ZAVALLA, Texas – When Tournament Director Ron Lappin asked pro Albert Collins what it takes to win a Rayovac FLW Series event on Rayburn Reservoir, Collins immediately responded, “Weighing in 17 pounds a day.”
And with that, Collins, of Nacogdoches, Texas, wrote his own storyline for his Rayovac win on Rayburn, checking in limits of 16-12, 17-15 and 17-12 for a three-day total of 52 pounds, 7 ounces worth $31,271 in cash.
In an event that was racked by high south winds on day one, high north winds on day two and a bluebird post-frontal sky on day three, Collins was the only pro to bring in 15 pounds plus everyday of the event and that dogged consistency gave him nearly an 11 pound cushion of victory.
“The way Rayburn is setting up right now in this late summer, early fall time period, the fish are just so scattered out,” Collins said. “They are chasing bait that is suspended, there is a ton of grass everywhere now – it’s just hard to pinpoint true groups of fish.”
Collins’ remedy for that scenario was to stay away from grass and target drops and steep channel swings in 20 to 22 feet as well as specific pieces of wood – stumps and brush in 8 to 12 feet. He felt more comfortable running a rotation of 10 to 12 specific target spots per day rather than fishing big areas of grass.
“If I was fishing a slick drop with no cover, I went with a 3/8-ounce weight and 20-pound test Vicious Pro Elite fluorocarbon,” Collins detailed. “If I was fishing a brush pile, I would go with a 1/2-ounce weight with 25-pound test Vicious Pro Elite.”
Collins stayed in the upper to mid-section of the lake amid a lot of timber to keep away from the grass. His program was more of a run and gun approach – making 15 or 20 casts per spot – then moving on to the next.
Dalbey’s primary plan for the week was to fish deeper brushpiles, but that plan was foiled on day one when heavy winds blew his deep places out.
“I just couldn’t stay out in those rollers on day one so I had to bail on that plan and head for the grass,” Dalbey said. “I caught my first-day weight in the grass on a 4-inch Strike King Caffeine Shad Texas-rigged on a little 1/8-ounce weight, just reeling it over the top of the grass.”
On day two a wind shift allowed Dalbey to venture out to brushpiles in 10 to 20 feet of water where he struck up 18 pounds, 14 ounces.
“When fishing that brush, I was using a Zoom Magnum Trick worm in watermelon candy, rigged on a big ½-ounce shaky head,” Dalbey said. “Those fish were down in the brush so I went with 20-pound test line.
Today Dalbey worked the deeper piles again but came up with only half the weight than the day before.
Clark Reehm of Huntington, Texas, finished third with a three-day total of 41 pounds, 1 ounce worth $9,321.
With literally hundreds of waypoints in his GPS that denote isolated brush piles, stumps and even single rocks, Reehm is the master of the run and gun on Rayburn, hitting as many such places as possible in a single day.
“These are all three to five cast type places scattered all over the lake,” Reehm said. “Sometimes I don’t even put my trolling motor down. I just glide into my line-up, make a couple of casts, fire up and head to the next one. It’s purely a numbers game based on percentages – the more spots I hit in a day, the better my chances are of getting a bite.”
Reehm said his lure arsenal for such fishing is massive, but his three key baits this week were a Kicker Fish Hightail worm with a ¼-ounce weight, a War Eagle spinnerbait and square-bill crankbait.
Prvonozac’s one-two punch involved a 3/8-ounce Booyah buzzbait fished around shallow grass and bushes and then a Yum Wooly Hawg teamed with a ½-ounce tungsten weight with 20-pound test Silver Thread fluorocarbon pitched in brush.
“In the mornings I’d fish the buzzbait to get a limit,” he said. “Then I’d move out into the middle of the ditches and pitch the Wooly Hawg to brushpiles and tops in about 6 feet of water. Some of the piles I could see the tips of, but others I found with the sidescan and marked them.”
Charlie King of Coushatta, La., rounded out the top five with 39 pounds, 11 ounces.
King’s success for the week came on a white and chartreuse ¼-ounce spinnerbait in the grass and then a Texas-rigged 7-inch straight-tail blueberry worm in deeper grass on points.
Rounding out the top-10 pros in the Rayovac FLW Series event on Rayburn Reservoir:
6th: Nick Lebrun of Tyler, Texas, three-day total, 39-1
7th: Randy Despino of Colfax, La., three-day total, 36-10
8th: Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Okla., three-day total, 36-4
9th: Philip Crelia of Center, Texas, three-day total, 36-0
10th: John Hatton of Buna, Texas, three-day total, 33-14
Strike King Angler of the Year
Congratulations to Todd Castledine of Nacogdoches, Texas for winning the Strike King Angler of the Year award in the Texas Division with a total of 578 points. Castledine’s finishes this year included a 6th at Rayburn in January, a 3rd at Toledo Bend and 16th this week at Rayburn.