Alex Prince Dominates Championship
2023 American Fishing Tour Championship Lake Hartwell
ATHENS, Alabama – The American Fishing Tour National Championship reached its exhilarating climax as the skilled angler Alex Prince, hailing from Blue Ridge, Georgia, showcased his remarkable angling abilities. Over the course of three intense days, he not only maintained a commanding lead but also secured victory in this high-stakes competition featuring a field of 250 anglers. With his strategic finesse and unwavering determination, Alex Prince triumphantly hoisted the championship trophy, having amassed a total weight of 53.54 pounds.
Prince embarked on his journey from the picturesque Green Pond Landing in Anderson County, deftly navigating the intricacies of Lake Hartwell. He executed a meticulously planned strategy, which yielded impressive catches of 16.96 pounds, 19.42 pounds, and 17.16 pounds on consecutive days. This remarkable feat ultimately secured his position as the undisputed champion of the AFT National Championship. As a testament to his excellence, Alex Prince was also awarded a new Caymas/Mercury Boat Package for his achievement.
Prince shared insights into his strategic approach in recounting his journey to victory. He remarked, "I opted to remain in the main lake throughout the week. During practice, I had discovered a select group of fish that were notably larger than the rest. Although spotted bass were abundant, I understood that relying solely on them would not secure a win. On the first day, I was pleasantly surprised to land 10-15 fish, all concentrated along a single bank line. The key element was the wind; it had to be blowing onto the bank for the fish to strike. While practice days were bright and sunny, the tournament brought overcast skies for the first two days. The increased wind on the second day proved pivotal, resulting in my largest catch of the week. Adapting to the murky waters, I switched to a larger bait. On the final day, I faced considerable challenges, struggling with only four small catches by 11:00 AM. I could sense victory slipping away, and I knew I had to take action or risk falling down the leaderboard. Believing in the presence of fish, I persevered, and at 13:30, the tide turned in my favor. I managed to complete my limit, culling all four smaller catches from earlier in the day." Prince demonstrated his adaptability by utilizing a repertoire of baits, including a Damiki shad, a flutter spoon, and a Sashimmy Swimmer, adjusting his approach as needed to secure his triumph.
Claiming the second-place honor was Parker Guy, representing Ocilla, Georgia, who exhibited exceptional skill and tenacity throughout the competition. Guy delivered a total weight of 44.90 pounds, achieved through catches of 14.38 pounds, 17.07 pounds, and 13.45 pounds over the three-day event. While also located in the mid-lake region, Guy focused his efforts on targeting humps and points, a strategy that proved fruitful.
Reflecting on his approach, Guy stated, "The fish had not yet moved to the backs of the creeks, so I concentrated my efforts on main lake points. I was consistently reeling in 30-40 fish per day, provided I located the right schools. My bait selection alternated between a Fluke and a topwater spook, with a preference for white or bone-colored variations. Each spot I visited was a brief one, resulting in my consumption of approximately 30 gallons of gas daily. The fish were present, but success depended on persistence and the ability to track them down."
Greg Glouse, a resident of Easley, South Carolina, secured a commendable third-place finish, displaying both skill and determination. Glouse recorded a cumulative weight of 44.60 pounds, narrowly trailing Guy by a mere three ounces. Notably, his performance in this championship tournament also earned him the coveted title of the 2023 AFT National Championship Angler of the Year.
Glouse provided insights into his strategy, stating, "Throughout the week, I concentrated my efforts in the mid-lake region, targeting steep clay banks adorned with chunk rock. My daily catches ranged from 20 to a staggering 60 fish on the most productive days. Day two brought strong winds, and as the waters grew rougher, the fishing improved. My preferred tool was a spinnerbait, with specific choices including the Shadhead Firecracker Spotsticker and the Mini Me Firecracker Spinnerbait. I alternated between these options based on wind conditions, resorting to a Pulse Jig when the waters grew exceptionally calm. The Pulse Jig, due to its pronounced vibration, proved highly effective when maneuvered through the water."
