Robbie Dodson and his dad, Robert Dodson, fished the windiest shorelines they could find Sunday to win the annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Memorial Bass Tournament at Beaver Lake with five bass that weighed 19.97 pounds.
The father and son duo, both from Harrison, won the $1,000 first-place prize, plus the $500 big bass prize with a 6.4-pound largemouth, the largest bass of the tournament.
A field of 72 boats competed in the annual event, which has been a Beaver Lake tradition since the lake was built in the mid 1960s.
Russell Taylor of Nob Hill and Jason Hargis of Huntsville placed second with five bass at 18.62 pounds. David Louks and Collin Cheatham placed third with five bass at 17.47 pounds.
The Dodsons caught their bass with a War Eagle spinner bait and a Lucky Strike G5 crawdad-colored crank bait. Fishing areas where wind was blowing into the shoreline was key.
“Wherever the wind was blowing right into the bank, that’s where we caught ’em. We only caught six keepers all day. We didn’t catch a fish in the first hour or the last two hours,” Robbie Dodson said.
Fishing took place from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the tournament headquartered at Prairie Creek park.
Taylor and Hargis welcomed a New Year’s Day parade of bass into their boat. Taylor said they caught 40 bass Sunday with Alabama rigs and crawdad-colored crank baits. They fished between Prairie Creek and Rocky Branch parks. Most were caught with an Alabama rig.
The team had the most success along transition banks, such as areas that change from gravel to large rock.
They advised anglers going fishing for bass at Beaver this week to fish as many transition banks as they can.
Both thought they had a chance to win when they brought their fish to the scales. “Anytime you’ve got five bass like these you think you’ve got a chance,” Taylor said. Their largest bass weighed 5.85 pounds.
Fourth- through 10th-place finishers — all with five bass — were: fourth, Matt Emeterio, Cassey Odel, 16.73 pounds; fifth, Gordon Hariman, Travis Hariman, 15.49; sixth, Jeremy Thomas, Kevin Smith, 15.21; seventh, Jeremy Brewer, Dustin Rogers, 14.82; eighth, Tony Jones, Brit Sumter, 14.77; ninth, Justin Mounce, Jeremy Mounce, 14.57; 10th, Aaron Stanphill, Steve Meador, 14.02.
The 72-boat field is twice the number of boats in the 2016 Polar Bear tournament when the temperature at weigh-in time was 34 degrees.
Sports on 01/02/2017