Live now : TOYOTA SERIES 2020 Dardanelle

Fall Options in Play at Texoma

Fall Options in Play at Texoma
Frog

For the second year in a row, the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division is wrapping the season up in the early fall. Presented by Frabill, the season finale hits Lake Texoma on September 21-23 for a tournament that should see diverse fishing and both smallmouths and largemouths in play.

“It’s early fall and they’ll be everywhere,” says Todd Castledine, who’s currently leading the points race. “They’ll be main lake, they’ll be in the backs of pockets; everywhere.

“I love this time of year, but you can go from crushing them to trying to catch a fish. I’ve done really well there this time of year, or really bad.”

This 74,000-acre reservoir formed by Denison Dam on the Red River currently stands right at normal conservation pool level of 616.55 feet. That allows for plenty of shallow water targets, but Texas pro Ray Hanselman says there’ll be none of that deeply flooded shoreline cover he fished during the final event of his amazing sweep in 2015. That being said, Texoma offers lots of laydowns, points, bluffs, flats and docks spread throughout the main lake and its major creek arms. Targets aplenty should spread the field out quite a bit.

“I think the guy who wins this is going to be a jack of all trades, he’s going to be one of the more diverse anglers, or he’s going to be somebody really knowledgeable about that lake,” says Kyle Cortiana, who earned the Southwestern Division AOY in 2016. “There are fish that are just starting that fall pattern and transitioning to the backs of creeks and feeding on shad really shallow, but you still have fish really deep and you have them in between, staging under docks and over brush piles.

“There’s not just one thing you can do and get a lot of bites. I think you have to be able to bounce around if you want to find the right bites.”

 

Billy Cline

Mixed bags in play

In two days of pre-practice a couple weeks before the tournament, Cortiana and another angler caught two 5-pound smallmouths and a 7-pound largemouth. This tells him that an open-minded approach could be the key to unlocking Texoma.

“This lake has some big smallmouths, so that opens the door for those deeper bluff walls. the big boulders and all that stuff that smallmouth love hiding around when they’re ambushing bait,” Cortiana says. “So, if a guy gets on a good stretch with a lot of activity, he can catch a big sack of smallmouths really quick. The guy who wins it will have some smallmouths in his bag.”

Hanselman also believes in the bronzebacks, but he thinks an angler can target either smallmouth or largemouth and end up with a competitive bag. Don’t be surprised to see someone fare well with completely different programs from one day to the next.

 

Ray Hanselman celebrates an early keeper.

Tactics in play

Given that the fall transition will be underway, you can expect your topwaters (walkers, poppers, frogs) to tempt plenty of fish, while spinnerbaits, swim jigs and swimbaits should also come into play for moving baits. For probing docks and other shallow cover, you can expect to see all the usual flipping and skipping offerings at work.

“This lake has the right size fish, so you don’t have to throw a shaky head or a drop-shot to catch one,” Hanselman says. “You can if you want to, but you can also throw big stuff. That’s more my speed.

“I’ll have a bunch of big stuff tied on and if I can get one to react on a big bait, that’ll be my deal. If not, I’ll probably have a shaky head tied on with a frown on my face.”

 

Morning bite will be key

Hanselman says Texoma will offer pockets of tremendous daybreak topwater action. The only thing is that once it’s over, Texoma can turn stingy.

Castledine says boat order will play a big role, as those fortunate to get on their key stuff early will likely have at least the opportunity to sack ‘em up. Miss that window, and it could be tough.

“Somebody might get a lucky first hour and have his day done by 9 a.m.,” Cortiana says. “Then, he can go do whatever he wants to do to try and catch one of those 7- to 10-pounders.

“That lake has some big ol’ fish in it, but that can bite you in the butt if you get on a stretch with a bunch of little ones and you can’t make yourself leave because you know there’s a chance to catch a big one.”

Although the week’s forecast shows nothing severe, Hanselman advises anglers to pay attention to each day’s wind. Texoma is a big lake and it doesn’t take much of a blow to whip it into a spine-jarring washing machine.

Another consideration for Castledine is the potential for striped bass to ruin the bite in a hurry. Growing bigger than any of the black bass species, aggressive stripers will run largemouth and smallmouth out of feeding areas, so yesterday’s gold mine could be tomorrow’s dust bowl.

“It’s a very temperamental time of year,” Castledine says. “It’s really hard to stay on a pattern for three days. You’re just going to have to go fishing.”

 

Tournament details

Format: All boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7:00 a.m. CT

Takeoff Location: Highport Marina, 120 Texoma Harbor Drive, Pottsboro, TX 75076

Weigh-In Time: 3:00 p.m. CT

Weigh-In Location: Highport Marina

Complete details

Tags: david-a-brown  pre-tournament  2017-09-21-lake-texoma 

Northern Division Finishes at Detroit River

Northern Division Finishes at Detroit River

The 2020 Toyota Series Northern Division will wrap up in Trenton, Mich., Sept. 17-19, at the Detroit River. Hosted by the Detroit Sports Commission, the three-day tournament will feature the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers casting for a top prize of up to $65,000, plus a $35,000 bonus if the winner is a qualified Phoenix Boat owner. READ MORE »

Eastern Division Heads to the Potomac

Eastern Division Heads to the Potomac

The Toyota Series Eastern Division rolls on with the Toyota Series at the Potomac River. Hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners, the three-day tournament will feature the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers casting for a top prize of up to $65,000, plus a $35,000 bonus if the winner is a qualified Phoenix Boat owner. READ MORE »

