Tournament Series Feature Story
Decatur, Ala. April 18, 2017 – Smith Lake poses an interesting dilemma for much of the field in an Alabama Bass Trail event. The reason is that Smith Lake fishes so completely different from any other lake on the Northern Division schedule. There are locals to Jasper and Cullman who have done well, but it is rare for the majority of the field to attempt to do anything other than survive that tournament.
In the past, Smith Lake has been one of the first events on the tour, and it was the site of the inaugural Alabama Bass Trail Championship event in 2014. This year, Smith Lake is on the schedule at a time when most trails have moved towards the Tennessee River Lakes in search of the postspawn ledge bite.
In other words, this week’s event is going to be interesting.
Last year’s Smith Lake winners Mark McCaig and Tim Hurst shared a little about what their thoughts were heading into the event. “It’s certainly going to be different than last year,” they said. “Last year was a prespawn event, and this year we are most likely going to find the fish in every stage of the spawn; being flexible is going to be important.”
The reason the veteran team feels this way is because of the awkward weather pattern that has been prevalent throughout The South. “I don’t know that the fish ever really got into the spawn in large waves,” said McCaig. “I think that it’s going to lead to a lot of different patterns being effective this weekend.”
The pair said that they wouldn’t be surprised to see the winning fish caught shallow in prespawn, or deep in postspawn, or suspended in between. “I bet that a mixed bag of species, as well as techniques are going to play into the winning bag,” they said. “Topwater, swimbaits, crankbaits, Shaky Heads and jigs could all be factors this week.”
“One thing we know for certain is that whoever wins it is going to be working hard to stay on top of things, and it may come down to having a school blow up and your’re in the right place,” they said. “The blue back herring have completely transformed Smith Lake, and you almost have to be ready for everything; it’s going to be very interesting to say the least.”
All teams are required to be present at the pre-tournament registration and rules meeting on Friday April, 21 from 5:00PM to 7:00PM at the Jasper Civic Center – CHS Building located at 204 19th Street East in Jasper, AL 35501 and Takeoff and weigh-in will happen Saturday April 22, at Lewis Smith Lake Dam located at 8001 Smith Lake Dam Road in Jasper, AL 35504.
The sponsors of the 2017 Alabama Bass Trail include; Bill Penney Toyota, Phoenix Bass Boats, GP8 Oxygen Water, Garmin, Academy Sports & Outdoors, Wind Creek Hospitality – Wetumpka, Wind Creek Hospitality – Montgomery, Alabama Tourism Department, SCA Performance, T-H Marine Supplies, Wedowee Marine, AFTCO, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Lew’s Fishing, Crossed Industries, YETI, E3 Apparel, TVA and Alabama Power.
For information about Alabama Bass Trail and for complete tournament standings visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.