Schmitt Takes 12-Pound Lead on Toho - Major League Fishing

Schmitt Takes 12-Pound Lead on Toho

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February 5, 2021 • Rob Newell • Toyota Series

Florida fisheries are magical places to experience a once-in-a-lifetime day of fishing. Single-day five-bass limits in Florida come in eye-popping denominations: 20-, 25- and 30-pound catches are entirely possible on any given day. But anglers who can make those magical Florida catches happen two days in a row are a much rarer breed.

In two days at the Toyota Series presented by A.R.E. there have been a total of seven limits over 20 pounds weighed in. Only one person in the field owns two of those 20-plus bags: Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Maryland.

Schmitt weighed in 25 pounds, 9 ounces on day one and followed that up with 22 pounds, 15 ounces on day two for a two-day total of 48 pounds, 7 ounces. He now leads the first Toyota Series of the Southern Division on Lake Toho, presented by Googan Baits, by 12 pounds, 1 ounce.

Schmitt’s winning record in MLF competition on grass lakes is pretty impressive. Over the years Schmitt has proved that he truly understands the subtleties of grass fishing and, so far, his week on Toho has been no exception.

For the last two days, Schmitt has pulled nearly 50 pounds of bass from a ¼-mile-long vein of hydrilla that runs across a barren flat.

“It’s just a thin, narrow strip of grass out there in the middle of nowhere,” Schmitt details. “It runs out through a 6-foot flat of bare bottom; there is not a stitch of grass anywhere else around it. I know because I’ve looked all around the area for another strip or clump. The grass is only about 2 to 3 feet tall off the bottom.”

Schmitt found the hydrilla strip during practice, but it was fruitless.

“When I found it, I just knew it would be loaded with fish,” he says. “It’s one of the prettiest grass places I’ve ever found. But I never got a bite on it in practice.”

Bryan Schmitt is one of the world’s premier grass anglers.

Where Schmitt proves his chops as a grass guru is in his conviction that bass had to live in the grass strip.

“Yesterday, I ran all the way down to Kissimmee thinking about that spot I found in Toho,” he says. “As soon as I got my fifth keeper in Kissimmee, I couldn’t wait to run back to Toho and try the spot again – even though it didn’t produce a bite in practice.”

When he relocated the thin line of grass on Thursday afternoon, he finally tapped the potential he knew existed there, sacking up the 25-9 as fast as he could cast.

He returned this morning and again caught big bass in short order on a SPRO Aruku Shad 75.  

Schmitt also admits that LiveScope is playing a major role in the fish he has been catching.

“It’s the dangdest thing I have ever seen,” he says. “I can literally see the bass swimming up and down this strip of grass. Most of the time I’m casting that Aruku Shad way out there and ripping it like normal. But on several occasions today, I could see a fish out there right next to the grass. And I would literally pitch that Aruku Shad out there to the fish, let it sink and then rip it up right in front of her, and she would smash it. It’s just crazy!

“Now, I also had some that I pitched to and they lunged at it on the screen, but they never bit it,” he adds. “So it’s not like you catch every one you see. But just to see fish swimming up and down that line gives me the confidence to keep casting and ripping that Aruku Shad.”

A lipless crankbait has been a key player for Bryan Schmitt.

Going into the final day, what worries Schmitt the most is that his bite completely disappeared by 9 a.m. this morning.

“Something happened,” he says. “I quit seeing fish on the LiveScope and I quit getting bites, just like that. I’m thinking that some of it was pressure, because a lot of people showed up in that spot after a couple of hours this morning. And they were poling down all up and down the grass line and stuff. So with only ten of us out there tomorrow, I’m hoping I’ve got it to myself again and the fish hang around longer.”

Top 10 Pros

1. Bryan Schmitt – 48 – 08 (10)          

2. Mikey Keyso – 36 – 07 (10)

3. Eric Conant – 33 – 13 (9)    

4. Bobby Bakewell – 32 – 04 (7)         

5. Trevor Fitzgerald – 31 – 10 (10)     

6. Eric Panzironi – 30 – 05 (10)           

7. Samuel Whitmire – 29 – 09 (8)      

8. Jared McMillan – 29 – 06 (10)

9. Steven Hatala – 29 – 00 (10)          

10. Cole Hewett – 28 – 14 (10)           

Complete Results

Baffa Still Leads Strike King Co-Angler Division

Jeffery Baffa continues to lead the co-angler division of the Toyota Series on Lake Toho, thanks in large part to the 24-pound, 11-ounce limit he caught on day one. He added 2 fish for 4 pounds, 6 ounces to his total today for a two-day total of 29 pounds, 1 ounce.

Top 10 Co-Anglers

1. Jeffery Baffa – 29 – 01 (7)

2. Ricky Grant  – 28 – 01 (9)

3. Theron Asbery – 24 – 10 (7)      

4. Benton Peoples – 21 – 07 (6)     

5. Clinton Lacinak – 20 – 14 (8)    

6. Frank Kitchens Jr. – 20 – 13 (8) 

7. Troy Johnson Jr. – 18 – 02 (5)   

8. James Littich – 18 – 00 (7)        

9. Todd Classon – 16 – 13 (5)       

10. Joe Cifuentes – 16 – 05 (6)    

Complete Results