Tim Griffith and David Eyrse Win 2019 Alabama Bass Trail Smith Lake
by Dan O’Sullivan
February 24, 2019 – Jasper, Ala. – The first event of the 2019 Alabama Bass Trail’s Northern Division was marked by several things. Most notably, the necessary decision by tournament officials to push the tournament from Saturday to Sunday due to severe weather that was to hit the area; but also by the extreme flood conditions that saw the surface of Lewis Smith Lake nearly 20 feet in little more than a week.
However, if there was a theme to the day, it would be running water.
That theme referred to the amount of water running into Smith Lake, the water running over the launch ramps and into the parking lot causing anglers, ABT officials and Jasper, Alabama officials extra factors to consider, and the running water pockets that seemed to be a consistent theme amongst those teams that did well in the event.
In the end, while there were difficulties that faced everyone, the event came off smoothly and the team of Tim Griffith and David Eyrse found a single running water pocket that produced a multitude of keepers. Those keepers in turn produced a final limit that weighed 19.19 pounds that gave them a victory, and earned them the $10,000 Winner’s prize and an automatic berth into the Alabama Bass Trail championship in October on Lake Guntersville.
The pair said that they had a terrible practice, and the day before the tournament ended up looking at a map of Smith Lake, settling on an area in Rock Creek that looked good, and choosing something that they felt they could catch fish on. “We only caught one weighable fish in practice and a bunch of slot fish so we decided to just go fishing,” they said. “We found a creek that had clear water running in the back for about 50 yards before it mixed with the dirty water; we caught our fish there.”
They reported catching their fish on several baits, but one lure really made the biggest difference. “The best of our fish came on a screw lock Shaky Head with half of a Senko as the lure,” they said. “We rigged it weedless, that way we could work it through any of the cover we came across. We sat in that one spot all day long and caught more than 60 keepers, culling through four or five limits before settling on our final limit around 4:00 p.m., we had a magical day it feels great to win and to be qualified for the championship already.”
The local team of Mark Meyer and Ty Campbell said that they spent their time up near Cullman and they used a football head jig and green pumpkin / chartreuse Gene Larew Biffle Bug creature bait combo and a Shaky Head Finesse worm to produce their 18.62-pound limit but earned them second place and the $5,000 runner-up prize.
“We’re from Cullman, so we kind of knew that we would need to look for running water and we found our fish in two pockets today,” they said. “We spent our day in those two pockets and were able to catch enough fish to do well, we just needed to be able to put one more good quality kicker fish in the Box to have a chance to win. But, we started off the season well and we’re pleased with the finish.”
The team of Jamie Smith and Michael Rains weighed 17.13 pounds to finish the day and third place, they earned $4,000 for their efforts.
The Mountain Dew Big Bass of the tournament went to the 111th place team of Aaron and James Knott, their 4.81-pounder earned them $500 for the big bass bonus.
The Norhern Division of the Alabama Bass Trail hits the water next at Wheeler Lake on March 23.
The Top 10 Standings are below, for complete standings, visit: https://www.alabamabasstrail.org/tournament-series/lsl-results/
|1||Tim Griffith / David Eyrse||19.19||4.26||$10,000|
|2||Mark Meyer / Ty Campell||18.62||4.58||$5,000|
|3||Jamie Smith / Michael Rains||17.13||$4,000|
|4||Cole Wade / Donny Wade||16.64||$3,000|
|5||Jason Smith / Chaz McMahan||16.37||$2,000|
|6||Mark McCaig / Tim Hurst||16.03||$1,500|
|7||Luke Kyle / Arch Cornett||15.86||$1,100|
|8||Charlie Cummings / Greg Pugh||15.68||$1,100|
|9||Chet Cleland / Dawson Cleland||15.67||$1,100|
|10||William Lynn / Donna Lynn||14.92||$1,100|
The sponsors of the 2019 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, Buffalo Rock, Mountain Dew, Jack’s, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Alabama Power Company, Lew’s Fishing, AFTCO, YETI, Power Pole, Big Bite Bait Company and E3 Apparel.
For information about Alabama Bass Trail and for complete tournament standings visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.