Andrews Earns Big Check for Toho Victory

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Eric Andrews of Davenport, FL, won the Boater Division in the American Bass Anglers Open Series, Presented by Caymas Boats, the third Florida Central Division 6 tournament of the season, held March 4, 2023, on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes south of Orlando.

Launching at Kissimmee Lakefront Park into Lake Tohopekaliga, better known as Toho or West Toho, in the town of Kissimmee, Fla. the angler from Davenport, Fla. brought in a 5-bass tournament limit for 25.81 pounds. That gave him an average of 5.16 pounds per fish on a very windy day. He collected a winning check worth $5,200.

“I was throwing a Gambler Fat Ace around hydrilla and brush,” Andrews detailed. “I was flipping grass lines on Lake Toho. I needed this one.”

In any ABA Open Series event, Presented by Caymas Boats, with 60 or more boaters entered, the Boater Division victor wins a minimum of $5,000. In any other tournament with fewer than 60 boats, the top 20 percent of the registered anglers each receive cash payouts based on the total number of entries.

In second among the boaters, Shelton A. Smith of Saint Cloud also landed his 5-bass limit. He finished with 22.34 pounds and took home a check worth $1,200.

“I stayed on Toho all day fishing hydrilla with a ChatterBait,” Smith stated. “I didn’t lose any fish. The weather was nice in the morning. Then the wind came up. We just stuck with it and caught them.”

The third of three anglers to exceed 20 pounds, Bob Bostdorf from Apopka brought in five keepers for 20.49 pounds. He anchored that bag with a 6.85-pounder. Bostdorf pocketed $900 for a third-place finish.

“I fished West Toho for about half a day,” Bostdorf commented. “Then, we went down to Lake Kissimmee. I fished mostly shallow cover with a ChatterBait. The wind made it tough to present a bait properly, but the bass came up to hit the ChatterBait. I didn’t lose any fish.”

Finishing fourth for the boaters, Brandon L. Prophitt from Orlando brought in a 5-bass limit for 19.44 pounds. He topped that sack with a 5.93-pound kicker. 

Bob J. Grosso of Odessa finished fifth for the boaters with five bass at 19.40 pounds. Greatly adding to his bag, Grosso capped that catch with a 9.22-pound bucketmouth that took the tournament lunker honors. He collected $560 for fifth place and an extra $800 for the big bass. That gave him a total of $1,360 in winnings.

“I went down to Lake Kissimmee and flipped buggy whips with a beaver,” Grosso revealed. “The wind was blowing in so the fish were staging on the outside of the reeds. I was catching some good-sized fish. I felt a little tug and set the hook. Then, the water erupted with that big one on the line. That big fish stuck under the boat a little bit. When my co-angler went to net the fish, it took off. Then, we finally got it in the net.”

In the Co-Angler Division, Jamey Nash from Chiefland landed a 3-bass division limit for 16.18 pounds. That gave him a 5.39-pound average. One of only four people to land a bass exceeding seven pounds, Nash significantly upped his average with a 7.44-pound kicker. Nash earned $1,800 for the win.

“We had a great time,” Nash said. “It was a grind. I caught everything on a Speed Worm working it as slowly as it would go. I didn’t catch a lot of fish, but I caught some good ones. I caught 10 total.”

In second, Robert H. Zellers of Clewiston brought in three keepers for 13.74 pounds. He topped that sack with a 7.71-pounder that took the division big bass title. Zellers went home with two checks, one worth $700 for second place a $350 bonus for the big bass. That gave him a total of $1,500 in winnings.

“I caught the big bass on a swim jig,” Zellers reported. “I caught fish on that swim jig or a Senko throughout the day. In the morning, we had a pretty good flurry. We went to Cypress Lake.”

Placing third for the co-anglers, Hunter T. Kaiser from Lakeland landed a 3-bass limit going 13.43 pounds. That gave him a check for $500.

“We ran down to Cypress Lake the first thing in the morning,” Kaiser remarked. “I caught all my fish on a Speed Worm by dragging it slowly or hopping it off the bottom. I caught one on a big Speed Worm and two on a small Speed Worm. I only caught those three fish.”

Rounding out the top five co-anglers, Harvey H. Turner from the hosting town of Kissimmee came back with three bass at 13.07 pounds. Bradley J. Watson of St. Cloud finished fifth with three bass and 12.35 pounds. 

