Lakecaster Online

Tournament Pathfinder
by John Presley

Over 320 anglers fished the Bass Texas Central Invitational on Sam Rayburn, March 1st-3rd. Big Sam once again proved itself to be one of the best fisheries in the country with a total of 271 limits of fish brought to the scales after three days that totaled 6341pounds. During the practice days the weather was in the 70's and rained all three days except the last day of practice. When the first day of practice started, the lake was slowly rising and the fish started moving up on the nest. It looked like it was going to be a great tournament for site fishing spawning bass. The second day of practice I spent the day looking for nests hoping to find some big fish that had moved up. Most of the ones were around the 2 to 3 pound range. On the third day of practice I located some bigger fish on the nest and I saw several between 4 and 8 pounders. After three days of practice, I was planning on sight fishing all three days of the tournament if I could but that soon changed do to weather conditions. The first day of the tournament started off with cloudy skies and a light drizzle with temperatures in the 50's. I was in flight 2 the first day and when I got to my first spot there were already 4 boats in there sight fishing and they were catching them. After seeing all the pressure those fish were getting, I went to my second spot. The first fish I caught was a three pounder on the nest around 9:00 on a Swacky worm fished really slow. Then I spotted a big fish on the nest and caught her on the first cast . She weighed 7-4. Then the rain started to come down harder but I was able to see another good fish that seemed to be around 4 or 5 pounds. I threw in on her and finally ended up getting her in the boat. She was around 4 pounds. My partner had two fish at noon and I had three. Then my partner broke a three pounder at the boat on a Swacky worm. Then I spotted one between 4 or 5 pounds and she ate my Swacky worm but got around a bush and pulled off. Then I caught one more fish just over 2 pounds. I could not catch that fifth fish to make up for the one that pulled off. After the first day I was in 11th place with four fish that weighed 16-3 and David Wharton was in 1st with 19-15 , 2nd place was Todd Faircloth with five fish 19-12, 3rd Kelly Jordon with five fish 18-14, 4th place Wesley Dawson with five fish 18-2 and 5th was Cody Bird with five fish that weighed 17-15. That night heavy thunder storms and down pouring rains moved into the lakes area causing the water to cloud up and rise fast. The next morning the rain drops kept falling and more heavy thunderstorms rolled in delaying the take off over one hour. I was in the third flight so by the time I got to my spot it was after 8:30 am before we made our first cast. The water had rose up even more and began to turn really murky. With that and the heavy downpours, I could not see the bedding fish to sight fish. There was a secondary point in my area that had some staging fish holding on it waiting to move up. It had a clean bottom on it between the boat and the brush line .My partner and I would throw up on the brush in 3 to 6 ft of water and just deadstick our Gambler Swacky Worm and wait. By 12:00 pm I had a limit and he had two. I caught another limit and culled . My partner caught two more and lost his fifth fish. On the second day my limit weighed 11-12 and gave me a total after two days of 9 fish that weighed 27-15. This was good enough to keep me in 11th place. The leader after the second day was Takahiro Omori with 10 fish 37-4, 2nd place Kelly Jordon 10 fish 33-1, 3rd place David Wharton 10 fish 31-9, 4th place Wesley Dawson 10 fish 31-8, 5th David Junk 10 fish 30-8. The last and final day of the tournament the rain was still falling and the lake was on the rise. The lake had come up over two feet since the first day of practice. I was in the first flight on the last day so I got to my spot by 7:00 am. I went back to my little secondary point to try and get a quick limit. I was hoping that there was still enough fish there after the second day. It seemed more fish had moved up on the point and in thirty minutes I had a limit and my mind was at ease. I had a great partner he would net all my fish and then put them in the livewell. He did not throw into my spot until I caught a few so I could get back into the sweet spot fast while they were feeding. I stayed on that spot to also try and let my partner get his limit and I culled two there and he caught two keepers .We had a 2:40 pm weigh-in so we worked the spot until around noon and then I went to try and catch a good kicker fish. At 1:45 pm I caught a 3 pound fish that helped a lot and culled one. My limit on the last day weighed 11-3 and gave me a total weight after three days of 14 fish 39-2 . I caught all of my fish and so did my partners on a Gambler Swacky Worm rigged on a 1/0 Mustad Fin-Acky Hook that has a 1/32 weight on the hook on 12 pound green Super Silver Thread Line on my Shimano Reels and ERHARDT Rods. The Gambler Swacky Worm was designed by Land-o-Lakes pro Carl Svebek of Sam Rayburn. The worm has a much slower fall and the fat part of the worm is in the center which lets it fall evenly. My prime colors were watermelon , watermelon red flake and sour grape. The 3 and 4 Star ERHARDT Rods gave me the casting distance to stay off the fish and not spook them off the nest. Because the rod has a round rap design, you can cast about 10 % farther than other rods. The 3 star and 4 star have the perfect action and sensitivity for casting the Gambler Swacky worm. The fish seemed to have wanted a slow presentation and I was just dead sticking the Swacky not moving it at all and that's when you would get your bite.
The winner of the tournament Takahiro Omori who placed second in last years tournament fish a floating worm very slow over submerged bushes and willows in the backs of pockets on 10 pound Fluorocarbonline working the lure about one foot below the surface. Kelly Jordon of Mineola finished second Carolina-rigging a Lake Fork Baby Ring Fry chartreuse pepper in color on a secondary point inside the split of a creek channel with grass. Third place finisher Gary Yamamoto caught his fish on a yellow floating Senko. The big bass of the tournament were caught on day one by James Stricklin who had a 8-6, day two Danny Isenhart who had a 8-0 and on day three there was a 9-7 caught by Gary Yamamoto. I would like to thank all my friends and people who have called or E-mailed me to congratulate me on my 8th place finish on my home lake. Thanks again and "special" thanks to some local good friends of mine for all their support .

Takahiro Omori of Emory Texas finished 1st with 15 fish that weighed 55-12. Omori won cash and boat totaling $51,000. Kelly Jordon of Mineola Texas took second place with15 fish that weighed 44-13 good for $32,000 . Third place was Gary Yamamoto of Mineola, Texas with 15 fish that weighed 43-11 good for $30,000. Fourth place was Sam Rayburn's David Wharton with 15 fish that weighed 43-9 good for $9,000. Fifth place was Robert Tucker of Sachse, Texas with 15 fish that weighed 40-10 good for $7,000. Sixth place was Jay Yelas of Tyler, Texas with 15 fish that weighed 40-8 good for $5,500. Seventh place was Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas with 15 fish that weighed 39-5 good for $5,000. And I finished in 8th place with 14 fish that weighed 39-2 good for $4,500.

By the way, when I am not fishing tournaments I am a full-time fishing guide on Lake Sam Rayburn. If you would like to book a trip please call me at 409-698-9713 or Ann's Tackle Shop at 409-384-7685. Or e-mail me at JOHN@SAMRAYBURNFISHING.COM. of check out my website at SAMRAYBURNFISHING.COM.

Good Luck and Good Fishing.

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