The Sam Rayburn blues

Keystone Light pro Casey Martin reels in a Lake Okeechobee largemouth.

Editor's Note: 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. As I write this, I'm sitting in a hotel room in Lufkin, Texas, getting ready to head over to the FLW Expo to work the Keystone Light booth while the Sam Rayburn tournament goes on without me. After a rough finish at Hartwell, where I managed a $4,000 check, I was hoping to turn things around on Sam Rayburn. Practice was OK. There were no big bites, but I thought I could grind out 12 or 14 pounds a day and possibly contend for a good check. Rayburn is a giant lake and definitely tough to break down in three days of practice. In practice I pretty much caught everything on moving baits, just covering some prespawn and spawn stuff. The day of the tournament the wind blew and a front came shoving in, so I figured the moving baits would only get better. As usual, I was too stubborn to make any changes and just kept after it, rotating areas with moving baits even though I never came across anything. When it was all said and done, I ended up with 13 1/2 pounds for two days and wound up way down the leaderboard. I really want to put Sam Rayburn behind me and focus on the upcoming events at Beaver, Pickwick and Kentucky lakes. Right now I'm way in the hole on points, and it's going to take a miracle to get into the top 35 in the Angler of the Year standings to make the Forrest Wood Cup. I've pretty much dug a hole that will be extremely difficult to climb out of. This year has been tough so far, and at this level there's a fine line between finishing 35th and 135th in a tournament: One lost fish, a couple of bad decisions on where to start or waiting too long for fish to bite can mean the difference between a good finish and a bomb. I've always been a gambler at heart and have never fished to get a limit and then go looking for big ones. I've always tried to fish for the biggest fish and hope to have five by the end of the day. For the poker players out there, it really comes down to knowing when to hold them and when to fold them. This year I have been trying to go all-in when I probably would have been better in some tournaments just folding the cards and starting from scratch. I've been keeping extremely busy, and after this I head back to Guntersville for a couple of days of guiding before turning around and leaving Friday for Beaver Lake, where I work the Walmart pro day the Saturday prior to the practice. Meanwhile, I don't know if you guys have watched the first episode of "Circuit Breaker" this year with JT Kenney and Chad Grigsby, but definitely check it out. It follows a very different format this year, but you get to see two veterans and how they travel compared to a rookie, which was me last year. Actually the opening scene this year is pretty funny where JT mentions he isn't a fan of mine, saying: "I'm not a Casey Martin fan. He never did anything to me; I just don't like him." OK. One thing I did notice about the new "Circuit Breaker" is there haven't been any on-the-water shots of fishing. I think a lot of guys want to see how these guys fish on a day-to-day basis too. At any rate, the documentary format that FLW has come up with is definitely something this sport needs. I love the way it gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at what we do and that it's not always big checks and holding up big fish on stage. There are a bunch of ups and downs in between, and as a fan of the sport, I look forward to watching many more of these episodes. Moving on, although Rayburn is a great area, I'm looking forward to getting home for a couple days to see my girlfriend, Lindsey, who is my biggest supporter. Her dog Petie will be extremely happy to see me as well because I always sneak a Dingo treat or two from the Expo to take home to him. By the way, if you ever get a chance to attend one of the FLW Expos somewhere, go for it. They're fantastic. You get to meet a lot of the pros and also sample many of the products that FLW sponsors bring to each event. Just save some of the Dingo dog treats for Petie. Until next time, Casey

Tags: blog  casey-martin 

/tips/2015-07-01-the-no-excuse-guide-

The "No Excuse" Guide

Chatter can be dock talk, personal abusive talk, hater talk, fan talk and everything in between. The list goes on. I truly believe tournament fishing is all a mental game. I feel that the most successful anglers know how to tune it all out and fish in the zone. It is crucial to know how to tune out all the chatter and shut up and fish. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-30-missed-chances-at-the-finale

Missed Chances at the Finale

The final Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River was a tough event for me. After one of the strongest practices I’ve ever had there, or anywhere, really, I drove home scratching my head. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-16-my-lost-fish-troubles-continue

My Lost-Fish Troubles Continue

Lake Chickamauga is loaded with big bass, and for the first time in three previous visits I felt really good after the practice period was over. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out for me, and I ended the event after day two by missing the top-20 cut by a mere 4 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-09-practice-with-casey-martin

Practice with Casey Martin

Last time the Walmart FLW Tour stopped at Lake Chickamauga, then-rookie Casey Martin sacked over 100 pounds and won the event. As well as being a tremendous win for a rookie, the entire experience was documented on Circuit Breaker for an inside look at the entire process of winning a tournament. Now that we’re back on the scene of Martin’s greatest triumph, I jumped at the chance join him for a few hours the last morning of official practice to see how he approached the lake. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-04-blaukat-on-climate-change

