UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Toledo Bend toss-up

Strike King pro Phil Marks hopes to capitalize on the sight-fishing game on Toledo Bend.

MANY, La. - Toledo Bend enjoys a well-deserved reputation for quality and quantity in its bass populations, but this Bayou State powerhouse greets Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division anglers with a funky mood that'll likely deliver a polarizing blend of joy and heartbreak.

March is spawning season on Toledo Bend, but it's also the period of late-season cold fronts - lingering chill from winter's departure. These fronts can shut down the bedding process in a hurry and that's what happened when a cool spell arrived shortly before the tournament. Declining temperatures, wind days and muddy water from recent rains pushed a lot of fish off their beds and stalled new arrivals.

Lunar influence further complicates this week's tournament. Bass tend to "pull up" (move to the beds)Anglers eagerly await their chance to see what Toledo Bend yields on day one. on new and full moon phases. Sunday's bright moon means this weekend sees a quarter-moon phase - not necessarily dooming, but certainly not the strongest spawning motivation.

Strike King pro Phil Marks offered this analysis: "I think it's going to be tough. It seems like the deeper prespawn bite has soured, the shallow bite is not particularly good for size of fish and it's hard to find bedding fish.

"Being on the backside of a full moon and having (several fronts) in the last five days has chilled the water a little bit so it's going to be challenging."

The good news is that this week will see warmer, stable conditions and that may stimulate more shoreward movement. Anglers will have to decide whether to look for bed fish or target prespawn staging areas and pick off those preparing to pull up. Marks said he's most likely to focus on the latter option with Alabama rigs, lipless crankbaits and Carolina rigs.

Texas pro Rich Dalbey will employ a lizard for bed fishing, as well as Carolina rigging.Texas pro Rich Dalbey has a similar outlook for this Sabine River reservoir, but he's planning to make a go at the shallow zone. He knows, however, that this will require some serious looking.

"You can go through three or four pockets and not see any fish and then go through one and you'll see quite a few," Dalbey said. "You've got to put that trolling motor down and stay after it. I have a few (prespawn) areas where I can get bit on a Carolina rig, but for the most part, I think bed fishing is going to be the thing and you're just going to have to cover water."

Dalbey will fish a green pumpkin lizard for bed fishing and on his Carolina rig. For the latter, he uses a ¾-ounce weight, which makes a big disturbance and allows him to maintain bottom contact.

Chevy pro Larry Nixon said he caught fish up to 10 pounds in practice, but they were few and farChevy pro Larry Nixon plans to target prespawn staging fish on day one. between. Nixon's known for avoiding the sight-fishing deal, so he'll focus on prespawn patterns and take advantage of any bed fish he happens to spot incidentally.

"The lake is fishing differently than I've ever seen Toledo Bend fish; the bass are in small little areas back in pockets and (many competitors) know where they are," Nixon said. "I've spent a lot of time out where fish used to be and the grass situation out there isn't quite right, so there are no outer fish. You have to get in tight and that's no fun.

"I'm afraid it's going to boil down to a sight-fishing tournament and that rules me out. If I see a good one, I'll stop and catch him, but I'm not going to go looking for them. I'm going to fish staging areas because there are still a lot of fish that have not come in (to spawn). Hopefully, I can stay just outside of everybody else and catch enough fish get me by."

Nixon's bait lineup will include big spinnerbaits, Carolina-rigged lizards, Senkos and Flukes.

When heTexas pro Cody Byrd is a little more amenable to sight-fishing, but he's also planning to leverage prespawn staging today.

"I found some decent (bed) fish in practice, but I don't think it'll be enough to last for three days," Bird said. "I think the Alabama rig will be the way to go. Every time I'd pick it up I'd catch a big'n on it. Sight fishing is like a magnet that draws you to the bank, but I think you need to be staying out there with an Alabama rig in your hand.

"I'm going to start on some 4- and 5-pounders that I found because I got an (early boat number) and I'm going to try to catch what I can sight fishing. Then, if we can get any wind at all, I'll pick up that Alabama rig and go."

For that prespawn scenario, Bird said he'll use a YUM Flash Mob fitted with Kicker Fish Tail Slapper swimbaits in silver shiner. He said he expects to catch fish in 8-14 feet. The challenge, he said, is locating areas with the grass that attracts prespawners, but no stumps to snag multi-arm rigs.

