Some lakes are suited with their size and number of ramps to hold major tournament events. Some lakes just are not in that category. Jordan Lake, just east of Clanton, Ala., happens to not be in that category. Jordan Lake is small with the upper and lower dams only separated by about 12 miles. There are only two or three major creek arms on the entire lake and those only take about 30 seconds to run from front to back at any speed. There are two major ramps and both parking lots combined will hold about 100 boats and trailers. With just those few negatives going for it, you wouldn’t think that a tournament trail would take a 150-plus boat field there for a tournament. That is unless you’re the director for the Alabama Bass Trail.
Jordan Lake is not only a good fishery, it’s a great fishery. Regardless of the logistical nightmares Jordan Lake presented, the Alabama Bass Trail folks made it work this past weekend on their third stop of the season in their Southern Division.
With 150 teams entered into the event, even coordinator Kay Donaldson and her entire crew made the event work pretty much flawlessly. Anglers at the pre-tournament meeting were informed that half would be launching from one main ramp with others going from the weigh-in site. All would eventually take off at safe light from the lower ramp down by the dam, and it worked out great. No huge lines, no parking nightmares. The staff and crew pulled off a great tournament considering all the obstacles that were popping up in the way.
Known for its spotted bass, Lake Jordan also produces great catches of largemouth on any given day. Jordan regulars, Aaron Smith and Mark Wallace proved that largemouth play a huge role in tournament fishing on Jordan. The team put together a five bass limit of largemouth that tipped the scales at 18.66 pounds to take home the first place check of $10,000. The Jordan Lake regulars had a narrow win over two more regulars on the lake, Shaye Baker and Ben Weldon. Baker and Weldon missed the first place prize by only .23 pounds by fishing jigs and spinnerbaits around the grass edges. With their second place finish, Baker and Weldon also won big fish award for the tournament and boosted themselves into the top points position headed into the fourth event that will be held at Miller’s Ferry on the Alabama River May 10th.
Most every angler has more than one or two boxes of expensive crankbaits in the boat or sitting in the garage. They prove to be reliable baits for chasing bass year in and year out. What most anglers don’t realize is that most crankbaits need an upgrade right out of the package to be durable and have the best opportunity of putting a fish in the boat.
Yes, you read right, you absolutely need to customize your crankbait right out of the package. Don’t wait until the hooks are dull or bent to replace them. Do that the day you buy it. Bait companies usually splurge on the fancy paint job and the advertising to get you to buy the lure to begin with, so they same money by putting subpar hooks and split rings on their baits. Change them both to be more effective. Go with a quality hook such as a Mustad KVD treble to replace those poor quality hooks that the factory sticks you with. Stock hooks are just that, “stock”. They have a huge supply of cheap hooks and it’s your job to put a quality product between you and that next big bite.
While you’re changing those hooks, go ahead and check the split rings that are attached to them. If they are easily bent, replace those also. If it’s easy to change a hook from the split ring, you better get rid of the thin wired ones and go with quality there also. Yes, you paid good money for a bait you think you should be able to throw right out of the package, and yes, it will work like it is. But can you rely on small piece of junk metal between you and a fish of a lifetime?
Smith Lake: Spotted bass have exploded on a big bite the last couple weeks. Topwaters have been taking huge numbers with the warmer weather mid-lake. Lucky Craft Sammys and Zara Spooks are getting bit early and often. Stripe bite is also great at daylight on topwater. Crappie bite is steady on live bait.
Guntersville Lake: Both pre-spawn and post-spawn fish are being caught on the humps and main lake ledges. Jigs, spinnerbaits and umbrella rigs are catching huge limits. Senkos and small plastics are also working in the grass areas. Crappie bite is good around wood and bridges. Stipe bite is steady.
Wheeler Lake: Spawn is full on at Wheeler. Good catches coming from flooded bushes on jigs and creature baits for bass. Mid-lake areas are the best around the Decatur Flats and creeks close to Decatur for largemouth. Stripe bite is slow with the crappie bite declining from previous weeks.
Alabama Bass Trail South Div.?Jordan lake
First place: Aaron Smith/Mark Wallace, 18.66
2nd place: Shaye Baker/Ben Weldon, 18.43
3rd place: Nick Hill/Jeremy Headley, 17.60
4th place: Randy Gardner/Tray Gillispie, 17.54
Big fish: Baker/Welson, 6.12
RCBC Outdoor Adventures will host their annual tournament May 10th from Smith Lake Park. Teams must register at Ryan Creek Baptist Church, May 4th at 6pm. Both team members must be present to register. Guaranteed first place of $1,200. There is no entry fee for this event.
New Temple Baptist Church tournament on Smith Lake, May 17th. Launching from Smith Lake Dam at safe light with weigh in at 3pm. Entry fee is $75 per team. Benefiting the NTBC Uganda Mission Trip. Contact Elton Wagnon for more info at Elton.firstname.lastname@example.org
Cullman County Park and Rec will host the first annual Smith Lake Park Bass Fest, Oct. 3rd and 4th. Guaranteed first place is $10,000. Entry fee is $125 per team. Register online at smithlakeparkbassfest.com