we caught 13 largemouth bass that were abiding along the outside edges of some the American water willow patches, and these water willow bass were in two to three feet of water. Eleven largemouth bass were caught on riprap, concrete or rock breakwalls, and rocky shorelines, and some of these largemouth bass were inveigled on the initial fall of our baits, and several of these largemouth bass were caught on the rocky bottom about 10 to 16 feet from the shoreline, where the water was five to eight feet deep.
When a pair of Midwest finesse anglers tangles with only 33 largemouth bass in four hours of intense fishing, it is difficult to determine what baits and retrieves were the most effective.
In sum, a green-pumpkin-pepper Bass Pro Shops' Bass Teaser tube affixed to a 1/16-ounce inserted jig caught the most largemouth bass. Our second most effective bait was Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. A green-pumpkin grub on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught three largemouth bass, a four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig caught one largemouth bass and so did a Z-Man's PB&J Rain MinnowZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.
A slowly executed hop-and-bounce retrieve was our most alluring retrieve. We caught a half dozen largemouth bass while strolling and dragging the green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ.
Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed this report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 7 outing.
"I returned to the 24,154-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir in north central Texas, which was where Rick Allen of Dallas, Texas, and I fished on Oct. 2, when we suffered through a difficult and discombobulating endeavor.
"The weather was much different today than it was on October 2. North Texas experienced its first major cold front of the fall season on Oct. 5. Today was one of those endeavors that many anglers dread, and it revolves around a bluebird sky and a variety of post-cold-front conditions. In sum, the sun was radiant in the cloudless and indigo-blue sky. The high temperature for the day rebounded to 81 degrees from a below average morning low temperature of 47 degrees. A pleasant light breeze blew out of the north at 6 mph. The barometric pressure was steady at 30.14.
"Since I was facing post-cold-front conditions, I decided to modify my tackle and presentations in anticipation of a tough bite. I reduced my line size from six-pound-test to four-pound-test. Then I down-sized most of my Gopher jigs from 1/16-ounce to 1/32-ounce jigs. I switched the 3/32-ounce jig for my grub to a 1/16-ounce jig. I also outfitted my rods with a new set of lures: a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's watermelon-red FattyZ threaded onto a 1/32-ounce red Gopher jig; a four-inch Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse WormZ attached to a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig; a Z-Man green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ affixed to a 1/32-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig; and a Charlie Brewer Slider Company's 2 1/8-inch smoke-blue-flake grub on a 1/16-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig.
"I fished from 10:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. The In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicted the best fishing time was between 12:58 p.m. to 2:58 p.m.
"The water still maintained its emerald green color, but the visibility had increased from 3 ½ feet to 4 ½ feet. The water's temperature had dropped from 77 degrees to 75 degrees. The water level was 6.70 feet below normal.
"After I launched my boat, I commenced fishing the rip-rap shoreline that bordered the boat ramp. I thought I would first try the 2 1/2-inch watermelon-red FattyZ on the 1/32-ounce red Gopher jig with the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. To my surprise, I tricked a 1 1/2- pound spotted bass on my third cast. I continued working along the rip-rap bank that slowly transformed into a craggy rock jetty. I caught seven more spotted bass and three largemouth bass off the jetty in three to five feet of water. I followed the jetty back to the bank, and fished along a flat gravel and clay bank just north of the jetty. The flat bank was adorned with aquatic vegetation. I snared three more largemouth bass off the edges of the vegetation on the 2 1/2-inch watermelon-red FattyZ.
"I then proceeded across the lake to a familiar submerged roadbed next to a chunk-rock bank. I caught one largemouth bass off the roadbed. My FattyZ also appealed to one largemouth bass and one spotted bass off the chunk-rock bank.
"Then I meandered over to two main-lake rocky points at the mouth of a feeder-creek arm. Because I was having fun and success with the FattyZ, I stuck with it, but it failed to allure a bass on those two points.
"My next stop was a large island situated in the mid-section of a tributary on the east side of the reservoir. Aquatic vegetation embellished the southwest, south and southeast shorelines of the island, and I bewitched seven largemouth bass and one large sunfish off the edges of the vegetation. Four of the bass were attracted to the watermelon-red FattyZ. The green-pumpkin Scented LeechZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Gopher jig fooled the other three bass and the one sunfish. The swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was still paying dividends.
"I concluded the day by scouting out a rocky hump that lies to the east of the island. It is surrounded by heavy timber, and I worked the hump by keeping my casts in the open areas between the stands of flooded timber. One bass ambushed my FattyZ near a flooded tree on the north side of the hump as I slowly executed the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve past its lair.
"I amassed twenty-five bass and one sunfish during five hours of fishing. This is the most bass I have ever caught on this reservoir in one outing. Twenty-two bass in seven hours of fishing was my previous numbers record. The 2 1/2-inch watermelon-red FattyZ on the 1/32-ounce red Gopher jig was the most prolific bait. The slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most fruitful technique. Down-sizing my line and jig head weights seemed to have helped considerably."
Oct. 8 log
The World Series doldrums, which my cousin Rick Hebenstreit and I endured on our Oct. 7 outing at a 100-acre community, which Terry Claudell encountered on Oct. 4, persisted on my Oct. 8 outing to a nearby 195-acre community reservoir. (A short history of this phenomenon is described in the Oct. 7 log.)
The National Weather Service in Lawrence, Kansas, reported that the morning low temperature was 46 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 77 degrees. The sun was eye-squint bright and there wasn't a cloud in sight. The barometric pressure around noon was 30.10 and dropping. Unlike the mild-mannered wind that greeted my cousin and me on Oct. 7, the wind howled on Oct. 8 from the south at 15 to 28 mph, creating ranks of white caps that pounded the dam, which lies on the north end of this reservoir. Throughout this outing I was thankful for the creator or creators of the drift sock, which I used incessantly to calm the dastardly ways of the winds.
The water level looked to be less than a foot below normal. A slight algae bloom and the wind stained the water at many locales to the point that I could not see the propeller on the trolling motor. On Sept. 30, a herbicide was sprayed onto this reservoir's Eurasian watermilfoil patches, and the water color exhibited a milky hue in the vicinity of those patches of milfoil. The surface temperature was 67 degrees.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing occurred from 12:47 p.m. to 2:47 p.m., and I was afloat from noon to 3:00 p.m. Despite having the good fortune of fishing through the best two hours of the afternoon, I tangled with only 34 largemouth bass.
Besides being adversely affected by what we call the World Series doldrums, there were two other boats afloat, and these anglers looked as if they were serious and talented bass anglers. During the three hours that I was afloat, these anglers meticulously pounded several of this reservoir's best autumn largemouth bass lairs.
I started wielding a green-pumpkin-pepper Bass Pro Shops' Bass Teaser tube affixed to a 1/16-ounce inserted jig. It was our best bait on Oct. 7, but it never engendered a strike on my Oct. 8 outing.
The dam at the 100-acre community reservoir that my cousin and I fished on Oct. 7 was our most prolific area, but the wind and white caps didn't allowed me to fish the dam at this 195-acre community reservoir on Oct. 8.
In due course, I discovered that a three-inch Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig was the most effective bait, and it bewitched 22 largemouth bass. A seven-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ that was shortened to be four-inches long and affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig allured 12 largemouth bass.
All but four of the 34 largemouth bass were caught in the back halves of three of the reservoir's feeder-creek arms, and 80 percent of these largemouth bass were abiding around patches of American water willows or Eurasian watermilfoil. None of the largemouth bass that I caught were in water deeper than five feet, and most of them were abiding in two to four feet of water.
A hop-and-bounce retrieve was the most fruitful presentation, and the swim-glide-and-slight-shake retrieve caught nine of the 34 largemouth bass. The swim-glide-and-shake retrieve is usually the most effective one around submergent vegetation like milfoil, but the largemouth bass have to be more active than they were on this outing for them to be allured by the swim-glide-and-shake routine.
For some unknown reason, the largemouth bass often become difficult for me to locate and catch during the first three weeks of October, which is why I describe this spell as the World Series doldrums.
Oct 9 log
On this Oct. 9 outing, I spent an hour exploring and probing a shallow and massive mud flat in the back of a feeder-creek arm at a nearby 195-acre community reservoir, hoping to find a treasure trove or two of largemouth bass.
The National Weather Service at Lawrence, Kansas, reported that the morning low temperature was 50 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 78 degrees. The wind blew out of the south at 13 mph. For the third day in a row, there wasn't a cloud to be seen in the indigo sky and horizon. The barometric pressure around noon was 30.09 and falling.
The water was stained on this mud flat to the point that I could not see the propeller on the trolling motor. The water level looked to be about 10 inches below normal. The surface temperature was 67 degrees.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing from 1:50 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
I fished from noon to 1:30 p.m., spending an hour probing an area the size of two and a half football fields. The depth of the water ranged from two feet to five feet. The flat was embellished by a submerged creek channel, a rock hump, a dozen boat docks, and scattered patches of submergent aquatic vegetation.
I used five Midwest finesse baits to explore this massive underwater terrain: a 2 ¾-inch Junebug tube affixed to an inserted 1/16-ounce jig, a three-inch Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce jig, a 2 ½-inch Z-Man Dirt ZinkerZ spin on a chartreuse 3/32-ounce Gopher jig, and a shortened four-inch Z-Man's black-neon Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.
When I employed these baits, I made long casts and retrieved them with a either swim-glide-and-shake retrieve or a hop-and-bounce pattern. Whenever I provoked a strike or caught a largemouth bass, I tossed a buoy marker into the water, which allowed me to execute several dozen casts and retrieves from the area and adjacent to the area where I elicited the strike or caught a largemouth bass. But to my dismay, only around two buoy-marked areas did I catch more than one largemouth bass. At 1:00 p.m., my fish counter revealed that I had caught only eight largemouth bass, which were caught on the tube, Hula StickZ and Finesse ShadZ.
I had to be home at 2:15 p.m., and since this entire feeder-creek arm is a no-wake area, I decided to spend 30 minutes using the 13-mph wind, my electric trolling and drift sock to propel me towards the boat ramp. This tactic allowed me to fish a shoreline that was endowed with 13 boat docks, some laydowns, a few stumps, many patches of American water willows and submergent aquatic vegetation, and I eked out 10 more largemouth bass, of which seven were caught on the Junebug Finesse ShadZ and four were caught on the Junebug Hula StickZ. All of them were allured by a swim-glide-and-no-shake retrieve.
