The 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division season is in the books – and every chapter begins with “Ray Hanselman Wins.” Freshly written, the most recent passage finds Hanselman holding the Lake Texoma trophy he earned with his three-day total of 58 pounds, 13 ounces.
Capping this dominant effort with a 12-pound margin of victory, Hanselman adds another piece of hardware to a now complete collection, also including first-place trophies from this year’s divisional events on Lake Amistad and Sam Rayburn Reservoir.
“This is overwhelming,” Hanselman says. “It’s a dream come true. You just have to put yourself in position to win in every tournament and if everything goes your way you will.
“Everything just fell into place. I didn’t lose any fish.”
Hanselman says his Texoma success came down to a couple of key decisions, the first of which involved leveraging recent weather and its impact on the lake.
Essentially, heavy rains the weekend prior to the tournament had quickly reversed a low-water scenario and pushed Texoma a couple of feet above normal spring pool. This sudden influx of water brought the usual clarity-diminishing inflows that probably frustrated a lot of sight-fishermen.
“In practice, I showed up here the day it flooded and the typical places people were fishing were blood, red running water (runoff from clay banks),” he explains. “Everybody was congregating in the clear water and I just kept checking on these places that they bypassed because they checked in once and they were muddy.”
By the time practice came to an end, Hanselman’s hunch paid off with several areas of prime spring habitat regaining good clarity. He spent his entire tournament in Platter Flats Cove and targeted a mix of flooded brush, laydowns and grass.
“This was a cover with lots of smaller coves,” he says. “I (mainly) looked for flooded brush with a good inside edge.
“There were fish spawning, there were fish guarding fry and fish cruising. I just burned up some water but I fished pretty thoroughly.”
Also intrinsic to Hanselman’s success was the Strike King Sexy Frog. Most in the field were flipping/pitching Texas-rigged plastics or throwing spinnerbaits, but Hanselman determined that a frog would not only appeal to spawning bass, but also those postspawners that were guarding fry.
“I got on that deal ahead of everybody and I think that made a difference,” he opines.
For his Texoma win, Hanselman takes home $30,431 and another trophy to join the other two. On the intangible side, perhaps the most endearing and enduring prize he claimed was the immeasurable respect and admiration of his peers.
Several top-10 finishers heaped praise and genuine compliments on Hanselman for the angler and the person they’ve come to appreciate. One competitor went as far as to say he had hoped no one would beat Hanselman because of the magnitude of his potential accomplishment.
Returning the respect, Hanselman offered some humble perspective that, no doubt, deepened his roots in competitive camaraderie.
“I have to take my hat off to everbody who fishes this division – there are some great fishermen,” he says. “It’s amazing to be here right now.”
Contemplating his entire 2015 Texas Division season, Hanselman said his consistency was predicated on his willingness to work methodically and efficiently.
“When you have confidence in your area, you’re going to slow down and fish,” he adds.
Notably, Hanselman carried a special lure in his pocket – sans hooks – as a reminder of previous success.
“I found this Strike King Series 5 crankbait hanging in one of the flooded tree where I caught a big fish during my win on Sam Rayburn,” he notes. “So I’ve kept this bait with me ever since.
“I won Rayburn and I won Texoma with this bait in my pocket, so I think I’m going to keep this one.”