Rayburn’s on FIYAH! Water temp lipless retrieves, Latest winning baits

Please pray for the 2 high school anglers and their adult boater — dad to 1 of the boys — who as I type this are still missing on Pickwick/Kentucky Lake. They were fishing a tourney this weekend and never returned.

Authorities found the boat upside down on the other side of the dam (Kentucky Lake side) from where they launched (Pickwick). Sounds from the articles that the boat might have had some outboard issues. Really hope they’re okay….

Check for updates on the TWRA Facebook page.

Today’s Top 5

WTHeck’s going on at Rayburn??

What’s better than a 40-lb limit? An even bigger 40+ limit! 49.31 lbs to be exact, just a burped-up shad shy of the magical, mythical and apocalypse-inducing 50-lb limit mark.

Happened on Rayburn again, this time a Texas Team Trail derby. Danny Isles and Brian Shook won it by 18.5 lbs with the biggest limit ever weighed maybe anywhere? Had 2 fish for 21.5 lbs on their first spot, then got a 7, then rounded out that while deal with a 9 and a 12!!! Here’s what all that obscene melon flesh looks like:

They were crankin’– W2F says it was a Strike King 10XD and a 6th Sense Cloud 9 C20 but no color info (Strike King maybe should come out with a Rayburn-named color). Swapped the stock trebles with Owner 2X round-bends, and fished the baits on 7′ 11″ Power Tackle cranking sticks with 16-lb fluoro:

> “…they had really moved up shallow pretty good, but we had a pretty severe cold front that knocked the water temperatures down and pushed the fish out of the little pockets that they had been in.

> “Last weekend we fished offshore in practice and didn’t catch anything but 3 or 4 little ones. We talked about it earlier this week and thought, It’s been colder, maybe the fish will back up a little bit.”

> Heading up the lake to the 147 Bridge area, Iles and Shook started on a deep dropoff. With their boat sitting in 28′ of water, they cast shallow and retrieved their crankbaits out to the 25′ dropoffs where a mix of brush and old timber provided attractive staging areas.

Top 3 $$$ comments on the TTT FB posts about the limit:

> Don’t guys plant weeds out on the Texas waters and fish the area during tournament time? [Dead serious question.]

> Imagine getting them in a livewell in your kayak. [‘Yaks have wells??]

> In my sleep them little piggies.

Last dude wins.

Gets even more IN-SANE!

Shout out to 2nd-placers Casey Burleigh and Josh Rodgers who themselves are Rayburn hammers and had a sick limit: 30.82 lbs. (Not sure if that’s them ^ but it’s the pic with the 2nd-biggest fish so I think?)

Check this craziness, which itself is prolly some kinda record:

> …just caught a 5-lber when his partner’s…cast tempted a pair of 8-lbers that literally came to the boat hooked on the same crankbait.

> “I got them both in the net, but with 16 lbs in there…when I went to lift them, my net broke and one of them got away. We were worried that we had lost the tournament when we lost that fish, but we got beat by (over) 18 lbs. That eased the pain a little bit at the end of the day.”

Two 8+ fish on the same crankbait?????? What in the heck is going on at Rayburn? Why are we all not there or on our way there right now??
Dang! Anyhoo, here’s how they caught ’em?

> Running up north to an area outside Stanley Creek, they targeted a flatter drain with a small depression dropping from 14′ to 16. …lacked hard cover, but abundant bait gave staging prespawners abundant feeding opportunities.

> “We were throwing a 6th Sense Cloud 9 C20 crankbait and the key was we weren’t burning it. You had to keep it really slow and the big girls were just chomping it.”

Here’s what everyone fishing that deal looked like walking up to the weigh-in:

Oops forgot to mention that a 14.94 was caught there a week ago — biggest Larry (or Laraine) since 2015:

Little Rayburn math:

40.375 lbs + 49.31 lbs + 14.94 lbs = 104.63 lbs ÷ 11 fish = an avg of 9.51 lbs per fish!!!!

Bait breakdown from the Harris Chain FLW.

Congrats to FLW rookie Laramy Strickland who won it…on his home lake so I’m bettin’ in front of his homies too, pretty cool. Won it by 4.5 lbs with 61-04 after bagging a nutty 31-06 on day 3 (shortened deal, only 3 days).

FLW said he fished 2 soft-plastics. One was a Reaction Innovations Spicy Beaver with a 1- or 2-oz weight, 7′ 6″ H Fitzgerald Flippin’ Hydrilla Rod, Shimano reel and 70-lb Fitzgerald Vursa Braid. The other was a Reaction Innovations Machete Worm with a pegged 1/16-oz weight, 7′ 6″ MH Fitzgerald Rod and 17-lb Fitzgerald Vursa Fluoro.

