Breeden Wins MLF Toyota Series Tournament at Grand Lake

April 14, 2024
MLF Toyota Series

GROVE, Okla. (April 14, 2024) – After taking over the lead on Day 2, pro Cole Breeden of Lebanon, Missouri, closed out the win in style with 19 pounds, 14 ounces on the final day of the Toyota Series tournament on Grand Lake. With a 62-15 total, Breeden surpassed runner-up Jake Lawrence of Buchanana, Tennessee, by more than 6 pounds to earn his first win at the Toyota Series level. The win qualified Breeden for this fall’s Toyota Series Championship, and earned him $37,965 in cash and contingency money. 

With an College Fishing National Championship win to his credit on Grand, Breeden is no stranger to the lake or Ozark-style fisheries. This week, he dropped the trolling motor and was pretty much dialed from the get-go. 

“Literally in practice, I put my trolling motor down on a good one,” he said. “It went well the whole time. I expected (fish) to be in that transition area, around spawning stuff, and I started there, and that’s where they were. I just went with it all week, and it was good the whole time. 

“In practice, I had a ton of bites,” he added. “The first day of practice, I had 19 ½ pounds, and I shook off a lot of them, or, I tried to. Every day, I’d find a couple areas. In the tournament even, I found some new areas. It just seemed like it was rolling for me, and the stuff that looked right, was.” 

Catching most of his fish on a Texas-rigged Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Creature Hawg, Breeden also applied a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Hit Worm Magnum on a Neko rig. For his Texas rig, he used a 7-foot, 6-inch, heavy Abu Garcia Fantasista X paired with an Abu Garcia Zenon X, 17-pound Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon,  a 4/0 hook and a ¼-ounce Picasso weight.  

Roaming from the Horse Creek area as far down as Drowning and Duck creeks, Breeden ‘Scoped up nearly all of his fish fairly shallow, targeting a specific mix of features. 

“It was similar everywhere I had fish,” he explained. “A little flatter bank, if it was a creek, the flatter side of the creek. Or, just a flat pocket close to the main lake. It was all pea gravel, or pea gravel that had tennis ball-sized rock mixed in. It was spawning areas, spawning flats or pockets.  I’d catch them either on the way to the backs, or if it was a main lake pocket, I’d catch them in the back. The first day, I caught 22 pounds in the back of a couple pockets, but it was closer to deeper water. The stuff that was further from deep water, I’d catch them closer to the secondary points and stuff.

“Typically, they were on something,” he added. “There’s a lot of trash fish in Grand, it seems like every lake I go to with a lot of trash fish, fish always hold to something. I think on the chunkier rock, they will sit in the rock. But, on the pea gravel banks, you need a bigger rock, or a piece of metal, or a little brush, or a stump. Just something there that they’re holding to. I think they make beds next to that as well, I could tell some of them were spawning, because the fish would just be making little circles around a little spot.” 

While most of his fish came from smaller pieces of cover, Breeden caught a few out of significant brush piles, with some as big as 9 feet tall holding fish. One brush fish stymied him on Day 2, and then escaped him and Strike King co-angler Matt Krekovich on Day 3. 

“I went back to that fish I missed, and the wind was blowing on that stretch pretty good,” he said. “There was another brush pile just down the bank from it, and I pulled up, on the pile I saw her on, and she wasn’t there. About 2 minutes later, my co-angler in the back of the boat says ‘Oh I’ve got one.’ I look back, and about a 7-pounder jumps out of the water. He broke the hook on his jerkbait, it came off, and she was sitting on that brush pile just down the bank.” 

Still, missed lunker aside, Breeden had a special week. 

“It’s freakin’ awesome,” he said of the win. “It feels like so many times you’re not even close. Then, you have a week where it goes your way the whole time. I just caught big fish everywhere I went. When it’s going your way, it’s just going your way.” 

The top 10 pros on Grand Lake finished:

1st:         Cole Breeden, Lebanon, Mo., 15 bass,  62-15, $37,965
2nd:        Jake Lawrence, Buchanan, Tenn., 15 bass, 56-5, $15,595 (includes $1,000 Phoenix MLF Bonus) 
3rd:        Jordan Hartman, Benton, Ky., 15 bass, 55-3, $11,299
4th:         Jackson Ryley, Clinton, Ind., 15 bass, 54-15, $9,416
5th:         Ethan Fields, Breese, Ill., 15 bass, 54-5, $8,475
6th:         Matteo Turano, Puryear, Tenn., 15 bass, 53-14, $7,533
7th:         Kyle Kitts, Joplin, Mo., 15 bass, 53-12, $6,591
8th:         Jason Bonds, Lufkin, Texas, 15 bass, 53-7, $5,650
9th:         Casey Scanlon, Eldon, Mo., 15 bass, 53-7, $4,708
10th:      Tate Brumnett, Wagoner, Okla., 15 bass, 51-2, $3,766

Complete results can be found at

Pro Joshua Teply of Harrah, Oklahoma won the $500 Day 1 Berkley Big Bass award in the pro division Thursday with a bass weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces. On Friday, pro Troy O’Rourke of Bentonville, Arkansas, earned the $500 Berkley Big Bass prize after bringing a bass weighing 6 pounds even to the scale.

Larence took home an extra $1,000 as the highest finishing Phoenix MLF Bonus member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $35,000 per event in each Toyota Series tournament if all requirements are met. 

Matt Krekovich of Granite City, Illinois, won the Strike King Co-angler Division Thursday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 49 pounds, 6 ounces. Krekovich took home the top prize package worth $33,500, including a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor.

The top 10 co-anglers on Grand Lake finished:

1st:         Matt Krekovich, Granite City, Ill., 15 bass, 49-6, Phoenix 518 Pro boat w/115-hp Mercury outboard
2nd:        Fred Fielder, Fort Gibson, Okla., 14 bass, 39-14, $4,734
3rd:        Oliver Siebert, Fenton, Mo., 15 bass, 39-10, $3,787
4th:         Scott Parsons, Rogers, Ark., 15 bass, 37-9, $3,314
5th:         Justin Layton, Kirbyville, Mo., 12 bass, 37-4, $2,990
6th:         Todd Adamitis, Glen Carbon, Ill., 14 bass, 36-15, $2,367
7th:         Terry Duffel, Cave Springs, Ark., 13 bass, 35-5, $1,894
8th:         Dan Bowman, Osage Beach, Mo., 12 bass, 34-12, $$1,657
9th:         Mark Talley, Grove, Okla., 12 bass, 34-0, $1,420
10th:      Lee Roberts, Shattuck, Okla., 10 bass, 33-14, $1,184

Justin Layton of Kirbyville, Missouri, was the Big Bass $150 award winner in the co-angler division, Thursday, with a 6-pound, 5-ounce bass, while the Day 2 $150 award went to Mark King of Gurdon, Arkansas, with a 6-pound, 3-ounce bass.

With two regular-season events in the Toyota Series Plains Division now complete, pro Jake Lawrence of Buchanana, Tennessee, leads the Plains Division Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 519 points, while Todd Adamitis of Glen Carbon, Illinois, leads the Co-angler Division AOY race with 515 points.