UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Norman

Kessler Goes Back-to-Back on Co-angler Side

Kessler Goes Back-to-Back on Co-angler Side
Robert Kessler

Robert Kessler will readily admit it—he was not prepared to win a co-angler championship at January’s Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Toledo Bend. In fact, he says that he didn’t even come prepared with enough clean clothes to stay on the lake for three days. But, by the time he walked away from the event with a brand new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat; Kessler’s wife had already decided he was going to be fishing at Fort Gibson.

Winning pro pattern

Complete results

Eight months later, history is repeating itself in the Kessler household. After three days of tough fishing on the Oklahoma reservoir, Kessler’s 37-pound, 5-ounce total was enough to edge out Monty Phillips by exactly 2 pounds. In fact, the total would have been enough for a top-10 finish on the pro side of the bracket.

“It’s still not sinking in,” Kessler says. “I caught my fourth fish right on the corner by weigh-in today. [Mike] Iaconelli says never give up and that’s the truth. If it hadn’t been for that lucky fish, I wouldn’t be up here.”

By day, Kessler serves as the Chief Information Officer for JMJ Associates, a safety consultation firm out of Austin, Texas. However, his weekend fortunes may be shifting his trajectory back towards the water after a 25-year hiatus from bass fishing. The Phoenix 518 he won in January has transformed into a Phoenix 721 Pro XP with a 250hp Mercury Pro XS on the back largely thanks to the trade-in value of that Phoenix 518, as well as a little encouragement from his wife, Suzanne.

“She’s not into fishing,” Kessler admits. “But she said after that event that I deserve a new boat.”

Behind a pair of sunglasses and a face mask, Kessler almost appeared to get chocked up at the thought of his wife. “She’s not my fishing buddy yet,” he jokes. “But maybe after this she will be.”

Robert Kessler

Kessler’s Fort Gibson event began with a seminal moment for the long-time fishing fan. His first-day partner was legendary angler and lake local Tommy Biffle.

“I was just in awe to fish with Tommy,” says Kessler. “When I came here, I did not expect to win; and when I found out on my long drive up here that Tommy was my partner, I thought a day on the water with him was my prize right then and there. That’s the real beauty of these events. Sometimes, fishing co-angler can be frustrating, but sometimes you get to fish with a Tommy Biffle.”

Though Kessler did start his tournament behind a lake master, any allusions that his angling prowess relied solely on the front of the boat were put to rest as he hammered a string of double-digit weights together behind different anglers all week. And while day one was spent fishing off of rocky islands in the lake, Kessler’s versatility shined as he was able to boat 10-4 of bass on the final day behind pro winner Cameron Foster.

“I started fishing the Toyota Series just this year,” notes Kessler. “I am fishing it to learn.”

Now, with back-to-back co-angler championships, Kessler might want to consider fishing it to teach.

Tags: joe-sills  co-angler-headline  2020-09-02-ft-gibson 

Christiansen Scores Co-angler Title at Clear Lake

Christiansen Scores Co-angler Title at Clear Lake

This week at the Toyota Series Western Division on Clear Lake showcased some great co-angler bags. On the second day, three co-anglers topped the 20-pound mark and one of those, Blaine Christiansen of San Jose, Calif., walked away with the win. READ MORE »

Parker Nets Dardanelle Co-Angler Title

Parker Nets Dardanelle Co-Angler Title

Riding with pro winner Jason Lieblong was profitable for Jeremy Parker of Batavia, Ill., who made it a daily double by winning the co-angler title at the Toyota Series Plains Division opener at Lake Dardanelle presented by Fish-Intel. READ MORE »

Grubb Wins Co-Angler Side at the Detroit River

Grubb Wins Co-Angler Side at the Detroit River

Taking the co-angler win in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River, Tony Grubb weighed four bass for 14 pounds, 1 ounce on the final day for a 46-5 total. For the win, his second as a co-angler with FLW, Grubb takes home a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat worth over $35,000. 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 »

Top 10 Patterns from Fort Gibson

Top 10 Patterns from Fort Gibson

The beginning of September helped mark the start of the fall transition in the south and that is exactly what the field faced in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Fort Gibson. From topwaters to soft plastics, the top 10 utilized a large chunk of Fort Gibson to catch their fish, with the Grand River paying the biggest role in the division’s second stop of the season. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Fort Gibson

Top 10 Baits from Fort Gibson

Low water and changing weather patterns meant tough fishing at for the second stop of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division at Fort Gibson. While day one brought in prime topwater conditions, days two and three generally saw anglers slogging it out for bass stuck somewhere amidst the fall transition. Fittingly, a few well-known baits are tailor-made for that kind of fishing—including a regional favorite named for the lake’s most legendary fisherman. READ MORE »

Wagoner’s Foster Wins Toyota Series Event on Fort Gibson Lake

Wagoner’s Foster Wins Toyota Series Event on Fort Gibson Lake

WAGONER, Okla. – Local angler Cameron Foster of Wagoner, Oklahoma, crossed the stage with five bass Friday weighing 15 pounds, 11 ounces to win the three-day Toyota Series at Fort Gibson Lake in Wagoner, Oklahoma. Foster’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 56-11 earned him the win by a commanding... READ MORE »

