Ned Rig

Ned Rigs for Bass Fishing: The Father of the Ned Rig Shares Detailed Logbook of His Catches

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Ned Kehde

In February, Old Man Winter waylaid northeastern Kansas. From Feb. 6 to Feb. 18, area thermometers plummeted, dropping to 23 degrees below zero on Feb. 16. For 13 days, our thermometers never climbed above 28 degrees. It reached 36 degrees on Feb.19.

Before this arctic blast arrived, my wife Patty Kehde and I tried to fish a community reservoir on Feb. 2, but 50 percent of its water was covered with ice and it was too much of an ordeal to attempt to clear the ice from the wintertime lairs that we traditionally fish.

Then on Feb. 3, we spent a considerable amount of time breaking up the ice that covered the shallower flats inside two of the feeder-creek arms of a state reservoir and eventually one of those areas became open enough for us to catch four largemouth bass, one crappie and one wiper in about 25 minutes of fishing. After that minimal catch, there were no other fruitful wintertime areas to fish.

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We ventured to another community reservoir on Feb. 5. We found the water's surface temperature to be 39 degrees. Much of the water had a brownish-red and euglena-type bloom, which was not a delightful sight. What's more, we failed to find any patches of coontail that were not sickly and covered with slime and filamentous algae. We fished about one hour without eliciting a strike and went home.

By Feb. 12, thick layers of ice covered all of our reservoirs, and we suspected that we will not be afloat until sometime in March.

During this hiatus from fishing, we decided to thoroughly examine our Midwest finesse archives and logs from Jan. 1, 2005, to Dec. 31, 2020.

Here is what we discovered about those 15 years of using Midwest finesse tactics in northeastern Kansas:

We caught and released 49,324 black bass from 21 flatland reservoirs. We fished 1,468 times, which encompassed 5,595 hours and about 3.8 hours per outing. We did not tabulate how many bluegills, buffalo, channel catfish, carp, crappie, flathead catfish. freshwater drum, green sunfish, sauger, walleye, white bass and wipers that we accidentally caught while pursuing black bass. From 2005 through 2009, there were numerous outings each year when we were focused solely on the pursuit of white bass and wipers that abided in the federal reservoirs but these outings are not included in our tabulations. 

After our white bass populations began to dwindle pronouncedly around 2009, our entire piscatorial focus became aimed at catching black bass with spinning rods and Midwest finesse tactics. As anglers, we are numbers hunters, not lunker hunters, and white bass provided us with an enjoyable way at times to catch 100 or more fish an outing, which placated our numbers hunting desires. From 2005 into 2017, we were occasionally able to catch 100 or more black bass an outing by employing Midwest finesse tactics.

All but one of these 1,468 outings occurred at two power-plant reservoirs, four state reservoirs, four federal reservoirs and ten community reservoirs. One of these outings occurred at a private impoundment, and we fished there once. One of the community reservoirs is situated in the northern suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri. The other 19 reservoirs are situated in northeastern Kansas and along what we call the Interstate 70 corridor. This area stretches from Kansas City, Kansas, to Junction City, Kansas. Its east-west dimension is about 128 miles long; its north-south dimension is about 97 miles wide. These reservoirs are surrounded by a population of about 1,183,312 people and all of them are heavily fished.

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As we examined our archival records of these 15 years, we saw that there was a substantial increase in the number of anglers fishing these reservoirs for black bass and by 2016, an increasing number of them were employing Midwest finesse rigs. We never suspected that Midwest finesse fishing would become somewhat fashionable. We thought it was just a simple and recreational way of fishing. But towards the end of the 2010s, it had become fashionable enough that the website of one of the largest tackle retailers had a section focused on Midwest finesse rigs, featuring 81 jigs and 49 soft-plastic baits.

During these 15 years, the largemouth bass in one of the power-plant reservoirs, the smallmouth bass in one of the federal reservoirs, and the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in another federal reservoir were significantly battered by bass tournaments. To our surprise, some of these tournament anglers were using Midwest finesse rigs. The continuous intensity of these tournament events paralleled the decline of the numbers of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass that Midwest finesse anglers, who were recreational anglers, could catch and immediately release, and this spawned some recreational black bass anglers to hope that all tournaments would institute a catch-weigh-and-immediate-release regulation.

During the second decade of this century, we witnessed the effects of the largemouth bass virus, which severely affected the smallmouth bass populations in one of the power-plant reservoirs, one of the federal reservoirs, and one of our community reservoirs. Consequently, it affected our abilities to catch smallmouth bass.

One of the most enlightening phenomena that occurred during this 15-year span was the arrival of brittle naiad, coontail, curly-leaf pondweed, Eurasian milfoil, and zebra mussels in several of our reservoirs. Their arrivals -- especially the Eurasian milfoil -- enhanced our abilities to find and catch more black bass through the calendar year than ever before in the history of Midwest finesse fishing, which stretches back to the late 1950s and early 1960s. 

But because brittle naiad, curly-leaf pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil are castigated as invasive species and aquatic nuisances, the managers of two of our community reservoirs began in June of 2012 and worked through August of 2020 to eradicate the Eurasian milfoil with aquatic herbicides. These intense and extensive applications not only killed the milfoil, but it eventually killed patches of American pondweed, coontail, American water willows, and other kinds of vegetation. As these patches of vegetation disappeared, our abilities to locate and catch the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass declined dramatically in these two community reservoirs. 

The management of one of the power-plant reservoirs also killed acres and acres of submerged aquatic vegetation. These applications of aquatic herbicides coincided with the attack of the largemouth bass virus upon the smallmouth bass that abided in the power-plant reservoir and one of the community reservoirs, and when this occurred, our abilities to find and catch smallmouth bass at these two reservoirs became a hellish and discouraging chore. It is important to note that, around 2010 and 2011, when the largemouth bass virus walloped the largemouth bass in several of our community reservoirs that were embellished with significant patches of brittle naiad, coontail, curly-leaf pondweed, and Eurasian milfoil, our catch rates continued to accelerate. 

It took them several years and a lot of applications of herbicides to rid their reservoirs of submerged aquatic vegetation. But our catch rates remained relatively high until the managers finally overwhelmed the aquatic vegetation with herbicides during 2018, 2019, and 2020. We have gradually come to the conclusion that the flatland reservoirs that are not graced with significant patches of submerged aquatic vegetation are precarious and unsuitable world for largemouth bass to live in. 

