Team Championship Blog

Joe Bass Team Trail - Pomme de Terre

6:15 pm EDT, Jun 30, 2015

With their five bass limit in the boat by 7 a.m. Dan Weber and Robert Leiniger continued to fish big worms and jigs, culling by just ounces through eight keepers for their best five weighing 24.54. They fished within site of the takeoff location, never moving throughout the day. With just 10 minutes to weigh-in, Weber calls to say their cranking battery had died and they were frantically trying to change the cables to get started so they could come in. Avoiding disqualification, they managed to get the cables switched arriving at weigh-in with 1 minute to spare. 


Second place and Top Skeeter owner goes to father and son team Dave and David Epema. Their 22.52 pound bag came on jigs fished in the dam area. Sponsors include 154 Marine & Skeeter Boats. Another father and son team Kevin and Bryan Jackson cull through as many as 20 keepers for their final weight of 20.75 pounds

fishing carolina rigs with brush hogs also in the dam area of Pomme de Terre Lake. Landon Rogers and Kent Whitaker weighed in the Dennis Hanks Chevrolet 1st Big Bass at 6.43 pounds.


The Pomme Division is sponsored by Sawyer Tire. Based in Bolivar, MO, they have locations throughout Southwest Missouri in Stockton, Greenfield, Hermitage, Lamar, Lebanon, Willard, and Republic. Live release pontoon provided by Sport Boats USA. 


Joe Bass Team Trail returns to Pomme July 25th, taking off from Bolivar landing at 6 a.m.

Joe Bass Team Trail - Truman Lake

6:04 pm EDT, Jun 30, 2015

Once again the conditions were stacked against the field of Truman Division anglers as they were faced with a post-frontal weather pattern, a lake that has been high for quite some time raising over three feet in a matter of days, only to be drawn back down three feet at the rate of 6”-10” a day, and Pomme de Terre lake dumping 60 degree water into the upper reaches of that arm of Truman at a maximum pace. The results combined to produce an extremely stingy bite for the 41 teams assembled at Sterett Creek Marina.


Despite the overwhelming obstacles presented to the field, there is always a team that solves the puzzle. Veteran Truman Lake ace David McCormick paired with Jackson Foth to best the field with one of only five limits brought to the scales. David and Jackson’s bag totaled 13.29 pounds, bolstered by the second place big bass of the day at 4.09 pounds. David noted their SPORT BOATS USA KEY FOR SUCCESS involved pitching black and blue jigs to green bushes from inches of water out to around 8’. David added that he picked up on a key late in the day prior during the BFL tournament that the fish seemed to be concentrated on “young” willow bushes, which allowed them to focus their attention on that pattern and eliminate the need to pitch at the myriad of cover present in the flooded conditions.


Wrangling a second place limit that narrowly missed the first place standard was the team of Charley and Chris Thomas. They managed six keepers total pitching a beaver- style bait in the Tebo arm on an early bite, as they had their bag in the boat by 11:00 a.m. before struggling the rest of the day. With a solid 3.74 pound bass to their credit, the morning bite was enough to secure second place and advanced them in the points standings.


Another long-time Truman team, John Krewson and Fred Baraks, wrapped up third place with 13.15 pounds of Truman largemouths. John excitedly shared that they ignored the shoreline cover and spent their day running to all the major arms of the lake, Tebo, Grand, Osage, and Pomme, and dredged the original shoreline with deep-diving crankbaits.


Gary Martin, fishing with Don Heiser, used the adage that if you’re only going to get one keeper bite, make it a good one! The team brought the big bass of the event, a 4.92 pound toad, to the scales to take top honors. Gary explained the fish fell to a Carolina- rigged brushhog.


Not to be left out of the prize money, Joe Bass Staffers Timmy Newberry and Rusty Darnell showed why it pays to run a Skeeter boat as they narrowly won the Joe Bass Highest Finishing Skeeter Award money with their 5.75 pound stringer taken while fishing from Timmy’s 2009 Skeeter. 


The next tournament in the 2015 Truman Division will take place July 26th from Sterett Creek Marina.

