The FLW Pro Circuit begins its 2020 season today at Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas. Hosted by the Jasper County Development District, the tournament will feature 155 anglers competing for a top award of up to $135,000 and valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2020 FLW Title (the Pro Circuit Championship).
It’s been a year since FLW’s top level has been to Rayburn, and things should look a lot different this time around. Heavy rains in 2019 left the lake flooded for the majority of the season, including when FLW came to town last January. Because of that, the fish were stacked in certain ditches near whatever hydrilla could still be found, making it tough on much of the field.
Terry Bolton (pictured) cranked two ditches to win with a four-day total of 91-03. His day-2 catch of 33-09 helped carry him through the weekend.
The first BFL event of 2020 took place on Rayburn earlier this month. Boater Kevin Lasyone took home the title with a weight of 20-08. Lasyone took advantage of sunny conditions and spent his time shallow near vegetation, catching his fish with a Rat-L-Trap and a V&M Thunder Shad swimbait with a Lazyman weighted swimbait hook.
Instead of the extremely high, dirty and cool water the field dealt with last year, Rayburn is currently about two feet below full pool and clear, with relatively high water temperatures. From a fishing standpoint, things should be pretty good, according to 22-year FLW veteran Jim Tutt.
“It’s going to be a lot different than last year, including water level,” said Tutt, who has nine career top-10 finishes on Sam Rayburn in FLW competition. “I think overall we’ll see more mid-range limits, like in the 15-pound range. I’m going to go out on a limb and say there won’t be as many big limits as we saw last year, but the fishing will be better overall. There are too many good anglers to not have a giant weighed.”
Tutt also expects quite the variety when it comes to tactics.
“The water’s been clear and there isn’t a ton of hydrilla, so that could make the grass fish small, relatively speaking,” Tutt said. “We’ll see guys catching them anywhere from super shallow on the bank out to 40 feet. Last year there were areas where lots of fish were grouped in a small spot, but this year it’ll be more about running a pattern and having different areas. Both arms of the lake have been fishing good and it should open the whole lake up and help spread people out. Everyone should have the opportunity to fish their strengths.”
Anglers will take off at 7:30 a.m. CST each day from the Umphrey Family Pavilion, located at 5438 Sam Rayburn Parkway in Brookeland. Weigh-ins today and Friday will be held at the pavilion beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-ins will begin at 4 p.m.
The FLW Live on-the-water broadcast will air on days 3 and 4, featuring live action from the boats of the tournament’s top pros each day. Host Travis Moran is joined by former FLW pro Todd Hollowell to break down the extended action each day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. On-the-water broadcasts will be live-streamed on FLWFishing.com, the FLW YouTube channel and the FLW Facebook page.