Mortimer Jordan duo wins high school bass tournament on Pickwick Lake


While many Pickwick Lake anglers were catching smallmouth bass around Wilson Dam, Aaron Stephens and his teammate Daniel Meadows opted to go in a different direction during an April 21 Alabama Student Angler Bass Fishing Association tournament.

The gamble paid off in a big way for the duo from Mortimer Jordan High School in Kimberly. They won the tournament by catching five largemouth bass that weighed 21.06 pounds. Garrett Bates and Darren Ledbetter of Pelham Panthers Bass Fishing clinched second place with an 18.91 pounds catch.

The tournament, which was hosted by Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau, attracted almost 500 anglers from 52 schools throughout Alabama. The students fished in boats piloted by an adult who did not fish.

Stephens said he and Meadows found numerous largemouth bass in deep water down river from Sheffield. The tournament launched from Riverfront Park and the weigh-in was held in downtown Sheffield.

“We were drifting jigs offshore,” Stephens said. “We had the area where we were fishing pretty much to ourselves all day.”

Meadows said he and Stephens caught about 30 bass, but kept only the five largest for the weigh-in. “We had a good day.”

Stephens and Meadows each won a $1,000 college scholarship and other prizes.

Micah Goosby of Westbrook Christian School in Rainbow City, also found fishing success down river. The one bass he caught, that was large enough to keep, was a whopper. His 7.91 pounds largemouth bass was the largest fish weighed-in during the tournament. Goosby said he caught the huge bass while fishing with a tube jig along a bluff wall. He said it is the largest bass he ever caught.

Susann Hamlin, President and CEO of Colbert County Tourism, said more than 1,000 anglers, boat captains, family members, friends and tournament officials were in Sheffield for the tournament. She estimated its economic impact at around $2 million.

Hamlin said economic benefits from hosting the tournament will be long lasting. “The students caught some big bass. They are going to want to come back to fish for fun. They are going to tell their friends about our lakes and they are also going to want to come here to fish. Their families found attractions and stores while they were here that they are going to want to come back and visit.”

ASABFA tour headed to Pickwick Lake

asabfa.jpgThe sixth stop on the Alabama Student Angler Bass Fishing Association 2018 tour is Pickwick Lake in Sheffield.

More than 500 anglers from throughout the state are expected for the tournament out of Riverfront Park, 1416 Alabama Ave., Sheffield, 35660, on Saturday, April 21. Weigh-in will be in downtown Sheffield, beginning at 2 p.m. Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau is hosting the tournament.

This is the final regular season tournament for the ASABFA anglers. The pre-tournament meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 20 at Launchpoint Church, 301 U.S. Hwy., 72, Tuscumbia, 35674. Launch for the tournament will begin at safelight. 

The host hotel for the tournament is Coldwater Inn , 712 U.S. Hwy. 72, Tuscumbia, 35674, 256-383-6844. When making reservations at Coldwater Inn or other Colbert County hotels, be sure to mention ASABFA to get special rates for the tournament.

Tourism boom expected following Crappie USA fishing tournament

SHEFFIELD - A Crappie USA fishing tournament held on Pickwick and Wilson lakes Saturday, March 31, confirmed what many local anglers have been talking about this spring.

Big crappie are more plentiful in the lakes than they have been in years.
 Henry and Jo Haley with some of the fish they caught en route to winning the pro divison of a Crappie USA fishing tournament on Pickwick and Wilson lakes.jpg

Henry and Jo Haley of Carmi, Ill., won the pro division of the tournament with a seven-fish limit that weighed 13.20 pounds. It was the heaviest seven-fish limit ever caught in a Crappie USA event on Pickwick and Wilson lakes.

David and Larry Sisson of Wingo, Ky., caught the largest fish for the tournament, a 3.08 pounds black crappie. It was the biggest fish weighed in so far this year at Crappie USA tournaments across the country and the largest ever for the organization at a competition on Pickwick and Wilson lakes. The father and son team finished second in the pro division with 12.91 pounds.