Booth and Booth take the season opener for Upstate Anglers

5:50 pm EDT, Jun 30, 2015

Conesus Lake on June 20th 2015 set the stage for the opening day of bass season in New York and the first ever Upstate Anglers Team Trail tournament stop. A few weeks of terrible downpours and flooding in the Fingerlakes Region of NY had many local lakes closed or reduced to a 5 MPH restriction to avoid dangerous travel situations and threatened possible cancelation of our event. But, with the sun out for a few days and a quickly healing watershed, Conesus Lake grew healthy and the 30 teams had the chance to compete.


Early in the day, Mark Booth and RJ Booth fished a notoriously strong topwater smallmouth bite which almost produced a heavy fish to start the day on a great note. Right before netting, the fish it broke water one last time and finally shook the bait loose, returning to the depths. With that, the team casted and few more times and decided to make another run and set up on area scouted during the previous week. Facing heartache, the team remained positive and fished one area which produced over and over and allowed the team to cull and finesse themselves to 20.83 pounds and overall victory in the tournament. Noteworthy was RJ’s catch of a 5.05 largemouth, which just came shy of the lunker 5.23 caught by Steve Lautter. Additionally, not far off the pace of weight for the day was Charlie Signorino and Bell Kellman in second place with 20.41 and Joe Vanelli and Mark Volpe with 16.87 for third.

Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series expands in 2016

5:46 pm EDT, Jun 30, 2015

The Alabama Bass Trail is pleased to announce in 2016, the Tournament Series is expanding to allow more amateur anglers to qualify for the championship where an $83,000 purse of cash and prizes is up for grabs. Top performing Collegiate teams and couples will have the opportunity to qualify for the ABT Championship and also new for 2016, single-person team entries will be allowed for the first time.


The Alabama Bass Trail, the largest team tournament trail in Alabama, is offering more ways to qualify for the Championship tournament in 2016.  The new opportunities allow the top Collegiate and Couples teams to qualify for the Championship, and for the first time, the Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series will allow single-person team entries. The top five collegiate teams and the top 5 couples teams will also qualify for the Tournament Series Championship.


All single-person team competitors must attend all pre-tournament meetings, will be subject to a polygraph and shall also be subject to carrying an official observer in the boat during the tournament.


“After two successful years of the Tournament Series, we decided to expand upon our current audience. With the additional two divisions and single entries, the Alabama Bass Trail is excited to offer additional opportunities for more anglers to qualify for the championship,” said Alabama Bass Trail Program Director Kay Donaldson.


The maximum number of boats qualifying for the Tournament Series Championship is 145.  That number shall be comprised of the 10 divisional tournament winning teams, top 55 teams in points from both divisions that fished all five events in their respective divisions, top five collegiate teams and top five couples’ teams along with the top 15 student teams collectively from both divisions that fished all five events in their respective division. Hosted by the Eufaula-Barbour County Chamber of Commerce, the championship tournament is set for October 7-8, 2016 on Lake Eufaula.


Sanctioned by B.A.S.S. (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society), the Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series gets underway February 20, 2016. The tournament trail contains two divisions: North and South. Each division is made up of five tournaments on five different lakes. Maximum number of boats for each tournament is 225. Teams must fish in all five tournaments in their respective division.


North Division:


Lewis Smith Lake                   February 27, 2016 hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County

Lake Guntersville                    March 19, 2016 hosted by Marshall County CVB

Pickwick Lake                        April 23, 2016 hosted by TBD

Neely Henry Lake                   May 21, 2016 hosted by City of Gadsden Parks & Recreation

Weiss Lake                              June 18, 2016 hosted by Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce


South Division:


Lake Martin                            February 20, 2016 hosted by Alexander City Chamber of Commerce

Lay Lake                                 March 12, 2016 hosted by Shelby County Commission

Mobile-Tensaw Delta              April 9, 2016 hosted by Mobile Sports Authority and Mobile CVB

Alabama River                        May 14, 2016 hosted by the City of Camden (Millers Ferry)

Lake Jordan                            June 4, 2016 hosted by TBD


Anglers who fished all five events in their respective divisions in 2015 will be given a priority entry period from August 1 to August 14, 2015, to register online at for the 2016 season. Registration will be open to the public on August 15, 2015. Entry fee per tournament is $1,250 per team, which includes registration for all five tournaments in respective division.


Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series sponsors are Bill Penney Toyota, the Alabama Tourism Department, Phoenix Bass Boats, Inc., Academy Sports & Outdoors, Garmin, T & H Marine Supplies, Inc., Alabama Power Company, Buffalo Rock, Inc., Jet-Pep, Inc., AFS Inc., Tennessee Valley Authority, Window World, Inc., Hydrowave, LEER Truck Caps and Tonneau Covers, Vicious Fishing, E3 Sports Apparel, Navionics and Frogg Toggs, Inc. Southern Stream Live will be the live-streaming company.


For more information, call Alabama Bass Trail Program Director Kay Donaldson at 855.934.7425 or visit


About Alabama Bass Trail


The Alabama Bass Trail is a program of the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association. Its mission is to promote Alabama as a year round fishing destination, to preserve natural resources for generations to come, and to educate high school and college aged students to be good stewards of natural resources. The 13 bass fishing lakes consist of Lake Guntersville, Wheeler Lake, Pickwick Lake, Lewis Smith Lake, Neely Henry Lake, Weiss Lake, Lake Martin, Lay Lake, Logan Martin Lake, Lake Jordan, Alabama River (Millers Ferry), Lake Eufaula, and the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta.

Carden, Rutland win Alabama Bass Trail Southern Division Finale at Lay Lake

4:58 pm EDT, Jun 30, 2015

The final regular season event for the 2015 Alabama Bass Trail was held on Lay Lake at Beeswax Creek Park in Columbiana, Ala.  As with any tournament trail, each event carries significance because there is so much on the line. However, in this final event, there was so much to be finalized that it held a certain air of importance.


With not only the results of the individual event to be determined, but also the Southern Division Angler of the Year Race, the overall Alabama Bass Trail Anglers of the Year race would be finalized, as would the teams heading to the Bassmaster Team Championship in the fall would also be named.


The immediate concern for the day was the Lay Lake tournament. With so much in cash to be handed out, the anglers would battle it out on a Lay Lake that saw some changes in the overall conditions. While changes often mean disaster for anglers, they meant something more to Coby Carden and Chris Rutland; who won the event with 24.64 pounds.


“We practiced for three days total and did everything in very typical Alabama summer conditions; hot, sunny and still,” said Rutland. “We planned on spending a little time shallow early, and then heading deep as the sun came out, but the conditions allowed us to stay with our shallow pattern longer.”


When tournament morning brought overcast that lasted until nearly lunchtime, the pair hit the grassbeds. “We spent most of our morning Flippin’ and big jig around the grass,” they reported. “We had planned on only getting an hour or so up there, but the overcast and wind allowed us to do that a lot longer.” After catching a limit shallow, they ventured out deeper and managed to cull with a football jig, a deep crankbaits and a Shaky Head.


Carden and Rutland, who won the Lay Lake event in 2014, became the first team to win multiple Alabama Bass Trail events. “It means a lot to win in this trail,” said Rutland. “There are a lot of good anglers in this thing, and to be able to win here feels really good.” The pair earned $10,000 and a $7,000 contingency bonus from their boat company for the win.


The team of Wayne Cox and Jimmy Harrison were the only other team to eclipse the 20-pound mark on the day. Their 20.12-pound limit was anchored by a 7.17-pound largemouth that was good enough to earn the Diet Mountain Dew Big Bass bonus of $500. That, along with their second place finish earned them $5,500 for the day.


The team of Nicholas Turner and Joe Lay had a strong tournament at Lay Lake and were able to overcome the 24 point deficit they faced heading into the tournament in the Southern Division Anglers of the Year standings to Keith Dees and Tommy Walley. Turner and Lay finished seventh at Lay Lake with 15.39 pounds while Dees and Walley were only able to produce four keepers.


