With a 2nd place AOY finish in the South Division, Ken Walters and Jason Beasley have once again qualified for the BASS Team Championship Dec 11-14. They look forward to building on previous experience on Lake Hartwell and hope to do their best to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic.
Both Ken and Jason grew up fishing with their fathers. Ken’s dad taught him early on about tournaments through his history of fishing with Ray Scott and the invitational tournament back in the 70s. He was in the Capital City Bassmasters and was a director for the BASS federation. Ken and Jason each fished the Capital City Bassmasters about 18 years ago too- that’s actually where the two began fishing together. After their bass club dissolved, they started traveling together fishing other events; Ken always as the boater and Jason always fished non-boater, but they would practice together for those events.
Their fishing styles complement each other. Ken says, “Jason is in the boat because he likes to throw big crankbaits,” and Jason says, “he does his back of the boat thing that seems to work out well for us.” Ken is described as a better shallow water fisherman and flipping piers. In the three years they have fished the ABT together, their lowest AOY finish has been 11th place. Their first year fishing together brought them a 3rd place AOY finish.
The 3rd place AOY finish in 2017 earned them their first trip to the BASS Team Championship on Norfolk Lake in Arkansas. The team refers to that event as the “Arkansas disaster.” When asked for explanation, they described it as one thing after another that went wrong every time. Heading back to the dock after practicing in separate boats, Ken was reluctant to park his new Phoenix boat up against the dock because he didn’t want to scratch it. Being a good partner, Jason tied up his boat and went to get Ken’s truck to load his boat first. Ken tossed his truck keys to Jason and, as if it occurred in slow motion, the keys flew through the air, hit one of Jason’s poles, bounced into the water and sunk down 60’. That was just the beginning of the Arkansas Disaster! They cut the lock off Ken’s trailer and got the boat loaded using Jason’s truck. The rest of the week was spent trying to get a key made for Ken’s truck- the locksmith even broke down on the way, so they had to go get him. The Arkansas Disaster came to a close weighing in only one fish for the tournament. Their main accomplishment that week was just getting everything back home.
This year in the South Division, checks were cashed in 4 out of 5 events, and they had two top five finishes. They did the best they have ever done at Lake Eufaula with 24.19 lbs and a 5th place finish on a day it took over 18 lbs to get a check. Check out the ABT TV Show for some on the water action from them in that event. Jason said they “could have won the Lake Martin event except he lost a fish.” He flipped up to a pontoon boat with his rod was at the 1 o’clock position, so he wasn’t able to get a good hook set and the fish came up jumping and spit out his lure. Jason “wanted to puke after that.”
With the Arkansas Disaster behind them they look forward to this year’s BASS Teams Championship on Hartwell. Both have fished other championship level events there with good finishes. Jason almost won an event there as a co-angler. They weren’t able to make any practices before the cut off but feel like they have a good working knowledge of the lake. The plan is to head up the Saturday before the event to practice and put together a game plan. They hope to find them deep where no one else will be looking, and feel it will set up much like Lake Martin, the lake Ken grew up on. They estimate it should take 14-16 lbs a day to land in the top three. Of course, they want to do well and represent all the ABT family well at this event. Jason said, “I hope I make it to the final day and win because that means I was finally able to beat Ken.”
Ken Walters Jason Beasley
South Division: 2nd AOY
Lake Martin: 4th Place
Lake Jordan: 13th Place
Alabama River: 55th Place
Lay Lake: 23rd Place
Lake Eufaula: 5th Place
3rd Place AOY South
11th Place AOY South
Fished ABT as a team 2017, 2018, 2019
Ken fished with another partner previous years