(Jan 10, 2019 - Brookland,TX)
Louisiana pro Nick LeBrun – fishing in his first career regular-season FLW Tour event – brought a massive 29-pound, 2-ounce five-bass limit to the scale Thursday to vault to the top of the leaderboard after Day One of the FLW Tour at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented Polaris. Fellow rookie Sam George of Athens, Alabama, sits in second place with five bass weighing 28-5. The season-opening FLW Tour event features a field of 170 of the world’s best bass-fishing professionals casting for a top award of up to $125,000.
The fishing at flooded Sam Rayburn was excellent Thursday, with plenty of five-bass limits, multiple 8- and 9-pounders, and 10 anglers weighing limits that topped 20 pounds. LeBrun estimated that he caught around 20 fish throughout the day, but lacked the giant kicker that multiple anglers brought to the scale. His smallest fish was around 5 pounds, and his largest just 6½.
“We all have those days when we can’t do anything wrong, and today was one of those days for me,” said LeBrun, who qualified for the FLW Tour after winning the BFL All-American Championship in 2018. “I had 23 to 24 pounds by 10 a.m. I decided to run new water that I hadn’t looked at and the Good Lord blessed me with two more big bites. It’s just unbelievable.”
LeBrun said that all of his fish that he caught Thursday came off of one type of pattern. Although he remained tight-lipped about exactly what he was doing, he did share that the Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap has been the biggest player for him.
“The Trap is my confidence bait,” LeBrun said. “It’s how I found them in practice and it is my search bait. It’s nothing secret – a ½-ounce Rayburn Red or Red Crawfish color. But I’ve got a few other things that I evolved throughout practice that I’m doing as well.
“I’m going to do the same thing tomorrow,” LeBrun went on to say. “I’ve got some other spots where I think big ones live and I can try to get that big bite. I’m kind of jealous of the guys catching the 8- and 9-pounders. I never had a real giant bite today, so hopefully I can get that tomorrow. If I can get a few solid ones and maybe another big one or two, I’ll be right where I need to be.”
The top 10 pros after day one on Sam Rayburn Reservoir are:
1st: Nick LeBrun, Bossier City, La., five bass, 29-2
2nd: Sam George, Athens, Ala., five bass, 28-5
3rd: Chad Warren, Sand Springs, Okla., five bass, 25-7
4th: Jordan Osborne, Longview, Texas, five bass, 25-1
5th: Polaris pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 24-3
6th: Jim Tutt, Longview, Texas, five bass, 23-9
7th: Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., five bass, 22-12
8th: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., five bass, 22-2
9th: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 20-15
10th: Terry Bolton, Benton, Ky., five bass, 20-10
Osborne and Martin split the day's $500 Big Bass award in the pro division after each weighed in a largemouth totaling 9-pounds, 12-ounces.
Overall there were 724 bass weighing 1,869 pounds, 3 ounces caught by 165 pros Thursday. The catch included 126 five-bass limits.
In FLW Tour competition, the full field of 170 pro anglers compete in the two-day opening round Thursday and Friday. The top 30 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advance to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
The total purse for the FLW Tour at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Polaris is more than $860,000, including $9,000 through 65th place in the Pro Division. The tournament is hosted by the Jasper County Development District.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2019 FLW Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing. The 2019 FLW Cup will be on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Aug. 9-11 and is hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs.
Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. CST each day from the Umphrey Family Pavilion, located at 5438 Sam Rayburn Parkway, in Brookeland. Friday’s weigh-in will be held at the pavilion beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-ins, Jan. 12-13, will also be held at the pavilion, but will begin at 4 p.m.
Prior to the weigh-ins FLW will host a free Family Fishing Expo at the Umphrey Family Pavilion from 2 to 6 p.m. each day. The Expo is a chance for fishing fans to meet their favorite anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities.
Also for youth, the FLW Foundation’s Unified Fishing Derby will be held at the pavilion on Saturday, Jan. 12 from Noon-2 p.m. The event is hosted by FLW Foundation pro Cody Kelley along with other FLW Tour anglers, and is free and open to anyone under the age of 18 and Special Olympics athletes. Rods and reels are available for use, but youth are encouraged to bring their own if they own one. The 1st and 2nd place anglers that catch the biggest fish will be recognized Saturday on the FLW Tour stage, just prior to the pros weighing in.
Television coverage of the FLW Tour at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Polaris will premiere in 2019. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs each Saturday night at 7 p.m. EST and is broadcast to more than 63 million cable, satellite and telecommunications households in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean on the World Fishing Network (WFN), the leading entertainment destination and digital resource for anglers throughout North America. FLW television is also distributed internationally to FLW partner countries, including Canada, China, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Portugal, Spain and South Africa.
The popular FLW Live on-the-water program will air on Saturday and Sunday, featuring live action from the boats of the tournament’s top pros each day. New for 2019, host Travis Moran will be joined by veteran FLW Tour 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.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2019 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.