When they were last here in 2008, it was nothing short of historic. Paul Elias won the tournament with a record catch weighing 132 pounds, 8 ounces. The event also produced the biggest bass in Elite history (13-2), the second heaviest five bass limit in B.A.S.S. history (44-4) and 12 catches weighing better than 108 pounds. Not surprisingly, Falcon was selected as No. 1 on Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes for 2012. The pros and fishing fans everywhere have been waiting for this one!
With another round of record breaking catches expected to come from Falcon, the Elites will have — and probably need — a short break before the third event, the Bull Shoals Quest on Bull Shoals Lake (April 18-21). This will be B.A.S.S.’s eighth visit to the historic impoundment where flippin’ first came to national prominence in 1975. In April, Elite pro Brandon Palaniuk needed more than 78 pounds of bass over four days to win here. And while largemouth bass will likely dominate catches in the tournament, Bull Shoals has produced smallmouth and spotted bass weighing better than 7 pounds.
In May, the Elite trail heads east to LaGrange, Ga., for the West Point Lake Battle (May 2-5). It will be the seventh trip for B.A.S.S. to West Point and the first since the Elites were here in 2011. That’s when Steve Kennedy pulled out a win with nearly 65 pounds of bass over four days.
At the conclusion of the West Point Elite, anglers will drive 95 miles west to Montgomery, Ala., to begin practicing for the Alabama River Charge on the Alabama River (May 9-12), to be held in conjunction with Montgomery’s Second Saturday Festival. The tournament marks a return to the birthplace of B.A.S.S. as well as the site of two Bassmaster Classics (1981 and 1982). Its waters, part of the popular Alabama Bass Trail, are well known to those anglers who qualified for the postseason events of 2009 and 2010 or Toyota Tundra All-Star Week in 2011, but they’ll be unfamiliar to much of the field. All three of those events were held in late summer. Fishing is traditionally much better in late spring — plus, anglers will be permitted to go through Robert F. Henry Lock and Dam to fish the Alabama River downstream.