Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Don Setina overcame a slow morning to take the day-one lead with 23 pounds, 6 ounces.


Joe Don Setina overcame a slow morning to take the day-one lead with 23 pounds, 6 ounces.


The cliche police will just have to get over this one because Joe Don Setina, whose 23 pounds, 6 ounces leads day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, defines the phrase “all’s well that ends well.”

In truth, the tournament, which is presented by Mercury, is far from over. But day one is in the books, and everyone who plays this game knows that, while you can’t win a tournament on the first day, you certainly can lose it.

By his own admission, Setina endured one of those mornings that had him convinced he was on his way to the bottom of the standings.

“My day started out terribly,” the Pittsburg, Texas, pro says. “I couldn’t cast. Everything was off by 2 feet, and when you’re flipping bushes and trees you have to be precise.

“It was a nightmare,” he adds. “I jumped off several. I broke off a couple. I had a big one on a bed – an 8-pounder – and hooked her twice and lost her. After that, she was just too spooky; she was done.”

Most frustrating, Setina says, was the stark contrast in which his morning stood in comparison to his practice.

“I really thought I’d catch them pretty good today. I actually thought I’d catch closer to 30 pounds,” Setina says. “But I can’t complain, especially after how the day started out.”

With a lone keeper in the livewell at 11 o’clock, Setina said enough’s enough.

“I just calmed down, and things started to come together,” he says. “I caught one here, one there.”

Setina leads second-place pro Denny Brauer by just 8 ounces. Brauer experienced his own difficulties this morning when he aggravated a shoulder injury on his first hookset of the day. He was already scheduled to undergo an MRI on the shoulder after the tournament. Updates on his condition will follow in an additional story.

On the water, recent rains pushed Rayburn about 5 feet higher than normal, so a lot of the fish are tucked deep within shoreline trees that normally stand high and dry. Some are spawning, while others are moving out to postspawn locations.

Setina developed a particular technique for fishing the flooded trees that he feels was essential to his success.

“I feel like I got it dialed in pretty good, and I’m doing something that it seems like a lot of the other guys aren’t doing out there,” says Setina, who was understandably reserved about the specific details of his presentations. “You get the good bites doing what I’m doing, but you just don’t have a high degree of success landing them.”

Setina also kept his specific baits under wraps, but says he caught his fish flipping and throwing a swimbait and notes that specific offerings probably are not the key component.

Setina caught fish from 2 to 9 feet of water throughout a broad area. While no particular stretch stood out in terms of productivity, Setina selected leeward shorelines where he could get away from the winds that built to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon.

Looking back at his rough start, Setina says it was simply a change in attitude that got him back on track.

“If it could go wrong this morning, it did. I’d set the hook and my bait would end up in a tree. It was just a really bad morning,” he says. “Finally, I sat down and just told myself to have fun. This lake has always been my Kryptonite. I’ll have good practices and then just terrible, terrible tournaments. Before I came down here, I told myself I’m going to fun fish. I did that, and it worked out.”


Day-one co-angler leader Randy Hicks wowed the weigh-in crowd with a 7-pound, 14-ounce kicker.

Hicks’ Hog Anchors Co-angler Lead

One flip completely changed the complexion of Randy Hicks’ opening-day effort. Sending a Strike King Rage Twin Tail Menace Grub toward the trunk of a flooded willow tree rewarded the Lumberton, Texas, co-angler with a 7-pound, 14-ounce kicker that took big-fish honors for the co-angler and clinched the day-one lead at 15 pounds.

Hicks fished the bait with a 1-ounce weight. He says he favors this bait for its slender body, which slides easily into cover.

“It’s compact and streamlined, and it goes down through the cover really well,” Hicks says. “You want to go right down to the center of the cover to get it to the base.”

Fishing in the trees, as well as the perimeter, Hicks caught eight keepers. His hot period was from 1 to 3 p.m., with the big one biting right in the middle.


Top 10 Pros

1: Joe Don Setina – Pittsburg, Texas – 23-06 (5)

2: Denny Brauer – Del Rio, Texas – 22-14 (5)

3: Ricky Guy – Humble, Texas – 22-13 (5)

4: Jeff Cade – Richardson, Texas – 22-10 (5)

5: Jim Tutt – Longview, Texas – 21-13 (5)

6: TJ Goodwyn – Center, Texas – 21-11 (5)

7: Ray Hanselman – Del Rio, Texas – 20-09 (5)

8: Kris Wilson – Montgomery, Texas – 20-07 (5)

9: Randy Sitz – Prosper, Texas – 19-14 (5)

10: Corey Harris – Chatham, La. – 18-15 (5)


Click here for complete results.

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