Tournament Series Feature Story
2017 ABT Lake Martin Preview
Scott and Taylor Ashley
by Dan O’Sullivan
Decatur, Ala. April 5, 2017 – Lake Martin made its debut on the Alabama Bass Trail Southern Division schedule in the 2016 season, as the first event of the year. In 2017, Lake Martin is once again on the schedule, however, instead of an early season prespawn event, it will likely be a postspawn challenge.
In that first event, Scott and Taylor Ashley, the father – son team from Warrior placed third with 15.60 pounds and started off their year with a bang. However, the team said that things should be different this year. “There was a Federation event there last weekend and it only took 12 pounds to win,” said the Ashleys. “I think the fish are a lot further ahead than we expect and this event is going to be more difficult than we would normally have in April.”
Typically, late March and April signify spawning activities, and therefore, a population of aggressive bass that are willing to bite. With the unusually warm conditions that the state has had all winter, team Ashley believes the patterns will be more like mid-year. “We expect the shallow water bite to be tough, and are expecting to be looking for offshore locations,” they said. “There may be a topwater bite or two to be had early, but jigs, swingheads, deeper crankbaits and Shaky Heads offshore will probably be the most effective patterns.”
They also said they felt that a team would not be able to win the event on one species alone; instead, they are expecting mixed bags to be the rule. “It’s not likely that anyone will be able to find a strong enough largemouth bite to be able to weigh all largemouth,” they said. “It’s also doubtful that someone will be able to get on big enough spotted bass to make a difference; the winners will have both.”
While the weights have been low recently, their feeling is that it will take 15 to 17 pounds to win. “This ABT field is just too good, so we think the weights will be higher than other circuits,” they said. “We think that a team will have a limit of two to two and a half pound spotted bass, with a quality largemouth or two that will bulk up their weight.
“It’s going to be an interesting event for sure,” they said. “We can’t wait to see how it turns out.”
All teams are required to be present at the pre-tournament registration and rules meeting on Friday April, 7 from 5:00PM to 7:00PM at the Central Alabama Community College’s Betty Carol Graham Technology Center located at 1675 Cherokee Rd., Alexander City, AL 35010 and Takeoff and weigh-in will happen at Wind Creek State Park located at 4325 AL-128 in Alexander City, AL 35010
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 information about Alabama Bass Trail and for complete tournament standings visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.