Mitchell’s First Look at Sturgeon Bay

Mitchell’s First Look at Sturgeon Bay

Having fished as a pro on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit for five years now, Kurt Mitchell started coming into his own during the 2019 season. That year he qualified for the FLW Cup – for the first time in his career – by finishing 24th in the points. This year, Mitchell kept rolling along cashing checks in five of the six Pro Circuit tournaments to settle at 31st in the points and now finds himself in his second straight championship. READ MORE »

Practice at Sturgeon Bay with Shuffield

Practice at Sturgeon Bay with Shuffield

Spencer Shuffield has had a tremendous season on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and he capped it off with a top 10 finish at Lake Erie. Now, he’s getting ready for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay, which has only the top 50 Pro Circuit anglers in it and will be a Major League Fishing (MLF) format event. READ MORE »

Big Prizes at Stake for College Open

Big Prizes at Stake for College Open

After being postponed due to COVID-19, the annual Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open is set to take place on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in mid-September for the sixth consecutive season. This time around, however, the stakes are even higher, as teams compete for a brand-new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat and 20 spots in the 2021 National Championship. READ MORE »

Delta Hosts Western Restart

Delta Hosts Western Restart

The 2020 Toyota Series Western Division is set to return to competition next week in Oakley, California, with the Toyota Series event at the California Delta, Aug. 19-21. Hosted by the City of Oakley, the three-day tournament will feature a return to action for the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers as they cast for a top prize of up to $65,000, plus a $35,000 bonus if the winner is a qualified Phoenix Boat owner. READ MORE »

Previewing the TITLE on Sturgeon Bay

Previewing the TITLE on Sturgeon Bay

The culmination of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season, the top 50 pros in the standings are headed to the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay. Fishing with the Major League Fishing (MLF) catch, weigh and immediate release format, the winner will take home $200,000 and be the first to win the new championship event. READ MORE »

Day Three on Erie with Gelles

Day Three on Erie with Gelles

Hailing from Pingree, Idaho, Kyle Gelles is about to wrap up his first season on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. Currently, he sits 56th in the Angler of the Year standings, and with a solid finish this week could punch his ticket to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay in a few weeks. READ MORE »

Cruising Erie with Wall

Cruising Erie with Wall

In his second year as a professional on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Jacob Wall finds himself in a position he never thought possible with one event left in the regular season. This week, Wall will not only have a chance to win the final Pro Circuit Super Tournament of the year on Lake Erie, but he’ll also be competing for one of the most coveted titles in the sport as he sits second in the Pro Circuit points race – Angler of the Year. READ MORE »

Pro Circuit Heads to Sandusky

Pro Circuit Heads to Sandusky

The season finale of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit will take place on Lake Erie, out of Sandusky, Ohio, on August 11-14. The third of three special Super Tournaments, over 200 pros from FLW and Major League Fishing (MLF) will fish in the event. The winner will take home $125,000 and the event will decide who wins the Angler of the Year title, the Polaris Rookie of the Year title and which Pro Circuit anglers qualify for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay. READ MORE »

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 2

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 2

Fishing creek ends continued to be the theme on day two of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake. Although the current was not running as much in the creeks as yesterday, the cooler shadier waters in the back of creeks were still producing for top anglers once again.  READ MORE »

Mississippi River Practice with Buck

Mississippi River Practice with Buck

In his fourth year on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Grae Buck has really come into his own. A standout collegiate angler at Penn State, he’s now in the thick of the Angler of the Year race and cruising toward qualification for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota. READ MORE »

Scouting Pool 8 with Ormond

Scouting Pool 8 with Ormond

For Jake Ormond, this is his first time fishing north of Tennessee, and thus his first time fishing the upper Mississippi. He’s not the only one lacking Mississippi River experience in the field, but considering many of the Major League Fishing (MLF) anglers that are part of the Super Tournament field have competed on the river a number of times, he’s got his work cut out for him. READ MORE »

Summertime Shootout on Tap at Wheeler

Summertime Shootout on Tap at Wheeler

Summertime on the Tennessee River may not be the prime time to hit the water, but the second stop of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division on Wheeler Lake will certainly showcase how diverse of a fishery it can be when the tournament takes place July 30 - Aug. 1. READ MORE »

Looking Ahead to the Mississippi River 

Looking Ahead to the Mississippi River 

With just two events left in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season, it’s time to turn attention to the northern part of the country. Presented by OPTIMA Batteries, the Pro Circuit Super Tournament on the Mississippi River out of Stoddard, Wis., will not only crown a winner with a $125,000 payday but also shape the Angler of the Year race. READ MORE »

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

After a four-month hiatus, it’s almost time for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mississippi Division to get back after it. The season resumes on July 18 and July 19 with back-to-back tournaments on Pickwick Lake. While each tournament may fish a bit like a two-day event, each day of competition is a standalone tournament with a winner crowned after each day. READ MORE »

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

There’s nothing better than clear water and big smallmouths, and that’s exactly what the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Michigan Division plans to deliver this year. The division, which is presented by ARE, is set to open the season July 18 on Lake St. Clair in what should be a heavyweight showdown of smallmouths. READ MORE »

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Piedmont Division continues its season with back-to-back tournaments on Kerr Lake on July 18 and 19. READ MORE »

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

After kicking off the season on Lake Monroe with a double-header at the end of June, the Hoosier Division of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine turns east for stop No. 3 on the Ohio River at Tanners Creek. READ MORE »

Everything in Play on Mighty Miss

Everything in Play on Mighty Miss

The Mississippi River is the staple venue of the Great Lakes Division in Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine competition. Come July 18, the division will take its first crack at the Mighty Miss in what could shape up to be a diverse event. READ MORE »