Benjie Seaborn and Johnathan Seaborn with 22.19 win Neely Henry ABT
By Jason Duran
The Alabama Bass Trail North Division made stop number three of five at Lake Neely Henry. The halfway point in the season makes anglers start paying attention to the Angler of the Year points race. Teams wanting to qualify for the ABT Championship must finish in the top 75 to qualify. The top 9 teams will also qualify to fish the Bassmaster Team Championship. Team are working hard to make all those events and looking to get the win here at Neely Henry.
Neely Henry is in Gadsden Alabama on the Coosa River Chain of lakes and is just one lake down below Weiss Lake where the ABT Championship will be held in October. In the days leading up to this event teams were reporting catching fish in practice and expecting the fishing to be good.
The winning team of Benjie Seaborn and Johnathan Seaborn helped show everyone what Neely Henry Is capable of producing. When the Scales closed on Saturday they were one of three teams weighing in limits of over 20 pounds. To make things even better, they caught a kicker fish of 8.29. The biggest fish of the event. “ We caught that fish in the middle of the day and culled out a fish that was less than a pound and a half” said the team.
The team shared, “There are so many good fishermen in the ABT and there are no guarantees in this event even with 20 pounds we still felt like we needed one more big bite. Practice for us was terrible. On Wednesday during practice, we made the run down river to fish the lower end. It didn’t take us long down there to realize we got to do something else because this is not going to work down here. Upriver was way more productive for us and we saw more fish on this end the lake in practice. With the water dropping we knew the mid lake was going to hold more fish and more water in those conditions. WE caught several two pounders off the bed today, but it could have been a lot better if the water would not have dropped. In practice on Friday, we saw many five pounders on the bed that would have been easy to catch before the water dropped. We spend a lot of time targeting bed fish that we didn’t catch. We caught all our fish using a Zoom Fluke in a few different colors including white. The Berkley Lil’ Trooper was also a productive bait for us. Rotating though about four areas we caught about 15 fish all day. We came in second here a few years ago and lost a five pounder just before weighing in and lost the tournament by a half a pound. It was probably the worst feeling to have a $5,000 check in my pocket. We have fished the ABT since the beginning and have had multiple top ten finishes.” Today they doubled their previous second place winnings and took home a $10,000 pay day. With this win they automatically punch their ticket to the ABT Championship.
The team of Bradley Jones and Broox Goza finished in Second place with 20.99. The team shared, “For us the fish were really biting well in practice. Today we were boat 53 and we got the pick of where we wanted to go and it just didn’t cooperate at our first stop. We started on a stretch of bank grass swimming a jig and frog and flipping. Once the fog lifted, we spent some time sight fishing and physically looking at them. We caught 20 fish all day and 10 of those were over 3 pounds and probably culled out 13-15 pounds. Neely Henry has some really good fish. We both live on Weiss Lake and Neely Henry just has the better fishing right now. Finishing second is hard but to an 8.29 big fish makes it somewhat bitter sweet; one because it’s probably the biggest fish on the lake and second it is just a fluke chance anyone catches it but if it was just a six pounder we would have won this event.” With their second-place finish they collect a $5000 paycheck for a Saturday of fishing. The team has their eyes set on making the ABT championship and getting back to their home on Weiss Lake and get the win. Though they are thankful for the finish today “for us I would have rather had the win on Weiss that the second-place finish today.”
Adam Bain Kris Colley take third-place with 20.04. Former ABT Championship Winners and 2nd place in the ABT 100 here at Neely Henry and Kris won a Pickwick event Solo. The team shared, “It was a tough day fishing for us. We didn’t catch a lot of fish but we caught the better size fish today. We spent practice trying to find sight fish and had a few located and today we went to the area down lake and spent the day there fishing for them. We caught about 10 fish today. The water dropped up here on the upper end but for us on the lower end the water came up a little. We saw more fish in practice than we did today. However, today we saw some new fish had moved in to stage up. We spent the day flipping a smorgasbord of plastic baits in green pumpkin. Every fish seemed to want a little something different. We did have a fish that was about 6-pounds that we were just unable to catch after about two hours and it would have culled up a 3-pound fish that would have for sure moved us up the leaderboard. They collected a $4000 payday and a AmFirst highest finisher bonus of $1000.
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.
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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 – Busch, 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.