“The lakes are absolutely amazing now,” said Darrell Van Vactor, general manager for Crappie USA. “There are more big crappie in Wilson and Pickwick than I have ever seen. Not only are the crappie big, there’s plenty of them.”

Henry Haley said he and his wife love fishing in Pickwick Lake. “It’s like a second home for us. We drive five and half hours all the time to come down here and fish just for fun. The crappie fishing down here is great.”

“We spend so much time fishing on Pickwick Lake that they know us by first name at the restaurants, bait shops and gas stations around the lake,” Jo Haley said. “Pickwick is great lake for crappie fishing.”

The Haleys won the tournament using yellow tube jigs on Bear and Indian creeks in 9-10 feet of water. They earned $1,500 for the win and a $500 bonus from Ranger Boats.

The Sissions caught their fish by slow trolling in Yellow Creek, using chartreuse and black jigs in water 6-7 feet deep. They earned $800 plus $390 for the big fish of the tournament.

A trio of Tennessee teams rounded out top five in the pro division. Bart Gillon and Steve Coleman were third with 12.53 pounds, with Shane Moore and John Eubanks finished fourth with 12.07 pounds and T.J. Todd and Brian Hatch were fifth with 11.13 pounds.

Matthew and Caleb Tosh won with amateur divison of a Crappie USA fishing tournament on Pickwick and Wilson lakes.jpg

The father and son team of Matthew and Caleb Tosh of Rutherford, Tenn., won the amateur division with 11.17 pounds. They also won second place in the big fish contest with 2.46 pounds. Kentucky anglers Robert Massey and Todd Dalton finished second in the amateur division with 10.68 pounds. Matthew Tosh was tight lipped about where they fished, other than to say it was downriver from Sheffield. They slow-trolled tube jigs in the backs of creeks. They earned $800 for win plus $170 for catching the second largest fish of the day.

Alabama anglers rounded out the top five with Chad Brooks of Somerville and John Childers of Union Grove finishing third 10.04 pounds, Wayne and Billy Dickey of Florence were fourth with 9.68 pounds followed by Will Counts of Tuscumbia and Kyle Moody of Florence with 9.24 pounds.

The tournament was sponsored by Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau. Susann Hamlin, President and CEO of Colbert Tourism, said the number of big crappie caught in the tournament will provide boost for tourism in the Shoals. “Crappie anglers from all over the South and Midwest are going to start making plans to come fish in Pickwick and Wilson lakes when they hear about the size of the fish the Crappie USA anglers caught. It was a great tournament for the anglers who were competing and for our efforts to promote Colbert County as a great place to go fishing too.”

A Crappie Kids Fishing Rodeo at Riverfront Park, that was held in conjunction with the Crappie USA tournament, attracted almost 50 young anglers from throughout the Shoals.

Youths can reel in prizes at Crappie Kids Fishing Rodeo

Crappie Kids Fishing Rodeo.jpgChildren can win prizes Sheffield.jpgSmiles.jpg

Shoals area youths have an opportunity to fish for trophies and other prizes along with a chance to win a college scholarship.

A Crappie Kids Fishing Rodeo for children 12 and younger is 9-11 a.m. Saturday, March 31 at Riverfront Park in Sheffield. Registration will begin at 8 a.m.. There is no charge to enter. The children can use live bait and fish for all species of fish. Children must be accompanied by an adult and have their own fishing tackle.

The fishing rodeo is sponsored by Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau, The City of Sheffield and Sheffield Parks and Recreation Department. It is the first Crappie Kids event in Colbert County since 2015.

“Crappie Kids Fishing Rodeos are lots of fun. It’s a great opportunity for families to spend time together, while enjoying the outdoors and our beautiful Tennessee River,” said Susann Hamlin, president and CEO of Colbert County Tourism.

