Smith Wins 2022 AFT Championship At Eufaula
EUFAULA, Ala. – Michael M. Smith held out to win a squeaker and took the title in the 2022 American Bass Anglers American Fishing Tour Championship tournament, Presented by Caymas Boats, and held Oct. 19-21 on Lake Eufaula, Ala.
Running out of Lakepoint Resort State Park near the town of Eufaula, Ala. to fish the 3-day event, Smith won with three consecutive 5-bass daily tournament limits totaling 53.97 pounds. He beat his nearest competitor by less than half a pound. His 15 bass averaged 3.60 pounds.
The angler from Andalusia, Ala. held second by less than a pound after Day 1 with five bass weighing 18.06 pounds. He improved upon that catch with 18.18 pounds on the second day to take the lead by 1.24 pounds with 36.24 pounds. He never relinquished the lead. On the final day, Smith brought in five keepers for 17.73 pounds, enough to earn the title and annual bragging rights.
Justin Barnes from Ellaville, Ga. finished in second place among the nearly 250 boaters. He landed with a perfect 3-day 15-bass limit weighing 53.55 pounds. He anchored that with a 5.64 pounder, the second largest bass caught on opening day.
Barnes led on Day 1 with five bass going 19.16 pounds, the second heaviest single-day bag caught in the tournament. On the second day, Barnes brought in another solid bag with a 5-bass daily limit at 15.84 pounds, but dropped to second place with 35 pounds. He added 18.55 pounds on the last day to put some pressure on Smith by gaining ground, but fell a half-pound short in the end.
“As the Angler of the Year in his division and because he won the tournament, Michael Smith won a fully rigged CX-20 Caymas boat and a check for $5,000,” said Tournament Director Chris Wayand. “As the highest placing finisher with Garmin electronics on his boat in the championship tournament, Smith earned a $500 bonus from Garmin. The second place finisher, Justin Barnes, won a fully-rigged Caymas CX-18 boat powered by a 150-horsepower Mercury 150 ProXS outboard, plus products from T-H Marine Accessories, Optima Batteries and Garmin Electronics for his championship victory, a package valued at nearly $60,000.”
In third place, Shane Powell from nearby Dothan, Ala. also landed 15 good keepers. He ended the event with 50.71 pounds.
Powell held fifth place on Day 1 with five bass going 16.11 pounds. His five bass on the second day weighed 17.50 pounds, jumping him two notches to third place with 33.61 pounds. Powell finished with another heft sack going 17.10 pounds on the last day.
New to the top five, Bradley A. Enfinger of Donalsonville, Ga. landed in fourth place with 15 keepers tallying 47.41 pounds. Enfinger held 12th place on the first day with 13.76 pounds. On the second day, he climbed two rungs to 10th place with a sack weighing 14.21 pounds. That gave him a 2-day total of 27.97 pounds.
On the final day, Enfinger scored big time. He brought in a 19.44-pound sack, the largest single-day bag in the tournament, to vault six spots to finish in fourth place. He anchored that bag with a 4.58-pound kicker.
Rounding out the top five leaders, Scott Gilley from Dawson, Ga. finished with three consecutive 5-bass limits going 44.70 pounds. On opening day, Gilley reached third place with 18.05 pounds topped by a 5.03-pounder. On Day 2, he landed 14.69 pounds, dropping two notches to fifth place with 32.74 pounds. Gilley landed 11.96 pounds on the final day to stay in fifth place.
Scott Wiley, Jr. landed the tournament lunker, a 6.74-pound bucketmouth on the second day. Steve T. Hayden caught a 6.65-pounder, also on Day 2. Nicholas Tunney landed a 6.47-pounder. On Day 1, Christopher B. Smith landed a 6.05-pounder, the largest bass caught that day.
“On the last day, we had another 2-hour fog delay, just like the second day,” Wayand advised. “That gave the anglers a shorter day on the water. There was barely a breeze on the final day with warmer temperatures in the mid-70s by the weigh-in with plenty of sun.”
Officially named Walter F. George Reservoir, but more commonly called Lake Eufaula, the impoundment covers 45,181 acres along the Chattahoochee River spanning part of the Alabama-Georgia line.
American Bass Anglers is sponsored by Caymas Boats, Mercury Marine, T-H Marine, Garmin Electronics, Power Pole, Lucas Oil, RT Outdoors, Sportsman Card, Optima Batteries, Hotel Planner.com and LurePartsOnline.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, offering each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression.
For more information about American Bass Anglers, the Open Series, the American Fishing Tour, the American Couples Series, the annual Military Team Bass Tournament, and the Top 150 Solo Tour, all presented by Caymas Boats, visit www.americanbassanglers.com or call (256) 232-0406
This story was written by ABA staff writer John N. Felsher. To submit articles of interest email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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