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Midwest Finesse Fishing: December 2022

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, with one of the largemouth bass that he and Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, caught on Dec. 12.

Dec. 5

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 5 outing with Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, at one of northeastern Kansas' state reservoirs.

Here is an edited version of their log.

The National Weather Service reported that the morning's low temperature was 27 degrees, and the afternoon's high temperature was 47 degrees. The wind fluctuated from being calm to angling out of the southeast, south, and east at 3 to 7 mph. The conditions of the sky fluctuated from being fair to foggy and misty to overcast to mostly cloudy to cluttered with a few clouds. The barometric pressure was 29.92 at 12:52 a.m., 29.82 at 5:52 a.m., 29.81 at 11:52 a.m., and 29.77 at 2:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be about two feet below normal. The water exhibited about six feet of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 41 to 42 degrees. This reservoir's patches of curly-leaf pondweeds are flourishing across many yards of its shallow-water flats and along some of its shallow-water shorelines. Patches of coontail also quilt many yards of the shallow-water flats and shallow-water shorelines.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 7:39 a.m. to 9:39 a.m., 8:02 p.m. to 10.02 p.m., and 1:27 a.m. to 3:27 a.m.

I hopped into Bob's boat at 10:30 a.m. We made our first casts at 10:36 a.m., and our last ones upon catching largemouth bass number 40 at 2:07 p.m.

We spent this 211-minute outing dissecting one tiny shallow-water flat on the main lake, one massive shallow-water flat and two segments of its shallow-water shorelines in the back of a large feeder-creek arm, and a huge shallow-water flat in the back of another large feeder-creek arm.

The tiny main-lake flat yielded one largemouth bass. It was caught on a Z-Man's Canada-craw TRD TicklerZ affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead with a drag-and-shake presentation around a small patch of curly-leaf pondweeds in about eight feet of water.

Across the massive shallow-water flat and along two segments of its shallow-water shorelines in the back of a large feeder-creek arm, we caught 14 largemouth bass. In addition to an array of patches of coontail and curly-leaf pondweeds, this flat is littered with a throng of man-made piles of eastern red cedar trees and a humongous patch of winter-dead American lotus. One of the 14 largemouth bass was caught around a partially submerged pile of eastern red cedar trees on the initial drop of a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed to a black 1/20-ounce mushroom-style jig in about five feet of water. The Canada-craw TRD TicklerZ rig caught five largemouth bass and the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig caught four largemouth bass around the patches of coontail and curly-leaf pondweeds with a drag-and-shake presentation in five to nine feet of water. A 2 ½-inch Z-Man's watermelon-red ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce mushroom-style jig caught two largemouth bass around patches of coontail with a slow swim-and-glide presentation in about six feet of water. A slightly shortened Z-Man's purple-death TRD TicklerZ affixed to a baby-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead caught two largemouth bass on a drag-and-shake presentation in about six feet of water.

We caught 25 largemouth bass around patches of coontail and curly-leaf pondweeds that adorn the underwater terrain of the massive shallow-water flat in the back of the other large feeder-creek arm. It is also littered with piles of eastern red cedar trees, which are often intertwined with coontail and curly-leaf pondweeds.

Two of the 25 largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. Another two were caught on the Canada-craw TicklerZ rig. Four were caught on the watermelon-red ZinkerZ rig. Four were caught on the purple-haze TRD TicklerZ rig. Five were caught on the hot-snakes TRD TicklerZ rig. And eight were caught on the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rig.

Two were caught on a deadstick presentation. Two were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. The others were caught on either a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation or a drag-and-shake presentation.

They were caught in water as shallow as five feet and as deep as about 10 feet.

In closing, we need to note that Ol' Man Winter will likely hamper our abilities and desire to fish in December, January, and February as much as we fish during the other nine months of the year. What's more, our once bountiful power-plant reservoirs for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass anglers have become extremely trying and despicable venues, and we no longer fish them when our community, federal, and state reservoirs become covered with ice. Therefore, it is likely that we will post fewer logs on the Finesse News Network during the next 12 weeks that we do during the other 40 weeks of the year.

Dec. 6

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 6 outing with Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas.

Here is an edited version of their log.

I have not fished since Nov. 22 because the last week of November and the first couple of days in December were mostly cold and wet. What's more, I had to tend to a broken water pipe on Nov. 29, and the repairs were not completed until Dec. 2.

The conditions of the sky on Dec. 6 varied from mostly cloudy to overcast. The morning's low temperature was 60 degrees. The afternoon's high temperature climbed to 74 degrees. A light wind quartered out of the west-by-southwest at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure dropped slightly from 29. 91 at 10:00 a.m. to 29.90 at 4:00 p.m.

From 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Norman and I fished for 4 1/2 of those 5 1/2 hours at two community reservoirs in north-central Texas.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the optimum fishing periods would take place from 2:17 a.m. to 4:17 a.m., 8:29 a.m. to 10:29 a.m., and 8:53 p.m. to 10:53 p.m.

At the first community reservoir, the water was dingy and exhibited between 12 and 14 inches of clarity. The water level appeared to be normal. The water temperature was 56 degrees.

We had this reservoir to ourselves, but the fishing was horrid.

The north shoreline encompasses scores of bald cypress tree knees, several points, and a small brush pile. A shallow sand-and-gravel ledge protrudes about three to five feet from the water's edge. The west end of this reservoir features a concrete culvert and a shallow ditch that extends from the south end of the west shoreline. Another sand-and-gravel ledge extends outward from the water's edge, and it continues along the south and east shorelines. The ledge is covered with about a foot of water and drops off into three to five feet of water. The underwater terrain consists of sand mixed with small pieces of gravel and rocks. There are several large patches of submerged aquatic vegetation that embellish several shallow-water areas along the north and west shoreline, but we were unable to identify this vegetation.

Along the west shoreline we caught one largemouth bass in six feet of water from the deep-water side of the sand-and-gravel ledge. It was caught on a Z-Man's black-blue TRD CrawZ rigged on a blue 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead and a slow drag-and-deadstick presentation.

