UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Lake Norman

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

A flood of opportunity

Heavy spring rains have raised Sam Rayburn to nearly full pool and flooded shoreline vegetation.

JASPER, Texas - If you can't catch a limit of bass on Sam Rayburn right now, you need to find another sport, but it's safe to say there won't be much switching going on for FLW EverStart Series angler during this week's Texas Division event on the East Texas reservoir.

Impounding the Angelina River, Rayburn has suffered from the drought conditions plaguing the Lone Star State for the past couple of years. However, voluminous spring rains have swollen the lake and raised its surface level some 13 feet over the past two months. At the day-one launch, the Army Corps of Engineers had Rayburn's depth at 163.34 feet - just about a foot under full power pool of 164.4.

For bass, that means great amounts of new habitat and lots of new food sources. For fishermen, thatEverStart competitors take off for a warm day of good fishing on Sam Rayburn Lake. means great opportunity.

"The water was down for so long that everything is green and grown up underneath so what you have is a tremendous amount of cover stretching anywhere from 10 to 100 yards off the bank," said Kellogg's pro Jim Tutt. "There's a lot of ways to catch them right now, we're catching lots and lots and lots of numbers."

Ranger pro Stephen Johnston agrees, adding: "The bite is great. You can catch 50-60 fish a day. A hundred percent of these fish are post-spawn. They've already done their business. There's still some fish guarding fry up in the bushes, so there will be a lot of buzzbait fish, frog fish, wacky worms and any kind of soft plastic is going to be a huge deal."

Now the downside to catching a lot of bass is that many of them are smaller fish - the young and dumb ones that go nuts over the prospect of easy feeding. The larger, more mature bass have lived through lake changes and they're not so easily swayed by even the large fluctuations of recent weeks. Ranger pro Stephen Johnston will try to pick up some big bites on a Carolina-rigged V&M shad.These wily bass require more tactical savvy and only those who dial in the right presentations will weigh competitive sacks.

"Thank goodness we got the water we needed, but it has scattered the fish," Johnston said. "There's fish from about six inches deep out to about eight feet."

Johnston said he'll work the bank like most of his competitors but he'll be keying on the deeper zone from five to eight feet. He'll fish mostly a Carolina rig baited with a watermelon red V&M Pork Shad and if the fish are tough, he'll use a French fry style bait.

"You just want to put something out there that's not really (active) to the fish," Johnston said. "The fish don't want to chase, they're just sitting there. So you get something that doesn't do a whole lot and you're able to get a couple of better bites.

"I'm still getting a lot of bites, but during the day, I'm able to get a 2 1/2- to 4-pounder mixed in. That's going to be the key to this whole tournament - a couple big bites."

Prepping a diverse selection of baits this morning, Tutt said he also expects to spend a lot of time Kelloggweeding through smaller bass. Nevertheless, he's confident he can pull out a few quality fish.

"I'm fishing way more (baits) than I normally would," Tutt said. "I'm going to throw a swimbait, I'm going to throw a swim jig, I have a couple of topwaters on, I have a frog on. I actually have some Carolina rig and some jig fish deep, so I'm just running a whole bunch of places and hopefully, I'll get a big bite when I get in my best spot."

Texas pro Cody Malone said he was able to identify a particular presentation with a particular reaction bait during practice. He'll devote his entire day to making this pattern work.

"There is a ton o fish in shallow water," Malone said. "There are some good fish in the shallow water and that's what I plan on doing all day. I have one bait, one rod I'm throwing all day. I know I can get some bites on it and if I get the right five bites, I'll be really high on the board.

Texas pro Cody Malone has dialed in a particular tactic that he will fish all day."This is something I've been doing for a couple of days in practice and just trying to refine the presentation. I think I've really got it dialed into a really good pattern. This gets rid of the adjustment of 'Hey, I need to throw this because they're not eating that.' That's not going to be my case. I'm swinging and I'm throwing this bait from start to finish."

Warm, overcast conditions should provide a pleasant and productive stage for the EverStart field. Winds will remain light and the possibility of rain won't factor until the afternoon hours, so competitors should enjoy a full day of fishing however they prefer.

