UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - St. Lawrence River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

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 

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 »

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

The Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac River was not the slugfest the season opener on Champlain was or the season finale on the St. Lawrence River is almost sure to be. As has been the case in many of the FLW events on the Potomac this year, the fishing was pretty stingy, and hard cover played an outsized role. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac River

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac River

Late summer on the Potomac is often tough fishing, so the contenders in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event had to pull out all the stops. Fishing everything from grass to docks and rocks, the anglers mixed up all sorts of power and finesse presentations to get the job done in the second stop of the season presented by Lowrance. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Osborne Fished Finesse

Cup Top 10: Osborne Fished Finesse

Osborne spent the early visit graphing for brush in Hamilton’s lower end. In practice, it was more of the same, as Osborne spent only a couple of hours beating the bank. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Minnesota pro Josh Douglas is regarded as an electronics expert. But while he put his Lowrance units to the test at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton to find offshore brush piles, even Douglas couldn’t resist spending some time in the mornings hunting shallow bass. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Salzman Went Shallow to Deep

Cup Top 10: Salzman Went Shallow to Deep

Ryan Salzman earned an eighth-place finish at the FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton with a well-executed two-part strategy. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Webster Wormed Brush

Cup Top 10: Webster Wormed Brush

Among the FLW Cup pros that committed the entire tournament to one pattern was Joseph Webster, who weighed in a three-day total of 28 pounds, 2 ounces at Lake Hamilton. He finished seventh. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Felix Keyed on Clear Water

Cup Top 10: Felix Keyed on Clear Water

Eden Prairie, Minn., pro Austin Felix finished sixth in this year’s FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, but he’s convinced that if the engineers operating Blakely Mountain Dam had released water on a more consistent schedule, the results might have been even better for him. Felix spent most of the tournament keying on the clear waters of Hamilton’s upper end. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Martin went up the River

Cup Top 10: Martin went up the River

Prior to practice, Scott Martin had no idea that the far upper end of Lake Hamilton, where the cold waters from the bottom of Lake Ouachita flow in through Blakely Mountain Dam, was such a drastically different mini-fishery within the reservoir. Then he started scouting it in practice and realized there was potential to win the tournament in the tailrace in areas where the water temperature was below 60 degrees. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Lawyer Mixes it Up for Fourth

Cup Top 10: Lawyer Mixes it Up for Fourth

Fourth-place pro Jeremy Lawyer was the highest finisher to utilize the shallow-early, brush-later strategy. Lawyer stacked together limits of 12 pounds, 1 ounce and 12-5 on the first two days to go into the final day in fourth place. He weighed in just 7 pounds on Sunday. READ MORE »

Green Has Experience of Lifetime at Cup

Green Has Experience of Lifetime at Cup

Winning $2,500 might be the highlight of a trip for a lot of people, but for Leroy Green, winner of the FLW Tour Marshal program at the 2019 FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton, the cash prize was secondary to the relationships he forged out on the water. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Ebare Fished the Tailrace

Cup Top 10: Ebare Fished the Tailrace

Most of the time, fishing Southern impoundments in August is all about slowly dragging worms through brush piles. That’s what Dakota Ebare planned to do at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton. How he wound up catching enough fish to finish in third place felt more like Southern stream fishing. Ebare spent three days fishing the tailrace below Blakely Mountain Dam where the cold, clear waters drained through from the bottom of Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Cup at Hamilton

Top 10 Baits from the Cup at Hamilton

While there weren’t too many patterns in play at the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., the nature of an August tournament in the South forced most of the top finishers to mix in a bunch of baits to catch their fish. Here’s what the top 10 used to catch schoolers and ply brush, docks and various types of shallow grass. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Walters Committed to Brush

Cup Top 10: Walters Committed to Brush

Coming into the FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, Florida pro Kyle Walters figured the only chance he had to win was to stay away from the bank, where competing with the best in the sport was a tall order, and commit to finding as many brush piles as he could. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

As usual, the fishing on Lake Champlain was great. Pros and co-anglers alike loaded the boat with smallmouths and largemouths each day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event, and they did it with a wide array of techniques. If you’re wondering what to throw up north when there are green and brown fish on the table in the early summer, you could hardly go wrong with anything the pros in the top 10 used.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Grueling wind on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division opener on Lake Champlain didn’t do the field any favors, but otherwise, it was a heck of a tournament on the big northern fishery. The aftereffects of an odd spring with high water had things somewhat scrambled, putting some of the local participants on their off foot, but a variety of patterns proved to be successful. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

June is a fantastic month to be on Lake Champlain, as the FLW Tour pros showcased at last week’s season finale, which was presented by T-H Marine. Smallmouths were spawning all over the place, but the winning pattern was catching postspawn largemouths down at Ticonderoga. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is the kind of fishery that forces pros to make difficult decisions about where to go and what color of bass to target. This time around, in the FLW Tour 2019 finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, on the big Northern fishery, the decision was more interesting because there were spawning smallmouths everywhere up north, but the forecast was favorable for making the long run south to Ticonderoga to catch largemouths. READ MORE »

High School Championship Top 10 Baits

High School Championship Top 10 Baits

June is typically ledge-fishing season in the Tennessee Valley, especially at Pickwick, but the 2019 High School Fishing National Championship was a more diverse event than most folks might have expected. Patterns ranging from junk-fishing the bank to targeting docks and other shoreline cover to working the main-lake ledges all worked. Here are the baits used by the top 10 teams during the week. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Pros caught fish everywhere from in the middle of flooded jungles of brush to deep main-lake drops. The top finishers pretty much all power fished with soft plastics, crankbaits and frogs. READ MORE »