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


A Morning with the Leader

JT eases into a small pocket with mix of vegetation.

Sullen gray skies and a gusting northeast wind contrast with the weather on opening day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Mercury here on Lake Toho. JT Kenney jumped out to the lead with a solid stringer of almost 30 pounds on Thursday, but Saturday is altogether different, and expectations match the weather.

No pattern is weatherproof, including Kenney’s, but at least he knows that neither is anyone else’s. The brisk northeast wind is scooting his boat along at a fairly fast clip, and he’s fishing a spinnerbait that helicopters with every cast. To this point, the spinnerbait hasn’t attracted more than a small pickerel and two small bass in the first hour of the semi-final round. Still, the veteran pro has been here before, and knows what a change of weather will do to Florida bass. Gradually, the wind will lay and the day will grow warmer. Kenney is saving his better spots for then.

Just after 8 a.m., Kenney boats his first good keeper. It’s a 4 1/2-pound fish, but seems smaller in Kenney’s gloved hand. Most fish do; he’s a solid 6 feet, 5 inches tall and looks like a man who you wouldn’t want to make angry. That probably would be hard to do, however, as the Florida pro is as easygoing as they come. The only person he gets down on is himself, though not in this tournament.

Kenney says he prepared more for this event than any other in a long time, mainly because he was more motivated than usual due to its timing. He visited Toho a dozen times since the first of the year, fishing and exploring the lake system to the southern end of Lake Kissimmee. Along the way, he developed various game plans that would accommodate the vagaries of early spring in central Florida, and he came into the tournament with more confidence than he has felt in a long while.

“I knew when I saw this one on the schedule, lining up with the full moon in March, that it was going to be my kind of tournament,” he says. “I felt like if I worked hard and prepared for every contingency that a fishermen is likely to encounter in early March, I could do well.”

Such contingencies include the blustery wind and dropping air temperatures that went from the mid-80s to the mid-60s since earlier in the week. That, too, was foreseen by Kenney, which is why we’re going around in big circles and figure-8s as he fishes a fairly large pocket on the south end of Big Grassy in Lake Toho instead of running south to Lake Kissimmee on the backs of white-capping waves. That’s where Kenney spent his time on day one, and has no qualms about forsaking it.

“One thing about these Florida fish is that when you catch them in an area, they’re caught. They don’t replenish like they do on ledges,” advises Kenney. “You can’t go back to a place where you caught them yesterday and think that there will be more to catch. It doesn’t work, and knowing that can give you an advantage and save you from wasting time.”

JT spots a mat of stems that have been pushed up against standing “buggy whip” reeds and digs into the bottom of his rod locker for a flipping outfit. He flips and pitches the mat for a few minutes, then turns back into open water. Kenney is considered to be one of the best at flipping baits to shallow water, but this tournament has proved that he is not one-dimensional in his fishing approach.

“This is the first time in this tournament that I’ve picked up a flipping rod,” he says. “People think I’m a shallow-water guy, but actually I feel a lot more at home fishing offshore.”

Kenney makes one more pass with the spinnerbait and vibrating jig in the open bow and catches another small keeper. Then he runs to the north end of the lake to fish a prime bedding area he found during one of his pre-practice visits to the lake weeks ago. Kenney doesn’t fish beds in the traditional way, by spotting a big female on a bed, then setting up on her and casting various baits to her until she decides to inhale one.

Instead, once he spots a bed with a big bass on it, he marks the spot, fishes the area around it for several minutes and then returns to blind-cast to the fish.

“I’ve had better luck fishing beds where I couldn’t actually see the fish I’m going for,” volunteers Kenney. “I figure that if you see a big female, she’s already seen you and most of the time isn’t going to bite for a while anyway. That’s not set in stone, but I’ve just had better luck moving off and casting to it.”

If there’s a spawner in the small cove he’s exploring now, it’s not taking what Kenney is trying to feed it. Still, this isn’t his best place. He’s saving that until later, for the big finish that he hopes will all but seal his victory and vindicate all his preparation.

