Part 3: Jason Alford, 2019 Georgia Kayak Bass Fishing Champion
In the third part of our sit down with this year’s Georgia Kayak Bass Fishing State Champion, Jason Alford shares his Day 2 experience on the Chattahoochee River.
“We were allowed to launch at 6:30 a.m. It was dark, very dark,” said Jason. “Trying to fish a section of the river I didn’t know in the dark proved to be a challenge. I spent too much time fishing ultra-shallow rocky sections of the river that I normally would have skipped over if I could have seen what I was casting to. I did manage to find one 17.5-inch largemouth while it was still dark. However, it wasn’t until after the sun came up that I was able to fish how I wanted.”
Once the sun came up, Jason moved to his first choice spot.
“Without generation for a couple of days, the river was low, slow and clear,” he said. “The spot I really hoped would produce was out of the water. I adjusted and at one point I picked up a shaky head. I boated a 17-incher, then a 10.25-incher and a 10.5-incher and then said out loud to myself, ‘Put the shaky head away.'”
Jason was fishing for five good bites, and the small fish on the shaky head just weren’t going to cut it.
“I had a plan that involved moving baits and knew I needed to stick to that plan to have a chance to win,” said Jason. “Around 8:55, I found what I was looking for when a 20-inch largemouth smashed my lure, and a few minutes later another good one missed it. Within the next 15 minutes, I landed a few more fish, including a 19- and a 21-inch largemouth. I managed one cull to bring my total to 95.25 inches before it was time for me to make a move.”
Wait… what? Make a move with more than 95 inches on the board? What was Jason thinking?
“My plan all along had been to start where I did, get a decent limit, then move to try to cull with a big shoal bass or two,” said Jason. “At 12 p.m., I loaded my truck and made the short move. I only brought a couple of rods with me this time. I had a good limit, so I was going big. It wasn’t long until I culled up by a quarter inch to 95.5 inches.”
Despite catching a few more fish, Jason wasn’t able to cull any more length.
“When I uploaded my fish, I knew I had a shot a winning,” said Jason. “I knew that if someone was going to beat me, they were going to earn it. Will Clements was in first after Day 1, and he’s a hammer on the river. However, I ran into him late in the day and knew he didn’t have the fish he needed. Another person I was worried about was Jamie Dabbs. He’s a local on the river who seems to always find the big fish. I knew that he was 4.5 inches behind me going into the day, so if he put up a 100-inch stringer, he had it.
“After I uploaded my fish, I checked the others and noticed Jamie didn’t upload his fish. I thought for sure he had the fish to win it but just submitted his fish in person for suspense. I got to the check-in having a good feeling that I did enough to either win or take second place. In the last state championship I fished in 2017, I took second place to Clint Henderson, so I knew that feeling. I really wanted first but overall was happy with how the tournament had gone.”
Jason’s stringer held. When the 2019 state champion was announced, it was Jason’s name that was called.
“I was thrilled to win, considering the number of hammers that were fishing, especially the ones fishing their home waters,” said Jason. “I had sent a few texts to my wife Becki when I thought there was a decent chance I was going to win. She was sitting at home nervously waiting. I just couldn’t wait to let her know once it was official.
“I nearly didn’t fish this tournament. We had spent the week in Louisiana and drove back on Thursday evening. I was exhausted. I was seriously considering dropping out because of that. Knowing how much research I had put into it, and how much I was looking forward to seeing some friends, Becki pushed me to go fish it. I couldn’t wait to share the win with her.”
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