Midwest Finesse Fishing: October 2018

Midwest Finesse Fishing: October 2018
Our October guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 20 logs and 17,959 words that describe how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers fished. It features the endeavors and insights of Rick Allen of Dallas; Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas; Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas; Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas; Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas; and John Thomas of Denton, Texas.

Besides writing a number of these logs, Steve Reideler edited all of the logs. He made them more readable and understandable, and we are grateful for his virtuosity.


Oct. 1

In the introduction to our Midwest Finesse column entitled “Midwest Finesse Fishing: September 2018,” we wrote: “In the annals of Midwest finesse fishing, September of 2018 was a sorry time. In fact, for a variety of reasons, and for some unknown ones, the summer of 2018, was a sorry season. What’s more, no Midwest finesse anglers, as of Sept. 30, have achieved their coveted goal of catching and releasing 101 black bass in four hours in 2018. In short, it has been a bewildering nine months.”

To my chagrin, my first outing in October was a sorry one, too. In fact, it was much sorrier than my Sept. 25 outing with Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and Sept. 26 outing with Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 64 degrees at 1:52 a.m. and 81 degrees at 2:16 p.m. The sky fluctuated from being fair, cloudy, mostly cloudy, and partly cloudy. The wind angled out of the southeast, east by southeast, northeast, east, south by southeast, south, and southwest at 5 to 25 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.2 at 12:52 a.m., 29.2 at 5:52 a.m., 29.2 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.2 at 2:16 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 4:05 a.m. to 6:05 a.m., 4:43 p.m. to 6:43 p.m., and 10:19 a.m. to 12:19 p.m. I was afloat from 10:29 a.m. to 2:19 p.m. at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs.

The surface temperature ranged from 69 to 73 degrees. The water level looked to be more than three feet below normal. The water clarity fluctuated from six inches of visibility in the back portions of two of the feeder-creek arms to about 3 1/2 feet of visibility at several main-lake locales.

For years on end, this reservoir, which I have not fished for a spell, used to be my favored and most fruitful one in northeastern Kansas, but it is no longer a fruitful one.

During the first hour and six minutes, I caught 11 largemouth bass, and I struggled mightily to catch nine largemouth bass during the next two hours and 39 minutes.

Along one shoreline in the back half of one of its feeder-creek arms, I caught seven largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of silt, gravel, rock, sand, and some boulders. The water’s edge is graced with a few scanty patches of shallow-water American pondweeds and American water willows. There are a few laydowns, some stumps, and several minor brush piles. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on a three-inch Z-Man Fishing Products’ bad mood Slim SwimZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a straight swimming presentation in three to four feet of water. One of the three largemouth bass was associated with a brush pile. One largemouth bass was associated with some laydowns. One largemouth bass was caught around some boulders. Four of the seven were caught on a Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig in two to three feet of water near the outside edges of the patches of American water willows. Two were caught on the initial drop of the rig, and two were caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Four largemouth bass were caught along the other shoreline more than halfway inside this feeder-creek arm. It is endowed with the same features as the first shoreline, but it is a tad steeper in places. These largemouth bass were caught on a three-inch tail of a customized Z-Man’s Canada craw Mag FattyZ affixed to a red 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig. One was caught on the initial drop of the rig in about 2 1/2 feet of water. One was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four feet of water. Two were caught while I was strolling in about six feet of water and employing a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation.

I fished portions of two shorelines inside another feeder-creek arm, and I caught one largemouth bass in about three feet of water on the Slim SwimZ rig with a straight swimming retrieve. The features along these two shorelines are similar to the two shorelines that I fished in the first feeder-creek, but there are a few more stumps, laydowns, and patches of American water willows along these shorelines than there are in the first one.

I caught five largemouth bass along a shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm. Along portions of the back half of this shoreline, which possesses a 25-degree slope, there are some significant patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, but to my amazement and disappointment, I failed to elicit a strike around this vegetation. The water’s edge of this shoreline has several concrete and rock retaining walls, and it is littered with more than a dozen docks. There are stretches along this shoreline that have a 30- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of silt, gravel, rock, and some boulders. Besides the docks and retaining walls, there are some patches of American water willows, laydowns, and minor brush piles. One of the largemouth bass was caught on the TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in four feet of water. One largemouth bass was caught on a three-inch tail of a customized Z-Man’s Junebug Mag FattyZ affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig on the initial drop in the vicinity of a minor laydown in four feet of water. One was caught as I was quickly swimming the Canada Craw Mag FattyZ rig in five feet of water. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the Canada Craw Mag FattyZ while I was strolling and executing a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation in four to six feet of water.

I failed to elicit a strike along a 75-yard stretch of a relatively steep main-lake shoreline in the vicinity of the dam.

Along portions of two shorelines inside a small feeder-creek arm, I caught three largemouth bass. These shorelines possess a 30- to 45-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is adorned with American water willows and a few minor laydowns. These three largemouth bass were caught on the Canada Craw Mag FattyZ while I was strolling and executing a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation in six feet of water.

In conclusion, besides struggling to catch 20 largemouth bass in three hours and 40 minutes, I struggled with the wind at times. I have no idea what has happen to the largemouth bass in my favorite and once fruitful community reservoir. Perhaps, my 78-year-old body, mind, and soul aren’t up to snuff anymore to locate and catch these aquatic critters.

Oct. 2

The Weather Underground reported that it was 59 degrees at 3:53 a.m. and 86 degrees at 2:53 p.m. It was cloudy, foggy, partly cloudy, mostly cloudy, and fair. The wind was calm and virtually calm until 9:53 a.m., and then it angled out of the south by southeast, south, and south by southwest at 6 to 28 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.0 at 12:53 a.m., 29.0 at 5:53 a.m., 29.0 at 11:53 a.m., and 28.9 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 5:02 a.m. to 7:02 a.m., 5:31 p.m. to 7:31 p.m., and 11:17 p.m. to 1:17 a.m. I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs from 11:00 a.m. to 2:16 p.m.

The water level at this reservoir looked to be more than two feet below its normal level. The surface temperature ranged from 69 to 73 degrees. The water clarity fluctuated from two feet to five feet. It looked as if a minor alga bloom is erupting and affecting the clarity in several locales. This reservoir is graced with a multitude of coontail patches, as well as some patches of bushy pondweed and chara. Because the water level is more than two feet low, most of its American pondweed patches and American water willow patches, which border some of the shorelines, have no more than 12 inches of water along the outside edges of these patches. There were incredible numbers of bluegill milling about an inch or two below the surface and above and around numerous main-lake patches of coontail.

In my Oct. 1 log, I kvetched about the sorry black bass fishing that I had experienced at my favorite community reservoir. Throughout my Oct. 2 outing at another community reservoir, I was hoping this log would be free of my kvetching. Even during the most difficult times, this reservoir traditionally yields at least 10 black bass an hour. But during the three hours and 16 minutes that I fished on this Oct. 2 outing, I failed to catch 10 black bass an hour. Instead, I caught 29 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. I accidently caught two white bass, two bluegill, and one green sunfish. In short, it was another disappointing and trying endeavor.

The 29 largemouth bass were abiding in, around, or near patches of coontail along two main-lake shorelines, around four main-lake points, around one secondary point inside a feeder-creek arm, along one shoreline inside a feeder-creek arm, and around three shallow-water flats in the back of three feeder-creek arms.

The smallmouth bass was caught along a steep and rock-laden main-lake shoreline.

I made scores (actually a frustrating and almost depressing number) of casts and retrieves that failed to garner a strike along and across various shorelines, points, and flats.

Around offshore patches of coontail on a shallow-water flat inside one small feeder-creek arm, I caught three largemouth bass in about five feet of water. One of them was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation. Two of them were caught on a Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD CrawZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation.

Around one main-lake point and its adjacent shoreline, I caught four largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. This shoreline and point possesses a 40- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders, and many yards of it are adorned with patches of coontail that are situated from 15 to 20 feet from the water’s edge. The four largemouth bass were caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig as I was strolling and employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in five to 10 feet of water. The smallmouth bass was caught on the TRD CrawZ rig in about six feet of water along a rocky-terrain, which is devoid of coontail and other types of aquatic vegetation, as I was strolling and employing a drag-and-shake presentation.

Around a coontail-laden main-lake point, I caught two largemouth bass on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig in about five feet of water. This point has a 20- to 30-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is littered with several laydowns. The two largemouth bass were associated with a patch of coontail.

At another coontail-laden main-lake point, I caught one largemouth bass on the initial drop of a three-inch tail of a customized Z-Man’s Canada craw Mag FattyZ affixed to a red 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig in about four feet of water. This point has a 15- to 20-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is littered with several laydowns. Along this main-lake point’s adjacent main-lake shoreline, I caught two largemouth bass on the Z-Man’s Canada craw TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in the vicinity of patches of coontail in five feet of water. This shoreline has a 20-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is littered with scores of laydowns.

Across a massive shallow-water flat in the back of a large feeder-creek arm, which is embellished with an array of coontail patches, I caught six largemouth bass. One was caught on a three-inch tail of a customized Z-Man’s Junebug Mag FattyZ affixed to a chartreuse 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation in five feet of water. Five largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16 mushroom-style jig, and three of them were caught on a swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation in four to seven feet of water, and the other two were caught on the initial drop of that TRD MinnowZ rig in about five feet of water.

Around another coontail-laden main-lake point, I caught a largemouth bass. It was caught on the initial drop of the Junebug TRD MinnowZ rig in about three feet of water. This point possesses a 25-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is adorned with a hefty patch of American water willows. The largemouth bass was caught in the gap between the American water willows and a big patch of coontail.

I caught one largemouth bass around a secondary point inside a medium-size feeder-creek arm. This point has a 20-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of clay, gravel, and rocks. Its water’s edge is littered with several laydowns. This largemouth bass was caught along the inside edge of a patch of coontail on the Junebug TRD MinnowZ rig in about four feet of water on a swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Across a shallow-water flat and portions of a flat shoreline in the back of this medium-size feeder-creek arm, I caught eight largemouth bass. The shoreline is graced with laydowns and overhanging trees. All of these largemouth bass were associated with patches of coontail, and two of them were in the vicinity of an overhanging tree. Four of the largemouth bass were caught on the Junebug TRD MinnowZ rig in three to four feet of water; two were caught on the initial drop of that rig; two of them were caught on a swim-glide-and-minor shake retrieve. The other four largemouth bass were caught on the green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in three to four feet of water.

