UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Dale Hollow Lake

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.

 

Tournament Details

Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Michigan Division presented by ARE

Lake St. Clair

Harrison Township, Mich.

July 18, 2020

 

How the fishery sets up

Though the tournament launches out of St. Clair, anglers have a ton of water to run. They can fish up the St. Clair River almost to Lake Huron or run south into the Detroit River and Lake Erie. St. Clair is not technically a Great Lake, but it is in terms of being a heck of a smallmouth fishery (perhaps the best in the world at the moment).

St. Clair is a fairly flat and shallow lake loaded with grass, rock and sand that smallmouths love to roam near. Both the St. Clair and Detroit rivers in play are somewhat similar, with key current breaks and a mix of highly developed and very remote shoreline. Erie has little to no grass but plenty of shallow sand and rock as well as some truly special offshore rock and shoals that produce in the summer.

For all the fisheries, the focus will be on plentiful and huge smallmouths. Depending on the weather, postspawn or bedding smallmouths could hit the scale. In Erie, the smallies live mostly around rock and sand and chow down on gobies. In St. Clair, perch and shad enter the forage mix, and there’s plenty of grass for the fish to roam around in.

 

Scott Dobson

What to expect

With Canadian waters off-limits due to travel restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, anglers will be forced to stay in U.S. waters only, though that shouldn’t damper things too much.

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro and St. Clair specialist Scott Dobson knows just how stout a fishery St. Clair is no, matter which country’s waters you fish in, and says that 2020 isn’t any different.

“The way St. Clair has been fishing, it’s been phenomenal,” says Dobson. “I went out with my team partner, Kyle Greene, the other day and we had 25 pounds between the two of us. And with the COVID lockdown, I’ve been out with my son from late March until the end of May and we’ve caught countless fish over 5 pounds. So, St. Clair is on fire, and it’s probably the best I’ve ever seen it.”

Even with less water for anglers to pursue on St. Clair, Dobson still believes there’s no reason to run out of the lake. The Michigan side of the lake is plenty big to spread out the field, especially since St. Clair smallmouths tend to be more nomadic than their Great Lakes cousins.

“Anchor Bay, the Mile Roads – the usual places that guys catch them — are all going to be in play,” Dobson explains. “These fish like to roam around and on a place like the Mile Roads where it’s such a huge flat. the guys that pay attention and are meticulous will have a chance for a really big bag.”

On a fishery like St. Clair, where 20-pound limits are hardly something to be proud of, Dobson expects an excellent performance from the lake, though it may not live up to its full potential.

“I’d say 22 pounds, and quite possibly more, will probably win,” he adds. “The fish are that fat and that healthy. There’s always potential for a 25-, 26- or 27-pound bag out there, but for this time of the year, weights like that aren’t that common, but it can absolutely happen.”

 

Scott Dobson

Baits and techniques

According to Dobson, expect no surprise on how anglers will catch big smallmouths in this event. Spy baits, deep-diving jerkbaits, tubes, drop-shots and swimbaits should comprise the bulk of the arsenal needed to catch hungry brownies this time of year.

Tags: kyle-wood  pre-tournament  2020-07-18-st-clair 

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »