KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Those who thought Lake Toho was stingy on day one of the Wal-Mart FLW Tour event found out what stingy really is on day two.
Despite a much warmer day two, several anglers noted that the water temperatures did not really rise much today and weights fell off. There were no limits over 20 pounds and 200 less pounds of bass crossed the stage in the Pro Division.
Now at the helm is Castrol pro Carl Svebek of Siloam Springs, Ark., the man who introduced the fishing world to the swacky rig several years ago, and it should come as no surprise that the amicable pro is using his favorite technique to catch his bass.
After catching 17-10 on day one and 17-8 on day two, Svebek now leads with a two-day total of 35-2.
He is fishing Toho exclusively – just a couple of miles from the launch site – wacky rigging his namesake Gambler Sweebo worm (hence the “swacky rig”) on casting gear around Kissimmee grass to catch about 15 keepers per day.
“I love to fish the Sweebo worm wacky style but there’s only a small window of time each year when it really works,” Svebek said. “It’s best right now when the water is cold and fish are in the pre-spawn or post-spawn mode, just cruising around in shallow water.
“Even though it’s my favorite way to fish, it’s been pretty grueling the last two days because I’m fishing it slower than I normally do. I’m making long casts, letting it go down, twitching it a few times and then reeling back in to make another cast. I’m really trying to carefully dissect the areas I’m fishing.”
Svebek caught about 12 pounds by this afternoon and was debating how much more he needed to make the cut when he caught a 7-pounder.
“After I caught that one, I never made another cast,” he added.
In second place is PTSI pro Ron Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark., with a two-day total of 31 pounds, 8 ounces.
Shuffield is alternating between spots in Lake Cypress and Lake Kissimmee, but his quality game is in Cypress with a rattling lipless crankbait called a Drum made by Yozuri.
“I started in Cypress with the Drum, caught a good one and then headed to Kissimmee,” Shuffield recounted. “I finished a limit down in Kissimmee fishing a 10-inch Berkley Power worm and a 10-inch Gambler worm, both in junebug. Then I came back up to Cypress, culled up a couple of times on the Drum and then backed out. I’m trying to save those fish in Cypress for the finals.”
Big-bass Hadden third
For the second day in a row, Randy Hadden of Jacksonville, Fla., caught the big bass in the Pro Division, which has propelled him into third place with a two-day total of 30 pounds, 5 ounces.
On day one he weighed in an 11-9 monster and today he took big bass honors with an 8-8. That’s 20 pounds of bass in just two fish, accounting for nearly two-thirds of his total weight.
While other top competitors are talking about catching pre- and post-spawn bass, Hadden is targeting spawning bass.
“These fish are spawning on pad roots,” Hadden said. “I can’t see them, but I know that’s what they’re doing. I’ll cast to a lily pad root and just drag that bait right up to the root and shake it like I was sight-fishing.”
Hadden’s day-one big bass bit a Berkley Power worm and today’s lunker fell victim to a junebug Brush Hog.
Shinichi Fukae of Mineola, Texas, holds down the fourth place position with a two-day total of 30 pounds, 3 ounces.
Fukae has put down the finesse tackle this week in favor of “medium tackle with 16-pound line,” but he is still fishing “very slow.”
The BP pro is staying in Lake Toho, hitting 7 to 8 spots per day to catch post-spawn fish with soft plastics.
Hite falls to fifth
Day-one leader Brett Hite of Phoenix fell to fifth place today with five bass for 6 pounds, 8 ounces – a far cry from his 22-6 limit on day one.
“It’s not that I laid off or I’m running out of fish, I just didn’t get them in the boat today,” Hite said of his poor catch. “I had the bites to weigh in 15 to 20 pounds today, but I missed two giants that I saw. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise, though, because those fish are still there and maybe I’ll catch them in the next couple of days.”
Several other factors contributed to his slide as well.
“The wind ruffled the surface in there a little more today and I couldn’t really see the small lanes of vegetation that I’m targeting with my bait,” he added. “Plus there were a lot of boats in the area and I was kind of boxed in and couldn’t move around very well. So I’m not discouraged at all by this. I think there are still some big fish in there and I think with less pressure in the area I’ll be able to move around a lot more tomorrow.”
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top 10 pros in the FLW Tour event on Lake Toho who will be fishing the final round:
6th: Pat Fisher of Buckhead, Ga., two-day total of 27-4
7th: Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., two-day total of 26-11
8th: Shad Schenck of Waynetown, Ind., two-day total of 26-6
9th: Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., two-day total of 23-10
10th: Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., two-day total of 23-4
Talmadge still leads co-anglers
Bryan Talmadge of Pell City, Ala., retained his day-one lead by sacking up 9 pounds, 14 ounces today for a two-day total of 23 pounds, 5 ounces.
Talmadge fished Senkos behind Jim Moynagh in Toho today.
“What has really helped me more than anything in this tournament is I came down here and practiced three days with Craig Dowling and he is an awesome fisherman,” Talmadge said. “He taught me a tremendous amount about catching these post-spawn fish and that has made all the difference in the world. If I had not practiced with him I’d been in deep trouble.”
Garrett Olivotti of Rockford, Ill., is in second place with a two-day total of 19 pounds, 14 ounces. Olivotti caught 15 pounds, 12 ounces behind pro Randy Blaukat today on Senkos and a ¾-ounce Rat-L-Trap.
David Givens of Hernando, Fla., is in third place with a two-day total of 19 pounds, 5 ounces.
Todd Lee of Jasper, Ala., jumped into fourth place with a 15-pound catch for a two-day total of 16 pounds, 10 ounces.
Spencer Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark., holds down fifth place with a two-day total of 15 pounds, 15 ounces.
Doug Caldwell of Kane, Penn., caught the big bass in the Co-angler Division on day two weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers in the FLW Tour event on Lake Toho who will be fishing on day three:
6th: Trevor Fitzgerald of Ocklawaha, Fla., two-day total of 15-9
7th: Mike Drain of Purcell, Okla., two-day total of 15-8
8th: Louis Manata of Colombia, Miss., two-day total of 15-7
9th: Sean Stepp of Stafford, Va., two-day total of 14-15
10th: Casey Gallagher of Pulaski, Wis., two-day total of 14-14
Day three of the FLW Tour on Lake Toho will begin Saturday at 7 a.m. at the Lakefront Park located at 101 Lake Shore Blvd. in Kissimmee.