Top Ten finish at the Inaugural ICAST Cup at Lake Toho!

The inaugural ICAST Cup took place July 14th, 2015 on Lake Tohopekaliga, more commonly referred to as Lake Toho, and it brought out some of the biggest names in competitive fishing from all over the planet. Aaron Martens, Shaw Grigsby, Kevin Hawk, Kevin Yamamoto, David Fritts, Justin Lucas, Casey Martin, Drew Benton, JT Kenney, Scott Canterbury, and many others showed up to compete on one of the most prestigious lakes in the lower 48 that has a reputation for producing giant largemouth bass and boy did it deliver in a big way!

Team Slop Frog captain Bob McDaniel with the lunker of the tournament, an 8.5 lb Florida gorilla! Photo courtesy of FLW Outdoors

The tournament was scheduled for just three short hours so getting on feeding fish early was critical to the success of the day. A late start that morning due to low light cut into what little time we had. My partner for the tournament was John Brazzell, a local Florida angler who absolutely dominates in that part of the south. We stopped after a very short run and targeted some grass beds that were on the receiving end of some pretty decent wind. With bait stacked up, and shallow water adjacent to a decent drop off, the fish were schooling and we began catching them as soon as we started. But with water temperatures over 90, the fish were hard to keep on the line with just a single hook, so we quickly switched up to lipless crank baits and started boating one after another. We culled several times and probably caught around 25 fish in an hour and a half. We lost our three biggest fish, and weren’t able to land the giant that we needed to secure our place as the champions, but to be the last team to weigh in, and hear your name mentioned on stage in the same sentence as Bill Dance is something that I will absolutely never forget as long as I live. We still finished in the top ten, and bested some of the biggest names in professional fishing. Our other Slop Frog team of Jim Torgerson and Bob McDaniel placed 15th. Click here for a full list of the results.

Myself and my teammate John Brazzell weighing in at the first ever ICAST Cup!

Hopefully they do that tournament again, and give us more time. If we had had 5 hours to fish I really believe we could have made a serious run for the title. If they extend it next year we’ll see if I’m right! I have to thank Toho Marine for their support, they’re the best at what they do anywhere, particularly in the State of Florida. Slop Frog Baits for the Mendota rig and for putting together two great teams that both finished in the top fifteen and took home the big fish of the day. Rat-L-Trap and Bill Lewis Lures for hooking me up the day before with the silent Stealth Trap that I caught all my fish on. Stormr, Knives of Alaska, Montauk Tackle Company, Cortland Line, Elite Tungsten, Trokar, Whip Em Baits, Yo-Zuri America, Navionics, Humminbird, Minn Kota, Phoenix Boats, Yamaha Motors, our photographer Michele Eichstead who did an amazing job and was an absolute champ on the water, The Rod Glove for protecting our rods, G2 Gemini for making the incredible jersey, drifit, and neck gator that kept me from getting absolutely scorched on the water, and to my amazing family who cheered me on from NY and watched me onstage from the computer at home. I can’t express how blessed I feel to have been able to have lived this experience.

Next year I hope we get to hoist that trophy!

The Mendota Rig from Slop Frog Baits! Photo by Michele Eichstead

Photo by Michele Eichstead

Photo by Michele Eichstead

Photo by Michele Eichstead

Me at sunrise. Photo by Michele Eichstead.

Photo by Michele Eichstead.

Photo by Michele Eichstead.

Photo by Michele Eichstead.

Don’t forget to check out and to like my fan page on Facebook!
Twitter and Instagram:  @JJ7712


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s