Live now : HIGH SCHOOL FISHING 2020 Clear Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Rayburn

Top 10 Patterns from Rayburn
Several boats were tucking into heavy cover.

If it’s always easy, anyone can catch 'em; but when meteorological mayhem crashes the party, only those who make the right adjustments and work within the realities of what’s occurring will fare well. That’s the story of Ricky Guy’s victory in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division opener – presented by Mercury – on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, which was an event plagued by post-frontal conditions left by a major storm system that lashed the Gulf Coast states earlier in the week.

The Humble, Texas, pro entered the final round with a 6-pound lead over Rayburn stick Chris McCall. With cold nights, bright skies and high pressure disrupting the spawning slugfest anglers had enjoyed prior to the front, the day-three weights declined for most. Guy did not escape the vexation, but he leveraged what was available to him and pulled out the win by a margin of 1-11.

Other finalists experienced varying levels of productivity. Here are the details on their patterns, as revealed after the final weigh-in Saturday.

Ricky Guy’s winning pattern

Top 10 baits from Rayburn

Complete results

 

2. Martin flips his way into second

Improving from fifth place to second, Nacogdoches, Texas, pro Lendell Martin Jr. was the only angler to break 20 pounds on day three. His limit of 20-5 was his second of more than 20 pounds (he weighed 22-10 on day two). Adding 16-9 from day one yielded a second-place total of 59-8.

Acknowledging the weather’s influence on tournament conditions, Martin says Rayburn’s abundance still made for an impressive showing.

“The lake is full of fish, and you can catch them however you want to catch them,” Martin says.

Focusing on shallow cover (buck brush and cypress trees) in the lake’s north end, Martin opted for shallow pitching with a black/blue Yamamoto Flappin’ Hog with 5/16-ounce weight and a 1/2-ounce jig with a black/blue Zoom Super Chunk trailer. The latter served a somewhat unintentional double duty.

“I caught a lot of fish swimming that jig,” Martin adds. “They either grabbed it when it fell or in probably the first few feet. I caught two or three today [Saturday] just swimming the jig over a laydown and swimming it back to the boat.

“Two times, I had a big one blow up on my jig, and then I pitched back in there and he grabbed it again.”

Martin says he fared best on drains and cuts, points, and isolated cover such as a handful of cypress trees on the edge of flooded brush. Perhaps counterintuitive to the notion of flipping cover, Martin actually felt less confident with the denser areas.

“It seemed like if you had a whole lot of cover, you had to wait too long to get a bite,” Martin explains. “The less cover, the easier it was to pinpoint the fish.”

 

3. Rambo picks through big numbers

Cory Rambo got off to a strong start with 23-9 on day one and 18-1 on day two. The final round saw the Orange, Texas, pro struggle with lots of missed Caroline-rig bites — probably a case of fish grabbing the weight, he suspects.

“Everything went as planned the first day,” Rambo says. “On day two, I had to go to Plan B, and on day three I was way down there [on the list of options].”

On the first day, Rambo caught his fish on a 6th Sense Snatch lipless crankbait in the new Rambo red color. The next day his lipless bite died, so he went to a Carolina-rigged green pumpkin lizard. The C-rig produced a few bites on day three, but Rambo relied more on a 3/4-ounce Missile Baits football-head jig and a green pumpkin Big Bite Baits craw.

In the mornings, Rambo started on a rocky island close to the takeoff area and then progressed to classic prespawn staging areas such as grassy edges and points heading into spawning pockets. Adding 13-13 in the final round gave him a total weight of 55-7.

 

Kris Wilson cracked 27-10 on day one to jump into the lead.

4. Wilson drags into fourth

Clearly benefitting from his massive day-one bag that went 27-10 — the event’s heaviest single-day catch — Kris Wilson of Montgomery, Texas, struggled the next two days with smaller limits of 12-5 and 15-2 and ended with a total weight of 55-1.

