ABT Bassmaster Team Championship Team Profile
John Welborn and Wesley Sams
by Dan O’Sullivan
When the Bassmaster Team Championship commences on December 9th by blasting off onto the waters of Lake Guntersville, 14 teams will represent the Alabama Bass Trail at the prestigious event. Eight of those teams earned their berth through the Northern Division, and another six got their ticket through the Southern Division.
Among those teams will be the reigning 2015 Northern Division Points Champions John Welborn and Wesley Sams. The pair amassed a total of 989 points, and won the Lewis Smith Lake event along the way to winning their division; qualifying for the ABT Championship on Wheeler Lake and earning their berth in the Bassmaster Team Championship.
They reported that the Bassmaster Team Championship was not even a thought when starting the season. “We didn’t realize that we could get there by doing well in our ABT division initially,” said Welborn. “Part way through the season, we figured out what it was, and realized that it was something we could reach. To top that off, with it being on Guntersville, we got excited.”
Welborn said that the team got where they are by employing old fashioned teamwork when in the boat. “Wesley and I work really well together,” he said. “If something is working, we figure out how to make the most of it, but if we’re still figuring it out, we fish to our own strengths to try to make sure we’re covering everything.”
For Welborn and Sams, that means that Sams is at the ready with his deep jigs and Welborn is power fishing until he needs to adjust. “Wesley is the master of deep jigging, and I guess I’m more of the power fisherman,” he said. “If I get on a moving bait bit, he’ll do something to complement it, and if he gets on a deeper bite, then I’ll do something that works well in that same depth, but gives us a different look. But, being that we’re from Cullman and spend a lot of time on Smith, we can both pick up the spinning rod and go to work if we need to; our system works really well.”
Welborn said that he feels confident about the Bassmaster Team Championship. “I’ve fished Guntersville my whole life with my dad and friends of mine that fish the lake regularly,” he said. “I know where to go on the lake and what should be going on that time of the year. “The only trick will be if I can get the time to practice in and around my basketball coaching schedule. I think I’ve got it all figured out.
“It would be awesome to have a chance at being in the Bassmaster Classic, we’ll see how it all works out in December.”
The sponsors of the 2015 Alabama Bass Trail include: Bill Penney Toyota, the Alabama Tourism Department, Phoenix Bass Boats, Inc., Garmin, Academy Sports & Outdoors, T-H Marine Supplies, Inc., Alabama Power Company, Buffalo Rock, Inc., Jet-Pep, Inc., Tennessee Valley Authority, and Frogg Toggs, Inc., HydroWaveTM, Alabama Foundation Specialist, Boat U.S., LEER, Vicious Fishing, E3 Sports, Inc., Costa Del Mar, Frogg Toggs, Inc., Power-Pole, Window World and Yeti Coolers.
For complete standings visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.