Big limits expected at Sam Rayburn

Stop No. 3 of the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour is at Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Lufkin, Texas, March 27-30. Late March is usually the end of the spawn at Rayburn, but early reports indicate that winter's lingering grip could have the spawn running a bit behind. Still, pros should be able to catch them with techniques ranging from dragging football jigs out deep to sight-fishing in the shallows to grass patterns in between. Here are the fast facts on Rayburn. Lake name: Sam Rayburn Reservoir Tournament: Walmart FLW Tour Presenting sponsor: Chevy Date: March 27-30, 2014 Tournament host town: Lufkin, Texas Tournament site marina/park: Cassels-Boykin County Park Lake type: lowland reservoir Lake size: 114,500 acres Shoreline: 560 miles Major tributaries: Angelina River Water visibility: 2 to 3 feet Water level prediction for event: a few feet below summer pool Estimated water temperature for event: low to mid-60s Primary species: largemouth bass Minimum length requirement: 14 inches Seasonal pattern timing: spawn Primary bass cover: grass, stumps, humps Here's what to expect. Hot Patterns Sight-fishing with soft plastics and jigs Casting topwaters in the shallows Ripping lipless crankbaits in grass Dragging football jigs on offshore structure Deciding factors Air and water temps - Bass spawn when they're ready to spawn, but short-term weather trends that affect the air and water temperatures could impact whether pros arrive at the heart of the spawn or at the tail end of the action. Currently, the water temperature is a few degrees behind normal, and Kellogg's pro Jim Tutt says that if the lake trends like other local fisheries he's sampled recently, the Tour could arrive right in the middle of the spawn. Bank vegetation that grew up while the lake was low, along with slightly off-colored water - depending on the part of the lake - could make sight-fishing slightly more difficult than at a place with clear water like Beaver Lake. Rain - Spring rains can also drastically change the water level, says Tutt. He's seen the lake vary from more than 10 feet high to 5 feet low in early spring. Currently, he reports that it's about 3 feet below normal pool, which should be just fine for catching fish. The long-term forecast doesn't currently indicate any major precipitation. Wind - The other potential weather-related hurdle is the wind. If a cold front moves through, it'll bring winds from the north, which blow straight down this north-south situated reservoir. That means the prospect of long, rough boat rides could dissuade some anglers from running too far. Fortunately, the tournament is launching up north, near some of the lake's best areas, so being forced to stay close might not be a bad thing. Rayburn Ways Tutt expects sight-fishing to be popular, but doesn't rule out topwater baits in the shallows and lipless crankbaits fished in the grass. Really, a pro can do just about anything he wants, Tutt figures, including targeting offshore structure with football jigs. The key is figuring out how to catch around 20 pounds per day, which should contend for the win. Bottom Line Right now, according to Tutt, Rayburn is stable and warm, and the fish are biting. A recent local tournament victor had 21 pounds and it took 19 pounds to place second. If the spring-like weather continues, the best anglers who fish the Tour could average that much over four days. Previous Results Since 2009, FLW has hosted 25 tournaments at Sam Rayburn Reservoir (as of March 7, 2014). To get an idea of what the lake is capable of and what pros will have to catch for a high finish, we broke out some stats from those events. Average Daily Weight Caught by Winner: 18 pounds, 1 ounce Average Daily Weight Caught by Winner in Events Held in March: 18 pounds, 15 ounces Average Daily Weight Caught by 10th-Place Finisher: 12 pounds Average Daily Weight Caught by 10th-Place Finisher in Events Held in March: 12 pounds, 13 ounces The 10 Heaviest Five-Bass Limits Weighed in at Sam Rayburn in FLW History (pros and co-anglers) Weight Date Event Angler 36-5, Feb. 2, 2013 BFL Cowboy Division Dicky Newberry 32-12, Oct. 11, 2012 Walmart FLW Tour Open Phil Marks 29-6, March 1, 2014 BFL Cowboy Division Todd Castledine 28-13, Feb. 5, 2000 BFL Cowboy Division Jeff Buchanan 28-3, Oct. 13, 2007 Texas Tournament Trail David Curtis 27-13, Feb. 10, 2011 Rayovac FLW Series Bert Thompson 27-2, Feb. 23, 2005 Rayovac FLW Series William Davis 26-9, March 19, 2009 Rayovac FLW Series Randy Hicks* 26-7, Jan. 27, 2007 BFL Cowboy Division Andy Gaia 26-6, March 1, 2014 BFL Cowboy Division Eric Hunt *non-boater

Tags: article 

/tips/2015-04-21-weekend-wrap-up-april-21-2015

Weekend Wrap-Up – April 21, 2015

With the College Fishing National Championship and the kickoff of the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division going on, this past weekend was pretty hotly anticipated. Lucky for fishing fans, it sure lived up to the billing. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-18-grand-lake-midday-update-day-3

Grand Lake Midday Update Day 3

READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-17-grand-lake-midday-update

Grand Lake Midday Update

As the second day of competition in the Rayovac FLW Series event on Grand Lake draws on, the sight-fishing bite is still strong, but day-one leader Todd Castledine has been unable to capitalize thus far. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-16-grand-lake-day-1-midday-update

Grand Lake Day 1 Midday Update

GROVE, Okla. – After the fog delay stalled action on day one of the Central Division opener on Grand Lake the anglers are now enjoying perfect weather for sight-fishing. Lingering light fog and clouds gave way to calm, sunny conditions this afternoon. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-16-20-questions-with-ray-hanselman

20 Questions with Ray Hanselman

Ray Hanselman is on fire. The Del Rio, Texas, pro won back-to-back Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournaments to start the 2015 season. His first win was in February on Lake Amistad, which is Hanselman’s home lake and where he runs a guide service. His second win came last week on Sam Rayburn. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-15-weekend-wrap-up-april-13-2015