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As the second decade of this century was ending, some Midwest finesse anglers began seeking a way to stop the use of herbicides in and around all of the waterways in northeastern Kansas. And these anglers contended that the cultivation of submerged aquatic vegetation is a necessary feature of a reservoir, and to properly maintain the vegetation, the managers of the community, federal, power-plant, and state reservoirs were encouraged to form a regional consortium to purchase a mechanical harvester from a manufacturer such as Aquarius Systems; the smallest harvester costs $100,000, and the largest costs $200,000.

When the zebra mussels arrived in northeastern Kansas, one of the fisheries biologists in northeastern Kansas reported that he cried and was virtually fit to be tied. We noticed, however, that the arrival of the zebra mussels paralleled the clearing of one of our community reservoirs, which seemed to spawn the growth of massive patches of coontail and increase the population of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, which allowed Midwest finesse anglers to catch more black bass at this reservoir than they caught before the arrival of the zebra mussels. Throughout the year of 2020, many Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas have not crossed paths with one zebra mussel, but shortly after the arrival of the zebra mussels, we used to find 50 to 100 of them clinging to a stem of an American water willow and tree limbs.

During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, Patty Kehde was my only fishing partner. But during the years before the pandemic, our children and grandchildren accompanied us at times. And from 2005 through 2019, I fished in northeastern Kansas with Rick Allen, Bill Beach, Dick Bessey, Gail Bessey, Terry Bivins, Brent Chapman, Terry Claudell, Kevin Davis, Stephen Desch, Pauk Finn, Brent Frazee, Merit Goodman, Bob Gum, Joe Gwadera, David Harrison, Rodney Hatridge, Rick Hebenstreit, Thomas Heinen, Clyde Holscher, Allen Kehde, John Kehde, Lakin Kehde, Rodger Kehde, Casey Kidder, Stacey King, Bob Laskey, Pok-Chi Lau, Daniel Nussbaum, Travis Perret, Dave Petro, Drew Reese, Steve Reideler, Andrew Trembath, and Glenn Young. Patty and I are eternally grateful for the enlightening insights about the art of Midwest finesse fishing that these 34 anglers revealed to us.

In addition to our archival and oral-history records of these 15 years, our logbooks contain thousands of words that describe how, when, and where we fished across the years. Here is an abbreviated year-by-year account of our piscatorial endeavors from 2005 to 2020, which are extracted from the logs.

2005

In 2005, we caught and released 2,031 black bass. This catch consisted of 824 largemouth bass, 1,201 smallmouth bass, and six spotted bass. I was walloped by cancer and surgery, which put me totally at bay from May 16 to June 27. Nevertheless, we fished for black bass 89 times and a total of 267 hours. We caught an average catch of 22 black bass an outing and 7.6 an hour. A lot of these outings were solely in pursuit of smallmouth bass. 

We fished at one power-plant reservoir, one state reservoir, three community reservoirs and three federal reservoirs. 

Our most effective Midwest finesse rigs were either a 2- or 3-inch tube affixed to a 1/16-ounce jig; a four-inch soft-plastic worm affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig; a 2-inch YUM Wooly Beavertail affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher's Mushroom Head Jig; a three-inch YUM Dinger affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher's Mushroom Head Jig; either a 1/16-ounce or a 1/8-ounce Strike King Lure Company Bitsy Jig affixed to a Strike King Lure Company's Denny Brauer Bitsy Chunk Bait; a 1/16-ounce marabou jig in either a black or a silver hue. We customized some of these rigs by shortening them. During several cold-water outings, one of us occasionally wielded a neutrally-buoyant and hard-plastic jerkbait manufactured by Smithwick Lures, which is a holdover from some of our power-fishing days and it took us until to 2012 to delete the jerkbait from our repertoire.

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2006

In 2006, we caught and released 3,060 black bass. This catch consisted of 2,320 largemouth bass, 738 smallmouth bass, and two spotted bass. We fished 115 times for a total of 467 hours, which is an average of black bass 26 an outing and 6.5 an hour. We fished at one power-plant reservoir, one state reservoir, three federal reservoirs, and four community reservoirs. 

At one state reservoir and one community reservoir, we began to find significant patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, such as coontail, curly-leaf pondweed, and brittle naiad, where we could inveigle substantial numbers of largemouth bass throughout the calendar year. 

Our most effective Midwest finesse rigs were a four-inch Strike King's 3X Worm or their Super Finesse Worm affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher's Mushroom Head Jig; a two-inch YUM's Wooly Beavertail affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher's Mushroom Head Jig; a 3-inch YUM Dinger affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher 's Mushroom Head Jig; either a 1/16-ounce or a 1/8-ounce Strike King's Bitsy Jig affixed to a Strike King's Denny Brauer Bitsy Chunk Bait; a 1/16-ounce marabou jig in either an olive or a silver hue; either a 2- or 3-inch tube affixed to a 1/16-ounce jig. 

During several cold-water outings, one of us occasionally wielded a neutrally buoyant and hard-plastic jerkbait manufactured by Smithwick Lures. We caught 109 largemouth bass on Oct.12, 2006, which was the first time we used a 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's Zero affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig, and it quickly became our most effective Midwest finesse rig. At times, we added more shakes to our retrieves. And we used the strolling presentation more frequently.

2007

In 2007, we caught and released 2,967 black bass. This catch consisted of 2,677 largemouth bass 290 smallmouth bass and one spotted bass. We fished 120 times for a total of 487 hours, which is an average catch of 25 black bass an outing and six an hour. We fished at one state reservoir, two power-plant reservoirs, three federal reservoirs, and three community reservoirs. Our focus on finding largemouth bass abiding around patches of submerged aquatic vegetation became more intense and fruitful. 

YUM's four-inch Muy Grub affixed to a 3/32-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig began to be a very effective Midwest finesse rig -- especially around and over the patches of submerged aquatic vegetation. The 2 1/2-inch Strike King Lure Company's Zero affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig proved to be effective around all kinds of underwater terrains and environments. 

