Steven McAvoy and Josh Butts win Lake Guntersville with 29.55
By Jason Duran
Lake Guntersville was the site for the second stop of five for the Alabama Bass Trail North Division. The ABT continues its 10th season where it all started at Lake Guntersville in 2014. The changing weather conditions including high winds and falling temps were expected to make the fishing difficult. However, Lake Guntersville showed out in true form with 22 teams weighing over 20-pounds.
The team of Stephen McAvoy and Josh Butts were looking to repeat on their Lake Guntersville victory from 2021 where they weighed in 28.28 for the win. This year they were 199 of 225 boats to take off from Lake Guntersville State Park. At take-off they planned to make the quick run to the Brown’s Creek bridge, the site of their 2021 win. Due to the popularity of that area, they had little hope they would be able to get a spot, but they were going to give it a try first. When they arrived at Brown’s Creek, it was just as expected with many teams already fishing, but they set up on one of the bridge corners and went to work. On the third cast of the morning, they caught a 6-pound fish using an unnamed 6-inch swimbait in natural color and in white and chartreuse that they have confidence in. Making casts and slow retrieves around the bridge, they quickly caught a limit of about 17- pounds. During a lull in the action, they decided to make a move and try some of the areas they located in practice. The wind was not blowing in these areas, and since they could not produce a bite, they moved around eventually returning to Brown’s Creek. They made their final cull at 4:25 before having to make the run back to weigh in. The team weighed in 29.55 pounds securing a second ABT win on Lake Guntersville. This win makes three total for them including an ABT Championship win in 2021 at Lay Lake. With this win, they collected a $10,000 pay day, the AM First $2000 highest finisher, and the $500 Garmin highest finisher bonus for a total of $12,500 and proof they are the team to beat on Lake Guntersville.
The second place team was Wesley Sams and Jordan Wiggins who has “spent the last two months here fishing various events and checking the areas they fished.” Jordan “didn’t get a bite but knew with the warming temperatures they had to be there at some point. It is the mouth of a spawning bay. We went there Thursday and caught three big ones in a matter of three casts. We knew then we had found something special, so we got out of there. We caught other fish all over the lake in practice running shallow grass.” They returned to the special spot for tournament day and went to work. Wesley felt like the key for them was, “targeting shallow grass using the outside edges of the grass. The cooler temps pulled the fish out a little. In practice the fish were in knee deep water, but today they were in 5–7-foot range.” They used a Z-Man Jack Hammer with a Reaction Innovations Big Dipper trailer and a rattle trap in those same areas. They culled out over 18 pounds twice throughout the day to get to the second-place weight of 25.73. For second place they earned a $5,000 check and a Phoenix Boats Pay Day of $2,500 for a total of $7,500.
Donny Beck and Tony Harvey finished in third place with 25.48-pounds. They located fish in practice on about four spots from the mid lake area and north. Like the other teams, they caught some big fish in practice and decided to leave them alone until tournament day. They started tournament day on a grass line on the edge of a spawning flat using a Magdraft swimbait in water depth 5-10 feet. Throughout their day, they worked through those four spots found in practice. “The key was to keep the boat in about 10-feet of water fishing grass with Eel and Hydrilla grass mixed in. We used a rattle trap to locate the holes in the grass and followed up with the swimbait.” For third place, they collected $4000.
The top five standings are below for a complete list of standings please visit:
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.