Oct. 10 log
Oct. 10 was another one of those old World Series doldrums days, which we groused about in our logs on Oct. 7 and 8. And Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, suffered through this one with me at a 416-acre community reservoir.
The National Weather Service in Topeka recorded the morning low temperature at 52 degrees, and the afternoon high temperature reached 80 degrees. The barometric pressure was 30.05 and falling around 10 a.m. Throughout our outing, the wind angled out of the south at six to 23 mph. The sky exhibited a baby-blue hue, and for a short spell there a few ribbons of cirrus clouds floating overhead, but before and after that, the sky was cloudless, and that has been a four-day phenomenon in these parts.
The surface temperature ranged from 66 to 68 degrees. The water level looked to be three feet below normal, and many of the American water willow patches that line this reservoir's shorelines were out of the water or had only a foot or less of water covering their roots. We assumed that golf course along the southeastern shoreline of this reservoir had been pumping vast volumes of water out this reservoir into its sprinkling system. What's more, the great drought of 2012 and 2013 was persisting, which can be seen by the fact that our average level of precipitation was nearly nine inches below normal for 2013, and it was about 19 inches below normal during 2012. Consequently, the water level at this reservoir has been below normal for months on end. As we were launching the boat, we immediately noticed that a significant algae bloom had erupted, and after we returned home, we read a story in the online edition of the Topeka Capital-Journal that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment had declared -- while we were afloat -- that this reservoir had been afflicted with a toxic blue-green algae.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing time occurred from 3:58 p.m. to 5:58 p.m. Desch and I fished from 9:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., and we struggled to eke out 27 largemouth bass and 19 smallmouth bass.
We extracted six largemouth bass and four black crappie from a beaver hut, but at two other beaver huts, we failed to elicit a strike. In sum, there wasn't a location pattern. We merely tossed out the drift sock and turned on the electric trolling motor, and allowed the wind and the trolling motor to move us slowly along many miles of shorelines and around several main-lake and secondary points, as well as two offshore submerged rock walls.
In our minds, the fishing was so problematic that it seemed as if we made 10,000 casts and retrieves without getting a bite. And when we did elicit a strike, it was difficult for us to determine how it occurred, which is a phenomenon that often perplexes us when the fishing is trying.
We experimented with a dozen finesse baits in various colors. Most of our baits were ineffective, but a few of them were able to bewitch a black bass or two. The two best baits were a 2 ½-inch Strike King Lure Company's coppertreuse Zero on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. One of the 19 smallmouth bass that we caught was the feistiest smallmouth bass that we have ever tangled with. It put up a whale of a donnybrook. This healthy and beautiful creature engulfed a three-inch Z-Man's California Craw Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig on the initial drop along the riprap of the dam. We estimated that it weighed more than four pounds.
If we didn't tangle with a bass during the initial drop of the bait as it plummeted towards the bottom of the reservoir, a slowly executed swimming retrieve was our most alluring retrieve. Most of the strikes occurred in two to seven feet of water.
In all my years of fishing, which stretch back to 1948, I have never fished when I had to contend with the old World Series doldrums and a blue-green algae bloom.
Oct. 11 log
I joined Terry Claudell of Overland Park, Kansas, and his son Eric of Pittsburg, Kansas, at a 55-acre community reservoir on Oct. 11. And for the fourth day in the row, a drift sock was an essential tool to allay the vile ways and effects of the wind.
The National Weather Service in Emporia, Kansas, reported that the wind angled out of the south at 20 to 31 mph while we were afloat. The morning low temperature was 60 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 68 degrees. The barometric pressure around 10 a.m. was 29.78 and rising. Initially the sky was sunny to partly cloudy, and then it gradually became totally cloudy.
The water level looked to be 2 ½ to three feet below normal. A golf course lies along the southeast edge of this reservoir, and as we were fishing we could hear water being pumped out of the reservoir for the golf course's sprinkling system. Therefore, the many patches of American water willows that adorn the reservoir's shorelines were either out of the water or had only a few inches of water covering their roots. Claudell's thermometer wasn't working; so, we failed to acquire the surface temperature. An algae bloom stained the water clarity -- especially in the backs on its two feeder-creek arms, but at several locales around the reservoir, Claudell could see the propeller on his trolling motor.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing time occurred at either 4:29 a.m. to 6:29 a.m. or 4:58 p.m. to 6:58 p.m. We fished from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and the largemouth bass fishing was as difficult as it was on Oct. 7, 8, 9, and 10.
We fished 80 percent of the reservoir's shoreline, and we fished one 150-yard segment twice, and it was a task for us to inveigle 47 largemouth bass.
Traditionally, the largemouth bass that abide in this reservoir can be enticed by dragging and strolling a four-inch Z-Man's Finesse WormZ or 2 ½-inch Z-Man's ZinkerZ affixed to either a 1/32- or 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. But on this outing, we failed to elicit a strike by employing that motif. Instead virtually all of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the bait as it fell from the surface towards the bottom. To our disheartment, the three of us made a lot of casts and retrieves without garnering a strike.
The bulk of the largemouth bass that we somehow inveigled were situated from one to four feet from the edge of the shoreline. Most of them were associated with rocks and boulders, but a few were extracted from a piece of brush or a laydown. Thirteen largemouth bass were extracted from seven of this reservoir's 11 main-lake points, and all of these points are cluttered with rocks and boulders.
Eric Claudell employed the most effective bait, and it was 4 ¾-inch NetBait's Bama Bug Finesse Worm affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. The Bama Bug is laminated with a green-pumpkin hue on its back and Junebug hue along its belly. A shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig was the second most effective bait. We tried a variety of colors of Z-Man's 2 ½-inch ZinkerZs, Z-Man's three-inch Hula StickZs, Z-Man's Finesse ShadZs, and 2 ¾-inch tubes, but they garnered only a few largemouth bass.
Oct. 13 log
Charlie Croom of Fayetteville, Arkansas, reported about his Oct. 13 float trip on the Elk River in Missouri with his father. They fished in his father's boat, which is a G-Boats' Eagle 176.
The river was flowing with a very subtle current. The United States Geological Survey recorded the flow at 401 cubic feet per second and the stage was 3.71 feet. Croom recorded the water temperature at 64 degrees. The water exhibited about eight feet of visibility.
Area thermometers record the low temperature at 51 degrees and the high temperature at 75 degrees. There was a mixture clouds and sun throughout the day. Before 3 p.m., the wind angled out of the east-by-northeast at 15 to 18 mph, which Croom found helpful to their fishing, and after 3 p.m., the wind died, which adversely affected their fishing.
The leaves were exhibiting the first stage of their fall colors: a few yellows and reds. The walnuts were the only bare trees. Consequently, there was very little leaf debris on the water, but there was just enough to foul a topwater bait.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing ouccurred from 6:46 p.m. to 8:46 p.m. The Crooms fished from noon to 5:00 p.m.
He and his father wielded the following baits: a 2 ½-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin/orange ZinkerZ on either a 1/8-punce PJ Lure's Finesse Jig or a 1/8-ounce homemade mushroom jig with a No. 2 hook; a 7/16-ounce Jewel Bait Company's green-gourd/orange jig and a shortened five-inch Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits' green-pumpkin-candy Swimming Senko;and a Zoom Bait Company's watermelon-red Baby Brush Hog rigged Texas style on a 2/0 Gamakatsu EWG Worm Hook and a ¼-ounce Strike-King Bait Company Tour Grade Tungsten weight. The Brush Hog was wielded on a baitcasting outfit and 20-pound-test Seaguar Red Label Fluorocarbon, and this was one of this father's outfit. The 7/16-ounce jig and Swimming Senko was used on a baitcasting outfit and 20-pound-test Seaguar Red Label Fluorocarbon. The ZinkerZs were attached to spining outfits.
Normally Charlie Croom works with an 1/8-ounce PJ Lure's Finesse Jig with a 1/0 hook, and this was his first time to test a jig with a smaller hook. He said, "I have to admit that I liked the smaller No. 2 hook — especially around gravel and rocks. It was awkward at first, but I got used to it. The fish don't seem to mind. I will give Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig a try next time around."
The most productive locations were outside bends along rocky shorelines and bluffs. In essence, the bulk of the fish were abiding in the deep areas of the main river channel.
There were some schools of baitfish inhabiting the some of the logjams. The bass that were associated with these logjams would not strike a topwater bait, but they were allured by a 2 ½-inch ZinkerZ and jig that was retrieved with swimming presentation near the surface.
The other bass were cruising along the bottom in deeper water. Most of the time, the bites from these deep-water bass occurred on the initial drop of the bait. If the Crooms didn't engender a strike of the initial drop of the bait, they hopped it once after it reached the bottom, and following that one hop, they utilized a swimming retrieve back to the boat, and this allowed the Crooms to work quickly and efficiently across long stretches of clean gravel banks. It replaced crankbaits and topwater baits as search tools. They tried in vain to allure the deep-water bass with a continuous hopping or dragging retrieve.
To Charlie Croom's chagrin, he tangled with three smallmouth bass that looked to be three pounders, and he failed to land all three of them. One broke his eight-pound-test Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon leader. According to Croom, the breakage problem stemmed from leaving his rods in a building where the temperature climbed well into the 90s, and that high heat damaged his leader. The leader did not break at the point where the Alberto knot attached it to the 15-pound-test Stren Sonic Braid. Instead it broke near the jig, which means that rocks and boulders easily scarred his heat-damaged leader. He lost the other two smallmouth bass when he mistakenly employed an extremely hard hook set.
Despite losing those three big smallmouth bass, they landed 30, and failed to land another 30. The three biggest smallmouth bass that they landed ranged from 15 to 17 inches long.
The bass were foraging on crayfish. Crayfish antennas were protruding from the gullets of many of the smallmouth bass, and some of the smallmouth bass regurgitated a crayfish or two in the midst of a donnybrook with the Crooms.
Nathan Parker of Tulsa, Oklahoma, reported on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 13 outing with a friend to a 10,500-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir.
The National Weather Service in Tulsa recorded the morning low temperature at 59 degrees and the afternoon high temperature at 75 degrees. A northeasterly wind blew at 6 to 10 mph. The sky fluctuated from overcast to partly cloudy. The barometric pressure ranged from 30.17 to 30.20.
The In-Fisherman solunar calendar said that the best fishing occurred at 6:19 a.m. to 8:19 a.m. and 6:46 p.m. to 8:46 p.m. They fished from 12:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The water level was 7 ½ feet below normal. The surface temperature ranged from 70-73 degrees. The water exhibited two to three feet of clarity.
