This week’s Alabama Bass Trail Bassmaster Team Championship profile is the team of John Pollard and Dallas Weldon from the South Division. Their 7th place finish in the South Division qualified them for the trip to the Bassmaster Team Championship on Lake Hartwell at Green Pond Landing out of Anderson, SC on December 11-14.
John and Dallas met at church around 2001 when John’s wife became friends with Dallas’ soon to be wife, who he was just dating at the time. John discovered that Dallas liked to fish and fished local club level tournaments. John had been fishing events with his father and while he enjoyed fishing with him he was looking to fish a little faster and decided to branch out on his own with Dallas. The pair began fishing together as a team in 2002 and won their third tournament together on Lake Jordan. They fish well together because they think alike. Some of their success is credited to no longer practicing in the same boat together. Before practice starts, they decide how they are going to practice and what each should do to break down the lake. Covering different areas of the lake and types of water is important to them. They work well together and the trust they have developed over 17 years helps them cover more water in practice. They each know if the other practices in an area, it’s covered. John has spent some time sharing his knowledge of fishing with others. John currently coaches the fishing team at Faulkner University in Montgomery, AL. Helping those guys learn to work together as a team and become better fishermen is also something he is proud of.
Last year they won the overall ABT AOY. They were in a first-place tie going into the final tournament of the year with other teams right on their heels. Their mindset was that they had to win the last tournament to win AOY. They ended up in 6th place, but it still worked out for them to win AOY. The partners agreed the ABT is “full of guys who are really good, and if you don’t work hard, they will take your lunch money every week. It was an honor to win AOY and a blessing for it all to work out.”
This year brought their first ABT win. Lake Martin is what they consider their home lake and one they know a great deal about. Thinking they would have an opportunity to have a good bag of largemouth, the goal was to target largemouth all day. The first stop was a spotted bass spot where they didn’t catch anything of significant size, so the plan shifted to largemouth fishing. The next couple of hours were spent targeting shallow wood and shallow docks. Around 10am the team didn’t have a single largemouth and only one 12-inch spot. This got them thinking to themselves that they might have made a bad call, but, like they were hoping, the sun came out and warmed up the water, so they were able to get 5 quality largemouth bites and land them in the boat. The pattern for the day ended up with fishing simple and flipping a Phenix jig around any cover they came too. They used some of their history targeting areas where largemouth pull up to first that time of year saying, “we have been fishing there forever, and we knew when the lake turned on that afternoon like it did there were going to be a number of guys who would have a good day. We never thought we had it won especially with the competition on that lake. “
Dallas said, “to finally win an ABT event was a huge relief. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to win one of these, and it’s almost impossible even though there have been multiple winners. I didn’t know if it was ever going to come. It’s hard to win against these guys, so it gives you a sense of pride and relief to win, especially on your home pond.”
With that win alone they collected over $21,000 including bonus money from the Phoenix boat Dallas purchased from Wedowee Marine along with other bonuses from ABT, AFTCO, GARMIN, T-H Marine and Toyota. John says “he hasn’t kept up with their winnings over the years, but feels like it’s well over $150,000 in all their events combined. He says he wishes he would have kept up with the money, but he realizes it sitting in their garages in boats and tackle.”
The duo is really looking forward to BASS Team Championship on Lake Hartwell and want to build on their trip to the championship last year. They have no experience on Lake Hartwell but have been told it fishes a lot like Lake Martin, and if that is true, “they are excited to get up there and check things out.” The plan is to try some of things that work for them on Lake Martin to see if they work there. Dallas plans to spend some time before the cut off just riding around and looking the lake over. He enjoys cold weather fishing and says “it beats a lot of people in tournaments. I feed off confidence, and I have more confidence when the weather turns bad because you can beat half the field at that point because they are upset about the weather.” The competition will be tough, and it may not matter where you are from that determines your win. John says a Classic berth “would be a dream come true. I’ve tried for years through the opens and have been close a couple times. It would be mixed emotions to have to fish through Dallas to get there, but if it gets to that point, it would depend on who found the fish in practice. That would be who gets them in the end.”
AOY 7th Place South Division
Lake Martin 1st Place Finish
Lake Jordan 7th Place Finish
Alabama River 36th Place Finish
Lay Lake 131st Place Finish
Lake Eufaula 18th Place Finish
AOY 1st Place
Fished ABT South Division 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018