Sam Rayburn Day 3 Coverage - Major League Fishing

Sam Rayburn Day 3 Coverage

It's moving day on Big Sam
Image for Sam Rayburn Day 3 Coverage
Sam George Photo by Jacob Fine. Angler: Sam George.
January 25, 2020 • FLW Communications • Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit


Live leaderboard – click here

Tournament Preview – click here

Tournament Details – click here

Day 2 Recap – click here


2:30 p.m. – Final Updates

It’s time to shut down the leaderboard and live blog ahead of this afternoon’s weigh-in. As it stands right now, things are going to be downright interesting come 4 p.m. CT.

At the moment, John Cox and Corey Neece are tied atop the leaderboard with 51-11 total. That’s unofficial, of course, and there’s still some time left for both anglers to upgrade. Cox has the better chance of doing so, however, with some small fish left in his livewell.

Darold Gleason has had a great day and was the star of FLW Live today. He’s just a pound back of the leaders.

After that, things get really intriguing. Weights are stacked behind the top three and any number of pros could sneak into the final cut with another kicker. Just over 6 pounds separates fourth from 19th on the current projected leaderboard.

With that, it’s time to call it a day. Be sure to tune in to the weigh-in show on FLWfishing at 4 p.m. CT to find out who’s fishing for $100,000 tomorrow. Thanks for following along with our coverage of day three from Sam Rayburn. 


2:15 p.m. – Upgrades for Neece and Cox

Corey Neece is making a late push. He just landed a 4-pounder to cull up a good bit. He’s up around 19 1/2 pounds now and will certainly be fishing tomorrow.

Likewise, John Cox made a move and culled twice, getting rid of two dinks in the process. His total weight should be around 11 1/2 now – a crucial increase considering how well Gleason and Neece have fished today. 


2:00 p.m. – Live is going offline

FLW Live is done for the day, but be sure to tune into our live feed of weigh-in starting at 4 p.m. CT. You can find that feed at 

In the meantime, we’ll continue to update the live blog and leaderboard for the next half hour to keep you up to date on all the catches on moving day. 


Darold Gleason

1:38 p.m. – Gleason with a kicker

Darold Gleason just found the fish he’s been looking for. It’s a 4 1/2-pounder or so, and it’s going to upgrade his bag by a couple pounds at least. He’s sitting just north of 15 pounds and is now unofficially in the lead ahead of John Cox.

Gleason really gets excited on FLW Live. If you’re not watching, you’re missing out. 


Alex Davis

1:32 p.m. – Nelson's ultra-aggressive school

Ron Nelson is on such a large school of aggressive fish that he says he has fish on the hook and hanging onto his sinker. He’s wearing them out, but the size still isn’t there. Still, on a day like today, when big fish are few and far between, upgrading by ounces time and time again isn’t a bad strategy. It’s not like Nelson would be leaving those fish to go somewhere he might be able to catch a giant.

The leaderboard is super tight at the top right now. It’s all unofficial, but weights look to be pretty stacked. John Cox holds the lead by a slim margin, and as far as we know, he hasn’t hooked into an upgrade for over an hour. It’s about that time Cox might consider going back to check his starting spot where he did all his damage yesterday.

Both Dobsons have a limit now. Scott has almost 16 pounds and is comfortably in the top 10 right now. Jeff, who struggled early, has a small limit of about 10 pounds now. In that 10-pound range is also Grae Buck, Jake Ormond and Tyler Stewart, none of whom have had much luck recently. 

Alex Davis, on the other hand, just boosted his bag in a big way with a 5-pounder. He’s around 14 pounds at the moment and finds himself just inside the unofficial cut line. 


12:46 p.m. – Searching for the magic number

It’s still a grind, but a few more pros have filled out limits recently, including Bill McDonald. He has five in the livewell for about 10 pounds. Sam George is also chipping away with a limit that’ll go close to 13.

Twenty pounds is going to be the magic number today. Despite the early flurry this morning, it’s looking less and less likely that we’ll see many bags in the 20-pound range. Corey Neece is still closest to that mark with 17 1/2.

Of course, it only takes one fish to bolster a bag on Rayburn. They just haven’t been showing up much today. Aside from Neece’s 7-pounder and the 6 1/2 Hunter freeman caught recently, the giants are still hiding.

The top of the leaderboard is going to be determine late this afternoon, in all likelihood. Darold Gleason and John Cox are still just waiting for theor bite to get going again. Meanwhile, Jon Canada is quietly chipping away.

