UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Roaming Kissimmee with Douglas

Josh 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.

As he’s camping up near Lake Hatchineha and spending the day in Lake Kissimmee, Douglas started off by running down to meet me so I could look in on his final morning of practice without messing up his afternoon logistics too much.

 

Florida is always a challenge for folks who aren’t born and bred in the Sunshine State, but Douglas has actually amassed quite a bit of time in the state, and a lot of it on Kissimmee. On top of that, he broke through with a top-30 in the Tour event on the Harris Chain last year, so his odds might be pretty good this week.

After idling out from the ramp, Douglas turns south and makes a short run to a bay that seems to feature every type of aquatic vegetation ever invented.

 

Setting down inside of the outer Kissimmee grass edge, Douglas picks up a vibrating jig and begins to work some hydrilla he marked earlier in practice. In no time flat, he connects with a chunky keeper to get the day started.

 

After tossing the starter fish back, Douglas explains that he’s chosen Kissimmee over Toho in part because of his experience on it, and partly because he thinks the average quality is just a tick better than on Toho.

“I think the bucks are just bigger,” says Douglas. “Obviously there are giants, too, but there are giants in both lakes.”

As Douglas continues to fish his way through a mix of pads and submerged vegetation with a worm and a vibrating jig, he talks a little more on how he sees the tournament going down.

“This tournament worries me a bit,” says Douglas. “I think Toho might go buck wild on bed fish – we couldn’t have better conditions for it. I’ve never fished a tournament here when there’s been a warm front, it’s always been a cold front, so I feel like we’re lucky to have it.”

 

Easing back into some shallower pads and Kissimmee grass, Douglas explains that he’s not quite certain of the status of the spawn. Though a small bass nips his swimbait as he fishes along, the numbers and level of aggression he’s seeing from the buck bass don’t match his expectations for a full-on spawning wave.

After a few more casts up near the bank, Douglas cranks his Evinrude and heads back out.

 

Idling out between a few other anglers, Douglas keeps an eye out for hydrilla on his Lowrance graphs. Despite hailing from the north, Douglas has a ton of electronics expertise, and it can show up even in Florida and on the most visual of fisheries. After marking a little grass for later, Douglas points the boat toward some buggy whips and cuts the motor.

 

Douglas picks up a big weight and starts flipping, eventually covering the stand of reeds without a bite.

All morning, he’s been pretty unconcerned with things. He hasn’t had the ideal Bryan Thrift practice (finding 20 spots with schools of 4-pounders), but it hasn’t been a bad one. He knows the warming water is going to keep things changing.

“Today my goal is to find something everybody else isn’t fishing,” explains Douglas. “But, it is Florida, and sometimes you have to be in the good spots with everybody.”

 

Putting down the flipping stick, Douglas swings back into his submerged grass and fires around a lipless crankbait and a vibrating jig before starting to flip some pads. Though he hasn’t moved far since the start (and it’s a bit past 9 a.m.), Douglas doesn’t think that’s a negative – he says that knowing the entire area is valuable, because if you do find them, they can have a tendency to move with the weather.

“I think Florida is starting to fit my style a lot more,” says Douglas. “Before I was all run-and-gun. Now, I try to have water in every corner of the lake for if the wind blows and have confidence that they’re going to bite eventually.”

 

Douglas already had his rods on the deck when I got boarded in the morning, and he didn’t add to them all day. Basically, he has a solid array of Shimano and G. Loomis equipment loaded down with Florida staples like stick worms, swim jigs, vibrating jigs and flipping setups. Florida is one of the easier places on tackle, as what you can effectively fish in the grass is a bit limiting right off the bat, and many of the tried-and-true baits are that for a reason.

 

Moving on, Douglas runs south some more before pulling off the main lake into a boat lane and setting down in another area loaded up with flat pads and everything else. He gets a bite pretty quickly on a swimbait and then a bite that feels pretty legit flipping a mat. It’s good enough feeling to garner a waypoint, but Douglas doesn’t think the game has changed yet.

 

After fishing a bit more, Douglas makes another short move to a similar area. Therein, despite murkier water than he would like, he gets a flipping bite and halfheartedly swings on it. Unfortunately, after flipping all the other mats around that bite, he’s still got just the one to show for it. 

 

Douglas looks the part of a veteran pro, and though he’s had some standout success on Tour (his third-place finish on Kentucky Lake is a highlight for sure), he really hasn’t been fishing tournaments for that long. Growing up in Minnesota, he fished every chance he got, but it wasn’t until he got married that he got his first bass boat. Once he had his boat, things opened up, and he’s been hard on the tournament trail for about 10 years. Once a bartender and a guide, he’s now an actual pro angler, and he guides on his home lake of Mille Lacs when he’s home.

“I’m never afraid to go back to bartending,” says Douglas. “It was fun. I met a lot of cool people. The jobs I liked were places that closed at like 9:30. Then I could be on the lake early and guiding.”

 

After picking up a swimbait and winding some in the pads, Douglas cranks up and idles through the shallows for a bit before taking off. Turns out, the dirty water wasn’t exactly the ticket, and it’s time to move farther south.

 

Setting down off the bank, Douglas eyes up some isolated pad clumps with hydrilla in between. Alternating between a vibrating jig and a worm, he picks his way through some of the most classic Kissimmee cover available. Unfortunately, there aren’t any bites to be had and it’s nearing noon. After fishing one last clump of pads, we head to the ramp.

 

The last several hours of practice will offer the warmest and sunniest weather of the pregame period, and Douglas wants to make as much of it as he can. So, after dropping me back at the ramp, he cranks back up and rolls out again to try and find a gold mine of Florida strain bass.

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

Toho on YouTube

Toho on YouTube

The second stop of the FLW Tour season on Lake Toho was a big-bass bonanza. Thanks to mandatory POV cameras and marshals, plenty of big bass were caught on camera. Aside from individual catches, pros also documented their practice and tournament days to give the viewer and inside look at how their event unfolded. Below is the full list of videos released by the pros at this point.  READ MORE »

AOY Update: Lake Toho

AOY Update: Lake Toho

 With the first two events of the 2019 FLW Tour season in the books, it’s time to take a look at how the Angler of the Year race is shaping up. At Sam Rayburn and Lake Toho the pros were tested with very different conditions, and the standings include anglers different specialties and skill sets than at this time last year, when the Tour’s first two events were both held in Florida. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Toho

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FLW Live from Lake Toho

READ MORE »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 »

Burghoff Checks Out Toho on Day 2

Burghoff Checks Out Toho on Day 2

FLW Tour rookie Miles “Sonar” Burghoff kicked off his freshman season with a strong performance on Sam Rayburn, where he just missed fishing the final day with a 12th-place finish. Now, the Tour is on a system he is more than familiar with, having spent countless hours on Lakes Toho and Kissimmee while attending college at the University of Central Florida. READ MORE »