We also used the 2 1/2-inch Zero on a 3/32-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig quite regularly, which was an unusual phenomenon because we have been relentlessly wedded to using 1/32- and 1/16-ounce jigs for many years. Besides the YUM Muy Grub and the 2 1/2-inch Zero, a 4-inch Strike King Lure Company's 3X Worm or their Super Finesse Worm affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig continued to play a dominant role in our repertoire, and so did YUM's 2-inch Wooly Beavertail affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig. 

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At times, Strike King Lure Company's Bitsy Jig affixed to a Strike King Lure Company's Denny Brauer Bitsy Chunk Bait and a 1/16-ounce marabou jig in either an olive or a silver hue was very effective. But the role of three-inch YUM's Dinger affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig was diminished. We still occasionally wielded a hard-plastic and neutrally-buoyant jerkbait manufactured by Smithwick Lures during some of our cold-water endeavors. To our disappointment, we failed to catch 100 or more black bass on an outing in 2007.

2008

In 2008, we caught and released 3,718 black bass. We failed to tabulate how many of the black bass were smallmouth bass and spotted bass, but we caught and released a significant number of smallmouth bass in 2008. We fished at one power-plant reservoir, one federal reservoir, three state reservoirs, and three community reservoirs. We fished 122 times for 488 hours, which is an average catch of 30 black bass per outing and 7.6 per hour. Our fascination with finding and catching largemouth bass that abide around patches of submerged aquatic vegetation continued to develop, and we caught 112 largemouth bass around massive patches of coontail at one of the state reservoirs on Aug. 29. 

We found that an increasing number of our community and state reservoirs and one of the power-plant reservoirs were becoming embellished with submerged aquatic vegetation. This was the year of the grub, and consequentially YUM's Muy Grub played a consequential role in Midwest finesse tactics. 

The 2 1/2-inch Strike King's Zero affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher's Mushroom Head Jig continued to be a predominant rig, and we were surprised to discover how effective a pearl Zero was around patches of submerged aquatic vegetation and other environs. The 4-inch Strike King Lure Company's 3X Worm or their Super Finesse Worm affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig and YUM's 2-inch Wooly Beavertail affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher's Mushroom Head Jig continued to be effective rigs. 

We occasionally added a Gary Yamamoto Bait Company Shad Shape Worm affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig; the Shad Shape Worm was a tool that Shin Fukae of Osaka, Japan, showed us at Beaver Lake, Arkansas, on April 1, 2006. The silver marabou jig had some effective moments, as did a finesse-size soft-plastic worm rigged wacky-style on a 1/16-ounce jig. And there were a few cold-water outings when we found Smithwick Lures' neutrally-buoyant and hard-plastic Rogue to be fruitful.

2009

In 2009, we caught and released 4,129 black bass. We failed to accurately tabulate how many of the black bass were smallmouth bass and spotted bass. We fished 117 times for a total of 468 hours, which is an average catch of 35 black bass an outing and 8.8 an hour. We caught 103 largemouth bass on one outing. We fished at one power-plant reservoir, three federal reservoirs, three state reservoirs, and six community reservoirs. Our focus on finding largemouth bass abiding around patches of submerged aquatic vegetation became more intense and fruitful. We learned that patches of curly-leaf pondweed begin to wilt and die in June, and it sprouts again in November. We also discovered that patches of brittle naiad, coontail, and Eurasian milfoil begin to wilt around Halloween. 

YUM's 4-inch Muy Grub affixed to a 3/32-ounce Gopher's Mushroom Head Jig continued to be a very effective Midwest finesse rig. The 2 1/2-inch Strike King's Zero affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher's Mushroom Head Jig continued to be effective around all kinds of underwater terrains and environments, and we worked with three hues: green-pumpkin, Junebug, and pearl. Besides YUM's Muy Grub and the 2 1/2-inch Zero, a 4-inch Strike King's 3X Worm or their Super Finesse Worm affixed to either a 1/16- or 3/32-ounce Gopher's Mushroom Head Jig continued to play a dominate role in our repertoire, and so did YUM's 2-inch Wooly Beavertail affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig. 

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At times Strike King's Bitsy Jig affixed to a Strike King's Denny Brauer Bitsy Chunk Bait and a 1/16-ounce marabou jig in a silver hue was very effective. We experimented with Strike King's 3X ZToo Jerkbait affixed to a small jig; like the Zero and 3X Worm, the ZToo is made from an ElaZtech-type of soft plastic. We occasionally wielded a neutrally-buoyant and hard-plastic jerkbait manufactured by Smithwick Lures during some of our cold-water endeavors. To our disappointment, we failed to catch 100 or more black bass on an outing in 2000.

2010

In 2010, we caught and released 5,570 black bass. We failed to tabulate how many of the black bass were smallmouth bass and spotted bass. We fished 127 times in 2010 for a total of 509 hours, which is an average catch of 43 black bass an outing and 10.9 per hour. We caught 105 largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass on one outing, 102 largemouth bass on another outing, and 100 largemouth bass on another outing. 

This was a banner year for catching black bass in northeastern Kansas, which paralleled the development of patches of submerged aquatic vegetation in a few of our community and state reservoirs. We fished at two power-plant reservoirs, two federal reservoirs, three state reservoirs, and six community reservoirs. 

Our repertoire of rigs expanded. One of the additions was Gene Larew Lures' Baby Hoodaddy in the black-neon hue, green-pumpkin hue, and watermelon-red hue, which were slightly customized and affixed to 1/32-ounce, 1/16-ounce, or 3/32-ounce Gopher Tackles' Mushroom Head Jigs in either a chartreuse hue or a red hue. The second one was Z-Man Fishing Products' Rain MinnowZ (now called the TRD MinnowZ) in a green-pumpkin hue, PB&J hue and pearl hue. The Rain MinnowZ is made with ElaZtech. The Rain MinnowZ was affixed to 1/32-ounce,1/16-ounce, or 3/32-ounce Gopher Tackles' Mushroom Head Jigs in either a chartreuse hue or a red hue. 

