Missouri Pro Wins First PAA Event at Lake Toho

Story by Pete Robbins

Posted – January18th – 10:51am CST

Norman, OK – When morning dawned on the final day of the inaugural PAA Series tournament on Lake Toho, Shaw Grigsby found himself with less than a pound lead over a charging Steve Kennedy. With conditions similar to the previous two days, cold and windy, the remaining anglers knew that each bite would be crucial if they were to write their name in the record books as the first Carrot Stix PAA Series champion.With the shallow spawning waters cooling to the mid 50s, Grigsby found that his spawning fish had pulled a vanishing act and he came to the scales the final day with only one fish weighing 1.50 pounds.

With the door open, Steve Kennedy brought in a respectable 11.36 pounds on Saturday to remain in second when the scales closed. Lurking near the top of the leader board since the opening day, Todd Faircloth finished in third, after a final day effort of 14.52 pounds.

But the day belonged to Brian Snowden who entered Saturday in 3rd place nearly four pounds out of the lead after a nine pound bite anchored his Friday limit. On the final day, Snowden’s 17.75 vaulted him to the top of the leader board, where he stayed. With the win, Snowden takes home a $40,000 Phoenix bass boat and $10,000 in cash.

Overall, many of the anglers were impressed with the number of quality bass Toho surrendered throughout the three day event. In what Steve Kennedy called, “The cold front of the century” for Florida, Snowden’s final weight of 52.44 pounds made the win even more impressive.

Followers of the 2008 Bassmaster Elite Series may remember that last year, Snowden had nearly a 10 pound lead in Florida on the Harris Chain heading into the final day, but blanked and finished a disappointing 2nd. There were no ill effects on Saturday as his come from behind victory made him the first winner on the Carrot Stix PAA Series.

Here is what Snowden and Kennedy had to say about their tournament performances:

Brian Snowden
“It was slow but steady today. I didn’t get a bite until about nine this morning and then I ended up catching two real quick and then caught a 6 ½ pounder to fill my limit out by about two in the afternoon.

“I caught every fish on an XCalibur Xr75 rattle bait in 6 to 8 feet of water fishing the hydrilla and eel grass in Toho. I found the bite a little bit in practice and then when it got colder during the tournament, I decide to just stay out there and throw the rattle bait. Each day I’d get about seven bites and have five to six keepers.

“Even though they were spraying grass on Toho, they hadn’t sprayed the area that I was fishing in recently so it actually probably helped the way that I was fishing. The key was to find the grass that was still kind of green. Some of the bass were post-spawn and some were pre-spawn, so I caught a little mixture of both.

“It’s really just a great honor to win the first PAA Series event. I think this is something that is going to be really great for the future of our sport so it’s an honor to be part of the PAA. To get the win in the first one is a great feeling. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year and the growth of the PAA. It’s pretty exciting times for the anglers I think.”

Steve Kennedy
“This morning started out perfect. I went running down to my trap fish and I fired out there on my first cast and caught a bass outside of where I was expecting to catch one. When I got over to the little edges of the grass, I called my shots three casts in a row. My cameraman said that I was ‘Babe Ruth’en them.’ I had another little sweet spot off shore and it took me three casts to catch my fifth one. Within 15 minutes I had a limit.

“I fished my trap for about an hour after than without a bite and went to my flipping stuff and the little ones were biting good. I probably had eight bites in the first hour and I had one big bite and she shook her head and came off so I don’t know how big it was. As cold as it was, they were just really finicky.

After that, I went all day without a big bite and was only able to cull up a few ounces. The morning was as good as it gets. Yesterday morning I did the same thing – it just so happened that they were four pounders then.

There were several other boats that had worked through the general area and I think we just beat them up. I was throwing the KVD special, the Strike King Red Eye Sexy Shad – I watched him do it on TV down here. When I came down here I thought, ‘If Kevin can catch them on it, I can do it.’ It almost worked out. I was flipping a Kinami Palm Tree and a Beaver both in black and blue color.

I didn’t win it but it worked out pretty well for the amount that I practiced. I put in Monday at one in the afternoon and found those fish around three. I also went out Tuesday around ten in the morning just looking for a flipping bite and I didn’t practice Wednesday.

“Overall, it was pretty awesome and I really hope this turns out to be something big.”

Todd Faircloth
“I started out today with a flipping rod and that’s what I did all day. I had a limit by around eight this morning and caught a ton of fish today. I just only caught one big one right at the end of the day and I think the bigger one started biting later. I probably caught 25 fish today. I caught more today than any other day.

“I had two patterns that I was working. One was fishing a Sebile Flat Shad in the hydrilla and the other one was flipping a Yamamoto creature in the gnarliest stuff I could find. It seemed like the hydrilla bite faded on me and the flipping bite got better as the tournament went on. With the exception of the first day, all my fish came from flipping.
I fished Toho the whole tournament but the fact that they were spraying the grass really didn’t affect me at all.

“Overall, I think it was a good start for the PAA organization. We had 147 guys there, guys from BASS, FLW, and some guys who don’t fish either. I think that overall it was ran really well and a good start.