A full Logan Martin will offer many options for Bassmaster Opens Field

The notion of ups and downs is nothing new to bass tournament anglers, but Alabama native and Bassmaster Elite Series champion Wes Logan said the St. Croix Bassmaster Open at Logan Martin Lake presented by SEVIIN will be heavily influenced by a down-and-up deal.

Competition days will be May 2-4 with daily takeoffs from Lincoln Landing at 6 a.m. CT and weigh-ins each day back at the landing at 2 p.m.

A Logan explained, winter drawdown lowers this 17,000-acre Coosa River reservoir to a winter pool level of about 462 feet (2023-24). With Alabama Power Company gradually bringing the lake back to full pool (465) by early May, the lake stood about 1.75 feet from that mark a week prior to the event.

With warm weather forecast and water temperatures in the upper 60s to low 70s, Logan Martin’s shaping up for a good dose of spring patterns. That being said, the event’s timing, shortly after a major hydrologic adjustment could just as easily see a restrained mood or a wide-open stick fest.

“I think a lot of what people found in pre-practice is going to be null and void because of how those fish (reposition) when the water starts moving,” Logan said. “It’s going to be interesting, because fish will be moving with the water.”

From a lifetime of fishing Coosa River lakes, Logan expects that some of the bass will have spawned, but the annual spring water rise certainly factors into the fish’s timing. With water temperatures warm enough, successful bedding may occur during the rise. But as the water level increases, greater depth may limit sunlight penetration.

“Those drawdown fish are smart; they learn not to do it too early,” Logan said of the water level change. “From one week to the next, the fish can be completely different. I think this will make it interesting to see who can figure out the new pattern.

“If someone comes across something the last day of practice, they might be able to run a pattern that nobody else knows yet.”

Describing the lake as what he calls “Coosa River Clear” — about 1 to 1 1/2 foot visibility — Logan said tournament week will likely present a clean-slate scenario that could include a mix of spawn and postspawn scenarios. Given the significant water level change, he believes much of what pre-practicing anglers found before the April 14 off-limits date will be largely irrelevant.

On the upside, Logan said he believes the event could be won from the Neely Henry tailrace down to the Logan Martin Dam impounding this lake. For its relatively modest size, Logan Martin offers abundant habitat diversity.

“There will be a lot of stuff in play; there’s a lot of docks on Logan Martin — floating docks, pole docks, and around those docks are a lot of seawalls,” Logan said. “If we get back on a warming trend, there could be a few times where we have a shad spawn and those seawalls will play really well. As the sun rises, the shad leave and the fish pull to the docks or the first available shade.”

Logan expects to see a large segment of the field spending their days offshore looking for fish on forward-facing sonar. Plenty of spots to check and rising water won’t have much impact on this game. The biggest challenge for the “scopers” will be crowding and fishing pressure.

Other common targets include stump flats and water willow. The latter’s a Coosa River favorite, but Logan said anglers will have to gauge how firmly the fish have committed to this habitat. Growth happens quickly with the returning water, but the degree to which water willow plays has yet to be determined.

“Upriver from Lincoln Landing (takeoff site) to the (Neely Henry) Dam, anglers will fish your basic river structure,” Logan said. “You’ll have current swings, river bends with some current hitting off some bluff banks, laydowns and offshore rockpiles.

“Down lake there’s a lot of underwater humps where those spotted bass like to get on this time of year. From the Stemley Bridge (Highway 34) down to the Logan Martin Dam, in that lower lake area the water stays relatively cleaner and there’s a few major creeks that have a really good population of big spotted bass.”

While unlocking the Logan Martin bounty will require intense search and analysis, during this spring transitional time, Logan said competitors can fish their strengths.

“You can catch ’em on a vibrating jig, a buzzbait early, a spinnerbait (especially for the shad spawn) and a 1/2-ounce flipping jig,” Logan said. “For spotted bass, jerkbaits, crankbaits and jigs are good. A shaky head is a good way to cover water and get bites, and a Carolina rig with a finesse worm is really good for spots on those offshore humps.

“Even though it’s a smaller lake, you’re gonna be able to fish the way you want to. You’re not going to have to do one particular thing. There’s a lot of ways the tournament could be won.”

While spotted bass will almost certainly play a significant role in this event, Logan said he’s not looking for a winning weight solely comprising spots. The occasional spotted chunk will likely highlight competitive limits, but the dependable weight typically comes from largemouth.

“I don’t know if you can catch a 4-pound spot, or a couple of them every day,” Logan said. “It seems like there’s been a little better population of spotted bass here lately, but somebody who can figure out how to catch 14 to 16 pounds of spots for three days will be hard to beat.

“I think it will be dominated with largemouth; that’s going to be most consistent. It could be a mixed bag, but if someone figures out that largemouth deal, they could really run away with it.”

Canadian angler Evan Kung currently leads the Tackle Warehouse Bassmaster Elite Qualifiers race with 568 points. Texas pro Dakota Ebare is second with 555 points, followed by Matt Adams in third with 529, Mike Surman in fourth with 504 and Easton Fothergill in fifth with 502 points. Andy Newcomb is sixth with 501 points, followed by Bobby Bakewell in seventh with 491, Cody Meyer in eighth with 491 and Christian Ostrander in ninth with 488.

Bassmaster LIVE will be streaming on Bassmaster.com all four days.

The event is being hosted by the City of Lincoln.