> He just bounced from mat to mat, winding the Machete Worm on the way to each one…. Otherwise, he was just targeting prespawn fish that pulled up under mats….

Here’s what everyone in the top 10 used:

Flip plastics = 40%

Stick worm/Senko = 30%

20% each = Worm, Jerkbait, Lipless

10% each = Swimbait, Chatterbait, Swim-jig

Lipless cranks were an XCalibur One Knocker (3rd) and an XCalibur XR50 (5th). In case you scour eBay and dusty bait shops for those things, I’m assured by the folks at BOOYAH that those baits are 100% the same as the BOOYAH One Knocker and BOOYAH Hard Knocker — to the point that those are just new names for the same baits. They made/make all those baits so….

Deja vu: Winning baits from the St. Johns Toyota.

Trevor “Fitzy” Gerald won it by exactly 6 lbs with 57-12 of Fitzgerald fish’n stuff won it a couple minutes from where he grew up: Lake George. Weird thing is how similar his winning gear sounds to Laramy’s, not to mention the gear of the top 10 is kinda a Fitzgerald commercial. Is Fitzgerald becoming like Gambler in FL? Not sure but here’s most of what he fished:

> …Reaction Innovations Pocket Rocket (b/b), which he threw on a Fitzgerald Stunner Spinning Rod and Spinning Reel and 12-lb Fitzgerald Vursa Fluoro. Prior to that, he was mostly dragging a Reaction Innovations Machete (b/b) on a 7′ 3″ MH Fitzgerald Stunner Rod…a Fitzgerald Stunner Reel (7:1) and 17-lb Fitzgerald Vursa Fluoro.

> “…just a depression surrounded by super-shallow water. I used to put in at that boat ramp right there when I was a kid, so I was kind of familiar with the bottom the way it lays out.”

> …basically a long depression that might qualify as a ditch, which served as a staging area for fish coming to the bank to spawn.

2nd and 3rd also fished Fitzy sticks. Most of the top 10 fished Senko-type stick worms. Shout-outs:

> MI’s Steven Hatala (3rd) used a Lucky Craft Kelly J Prop Bait to fire up bedding bass.

> Former Italian (from It’ly) Classic competitor Jacopo Gallelli finished 6th. Keep after ’em amico!

> Jonathan Kelly (7th) used the X Zone True Center Stick (b/b) — nice finish for a relative new brand.

> Chris Hensley (10th) fished the siiiiiick Kistler Mag 2 rods — casting and spinning.

Is this a sign you need to get off the water?

Talkin’ ‘lectrical storm-wise — @geecrack shot:

Ever been on the water when you cast a line and it just hangs in mid-air — doesn’t drop to the water? I have…couple times…. #notsmart but they were bitin’….


Talkin’ the Rapala DT6:

> “From Jan through the end of Mar, you’re going to catch ’em on it. From a light stain to stained to muddy, if you’ve got any color in the water you better tie on Demon DT. There’s something about it that’s magic.

> “I think the red glow of it and that purple hue on the back helps those bass see it coming through the water. Something about that color, the brightness of it, turns on the aggressive nature of the bass. You can tell, the way the bite feels, that bass is like ‘That red is ticking me off, I’m going to eat it!'”

Pretty sure I’ve never heard G use the word “hue” before? Anyone?

3. Check out John Crews’ truck.

Offered to trade him for my truck and so far have not heard back….

4. AL: What will the water level be at Guntersville?

Heard that TVA had been runnin’ a lotta water out, but not as much now. Either way, graph at that link indicates more stable water than the last couple years.

5. Innerestin’ quote from MLF prez Jim Wilburn.

> “…people just can’t consume enough of this format because it is exciting, because we’ve created a sport, it’s no longer just a lifestyle.”

Also the BPT broadcast team is now doing their thing in Tulsa, not at the lakes, in a new MLF studio.

6. FLWer Luke Dunkin ain’t afraid of changin’ water levels.

7. Shoutin’ out B.A.S.S. for putting a fan on the Bassmaster cover.

Really dig the idea…which is how I know Bassmaster mag editor James Hall could NOT have come up with it…heehee Hall!

8. AL: 30.33 lbs won the AL Bass Trail derby on Gville.

> They fished shallow grass in the 2-4′ range targeting fish with jigs, crankbaits and bladed jigs. They noticed “about mid-morning the water began to drop in the area, and it shut down the bite in those upper-river creeks.” They worked their way back down river “fishing traditional points and high places” using crankbaits.

9. TX wants to change bass regs on 2 lakes.

You can comment on ’em at the link ^. Like how the TPWD explains the stuff:

> Moss Lake — Change from a 14″ minimum length limit and 5-fish daily bag limit for largemouth bass to a 16″ maximum length limit and 5-fish daily bag …exception allowing for possession and weighing for bass 24″ or greater for possible submission to ShareLunker program.

