Coby Carden’s fishing resume runs long and features 2 trips to the Bassmaster Classic.

By Greg McCain

Despite his lofty credentials, Carden always returns to his fishing roots, and he added to his lengthy list of accomplishments Saturday (March 11) with a solid performance on Lake Eufaula in the first 2017 Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation qualifier. His 5-fish limit weighed 23.16 and topped second-place finisher Shay Baker and a field of 81 boaters.

The tournament was fished out of Lakepoint State Park.

Other top performances included former Auburn University angler Tim Ward winning the co-angler division and Shane Powell, of the Wiregrass Bassmasters, catching the Academy Sports + Outdoors Big Fish with an 8.16 largemouth.

To view photos of the event, click on the following link or copy and paste it into a browser window:

…caught his fish “all shallow swimming a jig, flipping, and on a spinnerbait …


Details about the winning catches were hard to come by because many of the top competitors planned to fish other events on Eufaula in the coming weeks. A few anglers stayed relatively deep, intercepting fish moving to and from spawning areas. However, the majority of the best catches came from the abundant grass that dominates shallow-water areas on the lake.

Cardin wins another Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation tourney. Greg McCain photo

In earning the McKinnon Toyota top prize for the tournament, Carden fished down lake with a variety of lures in putting together his limit, which was topped by 3 fish in the 5-pound range. Carden, who fished consecutive Classics in 2014 and 2015 as a result of his success in B.A.S.S. Nation events, said he looked for bedding fish without great success in limited practice time earlier in the week.

“It just didn’t work out with what little practice time that I had,” Carden said. “I know the lake pretty well, so I just went fishing today.”

Without offering specific details, the Shelby angler and LA PO Boys club member, said he caught his fish “all shallow swimming a jig, flipping, and on a spinnerbait … probably 15 miles downriver.”

Carden said all 3 lures choices were equally important in boxing the winning fish because his opportunities were limited.

“I had 8 or 9 bites all day long,” he said.

Baker, of the Kowaliga Bassmasters, caught a 22.72 limit anchored by a 7.92 big fish. Third place went to Bill Gordon, of the Tiger Bassmasters, with 21.22 and a 6.75 big fish.

“I ran around a good bit in the morning,” Baker said. “I finally caught one on a frog and that kind of clued me in to what they were doing, I caught everything froggin’ and flippin’.”

The frog was an unnamed popping variety. His flipping plastic was a Missile Baits D-Bomb in sprayed grass. Baker caught most of his fish near the launch area in Cowikee Creek.

Rounding out the top five on the boater side were Wes Logan (Lake Tuscaloosa Bassmasters, 20.96) and Curtis Coleman (Pro Line Bassmasters, 19.37).

Among the co-anglers, Ward, now fishing for the Marathon Bassmasters, nipped Francis Beard, by .06 of a pound. Ward had a 3-fish limit that weighed 11.86, and Beard finished with 11.80. Beard fishes with the Neely Henry Bassmasters.

Ward shared the boat with Ricky Baker, of Kowaliga Bassmasters. They focused their efforts on the area near the launch.

“We ran grass flats with mixed grass, hydrilla, pads, milfoil, all mixed together,” Ward said. “We were throwing Ribbit frogs and popping frogs all day in the grass.”

Ward said he caught fish on both types of frogs and also on a bladed jig, but his better largemouth came on the swimming frog, a green pumpkin red Ribbit model.

Following Ward and Beard among co-anglers were Bobby Kennedy (Bluff City B/M of Eufaula, 11.50); Michael Restifo (Birmingham Bass Club, 11.41); and Lee Hanvey (Auburn Bassmasters, 10.06).

Carden and co-angler Michael Kent, of Cullman Bassmasters II, won the total boat weight category with a combined 31.79. Ricky Baker, of Kowaliga Bassmasters, and Ward finished second at 26.07.

Carden also claimed a third prize as well. His winning weight made him the top finisher among Fishing 4 A Cure (F4AC) participants. Almost $5,000 was raised at the Eufaula tournament for F4AC. The funds go to Children’s of Alabama, which in turn puts the money to use in the fight against childhood cancer. The B.A.S.S. Nation has backed F4AC for many years and has raised a total of over $220,000 for the organization. Airport Marine and Office Partners serve as F4AC sponsors.

The Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation heads to the Coosa River next month, fishing Lay Lake for its second qualifier of 2017. The one-day event will be held April 15.

In addition to McKinnon Toyota, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Airport Marine, and Office Partners, other sponsors include NetBait, Airport Marine, Triton, Mercury, Motorguide, Lowrance, Shell, Hammer Rods, Livingston Lures, Daiwa, Transducer Shield & Saver, StrikeZone, and Eufaula Barbour Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the tournament.

(Ed, Note: Angler Finishing List available HERE.)

Greg McCain is a freelance writer and a member of the Belgreen Bass Club, an Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation chapter near Russellville. In addition to producing stories and photos for this website, his articles are also found in Alabama Outdoor News, Great Days Outdoors, and Alabama Game&Fish.


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