UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Gross Wins Second Tour Title

Gross Wins Second Tour Title
Buddy Gross

Buddy Gross says his experience today on Lake Toho for the final round of the FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats was nothing but a blessing. If you watched FLW Live this morning, you understand why. Gross rolled down to the spot that produced 14 of the 15 keepers he brought to the scale to get into first place coming into today, and he quickly banged out about 18 or 19 pounds in the rain. There were some slow periods mixed in for Gross, but not slow enough to stop him. The Chickamauga, Ga., pro culled his way up to 23 pounds, 12 ounces to cap off an 85-12 performance to handily finish his second FLW Tour victory by a margin of 4-10 over John Cox, who led the first two days.

 

Complete results

 

“I still can’t believe they were there like that,” Gross says. “It was crazy, dude. I am not but kidding you it was the craziest thing I’ve seen.”

 

Gross came down to Toho to pre-practice before the cutoff and spent the entire time graphing the grass to learn and how it all set up. He pieced together enough good-looking spots that it took him three days of official practice to fish them all. During that time, Gross found about 10 spots where he could get bit, but only the one really paid off for him. He did catch one kicker from a shallow ditch on the way in on day three.

 

The winning spot was on the main span of Lake Toho just north of the lock at the lake’s southern end. It was identifiable on the surface by a V-shaped notch in a grass mat. The notch was about 30 yards wide and jutted into the mat by about 50 yards. However, it’s what was below that was really key to Gross’ success.

 

“[It was] two ditches with clumps in the middle,” Gross says. “Those fish were sitting in the clumps, but there was 20-foot gaps in between each clump. They’d set up in them [the clumps]. I’ve never seen this before: I could take a swim jig and my swimbait, and usually if you come out of a clump you get bit, but this particular place here I’d throw it up on top of the farthest clump away from me, reel it through the open water where there’s no grass, and as soon as I’d hit the other clump, almost like a dead-end stop, they’d eat it right off the clump. The first day that I caught them it was in the ditch. After that everything was on the clumps.”

 

 

Though Gross describes the area as having two ditches, he says the “ditches” weren’t any deeper than the surrounding area. They were just open lanes with no grass. The entire spot was about 7 feet deep.

 

The spot produced both prespawn and postspawn fish. Interestingly, in a tournament that will be celebrated for its parade of 8-plus-pounders, not a single one of Gross’ keepers weighed more than 5 1/2 pounds in four days. He found giants in practice, but none in the tournament.

In the end, his victory was due to consistency and finding a spot that would reload with fish every day. 

“Yesterday, I thought it was done, and I went there this morning and they fired,” Gross says. “It was a whole other school of fish. This thing was loading every day. It loaded yesterday more with postspawn fish. Today was all for the most part prespawn. I had one skinny [postspawn] fish there. If that thing had had a body on it, it would’ve been a 7-pounder.”

In practice, Gross fished a homemade swim jig exclusively. It was a 1/2-ounce model with a black-and-blue skirt and a green pumpkin Zoom Z-Craw trailer. The package was a perfect bream imitator.

“If you go out here on a calm day every clump of grass on this lake has got 5,000 bream in it, and they’re all sitting on top of it [the grass]. If you throw something close to them they just go everywhere.”

Gross left the dark bream imitator in his rotation and used it to try to get the fish to fire again when they stopped biting, but for whatever reason they would only bump it during the tournament.

His money-winning baits were the same swim jig with a white skirt and a 4-inch Scottsboro Tackle Co. Swimbait in the natural light color as a trailer, plus a 5- or 6-inch Scottsboro Tackle Co. Swimbait in the natural light color rigged on an 8/0 Owner Beast Flashy Swimmer 3/8-ounce belly-weighted hook, which has a small blade on its underside. The 5-inch bait was far more productive than the 6-incher. Gross figures he caught one keeper in the tournament on the dark swim jig, and the rest of his fish were split equally between the big swimbait and the white swim jig.

“When they quit biting the swimbait, it was almost like tricking them. It’s the craziest thing I ever saw,” he says. “The days they wouldn’t bite the swimbait, they’d crush the swim jig. The days I couldn’t get bit on the swim jig, they’d crush the swimbait.”