> Spotted bass are abundant, with few exceeding 12″ or being harvested, and combined with the abundant largemouth bass under 14″ contribute to an overabundance of smaller bass in the lake. Modifying the bass regulations could encourage more bass harvest. Lake anglers surveyed support that approach.

> Brushy Creek — …for largemouth bass, change from an 18″ minimum length limit and 3-fish daily bag to a 14″ minimum length limit and 5-fish daily bag limit.

> Not many bass are being harvested, so removing the 18″ minimum length limit…will have little impact.

10. TX: Falcon is 38′ low.

Might be a good time to catch a big one? Just stay on our side of the border….

11. CA wants to electrocute bass eggs in Tahoe.

Among other methods for getting rid of largemouths, smallmouths and other non-native fish. Good luck with that deal….

12. WV proposing 14-22″ smallie slot on the New River.

> The only exception will be for the waters of Bluestone Lake, where bass regulations will remain as they have been.

> …regulations were modeled after those currently in effect in VA. “VA has done several studies over the years that showed that more trophy-sized fish are caught, and that the fish overall are fatter and healthier.”

13. AL: Lonnie White ramp on Harris closed for renos thru April.

14. KY: FLW HS fishing camp on KY Lake this July.

At Murray State U.

15. New Nishine Erie 95SD jerkbaits now on TW.

Word is crazy good action and a tungsten ball in there too. Here’s “ghost smelt” — YT vid with underwater video here:

16. Lookit these Lunkerhunt Swim Bentos!

Spinning rod (or L casting rod!) + Seaguar InvizX fluoro + 1/8- or 3/16-oz jighead + Swim Bento = $$$

17. Garmin rolls out new Perspective Mode.

Sounds pretty cool:

> With the new Perspective Mode mount, the LiveScope LVS32 transducer can be easily adjusted to fit an angler’s fishing techniques and preferences, no tools required, and the chartplotter will automatically detect what mode is being used.

> Simply turn the transducer sideways to enable the new ‘top down’ Perspective Mode to see a wide view of what’s in front of the boat up to 50′ away. Point the transducer forward to see around the boat, and point it down to see directly below the boat.

Quick clip of it — full YT vid here, on the Garmin site here:

18. BUFF 40% off sale ends TOMORROW!

Hard to be cool if you don’t look cool…or something like that….

19. Outdoor Channel sparring with Pursuit Channel over metrics.

Obvious solution: Launch another 24/7 fish/hunt channel…lol! All good man….

Line of the Day

Tube baits are molded soft plastic creations.

On right now…

Note: The TackleWarehouse links in this email are affiliate links, meaning if you go through them to make a purchase I might earn a commission…at no cost to you. Click here if you want to learn a little more about links in the BB.

Tip of the Day

Ott DeFoe’s cold-water lipless retrieves.

He likes the Storm Arashi Vibe, sometimes with his own artwork on ’em…

…partly because they can be fished slower. YMMV but here you go:

> 45-49 degrees = Move your Vibe only with your rod, not your reel. “I’m taking slack up with the reel and pumping it with the rod.”

> 50-53 degrees = Reel…with a steady, “slow to moderate retrieve.”

> 55-57 degrees = Turn your reel handle pretty steadily…”occasionally popping it along, not letting it have a lot of pauses.”

> 57+ degrees = …””it’s going to be chunk it out and bring it back in.”

He likes 17-lb fluorocarbon line, a 6.8:1 reel and a 7′ to 7′ 6″ MH rod.

Quote of the Day

“I’m convinced we are seeing the end of the Rick Clunn and Kevin VanDam style of random cast anglers.”

– That’s Rick Clunn himself talkin’ in a Bassin’masters post about he’s learnin’ from the young’ns on the Elites. What he said after that:

> That generation of anglers could convert random casting into high probability casts. When I won one of my Classics, I caught 25 bass. My press observer said I made 2,000 casts that day.

Most were random.

> The new generation isn’t making random casts. The technologically-savvy youngsters are throwing at fish. They are putting their lure right where the fish exists instead of having to work an entire structure to find the sweet spot. They will make 20 or so casts and move on, covering more water efficiently.

All good except KVD’s like:

Shot of the Day

Dave Mercer @factsoffishing with a new type of bassin’ shot! Dave’s always thinkin’…or someone who works for him is (heehee!):


“When we have redfish or FL pompano and bring them in, it only takes a week or 2 to get them to eat dead shrimp and cut fish. A flounder takes several weeks longer for them to transition to that type of feeding.”

AL biologist talkin’ ’bout hatchery-raisin’ flounder. Blows my mind. Other than Berkley Gulp!, all flounder fishermen use dead baits and it’s pretty much impossible to keep flounder off ’em.

Ya got me

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