In summary, it was another perplexing outing in northeastern Kansas. To get an idea of what it used to be, please look at the end notes below.

Endnotes

Here are two examples that reflect how different the black bass fishing is in northeastern Kansas in 2018:

On October 2, 2015, Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, and I caught 108 largemouth bass in five and a half hours at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs. By the way that a crow flies, the community reservoir that I fished on Oct. 2, 2018, lies about 20 miles west of the state reservoir that Gum and I fished on Oct. 2, 2015. It is interesting to note that 74 of the 108 largemouth bass that we caught we caught around patches of coontail on the shallow-water flats in the back portions of the reservoir’s two feeder-creek arms.

On Oct. 9, 2015, my cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I caught 121 largemouth bass in four hours at the same state reservoir that Bob Gum and I fished on Oct. 2, 2015. Read more at http://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/midwest-finesse-fishing-october-2015/#ixzz5SpABAVke.

Oct. 4

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

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

From 9:10 a.m. to 2:10 p.m., Rick Allen of Dallas and I fished at a popular U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir that lies on the northern fringe of the Dallas metropolitan area.

The best fishing, according to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, would take place from 12:49 a.m. to 2:49 a.m., 7:04 a.m. to 9:04 a.m., and 7:33 p.m. to 9:33 p.m.

The weather during the last couple of weeks of September was wet and mild, but October has started off dry and hot. Oct. 4 was sunny and clouds covered about 40 percent of the sky. It was 74 degrees at 5:00 a.m. and 93 degrees at 3:00 p.m. The wind angled out of the south by southeast at 10 to 15 mph. The barometric pressure dropped slightly from 30.02 at 9:00 a.m. to 29.98 at 3:00 p.m.

We spent five hours plying portions of four feeder-creeks, 11 concrete support columns underneath a railroad trestle bridge, two main-lake shorelines, and sections of a large main-lake cove. These areas are situated in the reservoir’s southwest tributary arm.

The surface temperature ranged from 78 to 81 degrees. The water exhibited about two feet of visibility. The water level has risen about two feet above normal pool from recent rain storms, and flooded buck brush, patches of stickups, and other terrestrial vegetation adorns many acres of this reservoir’s shorelines.

The underwater terrain in this reservoir consists of mostly red clay, gravel, baseball-size rocks, and boulders.

We began the outing in the back or upper end of a feeder-creek arm, which is located on the south side of the tributary. We dissected many yards of three flat and rocky shorelines, two rock- and boulder-laden secondary points, and the sides of a submerged roadbed. We caught one spotted bass and one largemouth bass in less than five feet of water from some thin patches of flooded stickups along one side of the submerged roadbed. They engulfed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig as we were slowly and steadily swimming it through the openings and along the outside edges of the flooded stickups. We failed to garner any strikes from a small mud flat and another section of the submerged roadbed lined with flooded stickups.

Along another flat shoreline in the lower end of this creek arm, we caught four largemouth bass. These bass were caught near the outside edges of the flooded terrestrial vegetation in less than three feet of water. They were attracted to either the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s space guppy Slim SwimZ attached to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Both of these rigs were employed with a slow swimming retrieve along the outside edges of the flooded terrestrial vegetation.

We failed to elicit any strikes from an adjacent gravel and clay main-lake shoreline adorned with patches of flooded stickups and terrestrial vegetation.

From that feeder creek, we moved about a half of a mile west to a main-lake lair, where we probed the sides of 11 concrete support columns under a railroad trestle bridge. These support columns have been fairly productive during the past few weeks, and two of these 11 columns surrendered three largemouth bass and one white crappie during this outing. These fish were next to the sides of the columns and suspended about eight to 10 feet below the surface in 12 to 23 feet of water.

The three largemouth bass were enticed by the 2 1/2-inch space guppy Slim SwimZ rig with either a slow swimming retrieve or on the initial drop of the rig next to the column. The crappie was caught on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig dressed with a Z-Man’s white lightning Finesse TRD. This combo was utilized with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

After that, we ventured to the upper end of the second feeder creek. This creek arm is located on the north side of the tributary and about a mile west of the first one we fished. We concentrated our efforts on a steep and rocky secondary point and a shallow cove with a ditch that courses across a mud flat on the north end of the cove. We caught one small white bass from the ditch in four feet of water on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig, but we failed to generate any other strikes in this cove. After that dismal result, we decided not to spend any more time in this creek arm and we left.

Inside the third creek arm, which is situated about a half mile west of the second one, we caught one white bass. It was caught in the lower section of the feeder creek on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ combo along a rocky shoreline on the west side of the creek arm. But to our dismay, we failed to locate any largemouth bass or spotted bass at several other secondary points in the middle section of this creek arm or inside another small cove in the creek’s upper reaches.

After we finished fishing in the third feeder-creek arm, we travelled about 1 1/2 miles to the east and fished inside another feeder-creek arm, along a main-lake shoreline, and inside a large cove on the south side of the tributary.

This feeder-creek arm contains a large marina, three coves, and several secondary points, and it yielded six largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and one large bluegill.

One largemouth was caught in five feet of water from a small patch of boulders on a flat clay and gravel secondary point of the east side of the feeder creek. It was attracted to a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a Z-Man’s The Deal TRD MinnowZ mounted on a black 1/15-ounce finesse ShroomZ jig.

Five largemouth bass, one spotted bass, and the large bluegill were caught in four to six feet of water around the outside edges of flooded terrestrial vegetation that line a 40-yard section of the west shoreline. Four of the largemouth bass were attracted to the steady swimming action of the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig. Two were caught on a Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig while it was swimming, gliding, and shaking around the flooded shoreline vegetation.

We failed to generate any strikes from four other secondary points, a shallow rock ledge, and two steep shorelines in this creek arm’s upper section.

Next, we dissected about 35 yards of a gravel and clay main-lake shoreline just east of the feeder creek that we just fished. We provoked one largemouth bass to strike the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig, and after a brief tussle, it was able to free itself before we could hoist it into the boat.

Our last spot was a large main-lake cove on the south side of the tributary arm.

We caught one largemouth bass on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ in less than five feet of water from a short clay and gravel shoreline that is about 25 yards long. The Slim SwimZ rig was presented with a slow swimming retrieve.

We failed to generate any strikes from a 30-yard section of riprap-covered shoreline, a gravel and clay shoreline, and two secondary points on the south side of the cove.

Along a flat clay and gravel shoreline in the northeast region of the cove, we caught eight largemouth bass. This shoreline is graced with several large patches of flooded stickups. All of these largemouth bass were caught from the outside edges of the flooded stickups as we were swimming the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rigs in three to five feet of water around the outside edges of the patches of flooded stickups.

In total, we caught 23 largemouth bass, two spotted bass, three white bass, one white crappie, and one large bluegill in five hours, which we consider an above-average outing for this reservoir. And all of these black bass were caught from areas that were inhabited with significant numbers of two-inch threadfin shad.

Three largemouth bass were caught from a main-lake lair that consisted of 11 concrete bridge support columns under a railroad trestle bridge.The other twenty-two were caught inside two of the four feeder-creeks and inside a large main-lake cove.

Twenty-one of these 25 black bass, the three white bass, and the large bluegill were caught on either the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ or the 2 1/2-inch space guppy Slim SwimZ rigs as they were employed with a slow and steady swimming retrieve.

One largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught on the Finesse ShadZ rig and implemented with a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. One largemouth bass was coaxed into striking the TRD MinnowZ rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We failed to catch a largemouth bass or spotted bass on a 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and a shortened Z-Man’s mud minnow Hula StickZ on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. The white lightning Finesse TRD rig allured one white crappie.

Oct. 5

The Weather Underground reported that it was 53 degrees at 6:17 a.m. and 77 degrees at 2:53 p.m. The wind fluctuated from being calm to angling out of the east by southeast, south by southeast, west by northwest, northwest, and south by southwest at 3 to 10 mph. The sky alternated from being cloudy to being foggy to being clear, and between 7:54 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., it thundered and lightning; it sprinkled at times, and for a 20-minute spell, it rained heavily. The barometric pressure was 28.8 at 12:53? a.m., 28.8 at 5:53 a.m., 28.8 at 11:53 a.m., and 28.7 at 1:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 7:48 a.m. to 9:48 a.m., 8:17 p.m. to 10:17 p.m., and 1:34 a.m. to 3:34 a.m. I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ many state reservoirs from 10:41 a.m. to 1:41 p.m.

The water level at this reservoir looked to be nearly three feet below normal. The surface temperature ranged from 69 to 70 degrees. The water clarity in the vicinity of the dam exhibited five feet of visibility, and in the backs of several of its feeder-creek arms, the clarity declined to two to three feet of visibility. The massive patches of bushy pondweed and coontail that embellish most of the shallow-water flats have diminished significantly since Sept. 25. The patches of American pondweed that adorns many yards of the shorelines are flourishing, but as the water level has declined, the outside edges of this vegetation is floating in one to two feet of water, and if there are significant numbers of largemouth bass abiding in and around the patches of American pondweeds, they were difficult for me to catch.

As we have been reporting throughout 2018, the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing in northeastern Kansas has been very problematic. For instance, we have yet to catch our coveted goal of 101 largemouth bass in four hours. What’s more, our smallmouth bass fishing has been equally perplexing. And the largemouth bass fishing continued to be trying on this Oct. 5 outing.

