Bradley and Lemley Win 2016 Alabama Bass Trail Championship at Lake Eufaula
Pair Overcomes Tough Conditions, Missed Opportunity to Claim Top Prize
by Dan O’Sullivan
October 8, 2016 – Eufaula, Ala – In order to win a typical bass tournament, an angler needs to maximize efficiency in order to capitalize on every opportunity presented to put the right fish in the boat. Seldom does a team get the opportunity to claim victory after bringing less than a limit to the scales on the first day of a two day championship event.
That is precisely what the team of Foster Bradley and Britt Lemley did in winning the 2016 Alabama Bass Trail Championship on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Ala.
The pair brought four fish for a total weight of 14.87 pounds to the scales on the first day of the event, and while their quality was good enough to land them in second place; they were still more than two pounds behind the day one leaders Ray Ingram and Jay Grogan who weighed a limit for 16.98.
Feeling like there was a slight chance they could make up the ground, Bradley and Lemley pushed out onto Eufaula for the second day and fished a variety of shallow water grass and deeper brush to accomplish the task.
By the end of the day, the pair had produced an 18.23-pound limit that brought their total weight to 33.10 pounds to earn the title of 2016 Alabama Bass Trail Champions and the keys to a $45,000 Phoenix 819 bass boat fully equipped with a 200 horsepower outboard, a trolling motor, Garmin Electronics, T-H Marine jackplate and a HydroWave. They also earned a $7,000 boat owner’s contingency prize which brings their total earnings to $52,000 for the weekend.
The winning team said that they did their homework and worked hard to accomplish the feat. “We have a good friend who lives here in Eufaula who helped us prepare a strategy long before the event,” they said. “We focused our efforts on shallow grass and deeper brushpiles from the mid lake area to the dam.”
They said they used four main techniques to catch their fish. “We used a shad colored Super Spook and white Ribbit toads around the grass,” they reported. “When we went offshore, we threw big Zoom Worms and a 3/4-ounce Omega jigs in the brush to catch the rest.”
They said their win was an emotional one. “We’ve been close before, but to be able to do this in front of our families is really special,” they said through joyful tears. “We thought there might be a slight chance, and to be able to be standing here today is amazing.”
Ingram and Grogan were the most consistent team for the two day event, however, their slight slip from their first day performance opened the door to be overtaken for the win. The pair added 15.76 pounds to bring their total to 32.74, less than a half of a pound behind the winners. “We’re happy for them, but it really kind of stinks to be sitting here in second place,” they reported. “We did everything we could, but in the end it just wasn’t enough.”
The runners up reported fishing offshore in the mid lake section of Eufaula. “We actually spent most of our time looking at the graph,” they said. “We idled the channel ledges looking for schools of fish, and when we found them, we could catch one or two out of it.” They reported catching the majority of their fish on a 3/4-ounce bluegill colored Strikezone Lures football jig, with a few fill in fish on a Citrus Shad Strike King 10XD crankbait. They earned $5,000 for their efforts.
The largest bass of the event went to the husband / wife team of Scotty and Abby Estes, the pair managed to land a 6.60-pound largemouth which earned them the $500 Mountain Dew Big Bass bonus. The fish helped them earn a 17th place finish and a total of $1600.
The top 10 standings are below, for complete standings go to http://dev-alabama-bass-trail.pantheonsite.io/tournament-series/le-results/
The sponsors of the 2016 Alabama Bass Trail include; Bill Penney Toyota, Phoenix Bass Boats, Garmin, Academy Sports & Outdoors, Wind Creek Hospitality – Wetumpka, Wind Creek Hospitality – Montgomery, Alabama Tourism Department, SCA Performance, Mt. Dew, Boat US, T-H Marine Supplies, AllState, TVA, Alabama Power, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Lew’s Fishing, Frogg Toggs, Crossed Industries, Alabama Foundation Specialist, Costa, YETI, Leer, E3 Apparel.
For information about Alabama Bass Trail and for complete tournament standings visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.