Ron Nelson continues to hammer on a big school of smaller fish. He has them fired up, and now he’s just waiting for the big ones to do the same. 


12:06 p.m. – Hunter Freeman with a tank

Hunter Freeman may finally be putting something together. He landed a 6 1/2-pounder for his second fish of the day, but he still has a long way to go. Still, those kickers are so important on Rayburn, and he’s got room to put together a nice bag come weigh-in.

Ron Nelson continues to catch the fire out of them, but they all happen to be the wrong size. He says he’s trying to get all the little ones out of the way so he can catch a kicker. Whatever the case, he’s around some fish.

Alex Davis is quietly putting together a nice day. He now has a limit of 11 pounds after culling a couple times. The same goes for Jon Canada, who now has a limit of about 12 pounds.

The morning lull hasn’t quite gone away, but it seems like anglers are starting to get bit a little more the last 10 or 15 minutes. We might be getting close to the magic afternoon window in which we’ve been seeing some big fish caught the last couple days. 


John Cox

11:08 a.m. – Waiting for the afternoon bite

Ron Nelson is catching a ton of fish, but none are helping him at the moment. His marshal reports Nelson has caught about 10 fish in the last 20 minutes. He’s still sitting with about 9 1/4 in his livewell.

No one is really catching them right now, and that’s been a trend so far this week. After the morning bite turns off, there’s been quite a lull until the afternoon bite picks up. Luckily, pros will have some extra time to fish today and really exploit that afternoon bite with weigh-in not starting until 4 p.m.

Further down the leaderboard, Mile Howe and Tim Frederick are finally on the board with their first keepers of the day. Neither were big, but it’s a start. Every ounce counts at the end of the day. 


10:42 a.m. – Midmorning lull

John Cox may have retaken the lead with a 3 1/2-pounder he just landed on a bladed jig from a laydown. He’s in Deer Stand targeting shallow wood, which is right up his alley. It’ll be interesting to see if he runs back to his original spot at any point today, or if he even needs to. Cox has a limit north of 9 pounds right now.

Otherwise, though, it seems like there’s a bit of a midmorning lull going on. The fish catch reports are fewer and farther between, and none of the pros at the top of the leaderboard have culled all that much lately. The wind is picking up and it’s warming up, though, so don’t be surprised if the bite picks back up around lunchtime. 


Scott Dobson

10:25 a.m. – Neece still in the lead

Corey Neece is still in the unofficial lead, but there are some pros making a push behind him. Scott Dobson, in particular is doing his best to secure a spot in the top 10 come tomorrow. He has about 15 pounds today dragging around a Carolina rig. He says it’s boring, but not as boring as driving back to Michigan on Saturday. He makes a good point.

Darold Gleason picked up to make a move after stagnating a bit once he caught his limit. Similarly, john Cox decided to scrap the spot he did his damage on yesterday in favor of throwing a vibrating jig up shallow. So far, not much luck for the days one and two leader.

Mile Burghoff, against all odds, is having a good day. He has 13 pounds despite having battery issues. He’s sticking pretty close to takeoff just in case he can’t get his battery issues fixed.

Kerry Milner has about 12 1/2 pounds and is trying to follow up his 20-15 performance yesterday. Another day like that and he’s for sure fishing tomorrow.

Jon Canada has four fish for 8 pounds, but his bite should be turning on pretty soon. He’s also throwing a bladed jig around some trees. Mitch Crane only weighed in 8-9 yesterday, but he’s rallying today. Crane has a limit of 11-4 so far. 


9:39 a.m. – Neece working on big bag

Corey Neece now has him limit – and it’s a good one. Anchored by a 7-plus-pounder, Neece has about 17 1/2 for his first five keepers. It’s only taken him two hours of fishing to bring in that weight, so expect bigger things from him as the day progresses. He’s our unofficial lead at this point.

Scott Dobson has the second-largest bag of the day so far. His is 13 1/2, just ahead of Miles Burghoff’s 13-pound stringer. So far, we’ve seen seven double-digit bags out of the 30-angler field.

John Cox has been struggling a bit, but he still has four fish in the box for about 5 1/2 pounds. He may be contemplating a big move, though. Our on-the-water reporters say he’s contemplating swimming a jig the rest of the day if his crankbait bite doesn’t pick up. That would be pretty in character for Cox.

