UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Dale Hollow Lake

College Championship Kicks Off on Harris

College Championship Kicks Off on Harris

Championship week for any sport is as exciting as it gets and it’s no different for the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance this week on the Harris Chain. Competing for a $30,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard, 162 college bass fishing clubs will have free range of the chain to vie for the title.

With the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event taking place last week, the field will have a pretty good idea of what’s happening on the Harris Chain at the moment. While the weather has been inconsistent to say the least, what went down last week for the Pro Circuit anglers may still be a sign of what to expect over the next three days.

Top 10 patterns from Harris

A major wave of fish have already spawned on the chain, though, but there are almost always some big girls shallow in the winter in Florida. Still, the Pro Circuit event taught us that the offshore grass bite can be really consistent, and it's likely to produce well again this week. 

“This tournament will be different than [the Pro Circuit],” says Marshall Wiggins of the University of Central Florida. “There are still a lot of fish that want to be shallow and it seems like there are some big ones up shallow, but the changing conditions make it tough to consistently get a big bite.”

Living near the Harris Chain gives Wiggins experience that may come in handy during an event where yet another cold front can mix things up.

“I think a tactic like Laramy (Strickland) did could play again, but there has been a lot of pressure on those shallow fish and there aren’t a lot of shallow areas like what he was fishing. But there should be more fish offshore and I don’t think canal fishing will be a major player. I’m sure there will be a few oddball fish caught spawning, but we’re on the backside of the spawn and I think the offshore grass bite is going to get better each day.”

Fellow Floridian and competitor Trever Stephens of Polk State College agrees that the offshore grass bite could be the ticket. 

“I think it’s a prespawn bite still,” says Stephens. “The cold front this week will either push them up or pull them out. But there’s no doubt there’s a new wave of fish staging to spawn.

“I think (today) you can run what you learned from practice, but by tomorrow with that cold front it’ll be a whole different ballgame. Today will be the make-or-break day.”

While cold fronts are notorious for shutting down the bite in Florida, both Wiggins and Stephens know there is enough quality fish swimming in the chain for anything to happen. And that prefrontal conditions could shape up for several big bags to be caught on Wednesday.

“I fish the chain a lot and in my experience when it’s rainy, nasty but warm, the fish like to eat,” Wiggins says. “That’s my feeling for today anyway from what I’ve seen. A lot of people say that these fish need the sun to bite, but some of my favorite days are when I need to bust out the rain suit like today.”

The weather may not want to cooperate this week, but that doesn’t necessarily tip the odds in the favor of local teams. History with FLW in Florida will show – especially last week at the Pro Circuit – that sometimes not having experience at the Harris Chain can bode well. That makes it even more interesting considering that the majority of the field this week is comprised of schools from California to Texas to Wisconsin to Pennsylvania and almost everywhere between.

As far as winning weights are concerned, both Wiggins and Stephens feel it’ll take around 18 pounds a day – though the possibility is higher if a school can find the right fish or have a 30-pound-plus day like Laramy Strickland did in the Pro Circuit event.

“The best part about this lake is that it’s late February and there are giant fish that live in here,” Wiggins says. “A few of the right bites can go a long ways, and there are plenty of them in here.”

 

Tournament details

Format: The entire field will compete for two days. The top 10 teams based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winners determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7:00 a.m. ET

Takeoff Location: Venetian Gardens, located at 201 E. Lake Harris Drive, Leesburg, Fla.

Weigh-In Time: 3:00 p.m. ET

Weigh-In Location: Venetian Gardens

Complete details

Tags: kyle-wood  morning-story  2020-02-26-national-championship 

Au Best in the West

Au Best in the West

While 2020 has been a year to forget for many people, Tai Au will cherish it forever. Though Au has dabbled in Toyota Series competition over the span of nearly a decade, this was the first year he went all-in to fish the entire division. In doing so, he won the season opener on Lake Havasu, banked a top 10 on the California Delta and closed it out with another win on Clear Lake to handily win the Western Division Strike King Angler of the Year title. READ MORE »

Fall Showdown Starts at Rayburn

Fall Showdown Starts at Rayburn

Takeoff for day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division finale on Sam Rayburn was about as perfect as it gets. Light wind paired with crisp, comfortable temperatures and plenty of sun provided an auspicious beginning to the Toyota Series event on the sprawling Texas reservoir. READ MORE »

Fall Junk Fishing Jam Starts at Norman

Fall Junk Fishing Jam Starts at Norman

The third and final Toyota Series Eastern Division event is off and rolling this morning on Lake Norman near Charlotte, N.C. While Norman has hosted a couple of past Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit events and is a popular stop for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League, this is the first time the Toyota Series has taken a crack at the large Carolina lake. READ MORE »

Plains Division Kicks Off on Dardanelle

Plains Division Kicks Off on Dardanelle

All the major bass tournaments Lake Dardanelle has hosted since 2004 have followed different scripts, and the Toyota Series Plains Division event that kicks off today will be no different. With a schedule full of changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first event of the Plains Division season, and it’s the last division to kick off in 2020. READ MORE »

High Water on Tap for College Open

High Water on Tap for College Open

By mid-September, Kentucky Lake can be absolutely lights-out when you find a big school up on its many shallow bars. This week, during the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open, that’s probably not going to be the case – instead of locking a topwater in their hands, college teams are likely to take a much more varied approach. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac

