Capt. Ethan Hamrick
Call or Text 727-242-1672

Bass Bandits Tournament: Lake Toho May 2021

This past May, my grandpa and I fished in another tournament on Lake Toho, the northern most lake on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.  We’d fished several tournaments on this large lake in the past and were fairly familiar with the fishery. We weren’t able to get in any practice for this tournament but had a good idea of where we wanted to fish during competition.

Tournament Day

On the morning of the derby, my grandpa and I began our day fishing multiple offshore grass flats on the south end of the lake. We went more than two hours without putting a fish in the boat, so we decided to make a move. We were allowed to go through the lock and fish other lakes in the Kissimmee chain. At about 8 AM, we made out way through the lock and down into Lake Cypress, the body of water, just south of Toho.

My grandpa and I started fishing more offshore grass and began catching fish quickly on a variety of baits. Swimbaits and chatterbaits were getting the most bites, as we slowly worked out way through large fields of hydrilla. We put a limit of fish in the boat in less than an hour and started to cull. By noon we had a decent bag but knew we needed more weight if we wanted to contend.

We’d made our way to the end of a grass flat, so we cranked up and headed to another large flat of the vegetation. I quickly caught two three pounders on a white chatterbait and lost another nice fish.

As the afternoon went on, the chatterbait and swimbait bite slowed. With less than an hour left, my grandpa and I rode to one last area of grass and slowed our approach. We both picked up a Texas rigged speed with and slowed worked it on the bottom through the vegetation. On one of my first couple casts with the worm I caught a five pounder, which culled out a two pounder and gave us a solid upgrade. 

It was getting late in the day and our fishing time was winding down. Although I’d caught a couple fish with a worm, I decided to try a chatterbait one last time in hopes of triggering another large bite. Not long after going back to the chatterbait, I picked up a strike and set the hook. The fish instantly came to the surface, shaking its large head. The bass was every bit of six pounds.

I fought the fish around the front of the boat as it took another hard run. The fish came to the surface once more and jumped completely out of the water. As it did, it shook its head extremely hard and tossed my bait out of it mouth. It was a heartbreaking loss and a tough one to swallow. However, there’s not much you can do when a fish jumps and throws your lure. It’s just part of the game.

We fished about ten minutes longer before we had to call it a day and headed to the ramp for weigh in. My grandpa ended up finishing in 4th place with 16.12 pounds. The lost fish wouldn’t have won the tournament for us, but it would’ve put us in 3rd place and sent us home with a solid check.

Nevertheless, we’d had a fairly successful day and had caught a lot of fish after a tough start to the morning.

What Worked

My grandpa and I caught fish in offshore hydrilla using chatterbaits, swimbaits and speed worms. Reaction baits seemed to work better most of the day, however, I did catch our biggest fish on a worm. This technique was working well so I think we were smart to stick with it for most of the day. We unfortunately didn’t get enough big bites and lost the biggest fish that bit.

Back to You

Thank you for reading about our latest tournament! Be on the look out for more tournament recaps coming soon!


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