The third addition was Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ, which we affixed to either a chartreuse or a red 1/16-ounce Gopher's Mushroom Head Jig. The fourth one was Z-Man's ZinkerZ, which was customized by cutting it in half and making it 2 1/2 inches long; it is identical to Strike King's Zero, which Z-Man manufactures for Strike King. We used the ZinkerZ in a variety of hues: coppertreuse, Junebug, PB&J, and pearl. Throughout 2010, we used the 2 1/2-inch Zero and 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ. The 4-inch Strike King's 3X Worm or their Super Finesse Worm affixed to either a 1/16- or 3/32-ounce Gopher's Mushroom Head Jig continued to play a critical role throughout the year, and a wacky rigged 3X Worm was effective at times. 

We continued to discover that a pearl hue was very effective when the clarity of the water was affected by an algae bloom or the aftereffects of a heavy rain, and we also began using a Junebug hue in stained water. And again, some of us periodically worked with a neutrally-buoyant and hard-plastic jerkbait manufactured by Smithwick Lures during some of our cold-water endeavors, and a finesse-size hair-skirted jig adorned with an Uncle Josh's Spin Pork Frog played a noteworthy role around patches of coontail in five to eight feet of water on Dec. 9, 2010, when 15 percent of one of our community reservoirs was covered with ice.

2011

In 2011, we caught 4,566 black bass. We failed to tabulate how many of the black bass were smallmouth bass and spotted bass. We fished 127 times for a total of 508 hours, which is an average of 35.9 black bass an outing and nine an hour. We caught 128 largemouth bass on one outing, 101 largemouth bass on another outing, 131 largemouth bass on another outing, 101 largemouth bass on another outing, and 151 largemouth bass on another outing. We fished at two power-plant reservoirs, three federal reservoirs, four state reservoirs, and four community reservoirs. 

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We expanded the color motifs of our Midwest finesse rigs. The new colors were pumpkin chartreuse and purple haze. We also added two new soft-plastic baits to our collection: Zoom Bait Company's Mini Lizard affixed to either 1/32- or 1/16-ounce chartreuse Gopher Mushroom Head Jig and Z-Man's 4-inch Finesse WormZ that we affixed to 1/32-, 1/16- and 3/32-ounce Gopher Mushroom Head Jigs. We also caught an array of black bass on tubes, Strike King's Zero, YUM's 4-inch Muy Grub, Z-Man's Finesse ShadZ, Z-Man's Rain MinnowZ, and Z-Man's ZinkerZ, and all of them were affixed to a Gopher Mushroom Head Jig. 

This was the last year that we used a hard-body and neutrally-buoyant jerkbait. We were also delighted to witness the growth of a variety of submerged aquatic vegetation on the shallow-water flats and shorelines at several of the community and state reservoirs, and this vegetation phenomenon made it easier for us to find can catch largemouth bass and some smallmouth bass.

2012

In 2012, we caught 4,393 black bass. We failed to tabulate how many of the black bass were smallmouth bass and spotted bass. We fished 122 times for a total of 480 hours, which is an average of 36 black bass an outing and nine an hour. We caught 118 largemouth bass on Feb. 9, and the surface temperature was 39 degrees, and 102 of these 118 largemouth bass were caught in about three hours on a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's Junebug ZinkerZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher Mushroom Head jig in 3 1/2 to 6 feet of water on a shallow-water flat around patches of curly-leaf pondweed and Eurasian milfoil at one of our community reservoirs. 

We caught 117 largemouth bass on another outing. To our dismay, the managers of the community reservoirs where we caught 118 largemouth bass on Feb. 9 began applying herbicide on the patches of Eurasian milfoil in June of 2012. This terrible phenomenon intensified during the next eight years at this reservoir and several others in Kansas. Throughout out the year, we fished at one power-plant reservoir, two federal reservoirs, three state reservoirs, and four community reservoirs. 

On Nov. 6, I fell at a boat ramp at a community reservoir and broke several bones in my left wrist, which required surgery, and Terry Claudell took me fishing on Dec. 4 for a few hours, and I struggled to help him catch 50 largemouth bass at a community reservoir, and that was my only and last outing during the final eight weeks of 2012. Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, began communicating in 2011 with the president of Z-Man Fishing Products, Daniel Nussbaum of Charleston, South Carolina, talking to him about creating more jigs and ElaZtech baits for Midwest finesse angler. 

By 2012, some of Reese's ideas and suggestions were beginning to be manufactured by Z-Man. Thus, we began using two new soft-plastic baits by Z-Man's: one was the Hula StickZ, which was designed by Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas; the second one was a customized Z-Man's FattyZ, which is five inches long, and we used 2 1/2 inches of its tail. We affixed all of the soft-plastic baits Gopher's Mushroom Head Jigs in three sizes: 1/32-, 1/16- and 3/32-ounce. We used three colors of Gopher's Mushroom Head Jigs: blue, chartreuse, and red; and for some unknown reason, we discovered that a blue jig would be more productive than a chartreuse one and a red one for a spell; then the red one would be more fruitful than the blue and chartreuse jigs; then the chartreuse one would have its days. But day in and day out, the chartreuse one seemed to the most effective color. 

We also employed a wacky-worm rig, various soft-plastic tubes, Strike King's Zero, Zoom's Mini Lizard, YUM's 4-inch Muy Grub, Z-Man's Finesse ShadZ, Z-Man's Rain MinnowZ, and Z-Man's ZinkerZ. The colors or hues of the soft-plastic baits that we used were California Craw, Dark Melon Red, Green Pumpkin, Junebug, PB&J, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Chartreuse, Purple Haze and Watermelon Chartreuse.

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2013

In 2013, we caught 4,123 black bass. This catch consisted of 2606 largemouth bass, 513 smallmouth bass, and four spotted bass. We fished 104 times for a total of 348 hours, which is an average catch of 39 black bass an outing and hour and 11.8 an hour. We caught 102 largemouth bass on an outing on June 13. We fished at one power-plant reservoir, three federal reservoirs, three state reservoirs, and five community reservoirs. 

In 2013, the only soft-plastic baits that we used in 2013 that were not Z-Man's items were YUM's 4-inch Muy Grub, Strike King's green-pumpkin-red-flake Super Finesse Worm, and Strike King's green-pumpkin-red-flake Zero. Z-Man introduced the Scented LeechZ to the angling world in 2013, and we worked with it, and we also used Z-Man's Finesse ShadZ, Finesse WormZ, Hula StickZ, Rain MinnowZ, ZinkerZ, and a prototype of the 3-inch GrubZ. 

