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Top-20 Finish at Sam Rayburn- by Mike Surman

February 7th ,2020


Well, the first Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit tourney at Sam Rayburn is in the books. Overall it was a great week. The first 3 practice days I tried to cover a lot of water, because Rayburn is a huge tournament lake. The issue was we got our typical cold front the night before. The water temps dropped and there were two tournaments over the weekend with a total of 700 boats on the water. I knew fishing would be tough.


So, my favorite bait for a tough grass fishing tournament, is the Yo-Zuri Rattl’N Vibe. This bait is so versatile that it is always my lure of choice. In the first 3 hours of practice I had already caught one 4 pounder and one 5 pounder, so I knew this was going to be a bait I would lean on to cover water and catch a big one.
The next two days of practice I caught a 5 pounder or better on the Vibe. My issue was I was not getting many bites, but I was catching big ones. So, I spent the last 2 afternoons of practice pitching a Gambler Fat Ace. I got about 10 bites both days, so I was ready for the first tournament day.

The first tourney day I started with the Rattl’N Vibe and I caught one 4.5 pounder and one 3.5 pounder on the Chrome blue back 3/8 oz. Vibe. I also caught some smaller ones, but again, fishing was tough, and I did not get many bites. So, I went pitching with my black blue Fat Ace. I culled the 3 smaller ones with three 3 pounders and finished in 11th with almost 18 pounds.
Days 2 and 3 were both really tough and again I leaned on the Vibe and Fat Ace. My only problem was I ended up with small limits both days and finished in 17th place.
I threw the Vibe on a 7’0” Witch Doctor Kahuna rod and 20 lb. Top Knot Fluorocarbon line. The soft rod with the fluorocarbon line is a perfect grass Vibe set up. You need a soft tip rod to let the fish get the bait in its mouth. You also need plenty of backbone to keep them out of the grass after the bite. My Kahuna and the Top Knot are a perfect combination. I got lots of bites on the fall or ripping the bait out of the grass. Sometimes when the conditions are tough, this is the way to trigger bites and big ones.
For pitching the Fat Ace I threw a 7’6” MH Witch Doctor Oracle rod with Yo-Zuri 20 pound Top Knot Fluorocarbon. Some of the bites came way back in the brush and some came on the outside. I threw a ¼ oz. weight in front of the Fat Ace to get a slow fall. I felt like as the water temps dropped, the slow fall was critical.

My overall tourney was a huge success. The Rattl’N Vibe and Fat Ace was the perfect 1-2 combination. So next tourney is a month away, and I would not be surprised if the same two baits, don’t end up being my “go to” baits there also.

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