UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

CF: Top 3 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

CF: Top 3 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

The FLW College Fishing Southern Conference Invitational at Sam Rayburn Reservoir Oct. 25-26 was a close one with first, second and third place decided by barely more than a pound of Texas bass. The top teams found similar patterns and game plans in Rayburn’s shallow grass, and each committed to a small area for the entirety of the event.

 

1st Place

Lamar University

Brandon Simoneaux and Josh Bowie

10 bass – 29 pounds, 5 ounces

The Lamar University team of Brandon Simoneaux of Bridge City, Texas, and Josh Bowie of Port Neches, Texas, won the FLW College Fishing Southern Conference Invitational tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 29 pounds, 5 ounces. The victory earned the club $4,000 and qualified the team for the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

Lamar University made a huge comeback for the win at Sam Rayburn. Going into the second day, Brandon Simoneaux of Bridge City, Texas, and Josh Bowie of Port Neches, Texas, were in 15th place with 10 pounds, 10 ounces (the last to make the cut). They vaulted all the way to the top on the strength of an 18-pound 11-ounce bag on the final day.

Simoneaux and Bowie relied on local experience to narrow their focus in pre-fish by excluding deep water. Even with a subpar first day, they committed to the same area again on the second day because they knew they were around winning fish, having made the trip to Rayburn every weekend for a month before the tournament to prepare. They found the winning spot in the lower end of the lake.

“We knew it was going to be tough this time of year and also that the deep fish would desert us because they are just out there chasing shad and can move any time,” says Bowie. “We decided to stay shallow. Our area was basically a big flat with three creek channels that ran through the grass and created edges in the hydrilla.”

The creek channels were devoid of grass, which allowed Lamar to position the boat to fish the edges of the matted hydrilla.

“It was big enough [the channel] that we could go in and fish one grass edge and turn around and come out and fish the other side,” Bowie says. “The fish would be 2 to 3 feet back into the grass, and the way the creek channels were set up, we could fish that defined edge the whole time.”

Brandon Simoneaux of Lamar University. The Lamar team made a key change on the second day: replacing a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver rigged with a 1 1/4-ounce tungsten weight and punch skirt with a 1 1/4-ounce Stanley jig and Strike King Rage Twin Tail Menace Grub trailer.

“The jig just fell differently, and we were able to get a different presentation and fish it slower on the bottom,” Bowie explains. “The Menace Grub had a better action than the Sweet Beaver and matched the bluegills in the area.”

If there were bluegills visible swimming along the grass edges, the team would get bit, so it was important to match the hatch.

“The color we were using on our jig skirts and trailers was a sprayed grass or candy craw color and matched the bluegill perfectly,” Bowie adds.

 

2nd Place

Louisiana Tech University

Matthew Loetscher and Caleb Boudreaux

10 bass – 29 pounds, 3 ounces

The Louisiana Tech University team drew upon experience at similar lakes for its runner-up finish at Rayburn. The game plan was to fish shallow grass, and the Bulldogs stuck with it for the duration.

Matthew Loetscher, a recent graduate from Many, La., has been spending his time guiding on Toledo Bend Reservoir, a lake that fishes similar to Sam Rayburn.

“It [Rayburn] is set up the same as Toledo Bend, so we knew what to look for,” Loetscher says. “I spent a full week practicing and realized that the shallow grass flats were going to be the key. We caught every single one of our fish on a Stanley Top Toad in a bream color.”

The team focused on shallow grass that had deep-water access.

“We were fishing isolated peppergrass instead of hydrilla because the hydrilla was so thick and there was just so much of it, it was hard to locate the bass in it,” adds Loetscher.

The key area was located in Ayish Bayou. Loetscher and Boudreaux, both of Doyline, La., keyed on peppergrass in about 4 feet of water that was close to a 15- to 20-foot-deep channel.

“We decided to commit to the frog, and once the sun came up the fishing got really good,” recalls Loetscher. “We had close to 20 keepers on the first day and eight on the second day.

