It’s Championship Week with Erick Sommers and Robbie Pelt
By Jason Duran
The 2022 Alabama Bass Trail Series Championship is the event teams have prepared for all season. Teams will converge on Lake Jordan in Wetumpka, AL hoping to hold the trophy and the check high at the end of this event. This is a two-day event that combines the top teams from the south and north divisions for a winner take all $50,000 first place prize. Another $50,000 will be paid through 25th place and a $500 big fish prize for a total purse of over $100,000.
Lake Jordan is typically a lake fished by the south division in the regular season. The team of Erick Sommers and Robbie Pelt are no strangers to Lake Jordan. They both have success fishing this lake; Erick won a regular season ABT on Lake Jordan in 2017 with 24.95 pounds.
They shared that a two-day tournament will be much different than the regular season one-day events. “On a one-day tournament you go out and catch all you can catch culling through them to get the biggest weight. I don’t think you necessarily need to do that in a two-day tournament. In this event, you need to come up with an ideal weight you need on the first day. We feel like it should be around 12-pounds and hope to go out on day 2 and catch the same or a little more,” said Erick.
They feel like the lake is setting up well for this event. Typically, when the ABT visits this lake, it fishes a little crowed and teams have to share water. “The fish are really scattered out right now, and the water temp is around 72° with partly cloudy skies and temps in the mid-70s.” The fish being scattered will cause the anglers to scatter as well. This allows for “teams to fish their strengths this weekend. If you’re a flipper, pick up a flipping rod and flip. If you’re an offshore fisherman, catch fish offshore. Anybody can come this weekend and catch fish the way they want to. Teams just need to find their style and go fishing.”
“The spotted bass are really healthy in Lake Jordan right now. This lake is well known for its spotted bass. In recent years the large mouth population has grown and more tournaments are now being won with largemouth than in previous years. In practice we caught some fat spotted bass because they are really feeding up right now since there is plenty of bait for them to eat. All the bait available to the fish right now could make catching this weekend a little more difficult.”
When asked about baits, Erick and Robbie shared, “it is going to be a hodgepodge deal as always. When you put this many boats on the lake, somebody is going to run up on a school of bigger spots where one day they will catch 17 pounds and the next day they may only have 7 pounds. Teams will be targeting fish using a lot of moving baits this weekend. Baits like a chatter bait, a rattletrap, and a crankbait are all good baits to use this weekend.”
“There really aren’t any more secrets here at Lake Jordan.” Everyone has Garmin Live Scope now, and “there aren’t any secret brush piles or secret ledges.” Teams fishing at this level are really good at breaking down the lake. “The teams from the south may have a little advantage because of their history here. However, teams from the north can bring fresh eyes to this lake and possibly pull up on those big spotted bass schooling and quickly put together a big limit.”
Erick and Robbie project it will take around 26 pounds to win this event, and they believe it is going to be a southern division team that will do it. However, they don’t count out the northern teams being able to put together some good bags in this event.
The lake host for this event is the City of Wetumpka. The registration and meeting will be held October 20, 2022, at Wetumpka Civic Center located at 410 Main Street in Wetumpka, AL. The launch and weigh-in will be held both days, October 21-22, 2022, at State Boat Ramp, 600 State Boat Ramp Road in Wetumpka, AL.
Tune in each morning starting with blast off and flowed by over four hours of live on the water coverage both days on the ABT website, ABT Facebook and ABT YouTube page. The weigh in will also be broadcast live on the same channels above.
The sponsors of the 2022 Alabama Bass Trail include: Phoenix Boats, Academy Sports,
Alabama Power, America’s First Federal Credit Union, American Trailer Rental Group,
BAJIO, Berkley, Big Bite Baits, Bill Penney Automotive, Black Rifle Coffee Company,
Buck N’ Bass, 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, Wedowee Marine, Yamaha, YETI