Wilson had located a key area in Rayburn’s upper end where he found a pile of hefty females staging near hay grass. When the front’s high pressure and calm winds imposed upon the fish’s comfort, that deal simply died.

“I was catching them good the first day, but the next two days those big fish vanished,” Wilson says. “There were a lot of keepers, just small fish.”

Wilson caught 90 percent of his fish on a Carolina rig with a 1/2-ounce weight and a green pumpkin Big Bite Baits lizard. He also picked up a few keepers on a 1/2-ounce football jig with a green pumpkin craw worm.

 

Chris McCall is a Rayburn stick and he put up 24-3 on day one for third.

5. McCall’s Trap bite withers

Making his home just minutes from Rayburn’s southern shores, Walmart FLW Tour pro Chris McCall says his swing-for-the-fences game plan might’ve been a little misguided, given the week’s weather scenario.

“I did things a little differently this time — I tried to practice to win,” McCall says. “Not that I don’t always want to win, but I normally practice to do well. This tournament, I did something I don’t normally do — I tried to mix some deep stuff with my Rat-L-Trap bite.

“The first two days, I weighed probably 50/50 [deep bites and Rat-L-Trap bites], but on day three, nobody showed up where I needed them to be.”

On days one and two, McCall fished a 1/2-ounce bleeding shad Rat-L-Trap and a chartreuse/blue Strike King 6XD. In the final round, the Brookeland, Texas, resident had to scramble and finally found success returning to the 7/16-ounce Santone swim jig that had been producing prior to the front. He fitted the jig with a white Gambler Burner Craw.

After posting 24-3 on day one, McCall followed with 19-8 on day two. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get the big bites on day three and settled for a small limit of 10-3 and a total weight of 53-14.

 

6. Baker mixes cranking and rigging

With only two prior Rayburn visits, Joel Baker knew he had to dial in his game plan, so he did his homework. The result was a solid performance with daily limits of 19-4, 19-9 and 14-6, giving the Talala, Okla., pro a sixth-place total of 53-3.

“I plugged in the Navionics chip and started studying the lake and quickly found a Carolina-rig deal,” Bakers says of his primary pattern. “I would study the lake on my iPad and then put the coordinates into my [boat’s] electronics.

“I’d then go idle. I’d idle for hours across the lake. That’s how I located my spots.”

Baker fished his C-rig with a green pumpkin Zoom lizard. He also flipped a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver (road kill color) and threw a Rapala DT16 (Caribbean shad color). The latter produced his largest two fish on day one.

“I found a large flat that had a lot of wood — really big timber in 12 feet of water,” Baker adds. “You had to have trees, laydowns and stumps. It was just a huge area, and I fished all of it I could.”

 

7. Caldemeyer targets prespawners with swim jig

James Caldemeyer of Gilmer, Texas, knew what he wanted to do, and he knew what he was able to do. Reconciling those thoughts enabled him to turn in a consistent performance culminating in a seventh-place total of 53-3.

“I started off in practice flipping and looking for bed fish, probably like everyone else,” Caldemeyer says. “Looking at the forecast and seeing that weather heading in, I decided that wasn’t the route I wanted to go.

“I started targeting prespawn fish," he continues. "I found a couple of key areas that were holding good quality. I wasn’t getting a lot of bites, but they were quality fish.”

Caldemeyer caught the majority of his fish on peanut butter and jelly Santone swim jigs in 5/8- and 3/4-ounce sizes. He paired his jigs with a green pumpkin purple Berkley Havoc Pit Chunk trailer.

“I was alternating between them [the two sizes] because the wind would die down during the day,” explains Caldemeyer. “I used the 5/8 when it wasn’t as windy and the 3/4 when it was a little windier.”

 

8. Cecil diversifies C-rig looks

An accomplished sight-fisherman, Russell Cecil certainly would have preferred to be looking at his fish, but when the week’s weather woes took that card off the table, he played what he had available to him. The key, he says, was not getting rattled when circumstances became challenging.

