By Jason Duran
Leesburg, AL Oct. 21—The event paid out over $100,000 through 25 places. The team of Terry Tucker and Jeremy Green took home $50,000 cash for their first-place finish.
The Alabama Bass Trail concluded the 10th season with the Championship on Weiss Lake. This event was a no-entry-fee event consisting of two days of fishing by the top 75 teams from the north division, the top 75 teams from the south division, and qualifying couples, student, and college teams.
After two days of fishing, Terry Tucker and Jeremy Green were crowned the 10th team champion of the Alabama Bass Trail making them part of a small group of anglers that can call themselves among the best of the best when it comes to team fishing. Their day one weight was 12.74 pounds, and on day two, they brought the biggest bag of the event to the scales with 19 pounds adding up to a two-day total of 31.74 pounds. In practice, the key was “trying to figure out what areas had enough fish to get us through day one in order to really hammer down on day two. We don’t think we really figured it out; it just happened for us.”
“On day one, we went to an area where we knew we could get a limit hoping to get a big bite out of that area. We got a limit, but the big bite never developed. We then moved to other areas, and we lost one good fish which hurt us, but we hoped it wouldn’t kill us. We knew we needed at least 15 to 16 pounds a day to win it. Today, we regrouped, made a different round, and changed up the timing of our areas, and it worked out well today. We caught fish today where we didn’t catch them yesterday.”
They said their pattern was to target isolated big fish and move around a lot. On day two, “we caught our first fish at 9:00, and we knew then what was going to happen from there. We didn’t catch a lot of fish, but it was because we weren’t targeting numbers. Instead, we were looking for the bigger fish. When we caught the last fish that moved us up to our final weight, we decided to head back an hour early to make sure we got back in time for weigh-in. We caught everything we weighed in on a white spinner bait, but the key was for us to throw a different size- a 1/2 oz. and a 3/8 oz. Throwing different sizes allowed us to target the whole water column.”
The second-place team of CJ Knight and Anthony Goggins reported, “On day one we had a primary area that was about three miles long in the mid-lake area. We felt like we had some decent fish in practice that would be pulling up shallow on tournament day, but we didn’t get a bite till 11:00, and within an hour, we caught all our day one weight of 14.10 pounds by just continuing to rotate that area. We spent the rest of the day practicing, and we lost one fish that would have moved us up to around 16 pounds. We continued to dial in our area a little more on day one with the hope of expanding it on day two. On day two, we knew the bite was going to be a little later, so we went to an area where we could just catch keepers and fill out our limit. That built our confidence to go to our main area with a limit and upgrade. The fish just bit better on day two.”
We targeted a lot of wood and docks that seemed to hold fish. One of our key baits was a Shad Rap that we fished really fast in areas that looked good to us. We covered lots of water, and because of the cold front, we noticed we got lots of short strikes where the fish missed the bait, but we didn’t give up. Another key bait for us was a 9/16 ADL Jig in brown made by Jason Howard at the Tackle Box in Oxford, AL. It is a flipping jig, and the key is a hand-tied skirt. It doesn’t hang boat dock cross members, and it has a great hook. We also caught some on small crankbaits.
We knew we needed to catch a big fish each day. On the first day, we caught a 5.50, and on the second day we caught a 4-pound fish off the same stump.” The key “was staying in the area we caught big fish in during practice and not giving up on the area.” They weighed in a total of 28.50 for a payday of $10,000 and added to that winning a $2,500 Phoenix Boats Pay Day bonus and a $500 Garmin Bonus.
The Third-place team of Michael Wooley and Joe Wooley weighed in a total of 28.03 and collected $5,000. “We didn’t have a good practice, but on the last day late in practice, we found a spot way upriver that was holding fish around laydowns and stumps. We spent day one fishing any wood we could find, and we caught a lot of fish including one that weighed 4.30 pounds and another 4.20 that helped us cull up.”
We caught all our fish on a green pumpkin 1/8 oz Ned Rig. The boat traffic in our areas on day two seemed to affect the fish some. We worked it the best we could and caught six keepers off one laydown. We caught another big one at 4.30 in another area. We made our final cull at 4:10 pm which moved us up to third place with 28.03. The team has qualified to fish the BASS Team Championship and has set the goal to make the Bassmaster Classic.
The Top 10 places are below.
Download and listen to the ABT Podcast on your favorite Podcast app by searching for “Alabama Bass Trail Podcast.” The podcast is released each week on Tuesday, and this week will feature the winners 2023 ABT Champs.