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Smith Lake preview with Brent Crow

By Jason Duran

The Alabama Bass Trail North Division prepares for stop number two at Smith Lake. Smith Lake is Alabama’s deepest lake with a depth of 264 feet at the dam, over 500 miles of shoreline and some of the best spotted bass fishing in Alabama. ABT North teams are looking to rebound after a very tough first event and will find Smith Lake ready. Teams looking to make up some points will find Smith Lake the place to catch limits but breaking outside the average will be key. ABT angler Brent Crow says this week’s weather might hinder the largemouth bite but could help the spotted bass bite and make for a great event.

Brent shared, “the typical winter to spring pattern for Smith Lake is fishing run ins.” Run ins are created when it rains, and water flows down from the high elevation making its way through the valleys into the lake. This sometimes creates a waterfall and brings with it warmer freshwater. When this happens, it makes for a prime spotted bass spot. Brent shared that many teams know this pattern well. “The last time the ABT was on Smith Lake this time of year it was won on the run ins pattern. I am not sure if the run ins will play a factor this week. In recent weeks we have had rain- cold rain and the teams that watch last week’s MLF event that was here probably noticed no one who finished in the money was caught them on run ins.”

With below freezing temps expected most of the day Saturday, this event could be setting up to be a great spotted bass tournament. Brent said lots of teams will catch limits and could possibly see some good weights. “Spotted bass kind of like it cold. Some of the bigger bags I've ever seen at Smith Lake have been in the wintertime when it was just nasty weather.” Typically, at Smith Lake teams will find a good largemouth bite up the river and combine that with a few spotted bass for a good solid limit. “With the weather setting up to be really cold it won’t affect the spotted bass, but it will affect the largemouth and could possibly make the weights a little lighter. I think it's probably going to be sixteen or seventeen pounds for a winning weight and probably take twelve pounds to get a check.”

“The fish aren’t really grouped up right now, and that plays well to my strengths,” said Brent. “You're not going to find a school and catch one after another. Teams are going to have to cover water. The cooler weather will push the fish out of the pockets completely, and teams must find them.”  This event sets up well for teams that know how to use their electronics. Teams will spend lots of time focusing on fish offshore using their Garmin Live Scope to locate and target fish.

“Teams probably can fish their strengths here. There's going to be a lot of different ways to catch fish. Teams will be using everything from soft plastics, spoons, crankbaits in and around bluff walls and even just going down the bank fishing.”  Brent said it depends on how the weather plays out before the event. If we get a rain and some warm water flowing into the run ins that could be a whole different event, but if not, the pattern will probably be an offshore bite.

This week’s weather has once again thrown ABT anglers a curve ball. Teams that fish the ABT have learned mother nature does not play well on tournament weekends. However, angler have adapted and will rise to the occasion and bring their best five bass to the scales with hopes to claim the top prize of $10,000. 

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 past Monday night.

All friends and family are welcome to attend this event, bring lawn chairs and watch the weigh-in. Everyone can watch the live weigh-in and over 4 hours of on-the-water live coverage on the ABT Facebook page and the ABT website. The launch and weigh-in will be held at Smith Lake Dam.

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 Penny Automotive, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Buck N’ Bass, Anheuser – Bush, Inc., E3 Sports Apparel, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Garmin, Jack’s, Lew’s, Mountain Dew, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, Power-Pole, Strike King, Sweet Home Alabama, T-H Marine, Wedowee Marine, Yamaha, Navionics and YETI Coolers.

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