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Hayden Heck Wins Toyota Series Event on Sam Rayburn

BROOKELAND, Texas – Pro Hayden Heck of Lufkin, Texas, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Friday weighing 18 pounds, 1 ounce to win the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. at Sam Rayburn and earn the top payout of $75,300, including the lucrative $35,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus. Heck’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 65-3 earned him the victory by a 2-pound, 7-ounce margin over second place pro Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas, who caught 15 bass weighing 62-12 to finish second.

The three-day bass fishing tournament, hosted by the Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn Chamber of Commerce, was the third and final event of the regular season for the Toyota Series Southwestern Division Presented by Outlaw Ordnance.

Heck moved to Sam Rayburn two years ago to dedicate himself to becoming a professional angler. He’s spent 4 to 5 days a week out on the lake graphing and learning all it’s nuances. So, he’s put in the time, and Friday, it showed.

“This feels amazing,” Heck said after the win. “I moved out from California to do this, for moments like this. So, it’s crazy it happened. Crazy [to beat Combs]. I mean, I fished with him on the final day of a B.A.S.S. Open as a co-angler a couple years ago, and I won that event. So, it was crazy to be back up on stage with him and to pull this thing off.”

How he was doing it was how many others this week found success – targeting brush piles and hard spots right at the mouths of spawning areas – the first areas the big girls would transition to on their way out from the shallows.

The areas weren’t technically deep, offshore places, but they weren’t close enough to the bank, either. Just 40-50 little sweet spots that Heck would check with his Garmin LiveScope to see if fish were suspended above the piles.

If the fish were there and shot off the bottom when he cranked his Strike King 5XD over their heads, he knew he was going to catch them. Be it on the crankbait, a Roboworm Straight Tail Worm (mean green) on a drop-shot or a rare 6-inch swimbait. However, if they didn’t, they’d just follow his lures in, which is unfortunately what happened a lot on Friday.

“Today, the fish were more in the brush piles with the high sun,” Heck said. “Yesterday’s clouds had them roaming around a bit more off to the sides of the brush piles, which made it better for me.”

Considering he figured it would take 25 pounds to beat Combs, his 18-1 bag had him truly feeling he’d come up short. That is, until he got the surprise he’d dreamed of for two years.

“My heart is still pounding so much,” Heck said while holding the trophy. “I mean, I 100% felt I needed 25 pounds. Keith is a hammer. So, this is just crazy.”

The top 10 pros on Sam Rayburn finished:

1st: Hayden Heck, Lufkin, Texas, 15 bass, 65-3, $75,300
2nd: Keith Combs, Huntington, Texas, 15 bass, 62-12, $15,535
3rd: Brian Schott, Longview, Texas, 15 bass, 57-9, $11,640
4th: Wyatt Frankens, Corrigan, Texas, 13 bass, 52-12, $9,700
5th: Kevin Lasyone, Dry Prong, La., 15 bass, 52-0, $8,730
6th: Cole Stewart, Hemphill, Texas, 15 bass, 49-2, $7,760
7th: Chris Jones, Bokoshe, Okla., 15 bass, 49-2, $6,790
8th: Jack York, Nacogdoches, Texas, 15 bass, 48-10, $5,820
9th: River Lee, Nacogdoches, Texas, 15 bass, 48-2, $4,850
10th: Marshall Hughes, Hemphill, Texas, 15 bass, 47-13, $3,880

Complete results can be found at

Pro Cal Cameron of Coppell, Texas, won the $500 Day 1 Berkley Big Bass award in the pro division Wednesday with a largemouth weighing 9 pounds, 3 ounces. Huntington’s Keith Combs earned Thursday’s $500 Berkley Big Bass award with an 11-pound, 5-ounce behemoth.

Heck took home an extra $35,000 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. More information on the Phoenix MLF Bonus contingency program can be found at

James Moore, Jr., of Lampasas, Texas, won the Strike King Co-angler Division Friday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 41 pounds, 6 ounces. Moore took home the top prize package of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers on Sam Rayburn finished:

1st: James Moore, Jr., Lampasas, Texas, 15 bass, 41-6, Phoenix 518 Pro boat w/115-hp Mercury outboard
2nd: Daniel May, La Porte, Texas, 15 bass, 36-11, $4,868
3rd: Erik Knutson, Saint Croix Falls, Wis., 14 bass, 36-9, $3,894
4th: James Allen Pruitt, Houston, Texas, 15 bass, 34-12, $3,407
5th: Brody Hardaway, Broken Bow, Okla., 13 bass, 33-6, $2,921
6th: Alan Bernicky, Joliet, Ill., 14 bass, 32-3, $2,434
7th: Joe Lee, Midlothian, Texas, 13 bass, 31-9, $1,947
8th: Bryan Allen, Conroe, Texas, 15 bass, 31-7, $1,704
9th: Scott Pickett, Chandler, Texas, 15 bass, 30-9, $1,460
10th: Kevin Carter, Spring, Texas, 15 bass, 29-4, $1,217

The Day 1 Berkley Big Bass $150 award winner in the Strike King co-angler division, was Donny Davis of Livingston, Louisiana, with a 6-pound, 12-ounce bass, while the Day 2 $150 award went to Justin Overstreet of Poolville, Texas, who weighed in a 7-pound, 2-ounce largemouth.

Now that the three regular-season events in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division Presented by Outlaw Ordnance are complete, pro Kris Wilson of Montgomery, Texas, has won the Toyota Series Western Division Pro Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 744 points, while Robert Chavers of Knoxville, Arkansas, won the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 753 points.

The next event for Toyota Series anglers will take place May 19-21 – the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. at the Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg, Florida. For a complete schedule, visit

The 2022 Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. consists of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains Presented by Outlaw Ordnance, Southern, Southwestern Presented by Outlaw Ordnance and Western – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International and Wild Card divisions. Anglers who fish in any of the six divisions and finish in the top 25 – or the top 12 from the Wild Card division – will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Championship for a shot at winning up to $235,000 cash. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard. The 2022 Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Championship will be held Nov. 3-5 on Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Alabama, and is hosted by Marshall County Tourism and Sports.

Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, AFTCO, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Gary Yamamoto Baits, General Tire, Lew’s, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Outlaw Ordnance, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X and YETI.

For complete details and updated information visit

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