UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

3 Thoughts on Toho

3 Thoughts on Toho
Jason Johnson

(Editor’s Note: The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW.)

“We come from the land of the ice and snow.” – Immigrant Song, by Led Zeppelin 

Those will be my exact thoughts when I arrive in Kissimmee, Fla., in about a week for the first Walmart FLW Tour event of the season. Hopefully Mother Nature favors the Tour anglers and allows sunny Florida to warm up before we get there. Lately, near-record lows have stretched deep into the Sunshine State, while the rest of the country is in a deep freeze.

Here in north Georgia where I live, we received freezing rain last week that accumulated quickly in the trees. Fallen branches and ice-covered power lines caused major outages and a mess for both the power company and homeowners. The damage to all the trees and shrubbery will be seen for years. I was without power for three days after the first storm, but it snowed again this weekend and there is supposed to be more weather on the way. Suffice to say, I can’t get to Florida and Lake Toho fast enough.

Speaking of Lake Toho, I think it will be a very interesting tournament. For those that don’t know me, I’m making my professional debut on the Walmart FLW Tour in 2015 after spending three years on Tour as a co-angler. So when I say “interesting,” I’m speaking solely from my experience while pre-practicing at Lake Toho and the entire Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.

I had never before seen any of the lakes, so the trip was well worth the time to get a feel for the place.

Here are some of my early thoughts:

No. 1: It’s shallow. I found out firsthand how shallow it can be when I barely managed to get my Ranger out from the endless acres of lily pads a few times.

No. 2: It’s hard to know where to begin. I ran a lot of gas through the Evinrude in pre-practice. I was looking for differences in the water and the vegetation more than I was actually trying to catch fish. But with miles and miles of grass it is hard to figure out the little details that matter. Did I find some? I’m not sure yet, but I will know in about a week once official practice starts.

No. 3: One of the most important decisions you make can on this system is whether or not to lock out of Toho. The small lock at Toho’s southern end only holds about 14 boats per cycle. You have to pass through it in order to fish Cypress Lake, Hatchineha or Lake Kissimmee. Kissimmee historically produces more fish, but the B.A.S.S. Southern Open held on Toho earlier this season highlighted some of the dangers of locking when a skirmish broke out between two anglers trying to position within the lock. I have nightmares of cracked motor covers and scratched boats. Yet, the biggest decision for me is whether or not I’m willing to give up close to three hours of fishing time in Toho in order to run to Lake Kissimmee and back. If I have a poor practice at Toho I’ll run whatever water I need to run in order to catch fish. But I feel like three hours of head-down hard fishing in my first tournament might better suit me. That long run can make you a hero or a zero, and it adds a lot of stress. That said, I’m not ruling out anything this year. I want to be as open-minded as I can be, not only about how to catch fish, but where to catch them as well.

If you follow along with me this year, you’ll learn that I like to catch fish deep and way offshore. Although I can’t fish deep at the first event, I’m really looking forward to the challenge it presents, and I can’t wait to get my season started off (hopefully) on a high note. As long as I don’t overanalyze the Florida bass and I fish the lures I have confidence in, I’m optimistic about coming out of Florida with some momentum going into Lewis Smith Lake – a place I am absolutely chomping my teeth to fish.

Until next time, stay warm everyone.

Tags: jason-johnson  lake-toho  jason-johnson  blog  2015-03-05-lake-toho 

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