Bassmaster Central Open Season Gets Rolling on Toledo Bend Reservoir

Category: press release

 Mar 2nd, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Mar 2nd, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Figuring out the reaction of bass after a cold front this week should be the primary goal for competitors in the Bassmaster Central Open set for March 5-7 on Toledo Bend Reservoir out of Many, La., the Central Open division’s first event of the 2009 season.

At stake for the pros is a top prize of $45,000 and valuable points toward qualifying for the 2010 Bassmaster Elite Series season and the 2010 Bassmaster Classic, set for Feb. 19-21 out of Birmingham, Ala. Co-anglers will compete in the Opens for the top prize of a boat/motor package valued at $32,000. After Day Two, the field will be cut to the top 30 pros and co-anglers, who will advance to Saturday’s final day of competition.

Fishing fans can catch the daily weigh-ins from all Bassmaster Opens live on ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband sports network. A wealth of unique content, including stories, photos and real-time leaderboards, will also be available at Bassmaster.com.

Toledo Bend, which runs 70 miles along the Texas-Louisiana border, has long been a popular location for BASS events, starting with the 1970 Toledo Bend Invitational. The fishery, impounded in 1967, is 110 feet deep and has more than 181 acres of surface area.

In late winter and early spring, slow fishing with spinnerbaits, preferably in bright colors, and crankbaits are the popular strategy for working flats. If water levels are high enough to reach the shoreline bushes, flipping a jig to them often produces solid results – however Toledo Bend is 3 feet below normal pool right now.

The most recent BASS tournament at the fishery, in the 2005 Bassmaster Weekend Series operated by American Bass Anglers, was won by Phil Hennigan of Central, Texas, with a one-day weight of 17 pounds, 8 ounces in May. Kurt Dove of Del Rio, Texas, a 2008 Bassmaster Elite Series pro who’ll compete on the Central Open circuit this season, believes it will take about 20 pounds a day to win this weekend’s three-day competition.

“We had a cold front move through, and the key will be what kind of reaction we’ll see from the fish. Are they going to hit the beds again or be sluggish?” said Dove, who is fishing Toledo Bend for the first time. “The fish were up and spawning before, now they’ve been knocked back. I expect them to come up again really strong.”

Dove said he’ll throw a Chatterbait and a Rat-L-Trap type bait and will be looking at pre-spawn fish as well as some spawning, mostly in 0 to 10 feet of water. He added that some sight fishing will happen during the tournament, with less clarity in the upper portions of the lake.

“Sight fishing will be predominant in the lower portions, where there’s more grass,” Dove said. “But if we get wind, it can make things difficult.

“Another huge factor will be navigation, and patience. This is the stumpiest place – and you have to stay in boat lanes everywhere. When you get out of those, it’s just like the Red River, you’re bouncing around on all this wood.”

Dove, who has four top-15 finishes in BASS competition, said he thinks it will take about 30 pounds through two days to make the top-30 cut for Saturday.

Fans are invited to attend the Open’s Thursday-Saturday takeoffs and weigh-ins at Cypress Bend Park, 3462 Cypress Bend Drive, Many, La. Anglers will launch their boats at 6:30 a.m. CT and the weigh-ins are scheduled to begin at 2:35 p.m. at the park. All activities are free and open to the public.

The next stop on the three-tournament Central Open circuit is the Sept. 3-5 event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir out of Jasper, Texas.

Sponsors of the 2009 Bassmaster Opens: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, BOOYAH Baits, Evan Williams Bourbon, Mercury, OPTIMA Batteries, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Marine.

About BASS

For more than 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multi-media platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive Web properties in ESPN360.com, ESPN’s sports broadband network, Bassmaster.com and ESPNOutdoors.com, the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content – from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage – to passionate audiences.

The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Women’s Bassmaster Tour and the Bassmaster Classic, the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS sanctions more than 20,000 events annually.

BASS also offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.


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