UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Mead

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

A Texas-sized tussle

Opening takeoff for EverStart Series Texas Division anglers is about to commence on Toledo Bend.

HEMPHILL, Texas - The cliche is that everything is bigger in Texas. Well, if early reports are correct, that phrase could be directly applicable to this week's EverStart Series tournament action on Toledo Bend. A combination of optimal moon phases, the commencement of the spawn, favorable weather conditions and the overwhelming presence of plenty of big bass just might have the effect of making this one of the most dynamic events on Toledo Bend Reservoir in FLW Outdoors history.

"I fished a BASS event here a few years ago, and the fishing was really, really good," said EverStart Series pro Cody Bird. "But I think this could even be better. I really think it's going to take a lot of weight to win this tournament. There are tons of fish up on the beds. I'm even hearing stories about people seeing 10-pounders. I haven't seen any 10-pounders myself, but there are plenty of 3- to 5-pound fish on the beds right now. People are catching them both deep and shallow, and there is definitely going to be a good bit of sight-fishing. Overall, I really think you're going to see weights a lot higher than normal."

As the field departed the Fin & Feathers marina shortly after 7:15 a.m. amid calm winds, comfortable temps and slightly overcast skies, the consensus among the anglers appeared to be that Bird's assessment of the situation was spot on.

"The fishing is getting better every day," said EverStart Series pro Robert Kenyon. "The fish are moving up with the moon, and I think you're going to see a lot of sight-fishing, assuming the wind doesn't really pick up. But I think a lot of different patterns will work this week as well, and that's why you're going to see some really good weights. Personally, I think it's going to take anywhere from 16 to 18 pounds a day just to make the cut. But it might even take 20."

EverStart pro Skeeter Fowler agreed.

"I think it's going to take about 18 pounds consistently to make the cut," he said. "You're going to see a lot of sight-fishing, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are some guys who come back with 25 pounds or more."

In addition to sight-fishing, anglers also will be targeting a vast array of standing timber and grass-lined banks.

"There's going to be a lot of sight-fishing, but I'm not sure the tournament can be won doing that," said Bird. "I'll try to pick off as many big fish as I can today, but tomorrow I might head out a little deeper and start casting to stumps with a jig. The other thing with Toledo Bend is that although it's pretty clear in the morning, once those boats get to running around and the wind picks up, it's a lot harder to see the fish. There is a lot of pollen in the water that gets stirred up as well, and that makes sight-fishing a little harder on this lake."

Although soft plastics, jigs and spinnerbaits should be regularly on display, it also appears that the crankbait bite is heating up as well.

"I couldn't get a consistent bite on crankbaits when I first started prefishing," said Kenyon. "But these fish, over the last few days, have finally started hitting moving baits as well. With so many different ways to catch these fish, I think you're going to see some big weights this week."

Tourney format

During EverStart Series competition, pros supply the boats, fish from the front deck against other pros and control boat movement. Co-anglers fish from the back deck and compete against other co-anglers. Anglers are permitted to weigh in their best five bass each day. Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points that determine angler standings. The full field competes on days one and two, with the top-10 pros and top 10 co-anglers advancing to Saturday's final round of competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Winners ultimately will be determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all three days.

Anglers will take off from the Fin & Feather Resort, located at 245 Fin & Feather Drive in Hemphill, Texas, 7:15 a.m. each morning. Thursday through Saturday weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m.

Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Pros will fish for a top award of $35,000 plus a 198VX Ranger boat with 200-horsepower outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger 177TR with 90-horsepower outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The EverStart Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title along with $5,000 for the pro and $2,000 for the co-angler. The top 40 pros and co-anglers from each respective division will qualify for the EverStart Series Championship that will be held on Kentucky Lake in Buchanan, Tenn., Oct. 27-30.

EverStart Series action continues at today's weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. at the Fin & Feather Resort, located at 245 Fin & Feather Drive in Hemphill, Texas.

Bass-fishing fans take note

Want to watch the weigh in live but can't make it in person? Then tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com shortly before 3 p.m. Central time to watch live streaming video and audio of today's opening-round weigh-in.

Thursday's conditions

Sunrise: 7:24 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 63 degrees
Expected high temperature: 81 degrees
Water temperature: 65-70 degrees
Wind: S at 3 to 15 mph
Humidity: 66 percent
Day's outlook: partly cloudy

Tags: gary-mortenson  morning-story  2011-03-17-toledo-bend 

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