The north shoreline was also virtually fruitless. We temporarily hooked then lost a largemouth bass in five feet of water and a few feet out from the deep-water edge of a patch of submerged aquatic vegetation. It was allured by a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rigged on a 1/16-ounce green-pumpkin-red-flake finesse jig and a drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve.

We failed to garner any strikes from the points, concrete culvert and its adjoining ditch, cypress tree knees, several patches of aquatic vegetation, and portions of the sand-and-gravel ledges.

At the second reservoir, the fishing was a tad better. But we had to work hard to catch 12 largemouth bass.

The water temperature was 59 degrees. The water level was normal. The water exhibited 18 inches of visibility.

Its underwater terrain consists of small gravel and sand. A shallow sand and gravel ledge extends about five feet out from the water's edge along the north and west shorelines. The north and east shorelines are the steepest of the four and possess 30- to 45-degree inclines. The south and west shorelines are flatter with 10- to 15-degree inclines. Their water's edges are adorned with many bald cypress trees, partially-submerged bald cypress tree knees, and numerous piles of broken tree branches and twigs.

We caught one largemouth bass around the submerged wood debris along the east shoreline in four feet of water and about 15 feet from the water's edge. Eleven largemouth bass were caught from the deep-water side of the ledge that parallels the west shoreline. These 11 bass were abiding in five to eight feet of water and 20 to 35 feet from the water's edge.

Seven of them were caught on a Z-Man's coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ matched with a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. A 4.75-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ rigged Texas-style on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce finesse jig attracted five largemouth bass. Eleven of the 12 largemouth bass were enticed by an extremely slow drag-and-deadstick presentation. One largemouth bass was caught on the initial drop of the coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ rig.

We failed to elicit any strikes from the sand-and-gravel ledge along the steep north shoreline, the cypress-tree knees, and piles of broken branches across the flatter south shoreline.

In closing, we had a trying time catching 13 largemouth bass. One largemouth bass was caught from the first community reservoir, and 12 largemouth bass were caught from the second community reservoir.

Now that the water temperatures in the federal, state, and community reservoirs that adorn the north-central Texas landscape are dropping into the mid-50s, it appears that our dreaded wintertime fishing for Florida-strain largemouth bass has begun once again.

Dec. 7

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 7 outing at one of northeastern Kansas' state reservoirs.

Here is an edited version of his log.

The National Weather Service reported that the morning's low temperature was 38 degrees, and the afternoon's high temperature was 45 degrees. The wind fluctuated from being calm to very occasionally angling out of the north and northwest at 3 to 7 mph. The conditions of the sky fluctuated from being overcast to foggy and misty to clear. The barometric pressure was 30.12 at 12:52 a.m., 30.19 at 5:52 a.m., 30.26 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.26 at 2:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be about two feet below normal. The water exhibited about five to six feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 41 degrees.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 9:05 a.m. to 11:05 a.m., 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., and 2:52 a.m. to 4:52 a.m.

I made my first cast at 11:48 a.m. Upon making my last cast at 2:41 a.m., my two fish counters indicated that I had caught 42 largemouth bass and 14 crappie.

I spent the entire 173 minutes probing a shallow-water flat in the back of this reservoir's largest feeder-creek arm.

This flat looks to be about the size of five or perhaps six football fields. A submerged creek channel meanders along the west side of it. Its underwater terrain is emblazoned with numerous patches of coontail and sago pondweeds that are growing in three to eight feet of water. There is an array of man-made piles of eastern red cedar trees in three to 10 feet of water intermixed with the patches of coontail and sago pondweeds.

One of the joys of this outing revolved around the calm wind, which allowed the water's surface to be as smooth as glass. At 2:37 p.m., I watched a school of gizzard shad dimpling the surface around several patches of sago pondweeds, and that was a rare and delightful sight in December.

Ten of the 42 largemouth bass were caught on a slightly shortened Z-Man's purple-death TRD TicklerZ affixed to a baby-blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. A dozen largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby Finesse TRD affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. And 19 largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's hot-snakes Finesse TRD affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead.

Twenty-six of the 42 largemouth bass were caught in the back end of this massive flat. Six were caught along the front edge of the flat. Ten were caught in the flat's middle sections. Some were caught around or near the piles of eastern red cedar trees, but most were caught around the patches of coontail and sago pondweeds.

These largemouth bass were caught in water as shallow as three feet and as deep as seven to eight feet. Because of the vast variations in the height, density, and sizes of the patches of coontail, sago pondweeds, and piles of eastern red cedar trees, I employed a variety of retrieves. Four largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop. The others were caught on a swimming presentation, a swim-and-pause presentation, a drag-shake-and-short-deadstick presentation, and a swim-glide-and-shake presentation. When I was probing the vast terrain of the flat's middle section, I strolled and employed a slow swimming presentation that allowed the rigs to slide and glide across the tops of the patches of submerged vegetation, and upon catching a largemouth bass, I would stop strolling and make a number of casts around that area and employ a variety of retrieves.

Throughout this outing, the swimming presentation and the swimming-and-pause presentation were the most effective ones.

I elicited 11 strikes that I either didn't hook or the fish rather quickly unfettered themselves from the hook.

Weather-wise, the calm wind made it one of the most delightful December outings that my 82-year-old mind can readily recall.

Dec. 8

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 8 outing with Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas.

Here is an edited version of their log.

I was not too enthusiastic about plying any of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan areas because the black-bass fishing in them has now become quite difficult. Therefore, Norman Brown and I opted to enjoy a late-fall afternoon by slowly meandering along the shorelines of three community reservoirs that lie in a couple of suburbs south of Denton.

The weather had improved after a cold front accompanied by rain passed through north-central Texas on Dec. 7. Dec. 8 was overcast, and it was unusually humid. It was also warmer than usual for this time of year; the morning low temperature was 60 degrees and the afternoon high peaked at 78 degrees. (The average low for Dec. 8 in north-central Texas is 40 degrees, and the daytime high average is 59 degrees.) The barometric pressure measured 30.12 at noon and 30.05 at 4:00 p.m. The wind was light and variable.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the prime fishing periods would take place from 3:53 a.m. to 5:53 a.m., 10:06 a.m. to 12:06 p.m., and 10:32 p.m. to 12:32 a.m. It also noted that the fishing would be excellent.

