UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir


Rayburn Returns

Just minutes after launch of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Rayburn Reservoir, anglers were already boxing keepers.

ZAVALLA, Texas – If Sam Rayburn Reservoir were a stock on Wall Street, now would be the time to buy.

After several years of a downturn, Rayburn is now poised to return to the heyday levels it experienced in the 80’s and 90’s. As the final Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event gets underway at Rayburn this morning, 100 pro fishing “day traders” are hoping to cash in on the famous lake’s upswing.

“This is the best the grass has looked in 15 years,” says Phil Marks, who won the FLW Tour Open event here in October of 2012. “The grass has really come back strong; we’ve had some great bass spawns the last couple of years; the water has been higher; a lot of things are coming together to make this lake really good again and we’re going to see a hint of that this week.”The grass is coming back strong at Rayburn as boats once again have to navigate trails through the matted hydrilla.

During this same week in October of 2013 there was a Rayovac event held on Rayburn and it took 29 pounds, 8 ounces to make the top 10 and a three-day total of 57 pounds, 14 ounces to win. Most anglers feel the bar will be raised this time around due to the improved fishing with more like 34 pounds needed for the cut and over 60 pounds to win.

Todd Castledine is the Texas Division Angler of the Year leader coming into Rayburn. He agrees that more weight will be needed this year to do well.

“This time last year it was a struggle to catch 17 to 18 pounds a day,” Castledine says. “This year I think we’ll see more of those kinds of limits. The lake is just full of fish right now. There are places where you can just sit and maul them. Obviously most of them are small, but there are some big ones mixed in there, too. Seeing some 25-pound plus bags is not out of the question.

Russell Cecil, a three-time Texas Division Rayovac winner, also believes Rayburn is now a much healthier lake than it was even during the FLW Tour event held here in March of 2014.

“A lot of growth happened this summer in terms of vegetation,” Russell says. “The water has been higher and there is all types of grass from willow and hay grass up on the bank to hydrilla out to 14 and 15 feet. The variety of vegetation is so thick and matted in some areas it looks like a Florida lake.”

“There has also been a tremendous explosion of bait populations,” Cecil continues. “Perch, bream, shad – there is bait all over the place. Anytime you have a lot of healthy cover and a lot of bait, great bass fishing is not far behind and that’s where Rayburn is headed right now. The lake is full of Rayburn Reservoir is on it's way back to prime fishing. Shortly after takeoff Rayovac anglers were already putting fish in the boat.bass in that 2-pound range.”

Marks says the fishing is so good, it has actually thrown him a bit of a curve ball.

“I know this sounds strange, but I can focus better on this lake when it’s lower and a little tougher,” Marks says. “I kind of have a good idea on what I need to commit to in those conditions. Right now I’m a bit confused because there are so many fish and so many things to do to catch them. I’m going to have 25 rods on the deck and I’m not sure where I’m even going to start. There are a lot more options on the table now.”

“Doing well in tournament fishing requires making the right decisions,” he summarizes. “And right now, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made.”

The current weather is also setting up for some good fishing this week. A warm, cloudy, almost foggy morning with a healthy south wind tends to favor chomping among Rayburn bass, which is another reason these day traders are looking to cash in on some Rayburn returns today.


Anglers will take off from Cassels-Boykin County Park located at FM Road 3123 in Zavalla, Texas, at 7 a.m. each day. Weigh-ins will be held daily at the launch site beginning at 3 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Pros will fish for a top award of $40,000 plus a Ranger Z518C 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 Z117 with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The Rayovac FLW Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the opportunity to fish in the Rayovac FLW Series Championship.

The 2014 Rayovac FLW Series Championship is being held Oct. 30-Nov. 1 on Wheeler Lake in Rogersville, Alabama.

Thursday’s conditionsTodd Castledine holds the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division points lead going into the final event at Rayburn.

Sunrise: 7:13 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 78 degrees
Expected high temperature: 91 degrees
Water temperature: 82 degrees
Wind: S 10 to 20 mph
Day’s outlook: warm, humid, 50% chance of rain


Tags: rob-newell  morning-story  2014-10-02-sam-rayburn-reservoir 


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