Alexander City, Ala. – The 2019 Alabama Bass Trail’s Southern Division schedule kicked off with a bang on Lake Martin in Alexander City, Ala. There had been much consternation about the conditions, and how the fish were going to bite, but as can be expected in an Alabama bass Trail event, the field produced with a strong showing.
When the weigh-in concluded and Wind Creek State Park on Saturday afternoon, a pair of familiar names found themselves atop the leaderboard. John Pollard and Dallas Weldon, the 2018 Southern Division Points winners and overall ABT Anglers of the Year, had plopped 17.63 pounds of Lake Martin bass on the scales to take home the win. Not only did they earn the $10,000 first prize, but they also collected a slew of contingency money from ABT; including the Mountain Dew Big Bass for their 5.49-pound lunker, Phoenix Boats, Wedowee Marine, and Garmin; which brought their total earning for the day to $20,000.
The pair was proud to say the least. “We’ve fished these for a long time, and we’ve done really well here, but haven’t been able to close out a win,” they said. “To be able to finally win one of these, against a field like this means so much, and now that we can say we’ve won an ABT event; it’s pretty special.”
The longtime tournament partners said that they fished in a relatively small, three mile area of the lake. They reported targeting largemouth by fishing every piece of cover they came across with a “crawdad colored,” 3/8-ounce Phenix Lures Football Jig tipped with a matching Zoom Creepy Crawler for a trailer. “We had one fish at 11:00 and were starting to think about making a change, when we both caught good ones,” they said. “That gave us the confidence we needed to keep hunting the bites we needed. We culled a few times, and managed to pull it out; now we can move forward and focus on trying to repeat as AOY; we won’t change how we do things now.”
The second place team of ABT sponsor, Eric Morris of Wedowee Marine, and Ben Williamson “junk fished” their way to a 16.67-pound limit that earned them the $5,000 runner up prize. “We had 15 rods on the deck and used them all,” they said. “We caught them shallow, and we caught them 40 feet deep; we kept adjusting and made it work. We work hard to find quality fish, and to put this together is really exciting.”
For Morris, the whole day was special. “This really is a good day for us at Wedowee Marine overall,” said Morris. “Our friends and customers won, finished second, and third – I couldn’t be happier to see people who trust us with their purchase do well; it’s really fun.”
The Southern Division of the Alabama Bass Trail hits the water next at Lake Jordan on March 30.
The for complete standings, click here.