The folks at Missile Baits asked us to examine and work with the prototype of their green-pumpkin Ned Bomb, which is a multifaceted soft-plastic stick-style bait. It was the only bait that I used during this outing, and it was affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushrooms-style jig. During the three hours that I fished with it, I caught 32 largemouth bass, and I inadvertently caught five green sunfish and one crappie. Sixteen of the largemouth bass were caught in the first 53 minutes, and 20 were caught in the first hour and 13 minutes. During the final hour and 47 minutes, it was a struggle to catch a dozen largemouth bass.
//content.osgnetworks.tv/infisherman/content/photos/TRD-paddle-midwest-18.jpg
The prototype of Missile Bait's green-pumpkin Ned Bomb.
I quickly fished the shoreline along two stretches of the dam. This shoreline has a 45- to 50-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. Some locales are adorned with patches of bushy pondweed. One of the largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the rig in about three feet of water. The second one was caught while I was strolling and employing a swim-glide-and-shake presentation in about seven feet of water.

I fished around nine riprap jetties. They have a 30- to 40-degrees slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, occasional slabs of concrete, and boulders. Patches of American pondweed, American water willows, bushy pondweed and coontail enhance portions of these jetties. There are a few man-made brush piles adjacent to several of the jetties. Around five of the jetties, I failed to elicit a strike. One jetty yielded three largemouth bass. Another jetty yielded two largemouth bass. Another one yielded two largemouth bass. One of the five jetties yielded one largemouth bass, as did another jetty. Seven of the nine largemouth bass were caught in two to four feet of water on the initial drop of the rig. The other two were caught on a drag-and-shake presentation in about four feet of water.

I spent the rest of the outing quickly probing portions of the shallow-water flats inside five feeder-creek arms. The underwater terrain of these flats consists of clay, silt, gravel, and rocks. These flats are garlanded with patches of bushy pondweed and coontail. Some of the water’s edges are embellished with American pondweed. There are scores of man-made brush piles littering some of the locales on these flats that I probed, and the bulk of the 21 largemouth bass that I caught on these flats were abiding in the vicinity of the brush piles, which is an unusual phenomenon for me, and it is unusual because I tend not to probe brush piles. One of the largemouth bass was caught on a deadstick presentation in five feet of water. The other twenty were caught on either the initial drop of the rig or while I was employing a swim-glide-and-subtle shake presentation, and they were caught in three to five feet of water.

For some unknown reason, I was unable to keep my catch rate at the same pace that I had during the first hour that I was afloat on this outing. Therefore, instead of catching 16 to 17 largemouth bass an hour, I dropped to an average of 10 an hour. Not only has it been impossible to catch 101 largemouth bass or smallmouth bass in four hours this year, but it has been difficult to catch an average of more than 10 an hour. Thus, this outing was another reflection of how difficult the fishing has become in the heavily fished flatland reservoirs that stipple the countrysides of northeastern Kansas.

Oct. 6

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 6 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

During an Oct. 2 excursion at this reservoir, the black bass fishing was in a wretched state, and I struggled to catch six black bass in five hours. The fishing began to show some signs of improvement during my Oct. 6 outing, and during this four-hour endeavor, I was able to eke out nine largemouth bass and three spotted bass. I was hoping to tangle with a smallmouth bass or two that reside in this reservoir, but they have been as scarce as hen’s teeth since mid-November of 2016.

Area thermometers registered the morning low temperature at 74 degrees, and the afternoon high temperature was 92 degrees. And it was humid. The average low temperature for Oct. 6 in north-central Texas is 60 degrees; the average high is 81 degrees. The sun shined brightly in a partly cloudy sky. The barometric pressure was 29.93 at 12:23 p.m. and 29.85 at 4:23 p.m. The wind quartered out of the south by southeast at 12 to 18 mph.

In-Fisherman’s solunar table indicated that the best fishing would occur from 2:31 a.m. to 4:31 a.m., 8:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., and 11:26 p.m. to 1:26 a.m. I fished from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The current streak of warm weather has raised the surface temperature of the water from 79 degrees on Oct. 2 to 82 degrees on Oct. 6. The water level was two feet above normal pool. The water clarity varied from 12 inches in the main-lake areas to two feet of visibility in one large feeder-creek arm.

I wielded the following Midwest finesse rigs: a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a Z-Man’s pearl Finesse ShadZ on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a Z-Man’s bubble gum Finesse TRD on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a Z-Man’s The Deal TRD MinnowZ on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, a Z-Man’s white lightning Finesse TRD on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse Z-Man’s ShroomZ jig, and a shortened Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse WormZ on a 1/4-ounce drop-shot rig.

This Corps’ reservoir was impounded during the early 1950s, and it does not possess any type of submerged aquatic vegetation. Its underwater terrain consists of mostly red clay, silt, gravel, small rocks, some submerged stumps, and numerous submerged coffee-table-size boulders. Most of its shorelines are steep and adorned with sandstone, chunk rock, and boulders. There are a few remaining stands of flooded timber about halfway inside one of the major feeder-creek arms on the north side of the reservoir, but most of it has rotted away. Newly flooded terrestrial vegetation embellish many yards of this reservoir’s shorelines.

I spent the first 60 minutes of this outing fishing the flooded terrestrial vegetation along the shorelines inside a small main-lake cove on the north end of the reservoir. The remaining 180 minutes were spent inside one major feeder-creek arm on the north end of the impoundment. And this feeder-creek is the only one I found where the water exhibited two feet of clarity.

Since the black bass fishing at this reservoir has been so horrendous throughout 2017 and 2018, I challenged myself and set a meager goal of catching 10 black bass. It quickly became apparent that the fishing was still in a sorry state, but I managed to catch nine largemouth bass and three spotted bass from these four areas.

Inside the main-lake cove, the water clarity was 12 inches. I dissected the flooded shoreline vegetation from the upper end of the cove to its mouth, and this cove yielded one largemouth bass. It was abiding in less than three feet of water next to the outside edges of the flooded terrestrial vegetation in the upper end of the cove. It was caught on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig and steady swimming retrieve. I failed to garner any other strikes from the remainder of this cove.

I then moved to a major feeder-creek arm, which is located about half of a mile west of the main-lake cove I just fished. About half way back inside this feeder-creek, it splits into two arms. The west arm is about 1 1/2 miles long, and the east one is about three-quarters of a mile long. The water clarity was better here with two feet of visibility.

The mouth or lower end of this feeder-creek encompasses a steep, bluff-like shoreline on its west side and a flat rocky shoreline, an island, and a small cove on its east side. I slowly dissected both of these shorelines, the perimeter of the island, and the shorelines inside the small cove, and they were all fruitless.

In the west creek arm, I investigated four secondary points, a private concrete boat ramp, the shorelines inside two small coves, and a steep clay and gravel shoreline. All of these areas are located in the lower and midsection of the west creek arm.

I caught one largemouth bass from the end of one of the four rocky secondary points in the midsection of the creek arm. It was caught on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ and a steady swimming retrieve in five feet of water. I failed to elicit any strikes from the other three secondary points.

The steep clay and gravel shoreline and both of the small coves are also located in the middle portion of this creek arm, and I failed to catch any largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass.

In the west creek arm’s lower end, I probed a private concrete boat ramp that is bordered by riprap on one side and large submerged rocks on its other side. The riprap portion of the ramp relinquished two largemouth bass that engulfed the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig as I was slowly swimming it parallel to the riprap in three feet of water. I failed to garner any strikes from the end of the ramp and from the submerged rocks on the other side of the ramp.

In the east creek arm, I targeted another bluff-like shoreline north of the island, six secondary points, a large cove, a flat 20-yard stretch of a gravel and clay shoreline, and a shoreline, which is laden with clay, gravel, and rocks, with a creek channel that courses parallel and next to it.

The bluff-like shoreline north of the island yielded two spotted bass and one largemouth bass that were abiding in six to ten feet of water and within 15 feet of the water’s edge. They were attracted to the steady swimming action of the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ.

Three largemouth bass were caught in three to five feet of water along the 20-yard stretch of flat shoreline in the midsection of this creek arm. One was caught on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig and steady swimming retrieve. Two were caught on the bubble gum Finesse TRD rig while I was employing a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Along the steep rocky shoreline in the middle section of the east creek arm, I caught one spotted bass and one largemouth bass. The largemouth bass was caught in six feet of water and within ten feet of the water’s edge on The Deal TRD MinnowZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. The spotted bass was caught along the bottom edge of the steep shoreline in 21 feet of water and about 30 feet from the water’s edge on the shortened four-inch coppertreuse Finesse WormZ rigged on the 1/4-ounce drop-shot rig as it was slowly dragged and shaken across the bottom.

I was unable to provoke any strikes from the large cove and the six secondary points.

As this outing came to a close, I counted six largemouth bass and two spotted bass that were caught on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ with a steady swimming retrieve. Two largemouth bass were caught on the bubble gum Finesse TRD rig as it was worked in a slow swim-glide-and-shake manner. One largemouth bass was caught on The Deal TRD MinnowZ and swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. One spotted bass was caught on the four-inch coppertreuse Finesse WormZ drop-shot rig and a slow drag-and-shake presentation. I failed to generate any strikes with the pearl Finesse ShadZ rig.

A drop-shot rig is not considered one of the techniques employed by Midwest finesse anglers, and it is not very effective or commonly used in the stained waterways of north-central Texas. But every once in awhile I enjoy experimenting with it just for fun.

In closing, as I was driving home, I half-heartedly declared this outing a success.

Oct. 11

The Weather Underground reported that it was 38 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 53 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the northwest, north by northwest, and north at 6 to 25 mph. The sky fluctuated from being cloudy to partly cloudy to mostly cloudy to fair. The barometric pressure was 28.9 at 12:53 a.m. 29.0 at 5:53 a.m., 29.0 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.0 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 12:39 a.m. to 2:39 a.m., 1:04 p.m. to 3:04 p.m., and 6:52 a.m. to 8:52 a.m. I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 11:13 a.m. to 2:36 p.m., and the fishing from 1:30 p.m. to 2:36 p.m. was wretched, and before that it was trying.

From Oct. 3 through Oct. 10, Mother Nature waylaid many locales across northeastern Kansas with five to 10 inches of rain. One of the purposes of this outing was to survey the effects of the eight days of rain on our waterways. The Weather Underground reported that the area around this reservoir received 8 1/2 inches. Consequently, this reservoir’s water level changed from being more than two feet below its normal level before the rainy spell began to being about a foot above normal on Oct. 11. This reservoir is normally our clearest reservoir, but the clarity on Oct. 11 ranged from less than a foot in the backs of its biggest feeder-creek arms to about three feet in the vicinity of the dam. The surface temperature was 65 degrees.

