Stracner opens season with Lake Martin win
ATHENS, Ala. – Josh Stracner opened the divisional season by winning the American Bass Anglers Weekend Bass Series Alabama South Division 2 opener, held Feb. 8, 2014, on Lake Martin..
Running out of Wind Creek State Park near Alexander City, Ala., the Vandiver, Ala., angler caught five bass weighing 20.76 pounds for a 4.15-pound average. He anchored his bag with a 5.68-pound kicker. For the Boater Division victory, Stracner took home a check for $2,246.
“I caught everything on a chatterbait at around lunchtime,” Stracner revealed. “I fished from Wind Creek four miles upriver and four miles downriver. My two biggest fish came off wood. The rest came off rocks.”
In second for the boaters, Richard C. Messer of Auburn, Ala., landed a five-bass tournament limit going 18.07 pounds with a 4.73-pound kicker. He collected $1,123 for the effort.
“I caught fish on a crankbait and a jig,” Messer advised. “I fished from the landing to the dam. I hit every place I know to hit. The fish bit best from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.”
Randy Gardner of Wetumpka, Ala., took third for the boaters with five bass going 16.02 pounds. He anchored his catch with a 5.86-pound kicker that set the tournament lunker standard. For the effort, Gardner earned $749.
“We fished shallow-running crankbaits on the north end,” Gardner explained. “I caught a fish on the first cast. I caught the big fish on a worm by a brush top in the middle of a slough, but most of them came on a crankbait. At 8:30 a.m., I had four in the boat. I made another cast and boom, the big one hit. I culled about four times the rest of the day.”
John S. Holt of Mathews, Ala., finished fourth with a five-bass limit for 13.07 pounds. Steven G. Ingram of Tallassee, Ala., rounded out the top five boaters with five bass at 12.69 pounds.
In the Co-Angler Division, Jay Meredith of Grady, Ala., won with three bass going 9.78 pounds. He sealed his victory with a 5.75 -pound kicker that won the division big bass title. Meredith pocketed a check for $1,123.
“We stayed up north, but didn’t go far,” Meredith said. “We caught all our fish on a crankbait. I was done by noon.”
Taking second for the co-anglers, Barry D. Jones of Clanton, Ala., brought in a three-bass division limit for 8.06 pounds including a 3.52-pound kicker. He collected $562 for the effort.
“We stayed close to the main river,” Jones said. “I caught most of my fish off a crankbait. I caught one within five minutes of pulling up to the first spot. Then, they shut down. They turned on by 9 a.m. and I caught a limit. They started biting again at about 10:30 a.m. until noon. I upgraded a bit and that helped.”
Bill L. Smith of Ocean Springs, Miss., placed third among the co-anglers with three bass going 6.72 pounds. For third place, Smith collected $374.
“I only caught four keepers,” Smith admitted. “I caught two on a brush hog and two on a crankbait.”
Thomas B. Jones of Phenix City, Ala., landed in fourth place among the co-anglers with three bass for 6.17 pounds with a 2.64-pound kicker. David “DJ” Pollard Jr. of Roopville, Ga., finished in fifth place with three bass at 5.75 pounds.
Slated for March 15, 2014, the next divisional tournament will be held on Lay Lake out of Beeswax Creek near Pelham, Ala. At the end of the season, the best WBS anglers from across the nation will fish the 2014 Ray Scott Championship, slated for Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala., from Nov. 15-18. The champion boater will receive $100,000 and possibly up to $50,000 in Triton Gold Bonus money. The co-angler champion will win $50,000 and possibly up to $25,000 in Triton Gold Bonus money.
As a special Ray Scott Championship bonus, the Boater Division and Co-Angler Division champions will each receive entry fees and sponsorship into the one of two professional bass fishing series of the angler’s choice. The sponsorship includes entry fees into three professional events and sponsorship support. This sponsorship will put the champion within striking distance of one of two professional bass fishing championships.
At WBS events throughout the season, boater and co-angler competitors may also win hefty bonuses from such sponsors as Triton Boats, Mercury Outboards, Royal Purple, MotorGuide and T-H Marine. See the manufacturer web sites for specific details on how to qualify for these bonuses.
For more information on this tournament, call Billy Benedetti, tournament manager, at 256-230-5632 or ABA at 256-232-0406. On line, see www.americanbassanglers.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 offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression. For more information about American Bass Anglers, the Weekend Bass Series, the American Fishing Tour or the American Couples Series, visit www.americanbassanglers.com.