Missouri Angler Cole Breeden Wins MLF Toyota Series at Grand Lake

GROVE, Okla. (April 14, 2024) – After taking over the lead on Day 2, pro Cole Breeden of Lebanon, Missouri, closed out the win in style with 19 pounds, 14 ounces on the final day of the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats  Plains Division event on Grand Lake. With a 62-15 total, Breeden surpassed runner-up Jake Lawrence of Buchanana, Tennessee, by more than 6 pounds to earn his first win at the Toyota Series level. The win qualified Breeden for this fall’s Toyota Series Championship, and earned him $37,965 in cash and contingency money.

With an Abu Garcia College Fishing National Championship  win to his credit on Grand, Breeden is no stranger to the lake or Ozark-style fisheries. This week, he dropped the trolling motor and was pretty much dialed from the get-go.

“Literally in practice, I put my trolling motor down on a good one,” he said. “It went well the whole time. I expected (fish) to be in that transition area, around spawning stuff, and I started there, and that’s where they were. I just went with it all week, and it was good the whole time.

“In practice, I had a ton of bites,” he added. “The first day of practice, I had 19 ½ pounds, and I shook off a lot of them, or, I tried to. Every day, I’d find a couple areas. In the tournament even, I found some new areas. It just seemed like it was rolling for me, and the stuff that looked right, was.”

Catching most of his fish on a Texas-rigged Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Creature Hawg, Breeden also applied a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Hit Worm Magnum on a Neko rig. For his Texas rig, he used a 7-foot, 6-inch, heavy Abu Garcia Fantasista X paired with an Abu Garcia Zenon X, 17-pound Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon,  a 4/0 hook and a ¼-ounce Picasso weight.

Roaming from the Horse Creek area as far down as Drowning and Duck creeks, Breeden ‘Scoped up nearly all of his fish fairly shallow, targeting a specific mix of features.

“It was similar everywhere I had fish,” he explained. “A little flatter bank, if it was a creek, the flatter side of the creek. Or, just a flat pocket close to the main lake. It was all pea gravel, or pea gravel that had tennis ball-sized rock mixed in. It was spawning areas, spawning flats or pockets.  I’d catch them either on the way to the backs, or if it was a main lake pocket, I’d catch them in the back. The first day, I caught 22 pounds in the back of a couple pockets, but it was closer to deeper water. The stuff that was further from deep water, I’d catch them closer to the secondary points and stuff.

“Typically, they were on something,” he added. “There’s a lot of trash fish in Grand, it seems like every lake I go to with a lot of trash fish, fish always hold to something. I think on the chunkier rock, they will sit in the rock. But, on the pea gravel banks, you need a bigger rock, or a piece of metal, or a little brush, or a stump. Just something there that they’re holding to. I think they make beds next to that as well, I could tell some of them were spawning, because the fish would just be making little circles around a little spot.”

While most of his fish came from smaller pieces of cover, Breeden caught a few out of significant brush piles, with some as big as 9 feet tall holding fish. One brush fish stymied him on Day 2, and then escaped him and Strike King co-angler Matt Krekovich on Day 3.

“I went back to that fish I missed, and the wind was blowing on that stretch pretty good,” he said. “There was another brush pile just down the bank from it, and I pulled up, on the pile I saw her on, and she wasn’t there. About 2 minutes later, my co-angler in the back of the boat says ‘Oh I’ve got one.’ I look back, and about a 7-pounder jumps out of the water. He broke the hook on his jerkbait, it came off, and she was sitting on that brush pile just down the bank.”

Still, missed lunker aside, Breeden had a special week.

“It’s freakin’ awesome,” he said of the win. “It feels like so many times you’re not even close. Then, you have a week where it goes your way the whole time. I just caught big fish everywhere I went. When it’s going your way, it’s just going your way.”