As we have noted several times this past summer and during the first weeks of this fall, the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing in northeastern Kansas has been dreadful for finesse and power anglers throughout 2018.

This reservoir is traditionally our most fruitful one, but even it has been trying this year. For instance, I fished it on Oct. 2 for three hours and 16 minutes and struggled mightily to catch 29 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. Then during the three hours and 23 minutes that I fished it on this Oct. 11 outing, it yielded just 15 largemouth bass.

The fishing was so sorry that it is not worth spending a lot of time and words addressing how and where I failed to find and catch the black bass that abide in this waterway. At the same time, piscatorial failure is always an important factor to briefly note.

During the first 58 minutes, I caught nine largemouth bass.

Six of them were caught in the back of a small feeder-creek arm. Much of this area is a shallow-water flat, but there is 12 to 15 feet of water nearby. Three of the largemouth bass were caught around patches of coontail in four to five feet of water. One of the six largemouth bass was caught under an overhanging tree along a riprap shoreline in about three feet of water. Another one was caught under another overhanging tree in about three feet of water. Both of these overhanging trees have scanty patches of coontail and bushy pondweed around them. The sixth one was caught adjacent to some flooded terrestrial vegetation in two to three feet of water. These six largemouth bass were caught on a customized three-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse Big TRD affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Three of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of the rig. The other three were caught as I was employing the swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The water clarity at this locale exhibited 2 1/2 to three feet of visibility.

Along a portion of a main-lake shoreline, I caught three largemouth bass on the customized Big TRD rig. This shoreline possesses a 45- to 55-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. Some of the boulders are gigantic. The water’s edge is embellished with patches of American pondweeds, American water willows, and coontail, and there are also scores of laydowns and overhanging trees. One of the largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the rig adjacent to the outside edge of a patch of American water willows in about three feet of water. The second one was caught on the initial drop of the rig around some boulders in three to four feet of water. The third one was caught on the initial drop of the rig around a laydown, some boulders, and flotsam in about four feet of water. The water clarity along this shoreline exhibited two to three feet of visibility.

During the next 150 minutes, the sun began to shine, and the color of the sky exhibited an astonishing sapphire hue. And I struggled to catch six largemouth bass.

Two of the six largemouth bass were caught on a shallow-water flat in the back of a small feeder-creek arm.

One of the largemouth bass was caught along a shoreline that is adorned with many overhanging trees and laydowns; patches of coontail are intermixed with the overhanging trees and laydowns. This largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of a Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig in about four feet of water. The second one was caught near the middle of the shallow-water flat around patches of coontail in four to five feet of water on a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD MinnowZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-no-shake presentation. The water clarity at this locale exhibited about eight inches of visibility, and during my Oct. 2 outing, there was four or more feet of visibility inside this feeder-creek arm.

Along a shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm, I caught three largemouth bass. This shoreline has a 30- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is endowed with some patches of American pondweed, American water willows, and coontail, and there are oodles of overhanging trees and laydowns. Almost every yard of this shoreline was shaded from the rays of the extremely intense and blinding sun. One of the three largemouth bass was caught along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows in three to four feet of water on the initial drop of a shortened four inch Z-Man’s green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. The second largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the customized Big TRD rig under an overhanging tree in three feet of water. The third largemouth bass was caught around several boulders on the initial drop of the Finesse WormZ rig in about two feet of water. The water clarity along this shoreline exhibited about 2 1/2 feet of visibility.

Along portions of a shoreline in the back of a large feeder-creek arm, I caught one largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 40- to 45-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is endowed with some patches of American water willows and coontail. It is also adorned with some overhanging trees and laydowns. It was shaded from the sun. This largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the Junebug Finesse ShadZ rig in about four feet of water around some rocks and boulders. The water clarity along this shoreline ranged from six to eight inches.

I failed to elicit a strike around five main-lake points, along portions of four main-lake shorelines, across portions of a shallow-water flat in the back of a medium-size feeder-creek arm, and the spillway.

Piscatorially speaking, Mother Nature and the whereabouts and dispositions of the black bass in northeastern Kansas’ public waterways have me and several other Midwest finesse anglers at our wits’ end. Moreover, as I am writing this log, it is raining again.

Oct. 11

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

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

John Thomas of Denton, Texas, and I journeyed to what we consider a bountiful U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in an exurban area of north-central Texas.

Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, and I fished at this Corps’ reservoir on Sept. 29, and we caught a combination of 40 largemouth bass and spotted bass in four hours.

The first significant cold front of this fall rolled across the north-central Texas countryside on Oct. 9, bringing a couple of inches of cool rain and milder daytime temperatures. It was clear and sunny on Oct. 11. The morning low temperature was 54 degrees and the afternoon high temperature was 67 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.17 at 11:00 a.m. and 30.08 at 3:00 p.m. The wind quartered out of the northeast at 10 to 15 mph.

The Corps has been releasing water from this reservoir at a steady pace, and the water level has dropped from 3.75 feet above normal on Sept. 29 to 1.54 feet above normal. The surface temperature also dropped a tad from 76 degrees on Sept. 29 to 74 degrees. The water clarity ranged from 12 inches of visibility in the upper ends of three feeder-creek arms to three feet of visibility in their lower sections.

According to In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar, the fishing would be best from 12:31 a.m. to 2:31 a.m., 6:44 a.m. to 8:44 a.m., and 12:54 p.m. to 2:54 p.m. John and I were afloat from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

We targeted three feeder-creek arms and one main-lake cove in the southern region of the reservoir, and we caught 35 largemouth bass and spotted bass in 4 1/2 hours.

We started this outing in the south end of the east tributary arm where we investigated a main-lake cove, a main-lake point and a 50-yard stretch of its adjoining main-lake shoreline, and portions of a major feeder-creek arm.

Inside the main-lake cove, we fished the south side of a riprap-laden jetty, which offered us some protection from the 15-mph wind and white-capped waves. This jetty forms the north side of this cove, and it surrendered one spotted bass that was abiding in four feet of water and about 10 feet away from the water’s edge. It was caught on a Z-Man’s The Deal TRD MinnowZ dressed on a black Z-Man’s 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. This combo was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

From the jetty, we meandered to the south side of the cove, and we fished from the cove’s upper end to its mouth. The underwater terrain in this area of the cove is composed of clay and gravel. The shallow water along the shoreline is embellished with flooded terrestrial vegetation, several thin patches of stickups, and a concrete retaining wall. We caught three largemouth bass that were scattered along the outside edges of the flooded terrestrial vegetation in three to five feet of water. They were allured by the Z-Man’s The Deal TRD MinnowZ and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We fished around a main-lake point and its adjoining shoreline that are situated south of the cove and failed to elicit a strike.

We then moved southward to the first feeder-creek arm. It consists of several large coves, many yards of rocky shoreline, and an island. The shallow-water areas are adorned with flooded terrestrial vegetation, thin patches of flooded stickups, rocks, gravel, and a few scattered submerged boulders.

We caught three largemouth bass in three to five feet of water from one 30-yard stretch of a rocky shoreline in the midsection of this creek arm; one largemouth bass was caught from the outside edge of a patch of flooded stickups in the upper end of the creek arm; and another largemouth bass that was extracted from four feet of water around a small patch of flooded stickups on the east side of the island. Two of these five largemouth bass were caught on The Deal TRD MinnowZ rig as we were slowly swimming, gliding, and shaking it. The other three largemouth bass were beguiled by a slow and steady swimming retrieve with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ attached to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.

We then moved to the south end of the west tributary arm, where we probed many yards of rocky shoreline inside another large feeder-creek arm. We executed scores and scores of casts and retrieves, and we managed to eke out only one spotted bass. This spotted bass was relating to the side of a large submerged boulder in five feet of water. It engulfed The Deal TRD MinnowZ rig as it was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

We finished this outing inside a third feeder-creek arm. It is located on the west side of the east tributary arm. This creek arm was our most lucrative locale, and it relinquished 23 largemouth bass and two spotted bass. They were caught on the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rig with a slow and steady swimming retrieve.

Twenty-three black bass were caught from five rocky secondary points on the south side of the creek arm. They were abiding in three to seven feet of water and within 15 feet of the water’s edge.

All but one of these black bass were caught from five rocky secondary points on the south side of the creek arm. They were abiding in three to seven feet of water and within 15 feet of the water’s edge.

One largemouth was caught in eight feet of water from the deep-water side of a long rock ledge that is covered with five feet of water and quickly descends into 21 feet of water.

On the north side of the creek arm, we plied two main-lake points, portions of a cove, and a large clay and gravel flat. The clay and gravel flat yielded one largemouth bass that was caught around a patch of flooded stickups in four feet of water, but we failed to provoke any other strikes from the two main-lake points and the cove.

It has become a normal routine for us to cycle through our arsenal of Z-Man’s Midwest finesse baits and Finesse ShroomZ jigs, and our most effective combo by far was the 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ attached on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. The most effective presentation was a slow and steady swimming retrieve about two to three feet below the water’s surface. This presentation and lure combination accounted for 29 of the 35 largemouth bass and spotted bass that we caught. The other six bass preferred the Z-Man’s The Deal TRD MinnowZ on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig that was implemented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

Oct. 14

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 14 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

The weather in north-central Texas has been unstable and wet for the past few weeks, and it has rained the past couple of days, too. Oct. 14 provided a small window of opportunity for me to get out and enjoy a short spell of warm and dry weather before a severe cold snap, which will be accompanied by more thunderstorms, arrives during the evening hours. So, Roger Farish of Highland Village, Texas, joined me for a rare Sunday outing at a heavily-fished U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The morning hours of Oct. 14 were overcast, and it rained for about 10 minutes when we arrived at the boat ramp at 8:53 a.m. At 1:51 p.m., the overcast sky became partly cloudy and it was sunny until 3:24 p.m.; then it became overcast again. The morning low temperature was 60 degrees and the afternoon temperature high reached 78 degrees. Before 2:30 p.m., the wind angled out of the south by southeast at 3 to 5 mph. After 2:30 p.m., the wind turned out of the northwest at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure dropped slightly from 29.86 at 9:00 a.m. to 29.81 at 3:00 p.m.

