2016 Lay Lake Tournament Feature Story

2016 Alabama Bass Trail
Lay Lake Preview Story
by Dan O’Sullivan

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Decatur, Ala. March 9, 2016 – For the third time in the brief history of the Alabama Bass Trail, the Southern Division is set to compete on Lay Lake, the Coosa River impoundment that has crowned Bassmaster Classic champions and Alabama Bass Trail Anglers of the Year, amongst many other titles.


With all of the history that Lay Lake has produced over the years, in the previous two events held on the lake during the Southern Division of the Alabama Bass Trail, there have only been one team to hold the trophy and $10,000 prize.


That team is no other than Coby Carden and Chris Rutland.  Carden and Rutland won the 2014 event with a 20.60-pound bag, and posted a 24.64-pound limit en route to winning again in 2015.  The team is the first and only multiple time winner on the tour, and they also have a chance at becoming the first three-time winning team, and all of it on the same body of water.


So, what are the chances that the pair could wind up pulling off their three-peat?  According to Rutland, the chances are not good.  “I’d really have to say that the chances are slim to none that we win again,” said Rutland.  “Coby lives on the lake, and he said that the conditions are crazy, and that there has been a ton of pressure on the lake, as well as the fact that the fish are moving up in the warm conditions we’ve had.  In other words, while I’m not ruling it out, it isn’t going to be an easy feat.”


Rutland said that the high, dirty and warming water moving through the Coosa River system is having a tremendous effect on the fish.  “This isn’t going to be the kind of event that someone needs to have a precise spot that they make pinpoint casts to,” he said.  “First of all, we’ve fished in the summer the past two years, and this is springtime.  Secondly, with the fish moving up, a lot of teams will have the potential to run into the big ones.”


That does not mean that the pair is going out easy however.  “Coby has been on the lake for parts of two days, and we’ll likely get out there again this week,” he said.  “I anticipate that it will be won with reaction baits, and that the winning stringer will be finished off fairly early in the day.”


While he thinks the bite will be excellent, Rutland said that he thinks the amount of pressure on the lake may end up making it less than it could be.  “There have been a ton of boats out there, and they have been fishing the lake really hard,” he said.  “It might be that the reaction baits work early, but then a guy has to scale down with Shaky Heads after that because the pressure is so high.


“All I know is that we are going to go out there and give it all we have; it should be a good tournament.”


The registration and rules meeting begins Friday March 11 at 5:00 at the Shelby County Expo Center located at 86 Argo Rd, Columbiana, Ala., and takeoff and weigh-ins will be held at Beeswax Creek Landing on Saturday March 12, 2016.


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, Lew’s Fishing, Frogg Toggs, Crossed Industries, Alabama Foundation Specialist, Costa, YETI, Leer, E3 

For information about Alabama Bass Trail and for complete tournament standings visit