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Gators

Time for a little catch up. Missed posting latest update, but we are back now. So, couple weeks back Andrew and I made the trip to Eufaula for a day of scouting and fishing. Spent a decent amount of time studying maps and narrowing down on a few areas to check out. We decided to launch from Hatchachubee Creek or whatever that’s pronounced and fish that area to start.

We launch around 7:00 or so I guess and go back in a nearby creek and start fishing. Lots of traffic in that area as well. I was throwing Strike King Thunder Cricket and it wasn’t long before hooking up with a small keeper. A few minutes later we landed a short fish. Andrew caught a short on a wacky rig and I caught another short on the Thunder Cricket. A flurry of bites in a short period of time in 2-3 feet of water. Just not the size we were looking for.

We move around a little and scanned some areas with the Humminbird Side Imaging and push poled are way into some skinny water as well. Nothing doing really other than seeing the occasional alligator and crappie fisherman.

After sometime with no luck and confidence seeming to dwindle we made another move further down and was able to catch a couple more but still not the size we needed to locate. Several other anglers were in this particular area including evidently a National Professional Fishing League and a one of the competitors boating a 5 pounder behind us. We decide to move and not get in the way of the competitors of other events and make a run south to some cleaner water and get out of the mud.

Oh wow! Much cleaner water and I can actually see in the water. Lol. Andrew proceeds to catch crappie and I miss a couple while stumbling across a 4 pounder running off a bed. Things slow down so we decide to start making our way back up towards the ramp. We stop in another creek closer to ramp and catch a few short fish and it did have some cleaner water than the mud we had been fishing earlier in the day. As we begin to head out of creek we see about 6 more gators included a few giants. Needless to say we saw more gators than we did keepers. Not the day on the water we were hoping for but definitely learned a lot about the lake and some ideas for next trip.

Weather for the day was in the 70s for the high, light wind partly cloudy. Water temp on average was around 68-70. Very chamber of commerce type day. A wide range of lures were used but for the bites even though small, came on wacky rig, bladed bait, small swimbait, Texas Rig brush hog, and shaky head. Jigs, shallow crankbaits, and frogs didn’t contribute at all to the day like we planned.

Our last practice day is coming up and we hope that the fish are more cooperative this time. We both understand we need a solid finish and not get further behind in points in order to make the championship. Thanks to the our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ though for giving us this opportunity to just be able to compete in Alabama Bass Trail this year. I pray that we can have a better and more productive event this time. If not, all glory still be to God at the end of day and being able to enjoy the outdoors.

Sincerely,

Jonathon

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Lake Martin

It’s now been a week since our first Alabama Bass Trail event. We were not quite dialed in as would have liked to have been. Nevertheless, it was a learning experience. We were thankful and blessed to have been able to compete in such a prestigious event and come away with a limit. let me break it down quick and easy how it all went down.

Let’s start with the conditions. During our brief few days of practice leading up to the tournament, the weather was typically cold with average highs around 45 degrees. Winds typically were sustained around 10-15 mph. Water clarity on southern end was clear and water temp as high as 48. Skies ranged from mostly cloudy to partly cloudy. Tournament day take off was 27 or so and high in low to mid 50s with sun and little to no wind.

Now that the stage is set, let’s get to the business of the day. Lol. Tournament takeoff. We were boat 34 out of nearly 225. They let everyone go a little early around 6:15 instead of 6:30 with our check in time being 2:45. We proceeded to head south and make a 20 minute run. Was able to get to our first spot fishing a little deep. When I say deep it’s around 15’ plus. Stayed probably to long and decided to move. We moved to another deep spot and again empty. Jumped over to another one and Andrew was able to catch a small keeper on a shaky head I believe. It’s mid morning and we decide to move shallow. We run back to a place where we caught a couple in practice. And that’s where we got a little life.

It’s showtime. As we put the trolling motor down and begin to fish, another boat eases up. This where Andrew decides he wants his own fishing show. It was the ABT and FOX Sports video boat. They ask us some questions and film us for a little bit and Andrew proceeds to put 2 keepers in the boat for the cameras in about a 10 minute span using a crawfish color Strike King 1.5 squarebill crankbait. Camera boat hangs with us for just a minute longer and then leaves. We try to replicate the area. But to no avail.

As the morning progresses and changes to afternoon we manage 1 more keeper shallow, but really the shallow bite (5’ or less) never developed like we thought for us. We decide to run back to deeper water. I catch one late on a Carolina Rig with a green pumpkin craw. That gave us five in the boat. We did a little fishing working our way back towards weigh in but nothing ever produced.

One thing is always pay attention. As we were hopping around closer to weigh in. I was idling towards another point when all the sudden we go from 14’ to boulders. Lol. We can laugh about now. But thought for sure something was jacked up. Fortunately, nothing to bad as far damage. Just some scrapes to the foot.

Now it’s weigh in time. Andrew carries our bag across the scales to the tune of 5 Bass weighing 6.99 lbs, only good enough for 134th place. Andrew carried the team in this event with 4 of the 5 keepers. It took just below 14 lbs to win the event. It was a struggle for us throughout the day. We just got to make quicker decisions as a team on the water as well as be a little more patient at times on particular areas as well as trusting our gut. I think our next event at Lake Eufaula will play more to our style of fishing. We got some work to do to make the championship. I’ll also try not to ramble on as much in the next blog. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and next time I’m thinking it’s going to be a video blog lol. And we will have some good fish catching stories to share!

