Thursday, May 23, 2024

Top 5 Patterns from Sam Rayburn Day 1


Brauer Power is on display once again.


Overcoming a tough start, Joe Don Setina rallied to take the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. He’s fishing flooded trees and bushes like most of the field and weighed in 23 pounds, 6 ounces.

With the lake at a 15-year high thanks to recent rains, Rayburn’s bass are scattered, often in areas that are difficult to reach. Some pros are muscling their way through the thick stuff to search for bedding fish, while others opt for working the perimeter of the flooded zone for postspawn bass.

Here are the details of the rest of the top five.

2nd Place – Denny Brauer – 22 pounds, 14 ounces

The bass fishing legend from Del Rio, Texas, showcased his incomparable flipping skills today, just not in the circumstances he would have preferred. Brauer’s limit puts him just 8 ounces behind Setina, but he’s uncertain of how tomorrow will shape up for him.

“I’m having serious issues with my left shoulder, and I have an MRI scheduled for Monday,” Brauer explained with a grimace after weighing in. “I set the hook on a 12-incher right off the bat this morning and totally tore something loose.

“I’ve been fishing one-handed. I lost a couple of big fish,” he adds. “I feel very blessed to get through the day the way I did, but I’m very frustrated over what could have been.”

Brauer caught his fish by flipping and pitching the trees with Strike King plastics. On each bite, he had to employ an awkward side-sweeping hookset style.


Humble, Texas, pro Ricky Guy is less than 2 pounds off Setina's day-one lead.

3rd Place – Ricky Guy – 22 pounds, 13 ounces

Also working deep in the trees is Ricky Guy, who got off to a good start by sacking up a limit on his first spot. He’s catching fish that he believes are in various stages of the spawn.

“There are a few postspawners coming out; there are a few coming in,” he says.

With thousands of flooded trees in the lake, Guy’s narrowing down his likely spots by targeting trees in 3 to 8 feet and paying particular attention to those with significant vine growth and blown-in grass.

“It’s more habitat [the vines and grass], and the baitfish get blown up in there,” he says. “It’s a trap where the bass can ambush them easily.”


Jeff Cade shows off a nice pair of Sam Rayburn beauties.

4th Place – Jeff Cade – 22 pounds, 10 ounces

A kicker at the start of his day set a successful tone for Jeff Cade, and another nice catch midday kept the fun rolling. With his first day of competition pleasantly contrasting his practice, the pro from Richardson, Texas, found his reaction baits surprisingly productive today.

“I think the weather and the wind helped my bite,” Cade says. “The first fish I caught was about 6 1/2 pounds, and that got me off to a good start. Momentum is important. My biggest fish, which was about 7-2, was caught around 1:30.”

Complementing his moving baits, Cade also caught fish by dead-sticking soft plastics, mostly on the edges of the flooded trees.


Jim Tutt stands a good chance to make the top-10 cut. He's in fifth with 21-13.

5th – Jim Tutt – 21 pounds, 13 ounces

Fishing slowly and methodically is part of Jim Tutt’s formula, but he has also identified a particular depth range and a specific relationship to the shoreline that seem to make a difference for him. Tutt’s keeping his cards low on this scenario, but he did reveal a bit about his go-to baits.

Although he had intended to fish a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper that had produced in practice, that swimbait bite never materialized. Tutt stuck with two other Texas-rigged plastics and caught fish inside the trees, as well as outside.

“I’ve fished this lake a lot. This is where I started fishing tournaments,” Tutt says. “I caught most of my fish today in places I’ve never, ever, ever fished in my entire life. The water height and the pattern set up perfectly on places I’ve never fished.”

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