UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Dale Hollow Lake

Strickland Sticks 31-Pound Megabag

Strickland Sticks 31-Pound Megabag
Laramy Strickland

Laramy Strickland fished clean on day two of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on the Harris Chain, which is presented by Bad Boy Mowers. He fished so clean that he weighed in 31 pounds, 6 ounces – the biggest bag of the tournament so far – despite a cold front that shut down the bite for a lot of his competitors.

Complete results

For the Pro Circuit rookie and Harris Chain regular (he hails from nearby Bushnell, Fla.), the biggest difference between day one and day two was making the most of his opportunities.

“I had 14 pounds [day one], but I had three swimmers,” he explains. “I lost like two or three giants. Today, I caught my giants and I was out of there by 10 o’clock.”

Laramy Strickland

“There” meaning his best spot of the day, which Strickland unequivocally plans to hammer again on Sunday, the final day of the weather-shortened tournament. It’s a spot he doesn’t want to get too specific about, mostly because he knows how good it can produce for a second day and he doesn’t want the 30-angler final-day field to know too much about it.

“I’ve had it to myself, and I hope to keep it to myself,” he says. “I’m just going to go fishing and do what I do to know how to catch them, and I’m going to either hero or zero tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes.”

If Strickland’s spot is as good as it appeared to be on Saturday, the more likely result is going to be “hero.”

The Florida pro stuck with one primary bait on day two – an undisclosed flipping bait. He did cast around a Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Worm a bit, as one often does bass fishing in the Sunshine State, but for the most part, it was one bait and one technique in one area of the chain that did all the damage – and all before lunchtime.

Strickland’s most encouraging sign is that he laid off his fish so early in the day, accompanied by the fact that the cold, blustery weather helped his pattern. It’ll be warmer on the final day, but not necessarily warm by Florida standards, and the wind should still be blowing.

“I laid off my fish,” he says. “There is so much I haven’t fished in there, so we’re just going to go fishing tomorrow and see if I can catch a ‘dirty 30’ again.

“I wasn’t expecting that big of a weight. I thought I could catch around 20 [pounds], but the big ones bit today. I’ve got a bunch more. I hope it gets even colder.”

Laramy Strickland

The big ones weren’t just 6-pounders across the board, either. Strickland weighed in the biggest fish of the tournament with his 9-6 today (taking the Berkley Big Bass award), paired with another giant that went 8-12. That’s a great month fishing in Florida for some people, and Strickland did it in just a few hours.

And the craziest part? Strickland caught all his weight in just six bites on the juice.

“I do live here, so I just kind of run around to big fish areas and try to get a giant bite all day,” he says. “I fish big fish ways.”

It showed on day two, and it’s a bad sign for the rest of the field when the leader and local hammer is so excited about his prospects on Championship Sunday.

“I’m excited. I know that what’s happening,” he says. “What’s taking place is good, and I believe it’s going to hold for at least another day.

“Things are lining up to get good again.”

If day two was any indication, that’s no lie.

 

Jimmy Washam

2. Jimmy Washam – Covington, Tenn. – 41-13 (10)

Sometimes fishing based on prior knowledge and experience can be detrimental, and sometimes not having spent much – or any – time on a particular fishery can come in handy. That certainly has been the case for Tennessee pro Jimmy Washam this week.

“This is my first time in Florida, and I guess it kind of played to my advantage because I didn’t have any preconceived notions,” he says. “I didn’t know what was going to happen with this cold front, so I just went fishing and my pattern somewhat held up. I had to make a couple minor adjustments but got back on them and was really blessed with another big bite.”

That big bite came in the form of a 7-plus-pounder – his second in as many days. It’s hard to count on kicker fish, but Washam is sure hoping for another one on Sunday.

“All I can do is hope and pray for another big bite tomorrow,” he says. “I think I can put the quality in the boat, but I need that big one.”

