Live now : Bass Fishing League 2016 Detroit River

Lefebre’s FLW Tour recap: Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Frosted Flakes pro Dave Lefebre sets the hook on a Sam Rayburn bass.

Editor's note: After a good practice on Sam Rayburn, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes pro Dave Lefebre had mixed results in the tournament and finished 61st, just one spot out of the "big money." The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW.

It's a feeling similar to being punched in the gut. Missing a $10,000 check by an ounce is an experience I don't ever want to have again. I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time in my 12 1/2 years on tour that I've finished one place out of the "big money." I've been the last one in a time or two before, though, so I guess I can't really complain.

First of all, congrats to Bryan Thrift on his very impressive win, which I predicted after day two, by the way. Sam Rayburn, Walmart FLW Tour stop No. 3, is an awesome lake with a bunch of big fish and so much bass fishing history it's sick. We stayed at Jackson Hill Park & Marina again because Terry and Connie, the owners, always treat us like kings, and the food is out of this world. It's convenient too, being located right by the 147 bridge just across the lake from our official takeoff area.

The fishing was great for Alton Lackie, my practice partner, and I all through official practice and up until the second day of the tournament. After a couple of 20- to 24-pound practice days, and hearing the locals complaining about the lake being "off," we wondered what it must be like when it's "on," lol. In practice I mainly covered a ton of water with a vibrating jig and a Yamamoto Swimming Senko, but my Kellogg's teammate Jim Tutt kept bringing big fish over to me to take pictures of, so naturally I had to ask what he was catching them on, right?

Jim will tell you that I turned him on to a certain bait the last time we were here, so remembering that, he threw a couple of baits in my boat after I took a quick picture of his 8-pounder. It was a big swimbait of some kind, and I went on to catch a couple 5-pounders on it that day and my first five fish in the morning of day one. Jim happened to be close by when I was catching them, and I yelled "Thanks, Jim!" every time I caught one on his bait.

As I covered water in practice, I found several bedding fish. All things considered, I probably would have been better off not even looking at all. I found one big 8- or 9-pound fish with a 4-pound male on a bed, and I had eight other fish in the 3-pound range that I was certain nobody would find. I drew boat No. 141 on the first morning, so I chose not to start on my big one and instead hit a point with the big swimbait, which worked out well. I had five fish for about 11 pounds pretty quick. Then I went to the big one, and she and her boyfriend were both gone. I went to four of the other 3-pounders and caught them all, saving four more good ones for day two. It seemed I would cruise into the top-20 cut easily.

On day two I tried to fish around with the vibrating jig early in hopes of getting a big bite before heading to the "sight-fish." That didn't work out, but I kept at it until around 11. Even with no fish in the boat by then, I still wasn't worried at all because my check-in time was 3:15 on day two. I headed to the pocket where three of my bed-fish were, and, to make a long story short, I hooked two of them and lost them both. My co-angler caught the other one, a 3 1/2-pounder. I then went to the fourth fish in a pocket around the corner, and with a camera boat filming, I managed to get that one into the boat. It was another 3 1/2-pounder and my first fish in the live-well.

By then it was after 1, and I was beginning to get that sick feeling. I started covering water with the Swimming Senko, which is usually a guarantee, but every other fish I hooked came unbuttoned for some unknown reason. I wound up with just four fish ... terrible!

Obviously, nobody ever wants to have a bad tournament, but bombing at Sam Rayburn was like giving away an easy one. I've made 11 consecutive Forrest Wood Cups, and I'm in serious jeopardy now of not carrying on the streak this year. I think I now need three top-15 finishes going into the second half of the season; not easy for sure, but I have to be confident. I could sure use another win soon.

Our next event is on Beaver Lake, a place where I've had trouble in the past, but more recently I've been doing quite a bit better there. I think we're going to hit it at a perfect time this year. Since the weather has been so cold this spring in Arkansas, it should be a prespawn derby, which is what I'm hoping for.

It's hard to believe that the 2014 FLW Tour season is half over already. It feels like we just got started. I've got a week off now, and my family is back home. I'm staying in Texas a couple more days to help out with a wounded veterans fishing trip and then will venture up to Table Rock or maybe Bull Shoals to try to get a feel for what the fish in the Ozarks lakes are doing, before meeting back up with Lackie at Beaver Lake. I wish I had time to go home, I really miss Anne and the kids, but it's just too far and there's not enough time.

I'll talk to you all again after the next one.