“I’ve been here a lot of times, so it’s not like I didn’t know what to do,” says the Willis, Texas, pro. “I just thought it would be a little easier.

“I was pretty excited about the timing of this event, with the full moon [Monday before the tournament]. The fish were there last weekend, but they were gone after the front came through.”

Cecil, who finished eighth with 50-14, adjusted by pulling out of the spawning banks he had been fishing and targeting prespawn staging areas along hay-grass lines and points with a Carolina rig. He used a Big Bite Baits Swimming Mama (confusion color) to catch a limit and then switched to an 8-inch Big Bite Baits finesse worm in an effort to pick up a big kicker.

 

9. Mosley sticks with the bushes

When Brandon Mosley recognized the similarities in Rayburn’s flooded brush and some of the habitat he fishes back home on Fort Gibson Lake, the Choctaw, Okla., pro settled into a familiar routine and tallied a total weight of 50-6, which included a limit of 22-13 on day two.

Moseley caught all of his fish by flipping a NetBait Paca Craw with a 5/16- or 3/8-ounce weight, depending on depth and cover density. Locating a key area, he says, was intrinsic to his top-10 finish.

“I stumbled onto a stretch of spawning pockets that really nobody was messing with,” Mosley says. “I attribute it [the lack of fishing pressure] to the fact that it was some really flat water, with not a lot of channels going in. But there were still some subtle little things in there that set up those fish so you could cast to them.”

 

10. Cortiana throws punches on day three

Making his first appearance on Rayburn, Kyle Cortiana made a solid showing with a three-day total of 48-14. The Tulsa, Okla., pro says his debut on this east Texas impoundment afforded him the opportunity to work on a technique that’s new to him.

“I was punching all week, and I’ve never punched before,” Cortiana says. “In Oklahoma, we don’t have grass, and you can’t punch anything but people in a bar.

“I didn’t know how to do it, and apparently I was doing it wrong because I lost 20 fish today [Saturday]. Every day, I was getting 40 to 60 bites, but I didn’t know how to pull them out of that grass. They’re smarter than I am.”

Cortiana punched grass with the Gene Larew Punch Out Craw.

 

Follow FLW

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Periscope

Tags: sam-rayburn-reservoir  david-a-brown  post-tournament  2016-02-25-sam-rayburn-reservoir 

Top Patterns and Baits from the Detroit River

Top Patterns and Baits from the Detroit River

With the whole field boxed into the Detroit River for the first two days of the final Toyota Series Northern Division event, it’s natural that the main player was the river itself. But, on the final day, when folks could branch out, Scott Dobson actually ran to St. Clair and many of the other pros ventured into Lake Erie. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from Dardanelle

Top Patterns and Baits from Dardanelle

The beginning of the fall transition coupled with dirty water from end to end created difficult fishing conditions at the Toyota Series Plains Division opener at Lake Dardanelle presented by Fish-Intel, but anglers focused their attention to the backs of creeks and used a variety of baits to solve the riddle. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from Kentucky Lake

Top Patterns and Baits from Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake has the potential to churn out some big bags – look no further than the 2019 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open, when 21 teams weighed in more than 20 pounds on day one alone – but the 2020 iteration wasn’t as friendly to the college anglers who took to her waters this week. Here’s the skinny on how the top 10 teams caught their fish this week and what they caught them with. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac

Some of the top 10 pros chose a power approach to cover vast stretches of grass, while others slowed down with some of the finesse tactics that always seem to play on the Potomac. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Fort Gibson

Top 10 Patterns from Fort Gibson

The beginning of September helped mark the start of the fall transition in the south and that is exactly what the field faced in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Fort Gibson. From topwaters to soft plastics, the top 10 utilized a large chunk of Fort Gibson to catch their fish, with the Grand River paying the biggest role in the division’s second stop of the season. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Neely Henry