Washam made several adjustments throughout the day, including tweaking his pattern just a bit to account for how fish were positioned based on the drastically different weather conditions from day one to day two. He found that more fish were tucked up tighter to cover and made the right adjustments to target those fish.

“From there, I started running tighter contours,” he says. “They wanted to be tighter to some thicker grass. I ran two or three places and was lucky to get a good fish or two off each one.

“I made a run back from down south in the Dora area into Eustis and went to hit a place I didn’t even fish Thursday. I caught a 4-pounder in practice and left it. I knew the wind was coming across at an angle I could actually fish it. I made two casts once I got lined up right and caught a 4-pounder and that one over 7 on back-to-back casts. It was just a one-cast deal.”

Hitting that key spot confirmed to Washam that the pattern he’s on is one that’s working and will continue to work on Sunday.

“My pattern has held up, and I’ve actually got a pattern instead of just an area deal,” he says. “The place I caught the big one, it just felt right at the time and it fit my pattern.”

He won’t get too specific about the pattern and his baits of choice just yet, only divulging that he’s fishing around grass with moving baits.

 

Hunter Freeman

3. Hunter Freeman – Monroe, La. – 39-6 (10)

Hunter Freeman caught four big fish off one spot on Saturday to anchor his 25-14 bag – the second-heaviest of the day.

“It’s a pretty simple place,” he explains. “It’s one cast; make it over and over and over. I’m not going to leave it tomorrow, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Freeman fished that area for about 30 minutes on day one but couldn’t dedicate time to it earlier in the day because of his boat draw. On Saturday, he spent just enough time to there to figure out exactly what kind of fish it’s holding.

“I have not caught a fish off it under 6 pounds,” he says.

To catch those fish, Freeman employed a Carolina rig and a lipless crankbait, but all his biggest fish came on the Carolina rig.

Freeman is going to spend all of Sunday fishing in that area, but he’s unsure of what it will have to offer – given the ever-changing weather conditions – with prespawn and postspawn fish moving in and out.

“I’ve caught two prespawners and the rest of them are post, so they’re moving out,” he adds. “If one more wave moves out, it could be ugly.”

 

Miles Burghoff

4. Miles Burghoff – Soddy-Daisy, Tenn. – 38-15 (10)

Like Freeman, Miles Burghoff has one area he really wants to hammer on Sunday, but he’s not entirely sure what it will offer considering the pressure that area has received over two tournament days.

“The fishing pressure really hurt my areas,” he says. “I’m fishing a canal, and when you have that many people on those hard lines, it’s really hard to have fishing pressure in there because the fish have nowhere to go, so everybody is hitting the same stuff.”

Cutting the field to 30 anglers on the final day should help, though, Burghoff made a couple adjustments on day two that helped him figure out a few things. If all goes well, his final-day bag should look more like his stringer on Thursday (26-8) than what he weighed in on Saturday (12-7).

One of those adjustments involved tying on a 3/4-ounce weight on his Texas rig to elicit more reaction strikes, as opposed to the 1/2-ounce weight he was previously using. Burghoff also switched the color of Z-Man Palmetto BugZ he was using to Bama bug because of the dingier water he was fishing, which seemed to help his bite. After changing weights, he immediately caught a 5-pounder. When he switched colors, he hooked into a 4-pounder right away.

Tomorrow may be all about adjustments, too, as Burghoff really only has one area, his primary canal, that he feels confident in.

“My goal is to win this thing, and so tomorrow, I’m going to go up there, and if I can’t get them flipping a couple miles of the best stretches, I should be out there by 10 o’clock and should know if I need to make some adjustments,” he says. “That place right there is where I need to be.”

 

Kyle Gelles

5. Kyle Gelles – Pingree, Idaho – 36-12 (10)

Like Burghoff, Idaho pro Kyle Gelles had a bit of a down day on Saturday. He still caught enough to jump into the top five but it wasn’t quite what he was hoping for from an area that produced so well on day one.

“I just never got a big bite,” he says. “I was around those types of fish, but it really died off for me this afternoon, where the other afternoon is where I did my damage.”

