April 22, 2017 – Jasper, Ala. – Lewis Smith Lake always seems to present a challenge to anglers in the state of Alabama. Save for those who call the surrounding areas home, Smith Lake is a departure from the usual shallow, dirty water fishing styles that dominate the state.
Since the inception of the Alabama Bass Trail, one of the teams that seemed to always be sniffing a home lake win were the Wiggins brothers; however, that result seemed to be just slightly out of reach.
Not this time.
Despite the fact that Jesse Wiggins had graduated to the upper echelon of bass fishing by qualifying for The Bassmaster Elite Series, Jordan, along with his partner Wesley Sams climbed the final rung of the ladder and claimed the title of Alabama Bass Trail Champions at the 2017 ABT stop at Smith Lake.
Wiggins said that the win resonated through the family. “My brother has already been texting me from his sponsor obligations; he’s been watching on his phone,” said Wiggins. “He’s really happy that we were able to pull this off today.”
It almost didn’t happen. If it wasn’t for a late decision to make a 20 minute run, the pair may have fallen short. We had about 16 pounds, and felt like we needed one more fish,” they reported. “We made a run from the back of Rock Creek to Crooked Creek and caught a 3-pound, 3-ounce spotted bass at 3:20 that culled a 2-6, and that was the one that put us over the top.”
The pair reported throwing homemade 1/4-ounce Shaky Heads tipped with a green pumpkin finesse worm on spinning gear and 8-pound-test fluorocarbon line. They threw them in Rock Creek, White Oak and Crooked Creek. “We covered a ton of water today, and we caught fish most of the day,” they said. “All of the fish we caught were on those Shaky Heads from the bank to 10 feet of water. We’re really pleased with the way things turned out, it feels really good.” The pair earned $10,000 for their victory.
As much as the winner’s story is remarkable, the runner ups’ may be just as painful. The team of Damien Willis and Mark Steward had an impressive tournament, finishing in second place with 16.53 pounds – it marks the team’s third runner up finish in Alabama Bass Trail competition. “We’ll get over the hump one of these days and close the door on one of these things,” they reported. “We’re happy to get a lot of points towards qualifying, but to finish second again is a little frustrating.”
The pair caught most of their fish on Xcite Baits X-Lock heads and and Slim-X worms in green pumpkin and Plumkin colors. “We caught a healthy limit on the Xcite worms, and were able to cull a couple on other bats,” they said. “Our big fish [a 5.45-pound largemouth] came swimming by the boat, we saw it and threw a wake bait in front of it, and she bit it; we thought it might be our time, but we got beaten by some really good anglers; we did everything we could do.” They earned a total of $6,000 for their day’s effort; which includes the ABT payout and a $1,000 Wedowee Marine bonus for being the highest finishing team who purchased their Phoenix Boat from the ABT sponsor.
Bill Mayo and Walt Roberts finished third for the event by bringing a 16.17-pound mixed bag limit of spotted and largemouth to the scales; they earned $4,000 for their efforts. Caleb Smith and Clint Hutcherson finished fourth with 16.03 pounds and earned $3,000 and Tyler Stewart and Will Grisham rounded out the top five with 15.92-pundes, good for a $2,000 payday.
The team of David Morrison and Kyle Sloan weighed in the heaviest bass of the tournament. Their 6.27-pound largemouth anchored their 13.36-pound limit which landed them in 25th place for the event. Their payday, with payout and the $500 Big Bass bonus earned them a total of $1,000.
The top 10 standings are below, for complete standings go to http://dev-alabama-bass-trail.pantheonsite.io/tournament-series/lsl-results/
|1||Wesley Sams / Jordan Wiggins||17.09||$10,000|
|2||Damien Willis / Mark Steward||16.53||5.45||$5,000||$1,000 Wedowee Marine|
|3||Bill Mayo / Walton Roberts||16.17||$4,000|
|4||Caleb Smith / Clint Hutcherson||16.03||4.05||$3,000|
|5||Tyler Stewart / Will Grisham||15.92||3.82||$2,000|
|6||Robb Young / Chad Sykes||15.87||$1,500|
|7||Tony Wasco / Phil Harrell||15.27||3.63||$1,100|
|8||Terry Pryor / Terry Mann||15.03||$1,100|
|9||Travis Clemen / Ricky Clemen||14.88||$1,100|
|10||Austin Weaver / Pride Weaver||14.51||3.85||$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.