Tight Lines and Many Hooksets,

Jonathon

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” – Proverbs 27:17

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“The Newbie”

When Jonathon asked me to write this second blog, I told him, you must be desperate. I am not the person you want writing anything. The more I thought about it, I realized, there are a lot of people out there like me. People that have never competitively bass fished, but are passionate about it and also competitive as well. I’ll be the first to tell you, I am no expert. That fact alone may make you think, then why would I want to know what you do? Simply put, TO LEARN. Learn from my mistakes especially. Because there is one thing I can promise, and that will be a lot of mistakes. I have researched, read articles, watched shows, and all that can only get you so far. The best thing to do, I believe is just do it and learn. With that you will hopefully get better. My hope for this blog is to help others that are first timers stepping into competition to learn something. So lets get started!

My prep for the Alabama Bass Trail started in September of 2020. Up until that point I was fishing out of a 17ft aluminum boat with a 45HP mercury. Needless to say that was not going to cut it. So, I started searching for my first tournament boat. I wanted to stick with an aluminum boat because for me, that is what I grew up on. There are some really good aluminum boats out there that are tournament ready. If you don’t believe me just Google anlgers like John Cox and see how he was tearing up the competition in an aluminum boat over the years. In October, after many hours and days of researching what I wanted, I decided to go with a Vexus AVX 2080 with a 200HP Pro XS. Let me tell you, those two things together do not disappoint. The motor is a BEAST! After I bought my tournament boat, I talked with Jonathon about random things I may need for the tournaments that I normally wouldn’t think about. He brought up a few things that I didn’t have like a rain suit, cull tags, and a measuring board to name a few.

Middle of January we started fishing Lake Martin. We began finding some spots and researching some areas, because I had never fished Lake Martin. Actually, speaking of that, I haven’t fished any of the lakes that we are going this year besides Logan Martin Lake and Lay Lake. The first couple of times we fished Lake Martin it was really cold and windy. We never caught a limit but when we did catch fish they were quality size. As Jonathon said, “focus is on the areas and some graphing, not as much the catching right now.” After each trip I would start to study maps for spots to try and fish next time, so we could spend more time fishing rather than trying to find places on water.

As we are getting closer and closer to our tournament, I have continued to sort and organize tackle, so it will make it easy on tournament day to find what I need. I bought all new Lure Lock boxes and have labeled everything so I can maximize our time on the water. Like I said, I am no expert. As we go through this season, there will be things that I find out I need while out on the water, as well as things I don’t need. I will be sure to let y’all know, so that you can learn from my mistakes. I hope y’all enjoy this journey with us, because I think it will be a fun one.

Sincerely,

Andrew Ling

1 John 5:11-12 “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

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A Time of First

It was many years ago when the idea of Bass Roots Fishing began. And when I mean many years, it was around my time working at Bass Pro Shops. It was about trying to do and create something that allowed me to be apart of a bass fishing industry and the outdoors that I enjoy. From the tournaments, tackle stores, websites, the people, and wanting to connect with fellow anglers, share fishing experiences, as well as maybe bring people in that were new to the outdoors.

Bass Roots is here. A first business venture. Although, we’ve been slow, that’s ok. We didn’t expect to be an overnight success. It’ll come around, because it’s a process. Bass Roots is not the purpose of this blog. The purpose of the blog is about the competition, tips, preparation, meeting other competitors and much more. Following the ups and downs of a couple guys competing on the Alabama Bass Trail for the first time. A first time of Andrew and I fishing as a team. First time for Andrew competing on any level of bass fishing. I have competed in BFLs, ABAs, FLWs for a significant time as a co-angler, however this will be first time in a long time competing as a team, especially in an event as prestigious as the Alabama Bass Trail. First time for us doing blogs. The list of first time things could go on and on.

Our first time spent fishing and preparing actually began in spring 2020 as Covid hit. We spent time at Lay Lake and Logan Martin Lake for the most part due to proximity of where we live. We even made a trip to Alabama River and Smith Lake in terrible and extreme weather conditions. We have caught fish, developed ideas, but nothing that is going to make us a threat to win at the moment.

Our first event is on Lake Martin in a few weeks. Our official first practices for Lake Martin began over the last couple weeks. Mostly doing some scouting and graphing, definitely very little in the catching department. Lol. When we have caught fish, they have been on average of 2 to 3.5 pounds on a variety of baits and depths. So, starting out hasn’t been great or what we hope, but it has been a learning experience. It has been cold and windy each time out. Another first learning experience is that Andrew should “always” listen to Jonathon when he says it’s to shallow, the boat will get stuck. That way Andrew doesn’t have to get in the 43 degree water and push the boat off the sandbar. Another first learning experience is that Andrew should know Jonathon will probably be late every time to go fishing, except when tournament day rolls around. Lol. That way he doesn’t wait for 30 minutes every time. We hope to put some of this on video as we go to see some of the disfunction and hilarity on the water such as the rod break, reel blow up, and even the sand bar push off as mentioned above.

It will be a fun and exciting experience to share our journey weekly leading up to each event. Promise we’ll get better at this blog thing. Thank you for taking the time to read this intro about what this blog will be about going forward. This adventure of two, blue collar guys trying to compete on the Alabama Bass Trail against the best teams in Alabama and the southeast. So, time to sign this thing off for now. Hope everyone has a blessed week.

Sincerely,

Jonathon Cone

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”