This week’s Alabama Bass Trail Bassmaster Team Championship profile is the South Division team of Mark McCaig and Tim Hurst. Their 6h place finish in the South 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.
They started fishing as a team about 18 years ago they both lost their partners, Tim’s partner got married. So they were both looking for a new partner. Each of them were fishing separately and fishing BFL’s so they decided to team up and fish a couple small local team tournaments together and see how it went. The first one didn’t really go so well Mark says they both got in the boat and we would show each other anything and didn’t really work together well in that first event. They found themselves in a team event and wouldn’t even share information with each other. Mark says Tim got in the boat that day and had five baits tied on that he never saw him even use that day. They next event that rolled around was on Logan Martin. This time they decided were going to work together a little harder and do better. They plan payed off this time, on the first spot they stopped on they started catching fish together and they began to build their confidence in each other. That day probably could be considered the making of a great team. With a 17lb bag they ended up winning the second event they fished together. It was their first win but for sure wouldn’t be their last.
For a team to make it 18 years it takes a lot of hard work and confidence in one another. They work well together Tim says “if Mark stops out in the middle of the river I’m going to get up and start fishing” They credit a lot of their success to their wives letting them fish as often as they want Mark says he can never remember a time when his wife asked if he was fishing Saturday “It’s just a part of life for us” They both feel very fortunate to have wives that allow them to do what they love to do. Another key to their success is its always about teamwork. They work really hard for each other and even in tournaments they don’t fish together like a BFL or other event they still split the winnings with each other.
When the ABT came along they were both looking at other states that have big team trail tournaments and wondering why with some of the best fishermen and some of the best lakes why doesn’t Alabama have something like those states. When the ABT rolled around they rushed at the opportunity to sign up and have never missed a year. This past year and next year they even fished both divisions of the ABT. They said they would have fished both divisions sooner but with back to back events they felt it was going to be hard to find time to practice. Last year they decided to not let the lack of practice time keep them from fishing both divisions and just let the practice play out.
Fishing is often working to overcome obstacles and this year the obstacle for this team was the Alabama River They felt they were going to do really well they had a really good practice and it all changed overnight with the rising water conditions and weather conditions. They felt “when they got to the ramp that morning they could have zeroed” the completely had to scrap practice and make changed and they made a run way up the river to water that was less affected from the changes. This tournament really spun a lot of guys out and they were thankful to cash a check that day. Another obstacle they had to overcome was the first tournament of the year in the South Division, they had some mechanical issues and thankfully to Wedowee marine they were able to get back on the water about 9:30 that day. They would say they have a lot of fun coming. Not making the team championship last year was another obstacle they worked to overcome this year and were successful. In all their years of fishing there are countless stories about overcoming obstacles but in all the years they said they have really had a good time and focused on the fun. For them it really is about the fun.
The BASS Team Championship is no stranger to them they have been 4 times in the past and cashed a check each year. The had a top 10 finish at Kentucky lake. They are looking to continue to build on that past experience when they head to Lake Hartwell and have another good event. Tim has been to Hartwell before and fished a regional and they team says if they catch them, they are going to learn it in practice and really excited about fishing in December, they feel they are better fall and winter rather than springtime fishing for some reason. They are going to just go in there with a clear mind. Mark said its often events like this where not a lot of local guys are in the event and typically guys find fish really different that 9 time out 10 its usually one doing something that is really unexpected because the local factor just doesn’t matter in this event because most people aren’t from there. They feel the key is going out to find their fish and just fish their way and not rely on the other information.
AOY 6th Place
Lake Martin 71st
Lake Jordan 42nd
Alabama River 25th
Lay Lake 19th
Lake Eufaula 29th
AOY 12th Place
Smith Lake 6th
Weiss Lake 42nd
Neely Henry Lake 10th
Fished ABT 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019