Weekend Wrap-up – April 13, 2015

The week after the Easter break turned out to be pretty spectacular. We saw incredible feats at the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event on Sam Rayburn and the FLW College Fishing event on Table Rock. Plus, BFL competition was hot across the country. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-10-top-5-patterns-from-sam-rayburn-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Sam Rayburn Day 2

Two limits of more than 20 pounds have pushed Del Rio, Texas, pro Ray Hanselman atop the leaderboard at the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury. Hanselman is flipping and pitching plastics to flooded brush and trees, with careful consideration to the spots that allow him the best targeting efficiency. The lake level remains at a 15-year high, so anglers are chasing scattered bass in areas the fish rarely see. Overcast skies dominated the day, and isolated showers popped up throughout competition. Overall, productivity was lower than that of day one, with fewer fish and limits caught, and overall weights down. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-08-the-bucket-list

The Bucket List

Gleaned from my various fishing travels over the years, here are 10 places ­– in no particular order – that I’ve fished that I believe should definitely be on your bass fishing “bucket list.” Some are fantastic winter getaways, but other will require you to wait until warmer weather arrives. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-08-college-fishing-takes-on-table-rock

College Fishing Takes on Table Rock

KIMBERLING CITY, Mo. – FLW College Fishing is headed to Table Rock Lake April 11 for the first of three regular-season stops in the Central Conference. A full field of college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the Central Conference Championship tournament. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-08-walmart-bfl-tournament-preview

Walmart BFL Tournament Preview

The 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League season will continue with six tournaments on Saturday, April 11. The Arkie Division will take on Lake Dardanelle, the Bama Division stops on Lake Martin, the LBL Division heads to Kentucky Lake, the Ozark Division competes on Lake of the Ozarks, the Piedmont Division opens their season on Kerr Lake and the Savannah River Division continues on Lake Hartwell. Up to 400 boaters and co-anglers will be competing for top awards of up to $8,000 and $3,000 respectively in the one-day events. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-06-hibdons-suspend-tournament-careers

Hibdons Suspend Tournament Careers

Veteran Missouri pro Guido Hibdon and his grandson, Payden, have decided to leave the ranks of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour, but hope to resume their tournament careers in the future. Like several other pros, the Hibdons, of Sunrise Beach, Mo., were victims of cutbacks in sponsor dollars that began last fall and left many anglers scrambling for financial support just before the 2015 tournament season opened. Dion Hibdon, Guido’s son and Payden’s father, lost a major sponsorship when Chevy pulled out as an FLW backer and dissolved the Chevy fishing team to which Dion belonged. However, the Bassmaster Classic and Forrest Wood Cup champion will continue to fish the Tour. He’ll travel to tournaments with his younger son, Lawson, 18, who will fish as a co-angler. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-06-tour-talk

Tour Talk

We’re fresh off stop No. 2 of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season on Smith Lake, and there’s plenty to talk about in this installment of FLW’s Tour Talk, where our pundits weigh in on what’s happening along the Tour trail. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-03-strader-leads-the-aoy-pack

Strader Leads the AOY Pack

Things are starting to take shape in the Angler of the Year race too, and while another pair of veterans is atop the standings, there are some new faces emerging as well. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-01-kids-get-to-wet-a-line-during-lewis-smith-event

Kids Get to Wet a Line During Lewis Smith Event

The children and their families had plenty of room to spread out around the Smith Lake Dam cove, which proved to be a good place to fish as it was also the site where the FLW release boat unloaded fish caught by the pros during Friday’s round. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-30-high-school-anglers-fish-for-their-future

High School Anglers Fish for Their Future

High school anglers from across the Midwest braved chilly weather at Kentucky Lake Saturday in hopes of finding hot spots that would help advance them to the High School Fishing Southeastern Conference Championship on Lake Lanier this fall as well as help fund their college education. The 150 high school anglers and their coaches awoke to an unusually cold spring morning to compete in the 2015 Murray State High School Fishing Open. Frost-covered decks, gear and tackle, frozen livewells and outboards reluctant to start were among the first challenges those aboard the 75 boats had to deal with at Kentucky Dam Marina. The event honored the memory of Murray State University’s Dr. Jim Carter, one of the earliest proponents of fishing as a state-sanctioned high school sport. Teams competed for a grand prize of $4,000 in scholarships to Murray State. The scholarships were provided by Independence Bank of Murray and FLW in partnership with the Murray State Bass Anglers. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-21-guntersville-midday-update

Guntersville Midday Update

With numerous local boats on the water, a number of the top 10 pros have been unable to fully capitalize – Cameron Gautley didn’t have a limit at noon and Trevor Fitzgerald, Jay Kendrick and Rob Digh had yet to complete theirs as well. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-21-college-open-day-2-midday-update

College Open Day 2 Midday Update

The sun is shining, the weather is warmer and the bass aren’t biting, at least not for most of the first-round leaders here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open. As the second and final day of competition unfolds, the leaders are struggling to maintain their positions. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-19-day-one-midday-update-from-guntersville

Day One Midday Update From Guntersville

With cooler weather blowing in, patches of mist and rain whisking over the lake, and whitecaps in the main channel, day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Mercury on Lake Guntersville is proving to be a challenge for the field. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-18-murray-state-high-school-fishing-open

Murray State High School Fishing Open

The Bass Federation (TBF) and FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, will host a Student Angler Federation Murray State High School Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Kentucky, March 28 with the winning team receiving $4,000 in scholarships to Murray State from Independence Bank and FLW. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-18-walmart-bfl-tournament-preview

Walmart BFL Tournament Preview

The weekend of March 21 will feature four Walmart BFL tournaments. READ MORE »