Top lures at Toledo Bend 2023

Toledo Bend showed out for the 2023 St. Croix Bassmaster Open. Over 5,000 pounds of bass hit the scales over the three-day event. Twenty-four bags over 20-pounds were weighed and multiple 9-pounders were caught as well.
That doesn’t mean it was easy on anglers. The weather conditions changed every day of the event. The water rose in practice and then fell midway through the tournament. It was Ben Milliken who navigated the unpredictability of Toledo Bend the best, landing bags of 29-8, 26-15 and 21-7.
In just his second attempt, Milliken secured his first victory in Opens competition. His three-day winning weight of 77-14 was one of the best in Bassmaster Open history. With gizzard shad pushing up on shallow points, Milliken was able to fish his strengths and catch consistent quality.
With bass in all three stages of spawn and the shad beginning their spawning ritual too, anglers were able to fish multiple patterns and baits to catch their bags. And with conditions changing every day, anglers had to adjust on the fly to find success. Bass Pro Shops has everything you need for springtime fishing. Visit to pick out personal favorites or new baits that are sure to catch lunkers.
Keith Tuma (10th-place, 41-8)
Using a creature bait and a jig, Minnesota pro Keith Tuma fished for spawners using his Garmin LiveScope.
As you can see, the Reaction Innovations Man Bear Pig tastes just as good to Tuma as it does the to the bass.
He used the Man Bear Pig when the bass were finicky on the bed. He used a 4/0 Gamakatsu Super Ringed EWG hook. The ring improves his leverage against big bass.
He also pitched a 3/4-ounce Strike King Hack Attack jig with a Strike King Rage Craw.
Jacob Bigelow (9th, 47-11)
Jacob Bigelow fished deep, offshore structure on Toledo Bend with two presentations.
A Rapala DT-20 in the disco shad color triggered reaction strikes. He uses Owner ST36 treble hooks.
For a slower approach, he used a 5/8-ounce Omega Custom Tackle Pro Mega jig in Missouri craw with a Strike King Rage Craw for a trailer.
Todd Castledine (8th, 49-3)
Todd Castledine used two baits to catch his weight this week.
He sight fished with a Strike King Rage Bug rigged on a 5/0 Owner Haymaker and a sinker.
His bigger bites came on a Strike King Poppin’ Perch in the warmouth color.
Casey Scanlon (7th, 49-3)
Casey Scanlon took an Ozarks approach to a shad spawn on Toledo Bend.
First is a 3/8-ounce Trophy Bass Company Ozark Flash spinnerbait with half gold, half white willow blades. The white mutes the flash of the blades and gives it a different look than other spinnerbaits in shallow, dirty water.
He also fished a 3/4-ounce Tackle HD CS2 spinnerbait in deeper water. Both spinnerbaits had a Hayabusa 2/0 trailer hook attached.
He also threw a Tackle HD Fiddle Styx jerkbait with TBL930 No. 6 Hayabusa treble hooks.
Kyle Metzger (6th, 49-10)
Using his history on Kentucky Lake as a baseline, Kyle Metzger fished shallow buck brush and cypress trees on Toledo Bend to finish in the Top 10 in his first Open.
His primary bait was a Wise Guy Tackle Mobster Craw in Crooked Politician color. He rigged it on a 5/0 Gamakatsu hook 1/4-ounce Picasso tungsten weight. He also adds two bobber stops for efficiency when retying.
He then skipped a wacky-rigged stick bait around cypress trees.
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Matt Henry (5th, 49-14)
Henry rotated through several different techniques to catch his largemouth at Toledo Bend.
He tossed around a Clutch Swimbait Company Darter glide bait around clay points and laydowns.
Next was a 3/8-ounce Tru-Trac Lures double Colorado spinnerbait with a Zoom split-tail trailer.
For the offshore bass, he got bites on a 3/4-ounce Santone Pro Series football jig in the bass candy color. He paired that with a Strike King Rage Bug trailer.
John Garrett (4th, 51-10)
John Garrett went offshore to notch a Top 10 finish.
A 1-ounce Strike King Bottom Dweller spinnerbait in blue glimmer was his best producing bait.
Garrett also threw a Phoney glide bait on his offshore spots.
To get the bait down to the depth he needed, he attached nine tungsten strip weights to the belly.
Garrett cranked with a Strike King 10XD in the sexy Blueback herring color with 1/0 Owner treble hooks.
Brett Cannon (3rd, 56-14)
Brett Cannon notched his second-straight Top 10 on Toledo Bend using three main presentations.
Cannon slow rolled a Googan Blazin’ Worm over hydrilla to get some quality bites. He rigged it on a 1/4-ounce weight and a 6/0 hook.
He threw a 7-inch Bass Mafia Daingerous swimbait in black back shad around hydrilla or when he saw a bass on his forward-facing sonar.
Around a shad spawn, Cannon used an unnamed spinnerbait and caught impressive numbers of bass.
Trey McKinney (2nd, 67-5)
Trey McKinney found bass shallow and offshore throughout the week on Toledo Bend.
For the deep bite, he used a Strike King 5XD in the chartreuse, powder blue back color.
He pitched a 3/8-ounce Strike King Baby Structure jig in bream colors around shallow cover. He used a Strike King Rage Menace as a trailer.
Ben Milliken (1st, 77-14)
Ben Milliken used three main baits to take home the victory.
Milliken utilized a Carolina rig with a 6th Sense Hogwalla in green pumpkin juice. He used a 3/4-ounce 6th Sense tungsten weight and a 3/0 6th Sense EWG hook. He used a 5-foot leader to allow the bait to move freely.
This line-through swimbait is a prototype bait from 6th Sense Milliken said they will call The Hangover. He used a 6 1/2-inch, slow sinking version on Toledo Bend.
He also used a 9-inch 6th Sense Draw glide bait in natural shad colors.