2018 ABT Championship Recap

Adam Bain and Kris Colley Win Alabama Bass Trail Championship at Neely Henry Lake
Team Overcomes Changing Conditions to Claim $45,000 Phoenix 819 Prize Boat
by Dan O’Sullivan

October 28, 2018 – Gadsden, Ala. – For its fifth season, the Alabama Bass Trail brought its culminating championship event to the town of Gadsden, Ala. and the waters of Neely Henry Lake.  The Coosa River fishery has been a stop for the ABT’s Northern Division each year since its 2014 inception, but this is the first time it has hosted the two-day Alabama Bass Trail Championship.

The team of Adam Bain and Kris Colley; who finished the 2017 Alabama Bass Trail in the runners up position, managed to string together a strong, 18.75-pound limit that took the lead on day one, then produced a follow up 11.29-pound performance on day two that earned them the victory with 30.04 pounds.  Their prize for winning the event was a 2019 Phoenix 819 bass boat equipped with the latest 200 horsepower Four-Stroke outboard and Garmin electronics valued at $45,000.

While Neely Henry Lake is known for producing numbers of bass with a few true quality specimens during a weigh-in, it proved to be a little tougher overall this year due to varying weather patterns.  While the area had been unseasonably warm recently, in the week leading up to the event, the temperatures dropped into the low 40’s overnight, and the skies turned grey and brought rain overnight on the eve of the tournament, through its first day.  After the front passed, the skies cleared partly, and the conditions changed again.

Bain and Colley were able to ride a pattern that featured throwing a black War Eagle buzzbait around isolated water willow patches on the main river from mid-lake to the southern end.  “We moved a lot, covered a ton of water with that buzzbait and managed to get seven or eight bites a day,” they reported.  “We tried other things along the way, but we only got the kind of bites we needed with the buzzbait.”

The pair was exhausted, but thrilled with their finish.  “We worked really hard preparing for this event,” they said.  “This is obviously a much sweeter feeling than finishing second at this Logan Martin last year; we couldn’t be happier right now.”

Second place finishers Brad Shelton and Eric White began day two in sixth place after posting an opening round weight of 14.49 pounds.  They followed that up with a steady 13.29-pound limit to bring their total weight to 27.78 pounds; they earned $5,000 for their runner up finish.

They reported catching all of their fish by flipping a handmade “Natural Craw” colored jig tipped with a coordinating Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw as a trailer.  They fished from Minnesota Bend to the island at Hokes Bluff upriver looking for wood cover near deep water.  “We feel really good about how we did on the water, we fished clean and had a good tournament,” they said.  “It’s not really fun to finish second in an event like this but to move up and be in contention is something we had hoped for.  We are pleased with how the event went for us; we couldn’t have done any better than we did, so knowing that, we’re happy with the finish.”

The team of Duane and Brandon Edel caught the Mountain Dew Big Bass of the tournament on day one.  Their 6.45-pound largemouth anchored their day one limit, and helped propel them to a fifth place finish with a total weight of 26.82 pounds, and a total of $3,000 in earnings with their big fish bonus money in hand.

The rest of the Top 10 Standings are below, for complete standings visit: https://www.alabamabasstrail.org/tournament-series/nhl-results/

Place Anglers Weight Winnings
1 Adam Bain / Kris Colley 30.04 $45,000 Phoenix Boat
2 Brad Shelton / Eric White 27.78 $5,000
3 Mark McCaig / Tim Hurst 27.09 $4,000
4 Gabe Aldridge / Wes Wiggins 27.05 $3,000
5 Duane Edel / Brandon Edel 26.82 $2,500
6 Shane Horton / Brandon Horton 26.68 $2,000
7 Bradley Jones / Andy Kilgore 26.44 $1,800
8 Brannon Hurst / Mike Freeman 25.91 $1,700
9 Jamie Starnes / Ricky Fowler 25.78 $1,600
10 Anthony Goggins / Jeremy Headley 25.51 $1,400

That wraps up the 2018 Alabama Bass Trail season, the 2019 season begins with the Southern Division kickoff February 16 at Lake Martin in Alexander City, Ala.

The sponsors of the 2018 Alabama Bass Trail include; Phoenix Bass Boats, Bill Penney Toyota, Garmin, Academy Sports & Outdoors, America’s First Federal Credit Union, , Alabama Tourism Department, T-H Marine Supplies, Wedowee Marine, Buffalo Rock, Jack’s, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Alabama Power Company, Trapper Tackle, Lew’s Fishing, AFTCO, YETI, and E3 Apparel.

For information about Alabama Bass Trail and for complete tournament standings visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.

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