4 min to read

Recapping Sam Rayburn with Eric Self – Co Angler Champ

Category : BACK DECK

The FLW Tour recently had a tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, where rookie co angler Eric Self stood out and won the co angler side. We caught up with him after his win to find out more about his victory. Here is what he had to say…

FTB: So you just won Sam Rayburn, tell us how you prepared for this event?

ES: Prior to this event, I did a lot of research on the internet on how other co anglers had won on this body of water. I am fortunate to travel with Shane LeHew, so I also had 3 full practice days on the lake. In those days, I learned that I could catch fish out of hydrilla on moving baits whether it was shallow or deeper grass. It seemed that an Xcalibur one knocker in rayburn red got a lot more bites than a regular rattle bait as well.

FTB: What were the weather conditions and water temperatures throughout the tournament?

ES: Day 1 was very cloudy and windy, which helped the moving bait bite. Day 2 was pretty calm and sunny, without near as much wind. Day 3 was cloudy and windy again-almost the same conditions as day 1.

FTB: What baits did you use to catch them and what kind of pattern was it?

ES: Day 1, when I had 18.04 pounds, I caught all of my fish on a 1/2 oz ER Lures bladed swim jig in bluegill color, and a 5/8 oz Xcalibur one knocker in rayburn red. I had a 5-14 on the xr50 and a 5-11 on the bladed swim jig. Day 2, I only had 3 fish and had 1 of those on the bladed swim jig, 1 on the one knocker, and 1 on a shakyhead with a junebug trick worm. Day 3, I had to switch it up because we were basically ledge fishing and their was very little grass. I caught all of my fish on a 1/4 oz shakyhead with a zoom magnum finesse worm in green pumpkin and a 1/2 oz ER Lures football jig in Jasons Magic Craw. The football jig got my better bites on the last day.

FTB: What, if anything, did you do differently than your pros?

ES: Day 1, when I caught my big bag, my pro was exclusively throwing a gold rattle bait. He never threw a chatterbait at all and that really helped me. When he would miss several fish on his rattle bait, I would throw my red one knocker behind him and ended up catching my best fish of the day. Days 2 and 3, my boaters and I fished about the same. I just tried to always keep something different in my hand.

FTB: What did you learn from this event?

ES: At this event, I gained a lot of confidence in myself. I also gained a ton of confidence in fishing grass as well as a rattlebait and bladed swim jig. Before practice, I had only caught a few fish on those lures, but by the end of the week, I started to feel pretty good about having them in my arsenal.

FTB: Any other tips for co anglers?

ES: My best advice to other co anglers would be to always keep grinding. Because I had a killer day 1, but then on day 2, I didnt have a fish until 1 o clock. I was already thinking about how I was going to miss the top 20 cut. Then we went into 1 pocket and I caught my 3 fish. I had 8lbs and figured I would drop big time in the standings but stayed in 2nd place. I had 7-7 the last day and figured I had blew it again but was fortunate enough to win. Being a co angler, anything can happen and you just never know what it is going to take so never tell yourself you are out of it.

About Eric: “I began fishing local tournaments my senior year of high school. I attended UNC Charlotte and joined the bass club the following year. I fished for UNCC for 4 years. I had 4 wins during my college career and a runner up in the national championship. I have gradually progressed with my skills and knowledge of the sport. I graduated with a bachelors degree in criminal justice last May and decided to fish the tour as a co angler for a couple of years and see if I could make it as a professional. I also started ER Lures in 2009 and run it myself. I work at it full time when I am not on tour. We make hand poured, hand painted, and hand tied jigs, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, and umbrella rigs. I own a Skeeter bass boat and plan to fish the Bassmaster Opens as a boater in the future.”
Circuits fished: FLW Tour, NC BFL (boater)
Years Co: 1
Favorite technique: Jig fishing
Hobbies aside from fishing: Bow hunting
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