Fishing a huge flat covered with shell beds and several types of grasses, Gelles drifted around on day one and caught fish after fish to the tune of 21-3. Today, the big bite never came and “they were just eating it funny,” which Gelles attributes to the condition changes from day one to day two.

As a result, Gelles made some bait changes, but still stuck primarily with moving baits to probe the grass and other offshore cover.

“Today, the jerkbait came into play a lot more than it did the first day,” he explains. “I also just switched up to a regular swimbait trying to mix it up from the ChatterBait. I just couldn’t get bit on it first thing.”

The ChatterBait Gelles leaned on day one was a Z-Man ChatterBait Jack Hammer, 1/2 ounce in clearwater shad, which he tipped with a Keitech Swing Impact FAT in light hitch. When he went to just the swimbait, he stuck with the Keitech (3.8 and 5.8) in both light hitch and electric shad.

Unlike many pros this week, Gelles was throwing the swimbait and a jerkbait (Lucky Craft Pointer 110) around grass where he knew schools of shad were swimming around. On day one, he was able to lock on to those schools and catch bass feeding on them, but on Saturday, the wind was blowing enough to keep those shad on the move – and the bass with it.

Because of that, Gelles says he was having a hard time finding concentrations of bass, and, instead of catching three or four in a row like on day one, he was lucky to get a bite here and there.

“I’m fishing grass and shad, trying to follow the shad around a bit,” he says. “I just don’t think they set up like they did the first day. The wind had them blowing around.

“I don’t know what’s left out there. I leaned on them pretty hard today.”

 

 Top 10 pros

1. Laramy Strickland – Bushnell, Fla. – 46-0 (10)

2. Jimmy Washam – Covington, Tenn. – 41-13 (10)

3. Hunter Freeman – Monroe, La. – 39-6 (10)

4. Miles Brughoff – Soddy-Daisy, Tenn. – 38-15 (10)

5. Kyle Gelles – Pingree, Idaho – 36-12 (10)

6. Jared McMillan – Belle Glade, Fla. – 35-15 (10)

7. Ron Nelson – Berrien Springs, Mich. – 35-11 (10)

8. Casey Scanlon – Lake Ozark, Mo. – 35-4 (10)

9. Rusty Salewske – Alpine, Calif. – 34-3 (10)

10. Chad Warren – Sand Springs, Okla. – 34-1 (10)

Complete results

 

Tags: justin-onslow  headline-story  2020-02-20-harris-chain 

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 »

Laufenberg Claims Mighty Miss Prize

Laufenberg Claims Mighty Miss Prize

Boater Cade Laufenberg of Onalaska, Wisconsin, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 50 pounds, 1 ounce to win the no-entry fee Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Regional Championship at the Mississippi River. For his victory, Laufenberg earned $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and automatic entry into the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, June 3-5, at Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee. READ MORE »

Butler Runs Brush for Cherokee Win

Butler Runs Brush for Cherokee Win

Boater Josh Butler of Hayden, Alabama, brought a three-day total of 12 bass to the scale weighing 29 pounds, 3 ounces to win the no-entry fee Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Regional Championship at Lake Cherokee. For his victory, Butler earned $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and automatic entry into the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, June 3-5, at Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee. READ MORE »

Johnson Wins on Sam Rayburn

Johnson Wins on Sam Rayburn

Going into the final day, Blake Schroeder was just 3 ounces ahead of Aaron Johnson in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn. Tight to the end, both anglers brought more than 18 pounds to the scale, but Johnson’s 18-14 bag boosted his total to 54-14 and earned him the win. For the victory, Johnson takes home $31,751 and the second FLW win of his career. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Through two days of competition, it’s looking like the shallow grass bite is the deal in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn. Leading the way, Blake Schroeder had tallied a pair of 18-pound bags from shallow grass, and the pros behind him aren’t slacking on the grass game either. Heading into the final day, it’s going to be a true shootout for the win, with a Texas-sized kicker a bite away for everyone in the field. READ MORE »

