With Labor Day weekend over, most of the ski boats and party barges the lake is known for during the summer months will have been put away until next year — and that should make the timing just right for the more than 280 anglers taking part in the final Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open of the season.
The tournament is scheduled for Sept. 6-8, with takeoffs at 6:15 a.m. each day from Lakeside Park in Pell City. Weigh-ins the first two days will also be held at 2:15 p.m. at Lakeside Park, but the final-day weigh-in will be held at 3 p.m. at the Bass Pro Shops in Leeds.
“Logan Martin is loaded with 14- and 15-inch spotted bass,” said Jesse Wiggins, an Alabama pro who fishes the Bassmaster Elite Series. “There will be a ton of them caught, and probably a lot of different ways. You may even see some schooling.”
The key, Wiggins said, will be landing a few big fish — most likely largemouth bass — to anchor a daily limit.
“You’re going to see a lot of fishing going on around the brushpiles,” Wiggins said. “There’s a lot of tournament fishing on that lake, and the guys who have a lot of experience on the lake will know some places that have some juice. I think it’ll be really hard for somebody who doesn’t know the lake to come in and beat guys like that.”
One possible X factor Wiggins pointed to is the tailrace area at the far northern reaches of the lake below Neely Henry Dam. It’s about a 50-minute run by boat from the takeoff point at Lakeside Park — and there are times when it pays off quickly.
“I’ve seen people pull up on places like that and catch all the weight they need in five casts,” Wiggins said. “If you can get on a certain spot where most of the fish are, it can happen just that fast.
“It can be a little dicey getting up there, and it can be crowded sometimes. But it’s a chance that’s definitely worth taking if you’re not on anything in the main lake.”
Wiggins said a crankbait and a jig would be his first choices for a good tailrace bite. But no matter how the fish are caught, he expects 15 to 16 pounds a day to put an angler in the running for a win.
“If the tournament were happening a few weeks later after a good cool snap, I think it would take more,” Wiggins said. “But you’re probably going to be looking at a tough bite, and I would feel good with about 15 pounds a day — possibly even 14.”
Besides cash and prizes, anglers will be competing for a chance to take part in the upcoming Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Championship, which is scheduled for Oct. 18-20 at Table Rock Lake in Missouri. The championship field will include the winners of the four Central Opens, winners from the four Eastern Opens and the Top 10 in season points standings from each division.
The Opens Championship winner and the Top 5 in performance points from each division — determined by an angler’s finish in all four divisional tournaments and the championship — will be invited to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series. The winner of the championship and the Top 3 anglers in points from each division following the championship will be invited to the 2019 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.