DRAGONFLY - RAYMARINE

ALABAMA RIVER PREVIEW

Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 05/08/2013

Story and photos by Matt Pangrac

Montgomery, AL – For the first time since the 2005 Open Championship, a full field will compete this week on the Alabama River.  The Elite Series has some recent history on the fishery, as the 2009 and 2010 Bassmaster Postseason events concluded on the Alabama River, and the 2011 Elite Series All-Star Championship also took place on the fishery.

Those past events featured a field of just 12 anglers.  This week, 100 Elite Series pros are entering the second half of the 2013 season on a river noted for its abundance of jumbo spotted bass.  The key word this week appears to be “flow.”   

The Alabama River is up and the current is ripping, but that could change as the weekend approaches.  “They could suck up to six feet out of this thing, so that is going to be the one thing that we’ll have to wait and see what’s going to happen,” cautioned Skeet Reese, who was a part of the 2009 and 2010 Postseason events on the Alabama River, as well as the 2011 All-Star Week.  

Every angler that The BASS ZONE spoke with after two full days of practice mentioned that how the tournament unfolds will be a direct result of what happens with the water level and the current flow. “If the water stays up, it will take over 70-pounds to win.  If they cut the water off, then it will take under 70-pounds to win,” said Tommy Biffle.

The Preview Facts for the Alabama River: 
Tournament: Bassmaster Elite Series (May 9-12)
Location:  Alabama River – Montgomery, Alabama  
Field Size: 100 anglers 
Previous Winner: Ott DeFoe (33-4) – 2011 All-Star Championship

Timmy Horton
What is the X-factor going to be this week on the Alabama River?
“I think that it could be the largemouth bite.  A lot of people are fishing for spotted bass, and the X-factor could be someone who catches 10- or 11-pounds of spotted bass and then goes largemouth fishing and catch a few big ones.” 

Timmy HortonHow much of a factor is overall experience on the Alabama River going to play this week? 
“Actually, the conditions were just about the same when we fished the E50 here a few years back.  I think that for the most part, the river is fishing pretty good – either that or it just feels really good to get a few bites after fishing West Point for a week.”  

Will this event be won in a particular area or will an angler have to move around to have success?
“I think that you can get in a particular area and milk it.  The whole river is full of fish, and with the pool below opened up, you may even see some guys run down to Selma and go where there’s less pressure.  That may become a factor during the weekend, because the stuff around here is probably going to get beat up pretty good.” 

How much of a factor, if any, will the largemouth bite play this week?  
“It really depends on how much the water keeps moving.  If it keeps moving, you have about a 50/50 chance that the largemouth bite will play.  If the water slows down, which I think it’s supposed to do, the largemouth bite is probably going to be a little bit more of a factor.” 

Will the winning weight this week be over or under 70-pounds?  
“I’m going to say just a little bit under 70-pounds will win this week.”

Skeet Reese
What is the X-factor going to be this week on the Alabama River?
“It’s definitely going to be what is going to happen to the water level.  They could suck up to six feet out of this thing, so that is going to be the one thing that we’ll have to wait and see what’s going to happen.”

Skeet ReeseHow much of a factor is overall experience on the Alabama River going to play this week? 
“Right now, experience on the Alabama River isn’t playing much of a factor for me. I have tried to use some previous knowledge, and it really hasn’t paid off.  The River is just fishing so differently than it has the last couple times we have been here for the Angler Of the Year and the All-Star Week events.  Back then, it was really hot and there wasn’t any current.  Now, the water temperature is in the mid to upper 60s and the water is high, so the fish are positioned totally differently.”

Will this event be won in a particular area or will an angler have to move around to have success?
“I have no idea.” 

How much of a factor, if any, will the largemouth bite play this week?  
“I think that it’s going to play a factor.  I’ve been chasing the spotted bass and trying to make that bite happen, and I can see that about 90% of the field is doing the same thing.  I’m pretty sure that there will be a handful of guys who will have a backwater area all to themselves and will catch largemouth.  It may be hard to make that bite last for three or four days, but I could see some guys having at least one big day fishing for largemouth in backwater areas.” 

