Decatur, Ala. February 14, 2017 – For the first time in the history of the Alabama Bass Trail, Wheeler Lake, located in Decatur, Ala. will serve as the kickoff event for a season. This Tennessee River impoundment has served as the backdrop for many of bass fishing’s biggest stories throughout the years. This time it will be the canvas for the first brushstrokes of the 2017 ABT Northern Division season.
One of the teams that is anxious to get the season started is the father / son team of Kenneth and Preston Grover, of Decatur. The pair, veterans of ABT competition will turn their attention away from the younger Grover’s basketball season that has recently ended, and focus instead on the 2017 ABT season.
The elder Grover said that it all started as a way to spend time together. “It was something for us to do together in the spring and summer after basketball season,” he said. “He loves to fish, and it allows us to compete against a great group of people on bodies of water we love to fish on.”
Being residents of Decatur, one would assume that the Grover’s have spent endless hours practicing on Wheeler, but that is not the case. Grover said that he does not want to get deterred by the wrong conditions. “The lake is still at winter pool, and the conditions are changing so quickly, that I don’t want to get locked into something that won’t be there,” he said. “I expect that we will start getting out there soon, now that the event is getting closer and the conditions are stabilizing.”
Grover said that Wheeler will fish in a variety of ways, largely depending on the conditions as well as where a team chooses to target their efforts. “Wheeler fishes differently based on where you’re choosing to fish,” said Grover. “The lower sections, from Brown’s Ferry to the dam, will likely be the clearest, and jerkbaits and crankbaits could play. The middle section is flatter, and Rat-L-Traps and other lipless baits tend to rule there. There will be some go all the way up to the dam upriver and try swimbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs for the big smallmouth up there.”
Either way a person tends to run, Grover said that a team should expect less than wide open conditions. “Our weather has been so up and down, I would expect the fishing to be a little bit of a challenge,” he said. “Wheeler doesn’t have quite the bass population of some of its more popular sister TVA Lakes, but I believe that the lake makes for some of the most intriguing, interesting tournaments.
“Tougher fishing always makes for more exciting events because nobody seems to be able to run away,” he said. “Plus that, it’s been October since any of us hit the water in ABT competition; that makes it a little more exciting as well.”
The sponsors of the 2016 Alabama Bass Trail include; Bill Penney Toyota, Phoenix Bass Boats, GP8 Oxygen Water, Garmin, Academy Sports & Outdoors, Wind Creek Hospitality – Wetumpka, Wind Creek Hospitality – Montgomery, Alabama Tourism Department, SCA Performance, T-H Marine Supplies, Wedowee Marine, AFTCO, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Lew’s Fishing, Crossed Industries, YETI, E3 Apparel, TVA and Alabama Power.
For information about Alabama Bass Trail and for complete tournament standings visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.