UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Erie

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Texoma

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Texoma
Ray Hanselman celebrates an early keeper.

Ray Hanselman

With his win on Lake Texoma, Del Rio, Texas, pro Ray Hanselman made Rayovac FLW Series history by sweeping the Texas Division. Hanselman did most of his damage with a Strike King Sexy Frog, although he made a few flips and pitches here and there with plastics.

Recent rains had pushed Texoma to about 2 feet above normal pool, and Hanselman used this to his advantage by targeting overlooked areas that had been muddy during practice. Working flooded brush in the backs of secondary coves, he found bedding fish, as well as postspawners ready to chew in the clearing water.

Most of the other top 10 finishers also targeted a mix of spawning and postspawn fish. The changing water level, plus a mild cold front that pushed through the first day of the event, made for tough fishing under mostly high, bright skies. Anglers reported super-tough conditions, and many struggled to get daily limits.

Here’s a look at the second- through 10th-place finishers:

 

Bradley Hallman

2. Hallman Hammers ’Em for Second

After seeing enough solid bed fish in practice and calculating the likely influence of a full moon a day after the tournament, Bradley Hallman says he was “all in for sight-fishing” the entire tournament. The plan worked well on day one for 14 pounds, 8 ounces, a little less so on day two with 12 pounds. The third day, Hallman stormed up the standings on the strength of a 20-pound, 5-ounce sack that put him in second with 46-13.

Needing light and warmth to facilitate this game, Hallman started his mornings by looking for a topwater bite before transitioning to pitching presentations.

“I started off throwing a frog and had a limit probably by 9:30 to 10 o’clock, but then the sun got high enough around 10 and I started looking for them,” he says.

Targeting beds with a Texas-rigged Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw, Hallman fished flooded brush and found his areas reloading daily.

“I was fishing the same areas. We were getting new fish every day,” he says.

Hallman notes that his Power-Poles were essential in holding his position to work stubborn bed fish. Also important: bait color.

“All week, I sight-fished with a green pumpkin bait, but I also used a white tube if I was having a hard time telling if a fish was eating the bait,” he says. “You obviously don’t want to foul-hook a fish [bass hooked outside the mouth while sight-fishing must be immediately released], so with the white, I could tell if she ate the bait.”

 

Nick Lebrun

3. Confidence Bait Leads Lebrun to Third

Nick Lebrun from Shreveport, La., caught only four keepers on day three, but they were the right ones. He weighed in 21 pounds, 13 ounces – the day’s heaviest sack and the tournament’s second heaviest – and finished just 7 ounces behind Hallman with 46-6.

Earlier in the tournament, Lebrun caught his fish on a V&M Cliff’s Wild Craw (Bama bug color) Texas rigged with a 1/2-ounce Elite Tungsten weight and a 3/0 Gamakatsu hook. Day three saw him switch to a SPRO Bronzeye Poppin’ Frog in sexy shad – a choice he says gave him supreme confidence.

“I tried to fish the frog with ‘X-ray vision,’” Lebrun says. “I tried to picture the holes in these bushes and pretend there was a 5-pounder lying there.

“I’d make the precise cast and work the frog like she was staring at it the entire time. That confidence and mind-set are important – especially when it’s really tough.”

Lebrun says a basic walk-the-dog presentation served him best. He’d give the bait four to five twitches, let it sit and then repeat.

As for his specific targets, Lebrun likened his Texoma experience to the previous Texas Division tournament on Sam Rayburn. In that event, flood conditions pushed bass deep into shoreline timber and brush.

“I had several blow-ups [on day three], and they were in places that reminded me of Rayburn, where you should never be able to get a fish out,” he says. “But they came right to the net, so the good Lord was with me.”

 

Joe Don Setina

4. Power-Poles Key to Setina’s Program

After leading day one with 20 pounds, 9 ounces, Joe Don Setina slipped on day two when he lost some key fish to the heavy brush he was pitching. Day three saw him recover and turn in 15-2 for a three-day total of 45-13.

On day three, Setina caught one small keeper on a frog, but boated all of his other bass while bed-fishing. He alternated between two Reaction Innovations baits – a Little Dipper and a Sweet Beaver. He liked the sun gill color for the Dipper and green pumpkin for the beaver. Dipping the tails of baits in chartreuse dye enhanced their appeal.

“I just drove around the backs of pockets looking for them,” Setina says. “I found some really stubborn ones, and one thing that was really important was having my Power-Poles. That was just as important as having the fishing pole. I could tuck in there and hide from them and stay still. The fish were spooky, so I was really thankful to have my Power-Poles.”

 

Jeff Reynolds

5. Reynolds Sight-Fishes for Fifth

Jeff Reynolds, of Calera, Okla., devoted his tournament to sight-fishing and turned in a fifth-place total of 39 pounds, 4 ounces. Working marinas and flat, grassy pockets, he pitched a Zoom Z-Hog in green pumpkin or white.