Kessler Goes Back-to-Back on Co-angler Side

Kessler Goes Back-to-Back on Co-angler Side

Robert Kessler will readily admit it—he was not prepared to win a co-angler championship at January’s Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Toledo Bend. In fact, he says that he didn’t even come prepared with enough clean clothes to stay on the lake for three days. But, by the time he walked away from the event with a brand new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat; Kessler’s wife had already decided he was going to be fishing at Fort Gibson. READ MORE »

Foster Dominates at Ft. Gibson

Foster Dominates at Ft. Gibson

Throughout the week on Fort Gibson for the second stop of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division, the field found tough fishing with big bites few and far between. And then there was local pro Cameron Foster. READ MORE »

Ft. Gibson Midday Update – Day 3

Ft. Gibson Midday Update – Day 3

Cameron Foster began the final day of the 2020 FLW Toyota Series Southwest Division event at Fort Gibson Lake with an 11-pound lead. By 8:00 a.m., Foster had returned to the honey hole that brought him to pole position with $27,070 on the line for crossing the finish line. Thanks to a hot, early bite, Foster is now nursing a four fish total with at least one 4-pounder in the boat. READ MORE »

Owen Takes Co-Angler Title on Neely Henry

Owen Takes Co-Angler Title on Neely Henry

Kyle Owen of Bradenton, Fla., won the co-angler division of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Neely Henry with a three-day total of 23 pounds, 4 ounces. For his win, Owen takes home a new Phoenix bass boat and a 115-horsepower motor worth $33,500.  READ MORE »

Foster Keeps Rolling on Ft. Gibson

Foster Keeps Rolling on Ft. Gibson

On a tough Fort Gibson fishery, Cameron Foster is making it look easy as he hauled in 18 pounds, 5 ounces on day two of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event to back up his day-one performance of 22-11. With 41-0 overall, Foster holds a massive lead worth 11-13 heading into Friday’s final round of action. While Foster has had decent success from the back of the boat, he’s en route to posting the biggest win of his career if he can keep things rolling. READ MORE »

Ft. Gibson Midday Update – Day 2

Ft. Gibson Midday Update – Day 2

Competitors in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event at Fort Gibson Lake awoke to a completely different waterway than the one they fished yesterday. While day one brought overcast skies and a bevy of baitfish to the surface, day two screamed bluebird skies from the start and has settled into a mostly sunny blanket of blue towards midday. READ MORE »

Foster Drops 22-11 For Ft. Gibson Lead

Foster Drops 22-11 For Ft. Gibson Lead

The second stop of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division season took anglers to Fort Gibson Lake in Oklahoma where they were greeted with low water and temperatures in the mid-80s as they set out for day one of competition making things a little tough. Still, while limits in the mid- to low-teens were commonplace at weigh-in, Cameron Foster sacked 22 pounds, 11 ounces to take a 4-3 lead over Danny Weems. READ MORE »

Fort Gibson Midday Update – Day 1

Fort Gibson Midday Update – Day 1

Day one of theToyota Series Southwestern Division event on Fort Gibson Lake is underway, as anglers largely from Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas battle it out over an extremely low fishery. The waters at Fort Gibson, a nearly 20,000-acre reservoir along the Grand River, are sitting some 4 feet below average lake levels. Many local anglers report having never seen conditions this low, as submerged houses and a cemetery threaten to peak above the surface in some areas. 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 »

Toyota Series to Host Event on Fort Gibson Lake

Toyota Series to Host Event on Fort Gibson Lake

WAGONER, Okla. – The 2020 Toyota Series Southwestern Division will continue with a tournament next week in Wagoner, Oklahoma, Sept. 2-4, 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... READ MORE »

Mundy goes Back-to-Back on Erie

Mundy goes Back-to-Back on Erie

Totaling up 41 pounds, 6 ounces, Dan Mundy won the co-angler side of the Toyota Series event on Lake Erie and is about ready to start a boat dealership. After winning the first Northern Division event of the year, the Michigan co-angler went back-to-back in the second event of the season to claim another Phoenix boat worth $33,500. READ MORE »

Culpepper Captures Co-Angler Win

Culpepper Captures Co-Angler Win

Cal Culpepper of Hamilton, Ga., won the co-angler side of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake in impressive fashion. In three days of a tough tournament, Culpepper sacked up limits of 11-11, 5-11 and 11-7 from the back of the boat for a three-day total of 28 pounds, 13 ounces. For his win, he takes home a fully rigged Phoenix bass boat. READ MORE »

Mundy Takes Erie Co-angler Title

Mundy Takes Erie Co-angler Title

Despite weighing in just 9 pounds, 9 ounces on the final day, it was still enough to move Dan Mundy of Swartz Creek, Mich., from second to first for the win in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. With a total of 38-12, Mundy takes home a new Phoenix boat package valued at over $33,000. READ MORE »