After catching 18 pounds, 9 ounces on day one the anglers sat in second place, and they were able to hold on to the runner-up position with 10 pounds, 10 ounces on the final day.

 

3rd Place

Colorado Mesa University

Josh Worth and Kennedy Kinkade

9 bass – 28 pounds, 2 ounces

Josh Worth and Kennedy Kinkade of Colorado Mesa University.

It was a long road to Sam Rayburn for the Colorado Mesa University team of Josh Worth and Kennedy Kinkade of Grand Junction, Colo. The anglers traveled more than 1,200 miles one way to get to the famed Texas lake.

Despite the distance, they were able to make a pre-practice trip a couple weeks before the event. So when they arrived at Sam Rayburn for the tournament, the Colorado Mesa anglers practiced for one day and spent much of it just checking out the key area they had previously found.

“I was worried that the grass would have changed or that the shad would be gone after two weeks,” says Kinkade.

Thankfully, they found things much as they had left them, allowing Kinkade and Worth to spend the entire tournament on a grassy point.

“It was basically one weedbed, and we could catch smaller fish in the shallower water where the hydrilla was thicker, but the bigger ones were holding in deeper water – 10 to 12 feet deep – where the grass was much more sparse and had different grass growing with the hydrilla.”

Colorado jumped to an early lead on day one with 21 pounds, 5 ounces. The team spent both days in one 200-yard section and went on the inside and outside of the grass mat throughout the day flipping a Pepper Custom Baits Pepper Punch rig. The rig is comprised of a tungsten weight with a punch skirt attached. A soft-plastic stick bait was added as a trailer.

The biggest factor for success besides the grassy mix and bait was the wind.

“At around 11 on the first day the wind picked up and they started biting, but it didn’t start getting windy until around 1 on the second day, so we had less time during the prime conditions,” says Kinkade. “We ended up having the same quality bites on the second day, we just didn’t get them in.”

Due to the lack of wind in the morning, Colorado Mesa was unable to fill its limit, weighing four fish for 6 pounds, 13 ounces. The drop-off bumped the team out of the top spot and into third.

Tags: tyler-brinks  post-tournament  2014-10-25-sam-rayburn-reservoir-invitational 

Top 10 Patterns from the St. Johns

Top 10 Patterns from the St. Johns

The Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River potentially missed some stellar fishing opportunities. Despite being the time of year when big green fish start to move up to the banks en masse to spawn, changing weather conditions and multiple cold fronts kept fish coming and going all week, opening small windows on which pros and co-anglers needed to capitalize. READ MORE »

Sharp Blasts 40 Pounds to Win on Rayburn

Sharp Blasts 40 Pounds to Win on Rayburn

Winning a tournament is always pretty cool, but winning the way Anthony Sharp did in the second Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event in the Cowboy Division presented by A.R.E. is next-level. Weighing 40 pounds, 6 ounces of Sam Rayburn bass, the Village Mills, Texas, angler beat second place by more than 21 pounds. For the win, which was his first with FLW, Sharp took home a total of $7,000.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the St. Johns

Top 10 Baits from the St. Johns

The St. Johns River was in a bit of a funk for the Toyota Series Southern Division opener. Instead of a full-on spawning slugfest, a couple cold fronts and quickly changing wind and water conditions kept fish moving in and out. The anglers chasing them had to stay on their toes. Plenty of pros did find quality fish, though, and they did so with a lot of familiar baits when it comes to late-winter fishing in Florida. Right now, it’s all about the black and blue plastics on the St. Johns. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Toledo Bend

Top 10 Patterns from Toledo Bend

The general consensus before the first Toyota Series Southwestern Division stop on Toledo Bend was that local knowledge could go a long way being the Sabine River impoundment was a little fickle. That was spot on. Aside from winner Cody Huff, the rest of the top 10 was an all-star cast of locals.   READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Toledo Bend

