The 2019 FLW Tour takes to the waters of Sam Rayburn Reservoir Jan. 10-13 for the opening event of the new season. Rayburn can produce some absolute giants in January, and if the weather cooperates, there’s potential for an abundance of massive bags.
We’ll break down Rayburn by the numbers for clues as to what to expect as the new Tour season launches.
Number of FLW Tour pros with more than one win at Rayburn in FLW Tour and/or Costa FLW Series events. Chris McCall has won both a Central Division (2006) and Southwestern Division (2014) Costa event on Rayburn. Of the 2019 Tour field, only six other boaters have a win at Rayburn in a previous Tour or Costa event (Bryan Thrift, Dicky Newberry, Jim Tutt, Lendell Martin Jr., Russell Cecil and Todd Castledine). Joey Cifuentes, fishing as a boater this season, also has a win as a co-angler at Rayburn.
Weight, in pounds and ounces, of the lake-record spotted bass caught at Rayburn, landed by Curt E. Smith on Feb. 14, 1987.
Highest number of top-10 finishes at Rayburn as an FLW Tour or Costa FLW Series angler by pros in the field. Chris McCall and Dicky Newberry are tied with six and will fish again in the 2019 event. Kris Wilson (not in the field) holds the all-time record with seven, and all were top-five finishes. Five of McCall’s were also top-five finishes, while Newberry has four.
Number of T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) victories on Rayburn between FLW Tour pros Newberry (6) and Castledine (3). Four other anglers have two BFL wins apiece at Rayburn.
Number of 2019 Tour pros who live within 100 miles of the marina in Brookeland, Texas, from where the tournament will launch.
Weight of the largest bass weighed for the Big Bass Award by an FLW Tour or Costa FLW Series angler since 1998. Jimmy Mize bagged a 10-14 in the Central Division Costa FLW Series event held there in 1998, and Ronnie Hopkins Jr. matched the feat in the Southwestern Costa in 2007.
Weight of the largest bass weighed for the Big Bass Award by a boater in a BFL event on Rayburn. Gerald Green bagged the 11-12 in a 1997 Cowboy Division derby. Newberry has an 11-6 to his name.
Number of 25-plus-pound bags caught in BFL competition on Rayburn. Newberry (who else?) weighed the heaviest, a 36-pound, 5-ounce sack caught in a 2013 Cowboy Division event. Hugh Cosculluela has the highest mark for a BFL co-angler on Rayburn with 26-7 in a 2017 Cowboy Division derby. He is the only co-angler with a 25-plus-pound bag to his name in BFL competition on Rayburn.
Weight of the lake-record largemouth caught at Rayburn. Tommy Shelton hauled in the 28 3/4-inch behemoth on May 31, 1997.
Number of events Jim Tutt has fished as an FLW Tour or Costa FLW Series angler at Rayburn, the most of any pro in the 2019 field.
Largest bag for a single tournament day across Costa FLW Series and FLW Tour events. Phil Marks landed five fish to bag the big limit in the 2012 FLW Tour Open on Rayburn. Kevin Lasyone came close to matching that mark with a 31-pound, 6-ounce limit last February in the Southwestern Division Costa event.
Maximum depth of Rayburn (in feet), give or take about 10 feet to account for annual fluctuations. The average depth of the lake is approximately 20 feet.
Biggest tournament total in an FLW Tour or Costa FLW Series event. Phil Marks topped out at 20 fish averaging just over 4 pounds apiece to put together an 82-pound four-day total in the 2012 FLW Tour Open. Tour pro Todd Castledine holds the record of 66-11 for a three-day event (Southwestern Costa in 2017).
Number of FLW Tour pros as the 2019 season kicks off. Seventy of those pros have never fished Rayburn in any FLW event.
Weight of the largest alligator gar harvested on Rayburn. Keith Riehn used a bow to bring in the lake record in 2005, though it still comes in short of the state-record alligator gar (279 pounds) caught in 1951 by Bill Valverde.
Approximate number of football fields that could fit into the surface area of Rayburn, which, at 114,500 acres, is the largest lake completely within Texas borders.