Will the winning weight this week be over or under 70-pounds?  
“I’m going to take the under.” 

Kurt Dove
What is the X-factor going to be this week on the Alabama River?
“I think that the X-factor is the current and if it’s going to keep running or not. The first two days of practice, the current has been high velocity and they’ve been generating and it’s been rolling.  When the water is moving and the current is flowing, the fish usually bite pretty well.”

Kurt Dove Will this event be won in a particular area or will an angler have to move around to have success?
“I think that most of the guys who do well here will be moving around quite a bit. An angler can target largemouth and maybe fish in a couple of creeks and do well, but if you’re fishing the main river, I think that you’ll have to run a lot.”

What has been the most challenging or surprising part or your practice so far?
“The most challenging aspect would have to be boat position in the current.  There’s actually an art to dialing in where you need to shut down in order to hit particular areas.  All of the sudden, you can take the boat off pad and you’re already 100 yards away from where you intended to be.  In order to fish effectively, you really have to know how to position your boat.” 

How much of a factor, if any, will the largemouth bite play this week?  
“I think that there’s probably going to be some guys who catch some good bags of largemouth this week.  That being said, with the high population of the Coosa spotted bass here and the size of them, you’re betting against the odds if you go fishing for largemouth in my opinion.” 

Will the winning weight this week be over or under 70-pounds?  
“I’d say that it will probably take over 70-pounds to win.” 

Alton Jones
What is the X-factor going to be this week on the Alabama River?
“The X-factor is going to be the big spotted bass.  They’re going to play, and this tournament is going to come down to the guy who gets on the big school that has a lot of the 4- and 5-pounders in it.”

How much of a factor is overall experience on the Alabama River going to play this week? 
“Overall experience will play some, but when you have a lot of water moving through this river system, the fish bite.  They’re not always easy to find because they have a lot more options and can scatter, but they’re going to bite this week.” 

Will this event be won in a particular area or will an angler have to move around to have success?
“I think that a guy is more likely to milk an area for four days if he is keying on largemouth.  If you’re fishing for spotted bass, you better have more than one place to go to.”

Will the winning weight this week be over or under 70-pounds?  
“Right at 70-pounds.” 

How much of a factor, if any, will the largemouth bite play this week?  
“From what I’ve seen, the largemouth bite could definitely play.  You can get big bites fishing for both species, so the big decision is going to be whether you go for the largemouth, which may be a little bit more consistent, or do you go for spotted bass? There just aren’t many places you can go where, weight wise, the spotted bass can compete with the largemouth. It isn’t inconceivable that someone may bring in a limit of 4- and 5-pound spots here.” 

Edwin Evers
What is the X-factor going to be this week on the Alabama River?
“How much the current is going to roll during the tournament, and what will happen if it dies.”

How much of a factor is overall experience on the Alabama River going to play this week? 
“Quite a bit.”

What has been the most challenging or surprising part or your practice so far?
“The water is a lot cleaner than I thought that it was going to be, so that’s been fairly surprising.”

Will this event be won in a particular area or will an angler have to move around to have success?
“It’s going to be a run and gun deal.”

How much of a factor, if any, will the largemouth bite play this week?  
“The largemouth bite will definitely play a factor this week.”

Will the winning weight this week be over or under 70-pounds?  
“Under.”

Tommy Biffle
What is the X-factor going to be this week on the Alabama River?
“How much they’re going to run the current and how hard that it’s going to run or if they’re going to cut it off. There’s no way to practice for the conditions if they cut it off, you just have to go with it.”

How much of a factor is overall experience on the Alabama River going to play this week? 
“I think that it will play a little bit, but not very much.”

Will the winning weight this week be over or under 70-pounds?  
“If the water stays up, it will take over 70-pounds to win.  If they cut the water off, then it will take under 70-pounds to win.” 

How much of a factor, if any, will the largemouth bite play this week?  
“I think that largemouth will play very little this week.”