They employed a variety of finesse baits: a 2 ½-inch Strike King Lure Company's green-pumpkin Zero on a 1/16-ounce jig, a 2 ¾-inch green-pumpkin tube affixed to a 1/16-ounce jig, a wacky-rigged Strike King Zero in pearl and green pumpkin with a 1/16-ounce weight crimped to the hook, and Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ affixed to a 3/16-ounce Luck E Strike USA's Scrounger Jig Head. They also wielded a topwater bait and a small crankbait. Their most effective rig was the Finesse ShadZ on the Scrounger.
They found significant quantity of the reservoir's smallmouth bass foraging upon shad on shallow rock flats. By the time their outing ended, they had caught 35 smallmouth bass, six largemouth bass and three spotted bass.
Bob Gum of Kansas City filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his outing with his wife, Yan, to a 2,600-acre power-plant reservoir.
The National Weather Service at Olathe, Kansas, recorded the morning low temperature at 47 degrees and the afternoon high temperature hit 70 degrees. The wind blew out of the east at 6 to 22 mph. It was sunny, and while they were afloat, the barometric pressure ranged from 30.38 to 30.40.
The water was stained, reducing the visibility to about two feet. The surface temperature was 71 to 72 degrees. The water level looked to be a foot or slight more below normal.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated the best fishing time occurred from 6:19 a.m. to 8:19 a.m. They fished from 8: 00 a.m. to noon.
He wrote: "There were about 10 other boats on the water, and they from the Olathe Bass Club. It was a club tournament, and these anglers spent most of their time fishing the riverine section this reservoir's major feeder creek. Therefore, we could fish anywhere we wanted without much company on the reservoir's main body. Unfortunately, the largemouth bass bite was very sparse. We caught only 10 largemouth bass and did not get a bite during the last 90 minutes we were on the water.
"Throughout the outing, we crossed paths with a lot gizzard shad, and periodically we saw a fish working them, but we failed allure a largemouth bass from those schools of shad.
"We had the best action early along the riprap of the east shoreline. Then we fished the end of a long point, where I caught two of the smallest largemouth bass of the season. This point is traditionally an excellent white bass haunt, but not this year.
"After we finished fishing the point, we fished a short stretch of riprap that lies on the north side of the power plant where I caught a 19-incher.
"When the east wind picked up, we employed a drift sock and fished the western end of the riprap along dam, where we caught a couple of largemouth bass.
"We fished with a 2 1/2-inch Strike King watermelon Zero on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ on a red 1/16-0unce Gopher jig, and a Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits' dark-brown double-tail Hula Grub affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.
Oct. 15 log
One word describes my Oct. 15 outing at a 100-acre community reservoir that lies in the southwestern suburbs of Kansas City, and that word is wretched.
A cold front meandered across northeastern Kansas during the night, and it was accompanied with some rain showers that dropped more than a third of an inch at some locales. The National Weather Service at nearby Olathe, Kansas, reported that the morning low temperature was 58 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was only 59 degrees. Initially the sky was skimmed with some cirrostratus clouds, and eventually all of the clouds evaporated. The barometric pressure ranged from 30.01 to 29.99. The wind was pesky at times, angling out of the west and northwest at 10 to 21 mph, which provoked me to use the drift sock at couple locations.
The water level was normal. The surface temperature was 64 degrees. The water was stained with an algae bloom to the point that I could rarely see the propeller on the trolling motor, and there were a couple spots along the dam were I could barely see the chartreuse head of a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig in 2 ½ feet of water. The reservoir's coontail patches were healthy and thick, and the American water willows were beginning to turn from green to yellow, as were many of the leaves of the trees that decorated the low-slung hills that the bordered the reservoir.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing time occurred from 7:52 a.m. to 9:52 a.m. I fished from 10:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
I caught five largemouth bass on the dam; two were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ on a 1/32-ounce chartreuse jig, two more were caught on a three-inch Z-Man's California Craw Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and one was caught on a Gene Larew Lures' green-pumpkin TattleTail Worm on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce jig. The dam normally yields 10 to 15 largemouth bass; so I quickly knew something was askew. After I left the dam, I really struggled and could muster only 11 more largemouth bass, and they were caught on a hodgepodge on lures, colors, presentations and locations. In sum, I couldn't establish any rhyme, reason or rhythm on how and where to fish. I fished areas that I have never fished before. The strikes were so intermittent that my concentration frequently waned
In my mind, it was another manifestation of the old World Series doldrums. Perhaps these doldrums are why I used to spend a lot my early fall outings chasing white bass rather than black bass. But nowadays there too many anglers chasing white bass on our flatland reservoirs and our white bass populations aren't as healthy as they used to be. Therefore, in the days to come, I will continue to see if I can discover the whereabouts of some of the largemouth bass and try to allure them rather than chase white bass.
Oct 16 log
Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed this log about his Oct. 16 outing on the Finesse News Network.
"It rained for the past two days in north central Texas, and it ended this morning, allowing me to make an afternoon foray to a 20,280-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir close to my home. The weather was overcast and dreary. Area thermometers recorded the morning low temperature at 52 degrees. The afternoon high temperature reached 66 degrees. A peppy wind blew out of the north at 15 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.04 and rising.
"The In-Fisherman solunar calendar predicted the best fishing period occurred between 8:46 a.m. and 10:46 a.m.
"Despite two days of much needed rain, the reservoir's water level was 8.61-feet below normal. The water's temperature had fallen to 72 degrees. The water was stained, and the visibility was 1 1/2-feet. My color selector indicated black and blue were the most visible colors.
"I fished with just three Z-Man's baits: a four-inch black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ rigged a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a 2 1/2-inch PB&J ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and a 2 1/2-inch black-blue-flake ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-inch Gopher jig. All three baits were used on Bass Pro Shops 6-foot-9-inch medium-light rods with Bass Pro Shops JM 20 reels spooled with green Berkley four-pound-test monofilament line.
" I began the day fishing the bank adjacent to the boat ramp area where I launched. I worked the area for about 15 minutes before I caught the first spotted bass and a sunfish off the end of the boat ramp. Both fish swallowed the black-bluflake Finesse WormZ. I continued westward into an area that consisted of three coves. I switched to the PB&J ZinkerZ and tricked another spotted bass and a largemouth bass from a rocky point located at the entrance to the three coves. The three coves, however, failed to yield a bass.
"I then proceeded to a small cove in the back of the marina where I launched. I coaxed one spotted bass to strike the PB&J ZinkerZ along a steep clay and gravel bank. I crossed the cove and probed a steep clay and gravel point, where four largemouth bass and two sunfish inhaled the black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ, which was presented to them with the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. I found no bass on this point interested in the PB&J ZinkerZ. As I meandered down the point, I noticed a new set of covered boat docks in the back of the cove. I tested several of the open boat slips closest to the shore with the black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ. At one of the slips, the black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ allured three bass, but I was unable to tempt any more bass from the other boat slips.
"My next spot was another marina cove east of the marina where I launched. I started fishing a boat ramp situated in the mid-section of the cove. I caught one spotted bass and two largemouth bass off the concrete shoulder of the ramp on the black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ.
"Then I went across to the east side of the cove and fished a steep and rocky shoreline. A small brushpile enhanced this shoreline. I landed a 2 1/4-pound largemouth bass that chased down the black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ as it sauntered past the brushpile. I continued working down the steep shoreline and caught two more largemouth bass on the black-blue-flakeFinesse WormZ. I also wielded the PB&J ZinkerZ along this shoreline, but it didn't draw a strike.
"I then turned my attention to the very back of the marina cove where several tires and some brush embellished a shallow clay flat. The black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ extracted one bass and one large crappie from the tires and brush, but the PB&J ZinkerZ was ignored.
"I returned to the steep rocky bank where I had bewitched the 2 1/4-pound bass earlier. I revised my bait selection to a 2 1/2-inch black/blue ZinkerZ, and caught another largemouth bass and one sunfish.
"I left the marina area, and focused on two closed boat ramps on a wind blown bank east of the marina. One boat ramp yielded a spotted bass on the black-blue-flake ZinkerZ before I headed in for the day.
" I caught 20 bass, four sunfish, and one crappie in five hours of fishing. Three bass were able to extricate themselves from my lure before I could land them. Fifteen bass and two sunfish were caught on the black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ on the blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Three bass and one sunfish were enticed by the PB&J ZinkerZ on the chartreuse1/16-ounce Gopher jig. During the last 45 minutes I fished, the black-blue-flake ZinkerZ on the blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig fooled the last two bass, one crappie, and one sunfish of the day. The swim-glide-and-shake retrieve was the most fruitful retrieve, and two bass were caught on the hop-and-bounce retrieve. The bass ignored my drag-shake-and-deadstick technique."
Oct. 17 log
Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I returned to the 416-acre community reservoir that we fished on Oct. 10, when a blue-green-algae alert was issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment while we were afloat. We returned to see if the bloom had abated, and if it hadn't subsided, we wanted to see its effects on our largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing.
In sum, it had not diminished. In fact, it had become more extensive. And we caught 10 fewer largemouth bass and smallmouth bass than we caught on Oct. 10.
The National Weather Service in Topeka recorded the morning low temperature at 35 degrees and the afternoon high temperature hit 67 degrees. The sky was sun filled and virtually cloudless. The wind angled out of the west and southwest at 7 to 13 mph, and a gust hit 21 mph. The barometric pressure around 10 a.m. was 30.00 and dropping.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing occurred from 9:19 a.m. to 11:19 a.m. Desch and I fished from 9:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
The water level looked to be three feet below normal. The blue-green algae was intense enough that we could not see the propeller on the trolling motor. The surface temperature ranged from 63 to 64 degrees.
Here is a synopsis of where we fished and what we caught: We began our outing at a short bluff along the south side of a feeder-creek arm on the east side of the reservoir, and we caught two smallmouth bass. We fished a submerged rock wall and main-lake point on the east side of the reservoir, where we failed to elicit a strike. We fish another submerged rock wall on the east side of the reservoir from which we extracted five smallmouth bass and four largemouth bass. We fished the riprap along the dam, and we caught two smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass. We fished a main-lake point and short bluff on the west side of the reservoir, and we caught only one smallmouth bass. We fished a shallow rock hump in the outlet area, and we did not garner a strike. We fished a long main-lake bluff and point on the west side of the reservoir, where we caught four smallmouth bass and three largemouth bass. We fished the north shoreline and two secondary points and a short portion of the south shoreline inside of a cove on the west side of the reservoir, and we failed to catch a fish. We fished a flat, rocky main-lake point on the west side of the reservoir and didn't register a strike. We fished a secondary point and riprap shoreline inside a small cove on the west side of the reservoir, where we caught two smallmouth bass and four largemouth bass. We fished a main-lake point on the west side of the reservoir and a 50-yard portion of its adjacent bluff, and we caught two largemouth bass and one smallmouth. We fished a beaver hut inside a feeder-creek arm on the east side of the reservoir, where we caught three largemouth bass. We ended our outing by fishing a shallow riprap shoreline on the north side of the east feeder-creek arm where we began the outing, and we caught two largemouth bass.
