UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

A flood of opportunity

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 

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