First Top 150 Solo Series Championship Set To Roll

ATHENS, Ala. – The best anglers from  American Bass Anglers Top 150 Solo Series, Presented by Caymas Boats, will battle for cash prizes and bragging rights during the inaugural ABA Top 150 Solo Series Championship, set for Sept. 30-Oct.1, 2022, on Kentucky Lake.

“We are all excited about holding our first ABA Top 150 Solo Series Championship on this great lake,” said Morris Sheehan, Owner of American Bass Anglers. “We are very proud of the anglers who have fished with us these past two years. We didn’t have a tour championship in our first Top 150 Solo Series season. Many anglers expressed an interest in holding a Tour Championship and we listened to them. The winner of this championship will receive a guaranteed $25,000. All other participants in the tournament will each receive a check regardless of where they placed. I wish all the anglers the best of luck and look forward to seeing them back in 2023.”

Up to 35 of the best anglers fishing in the 2022 season will compete on the sprawling Kentucky Lake for two days. The event runs out of Paris Landing, located at 16055 Highway 79 North in Buchanan, Tenn. 

During the 2022 season, anglers in two regional divisions, Southeast and Southwest, each fished three tournaments in their division. At each event, the competitors earned points based on what place they finished in that tournament. The top 15 points leaders in each division at the end of the regular season received an invitation to fish the inaugural ABA Top 150 Solo Series Championship, Presented by Caymas Boats.

In addition, the top five finishers from the 2022 ABA Top 150 Solo Series Wildcard Tournament, Presented by Caymas Boats, also earned invitations to fish the Top 150 Solo Series Championship for a total of 35 eligible anglers. William K. Matetzsc from Blairsville, Ga. won that Wildcard event, held Sept. 9-10, 2022, on Ross Barnett Reservoir near Jackson, Miss.

Each angler competing in the championship will fish solo both days. Each angler can bring in up to five bass per day with a minimum size limit of 15 inches in length. The angler bringing in the heaviest combined 2-day bag will win the guaranteed $25,000. Unlike in the Wildcard, anglers can still earn points depending upon how they placed during the Tour Championship. 

“This championship is a points-earning event,” stated Tournament Manager Floyd Vaughn. “At the end of this championship, the top five seasonal points leaders from each division for a total of 10 will receive an invitation to fish the 2023 Ray Scott Championship. The 2023 Ray Scott Championship will be held April 2-7 on the Red River at Shreveport, La.”

Kentucky Lake runs for 184 miles along the Tennessee River. Created in 1944, the largest artificial lake by surface area east of the Mississippi River spreads across 160,309 acres. It offers anglers more than 2,064 shoreline miles, more than twice as long as the California coastline.

Kentucky Lake connects to the 57,900-acre Lake Barkley through a 1.7-mile-long canal. Lake Barkley dates to 1964 and runs for about 134 miles along the Cumberland River. Lake Barkley offers anglers another 1,004 shoreline miles. If flattened into a straight line, the combined shoreline from these two lakes and associated waters would stretch almost from Boston to San Francisco. 

One of the best bass lakes in the nation, the Kentucky-Barkley system can produce good catches of largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass. Many largemouth run in the 4- to 7-pound range with some hitting double digits. However, the lake has been in something of a slump in recent years.

“The lake has been on a downturn, but it’s starting to make a comeback,” Vaughn explained. “The state of Tennessee and other groups have been putting out a lot of fish attractors and stocking fingerlings. Fishing is getting better each year. This lake can still produce some 8- to 10-pound fish at any time. This week, the lake is down a couple feet. The fish have been sluggish, but that’s common for this time of year in almost any southern lake. They are getting ready to change their seasonal patterns.”

Eric Silverstrim of Indian Mound, Tenn. fishes the B.A.S.S. Opens and the ABA Open Series. He considers these lakes his home waters. He said that anglers should fish one of two patterns at this time of year. First, keep things on top.

“Anglers who know the lake will find catchable fish,” Silverstrim predicted. “The biggest largemouth bass are coming on topwater baits on the north end of the bars. The water flows from south to north. People could catch a bunch of good fish by running the north-end bars in four to 10 feet of water, especially if we see cloudy conditions. Fish the first shallow water off the main channel and close to secondary creek channels. Recently, people have caught several larger bass just outside the bays.”

When a hard north or south wind blows and the lake managers pull considerable water through the dam, that could affect the topwater action. In that case, Silverstrim suggests Pattern 1, targeting smallmouth bass. In early fall, many big brownies stay in shallow water.

“For smallmouth in the shallows, try throwing a buzzbait or a Strike King KVD Sexy Dawg early in the morning over the shallow points,” Silverstrim advised. “Smallmouth are quite active on the points just outside and in the creek mouths. Many bass stay in five feet of water or less all year long. People can catch them on Rat-L-Traps or ChatterBaits by covering a lot of water.”

Anglers could also slowly work soft plastics in deeper water or drag Carolina rigs over humps. Try swimbaits or other lures that resemble shad.

