Summer on Logan Martin Lake - FLW Outdoors Tour 2006 Championship
Summer on Logan Martin Lake - FLW Outdoors Tour 2006 Championship
By Reed Montgomery
Their Back! The top 48 ranked anglers on the FLW Tour trail have come to another season's end. Logan Martin Lake near Pell City, Alabama has again (Last time in 2004) been chosen as the site of this 2006 end of the season FLW Outdoors World Championship, in which the eventual winner will win $500,000.
Some of these anglers (that meticulously worked their way up through the very competitive FLW Tour ranks) have been to this 50 mile long Coosa River System Lake (impounded in 1964) before. Either while competing in the 2004 FLW Outdoors Championship or while competing in one of several previous Bassmasters Classics held on Logan Martin Lake. Some of these anglers, many that hail from all over the United States / globe have never been to Logan Martin Lake. Experience may prove to be the deciding factor as to whether they make the last day 12 man cut, before one is crowned the eventual winner of this world renowned FLW Outdoors Championship event
Luke Clausen, the youngest angler (28 years old) to ever win both the FLW Outdoors Championship (1st place / $500,000) and the Bassmasters Classic (1st place / $500,000) proved that past experience on this lake is often not a big factor. When he won here in the FLW Outdoors 2004 Championship, he had never fished Logan Martin Lake before. Dion Hibdon can say the same. His experience previously fishing Logan Martin Lake, prior to his Bassmasters Classic win, was very little. Jay Yelas and George Cochran have very little previous fishing experience on Logan Martin Lake. However both can boast of a previous Bassmasters Classic title on Lay Lake, situated right below Logan Martin Lake on the Coosa River System. Locals? There are only two Alabama boys competing in this FLW Outdoors 48 man field Championship...and one of them is my pick as the eventual winner.
But first, a little info about what these anglers are up against, to win this World Championship on Logan Martin Lake.
I know this lake better than any angler in this FLW Outdoors Championship. Well, that is maybe better, all but for one angler competing in this FLW Outdoors Championship...one angler that has competed and won dozens of local tournaments on this lake for over 20 years. More on him later. I have ran Logan Martin Lake's most well know professional guide service Reeds Guide Service for over 30 years. I have competed and won dozens of local bass tournaments on Logan Martin Lake as well. But this is not about me. Its about my experience fishing this lake in every season and every way possible to find both spotted bass and largemouth bass found lake wide. You could say, "I know Logan Martin Lake very well."
Winning this major event will not be easy. Luke Clausen proved that in the 2004 FLW Championship when he won by simply bringing in a limit of keepers each day. Conditions are always a major influence and the eventual outcome can be based on the availablilty of water current, sunny or cloudy conditions. Several hot sunny days with air temperatures hovering in the upper 90's can prove to be brutal. Several cloudy days in a row prior to or during this 4 day competition, featuring evening thunderstorms and highs only in the upper 80's, can bring a major change for the better. That is for both the attitude of the bass and the bass anglers.
Looking at the weather, one-two weeks prior to this FLW Outdoors August 2-6 Championship, can help predict the outcome. Mid July showed very unseasonably hot temperatures, it got up to 100 degrees for several days in a row. Only one week prior to this FLW Outdoors Championship things did start to cool down. Late in the month of July, around Wednesday, July 26 showed daytime highs only reaching into the upper 80's. Clouds and evening thunderstorms cooled it down tremendously. So if the weather continues to cooperate and improve showing even cooler cloudy days in the low to mid 80's, most anglers should bring in a limit of bass each day. So how does the weather affect these Logan Martin Lake bass? Tremendously.
Some anglers like these tough conditions. Sunny weather shows a very short period in which an angler can hope of catching a limit of big bass, like early in the day on topwater lures. Sunny days mean high temperatures and this can often send Logan Lakes bass to suspend in deeper water, hold along cover lined drop-offs or bury up in thick cover. It can also bring on discouragement with anglers only getting a bite once every hour or so. Sunny days can also place bass closer to objects like the post's and brush piles found around man made piers and boat houses, very popular cover for anglers to target on Logan Martin Lakes barren and featureless lower end. Sunny days to a "flipper" is heaven. This shows an angler can entice a strike from bass that are very tight to cover, bass that will not move far. They flip a certain lure right into the heart of thick cover and usually an angler has to drop the lure right in the bass's face to even entice them to bite. Often when other anglers lures fail to entice a strike.