Prizes will be awarded to the top anglers. Lunch will be provided. All participants will be entered into a drawing for college scholarships that will be awarded later this year.

The kid’s fishing rodeo is being held in conjunction with a Crappie USA tournament on Pickwick and Wilson lakes March 31. Many of the nation’s top crappie anglers are competing in the tournament. Weigh-in begins at 3 p.m. at Riverfront Park.

For more details about the kids fishing rodeo or the Crappie USA tournament, call Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau at 256-383-0783

Tournament boosts economy, provides opportunities for local anglers, children

A Crappie USA fishing tournament on Pickwick and Wilson lake.jpg

Local anglers can turn their ability to catch crappie from Pickwick and Wilson lakes into cash and prizes.

A Crappie USA fishing tournament on the lakes Saturday, March 31, is open to local anglers. Crappie anglers from throughout the South and Midwest will compete. Weigh-in for the tournament, which is sponsored by Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau, begins at 3 p.m. at Riverfront Park, 1416 Alabama Ave., Sheffield.

Susann Hamlin, president and CEO of Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau, said in addition to opportunities for Shoals anglers to win cash and prizes, the tournament will provide a boost to the local economy.

“The anglers and their families will be staying in our hotels, eating at our restaurants, buying fuel and fishing tackle and shopping,” she said. “We are excited to be hosting America’s premier national crappie fishing tournament organization on two of our nation’s premier crappie fishing lakes. There will also be a fishing rodeo for children.”

A Crappie Kids Fishing Rodeo, presented by Colbert County Tourism and Sheffield Parks and Recreation, will be 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. March 31 at Riverfront Park. Registration begins at 8 a.m. The fishing rodeo is free for youths 12 and younger who are accompanied by an adult. Lunch will be provided. In addition to competing for trophies and other prizes for the top youth anglers, all participants will be eligible for one of six $1,000 Crappie USA college scholarships that will be awarded at the 2018 Crappie USA Classic in October. For more details call 256-383-0783.

Entry fee for the adult tournament is $125 per team in the Amateur Division and $250 per team in the Professional Division. Teams may consist of one angler or two. A third angler is allowed on a team if one is 15 years old or younger. All participants must be a member of the American Crappie Association. Membership is $30 for adults and $15 for spouse or youth members. More details are available at or by calling 502-384-5924.

A pre-tournament seminar will be at 7 p.m. Friday, March 30 at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia.

Sheffield Mayor Ian Sanford is also excited about the tournament.

“It’s always great to have Crappie USA come to town. They bring in a lot of people who spend a lot of money. What they do for the children with their Crappie Kids rodeo is just fantastic.”

Announcing the Red Warrior River Rumble on Pickwick Lake, July 15, 2017

Ashley Isbell and Connie Isbell.jpg
Ashley Isbell and Connie Isbell along with Levi Rodgers and Joshua Burcham, winners of the 2016 Red Warrior River Rumble, and tournament director Chase Murphy.

High School Angler Registration Form - Adult Angler Registration Form - Boat Captian Registration Form -  Tournament Rules

Red Warrior Logo.JPGWe are excited to announce the upcoming Red Warrior River Rumble on Pickwick Lake on July 15, 2017 out of Riverfront Park, Sheffield. Rules for the tournament and forms in a PDF format are located on this site. Completed forms can be mailed to Colbert County Tourism Bureau, P. O. Box 740425, Tuscumbia, AL 35674 or completed and scanned to

Student Anglers and adult anglers are encouraged to come out and fish this tournament in memory of Muscle Shoals student angler Evan Isbell. As a lot of you know, Evan was enthusiastic about fishing and being in the outdoors.

This will be a cash payout with one-half of the fees brought in being paid at the weigh-in; the remaining one-half of the proceeds will go to the Evan Isbell Scholarship Fund.

We look forward to having you in the Muscle Shoals area for this tournament. If you need assistance with anything, including lodging suggestions, contact the tourism office at (256) 383-0783.

