We are less than a week away from the first event of the 2024 Bassmaster Elite Series season, and there is still time to create your Bassmaster Fantasy team for the first event to win prizes! Before each event, we will be making our suggestions on which anglers to pick by giving you the option between two anglers per bucket. These picks will be based on anglers’ history on certain fisheries, momentum, strengths, and more.

NOTE: Since Toledo Bend and Lake Fork are back-to-back events, we went ahead and published our picks for Lake Fork as well.

Let’s dive into it!

Bucket A: Jordan Lee or Patrick Walters

(Photos courtesy of Bassmaster)

These are two great picks for Toledo Bend no matter the time of year. Lee is looking to pick up right where he left off with his accomplishments as a Bassmaster angler in his early career, and Walters is looking to pick up right where he left off with his win at the final Elite Series event of last year. Of course, Greg Hackney is the favorite as he is known for his success in Texas and Louisiana, but if you want to set yourself apart from the other Fantasy Fishing players then you might want to consider these other two anglers. Jordan Lee has had much success in Texas and Louisiana on the MLF Bass Pro Tour, and not to mention the first of his back-to-back Bassmaster Classic wins was in Texas during the pre-spawn. The Elites haven’t visited Toledo Bend since Patrick Walters joined; however, Walters has had a tremendous amount of success on fisheries like Fork, Ray Roberts, and Sabine River. Walters is also great at throwing a jerkbait while utilizing forward-facing sonar, which could be a huge player this time of year.

Bucket B: Jason Christie or Ben Milliken

(Photos courtesy of Bassmaster)

There is no doubt that Jason Christie will be a player at any lake in the early spring, especially when it’s a shallow water fishing paradise like Toledo Bend. If there is any sort of warming trend leading up to the event, Jason Christie will catch them. Put a spinnerbait or jig rod in his hand and he will find the fish. While Christie is one of the most feared names in bass fishing, Ben Milliken is a rookie in 2024. Don’t let this fool you however, as Milliken has had much success in his home state of Texas, including his Bassmaster Open win in 2023 on Toledo Bend qualifying him for he 2024 Bassmaster Classic.

Bucket C: Gerald Swindle or Clark Wendlandt

(Photos courtesy of Bassmaster)

According to bassmaster.com, Gerald Swindle has fished 5 Bassmaster events on Toledo Bend. Of those 5 events, his worst finish was 51st place and his best finish was 17th, and he has improved each time. He has also had great finishes on other fisheries in Texas like Fork, Sabine River, and Sam Rayburn which can fish like Toledo Bend. Swindle is also a great shallow water angler which can be beneficial to him especially if there are warm days leading up to an event. Similar to Swindle, Clark Wendlandt is also a shallow-water power fisherman. While he has no Bassmaster or MLF tournament history on Toledo Bend, he lives in Texas and has much experience with lots of lakes that fish similar to it. Just last year, he finished 2nd at Sabine River. Don’t be surprised if Wendlandt gets his revenge at one of the first two events as he is hungry for a win.

Bucket D: Keith Combs or Ray Hanselman

(Photos courtesy of Bassmaster)

When it comes to fishing in Texas, Keith Combs and Ray Hanselman are both forces to be reckoned with. While most of Combs’s success has been on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, he did have a 4th place finish at Toledo Bend in 2016. He is a crankbait fanatic, which could be a huge player at Toledo Bend as we have seen it be a winning factor in the last 2 Elite Series events held there. Texas native Ray Hanselman has also had many wins on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, along with wins on Amistad and Texoma. Don’t count these two anglers out at the first two Elite Series events of the year.

Bucket E: Buddy Gross or Wesley Gore

(Photos courtesy of Bassmaster)

With all the offshore areas that Toledo Bend has to offer, Buddy Gross could be one to bet on. After a rough season last year, he looks to rebound with a good start to the season. While most of his success has been in Florida and Tennessee River fisheries, the first two events could set up well for him. A lipless crankbait and a big swimbait, two lures that Gross is confident throwing, can be big players during the pre-spawn. Another offshore angler, Wesley Gore, could be very successful in his very first Elite Series event. While he is extremely skilled utilizing forward-facing sonar, he is also a very versatile angler growing up fishing in Alabama. Gore also had an 11th place finish in a Bassmaster Open event on Toledo Bend last year. Expect Wesley Gore to cover plenty of water and search for those giant bass that Toledo Bend is known for.