Unlike typical grass fishing, Gross didn’t have to rip his baits through the grass to get bites. He used the opposite approach and employed a slow-rolling presentation. When he made contact with grass, Gross just kept the bait coming. Erratic presentations didn’t produce any results.

To get bass out of the grass and into the boat, Gross fished with 50-pound-test braid on a Daiwa Tatula SV reel (7.3:1). He fished the swimbait on a 7-foot, 3-inch Fitzgerald Rods All Purpose Series extra-heavy rod, but dropped back to the same length and series in a heavy-action rod for the swim jig.

With another win already on his resume, Gross is just now getting into the real groove of the 2019 FLW Tour schedule for him. Next up is Lake Seminole, where he won a 2017 Costa FLW Series event. Then later in the spring are stops on two east Tennessee reservoirs: Cherokee and Chickamauga. Gross lives on Chickamauga.

It could be a big year for Buddy Gross.

“It [the win] is just going to carry a lot of momentum for me because I love Seminole,” Gross says. “If I have a favorite lake, even though I live on Chickamauga, my favorite lake is Seminole. It sets up good for me. It’s got a lot of the stuff I like to fish. I’m looking forward to it. I may not cash a check there, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Cashing a check would be great, but even if he doesn’t, Gross is already in good shape for the year. He’s $100,000 richer, and he’s the Lake Toho champion.

 

Top 10 pros

1. Buddy Gross – Chickamauga, Ga. – 85 - 12 (20) – $102,700

2. John Cox – DeBary, Fla. – 81 - 2 (20) – $30,600

3. Darrell Davis – Dover, Fla. – 78 - 7 (20) – $25,000

4. Tommy Dickerson – Orange, Texas – 76 - 14 (20) – $20,000

5. Josh Douglas – Isle, Minn. – 72 - 8 (20) – $19,000

6. Wade Strelic – Alpine, Calif. – 71 - 4 (20) – $18,000

7. Joseph Webster – Winfield, Ala. – 66 - 0 (20) – $17,000

8. Scott Martin – Clewiston, Fla. – 65 - 10 (20) – $16,000

9. Aaron Britt – Yuba City, Calif. – 64 - 7 (19) – $15,000

10. Tyler Woolcott – Port Orange, Fla. – 64 - 3 (20) – $14,000

Complete results

Tags: bass  toho  kissimmee  buddy-gross  scottsboro  swimbait  swim-jig  curtis-niedermier  headline-story  2019-02-07-lake-toho 

Previewing the Potomac

Previewing the Potomac

Just two days separate the final day of the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All-American and the start of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship, both on the Potomac River. Given the time of year the pair of tournaments land on the fishing calendar, it’s fair to expect some big things from both events. READ MORE »

Matlock Flips Bushes for Title

Matlock Flips Bushes for Title

Tyler Matlock of Omaha, Arkansas, caught 11 pounds, 9 ounces of bass Saturday to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Arkie Division tournament on Greers Ferry Lake. For his efforts, Matlock took home $3,205. READ MORE »

Quaintance Makes it Two on Pickwick

Quaintance Makes it Two on Pickwick

Chris Quaintance of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mississippi Division tournament on Pickwick Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 5 ounces. Quaintance netted $4,119 for his victory. READ MORE »

Laufenberg Claims Mighty Miss Title

Laufenberg Claims Mighty Miss Title

Cade Laufenberg of Goodview, Minnesota, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division opener on the Mississippi River at La Crosse presented by Navionics with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 7 ounces. For his day on the water, Laufenberg pocketed $4,355. READ MORE »

Chico Wins on Clear

Chico Wins on Clear

The Chico State University duo of Carson Leber of Dixon, California, and Chad Sweitzer of Chico, California, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Clear Lake presented by Costa Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 9 ounces. The victory earned the Wildcats’ bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

Sales Earns Top Spot on Cherokee

Sales Earns Top Spot on Cherokee

Hunter Sales of Blaine, Tennessee, caught five bass Saturday weighing 14 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Volunteer Division event on Lake Cherokee. Sales earned $3,455 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Burger Smashes 23-9 on Chesapeake Bay

