So, you want to catch a big bass? Take Brent Crow’s word for it, Alabama is tough to beat.
He remembers one three-day stretch where the fishermen he guided caught a 5-pound spotted bass one day, a 6.26-pound smallmouth the next and an 8-pound largemouth the third day.
“That’s just tough to beat,” Crow said.
Of course, that’s a rare occasion. But the trophy bass are out there.
Reservoirs such as Wheeler, Guntersville, Smith, Pickwick, Lay, and Logan Martin have long been known for their excellent bass fishing.
“My guide business has transitioned,” Crow said. “When I first went fulltime 10 years ago, I did most of my trips on Guntersville. It was one of the best largemouth bass lakes in the country.
But it’s gone downhill. These lakes cycle.”
The key factor? Vegetation.
“Find an Alabama reservoir with healthy weed growth, and you’ll find a healthy bass population, Crow said.
He uses Pickwick as an example. It went through a cycle in the early 2000s when its vegetation was in poor shape and the fishing suffered. But now that the vegetation has returned, the bass are thriving.
"Pickwick has big largemouths, smallmouths and spots,” Crow said.
Likewise, Wheeler is mounting an impressive comeback, thanks to the return of the aquatic vegetation.
Crow ranks Smith Lake, on which he lives, as one of Alabama’s best bodies of water for spotted bass.
“Smith’s fishing can be challenging, though,” he said. “Smith has a big population of blueback herring, and that’s what the spotted bass feed on.
"If the herring aren’t up, the bass can be scattered. But when the baitfish are up and you can see the bass chasing them, the fishing can be incredible. You can catch five-fish limits of spots weighing 19, 20 pounds. ”