UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Hanselman Wins Back-to-Back

Ray Hanselman has won back-to-back Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournaments to open the 2015 season.

Ray Hanselman is not a greedy guy, but he so enjoyed his Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division win on Lake Amistad in mid-February that he went back for seconds – this time at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. After amassing 60 pounds, 8 ounces over three days of competition, the pro from Del Rio, Texas, lifted his second first-place trophy in a month and a half.

“I’m just floored because the tournament I won on Amistad was the first one I’d won, and to win another one is just too good to be true,” says Hanselman, who earned $35,815 for his win.

In two ways, this was a week of notables. First, Hanselman notched the first back-to-back wins in Rayovac FLW Series history. Second, Rayburn’s water level rose to heights not seen in about 15 years.

Torrential rains in the weeks prior to the event, and then another round the weekend before, pushed the lake to 5 feet above normal pool. This flooded shoreline brush and reached into the pines and the sweet gum trees that rarely feel water around their trunks.

The voluminous expansion availed feeding and spawning areas that bass readily utilized. Pushing far into the heaviest of cover, the fish related to a variety of trees and bushes.

The targets were many, but the objective was simple: Entice a bite, and then negotiate the fish out of its fortress. Hanselman took this to the extreme and pushed far back into the flooded forests, often into the close-contact zone.

“I think a lot of these fish have seen a lot of pressure, so I targeted the spots that were hardest to reach because not many people would try to get back that far,” he says.

Throughout most of the event, Hanselman fished coves and pockets roughly mid-lake on the west side.

He caught his fish on a beaver-style bait with a 6/0 heavy-gauge flipping hook and a Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Slither Rig in the Okeechobee craw color. The Slither Rig is a weight with a built-in skirt that enhances the presentation by increasing the bait’s profile.

“I used a 3/4-ounce Slither Rig when I was really busting back in the backs of the trees, and I used a 1/2-ouncer in the buck brush that didn’t have any leaves,” he says. “Everything had to be dead in the middle and on the bottom.

“I only had a couple of bites dropping in there. I think some of those fish were actually spawning in those trees – especially the trees that didn’t have a lot of leaves,” Hanselman continues. “They [the bass] had cover, but they were able to get sunlight down in there.”

Hanselman praised his co-angler partner, Bryan New (second place), for his quick and efficient assistance in boating fish in some of the tightest and most awkward scenarios imaginable.

“Bryan, he’s Superman,” Hanselman says. “He jumped from the back of the boat to the front of the boat as soon as I’d set the hook.

“It was unreal. I’ve never had a co-angler like that. He helped me get two of those bigger fish out of there.”

Hanselman got off to a good start by placing seventh on day one with 20-09. He moved into the lead a day later by sacking up 23-05 and then closed the deal on day three with a limit of 16-10.

A few impressive stats on Hanselman’s win:

  • His three-day total gives him a winning margin of 7 pounds, 2 ounces.
  • His day-two weight was the largest of the tournament.
  • Hanselman was the only angler to break the 20-pound mark twice during the tournament.

Opportunities like this don’t come around that often, so Hanselman clearly did not want to squeak by or slide in under the wire. He kicked down the door and took what he came for – a second trophy to keep that other one company.

Hanselman shows off a day-three keeper.

 

Top 10 Pros

1: Ray Hanselman – Del Rio, Texas – 60-08 (15) – $35,815

2: Kris Wilson – Montgomery, Texas – 53-06 (15) – $13,878

3: Jim Tutt – Longview, Texas – 52-10 (15) – $10,745

4: James Stricklin Jr. – Hot Springs, Ark. – 50-15 (15) – $8,954

5: Denny Brauer – Del Rio, Texas – 50-03 (15) – $8,058

6: Joe Don Setina – Pittsburg, Texas – 49-11 (14) – $7,163

7: T.J. Goodwyn – Center, Texas – 47-10 (15) – $6,268

8: Ricky Guy – Humble, Texas – 44-05 (13) – $5,372

9: Randy Sitz – Prosper, Texas – 41-05 (14) – $4,477

10: Tommy Dickerson – Orange, Texas – 34-03 (12) – $3,582

 

Click here for full results.

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

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