SENECA, S.C. – Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour pro Marty Robinson of Lyman, South Carolina, brought a limit to the scale Thursday totaling 11 pounds, 10 ounces to maintain his lead wire-to-wire and win the three-day Toyota Series at Lake Hartwell. Robinson’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 47-4 earned him the win by a 1½-pound margin and earned him a payout of $66,665 – including the lucrative FLW PHOENIX BONUS top payout of $35,000 – in the Toyota Series Eastern Division 2020 opener.
“My main pattern was working the ditches down the lake first thing in the morning,” Robinson told FLW reporters after the event. “I’d hit those with a 3/8-ounce Buckeye Lures Su-Spin and a 1/2-ounce Ballin’ Out jig with a Zoom Creepy Crawler in green pumpkin and get my limit. The bass would hang out in those ditches following the herring after the herring piled in there overnight.”
Robinson’s early-morning ditch pattern held out, just barely, through three days of fishing. He also used the same baits to fish a lot of the secondary points about three-quarters of the way back in the creeks. He found some better fish, too, including a 5-pound kicker largemouth he caught working a couple stretches of docks. He didn’t have to fish under the docks due to the mostly inclement weather that moved across the area for the duration of the tournament and kept fish in the mood to roam a bit and not stick so tight to cover.
While working primarily tributaries on the Georgia side of the lake from Andersonville Island south to the dam, spotted bass began showing up in his bag on days two and three. The spots were mixed in with the largemouth and were hanging pretty close to hard clay and rock bottom.
“I managed to catch my limit in the ditches on the last day, but the bite was dwindling out,” he says. “I found out this morning another boat was fishing those same ditches, so I had to beat them up pretty bad to get a limit today.
“The weather wasn’t ideal and today with the rain and all; it was downright cold,” he said. “The most important thing is I got heated seats in this Phoenix and that come into play. It kept my butt warm and my mind sharp. I’ll tell you something else: The boat ran great. That helps when you get there first and ain’t got to worry about nobody beating you to your hole. That helps a lot.”
As for the rest of his equipment, Robinson had very specific setups for the baits that helped earn him the victory. He used a Castaway Rods Taranis Carbon Extreme 7-foot medium-heavy rod paired with a Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spool SLP(6.8:1 ratio) reel spooled with 15-pound-test P-Line fluorocarbon to fish the Su-Spin. He worked the Ballin’ Out jig on a 7-foot heavy Castaway Rods Invicta II casting rod with the same reel and line.
“It was great to fish with a lot of my buddies that I grew up fishing against,” Robinson went on to say. “To me, this deal is a little more laid-back. I get to hang out with old fishing buddies I may not have seen in a while and we get to go out to dinner together and just have fun.”
The top 10 pros on Lake Hartwell finished:
1st: Marty Robinson of Lyman, S.C., 15 bass, 47-4, $66,665
2nd: Derrick Bridges of Greenville, S.C., 15 bass, 45-12, $11,689
3rd: David Williams of Maiden, N.C., 14 bass, 45-5, $9,049
4th: Cameron Lineback of Mount Airy, N.C., 15 bass, 42-3, $8,041
5th: Jayme Rampey of Liberty, S.C., 15 bass, 41-13, $6,787
6th: Cody Pike of Powhatan, Va., 15 bass, 40-3, $6,128
7th: Rob Digh of Denver, N.C., 15 bass, 38-15, $5,279
8th: Thomas Guthke of Townville, S.C., 15 bass, 35-7, $4,775
9th: Trent Palmer of Cumming, Ga., 15 bass, 35-7, $3,771
10th: Kerry Partain of Elberton, Ga., 15 bass, 34-15, $3,016
A complete list of results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Robinson took home an extra $35,000 as the highest finishing FLW PHOENIX BONUS member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $35,000 per event in each Toyota Series tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.
Scott Hamrick of Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, brought a 7-pound, 14-ounce bass to the scale Tuesday – the largest fish weighed by a boater in the event – to earn the day’s Big Bass award of $95.
Khris Williams of Mount Holly, North Carolina, won the Co-angler Division Thursday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 32 pounds, 7 ounces. For his win, Williams took home the top prize package of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard motor, worth $33,500.
The top 10 co-anglers on Lake Hartwell finished:
1st: Khris Williams of Mount Holly, N.C., 15 bass, 32-12, $33,500
2nd: James Roten of West Jefferson, N.C., 15 bass, 30-15, $3,895
3rd: Brian Anthony of Pickens, S.C., 12 bass, 30-8, $3,216
4th: Robert Holland of Columbia, S.C., 12 bass, 25-5, $2,726
5th: Jarrett Johanson of Dewy Rose, Ga., 14 bass, 25-0, $2,337
6th: Ben Reynolds of Callands, Va., 15 bass, 19-9, $1,947
7th: Cliff Humphreys of Philadelphia, Pa., 13 bass, 18-5, $1,558
8th: Derek Brown of Charlottesville, Va., 13 bass, 16-15, $1,363
9th: Tommy Goforth of Hendersonville, N.C., nine bass, 16-6, $1,232
10th: David Williams of Fredericksburg, Va., 11 bass, 15-15, $974
Goforth caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division Friday, a fish weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces. He earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $64.
The Toyota Series at Lake Hartwell was hosted by Visit Oconee, South Carolina. It was the first of three regular-season tournaments in 2020 for Eastern Division anglers. The next events for Toyota Series anglers will be a weekend double-header – the Western Division will be opening on Lake Havasu in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, while Southern Division anglers will be competing at Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida. Both events will be held March 12-14. For a complete schedule, visit FLWFishing.com.
The Toyota Series consists of eight divisions – Central, Eastern, Northern, Plains, Southeastern, Southern, Southwestern and Western – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International division. Anglers who fish all three qualifiers in any of the eight divisions and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship for a shot at winning $200,000 cash, plus lucrative contingency bonuses. The winning co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard. The 2020 Toyota Series Championship is being held Nov. 5-7 on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Kentucky, and is hosted by the Somerset Tourist & Convention Commission and the Burnside Tourism Commission.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Toyota Series on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, FLW and its partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Zimbabwe.
FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show while Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. Acquired by Major League Fishing in late 2019, FLW is expanding its programming in 2020 to the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel as well as on-demand at MyOutdoorTV (MOTV).
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