The Major League Fishing (MLF) Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats is set to return to Russo’s Marina and Bethel Island, California, next week, April 19-21, for the Toyota Series at the California Delta Presented by Psycho Tuna . Hosted by the City of Oakley, the three-day tournament is the third and final regular-season event in the Toyota Series Western Division Presented by Tackle Warehouse.
“The (California) Delta is getting better – it’s warmed up a bit and there are a few fish spawning, but it’s still really dirty water,” said local Toyota Series pro Mark Lassagne of Dixon, California, who has three career top-10 finishes on the California Delta in MLF competition. “I still think about 70% of the Delta isn’t fishable yet – but 90% was unfishable a few weeks ago – so it’s getting a lot better. There definitely won’t be as many zeros in this tournament, and the weights will be better.
“Last month it took 11 pounds a day to make the top 25 cut and fish the final day,” Lassagne continued. “I think it’ll take at least 13 or 14 pounds a day to make the cut in this one. It’s still the California Delta – someone is going to catch 25 pounds and then back it up a couple of 20-pound limits. I predict the winning weight is going to be around 68 pounds.”
Lassagne said that the standard Delta baits will be in play.
“I’ll have a Yamamoto Senko tied on – that bait will definitely account for some big fish, especially the spawners,” Lassagne continued. “ChatterBaits will come into play – I’ll be throwing one with a (Yamamoto) Zako trailer. And then punching baits – I like the (Yamamoto) Flapping Hogs and the (Missile Baits) D-Bombs. I think smaller weights are more effective when the fish are finicky – it slows the fall, and you can get a few more bites.”
Anglers will take off each day at 6:30 a.m. PT from Russo’s Marina, located at 3995 Willow Road in Bethel Island. Weigh-ins will also be held at the marina and will begin at 2:30 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend and encouraged to follow the event online through the “MLF Live” weigh-in broadcasts and daily coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The MLF Toyota Series offers the biggest payouts for the lowest entry fees of any national tournament trail. The Toyota Series is the only Western trail that offers advancement to the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship, where pros fish for $235,000, including a $35,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus, and co-anglers compete for a $33,500 Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat powered by a 115 HP Mercury.
In Toyota Series regular-season competition, payouts are based on the number of participants competing in the event, scaling up for every 20 boats over 160 and scaling down for every boat below 160. With a 160-boat field, pros fish for a top prize of $40,000, plus an extra $35,000 if Phoenix MLF Bonus qualified. Strike King co-anglers cast for the top prize of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard (valued at $33,500). With a 260-boat field, pros fish for a top award of $65,000, plus an extra $35,000 if Phoenix MLF Bonus qualified. Strike King co-anglers cast for the top prize of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard (valued at $33,500) plus $5,000 cash.
The 2023 Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats consists of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and the Western Division Presented by Tackle Warehouse – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International and Wild Card divisions. Anglers who fish in any of the six divisions or the Wild Card division and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship for a shot at winning up to $235,000 and a qualification to REDCREST V. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard. The 2023 Toyota Series Championship will be held Nov. 2-4 on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, and is hosted by ExploreBranson.com.
Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Toyota Series include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Black Rifle Coffee Company, E3, Favorite Fishing, Fox Rent a Car, General Tire, Gill, Grundéns, Lew’s, Lowrance, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Wiley X and YETI.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular Toyota Series updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the MLF5 social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.