Reinkemeyer sets the pace on Sam Rayburn - Major League Fishing

Reinkemeyer sets the pace on Sam Rayburn

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Brock Reinkemeyer kicked off the 2024 season with a 24-7 bag of Sam Rayburn bass, which has him in the lead after Day 1. Photo by Rob Matsuura. Angler: Brock Reinkemeyer.
February 9, 2024 • Jody White • Invitationals

BROOKELAND, Texas – As many expected, the fishing was good on Day 1 of Stop 1 Presented by Power-Pole MOVE on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Despite a morning fog delay, a total of 11 pros crossed the 20-pound barrier, and 13 pounds went all the way down to 53rd place. Leading the way, Warsaw, Missouri, pro Brock Reinkemeyer sacked up 24 pounds, 7 ounces, which has him narrowly ahead of a murderers’ row. In second and third — an ounce apart —  Nick Hatfield and Brody Campbell both caught more than 23 pounds, and the Top 10 also includes such luminaries as Keith PocheNick LeBrun and Drew Gill

Reinkemeyer surprises himself 

Long established as one to watch around the Ozarks, Reinkemeyer showed during his rookie season on the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals last year that he’s no slouch nationally, as well. Today, he relied on a few areas and a few key bites. 

“I caught one big one during practice doing off-the-wall, kind of deep stuff, and it paid off twice today,” Reinkemeyer said. “I just kind of moseyed down a stretch and just plucked two big ones off. 

“It was kind of like a little drop,” he said of his area. “I scanned the hell out of this flat, and they weren’t up on top of it. So, I just went down the edges, and I found one edge where there are some shad and got lucky with two big ones.” 

Of course, you can’t catch 24 pounds and change without some skill, and it’s not like Reinkemeyer is oblivious out there. While much of the field had no problem catching keepers but struggled at times to find quality bites, Reinkemeyer seems to have a beat on some big ones.

“I’ve got three spots where I’m just kind of milking ‘em,” he said. “Stumps, hard bottom — I’m fishing anywhere from 12 to 24 (feet), just kind of zig-zagging on the edges.

“I don’t feel like there are a lot of fish, but if I get a bite, it’s a good one,” he said. “I probably caught like 10 keepers today, but I was also bypassing small ones that are suspended way up. I’ve been catching them all week, and they’re all small. The bigger ones are closer to the bottom.”

One key for Reinkemeyer was staying away from the grass, which Rayburn is loaded with these days. 

“I caught one out there right at 7 in practice, and this sucker was like a football,” he said. “And I’m like, ‘they ain’t in that grass.’ I fished two days in the grass, and Brad (Jelinek) was catching them in the grass, but nothing big. I couldn’t even catch a keeper in the grass.” 

Plenty of other pros caught fish in the grass today, while others targeted hard structure or suspending fish. So, Reinkemeyer isn’t on an island from a pattern perspective. Still, he does seem to be fishing away from the pressure. 

“I had them all to myself,” he said. “At my starting spot there was one other guy there; he moseyed around for two seconds and left. I’m all alone while everybody else is fishing in a crowd in the grass. Hopefully it’s the same thing tomorrow.” 

Hatfield never misses

Nick Hatfield has been aces wherever he fishes lately. Photo by Rob Matsuura.

One of the most consistent and dangerous in the game these days, Hatfield went out and fished to his standard. Catching a 9-3 for the Berkley Big Bass and $1,000, the Tennessee pro is right in the hunt.

“Man, it was a good day! I don’t know if it will hold, but it was a good day for sure,” he said. “I’m around some big ones – I caught big ones in practice in the area that I caught them today. Not many, one or two good ones, then I just kind of looked for them. But I went in there today and there was more bait in there today than there was in practice, and there were more bass in there.”

Hatfield is mixing it up, fishing both deep and shallow around grass, all the time using his Garmin LiveScope.

