GROVE, Okla. – After starting the final day in sixth place, Jeff Reynolds of Calera, Oklahoma, brought a limit weighing 18 pounds, 3 ounces – the biggest bag of the day – to the scales Saturday to win the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. at Grand Lake Presented by Outlaw Ordnance. Reynolds’ three-day total of 15 bass weighing 54-2 earned him the win by an 11-ounce margin over second-place pro Cade Alsbury of of Gentry, Arkansas, and earned Reynolds the top payout of $76,500, including the lucrative $35,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus.
Hosted by the City of Grove, the three-day tournament was the second event of the season for the Toyota Series Plains Division anglers and featured the region’s best bass-fishing pros and Strike King co-anglers, competing for up to $75,000 and the opportunity to advance to the Toyota Series Championship for the chance to win up to $235,000.
This event marks the second Toyota Series win for the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro, who previously won on Lake Texoma in 2017.
“This event was all sight fishing – This is my favorite time of year, and I caught every one of my fish on beds,” Reynolds said. “I didn’t find a lot of big fish in practice, and I caught the two I did find on the first day of competition, so I didn’t really have a whole lot left after that first day.”
Reynolds ended Day 1 in second place, with a limit weighing 21 pounds, 8 ounces, but quickly fell to sixth by the end of Day 2.
“I knew where a lot of fish were, but not any big ones,” Reynolds said. “I went back on the second day and found some decent ones and thankfully I caught a good 4 ½-pounder later in the day that bumped me up to the 14-pound mark to finish out Day 2.
“When I found that fish, it didn’t take me long to get it to bite, but I foul-hooked it and had to throw it back,” Reynolds said. “Then it took another 30 minutes to get it back to the bed, so I could catch him again.”
While he didn’t bring in a large limit on Day 2, that kicker fish did give him a limit weighing 14-7, a solid bag that kept him in contention for the final day.
Reynolds said his key baits were a white-colored, Texas-rigged Strike King Game Hawg and an Okeechobee Craw-colored Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver. He threw the baits on a 7-foot, 3-inch heavy Crotalus Custom Rod with 5-pound Sunline FX2 Braided Line and 22-pound Sunline Shooter Fluorocarbon line.
“Sight fishing is mainly reacting to what the fish do, so I throw that white bait when the fish are really locked on the bed and I want to be able to see that they lock on, have it in their mouth and aren’t foul-hooked,” Reynolds said. “I throw the neutral Okeechobee Craw-colored bait when they aren’t locked on. Sometimes I can flip that in the bed and get them to bite.”
Reynolds also said a big player for his win were his Amphibia Performance Sunglasses.
“They are the best sunglasses for sight fishing,” Reynolds said. “I’ve tried a bunch of different ones because I love sight fishing and I feel like I can see a lot more fish, even in dirtier water, with those glasses. They make a huge difference.”
Aside from competing on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit throughout the year, the Phoenix pro typically only fishes the Southwestern Division events on the Toyota Series, but said he registered for the Plains Division event as a safeguard to make sure he qualifies for the Toyota Series Championship.
Outside of their division, Toyota Series pros and Strike King co-anglers have a second chance at qualifying for the Toyota Series Championship in the Wild Card Division, by fishing four or more tournaments in any combination of divisions and keeping their three highest finishes. Twelve pros and 12 co-anglers advance to the Toyota Series Championship based on Wild Card division points with ties resolved by the highest finish in a tournament.
“I’m currently sitting fifth in points for the Southwestern Division and I’m about to head to that final event, but I’d already entered the Grand Lake tournament to give myself a fourth event for the Wild Card division,” Reynolds said.
With the Grand Lake win however, Reynolds can now rest easy knowing the win automatically advances him to the Toyota Series Championship and the opportunity to win up to $235,000.
“A lot of guys will say they appreciate the hardware, but I’m not too concerned about the trophies,” Reynolds said with a laugh. “I care about the money that comes with it and am excited about this win and the opportunities it opens up for me.”
The Top 10 pros on Grand Lake finished:
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Pros William Gaddis of Afton, Oklahoma, and Brett Brumnett of Wagoner, Oklahoma, tied for the $500 Day 1 Berkley Big Bass award in the pro division Thursday, both bringing a bass weighing 6 pounds, 2 ounces to the scale and taking home $250 each. Michael Harlin of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, won Friday’s $500 Berkley Big Bass award, bringing a 6-pound, 1-ounce bass to the scale.
Reynolds took home an extra $35,000 as the highest finishing Phoenix MLF 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 Phoenix MLF Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.
Steven Bale of Grove, Oklahoma, won the Strike King Co-angler Division Saturday with a three-day total of 13 bass weighing 35 pounds, 9 ounces. Bale took home the top prize package of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor.
The Top 10 Strike King co-anglers on Grand Lake finished:
The Day 1 Berkley Big Bass $150 award winner in the Strike King co-angler division was Steve Gregg of Florissant, Missouri, with a 6-pound, 12-ounce bass, while the Day 2 $150 award went to Joseph Greene of Granby, Missouri, with a 5-pound, 6-ounce bass.
The Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. at Grand Lake Presented by Outlaw Ordnance was hosted by the City of Grove. It was the second tournament in the Plains Division. The next event for Toyota Series anglers will take place on May 4-6 – the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas, hosted by the Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn Chamber of Commerce. For a complete schedule, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The 2022 Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. consists of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and Western – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International and Wild Card divisions. Anglers who fish in any of the six divisions and finish in the Top 25 – or the Top 12 from the Wild Card division – will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Championship for a shot at winning up to $235,000 cash. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard. The 2022 Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Championship will be held Nov. 3-5 on Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Alabama, and is hosted by Marshall County Tourism and Sports.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, AFTCO, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Gary Yamamoto Baits, General Tire, Lew’s, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Outlaw Ordinance, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X and YETI.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the MLF Toyota Series on the MLF5 social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.