Tournament Series Feature Story
Weiss Lake Feature with Damien Willis and Tyler Kiker
By Jason Duran
May 14- The Alabama Bass Trail North Division will finally be back in action this Saturday following the COVID-19 Quarantine. The two previous stops have been re-scheduled for later this year. This week we pick up with the regularly scheduled fourth stop on Weiss Lake. Weiss Lake is the first lake in the Coosa chain of lakes. Known as the “Crappie Capital of the World,” Weiss is also home to some of the largest spotted bass on the Coosa River and probably has less pressure than the other lakes. The field of 225 teams is anxious to get back on the water and Weiss Lake is a great place to get the season started back.
The team of Damien Willis and Tyler Kiker is ready to get back to fishing. Weiss Lake is Tyler’s home lake, so he is especially excited about this week’s event. The team confirmed “the fish are currently in a post spawn phase and that could make fishing a little more difficult this weekend. There may be a few late spawners that are up shallow, but they are scattered.”
Damien said the “fish are not really set up on their off shore summer patterns yet; they are kind of in a lull right now.” He does feel that “someone will locate a school of spotted bass off shore and probably produce a winning bag.” However, he thinks it will take a mixed bag to win this year.
The shad spawn should be in full effect this weekend and will allow anglers to get an early limit using topwater spooks, spinner baits and other shad type baits. The search will then be on looking for one or two key bites that will provide kickers to push the bags into the 20-pound range it will likely take for a win.
Damien said, “Weiss is one of the least pressured lakes on the Coosa chain and since many tournaments put in at a ramp up river from Leesburg Landing, most of those anglers fish up river more” leaving a whole area of the lake closer to Leesburg hardly ever tournament fished. This sets up well for the ABT teams giving them the opportunity to fish water close to the landing that receives very little pressure throughout the year.
Both said they feel this week could either be a really difficult tournament or a really good one. They feel the lake is about to “bust wide open” anytime within a week or so. They are hopeful for a good outcome and believe numerous 15 pound limits will be caught. “The whole lake will be in play this weekend, so teams can probably find their own style of fishing to help them be productive.” “The lake is full of shallow water, and you can often catch fish when your trolling motor is dragging bottom.”
Weiss Lake was the location of the 2nd Stage ABT Quarantine Cup with a head to head matchup between B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year Scott Canterbury and ABT North Angler Randy Tolbert. Randy took home the win and the paddle with 13.04 pounds. In honor of the anglers, the ABT made a donation to the Family Care Center of Leesburg for $750.
There will be many changes this week due to the COVID-19 virus. All anglers should make sure they have checked text messages and emails for the latest information and changes to keep everyone as safe as possible during this time. There will be no pre-tournament meeting for this event, but a virtual meeting on the ABT Facebook Page was posted Monday night, May 11. All friends, family and fans are encouraged to watch the live weigh-in and live coverage on the ABT Facebook page and the ABT website. Due to social distancing, crowds are not allowed to attend the weigh-in this weekend. Launch will be at safe daylight from Leesburg Landing located at 1085 Riverside Street in Leesburg, AL. Weigh-in begins at 2:30.
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, 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.