Pat Anderson and Michael Brown, both U.S. Army retired, used the current rushing down Wheeler Lake ten minutes downstream of Ingalls Harbor to win the Kota American Dream Tournament December 3.
Anderson and Brown brought 19.23 pounds to the scales, with a 4.41 lb. kicker bass, to take first place and their choice of $3000 or an all expense paid trip to Japan for a week of sightseeing and bass fishing.
The winners said they fished swimbaits on the bottom in the current. “We had to pop the bait when it hit a stump or rock and that’s when the fish hit,” the first place team revealed. The team fished a white, green, blue-colored swimbait early and switched to a shad-colored version later in the day. “We only burned about a quarter of a tank of gas all day,” Anderson said.
At second was Jimmy Mason and Lance Walker with 17.72 pounds. Their kicker fish went 4.1 lbs. The second place team burned almost a full tank of gas with their fishing strategy for the tournament. Mason said, “We fished all the way to Wheeler Dam.” The pair used a big chartreuse/white Booyah spinnerbait anywhere they found eddy water created by the strong current present that day.
The $500 big fish money went to Rick Armstrong and Patrick Catten for the 5.69 lb. lunker largemouth.
Rounding out the top ten money places were:
3. Rick Williams with 17.62 lbs. and a 4.92 lb. big fish
4. Richard Harris and Zach Lemmond for 16.69 lbs.
5. Byron Terry and Tim James at 16.44 lbs.
6. Bobby Lawrence and Bobby Lawrence, Sr. with 15.85 lbs. and a 5.2 lbs. kicker
7. Rick Armstrong and Patrick Catten for 15.69 and tourney big fish at 5.69 lbs.
8. Michael Moore and Gary Carulo with 15.64 lbs.
9. Greg Maxwell at 15.6 lbs. and a 4.17 big fish
10. Bryon Luman and Corey Bradley at 15.23 at a big fish of 5.21 lbs.
There were 154 fish weighed and 100% released. Total weight was 398.73 pounds.
The 48 boats in the tournament began blasting out of the entrance of Ingalls Harbor in Decatur, AL at safe light which was about 6:30 A.M. Boats were released one at a time in the order of tournament registration.
The water in the Decatur area was moving at approximately 20-25 mph with debris, including entire trees, making fishing the main river a little more difficult. The farther upstream you went the stronger the current was. The water was a “good” stained color with surface temps running in the mid to upper 50’s. Cloud cover stayed with the anglers most of the day and with east winds picking up significantly later in the afternoon.
Most contestants were throwing spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and Alabama Rigs.
In addition to the top ten money positions and big fish money, a $1000 cash prize was given away along with a PowerPole, a Lowrance unit, rod and reel combos and loads of Gamma fishing line, Jackall Lures, Academy gift certificates, t-shirts, Yamaha oil and caps.