"There's going to be a lot of limits caught - a lot of small limits," Tutt said. "But there will be some nice limits caught and some bigger fish. This is Rayburn - I'm looking forward to it."

Logistics

Anglers will take off from Umphrey Family Pavilion located at 5438 Recreation Road 255 W. in Sam Rayburn, Texas, at 7 a.m. each morning. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. daily. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at Walmart located at 800 W.Swimbaits are one of many viable options that anglers may use to entice big bites on Rayburn. Gibson St. in Sam Rayburn starting at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Pros will fish for a top award of $35,000 plus a 198VX Ranger boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger 177TR with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The EverStart Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title along with $5,000 for the pro and $2,000 for the co-angler. The top 40 pros and co-anglers from each respective division will qualify for the EverStart Series Championship that will be held on the Ouachita River in Monroe, La., Nov. 1-4.

The EverStart Series tournament on Sam Rayburn is being hosted by the Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn Chamber of Commerce.

EverStart anglers pause for the National Anthem before taking off for day one.Thursday's conditions:

Sunrise: 6:51 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 61 degrees
Expected high temperature: 79 degrees
Water temperature: 64-66 degrees
Wind: SE 5-7 mph
Humidity: 60 percent
Day's outlook: Partly cloudy and windy

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2012-04-12-sam-rayburn-reservoir 

A Different Okeechobee

A Different Okeechobee

Cold fronts, dirty water and lower water levels make for an interesting start to the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division season. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Amistad

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Amistad

Wintertime patterns with just a touch of prespawn action dominated the Costa FLW Series opener presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Amistad. Crankbaits, jerkbaits, umbrella rigs, swimbaits and drop-shots were the go-to baits used by the top finishers. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Amistad

Top 10 Baits from Lake Amistad

Wintertime bass fishing tactics dominated at Lake Amistad in January, as the top finishers relied on jerkbaits, crankbaits, drop-shots, swimbaits and umbrella rigs to get the job done. READ MORE »

Childs Holds on for Co-angler Win

Childs Holds on for Co-angler Win

Jay Childs caught two giant largemouths on day one, along with a smaller keeper, to take the early lead at Lake Amistad. Then he survived today for the win with a pair of keepers that included one smallmouth. READ MORE »

Hanselmania Wins Again at Amistad

Hanselmania Wins Again at Amistad

Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman won the 2019 Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Amistad today with a two-day total of 38 pounds. The tournament was shortened to two days after day one was cancelled due to severe weather. Hanselman opened the tournament Friday with a 25-pound, 15-ounce catch that put him 9-7 ahead of second place. He could’ve stayed home today and still won the tournament, but the local angler added 12-1 to finish the blowout win. Second-place finisher Tyson Patrick’s two-day total only equaled what Hanselman caught on day one. READ MORE »

Amistad Midday Update - Day 3

Amistad Midday Update - Day 3

Lake Amistad was in a stingy mood for the final day of Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division action, as evidenced by a lot of long-faced anglers with lots of vacancy in their livewells. A slightly warmer day began with flat, calm conditions, but a light breeze was gaining some consistency by early afternoon. It’s possible that the growing ripples may break up the surface enough to stimulate a few fish into chasing reaction baits. READ MORE »

Amistad Midday Update – Day 2

Amistad Midday Update – Day 2

Prespawn staging is probably just around the corner, but for now the big and small fish in Amistad are still in their winter patterns — holding on main lake points and structure, lounging in the low grass lining the mouths of creeks and pockets and filling their bellies. READ MORE »

Perfect Weather Now on Tap in Texas

Perfect Weather Now on Tap in Texas

Amistad is one of south Texas’ most famous reservoirs – the other being Falcon. Though it’s not the juggernaut that it was in the not too distant past, Amistad is still an incredible tournament fishery, with room to spread out and plenty of grass and rocky structure to target for big giant wintertime bass. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns From Lake Amistad – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns From Lake Amistad – Day 2

Wintertime bass fishing tactics are in play at Lake Amistad for the Costa FLW Series opener. The tactics used today offer a good how-to lesson in dealing with early season conditions. READ MORE »

