October 7, 2017 – Pell City, Ala. – All of the talk leading up to the 2017 Alabama Bass Trail Championship at Logan Martin Lake said the fishing was “interesting.” With the varying temperatures the state of Alabama has received recently, the bass population on the Coosa River impoundment did not know whether they were supposed to be in summer or fall patterns.
According to pre-tournament chatter; neither did the field.
However, when a field of anglers that the Alabama Bass Trail serves arrives at a body of water, the reality of the situation is that no matter how tough it is, there are teams that will figure out how to catch the quality it takes to win.
The team that figured it out the best at the 2017 ABT Championship was Josh Butler and Jeb Tate. The pair; who claimed victory on Logan Martin during the inaugural season of the Alabama Bass Trail in 2014, ran to the tailrace of the Neely Henry dam both days and produced a two-day winning weight of 30.27 pounds to claim victory again.
Their wire-to-wire win earned the keys to the 2018 Phoenix 819, Garmin, T-H Marine package worth more than $43,000. On top of that, because they are registered members of the Phoenix bonus program, they earned an additional $7000 Phoenix Frist Flight bonus.
Butler and Tate said they committed to the tailrace and they caught all of their fish on a 3/8-ounce brown Santone Lures casting jig tipped with a Speed Craw trailer. “We had to commit to the dam because it was the only place we could catch the quality we needed to win,” they reported. “Each day was a grind. It took us until 1:00 on day one to get to our final limit, and almost 2:00 today, but to be sitting here having won this is amazing.”
The pair produced a 17.99-pound limit on the first day, and despite Alabama Power drawing the lake level down to make room for Hurricane Nate rains, the pair held serve on a very tough fishing day and placed 12.28 pounds on the scales at Pell City’s Lakeside Park to secure their Championship win. The emotional pair said that the win was a highlight for them. “This is a huge deal for us, to win against this field is not easy,” they said. “We really didn’t think we’d done enough as we were driving back, but to find out that everyone struggled, and we were able to hold on feels really good.”
Adam Bain and Kris Colley were one of the few teams to have improved over their first day performance. After weighing in just over 12 pounds on day one, the pair eclipsed 15 pounds on day two to bring their total weight to 28.22 pounds. That total was good enough to hold the lead for most of the day, until the day one leaders weighed in last.
They said the fished shallow jigs both days of the event. “We spent our first day chasing spotted bass around shallow rocks, but had to change as the water fell,” they said. “We caught a small largemouth on the outside edge of a grass bed today, then kind of went with that as we figured out that the falling water pulled the largemouth to the outside edge of the grass.”
They reported throwing 1/2-ounce Arkie style jigs with Zoom Chunks in a variety of colors to catch their fish. “Color really didn’t matter, we caught them on everything,” they said. “We really ran almost the whole lake today fishing the edge of every grass bed we could find, and that’s how it happened. Obviously, we would rather have had it be one place better, but as tough as it has been, we feel really good about our tournament.” Bain and Colley earned $5,000 for their efforts.
Josh Chapple and Paul Davis finished third in the event with 27.76 pounds, earning $4,000 in the process. They were followed in fourth by Kevin Phillips and Robert Medas with 27.41 pounds, who earned a $3,000 prize, and wrapping up the top five was the team of Ken and Greg Session who posted 27.40 pounds to earn $2,500. The big fish of the tournament was a 5.43-pound largemouth caught by eight place team Jimmy Miller and Mark Stillwell. The big largemouth anchored their 26.94-pound total, and earned them an additional $500 bonus.
The top 10 standings are below, for complete standings go to http://www.alabamabasstrail.org/tournament-series/lml-results/
|1||Josh Butler / Jeb Tate||30.27||$43,000 Phoenix Boat $7,000 Phoenix First Flight|
|2||Adam Bain / Kris Colley||28.22||$5,000|
|3||Josh Chapple / Paul Davis||27.76||$4,000|
|4||Kevin Phillips / Robert Medas||27.41||$3,000|
|5||Ken Sessions / Greg Sessions||27.40||$2,500|
|6||Scott Ashley / Taylor Ashley||27.36||$2,000|
|7||Rickey Campbell / Trey Swindle||27.05||$1,800|
|8||Jimmy Miller / Mark Stillwell||26.94||5.43||$1,700|
|9||Nick Harris / Keith Phillips||26.81||$1,600|
|10||Wesley Sams / Jordan Wiggins||26.75||3.98||$1,400|
The sponsors of the 2017 Alabama Bass Trail include; Bill Penney Toyota, Phoenix Bass Boats, GP8 Oxygen Water, Garmin, Academy Sports & Outdoors, Wind Creek Hospitality – Wetumpka, Wind Creek Hospitality – Montgomery, Alabama Tourism Department, SCA Performance, T-H Marine Supplies, Wedowee Marine, AFTCO, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Lew’s Fishing, Crossed Industries, YETI, E3 Apparel, TVA and Alabama Power.
For more information about Alabama Bass Trail, for complete tournament standings and the 2018 tournament schedule visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.