UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Santee Cooper

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

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 

2019 Lake Chickamauga Preview

2019 Lake Chickamauga Preview

Lake Chickamauga in east Tennessee is a big-bass playground where anglers regularly catch trophy fish that surpass 10 pounds. In early May, it'll host the FLW Tour for the third time in six years. Previous events were held in June, so this stop promises to offer a different look at the Chick. READ MORE »

Big Weights Expected at Santee Cooper

Big Weights Expected at Santee Cooper

The Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division finishes up its 2019 season at the Santee Cooper lakes, Marion and Moultrie, in South Carolina this week. Forty pros and co-anglers will qualify for the championship, and an Angler of the Year will be crowned as the field fishes for hefty postspawn largemouths. READ MORE »

Review: iRod Genesis II Legit’s Finesse Swimmer

Review: iRod Genesis II Legit’s Finesse Swimmer

Built to FLW Tour pro Aaron Britt’s specifications, the iRod Genesis II Legit’s Finesse Swimmer rod is a mid-priced spinning rod that’s specifically designed for tossing small swimbaits on light heads. READ MORE »

AOY Update – Cherokee Lake

AOY Update – Cherokee Lake

This year’s FLW Tour Angler of the Year race is hurtling toward one of the most dramatic finishes ever. After finishing 46th at Cherokee Lake, rookie pro Miles “Sonar” Burghoff took advantage of a stumble by Terry Bolton to move into the top spot in the standings. If Burghoff can hold on through the final two events, he’ll be the first rookie since Shinichi Fukae in 2004 to win the AOY award. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Cherokee Lake

FLW Live Schedule for Cherokee Lake

FLW Live is back for 2019 FLW Tour stop No. 5 at beautiful Cherokee Lake. The event, which is presented by Lowrance and hosted by the Jefferson County Economic Development Alliance, runs Thursday, April 11 through Sunday, April 14. READ MORE »

Get to Know Cherokee Lake

Get to Know Cherokee Lake

The fifth stop of the FLW Tour is presented by Lowrance and sure to be fun if you like east Tennessee, smallmouths and good fishing (who doesn’t?). Cherokee Lake plays host and promises to both challenge and delight anglers. READ MORE »

Beavers Breaks Down Cherokee

Beavers Breaks Down Cherokee

Beavers started the year off about as badly as he could, finishing 121st at Rayburn, but he’s been on a tear ever since, finishing 54th at Toho before banking back-to-back top 10s at Seminole and Grand. READ MORE »

Scouting Cherokee with LeBrun

Scouting Cherokee with LeBrun

Now in the second half of the Tour season, LeBrun is up against another new lake, and sort of a new species. He says he’s never seen a smallmouth on a bed in his life, and has spent just two days on Cherokee in pre-practice. READ MORE »

2019 Cherokee Lake Preview

2019 Cherokee Lake Preview

Nestled in the hills of east Tennessee, Cherokee Lake is a TVA impoundment on the Holston River, and it sits roughly between Norris Lake (to the northwest) and Douglas Lake (to the southeast). READ MORE »

Prespawn Throwdown on Tap at KY Lake

Prespawn Throwdown on Tap at KY Lake

The Costa FLW Series Central Division hosts its season opener at Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley April 4-6. Instead of a postspawn ledge showdown, like is typical of major multi-day bass-fishing tournaments in the region, this derby should be a prespawn or spawn slugfest, with crankbaits, spinnerbaits, ChatterBaits, umbrella rigs, swimbait and jigs all playing a major role in the outcome. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

If you’re going to fish Grand Lake this time of year, you’d better be good with a spinnerbait. The FLW Tour event at Grand Lake last week sure showcased that. READ MORE »

Get to Know Grand Lake

Get to Know Grand Lake

The fourth stop of the 2019 FLW Tour is presented by Mercury at Grand Lake. Though the Tour last hit the big Oklahoma lake in 2013, Grand sees plenty of tournament action, especially in the spring, and it never fails to deliver drama. READ MORE »

Poking Around Grand with Cortiana

Poking Around Grand with Cortiana

Since starting to fish Costa FLW Series events in 2016, Kyle Cortiana has banked over $100,000 with FLW and finished in the top 10 of the Southwestern Division three times. On the FLW Tour, he’s been a bit less successful, with no top 10s and no FLW Cup qualifications … yet. This year, he’s sitting 35th in the points, with a good chance to go to the Cup, and the FLW Tour presented by Mercury on Grand Lake finally gives him a shot at a Tour event with home field advantage. READ MORE »

Day 1 Practice on Grand with Warren

Day 1 Practice on Grand with Warren

There’s a good crew of Oklahoma anglers on the FLW Tour, but of them, Chad Warren is definitely one of the favorites at Grand Lake. Stop No. 4 of the 2019 FLW Tour, which is presented by Mercury, heads to Grand in the early spring for a prespawn tournament that might feature really good fishing. READ MORE »

2019 Grand Lake Preview

2019 Grand Lake Preview

Grand Lake is situated in Northeast Oklahoma among the foothills of the Ozarks. The impoundment was created in 1940 when the Pensacola Dam was finished along the Grand River. The 46,500-surface-acre reservoir now hosts plenty of recreational opportunities, but more importantly, is also home to some of the best bass fishing in the country. READ MORE »

Setting Up a Slugfest at Chickamauga  

Setting Up a Slugfest at Chickamauga  

The second stop of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division promises much better fishing than the first. Moving north from a cold front-plagued Florida swing, the field will visit Lake Chickamauga for the middle event of the season. The tournament, which is presented by T-H Marine, should feature excellent fishing, as the east Tennessee reservoir pretty much always kicks out giants. READ MORE »

Review: Lew’s Speed Spool LFS

Review: Lew’s Speed Spool LFS

The Lew’s Speed Spool LFS is a re-design of the Speed Spool, and it’s a very affordable casting reel that works quite well. It hit the market in the fall of 2018, and though it doesn’t visually stand out and it’s lacking in nonessential bells and whistles, the reel is more than capable of getting the job done for under $100. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Lake Seminole

AOY Update: Lake Seminole

Bryan Thrift’s bomb at the third stop of the FLW Tour on Seminole may ripple through the minds of fans for a while, but the other contenders for Angler of the Year pretty much stayed on fire. In the lead, Terry Bolton banked his second top 10 of the year and padded his lead. Behind him, Scott Martin earned his second top 10 in a row to push him into the runner-up spot as he pursues his second AOY title on Tour. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Seminole

Top 10 Baits from Lake Seminole

Vibrating jigs and Texas-rigged soft-plastic creature baits, along with a few finesse baits, were the primary tools used to catch prespawn bass from hydrilla beds on Lake Seminole in March. Learn how to put more early spring fish in the boat with the lures used by the top 10 pros. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Seminole

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Seminole

FLW Live is back for 2019 FLW Tour stop No. 3 at historic Lake Seminole. The event, which is presented by Costa and hosted by the Bainbridge Convention & Visitors Bureau, runs Thursday, March 7 through Sunday, March 10. READ MORE »