Bass-fishing alert: Toho is red hot
Friday, June 11, 2010
Media contact: Marty Mann, 321-624-6090
Bass anglers on Florida's renowned Lake
Tohopekaliga (Toho for short) have hit the jackpot - again. Anglers
are catching their limits of trophy-size largemouth bass with
astounding regularity, as the lake proves and improves its
reputation as one of the top-five destinations in the world for
those who seek the ultimate bass-fishing experience.
During the past several weeks, local tournament
anglers have discovered a veritable bonanza of trophy-size bass, as
catch rates continue to heat up. One possible reason,
according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
(FWC) biologists, is that the extended cold winter delayed spawning
and post-spawn feeding activity.
Last weekend's Toho Open, a one-day tournament, saw
the fifth-place finisher catch a five-fish limit tipping the scales
at 31 pounds, while the winners, Jerry Williams and Jessie
Windsor of Orlando, netted more than 38 pounds. Mark
Detweiler at Big Toho Marina in Kissimmee reported that at local
tournaments hosted there on Wednesday nights, participants boasted
winning totals in excess of 20 pounds.
"Big bass have shown themselves in ever-increasing
numbers since last fall. I've been fishing here since 1983
and I've never seen anything like this. It's mind-boggling," said
Terry Segraves, a well-respected professional angler who lives in
Kissimmee and serves as a tourism spokesman for the area.
According to local experts like Segraves,
patterning the big fish is not difficult. Early morning
anglers are finding schooling fish in the 1- to 2-pound range, with
some much bigger fish mixed in those schools. However, the
really big fish are feeding on the edges of the deep grass beds
after the sun comes up. Typically, anglers catch the big fish
a few hours after sunrise and a few hours before sunset, as is the
case here. However, what is unusual is that they're also catching
big stringers of trophies throughout the day.
FWC fishery biologist and avid bass angler Marty
Mann believes the great trophy fishing is the result of the
agency's aggressive management of Lake Toho, the birthplace of the
first large-scale drawdown (1971) to improve of fish and wildlife
habitat. In 2004, the FWC conducted its most recent in a series of
drawdown projects on Lake Toho.
"One of the biggest problems for sportfish is
decaying plant and animal materials that build up on the bottom of
a lake over time. These sediments cover and suffocate the eggs of
sportfish and rob oxygen from the water as they decay," said
Improvements to fish habitat are accomplished by
lowering the lake to expose mucky sediments to sunlight and air,
thus allowing sediments to consolidate into a hard substrate.
In some places, crews scrape dried sediments and truck them to
disposal areas. The result is a clean, hard, sandy
bottom. Once the water level returns to normal, the hard
bottom provides quality spawning areas for sportfish and a
substrate that promotes the growth of beneficial aquatic plants,
where bass can feed and grow to trophy size.
Kissimmee Convention and Visitors Bureau Director
Tom Lang welcomed the news that the fish are biting. "For our
visitors looking for memory-making experiences to punctuate their
vacation or holidays, this is good news. We recommend they
get here fast, because you never know when the tide may turn with
For more information on bass fishing in Osceola
County's Lake Tohopekaliga, go to the Freshwater Fishing area of
MyFWC.com/Fishing and select Fishing Sites and Forecasts, or
contact the Kissimmee Convention and Visitors Bureau at VisitKissimmee.com.