OCEANSIDE, Calif. (September 22, 2020) - The final stop of the regular season for the Hobie Bass Open Series (B.O.S.) Anchored by Power-Pole will be the Coosa Lake Chain in Gadsden, Alabama. Specifically, anglers will be heading out on Neely Henry Lake and Lake Weiss. Both waters offer plenty of easy access to the kayak faithful – plus stud largemouths and a brand of spotted bass widely recognized as being amongst the biggest and baddest on the planet.
“With autumn temperatures setting in, baitfish growing active and, potentially, the first fall drawdowns, this event has the potential for some explosive fishing,” says Hobie B.O.S. Tournament Director, A.J. McWhorter. “We’re expecting plenty of shallow water fun, but everyone knows how this time of year can either light things up or create additional challenges for anglers to overcome. Either way, you can bet each competitor’s skills will be put to the test. We’re especially hopeful the spotted bass will be aggressive – those fish run big here. If you haven’t tackled spots yet, this is the place to get it done. As our last regular season event of the year, this tournament will award our final Angler of the Year (A.O.Y.) points, as well as determine three more entrants in the Tournament of Champions (T.O.C.) to be held in Knoxville, Tennessee, November 14 and 15.
However they approach the fishing here, the elite field of kayak bass anglers expected to compete should have plenty of elbow room. Neely Henry Lake covers more than 11,000 surface acres to a maximum depth of 53 feet, while sporting roughly 340 miles of shoreline. Lake Weiss, meanwhile, covers over 30,000 acres to a 62-foot depth and has nearly 450 miles of shoreline. Both lakes are impoundments of the 280-mile Coosa River and offer stripers to 30 pounds, hybrid bass, white bass, crappie, catfish and a host of other species in addition to the bigmouths and spots. Poke around on either water and you’ll uncover shallow flats, large coves, underwater drop-offs and deep channels – ample structure and opportunity to test a wide array of lures and techniques.
“I think the biggest draw here is the chance to catch those spotted bass,” says Clint Henderson, 40, of Rome, Georgia. “They are a breed apart where spots are concerned. They are different than you’ll find anywhere else. They get a lot bigger and can be a lot meaner. That’s why we call them ‘Coosa River Magnum Spots.’ They generally run smaller than the largemouths, but they do grow to 5, 6 or even 7 pounds, which would be an absolute trophy. It’s possible to put together a limit of spotted bass that will outweigh a limit of bigmouths here, so I think these fish will seriously come into play. They are my favorite fish to target.”
Henderson recommends those visiting the Coosa Chain for the first time concentrate on working the shallows. Given fall temperatures, he expects a good topwater bite to develop and suggests tossing buzzbaits, Whopper Ploppers or, perhaps, a fluke or spinnerbait if the baitfish are visibly moving about.
“There’s plenty of grass along the shoreline and around the islands,” notes Henderson. “I think you’ll find the spotted bass right up in there. It’s not hydrilla, just shore grasses along the banks. It might be easier to put together a limit of spots than to dig out the largemouths. Either way, expect a good time. When the bass in this lake get fired up, it’s a lot of fun.”
While Henderson plans to concentrate his efforts on spotted bass, frequent Hobie B.O.S. competitor Jamie Koza, 48, of Marietta, Georgia, plans to keep casting with an open invitation for either type of bass to smack his baits.
“I’m really looking forward to the Coosa Lake event,” says Koza. “There’s a lot of history here. They’ve been having tournaments on this stretch of river since the beginning of bass competitions. With both largemouths and spotted bass, this is a serious fishery. Both species grow well here so it should be a good deal for everyone. I’d suggest you just cast away and see what responds. While it’s quite possible the spots will figure in the overall standings, I’m thinking you’ll still need some solid largemouths to finish high in the money. Figure it will take 90 inches of bass each day to seal the deal.”
Like Henderson, Koza plans to look shallow for his bass, at least at the start of the tourney. He foresees tossing buzz baits, working a pig & jig, trying frogs and, perhaps, swimming a jig if the fish prove active. Depending on the lake level, he’ll make a last-minute decision whether to fish the river or push into some backwaters. Either way, he’ll be looking to test current breaks, rock piles and bank grass. “There are a lot of options here,” he notes.
Both Henderson and Koza fish from Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 kayaks, and both believe these boats provide an edge against stiff competition. “I love all the room in this vessel,” explains Henderson. “I like to bring along a lot of gear and my Pro Angler has a comfortable seat plus enough room that my tackle stays organized and doesn’t get messed up.”
Koza mentions the maneuverability of his Hobie as a top feature. “I can quietly and smoothly get in and out of just about any spot I want to without making a mess. That 360-degree mobility really helps me take advantage of tight opportunities,” Koza says, referring to his Pro Angler’s nimble MirageDrive 360 propulsion system, which affords pinpoint boat control and allows steerage in any direction.
As for the Hobie B.O.S. series itself, Henderson points out that optimal competition, organization and trust means a lot in the kayak fishing game. “If you want to test your skills against the best,” he states, “this is where you need to be. The level of competition is simply outstanding, and these events are run smoothly and fairly. When you don’t have to worry about how things are run, you can concentrate on fishing, which is all most competitors really want to do.”
In addition to the great fishing, those planning to attend the Coosa River Chain Hobie B.O.S. will find the City of Gadsden ready and willing to greet them to these legendary bass waters. “Although we have a long history of hosting bass fishing tournaments here, this will be our first kayak fishing event and we are really looking forward to seeing all the competitors,” says Julie Tucker, the manager at Coosa Landing. “We are located halfway between the Lake Weiss and Neely Henry Lake dams. If there’s anything you need, just stop in and ask.”
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About the Hobie Bass Open Series
The Hobie Bass Open Series (B.O.S.) aims to provide a simplified, open-to-anyone format and an elite feel for kayak anglers across the country. This series is all about providing a platform for the anglers. As participation in each event increases, payouts will grow, the Tournament of Champions (TOC) will grow, and opportunities for the anglers will only increase. Coverage of the events will set a standard and continue to solidify our sport's legitimacy in the competitive fishing world to a broader audience. Are you ready to be a B.O.S. Angler? Learn more at hobiebos.com.