2015 Alabama River Tournament Feature Story

January 20, 2015

ABT Millers Ferry Preview
by Dan O’Sullivan

The time has come for the Southern Division of the Alabama Bass Trail to venture onto the Alabama River.  The Alabama River has featured some of the high profile events the past several years including the Bassmaster Toyota Angler of the Year finals, the Bassmaster Elite Series and most recently a Bassmaster Southern Open.

While many of those events have gone out of Montgomery or Cooter’s pond, for this third stop of the ABT Southern Division, the site will be Millers Ferry out of Camden, Ala.  The river has always produced fireworks, and it did recently when Dustin Connell, a half of the Lake Jordan winning team from our first event outlasted the field which included several FLW Tour and Elite Series pros for the win.

We caught up with Russ Lane, from Prattville, Ala. to find out his thoughts.  Lane is a Bassmaster Elite Series pro and Phoenix Boats pro team member who has spent 20 years fishing the Alabama River.  “I think Millers Ferry is the best pool on the river,” said Lane.  “It has the best quality largemouth, and it’s possible to catch a solid bag of spotted bass there too.”

He said that the Millers Ferry pool is the “bassiest” looking section of the river.  “It really is a pretty section of the river to fish,” he said.  “There are hyacinth mats, gator grass and cypress trees everywhere down there.  An angler can really pick up heavy rods

Lane said that he believed the winning weight would be around 22 to 23 pounds for Saturday’s event, and that the team who won would be targeting largemouth.  “I think three of the teams in the top five will have spotted bass, but they won’t win,” he said.  “I think that the winning team is going to have a sack of stout largemouth, and those will be the anglers to win.”

So, how would Lane approach the event?  He said that he would target the largemouth with heavy handed tactics and the spotted bass with reaction lures.  “I would have a SPRO Bronzeye Frog tied on, and I would have a big tungsten weight with a Gamakatsu Heavy Cover hook and a Big Bite Yo Daddy on for the largemouth,” he said.  “For the spotted bass, I would have a big spinnerbait to throw around the wing dams, and I’d wash a jig around the current breaks.”

He did say that he felt that there would be an off chance some anglers would stumble across a school of early spawners that had already entered their summer patterns.  “If I came across that situation, I’d go after it with a diving crankbait like my Fat Papa 70,” he said.  “It’s a longshot, but someone who locates that could have a very strong event.”

The third stop of Alabama Bass Trail Southern Division begins April 24 with mandatory event check-in being held Friday evening from 5:00 to 7:00PM at Lena Mahan Powell Convention Center 211 Claiborne Street Camden, AL 36726 and tournament takeoff and weigh-ins taking place Saturday at Roland Cooper State Park
285 Deer Run Drive, Camden, AL.

The sponsors of the 2015 Alabama Bass Trail include: Bill Penney Toyota, the Alabama Tourism Department, Phoenix Bass Boats, Inc., Garmin, Academy Sports & Outdoors, T-H Marine Supplies, Inc., Alabama Power Company, Buffalo Rock, Inc., Jet-Pep, Inc., Tennessee Valley Authority, and Frogg Toggs, Inc., HydroWaveTM, Alabama Foundation Specialist, Boat U.S., LEER, Vicious Fishing, E3 Sports, Inc., Costa Del Mar, Frogg Toggs, Inc., Power-Pole,  Window World and Yeti Coolers.