UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Norman

Red-Hot Spawn Bite Expected at Havasu

Red-Hot Spawn Bite Expected at Havasu
Ted Stewner

Spawning bass and spring break will be the story lines at the Toyota Series Western Division opener at Lake Havasu in mid-March. 

Well, OK … the spawning bass will certainly be the main focus of the anglers. But dealing with traffic from pleasure boaters will definitely contribute to the pros’ decision-making, particularly on the weekend. 

Regardless of the extra boat wake, this should be an all-out slugfest of a tournament, where bass will be caught in all stages of the spawn, and targeting a mix of largemouths and smallmouths will likely be necessary for a shot at winning. 

 

Tournament details

Toyota Series Western Division

Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

March 12-14, 2020

Hosted by Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau

 

How the fishery sets up

Situated on the border between California and Arizona, Lake Havasu is a desert reservoir that’s home to healthy populations of both largemouth and smallmouth bass. According to local pro Joe Uribe Jr., the fishery is healthy, and there are gobs of bass to be caught. He would know, too. Uribe has four top-10 finishes, including two wins, in Toyota Series events on Lake Havasu. He also finished second in the 2020 WON Bass Arizona Open on Havasu in early February.

Havasu is an oasis of sorts where tourists flock to enjoy watersports and other outdoor pursuits, in addition to fishing. And in spring, it’ll be a busy spot. 

Fish cribs, or man-made fish-attracting cover, are common fishing targets during the prespawn. There are also natural points and rocky structure throughout the lake, plus tules and brush in shallow tributaries.

 

What to expect

Typically, FLW visits Lake Havasu in early February, but this season’s mid-March timing presents new conditions. For starters, it falls on spring break, and Uribe expects boat traffic to be heavy. He says running up the river can get a little dicey due to boat wake, resulting in longer run times than normal during peak boating hours.

It also puts the tournament right on top of the spawn.

“Typically, when we’re there in early February, the fish are still in their winter patterns,” says Uribe. “They really haven’t moved up yet. Water levels are usually low because they draw the water down a little bit. Low water at Havasu is about 3 feet [down]. 

“In March, we’ve got another full moon coming up [March 9], and it’s going to be full-blown spawn. The first wave is already up now [the first couple days of March]. So by the time we’re there, I imagine the next wave is going to come up. The smallmouth were up even a couple weeks ago when the water was in the upper 50s. Now the water temperature is already in the low 60s, and the first wave of largemouth are up. I imagine fishing is going to be really good.”

The extended forecast looks great as well with lows in the upper 50s and highs in the low 80s during tournament week. Wind or boat wake might make sight-fishing difficult in unprotected waters, but most likely it won’t be too challenging to put a limit in the livewell. 

Uribe, in strategizing for another win, has set his goal at 18 to 20 pounds per day. He predicts the cut will fall on about 16 pounds per day and expects a traffic jam of pros in the 13- to 14-pound range. He also wouldn’t be surprised to see a limit or two in the neighborhood of 25 pounds. 

The species breakdown will be interesting to see given the timing.

“The smallmouth are so predominant as far as that 3- to 4-pound class now, but definitely are becoming a big player,” Uribe adds. “To win that tournament, you’re going to have to have a couple big largemouth, and when I’m talking big largemouth I mean 6-plus. You win it with largemouth. The smallmouth are, I think, more accessible. The largemouth are going to be a little harder to find.”

 

Baits and techniques

Finesse is popular on Havasu due to its clear water. Still, there are other factors in play.

“To do well in this event you’re going to have to mark several good, quality largemouth on beds and catch some smallmouth,” says Uribe. “If it gets windy, that’s going to make it difficult to sight-fish. Guys can traditionally fish with jigs and drop-shots. Reaction baits can definitely always catch them if the wind permits it. If it’s flat calm, pretty much finesse baits are going to dominate.”

Much of the better largemouth fishing this time of year takes place up the river or in the back of shallow tributaries. Tules and brush provide the fish with cover in which to hide. Getting them out will take some heavy-cover tactics.

Most of the smallmouth fishing will go down on main-lake points, rocky habitat, shallow reefs and beach areas.

Where and how the top pros catch them, we’ll have to wait and see. For now, we know we can expect gorgeous weather and a lot of fish catches when the Western Division gets rolling.

