UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Why the wheels fell off at Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Shin Fukae gets some media help from his wife Miyu after catching 17-9 on day one.

Too much wind, not enough wind. Water too clear, water too muddy. Too much sunshine, not enough sunshine. Pick your rationale for catching bass or not catching bass - they were all in play at Sam Rayburn Reservoir last week when the Walmart FLW Tour pulled in for stop No. 3 in the current campaign season. Actually, the mixed messages that the pros delivered on the weigh-in stage were all accurate to varying degrees, and bespoke the transition stage that Sam Rayburn's bass were in. Some fish were moving up to spawn, but many were still staging offshore or cruising the banks in no particular hurry to bed. This cost some contenders who got off to great starts, only to drift down in the standings as the tournament progressed. A few examples: Shinichi Fukae Day 1: 17-09 (9th place - tie) Day 2: 15-10 (11th place) Day 3: 2-05 (20th place) "On the third day, I went for broke and tried to catch bigger fish, but it didn't go as I hoped. There were two or three things going against me. Friday night it stormed, and the wind and the run-off really muddied up the place I was fishing. Also, there was at least one local tournament that was taking place, and it seemed that everywhere I went and tried to fish, there was already a boat there. No excuses, though, it was the same for all of us. I didn't have a great practice, so I was glad to finish where I did." Rick Cotten jumped out to an early lead at Sam Rayburn with 25 pounds, 15 ounces. Rick Cotton Day 1: 25-15 day one (1st place) Day 2: 11-15 day two (5th place) Day 3: 9-00 (10th place) Day 4: 9-13 (10th place) "The fish fooled me and did something I didn't expect. I used a white-and-silver [Z-Man Original] ChatterBait the first day to catch my fish. The wind was blowing, and there was plenty of cloud cover. On the second day, I did a poor job of executing. I noticed that in the one pocket where I did so well the first day, the water had dropped about 4 inches, and I thought surely the fish would have pulled out deeper and would still be on the ChatterBait. They didn't move out, though; if anything, they pulled in tighter to the bank and cover. I should have gone in there with them and done more flipping, but I convinced myself they were out and sulled up. The reason I know that now is because Tony Davis [ninth place] caught two of his best fish Sunday afternoon doing just that, and he was in the same area. I caught several fish flipping, but if I had started earlier in the tournament, it might have turned out differently for me." Lendell Martin Jr. is tied in ninth place after day one with a 17-9 limit. Lendell Martin Jr. Day 1: 17-09 (9th place - tie) Day 2: 4-10 (66th place) "On the second day, there were five or six boats fishing in the first place I pulled into. I didn't even stop. I went to my second spot and it was the same thing. There were boats everywhere I wanted to fish. So I ran up Attoyac [Bayou], which is where I've really crushed them before. I just hadn't planned on hitting it until the third day. I was using a ChatterBait, and it turned out to be one of those days where every fish I had on seemed to jump off or pull off. Probably I should have switched baits and just slowed down. I don't know if I learned anything at all, but Bryan [Thrift] sure did. I'm 60 years old, and you'd think I would know better, but sometimes I don't slow down like I need to when I'm fishing." Brandon Cobb caught 18-8 on day one to put him in seventh place. Brandon Cobb Day 1: 18-08 (7th place) Day 2: 8-11 (29th place) "Long story short, I had a disastrous second day. On day one I got a mix of 14- and 15-inch fish, with two or three big fish using a green pumpkin ChatterBait. The second day, though, the fish weren't as active, and I switched to a weightless [Yamamoto] Senko to try to make something happen. I fished it with a spinning outfit and 12-pound-test, and I had some decent fish on, but they would wrap me around sticks or in the milfoil and would come off before I could get to them. I still think I had the right kind of plan, and I wouldn't have changed anything. It just didn't come together for me that second day." Ryan Davidson jumps out to fourth place thanks to his 21-6 haul. Ryan Davidson Day 1: 21-06 (4th place) Day 2: 4-15 (37th place) "Basically, it was the weather that got me. We didn't have any wind on day two, and I needed a lot of wind. I was catching my fish along a shallow grass line, but on the second day there was too much visibility and I couldn't get any reaction bites. I finally tried to switch at about 10 o'clock, but couldn't get anything else going. I had five bites and lost two of them. Everything else was just those little bank-runners like everybody was catching."