We fished from noon to 4:30 p.m.

The water at the first community reservoir we fished exhibited about 14 inches of visibility. The water level appeared to be normal. We were surprised to discover that the water temperature was 63 degrees. Its submerged terrain consists of clay and gravel.

A shallow clay and gravel flat occupies the reservoir's south end.

The north shoreline has a 30-degree slope and is endowed with a small concrete water outlet. This area was once adorned with a large hydrilla bed, but we could not find any evidence that it still exists.

The west shoreline is endowed with one broad clay point, a shallow sand and gravel ledge, and a small rock pile that lies about 10 yards north of the point.

The east shoreline is mostly flat and curved with a shallow submerged gravel and clay ledge that runs parallel to this shoreline.

The fishing at this reservoir was awful. We dissected the most promising features of this impoundment, and it surrendered only two largemouth bass. One was caught near the deep-water side of a ledge on the north end of the east shoreline. The other largemouth bass was caught from the deep-water side of the ledge in the midsection of the west shoreline. Both of them were abiding in three to five feet of water. The first one was caught on a Z-Man's coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead that was employed with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve. The other largemouth bass was caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ affixed on a 1/16-ounce green-pumpkin-red-flake mushroom-type finesse jig. This rig was also utilized with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve.

The second community reservoir that we fished is about the size of a football field. The north shoreline is flat and is endowed with several small clay points and a small concrete water outlet.

The east end of the reservoir has the deepest water, and it possesses a steep clay bank.

The south shoreline is steeper than the northern and western ones, and a portion of it is adorned with a decorative stone wall and several prominent points.

The west end of the impoundment is comprised of a large cove and a large island that is situated near the mouth of the cove. Two creek channels run parallel to the island's northern and southern shorelines.

The water level was normal. The water was murky from the recent rains and exhibited about 12 inches of visibility. The water temperature was surprisingly warm at 66 degrees.

The fishing was as exasperating at this reservoir as it was at the first one, and we could muster only two more largemouth bass. They were both caught along a shallow sand-and-gravel ledge on the north side of the reservoir's west cove. Both of them were caught in three to five feet of water. The first one was attracted to a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve with a Z-Man's PB&J Finesse TRD rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style finesse jig. The second largemouth bass was also caught on a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation with the coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ rig.

The fishing at the third community reservoir was slow, too, but it was better than the first two impoundments that we fished.

The submerged terrain of this impoundment is mostly clay and gravel. There are three prominent points and several smaller ones that adorn the east shoreline, and a couple more prominent points that are situated along the west shoreline. Also, a couple of long and shallow clay ledges parallel the east and west shorelines. Several patches of winter-dead lily pads line the north and west shorelines.

We caught six largemouth bass along the east shoreline, and four from the west shoreline. They were caught in three to seven feet of water. Three of them were caught from the sides of two of the larger points on the east shoreline, and one was caught from a smaller tertiary point on the west shoreline. The other six were scattered along the east and west shorelines near the deep-water side of the long sand-and-gravel ledge.

Five of these 10 largemouth bass were allured by a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation with a Z-Man's hot-craw Finesse TRD matched with a red 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. Three were tempted by a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve with the Z-Man's PB&J Finesse TRD rig. One was caught on the Z-Man's coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ rig and a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve. And one largemouth bass was caught on a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation with a 2 3/4-inch Z-Man's black-blue TRD TubeZ fastened on a blue 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead.

We failed to elicit any strikes from a clay-and-gravel flat that forms the north end of the impoundment, and around a large decorative-rock dam on the south end of this impoundment.

Overall, the bass bite at the first community reservoir was horrid, and it was a chore for us to catch two largemouth bass. And to our chagrin, the black-bass bite was just as tough at the second impoundment even though the water temperature was in the mid-60s. We worked hard, and it was a grind for us to catch two largemouth bass there. The bass bite was slow at the third reservoir as well, but we managed to eke out 10 largemouth bass before this outing came to a close.

The black-bass fishing in north-central Texas is on the cusp of its wintertime funk. For example, it was a tussle today for us to scrounge up 14 largemouth bass.

Dec. 9

Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 9 outing at one of northeastern Kansas' state reservoirs.

Here is an edited version of his log.

The National Weather Service reported that the morning's low temperature was 32 degrees, and the afternoon's high temperature was 38 degrees. The wind fluctuated from being calm to angling out of the west and northwest at 6 to 16 mph. The conditions of the sky fluctuated from being partly cloudy to mostly cloudy to overcast. The barometric pressure was 30.11 at 12:52 a.m., 30.12 at 5:52 a.m., 30.20 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.17 at 2:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be about two feet below normal. The water exhibited about five to six feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 40 degrees.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 10:52 a.m. to 12:52 p.m., 4:39 a.m. to 6:39 a.m., and 5:05 p.m. to 7:05 p.m.

Our grandson Brady Cayton of Lawrence, Kansas, joined me, and he wanted this outing to be a short rerun of my Dec.7 outing.

For several decades, we have abided by a vow not to fish the same reservoir twice in one week. But because the cold temperatures were a tad uncomfortable and we didn't have a lot of time to fish, we shunned that vow and consented to Brady's wishes.

We made our first casts at 12:50 p.m. Our last ones occurred at 2:24 p.m., which was when the wind began to angle out of the northwest, and it removed the flat and glasslike appearance of the surface of the water that covered a massive shallow-water flat that lies in the back of one of this reservoir's large feeder-creek arms.

We spent one hour and 44 minutes fishing around and across this immense shallow-water flat. We were constantly searching for patches of coontail and sago pondweeds and occasional piles of eastern cedar trees, and we crossed paths with scores of them in water as shallow as about three feet and as deep as eight to nine feet.

Brady caught a crappie on his first casts, and after that initial catch, we caught 36 largemouth bass and two more crappie. During the first 55 minutes of this endeavor, we caught 25 largemouth bass.

