Fred Roumbanis writes about his time on the Toyota Series circuit. Photo by Phoenix Moore

I had a great time fishing the FLW Toyota Series event on Lake Dardanelle a couple of weeks ago. I came away with a 28th-place finish out of 130 boats, so that was a good feeling. Still, I would have loved to end it with a better position, but sometimes you run into things that can derail your day or tournament very quickly.

I had every opportunity to crack the Top 10 and earn some good points to try and make the Toyota Series championship. However, I had some boat troubles that weekend, so I wasn’t really able to run that far on my home lake. Still, I was able to catch a lot of fish, they just weren’t the bigger ones I was looking for.

We’re heading to Lake of the Ozarks on October 8 for the next Toyota Series Plains Division tournament and then to Table Rock Lake in November. I have plenty of experience on both of those lakes, but I feel better about my chances on Table Rock. I need to do well in both of those events to earn enough points to qualify for the Toyota Series Championship in December.

It’s been fun to get to fish the five-fish format in the FLW Super Tournaments and now in the Toyota Series. Although I thoroughly enjoy fishing in the MLF format, I’ve found now that my MLF experience makes fishing these five-fish limit tournaments that much easier. When I’m only looking for five bites, I find that I’m a lot more relaxed and I can take my time way more than when fishing MLF. I can re-tie, position my boat correctly and not have to worry about SCORETRACKER® breathing down my neck.

When I’m out there only fishing for five fish, it’s amazing how different the game is. You have no idea what anyone else is doing and if you’re even in contention. But at the same time, it’s nice not having to worry about going on a run because there’s other guys behind you that have found six fish in just 10 minutes.

I feel like I’m finally starting to get the hang of the MLF format. I like to spend my free time doing some film study on the guys who are really crushing it in this format like Jacob Wheeler and Jordan Lee. I’ve noticed that those guys adjust constantly and that’s what makes them so good. While everyone else is trying to do the same things they’ve always done, Wheeler and Lee and constantly switching between baits, patterns and strategies to find the fish and catch them. That’s what makes them two of the best right now and that’s where I want to be.

I can’t wait until the Bass Pro Tour starts back up next spring. Until then, I’m going to do my best in these FLW tournaments and small local tournaments to try and elevate my game to the next level. By the time 2021 comes around, I’ll be ready to get back out there competing against the best in the world.