The Toyota Series Western Division will conclude its 2021 season with a tournament this week at Lake Havasu in Arizona. Competition days are Thursday through Saturday (Sept. 23-25).
“The fish on Lake Havasu are still in their summer patterns and haven’t really transitioned over into a fall setting, but there are definitely fish to be caught and I’m looking forward to a great event,” said Toyota Series pro Shaun Bailey of Lake Havasu City. “There’s quite a bit of grass on the main lake that will definitely be in play and a lot of bait moving around getting ready for the fall setting – water temps and the weather just haven’t quite shifted.
“The fish seem to be more active right now in the mornings, when there are cooler temps and low-light conditions,” continued Bailey. “They are moving around eating topwater baits and reaction baits early on. As it gets hot throughout the day, they tend to get less active and guys will have to finesse it up a bit, so I expect to see a lot of Ned rigs and dropshots in play as well.”
Bailey said fish can currently be found anywhere from 2 to 20 feet of water, so he anticipates there will be an array of techniques used throughout the tournament.
“There are a lot of options, so guys can definitely play to their strengths at this event,” said Bailey. “With it being so hot and the surface water temps being so warm, guys are really going to have to pay attention to fish care and do everything they can to keep their livewell water temperature cold throughout the day.”
Bailey said one of his tricks to taking care of his fish in such hot weather is to fill his livewell first thing in the morning and add a 20-pound bag of ice to it – but the real key according is to never put lake water back into the livewell the rest of the day.
“Once I’ve filled the livewell and iced it, I use my recirculating pumps to oxygenate the water in the livewell and keep the pumps running throughout the entire day,” said Bailey. “I bring extra ice and keep frozen water bottles in my ice chest. Everything you can do to keep the livewell temperature cool and not re-introduce warm lake water into it throughout the day will result in better fish care.”
Bailey said he believes it will take an average of 17 pounds per day to make the Top 10, and the winning weight will be around 55 pounds.
“Being consistent throughout all three days is going to be key,” said Bailey. “I always look forward to the Toyota Series coming out and fishing our lakes and I’m excited to get out there and try to make another good finish.”
Anglers will take off daily at 6:30 a.m. MT from Windsor Beach at Lake Havasu State Park in Lake Havasu City. Weigh-ins will also be held at the park and will begin at 2:30 p.m.