Tournament Series Feature Story
Lay Lake preview with Lanier Burton and Michael Keel
By Jason Duran
September 24- Columbiana, AL- Lay Lake is the host to the fifth and final stop of the Alabama Bass Trail South Division where there are numerous winning opportunities for anglers. Tournament winners will cash a $10,000 check, and the South Division AOY race will be decided as well as the overall ABT AOY. Seventy-five South teams will qualify for the ABT Championship along with nine more teams that will qualify for the B.A.S.S. Team Championship. The latest reports indicate the lake has been fishing really tough, but like always, there’s no doubt the ABT anglers will figure it out and put on a good show for the fans.
Fall has finally reached the deep south and the cooler temperatures over the last week have caused water temps to drop about 10 degrees. This seems to have put a short damper on fishing as the fish adjust to the new conditions. The weather forecast shows rain during practice but a clearing off towards the weekend. These conditions will play into the favor of the teams that can make the right adjustments.
The team of Lanier Burton and Michael Keel said they have not been to Lay Lake since last year. They feel the fishing will get better throughout practice all the way to tournament day, and that’s why they have waited. They talked to some of their buddies who shared, “these cooler temps have put the water temps in the 70s, and the fishing is tough.” Michael said “That’s like Déjà vu for the south events and that’s probably why we are sitting in third place in the points. It’s not that we have really caught them this year, we have just caught them a little better than others.” Two 15th place finishes: one at Lake Jordan and one at Lake Eufaula have kept them at the top of the points race. Their goal coming into this year was to make the ABT Championship, and if they can “finish in the top 9 in points, it would be a bonus to qualify for the B.A.S.S. Team Championship.”
Lanier and Michael said they expect teams to catch fish in two areas. The first area would be “fishing grass with a top water, swim jig, frog or pitching small baits the grass.” They expect this to be a reaction type bite with teams needing to cover lots of water. They “like to fish a lot of spots and move around a lot” which may be a key to finding active fish. Teams fishing the grass will have the opportunity to catch a good kicker largemouth. Currently the lake is really clear but they hope the rain will stain up the water which will help the fishing conditions. Another area teams will be targeting during this event will be the area near the Logan Martin dam. In this area teams will use the current to their advantage and target large spotted bass using baits like topwater plugs and swimbaits in the current breaks.
Both shared they “like fishing Lay Lake in the fall when the fish are scattered because that plays well into their run and gun pattern.” They estimate it will take 17 to 18 pounds to win and more than likely it will be a bag of four spots and one largemouth with the shallow bite being key to winning. The team that can put all that together will take home the $10,000 payday.
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 117 Beeswax Park Road in Columbiana, AL.
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.
The sponsors of the 2020 Alabama Bass Trail include; Phoenix Bass Boats, Bill Penney Toyota, Garmin, Academy Sports & Outdoors, America’s First Federal Credit Union, Sweet Home Alabama, Alabama Tourism Department, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, Zone Repellents, Inc., T-H Marine Supplies, Wedowee Marine, Strike King, Buffalo Rock, Mountain Dew, Jack’s, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Alabama Power Company, Lew’s Fishing, Berkley, YETI, Power Pole, Big Bite Bait Company, E3 Apparel and Hydrowave.
For information about Alabama Bass Trail and for complete tournament standings visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.