Breeden closes it out in style on Grand Lake - Major League Fishing

Breeden closes it out in style on Grand Lake

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Cole Breeden fished a nearly perfect event from start to finish. Photo by Phoenix Moore. Angler: Cole Breeden.
April 13, 2024 • Jody White • Toyota Series

GROVE, Okla. – After taking over the lead on Day 2, Cole Breeden closed out the win in style with 19 pounds, 14 ounces on the final day of the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats Plains Division event on Grand Lake. With a 62-15 total, Breeden surpassed runner-up Jake Lawrence by more than 6 pounds to earn his first win at the Toyota Series level. The win qualified Breeden for this fall’s Toyota Series Championship, and earned him $37,965 in cash and contingency money.

With an Abu Garcia College Fishing National Championship win to his credit on Grand, Breeden is no stranger to the lake or Ozark-style fisheries. This week, he dropped the trolling motor and was pretty much dialed from the get-go.

“Literally in practice, I put my trolling motor down on a good one,” he said. “It went well the whole time. I expected (fish) to be in that transition area, around spawning stuff, and I started there, and that’s where they were. I just went with it all week, and it was good the whole time.

“In practice, I had a ton of bites,” he added. “The first day of practice, I had 19 ½ pounds, and I shook off a lot of them, or, I tried to. Every day, I’d find a couple areas. In the tournament even, I found some new areas. It just seemed like it was rolling for me, and the stuff that looked right, was.”

Cole Breeden ran a masterclass on shallow ‘Scoping. Photo by Phoenix Moore.

Catching most of his fish on a Texas-rigged Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Creature Hawg, Breeden also applied a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Hit Worm Magnum on a Neko rig. For his Texas rig, he used a 7-foot, 6-inch, heavy Abu Garcia Fantasista X paired with an Abu Garcia Zenon X, 17-pound Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon,  a 4/0 hook and a ¼-ounce Picasso weight

Roaming from the Horse Creek area as far down as Drowning and Duck creeks, Breeden ‘Scoped up nearly all of his fish fairly shallow, targeting a specific mix of features.

“It was similar everywhere I had fish,” he explained. “A little flatter bank, if it was a creek, the flatter side of the creek. Or, just a flat pocket close to the main lake. It was all pea gravel, or pea gravel that had tennis ball-sized rock mixed in. It was spawning areas, spawning flats or pockets.  I’d catch them either on the way to the backs, or if it was a main lake pocket, I’d catch them in the back. The first day, I caught 22 pounds in the back of a couple pockets, but it was closer to deeper water. The stuff that was further from deep water, I’d catch them closer to the secondary points and stuff.

“Typically, they were on something,” he added. “There’s a lot of trash fish in Grand, it seems like every lake I go to with a lot of trash fish, fish always hold to something. I think on the chunkier rock, they will sit in the rock. But, on the pea gravel banks, you need a bigger rock, or a piece of metal, or a little brush, or a stump. Just something there that they’re holding to. I think they make beds next to that as well, I could tell some of them were spawning, because the fish would just be making little circles around a little spot.”

Big ones bit every day for Cole Breeden. Photo by Phoenix Moore.

While most of his fish came from smaller pieces of cover, Breeden caught a few out of significant brush piles, with some as big as 9 feet tall holding fish. One brush fish stymied him on Day 2, and then escaped him and Strike King co-angler Matt Krekovich on Day 3.

“I went back to that fish I missed, and the wind was blowing on that stretch pretty good,” he said. “There was another brush pile just down the bank from it, and I pulled up, on the pile I saw her on, and she wasn’t there. About 2 minutes later, my co-angler in the back of the boat says ‘Oh I’ve got one.’ I look back, and about a 7-pounder jumps out of the water. He broke the hook on his jerkbait, it came off, and she was sitting on that brush pile just down the bank.”

Still, missed lunker aside, Breeden had a special week.

“It’s freakin’ awesome,” he said of the win. “It feels like so many times you’re not even close. Then, you have a week where it goes your way the whole time. I just caught big fish everywhere I went. When it’s going your way, it’s just going your way.”

Top 10 pros

1. Cole Breeden – 62 – 15 (15) – $37,965

2. Jake Lawrence – 56 – 05 (15) – $15,595 (includes $1,000 Phoenix Bonus)

3. Jordan Hartman – 55 – 03 (15) – $11,299

4. Jackson Ryley – 54 – 15 (15) – $9,416

5. Ethan Fields – 54 – 05 (15) – $8,475

6. Matteo Turano – 53 – 14 (15) – $7,533

7. Kyle Kitts – 53 – 12 (15) – $6,591

8. Jason Bonds – 53 – 07 (15) – $5,650

9. Casey Scanlon – 53 – 07 (15) – $4,708

10. Tate Brumnett – 51 – 02 (15) – $3,766

Complete results

Jake Lawrence is looking unstoppable this year. Photo by Phoenix Moore.

Fishing Clash Angler of the Year

After a win in the first event and a runner-up finish at Grand, Lawrence is in an ideal position as far as Fishing Clash Angler of the Year points go, with 519 on the season. In second, Jordan Hartman is really close, with 516 points, having also got off to a phenomenal start. Ethan Fields is in third, and also over the 500-point threshold. Behind the top three, there are a bunch of strong anglers, but through two-thirds of the season, the top three pros have certainly separated themselves.

In September, the Plains Division will wrap up at Lake of the Ozarks and we’ll get a final answer on AOY.