Our three most effective baits were a Z-Man's dark-melon Scented LeechZ on a red 1/116-ounce Gopher jig, a 2 ½-inch Strike King Lure Company's coppertreuse Zero on a red 1/16-ounce jig, and a 2 ½-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce jig.
Except at the submerged rock wall and beaver hut, the bulk of the 36 largemouth bass and smallmouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the bait as it fell from the surface to the bottom, and a great majority of those bass were caught within 12 inches of the water's edge. Two bass were caught by dragging the green-pumpkin ZinkerZ. The few that were not allured on the initial drop were caught by a slow swim-and-glide retrieve.
After witnessing the sorry state of this reservoir, it is apparent that the homeowners and golf course mangers need to stop using all of the pesticides and fertilizers that they have been using on the lawns and golf course that surround this reservoir. Several observers who are concerned about the conditions of this reservoir contend that golfers and golf course managers, as well as scores of homeowners, have become addicted to the artificial and superficial look of modern-day lawns, gardens, golf fairways and golf greens, and to accomplish all of that cosmetic rigmarole, these homeowners and golf course mangers have fouled (some folks say poisoned) this reservoir and other waterways, and these observers say these folks need to learn that they can have healthier lawns, gardens and golf courses without using all of the dastardly chemicals that have been using. In fact, it has become such a problem and concern that lawn fertilizers and pesticides have been banned in Ontario, Canada, in order to protect its waterways. What's more, some municipalities in Florida, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Washington, and Wisconsin have enacted ordinances banning fertilizers. For another perspective about this problem, please see this editorial in The Topeka Capital Journal: http://cjonline.com/opinion/2012-03-21/editorial-saving-lake-shawnee. Here's hoping that the anglers who live around this reservoir and play golf on the golf course will petition their neighbors and the golf course management to change their baleful ways.
Oct. 19 log
Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, reported on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 19 outing.
He wrote: "Another strong cold front hit north central Texas during the night of October 18. Wind gusts hit 35 mph. I awoke on the morning of Oct. 19 to a chilly 43 degrees, but I looked forward to the pleasant afternoon high of 66 degrees. The day turned into a gorgeous fall day. The sun was shining brightly, and the cloudless sky displayed a powder-blue tint. A light breeze blew out of the north at 6 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.20 and rising.
"I took advantage of the light afternoon winds and visited the 20,280-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir close to my home.
"The In-Fisherman solunar calendar indicated the best fishing time was between 4:53 a.m. and 6:53 a.m. I fished from noon to 5:00 p.m.
"This reservoir's water level continues to drop, and on this outing it was 8.60-feet below normal. The water's temperature registered 68 degrees at noon, but it warmed to 70 degrees later in the afternoon. The water was stained, and visibility varied from one foot to 1 1/2 feet. My color selector indicated black, blue, purple, and chartreuse as the most visible colors.
"I set my rods up with the following Z-Man baits: a four-inch black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ rigged a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a 2 1/2-inch black-blue-flake ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a 2 1/2-inch black-blue-flake FattyZ accoutered on a blue 1/16-inch Gopher jig; and a Junebug Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. All four baits were attached to 6-foot, 9-inch medium-light spinning rods with reels that were spooled with green four-pound-test Berkley XT monofilament line.
"The cold front seemed to have adversely affected this reservoir's denizens. One bass angler caught only two small bass on his fist-sized crankbaits. Another bass angler hooked but lost his one and only bass on a jig-n-pig combo. Crappie fishermen were dismayed at the lack of any action.
"I began fishing a set of covered boat docks. Finesse News Network member Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, had given me some useful dock fishing tips, suggesting I try skipping a ZinkerZ on a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig under the docks. I followed his suggestion and I was amazed at how easy I could skip the black-blue-flake ZinkerZ into some tight spots under the docks. Unfortunately, the bass were having nothing to do with it. I switched to the black-blue-flake FattyZ, and discovered it was good for skipping as well. I was able to extract two largemouth bass from underneath one boat slip with the FattyZ, and two others with the Junebug Finesse ShadZ. Then the dock bite then ceased.
"I elected to spend the rest of my afternoon fishing the southwest area of the reservoir. I plied the rocky banks and points situated inside several coves, where I threw the black-blue-flake FattyZ and the black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ to no avail.
"I remembered Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, gave me some helpful advice. He suggested I try a Junebug colored Finesse ShadZ on rip-rap areas. I took his advice and enticed one bass off a long rip-rap bank and a second bass off a nearby rock pile on a Junebug Finesse ShadZ.
"I then sauntered over to the mouth of a feeder creek. I probed the main lake points leading into the feeder creek and employed the black-blue-flake ZinkerZ. I caught two largemouth bass, two spotted bass, and one white bass off the west point. I was unable to draw a strike from the east point.
"I finished the afternoon dissecting another main-lake rocky bank with a black-blue -flake ZinkerZ. I coaxed two largemouth bass and one freshwater drum from their rocky sanctuaries.
"Thanks to the suggestions provided by Ned Kehde and Mike Poe, I was able to allure ten largemouth bass, two spotted bass, one freshwater drum, and one white bass on a day that other anglers blanked or caught only one or two fish. Eight of the twelve bass were keepers."
After Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, wrote a note to Steve Reideler on the Finesse News Network, suggesting that Reideler should try skipping a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's ZinkerZ on a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig under docks, Poe wrote another note, saying that the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ is the best farm-pond bait ever created. What's more, Poe said the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ and Finesse ShadZ are what he calls "the best throw-back baits" that he has ever seen. He explained: "Any missed strike on any lure is subject to be caught by throwing the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ or Finesse ShadZ rigged on a Gopher jig. I have been using the pearl Finesse ShadZ on a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig with a great ratio of success when the largemouth bass strike but do not connect with our Rebel Pop-Rs and buzzbaits. It is death as well on bass that show themselves by chasing or moving the water and giving away their location."
Oct 20 log
Nathan Parker of Tulsa, Oklahoma, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 20 outing.
He fished the same 10,500 acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir that he and a friend fished on Oct. 13.
The National Weather Service in Tulsa reported that the morning low temperature was 43 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 70 degrees. The wind angled from the south at 16 to 25 mph. The barometric pressure around 1:00 p.m. was 29.94 and falling. A few clouds floated overhead.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar reported that the best fishing time occurred from 11:47 a.m. to 1:47 p.m. Parker fished from 1:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The water clarity exhibited four feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 66 degrees, which was a drop of five degrees during the past seven days. The water level looked to be more than six feet low.
A week ago, Parker's most effective bait was a Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ affixed to a 3/16-ounce Luck E Strike USA's Scrounger Jig Head, but it inveigled only one smallmouth bass during the first 15 minutes of his Oct. 20 outing. During the next 45 minutes, he failed to entice a smallmouth bass or spotted bass or largemouth bass to engulf a three-inch Charlie Brewer's Slider Company's green-pumpkin Bass/Walleye/Striper Grub on a 1/8-ounce mushroom-style and a Z-Man's watermelon/red Finesse ShadZ on a 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig.
After an hour of fruitless fishing and battling a snaggy terrain and a stiff south wind, Parker decided to use a Charlie Brewer's Slider Company's Junebug/chartreuse 1 1/2-inch Crappie/Panfish Grub that he affixed to a 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig. And he caught a smallmouth bass on the first cast with that small grub. Then across the next 30 minutes, Parker caught five smallmouth bass and one spotted bass, and one of the smallmouth bass weighed 3 1/2-pounds. By the time he wielded his last cast at 5:30 p.m., the 1 1/2-inch grub had caught 18 more smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass.
Casey Kidder of Topeka, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his tournament endeavors with Travis Perret at Grand Lake, Oklahoma.
He wrote: "Travis and I placed third in our Grand Lake tournament during the weekend. We spent two days prefishing on Oct. 17 and 18, and the tournament was on Oct. 19 and 20. We found the fishing extremely trying for Grand Lake, and the shallow fish we had reports of from the weekend before were few and scattered. We started off by focusing on some main lake points, but ended up fishing mostly smaller cuts and coves. Docks and secondary points midway back had some bass on them, and there were some in the back ends of these coves and cuts, but they disappeared by the weekend.
"Jigs and spinnerbaits were our best baits, and the spinnerbait worked best around docks after the sun came up. The only spinnerbait combination we found that worked was chartreuse/white with a Z-Man's pearl MinnowZ as a trailer. The jig had to be a finesse type with a small Z-Man's Punch CrawZ or similar trailer with subtle action. We also caught a few fish on a Gene Larew Lures' HardHead or Mesu BobaD Head with a Biffle Bug.
"We caught four keepers on Thursday, two keepers on Friday. Average size was good in practice: several three-pounders and one over four-pounds. The biggest one bit the finesse jig."
"On Saturday, we caught six keepers and culled once. Our biggest weighed only 2 1/2 pounds. Our total weight was nine pounds, 11 ounces, which put us in eighth place. Sunday was much tougher than Saturday, and we had to compete with the 279-boat Wohali Outdoors tournament. We ended up with four keepers for a total of only seven pounds and 11 ounces, and our biggest weighed about 2 1/2 pounds. We nearly overtook the day one leaders who caught only two bass on Sunday. If Travis and I could have caught another keeper bass, we might have finished in second place. The winners caught a total of 25 pounds, 6 ounces; 13 pounds, 14 ounces on Saturday and 11 pounds, 8 ounces on Sunday. The biggest limit of the tournament weighed 14 pounds, 40z, and it included a five-pound, one-ounce largemouth bass. "
"We attempted to finesse fish with a shakyhead rig, and a Gopher jig with a watermelon Finesse ShadZ and a ZinkerZ for a short time. Our catch rate went up dramatically with finesse, but we never caught any 14-inch keepers doing that.