Hanselman Way in Front at Amistad

Hanselman Way in Front at Amistad

Ray "Hanselmania" Hanselman caught a massive 25-pound, 15-ounce limit of largemouth bass at Lake Amistad in south Texas to take the lead at the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division opener. READ MORE »

Here Comes Fall in the Ozarks

Here Comes Fall in the Ozarks

Mother Nature will deliver a big part of the story this week as the 2018 Costa FLW Series season comes to a close on Lake of the Ozarks. The tournament, which is presented by Evinrude, will wrap up the Central Division and finalize the field for the 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship scheduled for Nov. 1-3 at Lake Guntersville. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

Two heavy-hitting days buoyed Gregory Troughton to a 6-pound, 11-ounce lead going into a tough day three in the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta. The Discovery Bay, Calif., pro stumbled in the final round with a limit of 12-13, but outlasted the field and secured the win with 60-2. Troughton caught most of his fish by punching a Yamamoto Flappin Hog, but he added a few keepers on a Z-Man/Evergreen ChatterBait Jackhammer and a Don Iovino Splash-It popper. Read on to learn about the rest of the top 10. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Cal Delta

Top 10 Baits from the Cal Delta

The Costa FLW Series Western Division finale presented by Power-Pole on the Cal Delta presented challenging conditions due to the autumn transition and the effects of herbicide spraying. Still, typical Delta baits were used by the bulk of the top finishers, who picked their way through aquatic grasses and miles of riprap.  Here's a look at what the top 10 used on the Delta. READ MORE »

Troughton Triumphs on Cal Delta

Troughton Triumphs on Cal Delta

Despite a slow day that yielded only 12 pounds, 13 ounces, Gregory Troughton of Discovery Bay, Calif., held on to his day-two lead and won the Costa FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta with a three-day total of 60-2. Days one and two saw Troughton catch all of his fish on a heavy punch rig. Day three brought challenging post-frontal conditions, and he had to vary his presentations. A popper and a ChatterBait added key fish today. READ MORE »

Traba’s Big Bag Earns Delta Win

Traba’s Big Bag Earns Delta Win

Talk about saving the best for last. Jacob Traba sacked up a limit of 17 pounds, 6 ounces — the tournament’s heaviest co-angler bag — to win his division at the Costa FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta. Traba’s three-day total was 40-2. READ MORE »

Cal Delta Midday Update – Day 3

Cal Delta Midday Update – Day 3

Everyone knows the California Delta is one fickle fishery, and that disposition seems to be on display today for the final round of the Costa FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Power-Pole. Day-two leader Gregory Troughton carried a ton of momentum into day three with a lead of more than 6 pounds. However, we spent the better part of the morning with Troughton, and the magic was not happening. Not to say it will not happen at some point, but the leader will need to have a strong afternoon. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the Cal Delta – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cal Delta – Day 2

Specifically targeting big bass and catching a 9-pound, 4-ounce fish put Gregory Troughton in the lead by a margin of 6 pounds, 11 ounces at the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta. Troughton caught the largest bag of two day, 24-14, and holds the top spot with 47-5 READ MORE »

9-Pounder Anchors Troughton’s Lead

9-Pounder Anchors Troughton’s Lead

Gregory Troughton of Discovery Bay, Calif., caught 24 pounds, 14 ounces — the biggest bag of the Costa FLW Series Western Division tournament on the California Delta — and took over the day-two lead with a two-day total of 47-5. READ MORE »

Cal Delta Midday Update – Day 2

Cal Delta Midday Update – Day 2

As expected, today’s changing weather has shuffled the deck for anglers fishing the Costa FLW Series Western Division tournament on the California Delta. After the mostly calm and hot conditions of day one, the second round began about 14 degrees cooler with gusty winds of 15 mph. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns From the Cal Delta – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns From the Cal Delta – Day 1

A key flipping bite from a 7-pound, 9-ounce bass anchored a day-one catch of 22-11 for Jerred Jennings, who leads the Costa FLW Series Western Division event on the California Delta. READ MORE »