By Jason Duran
The inaugural season of the Alabama Bass Trail 100 Series makes its final stop at Lake Guntersville this weekend. Anglers are hoping to be the one team to take home the $25,000 first place cash payout with a total payout for the event of $100,000. The two previous events were held at Lay Lake and Lake Eufaula. This final event will also decide the overall Angler of the Year points race where the two coveted Angler of the Year belts will be awarded.
The team of Jordan Lee and Wes Ward has had this event marked on their calendar from the day they signed up to fish the ABT 100. Wes calls Guntersville home and has lots of experience fishing Lake Guntersville. Jordan is a back-to-back Bassmaster Classic champion and winner of the first MLF Bass Pro Tour. Together they are a team that brings knowledge and experience on the water to the event making them a favorite.
Neither of them have been on the lake in a while, so they plan to use Thursday and Friday to prepare planning to practice in separate boats and areas of the lake. Wes knows the lower end of the lake better and plans to spend his time in practice in that area while Jordan plans to fish up the lake in areas that tend to be productive this time of year. They both “just want to find areas of fish they feel will produce a good limit quickly. The plan would be to get the limit then pick up a flipping stick and flip the rest of the day looking for the bigger bites”
Wes and Jordan shared the typical Guntersville patterns. “We believe this event will either be won on a bridge or on a flipping stick. We just don’t know how the weather is going to play out just yet- to help or hurt the flipping bite. Both of us hate fishing the bridges where you really just play a carousel fishing around a lot of people all day, but we know what happens on this lake and you sometimes kind of live and die by the bridge pattern.”
“When we look for our flipping area, we are really looking at the grass. We are primarily looking at the Milfoil, but with not having been on the lake recently, we have to get out there and spend some time to find the areas we know historically hold fish and have the depth and grass we like to fish. We know what typically works, but we just have to get out there to find them. The water temps have been around 63°, and we’ve heard guys say that the fish are biting. We plan on using our knowledge of the lake and seasonal patterns to our advantage to find the fish we need in practice.”
The weather over the next couple days is going to really change a lot. Wes said that he believes a lot of teams will catch fish in practice. “The weather Thursday and Friday is going to be nasty with rain and cooler temps. That’s going to make the fish bite and how we prefer the weather to be on Saturday. However, we are probably going to have slick calm water and clear skies. Teams are going to catch some fish the next couple of days and think, ‘Oh man, I got an area that’s got some fish in it.’ Then when the wind switches on Saturday, they won’t be able to catch them the same way.”
The fish will be caught doing different things in practice, but the key will be able to catch the fish on Saturday. Wes and Jordan shared they plan to keep it simple. “We will probably only have a couple rods on the deck.” They will for sure have some type of swimbait, a topwater, probably a frog, and for sure, a flipping stick.
When asked about weights for the weekend, the team didn’t agree. Wes shared, “he believes Jordan most of the time and doesn’t know why he is doubting him this time. Jordan says “the winning weight will be in the low 20s,” and he’s confident if they can get there they will be good. Wes said, “I just don’t believe it. I think the mid 20’s is more like it. There will be a team that pulls up on the magic spot and catches them.” Wes did share that “lots of local anglers have been catching fish on the A-Rig lately. That bait is not allowed in this event. So, that might be why Jordan thinks the weights would be a little lower.”
This tournament will operate with social distancing guidelines. All anglers should make sure they have checked text messages and emails for the latest information and changes made to keep everyone as safe as possible during this time. There is a virtual meeting on the ABT 100 Facebook Page, with details anglers need to pay close attention to. 20, 2021
Tune in to the Alabama Bass Trail 100 Facebook page and the Alabama Bass Trail 100 Website (www.alabamabasstrail100.org) for live on the water coverage and live weigh in. All friends and family are welcome to attend this event; bring lawn chairs and practice social distancing. The Launch and weigh in will take place at Lake Guntersville State Park Ramp located at 1155 Lodge Drive Guntersville, AL.
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.
The sponsors of the 2021 Alabama Bass Trail 100 include; Phoenix Bass Boats, Bill Penney Automotive Group, Garmin, America’s First Federal Credit Union, Sweet Home Alabama, Alabama Tourism Department, T-H Marine Supplies, Wedowee Marine, Big Bite Bait Company, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Anheuser – Busch, Inc., fishalabama.org, and American Baitworks.