Lake Chicot Wrap Up
When the forty-nine teams launched their boats for the opening tournament of the 2023 Ark-La Teams Tournament Trail season, it was widely accepted by the fishermen the bite would be good and it would take a heavy weight to take home the $5000 first place prize and a strong stringer to gather a check. When the scales stopped spinning, Lake Claiborne did not disappoint!
The team of Sontus Mitchell and Walt Stevens took the opening tournament with a five fish limit weighing in at 22.11 lbs. When asked about their tournament day, Stevens said, “We had a combination approach to this tournament. We ran brush piles, fished docks, trees and grass, a little bit of everything really. We junk fished our way to 22 lbs. and fortunately, it paid off for us. We caught fish as shallow as three foot and as deep as 15 feet of water, but since we didn’t have a single productive area, we just bounced around the whole lake practically, plucking a fish off here and one there. Sontus and I figured with the crowded conditions, the lake would fish smaller, and the fish were going to get split up, so once we felt we had exhausted an area, we went looking for fresh, unused water. Basically, if there were no boats in an area, we went there to try to get what we could then on to the next stop. We tried a little bit of everything, but our best baits were, jigs, rattle traps, spinnerbaits and a Senko.”
The 2nd place team of Allen and Richard Anders had another strong showing on Claiborne, weighing in a five fish limit weighing in at 20.56 lbs. This team is a consistent threat to win any event on Claiborne and their vast knowledge of the lake proved effective again. Allen said, “Our best area was a grass flat we found a few years ago and when we fished the shallower edges of it, all we caught were the smaller male bass. So, we decided to steadily fish deeper and that is where the bigger fish seemed to be staging up. We ended up catching our two biggest fish on a Trap, fishing it around the deeper grass.”
The team of Hagen Carter and Landin Chatham, while young in years and experience, showed the ability and savvy of a much more seasoned tournament team by weighing in a limit of bass for 17.05, placing 3rd in their initial ALTTT event. “Our morning started off slow. We were fishing drains and flats with a bladed jig, a spinnerbait and a Trap, but as the day progressed we moved up in the dirt flipping shallow trees with soft plastics to upgrade our bag. We managed to catch 12-13 fish throughout the day slowly culling up to our final weight. We had a good day.” Carter explained.
Another team that is no stranger to be on top of or close the top of the leaderboard is Jason Williams and Kevin Jennings. The team’s five fish limit weighed 16.86 and was good enough for a strong 4th place finish. Their prowess fishing the deeper areas of Claiborne is well known, but a jig fished in the 6–10-foot depths did a majority of their damage although Jennings did admit, “we did go a bit deeper to catch a few fish as well.”
The 5th place team of Todd Wolff and Robert Massey had a productive tournament with a solid limit weighing 16.48. Their approach was basic but proved to be effective. “We found fish on Sunday, the last day of practice, in and around the grass flats. All our fish were caught in 6 to 8 feet of water using a white spinnerbait and white Z- man Jackhammer. Robert caught the big fish (a 6.4 brute) on the Jackhammer about mid-morning. It proved to be a difference maker.” Wolfe explained.
Congratulations to all the teams on a job well done!
The next Ark-La Team Trail Tournament event will be held March 25th on Lake Chicot out of Lake Village Arkansas. We look forward to seeing you there!