By Jason Duran
The second stop for the Alabama Bass Trail 100 was The Alabama River – Millers Ferry. 100 of the best teams in bass fishing competed for first place of $25,000 and a total payout of over $100,000 in this event. Teams reported that the fishing was tough due to changing water conditions. However, like in all ABT events, these teams know how to catch them and the weights were very competitive.
Jason Kilpatrick and Keenan Connell, who took off last out of 100 boats, finished in 1st place with 15.42 pounds. With 99 of the best teams taking off ahead of them, they were not expecting to be able to get on the best areas in the lake because other teams would already be there. They didn’t see boat 100 as a disadvantage because they prepared for it. “Taking off last is not a big deal if you mentally prepare for it. We knew we didn’t need to rush to our main spot because everything would be fished over by the time we got there. Instead, we decided to fish our way there and pick up a limit on the way to our main area. We made a short run and started fishing the grass on a river point using a frog. We quickly put together a limit of 11-pounds. When we arrived on our main spots, the plan was to fish the available water that no one else was fishing. We looked for the open areas we wanted to fish and fished through those areas, upgrading and culling. It worked to our advantage- we didn’t have to fish around anyone all day, and we were really surprised. We spent most of the day flipping a homemade Jig from a poison tail mold. We tied the skirts with a little blue glitter and orange to match a perch color paired with a green pumpkin charthouse rage bug trailer. The fish we were targeting were around brim beds. We needed to cover a lot of water flipping the Jig. The key for us was the jig weight- ¾ oz. which is a little heavier than most people fish. The added weight allowed us to move faster to produce the better bites.” Their first-place finish earned them a huge pay day of $25,000 before any contingency money. They were very happy with this win and are looking forward to the next event at Smith Lake where they have been preparing since the schedule was announced.
The second-place team of Jeff Richey and Charlie Cummings weighed in 15.24 pounds following some tough practice in their own boats on opposite ends of the lake. After practice, they made the decision to start tournament day heading north. Jeff grew up fishing with his dad on this lake and “knew that as much as they were playing with the water, the flats on the south end were going to take a toll with the water up and down. We just decided to get away from the crowd and head north.” They headed north to fish the river and for them it was over quick. They started the morning with a white Davis swim jig. “The goal was to stay in the river and fish. We were targeting grass mats. We spent a lot of time fishing them and a lot of them didn’t produce. We got lucky and fished two grass mats about 20 yards from each other, and it went down quick. The fish were really feeding in a short window of time, so we were able to catch them when they were biting. We caught our limit and the fish just shut off for whatever reason. We came back to that spot throughout the day and only caught little fish there. This year we have put in the hard work to locate fish and today, the hard work paid off in our favor.” With the second-place finish, they earned $12,500 and an additional $500 Garmin Bonus.
CJ Knight and Mitchell Jennings finished in 3rd place and earned $10,000 add to that the Phoenix Boats Payday of $2,500. “We ran about 25 miles up the river and got into a little backwater where the fish were biting pretty good this morning.” The water was higher this morning, but as the day went on, the water got lower, and the fishing got tougher. We quickly went to work using a flipping jig made by Jason at the Tackle Box in Oxford AL, called an ADL swim jig. It was the key to our success today.” They quickly caught a limit quick and “had all the fish we weighed in by 9:00. After the water started falling, we had to adjust today; we had to go from swimming the jig to flipping the jig around cover. When the water starts falling, you must adjust quickly, so you really need to know where the fish are going. For us, the fish moved from the pockets with cover along the bank, and they moved out to the deeper points and grouped up there. Once we realized that we could go and fish for them there, we quickly upgraded to our limit of 14.51 pounds.” The third and final stop of the ABT 100 will be at Lewis Smith Lake November 4th. Where the AOY will be decided, and the coveted AOY Heavy Weight belts will be awarded. The Current top 10 AOY Standings are:
|1||Jonathan Collins / Derek Hicks||191|
|2||Ben Williamson / Bo Williamson||190|
|3||Jason Kilpatrick / Keenan Connell||186|
|4||Brian Adamson / Ryan Lloyd||183|
|5||Mickey Mchenry / Kim Carver||181|
|6||Kris Colley / Adam Bain||180|
|7||David Pair / Jimmy Mason||178|
|8||Mark Condron / Ted Paisley||174|
|9||Rusty White jr / Brian Elder||173|
|10||Lee Varner / Billy Adamson||167|
|10||Tim Hurst / Mark Mccaig||167|
The top five standings are below for a complete list of standings please visit the tournament results page.
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 2023 Alabama Bass Trail 100 include; Phoenix Bass Boats, Bill Penney Automotive Group, Banjio Sunglasses, Garmin, America’s First Federal Credit Union, Sweet Home Alabama, Alabama Tourism Department, T-H Marine Supplies, Big Bite Bait Company, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Anheuser – Busch, Inc., fishalabama.org, Freedom Tackle Corp, Halo Fishing, NetBait, and Scum Frog