Tags: article 


Forrest Wood Cup Show Airs Monday

Tune in for the epic finale of the FLW season and watch east Tennessee native Brad Knight earn the win on Arkansas’ Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »


Staff Picks for Holiday Gifts

With Christmas just around the corner, perhaps you could use some help with your shopping. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for an angler or thinking of what to put on your own list for Santa to deliver, Christmas shopping can be a daunting task. Luckily our staff of elves has some pretty good suggestions to cover just about any taste or budget. READ MORE »


An Angler’s Thanksgiving

A number of pros have reasons to be grateful this Thanksgiving holiday as they contemplate the season behind them and what they managed to accomplish. Yet there are others who didn’t make quite as many ripples in the tournament waters this year, but nevertheless have cause to celebrate and look to the future. READ MORE »


Black Friday Deals



Fishing 101: Soft-Plastic Swimbaits

While all swimbaits accomplish the same thing – imitating a prey fish swimming through the water – there are now hundreds of baits from which to choose, and there are models for tackling just about any scenario. READ MORE »


Critter Shots of the Year

You see some things when you’re on the water for 10 months covering tournaments from Florida to California. Most of the time our on-the-water team has its cameras trained on the anglers, but every once in a while something from nature intervenes that is just too cool to pass up. READ MORE »


How to Succeed as a Co-angler

Fishing tournaments as a co-angler is a great first step to take toward a more advanced level of competitive bass fishing. Not only do you get more time on the water, you often end up fishing behind some very experienced anglers that can teach you some valuable lessons. READ MORE »


Episode 9 of FLW TV Airs Tonight

Watch as Ontario native Curtis Richardson qualifies for the Forrest Wood Cup and earns the title of Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American Champion on Kentucky Lake. READ MORE »


Peek Will Sit Out 2016 Tour

Alabama pro Richard Peek will forego the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour season to resolve back problems. Peek, of Centre, Ala., was told by his doctor that he should take off a year from tournament fishing so that surgery or other measures could be performed to correct a spinal deformity and relieve his pain. READ MORE »


2016 BFL All-American Qualifiers

With the completion of the Walmart Bass Fishing League Wild Card at Lake Hartwell – won by Mike Devere – all but The Bass Federation National Championship qualifiers are in place for the 2016 BFL All-American June 8-11 on Lake Barkley presented by the Cadiz-Trigg County Tourism Commission. READ MORE »


Jigging Up Late Fall Smallies

In the North Country, as fall fades and sportsmen settle in for the arrival of winter, many people put the boat away and forsake the water for the woods. For those willing to brave the elements on the lake, however, the reward is some of the best smallmouth bass fishing of the year for some of the biggest fish of the season. READ MORE »


Rayovac FLW Series Registration Opens

This is the week to register for everyone planning on fishing the FLW Series in 2016. Registration has been open for the top 40 pros and co-anglers from each division of the 2015 FLW Series and the top 50 boaters and co-anglers from each division of the 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League (BFL) for some time. Tuesday is when everyone else can begin to get in on the action. READ MORE »


College Championship Airs Tonight

Tune in for the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship to see Patrick Walters and Gettys Brannon of the University of South Carolina capture the title in front of the hometown crowd at Lake Murray. READ MORE »


5 Pros Weigh in on Hanselman

When Ray Hanselman won the 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Championship to cap his season-long dominance of the Texas Division just about everyone tuned in. It wasn’t just the stunning sweep that captivated pros and fans alike; it was how he did it – leading after the second day in every event he fished and winning with stunning margins of 5 pounds, 8 ounces at Amistad, 7-2 at Sam Rayburn, 12 pounds even on Texoma and 8-2 at the Championship. READ MORE »


Episode 7 of FLW TV Airs Tonight

Watch as Shawn Gordon pulls off the win on Grand Lake in Oklahoma and qualifies for the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita in his home state of Arkansas. READ MORE »


How Hanselmania Happened

In case you’ve been stuck in a tree stand or out of social media range and didn’t already know it, Hanselman won all three regular-season Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournaments in 2015. And at the end of October he topped off his stellar run by winning the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River out of Paducah, Ky. READ MORE »


2014 Cup Wins Sports Tourism Award

The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray in Columbia, S.C., was recently named the 2015 Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism for the mid- to large market category by Sports Destination Management magazine. READ MORE »


5 Best Smallmouth Destinations

Fall is the time of year to treat yourself to one last fishing excursion before the snowflakes start to fall. And if you’re going to take a fishing road trip amid a backdrop of autumn’s colorful foliage, it might as well be for fat, angry brown bass, right? READ MORE »


College Championship Field Set

Now that the 2015 FLW College Fishing Conference Championships are complete, 58 teams have earned the opportunity to fish in the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »


2016 FLW College Fishing Rules