All of our soft-plastic baits were attached to blue, chartreuse, orange, and red Gopher Mushroom Head Jigs. These were 1/32-, 1/16- and 3/32-ounce jigs with small hooks that had their barbs removed. The colors or hues of the soft-plastic baits that we used were California Craw, Dark Melon Red, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Red Flake, Junebug, PB&J, Pearl, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Chartreuse, Purple Haze, and Watermelon chartreuse. On Mar. 7, Drew Reese taught us how to affix a spinner blade to the back of a ZinkerZ and Hula StickZ, which was a very alluring rig at times, and Z-Man eventually created their TRD SpinZ in 2019.

2014

In 2014, we caught 2,847 black bass. This catch consisted of 2,411 largemouth bass, 459 smallmouth bass, and four spotted bass. We fished 91 times for a total of 364 hours, which is an average of 31.5 black bass an outing and 7.8 an hour. We fished at one power-plant reservoir, two federal reservoirs, two state reservoirs, and five community reservoirs. We caught 101 largemouth bass on one outing, 102 largemouth bass on another outing, and 104 on a third outing. 

It is interesting to note that on one outing, we were black bass fishing, and we caught and released 17 largemouth bass and 87 rainbow trout. We are not lunker hunters, but it was a delightful event to tangle with, weigh on a Normark electronic-digital scale, and immediately release a 6-pound, 10-ounce smallmouth bass at a community reservoir. 

But on Sept. 30, we were disheartened to discover that the managers at one our favorite community reservoirs sprayed another herbicide to kill Eurasian milfoil. We added one new rig to our Midwest finesse repertoire; it was the Finesse TRD, which Drew Reese helped to spawn; it is a factory-made version of our customized 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ. In addition to the Finesse TRD, we caught the black bass on a tube, YUM's 4-inch Muy Grub, Z-Man's Finesse ShadZ, Finesse WormZ, Hula StickZ, LeechZ, Rain MinnowZ, and ZinkerZ. All of our soft-plastic baits were attached to blue, chartreuse, and red Gopher Mushroom Head Jigs. These were 1/32-, 1/16- and 3/32-ounce jigs with small hooks that had their barbs removed. Occasionally, we wacky Finesse WormZ. 

The colors or hues of the soft-plastic baits that we used were Bama Craw, California Craw, Dark Melon Red, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Orange, Junebug, PB&J, Pearl, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Chartreuse, and Purple Haze.

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2015

In 2015, we caught 2,827 black bass. This catch consisted of 2,350 largemouth bass, 477 smallmouth bass, and two spotted bass. We fished 79 times for a total of 321 hours, which is an average of 35 bass an outing and 8.8 an hour. We fished at two power-plant reservoirs, two federal reservoirs, three state reservoirs, and five community reservoirs. On one outing, we caught 101 largemouth bass on one outing, we caught 108 largemouth bass on another outing, and we caught 121 largemouth bass on another outing. 

In May of 2015, portions of northeastern Kansas had 9.07 to 15,33 inches of rain, and on May 13 and 14, the managers of one of the community reservoirs closed the boat ramps and sprayed it again with an aquatic herbicide to kill the Eurasian milfoil. 

We added the 2 3/4-inch Z-Man BatwingZ to our assortment of finesse rigs, and in some ways it was a precursor to Z-Man's Baby Goat that was introduced in 2020. Throughout 2015, we caught black bass on a tube, YUM's 4-inch Muy Grub and these Z-Man's ElaZtech baits: Finesse ShadZ, Finesse WormZ, Hula StickZ, Rain MinnowZ, Scented LeechZ, and ZinkerZ. All of our soft-plastic baits were attached to blue, chartreuse, and red Gopher Mushroom Head Jigs. These were 1/32-, 1/16- and 3/32-ounce jigs with small hooks that had their barbs removed. Occasionally, we wacky rigged the Finesse WormZ on a jig. 

The colors or hues of the soft-plastic baits that we used were Bama Craw, California Craw, Canada Craw, Coppertreuse, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Orange, Junebug, PB&J, Pearl, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Chartreuse, and Purple Haze.

2016

In 2016, we caught 3,851 black bass. This catch consisted of 2,960 largemouth bass, 890 smallmouth bass, and one spotted bass. We fished 90 times for a total of 366 hours, which is an average of 42 bass an outing and 10.5 an hour. We fished at two power-plant reservoirs, two federal reservoirs, two state reservoirs, and five community reservoirs. 

Except for Strike Kings' green-pumpkin-red Super Finesse worm and their Zero, our soft-plastic-bait repertoire totally revolved around products manufactured by Z-Man, and we also used a few of their mushroom-style jigs and their new TRD TubeZ, which Drew Reese encouraged them to manufacture. At times, these rigs rewarded us with some handsome dividends. For instance, we caught 100 largemouth bass on one outing and 110 largemouth bass on another outing. Then on April 25, we enjoyed a delightful event by tangling with, weighing on a Normark electronic-digital scale, and immediately releasing a 6-pound, 6-ounce smallmouth bass at a community reservoir. 

What's more, we caught 111 smallmouth bass on Aug. 9, and they were caught on a 4-inch Z-Man watermelon Finesse WormZ on a black 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig, a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin-goby ZinkerZ affixed to an orange 1/16-ounce Gopher Mushroom Head Jig, a pumpkin-chartreuse ZinkerZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, a coppertreuse ZinkerZ affixed to an orange 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and a green-pumpkin-orange ZinkerZ on a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. We also incorporated Z-Man's TRD TubeZ into our repertoire. Besides the TRD TubeZ, Finesse WormZ and 2 ½-inch ZinkerZ, we caught black bass on these Z-Man's ElaZtech baits: a customized FattyZ, Finesse ShadZ, Hula StickZ, and Rain MinnowZ throughout 2016. 

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We worked with these colors and hues: California Craw, Coppertreuse, Green Pumpkin Goby, Green Pumpkin Orange, Junebug, Pearl, Pumpkin Chartreuse, and Watermelon.

