UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

5 to Watch at Toho

5 to Watch at Toho
Andy Morgan is hands down one of the best in business especially when it comes to finding fish up shallow.

Anticipation is building as the 20th anniversary season of the Walmart FLW Tour is set to start on Lake Toho March 5-8 in an event presented by Mercury.

FLW Fantasy Fishing players also have a shot at cashing in on great prizes this season. At each event of the Tour season – six regular-season tournaments and the Forrest Wood Cup – more than $7,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to the top 50 Fantasy Fishing teams. There will even be cash prizes awarded to the top 10 teams at the end of the season based on cumulative point totals, including a $10,000 top prize.

The 154-boat field will have plenty of water to cover in this event, which includes lakes Toho, Kissimmee, Cypress and Hatchineha – all connected by the Kissimmee River. One of the big question marks is how many boats will decide to lock out of Toho at the north end of the chain and make the run south to other lakes. The lock is small and can fit roughly 15 boats at a time. Time management will surely factor into the game plan of those who decide to travel.

The moon will be full on day one of the tournament, and that has a lot of people thinking that the bass spawn will be on. Conventional wisdom has it that cooler weather giving way to a warming trend, plus a full moon, makes the perfect recipe for an all-out slugfest. Sight-fishing with Texas-rigged plastics and weightless stick worms is likely to play a major role in the outcome. Flipping and topwater presentations will factor in as well. A curveball might be forthcoming from an angler fortunate enough to find a school of fish on the offshore structure present in Toho and Kissimmee. Fish that have already spawned or are waiting to move up could be schooled up tight in these areas.

With all that in mind, we consulted the crystal ball and came up with the names of five anglers to keep an eye on as competition begins Thursday.

If you haven’t finalized your FLW Fantasy Fishing team, keep these anglers in mind when you head over to FantasyFishing.com and make your picks.

Bass number three battles his way to Bryan Thrift's boat on the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series on Wheeler Lake.

1. Bryan Thrift – The Shelby, N.C., pro is coming off of another phenomenal Tour season where he claimed a victory on Sam Rayburn and took a top 10 at the Forrest Wood Cup. Thrift is a machine when it comes to fishing shallow, no matter the technique. He’s partial to a good topwater bite, which can be a hot ticket on Florida lakes in the spring. He’s even better with a vibrating jig – another lure that could be hot at Toho. Back in 2008, the North Carolina pro took a top 10 when the Tour last stopped in Kissimmee, and odds are good he will register a similar performance – or better. Since Thrift started fishing as a pro in 2007, he has placed in the top 10 five times out of eight at season-opening tournaments. So, if you had any doubts about Thrift, you can rest easier knowing that he comes out swinging each year.

Fantasy Verdict: His price in Fantasy Fishing is $38, which is steep, but definitely worth the investment.

Local Van Soles will be a strong contender on Lake Toho for the first event of the Walmart FLW Tour season.

2. Van Soles – You can’t get much more local than Van Soles of Haines City, Fla., who has more experience on Toho than just about anyone in the field. Despite it being his rookie season on the Tour, you can bet your bottom dollar that he won’t behave like it in this event. Local knowledge could be a huge advantage, given that knowing the location of spawning flats and where fish relocate when they are pressured provides an angler with an edge. No doubt Soles knows some out-of-the-way places he could have all to himself. He’s a flipping and pitching purist whose skills will be put to good use next week. Soles won a B.A.S.S. Open on Toho last year and has a couple of Walmart Bass Fishing League wins on the chain as well. Figure him to make a run at some new trophy hardware starting Thursday.

Van Soles appeared on the FLW Podcast recently and discussed Toho and the attached lakes in great depth. You can listen to his interview here.

Fantasy Verdict: Surprisingly, Soles carries only a $16 price tag. For a mid-range pick th theere seems to be a lot of bang for the buck with this Florida pro.

George Foreman pro Dan Morehead.

3. Dan Morehead – When you think of Florida fishing, probably Dan Morehead’s name isn’t the first that comes to mind. Truth be told, however, Morehead has a pair of top 10s from the last two visits the Tour has made to this part of the Sunshine State. While Morehead is known for his prowess on Tennessee River impoundments in the summer, his skill with a worm and swimbait carry over quite well in Florida. Morehead isn’t afraid to fish shallow grass when the opportunity presents itself. Dragging a worm through hydrilla or pads will be a presentation that sees a lot of mileage in this tournament, so Morehead should be in his element. It’s also possible that Morehead could get on a school of fish relating to the offshore structure present on Toho. Either way, the tournament should set up well for the Kentucky pro, who will be fishing his 20th season on Tour.

Fantasy Verdict: Morehead is sporting a hefty price tag for Toho; however, if you like playing the odds then he is a solid choice for a repeat performance at $36.

Forrest Wood congratulates Andy Morgan for winning the AOY title yet again.

4. Andy Morgan – Of course, back-to-back Angler of the Year Andy Morgan will be someone to keep a close watch on during this tournament. The guy is an absolute animal when it comes to bass fishing – especially up shallow. He has made a career off of fishing the moment with whatever bait feels right. Naturally, Morgan took a top 10 back in 2008 on Toho, which is just one of 57 top-10 finishes he’s notched in FLW competition. Like Morehead, Morgan is also in his 20th season fishing the Tour, and he only seems to be getting better with time. Shallow water, grass and a flipping stick have always been a recipe for success for this Tennessee pro. Momentum will be on his side as he tries to make history by capturing his third straight AOY title.

Fantasy Verdict: If you want Morgan on your Fantasy Fishing team, it’s going to cost you. He’s going for $38, but without question, he’s worth it. If you need more rationale, just look at his stat sheet. It shows he is a reliable investment.

A rock wall yields a nice keeper for Matt Arey.

5. Matt Arey – The Quaker State pro is one of the few anglers in the field who is truly refined in the art of sight-fishing. Arey grew up perfecting the technique of convincing bedding fish to bite in the waters in and around North Carolina. If this tournament pans out the way many are predicting, then Arey should have no problem plucking big bass from their beds. The Tar Heel pro is also a strong power fisherman who can rely on topwater frogs, swim jigs or pitching a jig to find fish. Florida hasn’t been too kind to Arey in the past, yet the conditions have never been so favorable for him to fish the way he likes. If a big wave of fish pulls up to bed, look for Arey to break away from the pack.

Fantasy Verdict: Arey is the perfect guy to add to your Fantasy Fishing team if you need to fill a high-end gap. He should be a strong consideration with the respectable price of $32.

Tags: fantasy-fishing  lake-toho  kyle-wood  pre-tournament  2015-03-05-lake-toho 

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