Since high winds were out of the north during practice, it forced many pros into northern pockets and coves on day one of the tournament. Today, those places that were protected from the north wind got thrashed by the south wind, ruining a lot of anglers’ water.
Also, Lake Toho has again proven to be a little bit better at weathering a severe cold front when compared to Lake Kissimmee. Most of the pros who survived the cut to fish the final day are fishing Toho.
Outside of Bryan Schmitt, those in the top five either rode a big limit from day one or had to scramble around to find something different to stay consistent. Here is a closer look at how they did it.
Mikey Keyso proved that consistent solid limits over time in Florida can make up a lot of ground over one-day heroics. He backed up his day-one limit of 16-6 with 20-1 today to race to the runner-up spot with 36 pounds, 7 ounces.
Currently, there are two primary patterns going on at Toho: offshore hydrilla or punching mats. Keyso is combining a little of both to climb the leaderboard.
“I’m trying to take advantage of that early morning [lipless crankbait] bite in the grass,” Keyso says. “It’s a good way to catch a couple quick. That bite doesn’t last long, though. Seems like the cold triggers that bite. When we get cold nights, it’s better the next morning. This morning it didn’t last long.”
After that Keyso goes punching the rest of the day.
“It’s a one-two deal for me,” he adds. “That punching deal is slow; it’s hard to start doing that with nothing in the box. So I take advantage of that [lipless crankbait] bite to get two or three in the ‘well and it really helps me slow down and punch the way I need to so I can catch bigger fish.”
Eric Conant caught 26-7 on day one, but followed it up with only four bass for 7-6 today.
“I thought I was going to catch them again today, even with that wind, but I was wrong about that,” Conant says. “There were a lot of people fishing the area when I got there. With the wind, there is a lot more trolling motor and Power-Pole noise and I think that hurt.”
At about 11:30, Conant went into scramble mode around Toho to close out a limit.
“I even fished some of the state brushpiles and caught a couple out of them,” he says. “I was fishing anything and everything just to catch a fish.”
Bobby Bakewell also struggled on day two after leading on day one with 26-13. He managed two keepers on the day weighing 5-7.
“The place I started on yesterday only had four boats there, including me,” Bakewell says. “When I got there this morning, I counted 15 boats, not including me. I got the school fired up pretty quick, caught two and it was over. I stayed in there until 9 o’clock and didn’t see anyone else catching anything, so I bailed out and went south.”
“When I got to my places down south, they were blown out from the wind,” he adds. “I ran a bunch of places and just never ran into another place that had fish.”
Trevor Fitzgerald has made the best of the offshore hydrilla bite and the punching bite to score two mid-teen limits for fifth.
“All the fish I weighed yesterday came punching,” Fitzgerald says. “But today I mixed an offshore bite with a [lipless crankbait] with the punching program and weighed fish doing both.”