UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

2019 Lake Toho Preview

2019 Lake Toho Preview

Lake Toho

Kissimmee, Fla.

Feb. 7-10, 2019

Hosted by Experience Kissimmee  

 

About the Fishery

Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho for short) is the first of four lakes on the menu for pros in the second stop of the FLW Tour. At the south end of Toho, a lock and a series of canals leads to Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch) and Lake Kissimmee, which are all fair game for the pros. Connected to Kissimmee, Tiger Lake and Lake Rosalie are also legal waters, and at least Tiger should be accessible depending on water levels.

The Kissimmee Chain of Lakes offers typical Florida fishing, with offshore hydrilla and eelgrass, shell beds, and tons of shallow vegetation to wind and flip. Kissimmee grass and pads are the predominant emergent cover, and hydrilla is the predominant submerged grass.

 

Last Time

The last time the Tour stopped at Toho, in 2015, retired pro angler JT Kenney ran down to Kissimmee three of the four days and fished for spawning bass in the roots of pads. On one day with bad weather, he plied a spinnerbait in Toho to assemble a small limit. Kenney weighed over 50 pounds on days one and two of the event, but faltered a bit at the finish, with less than 25 pounds on the final two days.

Behind Kenney, some pros found success with a similarly methodical pattern targeting spawning fish, but others did very well fishing current-related fish on shell beds and around the canals. There was a lot of water running through the system at the time, and crankbaits fished around current breaks and shell bars produced a lot of weight.

The most recent FLW event on the Kissimmee Chain was a T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) event held in January 2018. Launching out of Camp Mack, on the canal between Hatch and Kissimmee, Robbie Crosnoe flipped overturned mud mats for 18 pounds and the win.

 

What to expect this time

Historically, the Kissimmee Chain has produced some of the biggest fish and single-day catches in Florida, but consistency is hard to maintain. A 30-pound bag or a 10-pounder or two isn’t out of the question, but building a big lead or staying consistent all four days is the way to win. In other words, the winner isn’t guaranteed a 20-pound bag every day, but they’ll likely have at least one spectacular day. Tour pro Blake Smith, who calls the Kissimmee Chain home, believes the lakes are doing great now, and he expects the winning weight to surpass 80 pounds given good weather.

Typically, Toho and Kissimmee are fished most in tournaments, with some solid action in Cypress if the offshore hydrilla bite is going. This time around, Smith says the grass in Cypress isn’t what it was, but that Toho and Kissimmee could both produce a win.

According to Smith, one of the real wild cards is new grass in Toho.

“Toho is full of grass,” he says. “In the past for our five years I’ve never seen it with this magnitude of offshore hydrilla. There’s still the same patches of pepper grass and gator grass and eelgrass shallow, but the offshore hydrilla will come into play on Toho – like last year on the Harris Chain. Right now, the whole south end is a giant hydrilla field – it’s unbelievable. Whoever figures out that offshore hydrilla game is going to be in play, without a doubt.”

Because of poorly timed cold snaps in December and January, Smith figures the majority of the big fish have yet to spawn. That could bump weights up and make finding prespawn fish very valuable, especially because there won’t be a full moon at the time of the tournament. If the fish do decide to spawn en masse, things could get abosutely electrifying. 

 

Baits and techniques

You can expect all the typical Florida stuff to play this time around, with the lean of techniques depending a lot on the weather. Winding swim jigs, Speed Worms and swimbaits through and over grass will work, and vibrating jigs have won a ton of money on Toho as well. As it is anywhere in Florida, flipping and punching is a sure bet for some good fish. Naturally, a Senko or worm worked slowly has won as much money as anything else at Toho and Kissimmee.

Hard baits have a pretty good history on Toho and Kissimmee, too, and not just lipless cranks and prop baits. Diving crankbaits could see a lot of action depending on the conditions, and jerkbaits have a history of success when the fish are more offshore.

Finally, don’t be too surprised if someone drags around a wobble head or something similar on some shell to catch a few bass.

 

3 critical factors

1. Weather – Like any Florida tournament, the weather is of the utmost importance. If a cold front comes to town, you can expect weights to drop, and adjustments will for sure become necessary. Given good weather, a slugfest could break out.

2. Offshore grass – Toho currently has as much or more offshore hydrilla than Lake Harris did in 2018. If someone can figure out the fish in or around it, they could be set up well for a win — and perhaps some monstrous weights.

3. Giants – Like at Sam Rayburn, the possibility of an 8-pounder or better is very real. Catching one or two of those could help a pro ride deep into the weekend.

 

Pros to watch

Heading into Toho, there are plenty of storylines to keep an eye on. After both finished in the triple digits at Rayburn, the McMillan brothers could use a bounce back and are always strong in the Sunshine State. Standout rookie Nick LeBrun has had an electric start to his career, but Florida is finally a true road test for him – it’ll be worth watching how he does. Finally, it’d be wise to throw an eye on John Cox. The Tin Man has won a BFL on the Kissimmee Chain, but he’s yet to win a Tour event in Florida despite some very close misses and seems overdue for another W.

