2-22-19 FLW College Series Tournament – Sam Rayburn
When we arrived at Sam Rayburn it was a cloudy misty day at practice. Trey and I caught a few fish but not anything big.
It’s tournament day and it’s a calm yet foggy Friday morning. This is the first FLW College tournament of the season. Trey and I are fishing together and Grant is fishing with Drew because his partner John was not able to fish this time. We also have 2 other guys representing Texas A&M Galveston Aaron and Drew. My other friends, Clint, Kyle and Joe are fishing representing Lone Star College. It was cold in the morning but at least it was not raining. It has rained so much at Sam Rayburn that the lake is still above pool. Today this tournament is launching from Cassell Boykin. The piers that we walk out onto to get on the boat are all under water, all you can see are the poles. The sidewalk around the cliff has collapsed and is barely hanging on the edge of the wall. The high water has definitely done some damage to the surrounding area.
Trey and I are number 53 and Grant and Drew are number 26. There are 122 boats in the tournament today and only 12 will qualify for the national championship. They only take the top 10 percent.
Trey and I took off and our first stop was near the islands. We are fishing the deep hydrilla in 15 feet of water. We started by deep cranking hard spots in the grass, which is clay areas where the grass does not grow. I cranked into the first catch of the day and we couldn’t tell if it was big or small. When the fish got close to the boat other fish started schooling on the surface. Trey netted my fish and then he cast out and immediately hooked into one himself. We fished 2 spots right next to each other. Trey caught 2 keepers before 8 am and a few shorts there also. In the first hour we had 5 keepers.
One of our fish was a line burner, barely a keeper. We were worried it might stress and shrink up. Sometimes when the fish get stressed they shrink up and are shorter by weigh in. That is why we need to sure they stay calm as possible in the live well.
We ran around for and hour and a half at other places and ended up at 5 fingers, but there were no more keepers of any size. We went back to the starting spot and were fishing in 12 feet deep water. I caught a 4-½ pound bass on a D2 12 Crank bait. We stayed there 40 minutes and then left. We fished deep the entire day. In the last 10 minutes of the tournament we finished fishing on our starting spot. I made 3 casts and caught one and made a last minute cull.
I wished we could have caught some bigger fish but we did catch 5 with a total weight of 13.13 pounds. We came in 23rd place out of 122 teams. Aaron and Drew came in 16th place with a bag weighing 14.15 pounds, Joe came in 27th place with 14.10 pounds and Clint and Kyle came in 96th place with 2.10 pounds.
3-2-19 FLW BFL Cowboy Tournament – Sam Rayburn
It’s Saturday morning and I am fishing the FLW BFL Cowboy Tournament on Sam Rayburn. When I walked out the door this morning it was cloudy, 50 degrees and a fine mist was falling. I am not staying far from the ramp, which is at Humphries so I did not think it would take that long to get in line. With the water being high and the state park ramp being closed that was a problem. The lake has been over pool by 10 feet, although it has started to fall a little the state park ramp is still closed and so are others. All of us seem to be launching at the same place because of all the ramp closures. I am in a huge line on the side of the highway waiting to get to the ramp and pick up my co-angler. I am getting closer to the ramp but it feels like I have been sitting in this line for what seems like hours. There is nothing I can do but wait my turn. I heard them playing the national anthem and I am still in line. Our number is 24 and we are not going to make it for our early take off because of all the congestion at the ramp. Hopefully the water will go down soon and the traffic will all get better when more ramps open up. There are 164 boats in the tournament today.
Finally, we get the boat in the water and take off. My co-angler today is Richard, he is from Louisiana and has been fishing these tournaments since the 90’s. He has been fishing as a co-angler since 1996 and said, “He enjoys meeting and fishing with different people at the tournaments”. Richard has fished four All American tournaments and won a Ranger boat on Lake Texoma in 2005. The other day he pre-fished and caught a 8-½ pounder. WOW I hope we have that kind of luck today.
First stop was at Veach. I am fishing with spinner baits, and sinkos. I caught 3 keepers. Richard is fishing in the back using a 925 watermelon pumpkin w/red flake with a spinner on the tail. He caught 4 fish but only 1 was a keeper.
Next, we went to Caney Creek and I caught 1 fish. We went back to Veach and I caught 1 more on the same stretch. After fishing a while, we left and went to Harvey and fished the grass. I culled to a 3 pounder then it was time to go back to the weigh in. We caught about 15 fish that day. I ended up with 5 keepers weighing 13 pounds. Just short of getting a check by 9 spots. My friend Jeremy ended up doing very well at the tournament and I asked him to share his story with all of you.
3-2-19 Jeremy’s BIG WIN
Both Jeremy and I went out one weekend to practice for this tournament. He went in his boat and I went in mine. He found a 10 plus bass, a 5 ½ pounder and a 3 in practice. It took 1-½ hours to get a bite, but when he got them to bite they were big.
Jeremy went to his secret spot at the back of Veach. He got into his area where the fish were staging in the bushes. On his 3rd cast he flipped in the bush. Just as the bait was falling it felt like the line jumped because a fish hit my line hard. He leaned back and set the hook and as she came out of the bush she had large clumps of grass moving with her. At that point the braid was screeching and I he knew it was going to be a GIANT. When the fish broke free from the grass and gave him momentum, he boat flipped her in the boat. Jeremy is from Florida and not a big believer in nets. He believes in using braid and big rods. Some fisherman might think this is crazy, taking a chance on the fish falling off into the water without netting it. He just believes in flipping his fish in the boat if possible. At this point he decided to calm down and stay in the area knowing he was only going to get 5-10 bites. The way he was fishing takes a lot of patience and it’s a gamble, but if you do it right and be patient you can lure in the BIG ONES. Thirty minutes later he caught a 5 ½ pounder. His co-angler, Randy caught a 2 pounder from a bush nearby. I kept thinking there were good fish there. There was a 2 ½ to 3-hour lull with no bites at all. They decided to leave the area to let it rest.
They came back and started fishing again. One and a half hours later Jeremy made the pitch into the same bush that Randy had caught the 2 pounder. He said, “That bush looked really good”. His intuition was right, he hooked into a 5 pounder. He was definitely caught by surprise. That’s when he knew that the fish were there. There was no doubt in his mind. He put the trolling motor down and only picked it up for 2 minutes.
Jeremy flipped into a bush with a mud mat around it (mud and roots mixed together) and felt the slightest little tap. So, he set the hook and right away could tell it was a good one. It dug pretty hard and stuck itself in the mud. He laid down on the front deck and followed the line down to see where the fish was at and leaned over the boat to move the mud out of the way. This took about 2 minutes but felt like an eternity to him. He thought he lost the fish and then a boil came up through the mud and 10-15 seconds later he felt the fish. He couldn’t find the mouth, but could feel the fish and grabbed it behind the gills with both hands one on top and the other on the bottom and worked him through the mud and slung him over the side of the boat. His hands were full of mud and he was soaking wet. He had to work for this fish, but it was worth the catch. At this point he was as ex- hausted as the fish. This was a real workout. In the last hour before check in he caught a 2 pounder.
A BIG Congratulations to my friend Jeremy for catching a WHOOPING BAG of 5 fish weighing in at 27.9 pounds. He came home with first place trophy and let me tell you, he earned every bit of the trophy and prize money. What an incredible and exciting day of fishing it was for him. THROW IT OUT, POP IT IN, FISH ON!