ABT Pickwick Lake Preview
by Dan O’Sullivan
It all comes down to one event. Pickwick Lake, Florence, Ala. and the final stop on the 2015 Alabama Bass Trail Northern Division.
With so much to be decided this weekend, the tension is bound to be high as not only will there be competition of the win and the $10,000 first place payday, but the Northern Division Anglers of the Year will be crowned, and those 50 teams who will be going to the championship will also be finalized.
The race is tight in both instances. Rusty Strickland and Charles Hemm have already earned their way into the Championship on Wheeler Lake thanks to their win in the second event of the year on Neely Henry. But, even with a berth already sewn up, they can hardly slip. Strickland and Hemm hold a slim, three point margin lead over John Welborn and Wesley Samms, who won the third stop of the year at Lewis Smith Lake. Those two teams appear to have a lock on becoming Northern Division Anglers of the Year as the third place team sits 46 points back in the standings.
With so much on the line at Pickwick, there will be little left to wonder about when it comes to the fishing. Venture to a Tennessee River impoundment in the postspawn through the early fall, and the talk becomes of ledges and current. Find the right offshore ledge with a strong grouping of fish, and get there when the current is correct, and the magic can happen.
Anglers will have a selection of lures on hand to target those depths. Deep diving crankbaits, swimbaits flutter spoons, football jigs, Carolina Rigs, Big Texas Rigged worms and Preacher Jigs are bound to be seen on the deck of boats as they pass the Boat U.S. takeoff boat.
Speaking of Boat U.S., the Boat U.S. Collegiate Championships were held at Pickwick little more than two weeks ago on May 21 and 22, and the results were a slight preview of what should take place this week. The Northern Kentucky University team of Brandon Houston and Brandon Knapmeyer posted a two-day total of 43.84 pounds and outlasted University of North Alabama’s Cody Harrison and Clint Frederick who posted 43.70 pounds. Both teams reported using a menagerie of lures on offshore structure. There was a shallow bite to be had, but the quality of fish making their way out of the spawning areas was less than needed to contend for a victory.
At the time of writing, Pickwick Lake’s elevation was at 413.30 feet, and falling slightly. However, it is still just short of its full pool height of 414 feet. Tennessee River Authority is reporting a power generation schedule that peaks from 11:00AM until 10:00PM with four or more generators expected to kick in from two the previous hour.
The final stop of Alabama Bass Trail Northern Division begins May 5 with mandatory event check-in being held Friday evening from 5:00 to 7:00PM at Marriott Shoals Conference Center located at 10 Hightower Place, Florence, AL 35830 and tournament takeoff and weigh-ins taking place Saturday at McFarland Park 200 James M Spain Dr, Florence, AL 35630.
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.