GADSDEN, Ala. – Boater Mark McCaig of Oxford, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Friday weighing 10 pounds, 3 ounces, to win the three-day Toyota Series at Neely Henry Lake in Gadsden, Alabama. McCaig’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 33-12 earned him the win by a 14-ounce margin over second-place angler Kyle Glasgow of Guin, Alabama, and earned McCaig the top payout of $57,690, including the lucrative $35,000 FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency award, in the third and final tournament of the 2020 Toyota Series Southeastern Division.
McCaig said that he knew, from generation schedules, that current would not be present in Neely Henry until noon each day. With a check-in time of 2:30 during the tournament, that gave him just 2 hours of prime fishing time to work current related areas. The question became what to do with the other five hours.
“The thing I tried to be better about in this event was not going down the lake to those current spots too early,” McCaig said. “If I jumped the gun and ran them too early and they didn’t work, I might get frustrated too soon.”
Instead, McCaig decided to play a game of run and gun with his intuition early in the day, even fishing places where he's ever cast a lure before.
“I caught several fish this week in places I didn’t even know existed,” he said. “Anything I caught before noon was all a bonus.”
Several of those “bonus fish” came from skipping a SPRO Bronzeye Poppin' Frog up under overhanging bushes that were casting shade. Another bonus fish pattern was running and gunning docks, pitching a Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog. McCaig has several pet docks that he knows work when the current is running, but wanted to run docks he had never fished before in hopes of finding a pleasant surprise.
“For most of the mornings, I just junk fished, running shade with the floating frog and the Fighting Frog,” he says. “That helped get a few solid keepers in the boat before the current came on.”
Once the current started running, McCaig moved to more of his tried and true docks, rock points and shallow offshore sweet spots that collect current-driven debris like logs. He also switched to a square-bill crankbait to work the eddies formed by the debris.
“I caught most of my fish after noon in current,” he says. “But I would not have won the tournament without catching a few key fish early just running around junk fishing shade on places I have never been and that’s what feels good about this event.”
The top 10 pros on Neely Henry Lake finished:
1st: Mark McCaig of Oxford, Ala., 15 bass, 33-12, $57,690
2nd: Kyle Glasgow of Guin, Ala., 15 bass, 32-14, $8,265
3rd: Hunter Hayes of Gadsden, Ala., 15 bass, 28-13, $6,357
4th: Andrew Johnson of Glencoe, Ala., 14 bass, 28-4, $5,298
5th: Josh Butler of Hayden, Ala., 15 bass, 28-0, $4,768
6th: Derek Hicks of Rocky Face, Ga., 13 bass, 26-14, $4,238
7th: Clabion Johns of Social Circle, Ga., 13 bass, 26-12, $3,708
8th: Cal Lane of Guntersville, Ala., 14 bass, 22-5, $3,179
9th: Terry Tucker of Gadsden, Ala., 10 bass, 18-12, $2,649
10th: Scott Towry of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., 10 bass, 18-8, $2,119
A complete list of results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
McCaig 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.
Kyle Owen of Bradenton, Florida, won the Co-angler Division Friday with a three-day total of 13 bass weighing 23 pounds, 4 ounces. Owen took home the top prize package of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard motor.
The top 10 co-anglers on Neely Henry Lake finished:
1st: Kyle Owen of Bradenton, Fla., 13 bass, 23-4, Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat w/115-hp outboard
2nd: Cal Culpepper of Hamilton, Ga., 12 bass, 19-14, $2,796
3rd: Joseph Chilcott of Crestview, Fla., 11 bass, 19-7, $2,236
4th: Doug Back of Monticello, Fla., 12 bass, 17-5, $1,957
5th: Blake Lewis of Pace, Fla., 13 bass, 17-3, $1,677
6th: Randy Hill of Athens, Fla., nine bass, 15-0, $1,398
7th: Marcus Corbett of Anniston, Ala., nine bass, 14-10, $1,118
8th: Brian Jones of Clanton, Ala., 10 bass, 14-3, $978
9th: Raymond Vargas of Hattiesburg, Miss., seven bass, 12-1, $839
10th: Michael Corbett of Oxford, Ala., seven bass, 11-5, $699
The Toyota Series at Neely Henry Lake was hosted by the City of Gadsden and Greater Gadsden Area Tourism. It was the third and final regular-season tournaments in 2020 for Southeastern Division anglers. The next event for Toyota Series anglers will take place next week, Sept. 10-12 – the Toyota Series at the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. For a complete schedule, visit FLWFishing.com.
The 2020 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 $235,000 cash, including a $35,000 FLW PHOENIX Bonus for qualified anglers. 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 will be held Dec. 3-5 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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