The story of Ray Hanselman’s 2015 season and his four-tournament sweep is sure to become legendary in the fishing biz. But since a photo speaks a thousand words, we’ll spare you the wordy recap and let you enjoy this story-telling gallery of some of Hanselman’s finest moments from the season.
1. Hanselman’s first day of competition during the 2015 season was on Lake Amistad back in February. Legendary pro and Amistad transplant Denny Brauer took the day-one lead with 21 pounds, but Hanselman was right on his heels thanks to an impressive 19-pound multi-species catch. Did you know Amistad had so much bronze? Photo by Jesse Schultz.
2. On the third and final day at Lake Amistad, Hanselman started the morning on grassy drains throwing a somewhat uncommon tournament bait: a Wahoo Lures Wing Ding Tail Spinner. He also fished a crankbait. When his upstream honey hole – a warm-water area fed by natural springs – produced only one fish when he went there midday, Hanselman returned to the drains in the afternoon to lock up the win. Photo by Curtis Niedermier.
3. This keeper got Hanselman off to a small start on the third day at Amistad. Photo by Curtis Niedermier.
4. Mmmm … kicker. This fish was the nail in the coffin for Hanselman’s Amistad competitors. Photo by Jesse Schultz.
5. Victory was sweet for Hanselman on Amistad. After several close calls, this was his first major win on his home lake. Photo by Jesse Schultz.
6. On day three at stop No. 2 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Hanselman put this fish, his first keeper, in the box and was on his way to becoming the first angler to win back-to-back Rayovac FLW Series events. Photo by Brian Lindberg.
7. The key to Hanselman’s win on Rayburn was working deep into the thickest flooded cover and dropping through with a Strike King Slither Rig. Here he is hauling one up and out on day three. Photo by Brian Lindberg.
8. Trophy No. 2. He’s halfway there. Photo by Brian Lindberg.
9. Hanselman shows off the Slither Rig. He’d pose four times for bait photos for FLWFishing.com’s regular Top 10 Baits photo galleries after tournaments. Photo by Brian Lindberg.
10. Yowza … maybe he’s still perfecting his form at this point of the season. Whatever the case, this photo was taken on the third day at Texoma, site of win No. 3. Photo by David A. Brown.
11. This photo at Texoma was snapped just a split second before a Hanselmania fist pump. He perfected his fist pump form this season. Photo by David A. Brown.
12. Hanselman pulls another Texoma hawg from his livewell. Photo by Jesse Schultz.
13. This pair of Texoma brutes, caught on the second day of competition, pushed Hanselman up the leaderboard from third to first. His lead going into the third day was 8 pounds, 6 ounces, leaving little doubt as to whether or not he could pull off the sweep. Photo by Jesse Schultz.
14. Good thing Hanselman has all his fingers. He’d need them all (we don’t count the thumb) by the end of the season for photos like this one. Photo by Jesse Schultz
15. Hanselman shakes hands with Western Division ace Joe Uribe Jr. on the second day at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River. There’s a lot of greatness in that handshake, too. Uribe won two of the three Western events this season. Can you say hammers? Photo by Jody White.
16. On his 12th day of FLW Series competition in 2015, Hanselman was just as calm and collected – and deadly – as he was on day one. This fish is the first of his final limit at the Championship. Photo by Curtis Niedermier.
17. Oh yeah. Hanselman lands one of his two biggest smallmouths on the final day of the Championship. He primarily fished an umbrella rig in the Tennessee River, in the tailwaters of Kentucky Lake. Photo by Curtis Niedermier.
18. Hanselman talks tackle with a couple of FLW staffers at the final weigh-in of the Championship. Photo by Curtis Niedermier.
19. Big smallies = win No. 4. Hey, look, a smile. Hanselman was one cool cookie all season. It was nice to see him celebrate at the end. Photo by Curtis Niedermier.
20. Hanselman’s accountant will be happy this winter. The Texas pro won $149,546 this season. He also qualified for the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup, where he’s guaranteed to cash a check. We also heard he bought dinner for his roommates at the Championship. He’s a winner, and a nice guy. Photo by Curtis Niedermier.