Look Who Won at Toho "It's Chad Morgenthaler

Chad Morgenthaler of Coulterville, Ill., wins the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open #1 presented by Allstate held on Lake Tohopekaliga, Fla. Morgenthaler brought 22 pounds, 3 ounces to Saturday's weigh-in giving him a three-day total weight of 52 pounds, 7 ounces.

Standard opinion among the anglers fishing the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open #1 presented by Allstate was that the tournament couldn’t be won on Toho.

If you wanted big bass, Kissimmee was the place to fish.

Chad Morgenthaler proved them wrong, spending all three days on the host lake and rallying from ninth place to win the season opener.

In a tournament laced with some of Florida’s top anglers, the Coulterville, Ill., veteran Elite Series pro sneaked into the back door with a big sack on a day when the frontrunners struggled.

His last-day catch of 22 pounds, 3 ounces was more than enough to carry him to the top and give him a 52-7 total.

Kissimmee expert Bobby Lane, who had the second biggest bag of the day (14 pounds), finished second with 48-13, and Todd Auten of South Carolina was third with 48-1. Gerald Swindle of Alabama and second-day leader Brandon McMillan rounded out the Top 5 with 46-9 and 46-4, respectively.

“Being hard-headed and staying on Toho was really a key to my success,” said Morgenthaler, who punched his ticket to the 2016 Bassmaster Classic, providing he fishes the remaining two Southern Opens. “Everyone said you can’t win on Toho, but all of my big fish in practice came up here.”

Morgenthaler said he didn’t like dealing with the locks that provided entry into Kissimmee. Given the large field of anglers fishing the event, he feared locking down would cost him fishing time since most competitors would be fishing Kissimmee.

He stuck with one bait all three days — a Missile D Bomb soft plastic creature bait — that he pitched into isolated cover in 3 to 4 feet of water far offshore. The color was bruiser flash, a black/blue variety.

“It’s a good mid-sized bait, so I didn’t have to worry about whether it was too big or too small, and it would slither through the matted vegetation easily,” he explained.

He rigged it with a 3/0 straight shank Gamakatsu heavy flipping hook and a 1 1/2-ounce tungsten weight. Most anglers use 4/0 hooks with the D Bomb, he noted, but switching to the 3/0 improved his catch ratio considerably.

“I was targeting the main-lake areas that the fish were moving to from the wintering holes,” Morgenthaler described. “These were fish just starting to move up and the cold fronts we’d been having were holding them back. Some guys were catching fish that moved up but I suspected the majority of big fish were still in transition. The sunny, warm day today put them right where I was fishing.”

The victory earned him more than $48,533, including a Nitro Z9 bass boat and tandem Nitro trailer rigged with a Mercury 225 Pro XS, Minn Kota Maxxum Trolling Motor and Lowrance HDS-7C electronics.

Floridian Alan Agnoli blew out the co-angler division with 32 pounds, 3 ounces, while Robbie Anderson of Crystal River, Fla., was second with 22-11. Terry Law of Tavares, Fla., was third with 22-3. Agnoli, who caught 17 pounds, 11 ounces (three fish) to take the second-round lead on Friday, won a Nitro Z7 bass boat rigged with a Mercury 150 Pro XS, Nitro Single Axle Trailer, Minn Kota Maxxum Trolling Motor and Lowrance Mark 5X electronics.

Lane’s second-place finish earned him the $500 Power-Pole Captain’s Cash for being the highest finisher using Power-Poles and the $1,500 Toyota Bonus Bucks award for being the highest placing pro owning a Toyota.

McMillan’s lead on the second day earned him the $250 Livingston Lures Leader Award. Agnoli captured the same title among co-anglers, pocketing a $250 Livingston Lures gift pack.

Ohioan Charlie Hartley recovered from a bad first day to win the Allstate Good Hands, Great Day award ($250) for moving from 158th place to 17th, thanks to a 20-pound, 15-ounce limit, the largest in the pro division.

Among the co-anglers, Mike Spears of Jasper, Ala., moved from 115th to 30th to garner $150 from Allstate.

Also Saturday, B.A.S.S. issued the following statement: "Based on an investigation of an incident Friday during the tournament on Lake Tohopekaliga, B.A.S.S. today disqualified two anglers from the event. Pursuant to B.A.S.S. rules, Ish Monroe of Hughson, Calif., and Keith Poche of Pike Road, Ala., were disqualified from the Open. Additional penalties for both anglers may be imposed pending the outcome of additional investigations that are ongoing at this time. Because of those investigations, B.A.S.S. will not comment further on the decisions."

