BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. (Nov. 1, 2020) – Toyota Series angler Adam Wagner of Cookeville, Tennessee, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 16 pounds, 1 ounce to win the three-day Toyota Series at Dale Hollow Lake tournament in Byrdstown, Tennessee. Wagner’s three-day total of 12 bass weighing 34-6 earned him the win by 5 ounces over second-place angler Blake Smith of Byrdstown, and earned Wagner the top payout of $62,761, including the lucrative $35,000 FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency award in the third and final regular-season tournament of the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division.
“I’m just blown away,” said Wagner, the 2009 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Champion who earned his 15th career victory in FLW competition. “I got lucky. I just absolutely pulled up dead on top of that school of fish. If that’s not meant to be, I don’t know what to say – It just blows my mind.”
The school of fish Wagner referenced was the “motherlode” he found in the afternoon of day two. He said he didn’t have enough time to pluck a big bag from the school, but he knew he found something special to go back to on Saturday.
“I was pulling up to fish a grass spot [Friday] and I just went across this ditch and [my graph] just lit up,” he explained. “It’s two long, flat points going into a gut of a pocket. There was a school of shad in 49 foot of water, and apparently every largemouth that lives on those points was in that gut.”
Wagner said he’s not a “deep water guy,” but has the confidence to do something he knows isn’t his forte. He also credits local knowledge and having the right baits on the deck at the right times – namely, a 5/8-ounce Silver Buddy blade bait.
After finding his winning school on Friday, Wagner said he used the Silver Buddy to pluck a few largemouth from deep water to make the top-10 cut. He then went back to his school Saturday morning and caught a couple keepers before hitting a few other spots to give the school time to set up.
Wagner said when he returned, it was game on.
“The shad had ganged up a little better, like the bass had bunched them up a little more,” he explained. “As the day went on it got better. Saturday was fun.”
As much fun as Wagner had both catching the biggest bag of the tournament and holding up the resulting trophy and $62,761 check, he continued to go back to the providence of it all.
“I just can’t believe it,” he said. “That I found that school of fish – at noon Friday I didn’t have a fish. If I had gone over 10 or 15 yards, I would have never seen them.”
The top 10 pros on Dale Hollow Lake finished:
1st: Adam Wagner of Cookeville, Tenn., 12 bass, 34-6, $62,761
2nd: Blake Smith of Byrdstown, Tenn., 15 bass, 34-1, $10,176
3rd: Dakota Ebare of Denham Springs, La., 12 bass, 29-1, $8,078
4th: Jonathan Bowling of Harriman, Tenn., 11 bass, 26-13, $6,565
5th: Chris Malone of Ironton, Ohio, 12 bass, 24-12, $5,909
6th: Nick Ratliff of Vine Grove, Ky., 10 bass, 21-8, $5,252
7th: Scott Stults of Jamestown, Tenn., seven bass, 19-8, $4,671
8th: Drew Boggs of Lebanon, Tenn., 12 bass, 18-7, $3,939
9th: Marshall Deakins of Dunlap, Tenn., eight bass, 18-0, $3,283
10th: Billy Hall of Florence, Ky., five bass, 15-5, $2,626
A complete list of results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Wagner took home an extra $35,000 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.
Robert Russell of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, won the Co-angler Division Saturday with a three-day total of 11 bass weighing 22 pounds, 2 ounces. Russell 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 Dale Hollow Lake finished:
1st: Robert Russell of Murfreesboro, Tenn., 11 bass, 22-2, $33,550 Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat w/115-hp outboard
2nd: Josh Lockard of Somerset, Ky., seven bass, 15-1, $3,396
3rd: Phil Williams, Jr. of Jamestown, Ky., five bass, 13-15, $2,716
4th: Brent Clark of Bowling Green, Ky., five bass, 12-10, $2,377
5th: Nathan Woodruff of Iuka, Miss., four bass, 11-12, $2,037
6th: Gary Slaughter of Waddy, Ky., five bass, 10-0, $1,698
7th: Luke Glasgow of Guin, Ala., five bass, 10-0, $1,358
8th: Travis Parrott of Byrdstown, Tenn., three bass, 8-0, $1,188
9th: Michael Weimann of Murfreesboro, Tenn., three bass, 6-13, $1,019
10th: Randy Forbes of Pleasant Plain, Ohio, three bass, 6-4, $849
The Toyota Series at Dale Hollow Lake was hosted by the Byrdstown-Pickett County Chamber of Commerce. It was the third and final tournament in 2020 for Central Division anglers. The next two events for Toyota Series anglers will both take place on Nov. 5-7, with the Toyota Series at Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Georgia and the Toyota Series at Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri. 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.
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).