By Jason Duran
In recent weeks Lake Eufaula has seen pressure from some of the best pros in the sport. The lake has produced huge weights time and time again. It was time for the best teams in Southeast to take their turn on the lake when the Alabama Bass Trail South Division converged on Lake Eufaula. Going against the norm, the team of Shane Powell and Tim Fox did things a little different to win with 26.22 pounds.
Shane and Tim went against the grain and started out the morning deep. They went to work fishing a roadbed. Tim said, he “was really surprised they had the whole spot to themselves.” It is a well-known community area that stretches out for a couple miles, and they were able to locate a stretch that quickly produced 19 pounds. In practice they noticed “the fish were really feeding out deep early.” Making the decision to go deep early when a good majority of the field went shallow was unique. Timing proved to be a deciding factor because when they returned later in the morning to check the roadbed again, it didn’t produce a bite.
Once the sun came out, the bite died down on the roadbed, so they moved to their second spot where they fished out a little deeper to the ledges. There they used a 10XD and upgraded a few times. Shane said there “were still large schools of fish there.” Shane also said they continued to notice “they had areas completely to themselves because guys were still up shallow”
At the end of the day Shane and Tim switched up and moved shallow. Using a white ½ oz War Eagle spinnerbait they targeted shallow water brush piles. Shane said, “we could see shad busting the surface on the top of the brush piles.” He felt “with it being so hot the key was to use a smaller bait to get down in the brush pile and the fish would knock slack in their line. The fish didn’t really want a big bait, and those two fish in the last hour really catapulted us up to the top.”
Altogether they caught about 40-50 fish. They said, “the key was really mixing it up and fishing deep to shallow.” They avoided the traffic that way and really fished opposite of the rest of the field. When they showed up in their areas, the fish were active, no one was there, and they could fish it the way they wanted too. Their key baits were: Strike King black and blue Pro Model Jig with a Rage Craw Menace trailer, Strike King Natural Shad 10Xd Crankbait, and a War Eagle ½ oz white spinnerbait with willow leaf blades and a Big Bites white grub as a trailer.
Steve Graziano and Greg Hall finished 2nd with 23.96 pounds. Steve said, “we started early on one of the biggest community holes on the lake called the Potty Hole” and fished on his name sake hole, “the Graz hole… not where we caught our fish.” They ended up catching fish in about 20 feet of water by fishing “natural lake structure.” They said the key for them was “hard bottom like a shell bed.” Steve said he is “not a brush pile fisherman and prefers to fish the way he did today.” Greg said “typically this time of year the brush pile bite is fading away and it gives way to how we fished today. But this year has not been a typical year, and everything has been trending later.” Steve said he “felt his areas got better today because they dropped the water about 6 inches today.” Most of their fish were caught later in the morning using an “unnamed dark worm on heavy shaky head and a homemade Brush Puppy jig.” They also threw a Strike King 10Xd that they couldn’t get the fish to bite. Steve is a local guide on the lake, and he said, “that is usually a jinx in these tournaments, but we fished an area that was replenishing quick” and were able to put together enough for second place.
It took 22.71 for third place. The team of Kenny Smith and RJ Thompson found a stretch on the main lake that was holding fish early, and they put together a good limit before 8am. Kenny described the area as a “main lake, shallow bank with grass.” The key stretch was a few hundred yards long. When asked what was holding the fish there shallow, they answered “blue gill.” They spent most of their day flipping that area with a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver in Green Pumpkin color. RJ said he also “caught one of their bigger fish on a brim colored Dirty Jigs swim jig with a Skinny Dipper trailer.” The plan for them was to stay shallow all day. Kenny said he spent a lot of time graphing out deep in practice and found some good brush piles but “that’s just not who we are… we like to go to the bank.” This 3rd place finish moved them to 34th in points going in to the final event on Lay Lake.
The top ten standings are below, and for a full list of results visit: https://www.alabamabasstrail.org/tournament-series/le-results/
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 Lake.com, 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 www.alabamabasstrail.org.