Schroeder Slides Ahead on Rayburn

Schroeder Slides Ahead on Rayburn

Climbing from fourth to first, Blake Schroeder took over the lead in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn with his second-consecutive 18-pound bag. Weighing 18-3 on day one, the Texas pro put an even 18 pounds on the scale on day two for a 36-3 total. Behind him, the weights are stacked, and five other pros are within 5 pounds going into the final day on the big Texas lake. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn offered pretty good fishing and a lot of options. Anglers in the top 10 fished deep, shallow and in between to catch their fish, and no one pattern dominated the leaderboard. READ MORE »

Moore Sacks 21 on Rayburn

Moore Sacks 21 on Rayburn

Taking the lead on day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn, Cole Moore weighed an even 21 pounds to kick things off. Though the fishing was not really up to the massive heights it can reach on Rayburn, it was far from bad, and plenty of pros put together limits in the teens both shallow and deep. READ MORE »

Morrow Keeps Rolling

Morrow Keeps Rolling

Boater Troy Morrow of Eastanollee, Georgia, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 32 pounds even, to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Savannah River Division Super-Tournament at Lake Hartwell presented by Fish-Intel. For his victory, Morrow earned $6,415. READ MORE »

Boggs Takes Regional on Chickamauga

Boggs Takes Regional on Chickamauga

Boater Drew Boggs of Lebanon, Tennessee, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 40 pounds, 11 ounces to win the no-entry fee Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Regional Championship at Lake Chickamauga. For his victory, Boggs earned $61,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and automatic entry into the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, June 3-5, at Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee. READ MORE »

Daves Wins James River Regional

Daves Wins James River Regional

Pro Chris Daves of Spring Grove, Virginia, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 50 pounds, 1 ounces to win the no-entry fee Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Regional Championship on the James River. For his victory, Daves earned $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and automatic entry into the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, June 3-5, at Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee. READ MORE »

Cook Goes Wire-To-Wire

Cook Goes Wire-To-Wire

He put his name on the map as one to watch on day one. Today, Corey Cook put his name on the hardware as one of the best on Lake of the Ozarks right now. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

Lady Luck shines on us all sometimes, but sometimes she doesn’t. For this morning, at least, she sure wasn’t shining on Corey Cook READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

Scrapping plans and making long runs can be a scary deal, but the risk can be worth the reward. READ MORE »

Cook Still Leads on Lake of the Ozarks

Cook Still Leads on Lake of the Ozarks

Corey Cook stumbled a bit on day two of the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Lake of the Ozarks. Bringing in 15 pounds, 4 ounces, Cook weighed an average bag and boosted his total of 38-13, which is still more than 4 pounds ahead of second place. Behind Cook, Andy Newcomb is in second with 34-6, and Shane Long is in third with 31-9. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 2

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Toyota Series Plains Division on Lake of the Ozarks has started out pretty much like yesterday – pretty weather but pretty short on fish. READ MORE »

Cook Blasts 23-9 on Lake of the Ozarks

Cook Blasts 23-9 on Lake of the Ozarks

Day one of the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Lake of the Ozarks was pretty tough by the standards of the fishery, with just one angler cracking the 20-pound barrier. Blowing the doors off the competition, at least on day one, Corey Cook hammered out 23 pounds, 9 ounces to take more than a 6-pound lead over second place. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 1

When the fish are on the move, it can make life miserable for anglers. Day one of the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Lake of the Ozarks showcased that pretty well. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

The Toyota Series visited Lake of the Ozarks this exact same week in 2019, and it launched under torrential rains, gusting winds and a strobe light's worth of lightning that delayed the takeoff until 8:15 a.m. A year later, the weather couldn’t be more beautiful for the second stop of the Plains Division. READ MORE »

Wes Monroe Wins on the Ouachita River

Wes Monroe Wins on the Ouachita River

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. READ MORE »