Last fall pro Paul Elias shocked the fishing world with the Alabama rig that he used to win the FLW Tour on Lake Guntersville. FLW will be back on Lake Guntersville May 3-5 for an EverStart Series event where as many as 300 pros and co-anglers will take to the water for the final stop in the Southeast Division. While the Alabama rig is still predicted to be a major factor, it is not expected to be the exclusive bait it was last October.
“There is a major shad spawn going on right now that is going to be a big player in this tournament,” said EverStart pro Casey Martin of New Market, Ala., who won the FLW Tour event last year on Guntersville while fishing as a co-angler. “Anglers will only have one to two hours in the morning to capitalize on it. Those first few hours are going to be crucial. The bite is going to slow way down after that, and then you’re going to have to go deep.
“Everybody really has a shot to win this tournament; it could be won deep or it could be won shallow. The bass are in all three stages of spawning, so you are going to find them as shallow as 1 foot and deeper than 10 feet,” Martin went on to say. “It is going to take a combination of shallow fishing early and deep fishing late in the day to win, and guys that can make that adjustment — from shallow to deep — are going to be the ones that make the cut.
“The Alabama rig is going to play a big role in this tournament, but it has slowed down a lot since last fall. Traditional crankbaits and spinnerbaits will be just as effective. It is probably going to take 75 pounds to win.”
Anglers will take off from Val-Monte Lakeside Resort & Marina located at 7000 Val-Monte Drive in Guntersville, Ala., at 6:00 each morning. Thursday’s and Friday’s weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 2 p.m. daily. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart located at 11697 US Highway 431 in Guntersville starting at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
Pros will fish for a top award of $35,000 plus a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.
The EverStart Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title along with $5,000 for the pro and $2,000 for the co-angler. The top 40 pros and co-anglers from each respective division will qualify for the EverStart Series Championship that will be held on the Ouachita River in Monroe, La., Nov. 1-4.
The EverStart Series tournament on Lake Guntersville is being hosted by the Marshall County Convention & Visitors Bureau.