Clouds do wonders for shallow water oriented bass, especially the largemouth bass of Logan Martin Lake. Rain or evening thunderstorms enhances this condition making it even better for the shallow water angler's success. Cloudy days, especially following several bright sunny, bluebird days are the days for shallow water anglers to shine. This means bass will hit a variety of lures, lures fished from top to bottom, in all depths of water. So the odds of an angler catching a limit of bass (and maybe a kicker big bass or two) are greatly increased on cloudy days. The problem is cloudy days usually do not hold up for four consecutive days, so anglers do have to adjust to changing conditions. This is why so many 3-4 day tournaments are rarely won by the angler that leads the first day. Simply put...their fish move on them.
So the anglers fishing this 2006 Logan Martin Lake FLW Outdoors Championship do have their work cut out for them. They must make some very important decisions each day, to stay in the hunt, that is if they really want to win that $500,000. Only one can go home a winner. The problem is there are so many seasoned, veteran tournament anglers, that can possibly pull off winning this FLW Outdoors Championship. Among the top dozen, that will eventually fish the last day, they could possibly have over 100 years of fishing experience among themselves.
So who will I predict to win this huge event? Its hard to predict anything and always come out right, but statistics help predictions come true. I may be wrong, hopefully not for my first place pick, but I won't be far off with these anglers, including two long shots as well. Don't hold it against me late, but for now heres my "Top 5 pick" for this years, "2006 FLW Outdoors World Championship on Logan Martin Lake, including a little tournament history on each angler selected.
First Place / Matt Herren from Trussville, Alabama
Like previously mentioned there are two anglers fishing this FLW Championship from Alabama. One is Steve Kennedy from Auburn, Alabama with a heck of a track record on the FLW Tour trail. But his experience is scant on this lake, over 100 miles from his home. The other angler from Alabama is Matt Herren from Trussville, Alabama - only 30 miles from Logan Martin Lake. If experience proves to be a big factor, he is the angler they have all got to beat. Matt Herren has fished and won dozens of tournaments during the past 20 plus years of competing in bass tournaments of all kinds held on Logan Martin Lake. I know Matt Herren personally and he is good friend of mine. With a weird sort of confidence I can honestly say, "Matt has taken my money lots of times." He is the best, most consistent angler on Logan Martin Lake, I have ever competed against. He knows what it takes to win and where to look for those quality winning bites on Logan Martin Lake.
Matt Herren ranked Second in the 2006 FLW Angler of the Year race with 1002 points at the end of the season. Placing only 23 points behind the eventual 2006 Angler of the Year Anthony Gagliardi, that had 1025 points at the end of the FLW Tour season. This matched Matt's second place finish to Japan's Toshinari Namiki when he placed second to the Japan angler in the 2005 Ouachita River tournament. Matt has fished these FLW Outdoors Championships before and he came close in the Angler of the Year race many times as well. For Angler of the year. Matt Herren ranked 4th in 2005, he ranked 9th in 2004 and he ranked 11th in 2003. In his career he has amassed close to $300,000, placed in the top ten 16 times and Matt has fished 72 FLW Outdoors events since 1995.
Matt Herren is no stranger to big bass awards as well as his 6 pounder showed as big bass of the day in the FLW Outdoors Stren Series Championship held in 2005 on Alabama's Pickwick Lake. Matt placed a very disappointing 24th place in the Logan Martin Lake FLW Tour 2004 Championship, he placed 25th in the 2003 FLW Outdoors championship. He now vows to return this year and win. If ever an angler has paid his dues and is in need of a huge first place payday win this is the one. Good Luck!... to my good friend Matt Herren!