“The bigger fish were in the marinas, but the fish in the grassy pockets weren’t getting as much pressure,” Reynolds says. “The lake was coming up, and the fish were moving back into that grass.”

Reynolds caught most of his fish in less than 3 feet of water. He says he caught fish throughout the day, and while sunlight helped his sight-fishing, he found success in the shadows as well.

“I caught my biggest fish – a 6-15 – in the first five minutes of the second day,” Reynolds says. “We took off at 6:30 a.m., and it was about 6:50 when I caught that fish. I had found this one the day before, so I knew where she was, and I got her in probably three pitches.”

 

Cody Bird brought a solid smallmouth to the scales.

6. Big Day Two Buoys Bird

Like an Oreo, the sweet stuff came in the middle of Cody Bird’s three days on Texoma. The Granbury, Texas, pro weighed bags of 10 pounds, 5 ounces and 6-4 on the first and third days, with a big spike of 21-9 on day two.

Bird had a couple of patterns going this week. He found some quality smallmouths that would eat a Kicker Fish Hightail Holeshot finesse worm on a shaky head in the morning. After that, he’d look for bedding largemouths with the Kicker Kraw that he designed for Kicker Fish.

Unfortunately, he only found cooperative bedding bass of any quality on that second day and ended up sixth with 38-2.

 

Brian Ankrum is the the second angler in the top five that only weighed in four fish. Getting the right quality bite Ankrum finished the day with 15 pounds, 13 ounces to round out our top five.

7. Boat Problems Sink Ankrum

He was remarkably consistent the first two days, with weights of 15 pounds, 13 ounces and 15-12, respectively, but an engine malfunction in the afternoon of day two limited Brian Ankrum’s mobility. The Natalia, Texas, pro thought he had the problem fixed by the day-three takeoff, but after a morning of mechanical woes, he had to trailer his boat, borrow another and try to make something of the day.

The time loss left Ankrum with one final-day keeper and a seventh-place total of 33-3. All of his fish came on a Koppers LIVETARGET Frog in the leopard frog pattern.

 

Robert Brown sits just outside the top 5 with 15 pounds, 10 ounces.

8. Brown Fishes Fast for Eighth

Robert Brown of Round Rock, Texas, took eighth place with 32 pounds, 9 ounces. He caught his fish on a 3/8-ounce Strike King spinnerbait in the sexy shad color with an Indiana and a willow-leaf blade. He also threw a weightless white soft jerkbait.

“I was working them really fast,” Brown says of his two go-to baits. “I fished them around laydowns and submerged cover. I was just trying to get them in front of the right ones.”

 

Russell Cecil caught the big bass on day 2 that weighed 7 pound, 6 ounce.

9. Cecil Bed-Fishes for Ninth

Sight-fishing specialist Russel Cecil stuck with his signature strength and earned a ninth-place finish with 31 pounds, 8 ounces. Cecil gave the fish two different looks by pitching a Big Bite Baits WarMouth on a 1/4-ounce weight and a Big Bite Baits YoMama with a 5/16-ounce weight. He rigged both on 4/0 hooks.

 

10. Craig Frilot committed to throwing a white ChatterBait throughout the event.

10. Frilot Gets Chatty for 10th

Hailing from crawfish central – Breaux Bridge, La. – Craig Frilot chatted openly with Tournament Director Ron Lappin about his hometown’s seasonal abundance of this tasty crustacean. On the lake, Frilot did his talking with a Z-man ChatterBait accented with a Zoom Swimmin’ Super Fluke trailer – both in shad colors.

 

Click here for complete results.

Tags: flw-series  lake-texoma  david-a-brown  post-tournament  2015-04-30-lake-texoma 

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

When you put one of the largest and most talented fields of bass anglers on one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country, big things are bound to happen. The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga became a battle between shallow and deep, with pros on either side catching big stringers of giant bass. Here's how they did it. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits from Chickamauga

When so many anglers are throwing similar baits and running similar patterns, doing something a little different can be quite the advantage. Sure enough, the pros who made the top 10 at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga all had techniques or tactics of their own to set themselves apart. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Eufaula

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Eufaula

Josh Stracner won the 2020 Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Lake Eufaula by fishing offshore. He targeted deep ledges in the mid-lake area for two days before switching to brush piles in 12 to 15 feet on the final day when a front moved through and replaced still, sunny conditions with wind and overcast skies. The rest of the top 10, with one exception, also fished offshore in what turned out to be a pretty typical June ledge-fishing tournament.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Eufaula

Top 10 Baits from Lake Eufaula

June on Eufaula is ledge season. Well, mostly. Nine of the top 10 in the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event at Eufaula fished offshore, but targets included ledges, brush piles, standing timber and some “in-between” offshore structure where bass stopped in transition from the bank to out deep. One pro even fished exclusively shallow. Here are the baits they used to make the cut. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Pickwick

