This week’s Alabama Bass Trail Bassmaster Team Championship profile is the North Division team of Blake Hall and Triston Crowder. A 6th place finish in the North Division qualified them for trip to the Bassmaster Team Championship on Lake Hartwell at Green Pond Landing out of Anderson, SC on December 11-14.
Blake and Triston had a somewhat unique start to becoming a team. In the summer of 2018, they both entered a BFL tournament as a boater and ended up in a boater on boater draw that put them in the same boat together to battle it out. After fishing and working together during the day, they decided to make the best of a “not good situation” and both ended up with checks at the end of the day. That fall they fished a team event on Lake Guntersville and won second place. After that, they decided they would sign up for the ABT in 2019 and see how well they could compete as a team.
Blake has fished the ABT every year except 2018 and actually won an event in 2015 on Lake Jordan. Through the years he has a few top five finishes and has qualified for the team championship every year as well. He was only able to fish the BASS Team Championship on Guntersville in 2015 and was just outside making the final day. Blake has been a guide on the TN River with about 150 trips a year. He says even though guiding has taken away from some of his tournament fishing, it is something he really enjoys.
This past season was Triston’s first year on the ABT. He is a member of the University of North Alabama fishing team where he has had great success. In his freshmen year at UNA, he won four college events. This being his senior year on the team his main focus besides graduating is fishing both the ABT and collegiate.
The 2019 season got off to an interesting start for the newly formed team. Like many of the other teams, the Smith Lake event caused them to make a few adjustments due to the rising water. However, the rising water level was not the only adjustment they also had to account for- Blake had the flu for the first time in his life. With all the water changes they didn’t spend a lot of time practicing weeks early; the plan was to fish Thursday and Friday taking into account the most current conditions and water levels. Unfortunately, the Tuesday before the tournament Blake came down with the flu, so they didn’t practice. They were hoping to allow Blake some time to feel better and be able to fish Saturday. On the day of the event they went out without much practice and tried to put a few things together. They said about 1:00 they felt their hopes of fishing the championship going away. Luckily, that afternoon they were able to catch a limit just to get some points with an 80th place finish.
When the pair saw the schedule for this year, there were three events that really stood out to them: Pickwick, Wheeler and the championship on Lake Guntersville. They practiced hard for all of the events but really looked forward to the ones on their home lakes. This year went almost as they had planned; with a second place finish at Wheeler and a 4th place finish at Pickwick they were able to cash a check at 4 of the 5 events.
Hall and Crowder are looking to build on their team’s ability to break down water and fish as a team in hopes to compete well at the BASS Team Championship at Lake Hartwell. They expect to find a topwater or swimbait bite. When asked whether or not they will be able to spend time practicing before the event they joked, “Well, we are both really big hunters too, so that might cut into some of our hunting time.” As a matter of fact, during the interview for this story Blake was in Canada duck hunting, so it’s safe to say these guys are really good outdoorsmen. Their plan is to get over the week of practice and build on this year’s success.
Both are super excited about the Championship on Guntersville and have been since it was announced. Blake said he has been waiting for it to come to Guntersville since 2014. They want to do well there and hopefully come away with the win.
Blake and Triston super thankful to fish the ABT saying “for the past five years Alabama has had the best well-run team tournament trail in the country.” They are proud of the opportunity to represent the ABT at the BASS Team Championship and look forward to doing their best.
Smith Lake 80th
Wheeler Lake 2nd
Weiss Lake 28th
Pickwick Lake 4th
Neely Henry Lake 49th