Cold fronts, low water and lack of grass had the bass on Toledo Bend in a bit of a funk, but the famed fishery strung between Texas and Louisiana still showed glimpses of what it’s capable of during the Toyota Series Southwestern Division kickoff event.
Fishing offshore was the way to go for the majority of the top pros and because of that a Carolina rig, football jig and deep-diving crankbait were the main players for most of the field. Getting the win, Cody Huff relied on a jigging spoon and his graphs to hunt down suspended fish, proving that heavy metal never goes out of style for bass.
Here’s a look at the baits that helped separate the top 10 pros from the rest of the pack.
1. Using his electronics to hunt down suspended bass offshore, Cody Huff relied solely on a 7/8-ounce jigging spoon thrown on 12-pound Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon to grab his first FLW title and cap off one heck of a two-week ride on Toledo Bend.
2. David Curtis made a big jump on the final day to finish in second and did so thanks to a classic east Texas presentation – dragging a Carolina rig with a lizard. He also caught some key fish the final day on a Strike King Rage Swimmer.
3. Local Matt Boyt had to adjust each day of the event to stay with his offshore school and did so with a 6th Sense Cloud 9 C25 (shad colors) and a drop-shot with a Roboworm Straight Tail Worm (morning dawn hologram) to nab the first top 10 of his career with FLW.
4. Local stud Stephen Johnston ran a shallower program than most – which produced a 10-pounder on day one – but couldn’t connect with more big bites as the week progressed. To help add some more hardware to his mantle, Johnston drug a Carolina rig with a ½-ounce weight and a Strike King Game Hawg (Bama bug) around the mouths of spawning pockets.
5. Full-time Toledo Bend guide Justin Cooper ran a rotation of offshore spots up the lake with V&M Pork Shad 2.0 (Gleason’s candy) on a Carolina rig and an underspin paired with a V&M Wild Shad, which has yet to hit the market.
7. Fresh off a top 10 in the first Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on Sam Rayburn last week, Darold Gleason kept the train rolling. A V&M Straight Shooter worm on a drop-shot, a V&M Pork Shad 2.0 on a Carolina rig and a ¾-ounce V&M The Flatline Football Jig (blue shadow) with green pumpkin Wild Thang Craw trailer were his go-to baits on his home pond.
8. Local Benjamin Gulett took a week off of work to compete in this event and it paid off with another top 10 on his home lake. Fishing offshore, Gulett relied on a V&M The Flatline Football Jig for almost the entire event, though he did pluck a few cranking a Strike King 10XD, too.
9. Adding to the list of impressive Toledo Bend locals in the top 10, Cody Pitt milked a hard spot with stumps on it at the mouth of a spawning pocket for all he could with a Carolina rig and a 4-inch V&M Swamp Hog.
10. Rotating between a pair of Strike King 6XDs (powder blue back chartreuse and Delta red) carried Texas legend Phil Marks to yet another Toyota Series top 10 on Toledo Bend.