KISSIMMEE, Fla. – After an exciting day of movement atop the leaderboard, FLW Tour pro Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Georgia, took the lead Saturday after the final bass had been weighed at the FLW Tour at Lake Toho presented by Ranger Boats with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 12 ounces. Gross’ three-day cumulative catch of 15 bass weighing 62 pounds even paces the final 10 pros as they head into Championship Sunday at the competition that features the world’s finest bass anglers casting for a top award of up to $125,000.
Right behind Gross (15 bass, 62-0) is hard-charging local angler Darrell Davis of Dover, Florida. Davis started the day in 13th place but moved into second after weighing a huge 25-pound, 12-ounce limit this afternoon – the largest of the day – bringing his three-day total to 15 bass weighing 60-15. Josh Douglas of Isle, Minnesota, (15 bass, 60-3) rounds out the top three, and was the only other pro to top the 60-pound mark after three days.
“I’ve got a good little spot – I think I’ve weighed in 14 of my 15 fish from it – but I’m really pushing it to its limits,” said Gross, who is seeking his second career FLW Tour win. “I keep looking for another spot, and I might have found one this afternoon. I caught one that culled – almost a 4-pounder – at the very last place I stopped on the way to weigh-in.”
Gross’ main area is an offshore stretch of hydrilla on Lake Toho. He said he’s been able to put a limit in the boat by 10 a.m. each day on the first two days of competition, but today it took until noon.
“The spot has both pre and postspawn bass. When the prespawners show up, they’re feeding, and when they feed I can see it and I can catch them – that’s my little flurry,” said Gross. “Tomorrow I’m going to catch what I can catch there and then start looking. I had some giant fish, but I still haven’t gotten a kicker. I haven’t had anything over 5½ [pounds] in three days and there’s a lot of stretches where I’ve caught some 7s, 8s and 9s in practice, so I’m going to have to move around a little more.”
Gross said he’s mostly relied on a swimbait and a pair of swimjigs, citing a natural light-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait, black and blue-colored swimjig with a green-pumpkin Zoom Z-Craw trailer and a white swimjig with the Scottsboro swimbait as a trailer. He’s also utilized a Nichols spinnerbait this week.
“The swimjig probably caught more weight than the swimbait today, but every other day it’s been the swimbait. I’m using a little underspin-type blade on the hook – an Owner Flashy Swimmer. It’s got a little extra flash and I think that’s what’s triggering the fish.”
The top 10 pros advancing to the final day of competition on Lake Toho are:
1st: Buddy Gross, Chickamauga, Ga., 15 bass, 62-0
2nd: Darrell Davis, Dover, Fla., 15 bass, 60-15
3rd: Josh Douglas, Isle, Minn., 15 bass, 60-3
4th: John Cox, DeBary, Fla., 15 bass, 57-8
5th: Aaron Britt, Yuba City, Calif., 15 bass, 57-7
6th: Wade Strelic, Alpine, Calif., 15 bass, 57-3
7th: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 15 bass, 54-12
8th: Tommy Dickerson, Orange, Texas, 15 bass, 54-3
9th: Nitro pro Tyler Woolcott, Port Orange, Fla., 15 bass, 53-1
10th: Joseph Webster, Winfield, Ala., 15 bass, 51-6
Finishing 11th through 30th are:
11th: Lowrance pro Austin Felix, Eden Prairie, Minn., 15 bass, 50-5, $12,000
12th: Nitro pro Casey Scanlon, Lake Ozark, Mo., 15 bass, 49-12, $12,000
13th: Bryan Schmitt, Deale, Md., 15 bass, 48-14, $12,000
14th: J. Todd Tucker, Moultrie, Ga., 15 bass, 47-11, $12,000
15th: John Voyles, Petersburg, Ind., 15 bass, 47-10, $12,000
16th: Mike Surman, Boca Raton, Fla., 15 bass, 47-10, $11,500
17th: Braxton Setzer, Montgomery, Ala., 14 bass, 46-15, $11,500
18th: Nitro pro David Williams, Maiden, N.C., 15 bass, 46-15, $11,500
19th: Rapala pro Terry Bolton, Benton, Ky., 15 bass, 45-9, $11,500
20th: Brian Latimer, Belton, S.C., 15 bass, 45-9, $11,500
21st: Polaris pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 15 bass, 44-5, $10,500
22nd: Jamie Horton, Centerville, Ala., 15 bass, 43-14, $11,000
23rd: Ron Nelson, Berrien Springs, Mich., 15 bass, 43-3, $10,500
24th: Austin Wilson, Citrus Heights, Calif., 15 bass, 43-1, $10,500
25th: Billy McCaghren, Mayflower, Ark., 15 bass, 42-9, $10,500
26th: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 42-1, $10,500
27th: Brandon McMillan, Clewiston, Fla., 14 bass, 41-9, $10,500
28th: Chad Warren, Sand Springs, Okla., 15 bass, 41-0, $10,500
29th: Strike King pro Andrew Upshaw, Tulsa, Okla., 15 bass, 40-6, $10,500
30th: Bass Pro Shops pro Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., 13 bass, 39-12, $10,500
Full results for the entire field can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Overall there were 146 bass weighing 401 pounds, 8 ounces caught by the 30 pros Saturday. The catch included 27 five-bass limits.
In FLW Tour competition, the full field of 170 pro anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The top 30 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advanced to Saturday. Now, only the top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
The total purse for the FLW Tour at Lake Toho presented by Ranger Boats is more than $860,000, including $9,000 through 65th place in the Pro Division. The tournament is hosted by Experience Kissimmee and the Kissimmee Sports Commission.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2019 FLW Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing. The 2019 FLW Cup will be on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Aug. 9-11 and is hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs.
Anglers will take off for the final day of competition at 7 a.m. EST Sunday from Big Toho Marina, located at 69 Lakeview Drive, in Kissimmee. Sunday’s championship weigh-in will also be held at the marina, beginning at 4 p.m.
Prior to the weigh-in Sunday FLW will host a free Family Fishing Expo at Big Toho Marina from 2 to 6 p.m. The Expo is a chance for fishing fans to meet their favorite anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities.
Television coverage of the FLW Tour at Lake Toho presented by Ranger Boats will premiere in 2019. The exact air-date will be announced soon. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs each Saturday night at 7 p.m. EST and is broadcast to more than 63 million cable, satellite and telecommunications households in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean on the World Fishing Network (WFN), the leading entertainment destination and digital resource for anglers throughout North America. FLW television is also distributed internationally to FLW partner countries, including Canada, China, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Portugal, Spain and South Africa.
The popular FLW Live on-the-water program will air Sunday, featuring live action from the boats of the tournament’s top pros each day. Host Travis Moran will be joined by veteran FLW Tour pro Peter Thliveros to break down the extended action each day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. On-the-water broadcasts will be live streamed on FLWFishing.com, the FLW YouTube channel and the FLW Facebook page.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the sport’s top anglers on the FLW Tour on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2019 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.
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