Eleven of the 36 largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's hot-snakes Finesse TRD affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. The other 25 largemouth bass were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby Finesse TRD affixed to either a baby-blue or a red 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead.

Four largemouth bass were caught on the initial drop of our rigs. The others were caught on three retrieves: a slow swimming presentation, a drag-shake-and-short-deadstick presentation, and a swim-and-pause presentation. Some of those retrieves were executed as we were strolling across the middle portions of this massive flat.

We caught the largemouth bass in about three to eight feet of water. Some were abiding in shallow water at the back end of the flat; several were in its vast middle section; a few were near its front end, which possesses the deepest water.

And once again, we found that it is essential to have substantial patches of submerged aquatic vegetation in our flatland reservoirs in order to have bountiful catches of largemouth bass during the cold-water months of the year.

In short, we didn't have the time nor the cold-weather wherewithal to spend more than 104 minutes fishing. Our gloves were wet, and even though we used hand warmers, the index fingers on our right hands were almost ice cold and aching, which vexed a few of our casts. And once a very mild-mannered wind began to angle out of the northwest, we put the boat on its trailer and headed home. And as we drove home, we reminisced about this outing and similar ones, and we wished that all of our reservoir managers and fisheries biologists would spend more time cultivating submerged aquatic vegetation and manually maintaining it rather than killing it with herbicides and grass carp.

Dec. 9

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 9 outing with Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas.

Here is an edited version of their log.

Norman and I conducted a four-hour bank-walking excursion at another community reservoir in north-central Texas. This impoundment is a different one than the other five community reservoirs that we fished on Dec. 6 and 8.

In-Fisherman's solunar table noted that the best fishing would take place from 4:46 a.m. to 6:46 a.m., 10:59 a.m. to 12:59 p.m., and 5:11 p.m. to 7:11 p.m. It also indicated that the fishing would be excellent.

The sky conditions fluctuated from being overcast to mostly cloudy to overcast again. The wind quartered out of the northeast at 5 to 8 mph. The morning low temperature was 59 degrees and the afternoon high climbed to 66 degrees. The barometric pressure measured 30.13 at 11:00 a.m., and it fell to 30.03 by 3:00 p.m.

We fished from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. We fished this reservoir slowly and thoroughly, and it was a grind for us to catch eight largemouth bass. We also crossed paths with one large green sunfish.

The water exhibited about a foot of clarity. The water level appeared to be normal. The water temperature was 62 degrees in its northwest corner and 64 degrees in its southeast corner.

The north end of this reservoir consists of a large and shallow mud flat lined with tall stands of cattails. It is also a migratory waterfowl nesting area, and it was bustling with a couple of swans, a large flock of coots, and several mallards. Therefore, we did not disturb them by fishing this area.

We started fishing the north end of the reservoir's west shoreline. This shoreline possesses a slope that varies from 25 to 35 degrees. Its submerged terrain consists of mostly sand and gravel. A fishing pier embellishes the middle portion of the shoreline. A small tertiary point lies about 50 feet south of the pier. Two other tertiary points are situated several yards north of the pier. Another ditch lies on the north end of this shoreline, and it cuts across the large mud flat by the waterfowl nesting area to the northeast end of the reservoir.

We failed to entice any strikes from the ditch and the two tertiary points south of the ditch.

Along the steeper portion of this shoreline and next to the fishing pier, we caught two largemouth bass. The first one engulfed a Z-Man's coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ fastened to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead as we were slowly dragging and shaking it down the slope of the shoreline in five feet of water.

The second largemouth bass was caught in four feet of water close to the steep shoreline south of the fishing pier. It was caught on a slow dragging retrieve with a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rigged on a green-pumpkin-red-flake 1/16-ounce finesse jig.

The third and fourth largemouth bass were caught from the minor tertiary point that lies just south of the fishing pier. One was caught within a couple of feet of the water's edge on a swimming retrieve with a Z-Man's PB&J Finesse TRD rigged on an unpainted 1/16-ounce finesse jig. The other one was caught on a drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation in five feet of water and about 15 feet from the end of the tertiary point on a Z-Man's black-blue TRD TubeZ affixed on a blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead.

The concrete-slab dam that forms the southern border of this reservoir yielded the fifth largemouth bass. It was caught in five feet of water and about 15 feet from the water's edge near the center section of the dam with a slow dragging retrieve with the coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ rig.

The remainder of the dam was fruitless.

The east shoreline features a long clay and gravel point on its north end, a small ditch that lies just south of the clay and gravel point, a wide sand and gravel point that is located in the middle section of this shoreline, and another ditch that is situated on its south end. A long sand-and-gravel ledge parallels most of this shoreline.

This shoreline relinquished three largemouth bass. They were scattered in four to six feet of water and were abiding near the deep-water side of the sand-and-gravel ledge in the middle and lower sections of this shoreline. The first one was caught on the coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ rig that was implemented with a drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve. The second one was allured by a hop-and-bounce presentation with the green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ combo. And the third one preferred the PB&J Finesse TRD rig that was employed with a slow dragging retrieve.

We finished the outing probing a small feeder-creek arm that enters the impoundment from the northeast end of the reservoir. As we were approaching a pool in the upper end of the creek, we were encouraged by the sight of some small baitfish flickering on the surface of the pool in the upper end of the creek. In years past, we used to catch numerous largemouth bass from this pool, but for some reason or reasons unknown to us, it hasn't relinquished any largemouth bass during the past couple of winters. And it was devoid of largemouth bass this time, too. But it did relinquish one large green sunfish that was beguiled by the PB&J Finesse TRD rig and a slow dragging retrieve.

In conclusion, we were expecting a pretty good fall bite this year, but our expectations have not materialized. Furthermore, if I had to grade this fall's black-bass fishing, I would give it a C-minus.

Dec. 12

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 12 outing with Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas.

Here is an edited version of their log.

From noon to 4:00 p.m., Norman and I fished at an U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' hill-land reservoir in north-central Texas.

