Big Sam getting up to speed

Category: article

 Mar 27th, 2014 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Mar 27th, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Sam Rayburn Reservoir had a reputation to live up to this week as 176 pros and co-anglers filtered into Zavalla, Lufkin and similarly small east-Texas towns for the FLW Tour event on this historical 114,500-acre impoundment of the Angelina River. Bassmaster Magazine had tabbed Rayburn as the No. 2 bass fishery in the country in its “100 Best Bass Lakes of 2013,” and big things have been expected from a fishery that should be smack in the middle of prespawn.

Rigid Industries pro Stetson Blaylock heads out for Day 1 at Sam Rayburn. (Joel Shangle)

Big Sam, though, might be just a little behind schedule.

“It’s been a little tough in practice,” admitted Yamamoto Baits pro Brett Hite, who’s currently leading the FLW Tour Angler of the Year race. “I’ve been able to find some fish in the morning, but have had to scratch bites out during the course of the day. Water’s a little cold – 58 to 62 degrees. It’s just not quite there yet.”

That said, Hite also expects that “somebody will smash ’em”.

Quick glimpses of big fish peppering anglers’ Facebook pages during practice this week supports that, as do big fish weighed at recent tournaments here (Ted Robbins’ 10-pound, 13-ounce weighed on the Rayovac Tour event in late January) and the historical presence of multiple 8- and 9-pounders in tournaments on  Big Sam.

So does the 10-pound hawg reportedly caught first thing this morning by Chevy pro Jay Yelas.

“There are some big ones here, no doubt,” Hite said.

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