March 18, 2017 – Eufaula, Ala. – In the period leading up to the second stop of the 2017 Alabama Bass Trail Southern Division schedule at Lake Eufaula, the fishing had been great. In other events the weekend prior, the weights had been impressive. The week of the ABT event, everything with the conditions changed.
Where the week prior had seen warm air and water temperatures with calm winds, a strong cold front last week made the predominantly shallow bite largely fade. While the shallow bite did not completely die, it certainly made much of the field have to adjust. While power fishing had been the trick, those who made the correct adjustments stood atop the leaderboard at day’s end.
Approximately three quarters of the weigh-in, Thad Hull and David Talley came to the scales with a 28.85-pound limit that held on to take the win, and the $10,000 first prize on one of bass fishing’s most storied fisheries.
They did it by scaling down their presentation and by locating fish that had pulled back from their earlier moves towards spawning areas. “We had a couple of spots offshore that held some fish, but after the cold weather, we only had one bait type that would get bites consistently,” they said. “We fished down on the southern end of the lake on offshore spots in 12 to 14 feet of water with Shaky Heads, and caught around a dozen fish.”
To be more specific, the pair utilized a Magnum Shaky Head approach to catch their winning stringer. “We threw 1/2-ounce heads and a variety of worms to get bites,” they reported. “We threw Zoom Ol’ Monsters, Magnum Trick Worms and Strike Zone Lures Mega Worms – all in green pumpkin color.”
They said they were thrilled by the day. “We are business partners, and we’ve fished together quite a bit, but this is our biggest win and biggest payday,” they said. “We really didn’t think we’d have a chance to be standing here today having won; this is an absolute thrill, and it hasn’t event really hit us yet – it’s really amazing.”
The second place team of Warren Hoffman and Ben Weldon weighed 23.82 pounds, but reported having a difficult practice, and feeling fortunate to have had such a strong performance. “We really had a grind in practice, we found the lake to be farther along its spring process than we thought, and we missed it early in practice,” they said. “We caught fish in several spots, but only two spots ended up producing our limit.”
They said that a trio of lures were responsible for their catch, a 7-inch shad colored Basstrix swimbait on a heavy jighead, a jig and an old 1-ounce Ledgebuster spinnerbait. “We caught 15 to 20 fish throughout the day, and considering how our practice went, we’re pretty happy,” they said. “We did not expect to have this big of a day, so it feels pretty good to be standing here now.” They earned $5,000 for their day’s work.
Third place, and the $4,000 payday went to the team of Josh Chapple and Paul Davis who caught 23.36 pounds throwing a new prototype Davis Bait Company swim jig. Fourth place went to Barry Isbell and Bobby Freeman who earned $2,500 with their 20.58-pound limit. Rounding out the top five was the team of Larry McDonald and Torrey Jones who earned $2,000 as a result of their 19.65-pound limit.
The big bass of the event was an 8.05-pound largemouth brought to the scales by Ronny Faulkner and Michael Johnson. The big fish boosted their three fish catch to a little over 11 pounds, which was good enough to finish in 62nd place; they earned the $500 Big Fish bonus for their catch.
The top 10 standings are below, for complete standings go to http://dev-alabama-bass-trail.pantheonsite.io/tournament-series/le-results.
|1||Thad Hull / David Talley||28.85||7.88||$10,000|
|2||Warren Hoffman / Ben Weldon||23.82||$5,000|
|3||Josh Chapple / Paul Davis||23.36||$4,000|
|4||Barry Isbell / Bobby Freeman||20.58||$2,500|
|5||Larry McDonald / Torrey Jones||19.65||5.85||$2,000|
|6||Scott Dupriest / Mark Smith||19.29||5.24||$1,500|
|7||Keith Mayfield / Daryl Adams||19.22||$1,100|
|8||Nick Harris / Keith Phillips||18.99||$1,100|
|9||Randall Carter / David Caylor||18.92||6.14||$1,100|
|10||Steven Morris / Matt Vanzant||18.63||$1,100|
The sponsors of the 2017 Alabama Bass Trail include; Bill Penney Toyota, Phoenix Bass Boats, GP8 Oxygen Water, Garmin, Academy Sports & Outdoors, Wind Creek Hospitality – Wetumpka, Wind Creek Hospitality – Montgomery, Alabama Tourism Department, SCA Performance, T-H Marine Supplies, Wedowee Marine, AFTCO, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Lew’s Fishing, Crossed Industries, YETI, E3 Apparel, TVA and Alabama Power.
For information about Alabama Bass Trail and for complete tournament standings visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.