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2019-02-07-lake-toho 

Fish Northern Rivers for Smallmouth

Fish Northern Rivers for Smallmouth

From the Mississippi River to the Peshtigo River, Wisconsin and the surrounding region has miles of flowing water chock full of smallmouth bass. In the recent Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota, Matt Stefan targeted rivers flowing into Green Bay for the majority of his catch, and in doing so, he was able to tap into a skillset that he’s groomed for years on the Wisconsin River and other flowages near him. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from the Detroit River

Top Patterns and Baits from the Detroit River

With the whole field boxed into the Detroit River for the first two days of the final Toyota Series Northern Division event, it’s natural that the main player was the river itself. But, on the final day, when folks could branch out, Scott Dobson actually ran to St. Clair and many of the other pros ventured into Lake Erie. READ MORE »

Grubb Wins Co-Angler Side at the Detroit River

Grubb Wins Co-Angler Side at the Detroit River

Taking the co-angler win in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River, Tony Grubb weighed four bass for 14 pounds, 1 ounce on the final day for a 46-5 total. For the win, his second as a co-angler with FLW, Grubb takes home a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat worth over $35,000. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 3

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 3

With the wind laying down a bit, the top 10 anglers in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River have been able to go wherever they pleased today. With crisp morning temperatures, plenty of sun and a north wind, the conditions have largely been quite good, with mixed results from the anglers. READ MORE »

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Weighing 18 pounds and 9 ounces on day three for a 59-3 total, Scott Dobson moved from second to first to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River. The win is Dobson’s second in Toyota Series competition and his eighth overall with FLW. For the win, Dobson takes home $27,534 and further burnishes his record as one of the best smallmouth anglers on the planet.   READ MORE »

Burton Edges Ahead at the Detroit River

Burton Edges Ahead at the Detroit River

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River saw the pros stuck in the river itself again due to the wind. Moving up from fourth place into the lead, Wilson Burton weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces to get up to a 40-11 total. With the only 20-pound bag of the day, Burton slipped past Scott Dobson by just one ounce, who weighed 19-12 and sits behind him with a 40-10 total. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 2

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 2

With strong wind from the north again, the Toyota Series Northern Division field was again confined to the actual Detroit River. On day one, the fishing was quite good, and several pros crossed the 20-pound mark and plenty of limits hit the scales. Today, things seem a little tougher. READ MORE »

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Strong winds kept the pros in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River pinned to the actual river, but the fishing was still very good. Plenty of anglers brought in 17 pounds or more, and the leaders are all concentrated around the 20-pound mark. In first, Troy Stokes of Brownstown, Mich., weighed 21 pounds, 4 ounces to kick things off. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Right off the bat, the anglers in the field at the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River were thrown a curveball by the weather. This morning, with increasing wind forecasts, tournament officials made Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair off-limits, thereby penning up the 87 pros and co-anglers on the American side of the Detroit River. READ MORE »

Smith Wins Southeastern AOY

Smith Wins Southeastern AOY

Originally from Wisconsin and sometimes wearing a Green Bay Packers hoodie on stage, Dustin Smith doesn’t fit the mold of Toyota Series Southeastern Division Strike King Angler of the Year. Still, Smith hammered out a pair of top 10s and a 27th-place showing en route to the title, and his style of fishing was simply perfect for this season in the Southeastern Division. READ MORE »

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 »

Top 10 Baits from Sturgeon Bay

Top 10 Baits from Sturgeon Bay

Summertime smallmouth fishing makes having a drop-shot or two on the deck pretty essential, and the top pros in the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay basically all relied on the versatile finesse rig to get the job done. However, between them, there was a decent amount of variation in baits, and a few pros actually branched out from the drop-shot into other techniques. 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 »

Mundy goes Back-to-Back on Erie

Mundy goes Back-to-Back on Erie

Totaling up 41 pounds, 6 ounces, Dan Mundy won the co-angler side of the Toyota Series event on Lake Erie and is about ready to start a boat dealership. After winning the first Northern Division event of the year, the Michigan co-angler went back-to-back in the second event of the season to claim another Phoenix boat worth $33,500. READ MORE »

Mitchell Holds on at Erie

Mitchell Holds on at Erie

After weighing nearly 25 pounds on day two, Kurt Mitchell put 15 pounds, 8 ounces on the scale on the final day to close out the win in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. With 60-2 total, Mitchell earned his first FLW win and pocketed $26,206 in winnings. READ MORE »

Mitchell Swings into the Lead on Erie

Mitchell Swings into the Lead on Erie

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie was tough on some, but it was a party for Kurt Mitchell. Weighing 24 pounds, 11 ounces, he moved up from second into the lead with a 44-10 total. Only the top 10 fish on the final day and they’ll have a steep hill to climb to catch Mitchell. READ MORE »

Lake Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Lake Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie has posed some serious challenges from a coverage perspective. Not only are the leaders fishing about as far apart as possible, but the waves to the east of Sandusky are pretty huge. Still, from the reports we have, it looks like plenty of fish will come to the scale one way or another. READ MORE »