Toledo Bend is one of the most storied bass fisheries in the country, and has an important place in the history of B.A.S.S. Here are just a few items of note.
1. This week's Elite Series event marks B.A.S.S.'s 14th trip to Toledo Bend. The first came in January 1970, when the lake was just 20 months old and already being hailed as the "hottest bass lake in the country." Only eight fisheries have hosted more B.A.S.S. tournaments.
2. This is the second Elite tournament to be held on Toledo Bend. The first was in April 2011 and was won by Dean Rojas, who led the event wire-to-wire.
3. Rojas' 2011 Elite win was his second B.A.S.S. victory on Toledo Bend. He also won the 2001 Louisiana Bassmaster Top 150. If he wins this year, he'll become just the third angler in B.A.S.S. history to win three or more times at a single venue. Robert Lee won four B.A.S.S. events on the California Delta, and Shaw Grigsby has won three times on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. John Murray and James Niggemeyer are the only other Elite anglers ever to win a B.A.S.S. event on Toledo Bend.
4. Roland Martin started his B.A.S.S. career at Toledo Bend in 1970, finishing second and launching one of the greatest careers in professional fishing history. In his first 25 tournaments, Martin won seven times, finished second eight times, was in the Top 10 22 times and never finished worse than 16th. In 1981, Toledo Bend became the second of Martin's three consecutive B.A.S.S. victories, a record that was unequalled until Kevin VanDam did it in 2005.
5. In the 1970s, Toledo Bend was the epicenter of professional bass fishing. As the lake's reputation grew, anglers from all over came to guide here, and the "Hemphill Gang" (named for the Texas town that many of the guides called home), produced a generation of top pros, including Larry Nixon, Tommy Martin and Harold Allen, a trio with 59 Bassmaster Classic appearances and two Classic championships to their cumulative credit. Two other Classic champs (Jack Hains and Bo Dowden) guided on the lake.
6. There's a tie for the heaviest bass ever caught in a Toledo Bend B.A.S.S. contest and they were both caught very recently. Harold Allen caught a 10-15 at the Central Open in 2009, and Ish Monroe tied that mark in the 2011 Elite Series tournament. The lake record of 15.33 pounds was caught in 2000. Another bass over 15 pounds was caught in 2009. The surge in trophy production is due to the lake being stocked with Florida bass since the late 1980s.
7. Toledo Bend has a tradition of blowouts. Three of the largest margins of victory in B.A.S.S. history came here. In 1981, Tommy Martin won the Texas Invitational by 17 pounds, 11 ounces. Mike Bono won the first Toledo Bend B.A.S.S. tournament by 16-14, and John Murray won the 2003 Open Championship by 16-4. The 2012 Elite season has had several blowouts that turned into nail biters in the final round. Will Toledo Bend continue the trend or give one angler an easy road to victory?