Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Bassmaster Eastern Open on Lake Toho

BASSMASTER Eastern Open Season Opener On Lake Toho

For weeks now anglers have been preparing for the season opener of the Bassmaster Open Trail on Lake Toho. Even though January tournaments held on Lake Okeechobee are traditionally the first of the year, Lake Toho is what Competitors and fans look forward to.

And they all have good reason to look forward to it. Lake Toho has a proven ability to break records and be a game changer for competitors as well as fishing industry product manufacturers. While the overall tournament weight has been broken, the one day 5 bass limit is still owned by Dean Rojas and Lake Toho.

It's amazing how much that tournament dictates what the Pros competing in this tournament do during practice time. I can tell you that every day for the last week the same areas Dean Rojas caught his winning limit from are getting checked by at least 15 boats each morning. Sadly, they all leave disappointed as the once in a lifetime conditions that helped Dean win are still "once in a lifetime".

But it's not just a record breaking history that anglers are looking forward to with this tournament. There's one thing that Winter brings to Florida that everyone else gets hot under the collar about, Fat Bottom Girls! While Winter in other parts of the country mean regular reorganization of lures in the boat because of ice on the lakes or making long runs to power plant lakes just to cast a lure, we look for big girls in Florida.

In tournaments like this one it's not enough to find a quality limit with a solid kicker because that might not even make the cut. They will need to look for big fat females with lots of junk in the trunk! And the great thing about fishing on the Kissimmee Chain is this can happen on any cast.

But that doesn't mean it will be easy. The obvious question is, will competitors be able to adjust to the changing conditions and movements these bass are making to bring big bags to the scales? On shallow water lakes such as Lake Toho many elements play a role in bass behavior that can create havoc for anglers trying to figure out their movements. And this week will be a perfect example of changing conditions that will feel very similar to Dean Rojas's record breaking win.

A cold front just came through Florida that brought water temperatures down into the high 50's that will heavily impact the first day of the tournament. But the front will play more of a mind game on anglers than anything else. The past two days have seen high winds that might make many anglers question the areas they have been fishing. But tomorrow will be a competitors dream day for spawning bass.

The forecast is calling for a launch temp of 49 degrees with very little wind throughout the day. So, while the morning bite might be initially slow, the mid day bite could be on fire with bass making a massive move into spawning areas benefitting later flights. Either way, many competitors might have to leave fish that they have found on beds because they are out of time.

Does that mean the tournament will be a sight fishing slug fest? My prediction is no because water temps aren't cold enough to push the bass shallow and the water color is too stained to sight fish the deeper bedding fish.

While I have some ideas on what to expect from winning weights and what will be needed for a top 10 finish the unkown will be with winning lake. It's easy to go with Toho right now because the lake looks great. Lake Toho is probably the easiest to fish of all 4 lakes right now but the advantage will go to Pros who have a long history fishing there as the fish are not in the typical areas anglers expect. A one day tournament last weekend took 23 lbs to win that came out of Lake Toho. Expect the top 3 finisher to come out of this lake with a potential average of 25lbs per day.

Lake Kissimmee is fishing small but the areas that are producing holding some big bass. Having an early flight and making the run to Kissimmee could pay off for the first two days of the tournament but it's doubtfull to get three days out of those areas to win. Expect a top five finisher to come out of Lake Kissimmee.

Lake Cypress. Cypress is always a sleeper in these tournaments and I can personally attribute a top 3 finish in a BFL to this lake. Winds for the last few days could make the bite here tough but with light winds predicted for the tournament expect some kicker fish to come from this lake that could be the difference in a win or 6th place.

Lake Hatchineha looks the best I have seen it look in 10 years. It's doubtful the tournament will be won from this lake. The last time it happened was around 1998. My expectation is that Hatchineha will be part of a milk run that will help finish out some daily limits that contribute to a top 10 finish.
So, how many Fat Bottom Girls will we see come across the scales? There is a good chance we will see one Big Bass in the 11lb range be caught and be the big fish of the tournament.

I'm predicting a tight start to the event with a few 20lb plus bags being caught on day one but the real competition will start on day 2 as conditions get ripe for more big fish being caught. Heading into the final day look for someone to make a big leap in the standings to challenge for the overall win.

I won't make any angler predictions this year. The last time I did I picked Shaw Grigsby and he bombed and now he acts like he doesn't know me!!!!

Winning weights should hit 75lbs and top 10 finishers will need to be in the 50lb range.

Should be a fun tournament to keep up with and hopefully the Kissimmee Chain will represent as it always does!

Steve Boyd
  Toho Bass Adventures

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Lake Toho Trophy Bass

Today I had Shawn Gudauskus out for an 8 hour combo trip. The last few days have seen a lot of fog and changing wind directions or no wind at all.

