COLUMBIANA, Ala. -- When Coby Carden and Chris Rutland’s fishing plans turned to lemons Saturday, June 7, they made lemonade as they won the Alabama Bass Trail South Division Tournament on Lay Lake.
Carden of Shelby and Rutland of Wetumpka had planned to fish river ledges, but could never find they bite they were looking for in the deep water. On a whim, they decided to try fishing shallow Saturday morning and wound up spending the entire day near the shore en route to winning the $10,000 first prize with a five-fish limit that weighed 20.60 pounds. Their catch was anchored by a 5.20-pound largemouth.
Nick Harris and Walker Kent finished in second place with 19.03 pounds. They won $5,000.
Taylor Watkins and Ronald Tidwell won $4,000 for finishing third with 17.04 pounds.
Wes King and Gage King tied with Ralph Mosley and Terry Stevens for fourth place with 17 pounds to round out the Top 5.
“We didn’t have a good practice and really didn’t have anything going when we started fishing. So we went shallow and started getting bites,” Carden said. “We kept getting good bites shallow, so we stayed shallow.”
Carden said they used a variety of baits to catch their fish.”We were throwing a frog, swimming a jig, doing a little bit of everything.”
Nick Harris said he and Kent caught their fish flipping soft plastics.
Watkins and Tidwell also flipped for much of the day.
“We were junk fishing,” Watkins said. “We played around all day and flipped a lot of different baits.”
Also in the Top 10 were Foster Bradley and Jeremy Christian, Rex Chambers and Brent Crow, Robert Davis and Billy Reynolds, Matthew McSweeney and Rod McSweeney, Brian Graham and Johney Weaver.
Angel Garcia and Michael Hatton had lunker, a 6.13 pound largemouth. Garcia caught the bass using a June bug colored Gambler BB Cricket.
“We hadn’t done much all day until right at the end when we pulled up in a grass mat and started flipping,” Garcia said. “I flipped that BB Cricket into the back of the grass. The fish tugged, then I tugged and the war was on. We caught a couple of more good fish in the same grass mat.”
The tournament concluded the regular season for the South Division anglers.
The final tournament for the North Division is June 21 on Logan Martin Lake in Pell City.
The top 50 teams from each division will advance to the Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series Championship Oct. 10-11 on Smith Lake in Jasper.
The top six teams from the South Division and top eight from the North Division advance to the B.A.S.S. Team Championship, December 9-13 on DeGray Lake in Bismark, Ark.