Note: Anglers are limited to rigs with a maximum of 3 hooked baits, so Bird rigs the top two arms with hookless heads and keeps the hooked baits on the lower three, where fish typically bite.

Logistics

Anglers will take off from Cypress Bend Park located at 3462 Cypress Bend Drive in Many, La., at 7A shaky head will be the main bait for Kellogg a.m. each day. Weigh-in will be held at the takeoff location on Thursday and Friday beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at Walmart located at 24448 Highway 171 in Many, La., beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Pros will fish for a top award of $40,000 plus a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger Z117 with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The Rayovac FLW Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the opportunity to fish in the Rayovac FLW Series Championship. The 2014 Rayovac FLW Series Championship is being held Oct. 30-Nov. 1 on Wheeler Lake in Rogersville, Ala.

The Rayovac FLW Series tournament on Toledo Bend is being hosted by the Sabine-Parish Tourist Commission & Sabine River Authority.

Chevy pro Jay Yelas gets set for the day-one takeoff at Cypress Bend Park.Thursday's conditions:

Sunrise: 7:18 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 45 degrees
Expected high temperature: 71 degrees
Water temperature: 56-62 degrees
Wind: E 5 mph
Day's outlook: Sunny

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2014-03-20-toledo-bend 

/news/2019-01-31-a-different-okeechobee

A Different Okeechobee

Cold fronts, dirty water and lower water levels make for an interesting start to the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division season. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-07-top-10-patterns-from-lake-amistad

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Amistad

Wintertime patterns with just a touch of prespawn action dominated the Costa FLW Series opener presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Amistad. Crankbaits, jerkbaits, umbrella rigs, swimbaits and drop-shots were the go-to baits used by the top finishers. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-06-top-10-baits-from-lake-amistad

Top 10 Baits from Lake Amistad

Wintertime bass fishing tactics dominated at Lake Amistad in January, as the top finishers relied on jerkbaits, crankbaits, drop-shots, swimbaits and umbrella rigs to get the job done. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-05-childs-holds-on-for-co-angler-win

Childs Holds on for Co-angler Win

Jay Childs caught two giant largemouths on day one, along with a smaller keeper, to take the early lead at Lake Amistad. Then he survived today for the win with a pair of keepers that included one smallmouth. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-05-hanselmania-wins-again-at-amistad

Hanselmania Wins Again at Amistad

Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman won the 2019 Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Amistad today with a two-day total of 38 pounds. The tournament was shortened to two days after day one was cancelled due to severe weather. Hanselman opened the tournament Friday with a 25-pound, 15-ounce catch that put him 9-7 ahead of second place. He could’ve stayed home today and still won the tournament, but the local angler added 12-1 to finish the blowout win. Second-place finisher Tyson Patrick’s two-day total only equaled what Hanselman caught on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-05-amistad-midday-update-day-3

Amistad Midday Update - Day 3

Lake Amistad was in a stingy mood for the final day of Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division action, as evidenced by a lot of long-faced anglers with lots of vacancy in their livewells. A slightly warmer day began with flat, calm conditions, but a light breeze was gaining some consistency by early afternoon. It’s possible that the growing ripples may break up the surface enough to stimulate a few fish into chasing reaction baits. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-04-amistad-midday-update-day-2

Amistad Midday Update – Day 2

Prespawn staging is probably just around the corner, but for now the big and small fish in Amistad are still in their winter patterns — holding on main lake points and structure, lounging in the low grass lining the mouths of creeks and pockets and filling their bellies. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-04-perfect-weather-now-on-tap-in-texas

Perfect Weather Now on Tap in Texas

Amistad is one of south Texas’ most famous reservoirs – the other being Falcon. Though it’s not the juggernaut that it was in the not too distant past, Amistad is still an incredible tournament fishery, with room to spread out and plenty of grass and rocky structure to target for big giant wintertime bass. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-04-top-5-patterns-from-lake-amistad-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Lake Amistad – Day 2

Wintertime bass fishing tactics are in play at Lake Amistad for the Costa FLW Series opener. The tactics used today offer a good how-to lesson in dealing with early season conditions. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-04-hanselman-way-in-front-at-amistad