Burger Smashes 23-9 on Chesapeake Bay

Jason Burger of Bridgeton, New Jersey, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Northeast Division opener on the Chesapeake Bay presented by Navionics Saturday with five bass weighing 23 pounds, 9 ounces. For his efforts, Burger pocketed $4,000. READ MORE »

Boehle Runs Shad Spawn, Points for W

Boehle Runs Shad Spawn, Points for W

Adam Boehle of Warrenton, Missouri, caught five bass Saturday weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake of the Ozarks. Boehle pocketed $4,938 for his win in the event presented by Navionics and 250 points in the Ozark Division presented by Bassing Bob standings. The winner of the division’s Angler of the Year title after five tournaments will win $3,000. READ MORE »

Allman Wins on Wylie

Allman Wins on Wylie

Mike Allman of York, South Carolina, caught five bass Saturday weighing 14 pounds, 7 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) South Carolina Division event on Lake Wylie. Allman earned $2,500 for his efforts. READ MORE »

2019 BFL All-American Roster

2019 BFL All-American Roster

The 98 best boaters and co-anglers from FLW’s grassroots ranks will compete on the Potomac River May 30-June 1 in the 2019 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All-American presented by General Tire. READ MORE »

Blaine's Sales Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Cherokee

Blaine's Sales Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Cherokee

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. – Boater Hunter Sales of Blaine, Tennessee, caught five bass Saturday weighing 14 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Volunteer Division event on Lake Cherokee. Sales earned $3,455 for his efforts... READ MORE »

Lake County Drops 23-9 on Clear Lake

Lake County Drops 23-9 on Clear Lake

The Lake County High School Fishing Club duo of Cooper Goff and Nathan Phillips, both of Kelseyville, California, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 23 pounds, 9 ounces to win the 2019 Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Clear Lake Open. READ MORE »

Lake County High School Fishing Club Wins 2019 Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Clear Lake Open

Lake County High School Fishing Club Wins 2019 Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Clear Lake Open

LAKEPORT, Calif. – The Lake County High School Fishing Club duo of Cooper Goff and Nathan Phillips, both of Kelseyville, California, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing... READ MORE »

Grover Grabs Clear Lake Title

Grover Grabs Clear Lake Title

Clear Lake is always a fun place to fish, but wind, rain and cooler temperatures made things tough for the second stop of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats, and the famed fishery wasn't as kind as it can be with many pros struggling as the week went on. Kyle Grover, on the other hand, only got better as the tournament progressed. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 2

Drop-shotting tules was the main pattern for Uribe and knowing how to reach the fish made all the difference. Adjusting to the conditions was definitely key on day two, and no doubt the rest of the top pros had to go with the flow to stay in sight of the title. READ MORE »

Uribe in Charge on Clear Lake

Uribe in Charge on Clear Lake

When weather woes nixed Joe Uribe Jr.’s initial objective, the resilient angler from Surprise, Ariz., refocused his effort and sacked up a limit of 19 pounds, 5 ounces to take over the lead on day two of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina with a total weight of 41-13. READ MORE »

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 2

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 2

Clear Lake was in a foul, foul mood this morning for the second day’s launch of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event, which is presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina. Absent was the drizzly rain of yesterday, but the tradeoff was a 15- to 20-mph northwest wind that turned the lake into a washing machine. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 1

Lane Olson of Forest Grove, Ore., benefitted from a double dose of Clear Lake kickers when he found the right set of docks in a major spawning bay. Finesse baits did the trick up shallow for the day one leader at the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats. Other slow presentations served his brief offshore work. Handling the day’s weather challenges was a big part of Olson’s success.  Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

Olson Out in Front at Clear Lake

Olson Out in Front at Clear Lake

Lane Olson of Forest Grove, Ore., was able to separate himself from the pack on day one of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats with a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds. One of four anglers to crack 20 pounds, Olson leads second-place pro Joe Uribe Jr. by 2 1/2 pounds. The rest of the top 20 are packed together with just a few pounds separating them.  READ MORE »

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 1

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 1

The weather system pushing through northern California brought dreary, drizzly conditions interspersed with occasional steady spells of light rain for day one of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event, which is presented by ranger Boats and hosted by Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina. The sun made only a few peeking appearances, but there were several bright spots in the morning’s activity. READ MORE »