“For anglers who like offshore fishing, I’d throw a football jig or a crankbait that dives to at least 10 feet deep,” Silverstrim recommended. “Fish them at the edge of the drops. Use the electronics to search for cover, like stumps or brush piles. The top five anglers will likely bring in bags in the 18- to 24-pound range each day. Many of the other anglers will pull in 10- to 13-pound bags each day.”

Also watch for schooling bass erupting on the surface. In the fall, bass fatten up on baitfish. They follow shad migrating to the back of the creeks and won’t go far from their groceries. Keep handy a lipless crankbait, a hefty topwater bait or other lures that mimic shad and can sail long distances in case any schooling fish pop up. 

“Swimbaits, swimming jigs, and jerkbaits would also work,” Vaughn suggested. “Those baits work well for getting reaction bites when the bass are primarily feeding upon shad like they are at this time of year. Bass feed heavily upon shad to stock up their energy reserves as they prepare for winter.”

During an ABA Open Series, Presented by Caymas Boats, Tennessee Division 3 tournament, held April 30, 2022, out of Paris Landing, Ron A. Perry from Gallatin, Tenn. won the Boater Division with four bass going 11.76 pounds. He capped his catch with a 3.73-pounder. He caught his fish by flipping bushes. Conoly Brown from Brentwood, Tenn. finished eighth with three keepers for 9.16 pounds, but his 4.79-pound kicker took tournament lunker honors.

“I caught that big fish on 1-ounce spinnerbait around a drop-off,” Brown revealed. “I stayed offshore.”

In the Co-Angler Division during that event, Brian M. Haworth of Cookeville, Tenn. landed a 3-bass division limit weighing 8.12 pounds with a 2.95-pound kicker. He caught most of his fish by flipping brush in the back of coves. John A. Sturdivant from Obion, Tenn. finished second among the co-anglers with two bass and 4.35 pounds but won the division big bass title with a 2.98-pounder.

“We started fishing shallow on the edge of some brush,” Sturdivant reported. “We weren’t getting bites, so we scratched that at about 12:30 p.m. Then, we started flipping boat docks near the marina where I picked up two keepers in the last hour of the tournament.”

Other good baits during that April tournament included finesse worms, spinnerbaits, jigs and creature baits. 

“Anyone who can catch a good limit of five fish each day can walk away with a check worth $25,000,” Vaughn said. “The weigh-in both days will be streamed live on Facebook. We’re also going to give away some door prizes donated by Garmin. The top finishing angler using Garmin products will receive a $500 bonus, regardless of where that person placed in the tournament. I’m looking forward to the next season. I’m already getting phone calls about it.” 

Anglers may qualify for bonus money offered by other sponsors, such as Caymas Boats, Mercury Marine, T-H Marine Atlas Awards program, MotorGuide, and Power Pole. See each manufacturer’s website for details, rules, and qualifications for more information on their contingency programs.

The weigh-in begins at 3 p.m. on Sept. 30 and at 2 p.m. on Oct. 1. The public is invited. For more information about this tournament, call Vaughn at (256) 230-5633.

The 2022 Championship Anglers

Bruce Anderson, Sherman, TX
John Bailey, Calhoun, GA
Bill Bean, Eufaula, OK
Robert Brooks, Ardmore, OK
Paul Browning, Pecos, TX
Wayne Christopher, Huntsville, AL
Tony Couch, Buckhead, GA
Bradley Gardner, Molena, GA
Danny Hall, Ellijay, GA
James Harmon, Ringgold, GA
Steve Hatch, Long Beach, MS
Todd Hollowell, Fishers, IN
Jesse Jeffery, Sedan, KS
Kevin Lasyone, Dry Pong, LA
Jeffery Lloyd, Brandon, MS
William Matetzschk, Blairsville, GA
Tom Nilssen, New Braunfels, TX
Walter Ogle, Rockford, TN
Cole Phillips, Phenix City, AL
Baylor Pless, Cordele, GA
Ronald Rockhill, Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Terry Tucker, Gadsden, AL
Albert White, Crosby, TX
Brandon White, Crosby, TX
Rusty White Jr., Soddy Daisy, TN

American Bass Anglers is sponsored by Caymas Boats, Mercury Marine, T-H Marine, Garmin Electronics, Power Pole, Lucas Oil, RT Outdoors, Sportsman Card, Optima Batteries, Hotel Planner.com, and LurePartsOnline.com.

About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers is committed to providing low-cost, close-to-home tournaments for the weekend angler and, at the same time, offering each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression.

For more information about American Bass Anglers, the Open Series, the American Fishing Tour, the American Couples Series, the annual Military Team Bass Tournament, and the Top 150 Solo Tour, all presented by Caymas Boats, visit www.americanbassanglers.com or call (256) 232-0406

This story was written by ABA staff writer John N. Felsher. To submit articles of interest email info@americanbassanglers.com.
 

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© 2018 American Bass Anglers MBAA Since 1975 - All Rights Reserved American Bass Anglers, Inc Logos and other data within this website is the property of American Bass Anglers, Inc and may not be copied or reproduced without express permission of American Bass Anglers, Inc. American Bass Anglers, Inc PO Box 475 Athens, AL 35612 email: call us 256-232-0406. This web site is provided by ABA and resides on a server with 99.99% up time.