"Grand Lake definitely has the potential to kick out four- and five-pounders, but for some reason the fishing was really off those days. Two Tulsa locals won the Wohali event with four bass that weighed 15.43 pounds. There were tons of shad in the creeks and coves and loads of white bass chasing them, especially in the evening. But there didn't seem to be a great quantity of largemouth pursuing the shad yet."
Oct. 21 log
Brent Frazee, of Parkville, Missouri, and outdoor editor for the Kansas City Star, filed the following report about his Oct. 21 outing on a 120-acre community reservoir in the northern suburbs of Kansas City.
He wrote: "I got back on the water on Monday after a lengthy absence (due to interviewing and writing a hunting section), and it was a great day.
"The weather was perfect (temperatures in the 60s), the trees were ablaze with color and the fish were hungry.
"To my surprise, the fish were in the same pattern as when I left them a week or so ago. I positioned my boat over a drop-off in 20 feet of water, then cast onto a grassy flat that was about 10 feet deep. And they were on it.
"A friend and I caught 54 fish, a mix of nice-sized crappies and bass, in a little more than three hours of fishing. We began at 3:00 p.m. and were done by 6:30. We had four keeper bass (15 inches or longer) and most of the crappies were 10 to 11 inches long by the ruler I have taped to my boat.
"I was using a Northland Fishing Tackle's Slurpie, and Z-Man's Finesse WormZs in two colors -- pumpkin and green pumpkin. My friend was using a white Berkley's PowerBait grub and a chartreuse grub. We tried to retrieve the baits just over the top of the weeds and that seemed to be what the fish wanted.
"The fall pattern apparently hasn't started. I tried shallower water and didn't get a thing. I also tried rocky banks and points, including the hole below the tubes, andI didn't get a response. But when I got on that pattern of fishing drop-offs on weedy flats, I found fish at several locations.
"Unfortunately, I'm going to be busy with hunting season coverage coming up. But I still plan to get out and fish. Our trout will be stocked next week and that adds another reason to keep casting."
Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his banking-walking outing on Oct. 21
He wrote: "I had a chance to make a short bank-walking trek to a local feast-or-famine-type pond this afternoon. This 15-acre pond is located about 15 minutes from my home and lies along the southern edge of Lewisville. I fished from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p. m. The In-Fisherman solunar calendar indicated the best fishing period was from 12:52 p.m. to 2:52 p.m.
"The morning started off crisp and nippy, with a low temperature of 38 degrees. As the morning passed, the day turned sunny and vibrant, with afternoon temperature reaching 74 degrees. Around 2:30 p.m., I could feel a change in the weather as the skies became dark and cloudy, and a cold front passed through the area. The temperature dropped to about 60 degrees as a brisk wind quartered out of the north at 16 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.09 and falling.
"The water had an odd grayish-green tint, and it was about four feet low. The copious amounts of aquatic vegetation that usually hem the perimeter of the shore had become brown and emaciated. I did not have the means to measure the water's temperature.
"I had a delightful and entertaining experience. The fishing was the best I have experienced at this pond since spring. I enticed twenty-three largemouth bass, and landed eighteen. The largest bass weighed 2 1/2 pounds, and thirteen others weighed between 1 1/4 pounds and 1 3/4 pounds. Only four were small squealers.
"I caught twelve bass on a Z-Man's 2 1/2-inch purple-haze ZinkerZ on a chartreue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. I inveigled another six bass and one large bluegill on a Z-Man's black-blue-flake 2 1/2-inch FattyZ rigged on a blue 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. Five of the largemouth bass came unbuttoned from my lure as they energetically cartwheeled across the surface of the water. I worked with four-pound-test monofilament line and employed the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.
"All the fish were caught in two to five feet of water, by retrieving my baits parallel to the brown aquatic vegetation bordering the shoreline. The deep-water areas failed yield a largemouth bass."
Oct. 22 log
Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana, and Big Indiana Bass Website, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his experiences with Midwest finesse tactics.
Brian Waldman wrote: "Here's a quick rundown. I spent three months doing the Z-Man Midwest finesse test on my waters. Across that 90-day period, which ran from June 29 - to Sept. 26, I fished 35 times for a total of 85.33 hours and caught 1041 bass. The average trip consumed 2.44 hours, and my catch average was 12.2 bass per hour. I had six trips where I caught 50 bass or more (always my trip goal). On one of those six trips I caught 102 bass, and that was only the fourth time in all my days afloat that I've accomplished that feat, and two of those outings were solo endeavors and two were with another angler.
"After finishing that experiment, I relinquished further bass fishing trips in favor of crappie trips. I actually started the crappie trips in early September, and I had a lot of good trips during the late summer and tangled with a goodly number of crappie on most days. As October rolled around, the white bass started to gather in groups on deeper flats from time to time. I've spent about five trips fishing for them, using side-imaging and jigging spoons. It's been a blast when I found them grouped up. Now that our weather has taken a decidedly cold turn, and water temperatures are dropping to 60 degrees, our white bass have just started to make their heavier forays into the shallows. That bite is just now beginning to get good. Inline spinners have been a consistent bait, and I've also caught many on a Z-Man's 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ in white/silver flake.
"Now that water temperatures have dropped, I pulled out the hair jigs for the first time, and during this past weekend, I managed to catch about 75 bass in two outings. That bite will only get stronger as the days march on, and a good jerkbait bite will also begin soon. I'm also hoping November will bring about a good walleye bite on one of our local reservoirs. We caught them well all through November last year, including my new personal best walleye that was 25 1/2 inches long and weighed nearly eight pounds.
"I am hoping that we won't slide straight into winter with this arctic front that is currently assaulting us. Water temperatures have dropped more than 10 degrees in the past week, and they will keep dropping with near freezing lows and highs only in the upper 40s to low 50s for the foreseeable future."
Oct. 24 log
Until this outing, I hadn't been afloat for six days, and to my delight, the largemouth bass bite was better than it was a week ago. The weather, however, was nippier than it was seven days ago, making me wish at times that I had a pair of gloves to keep my fingers warm.
The older I get the harder it is for me to become acclimated to cold weather. During the past 10 years, I have become a devotee of brown Jersey work gloves, and from mid-October into late March, I usually have a dozen or more brown Jersey work gloves stored in the boat. I failed, however, to put them in the boat before this outing, but they are in the boat now, and they will be there until after spring unfolds.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing occurred from 3:23 p.m. to 5:23 p.m. I fished from 10:55 a.m. to 2:55 p.m. at a 195-acre community reservoir, and I spent most of those 240 minutes testing a 2 ¾-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. This ZinkerZ is in its prototype phase.
The National Weather Service at Lawrence, Kansas, reported that the morning low temperature was 39 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 53 degrees. The wind angled from the north and northwest at 15 to 24 mph. It was partly cloudy. The barometric pressure around 11 a.m. was 30.41 and rising.
The surface temperature was 58 degrees. The water level looked to be about1 ½ feet below normal. The water clarity was affected by an algae bloom, but I could see the propeller on the trolling motor at most of the locales that I fished.
I fished about half of the riprap shoreline along the dam, where I caught only two largemouth bass on the 2 ¾-inch green-pumpkin prototype ZinkerZ. I fished 300 yards of the northern shoreline of one of the reservoir's eastern feeder-creek arms, where I caught three largemouth bass on a Z-Man's dark-melon Scented LeechZ affixed to an orange Gopher jig, six largemouth bass on a Z-Man's Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and 12 largemouth bass on the prototype ZinkerZ. I fished 100 yards of the southern shoreline in the eastern feeder-creek arm, and I was able to eke out only three largemouth bass, which I caught on the prototype ZinkerZ. I fished about 400 yards of the northwest shoreline in another feeder-creek arm, where I caught six largemouth bass on the Junebug Finesse ShadZ and 16 largemouth bass on the prototype ZinkerZ. I fished 60 yards of the west shoreline in this reservoir's south feeder-creek arm and caught only three largemouth bass, which were inveigled by the prototype ZinkerZ. I spent the last 10 minutes of the outing plying about 40 yards of the eastern shoreline in the south feeder-creek arm, where the prototype ZinkerZ bewitched three largemouth bass.
On my last cast and retrieve, I landed largemouth bass number 51. Throughout the outing, I failed to land three largemouth bass that I saw as they jumped and liberated themselves from the Gopher jig and prototype ZinkerZ, and I lost two fish that I did not see and could not identify if they were black bass.
On Oct. 23 and 24, Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana, Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, and several other members of the Finesse News Network conducted a discourse about the problems that Reideler was encountering with landing the largemouth bass that he hooked. I commented that Midwest finesse anglers fail to land a lot of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and spotted bass because they tangle with more bass than power anglers do. To emphasis that point, I relayed a story about an outing that Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I had at a 140-acre reservoir several years ago, when we landed 103 largemouth and failed to land another 73 largemouth bass. (For more information about this discourse, please see the endnotes at the bottom of this blog.)
Twenty-seven of the 54 bass that I hooked on this Oct. 24 outing were beguiled on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ and Finesse ShadZ. The three largemouth bass that engulfed the Scented ShadZ did it as it was slowly hopping and bouncing across a rocky bottom in three to four feet of water. Twenty-four of the largemouth bass were enticed by a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.
The deepest water that a largemouth bass was extracted from was six feet, and most of them were abiding two to four feet of water. A few of the largemouth bass were associated with patches of milfoil, several largemouth bass were abiding round some brush and laydowns, and about a dozen were inhabiting the outside edges of some of the shallow patches of American water willows. But the bulk of the largemouth bass were caught along gravel and rocky shorelines in the feeder-creek arms, and most of those largemouth bass were caught more than halfway inside those feeder-creek arms.
Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, filed a brief report on the Finesse News Network about his guiding endeavors on Oct. 24 at a 6,930-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir.
The water level was nearly three feet below normal. The surface temperature was 58 degrees. The water was relatively clear for a northeastern Kansas flatland reservoir in late October, which is when algae blooms often discolor the water.
They fished from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
On this multispecies outing, Holscher and his clients spent most of the outing plying shorelines and secondary points in the back two-thirds of the coves and tertiary feeder-creek arms. And occasionally they fished some shallow, rocky points.
They caught 60 smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, spotted bass, and white bass, using a 3 1/3-inch Z-Man's ZinkerZ on a 1/16-ounce jig and a quarter-ounce Yakima Bait Company's Vibric Rooster Tail. The most fruitful colors of the ZinkerZ were Junebug, watermelon-chartreuse, and California Craw. The heads of their jigs were painted either chartreuse or peach. Their two best colors for the Vibric Rooster Tail were the Clyde and Claudia hues.
Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed a report of the Finesse News Network about the three-day outing that he and his wife had at a 27,263-acre Texas Parks and Wildlife reservoir in northeastern Texas.
He wrote: "My wife, Nancy, and I took a three-day excursion to a 27,263-acre reservoir that is located about 103 miles southeast of Lewisville. We were there from Oct. 24 through the morning of Oct 26. I fished Midwest finesse baits and techniques in the more open areas of the reservoir, which accounted for about ninety-five percent of the time I was float. I fished Charlie Brewer's Slider tactics in the thick timbered areas during the remaining five percent of the day. I did not use any power fishing equipment or lures during this trip. Nancy did not fish.
"The weather was sunny and warm when we arrived on Oct 24. The low for the morning was 50 degrees and the high for the day was 80 degrees. The sky was mostly clear with a few wispy clouds drifting through the blue stratosphere. A light breeze blew out of the northeast at 5 to10 mph. The barometric pressure was 30.19.
"The In-Fisherman solunar calendar indicated the best fishing period was from 3:29 p.m. to 5:29 p.m. I was afloat from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
"I alternated between the following lures: a four-inch Z-Man's watermelon Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's green-pumpkin-blue-flake Finesse ShadZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Hula StickZ on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig; a Charlie Brewer Slider Company's pearl/chartreuse tail Bass/Walleye/Striper Grub brandished on a black 3/32-ounce Gopher jig; a Charlie Brewer's Slider Company's four-inch watermelon/chartreuse tail Slider Worm Texas-rigged on a 1/16-ounce Charlie Brewer's Slider Company's Spider Slider Head; a Z-Man's 2 1/2-inch watermelon ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and a 2 1/8-inch Charlie Brewer's Slider Company's silver-blue-flake Slider Minnow/Grub on a blue 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.
"The water displayed its usual black-tannic hue, making it slightly stained with 3 1/2-feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 72 degrees. The water level was 6.05 feet below normal. I observed no visible hydrilla beds. I launched in the mid-section of the west fork of the reservoir. I started fishing around the boat ramp area, and on my second cast, I tangled with a 1 1/2-pound largemouth bass from a sandy bank, just east of the boat ramp. I thought the day was starting off well and my good fortune would continue. Instead, the day turned into a tedious and baffling one. I probed heavily timbered points, boat docks, stump-covered flats and points, and a large submerged patch of aquatic vegetati0n next to a smooth concrete bridge embankment, and none of these spots yielded a largemouth bass. More than two hours later, the watermelon Finesse WormZ hooked my second largemouth bass off a corner of a smooth concrete bridge embankment in about seven feet deep water. I continued to rotate through my pre-selected Z-Man baits, but another two hours would pass without a bite. I finally eked out four largemouth bass off a submerged pond dam that was adorned with some submerged aquatic vegetation, and these largemouth bass were in about eight feet of water. Three of those bass were bewitched by the four-inch watermelon Finesse WormZ, and the 2 1/2-inch watermelon ZinkerZ allured the fourth one. I was unable to entice any fish by dragging a Hula StickZ on the outside edges of grass beds and timbered points in 12 to 17-feet deep water. I caught a total of six bass in five hours of fishing. Four of the six largemouth bass were landed during the two-hour span that solunar calendar denoted as the best fishing times.
"The fishing on Oct. 25 was worse than it was on Oct. 24. The adjectives toilsome, grueling, and wretched aren't descriptive enough to define how onerous it was.
"A cold front had passed through the area during the night, bringing robust winds out of the north at 25 miles per hour. The sky was clear, and the vibrant sun eventually warmed the day from a low of 56 degrees to an afternoon high of 68 degrees. The barometric pressure skyrocketed from 30.19 on Oct. 24 to 30.40 on Oct. 25. Due to the nagging winds, I was unable to launch my boat in the morning as planned. Nancy and I took the opportunity to drive around the lake and look for areas protected from the blustery north winds. We found an area situated on the northeast side of the east fork of the lake that provided shelter from the vigorous north winds. We stopped and spoke with several tournament anglers preparing for an upcoming tournament. They were befuddled by the arduous fishing. Only two anglers had caught fish, and they each had finagled one largemouth bass apiece. Very few big bass are being caught. Everyone said that the fishing has been stagnant since mid-September, and no one knew why. One angler surmised that the lake was experiencing turn over, though the water temperatures were still relatively warm at 68 degrees.
"I finally launched my boat at 12:30 p. m. The winds had slackened to about 15 mph. The water maintained its black-tannic coloration with 3 1/2-feet of visibility. The surface temperature had dropped from 72 degrees to 68 degrees. The water level remained at 6.05-feet below normal. I found little evidence of aquatic vegetation in this area of the lake.
"I fished from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The In-Fisherman solunar calendar indicated the best fishing period was between 2:19 p.m. and 4:19 p.m.
"My rods were outfitted with a four-inch Z-Man's watermelon Finesse WormZ rigged on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; a Z-Man's black-blue-flake Scented LeechZ affixed to a blue 1/16-inch Gopher jig; a Z-Man's pearl Finesse ShadZ threaded onto a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig; and a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.
"This day did not start off as well as yesterday. For the first three and a half hours, I made hundreds of casts to wind protected bridge embankments, main-lake flats, stump covered points, and boat-ramp areas. I also tried several windswept points. All of it was to no avail. I was unable to elicit a single bite. I then tried working the Finesse ShadZ in a more aggressive manner, employing a faster jerk-jerk-pause technique, in hopes of enticing a reaction strike. This proved to be nothing but an exercise in futility.
"So, I put the boat on the trailer and drove to the west side of the reservoir, where I launched the boat, and for the last one and a half hours on this west-side outing, I probed the pond dam and bridge embankment that yielded largemouth bass on Oct. 24, and it paid some dividends. I dissected the deep- water side of the pond dam from which I allure two largemouth bass. Both of these largemouth bass were bewitched by the black-blue-flake Scented LeechZ that was presented with swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. I caught another largemouth bass by slowly swimming a four-inch watermelon Finesse WormZ in a do-nothing manner through a slightly submerged tree top. The tree top was surrounded by 16-feet of water. I was unable to coax another bite from the pond dam or the bridge embankment during the rest of the afternoon.
"I finished the outing with a total of three bass in five hours of fishing. All three bass were caught after the best fishing time had lapsed. During the past two days, I was only able to catch only nine bass in ten hours of fishing. Since the fishing was so horrid, I decided not on the morning of October 26th. Instead Nancy and I returned home.
"To me, the Midwest finesse system proved effective in very tough and bleak conditions. Although I did not catch a large number of bass, at least I caught something and didn't get skunked, while many other anglers were ko'd. Also, the Midwest Finesse system helped me to grind out more fish than just about everyone else I spoke with. Most of the local and tournament anglers said the fishing was so trying that they caught only one or two bass, and some anglers failed to catch one. There was, however, one exception: one local angler said he caught 16 largemouth bass by drop-shotting a four-inch worm along the edge of a submerged hydrilla bed in ten feet of water. It seems that on any given day there will always be one or two anglers who can come up with a good catch of fish, when everyone else is struggling.
Oct. 27 log
Bob Gum of Kansas City posted a report of the Finesse News Network about his outing with his wife, Yan, at a 6.930-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir of Oct. 27
Gum described the weather as ideal, and the National Weather Service in Emporia, Kansas, recorded the morning low temperature at 27 degrees and the afternoon high temperature at 65 degrees. The wind was calm for a few hours, and when it stirred, it angled out of the south and southwest at 8 mph. It was sunny. The barometric pressure at 8:00 was 30.10 a.m. and beginning to fall.
The surface temperature hovered around 58 degrees. The water level was 2.91 feet below normal. The water was relatively clear for a flatland reservoir in northeastern Kansas in October.
He wrote: "Considering the weather, time of year and relatively stable water conditions the fishing was truly awful. I estimate that we fished for 90 minutes before we caught our first fish."
Throughout the entire outing, which commenced at 9:00 p.m. and ended at 3:00 p.m., they caught only 12 smallmouth bass, two spotted bass, and one largemouth bass. And they were caught on a 2 ½-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-red ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.
*********************************************************************Nathan Parker of Tulsa, Oklahoma, posted a report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 27 outing with a friend to a 10,500-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir.
He noted that it was cloudy, and it rained a touch. The wind was virtually nil, and area thermometers reached a high of 67 degrees. The National Weather Service in Tulsa reported at around noon that the barometric pressure was 30.12 and dropping precipitously.
The water level looked to be seven feet below normal. The surface temperature was 64 degrees. The water exhibited two feet of visibility.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing time occurred from 5:45 p.m. to 7: 45 p.m. They fished from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Parker said that they fished in his friend's boat, and his friend is not a finesse devotee. Therefore, they didn't fish the way they would have fished if they were fishing in Parker's boat. They eked out 25 smallmouth bass, and Parker's most effective finesse bait was a 1 ½-inch Charlie Brewer's Slider Company's Junebug-chartreuse Crappie/Panfish Grub. One of them looked be a three-pounder.
Oct. 28 log
One word describes the fishing that my cousin Rick Hebensteit and I endured at a 100-acre community reservoir that lies in the southwestern suburbs of Kansas City, and that word is wretched. I used the same word to describe my solo outing on this reservoir on Oct. 15.
The National Weather Service in nearby Olathe, Kansas, reported that the morning low temperature was 38 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 63 degrees. The wind was mild-mannered, angling out of the south and southeast at 6 to 10 mph. The sky was fair at times and partly cloudy at other times. The barometric pressure around 11:00 a.m. was 30.41 and falling.
In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing occurred from 6:05 a.m. to 8:06 a.m. We fished from 10:40 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.
The water level looked to be nearly normal. The surface temperature was 56 degrees. The water was relatively clear. The reservoir's coontail patches were still healthy but beginning to wilt, and some of them were covered with a coating of filamentous algae.
We fished the dam, which was graced with riprap and American water willows, as well as some coontail patches, and we failed to inveigle a largemouth bass.
From the dam, we traveled uplake to a main-lake point that is situated in the upper-third portions of the reservoir. This is a big point, and it is adorned with five boat docks, a nearby drop-off and many patches of coontail, and on this point, we caught only one largemouth bass and failed to land one. We also fished about thirty feet of the main-lake shoreline that adjoins this main-lake point, and we failed to garner a strike on that shoreline.
