BROOKELAND, Texas (Oct. 19, 2020) – Aaron Johnson of Shreveport, Louisiana, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 14 ounces to win the three-day Toyota Series at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir tournament in Brookeland, Texas. Johnson’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 54-14 earned him the win by an 11-ounce margin over second-place angler Blake Schroeder of Whitehouse, Texas, and earned Johnson the top payout of $31,751 in the third and final tournament of the 2020 Toyota Series Southwestern Division.
Johnson said he won the tournament fishing entirely around shallow hydrilla with a modified square-bill crankbait. Hanging in the mid-lake for the most part, in 3 to 6 feet, he targeted clumpier sections of the grass.
“Typically, I would run it over the top or over the side,” said Johnson of his presentation. “The bait comes through pretty good, so I’ll run it over the top and to the side, pop it, stop it, twitch it, just the normal erratic stuff to try to get a reaction. There were times when I would twitch it over a clump, and then reel it fast when I got it over the other side of the clump. Every day I had probably 10 that would try to get it and just wouldn’t get it, but that’s just part of it.”
Fishing a discontinued bait that he modified with a custom color scheme, a red treble hook on the front and a filed-down bill, Johnson knew he had a good thing going.
“I have a lot of confidence in that bait,” said Johnson. “I won a two-day tournament a few years ago here with it and I know what it will do if you stay with it, so I never put it down. I threw a ChatterBait maybe 10 times and then I cut it off and put on a crankbait. I just had to stick with it.”
Johnson said he started mid-lake on days one and two, then ran more isolated places that brought him all the way north of the TX-147 bridge. He said the presence or lack of wind was key for him every day.
“Today it blew so hard, and they were biting really good in one of my main places, so I never left,” said Johnson. “Every other day, I would run and hit a couple of small patches here and there, and yesterday I did that and caught my biggest fish out of a little clump. Today, I never left, and at 2:10 I culled a 2-pounder with a 3½-pounder, and that’s what won the event.”
Johnson won a Bassmaster Open on Kentucky Lake in 2008, but this is his biggest win with FLW by far. Oddly enough, it comes after he literally zeroed in the recent Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournament on Rayburn.
“I found these fish for the BFL, and I caught none of them,” said Johnson. “However, God has a plan, and this tournament worked out. It feels great – it’s been a little while since I’ve been in the winner’s seat – so it’s good to be back. I’m very fortunate and very grateful – these are hard to win.”
The top 10 pros on the Sam Rayburn Reservoir finished:
1st: Aaron Johnson of Shreveport, La., 15 bass, 54-14, $31,751
2nd: Blake Schroeder of Whitehouse, Texas, 15 bass, 54-3, $12,303
3rd: Nick LeBrun of Bossier City, La., 15 bass, 45-15, $9,525
4th: Chris McCall of Palmer, Texas, 15 bass, 44-13, $7,938
5th: Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas, 15 bass, 42-1, $7,144
6th: Tim Reneau of Richland Springs, Texas, 15 bass, 41-15, $6,350
7th: Kenneth Cates of Zavalla, Texas, 15 bass, 41-12, $5,556
8th: Todd Castledine of Nacogdoches, Texas, 15 bass, 41-4, $4,763
9th: Cole Moore of Anacoco, La., 14 bass, 40-4, $4,969
10th: Justin O’Brian Cooper of Zwolle, La., 15 bass, 39-4, $3,175
A complete list of results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Moore took home an extra $1,000 as the highest finishing FLW PHOENIX BONUS member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $35,000 per event in each Toyota Series tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.
Anthony Templeton of Beckville, Texas won the Co-angler Division Saturday with a three-day total of 12 bass weighing 28 pounds, 3 ounces. Templeton took home the top prize package of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard motor.
The top 10 co-anglers on the Sam Rayburn Reservoir finished:
1st: Anthony Templeton of Beckville, Texas, 12 bass, 28-3, Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat w/115-hp
2nd: Micheal Sharp of Argyle, Texas, 10 bass, 24-14, $4,057
3rd: Todd Childs of Waxahachie, Texas, seven bass, 23-2, $3,314
4th: Grayson Honeycutt of Temple, Texas, 12 bass, 21-5, $2,840
5th: Kayden Tanner of Millsap, Texas, 10 bass, 20-15, $2,434
6th: David Keith of Haughton, La., 10 bass, 20-13, $2,029
7th: Donny Davis of Livingston, La., 10 bass, 20-12, $1,623
8th: Timothy Cooper of Pelican, La., 10 bass, 19-15, $1,420
9th: Aaron Freeman of Montgomery, Texas, 10 bass, 18-2, $1,217
10th: Randy Pewthers of Pearland, Texas, seven bass, 16-6, $1,014
The Toyota Series at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir was hosted by the Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn Area Chamber of Commerce. It was the third of three regular-season tournaments in 2020 for Southwestern Division anglers. The next event for Toyota Series anglers will take place on Oct. 29-31 with the Toyota Series at Dale Hollow Lake in Monroe, Tennessee. For a complete schedule, visit FLWFishing.com.
The 2020 Toyota Series consists of eight divisions – Central, Eastern, Northern, Plains, Southeastern, Southern, Southwestern and Western – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International division. Anglers who fish all three qualifiers in any of the eight divisions and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship for a shot at winning $235,000 cash, including a $35,000 FLW PHOENIX Bonus for qualified anglers. The winning co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard. The 2020 Toyota Series Championship will be held Dec. 3-5 on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Kentucky, and is hosted by the Somerset Tourist & Convention Commission and the Burnside Tourism Commission.