Sam Rayburn Day 1 Coverage - Major League Fishing

Sam Rayburn Day 1 Coverage

Sam George is working on a mega-bag
Image for Sam Rayburn Day 1 Coverage
Sam George Photo by Jody White. Angler: Sam George.
January 10, 2019 • FLW Communications • Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit

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Live leaderboard – click here

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Tournament Details – click here

Sam Rayburn By the Numbers – click here

Water level details – click here

Marshal Photo Gallery – click here


1:50 p.m. Closing it down

David Dudley’s Marshal just reported he has 20+ pounds in his livewell. Unofficially, that puts the Polaris pro in the top 10. We’ve had a large amount of anglers making smaller culls – most of these pros are in the 10 to 14 pound limit range.

At that, we are going to close down the blog and live leaderboard for the day. It has been quite the opening day with massive amounts of fish caught along with some true giants. You will be able to watch the live weigh-in on at 3 p.m. CT. We’re likely to have a few surprise bags cross the stage from anglers who fished out of cell phone reception all day so make sure to tune in.


12:50 p.m. – George with a giant

FLW Tour rookie Sam George is going to be tipping the scales this afternoon with the bag he’s working on. He caught an 8+ pounder not long ago while fishing some offshore structure. It sounds like not one single technique is putting fish in the boat, rather he using his entire offshore arsenal to target these deeper fish.

The bite is definitely slowing down for most on Rayburn. Our Marshals are reporting that the lake is all but glass since the wind died down. We are also hearing that the temperature is starting to warm up quick. Look for the field to make some adjustments to match the changing conditions as the afternoon wears on.


12:15 p.m. – Osborne

Jordan Osborne is making moves up the leaderboard. He just gained 5 pounds on back-to-back culls and now has at least a 20-pound limit. He is doing his damage on traditional offshore techniques.

Up on the bank John Cox is still looking to upgrade his 13-pound total. John caught a 4 1/2 pounder earlier today so we know there are fish to be had up shallow. James Niggemeyer is also burning shallow cover and has a 11-1/2 pound limit. As the sun gets higher the shallow-water guys should have more action.

Overall, the 1 to 2-pound fish seem to be biting all over the lake. If you check out the Live Leaderboard you will these fish in a lot of the pro’s limits. A few kickers here and there will be the difference between ending the day middle of the pack or towards the top.


11:00 a.m. – Thrift, Bolton

It looks like Bryan Thrift is doing Bryan Thrift things. We just had a report that he was culling out 3 pounders and has a limit around 19 pounds. Historically, Thrift’s total weight always ends up being a few pounds more than reported so it would not be surprising if he has already surpassed the 20-pound mark.

Elsewhere, Terry Bolton has been hammering the fish but has yet to find the giants that Rayburn is known for. The Kentucky pro has a limit worth about 13 pounds and is catching 1 to 2 pounders at will on his moving baits. When we asked him how he’s doing he said, “It’s a grind, man. Just one of them deals.”

11:05 Update: LeBrun just extended his unofficial lead with a small cull. His smallest fish at the moment is about 3 1/2 pounds. 


10:25 a.m. – LeBrun!

Last year’s T-H Marine BFL All-American champion Nick LeBrun smacked them this morning. His Marshal just reported Nick having an estimated 24-pound limit. With a start like this LeBrun should certainly see himself near the top of the leaderboard at the end of the day.

Other than that, we are still seeing a bunch of fish caught. The leaderboard is jam packed of pros with 9 to 15-pound limits. A 7+ pounder will do big things for these guys stuck in the middle of the pack.


9:45 a.m. – Fulps takes over

Derek Fulps just landed back-to-back six pounders to finish out his limit and take the lead. With two-big ones in the livewell he certainly could be working on a giant bag as the day goes on. Sam George, Chad Warren and Scott Martin are right behind Felps on the leaderboard. If any of those anglers catches another giant they would most likely take over first place.

Cody Kelly just stuck his second keeper, which happened to be a 7 1/2 -pounder.

In general, a ton of fish are being caught on Sam Rayburn this morning. We have nearly 40 limits reported from the Marshals so far. The Marshals are seeing fish caught from the bank all the way out to deep structure. We should see patterns slowly develop as the day progresses.


8:43 a.m. – The giants are falling

There's been a rash of big ol' bass caught in the last hour. Scott Martin landed a potential 9-pounder. Wes Logan caught a 6. Billy Shelton caught a 7. Sam George has a 7 1/2 and a 5 1/2. And Chad Warren, the unofficial leader, also caught an 8-pounder. Warren has about 19 pounds right now. It looks like the big girls are out this morning, and the Tour pros came to play.

It's still a mix of baits in use right now, but spinnerbaits and Carolina rigs are easily the most popular. 


7:55 a.m. – Lots of updates coming in

For the first time ever, FLW Tour pros are fishing with marshals instead of co-anglers, and the marshals are doing their job well. There's been a constant stream up updates coming in off the water. The best place to see the up-to-date weight estimates is at the Live Leaderboard link at the top of this article. 

Right now, Matt Becker has the hot hand. The 2018 FLW Tour Rookie of the Year has landed three nice keepers for a total weight of just shy of 6 pounds. That doesn't sound like a lot, but getting a limit in the boat early would be a huge start to this derby.

Mostly pros are throwing spinnerbaits in the shallow cover and jerkbaits all around. The Carolina rig is also getting a lot of play out deep.


7:30 a.m. – The 2019 FLW Tour season has begun

After three days of practice marked by flip-flop weather and mostly stable conditions, the 2019 FLW Tour season got underway on Sam Rayburn Reservoir today in the grips of a cold front. The temperature at takeoff was in the mid-30s, and the forecast high is just 58 degrees.

That’s just one of the stories Mother Nature has laid out for us this week. Rayburn is currently about 9 1/2 feet high, and the water data website for the Fort Worth District of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers shows that the dam is not releasing any water, so the high water is sticking around.

Thousands of acres of trees and brush are flooded. A resourceful angler can get nearly a mile deep in the flooded timber in some places.

The resulting fishing patterns, by all accounts, vary greatly from the norm for this time of year. Instead of grass that’s a couple feet under the surface and primed for fishing with a lipless crankbait, most of the green stuff is 10 or more feet deep. Deep cranks and Carolina rigs have been the go-tos for offshore fishing in practice, while Texas rigs, spinnerbaits and even frogs have been tossed around up shallow.

Whether aggressive tactics continue to play in the midst of the cool-down is yet to be determined, but one thing’s for sure: Mother Nature has issued a major challenge to the world’s best bass anglers this week on Sam Rayburn.



Temperature at takeoff: 34 degrees

Forecast high: 58 degrees

Sky: sunny early, with clouds developing throughout the day

Precipitation: 0 percent chance of rain

Wind: ENE at 5 mph


Tournament Details

Presented by Polaris

Hosted by Jasper County Development District

Takeoff: 7:15 a.m. CT at Umphrey Family Pavilion, 5438 RR 255, Brookeland, TX

Weigh-in: Days 1 and 2 at 3 p.m. CT; Days 3 and 4 at 4 p.m. CT at Umphrey Family Pavilion

FLW Expo: 2 p.m. CT through the end of weigh-in at Umphrey Family Pavilion

FLW Live: 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CT