CULLMAN, Ala. – The Major League Fishing Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats is set to visit Lewis Smith Lake in Cullman, Alabama, next week, March 21-23, for the second event of the season in the Toyota Series Central Division – the Toyota Series at Lewis Smith Lake . The three-day tournament, hosted by the Cullman County Tourism Bureau, will feature a roster of the region’s best bass-fishing pros and Strike King co-anglers competing for a top prize of up to $100,000 in the pro division and a new Phoenix 518 Pro boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor in the co-angler division.
“This is going to be an awesome tournament,” said local Bass Pro Tour pro Jesse Wiggins of Cullman, Alabama. “You’re going to see a ton of fish caught – I’m talking 30, 40, 50 a day. The key is going to be finding the areas that are holding the big prespawn fish.
“I think some fish will be spawning, and I think some fish will be LiveScope fish – you’re definitely going to see both patterns in this event,” Wiggins said. “If I was fishing this one, I’d have a shaky-head rig tied on, and I think a small swimbait is going to be a big player as well.”
When asked if he expected the largemouth bass to be a player in this event, Wiggins said they could be.
“The largemouth could definitely be a factor – if they are, it will be spawning,” Wiggins said. “The water level is very low right now, and most of the bushes are not in the water.
“I think it’ll take 12 pounds a day average in order to cash a check,” Wiggins said. “To win, it’ll take 15 to 16 a day. I think the winner is going to need to have right around 45 to 48 pounds.”
Anglers will take off each day at 7 a.m. CT from Smith Lake Park, located at 403 County Road 386, in Cullman. Weigh-ins will also be held at the park and will begin at 3 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend and encouraged to follow the event online through the “MLF Live” weigh-in broadcasts and daily coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
In Toyota Series regular-season competition, payouts are based on the number of participants competing in the event, scaling up for every 20 boats over 160 and scaling down for every boat below 160. With a 160-boat field, pros fish for a top prize of $40,000, plus an extra $35,000 if Phoenix MLF Bonus qualified. Strike King co-anglers cast for the top prize of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard (valued at $33,500). With a 260-boat field, pros fish for a top award of $65,000, plus an extra $35,000 if Phoenix MLF Bonus qualified. Strike King co-anglers cast for the top prize of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard (valued at $33,500) plus $5,000 cash.
The 2023 Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats consists of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and the Western Division Presented by Tackle Warehouse – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International and Wild Card divisions. Anglers who fish in any of the six divisions or the Wild Card division and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship for a shot at winning up to $235,000 and a qualification to REDCREST 2024. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard. The 2023 Toyota Series Championship will be held Nov. 2-4 on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, and is hosted by ExploreBranson.com.
Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Toyota Series include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Black Rifle Coffee Company, E3, Favorite Fishing, Fox Rent a Car, General Tire, Gill, Grundéns, Lew’s, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Wiley X and YETI.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular Toyota Series updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the MLF5 social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.