Sunday, April 14, 2024

Kentucky-Barkley Lakes to Host MLF Toyota Series Plains Division Season Opener


CALVERT CITY, Ky. (Feb. 29, 2024) – The Major League Fishing (MLF) Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats is set to return to Kentucky and Barkley lakes next week, March 7-9, to open the 2024 Plains Division with the Toyota Series at Kentucky Lake.

The three-day competition, hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau, will feature a roster of the region’s best bass-fishing pros and Strike King co-anglers competing for a top prize of up to $100,000 in the pro division and a new Phoenix 518 Pro boat with a 115-horsepower outboard motor plus $5,000 in the co-angler division.

“This is going to be a really fun tournament,” said pro Jake Lawrence of Buchanan, Tennessee, who has two career Toyota Series victories on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. “Last year, with the way everything set up and the timing of everything the event was right in the middle of the smallmouth spawn. Things were a little funky, and a little bit off. This year, we’re about six weeks earlier than last year, and there a lot of fish coming out of their winter patterns and are in the prespawn staging areas near the bank.

“I think overall the weights will be similar to last year – I believe it’ll take 59 to 63 pounds to win this one – but the weights are going to be a lot better a lot further down into the field,” Lawrence continued.

One major difference that Lawrence expects to see this year – Lake Barkley being a much bigger factor for tournament anglers to consider.

“(Lake) Barkley hasn’t been talked about much the last few years, but this is the time of the year that it really plays,” Lawrence said. “There is so much natural wood there – laydowns and logs – any bass that wants to be on a piece of cover is going to be caught on Barkley. I’m not sure the tournament will be won there, but it is definitely going to play a big role and I think that we could see up to half of the top 10 end up coming out of Barkley.“

Lawrence said that he expects standard prespawn baits to be the most popular baits thrown by tournament anglers.

“I think Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits, and ChatterBaits will all be pretty strong,” Lawrence said. “I predict it’s going to be more of a pattern-type event rather than finding a mega school of bass. They exist, but they’re so hard to predict. I think the winner going to have to juke and jive and fish the conditions, and target whatever looks right.”

Anglers will launch at 6:30 a.m. CT each day from the Kentucky Dam Marina, located at 466 Marina Drive in Gilbertsville. 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

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 up to $75,000, 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 or Suzuki outboard (valued at $33,500). With a 260-boat field, pros fish for a top award of up to $100,000, 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 or Suzuki outboard plus $5,000 cash.

The 2024 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 2025. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard. The 2024 Toyota Series Championship will be held Nov. 7-9 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Alabama, and is hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Madison County Commission, and the Huntsville Sports Commission.

Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Toyota Series include: 7Brew, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, BUBBA, E3, Epic Baits, FX Custom Rods, General Tire, Lew’s, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota and YETI.

For complete details and updated information visit For regular Toyota Series updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the MLF5 social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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