Second Place / Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Arkansas
Why would I pick Larry Nixon to place second? Simple, its that worm he fishes. Although he's proved he's very versatile, Larry Nixon will admit he's very good and has a lot of confidence just fishing a worm. On Logan Martin Lake, despite the conditions, an angler that sticks with a worming pattern is going to bring in limit each day and he will have a big bass or two as well, placing him high in the winners circle. This technique has helped vault Larry Nixon into the winners circle in the recent past with 2 wins on the FLW Tour trail and placed him in the top ten - 8 times. Larry Nixon had 906 points at the end of the season's FLW Tour Angler of the Year race. He ranked 8 in the 2006 AOY race, he placed 3rd in a 1999 FLW Tournament and placed 4th in the 2000 FLW Championship. He is as they say, "an angler that is a force to be reckoned with" and my pick for very close second place finish.
Third Place / FLW Outdoors "2006 Angler of the Year" Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity S.C.
Coming off of a good season, placing first in the FLW 2006 Angler of the Year race, Anthony Gagliridi has the drive to make this years 2006 FLW Championship Top 5. He has won an impressive 3 tournaments and placed in the top ten - 8 times. He placed 5th in last years 2005 FLW Championship. Anthony placed 3rd in the 2004 Championship and he placed 3rd in the FLW Outdoors Tour Trail.
Fourth Place / Shinicki Fukae from Mineola, Texas
This angler originally from Japan has accomplished a lot in a short time while fishing competitively here in the United States. Shinicki Won the Angler of the Year race in 2004. He won the FLW Tour's season's first opener held on Lake Ocheechobee, Florida in 2006. He has won 2 tournaments and placed in the Top ten - 7 times. He placed 14th in the 2004 FLW Championship and Shinicki has fished 22 events since 2004.
Fifth Place / Scott Martin from Clewiston, Florida
Scott Martin was not far behind Anthony and Matt, with 937 points in this years 2006 FLW Tour Angler of the Year race. He's the son of course of world famous Roland Martin and Scott has some big shoes to fill and he has. Scott has won two tournaments and placed in the top ten - 14 times. He placed 2nd in the 2004 FLW Championship and 8th in the 1999 FLW Championship and he won a FLW Tour event in 1999.
So what about the rest of the top 12 that fishes the very last day? I'm sure you will see these predicted Top 5 names at the top of the list, including others that make the last day cut such as these qualifiers;
George Cochran and Jay Yelas both previous Bassmaster Classic winners on Lay Lake situated just below Logan Martin Lake.
Darrell Robertson that has been in the top ten - 16 times and amassed over one million dollars in just two tournaments alone, while winning the 1999 FLW Championship ($500,000) and the 1999 Ranger Millennium ($600.000) Tournament.
Dean Rojas is another angler with records to be beat. He holds the highest winning weight in a Bassmasters Tournament with 108 pounds total that included 5 bass in one day weighing 45 pounds. Dean also caught a ten pounder that took big bass honors in an 2004 FLW Tour event on Lake Ocheechobee. He ranked 4th in the FLW Tour 2004 A.O.Y. Race. Dean has been in the top ten - 7 times and he is long overdue for a major win.
Luke Clausen won both the 2004 FLW Outdoors Championship and he won this years Bassmasters Classic held in Florida, winning one million dollars together in those two tournaments alone.
Dion Hibdon has won a Bassmasters Classic on Logan Martin Lake in 1997, he also won the FLW Outdoors Championship in 2000 and placed 5th in the 2002 FLW Championship.
Steve Kennedy from Auburn, Alabama has a very impressive string of accomplishments including he ranked number one in the 2005 Stren Series Southeast Division and Steve placed 5th in that division in 2002. He has won a very impressive 7 tournaments and been in the top ten an unbelievable 25 times. He has fished 114 events since 1995. Talk about experience!
So there you have it and what to expect in this years prestigious 2006 FLW Outdoors Logan Martin Lake Championship and if I'm wrong don't hold me to it, but I bet I'll be close!
Fishing in Alabama? Always Call on Reeds Guide Service (205) 787-5133...first! Alabama's oldest, professional freshwater guide service, guiding and tournament fishing every lake in Alabama for over 30 years. See my website; www.fishingalabama.com for more info.