UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Wylie

Lake Travis Top 10 Patterns

Lake Travis Top 10 Patterns
Bryan Thrift

While the ongoing duel between FLW Tour titans Mark Rose and Bryan Thrift has certainly stolen the show at the first two FLW Tour events of 2017, there were other interesting story lines worth noting from the FLW Tour event on Lake Travis presented by Quaker State.

Rose won the event fishing out on big main-lake points, focusing on the steeper, deeper breaks off those points. But others in the top 10 fished a host of patterns and lures.

The myriad techniques covered everything from targeting deep breaks to fishing marinas to cranking shallow to slow-rolling spinnerbaits to working floating worms to flipping bushes. In addition, the daily weights at Travis were very inconsistent. A pattern that brought a big bag one day would result in a donut the next.

Here’s how the rest of the top 10 pros navigated Travis’ inconsistency for their top finishes.

Rose’s winning pattern

Complete results

Top 10 baits photo gallery

 

Bryan Thrift

2. Thrift finishes second … again

For the second time in three weeks, Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., finished second to winner Mark Rose, missing the win by less than a pound and finishing runner-up with a total of 58-6.

Thrift weighed in the heaviest bag of the week on day one when he took a big early lead with 24-12. Much of that weight came on a shaky head fished offshore and rigged with a Damiki Finesse Miki 6.5 on 8-pound-test P-Line.

After that big catch, however, Thrift couldn’t quite get in the rhythm he wanted for the win.

“The second day, so much of the lake was covered up in boats that I just hunkered down in a few offshore areas and ground it out,” says Thrift, who weighed only 9-6 on day two. “On the third day, with just 20 boats, I started running new stuff to see if I could find something else developing on the lake, and I just never found something else strong enough to get it going.”

A lot of Thrift’s running and gunning included fishing docks, bushes and shallow pockets. Docks accounted for three of his biggest fish during the week. Thrift did his dock work with his tried-and-true 1/2-ounce jig with a variety of chunks.

 

Dylan Hays

3. Running far pays off for Hays

Rookie pro Dylan Hays of Sheridan, Ark., checked in the most consistent weights, varying between 13 and 15 pounds each day, to climb to third place with a total of 54 pounds.

Hays won the unofficial Long Distance Award for putting the most miles on his boat during the four-day event. He ran some 50 miles each day all the way to the next dam on the Colorado River. Some of his catches in the river came from fishing current breaks when the water was running and pitching to a variety of bushes, rocks and bank debris that blocked the current.

Farther down the river, Hays also discovered a hot spot located on a big flat point in a river bend. A big school was staged up on bushes and rocks.

“The fish in that current up by the dam were not real reliable,” Hays says. “They would bite one day, but not the next. So those fish on that big point really helped me stay consistent. If the current fish didn’t bite, I had that point to fall back on.”

When pitching to current breaks, Hays used a Zoom Super Hog and a YUM Bad Mamma on a 1/4-ounce weight. When fishing the school on the point, he favored a Texas-rigged 6-inch green pumpkin lizard on a 1/4-ounce weight. All of his baits were tied to 20-pound-test HI-SEAS fluorocarbon.

 

Clark Reehm

4. Reehm blades his way to fourth

Clark Reehm of Huntington, Texas, caught a big limit on day two (21-11) to make the top-10 cut, and then closed the event with a strong day four effort of 15-13 to finish fourth with a total of 53-3.

Reehm’s technique helped prove just how diverse the lure selection was on Travis. He did a lot of his damage slow-rolling a spinnerbait.

“I was fishing a big main bar way up the river, and it had a lot of those really big shad on it, so I went with a 3/4-ounce War Eagle spinnerbait with double willow blades to try and mimic that forage,” Reehm says. “I’d count it down to about 10 to 15 feet and then just sort of roll it over those bushes at that depth.”

Reehm also used a Carolina-rigged watermelon Zoom Fluke, and on the final day also added a Keitech 4.8 swimbait on a 1/2-ounce Revenge Swimbait Hedz to his arsenal.

