Lay Lake Feature with Foster Bradley and Nick Harris
By Jason Duran
Lay Lake is stop number four of five for the Alabama Bass Trail South Division. Lay Lake is a 12,000-acre reservoir located in east-central Alabama. The lake was impounded in 1914 by the Alabama Power Company for hydroelectric generation also creating a great recreational lake and home to an abundant spotted bass and largemouth bass population. With only two tournaments left, this is the point in the season when teams begin to pay close attention to the points race. Teams looking to qualify for the ABT championship and BASS Team Championship only have two more events to make the cut. While teams have worked hard all season to accumulate those points, some teams approach each event as an opportunity to win and cash a $10,000 first place prize.
The team of Foster Bradley and Nick Harris currently sit in 8th place in AOY with 591 points and have decided they really want to win a ABT event. Winning AOY is a goal they shared earlier in the year, but with the first place team of Rob Lee and Steve Winslett currently with 648 points, they have a lot of ground to make up; and Rob and Steve would need to really stumble. They could play it safe, catch a decent limit and hold on to the points, but they really would like to win one.
When asked about the pattern on the lake going into this weekend, they said, “it’s not summer time yet- I can assure you that. We have been fishing there the last three or four weeks, and we feel like it’s the middle of April. It’s not your typical middle of May on Lay. It’s actually tough fishing right now. Typically, this time of year, the fish have already made the move out post spawn. We know that a lot of people are probably thinking that it’s going to be an offshore bite. There will be some moving out where some teams will be able to catch some deep, but we don’t see the numbers moving out there just yet. A couple factors keeping the fish from doing that. The brim just now started pulling up Shallow. For the past three weeks, we’ve been catching fish off the bed. There are still a good bit of males that are on beds guarding fry. The fish are really in a weird state right now. With the weather we’ve had this week, it could happen quick and cause more to move out. Everything’s very, very stable. We’re coming into a full moon this weekend and that typically pulls fish to the bank. So, we have fish that are wanting to head out deeper- mix that in with an early morning shad spawn and the full moon pulling them back to the bank- it is like they just can’t decide what to do.”
When asked about areas of the lake that are productive this time of year, the team shared, “the area up river and north of the 280 bridge is a very productive area this time of year. It will probably be won up river, and there are a few teams in this event that know the river really well. That area is more stable, and the fish tend to spawn later in that area, so mixing that up with a shad spawn will probably play a key role in this event. Teams will be looking to catch a good kicker early if not a couple kickers early from the shad spawn. If they can do that, it will change the outcome of the whole day. Teams could have a good solid bag by 8am just off the shad spawn if they hit it right. However, there are just a couple of those type areas in the lake, and we don’t have an early boat draw, so we probably won’t be able to fish that pattern because there will already be teams on that spot.”
A couple of key baits will play into this weekend. “Teams always catch them on a swim jig here, but it’s probably not going to be us,” they shared jokingly. Another key bait will be a” topwater frog” that can be used early and in the grass.“ If teams go up the river, it could be a spook or a swimbait, and a scrounger or something up the river up in the current.
With all the new teams on the ABT this year there are some teams that may have not spent much time on Lay Lake. Foster and Nick shared, “teams coming here for the first time need to know there is a lot of dead water on the south end of the lake. Teams could spend lots of time fishing and not get many bites. The fish often seem to group up in some areas and the fishing is very productive in those area. Teams need to focus on covering water until they get a bite and then slow down and fish through the area.”
All anglers should make sure they have checked text messages and emails for the latest information and changes made to keep everyone as safe as possible during this time. There was a virtual meeting posted on the ABT Facebook Page earlier this week.
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 Launch and Weigh-In will be held at Beeswax Landing 245 Beeswax Park Road Columbiana, AL 35051
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 Coolers.