COUNCE, Tenn. – Mikey Keyso hails from Florida, so he’s no stranger to fishing matted vegetation and after two days of competition on Pickwick Lake for the Toyota Series Championship Presented by Guaranteed Rate, he’s doing it better than anyone. Weighing 17 pounds, 10 ounces on Day 1, Keyso brought 15-4 to the scale today to move his two-day total up to 32-14. With a mere 15-ounce lead to start Championship Saturday, Keyso will look to keep things rolling to lock up the biggest win of his career.
Over the last two days, Keyso has worked a ¼-mile stretch of hydrilla above the Natchez Trace Bridge with a punching rod and a frog to produce his weight thus far. It’s the only area he found that has both numbers and quality fish and he doesn’t plan on changing a thing on Saturday.
“There’s shad, bluegill and bass and just fish in there for whatever reason,” Keyso says of his main area. “It’s got current coming through it and deeper grass than anywhere I’ve found and it’s right off the river channel. I think they just come in, do their thing and hang out. When they’re ready to eat they start chomping.
“I spent basically my whole time there today. I thought I had 12 pounds all day, so I was really trying to get a big bite and I sore-mouthed a lot of 2 ½-pounders. I don’t know what’s left in there, but I guess we’ll find out.”
Weighing a few fish on a frog and a few from punching on Day 1, Keyso caught some fish punching early, but capitalized on a strong frog bite later in the day to help cull up to his 15 pounds today.
“Today there were way more boats in there than I was hoping, but I still got to hit my little section, so it worked out,” he says. “I went in behind some guys when they left and caught all of them on the frog in the afternoon. Usually, my big ones come flipping, but today everything I weighed came on a frog.”
With two Phoenix Bass Fishing League wins under his belt, a Toyota Series Championship would be a major accomplishment for the Florida pro. What might work in his favor is the fact that his roommate, Kyle Walters, also hails from the Sunshine State and took home the Toyota Series Championship win on Lake Guntersville back in 2018 running essentially the same pattern. To say it would be fate for Keyso to win this week could be an overstatement, but then again, Florida pros and flipping grass go together like barbeque and college football.
“It’d be huge to win,” says Keyso. “I’d rather be in second or third (to start the day), but we’ll see what happens. It’s exciting. I’m ready to go win.”
1. Mikey Keyso – 32 – 14 (10)
2. Chris Digino – 31 – 15 (10)
3. Jeff Reynolds – 31 – 11 (10)
4. Todd Castledine – 30 – 13 (10)
5. Cody Nichols – 30 – 11 (9)
6. Aaron Johnson – 30 – 00 (10)
7. Dakota Ebare – 29 – 15 (10)
8. Greg Bohannan – 29 – 09 (10)
9. Barry Graves – 29 – 03 (10)
10. Brent Crow – 29 – 01 (10)
Daniel Lutz is a long way from his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, but that isn’t stopping him from catching bass. Weighing just three bass for 8 pounds on Day 1, Lutz dropped 15-12 today with just four bass to take a 1-pound lead over second with 23-12 overall.
Fishing with pro Leslie Brandenburg, who weighed 19-10 today, Lutz’s day wasn’t going so well until an afternoon flurry turned things around.
“I didn’t catch a fish until 2 o’clock,” Lutz says. “My pro had his limit and I was watching what he was throwing and trying to throw the same thing. I had some swimbaits but didn’t really have the right jig heads. After I lost the jig heads I had I had to make do with some egg sinkers and straight rig my Keitech onto the hook. I just threw it in the current and bounced it along. I was catching catfish and drum, but then I caught a 3 ½- or 4-pounder. Next cast I catch like a 3-pounder and they just started biting. I caught my four and had one short. It was crazy.”
Lutz has never been to Pickwick before this week and despite not weighing a limit either day he’s more than thrilled with how things have gone. If they keep going well for one more day, he wouldn’t even be mad about it.
“It’s awesome, I never thought I would even be here,” he says. “I thought I would just come down here and catch a few fish, so this is cool.”
1. Daniel Lutz – 23 – 12 (7)
2. Scott Parsons – 22 – 12 (9)
3. Rod Mackinnon III – 20 – 10 (7)
4. Jason Sandidge – 18 – 10 (8)
5. Allen Neal – 18 – 08 (7)
6. Nycholas Swanson – 18 – 02 (5)
7. Matt Hummel – 16 – 12 (7)
8. Mason Chambers – 16 – 04 (8)
9. Charles Dubroc – 15 – 12 (4)
10. Ray de Jong – 15 – 11 (6)