It was overcast, and we kept our eyes on several rain showers that were erupting on the east and south side of the reservoir, and one of those showers lightly rained on us for a brief spell. The morning low temperature was 51 degrees, and the afternoon high temperature reached 62 degrees. The wind quartered out of the southeast at 10 to 20 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.00 at noon and 29.84 at 4:00 p.m.

The water level was 2.77 feet below its winter pool. The water displayed about 18 inches of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 57 to 58 degrees.

The vast majority of this reservoir's submerged terrain is composed of red clay, pea gravel, chunk rocks, and boulders. There is no aquatic vegetation, but there are a few stumps and stickups in the shallow-water areas.

During these four hours, we concentrated our efforts in the southwest region of the reservoir, and we caught 16 largemouth bass and one spotted bass.

These 17 black bass were abiding in three to eight feet of water and within 10 to 15 feet of the water's edge. Fourteen were caught around rock- and boulder-laden secondary points and shorelines with 35- to 45-degree inclines in the lower half of the three feeder-creek arms. Three were caught in the upper end of one of the creek arms from a 10-yard segment of a rocky shoreline with a 45-degree slope. We also discovered significant numbers of threadfin shad in all three of these creek arms.

We failed to locate any black bass around three flat main-lake points at the mouth of two of the creek arms, three concrete boat ramps, four clay-and-gravel flats, two clay-and-gravel shorelines, and two small coves.

This outing quickly turned into a junk-fishing foray. Of these 17 black bass, seven were allured by a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ matched with a green-pumpkin-red-flake 1/16-ounce finesse jig; three were caught on a Z-Man's PB&J Finesse TRD rigged on an unpainted 3/32-ounce finesse jig; two were enticed by a Z-Man's PB&J TRD HogZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead; another two were induced by a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead; two more were caught on a shortened Z-Man's PB&J Hula StickZ rigged on a black 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead; and one was caught on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead sporting a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ. We failed to garner any strikes with eight other Midwest finesse rigs.

We experimented with all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves and variations of some of those retrieves, and the only effective one was a slow swim-glide-and-shake presentation.

In short, we normally expect to garner between two and four strikes this time of year from the Florida-strain largemouth bass at the Corps' reservoirs in north-central Texas. Thus, it was a pleasant surprise to catch 16 largemouth bass and one spotted bass on this December outing.

Dec. 17

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 17 outing with Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas.

Here is an edited version of his log.

The weather was somewhat mild in north-central Texas. The sun was intensely bright, and the sky was clear without a cloud in sight. The morning low temperature was 33 degrees. The afternoon high temperature climbed to 54 degrees. A mild breeze quartered out of the northwest at 3 to 7 mph. The barometric pressure dropped from 30.25 at noon to 30.18 at 4:00 p.m.

My boat is in the shop for its annual maintenance, thus, Norman Brown of Lewisville and I walked along the shorelines of three community reservoirs in north-central Texas from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. We had all three of these impoundments to ourselves.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the optimum fishing periods would take place from 5:07 a.m. to 7:07 a.m., 5:28 p.m. to 7:28 p.m., and 11:18 p.m. to 1:18 a.m. It also noted that the fishing would be poor.

At the first community reservoir, the water was stained a bit more than usual from recent rains, exhibiting about 12 inches of clarity. The water temperature was surprisingly warm for mid-December and measured 60 degrees. The water level appeared to be normal.

The north and west sections of this reservoir are endowed with a concrete culvert with an adjoining shallow ditch that serpentines its way from the south end of the west shoreline to the south end of the east shoreline. There are also numerous bald cypress tree knees, several points, a small brush pile, and a shallow sand-and-gravel ledge that extends about three to five feet out from the water's edge, and this ledge festoons the entire impoundment. The ledge is covered with a foot of water and drops off into three to five feet of water. The bottom terrain consists of sand mixed with small pieces of gravel and rocks.

We slowly probed the most promising features of this impoundment, and we were baffled that we did not catch a single largemouth bass in water this warm.

The second impoundment was a bit more productive than the first one. It relinquished four largemouth bass. Its underwater terrain consists of small gravel and sand. There are numerous tree limbs and other wood debris littering the south and west ends of this impoundment. A shallow sand-and-gravel ledge extends about five feet out from the water's edge along the north and east shorelines. The north and east shorelines are the steepest of the four and possess 30- to 45-degree gradients. The south and west shorelines are flatter with 10- to 15-degree slopes. Their water's edges are adorned with bald cypress trees and partially-submerged knees.

The water was stained with about 18 inches of clarity. The water temperature was 52 degrees. The water level appeared to be normal.

We caught three largemouth bass from the steeply-inclined north shoreline, and one largemouth bass from the flat west shoreline. They were abiding within 15 feet of the water's edge in four to six feet of water.

Three of them were caught on a 4.75-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ rigged on either a chartreuse 1/16-ounce OG Mushroom Jighead or a red 3/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. These two combos were used with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve. The other largemouth bass was allured by a Z-Man's black-blue TRD HogZ matched with a blue 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead and a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve.

At the third reservoir, we worked hard to catch three largemouth bass. This reservoir has few visible features. There are two minor points on its east shoreline and a small concrete water-outlet drain on the west end of the north shoreline. There is also a shallow clay-and-gravel ledge that borders the north shoreline. The underwater terrain consists of clay and gravel.

The water temperature was 53 degrees. The water level appeared to be about normal. The water exhibited about 14 inches of visibility.

All three of these largemouth bass were caught along the north shoreline in three to five feet of water from the deep-water side of the clay-and-gravel ledge. Two of the largemouth bass were caught on the red-jig Junebug Finesse WormZ rig and a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation. The third largemouth bass was caught on a four-inch black-red-flake soft-plastic finesse worm rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead that was also manipulated with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation.

All totaled, we struggled mightily to catch seven largemouth bass in four hours. And though this catch rate may seem paltry to many anglers across the country, it is considered a decent outing for this time of year in north-central Texas.

Dec. 18

Pat and Ned Kehde of Lawrence, Kansas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about their Dec. 18 outing at one of northeastern Kansas' state reservoirs.