 

Clark Wendlandt

5. Wendlandt brings fifth place home

Hometown favorite Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, did not disappoint his fans at Lake Travis, making a fifth-place showing in his backyard with a total of 52 pounds, 12 ounces.

Wendlandt wowed the home team on day two with the biggest bass of the tournament – an 8-6 – which rocketed him into the top 10.

During the mornings Wendlandt dragged offshore points and humps with a 3/4-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Football Jig teamed with a Strike King Baby Rage Craw and a Carolina-rigged Strike King Rage Hawg creature bait. His big bass was caught on the Carolina rig.

In the afternoons Wendlandt moved shallower to try and intercept any waves of fish that might be moving up. To do this he cranked stair-step rocks, fished timber and flipped bushes in the cuts and pockets.

His primary flipping lures included a 1/2-ounce Strike King Hack Attack Jig and a Texas-rigged Strike King Rage Menace on a 3/8-ounce tungsten weight.

 

Anthony Gagliardi

6. Gagliardi rallies to sixth

Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., scratched and clawed his way into the top-10 cut and then rallied on the final day with his best bag of the week – 16-9 – to finish the event in sixth place with 51-12.

For the first three days of the event, Gagliardi mostly targeted staging fish in the mouths of spawning pockets up the river. Most of those fish came on a 3/16-ounce Buckeye Lures Spot Remover shaky head and a drop-shot.

With nothing to lose and everything to gain on the last day, Gagliardi moved up shallow to see if the warm weather had drawn any fish toward the bedding areas, and his timing was perfect as he intercepted a few big fish moving in to spawn.

“Late in the third day I pulled into a pocket and had a big fish follow my [Little Creeper All American] Trash Fish swimbait to the boat,” Gagliardi says. “So I went straight to that spot first thing on the last day, pitched a jig in there and caught a big one.”

That was the cue he needed to keep “teasing” with the Trash Fish – using it as a search bait to get fish to show themselves – and then following up with a jig or floating worm to get the fish to eat.

His follow-up jig was a 1/2-ounce Buckeye Lures Mini Mop Jig with a chunk, and the floating worm was a merthiolate Zoom Trick Worm.

 

Clayton Batts

7. Batts stays deep for seventh

Clayton Batts of Macon, Ga., planted himself on one river bar far up the Colorado to catch consistent limits in the 9- to 14-pound range for a total of 48-1.

Batts says his best area was an old river bar littered with bushes that topped out at 7 feet. The bar featured two sets of breaks: one in the 9- to 10-foot range and the other in the 20- to 25-foot range. Batts found a line of timber on the deeper break.

Batts thinks the bass were ultimately headed to the top bushes to spawn, but were staged up feeding on the treeline break off the bar. The tops of the trees came up to within 10 feet of the surface, so Batts needed baits that would tickle the tops of those trees. He accomplished that with a Strike King Series 5 crankbait on 12-pound-test fluorocarbon and a Strikezone CB Sling Blade, a unique swim jig featuring a blade off the chin, which he fished on 16-pound-test fluorocarbon. When he saw fish on his electronics out on the deeper breaks he targeted them with a 3/4-ounce Strikezone football jig or a drop-shot, which produced several of his fish.

 

Troy Morrow

8. Morrow cranks for eighth

As another example of the wide variety of ways to catch bass at Travis, Troy Morrow of Eastanollee, Ga., cranked his way into the top 10. Morrow’s weights were consistently in the 10- to 14-pound range as he tried to pick on the first wave of bass moving into the pockets. 

Most of Morrow’s fish came by cranking a SPRO Little John MD on 12-pound-test Sunline in little cuts, pockets and indentions in Travis’ steep banks. The cuts were often lined down the sides with bushes, and making perfect casts down the middle of the lanes required patience.

“There was so much scum and algae on the bushes that if I hit one, it scummed up the bait immediately,” Morrow says. “So there were a lot of wasted casts. I usually had to make multiple attempts before I could find a clean cast, and when I did I would sort of give the bait a stop-and-go action to make it look like it was deflecting off the bushes.”

