By Jason Duran
The concluding tournament for the Alabama Bass Trail South Division was held at the Alabama River Cooter’s Pond. All season long teams have been fishing for points hoping to make the ABT Championship and BASS Team Championship. The points race was very close leading up to this event which only added to the importance of this final event. After practice, teams expected this final event be tough fishing. Like in all ABT events, teams would once again rise to the competition to do their best in the final event.
The team of Brian Adamson and Ryan Lloyd started this event in 12th place in the AOY standings. They knew they had some work to do if they wanted to make the Top 9 and fish in the BASS Team Championship. “We made a long run this morning, and Brian caught a big one first thing giving us a small limit early. We kept our heads down and fished hard getting the other two big bites to seal the deal about 1:00.” They weighed in 16.99 pounds including a 5.17 kicker and enough for the win. “The plan for us was just to survive; we wanted to fish to win, but we really wanted to make the top 9. We started out early this morning fishing a topwater frog shallow in 0 to 1 foot of water. We soon realized we were going to have to make an adjustment. We changed it up and flipped a Z Craw and focused on the less obvious stuff and places nobody else was fishing. We fished around isolated wood mainly along the river channel. We were fortunate to get those two bites late in the day that really made the difference for us. With this win they collected a $10,000 payday plus the $2,500 Phoenix Pay Day Bonus and $500 Garmin Bonus. Along with the win that automatically qualifies them for the ABT Championship, they also moved into 6th place in AOY standing and qualified for the BASS Team Championship.
The team of Foster “Chip” Bradley and Nick Harris finished in second place with 16.56 pounds and a 5.27 kicker. “Practice was a little spotty for us; we located some areas that were holding fish, but we didn’t know they were five pounders until today. Today, we made the long run down river to where we practiced because we are just more comfortable on that end of the lake. It is a risk when you make the run down there because of all the boat traffic messing up the water, but because we have already qualified for the Team Championship and we missed the Eufaula tournament, we felt we had nothing to lose. We had one other area close where we could have caught 13-14 pounds, but we decided to make the run and take the risk. We stayed on the river for the first 2 hours swimming a White Davis jig around grass mats- the same jig we won the Logan Martin tournament on. We fished it around isolated grass mats that were hung up in the trees along the bank. We hit a bunch of little grass spots along the main river expecting to catch more fish in the three-pound range, but we were excited to catch some over 5 pounds. After 9:00, the bite just got tough. We caught around 15 throughout the day.” The heartbreaker for them was they had a dead fish penalty that cost them the win. This is the second time this has happened to them. It is difficult to win these events, and everything has to go perfect for a win. They “checked the fish before they headed back, and it was fine; it just didn’t make it in the end.” With their second-place finish they collected a $5,000 payday plus a $2,000 AmFirst highest finisher bonus.
Terry Stevens and Kyle Dorsett caught 14.47- enough for third place. Kyle “spent a little time practicing yesterday and caught one about four pounds, so we decided to start there. I have a lot of confidence here because it’s not going to take a lot of weight to win, and we can fish our strengths here. It helps because this is not a tournament where there are a lot of teams out fishing a drop shot and catching a bunch of fish. The fishing is tough here, and that’s more my style. I really like it here. This is our fourth top 12 here in the ABT.” The team made a run down river to start their day. “The river widens out down on that end the farther you go and provides some nice backwater areas as well. We quickly caught four keepers close to the bank fishing wood and grass using a homemade green pumpkin jig and a War Eagle shad colored spinner bait. We ran all the way down, came back upriver 12 miles, and ran all the way back down to put together the final weight of 14.47 and culling through a total of 12 keepers.” They finished in 20th place in AOY and qualified for the ABT Team Championship. The team of Rob Lee and Steve Winslett finished this event in 14th place giving them enough points to move them to the top of the AOY leader board. This is their first AOY. Last year, they led AOY the whole year, but came up short with a finish in 4th. This year they were not to be outdone; they finished on top and also qualified for the ABT and Bass Team Championships.
The AOY Standings for the South Division:
|Rob Lee/Steve Winslett
|Chris Rutland/Coby Carden
|Ethan King/Fletcher Phillips
|Lanier Burton/Kelly Jaye
|Justin Mott/Randal Hamilton
|Brian Adamson/Ryan Lloyd
|Frank Bradfield/Tyler Morgan
|Michael Adams/Raymond Adams
|Mark Mccaig/Tim Hurst
|Jacob George/Ryan Sweeney
|Josh Chapple/Paul Davis
The top ten standings are below, for a complete list of standings please visit the tournament results page.
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.
For Live coverage from this event and others visit https://www.youtube.com/@alabamabasstrailtv
The sponsors of the 2023 Alabama Bass Trail include: Phoenix Boats, Academy Sports, Alabama Power, America’s First Federal Credit Union, American Trailer Rental Group, BAJIO, Big Bite Baits, Bill Penney Automotive, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Anheuser – Bush, Inc., E3 Sports Apparel, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Garmin, Jack’s, Lew’s, Mtn Dew, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, Power-Pole, Strike King, Sweet Home Alabama, T-H Marine, Yamaha, YETI Coolers.