CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Central Division will continue its 2022 season next week in Chattanooga, Tennessee, May 5-7, with the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. at Lake Chickamauga. Hosted by Chattanooga Sports, the three-day tournament is the third and final event of the season for the Toyota Series Central Division anglers and will feature the region’s best bass-fishing pros and Strike King co-anglers casting for a top prize of up to $75,000.
Mercury pro Miles Burghoff of Dayton, Tennessee, said he expects to see the fish in full spawning mode during the tournament.
“On Lake Chickamauga, the bass tend to wait until the water gets up to the reeds for the main wave of spawners, so for this event the majority of the guys that do well will be fishing shallow,” Burghoff said. “Chick doesn’t normally get good off-shore until the end of May, early June, so while there will still be some guys fishing offshore, they will be the minority.”
With temperature predictions in the mid-70s throughout the event, the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro said the fishery will be set up nicely for the shallow bite.
“I think we’ll see a lot of wacky rigs and stick baits like the Z-Man Zinkerz during the tournament, as well as swim jigs and some big swimbaits,” Burghoff said. “Guys could flip or pitch a little bit, but I honestly think the water is going to be about a foot too low by the time the tournament begins.
“As for off-shore, I expect to see crankbaits, big spoons and guys dragging jigs – just the usual Tennessee River players.”
Burghoff said while the event will be exciting, especially for anglers targeting fish on beds, he doesn’t anticipate big weights during the tournament.
“I think it’s going to take 14 ½ to 16 pounds to get into the Top 25 and around 18 pounds per day to win the event, just considering how tough the lake has been fishing,” Burghoff said.
While he spends most of the year traveling around the country on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Burghoff said he is looking forward to the challenge the local Toyota Series event offers.
“The Toyota Series is a great opportunity for me to fish against the best anglers in the region,” Burghoff said. “On the Pro Circuit, we are generally competing on fisheries that we don’t fish often, so we all put our own spin on those bodies of water. However, at a Toyota Series event, you’re fishing against guys who live around those lakes and likely fish them very often – and they’re tough to beat. These regional events are extremely competitive and are a great opportunity to get out there and learn from the locals.”
Anglers will take off daily at 6 a.m. ET from Chester Frost Park located at 2318 Gold Point Circle North in Hixson. Weigh-ins will also be held at the park and will begin at 2 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend the event or follow the action online through the MLF NOW! weigh-in broadcasts and daily coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
In Toyota Series regular-season competition, payouts are based on the number of participants competing in the event, scaling up for every 20 boats over 160 and scaling down for every boat below 160. With a 160-boat field, pros fish for a top prize of $40,000, plus an extra $35,000 if Phoenix MLF Bonus-qualified. Strike King co-anglers cast for the top prize of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard (valued at $33,500). With a 260-boat field, pros fish for a top award of $65,000, plus an extra $35,000 if Phoenix MLF5 Bonus-qualified. Strike King co-anglers cast for the top prize of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard (valued at $33,500) plus $5,000 cash.
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.