SANDUSKY, Ohio (July 12, 2020) – New Jersey angler Lee Rogers of Newton, New Jersey, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 15 pounds, 10 ounces to win the three-dayToyota Series at Lake Erie tournament in Sandusky, Ohio. Rogers’ three-day total of 15 bass weighing 48-12 earned him the win by a slim 9-ounce margin over second-place angler Drew Sanford of Springfield, Missouri, and earned Rogers the top payout of $32,439 in the first tournament of the 2020 Toyota Series Northern Division.
On days one and two, Rogers fished around the islands near Sandusky for smallmouth. Concentrating on a handful of rocky spots on Kelleys Island and the Bass Islands, Rogers caught his smallmouth on a drop-shot rig between 12 and 18 feet deep.
“They were small spots, so it didn’t take long to find the fish on them,” said Rogers. “But there were no numbers; you would just catch one or two.”
For his smallmouth, a drop-shot rig with a Strike King Half Shell did best, and though his primary color was green pumpkin purple, he alternated between a few depending on the conditions. He posted weights of 17-3 and 15-15, to put himself in the top 10 heading into the final day of competition.
On the final day, the field was confined to the area around Sandusky Bay due to strong winds. Starting the day in eighth place, Rogers fished rock piles near and off the bank to catch a 15-10 limit of largemouth bass and rocket up the leaderboard with the biggest limit of the day to earn the win.
“There wasn’t a lot of grass, so I was targeting rock piles,” said Rogers. “I caught some on tubes, and then I switched up to a Texas rig with an Eco Pro Swing Shad. It came through the rocks a little easier, and they started eating that pretty good.”
Rogers used the 3.8-inch size Swing Shad swimbait in a green pumpkin color and a 5/16-ounce weight to do his damage. His tube of choice was a Strike King model with a 3/8-ounce weight, also in green pumpkin. He also added one fish on a spinnerbait fished over some grass on the final day.
“I really didn’t think I would be in contention to win. I just wanted to duplicate day one and get a check. To make the top 10 was a shock. I just can’t believe I won; it’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid,” Rogers went on to say.
The top 10 pros on Lake Erie finished:
1st: Lee Rogers of Newton, N.J., 15 bass, 48-12, $32,439
2nd: Drew Sanford of Springfield, Mo., 15 bass, 48-3, $12,493
3rd: John Dawson of Mount Vernon, Ohio, 15 bass, 47-11, $9,672
4th: Jonathan Kelley of Old Forge, Pa., 15 bass, 46-4, $8,167
5th: Jonathan Dietz of Corry, Pa., 15 bass, 45-9, $7,254
6th: Dick Parker of Lorain, Ohio, 15 bass, 44-12, $6,448
7th: Tony Mitchell of Plainwell, Mich., 14 bass, 44-10, $5,642
8th: Chase Serafin of White Lake, Mich., 15 bass, 44-1, $4,836
9th: Troy Stokes of Brownstown, Mich., 11 bass, 39-15, $4,030
10th: Drew Six of Clinton, Ohio, 13 bass, 39-14, $3,224
A complete list of results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Matt Becker of Finleyville, Pennsylvania, 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.
P/aul Kimball of Glastonbury, Connecticut, brought a 5-pound, 3-ounce smallmouth bass to the scale Thursday – the largest fish weighed by a boater in the event – to earn the day’s Big Bass award of $107.
Dan Mundy of Swartz Creek, Michigan, won the Co-angler Division Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 38 pounds, 12 ounces. Mundy 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 Lake Erie finished:
1st: Dan Mundy of Swartz Creek, Mich., 15 bass, 38-12, Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat w/115-hp outboard
2nd: Stephen Draghi of Sparrowbush, N.Y., 14 bass, 35-9, $4,114
3rd: Jared Rudd of Salyersville, Ky., 14 bass, 35-0, $3,291
4th: Henry McKee of Haddon Heights, N.J., 13 bass, 34-9, $2,880
5th: Harlan Drephal of New London, Wis., 12 bass, 34-2, $2,468
6th: Ron Hiles of Piketon, Ohio, 13 bass, 32-6, $2,057
7th: Eric Wild of Brooklyn, Mich., 13 bass, 32-2, $1,646
8th: Darwin Griva of Hamilton, Ind., 11 bass, 31-8, $1,440
9th: John Terry of Lexington, Ohio, 11 bass, 31-3, $1,234
10th: Cliff Humphreys of Philadelphia, Pa., nine bass, 27-9, $1,064
The Toyota Series at Lake Erie was hosted by the City of Sandusky. It was the first of three regular-season tournaments in 2020 for Northern Division anglers. The next event for Toyota Series anglers will be the Toyota Series at Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Alabama. For a complete schedule, visit FLWFishing.com.
The 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.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Toyota Series on FLW’s social media outlets atFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, FLW and its partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Zimbabwe.
FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show while Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. Acquired by Major League Fishing in late 2019, FLW is expanding its programming in 2020 to the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel as well as on-demand at MyOutdoorTV (MOTV).