opens Top lures at Sam Rayburn 2022 Posted on October 24, 2022 Photography by Andy Crawford Captions by Christopher Decker Low water, high winds and warm water temperatures had Sam Rayburn in a funk for the final St. Croix Bassmaster Central Open presented by Mossy Oak Fishing. Anglers had to work hard for the bass they did catch and for most anglers, not just one pattern, type of cover or depth range prevailed over another. Even with the tough bite, big bags did cross the stage, but none bigger than Robbie Latuso’s 31-4 Day 2 bag that included a 9-13 and a 9-11. Two bags over 20 pounds and two bags over 19 pounds crossed the stage on the first day of competition, but as those anglers discovered, as well as Latuso, repeating that success for a second day was nearly impossible. Needing a victory to claim a spot in the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic, Keith Combs made incremental improvements each day to win on his home pond. It is the third Bassmaster win in his career, and it qualifies Combs for his ninth Bassmaster Classic appearance. Anglers used a variety of techniques in several different types of cover and depth zones on Sam Rayburn this past weekend. When you are attempting to crack the code on a tough fishery in the fall, Bass Pro Shop has every tool you could possibly need. Visit Basspro.com to purchase your personal favorites and new techniques that are sure to put bass in the boat. Trevor McKinney (10th place, 32-12)McKinney made the Top 10 by covering as much water as he could with two topwater baits. A black 1/2-ounce Terminator S1 buzzbait triggered quality strikes along the bank throughout the day. McKinney also utilized a River2Sea Whopper Plopper 130 in loon color. Hayden Newberry (9th place, 35-9)Newberry used two primary techniques to catch his bass this week on Sam Rayburn. A 1/2-ounce V&M The Pulse Pacemaker swim jig with a Strike King 3.25 Rage Swimmer in ghost shad was his primary presentation. A drop shot with a 6-inch Aaron's Morning Dawn Roboworm, a 3/8-ounce weight and a Trokar hook also generated keeper bites. Kenta Kimura (8th place, 36-7)The Elite Series pro notched a fifth Top 10 of his Opens season this week by utilizing several unique baits. For flipping grass, Kimura utilized a Berkley Japan Power Flutter with a 5/0 Ryugi flipping hook and a 3/4-ounce Ryugi Black Beans weight. This specific weight can rotate 360 degrees on his line, preventing the weight from covering up the hook point for a better hookup ratio. Kimura’s 3/4-ounce Bass Puzzle Grass Piece with a Deps 5-inch Sakamata Shad provided the perfect amount of vibration for triggering bites. For targeting bass eating crappie and white bass, Kimura used an 8-inch Deps Sakamata Shad, the same bait Masayuki Matsushita used to win the 2020 Open on Rayburn. Kimura inserted a 3/16-ounce nail weight to the belly to make it glide and a 6/0 Ryugi hook. Austin Cranford (7th place, 37-15)The Oklahoma angler targeted offshore bass using two main techniques on Sam Rayburn. He pitched a 1/4-ounce drop-shot rig with a VMC No. 2 weedless drop shot hook and a Zoom Trick Worm at roaming bass. Cranford also tossed a SPRO McStick 110 jerkbait around brush piles. He replaced the hooks each day to ensure a good hookup ratio. Cody Bird (6th place, 39-3)Bird fished shallow grass all tournament long with two specific setups. He used a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver with a 3/4-ounce tungsten weight and a 5/0 Owner Rig-N-Hook. For thicker cover, he increased his weight size to a 1-ounce weight and used a Reaction Innovations hematoma colored Sweet Beaver. Tyler Rivet (5th place, 39-14)The Day 1 leader with 20-14 fished near the Rayburn dam and utilized his LiveScope to finish in the Top 10. His most important tool was his Garmin LiveScope, which he used to spot and throw to roaming bass. His primary bait was a Berkley Stunna jerkbait. When he wasn’t fishing offshore, he threw the new Xcite Baits Sucker Punch creature bait. The bait has a slot that hides the hook and makes it more weedless. He used a 4/0 Owner Jungle Flippin’ Hook and a 1-ounce sinker from Rougarou Tackle. Tristan McCormick (4th place, 43-3)McCormick notched his second straight Top 10 in the Opens by utilizing his forward-facing sonar near the Rayburn dam. He caught the majority of his 19-pound Day 1 bag on a Strike King Rage Swimmer on a jig head. He also triggered reaction strikes in deep water with a 1/2-ounce Strike King Sexy Spoon. Kyle Norsetter (3rd place, 43-11)There wasn’t a lot of variation in Noresetter’s lineup, but it was the right combination to notch a Top 10. Fishing the 1/2-ounce Z-Man Evergreen Jackhammer with a RaZor Shadz trailer around grass lines produced the majority of Norsetter’s bites. When the bite got tougher, he threw the 3/8-ounce Z-Man Evergreen Jackhammer with a RaZor Shadz trailer or the 1/2-ounce Z-Man Mini-Max ChatterBait with a 2.8-inch Keitech swimbait trailer. These baits allowed Norsetter to achieve more of a finesse presentation. Logan Latuso (2nd place, 44-8)Latuso ditched his initial plan to fish grass and found success offshore fishing brush. His 31-4 big bag lifted him into the Top 10 and into the Elite Series. He built a drop-shot rig with a 3/8-ounce weight, a Missile Morning colored Missile Baits Magic Worm by Roboworm and a Hayabusa drop-shot hook. He also threw a 1-ounce green pumpkin/blue and orange Delta Lures jig paired with a green pumpkin Missile Baits D-Bomb as a trailer. Keith Combs (1st place, 46-5)Combs took home the victory on his home lake utilizing his strengths – offshore power fishing. His most productive offshore bait on Championship Saturday was a 1-ounce Green Pumpkin Strike King Structure Jig with a Strike King Rage Craw trailer. Throughout the week, he triggered strikes with his confidence bait, a Strike King 6XD crankbait. For a slightly different look, he threw a Strike King 5XD.