Tags: dave-lefebre  blog 

/tips/2016-07-28-flw-podcast-128-mark-rose

FLW Podcast 128 - Mark Rose

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-23-1000-islands-day-3-midday-update

1000 Islands Day 3 Midday Update

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-22-1000-islands-midday-update-day-2

1000 Islands Midday Update Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands got started on a slightly different note this morning when FLW’s tournament directors declared Lake Ontario off limits due to hazardous conditions. The change threw a few of the top pros off their primary plans, but regardless the 137-boat field will be cut down to the top 10 after today, so adjustments need to be made in order to qualify to fish the weekend. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-19-flw-podcast-126-icast

FLW Podcast 126 - ICAST

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-14-2017-walmart-flw-tour-schedule

2017 Walmart FLW Tour Schedule

In what has become an annual tradition at FLW, the 2017 Walmart FLW Tour schedule was announced at a press conference and industry gathering held Thursday on the show floor at ICAST in Orlando, Fla. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-12-si-se-puede-yes-we-can

Si Se Puede ... Yes We Can

Mexico’s Lake Zimapan is different in many ways from the lakes to the north such as Florida’s Lake Okeechobee and California’s Clear Lake, but one element it has in common with those famous fisheries is big bass. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-11-5-rookie-lessons-learned

5 Rookie Lessons Learned

People have asked me what my first year on the Walmart FLW Tour was like. Well, it was like running headfirst into a hurricane for a few months. I came out the other side a little battered, bruised and smelling like fish. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-11-flw-podcast-125-scott-martin

FLW Podcast 125 - Scott Martin

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-review-lew-s-custom-speed-stick-lite

Review: Lew’s Custom Speed Stick Lite

Recently I had the opportunity to try one model in particular – the 7-foot, 4-inch Magnum Pitchin’ rod. After fishing with it several times, I’ve concluded that it performs as advertised, is sensitive and lightweight, and is well worth the money. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-reunited-and-it-feels-so-good

Reunited, and it Feels so Good

This year I really had a reunion with finesse fishing. Most of my better tournaments came from fishing some type of finesse presentation. Finesse tactics seemed to always give me a certain confidence about the day. While finesse tactics are nothing new to the game of bass fishing, this year I regained the confidence and joy of catching bass on smaller offerings. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-2016-icast-preview

2016 ICAST Preview

The doors to ICAST don’t open until next week, when everyone gets out on the showroom floor in Orlando, Fla., but there are already plenty of snippets of information available. FLW’s media crew will be there in full force to bring you coverage of the hottest new products, as well as the annual New Product Showcase awards. For now, take a gander at some of the early birds. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-07-flw-canada-kicks-off-at-tri-lakes

FLW Canada Kicks Off at Tri-Lakes

Among these Canadian all-stars was the eventual winning team of Chris Vandermeer of Peterborough and Jeff Slute of Millbrook. Capitalizing on a strong day one shallow-water smallmouth pattern, the duo took advantage of the slick-calm conditions using a silver-hued topwater popping plug to agitate the lake’s bronzebacks into attack. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-30-flw-tour-pro-cooksey-recovering-after-accident

FLW Tour Pro Cooksey Recovering After Accident

Walmart FLW Tour sophomore Dalton Cooksey of New Concord, Ky., is recovering at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee following a single-car accident that took place Wednesday afternoon. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-30-flw-podcast-124-jeremy-lawyer

FLW Podcast 124 - Jeremy Lawyer

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-29-stetson-blaylock-s-recipe-for-a-wacky-rig

Stetson Blaylock’s Recipe for a Wacky Rig

From March until the end of the fishing season I’m going to have a wacky rig on deck. It’s a really effective way to fish anytime the fishing is tough, or if the fish are up cruising banks. Anytime fish are about 5 feet deep or less, I can catch them on the wacky rig. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-28-morgan-claims-third-flw-tour-angler-of-the-year-title

Morgan Claims third FLW Tour Angler of the Year Title

MINNEAPOLIS – Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tennessee, added to his incredible fishing resume by winning his third Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year title Saturday at the FLW Tour's final 2016 regular-season event on Lake Champlain.... READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-24-three-things-by-dd-kentucky-lake

Three Things by DD: Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake did not go the way I intended. I was pumped and ready to rock out a top-20 finish. I had great expectations of myself, but nothing seemed to come together. Practice was dicey, but I thought for sure I could put something together to make the cut. That was until day one came, and the whole vibe of my day instantly went from eager to agitated. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-23-how-to-catch-smallmouths-with-hair-jigs

How to Catch Smallmouths with Hair Jigs

The “right” hair jig for smallmouths is a small 1/16- to 1/8-ounce marabou jig with a round or mushroom-shaped head. The jig is similar to marabou jigs used by crappie fishermen, but bass models will often have a larger, stronger hook and possibly a longer or thicker skirt. Naturally, anglers have their favorites, and there are subtle differences in jigs that make some better than others. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-22-two-exciting-events-to-look-forward-to

Two Exciting Events to Look Forward To

We are in the last stretch of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour. Awaiting us is the Lake Champlain tournament in just a few days. A couple of things will be settled there: the pro field for the Forrest Wood Cup and the Angler of the Year. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-21-tagging-along-with-sprague-in-kentucky

Tagging Along with Sprague in Kentucky

Through the first four events of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour season, Jeff Sprague finished inside the top 20 every time and challenged for the win at Beaver Lake. After stop No. 4 on Pickwick, Sprague took over the lead in the Angler of the Year race. This is the story of his first tournament as the AOY leader – stop No. 5 on Kentucky Lake. Currently, Sprague is preparing for the finale on Lake Champlain. He’s in second place in the AOY standings. READ MORE »