UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Cumberland

Big Prespawn Potential at Toledo Bend

Big Prespawn Potential at Toledo Bend

Toledo Bend Reservoir

Many, La.

Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2020

Hosted by Sabine Parish Tourist Commission

 

About the fishery

Toledo Bend is a legendary reservoir that straddles the border between Texas and Louisiana. It spans some 65 miles along the impounded Sabine River, which runs north to south, and sprawls across about 185,000 acres at full pool. Though Toledo Bend has a number of major tributaries along its length, the bulk of the reservoir is its straight, wide-open main-lake span.

While Toledo Bend’s deepest water surpasses 100 feet and anglers frequently catch bass deeper than 20, it’s well-known for its shallow stump and timber fields that are home to some real giants. The fish benefit from Florida-strain genetics thanks to stocking programs and frequently surpass double-digits.

 

The biggest sack of the event pushed Russell Cecil into the lead at Toledo Bend.

Last time

The FLW Series hasn’t been to Toledo Bend since late March 2014. Russell Cecil won that tournament with a three-day weight of 61 pounds, 9 ounces, which included a massive 29-2 second-day limit. Cecil sight-fished with a Big Bite Baits WarMouth throughout the event.

Denny Brauer won the 2013 FLW Series event on Toledo Bend in mid-February with 56-8 in three days. Saddled by an injury and limited a little bit due to rough water, Brauer stayed close to takeoff and caught his fish on a Strike King Premier Pro-Model Jig around hydrilla.

Last season, FLW Pro Circuit rookie Darold Gleason, who guides on Toledo Bend, won a weather-shortened Bassmaster Open on his home lake in late February. He covered water, mixing it up with a Strike King 6XD, a V&M The Flatline Pacemaker Football Jig, a 6th Sense Cloud 9 C15 crankbait and a V&M Chopstick on a Carolina rig. Gleason’s two-day winning weight was 40-2.

Finally, the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Cowboy Division opened its 2019 season on Toledo Bend on Jan. 26. Local angler Cody Pitt won the tournament with 24-5 fishing a Strike King 6XD crankbait for prespawn fish in a creek channel and on the main lake.

While those tournaments are helpful for predicting winning weights in late winter and early spring, anglers will experience much different conditions on Toledo Bend in 2020.

 

Russell Cecil

What to expect this time

Recent extreme water-level fluctuations have left their mark on Toledo Bend. High water the last couple of springs hindered hydrilla growth, says Gleason. Then last year the lake was drawn down for dam maintenance, which more or less finished off the grass.

Toledo Bend is still low. The water level is currently at 165.58 feet above sea level. Full pool is 172 feet, which is where the lake stood one year ago. Anglers can monitor water levels on the Water Data for Texas website.

As a result of low water and the lack of grass, anglers will need to adjust their approach in the FLW Series event.

“The shallow fish are still going to get on shallow cover. They don’t have grass, so they’re going to relate to stumps and timber,” Gleason says. “There are deep prespawn fish as well. Generally, Toledo’s a great lake for guys to do what they’re good at. You can find the water to meet your preferences. It should be a good event if we don’t get cold, muddy water. I expect it to take close to the 20-pound range each day to win.”

Fellow guide Colby Miller, who’s frequented the FLW Series Southwestern Division the last few years, and FLW Pro Circuit standout Nick LeBrun agree with Gleason’s prediction. They all figure somewhere between 17 and 22 pounds per day will put an angler in the hunt for the win, while 13 to 14 pounds per day will make the cut.

 

Nick LeBrun

Baits and techniques

Deep, shallow and in between will all play on Toledo Bend. Offshore anglers will catch fish dragging football jigs or Carolina rigs, or cranking with deep plugs. Hard-bottom areas with stumps or brush will draw their focus.

Staging areas closer to spawning bays will most likely get even more attention from anglers. Bass should be set up on secondary points and creek channels or even on lead-in banks into spawning pockets. Rat-L-Traps and other lipless crankbaits might play, even though there’s little grass, and ChatterBaits, hollow swimbaits and square-bills will also work.

If conditions are right, LeBrun thinks we might even see some bass on beds, but it all depends on Mother Nature.

