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 BASS ANGLERS INFORMATION TEAM (BAIT)
2016 Annual Report
by Kyle Bolton
Introduction: The printing of the Alabama 2016 BAIT Report marks the 31st 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 2016, we have summarized 14,778 tournament reports. Anglers have spent 3,371,226 hours collecting data for this program. They have contributed data from 891,777 bass that weighed 1,669,693 pounds.
Summary: Bass fishing in the State of Alabama has remained excellent for the past several years. During 2016, three of five quality indicators improved over the previous year (Average Bass Weight: increased 8%, Percent Success: decreased 7%, Bass/Angler-Day: decreased 9%, Pounds/Angler-Day: increased 0.3%, and Hours to catch a 5lb. Bass increased 13%). All five quality indicators (percent success, average weight, number of bass per angler-day, pounds per angler-day and number of hours to catch a 5 pounder) remained above the 30 year average. The number of 8lb. bass caught increased from 15 in 2015, to 25 in 2016. The number of fishing hours also increased by 16% in 2016.
Although the larger Tennessee River impoundments have always been traditional angler favorites, Wilson has turned the most heads recently, finishing No. 1 overall the past three years in the Quality Indicator Ranking. Smith Lake was again 2nd overall. Guntersville showed improvements in four of five quality indicators in 2016, after concerns arose from some members of the public and media in 2015 regarding a decline in the sizes and numbers of bass caught. The bass fishery has likely "reset", so numbers and sizes should gradually improve in the coming years.
- Wilson remained on top in the overall quality indicator rankings.
- Martin and Weiss both showed considerable improvement in the quality indicator rankings, moving up 13 and 10 spots, respectively; while Eufaula, Millers Ferry and Neely Henry (down 8) fell in the overall rankings.
- Wilson, Smith, Martin, Weiss and Lay were the top five lakes in the overall quality indicator rankings.
- Harris, Pickwick, Wilson, Eufaula, and Guntersville were the top five big bass lakes in Alabama.
- Winning Weight data was added in 2016.
2016 Statewide B.A.I.T. Statistics
13.83 - Average winning weight (5 fish)
3.48 - Number of bass caught per angler-day
7.28 - Pounds of bass caught per angler-day
2.09 - Average weight of bass caught
259 - Hours required to catch a 5 pound bass
11.19 - Weight of the largest bass caught
25 - Number of bass 8 pounds and larger
462 - Number of bass 5 pounds and larger