2017

During 2017, we relished the last of the bountiful Midwest finesse years in northeastern Kansas' public reservoirs. We caught 3,866 black bass. This catch consisted of 3,656 largemouth bass, 290 smallmouth bass, and one spotted bass. We fished 107 times for a total of 433 hours, which is an average of 36 bass an outing and 8.9 an hour. We fished at one power-plant reservoir, one federal reservoir, three state reservoirs, and six community reservoirs. We caught 81 largemouth bass and 21 smallmouth bass on one outing, 105 largemouth bass and five smallmouth bass on another outing, and 110 largemouth bass on a third outing. 

On one wintertime outing, we employed one of the soft-plastic baits that Chuck Woods of Kansas City, Missouri, created in the early 1970s. It was one of Woods' Puddle Jumpers, which Mar-Lynn Lures of Blue Springs, Missouri, manufactured, and it is currently manufactured by Puddle Jumper Lures of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Woods is the founding father of Midwest finesse fishing. We used his three-inch Puddle Jumper in the root-beer hue, and we affixed it to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher Mushroom Head Jig. 

When we used it, we compared it to Z-Man's TRD HogZ, which is a 21st-century rendition of Woods' classic creature bait. And since then, the TRD HogZ has become a staple in our Midwest finesse tactics. In fact, some of our Midwest finesse colleagues in northeastern Kansas have it at the ready on every outing of the year. Z-Man began manufacturing two finesse-size swimbaits in 2017; one was the 2.5-inch Slim SwimZ and the three-inch Slim SwimZ, which in our hands supplemented our work with the 3 1/2-inch GrubZ. 

We also experimented with Z-Man's Trick ShotZ, which is a soft-plastic drop-shot worm that we affixed to a Gopher's Mushroom Head Jig. In addition to the Trick ShotZ, Puddle Jumper, and TRD HogZ, we caught black bass on these Z-Man soft-plastic baits: a customized FattyZ, a Finesse ShadZ, a Finesse TRD, a Finesse WormZ, a Hula StickZ, a Rain MinnowZ, a TRD TubeZ, and a 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ. We also caught some black bass on Strike King's green-pumpkin-red-flake Super Finesse Worm. 

We worked with the following colors or hues: Black, Black Blue, California Craw, Canada Craw, Coppertreuse, Drew's Craw, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Goby, Green-Pumpkin Orange, Green Pumpkin Red Flake, Junebug, Mudbug, PB&J, Pearl, Pumpkin Chartreuse, Purple Haze, and Root Beer. 

Some of our reservoirs continued to be subjected to applications of herbicides, and at times, it seemed as if it was beginning to adversely affect our abilities to find and catch black bass. For example, the residents at one of the community reservoirs were attempting to drag, cut, rake and poison most of the patches of coontail that grace the shallow-water shorelines and flats of this reservoir. 

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Grass carp were also stocked in this reservoir with hopes that they would consume all of the coontail and other aquatic macrophytes. It seemed that the residents and managers of this reservoir wanted to make it more like a swimming pool than a reservoir. Even though we were able to find a few burgeoning patches where we could occasionally catch some largemouth bass, the fishing was much more difficult in 2017 than it was in 2010. 2011, and 2012, when this reservoir was embellished with thousands of patches of coontail. 

During 2010, 2011, and 2012, the largemouth bass in this reservoir were being afflicted with the largemouth bass virus, but our catch rates were quite bountiful during those three years, and we attributed that bountifulness to the abundance of coontail. And by 2020, the largemouth bass in this reservoir became very difficult to find and catch.

2018

In 2018, the black bass fishing deteriorated dramatically. Our Midwest finesse colleagues in northeastern Kansas found the black bass fishing to be as woebegone as Patty and I were finding it to be. Thus, we did not fish as often as we did in years past, and we did not venture very far from our front door. We struggled to catch 1,790 black bass. This catch consisted of 1,727 largemouth bass and 63 smallmouth bass. We fished 63 times for a total of 255 hours, which is an average of 28 bass an outing and seven an hour. We fished at one power-plant reservoir, one federal reservoir, three state reservoirs, and four community reservoirs. 

 Z-Man introduced their 2 1/2-inch TRD CrawZ to the angling world in 2018, and it became a tool in the hands of a number of Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas. Z-Man also added the 2 1/2- and 3-inch Slim SwimZ to our Midwest finesse routines. They also reintroduced the Rain MinnowZ and renamed it the TRD MinnowZ, and as it had done since 2010, it helped us inveigle a goodly number of black bass. 

We also caught black bass on the following Z-Man's soft plastic baits: a customized FattyZ, Finesse ShadZ, a Finesse TRD, a Finesse WormZ, a Hula StickZ, a TRD HogZ, a TRD TubeZ, and a 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ. We affixed these soft-plastic baits to Gopher's 1/32-, 1/16-, and 3/32-ounce Mushroom Head Jigs; VMC's 1/32- and 1/16-ounce NME Neon Mooneye Jigs; TT Lure's 1/15-ounce NedlockZ HD jigs, which Z-Man introduced to the angling world in 2017, and Z-Man's 1/20- and 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jigs

The soft-plastic baits that we used possessed the following colors and hues: Canada Craw, Drew's Craw, Green Pumpkin, Junebug, Mudbug, PB&J, Pearl, Pumpkin Chartreuse, Purple Haze, and Sprayed Grass. We used chartreuse and red jigs.

2019

In 2019, we caught 2,434 black bass. This catch consisted of 2,341 largemouth bass, 91 smallmouth bass, and two spotted bass. We fished 74 times for a total of 301 hours, which is an average of 32 black bass per outing and eight per hour. We caught 122 largemouth bass on one outing. During the past 25 years, we have rarely fished at private impoundments, but we fished one in 2019, and it yielded 101 largemouth bass. We also fished at one federal reservoir, three state reservoirs, and four community reservoirs. 

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For years on end, most of our outings consist of 2 1/2 to 4 hours of fishing, but on Oct. 24, we fished for four hours and 54 minutes and caught 111 largemouth bass at a state reservoir. Mother Nature walloped northeastern Kansas with a severe tornado and heavy doses of rain. For a spell, all of this rain flooded and fouled our reservoirs. The water level at one federal reservoir reached 53.13 above its normal level. We suspected that a goodly number of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass were washed out of some of the reservoirs. 

In our eyes, the combinations of the largemouth bass virus, the array of herbicide applications that have taken place since 2012, and the vast volumes of water carrying largemouth bass and smallmouth bass over the spillways will play havoc with our abilities to find and catch largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in the years to come. 

