OCEANSIDE, Calif. (October 9, 2020) - With expansive waters, seemingly unending shoreline and a mix of largemouths plus “magnum” spotted bass to target, there was little doubt the Coosa River Chain Hobie Bass Open Series (B.O.S.) Anchored by Power-Pole was going to be an exciting contest. At stake was not only the event title, but final Angler of the Year (A.O.Y.) points, plus three qualifying spots for Hobie’s Tournament of Champions (TOC) to be held in Knoxville, Tennessee, on November 14 and 15.
“This was our last open event of the season and it really lived up to expectations,” said Tournament Director A.J. McWhorter. “We had 87 kayak anglers measure and release 655 bass with our top three finishers separated by just two inches. The fishing was great, Gadsden, AL offered plenty of support as our home base, and our anglers battled it out on the water until the final minutes. What a great way and awesome place to wrap up these events.”
In the end, Coley McGowan, 25, a Gadsden, Alabama native, took home the crown with 181 total inches of catch and release largemouth bass for the two-day event. Joshua Sharp, 26, of Franklin, Tennessee, finished second, and Lance Coley, 38 of Calera, Alabama, carried off the bronze. All three anglers also qualified for the Hobie TOC. For their efforts, McGowan took home $5,100, Sharpe earned $2,750 and Coley pocketed $1,600 as the tourney paid out $16,100 through ninth place. Eric Siddiqi took home Bassin' Big Bass honors and $348 for a 22-inch largemouth that inhaled a Z-Man ChatterBait early on Day 1.
“I think having local knowledge helped a lot in this tournament,” said McGowan. “There’s a ton of water to cover on this river and its impoundments. If the fish aren’t where you expect them to be after a couple days of practice fishing, it’s good to have a few options to explore.”
That was exactly the scenario McGowan faced early on Day 1 when a stretch of water that had proved productive during pre-fishing came up cold. “We had a full moon leading into the tourney, cooler conditions than in practice, and a few boats had worked over the area where I planned to fish,” explained McGowan. “I don’t know if those fish had shut down or moved on, but they weren’t cooperating, so I just put my head down and kept covering water to scrape up what I could.”
At the end of Day 1 McGowan was in sixth place. Fortunately, on Day 2, the bass were right back where he expected them to be – and they started hitting immediately. “They were running a little bigger than I expected,” said McGowan, “and they were more numerous. In fact, I had my limit by 9 a.m. and started culling from there.”
McGowan tossed spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and Z-Man ChatterBaits around shad in the mornings and switched to Bo’s Jigs and green pumpkin Paca craw trailers for the afternoons. “Most of my action related to grass and wood,” he stated. “I was throwing 5 to 10 feet outside the grass lines where there was some current, laydowns, stumps and trees. The fish were paralleling grass in mornings and super-glued to the wood in the afternoons.”
Sharp spent most of his time waking a Santone Lures ½-ounce Pretender Series spinnerbait in shallow water and flipping laydowns with a beaver-style bait on a ½-ounce jighead. “I had to go real shallow to find those fish,” he said.