“The prespawners are going to be the biggest player,” he says. “If you have cold water temps still in the 50s, those prespawners are going to be piled up. If you get some warm nights, and that water’s in the upper 50s to 60s, you could have some going to the bank. It’s not uncommon to have an early wave of spawners hit if the water temp is high. If it’s a warming trend that week, guys shouldn’t be afraid to fish really shallow.”

 

Nick LeBrun

3 critical factors

1. Water levels and navigation – It’s critical in this tournament that boaters pay attention to the marked navigation channels. Stumps and timber outside these boat lanes pose serious risks at normal water levels, but with the reservoir still more than 6 feet low, the hazards are even greater. LeBrun and Gleason suggest idling to reach shallow areas outside the channel, even if it cuts into practice and fishing time.

2. The wind – With its wide-open layout, Toledo Bend can really get riled up in the wind. Anglers will need to account for increased travel time when planning on fishing areas far from takeoff. Likewise, it’s not always possible to zigzag through waves or navigate the calmest waters due to the need to stay in the boat lanes. Boaters should be prepared for windy situations.

3. Warming or cooling trends – The weather in the last week or so leading up to the tournament will dictate how this event shakes out. If it’s cold and blustery, LeBrun says the biggest bass will pile up together in prespawn staging areas to wait out the conditions. But as soon as it starts warming, they start working their way shallower.

Tags: toledo-bend  -nick-lebrun  -fishing  -winter  -texas  -lsu  curtis-niedermier  pre-tournament 

Marietta Bassmasters Club Wins FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Lake Hartwell Open

Marietta Bassmasters Club Wins FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Lake Hartwell Open

ANDERSON, S.C. – The Marietta Bassmasters Club duo of Carter Koza of Marietta, Georgia, and Tanner Hadden of Evans, Georgia, brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 12 pounds, 10 ounces to win the FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Lake Hartwell Open in Anderson, South Carolina... READ MORE »

Tennessee’s Lipscomb University Wins Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Tournament on Lake Hartwell

Tennessee’s Lipscomb University Wins Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Tournament on Lake Hartwell

ANDERSON, S.C. – Lipscomb University angler Dalton Dowdy of Chapin, South Carolina, won the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI at Lake Hartwell event Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds even. The victory earned the Lipscomb bass club $2,000 and qualified Dowdy to compete in the 2021 College Fishing National... READ MORE »

MLF Announces Lake Chickamauga as Location of 2021 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open

MLF Announces Lake Chickamauga as Location of 2021 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open

BENTON, Ky. – Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that Dayton, Tennessee will host the 2021 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open on March 30-31 at Lake Chickamauga. The famed big-bass fishery has produced some of the best trophy bass fishing opportunities in the country and has served as a highly... READ MORE »

Louisiana’s Ruston High School Wins FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Sam Rayburn Open

Louisiana’s Ruston High School Wins FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Sam Rayburn Open

BROOKELAND, Texas – Louisiana’s Ruston High School duo of Garrett Pody and Zachary McMillan brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 16 pounds, 1 ounce to win the FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Sam Rayburn Open in Brookeland, Texas... READ MORE »

Stephen F. Austin University Wins Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Tournament on Sam Rayburn

Stephen F. Austin University Wins Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Tournament on Sam Rayburn

BROOKELAND, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin University team of Cooper Thor of Mansfield, Texas, and Cody Barchenger of Taylor, Texas, won the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI at Sam Rayburn event Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 7 ounces. The victory earned the Stephen F. Austin bass club $2,000 and qualified them to compete in the 2021 College Fishing... READ MORE »

Breaking Down the All-American Roster

Breaking Down the All-American Roster

One of the longest-running championships in bass fishing, the All-American is often considered to be the pinnacle of the grassroots level and has launched the careers of anglers like Shaw Grigsby, Jacob Wheeler, Jeremy Lawyer and many more throughout the years. READ MORE »

Previewing the All-American

Previewing the All-American

Originally set for the beginning of May, the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP is now slated for November 11-13 on Lake Hartwell. The All-American brings together the best of the best from the Phoenix Bass Fishing League ranks as well as top anglers from the TBF, college and high school ranks.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Dale Hollow