Z-Man added a new soft-plastic bait to our Midwest finesse routines; it is a finesse-size creature bait called the TRD BugZ, and at times, we caught a significant number of black bass on it. In addition to theTRD BugZ, we caught black bass with the following Z-Man's ElaZtech baits: Finesse ShadZ, Finesse TRD, Finesse WormZ, 3 1/2-inch GrubZ, Hula StickZ, 3-inch Slim SwimZ, TRD HogZ, TRD MinnowZ, a prototype of the TRD TicklerZ, and ZinkerZ. We also worked with Strike King's Ned Ocho. We affixed these soft-plastic baits to Gopher's 1/32-, 1/16- and 3/32-ounce Mushroom Head Jigs; TT Lure's 1/15-ounce NedlockZ HD jigs, and Z-Man's 1/20-, 1/15- and 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jigs. Gopher Tackle went out of business, but we still had a generous supply of their jigs. 

We used blue, chartreuse, and red jigs. The soft-plastic baits possessed the following color or hues: Canada Craw, Coppertreuse, The Deal. Drew's Craw, Green Pumpkin, Junebug, Meat Dog, Mudbug, Pearl, and Purple Death.

2020

In 2020, Patty Kehde and I celebrated our eightieth birthdays. And to our chagrin, the COVID-19 pandemic limited where and how often we could fish. At the same time, it allowed a lot of folks in northeastern Kansas to go fishing, and during the months of March through June, we had never witnessed such an onslaught of anglers afloat and walking the shorelines of our community, federal, and state reservoirs. We did not venture to many of the waterways that used to be a vibrant part of our angling routines in what we are now calling the good old days of our youth and middle-aged years. But we were able to fish 101 times, and we were not accompanied by any of our Midwest finesse colleagues. We limited our fishing to 10 flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, which entailed towing our boat 5,934 miles. 

Two of these waterways were federal reservoirs, three were state reservoirs, and five were community reservoirs. These reservoirs are surrounded by a population of 1,018,285 people, and they are heavily fished. The nearest one to our front door is nine miles, and the farthest is 39 miles. During our outings, we spent an average of about 2 1/2 hours wielding spinning rods and employing an array of Midwest finesse tactics in pursuit of black bass. And we caught and released 2,030 black bass, which consisted of 1,958 largemouth bass and 72 smallmouth bass. We failed to count the scores of bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, flathead catfish, freshwater drum, green sunfish, rainbow trout, sauger, walleye, white bass, and wipers that we accidentally caught while pursuing black bass. We caught an average of 20 black bass an outing and 7.6 black bass an hour. 

We caught black bass on the following ElaZtech baits: Finesse ShadZ, Finesse TRD, Finesse WormZ, 3 1/2-inch GrubZ, Hula StickZ, three-inch Slim SwimZ, TRD BugZ, TRD HogZ, TRD MinnowZ, TRD TicklerZ, and ZinkerZ. These soft-plastic baits possessed the following color or hues: Bama Bug, Canada Craw, Coppertreuse, The Deal, Drew's Craw, Green Pumpkin, Hot Snakes, Junebug, Meat Dog, Mudbug, Pearl, Purple Death, and Sprayed Grass. 

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The TRD TicklerZ has replaced tube rigs in our repertoire. We affixed these soft-plastic baits to TT Lure's 1/15-ounce NedlockZ HD JigHeads, Z-Man's 1/20- and 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jigs, and Z-Man's 1/32-, 1/16-, and 3/32-ounce OG Mushroom Jigheads, which they introduced to the angling world in 2020, and they have become our primary jigs. We used blue, chartreuse, and red jigs.

Depth range and lack of technology

During the past 15 years on the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, our Midwest finesse fishing has been focused on shallow-water lairs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. The depth of these locales ranges from one foot to no more than 15 feet. The bulk of the 49,324 black bass that we have caught from 2005 through 2020 were extracted from three to nine feet of water. And none of them were caught by using state-of-the-art electronic tools, such as real-time scanning sonars. Instead, we occasionally used an antiquated Zercom Marine's Clearwater Pro Flasher and a Lowrance X135, and we used these two tools to record the surface temperature and depth of the water. 

At times, these old-world sonars helped us find patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, but we never used them to see or pinpoint the whereabouts of the black bass that we caught. It is important to note that we have three colleagues who have begun working with real-time scanning sonars at two of our community reservoirs, and they have not been able to find and catch a significant number of largemouth bass.

Most effective retrieves

Instead of working with real-time scanning sonars, we used our Midwest finesse rigs and six retrieves to find and catch the black bass. Here are the six retrieves: (1) swim, glide, and shake; (2) hop and bounce; (3) drag and deadstick; (4) drag and shake. (5) straight swim; (6) strolling. Throughout a decade and half, we constantly worked on refining these retrieves. On most outings, we experimented with all six of them in order to determine which one is the most effective, and there were times when we added a different cadence, a different intensity of the shakes, and even the deletion of the shakes. 

All of these retrieves are no-feel presentations; thus, if we can feel our Midwest finesse rigs during a retrieve, the jig is too heavy, and we immediately change to a lighter jig. When submerged aquatic vegetation began adorning our shallow-water offshore flats and shorelines, we spent a lot of time dissecting patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, which necessitated the use of lightweight jigs, such as a 1/32-ounce Gopher Mushroom Head Jig. 

Our most effective presentation around patches of submerged aquatic vegetation has been the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. We also discovered that the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve with a lightweight Midwest finesse rig was quite effective around brush piles, laydowns, docks, and emergent vegetation, such as American pondweed and American water willows. 

What's more, Shin Fukae of Osaka, Japan, taught us on April 1, 2006, at Beaver Lake, Arkansas, that his swim-glide-and-incessant-shake retrieve was extremely effective on rock- and gravel-laden terrains that are endowed with flooded brush and timber. He was using a Gary Yamamoto Bait Company's Shad Shape Worm affixed to a red 3/32-ounce jig, which he retrieved about six inches to two feet above the bottom, and he told us that if his rig touched the bottom, it was a terrible mistake. 

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By the way, he won $200,000 employing that tactic at Beaver Lake. 

