The Alabama Bass Trail is a joint effort, started in 2013, between the AL Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Alabama Tourism, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, and the office of Governor Robert Bentley.
To my knowledge, it is the first and only program of its kind in the country. Among its goals, is to promote the excellent bass fisheries in the state, from north to south, east to west, in an effort to draw more anglers from the region.
It started out with mostly promotional events, like lake cleanups, and brochures with a wealth of info about each lake and the surrounding cities. Now in 2014, the organization launched its much anticipated Alabama Bass Tournament Trail.
photo credit: Flickr
Results & Thoughts on First Season
The Trail was split into a North and South Division, with each division fishing 5 tournaments. Those 5 tournaments have been completed, and the Trail Championship event on Lewis Smith Lake awaits in October.
The Trail has received mostly positive reviews from participants. The weigh-ins are top notch, including a stage, pro-style weigh in station, and digital leaderboards. For just a $250 entry fee you are getting a professionally run event. Perhaps the most common criticism of the circuit is the payout structure. The payout does not go very deep, paying down to only 20th place in a 200 boat field. However, this is offset by the allure of the $10,000 guaranteed 1st place prize.
Team of the Year was also awarded a $5,000 bonus prize, as well as their 2015 Entry Fees paid in full, for accumulating the most points in either division over the 5 events. This year’s winners were William Davis, of Sheffield, and Tim Cummings, of Waynesboro, Tennessee.
Championship Event on Lewis Smith Lake
The final event will be a 2 day tournament on Lewis Smith in Jasper, AL on October 10th and 11th. The top 50 teams in each division, plus 25 student boats, automatically qualified. At stake is the grand prize, a 2015 Phoenix 619 Pro Bass Boat, worth more than $50,000, as well as cash prizes.
photo credit: Flickr
Winners from the 2014 Trail
North Division Results
- February 1st – Guntersville – Brandon Staggs & Jerry Wright – 5 fish / 32.02lbs
- March 22nd – Pickwick – Adam Bain & Kris Colley – 5 fish / 25.11lbs
- April 5th – Neely Henry – Bradley Jones & Andy Kilgore – 5 fish / 21.58lbs
- May 31st – Wheeler – Randall Stutts & Patrick Hailstone – 5 fish / 21.41lbs
- June 21st – Logan Martin – Josh Butler & Jeb Tate – 5 fish / 20.13 lbs
South Division Results
- March 1st – Mobile Tensaw River – Adam Ross & Matt Thorton – 5 fish / 15.24lbs
- March 15th – Eufaula – David Caylor & Allen Hayes – 5 fish / 25.19lbs
- April 19th – Lake Jordan – Mark Wallace & Aaron Smith – 5 fish / 18.66lbs
- May 10th – Alabama River – Joey Mann & Jeremy Baltzell – 5 fish / 20.51lbs
- June 7th – Lay Lake – Chris Rutland & Coby Carden – 5 fish / 20.60lbs