UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Ohio River

Previewing the St. Johns River

Previewing the St. Johns River
Kyle Walters

With the addition of new divisions on the 2020 Toyota Series schedule, Florida anglers (and anyone else hoping for a full schedule of Florida fisheries) get a trio of Sunshine State staples on the docket this year, starting with the St. Johns River on February 13.

The St. Johns has been fishing tough the last couple months, but mid-February is typically when bass move up to spawn in the river system that includes three main basins (upper, middle and lower) as well as Lake George, which very well could come into play in a big way come tournament time.

 

Tournament details

Toyota Series Southern Division

St. Johns River

Palatka, Fla.

Feb. 13, 2020

Hosted by the Putnam County Tourist Development Council

 

How the fishery sets up

The St. Johns River is a sprawling 310-mile-long river system with relatively low flow, with an average flow rate of .3 miles per hour. There’s current to be found, but for the most part, the St. Johns doesn’t fish like many river systems elsewhere in the country. Additionally, it’s one of the few river systems in the U.S. that flows north.

Made up of a few drainage basins and the Lake George and Ocklawaha River watersheds, it’s possible for anglers to make long runs to get away from competitors and find fish – and there are good fish to be found. Look no further than the 31-pound, 7-ounce bag Rick Clunn hauled in there on day three of the Bassmaster Elite Series event in 2016. 

The St. Johns isn’t as grassy as its more southern Florida counterparts, and when the fishery’s giant largemouths decide to spawn, there’s a bevy of tactics in play that we probably wouldn’t otherwise see on Okeechobee or the Harris Chain of Lakes.

 

What to expect

According to Toyota Series pro Kyle Walters, who hails from Grant Valkaria, Fla., and finished second at the 2019 FLW Cup, mid-February is when the St. Johns really starts getting good for local anglers.

“The middle to end of February – right around the time we’re getting there – should be real good,” he says. “We’ve got a full moon on the 7th, we’ve got some warming weather, and if they’re not spawning, they’re going to want to soon.”

Unlike some of the other well-known fisheries in Florida – particularly in the southern part of the state – largemouth don’t typically spawn throughout the winter months. On Okeechobee, for instance, it’s not uncommon for fish to start spawning in the late fall all the way through spring. Not so on the St. Johns.

“The St. Johns is a little farther north to where they won’t really do that, where it’s not one of those string-spawns like say Okeechobee or anything south of Highway 60,” Walters explains. “They’ll spawn more frequently down there, but when you go up further – they’ll still string spawn – but there will be a major time when they come to the bank and spawn on the St. Johns.”

Walters expects Lake George to play a big role in this tournament if that’s the case. At the very least, there figures to be a lot of fish in the prespawn phase, moving up shallow to prepare to spawn.

As for weights, Walters thinks it should take about 33 pounds over two days to make the top 10 cut and 63 pounds over three days for the win.

 

Baits and techniques

Flipping, frogging, worms, swim jigs and vibrating jigs always play in Florida, especially in grassy fisheries, but Walters keys in specifically on two not-so-Florida techniques that can be major players around the spawn on the St. Johns.

“If you can find fish that are prespawn, you can catch them on a crankbait and Carolina rig and baits like that in 12 to 16 foot of water, which doesn’t normally play on Okeechobee or Toho or Kissimmee or Harris, which are big grass lakes,” says Walters. “It’s almost like a river system, and when they do go to spawn, they come to the banks, and that’s why they catch them so good.”

Fishing has been tough recently – only five anglers weighed in more than 15 pounds in the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Gator Division opener earlier this month – but it did take 26 pounds to win that event. If the weather continues trending upward and fish decide to move up soon, 20-pound bags are going to be a lot more common in this derby. 

Tags: flw  toyota-series  st-johns-river  justin-onslow  article  2020-02-13-st-john-s-river 

New Jersey’s Rogers Wins Toyota Series Tournament at Lake Erie

New Jersey’s Rogers Wins Toyota Series Tournament at Lake Erie

SANDUSKY, Ohio (July 12, 2020) – New Jersey angler Lee Rogers of Newton, New Jersey, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 15 pounds, 10 ounces to win the three-day Toyota Series at Lake Erie tournament in Sandusky, Ohio. Rogers’ three-day total of 15 bass weighing 48-12 earned him the win by a slim... 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 »

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

From a weather standpoint, day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie has been almost too perfect. Slick and hot from the start, anglers have been able to go wherever they want and fish however they want. READ MORE »

FLW Classics – Week 5

FLW Classics – Week 5

Even though tournament action is back in full swing, we decided to keep dipping into the archives for some tournament highlights from yesteryear. Below is a batch of classic FLW TV shows from 2008 to 2010, with more on the way.  READ MORE »

Virtual FLW Tournament to Benefit Keep America Fishing

Virtual FLW Tournament to Benefit Keep America Fishing

As part of the American Sportfishing Association’s first-ever ICAST Online fishing tackle tradeshow later this month, FLW is partnering with Keep America Fishing to host a special virtual ICAST Cup fishing tournament.  READ MORE »

A Dream Come True

A Dream Come True

On June 27, 16-year-old Noah Crogan’s big wish came to fruition at the Apple Island Marina on Lake Champlain when he became the owner of a brand-new Tracker aluminum bass boat. Thanks to Make-A-Wish Vermont, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and local anglers – including Phoenix Bass Fishing League and Toyota Series angler Cole Harris – Crogan was surprised at the marina with the boat, along with plenty of rods and tackle to get him on the water. READ MORE »

