Toyota Series Championship Midday Update – Day 1 - Major League Fishing

Toyota Series Championship Midday Update – Day 1

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October 28, 2021 • Justin Onslow • Toyota Series

COUNCE, Tenn. – As expected, it’s been a mixed bag so far on Day 1 of the Toyota Series Championship Presented by Guaranteed Rate on Pickwick Lake. While no massive weights have been reported as of yet, there’s been a decent amount of catching taking place – though the real story is the how.

From grass to riprap, tailraces to both shallow and deep areas, the 198-boat field has been making use of everything Pickwick (and its adjoining Tennessee River fisheries) has to offer. In addition, every deck is loaded with something a little different in terms of offerings, from crankbaits and ChatterBaits to topwaters, jigs, spinnerbaits and Ned rigs.

With rain giving way to overcast conditions this morning, the field scattered all over the lake at takeoff without any issues. A large contingent made its way to the Pickwick Dam to probe the tailrace and the surrounding waters – a favorite strategy for many this time of year. Still, Tennessee River tailraces can be finicky from day to day and hour to hour in the fall, especially when conditions are as erratic as they’ve been leading up to this event.

With so much in play, anglers are catching fish on everything from grass to riprap, topwaters to Alabama rigs. Grae Buck leaned on an A-rig to start the morning.

Similarly, a large portion of the field was spotted by the Natchez Trace Bridge to start the day. As much as Pickwick has to offer this time of year, a lot of anglers are hoping to find something consistent to start the week on the right foot, which means a lot of boats packed in high-percentage areas that yielded some fish in practice.

Tennessee River standout Brent Anderson had a slow start to the morning, reporting zero fish at 8:45 local time. His co-angler, JD Blackamore, on the other hand, had both a 3- and a 4-pounder by then. Anderson was spotted throwing a walking bait along over gravel near run-ins – which isn’t too uncommon a tactic today. Several pros have been observed dragging and throwing topwaters up shallow, especially around grass.

Not long after, Anderson made a move to the juice and added a pair of 2 1/2-pounders on a topwater and a ChatterBait, respectively. 

Bass Pro Tour pro Mark Rose was also spotted early this morning. At the time, he was throwing a crankbait along a boat ramp with only a 2-pounder to show for it. At the other end of the spectrum, Aaron Johnson reported four keepers for about 12 pounds (including a 6-pounder) around 10:30, which is one of the better bags of the day from the anglers we’ve gotten reports from. With several hours left to fish, though, that’s likely to change in a hurry.

Nick Thliveros is off to a hot start with about 12 pounds on just four keepers.

Other weight estimates reported so far include Robby Lefere’s three keepers for 7 pounds, four for close to 12 pounds for Nick Thliveros and a solid three from Laramy Strickland for about 8 pounds. Russ Lane (2-pounder) and Alex Heintze (a couple for about 5 pounds) each reported minimal success so far.

No surprise to anyone who’s followed his young career, Dakota Ebare had the first reported limit of the day around 11:15 with 15 1/2 pounds. Ebare fishes enough tournaments to boast considerable experience up and down the Tennessee River, and he’s primed to once again make a run at the title that eluded him last year with a fourth-place finish at Cumberland. 

As conditions stabilize late morning and into the afternoon, look for a bite window to open up and for anglers to start adding some quality to their bags. The expectation heading into the event was that 13- and 14-pound bags would be plentiful with the opportunity for some 20-plus-pound bags to show up at the weigh-in stage. Pickwick has the potential for bigger limits even than that, and with 198 boaters and co-anglers in the field, it’s hard to imagine not seeing a couple truly big bags at weigh-in, which starts at 3:15 p.m. CT, streamed live at