Blaukat on Climate Change

As many of you know, for years I’ve been an outspoken voice on environmental issues. As a result, I’ve been celebrated by some and ostracized by others. But what some think of me being the messenger is irrelevant. It’s not about the messenger – as much as detractors try to make it out to be – it’s about getting the message out. I want to start by saying that the debate of whether or not climate change is man-made is over. It’s real, and it’s right here in our faces. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-28-running-a-college-club

Running a College Club

The sport of college bass fishing is growing at an incredible pace. During my freshman year (2011-2012), tournament fields were limited to 50 anglers, and boats were supplied by Rayovac FLW Series volunteer competitors. During the end of my senior year this season, field sizes grew larger at every tournament, and we saw more colleges providing boats for student anglers – signs of growth for sure. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-28-blog-i-m-hooked-

Blog: I’m Hooked

When I was 10 years old I could only dream about being a professional fisherman. I would spend all my time outdoors playing sports, hunting and fishing. Then, in high school, I competed in my first bass tournament and I was hooked. From that moment, my goal was to become a professional angler some day. Now, almost three decades later, after much hard work and dedication I’m competing in the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour. And I’m more excited than ever. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-26-blog-the-first-time

Blog: The First Time

This begins a series of blogs by Walmart FLW Tour co-angler Jaime Luengo of Mexico City. He joined the circuit in 2005 and has three top-10 finishes to his credit. Luengo is the author of La Magia de la Lobina Tecnicas Avanzadas, a book on bass fishing techniques, and is host and producer of Nuestra Pesca, a television series available on all cable stations in Mexico. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-19-blog-what-might-have-been-at-eufaula

Blog: What Might Have Been at Eufaula

Lake Eufaula is in the books, but ever since the tournament I haven’t slept very well. If you know me, you know I just “love” losing fish, but I think this latest event was the worst of my career. I finished 12th, which isn’t so bad, but the “what could have beens” got me again. On the last day of practice, I caught nearly 30 pounds, including one around 10 pounds and a 7 1/2-pounder, making it a day I’ll never forget. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-12-blog-frogging-of-a-different-kind

Blog: Frogging of a Different Kind

As a bass fisherman, I have a special feeling for that time of year when I can start fishing a frog again. I’m not sure if the rush of adrenaline I feel is from that first explosion when a bass crashes the frog, or the anticipation of it. Whatever it is, I love it! READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-06-blog-make-a-plan-and-work-the-plan-

Blog: Make a Plan and Work the Plan

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: I’m bombarded with an array of emotions and a new to-do list every day. I’m not good enough. I don’t have the money. Make a Facebook post. Call mom. I don’t have enough time. I’m too tired. I’ll be treated poorly. Rig rods. Do sponsor work. People won’t like me. My son will miss me. I’ll miss my family. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-24-blog-east-vs-west

Blog: East vs. West

I’m not going to say the West is better than the East, or vice-versa. However, I am going to say that where fishing is concerned, there are some distinct differences between the two. The list is long and I’m sure that you can think of many additional differences, but here are a few things I have found that separates the two locales. For the purposes of this blog, let’s make the dividing line the Mississippi River although I think we should include Texas with the East. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-21-blog-the-bucket-list

Blog: The Bucket List

I lived my first 25 years in the Midwest, and I used to get horrible cabin fever this time of year. Sitting in front of a television and watching Jimmy, Hank, Roland and Bill catch monster bass on a spinnerbait on every single cast only made it worse. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-14-blog-back-in-the-groove

Blog: Back in the Groove

It feels good to be in full swing of the tournament season again. We just finished the second stop of the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake, and it was an excellent event. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-14-5-pivotal-moments-in-my-career

5 Pivotal Moments in my Career

The FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake marked the beginning of my senior campaign. While it was great to get on some open water for the first time in months (though we didn’t finish very well), it also had me looking back at five events that, more than any others, led me to this point. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-14-a-year-of-new-firsts

A Year of New Firsts

There are a lot of firsts in my life now: my first full year on the Walmart FLW Tour, the first time not to fish any full B.A.S.S. circuit in many years, the first time to fish with co-anglers in a long while, the first time to compete at Beaver Lake, and so on. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-10-up-then-down-again

Up, Then Down Again

The highs and lows in this sport are amazing. They are amazing and sometimes hard to deal with. Sometimes you just have to test yourself on how thick your skin really is. For example, consider my highs and lows in the last few months. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-07-sweet-home-alabama

Sweet Home Alabama

Hey everyone, I'm just getting back and caught up from the second stop of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lewis Smith Lake. The lake was fishing like never before, and all the fish have grown up quickly on those blueback herring. Now that I've been back home a week and watched all the videos and read all the articles about the top 10 anglers I can say I have zero regrets! READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-02-when-everything-comes-together

When Everything Comes Together

Dave Lefebre describes what baits and techniques he used to win the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake in this week's blog. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-18-expect-change-and-adapt-to-it

Expect Change and Adapt to It

Ish Monroe explains how to adapt to changing conditions and recommends to always fish your strengths in this weeks blog. READ MORE »