Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Heat Turns Up On Pines

ATHENS, Ala. – Walt Stevens of Bernice, LA, managed to bag over 25 lbs of fish not once but twice this weekend, weighing 25.62 on day one and 27.08 on day two in the first ABA Top 150 Solo event of the season for the Southwest Region February 23 and 24, 2024.

Warming conditions let us know that spring is here as temperatures pushed into the 70’s on both days. On day one, the anglers were still facing a steady north wind that forced some to look for sheltered areas. The fish are staged and ready to pull up for bedding, and some of the anglers found a way to catch them and catch them well. Walt’s total weight for the weekend was 52.70 lbs, earning him a check for $4500.00. This tournament has a follow-up this coming weekend. The ABA Professional League will be right back at it on March 2nd.

“Practice was amazing the weekend prior to the tournament. As the week progressed, things changed quickly with warmer weather and falling water. Places where I had found fish grouped up the weekend before were now almost void of life so I began checking the first areas I felt they would pull to. Once I figured out the right combination, it was almost automatic. I knew I could pull up to certain areas and get bites consistently, and they were going to be big ones. The fish were staging to pull up and spawn in the coves. On Friday, the local traffic on the lake was minimal, so I was able to run my spots without knowing someone else would be there. The wind blew extremely hard all day, and I couldn’t fish them as efficiently as I would like, but I still managed to catch 25 lbs before 10:30. I decided to lay off the fish, knowing I had to come back the next day. Saturday started off much slower, in fact, I didn’t fill my limit until 1:00 but it wasn’t because I didn’t have opportunities. With the wind being considerably less than it was on Friday and due to the fact it was the weekend, there were a lot more boats on the lake. I missed a couple of big ones, and between 1:00 and 1:30 in the afternoon, I managed to cull four times. My goal for Saturday was to catch over 30 lbs and I had the opportunity, they just didn’t stay hooked up. I haven’t lost a fish all week, but I lost two big ones today. I’m just very fortunate they didn’t hurt me. It was a great weekend, and I’m very happy.”

In second place, Robert Parkinson of Marshall, TX, put up an outstanding weight to start the tournament with a 5-fish limit of 27.38 lbs. His heaviest fish was 6.78. He followed it up with a 5 fish limit for a little over 16 lbs on day two as he couldn’t get the big bites he had on day one. Robert finished the weekend with a total weight of 43.94 lbs earning $2000.00.

“I stayed on one spot the entire weekend. It was a big area, so I was able to move around quite a bit. We had the higher winds on the first day, and it kept the fish all in one spot. I found them suspended in the grass and around six feet of water. I was a little surprised to have 27 lbs, but this time of year, on this body of water, anything can happen. On day two, the winds were down considerably less, and I think that’s why I didn’t get the big bites. I caught lots of fish, but the larger ones had backed off and moved out, and I didn’t make an adjustment to find them. All of my fish came on the same baits, traps, and chatter baits. I just kept rotating between them throughout the day.

Finishing in 3rd place was Zach Fogle of Longview, TX. You could call Zach Mr. consistent, as both of his limits on days one and two were ounces apart from each other. Day one yielded a weight of 20.90 lbs. and on day 2, Zach came in with 21.09 lbs. for a total weight of 41.99. Zack took home a check for $1750.00

“I had located 5 different areas that seemed to have a consistent pattern. I was targeting fish that were suspended in deeper water on timber. I only fished two of these locations during the tournament and probably should have hit them all. I was throwing a jerk bait and getting them to react. Both of my limits on Friday and Saturday were within ounces of each other. The wind did play a big part in it because the first day I managed to catch 15 but on day 2 with the wind laying down some I put 35 fish in the boat. Lake of the Pines can be really good this time of year, and it’s always fun to fish when they’re biting like this.”

Finishing in 4th place was Brennan Flick of West Monroe, LA. His 5 fish limits of 19.82 lbs and 19.62 lbs gave him a total of 39.44. Brennan experienced some boat trouble on the second day, which may have hindered him a little, but he still got his fish to the weigh-in on time due to excellent sportsmanship from a friend who was fishing the event. His efforts earned him a check for $1500. Finishing in 5th place is Keith Surber of Longview, Texas, with five fish limits on both days of 23.75 lbs and 15.57 lbs, earning him $900.00. His two-day total was 39.32. His day one limit was anchored by a 9.01 lb lunker which earned top honors for big bass and an additional check of $1000.

As mention earlier, the ABA Pro League will be back at Lakeside Park this coming weekend, but the Top 150 will next visit Toledo Bend and Cypress Park on May 10th and 11th..
At the end of the season, we will crown the Angler of the Year in this division and the top 15 anglers by points will receive an invitation to fish the 2024 Top 150 Solo Championship.

For more information on upcoming tournaments, call Chris Wayand, tournament manager, at 256-230-5627 or ABA at 256-232-0406. Online, see www.americanbassanglers.com

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About American Bass Anglers

American Bass Anglers, committed to providing low-cost, close-to-home tournaments, offers an exciting platform for individual angler progression. With the support of industry-leading companies, ABA continues to advance the sport of bass fishing.

American Bass Anglers is proud to be sponsored by Caymas Boats, Mercury Marine, T-H Marine, Power Pole, RT Outdoors, Optima Batteries, Hotel Planner.com, and LurePartsOnline.com.

About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers is dedicated to organizing affordable, local tournaments for weekend anglers while offering opportunities for individual angler advancement. To learn more about American Bass Anglers, including the Team Series, American Fishing Tour, American Couples Series, annual Military Team Bass Tournament, Top 150 Solo Tour, and Pro League, all presented by Caymas Boats, please visit www.americanbassanglers.com or call (256) 232-0406.

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