Here is an edited version of their log.

The National Weather Service reported that the morning's low temperature was 10 degrees, and the afternoon's high temperature was 38 degrees. The wind fluctuated from being calm to angling out of the northeast, east, southeast, and south at 3 to 9 mph. The conditions of the sky fluctuated from being fair to partly cloudy. The barometric pressure was 30.20 at 12:52 a.m., 30.25 at 5:52 a.m., 30.28 at 11:52 a.m., and 30.33 at 2:52 p.m.

The water level looked to be about two feet below normal. The water exhibited about five to six feet of visibility. The surface temperature was 37 degrees. Thin sheets of ice covered small segments of the reservoir's surface.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 5:40 a.m. to 7:40 a.m., 6:02 p.m. to 8:02 p.m., and 11:28 a.m. to 1:28 p.m.

Mother's Nature's windy and almost wintery ways have kept us at bay since Dec. 9, and the weather forecasters are predicting that northeastern Kansas is going to get waylaid quite dramatically during most of the days during the week before Christmas. The worst of it is predicted to occur during the night of Dec. 22 when some of our thermometers will plummet to 10 degrees below zero, and the high temperature on Dec. 23 will be four degrees. Snow is likely to occur several times. Of course, ice will cover most of our waterways.

According to the long-range forecasts, it looked to us that the afternoon of Dec. 18 would be the last time that we would be able to launch a boat on the multitude of community and state reservoirs that embellish northeastern Kansas' landscapes until sometime in 2023. So on this uncomfortably cool December day, we decided to end our 2022 piscatorial year with a very short outing at this state reservoir.

We made our first cast at 1:46 p.m., and we fished until our 82-year-old hands became uncomfortably cold, which occurred at 2:37 p.m.

During this 51-minute affair, we caught 11 largemouth bass and one crappie, which were caught on a portion of a shallow-water flat in the back of this reservoir's largest feeder-creek arm.

This flat looks to be about the size of six football fields. A submerged creek channel meanders along the west side of this flat. Its underwater terrain is emblazoned with numerous patches of coontail and sago pondweeds that are growing in three to eight feet of water. There is an array of man-made piles of eastern red cedar trees in three to 10 feet of water, and these piles of trees are intermixed with the patches of coontail and sago pondweeds.

We caught the crappie and largemouth bass on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby Finesse TRD affixed to a red 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead with either a drag-and-shake presentation or a drag-shake-and-short-deadstick presentation in five to seven feet of water around the patches of coontail and sago pondweed.

In short, this outing proved once again how important it is to have submerged aquatic vegetation adorning the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas -- especially during the cold-water months.

Endnote

Here is a short synopsis of what we caught in 2022.

During the first 91 days of the year, Mother Nature's affair with Old Man Winter allowed us to fish only seven times. Then from April 1 to Dec.9, we were able to fish 92 times.

During these 99 outings, we fished for a total of about 301 hours, and we caught 2971 largemouth bass and 76 smallmouth bass, which is a catch rate of 10 black bass an hour and an average of 30 black bass per outing.

Our three most bountiful outings occurred on April 11 when Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, and I caught 101 largemouth bass in four hours and 43 minutes; on May 3 when Rick Hebenstreit and I caught 116 largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass in three hours and 50 minutes; and on Oct. 19 when Bob Gum and I caught 101 largemouth bass in four hours and 55 minutes

Here is hoping that we can fish more than seven times during the first 91 days of 2023.

Dec. 19

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

Here is an edited version of his log.

My boat is still in the shop, but I had a hankering to go fishing anyway. What's more, a major cold front is predicted to arrive during the evening hours of Dec. 21, and it is expected to drop our nighttime air temperature to 7 degrees, and the daytime high temperature will struggle to reach the upper 20s. Thus, I wanted to spend one more afternoon of bass fishing before the forthcoming cold front arrives and forces me to stay indoors.

Dec. 19 was a chilly and overcast day. The morning low temperature was 46 degrees. The daytime high struggled to reach 48 degrees. The wind blew out of the southeast at 10 to 20 mph. The barometric pressure fluctuated from 30.13 at noon to 30.03 at 4:00 p.m.

According to In-Fisherman's solunar calendar, the optimum fishing periods would take place from 12:15 a.m. to 2:15 a.m., 6:27 a.m. to 8:27 a.m., and 6:52 p.m. to 8:52 p.m.

I fished from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with mixed results, while walking around the shorelines at two community reservoirs.

Upon my arrival at the first reservoir, I was surprised to find that the water was muddy with less than a foot of visibility. The water temperature was 50 degrees. The water level was normal.

I suspect that the Florida-strain largemouth bass that inhabit this community reservoir may have had lockjaw, and my best efforts couldn't buy a strike. After that abysmal start, I decided to move to another community reservoir, which lies about 13 miles from the first one.

At the second community reservoir, the water was dingy with about 14 inches of visibility. The water level was slightly high. The water temperature was 48 degrees, which is usually a death knell for Florida-strain largemouth bass fishing.

I started fishing along the south end of the reservoir, which consists of a concrete and stone dam, two submerged rock piles, and a small brush pile. The bottom terrain along the base of the dam is covered with softball-size rocks. I slowly dissected this area with several of Z-Man's Midwest finesse offerings, but I failed to garner any strikes.

After that, I plied the east shoreline, and it relinquished five largemouth bass. This shoreline is the steepest of the four. It is endowed with two primary points and three tertiary points. These five largemouth bass were caught in three to five feet of water from one of the tertiary points and the two primary points. Two of them were caught with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve with a Z-Man's coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. The other three were caught on a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD BugZ matched with a chartreuse 1/16-ounce OG Mushroom Jighead. This combo was employed with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation.

I failed to elicit any strikes across a shallow mud flat that occupies most of the northern shoreline or from a small feeder creek that enters the reservoir at the west end of this shoreline.

