Despite Lake Texoma’s meteorological mash-up, which brought three days of varying weather conditions, Jeff Reynolds of Calera, Okla., managed to establish the consistency he needed to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Frabill.
The opening day of the tournament saw sunny skies and big winds in the 15- to 20-mph range, with day two bringing clouds, lighter wind and lower temperatures. Today, the lake was nearly flat, and sunshine lasted almost the entire day.
Coming into the final round with a lead of 2 pounds, 9 ounces, Reynolds edged out second-place pro Don McFarlin by 4-8. Reynolds started off in 10th with 16-12, moved up to first on day two with 19-4 and sealed the deal with a limit of 15-9 that gave him a tournament total of 51-9.
Sticking with the game plan that served him well for two days, Reynolds again spent most of his time on day three near the Platter Flats area, with occasional runs into the Washita River arm. His two-part plan consisted of chasing smallmouths shallow and then targeting largemouths on brush piles out to 25 feet.
“Right now, the fish are chasing around balls of shad. They’re getting up shallow when the sun comes up,” Reynolds says. “These shad really get up on these sand flats when the sun gets up, and the fish will start roaming and feeding on them.”
Reynolds attacked the shallow-water scenario by making extremely long casts with a Heddon One Knocker Spook. On the brush piles, he fished a Texas-rigged Zoom Trick Worm. Slow, patient presentations were essential here.
“It’s been a long two weeks,” Reynolds says of his tournament and extensive practice effort. “I put in a lot of time on this one.”
Part of that preparation was spent identifying where and how those shad schools were moving. Reynolds says he relied heavily on his electronics to monitor bait school movement and to check out brush piles for fish positioning.
“I had one key spot — a little ditch that ran into this flat — where the fish would come up schooling every now and then,” says Reynolds, who used forward-looking sonar to track them as they moved in and out. “Whenever they got ready to feed, I knew I was going to be around them. That was a huge benefit. I also caught some fish out of brush.”
For his win, Reynolds earned $35,367 cash plus a Ranger Z518 with a 200-hp outboard – a total prize package worth more than $80,000.
Top 10 pros
1. Jeff Reynolds – Calera, Okla. – 51-9 (15)
2. Don McFarlin – Gordonville, Texas – 47-1 (15)
3. T.R Andreas – Kerrville, Texas – 44-6 (15)
4. Alton Wilhoit – Noble, Okla. – 44-6 (15)
5. Kevin Gressett – Tioga, Texas – 43-2 (15)
6. Hayden Burkett – Bokchito, Okla. – 42-7 (15)
7. Jeff Sprague – Point, Texas – 42-7 (15)
8. Dicky Newberry – Houston, Texas – 41-7 (15)
9. Brandon Mosley – Choctaw, Okla. – 40-13 (15)
10. Ricci Head – Shawnee, Okla. – 37-14 (11)