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Tournament bass fishing returns to Pickwick Lake in Florence May 28-30

After pausing two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the FLW Toyota Series resumes with a 3-day stop in Florence and thousands of dollars up for grabs.
Credit: FLW

FLORENCE, Ala. — You think you're ready for some tournament bass fishing? Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit rookie Cole Floyd can't wait. He'll get his chance to reel in more action when the FLW Toyota Series comes to Pickwick Lake in Florence May 28-30.

“It’s definitely going to be an offshore deal, and it’s going to be a slugfest,” said Floyd.

The tournament will be the first for the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers since mid-March when the FLW paused all competition due to the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament will be held under an abundance of caution, with limited attendance to anglers and only essential tournament staff on site.

You can watch the anglers take off from McFarland Park, 200 Jim Spain Drive, in Florence at 6 a.m. each day. The weigh-ins are scheduled for 2 p.m. at McFarland Park. However, with social distancing in mind, tournament officials would rather you watch the weigh-ins live on FLW's livestream.

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Floyd said that on Kentucky Lake, the fishing has been a little behind this year, but he thinks that only makes the timing better at Pickwick.

“I’ll usually start finding fish out on mid-range stuff now, or a week before now (mid-May),” said Floyd of the offshore bite. “It’s kind of behind here (at Kentucky Lake). We haven’t had a shad spawn yet, and usually it’s going on now. I’ve heard that it hasn’t quite happened yet there (at Pickwick), but I think this tournament will hit it right on the nail.”

Credit: FLW

For catching offshore fish, Floyd thinks that cranking will be clutch, as that’s usually one of the best early producers offshore on the Tennessee River. Other traditional ledge-fishing baits will work as well, including football jigs and other dragging baits.

Swimbaits, hair jigs and fluke-style baits on Scrounger-style heads could also produce, and they have a history of success in the summer on Pickwick.

For the shallow-water stuff, Floyd said that big spinnerbaits can be very good around spawning shad. Big, shallow-running crankbaits may also be a good bet to catch the better-than-average largemouth that are shallow and gorging on big gizzard shad.

“I bet it’s going to be crazy, said Floyd. "There will also be guys that catch them out of shallower stuff, too. They will be tough to beat if they find that stuff. I bet the weights will be crazy. I’d say it’ll take high 60s to win over three days.”

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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 FLW PHOENIX BONUS qualified.

Co-anglers cast for the top prize of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower 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 FLW PHOENIX BONUS qualified. 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 2020 Toyota Series Championship will be held Dec. 3-5 on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Kentucky.