LINCOLN — The Lady Bass Anglers Association (LBAA) visited Logan Martin Lake last week. This was the second stop on the LBAA tour for 2018. This is the second consecutive year the lady anglers have held a tournament here.
This year 46 anglers competed for two days with the top winners taking home cash and prizes. In each tournament there are two divisions. The pro anglers fish from the front of the boat and the co-anglers from the rear deck. Pro anglers can weigh in five bass per day and the co-anglers’ limit is three bass.
Anglers also earn valuable points for the angler of the year race. Each angler accumulates points based on their respective finish in each event. In June, the lady anglers will visit Kentucky Lake for their third event of the season.
The LBAA was started eight years ago when the Women’s Bassmaster Tour (WBT) folded in 2010. Many of the lady anglers who fished that tour are part of the LBAA today. These ladies are competitive anglers and give it their all in any tournament. The organization continues to grow and add new members each year.
“The bass here on Logan Martin are mean,” said Secret York, of Benton, Ky., one of the co-founders of the LBAA. “But the people here are nice, and we look forward to coming back again.”
These ladies are laid back and enjoy socializing with their fellow anglers. There is talk of family, friends, travel with some fishing thrown in the mix. But, when the tournament competition begins, there’s no holding back. It’s time to fish.
Each tournament is a two-day event for competition, with three days of practice leading up to the tournament start. The Lady Bass Classic will be held on Arkansas’ Bulls Shoals Lake in September. Anglers qualify for this event through the angler of the year points race. The top 12 pro and co-anglers are joined by the top finishing pro and co-angler from the Wildcard event. The classic is three days of competition.
This year the tournament on Logan Martin was a few weeks later than last year’s. The later time frame played well with the fishing since the lake was at full pool elevation. Several of the anglers reported catching plenty of bass during both days of competition.
Lisa Johnson, of Centre, finished second in the pro division. Johnson is no stranger to competitive bass fishing and is familiar with many lakes along the Coosa River chain.
“I caught my limit both days,” said Johnson at the weigh-in. “I just could not get on the big fish I was hunting, but I caught fish all day long both days.”
Over the course of both days of competition, Johnson targeted flats and ledges. In the early hours she used a buzzbait on shallow flats. Later in the morning she moved to ledges using a tube and a Bo’s Jig to round out a limit. Johnson mentioned the water level coming up the week before scattered the fish.
Immediately after weighing in, Johnson had to head out to a tournament meeting for the Alabama Bass Trail event the next day on Weiss Lake.
A familiar lady angler competing on the pro side was Kim Bain-Moore of Pelham. You may recall she was one of the top anglers on the WBT. Bain-Moore was the first woman to fish the Bassmaster Classic in 2009. Bain-Moore qualified for the Classic by winning the WBT angler of the year. She is originally from Australia.
“I wanted to fish this tournament since it was local and see how rusty I was.” Bain-Moore said. “It was super-fun, just super-casual, relaxed. I had a couple of patterns going, but it just didn’t work out for me.”
She stated she might do some other local tournaments in the future. But, for now, her family is her first priority. Bain-Moore said she and her husband have twin daughters that turn 4 years old next month and a son that is 2 years old.
Also fishing on the pro side for this tournament was local angler Christian Baxter of Talladega. She normally fishes as a co-angler, but since this was her home lake she moved to the front of the boat to allow an open spot for a co-angler.
“I got bites all day, but the fish seemed to short-strike my lure,” Baxter said. “I used a crankbait and a Carolina Rig with a brushhog or a trick worm. Both days. I really needed some current or wind to help my pattern.”
Baxter said she fished both shallow and deep trying to locate some large bass. There may be some other tournaments in the future, but for now finishing school is her top priority. Later this month Baxter will be back at Gadsden State to complete her degree in Civil Engineering Technology at the end of the summer. She said after school she hoped to fish the ABT and other tournaments.
For Veronica O’Neal of Jacksonville this was her first tournament with the LBAA. She joined last year and was excited about getting to fish as a co-angler. She said all the ladies made her feel very welcome.
“It is the thrill of the catch,” O’Neal said. “I’m an adrenaline junky. I like to work different lures to catch my fish.”
O’Neal said she learned to fish when she was a little girl but had gotten away from fishing. She wanted to get back to fishing and discovered the LBAA would be a good way to do it.
Another former WBT pro angler fishing on the LBAA was Lisa Talmadge of Southside. She fishes several club and local tournaments with her husband. Her experience includes several lakes along the Coosa River.
“It’s good camaraderie fishing with the ladies,” Talmadge said. “It is awesome to see this many women that want to come out and fish. It is more comfortable on the boat fishing alongside other females.”
Talmadge also mentioned she doesn’t get to fish Logan Martin as much as see would like. Her primary lakes are Weiss and Neely Henry. She feels Weiss is way underrated as a top bass lake in the state.
After the scales stopped spinning it was Pam Martin-Wells of Bainbridge, Ga., who took home the first-place prize. After two days of competition she had a total weight of 24 pounds. Martin-Wells said she was blessed to get to fish and have her hometown sponsor her on the tournament trail.
“My game plan was to find some shallow water fish,” Martin-Wells said. “Each day more fish were moving up shallow in the grass.”
Martin-Wells is a former WBT pro angler and a former Classic qualifier. She stuck to her plan and fished super-shallow, targeting bass in the grass swimming a Stanley Jig, a Zara Spook and Bruiser 11-inch worm. Her largest bass tipped the scales at 4½ pounds caught on the large worm in about a foot of water.
Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org