EUFAULA, Ala. (June 6, 2020) – Alabama boater Josh Stracner of Vandiver, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 22 pounds, 3 ounces to win the three-dayToyota Series at Lake Eufaula tournament in Eufaula, Alabama. Stracner’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 64-15 earned him the win by a 2-pound, 2-ounce margin over second-place angler Ryan Ingram of Phenix City, Alabama, and earned Stracner the top payout of $29,034 in the first tournament of the 2020 Toyota Series Southeastern Division.
This is Stracner’s fourth FLW win on Lake Eufaula – first on the Toyota Series – but midway through the day, it didn’t look like he was going to be able to pull off the come-from-behind victory after starting the day in third place.
Stracner started the day doing what he’d done the previous two days of competition – fishing deep ledges in the mid-lake area. But today, it just wasn’t happening. With 13 to 14 pounds in the livewell and a few hours left to fish, Stracner knew he needed to change up. Eventually, he shifted to fishing shallow brush – in this case 12 to 15 feet deep – which quickly proved to be the right move.
“I did not even think about it moving shallow until about 12 o’clock, and the deep stuff wasn’t working,” Stracner said. “So I went shallow and started catching a few. I caught enough that I just stayed with it the rest of the day. And right before this storm came through, I caught three good ones on back-to-back stops.”
Stracner said that he used about a half-dozen baits throughout the week to catch the winning fish. His main ledge baits on the first two days of competition were a Strike King 10XD and 6-inch Scottsboro Tackle Co. Swimbait on a Scottsboro Recon Head. Saturday, fishing brush, he caught some on a Reaction Innovations Fat Flirt Worm, and a Z-Man ChatterBait.
“I can’t believe it,” Stracner went on to say. “I never really thought I could’ve won it. I was just hoping to stay in second or third. I just had to work real hard this week. You’ve got to be on the right stuff at the right time. Everything’s got to go right, and today was just my day. That’s really all I can say. I feel very fortunate right now.”
The top 10 pros on Lake Eufaula finished:
1st: Josh Stracner of Vandiver, Ala., 15 bass, 64-15, $29,034
2nd: Ryan Ingram of Phenix City, Ala., 15 bass, 62-13, $10,669
3rd: Bryan New of Belmont, N.C., 15 bass, 61-8, $8,260
4th: Michael M. Smith, Andalusia, Ala., 15 bass, 61-2, $6,883
5th: Shane Powell of Dothan, Ala., 15 bass, 61-0, $6,195
6th: Josh Butler of Hayden, Ala., 15 bass, 58-0, $6,507
7th: Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, Ala., 15 bass, 56-8, $4,899
8th: Dustin Smith of Grand Island, Fla., 15 bass, 54-13, $4,130
9th: Austin Lang of Kinsey, Ala., 15 bass, 53-12, $3,442
10th: Kacy Mims of Randolph, Ala., 15 bass, 53-11, $2,753
A complete list of results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Butler 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.
Hank Golden of Tallassee, Alabama, brought a 6-pound, 12-ounce largemouth bass to the scale Friday – the largest fish weighed by a boater in the event – to earn the day’s Big Bass award of $81.
Blake Lewis of Pace, Florida, won the Co-angler Division Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 44 pounds, 4 ounces. Lewis 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 Eufaula finished:
1st: Blake Lewis of Pace, Fla., 15 bass, 44-4, Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat w/115-hp outboard
2nd: Cal Culpepper of Hamilton, Ga., 15 bass, 43-9, $3,544
3rd: Bryce Goff of Haines City, Fla., 15 bass, 40-14, $2,836
4th: Chuck Laslie of Havana, Fla., 15 bass, 39-7, $2,481
5th: Joseph Chilcott of Crestview, Fla., 13 bass, 39-1, $2,127
6th: Daniel Corkern of Florence, Miss., 15 bass, 38-14, $1,772
7th: Todd Beaver of Richland, Ga., 15 bass, 38-0, $1,418
8th: Tony Muina of Wewahitchka, Fla., 13 bass, 37-8, $1,241
9th: Alan Ray of Georgetown, Ga., 12 bass, 37-1, $1,117
10th: Ronald Harris of Jefferson, Ga., 14 bass, 33-5, $886
Rob Lyerly of Smyrna, Georgia, weighed in the largest bass in the co-angler division on Thursday, bringing a 6-pound, 7-ounce bass to the stage. He earned the days Co-angler Big Bass award of $54.
The Toyota Series at Lake Eufaula was hosted by the Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce. It was the first of three regular-season tournaments in 2020 for Southeastern Division anglers. 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 at Facebook, 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).