UPCOMING EVENT: HIGH SCHOOL FISHING - 2019 - Pickwick Lake

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Big times at Sam Rayburn

Big times at Sam Rayburn

The first event of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division on Lake Sam Rayburn presented by YETI and hosted by the Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn Area Chamber of Commerce kicked off this morning out of the Umphrey Family Pavilion Park.

As the old saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas and that will certainly be the case this week on Big Sam. A record-sized field of 225 pros and co-anglers will have a big time fishing Rayburn’s productive waters for giant bass. Everything is lining up perfectly – from the time of year to the weather – for big catches.

 

ABOUT THE FISHERY

Sam Rayburn has often been considered one of the five greatest tournament lakes in the country. At 114,400 acres, Rayburn is a typical Texas lowland impoundment that features timber, bushes, submerged hydrilla, plenty of bank vegetation and, of course, lots of legendary Texas “drains” or ditches that are renowned for producing giant prespawn bass.

The lake is a flood control impoundment so it does experience high water years and low water years, which is part of the cycle that helps the lake keep its prolific reputation.

 

CURRENT CONDITIONS

The current conditions at Rayburn are nearly perfect. A recent Texas Team Trail tournament showed off the lake’s condition last weekend with Texas titans Phil Marks and Tim Reneau weighing in a stunning 37 pounds for the win. Behind them was another 30-pound limit followed by a bevy of 20-plus pound limits all the way down to 30th place.

“The lake is at a peak in its cycle right now,” says Marks, who also won the BFL on Rayburn back in January with a 27-pound, 8-ounce limit. “Several years ago we had a couple of years of high water that flooded the banks and that allowed a lot of the bass fry to survive. Then, in the last year or two, the water has come back down and the grass (hydrilla) is back in the main sections of the lake, giving those bass plenty of good cover to live in. As a result, the lake is now full of 3- to 5-pounders; it’s really the best shape I’ve seen the lake in 30 years.”

Currently the lake level is a couple of feet low and the water temperatures range between 51 to 55 degrees. A nice warm up is expected across Texas in the next few days, with nighttime temperatures only reaching down to about 60 degrees.

 

TACTICS IN PLAY

Rayburn’s tried-and-true “trapping the grass” pattern with lipless rattlers will likely fool a lot of fish this week, but nearly anything in the rod locker could work was well.

According to Marks, fish are already scattering towards the banks to spawn.

“We won that tournament last week on more of a deep-winter pattern,” Marks says. “But this week, they’re moving more up into that 6- to 8-foot of water range and even shallower. They might not quite get on beds this week, but they’ll be close.”

With that, sight-fishing might be out of play, but anything else that fits the pre-spawn bill is fair game.

 

CRITICAL FACTORS

A heavy rain over the weekend brought a lot of mud to the back ends of a few of Rayburn’s best creeks and drains. That might take a little bit of the premium water out of the picture, but since the lake is fishing so well all over, the large tournament field should still be able to spread out quite a bit.

Also a few anglers have mentioned the possibility of a fog delay on Thursday, which might shorten the fishing day.

 

DOCK TALK

While much of the dock talk this week has centered on the crushing catches of the Texas Team Trail event, several anglers have mentioned that the fish will likely be more scattered this week compared to last week when the fish seemed to be more concentrated on deeper structure.

Fishing will still be exceptional but that scattering effect and a lot of fishing pressure over the last few weeks might curtail the sheer number of 20-pound plus limits seen this afternoon.

 

TOURNAMENT DETAILS

Location: Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Brookeland, Texas

Date: Feb. 15-17, 2018

Host: Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn Area Chamber of Commerce and Jasper County Development District

Presenting sponsor: YETI

Format: All 225 boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7:00 a.m. CT

Takeoff Location: Umphrey Family Pavilion, 5438 RR 255, Brookeland, TX

Weigh-In Time: 3:00 p.m.

Weigh-In Location: All three days at Umphrey Family Pavilion, 5438 RR 255, Brookeland, TX

Tags: rob-newell  article  morning-story  2018-02-15-lake-sam-rayburn 

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