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Strickland, Hemm Win ABT on Neely Henry

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The team of Rusty Strickland and Charles Hemm caught a 5-bass limit weighing 21.02 pounds to win the Alabama Bass Trail tournament on Neely Henry March 28, 2015 and the $10,000 firs place prize as well as another $7,000 for the Phoenix Boats First Flight contingency.

The weather patterns leading up to the second event of the Alabama Bass Trail Northern Division were warm and calm which made for talk of sight fishing and plentiful shallow water opportunities. But, as can happen with a bass tournament, the conditions changed. Cold fronts blew in, and the high and low temperatures dipped nearly 30 degrees the day before the event.

The team of Rusty Strickland and Charles Hemm, who typically focus their fishing on Guntersville and Wheeler, found an area upriver that held groups of spawner.

“We found a large backwater area up river that had laydowns on the bank, and we believe the fish were spawning there,” Strickland said. “We found fish upriver and downstream, but these were better. We just hoped they would still bite with the weather change.”

The pair reported picking up their flipping rods rigged with 1/4-ounce sinkers and a pair of creature baits. They chose black with red flake Missile Baits D Bombs and Reaction Innovations Sweet Beavers.

“We had 14 to 15-pound limit at around eight o’clock this morning, and culled up several times throughout the day,” Hemm said. “We’ve won tournaments before, but it’s really cool to have won an Alabama Bass Trail event.”

The second-place finishers Greg Tucker and Dillon Tucker are not locals either, and while they got little time to practice the lake, they stuck to their strengths and made it work.

“We went down river about 15 miles and tried to maximize our fishing time,” Greg said. “We caught fish on a white spinnerbait early, then switched to a white swim jig as the afternoon warmed the water temperature a bit. The shoreline water willows were key to every bite we had.”

Team Tucker produced 20.22 pounds and took home $5,000 for their work.

There was a tie for third place with the teams of Dalton Bobo and Lonnie O’Neal and Brian Morris and Brian Morris and Brian Jett. Both teams weighed 19.84 pounds and each took home $3,500.

The team of Jarrid Traylor and Jon-Caleb Wright finished in 33rd place with 13.96 pounds, but their bag included a 6.61-pound largemouth that proved to be the Mountain Dew Big Bass of the tournament. The fish was worth $500.

See the top 10 standings below. For complete standings visit the results page at http://www.alabamabasstrail.org/tournament-series/nhl-results/

Place Name Fish Weight Big Bass
1 Rusty Strickland/Charles Hemm 5 21.02 0
2 Greg Tucker/Dillon Tucker 5 20.22 0
3 Dalton Bobo/Lonnie O’Neal 5 19.84 0
4 Brian Morris/Brian Jett 5 19.84 6.25
5 Brock Mosley/Danny Mosley 5 19.42 0
6 Jonathan Canada/Bo Hunter 5 19.41 0
7 Mitch Mitchell/Jordan Green 5 19.31 4.47
8 Damien Willis/Mark Steward 5 19.07 0
9 Adam Bain/Kris Colley 5 18.20 6.12
10 Andrew Warbington/Taylor Teague 5 18.04 6.20