HOBIE B.O.S. SPONSORED BY POWER-POLE TO OPEN SEASON ON TOLEDO BEND RESERVOIR
OCEANSIDE, Calif. (February 8, 2022) – Toledo Bend Reservoir on the Texas/Louisiana border is famous as one of the top largemouth bass fishing destinations in the world. Now it can add another page to its hallowed ledger: host of the season-opening event for the 2022 Hobie Bass Open Series (B.O.S.) Anchored by Power-Pole
Scheduled for February 12 and 13, the Toledo Bend B.O.S. event promises to be an exciting kick-off for the elite and highly skilled field of participating kayak anglers. With the 200-competitor entry limit already reached, competition will be stiff, the payouts large, and the search for the reservoir’s renown lunkers intense. Anglers will be competing for cash payouts to the top 10% of the field, Angler of the Year (A.O.Y.) award points, a $500 prize for Bassin’ Big Bass honors, and the year’s first three qualifying spots to the 2022 Tournament of Champions (TOC) on Caddo Lake, Nov 11-13, in Shreveport- Bossier City, Louisiana. Additionally, all participants have an opportunity to win a 2022 Hobie Outback in a custom orange and black ‘BOS Camo’ color, plus a variety of sponsor prizes that will be randomly given away.
“Hitting our 200-angler cap for the first event of 2022 means we’re going to be in for a special season,” says tournament director, A.J. McWhorter. “The competition will be at its highest level and payouts will be the largest they’ve ever been. It’s fitting that our first max capacity event is being held on one of the largest lakes in the country with the potential to catch the biggest fish the series has ever seen. It’s always special to run an event on a fishery with this kind of pedigree. I think I speak for everyone involved when I say: ‘We can’t wait to get started!’”
No doubt, Bryan Howell, 29, of Rowlett, Texas, is anxious to throw a bait in the water. The winner of last year’s opening event on Lake Seminole, he understands the value of a good start. “Winning the first event of the year can give your entire season a push in the right direction,” says Howell. “I didn’t even think about shooting for the Far-Wide Angler of the Year (AOY) title last year until I put that first win on the board. All of a sudden, I was leading in points and I managed to stay within striking distance the entire season. Finish high in the opener and you instantly get a feeling the rest of the year is going to go well.”
To get out of the box fast, Howell plans to fish to his strengths, targeting grass, cypress trees and whatever other shallow structure he can find. He’ll likely start by throwing a Z-Man Jackhammer ChatterBait, which he used to win the Lake Seminole event last year. “It’s a phenomenal pre-spawn bait that bass just love to chew all year long,” he explains. “I’ll be throwing it from my Hobie PA360. It’s a great platform that helps me squeeze into small channels that bass boats can’t access. Looking for fresh fish in untapped waters is a great way to win tournaments.”
Jordan Marshall, 26, from Maryville, Tennessee, is also chomping at the bit. The reigning 2021 Far-Wide Angler of the Year (AOY), he says he can’t wait to defend his crown. “I know I have a target on my back this season after doing so well last year and I accept that. I’m known for giving other top kayak anglers a bit of a hard time,” he chuckles, “so I guess it’s my turn to get what I’ve been giving now. You can bet I’m excited to defend my crown.” Like many of this event’s competitors, Marshall has never fished Toledo Bend Reservoir before, but he’s stoked to get started. “I’m going to make a big fishing week out of this trip. I’m heading down early to fish with some friends at Lake Fork and, hopefully, Sam Rayburn Reservoir, before pre-fishing Toledo Bend. If we get some fair weather this trip should be a blast.”
Marshall says he struggles in early-season bass tournaments if the weather is cold, so he plans to simply concentrate on filling his limit of five bass each day and seeing how that approach holds up. “I think pulling a daily limit will be the real challenge here this time of year,” he states. “There are plenty of big fish to be had, so that’s not my concern. I plan to fish in water depths of six feet or less in the hopes of intercepting some fish coming to the edge of the flats to look around for spawning areas. I’ll go as shallow as I can based on water temperatures.”
Having a choice, this time of year Marshall prefers water temperatures in the mid-50-degree range for throwing spinnerbaits. For cooler waters, he’ll crank. If the temperatures are warmer, he’ll toss a Z-Man Jackhammer ChatterBait – the scenario he is hoping for most. No matter the weather forecast, he’ll be tackling the 65-mile-long 185,000-acre lake in his Hobie Pro Angler 14, noting it has plenty of horizontal rod storage, room for baits, and a front hatch that can be stuffed with gear that might be needed during the course of the tourney.
“I’ve got to say the Hobie B.O.S. is the best kayak fishing trail around,” continues Marshall. “It’s really well run, and it’s given me an opportunity to get my name out there. I really appreciate Hobie for running this series, giving us all an opportunity to fish, and for showing us off at day’s end. The coverage of the tournaments is terrific and certainly helps to grow our sport – and the prize packages are as good as they come. I’m proud to be a part of it.” Howell agrees with that assessment. “I’m excited to fish Toledo Bend. It’s a big bass factory and I think a bunch of people could reel in their personal bests here. The competition is going to be tough because there are so many hammers at these Hobie B.O.S. events. For me, this is the number one kayak fishing trail. Simply put, they treat their anglers the best, provide the best competition, and give back the biggest payouts. It’s the number one series as far as I’m concerned.”
Keep in mind there’s other fun things besides competing to do in Toledo Lake Bend County, so feel free to bring the family along. The lake has over 35 resorts and marinas plus two state parks that offer camping and hiking. Fort Jesup State Historic Site, along historic El Camino Real de los Tejas road, is located here and has events to celebrate its bicentennial. There’s a 30-mile antiquing trail with over 14 stores plus unique boutiques in nearby Many, Louisiana.
“It’s also crawfish season!” adds Georgia Craven, Executive Director of Sabine Parish Tourist Commission,” and I highly recommend you try some. We have lots of great restaurants throughout the area including Gilligan’s Crawfish & Grille and Bayou Crawfish.” Winning the season’s opening event on Toledo Bend Reservoir can change an aspiring angler’s season. “Win here and everyone on the circuit will instantly know your name,” sums McWhorter. “We’re thrilled to have hit our 200-angler capacity – both for this event and the Santee Cooper event slated for March 26 and 27. It says a lot about the hard work of our staff and the belief in us our sponsors and host cities have shown over the years. Most importantly, it speaks to the tremendous support of our anglers in attending and promoting this series. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for everyone pushing this along the way.”