I caught five more largemouth bass along the reservoir's west-side shoreline, which features three medium-size patches of winter-dead water lilies, a shallow 30-yard long clay-and-gravel ledge, one primary point, and three tertiary points. Two of the largemouth bass were abiding in three to five feet of water near the deep-water side of the 30-yard clay-and-gravel ledge in the midsection of the shoreline. The other three were caught from the tip and one side of the primary point near the south end of the shoreline in three to five feet of water. They were also caught on a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve with the green-pumpkin TRD BugZ rig.

During this outing, I wielded a total of thirteen Z-Man Midwest finesse baits affixed on an array of colors and sizes of Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jigheads, and two of them were productive. Eight largemouth bass were allured by a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD BugZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead, and the other two engulfed a Z-Man's coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead.

Both of these lures were presented with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick retrieve. The deadstick portion of the retrieve lasted from three to seven seconds, and all of the strikes occurred during the deadstick portion of the presentation. Surprisingly, the strikes were so subtle that they felt like nothing more than the bass suddenly just being there. I failed to generate any strikes while employing a hop-and-bounce retrieve, a steady-swim retrieve, a drag-and-deadstick retrieve, and a slow swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.

In our eyes, catching 10 Florida-strain largemouth bass in water temperatures that are 55 degrees or less is considered a pretty decent outing in north-central Texas. In comparison, many bass anglers in my neck of the woods will fish for six to eight hours and hope they can generate two or three strikes in water that is cold.

Dec. 20

Norman Brown of Lewisville, Texas, filed a brief on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 20 outing at a community reservoir in north-central Texas. It is one of the impoundments that Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, fished on Dec. 19, and Steve had a difficult time catching 10 largemouth bass from this reservoir.

Here is an edited version of his brief.

Local thermometers reported that the morning's low temperature was 41 degrees, and the afternoon's high temperature was 57 degrees. The wind quartered out of the southeast at 10 to 15 mph. The sky was fair. The barometric pressure was 30.44 at noon and 30.39 at 3:00 p.m.

The water level was slightly above normal. The water exhibited about 14 inches of visibility. I was unable to measure the water temperature on Dec. 20, but it was 48 degrees when Steve measured it on Dec. 19.

The underwater terrain consists of clay and gravel. There is an abundance of twigs and broken branches littering the floor of the reservoir. The shorelines are endowed with patches of winter-dead cattails, three mats of water lilies, cypress trees, and grass.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 12:48 a.m. to 2:48 a.m., 7:01 a.m. to 9:01 a.m., and 7:28 p.m. to 9:28 p.m.

I began fishing at 12:45 p.m. and fished until 3:00 p.m.

I began the outing mostly fishing around the two primary points and the smaller tertiary points along the east shoreline, and I caught three largemouth bass. They were abiding in five to eight feet of water and between 10 and 20 feet from the water's edge.

The most fruitful location was inside a small and narrow feeder-creek arm at the northwest end of the reservoir. It relinquished nine largemouth bass. They were abiding in three to four feet of water in the upper end of the creek arm near the grass and winter-dead cattails that embellish the shorelines.

I was unable to generate any strikes from the west and south ends of the reservoir.

All totaled, I caught 12 largemouth bass. They were allured by a 4.75-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ matched to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. This combo was employed with a slow drag-shake-and-deadstick presentation.

Dec. 29

Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, posted a brief log about his outing at one of northeastern Kansas' power-plant reservoirs.

Here is an edited version of his log.

The National Weather Service reported that the morning's low temperature was 38 degrees, and the afternoon's high temperature was 66 degrees. The wind angled out of the southwest, south, west, and northwest at 7 mph at 3:53 a.m. to roaring as high as 44 mph at 12:53 p.m. The sky was fair. The barometric pressure was 29.58 at 12:53 a.m., 29.63 at 5:53 a.m., 29.68 at 11:53 a.m., and 29.72 at 3:53 p.m.

The water level looked to be about one foot below normal. The water exhibited about one foot of visibility. The surface temperature along the four areas that I fished inside the warm-water plume ranged from 47 to 50 degrees, and these areas were somewhat sheltered from the horrendous wind.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar noted that the best fishing would take place from 3:41 a.m. to 5:41 a.m., 4:04 p.m. to 6:04 p.m., and 9:52 a.m. to 11:52 a.m.

All the cold-water reservoirs within a 60-mile radius of Kansas City are covered with ice. When I launched my boat just before sunrise, there were already six boats afloat.

One boat of anglers who were fishing around the wind-blown area of the hot-water outlet was capsized. There was also a pair of geese hunters with scores of decoys cluttering the water adjacent to one of the wind-sheltered areas that I fished.

This reservoir used to be a bountiful and delightful waterway for Midwest finesse anglers to fish for largemouth bass. There were scores of outings when we could catch an average from 10 to 20 largemouth bass an hour, and there were a couple of extremely bountiful outings when we caught 101 largemouth bass in four hours. But during the past six years, something has gone awry, and it has become a trying endeavor for talented Midwest finesse anglers and power anglers to find and catch largemouth bass. For example, I fished today from 7:39 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and during this six-hour-and-21-minute endeavor, I struggled to catch 11 largemouth bass, one channel catfish, and one freshwater drum. And one fish wrapped my line around a partially submerged tree and broke my line.

It is interesting to note that I crossed paths with two power fishermen, who were unsuccessfully wielding a large crankbait and a large swimbait.

The somewhat wind-sheltered areas that I fished are situated along four rock-and-boulder-laden shorelines that were embellished with a submerged creek channel that meanders nearby. Most northeastern Kansas anglers described these shorelines as bluffs.

The largemouth bass were caught on either a 2 ½-inch Z-Man's watermelon-red ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/20-ounce mushroom-style jig or a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, which I retrieved with a deadstick presentation with a lot of subtle twitches.

The bulk of the largemouth bass were caught along about a 50-yard stretch of a shoreline that was graced with a 50-degree surface temperature.

Dec. 29

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 29 outing with Bill Kenney of Denton

Here is an edited version of their log.

Between Dec. 20 and 26, north-central Texas received its share of the major cold front that walloped much of the nation, but fortunately, we were not waylaid with ice and snow. Since then, the weather has become more mild-mannered, and it felt more like early spring instead of early winter.

