After a disappointing tournament at Lake Harris, it was difficult to get excited about Toho. Even though we both looked forward to the tournament day, neither one of us seemed enthused enough to spend the time to practice. Driving to the lake the morning of the tournament (literally the very first time I had ever been there) we discussed our game plan. Are we going to the river? Seems like a lot of time driving to fish something we hadn’t fished in a couple months. Would the fish even be there? We decided to use the tournament as a practice day and spend our time on Lake Toho to gain some knowledge for the future. We were also call boat because neither one of us were able to make it to the meeting. So we followed the crowd out and tried a spot or two before going to the one area we both really wanted to try. We had heard it was possible to catch 15 lbs there and that would be a great day for us. After idling for probably an hour we finally started to fish. It took a while for me to catch the first fish that was small. Then it took another hour before the second bite came. But what a bite. Rick flipped a senko under a tree and when he set the hook he started to say its a giant but stopped. The fish was pulling so hard he wasn’t sure it was even a bass. He had to pull the fish hard out from the tree, which had our nerves on end considering our recent luck with big fish and he had 15 lb flouro on. He managed to wrangle the fish out from the tree and it swam hard under the boat without us being able to get a look at it. He finally brought its head up and I netted the fish, we just looked at each other in disbelief. The fish was so fat and her eyes were huge and bulging out of her head. When I got a hold of her jaw it felt so thick and the best word I can think of to describe it is sturdy. We celebrated for a couple minutes and got a picture or two and it was back to catch 3, 4, and 5.
This was our chance to finally break 20 lbs. After another hour of no bites we were starting to get nervous again. What a waste that big fish would be if we couldn’t even fill out our limit. Our luck finally changed when we both got fish at the exact same time from opposite sides of the canal. Rick actually netted my 2 lber while holding his 5. And just like that we went from 2 fish for 10 lbs to 4 fish with around 17 lb. Pressure was off again. That left us the rest of the day to catch just one more fish and hopefully push to over 20 lbs. Well we were able to get our limit and I culled about 5 times gaining around 1/4 oz each time but never put another quality fish in the boat.
At weigh in we were nervous and excited. There were a couple big bags brought in and a giant 8.99 lb fish caught by Tom Craighead. Rick’s fish had weighed 8 lbs 15 oz on my scale but my scale is always a little light and we figured it would be over 9. That being said, it wasn’t a sure thing and ended up being a lot closer than I thought it would. I do have to say I could feel Tom’s pain when Rick’s fish outweighed his by 6 hundredths of a pound. We may not have broke the 20 lb mark, but with 19.35 lb, big fish, and second place, we were elated. It felt even better sense we had zero expectations going into the day. Roberson and Boyette had to rain a little bit on our parade by bringing in over 20 lbs. It wasn’t as close as it looked though as they had to throw multiple fish back that were bigger than their smallest fish. The fish had died early in the day and by the rules they couldn’t cull it. Somehow that made Rick and I feel better about loosing to them sense they had clearly done better than we had. We were sure to raid their boat for rigging tips afterwards though which they graciously allowed and even walked us through a couple things. Thanks guys! I don’t know how the rest of the guys caught their fish but I did see that Alex Udwari was able to catch 16.34 by himself which was good enough for 5th place. Good Job Alex. I will try in the future to get a little more info from the guys who do well to add to the monthly article.