From the that main-lake shoreline, which was on the west side of the reservoir, we crossed to the reservoir's east side, where we fished 300 yards of a main-lake shoreline that was gilded with seven boat docks, patches of American water willows, a bridge, rocks, concrete retaining walls, patches of coontail and a few small laydowns. About 200 yards of the shoreline was flat, and the other 100 yards of this eastern shoreline had a small submerged creek channel coursing next to it, and this section of shoreline had a 45-degree slope into the water. We caught eight largemouth bass along the 45-degree slope and one along flat-sloping section.
A flat, main-lake point demarcates the end of that 300-yard stretch of shoreline. This point is situated in the upper-fourth portions of the reservoir, and it is surrounded by scores of coontail patches that lie in two to four feet of water. We extracted three largemouth bass from the coontail patches at this point.
From that flat, main-lake point, we used the trolling motor to zigzag across a huge and shallow flat that contained innumerable patches of coontail. As we meandered over this flat, we fished and failed to entice a strike. Upon arriving at the western shoreline of this flat, we began garnering some strikes, and ultimately we extracted 10 largemouth bass from some of the coontail patches and two of the 12 boat docks that stippled this shoreline.
Then we fished a 50-yard stretch along the only north shoreline in the upper-third section of the reservoir. The mild-mannered south wind splashed ranks waves onto the concrete retaining walls, boulders, measly patch of American water willows, and two boat docks that laced this shoreline. We also made a dozen cast into some patches of coontail that were in a tiny cove on the east side of this shoreline. We didn't entice a strike during this stop.
Our ninth stop was a shallow and massive coontail flat on the west side of the upper-third section of the reservoir. Besides the coontail, this area was enhanced with two small feeder creeks, a main-lake point, and four boat docks. It yielded only one largemouth bass.
The next area that we fished was a secondary feeder-creek arm on the east side of the lower-third section of the reservoir. We fished the back half of this arm, focusing primarily on patches of coontial, but we did make a few casts around five boat docks, some American water willows and a few yards of the shoreline. And we didn't catch a fish.
The last stop was the dam, which was our first stop of the outing, too. And, again, it failed to yield a largemouth bass.
A four-inch green-pumpkin grub on a red 3/32-ounce Gopher jig and a four-inch watermelon-red-flake grub on a chartreuse Gopher jig caught 11 of the 23 largemouth bass that we caught. The other dozen were caught on a Z-Man's Junebug Hula StickZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's Christmas-hue Scented LeechZ on an orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a Z-Man's green-pumpkin 2 ¾-inch prototype ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and a shortened four-inch Z-Man's black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce jig.
We experimented with a variety of Midwest finesse retrieves, but the bite was so lackluster that we never found an effective one. The only exception to this was the 11 largemouth bass we caught using the straight or do-nothing swimming retrieve with our four-inch grubs.
(From Oct. 15 to Oct. 23, my cousin Rick Hebensteit, his wife, his mother and father fished the Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. Rick said the fishing was trying there, too, but it wasn't as trying as the fishing he and I experienced at this 100-acre community reservoir on Oct. 28. At the Lake of the Ozarks, their primary focus during the daylight hours was on white bass, but not until the last day did they begin to catch them, and then they inveigled 75 white bass. At night Rick fished for blue catfish, but was able to catch only two, but he did tangle with a couple big ones that he failed to land. The best fishing, however, was for spotted bass around the outside corners of boat docks, and around these docks, which litter the shorelines at the Lake of the Ozarks, Rick used a 2 ½-inch Z-Man's pearl ZinkerZ on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and on one of their short spotted bass outings, he and his wife caught 25 spotted bass and a couple largemouth bass in 90 minutes. In retrospect, Rick said that they should have fishing for the spotted bass more than they did, noting that there were so many spotted bass abiding around the corners of nearly every dock that it would not have been much of a chore to catch 101 spotted bass in four or five hours. The only drawbacks to the spotted bass fishing were that many of the spotted bass were small and it was difficult for the anglers in the back of the boat to make the accurate casts that are a critical factor in dock fishing.)
Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 28 outing.
We wrote: "Rick Allen of Dallas and I made an afternoon foray to a local 20, 230-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir. It was what we called an expreiment outing, and during this endeavor, we compared braided line with a fluorocarbon leader to the monofilament line that Rick and I usually use. This expreiment was the result of an October 21 discussion I had with Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana, and other Finesse News Network members, who discussed the various merits and demerits of monofilament, Nanofil, fluorocarbon, and braided lines. Not only was I looking at the effectiveness of the lines, but I am also interested in doing an analysis of the cost-effectiveness of these lines.
"The weather on this afternoon outing was dreary and cloudy. An unusual light fog persisted throughout the afternoon. The morning low temperature was recorded at 55 degrees and the afternoon high temperature reached 77 degrees. The wind blew incessantly out of the southeast at 13 miles per hour. The barometric pressure was 30.04 and steady.
"Rick and I fished from 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m, but only the first three hours were devoted to largemouth bass and spotted bass fishing. The last hour and a half was spent trolling for white bass and wipers.
"In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicted the best fishing period was between 6:o6 a.m and 8:06 a.m. and 6:28 p.m. and 8:28 p.m.
"I kept it simple today and used only three rods. The first rod sported a four-inch Z-Man's black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. My second rod sported a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's purple-haze ZinkerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. Instead of my usual monofilament line, both of the reels on these rods were spooled with Power Pro Hi-Vis Yellow 10-pound-test braided line with a five-foot, eight-pound-test Seaguar Red Label fluorocarbon leader. My third rod, which was not part of today's line evaluation test, was a baitcasting outfit with a Rapala shad-colored crank bait tied on Berkley Sensation green twelve-pound-test monofilament line for trolling.
"Rick Allen had three rods. His first one sported a four-inch Charlie Brewer's Slider Company's black-blue-tail Slider Worm affixed to an 1/8-ounce Snagless Slider Head. His second rod was fitted with a three-inch Charlie Brewer's Slider Company's watermelon-chartreuse-tail Bass/Walleye/Striper Grub on an 1/8-ounce Original Slider Head. The reel on his first rod was spooled with 20-pound-test white Stren Sonic Braid and a five-foot, eight-pound-test Seaguar Red Label fluorocarbon leader. His second reel was spooled with an unknown brand of green-colored, twenty-pound-test braid line with the same Seaguar fluorocarbon leader as the first reel. His third rod was also a bait casting outfit set up for trolling, and not part of our line evaluation endeavor.
"The surface temperature was 67 degrees. The clarity was stained with one and a half feet of visibility. The water level was 8.63 feet below normal.
"We elected to start ourafternoon of fishing in the back of a quiet and narrow cove, which had a steep clay bank on one side and a set of shallow-water boat docks on the opposite bank. Rick commenced casting his four-inch black-blue Slider Worm, and I wielded the Z-Man's black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ. On my second cast, I landed a keeper-sized bass along the steep clay bank, while employing the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. As we worked our way towards the back of this cove, I plied the steep clay bank while Rick picked apart the covered-boat-dock slips. I caught a second bass off the south end of the clay bank with the 2 1/2-inch purple haze ZinkerZ, while Rick coaxed two bass out from underneath a boat dock with his Slider worm. The 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ enticed my third bass from underneath another boat slip before the bite dwindled to nothing.
"We then navigated around a slew of boat houses to another wind protected cove that contained steep rocky banks, several boat ramps, and a submerged tire reef. Rick continued to employ his Slider Worm, and I continued using the purple-haze ZinkerZ. I tangled with two bass along one of the steep rocky banks, and caught a third bass from a submerged brush pile. Rick was unable to draw a strike on his Slider Worm.
"As the afternoon progressed we were impressed by our braid lines and fluorocarbon leaders. We found we could see our colored braided lines better than we could see the green monofilament lines we usually employ. We also found that we could cast the light finesse lures further than we could with our monofilament lines. I thought the braided line with a fluorocarbon leader was more sensitive and helped me detect the light bites better than monofilament lines do. Rick said he could not tell much difference in sensitivity between the braided line and his usual monofilament lines. I also noticed that we did not experience any wind knots or bird-nest issues with the braided lines that we often endure with monofilament lines.
"We finished the black bass fishing portion of our day by plying several more boat ramps and secondary rocky and clay points. Rick switched to a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man purple-haze ZinkerZ on a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, and he allured one bass on a clay point. I also continued to wield the same bait, and I was able to beguile three more bass off three different boat ramps.
"The rest of the afternoon we devoted to trolling wind-swept points and ledges for white bass and hybrid stripers. The hybrids eluded us today, but we did catch one white bass and one largemouth bass on our Rapala crankbaits.
"In total, we caught thirteen largemouth bass and one white bass in four and a half hours of fishing. Twelve of the thirteen bass were caught during our three- hour line-testing period. Of those twelve largemouth bass, nine of them were caught on the 2 1/2-inch purple-haze ZinkerZ on the 1/16-ounce chartreuse Gopher jig. Two largemouth bass were caught on the four-inch black-blue Slider Worm, and the four-inch Z-black-blue-flake Finesse WormZ caught one largemouth bass. The swim-glide-and-shake technique was the most productive retrieve.
"As Rick and I were driving home, we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the braid lines and fluorocarbon leader and those of monofilament lines. Although we only conducted a three-hour evaluation of our lines, it was a sufficient amount of time for us to determine that we liked the braid lines and fluorocarbon leaders much better than monofilament. Thanks to invaluable information provided to me by Finesse News Network members Ned Kehde and Brian Waldman, Rick and I have decided to switch to braided lines and fluorocarbon leaders on our finesse rods and reels ."
Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 28 outing at a 120-acre community reservoir that lies in the northern suburbs of Kansas City.
He wrote that "the bite was considerably tougher than it was last week. I spent the first hour or so without so much as a bite. I wasn't even marking fish on the locator.
"I started off fishing that drop-off in 18 to 20 feet of water where I had done so well the last several times out and nothing. But when I moved down to the big weedy flat along Highway 45, I finally started catching fish.
"Most of the fish I caught came on a Northland Fishing Tackle's Slurpie, which I slowly retrieved over the weed tops. I tried using the Z-Man Finesse WormZ and ZinkerZ in several colors, but the fish just didn't want them, which was puzzling. The Finesse WormZs, especially in the pumpkin and watermelon colors, had been my go-to baits the last few times out.
"I also tried a white spinnerbait and a black-and-blue jig and pig, and got some exercise, that's about it.
"The Slurpie and a small smoke-glitter Swimming Minnow were the best baits Monday. I went out at 1 p.m. and got off the water at 5 p.m., and only caught 23 fish -- 10 bass, 11 crappies and two big bluegills. That was a lot worse than my last time out, in fact, less than half of what a friend and I caught. But it was still a great day to be out. The fall colors were awesome.
