UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Mead

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Hanselmania Returns

Ray Hanselman has a 5-6 cushion after two days. He stands a good chance to win his second consecutive Texas Division event.

It seems poetically fitting that Ray Hanselman will carry a 5-pound, 6-ounce lead into the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury. Considering the lake denied him a trio of 5-pounders this morning, that’s some good old-fashioned redemption.

“Normally, you lose three fish like that and you’re just torn up,” Hanselman says. “But I tried to keep myself calm. Yesterday, before the tournament, I told myself, ‘I know it’s going to happen.’ I power fish a lot, and when you flip that kind of stuff, it’s going to happen. I just tried to keep myself calm and just keep fishing.”

Hanselman is the only angler to break 20 pounds both days – 23 pounds, 5 ounces today and 20-9 on day one, for a total weight of 43-14. Behind "Hanselmania" is Denny Brauer, also of Del Rio, who is in second place for the second consecutive day. Day-one leader Joe Don Setina weighed in only four keepers for 11 pounds today.

Rayburn remains about 5 feet above normal level, so the flooded brush and shoreline trees remain the main deal. Some anglers are fishing for spawners, while others are targeting postspawn bass exiting the cover.

Focusing on that inner habitat, Hanselman began day two on the mid-lake spot he fished yesterday and bagged a 14-pound limit there by 11 a.m. He moved to another area and culled up with a 4-pounder. The leader says he planned to ease off with hopes of saving some fish for the final round, but then opportunity knocked.

“I was running back, and I saw a spot that looked just like the spot I had been fishing, but I couldn’t fish there in practice because the wind had been beating on it,” Hanselman says. “Today, the wind was opposite, so I went in there and culled three more.

“In practice, the wind was out of the south at 15 to 20 mph, and today it was out of the north. So a lot of those banks that were beaten up in practice are protected now.”

Both days, Hanselman has fished spawning coves with a mix of heavy, newly flooded cover and isolated brush. Flipping and pitching Strike King plastics, he’s intentionally avoiding the brush and trees with thick vines and grass mats that a lot of other anglers have reportedly been targeting.

These gnarly conglomerations of entangled cover seem to offer attractive habitat, but what fosters the fish’s sense of security will often break the angler’s heart. For Hanselman, avoiding the vines has allowed him to make clean presentations.

“When you’re flipping that cover, you have to maximize your flips,” Hanselman says. “You have to make sure you’re not pitching over a limb, and you try to make the cleanest pitch you can possibly make.”

Hanselman says he further refined his program by picking out particular trees.

“I’m catching more fish around the trees without the leaves because I think the sunlight can get to them,” he explains. “Some of them [the bass] I think are actually spawning.”

In addition to sizing up a promising tree, Hanselman is also considering his exit strategy.

“I make the flip I can, but I’m conscious of where my line falls in there,” he says. “I always ask myself if I can pull a fish out of there. And if I can’t I’ll reel it up and flip again.”

 

Top 10 Pros

1: Ray Hanselman – Del Rio, Texas – 43-14 (10)             

2: Denny Brauer – Del Rio, Texas – 38-08 (10)               

3: Tj Goodwyn – Center, Texas – 37-00 (10)                   

4: Ricky Guy – Humble, Texas – 36-11 (10)                     

5: Kris Wilson – Montgomery, Texas – 36-10 (10)                      

6: Jim Tutt – Longview, Texas – 35-00 (10)                     

7: Joe Don Setina – Pittsburg, Texas – 34-06 (9)             

8: James Stricklin Jr. – Hot Springs, Ark. – 32-06 (10)     

9: Tommy Dickerson – Orange, Texas – 31-03 (10)                    

10: Randy Sitz – Prosper, Texas – 30-11 (10)

 

Bryan New

New Notches Narrow Co-angler Lead

Bryan New, of Belmont, N.C., moved up two spots to lead the co-angler division with 25 pounds, 8 ounces. Adding 13-5 to the 12-3 he weighed on day one, New took the co-angler lead by 11 ounces. Although big bites have eluded him, he’s happy to have kept the rods bent.

“I’m just catching a lot of fish, period,” he says. “Even if there’s not a lot of big fish, that gives you confidence to fish as hard as you can because your next decision is going to be the right one.”

Yesterday, New only had seven or eight bites, but today he had 25 or 30.

“Yesterday, we fished a lot tighter to the flooded cover, and I wasn’t able to hit new water,” New explains. “Today, the area was more open, and my pro just couldn’t hit everything.”

New says that the Charlie’s Worms creature bait he was flipping made a big difference in his success. He opted not to share the specific bait, but says it differs subtly from another common bait style that many others are fishing. A slightly different body design, a softer body and intense scent additives are the key details. The bait produced bites in depths of 1 to 9 feet.

 

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Tags: sam-rayburn  flw-series  ray-hanselman  david-a-brown  headline-story  2015-04-09-sam-rayburn-reservoir 

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