Championship Feature with Jimmy and Jeremy Miller
By Jason Duran
Championship weekend is finally here for the Alabama Bass Trail. The $100,000 no entry fee tournament with a $50,000 first place grand prize has been the goal of the top anglers from the North and South divisions since the beginning of the season. This is a two-day event on beautiful Lake Martin that will feature the best of the best in the Alabama Bass Trail.
The father-son team of Jimmy and Jeremy Miller call Lake Martin home. They won their first tournament together when Jeremy was 8 years old. Today he’s 28 years old and Jimmy hopes they can win this one too. Jimmy has guided on the lake for the last 12 years often guiding bass and Crappie trips. He even had to give up two trips this week because the lake is off limits.
The team shared, “with it being our home we really can’t complain about the location, but the blue back herring getting in the lake has made for tough fishing.” Jimmy said that three years ago he felt there wasn’t a tournament he couldn’t win, but since the herring are here, it has changed it up so much that a team can pull up on the right spot at the right time when they are feeding, get lucky and catch a winning bag.”
The spotted bass and largemouth are feeding up and heading into their fall pattern. Normally this time of year the lake is at or near winter pool. As the lake is being drawn down it has more current and the fish tend to group up on points near the current. However, the lake is unseasonably high for this time of year which has kept the fish more spread out. Jimmy said he “cannot remember a time in the last 30 years of fishing this lake that it has been this high this late in the year.”
The team agreed “there will be lots of fish caught, but the key will be catching the quality fish.” They believe a two-day total of 26 pounds would be a goal for teams that are looking to take the win. Jimmy shared that “teams are never out of it in this tournament because you can do bad one day, and have a really big day the next.”
Swimbaits this time of year are very effective. The Big Bite Baits Jerk Minnow is one of their favorites. Top water plugs like a Spook and a Pop-R are good for targeting fish up shallow and can be fished all day long. Teams that fish out deep will be using Carolina Rigs, Shaky Heads and jigs. Jimmy and Jeremy feel like many teams “will more than likely be doing a lot of moving around chasing the herring bite.” Typically, this time of year they like to throw topwater plugs all day long, but recently they have moved out deeper to target fish over 25 feet of water.
Teams have had their sights on this event since the beginning of the year and have remained focused even through postponed and rescheduled events. When the scales close on Saturday there will be another ABT Champion crowned whose pockets will be filled with $50,000.
This tournament will continue to operate with social distancing guidelines. All anglers should make sure they have checked text messages and emails for the latest information and changes made to keep everyone as safe as possible during this time. There is a virtual meeting on the ABT Facebook Page that was posted this past Monday night with lots of details anglers need to pay close attention to. There will be a pre-scheduled check in time for this event at the Betty Carol Graham Center located at 1675 Cherokee Rd in Alexander City, AL, on Thursday.
All friends and family are welcome to attend this event; bring lawn chairs and practice social distancing. Everyone can watch the live weigh-in and live coverage on the ABT Facebook page and the ABT website. The Launch and weigh-in location is Wind Creek State Park located at 4325 AL 128 in Alexander City, AL.
Download and listen to the ABT Podcast on your favorite Podcast app by searching for “Alabama Bass Trail Podcast.” The Podcast is released each week on Tuesday.
The sponsors of the 2020 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, Strike King, Buffalo Rock, Mountain Dew, Jack’s, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Alabama Power Company, Lew’s Fishing, Berkley, YETI, Power Pole, Big Bite Bait Company, E3 Apparel and Hydrowave.
For information about Alabama Bass Trail and for complete tournament standings visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.