Top 10 Patterns from Pickwick

Pickwick Lake greeted Toyota Series anglers with high, stained water and stronger than normal current last week. While the last week of May usually means fishing to depths of 25 feet on Pickwick, some anglers felt Pickwick’s bass were a little behind in their summer migration to the deep ledges. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Pickwick

Top 10 Baits from Pickwick

From shallow bars to deep ledges, the offshore bite on Pickwick was the deal for the majority of the field in second stop of the Toyota Series Central Division. Because the offshore bite reigned supreme, it’s no surprise that the lures thrown by the top 10 pros were standard issue for the Tennessee River this time of year. READ MORE »

Vlog: Becker's 3 Patterns from Martin

Vlog: Becker's 3 Patterns from Martin

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Matt Becker recently shared a great video that details the three patterns he used to earn a fourth-place finish at the season’s third stop on Lake Martin. Becker, who’s currently second in the Angler of the Year race, caught both largemouth and spotted bass and capitalized on a variety of tactics for a top finish. His patterns included targeting staging and spawning spotted bass on shoals, skipping docks and sight-fishing for spawning largemouths.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Martin

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Martin

Spotted bass dominated the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit on Lake Martin, but they didn’t win it. Sure, the sheer abundance of spotted bass in Martin left most pros’ thumbs bloody and raw from catching so many fish. Yet, it was the key largemouth that really separated the field, and what helped Jason Abram earn his first victory. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Bites were easy to come by at Lake Martin. It was getting the quality bites that separated the field. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Though the total weights didn’t live up to some expectations, the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee was still a lot of fun. The weather was great, there were plenty of fish caught the first two days, and there was a truly dramatic race for the win on the final day. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Hartwell

Top 10 Baits from Hartwell

Because of high water and cooler conditions, bass on Lake Hartwell haven’t quite gotten fully into the mood to spawn. During the Toyota Series Eastern Division opener on Lake Hartwell, there were plenty of shallow fish to be had, but catching them wasn’t as simple as finding one pattern or one primary bait. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Hartwell

Top 10 Patterns from Hartwell

Early March on Lake Hartwell can be feast or famine. The bite often depends on weather patterns, as both largemouth and spotted bass are staging before the spawn. MLF Bass Pro Tour pro Marty Robinson pulled off a wire-to-wire win, but the victory wasn’t easy. The final field of 10 contained a lot of local knowledge and experienced anglers who were ready to knock Robinson off should he falter. Here’s a look at how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their paychecks. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Chickamauga

In February, with water temperatures in the high 40s, no one expected a fast and furious bite during the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division tournament on Lake Chickamauga. What everyone hoped for was quality fish. There were two 10-pound-plus bass brought to the weigh-in stand, but it appeared consistency was the name of the game, at least for the winner, Jim Neece Jr. of Bristol, Tenn.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

In past FLW events on the chain, the grass was best in Griffin and Harris, but this time Dora, Beauclair, Eustis and Harris provided most of the top bags. Targeting hydrilla, eelgrass and hard spots, prespawn and postspawn fish were the focus for the vast majority of the top schools. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits from Lake Chickamauga

It was February, so low temperatures were the norm for the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division tournament on Lake Chickamauga. Water temperatures were in the high 40s, which meant the bass were generally not overly aggressive or active. Not all, but most fish were taken in shallow water where the bass were moving up to feed and/or take advantage of warmer, shallower water. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

Between cold fronts and pressure, the Harris Chain has been a tough nut to crack, yet the top teams in the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance got it done with a combination of plastic and hard baits. Certainly, the teams learned a thing or two from the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event held the week prior on the chain, but you still can never go wrong with a Texas-rigged worm, vibrating jig or lipless crankbait in Florida. READ MORE »

Kritsberg Hits Jackpot With Strickland Mega-Bag

Kritsberg Hits Jackpot With Strickland Mega-Bag

Warren “Butch” Kritsberg has only lived in Florida for a few years, and he’s still learning a lot about fishing the Harris Chain of Lakes. Fortunately, he now has a lot of new intel about where and how to catch giants after riding along with Laramy Strickland on the second tournament day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event, which was presented by Bad Boy Mowers. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

Each day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain of Lakes was markedly different from the day prior. Most of the field struggled a bit, and the final 30 anglers were left scrambling to figure out how to find and catch fish in the post-frontal conditions that are often so detrimental for Florida largemouths.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Baits from the Harris Chain

At Florida’s Harris Chain, in late winter, it’s a good bet the same handful of baits are going to produce more than any others, from Lake Harris down to Apopka. During the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on the Harris Chain, presented by Bad Boy Mowers, it was Texas rigs with black and blue plastics, jerkbaits, Carolina rigs and a few other moving baits that most often got the call.  READ MORE »

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 »