Tournament Veterans and Young Anglers All Excited and Ready to Compete
The 2018 Minnesota BASS Nation State Team will get the chance to escape this seemingly never ending Minnesota winter we are experiencing, by heading south to compete in the BASS Nation Central Regional event on the Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Several members of the team have already made a few pre-scouting trips to the massive 180,000 acre lake, while the bulk of the team will begin their trip south around March 1st, with the tournament kicking off on March 7th and concluding on the 9th.
As always the Minnesota Team will be doing nightly meetings during practice to help educate each other on what they are finding. This will be even more important for this event since the lake is such a massive undertaking for the team, many of which haven’t fished it before.
Setting up Toledo Bend
Bemidji State angler, Thor Swanson, competed in a BASS College event in January on Toledo Bend, so he was able to report his findings and experiences back to the team following that trip. “Thor brought back some great information with us, that detailed the key boat lanes and general layout of the lake,” said Corey Brant.
As it looks right now, the lake is coming up, thus flooding the shoreline grass and possibly making the back of some creeks dirty. Unless a major warming trend occurs, many of the bass will be pre spawn and anglers will be looking to target offshore structure and isolated brush for staging bass.
But that being said, “An angler can always fish shallow and I know some of our guys will be looking to do that and I think they’ll have some success doing it,” said Brant.
What makes Toledo Bend so unique is that amount of standing timber in it and how you can’t just pop up on pad run over to a great looking main or secondary lake point, scan it and fish it. You need to first figure out to navigate to it safely via the boat lanes in the timber. This will mean a lot of idle time for anglers in practice as they learn how to safely make their way through the flooded timber.
To pick apart the underwater structure for the pre spawn Toledo Bend largemouth, anglers will likely be relying on dragging football head jigs or a Carolina-Rig. While the massive flats can be covered by anglers with a lipless crankbait, of which Toledo Bend is known for. The wild card will be picking apart the shallow grass with a Texas-rig, jig or possibly a swim jig.
“The popular and well know creek arms will have a lot of boats in them,” said Brant. “Without a doubt there are bass in them, but if you are fishing in those areas, you need to commit to those areas and be ready to fish around others!”
Corey has been spending a lot of time on Google Earth looking at some of the smaller creeks, of which he’ll be able to break down and dissect fully. By doing this, he is hoping to fish away from the crowds and fish to his strengths in one or two main areas.
Champions Tour Angler and veteran to the MN BASS Nation Team, Corey Brant will be making his journey with the five high school angler’s that qualified as non-boater for this event. “I’m looking forward to it a lot, it will be fun trip down with everyone,” said Corey. “Making this event as memorable for them, as my first Regional event is my main goal for this trip.”
Dominic Floria is member of the Minnesota BASS Nation Team as a co-angler and besides getting to go fishing one of the top largemouth bass fisheries in the United States; he’ll be getting to miss school for it!
As a member of the Grand Rapids High School Fishing team Dominic along with other high school anglers competed in last year’s State Tournament on Mille Lacs. Several of those anglers graduated high school last spring and are now in college, while Dominic is in his senior year now.
This will be Dominic’s first time heading out of Minnesota to compete in a bass tournament, so needless to say the excitement is plentiful! “Being able to get away from the cold and snow is great,” said Dominic, “but it is the experience and opportunity to be able to venture out to a new body of water and put new tactics and presentations to work, is what really has me excited for this trip.”
Like the other members of the Minnesota team, Dominic has been doing his homework since he qualified for the team last July on Mille Lacs. Looking over past tournament results and any article on Toledo Bend has given Dominic and all the Minnesota angler’s some initial groundwork on where to begin their prefish once they arrive at Toledo Bend.
“I can’t thank the Minnesota BASS Nation enough for all of their support; it is honor to be able to represent not just my high school team, but all Minnesota high school anglers.”
Kevin Stephens, Prior Lake Hooksetters
Lee Farber, Metro Hawg Hunters
Ben Brion, Renegade Bassers
Carl Spande, Cast-a-Ways
Jay Swanson, Prior Lake Hooksetters
Corey Brant, Twin City Bass
Kenny Kostron, Prior Lake Hooksetters
Wyatt Hayes, Crow River Bass Casters
Dave Pechacek, Viking Bassmasters
Thor Swanson, Bemidji State
Matt Stearns, High School angler
Nathan Thompson, High School angler
Aaron Schmoldt, Twin City Bass
Tim Spande, Cast-a-Ways
Dominic Floria, High School angler
Mason Raveling, High School angler
Dan O’Keefe, Prior Lake Hooksetters
Ben Provost, High School angler
Jonathan Meerbeek, Bass Seekers
Jerry Yang, Gopher Bassmasters
The Minnesota BASS Nation State Team would like to thank, All-Terrain Tackle, Classic Bass and Rapala for their support. “We also couldn’t do this without the incredible support of the Minnesota BASS Nation,” said Brant. “They make the event so turn key for us, it just makes it that much easier on us.”
We wish all of the Minnesota Team member’s safe travels and good luck on Toledo Bend. Stay tuned to the Classic Bass Facebook page for updates from Team Minnesota during the event and to Classic Bass for a post event recap.