Our first two spots didn't pan out very well so I did what I do best. Execute an Amphibious Assault in search of the elusive Big Fat Fatty!

Not just any fish can be a Big Fat Fatty without meeting certain requirements. First and foremost it must be a female and this is the really important part...have a lot of junk in the trunk!

And if she happens to take a big ol' dump on your carpet while taking her photo, you've got a winner!

Once the Big Fat Fatties location was determined Shawn commenced to whacking that ass and the photos below tell the rest of the story.

Big fish weighed in at 9.4lbs
Lake Toho Trophy Bass Guide

Friday, December 2, 2016

Catch and Release on Lake Toho

Catch and release during our Lake Toho Guide trips is great for maintaining a fisheries trophy bass population but it's also great for sharing fish!

We've now caught the same fish 5 times and named it Frankenstein. That's 5 different people who have gotten to catch and experience catching this pig.

Today it was Sam and Michael fishing on Lake Toho and the first fish is my buddy! Training fish is a guides secret job!

Of course it helps that each time we catch Frankenstein I feed it two shiners! Yeah, I'm nice like that!
Lake Toho Trophy Bass Guide

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Lake Toho Bass Fishing

We are just now coming into Spring here on Lake Toho and I'm happy to say it's been a great season to this point. Almost every guide in the area left Lake Toho for the entire Winter Season to guide on smaller, lesser known lakes forcing clients to miss out on all of the great things Lake Toho has to offer. Overall, Winter for us in Florida was mild just like most of the country but wet would best describe the past few months. Lake levels are up throughout the chain making chasing big bass a daily adventure. But with the mild winter comes excellent opportunities to see some things that we may not normally see.

The beauty of being on Lake Toho is the wildlife that you can enjoy and the lack of homes that can keep you from seeing it. As we get deeper into Spring and approach Summer more of the wildlife will be active throughout the lake making it even better to see something you can't see anywhere else. A bass fishing trip should encompass everything a client comes to believe bass fishing in Florida should be which is why I choose to stay here year round.

Adding to the great wildlife to experience is of course the bass fishing which Lake Toho is famous for. At Florida Bass Adventures Lake Toho Guide Service we specialize in targeting trophy bass that clients come to the area in search of. Our guide trips are exciting and fun but with a serious approach knowing that clients have expectations and Lake Toho is capable of fulfilling them.

Clients bass fishing on Lake Toho have had some amazing trips with many catching multiple big bass. Live bait has accounted for almost all big bass but that would be common for bass fishing on Lake Toho during the Winter months. Live wild shiners to target trophy bass are not a tool that is available to client who live outside of Florida which makes shiner fishing a unique experience for clients coming to the area.

But clients should know in advance that fishing us using live bait on bobbers isn't the same as going fishing with your Grandfather. You wont be staring at a bobber for hours hoping for a bite. Knowing bass behavior, being able to make on the water decisions and not needing to pick up the phone to call other guides for help is what clients can expect when fishing with us. It is a major separating factor between us and other guides and is what you are paying for.

Anyone can guide if they own a boat and have friends they can call for help. They can even have clients catch some fish and tell stories to fill their time. But at the end of the day, the experience of fishing with a true Professional can mean a fish of a lifetime rather than a bunch of small fish and listening to a guide tell the same stories they do with every client all of which isn't worth paying for.

I bring this up because live bait fishing too often becomes a guides way of getting paid while the clients fulfill their obligation of a no fish no pay policy but don't meet any expectations of catching trophy bass. The standard for using live bait in the Winter Months when lure fishing can be more difficult should be in pursuit of trophy bass only. It's what my standard has been from day one of creating my guide service.

For more on what our services offer and what our clients catch visit my site where you can see past big bass photos as well as live updates via twitter and facebook. Other sites do the same and its a great way to see what they believe is a fun trip vs a trophy trip!

Hope to see you out there,
                                          Steve Boyd - Owner
                                     Lake Toho Bass Fishing Guide

Monday, February 1, 2016

Lake Toho Southern Open Post Tournament Review

It's the Monday after the Bassmaster Southern Open Competition finished on Lake Toho and by now everyone has left for home after what would be considered a typical Florida tournament. When doing my tournament predictions there is always a huge risk that I could be completely off the mark and left with mud on my face. But because I am out there on a daily basis with clients throwing lures chasing big bass it isn't really that much of a risk in my opinion.

Winning weights, lure choices and what competitors needed to make the top 10 cut were all spot on once the last fish was weighed in. My hats off to those that made the top 10 because it wasn't easy fishing and to finish strong meant having everything fall into place and making the right decisions.

During the practice days we did some live bait trips and it was obvious the weather and moon phase were dictating the movement of the bass and how they were feeding. 20-25 bass were being caught with morning being when the heaviest feeding would occur as the moon would be over head for the first part of the day. Most of the bass we were catching on Lake Toho were males feeding heavily before moving up on beds with the occasional female mixed in with them.

