Rayburn sets the cut-line bar

It became official after the Day 2 weigh-in. Sam Rayburn Reservoir raised the bar for the weight it took to make the Top 51 cut on the Elite Series this season. Clifford Pirch and Chris Lane tied for 50th and 51st with 32-4, pushing Kevin VanDam (32-3) just outside the cut.

That gives me an opportunity to repeat the most accurate pre-tournament quote in Elite Series history. It came from Bill Lowen, as he was working on his tackle in his boat at his family’s campsite near the tournament launch ramp. He was the first angler I spoke with on Tuesday, after the 2 ½ practice days.

“I don’t want to say it’s easy to get 3-pound bites, but there are a lot of 3-pounders in this lake,” Lowen said. “So that tells me 15 pounds a day is probably going to get you a kick in the butt.”

That’s exactly what happened. Lowen’s two-day total was 30 pounds, 2 ounces, which left him in 72nd place. Lowen and 20 other anglers had at least 30 pounds after Day 2 and didn’t make the cut.

However, there was a consolation prize for everyone is the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. So Lowen got “a kick in the butt” and a check for $4,500 to sooth the pain. He also became my go-to guy for pre-tournament predictions, which is closer to a kick in the butt than it is to prize money.

Here are the numbers for 51st place on the first two days from the five Elite Series tournaments this season:

Day 1 Day 2
Cherokee Lake 13-1 25-2
Lake Okeechobee 13-10 27-14
Toledo Bend Reservoir 13-12 26-4
Ross Barnett Reservoir 11-5 22-14
Sam Rayburn Reservoir 15-12 32-4