BRANSON, Mo. – The 2023 Toyota Series Championship at Table Rock Lake Presented by Simms will take place next week in Branson, Missouri, Nov. 2-4, where the nation’s best Toyota Series pros and international anglers will compete for a top award of up to $235,000 cash, including the lucrative $35,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus, and an invitation to REDCREST 2024 – Major League Fishing’s most prestigious event. Hosted by ExploreBranson.com, the three-day, no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship is the culmination of the 2023 Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats season, a six-division circuit that offers a path to the 2024 Tackle Warehouse Invitationals and ultimately the Bass Pro Tour.
“I would like to welcome the championship field of anglers and their families to the Branson/Lakes Area,” said Jonas Arjes, Interim President and CEO of Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau. “After a great day of fishing on Table Rock Lake, I hope anglers and fans will take time to enjoy some of our live music shows and family attractions. There’s family fun for everyone in Branson.”
In addition to the top award of up to $235,000, the signature fall championship hands out thousands in awards to top finishers in each division, while introducing international qualifiers to tournament bass-fishing stateside. The long-running championship also provides advancement opportunities for anglers across the globe, furthering their reach and amplifying their fishing platforms.
The reigning Toyota Series champion, pro Kyle Hall of Granbury, Texas, won the event on Lake Guntersville in 2022. A regular atop the leaderboard in his young career, Hall has an impressive career résumé with four Top-10 finishes, a 2018 Toyota Series win at 1000 Islands, Rookie of the Year (ROY) honors in 2020, and a 2022 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit win at Lake Champlain. Hall said the Toyota Series Championship, however, has been his most lucrative career win to date.
“I started fishing the Toyota Series events in 2018, mostly to figure out new bodies of water and to get a feel for tournament fishing away from home,” Hall said. “Going into that event, I didn’t really have much going for me – I had only caught a couple bass on one bait during practice – but I ended up winning the entire tournament on that one bait.
“That win wasn’t something I was expecting at all, but when it happened, it meant the world to me, especially because I was in the process of buying a house,” Hall said. “Winning that event helped me to purchase the house and pay cash for it, so that was a big step for me and for the future of my fishing career.
“Since the pandemic, sponsors have definitely been pulling back more, but I was able to add a few important sponsors last year and I have a lot more in the works this year, all in direct correlation to that championship win,” Hall said. “I feel like this tournament provides ‘local anglers’ the opportunity to branch out and compete on new fisheries, while strengthening their personal brand and providing significant advancement opportunities to the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals.”
Pro Travis Harriman currently resides in Huntsville, Arkansas, but grew up on Table Rock Lake and said he’s spent more time on the fishery than anywhere else over the past five years. Harriman qualified for the championship after his recent win at the Toyota Series Plains Division finale on Lake of the Ozarks.
“The great thing about Table Rock Lake is that guys can really fish their strengths,” Harriman said. “I think we’ll see a mix of different techniques throughout this event, with guys running up the rivers, fishing both deep and shallow.
“I do expect the fishery to shift a bit before we get there next week,” Harriman said. “They’re forecasting a cold front, which will really change things up and provide more opportunities for a lot of guys. I expect the shallow game will be strong, with guys throwing buzzbaits, ploppers and jigs. And of course forward-facing sonar is going to be in play as well – Table Rock Lake is a deep, clear lake that sets up well for that.”
Harriman said he expects to see daily weights around the mid- to upper-teens, and a winning weight up around 50 pounds, especially if the shallow bite kicks off.
“The spotted bass are big enough that you can get 16 or 17 pounds easily with just spots,” Harriman said. “I think the coolest part is that you can throw three casts in a row and catch three different species of bass.
“There are particular brush piles, points, cedar trees and other locations that hold fish year to year, and this event has the potential to be a junk fisherman’s paradise,” Harriman said. “They could catch one on the bank with a plopper-style bait, hit a brush pile or a point with a different bait – that will definitely be the local advantage, knowing which locations hold fish and which baits to throw in each spot.
“There are so many bass in this place – any given creek could fire up at any moment, and you can really win anywhere on the lake,” Harriman said. “That’s what’s a little scary about this fishery. You might write an area off, but someone else might be able to get it firing. No one will be able to really let off the gas during this event.”
Anglers will take off daily at 7:30 a.m. CT from Table Rock State Park Marina, located at 380 State Park Marina Road, in Branson. Weigh-ins will also be held at the marina and will begin at 3:30 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend the daily takeoffs and weigh-ins and also follow the action online through the “MLF Live” weigh-in broadcasts and daily coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com. The 2023 Toyota Series Championship Presented by Simms will premiere on CBS Sports in 2024.
The full field of anglers will compete on Days 1 and 2 of the event, with the Top 10 pros and Top 10 Strike King co-anglers based on cumulative weight from the first two days continuing to the third and final day. The 2023 Toyota Series champions will be determined by the heaviest three-day total weight.
Pros and co-anglers can qualify for multiple contingency awards based on final standings in the championship, including the lucrative $35,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus for pros. The winning Strike King co-angler will earn a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor.
The 2023 Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats consisted of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and Western – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International division and the Wild Card. The highest finishing pro from each division at the championship will claim a $10,000 bonus. The bonus will go to the second-highest finishing pro in the division represented by the overall champion.
The 2023 Toyota Series Championship field features the Top 25 pros, Top 25 Strike King co-anglers and tournament winners from each of the six divisions; the Top 25 pros and 25 co-anglers from the Wild Card division plus tournament winners; the highest finishing boater and co-angler from each of the six Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Regionals and the TBF at the All-American; the top three teams from the College Fishing National Championship; High School Fishing National Champions; TBF National Champions; and MLF International anglers from Canada, Central Europe, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Zimbabwe.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular Toyota Series updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the MLF5 social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.