Josh Bragg and Joe Hartley Win Alabama Bass Trail Northern Division Opener at Lake Guntersville

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Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 8.33.22 AMby Dan O’Sullivan

Scottsboro, Ala. – February 28, 2015 – With much of the Southeast being pounded by an arctic storm for the past several weeks, there was question as to whether the Northern Division opener for the 2015 Alabama Bass Trail at Lake Guntersville would even happen. When Program Director Kay Donaldson and the staff of the Alabama Bass Trail decided to proceed as planned; they knew a cold event was going to be the result.

With the Scottsboro area reportedly receiving as much as 10-inches of snow in the days leading up to the event, overnight lows dipping below freezing and daytime highs that did not reach 50- degrees; the environment was certainly chilly. As anglers boats slid into the waters at the Goose Pond launch ramp, many of them exclaimed that water temperatures were 36-degrees at the surface.

While the conditions were freezing, the fact that it was Lake Guntersville meant that the fishing – for some – would still remain hot. “Lake Guntersville is a lake that has proven it will produce in any condition,” said Donaldson. “With ice on the lake at last year’s event, the winning weight was over 32 pounds, and we expected to see high winning weights today.”

The world class fishery and the Alabama Bass Trail anglers did not disappoint.

Midway through the weigh-in, emcee Robbie Floyd introduced the team of Josh Bragg and Joe Hartley. The pair placed a five bass limit on the scales that weighed 28.94 pounds. That gave them the lead, and their only true competition would come from one of the next teams to weigh-in. Tim Cornelius and Doug Webster gave them a scare before they had even reached the parking lot with a 28.93-pound limit themselves.

While there were several weights that eclipsed the 20-pound mark, none would reach the 25-pound threshold, and that left the two teams standing atop the leaderboard for the remainder of the afternoon.

Hartley said that he and Bragg spent their day fishing two stretches of water using red Rat-L-Traps and shad colored Gambler and Missile Baits Shockwave swimbaits to produce their winning weight. “We actually had a very good day fishing,” said Hartley. “We caught 20 to 25 bass and culled a 17 to 19-pound limit on the way to our final weight.”

He reported the team having to fish their lures very slowly in order to trigger strikes. “We were really scraping the lures on the bottom around eel grass edges and flats in around eight feet of water,” he said. “We are both really excited to have done so well; this is the biggest tournament I have ever won, I didn’t think our weight would hold up, and I’m thrilled with how the day turned out.” The team earned $10,000 for their victory.

Cornelius and Webster echoed the thoughts of the winners. “We both through chrome and blue Rat-L-Traps all day long,” said. Webster. “We had to barely move them on the bottom in order to get bites. We caught most of the fish we weighed later in the day; the sun made a huge difference to the activity level of the fish. We are happy with the way it turned out; of course we would have loved to win, but it didn’t look like we would have a good day based on our practice, so we’re excited.” Cornelius and Webster shared the $5000 prize for second place.

One of the final teams to weigh-in, Tim Hurst and Mark McCaig managed to only bring two bass to the scales. While the day proved to be tough for them in the numbers category, their total weight of 12.28 pounds included a 9.19-pound Tennessee River bruiser that was enough to claim the Mountain Dew Big Bass of the tournament worth $500.

In total, 203 teams launched onto Lake Guntersville at the beginning of the day, and 131 of those teams crossed the scales. The next event for the Alabama Bass Trail Northern Division is March 30 at Neely Henry Lake on the Coosa River in Gadsden, Ala.

The top 10 in the standings are as follows:

 

Place Team Fish Penalty Big Bass Total Weight Points Winnings
1 Josh Bragg/Joe Hartley 5/0 0.00 8.05 28.94 225 10000
2 Tim Cornelius/Doug Webster 5/0 0.00 8.22 28.93 224 5000
3 Jeremy Tomlin/Greg Tomlin 5/0 0.00 6.88 24.60 223 4000
4 Bryan Johnson/Brandon Groce 5/0 0.00 0.00 23.79 222 3000
5 Mitch Mitchell/Jordan Green 5/0 0.00 0.00 23.03 221 2000
6 Deron Patrick/Cory Freeman 5/0 0.00 6.57 22.78 220 1000
7 Clay Madison/Kyle Patterson 5/0 0.00 0.00 22.23 219 900
8 Ty Campbell/Mark Meyer 3/0 0.00 7.02 21.39 218 800
9 Terry Pryor/Terrell Mann 5/0 0.00 0.00 21.29 217 700
10 Jonlee Sasser/Bradley Nix 5/0 0.00 0.00 20.33 216 600

As with last season, each of Alabama Bass Trail’s tournaments will feature the live streaming video, but new for the 2015 season will be a live leaderboard so that friends, families and fans can keep up with each event. Follow along on www.alabamabasstrail.org.

The sponsors of the 2015 Alabama Bass Trail include Bill Penney Toyota, the Alabama Tourism Department, Phoenix Bass Boats, Inc., T-H Marine Supplies, Inc., Costa Del Mar , Alabama Power Company, Buffalo Rock, Inc., Jet-Pep, Inc., Tennessee Valley Authority, Frogg Toggs, Inc., AFS, Window World, E3 Sports Apparel, HydroWaveTM, Garmin, and Yeti Coolers.

For complete standings visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.

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