Rutland and Carden Secure Win Number Five at Lake Eufaula

By Jason Duran

Lake Eufaula was stop number three of five for the Alabama Bass Trail South Division. Lake Eufaula is known as the Big Bass Capital of the world. In the weeks leading up to this event teams were reporting tough fishing conditions. The fish for the most part were in a post-spawn pattern. Lake levels were fluctuating and falling leading up to tournament morning. The team of Chris Rutland and Coby Carden came out on top with 20.63 pounds on a very stingy Lake Eufaula.

When it comes to raising up the ABT First place trophies and big checks, Rutland and Carden are no strangers. This win makes ABT number five for the pair. With this win it makes them the ABT top winning team in history. They were previously tied with another team with four wins. They have four wins on Lay Lake and one win on Lake Eufaula. The team shared “we have been close a couple times at winning on other lakes than Lay Lake but today was a good win.”

Chris shared, “We thought it would take 18-19 pounds to week Colby practiced for three days and found a good shad spawn. We had a late number boat draw and we were worried that the shad spawn would be over by the time we got there. Typically, it only lasts a little while.” The team continued, “This morning we started in the shad spawn area, and we caught two good ones there.” Chris spent two and a half days just idling brush piles marking them and looking. We found lots of brush piles we had about a dozen that were new, big and green. The piles were in about 10-foot of water. After we left the shad spawn area, we rotated those for about four hours caught about six fish doing that and weighed in four of those. We used a SPRO Frog, it is probably the best shad spawn bait on a grass lake like this. Fishing in the brush piles we used a William Davis Spinner bait and a William Davis Jig teamed up with 65-pound braid and 20-pound fluorocarbon line.” The team weighed in 20.63-Pounds for first place and collected a $10,000 pay day. This win also secures their spot in ABT Championship and moves them up to 5th place in the AOY Standings.

The second-place team of Blake Davenport and Zach Lightsey caught 19.39 Pounds. Blake shared “I started practicing on Wednesday found a shad spawn that we were kind of hoping would work for us, as the week went on it started to dissipate. So, I went to try and find some fish in the brush piles and spent two days and it didn’t work out either. On Friday, we went up into the back of a creek and found an area that had some good grass that seemed to be holding fish. We started fishing and we shook some off, we knew we had a decent chance to catch 16-18 pounds. However, today that area really exceeded our expectations.” The team continues, “today we spent the whole day in that area using a SPRO black popping frog and Crusher Lures black and blue swimming a jig.” They described this area as “a channel swing on the main creek in about 3 feet of water with grass. The stretch took aid a bout an hour to fish though. With the water dropping it really helped us by pulling the fish out of the grass a little. This concentrated them more in the area we were fishing. We just fished the same area over and over and the fish kept reloading every time we went through. We caught over 20 fish running that pattern today.” Their second-place finish earned them a $5,000 payday in this event.

Joey Davidson and Tullis Lanier finished in third-place with 19.25 pounds. They began Monday practicing separately for this event. They both had the opposite experience in practice. “We spent a lot of time flipping the shallow grass up the lake. The lake is way down and with the water continuing to fall it scared us. We didn’t know if the fish we found would still be there, but we got lucky, and they were. They used an unnamed creature bait in black and blue and caught around 20 fish all day. “We caught two big fish today doing the shad spawn. We have not caught any fish all week on the shad spawn, but today was when it counted.” A third-place finish earned them a $4,000 paycheck and some valuable AOY points moving them into 20th place.

The top five standings are below, for a complete list of standings please visit the results page.

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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 – Bush, Inc., E3 Sports Apparel, Fish Neely Henry, 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.