On Dec. 29, the sky was overcast. The morning low was 60 degrees and the afternoon high reached 69 degrees. A light wind was quartering out of the southeast at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure measured 29.94 at noon and 29.92 at 4:00 p.m.

The weather was so pleasant that Bill and I elected to fish at a state reservoir located in an exurban area of north-central Texas. It was my first outing since Dec. 19.

In-Fisherman's solunar table noted that the best fishing would occur from 3:53 a.m. to 5:53 a.m., 10:04 a.m. to 12:04 p.m., and 4:16 p.m. to 6:16 p.m.

Bill and I fished from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The primary geological features of this impoundment consist of rock- and boulder-laden shorelines and points. Many of these areas are graced with overhanging trees, submerged boulders, laydowns, and some flooded buck brush.

The water exhibited 18 inches of visibility. The water level was 8.84 feet below normal. We were hoping the surface temperature would be in the low 50s, and we were disheartened to discover that it was 45 degrees instead.

It was no surprise to us that the fishing for Florida-strain largemouth bass was brutally tough.

We started our outing inside a small bay on the lower end of the reservoir. We slowly dissected three chunk-rock and boulder-laden shorelines along the south, east, and west sides of this bay. The south, east, and west shorelines have gradients that range between 45 and 60 degrees. We did not fish along the bay's northern shoreline, which is flatter and consists of mostly red clay and pea gravel.

We located several pods of fish and threadfin shad around the south and west shorelines with our sonar units, but we were unable to provoke any strikes.

We caught only one spotted bass and missed another strike from the east shoreline. This spotted bass was abiding in eight feet of water and about 20 feet from the water's edge. It was allured by a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ matched with a red 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. It was employed with a painfully slow drag-and-deadstick presentation.

Next, we ventured to the midsection of the reservoir, where we probed a portion of one of two riprap jetties and the bottom and edges of a nearby creek channel that separates the two riprap jetties. This area is located on the east side of the reservoir. We located three small clusters of fish with our sonar units that were relating to the bottom of the ditch in 17 to 21 feet of water, but we were unable to coax these fish to bite.

In summary, this is considered a normal wintertime outing in north-central Texas. We utilized an array of suspending jerkbaits, a swimjig, a Z-Man's Finesse Chatterbait, and a variety of other Z-Man's Midwest finesse rigs, and the only effective one was a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD TicklerZ rigged on a red 1/16-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead and a slow drag-and-deadstick presentation.

The black-bass fishing will remain quite a challenge for us for many weeks to come, which is one of our wintertime woes that stem from having to deal with the Florida-strain largemouth bass that have been stocked in our reservoirs.

Dec. 30

Steve Reideler of Denton, Texas, posted a log on the Finesse News Network about his Dec. 30 outing with Mark Jarret of Denton and his son Nathan Jarret and grandson Luke Jarrett of Chandler, Arizona.

Here is an edited version of their log.

Mark Jarret, Nathan Jarret, and Luke Jarrett joined me for a final outing of 2022. Nathan and Luke were visiting Denton for the Christmas holiday.

Because the fishing for the Florida-strain largemouth bass is so horrid at the federal and state reservoirs in north-central Texas this time of year, we decided to conduct an afternoon bank-walking endeavor at three community reservoirs near Denton.

It was sunny until it became overcast at 1:00 p.m. The morning's low temperature was 45 degrees. The afternoon's high temperature was 63 degrees. A light wind meandered out of the north at 5 to 10 mph. The barometric pressure measured 30.04 at 11:00 a.m. to 29.94 at 5:00 p.m.

In-Fisherman's solunar calendar indicated that the best fishing periods would occur between 4:36 a.m. and 6:36 a.m., 10:47 a.m. and 12:47 p.m., and 4:58 p.m. to 6:58 a.m. It also noted that the fishing would be great.

We fished from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and then we took a lunch break. After lunch, we fished from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The three community reservoirs that we chose to fish have similar underwater terrains. They are comprised primarily of small gravel, red clay, and some sand. They also have numerous tree limbs, bald-cypress trees, bald-cypress tree knees, and other wood debris littering their shorelines and shallow-water areas. All three of them are endowed with shallow sand-and-gravel ledges that extend about five feet out from their waters' edges. Their shorelines vary in grade from 10- to 15-degree inclines to 30- to 45-degree inclines.

At the first community reservoir, the water exhibited about 12 inches of clarity. The water temperature was 46 degrees. The water level appeared to be normal. We caught five largemouth bass here.

The second impoundment was a bit less productive than the first one. The water was murkier than usual and exhibited an odd grayish color with about 12 inches of visibility. The water temperature was 56 degrees. The water level appeared to be normal. This reservoir yielded two largemouth bass.

The third reservoir was the most fruitful; it relinquished 13 largemouth bass and one bullhead catfish. The water temperature was 52 degrees. The water level appeared to be about normal. The water exhibited 12 to 14 inches of visibility.

To make a long story short, we were delighted to catch 20 largemouth bass and one bullhead catfish. All of them were caught in four to eight feet of water near the deep-water sides of the shallow sand-and-gravel ledges along the more steeply-sloped shorelines.

Nine of them were allured by a 2.75-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD TubeZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. Seven largemouth bass and the bullhead catfish were beguiled by a Z-Man's green-pumpkin TRD BugZ affixed on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. Two were tempted by a Z-Man's bama-bug TRD BugZ fastened on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. One was caught on a Z-Man's California-craw TRD HogZ matched with a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead. Another one was caught on a Z-Man's coppertreuse TRD TicklerZ rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce Z-Man's OG Mushroom Jighead.

These five combos were employed with a slow drag-and-deadstick retrieve.

Endnote

My fishing cohorts and I caught a total of 2048 black bass in 2022. Of these 2048 black bass, 1161 were largemouth bass, 533 were smallmouth bass, 343 were spotted bass, and 11 were hybrid-spotted bass.

We also fished a total of 81 times for 377 hours. This calculates to a catch rate of five bass per hour and 25 bass per trip.

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