Sharp and Stubblefield Win 2015 Alabama Bass Trail Championship
Guntersville Area Team Runs Away with Phoenix Prize Boat
by Dan O’Sullivan
When the staff and crew of the Alabama Bass Trail began talking about the 2015 Alabama Bass Trail at Wheeler Lake out of Decatur’s Ingalls Harbor, the consensus was that fishing was tough. With ever changing weather conditions, the Tennessee River impoundment had yet to reach its fall pattern. The thought was that the winning team would weigh a little over 30 pounds.
Billy Sharp and Kevin Stubblefield shattered that estimate.
The Albertville and Guntersville, Ala. team placed consecutive limits that eclipse the 20-pound mark on the ABT scales and walked away with a victory and a nearly nine-pound margin of victory. Their total weight of 41.41 pounds earned them the keys to a Phoenix Boats prize package complete with a Mercury 200Pro XS, Garmin electronics, Garmin Virb cameras, HydroWave and a trolling motor valued at more than $40,000.
It was their first major victory. “This is an unbelievable feeling that hasn’t sunk in at all,” said Sharp and Stubblefield. “We would never have thought that we’d have been in the position to do this; it is an absolute blessing.”
In limited practice, the pair located an area that held quality bass that struck a green pumpkin orange colored Bo’s Jig and Strike King Rage Craw combo. After catching a couple solid fish in their final practice day, they decided to count on the main river spot less than two miles from Ingalls Harbor, and went looking for more.
When they returned on tournament morning, the fish were schooling. “We tied on bone colored Super Spooks and threw those to the school,” they said. “We caught our first fish at about seven o’clock the first morning and had the limit we weighed by nine o’clock; we had our final limit today by eight.”
They reported searching for similar areas, but did not find any that produced strikes. “We really weren’t concerned because we never saw another boat come within a quarter mile of us,” they said. “We had it to ourselves, and just had to go about executing.”
They reported catching a total of 15 keepers for the two-day event, and only losing one fish that would have added to their weight; a reported six-pound smallmouth that jumped off their topwater bait.
The team of Tim Hurst and Mark McCaig started the tournament in disappointing fashion with a 11-pound limit, but they brought a 20-pound limit to the scales on day two that brought their final weight to 32.48 pounds; good enough for second place and the $5,000 runner up prize. “We didn’t expect for things to go this well today after yesterday,” they said. “We started the day out of the money and had the goal of just getting a check; this is a lot better than we could have expected.” They reported catching fish on shad colored spinnerbaits and crankbaits as well as a jig on areas with significant presence of bait in the mid lake area.
The rest of the top 10 finishers of the 2015 Alabama Bass Trail Championship are as follows:
|3||Jonathan Canada/Bo Hunter||5/0||30.82||0.00||0.00||4000|
|4||Adam Bain/Kris Colley||5/0||28.59||0.00||0.00||3000|
|5||Damien Willis/Mark Steward||5/0||28.53||0.00||0.00||2500|
|6||Jeff Shelton/Tim Arnold||5/0||28.40||0.00||0.00||2000|
|7||John Welborn/Wesley Sams||5/1||27.51||1.00||0.00||1800|
|8||Jimmy Mason/Lance Walker||5/0||26.57||0.00||0.00||1700|
|9||Greg Tucker/Dillon Tucker||5/0||26.32||0.00||0.00||1600|
|10||Jesse Wiggins/Jordan Wiggins||5/0||26.18||0.00||0.00||1400|
The rest of the standings can be found at the link here – https://www.alabamabasstrail.org/tournament-series/wl-results/
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.