The Alabama Bass Trail has announced a dramatic increase in payout for the 2020 season, including a $50,000 first-place prize for the no-entry fee championship at the end of the season, according to series director Kay Donaldson.
Itās a dramatic increase that will put the event on the map for any competitive bass angler in the state. The boost is particularly impressive considering the relatively modest entry fee for the event compared to fees in the national circuits with similar payouts.
The team-style tournament series will be held on 11 different lakes of the Alabama Bass Trail beginning February 22, 2020, with the championship tournament October 23-24.
Each regular season tournament features a $10,000 guaranteed first place prize and pays 40 places totaling over $47,000. The winning team of the no-entry fee championship walks away with a $50,000 cash payout, and there is a $5,000 bonus cash prize for Angler of the Year and $2,500 for runner-up Angler of the Year.
Donaldson said more than $580,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded when the ABT Tournament Series wraps up its season in 2020.
āTo increase the championship payout while not increasing entry fees for our anglers is exciting and pretty much unheard of nowadays in tournament circuits,ā Donaldson says.
Sanctioned by BASS (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society), the ABT Tournament Series contains two divisions, North and South, and each division is made up of five tournaments on five different lakes. The maximum number of boats for each tournament is 225. Teams must fish in all five tournaments in their respective division; no single entries will be allowed.
All bass caught in the events are released alive after weigh-in.
For more information, call Donaldson at 855-934-7425 or visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.
Changes to saltwater fishing rules
The length and bag limits of two of Alabamaās most popular inshore fish species will likely change soon after proposals by the Alabama Marine Resources Division (AMRD) were approved last weekend by the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board.
Under the new regulations, spotted seatrout (speckled trout) and southern flounder will have reduced bag limits to deal with concerns that the species are not able to sustain healthy populations.
Speckled trout will go to a slot limit of 15 to 22 inches (total length, TL) with one fish allowed over 22 inches (TL). The previous length limit was 14 inches. The regulation is similar to that for redfish, which has a slot limit of 16 to 26 inches with one fish allowed over 26 inches. The bag limit for speckled trout will also be reduced from 10 fish to six fish.
The flounder population, which appears to be in worse condition than trout according to AMRD, will move from a 10-fish bag limit to five fish, and the minimum size will be increased from 12 inches to 14 inches (TL).
The Board also approved a request from Marine Resources to implement a Gulf reef fish endorsement to distinguish those anglers who fish for red snapper and other reef fish from saltwater anglers who fish for other species.
The endorsement, which would go into effect for the 2019-2020 license year, would cost $10 for individual anglers. Charter boat fees would range from $150-$250, and commercial vessels would be assessed at $200 per vessel.
For details, visit www.outdooralabama.com.