ABT Championship on Weiss Lake Preview with Bradley Jones and Broox Goza
By Jason Duran
The Alabama Bass Trail concludes the 2023 season with a two-day championship on Weiss Lake,
commonly known as the Crappie Capital of the World. This weekend it will become the site of a
no-entry fee event spotlighting some of the best teams in bass fishing compete for a $50,000
first place prize and another $50,000 paid out through the top 25. Teams have competed all
year hoping to earn enough points to qualify, and it is finally here. The field consists of the top
75 teams from the north division, the top 75 teams from the south division, and qualifying
couples, student and college teams. In addition to the $100,000 of prize money, there will also
be a $500 big fish pay out each day.
The team of Bradley Jones and Broox Goza have been looking forward to this event all year.
They have spent more time on the water than they have for other events. “For the last three
weeks we have used any free time we have to come to the lake and practice. We have been
here at least 3 days a week for about 12 hours a day. We felt we needed to get familiar with as
much as we can to give us the options to run when we figure something out. We have been
looking at things that may not have been there last year. We want to find things that other
teams haven’t found, so we don’t have to share water as much.”
The lake is on a different schedule this year than in the past. When teams try to plan for
practice, they usually look at lake history and past events, but there aren’t many events in
October the size of the ABT championship. The lake levels are different now that in the past.
This is the second year on this draw down schedule. In previous years, the lake would be drawn
down over 5 feet below summer pool, but the plan now is to keep it as close to summer pool as
possible if not just a little lower.
Bradly and Broox shared, “in previous years the lake would be about 2.5 feet low by this time of
year. The fishing would be fun and good, but it’s not the case right now. There is more water, so
there are more places for them to be this year. The water has not cooled off any yet this year
either. Last year there was a there was a 1-day tournament this time of year, and we won that
event with just 15lbs. In years past there has been a two-day tournament with all the locals
where it usually takes a high weight in the 30s to win the event before the new draw down
schedule. The weights have just not been that way this year. ”When asked about typical patterns for this time of year they said, “usually this time of year the spotted bass are the first ones to fire up. We have been catching numbers, but they just aren’t any size. The quality largemouth bite is really hard to find; we can find a lot of 13-inch fish but finding them over 2 pounds is tough right now. Fish can be caught all over the lake, and we think you can win from the powerhouse lake all the way to well into Georgia. It may be won in the river, and it may be won in a creek; it is really hard to tell. We are just going to have to see
what the lake gives us on Friday.”
A two-day event is not normal for the ABT as the regular season events are only one day.
Anglers must learn to manage fish and adjust on the day two. “Guys will find fish on Friday that
really fire up but return Saturday, and they won’t even show up. It will be difficult to manage
fish, and the team that is able to do that will win this event. Teams will more than likely be
using moving baits like crankbaits and spinnerbaits. If the wind, that will be productive, but if it
sunny and clear skies, they will have to slow down and use the old faithful Lake Weiss special
black and blue jig.
The weight predictions for this event have been all over the place because there really is not
much history to rely on with the lake at this level in October. Bradley and Broox predict a much
lower weight than everyone else has of 33-pounds. They feel like 16 -pounds a day will be the
key to catch. There will be a team that will catch 20-pound one day but backing it up will be
hard with the changing weather conditions.
Registration & Check In October 19, 2023 Cherokee-Gadsden State Center 801 Cedar Bluff Road
Centre, AL 35960 Check In: 4:30 P.M. – 6:00 P.M. Launch & Weigh In October 20 & 21, 2023
Leesburg Landing 1085 Riverside Street Leesburg, AL 35983 Launch will be at safe daylight. All
friends and family are welcome to attend this event, bring lawn chairs, and see some of the
best bass teams in the country cross the stage. Everyone can watch the live weigh-in and over 4
hours of on-the-water live coverage on the ABT Facebook page, YouTube and the Alabamabasstrail.org website.
The sponsors of the 2023 Alabama Bass Trail include: Phoenix Boats, Academy Sports, Alabama
Power, America’s First Federal Credit Union, American Trailer Rental Group, BAJIO, Big Bite
Baits, Bill Penney Automotive, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Anheuser – Bush, Inc., E3 Sports
Apparel, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Garmin, Jack’s, Lew’s, Mountain Dew, Alabama Mountain
Lakes Tourist Association, Power-Pole, Strike King, Sweet Home Alabama, T-H Marine, Yamaha,