KISSIMMEE, Fla. – After an exciting day of movement atop the leaderboard, FLW Tour pro Buddy Gross of Chickamauga (Ga.) took the lead Saturday after the final bass had been weighed at the FLW Tour at Lake Toho, presented by Ranger Boats with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 12 ounces.
Gross’ three-day cumulative catch of 15 bass weighing 62 pounds-even paces the final 10 pros as they head into Championship Sunday at the competition that features the world’s finest bass anglers casting for a top award of up to $125,000.
Right behind Gross is hard-charging Florida angler Darrell Davis of Dover, Fla. Davis started the day in 13th place, but moved into second after weighing a huge 25-pound, 12-ounce limit Saturday afternoon – the largest of the day – bringing his three-day total to 15 bass weighing 60-15. Josh Douglas (Isle, Minn.) (15 bass, 60-3) rounds out the top three and was the only other pro to top the 60-pound mark after three days.
"I’ve got a good little spot – I think I’ve weighed in 14 of my 15 fish from it – but I’m really pushing it to its limits," said Gross, who is seeking his second career FLW Tour win. "I keep looking for another spot and I might have found one this afternoon. I caught one that culled – almost a 4-pounder – at the very last place I stopped on the way to weigh-in."
Gross’ main area is an offshore stretch of hydrilla on Lake Toho. He said he’s been able to put a limit in the boat by 10 a.m. each day on the first two days of competition, but today it took until noon.
"The spot has both pre and postspawn bass," he explained. "When the prespawners show up, they’re feeding, and when they feed I can see it and I can catch them – that’s my little flurry. Tomorrow I’m going to catch what I can catch there and then start looking. I had some giant fish, but I still haven’t gotten a kicker. I haven’t had anything over 5.5 (pounds) in three days and there’s a lot of stretches where I’ve caught some 7's, 8's and 9's in practice, so I’m going to have to move around a little more."
Gross said he’s mostly relied on a swimbait and a pair of swimjigs, citing a natural light-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait, black and blue-colored swimjig with a green-pumpkin Zoom Z-Craw trailer and a white swimjig with the Scottsboro swimbait as a trailer. He’s also utilized a Nichols spinnerbait this week.
"The swimjig probably caught more weight than the swimbait today, but every other day it’s been the swimbait," he added. "I’m using a little underspin-type blade on the hook – an Owner Flashy Swimmer. It’s got a little extra flash and I think that’s what’s triggering the fish."