Tournament Series Feature Story
by Dan O’Sullivan
Decatur, Ala. April 5, 2016 – This weekend presents one of the more unique challenges that the anglers of the Alabama Bass Trail Southern Division may have faced in the three seasons of the trail. Following the heavy storms and rainfall that have buffeted the State of Alabama this spring, the waters of the Mobile – Tensaw River Delta are at high levels, meaning the area could be harder to fish as well as navigate.
While in last year’s event, anglers spoke of heading north and south on the waterway after leaving the takeoff site at Live Oak Landing, according to reports from the are this week, the majority of the field will likely head south due to the flooded conditions.
We spoke to ABT South angler James Hall, from Atmore, Ala., a town 30 miles away from Live Oak Landing, to see what he felt about the conditions and the situation on the system. His take on the timing is that the river is going to fish much differently than last year, and that anglers were going to have to be aware.
“The water is really high, and that is going to change things this year,” he said. “In fact, I just pulled up to where I’m staying for practice and the event, and the water is into the woods here behind the camp; it’s going to be hard to get to the fish in a lot of areas that people are used to fishing.”
While he saw the field split as to where they went last year, he expects to see the majority of the anglers head south this year. “Only the local and most knowledgeable anglers are likely to go north this year,” he said. There are areas that people will never be able to reach the fish because the water has gone so far back in the trees in the northern areas, and that means they will likely go south.”
With the increased current flow, he expects the tournament to be won flipping soft plastics to grass and laydowns, with secondary patterns involving crankbaits and spinnerbaits to perform as well. “I know moving baits will be a part of it, but I expect the plastics bite to be more of a factor,” he said. “I just really feel that the plastics bite around grass is going to have the best chance to win.”
Finally, he offers a word of caution to anglers practicing and competing this week. “I hope that everyone is very careful out there this week because there will be a lot of big things floating downriver that haven’t been there before,” he said. “I know there will be some big logs in the water, and if you see three of them, there might be 30 that you can’t see; I’d be very careful running around at wide open throttle this week.”
The registration and rules meeting begins at 5:00PM Friday at Saraland High School Auditorium
1115 Industrial Pkwy, Saraland, AL 36571, and takeoff and weigh-ins will be held at Live Oak Landing near Stockton, Ala. at Alabama Hwy. 225 exit 31 off of Interstate 65 on Saturday March 9, 2016.
The sponsors of the 2016 Alabama Bass Trail include; Bill Penney Toyota, Phoenix Bass Boats, Garmin, Academy Sports & Outdoors, Wind Creek Hospitality – Wetumpka, Wind Creek Hospitality – Montgomery, Alabama Tourism Department, SCA Performance, Mt. Dew, Boat US, T-H Marine Supplies, AllState, TVA, Alabama Power, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Lew’s Fishing, Frogg Toggs, Crossed Industries, Alabama Foundation Specialist, Costa, YETI, Leer, E3
For information about Alabama Bass Trail and for complete tournament standings visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.