Tournament Series Feature Story
2018 Alabama Bass Trail Wheeler Lake Preview
with Chad and Walter Sykes
by Dan O’Sullivan
April 18, 2018 – Decatur, Ala. – It seems like half the year has gone by since the Alabama Bass Trail’s Northern Division has been together. While it has truly been less than a month, the Northern Division will head out onto the waters of Wheeler Lake from Ingalls Harbor on Saturday for its second stop of the season.
Wheeler Lake was the site of some impressive fireworks at last year’s season opener when Mitch Mitchell and Candler McCollum eclipsed 30 pound in victory, en route to their ABT Angler of the Year title. With the warming weather conditions there may just be another fireworks display put on this weekend.
Chad and Walter Sykes, a father – son team from Killen and Florence, Ala. said that they feel the conditions are getting right. “It feels like everything is coming together and the fishing should be really good this weekend for some excellent fishing,” they said. “It should take at least 25 pounds to win; maybe higher, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if it took upper teens to get a paycheck.”
The Sykes said that Wheeler would likely produce a lot of fish as well. “Most everybody should have limits if things progress as they are,” they reported. “It should be really easy to catch limits shallow early and pick up some big fish throughout the day.”
As far as how fish would be caught, they said that most standard springtime approaches would produce. “Flippin’ and Pitchin’ in the shallows is probably going to be strong, as will several other shallow deals,” they said. “Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and other shallow moving lures should be productive; it will basically be a pick what you want to do kind of thing.”
They reported that the tailrace at the Guntersville Dam could prove to be productive, but the pair felt strongly that it would be won elsewhere. “The dam is always a popular place, but it’s probably not going to be the best area,” they said. “It’s more likely that the tournament will be won somewhere downlake, but truthfully, anything could happen this time of the year.
All we know is that this should be one of the better events of the year; not as good as Guntersville was last month, but it’s going to be a good event.”
The second event of the 2018 Alabama Bass Trail Northern Division season at Wheeler Lake happens April 21 out of Decatur, Ala. The mandatory pre-tournament registration and angler information meeting happens on Friday April 20 at the Ingalls Harbor Pavilion, located at 802-A Wilson Street in Decatur, AL 35601 with registration happening from 5:00 P.M. – 6:30 P.M. and the pre-tournament meeting beginning at 6:30 P.M. Takeoff and weigh-in occur at Ingalls harbor the next day.
The sponsors of the 2018 Alabama Bass Trail include; Phoenix Bass Boats, Bill Penney Toyota, Garmin, Academy Sports & Outdoors, America’s First Federal Credit Union, Wind Creek Hospitality – Wetumpka, Wind Creek Hospitality – Montgomery, Alabama Tourism Department, T-H Marine Supplies, Wedowee Marine, Buffalo Rock, Jack’s, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Alabama Power Company, Trapper Tackle, Lew’s Fishing, AFTCO, YETI, and E3 Apparel.
For information about Alabama Bass Trail and for complete tournament standings visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.