GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – The Major League Fishing (MLF) Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats is set to return to Kentucky and Barkley lakes, next week, April 20-22, for the second event of the season in the Toyota Series Prairie Division – the Toyota Series at Kentucky and Barkley Lakes Presented by Jenko Fishing . The three-day tournament, hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau, will feature a roster of the region’s best bass-fishing pros and Strike King co-anglers competing for a top prize of up to $100,000 in the pro division and a new Phoenix 518 Pro boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor in the co-angler division.
“I haven’t been there in a while, but I’ve been hearing some really good things and the lake is in really good shape right now,” said Bass Pro Tour angler John Hunter of Shelbyville, Kentucky. “It’s warming up – some of the fish have already spawned, but the majority of bass seem to be just starting to move up to spawn, and this is going to be a really fun tournament.”
Hunter said that water levels lower than normal may throw a curve ball to competitors.
“Historically, this time of year, the south ends of Kentucky and Barkley are where you want to be,” Hunter said. “But, that’s when the water is at normal summer pool. And this year, it’s not yet. All the reports lately have been that the north end has dominated.
“There has also been quite the boom in the smallmouth,” Hunter continued. “I think 100% the smallmouth will play a role in this event. The water being down and not at summer pool is really going to shine a light on some other patterns and techniques than guys are used to seeing at Kentucky Lake.”
Hunter said that he expects shallow-water power-fishing to be the pattern most likely to produce success.
“I’ll be flipping any shallow wood I can find with a Googan Bandito Bug,” Hunter went on to say. “A bladed jig will play, a spinnerbait and a swimbait will all be strong. I think the winner is going to need to catch 58 to 62 pounds over three days to have a chance to win this one.”
Anglers will take off each day at 6:30 a.m. CT from the Kentucky Dam Marina, located at 466 Marina Drive, Gilbertsville, Kentucky. Weigh-ins will also be held at the marina and will begin at 2:30 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend and encouraged to follow the event online through the “MLF Live” weigh-in broadcasts and daily coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
In Toyota Series regular-season competition, payouts are based on the number of participants competing in the event, scaling up for every 20 boats over 160 and scaling down for every boat below 160. With a 160-boat field, pros fish for a top prize of $40,000, plus an extra $35,000 if Phoenix MLF Bonus qualified. Strike King co-anglers cast for the top prize of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard (valued at $33,500). With a 260-boat field, pros fish for a top award of $65,000, plus an extra $35,000 if Phoenix MLF Bonus qualified. Strike King co-anglers cast for the top prize of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard (valued at $33,500) plus $5,000 cash.
The 2023 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 2024. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard. The 2023 Toyota Series Championship will be held Nov. 2-4 on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, and is hosted by ExploreBranson.com.
Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Toyota Series include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Black Rifle Coffee Company, E3, Favorite Fishing, Fox Rent a Car, General Tire, Gill, Grundéns, Lew’s, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Next Gen Lithium, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Wiley X and YETI.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.