Top 10 Baits from Toledo Bend

Fishing offshore was the way to go for the majority of the top pros and because of that a Carolina rig, football jig and deep-diving crankbait were the main players for most of the field. Getting the win, Cody Huff relied on a jigging spoon and his graphs to hunt down suspended fish, proving that heavy metal never goes out of style for bass. READ MORE »

Wooten Wins Marshal Contest on Rayburn

Wooten Wins Marshal Contest on Rayburn

You’re never too old to try something new. Just ask Ron Wooten. Wooten, who’s 71 years old and retired from the offshore oil construction industry, heard about the FLW Marshal program from a couple friends who had previously marshaled FLW events. They recommended it, he took their advice, and now he has an extra $2,500 to show for it. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Even when the bite is tough, Sam Rayburn is a power-fishing lake through and through. Sure, a spinning rod showed up here and there throughout the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit opener, but it was Carolina rigs, lipless crankbaits and vibrating jigs that dominated in the hands of the top 10 pros. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

Sam Rayburn is one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country, but it sure didn’t show its full potential during the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season opener. Cold fronts, high winds, fluctuating water temps and transitioning fish had the fishing jumbled. The patterns the top 10 pros employed throughout the week followed suit. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Smallmouths dominated at the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. Oklahoma’s Andrew Upshaw led the way with brown bass caught on a jig and a Ned rig on bluff bank transitions in the reservoir’s lower end. Behind him, only a couple of pros hedged their bets on targeting largemouths. The rest fished for smallies and considered green bass to be bonus fish and spotted bass to be limit fillers on the tough days. READ MORE »

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

In classic Southern smallmouth fashion, crankbaits and jigs dominated the top 10 at Lake Cumberland during the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship. The only exceptions were a few finesse baits and the tackle used by two pros who targeted largemouths. Here’s what worked. READ MORE »

Myers Makes Long Run for Kentucky Win

Myers Makes Long Run for Kentucky Win

Mark Myers of Cedar Falls, Iowa, is no stranger to the victory circle with FLW, having previously won a BFL as a boater to go with two FLW Tour victories as a co-angler and two more as a co-angler in Costa FLW Series competition. But, his latest win at the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes is the realization of his long-time goal to qualify for the All-American. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks

Top 10 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks

Considering this was the fourth year in a row Lake of the Ozarks had hosted a Costa FLW Series Central Division event in October, everyone pretty much knew what to expect. And then the weather happened. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake of the Ozarks

Top 10 Baits from Lake of the Ozarks

Fall in the Ozarks is prime time to throw a buzzbait. Sure enough, plenty of the top guys did just that during the Costa FLW Series Central Division finale presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Curt Warren knew what he wanted to do, and it had nothing to do with weeding through a bunch of small fish up shallow. Rather, he focused his attention on deeper Grand Lake spots with chunk rock and brush and amassed a three-day total of 46 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their checks on Grand. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

A cold front moving in at the start of Grand Lake’s fall transition put a damper on seeing a bunch of big weights during the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, but plenty of pros managed to find the right fish to make things exciting on the final day. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

The Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta featured all the typical Delta tactics. Punching, vibrating jigs, finesse and even a frog made an appearance in 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 event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta had a lot of punching as usual, but it was far from the only thing going. Due to the lush grass and windy and touch conditions, vibrating jigs and finesse played a big role as well. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the St. Lawrence River

Top 10 Baits from the St. Lawrence River

Regardless of how far anglers ran, whether 95 miles or 5 miles, the Costa FLW Series Northern Division finale on the St. Lawrence River presented by Gajo Baits really came down to a battle of deep versus shallow. Here’s a look at the baits that helped the top 10 get the job done on the St. Lawrence. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the St. Lawrence River

Top 10 Patterns from the St. Lawrence River

There were two big choices anglers had to make this week: how far should they run and should they fish deep or shallow. READ MORE »

Bryan Schmitt’s Potomac Review

Bryan Schmitt’s Potomac Review

On the Potomac, hands down, I want to fish grass. The grass holds the numbers. But if you look at the event this week on the Potomac, the tournament was won on structure. READ MORE »