The water clarity ranged from 12 inches of visibility in the southwest tributary arm to two feet at the dam. The water level has risen significantly from the recent rains, and it is now about four feet above normal pool. The rising water level has flooded the terrestrial vegetation that lines most of this reservoir’s shorelines and some picnic areas that are situated close to the water’s edge. As we were preparing to launch the boat, a Park Ranger informed us that the boat ramps were still open, but all of the courtesy docks have been closed because of flooding. The surface temperature ranged from 74 degrees inside two feeder-creek arms to 76 degrees at the dam.

This reservoir’s geology and submerged terrain is comprised of red clay, gravel, rocks of various sizes, and numerous boulders.

In-fisherman’s solar calendar noted the best fishing would occur from 3:17 a.m. to 5:17 a.m., 9:29 a.m. to 11:29 a.m., and 3:42 p.m. to 5:42 p.m.

We opted to stay in the south end of the reservoir, where we plied portions of four feeder-creeks, one section of a large main-lake cove, two main-lake shorelines, four main-lake points, the dam, a floating tractor-tire reef, and a large main-lake flat. There was a local bass tournament in progress as well.

We were hoping the bass fishing at the Corps’ reservoirs in our neck of the woods would improve with the rising water levels and falling water temperatures. Instead, we found the fishing at this impoundment lackluster at best, and we struggled to catch nine largemouth bass, three spotted bass, and one white bass in six hours.

Inside the first feeder-creek arm, we dissected many yards of four flat and rocky shorelines and the flooded stickups bordering the sides of a submerged roadbed. We caught one largemouth bass and one white bass in less than five feet of water from two thin patches of flooded stickups along one side of the submerged roadbed. They engulfed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s space guppy Slim SwimZ mounted on a Z-Man’s chartreuse 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig as we were slowly and steadily swimming it around the outside edges of the flooded stickups. We failed to elicit any other strikes from the other areas in this feeder-creek.

The second feeder-creek arm was not much better than the first one. This creek arm surrendered one spotted bass and one largemouth bass. The largemouth bass was caught along the deep-water end of a concrete boat ramp situated in the middle portion of the creek arm. It was abiding in eight feet of water and was enticed by a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig that was employed with a slow and steady swimming retrieve. The spotted bass was caught in nine feet of water along the top of a rock ledge that parallels a short section of shoreline on the northwest end of the creek arm. It was allured by the 2 1/2-inch space guppy Slim SwimZ as it was hopped and bounced across the top of the rock ledge. We failed to entice any strikes from two secondary points and two rocky shorelines on the east side of the creek arm.

Three largemouth bass were caught inside the third feeder-creek arm. One was caught in five feet of water from a flat and rocky shoreline in the midsection of the creek arm. It was enticed by a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s white lightning ZinkerZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig and a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The other two largemouth bass were caught along the outside edges of a large patch of flooded stickups in less than four feet of water around the southeast end of an island that is also situated in the middle section of the creek arm. Both of these largemouth bass were caught on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ and a steady swimming retrieve.

The fourth feeder-creek surrendered just one spotted bass. It was dwelling near a riprap-laden shoreline near the mouth of the creek arm in five feet of water. It was caught on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the 2 1/2-inch white lightning ZinkerZ rig. We did not garner any strikes from a secondary point, a large mud flat graced with thick patches of flooded stickups, and around the remains of an old sunken boat in the middle of the creek arm.

At one of the two main-lake shorelines, we caught one largemouth bass. This shoreline is flat and is graced with several patches of flooded stickups and some flooded buck brush. This largemouth was caught in three feet of water on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ that was utilized with a slow swimming retrieve along the outside edges of several flooded bushes.

We failed to elicit any strikes from a large cluster of submerged boulders and several large laydowns along the other main-lake shoreline.

We caught only one largemouth bass from the floating tractor-tire reef at the mouth of one of the feeder-creek arms. This tire reef is about 75-yards long and floats in 23 to 34 feet of water. This largemouth bass was suspended about five feet below the surface and was within a couple of feet of one side of the tire reef. It engulfed a 3 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse Trick ShotZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig. This rig was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve parallel to the side of the tire reef.

We spent more than two hours probing three sections of riprap that covers the dam. One section is 75 yards long and lies on the east end of the dam. The second section is about 100 yards long and lies along its midsection, and the third section is on the west end of the dam and is about 35 yards long.

The east-end stretch of riprap surrendered one largemouth bass, the middle portion was fruitless, and the west-end section yielded one largemouth bass. Both of these bass were caught within 10 feet of the water’s edge and were abiding in less than eight feet of water. They were both coaxed into striking a 2 1/2-inch pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ attached to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig that was retrieved with a slow swim-glide-and-shake action.

We failed to generate any strikes from the outside edges of several large patches of flooded bushes and other flooded terrestrial vegetation that festoons the shoreline of a large mud flat located just north of the dam.

We also failed to provoke any strikes from several patches of flooded stickups along a flat section of shoreline inside a main-lake cove.

During this perplexing and frustrating undertaking, we were unable to establish any location pattern or determine a dominate lure and retrieve. In essence, it was what many anglers refer to as a junk-fishing venture. And as I was loading the boat on the trailer, Roger spoke with a couple of anglers at the boat ramp who had competed in the bass tournament. They reported that the fishing was wretched. The tournament was won with a three-fish bag of 12-inchers. The second place finisher had a two-fish bag of 12-inchers.

The Weather Underground reported that it was 31 degrees at 7:52 a.m. and 47 degrees at 3:57 p.m. The wind angled out of the north by northwest, northwest, north, and west by northwest at 6 to 16 mph. The sky fluctuated from being cloudy to mostly cloudy to partly cloudy to fair. There was no precipitation recorded, but the windshield and hood on our towing vehicle was encased with a thick sheet of ice. The barometric pressure was 29.4 at 12:52 a.m., 29.4 at 5:52 a.m., 29.4 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.5 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would transpire from 4:03 a.m. to 6:03 a.m., 4:27 p.m. to 6:27 p.m., and 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. I was afloat from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the same community reservoir that I fished on Oct. 1, and I struggled mightily to catch 20 largemouth bass in three hours and 40 minutes. It continued to be a struggle on Oct. 15, yielding 26 largemouth bass in three hours.

The surface temperature ranged from 60 to 62 degrees. The water level looked to be a few inches above normal. The water clarity ranged from a foot to three feet of visibility.

During the first hour and 56 minutes, I caught 19 of the 26 largemouth bass, and they were caught inside one of the reservoir’s four feeder-creek arms.

One of the nineteen largemouth bass was caught on top of an offshore hump. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders; patches of submerged aquatic vegetation and several stumps embellish this hump. This largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and–minor-shake presentation in about six feet of water adjacent to a stump and some vegetation.

Three largemouth bass were caught across a shallow-water flat in the back of this feeder-creek around patches of submerged aquatic vegetation. They were caught on a Z-Man’s coppertreuse Finesse TRD affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation in three to five feet of water.

Seven largemouth bass were caught along one of this feeder creek’s shorelines. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of silt, gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is graced with patches of American water willows, some laydowns, several stumps, a few bulrushes, and some flooded terrestrial vegetation. And there is an occasional patch of submerged aquatic vegetation near some of the features that grace the water’s edge. One the seven largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the green-pumpkin TRD HogZ rig in about four feet of water near the outside edge of a patch of American water willows. The other six largemouth bass were caught on the coppertreuse Finesse TRD rig in three to six feet of water adjacent to patches of American water willows or submerged aquatic vegetation. Two of the six were caught on the initial drop, and the other four were caught on the swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation.

Along this feeder-creek’s other shoreline, I caught eight largemouth bass. This shoreline possesses a 45- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of silt, gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. The water’s edge is embellished with patches of American water willows, some laydowns, a few piles of brush that beavers have deposited, flooded terrestrial vegetation, and several patches of submerged aquatic vegetation. These largemouth bass were caught on the coppertreuse Finesse TRD rig. One was caught along a pile of rocks with a swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation in four to five feet of water. The other seven largemouth bass were caught on either the initial drop or a swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation adjacent to patches of American water willows or submerged aquatic vegetation.

One largemouth bass was caught along a shoreline in the back of another feeder-creek arm. This shoreline possesses a 35-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of silt, gravel, rocks, and an occasional boulder. The water’s edge is embellished with a few patches of American water willows, some laydowns, several stumps, bits of flooded terrestrial vegetation, and several patches of submerged aquatic vegetation. This largemouth bass was caught in four feet of water on the coppertreuse Finesse TRD rig with a swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation near a laydown and a patch of submerged aquatic vegetation.

Six largemouth bass were caught along one long section and one short section of a massive shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm. The slope of these two sections ranges from 25 to 35 degrees. Their water’s edges are embellished with a few patches of American water willows, some laydowns, a few stumps, bits of flooded terrestrial vegetation, several patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, and four docks. Five of the largemouth bass were caught on the coppertreuse Finesse TRD rig with a swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation in four to six feet of water around patches of submerged aquatic vegetation. One of the six was caught on the initial drop of the coppertreuse Finesse TRD rig in about three feet of water along the outside edge of a patch of American water willows.

In conclusion, when a Midwest finesse angler cannot catch at least an average of 10 largemouth bass an hour in the community and state reservoirs that stipple the suburban and exurban landscapes of northeastern Kansas, there is something awry, and it has been this way throughout 2018. Our smallmouth bass fishing is askew, too. Unfortunately, I do not have a clue why it has been so sorry.