2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Presenting Sponsor: Allstate
2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Premier Sponsors: Berkley, Evan Williams, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Supporting Sponsors: Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Huk Performance Fishing, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano

2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open - Lake Toho Presented by Allstate 1/15-1/17
Lake Toho, Kissimmee, FL
(BOATER) Standings Day 3


   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Chad Morgenthaler      Coulterville, IL        15  52-07  200  $48,533.00
  Day 1: 5   16-07     Day 2: 5   13-13     Day 3: 5   22-03   
2.  Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL            15  48-13  199  $20,267.00
  Day 1: 5   14-07     Day 2: 5   20-06     Day 3: 5   14-00   
3.  Todd Auten             Lake Wylie, SC          14  48-01  198  $15,200.00
  Day 1: 4   16-02     Day 2: 5   20-06     Day 3: 5   11-09   
4.  Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL             15  46-09  197  $13,600.00
  Day 1: 5   14-12     Day 2: 5   19-07     Day 3: 5   12-06   
5.  Brandon McMillan       Clewiston, FL           15  46-04  196  $12,117.00
  Day 1: 5   24-09     Day 2: 5   13-15     Day 3: 5   07-12   
6.  Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL           15  42-08  195  $10,133.00
  Day 1: 5   17-05     Day 2: 5   11-13     Day 3: 5   13-06   
7.  Andrew Slegona Jr      Walker Valley, NY        9  41-03  194   $8,533.00
  Day 1: 5   31-02     Day 2: 2   03-07     Day 3: 2   06-10   
8.  Ed Loughran            Mechanicsville, VA      15  40-06  193   $6,800.00
  Day 1: 5   15-15     Day 2: 5   15-12     Day 3: 5   08-11   
9.  Trevor Fitzgerald      Belleview, FL           15  40-03  192   $5,067.00
  Day 1: 5   13-06     Day 2: 5   17-13     Day 3: 5   09-00   
10. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS        15  39-13  191   $4,667.00
  Day 1: 5   19-09     Day 2: 5   11-11     Day 3: 5   08-09   
11. Garrett Rocamora       Lithia, FL              10  38-02  190   $4,767.00
  Day 1: 5   24-04     Day 2: 1   04-15     Day 3: 4   08-15   
12. Brad Knight            Lancing, TN             15  35-15  189   $4,000.00
  Day 1: 5   20-13     Day 2: 5   08-02     Day 3: 5   07-00   
BIG BASS PRO OR CO-ANGLER
     Garrett Rocamora         Lithia, FL          11-09        $500.00
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Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
 1       131       837      1726-07
 2       102       733      1504-15
 3        10        56       130-01
----------------------------------
         243      1626      3361-07

2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open - Lake Toho Presented by Allstate 1/15-1/17
Lake Toho, Kissimmee, FL
(NON_BOATER) Standings Day 3


   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Alan Agnoli            Chiefland, FL            8  32-03  200  $25,000.00
  Day 1: 3   07-04     Day 2: 3   17-11     Day 3: 2   07-04   
2.  Robbie Anderson        Crystal River, FL        9  22-11  199   $6,533.00
  Day 1: 3   05-11     Day 2: 3   12-02     Day 3: 3   04-14   
3.  Terry Law              Tavares, FL              8  22-03  198   $4,933.00
  Day 1: 3   07-11     Day 2: 3   09-15     Day 3: 2   04-09   
4.  Steve Jarrett          Valrico, FL              8  21-07  197   $3,333.00
  Day 1: 3   11-02     Day 2: 3   07-00     Day 3: 2   03-05   
5.  Larry Mullikin         Lauderhill, FL           9  21-05  196   $3,067.00
  Day 1: 3   09-08     Day 2: 3   04-08     Day 3: 3   07-05   
6.  Daniel Lanier Jr.      Winter Springs, FL       8  20-08  195   $2,933.00
  Day 1: 3   11-09     Day 2: 3   06-00     Day 3: 2   02-15   
7.  Jeffrey Worth          Longwood, FL             9  19-06  194   $2,800.00
  Day 1: 3   06-09     Day 2: 3   06-08     Day 3: 3   06-05   
8.  Greg Crumpton          Ocala, FL                9  19-03  193   $2,667.00
  Day 1: 3   07-05     Day 2: 3   08-02     Day 3: 3   03-12   
9.  Amy Leitch             Denver, CO               9  17-08  192   $2,533.00
  Day 1: 3   04-12     Day 2: 3   07-14     Day 3: 3   04-14   
10. Linda Higginbotham     Palm Coast, FL           9  17-05  191   $2,267.00
  Day 1: 3   03-15     Day 2: 3   09-02     Day 3: 3   04-04   
11. Barry Hughes           Plant City, FL           7  14-07  190   $2,000.00
  Day 1: 3   08-13     Day 2: 3   04-02     Day 3: 1   01-08   
12. Eulon Lee Jr.          Montgomery, AL           6  13-09  189   $1,867.00
  Day 1: 3   06-14     Day 2: 3   06-11     Day 3: 0   00-00   
BIG BASS PRO OR CO-ANGLER
     Alan Agnoli              Chiefland, FL       09-06          $0.00
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
 1       104       414       736-07
 2        81       331       619-10
 3         6        27        50-15
----------------------------------
         191       772      1407-00

Tags: #FishingTournaments



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