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Bass Fishing Quality (BAIT Reports)

Bass Clubs in Alabama and neighboring states have submitted their tournament results to help us manage their resource. The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division appreciates this help from anglers!

Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division

ALABAMA BASS ANGLERS INFORMATION TEAM (BAIT)
2013 Annual Report
by Damon Lee Abernethy

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INTRODUCTION

The printing of the Alabama 2013 B.A.I.T. Report marks the twenty-eighth year of the B.A.I.T. Program. The objective of the program since its inception has been to gather information on bass populations by combining the efforts of bass club members and state fisheries biologists. The B.A.I.T. Program summarizes catch data on reservoir bass populations that are collected and provided to us by participating clubs. This information is used by state fisheries biologists in combination with data from other sources as a basis for fisheries management decisions. Bass anglers use the report to establish future tournament sites, or to locate a reservoir that provides a particular type of fishing.

Through 2013, we have summarized 13,412 tournament reports. Anglers have spent 2,982,080 hours collecting data for this program. They have contributed data from 752,104 bass that weighed 1,359,825 pounds.

SUMMARY

Bass fishing in the State of Alabama has been excellent for the past several years. During 2013, three of the four quality indicators were similar to the previous year (Average Bass Weight: down 5%, Percent Success: up 2%, Bass/Angler-Day: down 1%, and Pounds/Angler-Day: down 2%); however, the length of time required to catch a bass over five pounds was 189 hours, which was a 20% annual improvement. This value was exceeded in only 1990 and 2010, with the 28 year average being 304 hours.

Although the Tennessee River impoundments have always been traditional angler favorites, it is Wheeler that has turned the most heads during the last two years, finishing No. 1 overall in the 2013 Quality Indicator Ranking. When comparing the last two years of data to the previous 26, we have seen dramatic improvements in Percent Success (up 10%), Average Bass Weight (up 38%), Bass/Angler-Day (up 74%), Pounds/Angler-Day (up 134%), and Hours to Catch a Bass Over Five Pounds (down 475%). More bass over five pounds (66) were reported in 2013 than in any other year, mirroring the big fish success experienced by anglers in the early 1990s when the lake was considered to be in its prime.

  • Wheeler was the top lake in the overall quality indicator rankings.
  • Millers Ferry, Demopolis, Martin, and Jones Bluff all showed considerable improvement in the quality indicator rankings, while Logan Martin fell from 10th to 16th place.
  • Wheeler, Millers Ferry, Wilson, Demopolis, and Pickwick were the top five lakes in the overall quality indicator rankings.
  • Guntersville, Wilson, Wheeler, Pickwick, and Demopolis were the top five big bass lakes in Alabama.

2013 Statewide B.A.I.T. Statistics

  3.51  – Number of bass caught per angler-day
  7.42  – Pounds of bass caught per angler-day
  2.12  – Average weight of bass caught
  189  – Hours required to catch a 5-pound bass
  13.06  – Weight of the largest bass caught
  22  – Number of bass 8 pounds and larger 
  553  – Number of bass 5 pounds and larger

 2005 Best of Show State Fish Art Contest; Connery Carson - Artist

Good luck fishing and do not forget to take a child with you and introduce him or her to your sport. Our children are our future anglers and stewards of Alabama’s resources. To obtain more information on Alabama’s fisheries resources or to submit your club's reports, contact Mr. Damon Abernethy, telephone (334) 242-3882, Fax (334) 242-2061, or email Damon.Abernethy@dcnr.alabama.gov


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