NEW

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HIGH WATER, GOOD FISHING AT RAYBURN

Though Rayburn is about 475 miles south of Grand, it hasn’t escaped what has been a brutally wet spring for much of the country, so anglers will be plying some high water. Big Sam is also loaded with bass, and June can be prime for fish-catching action on the historic fishery.

Eric Olliverson has dreamed since he was a kid of winning a big tournament on Table Rock Lake. Today, that dream came true.

In what was a tight tournament throughout the week, the local guide and former FLW Tour pro managed to beat out current FLW Tour pro Dakota Ebare by 5 ounces to win the Costa FLW Series Central Division event, which was presented by Power-Pole and hosted by Explore Branson.

“This is an amazing feeling,” says Olliverson, who caught 16 pounds, 8 ounces today to give him the win with a three-day total of 46-3. “I’ve won some regional events and local tournaments here on Table Rock, but to win this one is icing on the cake.”

Complete results

The week certainly didn’t get off to a great start when he hit a floating log in practice and lost his lower unit, forcing him to fish the event in a borrowed boat. Still, having fished Table Rock since he was 3 years old, he had plenty of knowledge on what he figured he would do come tournament time.

That game plan was to fish for smallmouths in the morning before chasing largemouths in the afternoon, and it worked out great initially.

Targeting offshore areas off points on the lower end near takeoff, Olliverson managed to catch a quick limit of smallmouths the first day on a Keitech Swing Impact FAT 3.3 on a 6th Sense Divine Swimbait Jighead and a 6th Sense Dogma 115 walking topwater, on which he replaced the back hook with a feathered VMC treble.

From there, he went flipping shallow brush from Kimberling City to the mouth of the rivers, catching a pair of culling largemouths. 

Day two was more of the same, but Olliverson noticed his morning smallmouth bite really never got going until after 8 a.m. Plus, more and more he felt he’d have to focus his efforts on largemouths to win.

Thus, today, the Missouri pro only spent an hour on his smallmouths, catching one keeper before heading shallow to flip. Yet, he never got out his flipping rod.

“I pulled into my first spot, and I picked up that topwater and decided to make a few casts,” Olliverson says. “I had a 3-pounder blow up on it, and that told me all I needed to know. I just started covering as much water as I could, throwing it out in front of bushes. The largemouths were just coming out of the bushes to eat it.”

All told, Olliverson figures he covered five miles of shoreline, bouncing around to hit key stretches where he knows bigger fish live from his years as a guide. 

“It was just an amazing day,” Olliverson says. “I can’t even describe it. I just kept feeling like something was telling me to turn here or fish there. Every time I did I’d catch a good one. It all came together.

“I’ve been waiting for this victory for a long time.”

 

TOP 10 PROS

1. Eric Olliverson – Lampe, Mo. – 46-3 (15) 

2. Dakota Ebare – Denham Springs, La. – 45-14 (15) 

3. Todd Castledine – Nacogdoches, Texas – 44-7 (15) 

4. Kyle Minke – Lindstrom, Minn. – 43-6 (15) 

5. Greg Bohannan – Bentonville, Ark. – 41-14 (15) 

6. Matt Wood – Jessieville, Ark. – 41-9 (15) 

7. Jake Morris – McKee, Ky. – 41-6 (14) 

8. Wesley Rogers – Mammoth Spring, Ark. – 41-6 (15) 

9. Greg Mansfield – 40-13 (15)

10. Jason Bonds – 39-15 (15)

Complete results