The top 10 pros on Grand Lake finished:

1st:         Cole Breeden, Lebanon, Mo., 15 bass,  62-15, $37,965
2nd:        Jake Lawrence, Buchanan, Tenn., 15 bass, 56-5, $15,595 (includes $1,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus)
3rd:        Jordan Hartman, Benton, Ky., 15 bass, 55-3, $11,299
4th:         Jackson Ryley, Clinton, Ind., 15 bass, 54-15, $9,416
5th:         Ethan Fields, Breese, Ill., 15 bass, 54-5, $8,475
6th:         Matteo Turano, Puryear, Tenn., 15 bass, 53-14, $7,533
7th:         Kyle Kitts, Joplin, Mo., 15 bass, 53-12, $6,591
8th:         Jason Bonds, Lufkin, Texas, 15 bass, 53-7, $5,650
9th:         Casey Scanlon, Eldon, Mo., 15 bass, 53-7, $4,708
10th:      Tate Brumnett, Wagoner, Okla., 15 bass, 51-2, $3,766

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Pro Joshua Teply of Harrah, Oklahoma won the $500 Day 1 Berkley Big Bass award in the pro division Thursday with a bass weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces. On Friday, pro Troy O’Rourke of Bentonville, Arkansas, earned the $500 Berkley Big Bass prize after bringing a bass weighing 6 pounds even to the scale.

Larence took home an extra $1,000 as the highest finishing Phoenix MLF Bonus member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $35,000 per event in each Toyota Series tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.

Matt Krekovich of Granite City, Illinois, won the Strike King Co-angler Division Thursday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 49 pounds, 6 ounces. Krekovich took home the top prize package worth $33,500, including a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers on Grand Lake finished:

1st:         Matt Krekovich, Granite City, Ill., 15 bass, 49-6, Phoenix 518 Pro boat w/115-hp Mercury outboard
2nd:        Fred Fielder, Fort Gibson, Okla., 14 bass, 39-14, $4,734
3rd:        Oliver Siebert, Fenton, Mo., 15 bass, 39-10, $3,787
4th:         Scott Parsons, Rogers, Ark., 15 bass, 37-9, $3,314
5th:         Justin Layton, Kirbyville, Mo., 12 bass, 37-4, $2,990
6th:         Todd Adamitis, Glen Carbon, Ill., 14 bass, 36-15, $2,367
7th:         Terry Duffel, Cave Springs, Ark., 13 bass, 35-5, $1,894
8th:         Dan Bowman, Osage Beach, Mo., 12 bass, 34-12, $$1,657
9th:         Mark Talley, Grove, Okla., 12 bass, 34-0, $1,420
10th:      Lee Roberts, Shattuck, Okla., 10 bass, 33-14, $1,184

Justin Layton of Kirbyville, Missouri, was the Berkley Big Bass $150 award winner in the Strike King co-angler division, Thursday, with a 6-pound, 5-ounce bass, while the Day 2 $150 award went to Mark King of Gurdon, Arkansas, with a 6-pound, 3-ounce bass.

With two regular-season events in the Toyota Series Plains Division now complete, pro Jake Lawrence of Buchanana, Tennessee, leads the Plains Division Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 519 points, while Todd Adamitis of Glen Carbon, Illinois, leads the Strike King Co-angler Division AOY race with 515 points.

The Toyota Series at Grand Lake, hosted by the City of Grove was the second of three regular-season events for the Toyota Series Plains Division. The next event for Toyota Series anglers will be the Toyota Series at Lake Chickamauga, May 2-4, in Dayton, Tennessee. For a complete schedule of events, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The 2024 Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats consists of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and the Western Division Presented by Tackle Warehouse – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International and Wild Card divisions. Anglers who fish in any of the six divisions or the Wild Card division and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship for a shot at winning up to $235,000 and a qualification to REDCREST 2025. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard. The 2024 Toyota Series Championship will be held Nov. 7-9 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Alabama, and is hosted by the Huntsville Sports Commission.

Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Toyota Series include: 7Brew, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, BUBBA, E3, Epic Baits, Fishing Clash, FX Custom Rods, General Tire, Lew’s, Mercury, Mossy Oak Fishing, Onyx, Phoenix Boats, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Suzuki Marine, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, WIX Filters and YETI.

For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and the Toyota Series, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular Tackle Warehouse Invitational updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the MLF5 social media outlets at  Facebook , Instagram and YouTube.

About Major League Fishing
Major League Fishing (MLF) is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, producing more than 250 events annually at some of the most prestigious fisheries in the world, while broadcasting to America’s living rooms on CBS, Discovery Channel, Outdoor Channel, CBS Sports Network, World Fishing Network and on demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, the MLF roster of bass anglers includes the world’s top pros and more than 30,000 competitors in all 50 states and 17 countries. Since its founding in 2011, MLF has advanced the sport of competitive fishing through its premier television broadcasts and livestreams and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for bass through research, education, fisheries enhancement and fish care.