Florida Tournament Report

Rat-L-Trap Open set for Lake Toho

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We are creeping up on one of the most exciting events of the year on Lake Toho.   The Rat-L-Trap only tournament to be held out of the Big Toho Marina near downtown Kissimmee on May 23rd.    Let’s talk about some of the patterns, places and probable winning formulas for this event.

1.   Brush piles:   The Kissimmee Chain has been littered with off shore brush piles over the last few years.   Even with the clamp down from the FWC on these being illegally placed they still produce many tournament winning stringers.   Those that are talented at working a trap through brush piles to trigger strikes can really load the boat.  The teams focusing on brush piles this year have the added advantage of being able to use the new Echo 1.75 square bill by Rat-L-Trap.     Some of the shallower brush piles can be reached now with this new bait.   It runs true through cover and the extra bladed jig like vibrations can really land you some giant fish.   The 2014 Rat-L-Trap tournament was won using the off shore brush piles.    This year’s tournament however is a month earlier in the year leaving some other trap options as legitimate title contenders.

2.     Lake Cypress offshore hydrilla:    Lake Cypress comes alive this time of the year.    The off shore hydrilla in this shallow bowl shaped lake is usually growing strong and healthy this time of the year.    Fishing on top of and along the cuts and grass lines the hyrdrilla forms can land some giant stringers of bass.   Traditional chrome and gold Rat-L-Traps ripped through and around the grass can trigger some bone jarring strikes from the hungry post spawn Florida bass.  Several giant bags were weighed in from Lake Cypress just a couple  years ago in BFL event held on this chain in May.

3.   Running Water Pattern:   If Florida’s rainy season starts just a few weeks early it is very possible for this pattern to take hold.   There a few community hole type areas that the fish gang up on when water is running through the Chain.   Many of these places hold some shallower shell beds that fish can really gang up on.   Utilizing both traditional Rat-L-Traps and the Echo 1.75 on these areas could produce a winning stringer of bass.

4.  Shad Spawn:   In many years you can catch the last of the Shad Spawn in May.   The shad spawn will last for the first hour or two every morning in and around the outside Kissimmee grass lines.   These area are not hard to find, just look for the Egrets to be stacked up along the grass lines.   Casting the Echo 1.75 or traditional Rat-L-Traps along the grass lines or in the scattered areas can really load the boat during the first couple hours of the morning.   Often times a quick limit with a few nice fish starts the day out right and then you can go searching for a just a few upgrades for a possible big bag of bass.

Winning Gear:   Teams will want to make sure they are using the quality gear to handle some of these big Kissimmee bass.   Always start things out with a quality rod and reel set up.   The new Stunner HD Series from Fitzgerald Rods would be a top choice.    A 7’0 MH or 7’3 MH Stunner HD would provide the perfect combination of finesse and power needed to fish Rat-L-Traps.    A quality reel like a Daiwa Tatula 6.3:1  strung up with a nice 17 lb Fluorocarbon line should do the trick.   Many people will find that 20 to 30 lb Power Pro braided line works well when ripping some traps out of  heavier grass and brush.  Of course make sure the boat is loaded with some Rat-L-Traps and Echo 1.75’s.   Traditional shad  and gold colored traps should do the trick.


Hopefully everyone is able to sign up and come join us at this year’s Rat-L-Trap tournament on Lake Toho.   Utilizing these tips will give any team a head start as they search for the winning fish.    There is sure to be some giant stringers of bass weighed in and everyone can enjoy a fantastic day on the water catching bass utilizing the legendary baits from Bill Lewis and Rat-L-Trap.

Rich Howes 2013 Lake Toho Bassmaster Open Champion

*Note, the Echo 1.75 are in high demand and orders are 30 to 45 days out.   However, some have been put aside and will be brought to the tournament.