On the first day of the tournament I met my clients at a different launch site on Lake Toho looking to avoid the 200 boats that would be putting in. It was a humid but wet morning for February and once we launched it would be the last time any of us were dry. It rained literally all day with a heavy fog set in to the entire Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. Conditions were good for lure fishing which we were doing but it was the 3rd day of low pressure and the front was already leaving as the day continued.

My expectation were that bass would be up shallow and somewhat active considering the conditions. But for us to know bass are active we have to be able to present lures to the fish in a way that they are willing to eat it. This can be the most challenging thing for clients on days like this. After some time working with my clients with no success I started trying some different presentations to see what was possible. I was able to get bites using multiple lures but for my clients Texas rigged worms was what they had the most success on. It was a hard 8 hours of fishing in tough conditions but everyone had a good time and at the end of the day we had boated around 20 bass. Our best 5 would have been around 12 lbs which isn't great for Lake Toho but it would have been better than most on that day.

On the second day of the tournament my clients arrived a few minutes late but we were able to get onto the water just before the first boats launched. It was 45 degrees with strong winds out of the Northwest but fortunately we were using live bait for this trip as the front was well past us at this point. We were also past the full moon phase as well which I felt would be a factor.

Within the first 5 minutes my clients had a 6 and a 4 1/2 in the boat which would not be indicative of the rest of the 4 hour morning. After 4 hours we had 8 bass with water temps falling and conditions deteriorating by the minute. Hard to say what we might have caught if my clients had arrived on time but it was obvious they were eating when we got there. Day 2 was probably the toughest weather day on Lake Toho.
Lake Toho Trophy Bass Guide

Monday, January 25, 2016

Lake Toho Bassmaster Southern Open

We are just a day away from the first tournament of the 2016 Bassmaster Southern Open that will be held on Lake Toho. The timing of this event will fall in what would normally be considered the best of times because it will be during the full moon phase. But I am predicting that the anglers competing will be in for some challenging fishing simply because of the weather that they will have during the tournament.

The bass on the Kissimmee Chain have been spawning for a couple of months in very small waves waiting for the right conditions for a major move up. The conditions leading up to the Lake Toho tournament are favoring a good spawn but there is a cold front coming that will hit competitors on day 1.
So, while some anglers will find bedding bass for this tournament I am going to go out on a limb and predict that this tournament will be won off of bass that aren’t on the beds. Bass will be up shallow but conditions may keep them from feeding for the first day or so of the tournament. Frogs, swimbaits, speedworms, chatterbaits, flukes are potential lures to catch bass but Senkos, Texas Rigged worms and flipping in grass will be what wins the tournament.  Because of the changing conditions competitors could find themselves using all of these lures throughout the course of the day.

Tournaments on the Kissimmee Chain always bring expectations of high weights and this one will could do the same but expect the final day weights to be the highest. The weather patterns as they have for some time will again play a major role in the outcome of this tournament. A recent cold front will keep water temps stable but anglers will be fishing towards the end of a full moon phase and peak fishing times will not favor all flights launching. Early flights will benefit from moon position and later flights could benefit from late day warming trends.

Will bass be caught site fishing? Anything is possible on the Kissimmee chain. Our bass tend to do the unexpected even on the days when it seems nothing is possible. They will be here during a full moon phase so I expect bass to be spawning but wind, clouds and low water visibility will make relying on site fish for a win difficult.

In the betting age of DraftKings and Fanduel this would be an excellent tournament to place your money on techniques to win the tournament like Ripping Rattle Traps in Hydrilla, fishing topwater frogs or throwing a chatterbait. The odds are against these techniques but the conditions say it’s possible.

While Toho was where many of last year’s top finishers came from this year I expect other lakes in the chain to come into play. Lake Cypress and Hatchineha are gateways between Toho and Kissimmee but any anglers who choose to stop and fish these lakes could end up in the top 10. Water levels on Lake Kissimmee should favor shallow water fishing and Tiger Lake is always worth the extra drive.

Last year I was really hyping big weights on the first day but don’t expect a repeat this year. I do expect some solid 25lb bags but not many and not many anglers will have back to back big bags. I would place the winning weight over the tournament to average 17lbs and needing to have 12lbs a day to be in the top 10. Yes, I’m predicting a close call slugfest to the end.

Presentations to look for from high placing anglers will be hard jerkbaits, texas rigged worms, Carolina rigged worms, senkos and weightless Texas rigged worms. Flipping to heavy cover will be what wins it. Expect the weeks big bass to come from a Co Angler.

The winning weight should average 17lbs per day and the top 10 will need to average at least 12lbs per day. This is a very tight top 10 finish and coming into the final day no one will feel confident on walking away with a win. There will be many local anglers along with some of the best Elite anglers competing for a good start to the season.