Turner and Lay’s high finish gave them a total of 1073 points for the season, which also earns them the title of overall Alabama Bass Trail Anglers of the Year. That title comes with a bonus of their entry fees paid for the 2016 ABT season and $5,000. 


As with last season, each of Alabama Bass Trail’s tournaments will feature the live streaming video, but new for the 2015 season will be a live leaderboard so that friends, families and fans can keep up with each event.  Follow along on


The sponsors of the 2015 Alabama Bass Trail included Bill Penney Toyota, the Alabama Tourism Department, Phoenix Bass Boats, Inc., Academy Sports & Outdoors,  Garmin, T-H Marine Supplies, Inc., Costa Del Mar , Boat US, LEER Truck Caps and Tonneaus, Alabama Power Company, Garmin VIRB Elite, Buffalo Rock, Inc., Jet-Pep, Inc., Tennessee Valley Authority, Power-Pole, Frogg Toggs, Inc., AFS, Window World, E3 Sports Apparel, HydroWaveTM, Vicious Fishing, Navionics, Hydrowave, and Yeti Coolers.

BBT Bass White Lake tournament results

4:52 pm EDT, Jun 30, 2015

The White Lake qualifier was greeted with cool and cloudy morning. 71 teams registered and were fishing for a total purse of cash and prizes of over $5,000.00.  A total of 289 bass were brought to the scales for a total weight of 684.41 pounds. There were 53 limits brought to the scales.


Congratulations to Don Watts and Ben Nielsen for the winning limit of fish weighing 17.20 pounds. They also had the 2nd Big Bass of the tournament weighing 4.34 pounds. Second place was taken by Randy Lockard and Jason Ammerman with a total weight of 15.61 pounds. Norm Green and Harv Van DeWeg took third place with 15.24 pounds. They also had the Big Bass of the Tournament weighing 4.75 pounds.


For full results and more photos, click here

BBT Bass Cadillac tournament results

4:43 pm EDT, Jun 30, 2015

The Cadillac qualifier was greeted with cold and rainy day. 68 teams registered and were fishing for a total purse of cash and prizes of over $5,000.00. A total of 300 bass were brought to the scales for a total weight of 705.81 pounds. There were 50 limits brought to the scales.


Congratulations to Paul Vandentoorn and Nate Westrate for the winning limit of fish weighing 16.15 pounds. They also had the Big Bass of the tournament weighing 4.42 pounds. Second place was taken by Matt Dyer and Colton Dehaan with a total weight of 15.70 pounds. Don Watts and Ben Nielsen took third place with 15.49 pounds and the second big bass, weighing 4.28 pounds, went to Chuck and Doug Schrader.


For full results and more photos, click here

Keystone Bass Buddy Circuit Lowrance Shenango Open

4:38 pm EDT, Jun 30, 2015

Dick's Sporting Goods and Keystone Bass Buddy Circuit held the Lowrance Open at Shenango Lake on Sunday, June 21st.  Shenango River Lake is an US Army Corp-managed flood control reservoir for the Shenango river valley. Heavy rains the week prior to the tournament raised the water level to 6-7 feet above normal, which presented a challenge to the anglers to figure out how the bass would react to the changing water levels. As always with in a very talented group of competitive teams, someone always finds a way to catch them and this tournament was no exception.


Woody Knis and Deron Eck took top honors winning first place with 17.28 pounds with a 4.46-pound lunker. Mike Kopelic and Mark Towne came in second place with 16.14 pounds and a 4.35 pound big fish. Andy Getsy and Chad Shutty rounded out the top three with 15.35 pounds. Wayne Bruno and Keith Kristoff weighed in the biggest fish of the tournament and won the Lunker Cash with a 4.87 pound largemouth. See full results here.

Anglers in Action Tournament Trail - Grand Lake

4:29 pm EDT, Jun 30, 2015

The Anglers in Action Tournament Trail held an event at Grand Lake on on June 20, 2015.


See results here.

Anglers in Action Tournament Trail - Table Rock

4:21 pm EDT, Jun 30, 2015

The Anglers in Action Tournament Trail held an event at Table Rock Lake on June 21, 2015.


See results here.