Tags: jt-kenney  lake-toho  flw-tour  colin-moore  headline-story  2015-03-05-lake-toho 


Montevallo Wins on Seminole

The University of Montevallo duo of Justin Barnes of Monroeville, Alabama, and Adam Carroll of Carrollton, Georgia, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Lake Seminole Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 1 ounce. The victory earned the Falcon’s bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »


Mount Paran Christian School wins on Seminole

The Mount Paran Christian School duo of Lee Rose Koza and Carter Koza, both of Marietta, Georgia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 23 pounds, 2 ounces to win the 2019 Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Lake Seminole Open. READ MORE »


Anders Chases Shad for Keowee W

Boater Joe Anders of Easley, South Carolina, caught a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 14 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River division event on Lake Keowee presented by Navionics. Anders earned $4,164 for his efforts. READ MORE »


Top 10 Patterns from Lake Toho

While the Lake Toho FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats fell basically right on top of a wave of spawning bass piling into the shallows, many of the top finishers targeted bass that were staging out or transitioning to or from their beds. READ MORE »


Top 10 Baits from Toho

The second stop of the 2019 FLW Tour landed right on the spawn on Lake Toho and the other lakes on the Kissimmee Chain. Top finishers caught bass in all phases of the spawn. Collectively, they used just about every bait you’ll ever need if you want to catch a bass this time of year in the Sunshine State. READ MORE »


Marshal Program a Big Hit for Hughes

Retired minister Dan Hughes made the most money he’s ever banked in a fishing tournament, and he did it without even picking up a rod. The 70-year-old Fitzgerald, Ga., resident was the winner of FLW’s marshal contest at the Tour’s second stop of the season at Lake Toho, presented by Ranger Boats. Paired with John Cox on day one and Chris Neau on day two, Hughes’ pros combined for 41 pounds, 10 ounces during his two days on the water to take home the $2,500 top prize. READ MORE »


Georgia’s Gross Wins FLW Tour at Lake Toho Presented by Ranger Boats

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Pro Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Georgia, brought a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 12 ounces, to the scale Sunday... READ MORE »


Toho Day 4 Coverage

Complete coverage of the 2019 Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. READ MORE »


Gross Wins Second Tour Title

Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Ga., won the 2019 FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats at Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla., with a four-day total of 20 bass that weighed 85 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »


Gross Grabs Toho Lead

Day three of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho was tough on the leaders, but Buddy Gross stayed steady, rising to first from fifth with 19 pounds, 12 ounces. In total, Gross has amassed 62 pounds even through three days, which is just about a pound ahead of Darrell Davis, who caught 25-12 for a 60-15 total and rocketed up to second from 13th. Going into the final day, everyone in the top six is within 5 pounds of the lead, and the way the Kissimmee Chain is pumping out big ones, that counts as the slimmest of margins. READ MORE »


FLW Live from Lake Toho



Chickamauga’s Gross Out Front at FLW Tour at Lake Toho Presented by Ranger Boats

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – After an exciting day of movement atop the leaderboard, FLW Tour pro Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Georgia, took the lead Saturday... READ MORE »


Toho Day 3 Coverage

Complete coverage of the 2019 Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. READ MORE »


Cox Stays Ahead on Toho

Day two of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger on Lake Toho featured not one, but TWO 10-pounders, one caught by Casey Scanlon and the other by Jamie Horton. READ MORE »


Cox Holds Lead after Day Two of FLW Tour at Lake Toho Presented by Ranger Boats

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Pro John Cox of DeBary, Florida, brought five bass to the scale weighing 17 pounds, 4 ounces, to hold the lead after day two of the FLW Tour at Lake Toho presented by Ranger Boats. Cox’s two day total of 10 bass weighing 48-13 will give him... READ MORE »


Toho Day 2 Coverage

Complete coverage of the 2019 Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. READ MORE »


Cox Leads Toho Slugfest

Day one of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho was the slugfest many expected. Leading the way is sight-fishing extraordinaire John Cox, who caught 31 pounds, 9 ounces and the day one big bass – a giant that went 10-9.  In second, John Voyles wrangled up 24-15, and Scott Martin is close behind him with 24-12. READ MORE »


Cox Catches 31-Pound Limit, Leads Day One of FLW Tour at Lake Toho Presented by Ranger Boats

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Pro John Cox of DeBary, Florida, hauled in a massive five-bass limit weighing 31 pounds, 9 ounces – the largest limit ever weighed in FLW... READ MORE »


Toho Day 1 Coverage

Complete coverage of the 2019 Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. READ MORE »


Roaming Kissimmee with Douglas

Hailing from Minnesota, Josh Douglas is in his third year on the FLW Tour and looking for his first FLW Cup qualification. Were it not for a disqualification in the final event of the year at St. Clair in 2018, Douglas would have sailed into the Cup. After a tough start to the year at Rayburn, he’s planning to get back on track at the FLW Tour event presented by Ranger on Lake Toho. READ MORE »