BETHEL ISLAND, Calif. – The Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats is headed to the California Delta next week, March 15-17, for the Toyota Series at the California Delta Presented by Psycho Tuna. The three-day tournament, hosted by the City of Oakley, is the second of three regular-season events in the Western Division Presented by Tackle Warehouse.
The Toyota Series offers the biggest payouts for the lowest entry fees of any national tournament trail. The Toyota Series is the only Western trail that offers advancement to the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship, where pros fish for $235,000, including a $35,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus, and co-anglers compete for a $33,500 Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat powered by a 115 HP Mercury.
“I haven’t been to the Delta in a while, but I know that it is an amazing fishery and the fishing is good right now, so this Toyota Series tournament is going to be a really great event,” said Bass Pro Tour pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, California. “We’ve gotten a lot of rain, and even some snow, lately, and that could really dirty the water up. So, my guess is that we’re going to see some different baits than usual being really effective there in this one.
“With dirty water, big flashy bright stuff is going to be important,” Ehrler said. “Guys are going to catch them on spinnerbaits, which always work there but have never been that bait that really shined, there. Reaction-type baits, and red is important. Red ChatterBaits. I’d be throwing a Lucky Craft BDS3 and BDS4 – big shallow-running crankbaits. And then standard flipping stuff will play there as well.”
Ehrler said that for anglers targeting clear water, California Delta staples like Yamamoto Senkos and drop-shot rigs would be important.
“The weird thing about that place is it tough to predict a winning weight,” Ehrler went on to say. “If the fishing is good, and there is a strong prespawn bite, it could take 75 pounds over three days. Or, if it’s tough and they’re not really biting, it could be around 60 pounds. I predict that someone will catch 23 to 25 pounds one day, then he’ll back it up with 20, then 16 on the final day and win the tournament. I think the winner is going to need at least 61 pounds in this one.”
Anglers will take off each day at 7 a.m. PT from Russo’s Marina, located at 3995 Willow Road in Bethel Island. Weigh-ins will also be held at the marina and will begin at 3 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend and encouraged to follow the event online through the “MLF Live” 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 MLF 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 2023 Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats consists of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and the Western Division Presented by Tackle Warehouse – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International and Wild Card divisions. Anglers who fish in any of the six divisions or the Wild Card division and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship for a shot at winning up to $235,000 and a qualification to REDCREST 2024. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard. The 2023 Toyota Series Championship will be held Nov. 2-4 on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, and is hosted by ExploreBranson.com.
Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Toyota Series include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Black Rifle Coffee Company, E3, Favorite Fishing, Fox Rent a Car, General Tire, Gill, Grundéns, Lew’s, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Wiley X and YETI.
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.