Since 2010 in the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas, we have frequently used a rig similar to Fukae's, and it is Z-Man's Finesse ShadZ, which we affix to a 1/16-ounce and lighter mushroom-style jig, and most of the time, we employ the swim-glide-and-shake presentation, but we never shake it as incessantly as Fukae did, and there are spells when we omit the shaking routine.

Equipment notes

In regard to the rods, reels, and lines that we use, Patty and I are short old codgers, and for decades, we have been wedded to short spinning rods that ranged in length from five feet and four inches to six feet with a light to medium-light power and fast to extra-fast action, and the older we have become, we have exhibited more of a preference for five-foot-and-four-inch and five-foot-and-six-inch rods. We use 2500- to 3000-size spinning reels, and I have been using an antiquated Garcia Cardinal Four with a manual bail since the 1970s. 

But the vast majority of our Midwest finesse colleagues in northeastern Kansas prefer longer rods and newer reels than the one that I use. We spool our reels with eight-, 10-, and 15-pound-test braided line, and we attach a five-foot fluorocarbon leader to the braided line with a Seaguar knot. We use eight-, 10-, and 12-pound fluorocarbon leaders. The diameter of the 10-pound-test braided line is .oo8 of an inch, and the diameter of 15- pound-test braided line is .009 of an inch. The diameter of eight-pound-test fluorocarbon is .008 of an inch, 10-pound-test is .009 of an inch, and 12-pound-test is .011 of an inch. 

From our experiences, the kind and size of the rods and reels that we employ on the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas is not an important factor. However, the size and kind of line seems to make a difference at times, but that difference is difficult for us to determine why and how, and it has been impossible to explain the differences in our usage of the English language; it is something that an angler has to experience.

We rarely make a 60-foot cast. Most of them are 25 to 35 feet long, and a few are shorter. We catch some black bass as our rigs fall from the surface to the point that we begin to execute our retrieve. But most of the black bass are caught about three to 10 feet from the spot of the initial drop. We have caught a few at the end of the retrieve and a foot or two from the boat.

Boat positioning

As we search, we move along a shoreline, around a point, and across a large shallow-water flat, our boat moves only slightly slower than power anglers move when they are working with crankbaits and spinnerbaits.

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Our bow-mounted trolling motor is an old-fashioned hand-operated one: no spot-lock and i-pilot systems. A lot of the time, we use the wind to move the boat, and we occasionally use the trolling motor to turn and maneuver the boat. If the wind is too brisk, we employ a drift sock to slow the speed that the boat moves along a shoreline, around a point, and across a shallow-water flat. We have found that by moving with the wind, rather than into it, that we can execute our retrieves more alluringly and thoroughly. 

This wind tactic is contrary to what we were often told back in the 1990s by Denny Brauer of Camdenton, Missouri, who was a masterful power fisherman, and he always recommended that black bass anglers should always use their trolling motors to move their boats into the wind. But Guido Hibdon of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, who was one of the pioneers of Midwest finesse fishing, always wanted to have the world's quietest bass boat, and one way that he accomplished that feat was by not turning on his sonar devices and not using his electric trolling motor; instead, he stealthy allowed the wind to move his boat along a shoreline.

Strolling is a great tool for co-anglers

As our hourly catch rate of black bass has deteriorated and the submerged aquatic vegetation disappeared from many of our shallow-water flats and shorelines in 2018, we have found ourselves employing slower presentations and using either the drag-and-shake or drag-and-deadstick presentations more often than we used to use these two retrieves. And as we search for the whereabouts of the black bass, the angler in the back of the boat spends a lot of time strolling, which allows this angler to keep the rig in the water longer than can be accomplished by the angler in the front of the boat who has to make casts either to the front of the boat or perpendicular to it. 

By strolling, the angler in the back of the boat can use the other five retrieves during the entire stroll and present a Midwest finesse rig at a different angle than the angler in front of the boat. In short, the stroll is an effective searching tool.

Visibility

Throughout every year in northeastern Kansas, we have to deal with reservoirs that are muddy, murky, stained, and afflicted with algal blooms. The visibility of our reservoirs can range from about three inches to no more than 10 feet. Most of the time, the visibility ranges 18 inches to 36 inches, and most of the 49,324 black bass were caught when the visibility was in the 18- to 36-inch range. But we have caught scores of black bass when the visibility was in the 10- to 15-inch range, which challenges the notion that finesse tactics are a clear-water tactic.

Fisheries management and chemicals

In these observations about what has transpired from 2005-2020, I have complained several times about the way some of our flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas have been managed. The managers at two of our community reservoirs rationalized their decisions to spread an array of aquatic herbicides into these waterways by saying they were removing Eurasian milfoil because it is an invasive species, which they said will play havoc with Mother Nature's environment. Their rationalizations provoked us to wonder how long it takes before a plant is not invasive. 

Eurasian milfoil has been gracing waterways in the United States for more than a century, which is much longer than all of the manmade flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas have invaded Mother Nature's landscapes. If Eurasian milfoil is castigated as invasive, why isn't 2,4-D, which was created in the 1940s, and the other chemicals that were sprayed into some of our reservoirs thought to be invasive and wreaking havoc with Mother Nature's various domains. 

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All of our reservoirs have exhibited a habit of being plagued with algal blooms, and after several heavy doses of aquatic herbicides were applied to two of our community reservoirs, these reservoirs were walloped with very intense, long-lasting and ugly algal blooms. These applications also coincided with the dastardly effects of the largemouth bass virus, and some of us wonder if the chemicals and death of the aquatic vegetation, in which the black bass often abided, has caused the effects of the largemouth bass virus to be more intense and wicked.

As we close these observations, we are hoping that the managers of all of our reservoirs will refrain from using herbicides. What's more, we hope they will garner another perspective about invasive species, and one way that they can obtain a better understanding about the invasive species phenomenon is to peruse Fred Pearce's insights in his book entitled "The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature's Salvation." A quick study of natural history will reveal that invasive species have played a vital role in the development of the landscapes and waterways all across the world.

We are also hoping that the managers of our flatland reservoirs will discover that it is important to cultivate emergent and submerged aquatic vegetation and to mechanically maintain the vegetation rather than poisoning it. This poison-free vegetation will harbor an abundance of aquatic life, which will facilitate anglers' abilities to catch and release untold numbers of black bass.