Neely Henry Lake Preview with Mark McCaig and Tim Hurst

By Jason Duran

The Alabama Bass Trail North Division is back in action this week. Neely Henry Lake was originally scheduled for April 18, but due to COVID-19, it has been rescheduled for this weekend. The winners from this year’s Wiess Lake event, Mark McCaig and Tim Hurst, hope they can capture another Coosa River chain win.

Mark and Tim said, “We normally don’t fish a regular season ABT event this late in the year, and because of that anglers can expect this tournament to play out a little differently than it would have back in April.”

One big difference this week will be spotted bass playing a big role. It will probably take a mixed bag to win. Mark said another difference could be “a lot of fish caught off ledges which is hardly the case on a Coosa River chain…but, it will be this weekend.” With water temps in the high 80’s to low 90’s, he believes the fish will leave the shallows for deeper and cooler water.

When asked about the dominant pattern right now, they agree, “There really isn’t a pattern.” Fish can be caught on crankbaits and even dragging a worm. The current always plays a factor in the summer as well. Not knowing when they will “pull a little water (maybe start at 8, 10, or some other time)” can make it tricky. Mark “always checks the app for the latest information because the water coming on is important here.”

16.5 pounds brought them a win on Neely Henry last week, but they expect it to take that much to win this week. So, they have really put in the extra practice for this week’s event.
Mark really “likes a tough tournament as long as he is catching them. They only caught 7 fish last week and plan to spend some time upriver looking for a spotted bass bite and waiting for the current this week.”

Many teams are hoping for some rainfall this week to break up the hot, summertime conditions we have been experiencing these last few days. They are also hoping the rain would produce a little extra current this weekend to help make those spotted bass bite more.

This tournament will continue to operate with social distancing guidelines. 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 will be no pre-tournament meeting for this event. There is a virtual meeting on the ABT Facebook Page that was posted this past Monday night. All friends and family are welcome to attend this event; bring lawn chairs and practice social distancing. Everyone can watch the live weigh-in and live coverage on the ABT Facebook page and the ABT website. The launch and weigh-in location is:
Coosa Landing located at 1 Huff Drive in Gadsden. Take off will be at safe daylight and the first flight will be due in at 2:00 P.M.