Jimmy Mason and Lance Walker win Alabama Bass Trail Pickwick Lake
Father Son Team Kenneth and Preston Grover finish Second
Florence, Ala. April 23, 2016 – When the Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series was launched three seasons ago, one of the teams that many people across the country would have bet on to be atop that standings was that of Jimmy Mason and Lance Walker.
It took a little while, but those names are atop the leaderboard following the 2016 Alabama Bass Trail event at Pickwick Lake.
Mason, who is a successful guide on the Tennessee and Coosa River systems, has competed nationally, and his partner Walker, who is known for his ability throughout the area, etched their name on the ABT trophy on Pickwick Lake in surprising fashion. The pair caught a 22.27-pound limit of postspawn bass, and made the strategic decision to come in early to save additional stress on the fish and avoid penalty for deceased fish. Surprisingly, that weight held up through the entire weigh-in; and the pair earned their first ABT victory.
“I’m a little surprised that this weight held up for the win,” said Mason. “I really didn’t think that it would, but I am really happy that it did. Lance and I have wanted to win one of these since it was announced; it really is a great feeling.”
The pair used a strategy that revolved around an early shad spawn, then moved deeper. “We caught a 15-pound-limit of smallmouth early on a Tin Foil colored YUM Pulse swimbait,” Walker said. “Then, we looked out on sand bars for bigger largemouth with paddletail swimbaits and crankbaits. We came across a school that had just made their move out; it really was a blessed day.”
Mason said that they used a two swimbait, two crankbait approach with Walker throwing his on his Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifer gear, and Mason choosing to throw his swimbaits on his 7’3” Lew’s Custom Speed Stick Football Jig rod and BB1 Pro Series reel, while his chartreuse and blue Fat Free Shad crankbaits were thrown on a 7’6” Lew’s David Fritts Ultimate cranking rod with a 5.1:1 BB1 reel; all spooled with Vicious Fluorocarbon.
The pair earned $10,000 for their victory, along with the $1,000 Freedom Marine bonus, a T-H Marine Atlas bonus as well the Phoenix Boats First Flight bonus that will likely bring their total earnings to over $20,000 for the day.
The father / son team of Kenneth and Preston Grover finished the day in second place with 20.80 pounds. They had planned on fishing soft plastics until the younger Grover noticed shad following his swim jig, so they turned to fishing shad imitating lures. When Preston caught a 7.66-pound largemouth, they knew they were on the way. “I was really excited to catch that fish, and have a good day,” said the 15-year-old Grover. “I had a lot of fun fishing with my dad today;” it was really exciting.”
For the elder Grover, it meant event more. “I was really proud of my son, because he put the big fish and two others in our bag today,” he said. “I know we finished second, but I really feel like I am the real winner to get to do this with him.” The pair earned $5,000 for their efforts.
The team of Brandon Staggs and Jerry Wright finished third with 19.77 pounds, earning $4,000 and Packie Lawrence and Rickey Campbell caught the Mountain Dew Big Bass of the tournament, an 8.47-pound largemouth that earned them the $500 bonus; they finished the event in 31st place.
The top 10 in the standings are below – the complete standings can be found at: http://www.alabamabasstrail.org/tournament-series/pl-results/
|1||Jimmy Mason/Lance Walker||22.27||4.56||$10,000|
|2||Kenneth Grover/Preston Grover||20.80||7.66||$5,000|
|3||Brandon Staggs/Jerry Wright||19.77||5.31||$4,000|
|4||Danny Shell/Anthony Land||19.36||6.45||$3,000|
|5||Hadley Coan/Scott Keeling||18.66||$2,000|
|6||Gary Fuller/Jack Gumbert||18.26||$1,000|
|7||Sam Moody/Ray Battles||17.82||$900|
|8||Michael Stevens jr/Paul Arnold||17.72||$800|
|9||Josh Bragg/Joe Hartley||17.33||$700|
|10||Brent Crow/James Morgan||16.86||$600|
Next on the slate for the Southern Division is Neely Henry Lake in Gadsden, Ala. on May 21, 2016.
The sponsors of the 2016 Alabama Bass Trail include; Bill Penney Toyota, Phoenix Bass Boats, Garmin, Academy Sports & Outdoors, Wind Creek Hospitality – Wetumpka, Wind Creek Hospitality – Montgomery, Alabama Tourism Department, SCA Performance, Mt. Dew, Boat US, T-H Marine Supplies, AllState, TVA, Alabama Power, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Lew’s Fishing, Frogg Toggs, Crossed Industries, Alabama Foundation Specialist, Costa, YETI, Leer, E3 Apparel.
For information about Alabama Bass Trail and for complete tournament standings visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.