In just a little over three weeks we’ll be on Lake Toho for the first Southern Open — actually the first B.A.S.S. professional tournament of the year. I thought we’d talk a little about it. That’ll give those of you who don’t know much about that great fishery some insights into what might happen.
The weather will be the big thing. If it’s cold, you could be looking at fish that haven’t yet moved to the banks. If they’re off the shore and the water is cold, it could be a tough event. That could mean something around 10 pounds per day might win the thing. I know that sounds crazy but, hey, when the weather goes cold down there, so do the bass.
If that happens, I’d say we ought to be looking at maybe a lipless crankbait bite along with a Carolina rig setup. That’s how Gerald Swindle won in 2011. I don’t think the fish have changed much since then.
On the other side of the coin, the weights could easily push the 25-30 pound per day mark. Warm weather will move the fish to the banks where almost anybody who takes their time with a flippin’ stick and a creature bait will be able to put a respectable limit in their livewell.
But, if the stars line up just right and the big females start moving on the beds during the competition, you could see a tournament that rivals the 2001 Florida Bassmaster Top 150. You’ll remember that Dean Rojas caught 45 pounds, 2 ounces of Toho bass on the first day of that one, smashing the previous five fish record. His bag held two 10 pounders.
As impressive as that is, however, there are other things about that day that tell even more about how good Toho can get when you hit it just right. Aaron Martens also broke the previous record with a total weight of 34 pounds, 10 ounces. Four anglers weighed 30 pound sacks and another 14 broke the 20 pound mark on the scales. Add to that a dozen bass that weighed 10 pounds or better. Three of them tipped the scales at 11 pounds.
I’ll tell you what, that’s one heck of a day on the water. To make catches like that you need top anglers, a serious fishery and perfect conditions. We have the top anglers in the field, and we know Toho is a serious fishery. All we need is the perfect weather.
So, if you want to know what’s going to happen, watch the weather. Pay attention to what it’s like for a few days before the tournament and what it’s doing during the tournament. That’ll tell you what you need to know as you watch the tournament unfold.
Regardless of how it goes it’ll be a good one. B.A.S.S. and Kissimmee will make sure of that. If you are in the area or can possibly get down there, I suggest you drop by. You’ll have a good time.