Tommy Dickerson, meanwhile, started the day in third place and hasn’t quite been able to replicate his success of a day prior. He’s got just one fish right now for about 2 pounds. 


Miles Burghoff

8:58 a.m. – More limits to report

Darold Gleason is fishing like a man who knows Sam Rayburn. He does quite well, in fact. The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit rookie has two career top 10s on Big Sam in FLW competition between the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine and the FLW Series (7th in 2018 Phoenix Bass Fishing League event and fifth in 2018 FLW Series event). He knows what he’s doing here.

Gleason estimates having nine pounds, but he said he has two that are pushing 3 pounds and three around 2 pounds each. That means he actually has between 11 and 12 pounds, at least. He might just be forgetting one, which is understandable when you’re on fish like he is. 

Corey Neece has added a couple to go with his 7-pounder. He has three for about 13 pounds – a terrific start to moving day. When you have a kicker in the box like he has, there’s just so much room to upgrade later. He could be working on a big bag.

Kerry Milner’s limit of 10-12 right now is an excellent sign after weighing in almost 21 pounds yesterday. There’s no doubt he’s on some good fish.

Elsewhere, Miles “Sonar” Burghoff has a nice limit of his own that’ll go close to 12 pounds. The second-year pro had a great rookie season and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down to start 2020. 


Darold Gleason

8:33 a.m. – Gleason with a nice limit

Twenty of the 30 pros fishing today already have at least one fish in the livewell, and almost all of those pros have multiples. This early-morning flurry might not last, but if it does, we could see some big weights today. So far, only Corey Neece has a giant in his box, though.

The wind is significantly weaker than it’s been the last two days and that’s supposed to continue throughout the day. Paired with some sunshine that should heat things up and keep the water temperature trending up, these fish should remain pretty active.

Darold Gleason has a limit in the box, though it’s not a huge limit. Still, 12 1/2 pounds is a great start to the day and he’s got the unofficial lead now. Meanwhile, John Cox has a couple small keepers and isn’t far behind.

Tyler Stewart is having a nice start to the day as well with four fish for 9 pounds. With a limit-filler, Stewart will be close to what he weighed in yesterday – and it’s only about 8:30.


8:07 a.m. – Coming out swinging

If the early flurry of fish catches is any indication, it’s going to be a fun day on Sam Rayburn.

Just half an hour after takeoff and we already have a bevy of fish catches to report, including a 7-plus-pounder for Corey Neece. That’s one way to get things going on moving day. He’s since added a 2 1/2-pounder and already has about 10 pounds.

Meanwhile, 13 more anglers already have their first fish in the box. John Cox, Darold Gleason, Kerry Milner and Tyler Stewart have multiples, though none are of any significant size yet.

They sure seem to be biting this morning, and it sounds like the water may have come up just a tad overnight. On top of that, conditions have finally stabilized a bit since the cold front that moved through during practice. 


7:30 a.m. – Go time

The final 30 anglers are blasting off and headed to their first spots of the day. By the time the smoke clears this evening, we'll have 10 pros left to fish tomorrow, all chasing that $100,000 check and a huge jump start on the Angler of the Year points race.

It's no surprise that John Cox is currently in the best position of anyone to do those two things. With a 21-plus-pound bag on day one and close to 19 pounds yesterday, he enters the weekend with a more than 5-pound lead over Darold Gleason and the rest of the field. He's one of the best anglers in the sport, and he's showing it this week. 

There are plenty of talented anglers to watch today, though. Gleason has a ton of experience on Rayburn, as does Tommy Dickerson (currently in second place). Experience combined with the fact that Rayburn is always capable of kicking out a 30-plus-pound bag and things can get exciting in a hurry.

We haven't seen any of those bags yet this week, but it could easily happen at some point. Fish are so close to moving up to, and when that happens, the big girls are going to be eating. We saw it last year in the first event of the season on Rayburn, and it'd sure be nice to see that happen again today.

Stick around here for our live coverage of day three, and be sure to tune in to FLW Live from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on



Temperature at takeoff: 36 degrees

Forecast high: 66 degrees

Sky: Mix of clouds and sun early, overcast in the afternoon

Precipitation: 10 percent chance of rain

Wind: SSE 5 mph



Hosted by Jasper County Development District

Takeoff: 7:30 a.m. CT at Umphrey Family Pavilion, 5438 RR 255, Brookeland, Texas 

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

FLW Live: 8 a.m. CT to 2 p.m. CT, 4 p.m. to end of weigh-in