Hanselman Way in Front at Amistad

Ray "Hanselmania" Hanselman caught a massive 25-pound, 15-ounce limit of largemouth bass at Lake Amistad in south Texas to take the lead at the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division opener. READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-11-here-comes-fall-in-the-ozarks

Here Comes Fall in the Ozarks

Mother Nature will deliver a big part of the story this week as the 2018 Costa FLW Series season comes to a close on Lake of the Ozarks. The tournament, which is presented by Evinrude, will wrap up the Central Division and finalize the field for the 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship scheduled for Nov. 1-3 at Lake Guntersville. READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-01-top-10-patterns-from-the-cal-delta

Top 10 Patterns from the Cal Delta

Two heavy-hitting days buoyed Gregory Troughton to a 6-pound, 11-ounce lead going into a tough day three in the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta. The Discovery Bay, Calif., pro stumbled in the final round with a limit of 12-13, but outlasted the field and secured the win with 60-2. Troughton caught most of his fish by punching a Yamamoto Flappin Hog, but he added a few keepers on a Z-Man/Evergreen ChatterBait Jackhammer and a Don Iovino Splash-It popper. Read on to learn about the rest of the top 10. READ MORE »

/news/2018-09-30-top-10-baits-from-the-cal-delta

Top 10 Baits from the Cal Delta

The Costa FLW Series Western Division finale presented by Power-Pole on the Cal Delta presented challenging conditions due to the autumn transition and the effects of herbicide spraying. Still, typical Delta baits were used by the bulk of the top finishers, who picked their way through aquatic grasses and miles of riprap.  Here's a look at what the top 10 used on the Delta. READ MORE »

/news/2018-09-29-troughton-triumphs-on-cal-delta

Troughton Triumphs on Cal Delta

Despite a slow day that yielded only 12 pounds, 13 ounces, Gregory Troughton of Discovery Bay, Calif., held on to his day-two lead and won the Costa FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta with a three-day total of 60-2. Days one and two saw Troughton catch all of his fish on a heavy punch rig. Day three brought challenging post-frontal conditions, and he had to vary his presentations. A popper and a ChatterBait added key fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2018-09-29-traba-s-big-bag-earns-delta-win

Traba’s Big Bag Earns Delta Win

Talk about saving the best for last. Jacob Traba sacked up a limit of 17 pounds, 6 ounces — the tournament’s heaviest co-angler bag — to win his division at the Costa FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta. Traba’s three-day total was 40-2. READ MORE »

/news/2018-09-29-cal-delta-midday-update-day-3

Cal Delta Midday Update – Day 3

Everyone knows the California Delta is one fickle fishery, and that disposition seems to be on display today for the final round of the Costa FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Power-Pole. Day-two leader Gregory Troughton carried a ton of momentum into day three with a lead of more than 6 pounds. However, we spent the better part of the morning with Troughton, and the magic was not happening. Not to say it will not happen at some point, but the leader will need to have a strong afternoon. READ MORE »

/news/2018-09-28-top-5-patterns-from-the-cal-delta-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cal Delta – Day 2

Specifically targeting big bass and catching a 9-pound, 4-ounce fish put Gregory Troughton in the lead by a margin of 6 pounds, 11 ounces at the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta. Troughton caught the largest bag of two day, 24-14, and holds the top spot with 47-5 READ MORE »

/news/2018-09-28-9-pounder-anchors-troughton-s-lead

9-Pounder Anchors Troughton’s Lead

Gregory Troughton of Discovery Bay, Calif., caught 24 pounds, 14 ounces — the biggest bag of the Costa FLW Series Western Division tournament on the California Delta — and took over the day-two lead with a two-day total of 47-5. READ MORE »

/news/2018-09-28-cal-delta-midday-update-day-2

Cal Delta Midday Update – Day 2

As expected, today’s changing weather has shuffled the deck for anglers fishing the Costa FLW Series Western Division tournament on the California Delta. After the mostly calm and hot conditions of day one, the second round began about 14 degrees cooler with gusty winds of 15 mph. READ MORE »

/news/2018-09-28-top-5-patterns-from-the-cal-delta-day-1

Top 5 Patterns From the Cal Delta – Day 1

A key flipping bite from a 7-pound, 9-ounce bass anchored a day-one catch of 22-11 for Jerred Jennings, who leads the Costa FLW Series Western Division event on the California Delta. READ MORE »