"We're stocking trout Wednesday, so that will make things more interesting.
"By the way, the water temperature has dropped to 57 degrees and the water is clear, but it has a greenish tint to it."
(1) Bass landing woes:
On Oct. 21 Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, posed a question on the Finesse News Network about landing ratios and it generated several responses.
He said. "I have a question for any Finesse News Network member. I seem to be losing a number of fish with this method. Is this normal? Does anyone have any advice on improving my hook-up to landing ratio? I would appreciate any suggestions on the issue."
I responded to Reideler's question, and I wrote: "Some days, we fail to land a significant number of bass -- especially when we remember to remove the barb from the hook. (We prefer not to use a barb because it is easier to remove the hook, and it doesn't seem to damage the bass as badly as a hook with a barb.)
"You might find this tale somewhat interesting: On one outing several years ago Steve Desch of Topeka and I landed 103 largemouth bass, but we also failed to land another 73 largemouth bass. In total, we hooked 176 largemouth bass on that five-hour outing at a 140-acre state reservoir in northeastern Kansas, and in any angler's book, that is a goodly number of largemouth bass to hook. There have outings when we fail to land 50 percent of the largemouth bass that we hook. But there have been spells when we don't lose a largemouth bass.
"Across the years, we have seen many talented power anglers who fail to land the same percentage of bass that we fail to land. Midwest finesse anglers tend to lose more than power anglers because they hook more bass than power anglers do."
Following my response to Reideler, Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana, wrote: "While you will and can lose fish with any presentation at any given time, I have to say that my loss numbers have never approached those that Ned mentions. I can suggest a few options that I do that might also work for you.
For one, I don't debarb my hooks in most instances. I use the Gamakatsu version of Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig, not the standard Mustad bronze version. I believe the Gamakatsu is a bit more stout of a hook, and it also has what I would term a micro-barb, which I think is a happy medium in the barb vs. no-barb debate.
Next, I always open the gap slightly on the hooks of my Gopher jig by using a pair of long nose pliers before I fish with them. This is my version of a compromise in the argument about smaller vs. larger hooks, which has been debated occasionally on the Finesse News Network.
I also recommend using the Gopher jig with the braided line and leader instead of straight monofilament. Again, I view this as a compromise. Braid gives you a solid hookset, but a leader helps with things like adding a tiny bit of forgiveness to the equation, providing good sling-shot capability to snap a jig free from rocky crags and such, as well as giving you a lower visibility addition, better abrasion resistance, and even a bit of weight toward the bait end (if you use a fluorocarbon leader).
"I use long rods -- a six-foot, nine-inch one and a seven-footer -- that possess more forgiving actions. Many of these rods are classified as drop-shot rods. I have tested the response of all my spinning rods to a standard set of incremental weights, and all my favorite Midwest finesse rods are either light or medium-light powered ones that have a moderate (parabolic or slower) action. You do have better control with shorter rods on shorter casts, something I will frequently use if fishing from shore, but most of my Midwest Finesse fishing is from a boat, and I like the longer rod in those instances.
"I have never quantified my loss ratio, but perhaps that's a good sign that it hasn't gotten to the point that I felt like I needed to.
"Perhaps some of this will help."
Shortly after Waldman contributed his insights, I told Reideler that "one of the problems that adversely affects Midwest finesse anglers' landing ratio occurs when the bass make what Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, calls a pretzel out of the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ or FattyZ or Hula StickZ or Finesse WormZ. That happens when the bass double and even triple folds these baits around the jig and hook. There will be days when they rarely do it, and there will be days when nearly every strike is a pretzel maker. When we use a 1/32-ounce Gopher, the pretzel motif causes our landing ratio to decline significantly. But there are many days when the 1/32-ounce Gopher will render more strikes than the 1/16- and 3/32-ounce Gopher jig. And we have caught largemouth bass as big as six pounds on the 1/32-ounce Gopher with a No. 6 hook; it is especially good in the winter in northeastern Kansas."
Reideler responded by writing: "In response to your comments about the "pretzeling" of baits and the 1/32-ounce Gopher jigs, I have experienced some pretzel issues, but I experienced the same thing with Charlie Brewer Slider Company's worms and grubs as well. So, I guess I am already used to the pretzel issue. I do find it interesting and surprising to hear others mentioning it though.
"In regard to the 1/32-ounce Gopher jigs, I also have found them very effective and use them often. I will admit that I cheat a little by having mine special ordered with No.4 hooks instead of No. 6 hooks. The little No. 6 hook plays games with my mind, where I feel a little more confident with the No. 4 hook."
Even though Reideler was concerned about the number of bass that he was failing to land, he filed a brief comment on Oct. 25 on the Finesse News Network, stating that the number of largemouth and spotted bass that he catches has improved significantly since he began employing Midwest finesse tactics on Sept. 29. But, of course, the more largemouth and spotted bass his Midwest finesse tactics allure, the more he will fail to land. After Reideler read about the outing when Steve Desch and I landed 103 largemouth bass and failed to land another 73 largemouth bass, he wrote: "I found your reply to my question regarding losing bass very enlightening. I don't feel as bad knowing that it isn't just me who is losing fish, which was beginning to bother me. I hate losing fish. I did find your experience of catching over one hundred bass and losing over seventy on the same day eye-opening, but also very helpful in my realization that it just isn't me."
For some insights about barblesse hooks, examine this story at http://www.bigindianabass.com/big_indiana_bass/2013/06/barbed-vs-barbless-which-loses-more-fish.html
(2) Another Finesse News Network line debate:
After Brian Waldman recommended that Steve Reideler should think about using braided line with a leader, Reideler and several other anglers on the Finesse News Network presented their perspectives about lines.
Reideler wrote: The only tip from Brian Waldman I have a question about is the use of braid as a main line with a fluorocarbon leader. I have tried it in the past and found that the knot (an Albright knot) that connects the braid and leader hits the line guides on my rod during the cast, which at times adversely effected the distance of my casts. Perhaps my leader's length was too long. I also found the cost of braided line and fluorocarbon lines are much more expensive (two to three times the cost of monofilament -- with less quantity as well) than the Berkley XT, which is low-stretch and high-abrasion-resistance monofilament. I am currently using Berkley XT. I also found that I got line twists and wind knots in my braided line as well, and it cost me a lot more to replace the knotted and twisted braid than it did monofilament. I like fluorocarbon lines, but again, the price is double that of monofilament, and I had to change it out on my spools at the same rate as I did monofilament. Do you have any insights on line, their costs, and opinions on best choices for frugal anglers?"
I replied: "Line woes plague a lot finesse and power anglers. But fortunately, I don't have as many line problems as many other anglers have, and I don't exactly know why. Perhaps one reason is that I try not to make long and powerful casts. I prefer short casts because it seems as if I can control the pace and action of my retrieves more accurately if I have fewer feet of line to deal with. Finesse anglers who fish extremely clear waterways tell us that they need to make long casts. We are blessed in northeastern Kansas to not to have to contend with crystal-clear water and long casts. I use braid and a fluorocarbon leader, and on several of my reels the braid is about two years old. I try to reverse the braid on the spool once a month. But Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, is a veteran Midwest finesse angler who uses six- and eight-pound-test Bass Pro Shops' Excel monofilament line, and it works well for him."
Reideler responded, saying: "Mike Poe of Siler City, North Carolina, and I had a discussion about trying Berkely's NanoFil. I calculated the prices of a year's worth of fluorocarbon, NanoFil, braid, and monofilament. And I detremined that the other lines are too expensive compared to monofilament. Even though I change the Berkely XT of my reels often, I find monofilament the most affordable for me right now."
Walt Tegtmeier of Kansas City wrote: "One thing I'd like to add to the line discussion: I experimented with Berkley NanoFil the past couple of trips and am truly amazed at this line. I think it may be the ultimate finessing line, though I admit I have not given braid or FireLine its due process. I have to this point used fluorocarbon for all my finessing applications. I believe Gord Pyzer mentioned NanoFil about a year ago on the Finesse News Network, but it took me until last week to try it. It is weird stuff, but it doesn't stretch and the way the four-pound-test NanoFil flew off the spinning spool with a light jig attached was unlike any line I have ever fished. A simple flick of the wrist sends it 40 yards. I had to dramatically adjust my touch, as I was sending my 1/16-ounce Gopher jigs and assorted Z-Man's soft-plastic baits into trees instead of my targets. But once I got the hang of it, I fell in love."
Gord Pyzer of Kenora, Ontario, responded to Tegtmeier's observations: "Hi Walt — NanoFil is precisely what you say — the ultimate finesse line. FireLine comes close, but you need to use FireLine to "break it in" and get the outer coating worn off. Then it is superb too. NanoFil, though, is perfect right from the get go. The only minor concern is that NanoFil is less forgiving than Fireline. And it tends after a while to show some signs of use and wear, but just cut back the first few feet, and it is perfect. As you've experienced, with Nanofil, you can throw a 1/16-ounce jig out of sight."
I also responded to Tagtmeier and Pyzer, saying NanoFil does cast well, but it is too expensive for most recreational anglers who live in northeastern Kansas to use. What's more, Midwest finesse anglers do not need high-end and state-of-the-art equipment to catch bass in northeastern Kansas' flatland reservoirs. But in the clear-water streams that Tagtmeier fishes in the Ozarks and the crystalline waterways of Canada that Gord fishes, it might make a measurable difference. Pyzer responded, contending that NanoFil is "the cheapest and best line a finesse angler could ever use." He wrote: "Ned — They are not spooling it properly. They should use junk or used monofilament to fill 4/5ths of the reel and then use back to back uni-knots to attach the last 1/5th of NanoFil, which about a cast and a half. That way you can spool five or more reels with one spool of line, and that equal $2.00 or so for each rod and reel. If you are working with only one rod and reel, a spool of NanoFil should last you for a decade. How inexpensive is that?"
On Oct. 27, Reideler reported that he purchased a spool of 10-pound-test braided line, which has the diameter of two-pound-monofilament. The color of the braid is hi-vis yellow. He also bought a spool of six- and eight-pound-test Seaguar Red Label fluorocarbon line to for leader material, which he will attach to the braided line with a Seaguar knot. In the months to come, he will post reports on the Finesse News Network about his braided line endeavors. In fact, his first report was in his Oct. 28 log, which is included above in this month's guide to Midwest finesse fishing.
For another perspective about line and Midwest finesse methods see https://www.in-fisherman.com/2013/06/12/finesse-news-networks-braided-line-and-leader-debate/