Top 10 Patterns from Dale Hollow

There’s no way around it. Dale Hollow was fishing tough during the Toyota Series Central Division finale. Ultimately, it was Adam Wagner and a mega-school he found in 50 feet of water that got the job done. For the rest of the top 10, it was a little bit of everything. READ MORE »

Dale Hollow Midday Update – Day 2

Dale Hollow Midday Update – Day 2

Despite some hopeful optimism that the cold front that moved in overnight might turn on the bite, day two of the Toyota Series Central Division finale on Dale Hollow has been as slow as – or slower than – day one, and that’s saying something. READ MORE »

MLF Announces 2021 Abu Garcia College Fishing Schedule, Rules and Entry Dates

MLF Announces 2021 Abu Garcia College Fishing Schedule, Rules and Entry Dates

BENTON, Ky. – Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today the schedule, rules, payouts and entry dates for the 2021 Abu Garcia College Fishing season, culminating in the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance on Grand Lake in Grove, OK, as well as advancement opportunities for anglers to compete as boaters and co-anglers in the 2021... READ MORE »

Previewing Dale Hollow

Previewing Dale Hollow

When the Toyota Series Central Division wraps up its season on Dale Hollow Lake next week – a lake known for its smallmouth fishing, thanks in big part for producing the world record smallmouth back in 1955 – its anglers probably won’t be weighing in masses of brown fish. READ MORE »

Southwestern Division Wraps on Rayburn

Southwestern Division Wraps on Rayburn

The Toyota Series Southwestern Division will wrap up its season this week at Sam Rayburn. Hosted by the Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn Area Chamber of Commerce, 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 »

Plains Division Heads to the Ozarks

Plains Division Heads to the Ozarks

The 2020 Toyota Series Plains Division will continue with a tournament this weekend in Osage Beach, Missouri, with the Toyota Series at Lake of the Ozarks. Hosted by the Tri-County Lodging Association, 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 »

West Monroe High School Wins High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Ouachita River Open

West Monroe High School Wins High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Ouachita River Open

MONROE, La. – Louisiana’s West Monroe High School duo of Jay Cash and Jackson Lemoine caught four fish Saturday weighing 9 pounds, 11 ounces to win the FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Ouachita River Open event in Monroe, Louisiana. The event was hosted by the Monroe-West... READ MORE »

East Texas Baptist University Wins Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Tournament on Ouachita River

East Texas Baptist University Wins Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Tournament on Ouachita River

MONROE, La. – The East Texas Baptist University team of Grant Hendrix of Livingston, Texas, and Josh Manuel of Burleson, Texas, won the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI at the Ouachita River event Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 4 ounces. The victory earned the duo $2,000 and... READ MORE »

Major League Fishing and FLW Unify as One Brand

Major League Fishing and FLW Unify as One Brand

TULSA, Okla. – To further elevate the sport of tournament bass fishing and align multiple circuits as one company, Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today its unification with Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) as one brand, transitioning all FLW brand assets to MLF... READ MORE »

Simpson University Earns Win at Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Tournament on Clear Lake

Simpson University Earns Win at Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Tournament on Clear Lake

CLEARLAKE, Calif. – The Simpson University team of Luke Blanchard of Vancouver, Washington, and Nathan Phillips of Kelseyville, California, won the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI at Clear Lake event Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 13 ounces. The victory advanced... READ MORE »

Lake County High School Fishing Club Wins High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Clear Lake Open

Lake County High School Fishing Club Wins High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Clear Lake Open

CLEARLAKE, Calif. – The Lake County High School duo of Payton Lyndall and Tyler Brant brought five bass to the scale Sunday weighing 17 pounds, 14 ounces to win the FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Clear Lake Open in Clearlake, California... READ MORE »

Adrian College Wins Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Tournament on Chesapeake Bay

Adrian College Wins Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Tournament on Chesapeake Bay

EDGEWOOD, Md. – The Adrian College team of Grant Gallagher of Fremont, Ohio, and Ben Statly of Fenton, Michigan, won the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI at the Chesapeake Bay event Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 2 ounces. The victory earned the Adrian bass club... READ MORE »

Eastern Finale Set for Norman  

Eastern Finale Set for Norman  

The Toyota Series Eastern Division will wrap up its season this week at Lake Norman. Hosted by Visit Lake Norman, Charlotte & Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, 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 »