Oct. 16

The Weather Underground reported that it was 29 degrees at 6:53 a.m. and 60 degrees at 3:53 p.m. The sun shone intensely in a China-blue sky, and there was not a cloud in sight. The wind angled out of the southwest, south by southwest, west by southwest, and west at 3 to 18 mph. The barometric pressure was 29.1 at 12:53 a.m., 29.1 at 5:53 a.m., 29.1 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.0 at 3:53 p.m. We experienced the fall’s first frost.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 4:52 a.m. to 6:52 a.m., 5:16 p.m. to 7:16 p.m., and 11:04 p.m. to 1:04 a.m. My cousin Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs from 10:33 a.m. to 2:33 p.m.

The water level looked to be six inches above normal. The water was tinted with a strange tea-like hue. Rick and I have never seen the water in any of our northeastern Kansas reservoirs exhibit this odd hue, and we suspect that it is the residue of the 9.75 inches of rain that has pummeled much of this reservoir’s watershed since Oct. 3. The water clarity exhibited 12 to 36 inches of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 59 to 61 degrees. Sheets of duckweed covered the surface along many yards of this reservoir’s shorelines. It is also experiencing a significant growth of coontail, and many of the patches of coontail that extend to the surface are coated with sheets of duckweed.

On every outing for years on end, Rick and I always set our sights on catching 101 largemouth bass or smallmouth bass in four hours. But the black bass fishing has been so problematic in northeastern Kansas this year that Rick and I were hoping to catch at least 40 largemouth bass in four hours during this Oct. 16 outing.

To our surprise, we achieved that goal by catching 47 largemouth bass. And it is interesting to note that we failed to elicit a strike during the first 15 minutes and last 20 minutes of this outing. We accidently caught two channel catfish and three bluegill.

We spent the entire four hours fishing along five main-lake shorelines in the upper half of the reservoir’s primary feeder-creek arm.

The slope of these shorelines fluctuates from about 20 degrees to 50 degrees. Concrete or rock retaining walls buffer many yards of these shorelines. Their underwater terrains consist of gravel, rocks, and silt. Some of the water’s edges are embellished with American water willows, occasional patches of water primrose, many patches of coontail, sheets of duckweed, a few minor laydowns, some overhanging trees, and docks.

We caught one largemouth bass on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s TT Lures NedlockZ HD Jighead. Four largemouth bass were caught on a two-inch Z-Man’s pearl ZinkerZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. The other 42 largemouth bass were caught on either a Z-Man’s Junebug TRD MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom jig.
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Steve Reideler with a spotted bass.
Some of the largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. Some were caught while we were employing a slow swim-glide-and-minor-shake retrieve. A few were caught as we were using a drag-and-subtle-shake retrieve. One was caught on a deadstick presentation. Several were caught while we were strolling with either a swim-glide-and-minor-shake or drag-and-subtle-shake presentation.

A goodly number of the 47 largemouth bass were around patches of coontail in four to six feet of water, and most them were caught along or near the outside edges of these patches. We caught a few largemouth bass in three to five feet of water around patches or American water willows that were intertwined with sheets of duckweed and coontail. We caught several largemouth bass along steeper shorelines in seven to 10 feet of water that are graced with rocks and gravel and devoid of coontail. We caught three largemouth bass in three to four feet of water in the vicinity of the minor laydowns, which were intertwined with coontail and duckweed.

It needs to be noted that we failed to elicit strikes around hundreds and hundreds of patches of coontail. We also plied many yards of these shorelines without eliciting a strike. Along these shorelines, we were unable to define a reliable location pattern.

We guessed that many of the largemouth bass were roaming, and as they were moving about, some of them crossed paths with us. But, of course, we cannot definitively prove that to be true. Causality is virtually impossible for anglers to prove. As anglers who are trying to peer into the unseeable and inapprehensible world of the largemouth bass, all we are endowed with is guesswork, which is a shoddy way to garner a solid sense of cause and effect.

In essence, we do not know what was going on. But we do know that we made a lot of casts and retrieves, and we caught 47 largemouth bass with our traditional Midwest finesse rigs and presentations. It was not a heyday, but for 2018, it was an okay one.

Oct. 19

The Weather Underground reported that it was 55 degrees at 7:54 a.m. and 63 degrees at 4:54 p.m. The wind angled out of the south, south by southwest, southwest, and west by southwest at 7 to 14 mph. It sprinkled sporadically from 5:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. It was cloudy most of the time, but there was a short spell when the sun could be seen and felt. The barometric pressure was 29.4 at 12:54 a.m., 29.4 at 5:54 a.m., 29.5 at 11:54 a.m., and 29.2 at 3:54 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 7:06 a.m. to 9:06 a.m., 7:29 p.m. to 9:29 p.m., and 12:55 a.m. to 2:55 a.m. I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs from 11:50 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.

The water level looked to be a few inches above normal. The surface temperature ranged from 59 to 60 degrees. The water clarity ranged from a few inches along wind-blown points and shorelines to more than four feet around some locales. This reservoir is graced with untold numbers of submerged patches of aquatic vegetation, which consists of bushy pondweed, chara, and coontail. Some of its shorelines are embellished with occasional patches of American pondweed, American water willows, duckweed, and water lilies.

During this four-hour outing, I caught 53 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass.

For most of the outing, I used a prototype of Missile Baits’ green-pumpkin Ned Bomb affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and it caught 33 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. Eighteen of those 33 largemouth bass were caught during the first 58 minutes that I was afloat.

Around several stained-water locales and on a wind-blown main-lake hump, I worked with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and it caught 13 largemouth bass.

During the last 20 minutes, I fished with a prototype of Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ bait affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and it caught seven largemouth bass.
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The prototype of Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ.

Inside a small feeder-creek arm, I caught 18 largemouth bass. The shorelines possess a 30-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is adorned with some patches of American pondweed, American water willows, one patch of water lilies, bits of flooded terrestrial vegetation, a few overhanging trees, five docks, and two concrete boat ramps. Patches of coontail and occasional patches of bushy pondweed and chara grace the shallow-water flats and some of the shorelines. These largemouth bass were abiding along its shorelines, around one of the boat ramps, and adjacent to four docks. They were caught on the Ned Bomb rig in three to six feet of water. Some were caught on the initial drop of the rig, and the others were caught while I employed a swim-and-glide presentation.

Around a wind-blown main-lake hump, I caught four largemouth bass on the ZinkerZ rig. The underwater terrain of this hump consists of gravel, rocks, and some humongous boulders. It is enhanced with a patch of American water willows and patches of coontail. The four largemouth bass were caught in about three feet of water adjacent to the outside edge of the American water willows on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig.

Along portions of a shoreline and around one secondary point inside a medium-size feeder-creek arm, I caught nine largemouth bass on the Ned Bomb rig. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 60-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of silt, gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is adorned with scores of laydowns and overhanging trees, as well as many patches of coontail, a few patches of American water willows, and a masonry bridge. Its massive shallow-water flat is embellished with patches of coontail and a few patches of bushy pondweed and chara. One of the largemouth bass was caught in three feet of water adjacent to the bridge on the initial drop of the Ned Bomb rig. Five of the largemouth bass were caught in two to five feet of water around either overhanding trees or laydowns on a swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation. Three of them were caught in three to four feet of water adjacent to patches of American water willows that are intertwined with either patches of coontail or a minor laydown on a swim-and-glide presentation.

I caught nine largemouth bass along two shorelines inside a small feeder-creek arm on the Junebug ZinkerZ rig. These shorelines possess a 30- to 60-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders; some of the boulders are gargantuan. One of the shorelines is totally adorned with patches of American water willows that are occasionally intermixed with patches of coontail. The water’s edge of the other shoreline is bestudded with many overhanging trees, laydowns, and several piles of boulders, and these features are occasionally festooned with small patches of coontail and duckweed. Six of the largemouth bass were caught in three to five feet of water around the outside edges of the patches of American water willows; two were caught on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig, and four were caught as I was employing the ZinkerZ rig with a swim-and-glide presentation. The other three largemouth bass were caught next to the overhanging trees, laydowns, and boulders on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig in three to four feet of water.

Along one massive shoreline and around one of its secondary points inside a large feeder-creek arm, I caught six largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass on the Ned Bomb rig. And along another shoreline inside this feeder-creek arm, I caught four largemouth bass on the prototype TRD TicklerZ rig.

The shoreline that yielded the six largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass on the Ned Bomb rig has a 30- to 65-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders; some of the boulders create significant ledges. Its water’s edge is graced with many overhanging trees, boulders, and laydowns. There are also a few patches of American water willows, coontail, and duckweed adoring this shoreline. One largemouth bass was caught around a secondary point in about four feet of water on the initial drop of the Ned Bomb rig. Another one was caught on the initial drop of that rig adjacent to a laydown. The smallmouth bass and the other four largemouth bass were caught as I was strolling the Ned Bomb rig in five to seven feet of water with either a drag-and-minor shake presentation or a swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation.

The other shoreline inside this large feeder-creek arm has a 25- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is bedizened with occasional patches of American pondweed, American water willows, coontail, and duckweed. It is also embellished with a few laydowns and overhanging trees. One largemouth bass was caught around a laydown in three feet of water as I was employing a straight swimming retrieve with the prototype TRD TicklerZ rig. The other three largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of that rig along the outside edges of patches of American water willows in about three feet of water.

Three largemouth bass were caught around a main-lake point on the prototype TRD TicklerZ rig. This point possesses a 30-degree slope. The water’s edge is graced with several patches of American water willows and laydowns. Patches of coontail are occasionally interlaced with the laydowns and situated within a few feet of the outside edges of the American water willows. One largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the rig in three to four feet of water. The other two were caught as I employed a swim-and-glide retrieve in three to four feet of water near the outside edge of the American water willows.

In sum, I caught an average of 13.5 black bass an hour. I also inadvertently caught four crappie, two bluegill, one green sunfish, and a warmouth. It was the most fruitful outing that I have had for many weeks.

Oct. 19

The Weather Underground reported that it was 55 degrees at 7:54 a.m. and 63 degrees at 4:54 p.m. The wind angled out of the south, south by southwest, southwest, and west by southwest at 7 to 14 mph. It sprinkled sporadically from 5:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. It was cloudy most of the time, but there was a short spell when the sun could be seen and felt. The barometric pressure was 29.4 at 12:54 a.m., 29.4 at 5:54 a.m., 29.5 at 11:54 a.m., and 29.2 at 3:54 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 7:06 a.m. to 9:06 a.m., 7:29 p.m. to 9:29 p.m., and 12:55 a.m. to 2:55 a.m. I was afloat at one of northeastern Kansas’ many community reservoirs from 11:50 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.