Top 10 Patterns from Neely Henry

Mark McCaig won the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Neely Henry casting a SPRO Bronzeye Poppin' Frog under overhanging trees, pitching a  Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog docks and cranking current breaks with a square-bill crankbait. Behind him, the rest of the top 10 mostly fished shallow grass, docks, rocks and laydowns by pitching creature baits and casting buzzbaits, ChatterBaits, and shaky heads. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Fort Gibson

Top 10 Baits from Fort Gibson

Low water and changing weather patterns meant tough fishing at for the second stop of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division at Fort Gibson. While day one brought in prime topwater conditions, days two and three generally saw anglers slogging it out for bass stuck somewhere amidst the fall transition. Fittingly, a few well-known baits are tailor-made for that kind of fishing—including a regional favorite named for the lake’s most legendary fisherman. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Neely Henry

Top 10 Baits from Neely Henry

With very little current being run through Neely Henry during the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event, offshore fishing was almost nil. Instead, most of the field had to survive fishing shallow shoreline cover like willow grass, docks, rip rap, laydowns and shade. Here is a look at the lures that helped score a top 10. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sturgeon Bay

Top 10 Baits from Sturgeon Bay

Summertime smallmouth fishing makes having a drop-shot or two on the deck pretty essential, and the top pros in the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay basically all relied on the versatile finesse rig to get the job done. However, between them, there was a decent amount of variation in baits, and a few pros actually branched out from the drop-shot into other techniques. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from the Cal Delta

Top Patterns and Baits from the Cal Delta

While a lot of things were different in the Toyota Series Western Division event on the California Delta – time of year, amount of time to fish and the odd haze from nearby wildfires – one thing remained the same: flipping, punching and frogging got the job done. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Erie presented anglers the opportunity to fish Erie or make a 100-mile run to Lake St. Clair. Pros found success doing both, with Justin Lucas taking home the crown by 1 ounce sticking it out on Erie. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Erie

Top 10 Baits from Lake Erie

The overwhelming majority of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament field at Lake Erie was throwing a drop-shot, with a good portion of them using the same lure on it. Yet, there were a couple of oddballs who switched up their offerings to give them an edge. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Mississippi River

Top 10 Patterns from the Mississippi River

Instead of limits coming in bunches, the top pros were often scrambling to get five keeper bites a day at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries event. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Wheeler Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Wheeler Lake

As promised, Wheeler Lake turned out to be the stingiest of the two stops on the Toyota Series Southeastern Division so far this season. The dog days of summer put the kibosh on the main-lake bite, leaving Wheeler’s many shallow creeks and tributaries to supply the pounds and ounces at weigh-in. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Wheeler Lake

Top 10 Baits from Wheeler Lake

The Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake was a shallow-water power-fishing showdown in tough summertime conditions. Almost all the fish the top 10 pros caught came from 5 feet of water or less, and a fair amount of those were caught in 3 feet or less. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Mississippi River

Top 10 Baits from the Mississippi River

The top pros in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries on the Mississippi River ended up using fairly similar tactics to attack the river, but with slight variations throughout. Tom Monsoor won with a variety of unique jigs, but many of the other top finishers used more standard fare. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

Lee Rogers mixed smallmouths from the nearby islands with a good largemouth day near Sandusky to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Outside of Rogers, the top 10 was filled with folks making substantial runs eastward or to Michigan. It also proved helpful to actually get something going around Sandusky, both during days one and two and on the wind-hampered final day. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Erie

Top 10 Baits from Lake Erie

The Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie featured pretty tough fishing overall. On the first two days, many of the top pros ran to the Detroit River or St. Clair for their fish, and others plied the waters nearer Sandusky. On the final day, the entire field was confined to the waters in and around Sandusky Bay due to wind, and everyone switched to targeting largemouths. READ MORE »

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 »