“I’m ‘Scoping mostly, but I caught that 5-pounder today on a jerkbait around some grass, and I’ve got a couple areas around the grass where there is some,” he said. “But, it’s just the same no matter where you go, really, for me. It’s like you get up in the grass, you catch a ton of 2-pounders and a random big one. You go out deep and catch a ton of 2-pounders and a random big one. So, I think the key to this week is going to be the guy that can put a couple of those big ones in the boat.”

Red-hot Campbell keeps rolling

Brody Campbell is off to a great start after a breakout 2023. Photo by Rob Matsuura.

You can be forgiven for not knowing who Campbell is now, but at the rate he’s going, he’ll be a household name by June. With the second-most Top 10 finishes in MLF in 2023, Campbell got the 2024 season rolling by nearly winning the Toyota Series event at Lake Okeechobee and doesn’t seem to have missed a beat in Texas.

“I didn’t have over 13 pounds one day in practice, not one day,” Campbell said. “I was catching 30 fish a day in practice, but they were 2-pounders.”

Early in the first day of his pro career, looking to simply scratch up a quick limit, big things happened.

“I just didn’t get into the big ones, it had me really down,” he said. “So, I went to a zone this morning to catch a limit, some deep fish on bait balls. I caught a couple, then saw one swimming — I thought it was like a gar or something. It bit, and it was an 8-pounder.”

A LiveScope whiz, Campbell went from a tough practice to thinking he’s got a chance to win.

“It feels good. I was really nervous; I was hoping to get out of here with a check,” he said. “I know I’m around ‘em now. I didn’t know what I was on then, and now I’m shooting to win.”

The Robinson kids look unstoppable

This week, the Robinson putting the screws to ’em is Mitchell, who is just 18 years old. Photo by Jody White.

There are a lot of impressive families in fishing. At least one Hibdon has won just about every tournament possible. The Jones family dominated sight-fishing derbies for years and now is onto the next chapter, setting the pace with LiveScope. The Martin name is legendary. The Lane family is a pretty big deal, with Cal Lane lurking in the Top 10 after catching 21-7 on Day 1.

But, right now, it’s looking like the next 20 or 30 years might belong to the Robinson crew.

Marshall Robinson blitzed through the Invitationals in 2023, winning Polaris Rookie of the Year and making the Bass Pro Tour at the ripe old age of 19. Friday, his younger brother Mitchell Robinson sacked up 21-3, which has him in eighth to start his first pro tournament at Rayburn.

“I graduated high school early in December; I wanted to get that over with so I could fish the Invitationals,” Robinson said. “Practice was tough, but I got on a deal today I hadn’t even done in practice, and caught that 8-9 and one pushing 5.”

The 8-pounder, which he caught midway through the day, calmed the 18-year-old rookie’s nerves. If his opening day performance is any indication, it sure sounds like he’s going to be a handful going forward.

“I was a little nervous this morning,” he said. “I pulled up to my first stop, and I thought I was going to catch a good one, and I ended up catching a ton and no good ones. When I caught that 8-pounder, it settled me down, then I was able to fish slow and controlled.”

Top 10 pros 

1. Brock Reinkemeyer – 24 – 7 (5)    
2. Nick Hatfield – 23 – 6 (5)  
3. Brody Campbell – 23 – 5 (5)            
4. Keith Poche – 22 – 12 (5)    
5. Clayton Batts – 22 – 1 (5)
6. Cal Lane – 21 – 7 (5)             
7. Nick LeBrun – 21 – 5 (5)    
8. Mitchell Robinson – 21 – 3 (5)       
9. Drew Gill – 21 – 1 (5)            
10. Jake Lawrence – 20 – 9 (5)

Complete results

Fishing Clash AOY

Tackle Warehouse Invitationals anglers will compete throughout the 2024 season for the prestigious Fishing Clash Angler of the Year award and its $50,000 payday. Fishing Clash – an interactive 3D fishing simulation game that’s played by more than 80 million people worldwide – is the official AOY sponsor of the Bass Pro Tour, Tackle Warehouse Invitationals, Toyota Series and Phoenix Bass Fishing League. 

You can download Fishing Clash for free in the App Store and on Google Play or log on to for more information.