ABT North Team Profile Josh Butler and Randy Tolber, Jr.
This week’s Alabama Bass Trail Team Championship profile is the Wedowee Marine and Phoenix Boats team of Josh Butler and Randy Tolbert Jr. This is Josh and Randy’s first year fishing the ABT North division as a team. However, they have both spent a couple years fishing the ABT with other partners. Their 8th place finish for the 2019 ABT Season in the North division qualified them to fish the Bassmaster Team Championship on Lake Hartwell, SC December 11-14.
Josh and Randy have both had success fishing the Alabama Bass Trail in the past. The very first year of the ABT in 2014, Josh and his partner won the Lake Martin Tournament. Josh says he has spent a lot of time learning that lake. His knowledge of the lake shows well because he and his partner also won the ABT Championship in 2017. Josh said he spent 8 weeks preparing for the championship, and the Sunday before the championship he finally figured out the fishing pattern. Randy has had some success throughout the years as well. In 2016 Randy and his partner won the Weiss Lake tournament. Randy says he weighed in his biggest fish ever in a tournament with a fish over 7lbs. Randy finished 2017 with an 8th place AOY that qualified him and his partner for the BASS Team Championship that year as well.
The two met at a championship for another tournament trail on Old Hickory Lake while staying at the house with a few other guys who were also fishing the tournament. As the tournament progressed with cuts each day, guys in the house started getting cut. On the final day, they were the only two left staying at the house. They hit it off from there, started fishing some together and figured out they fished well together, so this year they decided to fish the ABT North division together. With their style of practicing and with lots of hard work, they feel they both bring something to the table that helps them. They fish a lot alike and really enjoy fishing off shore. They believe communication is big in team fishing, especially when you practice in separate boats. They break down water well together, can call each other and easily talk through what is working, and they understand each other really well. Because of all this, they feel they are successful as a team.
The 2019 season was a good solid year for Josh and Randy. As a team they cashed checks in four of the five events. Fishing clean was the key to some of their success- they said they only broke off one fish this year which really didn’t affect them. At each event they caught limits and were able to spend time upgrading their fish throughout the day. In a couple tournaments they were around the winning fish in practice but just made decisions to fish elsewhere on tournament day. Looking back, they were pleased with the year and look forward to fishing as a team next year.
Looking forward to the BASS Team Championship, they are really excited about how the lake sets up and hope to get on a pattern that lasts to get them to the final day. Plans are to go over before the cut off and spend some time practicing. Having the opportunity to qualify through the ABT is a huge accomplishment for them. Like others have said before, they agree the ABT is some of the stiffest competition anywhere. Week in and week out on the ABT there are always 40 or more guys in each event who are sticks on each lake and could win. The BASS Team Championship competition will be no different, and they are ready to compete. They both dream of making the Bassmaster Classic. Josh saying it would give him the chance to prove himself at that level. Randy saying it would be a dream because he was 2lbs 4oz away from making it when he was on the UGA fishing team.
2019 AOY 8th Place 963 Points
Smith Lake 22nd Place
Wheeler Lake 52nd Place
Weiss Lake 20th Place
Pickwick Lake 33rd Place
Neely Henry Lake 40th Place
2018 (Fished with Different Partners)
Josh Butler AOY 16th Mountain Home, Arkansas
Randy finished AOY 68th
Josh AOY 19th
Randy AOY 8th
Josh and his partner won the ABT Championship on Logan Martin Lake
Josh AOY 12th
Randy AOY 19th
Randy and his partner won Weiss Lake
Josh AOY 11th
Josh AOY 51st
Josh won the Logan Martin Lake