Jones Takes Early Lead at Eufaula SE Division Opener

By John N. Felsher

Brad Jones opened a slim lead on the first day of the new American Bass Anglers Top 150 Solo Series Southeast Division inaugural event, held Feb. 26, 2021, at Lake Eufaula in southeast Alabama.

Running out of Lakepoint Resort State Park in the town of Eufaula, Ala. Jones landed a five-bass daily tournament limit to take the Day 1 lead over 127 other competitors with 21.08 pounds. The Sylacauga, Ala. angler anchored his catch with a 6.90-pound bucketmouth for a 4.22-pound average.

“Everything I did in practice I threw out the window today,” Jones commented. “I started out to fish deep in the morning, but the fish I caught were small so I went to the banks. I caught all my weigh fish in water less than 10 feet deep. I didn’t catch many fish, but I caught good ones. I’ll start running the same pattern in the morning for the second day.”

After severe cold weather hit the area just a few days ago, cloudy, but spring-like conditions mostly prevailed on the 45,181-acre impoundment spanning the Alabama-Georgia line. Cold muddy water coming down the Chattahoochee River from northern Georgia stained and chilled the system so many anglers headed south toward the dam where they found clearer conditions.

“The weather was about 56 degrees at daylight, but warmed up into the 70s as the day wore on,” observed Floyd Vaughn, the Southeast Division tournament director. “The fishing started good in the morning but slowed down later as the wind picked up. The water clarity is stained to clear with the clearest water at the south end. We anticipate bigger weights coming on the final day with the full moon, but it was still an awesome event.”

Less than an ounce off the pace, Ryan Horton of Palmetto, Ga. also landed a Day 1 limit to put him in second place. His bag tipped the scales at 21.02 pounds for a 4.21-pound average. He upped his average considerably by bringing in the largest lunker landed on the first day, a 7.75-pound behemoth.

“I had a really tough practice, but this morning, the Lord blessed me with some good bites and I put them all in the boat,” Horton commented. “After about 10 a.m., the bite got really tough. I caught a few more small fish, but nothing big later in the day. I spent most of my time fishing mid-range depths to the shallows. The water was clearing in my area. There’s a lot of big fish starting to bite on the lake this week.”

Holding third, Frederick S. Daughtry of nearby Abbeville, Ala. also caught five keepers. His bag weighed 20.97 pounds with a 6.26-pound kicker.
In fourth place, Dax Bumpers of Marietta, Ga. started very strong. He finished with five bass going 20.75 pounds. One of them topped seven pounds.

“Early in the morning, the fishing was crazy,” Bumpers recalled. “I caught a limit by 7:30 a.m. and started culling fish. I caught about 15 fish early all in one spot. In the middle of the day, I went looking for a big fish. I pulled up to a good-looking spot, tossed out a worm, and pulled in a 7.08-pounder. The water was clear in that area. I was fishing deep most of the day.”

The farthest from home, Robert J. Cruvellier, a student on the Auburn University fishing team from Quebec, Canada, holds fifth place after one day of intense competition. The young angler also brought in a five-fish limit for 17.92 pounds. He anchored his bag with a 5.72-pound bucketmouth.

“It was a good day, but the warming trend and muddy water really changed things in the past two weeks,” Cruvellier revealed. “I had to adapt. I should have had a much bigger bag, but didn’t manage my time properly and made a few bad decisions. I think the final day will much better.”

Close behind Cruvellier, Bobby D. Padgett from Lagrange, Ga., up the Chattahoochee River from Eufaula brought in five keepers for 17.81 pounds and sixth place. Tony Tidwell of Horton, Ala. holds seventh with five bass and 17.33 pounds. His biggest fish weighed 5.71 pounds.

One notch down after one day of competition, Kevin J. Revay of Ashford, Ala. landed five bass going 17.30 pounds, followed by Shane Powell from Dothan, Ala. with a five-bass limit for 17.06 pounds. Wrapping up the Top 10 leaders from Day 1, John O. Bailey from Resaca, Ga. caught five good ones to put 16.69 pounds on the board with a 4.51-pound kicker. 

This is a two-day competition and the final weigh-in will be 3 pm Saturday at held at Lakepoint State Park. 

The action continues through Feb. 27 at Lakepoint Resort State Park for the last day of the tournament. From Eufaula, the Southeast Division heads to Lake Guntersville in Scottsboro, Ala. on April 30-May 1. Then, the anglers will fish Lake Chickamauga in Dayton, Tenn. on June 25-26.

In the other ABA Top 150 Solo Series division, the Southwest Division next heads to Lake Sam Rayburn near Zavalla, Texas, from March 26-27. The division concludes its competition for the year on April 30-May 1 at the other Lake Eufaula near Eufaula, Okla.

Anglers pay $600 to enter each event and can register to fish tournaments in both ABA Top 150 Solo Series divisions if they wish. If 150 anglers participate in a tournament, the winner will take home a guaranteed $20,000 in cash. If fewer competitors register, the top 20 percent of the field will each earn a portion of the prize money based upon the number of entries.

In addition, the winner of each tournament, plus the two-division Anglers of the Year will qualify to fish the 2022 Ray Scott Championship. Bryan D. New of Belmont, N.C. won the 2019 Ray Scott Championship, collecting about $100,000 in cash and prizes. He now fishes the Bassmaster Elite Series.

For information, call ABA at (256) 232-0406. For more information online, visit AmericanBassAnglers.com/Top150. For the tournament rules, (Click Here).

American Bass Anglers is sponsored by Bass Pro ShopsTriton BoatsMercury MotorsMotor GuideBerkleyAbu GarciaT-H MarinePower PoleGarminMonster EnergyLucas OilEngel CoolersOPTIMA BatteriesREKS Sunglasses, and HotelPlanner.com.

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© 2018 American Bass Anglers MBAA Since 1975 - All Rights Reserved American Bass Anglers, Inc Logos and other data within this website is the property of American Bass Anglers, Inc and may not be copied or reproduced without express permission of American Bass Anglers, Inc. American Bass Anglers, Inc PO Box 475 Athens, AL 35612 email: call us 256-232-0406. This web site is provided by ABA and resides on a server with 99.99% up time.