Tournament Series Feature Story
2019 Alabama Bass Trail Wheeler Lake Preview
with Brent Crow
by Dan O’Sullivan
March 21, 2019 – Decatur, Ala. – Any time Wheeler Lake shows up on the Alabama Bass Trail Northern Division schedule, the day has the chance of being interesting for the field. While Wheeler Lake has a long, storied history, it also can present its share of challenges. High winds can make navigation rough, and Wheeler may be more sensitive to ebbs and flows of current generation.
Despite those factors, however, Wheeler Lake typically shows itself to be a quality fishery, and with a field that features the quality of anglers such as those that fish the Alabama Bass Trail, 2019 should be no different.
According to longtime ABT angler Brent Crow, this year could be slightly different due to the conditions the state has been in thus far in 2019. “I really think it could be a very different tournament overall,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, someone is always going to catch ’em, but the rain we’ve gotten, and the current running through the system will have an impact.”
He said that it is the change in current that will make the biggest difference. “Every dam in the system had all of the gates open – until this week,” he said. “There was a bunch of current, and the fish were all very active in the dirty water. Now, the flows have slowed and the water is clearing and dropping a little; it will make individual spots important, as opposed to a pattern.”
Crow said that he expects several techniques to be performers this week. “A squarebill crankbait should do well, as will a spinnerbait, and if the water is clear enough, a jerkbait could produce as well,” he said. “But, a jig and a Shaky Head are also going to be important if the water clarity has done what I think it will.”
He revealed that he thought the weights would be a little lighter than normal. “I think the winning weight will be in the 20- to 21-pound range, because someone always finds ’em pretty good,” he said. “But, I have a hunch that 15 pounds is going to be very solid in this event.”
The 2019 Alabama Bass Trail Northern Division Opener took place at Lewis Smith Lake at the Dam Launch Ramp out of Jasper, Alabama, on February 23. For this week’s event on Wheeler, the mandatory pre-tournament registration and angler information meeting happens on Friday, March 22, at the Ingalls Harbor Pavilion, located at 802-A Wilson Street in Decatur, AL 35601, with registration 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 2019 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, Buffalo Rock, Mountain Dew, Jack’s, FishNeelyHenryLake.com, Alabama Power Company, Lew’s Fishing, AFTCO, YETI, Power Pole, Big Bite Bait Company and E3 Apparel.