The Major League Fishing (MLF) Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats is set to return to Scottsboro, Alabama, Feb. 14-16, for the 2024 Central Division season opener – the Toyota Series at Lake Guntersville.
The three-day tournament, hosted by the Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce, will feature a roster of the region’s best bass-fishing pros and Strike King co-anglers competing for a top prize of up to $100,000 in the pro division and a new Phoenix 518 Pro boat with a 115-horsepower outboard motor plus $5,000 in the co-angler division.
“Lake Guntersville has been phenomenal lately, fishing absolutely lights out,” said local pro Cal Lane of Guntersville, who finished in 15th place at the Toyota Series at Lake Guntersville event last February. “We’re going to see a lot of big bass in this Toyota Series event. They’re still prespawn, they’re fat, and they’re chewing right now.”
Lane said that he expects that plenty of guys will still be catching them in traditional late-winter, early-spring Guntersville patterns, but that forward-facing sonar is changing the entire sport and Guntersville is no exception.
“There will be a lot of guys catching them shallow on a trap – that’s typical for this time of year, especially with the warmer weather,” Lane said. “But (Garmin) LiveScope has changed the game of fishing, and we’re going to see several really big bags weighed in from guys that are chasing the suspended bait balls near bridges.”
Traditionally lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits, crankbaits and Carolina rigs always are factors in early-season Guntersville tournaments, but baits designed to use with forward-facing sonar - jerkbaits and soft plastic minnows on various sized jig heads – will also be strong.
“The key to doing well in this tournament will be being consistent – you’re going to need five of the 4½-pound quality fish, not the 3-pound fish,” Lane said. “There are so many 3-pound fish in Guntersville, and everyone is going to catch them. But whoever can find those 4½-pounders is going to be there at the end.”
Lane went on to predict that the winner of the three-day event would weigh in 65 to 70 pounds.
Anglers will launch at 7 a.m. CT each day from the Goose Pond Colony Marina, located at 417 Ed Hembree Drive in Scottsboro. Weigh-ins will also be held at the marina and will begin at 3 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend and encouraged to follow the event online through the “MLF Live” weigh-in broadcasts and daily coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
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 up to $75,000, if Phoenix MLF Bonus qualified. Strike King co-anglers cast for the top prize of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury or Suzuki outboard (valued at $33,500). With a 260-boat field, pros fish for a top award of up to $100,000, if Phoenix MLF Bonus qualified. Strike King co-anglers cast for the top prize of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury or Suzuki outboard plus $5,000 cash.
The 2024 Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats consists of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and the Western Division Presented by Tackle Warehouse – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International and Wild Card divisions. Anglers who fish in any of the six divisions or the Wild Card division and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship for a shot at winning up to $235,000 and a qualification to REDCREST 2025. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard. The 2024 Toyota Series Championship will be held Nov. 7-9 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Alabama, and is hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Madison County Commission, and the Huntsville Sports Commission.
Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Toyota Series include: 7Brew, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, BUBBA, E3, Epic Baits, FX Custom Rods, General Tire, Lew’s, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota and YETI.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular Toyota Series updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the MLF5 social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.