Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation Lake Martin qualifier

Greg McCain

Not even a slight delay caused by frozen boat compartments could slow Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation (ABN) angler Jack White Saturday on Lake Martin.


First place boater Jack White. ABN photo

Fishing the first ABN qualifier of 2022, White (Lake Tuscaloosa Bassmasters) topped a field of 124 boaters with a catch of 14.26 lbs. Dylan Pugh (Wiregrass Bassmasters) finished second among boaters with 13.81 and also caught the Academy Sports + Outdoors Big Fish with a 6.39 largemouth. Robbie Pritchard (Alex City Bassmasters) claimed third with 12.84.

The female contingent dominated in the co-angler division. Kim Giddens (Wiregrass Bassmasters) placed

Second place boater Dylan Pugh. ABN photo

first with a 7.99 catch, and Lisa Cox (New Line Bass Club) took second with 7.56. Phillip Sherrill (Coosa Valley Bassmasters), who won the ABN co-angler state title last fall on Martin, was third at 6.97.

The tournament was staged out of Wind Creek State Park and hosted locally by Lake Martin Tourism.

The early-morning cold – temperatures were around 28 at blastoff – affected anglers in a variety of ways. White drew boat 1, but he couldn’t retrieve his life jackets from frozen compartments after offering the opening prayer. Getting the compartments unthawed took several minutes, and by that point, most of the first two flights had taken off.

The momentary delay didn’t impact White, who had a limit, including his big fish, by mid-morning.

“When God wants you to win, nothing else matters, White said. “I caught a limit pretty quick, by about 9:00. After I caught the limit, I went to flipping, wood, docks, rock, anything that looked like it would hold a fish.”

White said he went “south” to catch his fish, working a jerkbait to boat his early limit. Later in the morning, he went to flipping and upgraded throughout the day.

“I’ve been coming over here fishing the (ABN), BFLs, and the old Redmans since the mid-90s,” White said. “It’s a big lake, and there are places on it that I’ve never fished. But I’ve got a little experience here.”

Giddens has less tournament experience than White, but made the most of the day to post her frst ABN win. Fishing with her husband, ABN veteran Marty Giddens, Kim Giddens said she “froze to death the first three hours. I didn’t catch my first fish until about 11:00.”

Giddens, who “rode in the bottom of the boat” on a chilly run to the lower end of the lake, said she likes fishing with her husband even though it’s hard to catch fish behind him at times..

First place co-angler Kim Giddens and team winner Fishing 4ACURE,

“There’s good and bad,” she said. “He’s always going to put me on fish, but he’s also going to cover the water before I get there.”

Giddens caught her three-fish limit on a crankbait and Chatterbait. Her big fish, a 3.23 spot, hit the crankbait.

“It was just a beautiful day after it warmed up,” she said. “I was just glad to catch a few fish.”

The Giddens also combined to win the team competition in the tournament with a combined weight of 18.90 as Marty Giddens finished 12th overall.

Finishing behind White, Pugh, and Pritchard in the top 10 of the boater division were John Barrett (Marathon Bassmasters, 12.34), Zeke Gossett (Shotgun Sports Supply, 12.04), Brandon Pritchard (Alex City Bassmasters, 11.67), Tim Hatcher (Wiregrass Bassmasters, 11.63), Chase Davis (Wiregrass Bassmasters, 11,37), Dwaine McGuire (Wiregrass Bassmasters, 11.22), and Ed Payne (Winfield Bassmasters, 11.18).

Completing the top 10 on the co-angler side were Jeffrey McCord (Headland Bass Team, 6.79), David Noakes (River City Anglers, 6.65), Joseph Batton (Coosa Valley Bassmasters, 6.45), Chris Hale (Wiregrass Bassmasters, 6.41), Wade Adams (Alex City Bassmasters, 6.31), Curtis Gossett (Shotgun Sports Supply, 6.25), and Steve Watson (Kowaliga Bassmasters, 6.18).

Rounding out the top finishers in the team competition were Gossett and Gossett, Pugh and Bill Weathers (Wiregrass Bassmasters), Coby Carden and Parrish Argo (both of LA PO Boys), Scott Luster (New Line Bass Club) and Cox, Payne and Terrell Pennington (Winfield Bassmasters), Tom Kelly and Grant Boatright (both of Monroe County Bass Anglers), and David Pair (River City Anglers) and Nokes.

The top teams qualified for the team portion of the ABN State Championship on Lake Eufaula this fall. The top finishers there qualify for the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on Lake Hartwell, S.C., in December.

White and Kim Giddens were the top finishers among Fishin’ 4 A Cure (F4AC) participants, tying for the top spot. ABN competitors pay $25 per tournament or $100 for the year to participate in F4AC with the money going to support Children’s of Birmingham. Through the years, the ABN has contributed over $300,000 to help fight childhood diseases at Children’s hospital.

The final money won at the tournament went to Tony Hubka (Wiregrass Bassmasters), who won the

Second place co-angler Lisa Cox. ABN photo

$100.00 drawing from Academy. The drawing will be a regular feature of the ABN tournaments this year. Anglers submit their their Academy receipts at weigh-in, and a winner will be drawn at each event.

ABN sponsors for 2022 include Fish Life Fish Care Products, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Airport Marine, Office Partners, Halo Rods, Radicull Culling Devices, Davis Bait Co., George Paint and Body, Triton Boats, Mercury, Motor Guide, Lowrance, NetBait, Shell, Hammer Rods, Shelby County, StrikeZone Lure Co., Charlie’s BBQ, the Rod Glove, T-H Marine, Power-Pole, and Alabama Hosting.

The 2022 ABN season continues next month with a rare stop on Logan Martin, a Coosa River fishery east of Birmingham. Other qualifiers include Eufaula in April and Pickwick in May. The state championship returns to Eufaula in October.

Greg McCain is a freelance writer from Russellville, AL, and a member of the Belgreen Bass Club. In addition to producing content for this website, his recent credits include articles in Alabama Outdoor News, Georgia Outdoor News, ACC Crappie Stix blog, CrappieNOW online magazine, and Great Days Outdoors.

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