Lake Martin Feature Story

Lake Martin preview with Rob Lee and Steve Winslett

By Jason Duran

The ABT South Division prepares for stop number two at Lake Martin. The 225 teams have been practicing with the hope of claiming the $15,000 first-place check. The Alexander City Chamber of Commerce is this week’s Lake Host. They say “Lake Martin is Alabama’s biggest playground with nearly 900 miles of pristine shoreline and more than 40,000 acres of stunning views.” The team of Rob Lee and Steve Winslett are looking to use some of that 40,000 acres to produce another win for them on the ABT.

Rob and Steve are one of the most consistent ABT teams on Lake Martin. They have won twice in 2023 and 2018. They placed 3rd twice. Their lowest place finish is 9th and they also have a 5th place finish.  They won the 2023 AOY for the South Division and have been in the top 5 in AOY for a few years. Those stats alone make them a team to watch this week.

The team spent most of the week in practice. When asked how it was going, they shared, “Lots of things are changing with the water. The weather and conditions that are predicted for Saturday, that is what is going to dictate what is going to happen this weekend.” Typically, this time of year anglers can expect “the stained water because they are dropping the lake this time of year and the generators are producing a good current up the river. Teams will be fishing river seams and river points with rock and wood. The water will be stained with all the rain and teams will be using a chartreuse black with red crankbait or Colorado blade spinner bait in these areas. The current will turn the fish on in that area. The water temperature is already in the 60s and that is helping the fishing. Fish are wanting to head to the bank, and the off-colored water is usually the best this time of year to catch the big largemouth. There probably won’t be a bunch of fish up shallow; there are lots of fish still out deep. The full moon was a couple of weeks ago so they may be just waiting for the next one. The problem we are going to run into is Friday night they are calling for severe weather. The shallow fish do not like thunder and lightning and that will probably bring the weights down. The fish that are up shallow will probably pull out deeper and that will probably bring the forward-facing sonar into play a lot. The FFS will probably be one of the strong patterns this weekend.”

Teams looking to get away from the stained water can “fish the mid-lake area. The water will still have some color, but it will not be muddy like it is upriver.  Great baits for this area are a Willow leaf chartreuse and white spinner bait and you can get away with some shad pattern crankbaits. Teams could get lucky just going down the bank with a shaky head catching a five-pounder and probably win. The fish are going to be scattered out.”

“Further down the lake to the Kowaliga area where the water is drinking water clear, teams that can get out of the wind can find fish out deeper including spotted bass and largemouth. Without the sunshine that warms up the upper water column, the fish will be much further out and deeper because normally the sun brings them to the surface and the bank. A Jerkbait will be productive in this area.”

They predict the winning weight to be from the “15-17 pound range and 10-11 pounds to get a check. The fishing is kind of tough, but they are close to heading to the bank. The weather may just hold them back this weekend.”

The Pre-Tournament Briefing was held via Facebook Live and YouTube on Monday, March 4, 2024, at 6:00 P.M.  Blast Off & Weigh-In: March 9, 2024, Wind Creek State Park, 4325 AL-128 Alexander City, AL 35010. All friends and family are welcome to attend this event. Bring lawn chairs and see some of the best bass teams in the country cross the stage. Everyone can watch the live weigh-in and over 4 hours of on-the-water live coverage on the ABT Facebook page, YouTube, and the ABT website.

The 2024 Alabama Bass Trail Sponsors Include: Phoenix Boats, AMFirst, Landers – McLarty Chevrolet, McGraw – Webb Chevrolet, Rapala, VMC, Crush City, Buffalo Rock, Academy Sports & Outdoors, Jack’s, Garmin, Alabama State Parks, Halo Fishing, Snag proof, NetBait, Bait Fuel, TH Marine Supplies, Power-Pole, Pro Guide Batteries, American Trailer Rental, Yamaha, Anheuser-Busch, Big Bite Baits and