Tournament Series Recap
Bill Mayo and Walt Roberts win 2018 Alabama Bass Trail Wheeler Lake
by Dan O’Sullivan
April 21, 2018 – Decatur, Ala. – The Alabama Bass Trail’s Northern Division made its second stop of the season at Wheeler Lake out of Ingalls Harbor in Decatur on Saturday April 21, 2018. While much of the state has seen delayed spring migrations of bass due to the inclement weather the State of Alabama has seen; Wheeler Lake still showed its strength as a fishery, and the ABT North field showed its skill.
For the first time this season, the conditions leading up to an event have been stable, and the fishing was expected to be strong. However, with another rainstorm predicted for the day after the event, the water level at Wheeler was drawn down to make room, and those on extremely shallow bites had to make adjustments. Easy shallow water bites became a little harder to come by, and the weights dipped slightly.
One team that did not build their program around a shallow water pattern was Bill Mayo and Walt Roberts. The pair planned to target current breaks upriver near the Guntersville Dam, and their plan payed of with 23.43 pounds of smallmouth bass, their first ABT victory and a check worth $10,000.
The accomplishment was not lost on the longtime ABT competitors. “This has been a long time coming for us, and it means a lot because we know the level of anglers in this field,” they said. “We worked hard to put together a program this week, and we’re really fortunate that it worked out the way it did; we couldn’t be happier.”
The pair reported running to Guntersville Dam and fishing current breaks to Ditto Landing with Green Pumpkin Blue Flake Texas Rigged NetBait Baby Paca Craws. “The wind and current were running together, so we had to increase our sinkers to 1/4-ounce and downsize our line to 8-pound-test to keep the bait down,” they reported. “We fished current break we saw, and caught several limits to get our final bag; it really was a great day, and we’re thrilled to be here after all is said and done.”
The team of Rusty Strickland and Charles Hemm finished the day in second place with five fish bag of largemouth that weighed 21.07 pounds. The former ABT North Neely Henry winners did what they do best – they turned to a Flippin’ bite. “We used black and blue creature baits and fished in midlake pockets and ended the day in a feeder creek upstream,” they said. “We targeted mainly buck brush and fished for females that had set up their beds in the middle of the brush; we caught a lot of fish and had a good day.” The pair earned $5,000 for their efforts.
Paul Davis and Josh Chapple brought a 20.14-pound limit to the scales to finish third and take home $4,000.
Danny Shell and Anthony Land weighed a 6.98-pound largemouth that anchored their seventh place 18-pound limit. The fish earned the $500 Mountain Dew Big Bass bonus for the event.
The Top 10 Standings are below, for complete standings visit: https://www.alabamabasstrail.org/tournament-series/wl-results/
|1||Bill Mayo / Walton Roberts||23.43||5.25||$10,000|
|2||Rusty Strickland / Charles Hemm||21.07||$5,000|
|3||Paul Davis / Josh Chapple||20.14||6.85||$4,000|
|4||Drew Mattox / Kenny Mattox||19.42||5.09||$3,000|
|5||Johnathon Nixon / Kaisle Lawson||19.21||$2,000|
|6||Graig Grubbs / Matt Ferguson||19.06||$1,500|
|7||Danny Shell / Anthony Land||18.00||6.98||$1,100|
|8||Don Hill / Jeff Langston||17.91||$1,100|
|9||Nolen Spencer / Jonathon Reese||17.65||$1,100|
|10||Adam Bain / Kris Colley||17.09||$1,100|
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.