 

Jeremy Lawyer

9. Marina madness puts Lawyer in ninth

Jeremy Lawyer of Sarcoxie, Mo., experienced Lake Travis’ fickleness at its finest when he blasted 19 pounds, 7 ounces fishing marina docks on day two but was never able to duplicate the marina pattern anywhere else on the lake.

“Marinas will often have that one magic boat slip where all the fish group up,” Lawyer says. “I know from my experience on Table Rock that it usually takes a long time to find that one magical slip out of a hundred. Somehow I stumbled across one of those slips on day two.”

Lawyer was pumped about his discovery and started running marinas the rest of days two and three, but couldn’t repeat the magic.

He used two lures to fish the marinas. The first was a 3/4-ounce Jakked jig teamed with a Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw and fished on 25-pound-test Lew’s APT line. The second was a 1-ounce homemade spoon.

 

Stephen Patek

10. Patek routes roadbed for 10th

Stephen Patek of Garland, Texas, led the tournament on day two after crushing opening limits of 20-5 and 14-1. But then Patek’s well went dry, leaving him in 10th place with a total of 39 pounds.

“I just ran out of fish,” Patek says. “I only found a couple of areas that had staging fish in them, and they never reloaded.”

Patek caught the majority of his weigh fish off an old roadbed that crossed the mouth of a spawning pocket, creating an 18-foot-deep saddle across the middle where staging fish stopped. His best gig on the roadbed was dragging a Carolina-rigged Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw in green pumpkin.

Tags: flw-tour  lake-travis  mark-rose  top-10-patterns  rob-newell  post-tournament  2017-02-16-lake-travis 

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 »

Sharp Blasts 40 Pounds to Win on Rayburn

Sharp Blasts 40 Pounds to Win on Rayburn

Winning a tournament is always pretty cool, but winning the way Anthony Sharp did in the second Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event in the Cowboy Division presented by A.R.E. is next-level. Weighing 40 pounds, 6 ounces of Sam Rayburn bass, the Village Mills, Texas, angler beat second place by more than 21 pounds. For the win, which was his first with FLW, Sharp took home a total of $7,000.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the St. Johns

Top 10 Baits from the St. Johns

The St. Johns River was in a bit of a funk for the Toyota Series Southern Division opener. Instead of a full-on spawning slugfest, a couple cold fronts and quickly changing wind and water conditions kept fish moving in and out. The anglers chasing them had to stay on their toes. Plenty of pros did find quality fish, though, and they did so with a lot of familiar baits when it comes to late-winter fishing in Florida. Right now, it’s all about the black and blue plastics on the St. Johns. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Toledo Bend

Top 10 Patterns from Toledo Bend

The general consensus before the first Toyota Series Southwestern Division stop on Toledo Bend was that local knowledge could go a long way being the Sabine River impoundment was a little fickle. That was spot on. Aside from winner Cody Huff, the rest of the top 10 was an all-star cast of locals.   READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Toledo Bend

Top 10 Baits from Toledo Bend

Fishing offshore was the way to go for the majority of the top pros and because of that a Carolina rig, football jig and deep-diving crankbait were the main players for most of the field. Getting the win, Cody Huff relied on a jigging spoon and his graphs to hunt down suspended fish, proving that heavy metal never goes out of style for bass. READ MORE »

Wooten Wins Marshal Contest on Rayburn

Wooten Wins Marshal Contest on Rayburn

You’re never too old to try something new. Just ask Ron Wooten. Wooten, who’s 71 years old and retired from the offshore oil construction industry, heard about the FLW Marshal program from a couple friends who had previously marshaled FLW events. They recommended it, he took their advice, and now he has an extra $2,500 to show for it. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Even when the bite is tough, Sam Rayburn is a power-fishing lake through and through. Sure, a spinning rod showed up here and there throughout the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit opener, but it was Carolina rigs, lipless crankbaits and vibrating jigs that dominated in the hands of the top 10 pros. READ MORE »