Missouri’s Huff Wins Toyota Series Season Opener on Toledo Bend Reservoir

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MANY, La. (Feb. 1, 2020) – 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.

Johnston brought a mammoth bass to the scale Thursday weighing 10 pounds, 7 ounces, to earn the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $115.

Robert Kessler of Spring, Texas, won the Co-angler Division Saturday with a three-day total of 13 bass weighing 36 pounds, 13 ounces. For his win, Kessler took home the top prize package of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard motor, worth $27,000.

The top 10 co-anglers on Toledo Bend Reservoir finished:

1st:       Robert Kessler, Spring, Texas, 13 bass, 36-13, $27,077

2nd:      Hugh Rose, Davis, Okla., 14 bass, 33-7, $4,313

3rd:       Dustin Robinson, Glendale, Ariz., 14 bass, 33-5, $3,450

4th:       Rusty Harvey, Lumberton, Texas, 12 bass, 33-2, $3,019

5th:       Aubrey Hyde, Winnfield, La., 10 bass, 27-11, $2,588

6th:       Lane Haymond, Cave Springs, Ark., 11 bass, 27-7, $2,156

7th:       Rick Parker, Kaufman, Texas, 11 bass, 27-5, $1,925

8th:       Brian Bayless, Porter, Texas, 11 bass, 26-8, $1,510

9th:       Anthony Templeton, Beckville, Texas, 11 bass, 25-9, $1,294

10th:     Sam Sharp, Hillsboro, Ala., seven bass, 21-12, $1,078

Kessler also caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division Friday, a fish weighing 8 pounds, 13 ounces. He earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $77.

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. The next tournament for Toyota Series anglers will be the Southern Division opener – the Toyota Series at the St. Johns River, held Feb. 13-15 in Palatka, Florida. For a complete schedule, visit FLWFishing.com.

The Toyota Series consists of eight divisions – Central, Eastern, Northern, Plains, Southeastern, Southern, Southwestern and Western – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International division. Anglers who fish all three qualifiers in any of the eight divisions and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship for a shot at winning $200,000 cash, plus lucrative contingency bonuses. The winning co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard. The 2020 Toyota Series Championship is being held Nov. 5-7 on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Kentucky, and is hosted by the Somerset Tourist & Convention Commission and the Burnside Tourism Commission.

For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Toyota Series on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and YouTube.