Details about the tournament may be found in the Rules and Regulations on this site.

Chase Murphy
Tournament Director


Wallace hangs tough to win Tim Horton High Bass Anglers Challenge

Gabe Wallace of Russellville, winner of the senior division of the 2017 Tim Horton High School Bass Anglers Challenge, and pro angler Tim Horton.jpg

SHEFFIELD - Some fishermen will give up and go home early when the fishing is tough, but not Gabe Wallace.

Wallace, a junior at Russellville High School, refused to become discouraged when the bites were few and far between for anglers competing in the Tim Horton High School Bass Anglers Challenge on Pickwick Lake A

pril 15. His persistence paid off and he won the senior division of the tournament that attracted student anglers from three states. The tournament was staged out of Riverfront Park.

Wallace was able to catch only two fish, but both were giants and his catch weighed 10.5 pounds. Andrew Chambers of Phillips High School in Bear Creek finished second in the senior division with 9.89 pounds. Levi Lamar of Hartselle High finished third with 8.39 pounds, Clayton Birdyshaw of Rogers High was third with 7.99 pounds with Briana Tucker of Hartselle rounding out the top five with 6.82 pounds.

“We had caught a lot of fish during practice on Friday and I thought we were really going to whack them in the tournament,” Wallace said. “But the fishing started out slow and got even slower during thetournament. I really didn’t think I would have a chance to win, but I never let it get me down. I kept fishing hard right up to the end.”

His catch was anchored by a largemouth bass that weighed 6.81 pounds, which was the largest fish weighed in by a senior division angler.

For winning the senior division, Wallace won a $3,000 scholarship to the college, university or technical school of his choice. He also won a $1,500 scholarship to Northwest-Shoals Community College for being the top angler in the senior division from Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale or Lawrence counties. He won a $450 rod and reel for catching the largest bass in the senior division.

Matthew Chambers.jpgMatthew Chambers of Phillips High won the junior division with a 4.21 pounds catch. Laurel Fogle of Covenant Christian School in Muscle Shoals finished second with 3.63 pounds. Rounding out the top five in the junior division were J.O. Morgan of Phil Campbell with 3.15 pounds, Hunter Estis of Muscle Shoals with 2.57 pounds and Jackson Ferguson of Rogers with 2.11 pounds. Estis had big fish with 2.57 pounds.

Chambers was elated with the $3,000 scholarship he won for being the top angler in the junior division for students in grades 7-9. His brother Andrew won a $2,000 scholarship for finishing second in the senior division for students in grades 10-12. “This is going to help us a lot when we go to college,” Matthew Chambers said.

Anglers competing in the Tim Horton High School Bass Anglers Challenge and their boat captain head out onto Pickwick Lake.jpgSince it began five years ago, the annual bass tournament that is organized by Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau, has awarded $100,000 in college scholarships. Susann Hamlin, president and CEO of Colbert Tourism, enjoys being a part of a tournament that helps students continue their education. “We have students tell us every year that they will now be able to go to college because they won one of our scholarships.”

Horton, a professional angler and outdoors television personality from Muscle Shoals, said he looks forward to the high school tournament every year. “For a kid who loves to fish, it’s a great way for them to help pay for their tuition,”

The students fish from boats piloted by an adult.

2017 Timmy Horton High School Bass Anglers Challenge on Pickwick Lake April 15

2017 Tim Horton win at  Okeechobee

Join Bassmaster Pro Tim Horton, winner of the 2017 Elite Series Tournament on Lake Okeechobee, at the 2017 Timmy Horton High School Bass Anglers Challenge on Pickwick Lake April 15. A major change for this year’s tournament is the senior division – for students in grades 10-12 – is open to students from all states. In the past, the tournament has been limited to Alabama residents. Students will compete for $20,000 in college scholarships. For more details call Colbert County Tourism at 256-383-0783 or 800-344-0783.

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