This week’s Alabama Bass Trail Bassmaster Team Championship profile is the South Division team of Myles Palmer and BJ Barnett. Palmer and Barnett secured an 8th place tie that qualified them for trip to the Bassmaster Team Championship. The 2019 Team Championship will be on Lake Hartwell at Green Pond Landing out of Anderson, SC on December 11-14.
2019 was the second year for Myles and BJ fishing the South Division. Their goal for this year was to “be consistent and make a run at the points.” They had a good start with a 9th place finish at Lake Martin. This year they worked really well as a team and didn’t allow themselves to get spun out. They finished in the money three times this year. They had hoped to make a run for AOY, but they just fell up a little short in the end. Overall, they felt it was a good second year on the ABT and are looking forward to 2020.
When asked how they got started fishing together, BJ said, “Myles just wouldn’t leave me alone.” Myles and BJ have known each other forever, and they often joked about fishing together. Finally, Myles prodded BJ, “just give me one year and let’s see how it goes.” BJ, having semi-retired from tournament fishing, had gotten to the point with competitive fishing where he didn’t care if he fished another bass tournament. But Myles continued to ask thinking if they could just get in the boat, put their heads together and build on some of their previous successes fishing other events separately, they could make a run for it and be successful. BJ had to get to a point in life where he could juggle time with two boys, their baseball games and doing life with them. He said, “I wanted to give it my best because Myles is a great fisherman.” He knew that in order to do well he had to put his time in and had to get to a point in life where he could do just that. So, in 2018 the two began their ABT team career on Lay lake. Looking back BJ said the best thing that ever happened to him was getting back into fishing and the ABT. He was super impressed with Kay, Clay and the whole ABT Staff, and is glad he finally gave in to Myles.
A tournament that stood out to them was their first year on Lake Martin. They had about 11 lbs. in the boat and the during last 40 minutes of the tournament they made a decision to change things up. They made a run to a set of docks they had previously noticed, and BJ caught two fish off one dock which gave them a 3rd place finish that day. This finish boosted their confidence as team and set the tone for what they could do if they stayed calm and continued to make good decisions. They knew it wouldn’t always work out, but that one did. That third-place finish felt really good after coming off a 113-place finish at Lay Lake. They have learned not to fish scared and to have the confidence that every time they put the boat in the water they are fishing for a win. “With the competition in the ABT you just can’t fish scared; you have to believe you are good enough fishermen to get five bites… just be sure they are the right five bites.“
Looking forward to the BASS Team Championship BJ has already been checking things out. Like others, BJ and Myles think Lake Hartwell may fish like Lake Martin and Smith Lake, and the competition will be tough. However, they have decided to approach it with their same attitude of fishing to win when they put the boat in the water. They are really looking forward to it and think it is a career changing event for the team who wins. “It’s really an honor to be there and make it to that level, and it would be a dream come true to make the Classic and have the opportunity.” BJ said that he would love to finish second to Myles and see him have the opportunity to fish the Classic. “I’m not going to give up and let him just have it though; I’ll make him work for it.”
While their eyes are on Hartwell, and they are excited about that opportunity, they are still focused on fishing the ABT Championship on Guntersville and hoping for a great event there as well.
AOY 8th Place tie 920
Lake Martin 9th Place
Lake Jordan 34th Place
Alabama River 56th Place
Lay Lake 22nd Place
Lake Eufaula 89th Place
They have fished as a team in 2019, 2018