Bradley Day, hailing from Anderson, South Carolina, secured a commendable fourth-place finish despite the challenges posed by off-shore fishing conditions. Day skillfully navigated the tournament waters, relying on his extensive experience to land a cumulative weight of 42.88 pounds. His impressive performance was characterized by three successive limits, weighing 11.50 pounds, 17.48 pounds, and 13.90 pounds. Recounting his strategy, Day remarked, "Unlike the top three anglers, my catches were situated off-shore, primarily in areas with underwater structures. However, due to the lake's nearly 10-foot decline, the fish had deviated from their customary patterns, necessitating an exploration of new locations. On the second day, when the winds howled at up to 20mph, I achieved my most remarkable success. Throughout the tournament, my catches relied on a fluke and a chrome-bodied topwater plug."
In fifth place was Justin Raines, another competitor hailing from Easley, South Carolina, who managed to secure solid limits throughout the event. With a total weight of 42.09 pounds, comprised of daily limits of 15.30 pounds, 10.95 pounds, and 15.84 pounds, Raines delivered a noteworthy performance. Reflecting on his journey, Raines acknowledged the impact of wind on his strategy, stating, "My approach was similarly off-shore, and while I achieved strong catches on the first and third days, the second day presented challenges due to the wind, which forced me away from the fish. Relying on livescope technology proved invaluable in maintaining contact with the fish. I consistently reeled in 30 fish daily but lamented the missed opportunity on day two, where the wind made nearly a 5-pound difference."
This National Championship event served as the culmination of the American Fishing Tour season, drawing the curtain on another year of exceptional angling competition. As some divisions prepare to return to the water for the 2024 season, the AFT National Championship has cemented its status as a prestigious and fiercely competitive event on the angling calendar.
Top 40 Places
PL Angler Fish Penalty Big Bass Total Points Payout 1 Alex T. Prince 15 4.71 53.54 2000 CAYMAS/
2 Parker Guy 15 44.90 1995 5000 3 Gregory AOY Glouse 15 4.34 44.60 1990 CAYMAS/
4 Bradley Day 15 4.59 42.88 1985 3000 5 Justin K. Raines 15 4.05 42.09 1980 2000 6 Reid McGinn 15 38.33 1975 1500 7 Bob Allen 15 37.86 1970 1000 8 Paul J. Ham 15 36.59 1965 1000 9 Grant AOY T. Kelly 15 4.26 36.35 1960 1000 10 Chase AOY Stewart 15 36.32 1955 1000 11 James Rampey 15 35.89 1950 900 12 Gil Senn Jr 15 35.74 1945 900 13 Blake S. Campbell 15 35.50 1940 900 14 Donald Tony AOY A. Beck 15 34.10 1935 900 15 Andy AOY Wicker 15 0.50 33.78 1930 900 16 Ryan M. Bryant 15 33.60 1925 800 17 David AOY H. Lowery 13 3.80 32.85 1920 800 18 Jason Allen 15 32.66 1915 800 19 Tony B. Howell 15 0.50 32.14 1910 800 20 Bradford Brad L. Hambric 15 3.77 32.03 1905 800 21 Brett M. Matthews 15 2.68 31.82 1900 700 22 Brett Douglas 15 31.58 1895 700 23 Scott R. Laughman 15 3.10 30.93 1890 700 24 Aaron AOY E. Batson 15 6.09 30.85 1885 700 25 Brad AOY B. Reynolds 15 30.83 1880 700 26 Bobby L. Clark 15 29.97 1875 600 27 Jeremy S. Renfroe 12 4.99 29.65 1870 600 28 Scott AOY Hayes 15 29.48 1865 600 29 Phillip Anderson 14 4.97 29.44 1860 600 29 Curtis Randy R. Bush 15 4.89 29.44 1860 600 31 Anthony AOY R. Griffin 15 4.35 28.93 1850 500 32 Joseph Chris AOY C. Lynch 15 28.38 1845 500 33 Luke AOY A. Drown 15 28.30 1840 500 34 Aaron AOY D. Dixon 15 27.97 1835 500 35 Rob AOY S. Stone 14 27.91 1830 500 36 Jarred Pharr 14 27.67 1825 500 37 Scott Jeffers 15 27.62 1820 500 38 James Jimmy H. Wilson 15 27.48 1815 500 39 Norman Norm D. McCord 15 27.30 1810 500 40 Tyler Ty K. Youngblood 15 27.25 1805 500
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