By FLW Communications
MANY, La. – Boater Cody Huff of Ava, Missouri – a standout collegiate angler for Bethel University – brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday totaling 17 pounds, 15 ounces to win the three-day Toyota Series at Toledo Bend Reservoir. Huff’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 61-11 gave him the win by a commanding 7-pound, 11-ounce margin and earned him a payout of $35,395 in the season opening Toyota Series event.
Huff has had a pretty good run on Toledo Bend over the last two weeks. First, he and Bethel University partner Dakota Pierce won the Bassmaster College Series event on Toledo Bend last week. After driving home to drop Pierce off, Huff returned earlier this week for another round on the Sabine River impoundment. Three more days of fishing later, he locked up the first FLW win of his career.
The Missouri angler played a simple game plan throughout both the college event and the Toyota Series event – fish like he would back home in the Ozarks with a jigging spoon for suspended fish. However, he didn’t come south with that game plan in mind.
“The fish were shallower early last week in the mouths of the creeks, but when that cold front hit, it moved them,” said Huff, who was competing in his ninth event as a boater on the Toyota Series. “The first day of the college tournament we caught them close to the creeks, the second day halfway out and the third day out in the main river channel.”
That wave of fish movement is almost exactly how things shook out this week. The bait and bass pushed halfway back towards the creeks from the river channel over the first two days. On the final day, Huff had to scramble around to relocate the fish back near the main channel.
Working three primary areas from Cypress Bend Park down to just north of Housen Bay, Huff spent the majority of his time in anywhere from 40 to 70 feet of water scanning with his electronics to stay with the bait and the bass. Suspended bass were the target and the higher they sat in the water, the easier they were to catch.
“From 11 o’clock on those bass started to group up and that’s when you could really catch them,” the 22-year-old pro said. “Whenever you’d see them in that 15- to 30-foot range, they’re catchable. When they get below that they’re not really feeding, but when they’re up in and around that bait you can catch them.”
Even though sun would help to group the bass up, the bright skies on Saturday had Huff scrambling for a bite with two hours to go. Having only a small spotted bass and keeper largemouth in the box shortly after noon, Huff was beginning to wonder if his luck had run out.
“I thought today was the perfect conditions and I was going to stroke them,” he said. “I pulled up to two of my best places and there wasn’t a ball of bait within a mile. The best place had them good for the last two weeks, and they were gone. I checked it four or five times today and they never pulled up.”
Once the day got nice and the wind calmed down, Huff revisited a spot he checked in the morning.
“With two hours to go I catch a 3-pounder and see there is a mega-school down there,” said Huff. “One of the biggest schools I’ve seen all week. I flipped back and only one fish comes to meet my spoon out of the school and follows it for three or four jerks and about that time I lock up and it’s an 8-8. I got a limit and with about 30 minutes left my trolling motor batteries were so dead that my foot pedal wouldn’t even move on my Ultrex, so I came in.”
One rod is all Huff needed on Toledo Bend and a 7/8-ounce jigging spoon was the ticket. He threw it on a 6-foot, 8-inch Johnny Morris Signature Series rod with a 7.8:1 Johnny Morris Signature Series reel spooled up with 12-pound Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon line.
The top 10 pros on Toledo Bend Reservoir finished:
1st: Cody Huff, Ava, Mo., 15 bass, 61-11, $35,395
2nd: David Curtis, Trinity, Texas, 15 bass, 54-0, $14,134
3rd: Matthew Boyt, Converse, La., 15 bass, 50-13, $10,168
4th: Stephen Johnston, Hemphill, Texas, 15 bass, 49-7, $8,589
5th: Justin O’Brian Cooper, Zwolle, La., 15 bass, 49-3, $7,626
6th: Chris Lewis, Longview, Texas, 15 bass, 48-14, $6,779
7th: Darold Gleason, Many, La., 15 bass, 48-11, $5,932
8th: Benjamin Gulett, Converse, La., 15 bass, 46-11, $5,084
9th: Cody Pitt, Many, La., 13 bass, 41-4, $4,237
10th: Phil Marks, Dallas, Texas, 12 bass, 38-10, $3,389
A complete list of results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
The Toyota Series on Toledo Bend Reservoir was hosted by the Sabine Parish Tourist Commission. It was the first of three regular-season tournaments in 2020 for Southwestern Division anglers. For a complete schedule, visit FLWFishing.com.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money across five tournament circuits. FLW is headquartered in Benton, Kentucky.