Some of the top 10 pros chose a power approach to cover vast stretches of grass, while others slowed down with some of the finesse tactics that always seem to play on the Potomac. READ MORE »

Maupin Takes Potomac Title

Maupin Takes Potomac Title

The dock talk all week at the Potomac River for the Toyota Series Eastern Division event was that fishing was tough. That rang true again today as the wind help stall the tide making things tough for most of the top 10. James Maupin, however, kept his streak of consistency alive as he weighed his third 13-pound-plus limit of the week to move from second to first with 40 pounds, 11 ounces overall. For the win, Maupin earns his first FLW trophy and over $24,000.  READ MORE »

Potomac Midday Update – Day 3

Potomac Midday Update – Day 3

Clouds have lingered throughout the morning, which most of the top 10 were thankful for as the bite has been better than it was during practice when conditions were calm and sunny. READ MORE »

Roten Best from the Back on the Potomac

Roten Best from the Back on the Potomac

James Roten has had a phenomenal year as a co-angler on the Toyota Series. He started it off with a top 10 in the Central Division event on Lake Chickamauga back in February. Then, weeks later he finished second on Hartwell to kick off the Eastern Division. Now, the 53-year-old mechanic claimed the top prize in just his fourth Toyota Series event ever. READ MORE »

Vaughan Cruising at the Potomac

Vaughan Cruising at the Potomac

The leaderboard definitely saw some shuffling on day two of the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on the Potomac River, but Wayne Vaughan managed to keep the top spot thanks to another solid day. Weighing 14 pounds, 10 ounces today, Vaughan’s total now stands at 31-10 and gives him a nearly 5-pound lead over second place. If he can put it together for one more day, Vaughan will take home his second Toyota Series title in just as many years. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Saturday’s final round will feature drastically different weather with sunshine in the forecast and with it being a weekend there will be plenty of people out enjoying the resource. READ MORE »

Potomac Midday Update – Day 2

Potomac Midday Update – Day 2

Clouds once again greeted the field for day two of the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on the Potomac River and the fish were biting this morning. With low tide this morning around 8:40 a.m. ET – about an hour and a half later than yesterday – more anglers had time to capitalize on the strong bite revolving around that window today. READ MORE »

Vaughan Out Front on the Potomac

Vaughan Out Front on the Potomac

Taking the lead after day one with 17 pounds, Wayne Vaughan separated himself from the rest of the tightly-packed top 10 thanks in large part to his 6-5 kicker. Vaughan’s past experience on the river is playing a role this week, but a bite like that helps the cause almost anywhere in the country. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

September is a tough time to fish almost any body of water and while the Potomac River may not be showing its true colors for the second stop of the Toyota Series Eastern Division the top pros are making do. Wayne Vaughan dropped 17 pounds on the scale to take the lead thanks in large part to his 6-5 kicker. Behind him, however, is a pack of hungry pros – some locals, some not – separated by just a few pounds with their sights set on fishing in the championship round. READ MORE »

Potomac Midday Update – Day 1

Potomac Midday Update – Day 1

It was a gloomy start to the first day of competition for the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on the Potomac River, and though it seems like a fishy day, so far the fish don’t seem to think so. READ MORE »

Southwestern Division Hits Fort Gibson

Southwestern Division Hits Fort Gibson

The Toyota Series Southwestern Division rolls on with the Toyota Series at Fort Gibson Lake. Hosted by the Wagoner 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 »

Southeastern Div. Wraps on Neely Henry

Southeastern Div. Wraps on Neely Henry

The Toyota Series Southeastern Division is wrapping its 2020 season with the third and final stop at Neely Henry Lake out of Gadsden, Ala., this week. While Neely Henry is often a perennial stop on Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine schedules, this is the first time the Toyota Series has visited the winding reservoir along the Coosa River in northeast Alabama. READ MORE »

Top 10 Locked for Championship Round

Top 10 Locked for Championship Round

The Knockout Round of the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota was a good one, with plenty of fish caught by most everyone, especially the anglers in the top 10. Winning the round, Spencer Shuffield caught 25 bass for 86 pounds, 10 ounces. Behind him, Joey Cifuentes tallied over 77 pounds, and Grae Buck, Bradford Beavers, Casey Scanlon and Rusty Salewske all banked over 60 pounds. READ MORE »

Mitchell’s First Look at Sturgeon Bay

Mitchell’s First Look at Sturgeon Bay

Having fished as a pro on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit for five years now, Kurt Mitchell started coming into his own during the 2019 season. That year he qualified for the FLW Cup – for the first time in his career – by finishing 24th in the points. This year, Mitchell kept rolling along cashing checks in five of the six Pro Circuit tournaments to settle at 31st in the points and now finds himself in his second straight championship. READ MORE »

Curveballs Ahead for Cal Delta Field

Curveballs Ahead for Cal Delta Field

The California Delta is a frequent stop for anglers in the Toyota Series Western Division. The storied fishery has hosted countless FLW tournaments over the years, but this year is different, as the event was rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of the traditional May or late-September dates for the stop, the rescheduled date is this week, right in the middle of August. The new time of year will surely make things different than previous years. READ MORE »