BFL Winning Patterns – June 27-28

BFL Winning Patterns – June 27-28

Wrapping up competition for the month of June, the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine saw four divisions compete this past weekend, which included a pair of double-headers. Due to the heat and a desire for the best fish care possible, one of the tournaments took place with a three-bass limit instead of the usual five-bass limit. READ MORE »

Toyota Series Set to Visit Lake Erie for Northern Division Opener

Toyota Series Set to Visit Lake Erie for Northern Division Opener

SANDUSKY, Ohio – The 2020 Toyota Series will open the Northern Division with a tournament next week at Lake Erie, July 9-11, with the Toyota Series at Lake Erie. Hosted by the City of Sandusky, the three-day tournament will feature the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers casting for a... READ MORE »

Iowa’s Riceville High School Wins 2020 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on Mississippi River

Iowa’s Riceville High School Wins 2020 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on Mississippi River

STODDARD, Wis. – Iowa’s Riceville High School duo of Lawson Losee and Kooper Tweite brought a three-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 11 pounds, 2 ounces to win the 2020 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on the Mississippi River in Stoddard, Wisconsin. Riceville’s three-day total of nine bass totaling 30-4 gave them the win by a 1... READ MORE »

AOY Update: Lake Chickamauga

AOY Update: Lake Chickamauga

Though Jacob Wheeler won the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga in grand style, his win didn’t impact the Angler of the Year standings. Only the original Pro Circuit anglers were competing for AOY points. That means the AOY focus is still on Ron Nelson, who slipped off his blazing pace a bit, but still holds the lead heading into the final two regular-season events in July and August on the Mississippi River and the Detroit River, respectively. READ MORE »

Scottsburg’s McClain and Noblesville’s Drake Earn Wins at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Double-Header on Lake Monroe presented by Fish-Intel

Scottsburg’s McClain and Noblesville’s Drake Earn Wins at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Double-Header on Lake Monroe presented by Fish-Intel

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – It was a double-header for bass anglers this past weekend in Bloomington with the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine on Lake Monroe events presented by Fish-Intel. FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, rescheduled the events after... READ MORE »

Sheridan’s Richmond Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Ouachita

Sheridan’s Richmond Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Ouachita

MOUNT IDA, Ark. (June 29, 2020) – Boater Russell Richmond of Sheridan, Arkansas, brought three bass to the scale Saturday totaling 11 pounds, 5 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Ouachita in Mount Ida, Arkansas. Richmond topped his nearest competitor, Stephen... READ MORE »

Skiatook’s Webb Wins Saturday, Eldon’s Fitzpatrick and Grove’s Gilbreath Tie Sunday at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Double-Header on Arkansas River

Skiatook’s Webb Wins Saturday, Eldon’s Fitzpatrick and Grove’s Gilbreath Tie Sunday at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Double-Header on Arkansas River

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – It was a double-header for bass anglers this past weekend in Muskogee with the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine on the Arkansas River events. FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, rescheduled the events after the coronavirus pandemic forced READ MORE »

Occoquan’s Pirowski Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Potomac River

Occoquan’s Pirowski Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Potomac River

MARBURY, Md. – Boater Alex Pirowski of Occoquan, Virginia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 17 pounds, 3 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. For his victory, Pirowski earned a total of $5,337... READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

When you put one of the largest and most talented fields of bass anglers on one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country, big things are bound to happen. The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga became a battle between shallow and deep, with pros on either side catching big stringers of giant bass. Here's how they did it. READ MORE »

“FLW Fishing” to Premiere on Outdoor Channel  Friday, July 3

“FLW Fishing” to Premiere on Outdoor Channel Friday, July 3

BENTON, Ky. – FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today the 2020 season of “FLW Fishing” will debut on the Outdoor Channel, Friday, July 3 (7 to 9 p.m. EDT)... READ MORE »

"FLW Fishing" Premieres Friday

"FLW Fishing" Premieres Friday

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today the 2020 season of “FLW Fishing” will debut on the Outdoor Channel, Friday, July 3 (7 to 9 p.m. EDT). READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits from Chickamauga

When so many anglers are throwing similar baits and running similar patterns, doing something a little different can be quite the advantage. Sure enough, the pros who made the top 10 at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga all had techniques or tactics of their own to set themselves apart. READ MORE »

Wheeler Wins Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament at Lake Chickamauga

Wheeler Wins Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament at Lake Chickamauga

DAYTON, Tenn. – Major League Fishing (MLF) pro Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tennessee, caught a final-day five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 6 ounces to win $125,000 in the $1.3 million Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament at Lake Chickamauga. Wheeler topped his closest competitor, Cole... READ MORE »

Wheeler Reclaims Lead at Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament at Lake Chickamauga

Wheeler Reclaims Lead at Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament at Lake Chickamauga

DAYTON, Tenn. – Major League Fishing (MLF) pro Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tennessee, caught a five-bass limit weighing 27 pounds, 12 ounces Thursday to reclaim his lead in the $1.3 million Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super-Tournament at Lake Chickamauga. Wheeler now holds a 4-pound, 13-ounce edge... READ MORE »