Tags: curtis-niedermier  pre-tournament  2020-03-12-havasu 

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 »

Northern Division Finishes at Detroit River

Northern Division Finishes at Detroit River

The 2020 Toyota Series Northern Division will wrap up in Trenton, Mich., Sept. 17-19, at the Detroit River. Hosted by the Detroit Sports Commission, 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 »

Eastern Division Heads to the Potomac

Eastern Division Heads to the Potomac

The Toyota Series Eastern Division rolls on with the Toyota Series at the Potomac River. Hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners, 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 »

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 »

Practice at Sturgeon Bay with Shuffield

Practice at Sturgeon Bay with Shuffield

Spencer Shuffield has had a tremendous season on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and he capped it off with a top 10 finish at Lake Erie. Now, he’s getting ready for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay, which has only the top 50 Pro Circuit anglers in it and will be a Major League Fishing (MLF) format event. READ MORE »

Big Prizes at Stake for College Open

Big Prizes at Stake for College Open

After being postponed due to COVID-19, the annual Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open is set to take place on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in mid-September for the sixth consecutive season. This time around, however, the stakes are even higher, as teams compete for a brand-new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat and 20 spots in the 2021 National Championship. READ MORE »

Delta Hosts Western Restart

Delta Hosts Western Restart

The 2020 Toyota Series Western Division is set to return to competition next week in Oakley, California, with the Toyota Series event at the California Delta, Aug. 19-21. Hosted by the City of Oakley, the three-day tournament will feature a return to action for the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers as they cast 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 »

Previewing the TITLE on Sturgeon Bay

Previewing the TITLE on Sturgeon Bay

The culmination of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season, the top 50 pros in the standings are headed to the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay. Fishing with the Major League Fishing (MLF) catch, weigh and immediate release format, the winner will take home $200,000 and be the first to win the new championship event. READ MORE »

Day Three on Erie with Gelles

Day Three on Erie with Gelles

Hailing from Pingree, Idaho, Kyle Gelles is about to wrap up his first season on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. Currently, he sits 56th in the Angler of the Year standings, and with a solid finish this week could punch his ticket to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay in a few weeks. READ MORE »

Cruising Erie with Wall

Cruising Erie with Wall

In his second year as a professional on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Jacob Wall finds himself in a position he never thought possible with one event left in the regular season. This week, Wall will not only have a chance to win the final Pro Circuit Super Tournament of the year on Lake Erie, but he’ll also be competing for one of the most coveted titles in the sport as he sits second in the Pro Circuit points race – Angler of the Year. READ MORE »

Pro Circuit Heads to Sandusky

Pro Circuit Heads to Sandusky

The season finale of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit will take place on Lake Erie, out of Sandusky, Ohio, on August 11-14. The third of three special Super Tournaments, over 200 pros from FLW and Major League Fishing (MLF) will fish in the event. The winner will take home $125,000 and the event will decide who wins the Angler of the Year title, the Polaris Rookie of the Year title and which Pro Circuit anglers qualify for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay. READ MORE »

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 2

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 2

Fishing creek ends continued to be the theme on day two of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake. Although the current was not running as much in the creeks as yesterday, the cooler shadier waters in the back of creeks were still producing for top anglers once again.  READ MORE »

Mississippi River Practice with Buck

Mississippi River Practice with Buck

In his fourth year on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Grae Buck has really come into his own. A standout collegiate angler at Penn State, he’s now in the thick of the Angler of the Year race and cruising toward qualification for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota. READ MORE »

Scouting Pool 8 with Ormond

Scouting Pool 8 with Ormond

For Jake Ormond, this is his first time fishing north of Tennessee, and thus his first time fishing the upper Mississippi. He’s not the only one lacking Mississippi River experience in the field, but considering many of the Major League Fishing (MLF) anglers that are part of the Super Tournament field have competed on the river a number of times, he’s got his work cut out for him. READ MORE »

Summertime Shootout on Tap at Wheeler

Summertime Shootout on Tap at Wheeler

Summertime on the Tennessee River may not be the prime time to hit the water, but the second stop of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division on Wheeler Lake will certainly showcase how diverse of a fishery it can be when the tournament takes place July 30 - Aug. 1. READ MORE »

Looking Ahead to the Mississippi River 

Looking Ahead to the Mississippi River 

With just two events left in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season, it’s time to turn attention to the northern part of the country. Presented by OPTIMA Batteries, the Pro Circuit Super Tournament on the Mississippi River out of Stoddard, Wis., will not only crown a winner with a $125,000 payday but also shape the Angler of the Year race. READ MORE »

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

After a four-month hiatus, it’s almost time for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mississippi Division to get back after it. The season resumes on July 18 and July 19 with back-to-back tournaments on Pickwick Lake. While each tournament may fish a bit like a two-day event, each day of competition is a standalone tournament with a winner crowned after each day. READ MORE »

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

There’s nothing better than clear water and big smallmouths, and that’s exactly what the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Michigan Division plans to deliver this year. The division, which is presented by ARE, is set to open the season July 18 on Lake St. Clair in what should be a heavyweight showdown of smallmouths. READ MORE »

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Piedmont Division continues its season with back-to-back tournaments on Kerr Lake on July 18 and 19. READ MORE »

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

After kicking off the season on Lake Monroe with a double-header at the end of June, the Hoosier Division of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine turns east for stop No. 3 on the Ohio River at Tanners Creek. READ MORE »