The water level looked to be a few inches above normal. The surface temperature ranged from 59 to 60 degrees. The water clarity ranged from a few inches along wind-blown points and shorelines to more than four feet around some locales. This reservoir is graced with untold numbers of submerged patches of aquatic vegetation, which consists of bushy pondweed, chara, and coontail. Some of its shorelines are embellished with occasional patches of American pondweed, American water willows, duckweed, and water lilies.

During this four-hour outing, I caught 53 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass.

For most of the outing, I worked with a prototype of Missile Baits’ green-pumpkin Ned Bomb affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and it caught 33 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. Eighteen of those 33 largemouth bass were caught during the first 58 minutes that I was afloat.

Around several stained-water locales and on a wind-blown main-lake hump, I employed a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and it caught 13 largemouth bass.

During the last 20 minutes, I fished with a prototype of a green-pumpkin Z-Man’s bait affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig, and it caught seven largemouth bass.

Inside a small feeder-creek arm, I caught 18 largemouth bass. The shorelines possess a 30-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel and rocks. The water’s edge is adorned with some patches of American pondweed, American water willows, one patch of water lilies, bits of flooded terrestrial vegetation, a few overhanging trees, five docks, and two concrete boat ramps. Patches of coontail and occasional patches of bushy pondweed and chara grace the shallow-water flats and some of the shorelines. These largemouth bass were abiding along its shorelines, around one of the boat ramps, and adjacent to four docks. They were caught on the Ned Bomb rig in three to six feet of water. Some were caught on the initial drop of the rig, and the others were caught while I employed a swim-and-glide presentation.

Around a wind-blown main-lake hump, I caught four largemouth bass on the ZinkerZ rig. The underwater terrain of this hump consists of gravel, rocks, and some humongous boulders. It is enhanced with a patch of American water willows and patches of coontail. The four largemouth bass were caught in about three feet of water adjacent to the outside edge of the American water willows on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig.

Along portions of a shoreline and around one secondary point inside a medium-size feeder-creek arm, I caught nine largemouth bass on the Ned Bomb rig. This shoreline possesses a 25- to 60-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of silt, gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is adorned with scores of laydowns and overhanging trees, as well as many patches of coontail, a few patches of American water willows, and a masonry bridge. Its massive shallow-water flat is embellished with patches of coontail and a few patches of bushy pondweed and chara. One of the largemouth bass was caught in three feet of water adjacent to the bridge on the initial drop of the Ned Bomb rig. Five of the largemouth bass were caught in two to five feet of water around either overhanding trees or laydowns on a swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation. Three of them were caught in three to four feet of water adjacent to patches of American water willows that are intertwined with either patches of coontail or a minor laydown on a swim-and-glide presentation.

I caught nine largemouth bass along two shorelines inside a small feeder-creek arm on the Junebug ZinkerZ rig. These shorelines possess a 30- to 60-degree slope. The underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders; some of the boulders are gargantuan. One of the shorelines is totally adorned with patches of American water willows that are occasionally intermixed with patches of coontail. The water’s edge of the other shoreline is bestudded with many overhanging trees, laydowns, and several piles of boulders, and these features are occasionally festooned with small patches of coontail and duckweed. Six of the largemouth bass were caught in three to five feet of water around the outside edges of the patches of American water willows; two were caught on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig, and four were caught as I was employing the ZinkerZ rig with a swim-and-glide presentation. The other three largemouth bass were caught next to the overhanging trees, laydowns, and boulders on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig in three to four feet of water.

Along one massive shoreline and around one of its secondary points inside a large feeder-creek arm, I caught six largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass on the Ned Bomb rig. And along another shoreline inside this feeder-creek arm, I caught four largemouth bass on the prototype TRD TricklerZ rig.

The shoreline that yielded the six largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass on the Ned Bomb rig has a 30- to 65-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders; some of the boulders create significant ledges. Its water’s edge is graced with many overhanging trees, boulders, and laydowns. There are also a few patches of American water willows, coontail, and duckweed adoring this shoreline. One largemouth bass was caught around a secondary point in about four feet of water on the initial drop of the Ned Bomb rig. Another one was caught on the initial drop of that rig adjacent to a laydown. The smallmouth bass and the other four largemouth bass were caught as I was strolling the Ned Bomb rig in five to seven feet of water with either a drag-and-minor-shake presentation or a swim-glide-and-minor-shake presentation.

The other shoreline inside this large feeder-creek arm has a 25- to 50-degree slope. Its underwater terrain consists of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The water’s edge is bedizened with occasional patches of American pondweed, American water willows, coontail, and duckweed. It is also embellished with a few laydowns and overhanging trees. One largemouth bass was caught around a laydown in three feet of water as I was employing a straight swimming retrieve with the prototype Z-Man's TRD TicklerZ rig. The other three largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of that rig along the outside edges of patches of American water willows in about three feet of water.

Three largemouth bass were caught around a main-lake point on the prototype TRD TriklerZ rig. This point possesses a 30-degree slope. The water’s edge is graced with several patches of American water willows and laydowns. Patches of coontail are occasionally interlaced with the laydowns and situated within a few feet of the outside edges of the American water willows. One largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the rig in three to four feet of water. The other two were caught as I employed a swim-and-glide retrieve in three to four feet of water near the outside edge of the American water willows.

In sum, I caught an average of 13.5 black bass an hour. I also inadvertently caught four crappie, two bluegill, one green sunfish, and a warmouth. It was the most fruitful outing that I have had for many weeks.

Oct. 20

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 20 outing.

Here is a slightly edited version of his log:

From 10:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., John Thomas of Denton, Texas, and I were afloat on a north-Texas’ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hill-land reservoir that we fished on Oct. 11.

It was clear and sunny on Oct. 11. The morning low temperature was 54 degrees and the afternoon high was 67 degrees. The wind quartered out of the northeast at 10 to 15 mph. The surface temperature was 74 degrees. And by the end of that 4 1/2-hour excursion, our counter revealed that we had tangled with 35 largemouth and spotted bass.

But there have been significant changes in the weather since Oct. 11. Between Oct. 13 and Oct. 19, a major cold front plowed across the north-central Texas’ countryside, and it was accompanied by another six inches of rain. The daytime highs plummeted from the upper 70s and low 80s to the mid-40s. And according to one television meteorologist, we have received over 23 inches of rain during the past two months. Historically, north-central Texas averages a total of 4.49 inches of rain during the 61 days in September and October.

Oct. 20 was the first day it has not rained in six days, and it is also the first day we have seen the sun since Oct. 12. The morning low temperature was 54 degrees and the afternoon high temperature reached 70 degrees. The sky conditions changed from overcast with fog to partly cloudy and sunny. The barometric pressure measured 30.25 at 10:00 a.m. and it fell slightly to 30.24 by 3:00 p.m. A problematic wind blew out of the northwest, north, and northeast at 15 to 18 mph.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the fishing would be at its best from 1:45 a.m. to 3:45 a.m., 7:56 a.m. to 9:56 a.m., and 8:18 p.m. to 10:18 p.m.

We focused our attentions on two feeder-creek arms and two main-lake coves in the reservoir’s lower end. But this time, we struggled to catch 15 largemouth bass and spotted bass in five hours.

The water was dingy from all the rain and exhibited between 1 1/2 to two feet of visibility. The water level was more than five feet above its normal level, and floating debris was everywhere. The surface temperature ranged from 66 to 68 degrees.

We started this outing inside a major feeder-creek arm that is located on the west side of the east tributary arm. The underwater terrain inside this arm consists of clay, gravel, and submerged boulders. The terrestrial vegetation and patches of stickups that line most of this creek arm’s shorelines are now flooded and covered with a foot or two of water.

This creek arm surrendered 14 of the 15 black bass that we caught.

Two largemouth bass were caught inside a cove on the south side of the creek arm. They were abiding in less than four feet of water around the outside edges of some flooded patches of shoreline vegetation in the midsection of the cove. One was caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s pearl Slim SwimZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/10-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. It was employed with a slow swimming retrieve. The other largemouth was caught on a black 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig dressed with a Z-Man’s yoga pants TRD HogZ. It was implemented with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We failed to entice any other strikes along three rocky secondary points and a submerged rock ledge on the south side of the creek arm.

On the north side of the creek arm, we plied two secondary points, portions of two coves, and three shorelines.

We caught eight largemouth bass from a couple of partially flooded patches of stickups in five to eight feet of water from a 20-yard section of a shoreline inside one of the coves. Seven of them were caught on the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig with a steady swimming retrieve. One was caught on the yoga pants TRD HogZ rig with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.
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John Thomas with a spotted bass.
One largemouth bass and one spotted bass were caught from a flat and rocky secondary point in three to five feet of water. One was attracted to the steady swimming action of the 2 1/2-inch pearl Slim SwimZ rig. The other one was caught on a Z-Man’s white lightning Finesse TRD fastened to a chartreuse 1/15-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. This rig was employed with a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

One of the three shorelines surrendered one largemouth bass and one spotted bass that were next to the outside edges of the flooded terrestrial vegetation in three to five feet of water. The spotted bass was caught on the white lightning Finesse TRD rig and swim-glide-and-shake presentation. The yoga pants TRD HogZ rig and swim-glide-and-shake presentation allured the largemouth bass.

Another short shoreline yielded two largemouth bass. One was caught from the end of a partially submerged laydown in four feet of water, and one was caught along the outside edge of a patch of flooded stickups a few yards from where we caught the first largemouth bass. They were caught on the white lightning Finesse TRD rig with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

In the upper reaches of this creek arm, we dissected the shorelines of a small feeder-creek. We momentarily hooked then lost a largemouth bass that was relating to a patch of submerged vegetation in five feet of water. It was hooked on the white lightning Finesse TRD rig and swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

From this feeder-creek arm, we ventured to the southeast region of the reservoir. Inside this creek arm, we probed portions of a large cove and a rocky secondary point in the middle section of the creek arm.

