Spring fling starts at Grand - Major League Fishing

Spring fling starts at Grand

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This week's Toyota Series event on Grand Lake should feature good fishing. Photo by Phoenix Moore.
April 11, 2024 • Jody White • Toyota Series

GROVE, Okla. – The second stop of the Plains Division gets rolling on Grand Lake today, which is always an interesting tournament lake and has provided many Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats highlights over the years. The Oklahoma weather is a bit hostile (as usual), with high winds in the forecast for two of the days, but Grand still seems primed to produce and ought to give pros and Strike King co-anglers a lot of options.

A few weeks ago, the Bassmaster Classic gave viewers a look at Grand fully in the prespawn – this week, there should be a lot of bed fish brought to the scale.

The status of the spawn

One of the best lakes without grass, Grand has a reputation for quality, albeit a super tough bite on occasion. This week, it sounds like the fishing is set to be pretty good and pretty diverse.

“You can do just about anything right now,” said Eli Brumnett, who has two BFL wins to his credit in the last 12 months. “I’ve marked a bunch of fish and seen a bunch of fish on beds down-lake and mid-lake, but I’ve also caught fish in 15 or 20 feet down the lake. So, it’s basically like fishing a big pond right now — they’re spread out everywhere. It’s going to be anybody’s ballgame.”

The exact state of the spawn is hard to determine. It seems like there are fish in different phases throughout the lake, and at least per practice, we’re not headed for a sight-fishing-dominated event like Bradley Hallman’s 2015 win.

“This weather has been messing with them, going hot to cold,” Brumnett said. “I think when we got a little warm front last week, they pulled up. Then, when we got a cold front, they pulled back out. That’s why I think you can catch them everywhere.”

Travis Harriman is also not fully committed to the sight-fishing game.

“The spawn is just off a little bit, maybe a week off,” he said. “On Beaver Lake, there were a ton of fish on beds last week, so I expected to come over here and see a ton of fish on beds. I haven’t seen quite the numbers that I expected to see. There’s definitely enough to play, and I could see the winner bed fishing, but not myself. Bed fishing requires such a different mental side; my plan is to try to not sight-fish for them, still fishing for bedding fish, but doing it other ways.”

Other possibilities still in play

Both Harriman and Brumnett expect the spawn to be key, but not the sole factor in the event.

“I think there are still some offshore fish to be caught, with an A-rig, or a football jig, on rocks, and that sort of stuff,” Harriman said. “I think someone could get right doing that. They’re finicky up shallow — they just had an Anglers in Action tournament, and obviously, the Classic was here. I think if someone were to find something off the beaten path, they might reap the rewards.

“A jig is going to always play on Grand Lake, it doesn’t matter if the water temperature is 95 degrees or 35 degrees. I would say half the Top 10 will be throwing a jig, two or three will be sight-fishing, a couple will be throwing a spinnerbait, and then there will be some people just getting in spawning pockets and picking it apart. This is a tournament where the old school, fishing with your grandpa, Bubba fishing, will work. It will be a dragger’s dream.”

Brumnett is a little higher on the sight-fishing game plan than Harriman, but even he isn’t really planning on making it his sole focus.

“There will be five guys in the Top 10 sight-fishing for sure,” Brumnett said. “I would say it’s going to be won sight-fishing, but this wind could affect that. It depends on where you find them, what part of the lake. There’s going to be guys catching them on A-rigs still, and dragging a jig. It’s hard to say; you can catch them on pretty much anything. But, for sure, five of the Top 10 are sight-fishing.”

With water temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to mid-60s and a matching diversity of water clarity, there should be no shortage of ways to catch bass. Exactly what turns out to be the best will be decided at weigh-in.

Windy weather on the first and last day could hamper the bed fishing, but it might help the folks just casting. Photo by Phoenix Moore.

What does it take to win?

Per the practice report, you can expect some big bags to cross the stage on Day 1, but doing it multiple days in a row will be the key challenge.

“I think consistency will be difficult, but it’s Grand,” Harriman said. “I think 56-ish, that will be really good. The quality is always there, that’s the fun thing about Grand Lake; when you set the hook, it has the potential to be a big one more times than not. It seems like Grand and Lake of the Ozarks fish very similar, but there are less bass in Grand than on Lake of the Ozarks. It seems like it is difficult to get 15 keeper bites right now, in a day. But, if you can catch eight or nine keepers, whatever they weigh, I’ll take it.”

Brumnett is just a bit higher on the potential.

“For sure it’s going to be 58 to 60 pounds, for sure there are going to be some big bags,” said the Oklahoma angler. “The leader on Day 1 will catch a big bag, but it’s hard to do that three days in a row, especially with how much pressure this lake gets.”

So, stay tuned – we’re likely to see some really quality fishing in this one.

Jake Lawrence has been hot as a pistol the last year, and he’s leading the points in the Plains Division after winning the opener. Photo by Matt Pace

Fishing Clash Angler of the Year race starts in earnest

After the first event at Kentucky Lake, the Plains Division pros and Strike King co-anglers will get the Fishing Clash Angler of the Year race really underway this week. Leading the way, Jake Lawrence is back in action, but there are some notable anglers not in this one, including Matt Robertson, Drew Gill, Harbor Lovin and Clint Knight. So, look for folks like Brad Jelinek and Dennis Berhorst to move up in the standings after the event. As far as catching the red-hot Lawrence goes, time will tell.