Top 20 Boaters
PL Angler Fish Big Bass Total Points Payout
1 Eric Y. Andrews 5   25.81 250 5200
2 Shelton A. Smith 5   22.34 249 1200
3 Robert Bob J. Bostdorf 5 6.85 20.49 248 900
4 Brandon L. Prophitt 5 5.93 19.44 247 600
5 Bob J. Grosso 5 9.22 19.40 246 1360
6 Jeremy D. Smith 5 7.52 18.89 245 550
7 Chris A. McBeath 5 6.35 18.22 244 520
8 Blaine W. Partee 5   18.05 243 500
9 Roger L. Gonzalez 5   17.97 242 400
10 Bruce A. Bozman 5 6.32 16.63 241 320
11 Jesse E. Tacoronte 5   16.51 240 280
12 Brent M. Carter 5   16.20 239 260
13 Derek A. Petruzelli 5   15.93 238 250
14 Anthony T. Ford 5   15.47 237 240
15 Peter Saraf 5   15.24 236 220
16 Kevin Reddog R. Hanson 5 5.65 15.13 235 200
17 Marlon Crowder 5   15.00 234  
18 Steven D. Coleman 5 4.27 14.73 233  
19 Anthony J. Cilladi 5   14.48 232  
20 Robert C. Kimbrough 5   13.93 231
Top 20 Co-Anglers
PL Angler Fish Big Bass Total Points Payout
1 Richard Jamey J. Nash 3 7.44 16.18 250 1800
2 Robert H. Zellers 3 7.71 13.74 249 1050
3 Hunter T. Kaiser 3   13.43 248 500
4 Harvey H. Turner 3   13.07 247 350
5 Bradley J. Watson 3   12.35 246 300
6 Demetrius D. Hart 3   12.28 245 275
7 Brandon K. St. Pierre 3   11.38 244 250
8 Adam R. Sangster 3 5.25 10.90 243 225
9 Kyle L. Stafford 3   10.53 242 200
10 Scott D. Lafaver 3 6.25 10.40 241 175
11 Jessey C. Rudolph 3   10.18 240 150
12 Jeffrey M. Bagwell 3   10.09 239 113
12 Theodore Thor E. Schwiegerath 3   10.09 239 113
14 Phillip T. Johnston lll 3   9.93 237 100
15 Garrett W. Gomes 3   9.36 236  
16 Irving I. Mercado 3   9.04 235  
17 Robert Bobby E. Taylor Jr 3   8.88 234  
18 Jesus A. Gutierrez 3   8.81 233  
19 Shawn M. York 3   8.68 232  
20 Joe L. Edwards 3   7.89 231

The division concludes its slate of 1-day regular season events on April 29, 2023, on the Harris Chain of Lakes. That tournament runs out of Hickory Point Recreational Facility, located at 27341 Florida Highway 19 in Tavares. To register for the April 2023 tournament, CLICK HERE.

Anglers can sign up to fish ABA Open Series divisional events and a 2-day division championship. In a Pro/Am format, boaters fishing the Open Series pay $210 in entry fees for each divisional 1-day tournament. Co-anglers pay $105 per 1-day event.

For more information about this tournament, call Tournament Director Billy Benedetti at (256) 230-5632.

American Bass Anglers is sponsored by Caymas Boats, Mercury Marine, MotorGuide, T-H Marine, Power Pole, RT Outdoors, Optima Batteries, Hotel Planner.com and LurePartsOnline.com.

About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers is committed to providing low-cost, close-to-home tournaments for the weekend angler and, at the same time, offering each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression.

For more information about American Bass Anglers, the Open Series, the American Fishing Tour, the American Couples Series, the annual Military Team Bass Tournament, and the Top 150 Solo Tour, all presented by Caymas Boats, visit www.americanbassanglers.com or call (256) 232-0406.

This story was written by ABA staff writer John N. Felsher. To submit articles of interest email info@americanbassanglers.com.

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© 2018 American Bass Anglers MBAA Since 1975 - All Rights Reserved American Bass Anglers, Inc Logos and other data within this website is the property of American Bass Anglers, Inc and may not be copied or reproduced without express permission of American Bass Anglers, Inc. American Bass Anglers, Inc PO Box 475 Athens, AL 35612 email: call us 256-232-0406. This web site is provided by ABA and resides on a server with 99.99% up time.