The flooded shoreline vegetation in the back end of the large cove relinquished one largemouth bass. It was enticed into striking the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with the white lightning Finesse TRD rig in three feet of water.

While we were fishing inside this cove, we crossed paths with a kayak angler. We took a moment and spoke with him. He reported that the fishing was quite difficult, and he had caught only one largemouth bass.

From this cove, we fished along a broad rocky secondary point, and we failed to garner a strike.

We finished the outing plying portions of two main-lake coves, a main-lake shoreline, and a main-lake point, and we failed to generate any other strikes.

Overall, the fishing was mediocre at best. We found only one area where we caught eight largemouth bass, but the remainder of the areas we fished yielded only one or two bass.

We also failed to locate any decent aggregations of shad in the shallow-water areas around the flooded shoreline vegetation.

We did find a few concentrations of threadfin shad and other fish suspended in the middle of the deeper sections of the main creek channels in the center of the feeder-creek arms with our sonar units. The bulk of them were suspended 18 to 25 feet below the surface in 35 to 43 feet of water and many yards away from the water’s edge.

Shad-imitating lures and swimming-type retrieves have been our most effective baits and presentations by far during the majority of the year in north-central Texas. But it should not be long before crawfish-style combos and bottom-oriented retrieves will start to become more effective.

Oct. 26

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Oct. 26 outing at one of northeastern Kansas’ power-plant reservoirs.

Gum is a regular FNN contributor, but he was waylaid during the middle of September by a terrible infection in his right hand. The infection erupted after he had minor surgery to remove a superficial skin cancer from the back of his casting hand. Ultimately, he was hospitalized for five days. This was his first outing since early September.

Here is an edited version of his brief:

The Weather Underground reported that it was 40 degrees at 7:21 a.m. and 62 degrees at 4:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the north, north by northwest, west by northwest, west, south by southwest, and west by southwest at 3 to 8 mph, and it was calm and variable at times. The sky fluctuated from being cloudy to mostly cloudy to foggy to fair. The barometric pressure was 28.6 at 12:11 a.m., 28.6 at 5:53 a.m., 28.7 at 11:53 a.m., and 28.6 at 3:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 11:53 a.m. to 1:53 p.m., 12:19 p.m. to 2:19 p.m., and 6:06 a.m. to 8:06 a.m. He was afloat from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. He had to contend with a dense fog for about an hour.

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Bob Gum with a smallmouth bass.
The surface temperature ranged from 57 to 60 degrees. At the dam, the water clarity exhibited about 2 1/2 feet of visibility. The water level was a few inches above normal.

Gum is a veteran and talented Midwest finesse angler, and despite his manifold abilities, he has suffered the same and sorry plight that other veteran and talented Midwest finesse anglers have endured throughout 2018 at the flatland reservoirs that stipple northeastern Kansas. And on this outing, he struggled mightily to catch nine smallmouth bass, three freshwater drum, two white bass, and one channel catfish.

His most effective rig was a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s PB&J ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. He caught a few on a Z-Man’s TRD MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. He plied several long stretches of riprap shorelines, several main-lake points, some shorelines, and a mid-lake hump.

All of us are shaking our heads and wondering what has happened to the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in these reservoirs, which used to be extremely fruitful. At the beginning of this sorry stage of fishing, some of us speculated that a goodly number of the black bass in northeastern Kansas’ public reservoirs have seen our Midwest finesse applications for years on end, and they have become wary of our tactics. But now we suspect that it is a much larger problem, which we regrettably do not have a clue what that problem might be.

Oct. 29

It was noted in Bob Gum’s report of Oct. 26 that there is something seriously askew with the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing in the public reservoirs of northeastern Kansas. What’s more, Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, reported in a telephone conversation that he and another talented Midwest finesse angler found the smallmouth bass and temperate bass fishing to be absolutely horrendous at an U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservoir in northeastern Kansas on Oct. 29. Likewise, our son, John, and I found the largemouth bass fishing at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs to be disheartening on Oct. 29.

In years’ pasts, we could catch an average of 10 black bass an hour, and as many as 25 an hour, at these three reservoirs, but not in 2018. The same phenomenon is occurring at the other flatland reservoirs that we ply in northeastern Kansas.

Here is a short synopsis of what transpired on John’s and my 2 1/2-hour outing.

The Weather Underground noted that it was 34 degrees at 2:52 a.m. and 74 degrees at 3:52 p.m. The wind was virtually calm until 9:52 a.m., and then it angled out of the southeast, south, and south by southeast at 6 to 22 mph. It was sunny. The barometric pressure was 29.2 at 12:52 a.m., 29.2 at 5:52 a.m., 29.2 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.0 at 2:52 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing would occur from 2:49 a.m. to 4:49 a.m., 3:19 p.m. to 5:19 p.m., and 9:04 a.m. to 11:04 a.m. John and I fished from 12:05 p.m. to 2:35 p.m.

The water level looked to be about eight inches above normal. The surface temperature ranged from 57 to 59 degrees. The water clarity exhibited about 12 inches to about 36 inches of visibility.

John and I struggled to catch 16 largemouth bass.

We caught four largemouth bass at the mouth of a small feeder-creek around patches of American water willows and coontail in four to five feet of water. Three were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. One was caught on a prototype of a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Two were caught on the initial drop of our rigs, and two were caught while we employed a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

We caught one largemouth bass on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig around a patch of coontail on a main-lake point in six feet of water.

We caught four largemouth bass along the riprap shoreline and underwater terrain of the dam. They were caught on our ZinkerZ rigs in three to eight feet of water. One was caught on the initial drop. One was caught as we were strolling and employing a drag-and-subtle-shake presentation. Two were caught on a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

On a shallow-water flat inside a feeder-creek arm, we caught five largemouth bass around patches of coontail and American pondweed in four to five feet of water on our ZinkerZ rigs. One of the largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop near a brush pile that is surrounded by coontail. Two were caught on a drag-and-deadstick presentation. Two were caught while we were strolling and employing a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

Along a shallow-water shoreline inside another feeder-creek arm, we caught two largemouth bass. They were abiding around an interlacing of American pondweeds, coontail, and brush piles. One was caught on a shortened four-inch Z-Man’s Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a swim-and-glide presentation in about five feet of water. The second one was caught on the initial drop of the ZinkerZ rig in four feet of water.

Our piscatorial world in northeastern Kansas is in a sorry state of affairs. And I am beginning to lose my wherewithal to keep posting logs about it on the Finesse News Network.

Oct. 31

The Weather Underground reported that it was 48 degrees at 7:53 a.m. and 58 degrees at 1:53 p.m. The wind angled out of the north, north by northeast, and northeast at 8 to 23 mph. The sky fluctuated from being cloudy to mostly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 28.7 at 12:53 a.m., 28.8 at 5:53 a.m., 28.9 at 11:53 a.m., and 28.8 at 2:53 p.m.

In-Fisherman’s solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would occur from 4:54 a.m. to 6:54 a.m., 5:23 p.m. to 7:23 p.m., and 11:09 p.m. to 1:09 a.m. I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ community reservoirs from 11:39 a.m. to 2:39 p.m.

The water level looked to be several inches above normal. The surface temperature fluctuated from 56 to 57 degrees. The water exhibited 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 feet of visibility. This reservoir’s patches of coontail are exhibiting an autumn renaissance. Many of the coontail patches have grown to the surface, and some of them are sheeted with duckweed.

I spent the entire three hours plying two massive main-lake shorelines in the upper half of this reservoir’s primary feeder-creek arm. One of these shorelines is endowed with two main-lake points.

I caught 35 largemouth bass, which was a relatively bountiful outing compared to the many struggles that I and other anglers have endured throughout 2018. And as October came to a close, we have not come close to catching our coveted 101 largemouth bass or smallmouth bass in four hours this year.

Five of these 35 largemouth bass were caught on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man’s Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Ten were caught on a prototype of a Z-Man’s green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig. Twenty were caught on a slightly shortened Z-Man’s Junebug TRD MinnowZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce Z-Man’s Finesse ShroomZ jig.

The underwater terrain of these two shorelines consists of gravel, rock, and silt. The slope of these shorelines varies from 25 degrees to about 70 degrees. Much of the water’s edge is encased with concrete or rock retaining walls. Some of the water’s edges are graced with patches of American water willows and an occasional patch of water primrose. There are few laydowns and overhanging trees. There are scores of patches of coontail in two to six feet of water and numerous sheets of duckweed. Nineteen docks littered the portions of the two shorelines that I fished.

Ten of the largemouth bass were caught on either the TRD TicklerZ rig or the TRD MinnowZ rig over or along outside edges of coontail patches in three to five feet of water. Several of them engulfed those rigs on the initial drop, and the others were caught while I was employing a swimming presentation.

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Z-Man's Junebug TRD MinnowZ.
Six of the largemouth bass were caught on the TRD MinnowZ in five to seven feet of water adjacent to a dock. One was caught of the initial drop. Two were caught on a drag-and-short-deadstick presentation in six to seven feet of water. Three were caught on a swim-and-glide presentation in five to seven feet of water. Four of the six were caught on consecutive casts and retrieves. For some unknown reason, Midwest finesse anglers rarely catch largemouth bass at this reservoir around the docks; so, this was an unusual feat.

Eight of the largemouth bass were caught in eight to 10 feet of water while I was allowing either the TRD MinnowZ rig or the TRD TicklerZ rig to slowly swim and glide a few inches above the bottom along the steeper-sloping shorelines.

Nine of the largemouth bass were caught while I was working with the TRD MinnowZ rig or ZinkerZ rig with a swim-and-glide presentation in five to seven feet of water. And these largemouth bass were abiding in the vicinity of patches of coontail.

Two largemouth bass were caught on the TRD TicklerZ rig with a dragging presentation in about four feet of water adjacent to a concrete retaining wall around one of the main-lake points.

I failed to elicit a strike at the other main-lake point, and there were many yards along both of the shorelines that were fruitless. 
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