North Alabama Division Heads To Neely Henry

North Alabama Division Heads To Neely Henry
The Alabama North Division 1 of the Toyota Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, will hold its third tournament of the season May 11, 2013, on Neely Henry Reservoir.The competitors will launch at Coosa Landing, located at 200 Lake Street East in Gadsden, Ala. Anglers may begin fishing at safe light. Registration begins at 4 p.m. May 10 at Gadsden Convention Hall, located at 344 South 1st Street in Gadsden.Anglers fishing the Boater Division may weigh in up to five bass, in any combination of largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass, each at least 12 inches long. Co-anglers may weigh in up to three bass. Competitors may not fish from the Broad Street Bridge to the railroad bridge and they many not lock through to other lakes.One of the 10 lakes on the Alabama Bass Trail, Neely Henry Reservoir runs more than 77 miles down the Coosa River and covers 11,235 acres near Gadsden. Created for hydroelectric power in 1966, Neely Henry probably holds more spotted bass in the 14- to 20-inch range than any other Alabama lake.“Neely Henry breaks down into three portions,” explained Joel Hodges of Lake Neely Henry Guide Service."The upriver section is more riverine with current. The midsection has a lot of ledges and grass. The lower end of the lake is completely different. It’s the widest part of the lake with a lot of pockets.”In a bass tournament, the winner generally needs to catch five bass totaling at least 19 to 20 pounds, Hodges said. The event big bass generally falls in the 5.5- to 6-pound range, but the lake occasionally produces 8-pound largemouth.“In the summer, Carolina rigs work great on the ledges,” Hodges advised. “Crankbaits are another good option. Around the grass, use frogs or swimming jigs. A lot of people flip the grass and laydowns with soft plastics.”For spotted bass, most anglers throw soft plastics around river channel ledges or bridge pilings. Shad-colored crankbaits also work well.“Neely Henry is basically a river with a few backwater creeks,” explained Brent Crow of North Alabama Guide Service.“For spots, I recommend shaky heads or small crankbaits. A jig is another good spot bait. When the water runs through the dam, the upriver parts of the lake can be really good for spots.”During the May 12, 2012, BWS tournament on Neely Henry Reservoir, Brian Davenport of Attalla, Ala., won the Boater Division with a five-bass tournament limit weighing 18.71 pounds. He anchored his bag with a 4.19-pound kicker.Davenport caught most of his fish on a white buzzbait and some on a shad-colored crankbait off flats on the main river channel. James E. Bean of Weaver, Ala., won the tournament lunker title with a 5.51-pounder.In the Co-Angler Division during that tournament, Chad Cox of Crossville, Ala., landed a three-fish division daily limit going 9.28 pounds. He anchored his catch with a 3.70-pounder. Cox caught his fish on topwaters, swimbaits, watermelon seed plastics and white spinnerbaits. Tim D. Watkins of Trussvile, Ala., won the Co-Angler Division lunker honors with a 4.28-pounder that hit a shaky head.At the end of the season, one BWS angler will win the opportunity to compete in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic. For more information on this tournament, call Evan Boutwell, tournament manager, at 256-230-5633 or call ABA at 256-232-0406. Online, see
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