Alabama River Feature Story Robbie Pelt and David Caylor

Alabama River/ Cooter’s Pond preview with Robbie Pelt and David Caylor

By Jason Duran

Summertime is in full swing and ABT South Division anglers will find the Alabama River hot and ready for a great tournament.  With temps headed into the 90s and water temps in the mid-80s, the fishing has been tough. However, when the ABT comes to town, fishing tends to break outside the norm, teams find the fish and big bags are brought to the scales. 

The team of Robbie Pelt and David Caylor said, “the fishing has been really weird. It has not been your typical June pattern, and it is very sporadic. It is fishing more like August.” One of the reasons may be “because the water temps have risen rather quickly to the mid-80s and the fish are still trying to get adjusted.” 

Fishing on the Alabama River, teams will be targeting large-mouth and spotted bass. Robbie said a “15-16 pounds limit would be a good bag especially since recent events have only taken 13 pounds to win.” The secret in this event will be finding that one key bite. David said “you will see a lot of teams with fish in the 2-pound range, but the team that is able to add a big fish will possibly have a winning bag.”

A few major factors play into this event with one of those being the current.  “Recently there has been good current flow, but at any time they could just cut it off.” Robbie also said, “this lake is hard because you really don’t know what you’re working with until the morning you show up. I have seen it make major changes overnight. The water could fall 2 feet or rise just as much.” This could really help or hinder teams looking to fish the grass. They may show up and find their area completely different.  He said that’s why it is “important teams have about 10-15 areas to fish.”

Another factor will be fishing pressure. Fishing has been really popular this year with so many getting back out on the water. More people on the water is a good thing for fishing, but it has really affected tournament fishermen. The team explained, “the amount of pressure fish have experienced due to COVID is huge. This year it is not just learning to pattern the fish but also trying to pattern the fishing pattern. You can’t just pull up and fish a spot that looks good because so many other people have fished that same spot. Now you have to look harder for out of the way areas to find fish.”  

Timing is probably one of the most important factors this weekend. Teams need to mix in a river pattern, a shallow water pattern and probably fish water other teams have already fished. But, the timing will be key “hitting those spots at the right time and setting up right in the current.” The current schedules often coincide with the feeding period. Robbie said, the “morning bite will be crucial, and the next bite will be determined by current. There could be a three-hour lull then current turns on, and a team could pull up at the right time and win it in five minutes.”

The team noted that “typical summertime patterns are in play this weekend.” Teams could be fishing anything from jigs to topwater. The river is always a good place to find fish and the shallow water morning bite could help a team get off to a good start. This weekend we will probably see a lot of teams mixing it up to put together a win.

This tournament will continue to operate with social distancing guidelines.  All anglers should make sure they have checked text messages and emails for the latest information and changes made to keep everyone as safe as possible during this time.  There will be no pre-tournament meeting for this event. A virtual meeting on the ABT Facebook Page was posted this past Monday night. All friends and family are welcome to attend this event, so bring a lawn chair and watch some of the best fishermen in the southeast.  Everyone can also watch the live weigh-in and live coverage on the ABT Facebook page and the ABT website. The launch and weigh-in location is 1844 Cooter’s Pond Road, Prattville, AL.

Download and listen to the ABT Podcast on your favorite Podcast app by searching for “Alabama Bass Trail Podcast.”  The Podcast is released each week on Tuesday. 

The sponsors of the 2020 Alabama Bass Trail include; Phoenix Bass Boats, Bill Penney Toyota, Garmin, Academy Sports & Outdoors, America’s First Federal Credit Union, Sweet Home Alabama, Alabama Tourism Department, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, T-H Marine Supplies, Wedowee Marine, Strike King, Buffalo Rock, Mountain Dew, Jack’s, Fish Neely Henry, Alabama Power Company, Lew’s Fishing, Berkley, YETI, Power Pole, Big Bite Bait Company, E3 Apparel and Hydrowave.

For information about Alabama Bass Trail and for complete tournament standings visit