2019 Alabama Bass Trail Alabama River Preview
with Dallas Weldon
by Dan O’Sullivan
April 16, 2019 – Decatur, Ala. – There may be no greater wildcard on the Alabama Bass Trail’s schedule than the Alabama River out of Cooter’s Pond. Nestled into the area between Montgomery and Prattville, the Alabama River provides competition waters that may be the rawest and most seemingly untouched area of the state with moss hanging from the trees and everything.
While it seems that the Alabama River is one of the most natural areas of the state, it is – like most waterways in Alabama – driven by Alabama Power dams at both ends. Those dams and the current flow generated by them are often the biggest factor in any tournament on the fishery.
According to ABT Champion and Co-Angler of the Year Dallas Weldon, current will be a big factor this week in the ABT South’s visit to the river. “The current has been running strong for a while now, but has begun to slow,” he said. “But, we are expecting some heavy rains on Thursday this week that will likely have the current flowing on Saturday, so that should help.”
Weldon said that there is a downside to the runoff and current – dirtier waters. “The backwaters should be dirtying up, so a sight-fishing bite for largemouth is probably going to be difficult,” he said. “Along with that, the spotted bass have largely finished their spawn, so I think straight fishing is going to be the key, but it will be all over the place.”
Calling it the “junk fishing capital of the world,” Weldon said anglers should be prepared for just about anything on the river. “I think there will be a backwater bite with wacky rigs, buzzbaits and frogs, but it may not be the only thing you can do,” he said. “You may have to go out on the current breaks and catch spotted bass with a football jig or deep diving crankbait; in other words, I think it will take a mixed bag to win.”
Weldon opined that he believes it will take 20 to 21 pounds to win this weekend, but it will likely be a standout bag. “I think someone will catch that kind of weight, and they will win by three or four pounds,” he said. “I also think it will take 13 to 14 pounds to get a check.
“It’s going to be an interesting event.”
The third event of the 2019 Alabama Bass Trail Southern Division season takes place at the Alabama River at Cooter’s pond on April 20 out of Prattville, Alabama. The mandatory pre-tournament registration and angler information meeting is on Friday, April 19, at Doster Memorial Community Center located at 424 South Northington Street in Prattville, AL, with registration happening from 5:00 P.M. – 6:30 P.M. and the pre-tournament meeting beginning at 6:30 P.M. Takeoff and weigh-in will occur at Cooter’s Pond, 1844 Cooter’s Pond Road in Prattville, AL.
The sponsors of the 2019 Alabama Bass Trail include: Phoenix Bass Boats, Bill Penney Toyota, Garmin, Academy Sports & Outdoors, America’s First Federal Credit Union, Sweet Home Alabama, Alabama Tourism Department, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, T-H Marine Supplies, Wedowee Marine, Buffalo Rock, Mountain Dew, Jack’s, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Alabama Power Company, Lew’s Fishing, AFTCO, YETI, Power Pole, Big Bite Bait Company and E3 Apparel.