BROOKELAND, Texas –Alec Morrison of Peru, N.Y., brought five bass to the scale Saturday totaling 16 pounds, 3 ounces to win the MLF Toyota Series event at Sam Rayburn Reservoir and earn the top payout of $70,975, including the $35,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus. The unique thing about that, though, is that Morrison could have taken the day off.
Morrison’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 73-05 gave him the victory by a jaw-dropping 24-pound margin – the largest margin of victory in Toyota Series history. The previous largest winning margin was 17-15 and belonged to Ken Howden, a mark he set in 2011 on Roosevelt Lake.
He weighed 27-09 on Day 1 and 29-09 on Day 2.
“Despite the lead I had coming into today, I didn’t sleep at all last night,” Morrison admitted. “I was extremely nervous this morning and all day until I caught my one big one. It was just so hard for me to believe that it was actually coming true, I don’t think my nerves have let up even still.”
The 23-year-old angler started his Day 3 the same way he had all week – ‘scoping out deeper brush piles looking for big ones. That strategy proved extremely effective the first two days, as that’s how the bulk of Morrison’s impressive bags were caught. But on Saturday, Morrison’s pattern took a while to get going.
“It was a slower start to the morning, but I stuck with the same strategy,” Morrison explained. “What I thought was my primary spot going into today didn’t really work out. It was great the first two days, but nothing happened there today. I didn’t freak out, I just ran around a lot and hit some other spots and was able to find what I needed to.”
Morrison was able to hunker down and fill his limit around 9:30 a.m., and then culled a few times to get him up to 16-03 for the day. A few variations of soft plastic worms were the winning bait combinations including a dropshot, a free rig and a Texas rig with a sliding football head. However, Morrison insists that it was more about the spots he had picked out than any specific bait.
The New York resident now prepares to make the long trek back to upstate New York near the banks of Lake Champlain with a trophy and big check in tow. He has plans to fish a few of the Northern Division stops this summer to prepare himself for his Toyota Series Championship appearance in November.
The Top 10 pros on Sam Rayburn Reservoir finished:
1st: Alec Morrison, Peru, N.Y., 15 bass, 73-05, $70,975
2nd: Tater Reynolds, Florien, La., 15 bass, 49-05, $14,240
3rd: Cody Huff, Ava, Mo., 15 bass, 48-12, $10,793
4th: Jeff Reynolds, Calera, Okla., 15 bass, 48-01, $8,994
5th: Jaden Parrish, Liberty, Texas, 15 bass, 47-13, $8,594
6th: Kris Wilson, Montgomery, Texas, 15 bass, 47-09, $7,695
7th: Keith Combs, Huntington, Texas, 15 bass, 45-05, $6,296
8th: Brett Preuett, Monroe, La., 15 bass, 44-13, $5,396
9th: Matt Reed, Madisonville, Texas, 15 bass, 44-13, $4,497
10th: Marshall Hughes, Hemphill, Texas, 15 bass, 44-07, $3,598
On Thursday, Jeff Reynolds earned the $500 Day 1 Berkley Big Bass award in the pro division with a bass weighing 10-10. On Friday Matt Reed pocketed the bonus with a largemouth weighing in at 8-15.
With the three regular-season events in the Southwestern Division now complete, Todd Castledine of Nacogdoches, Texas, was crowned the 2023 Angler of the Year (AOY) and earned the $5,000 AOY bonus with a total of 743 points.