The history of the Crimson Tide Bass Anglers
In our last installment, we discussed the rules of fishing, how college fishing is arranged, and we mentioned briefly the beginning of the Alabama team, the Crimson Tide Bass Anglers. So pull up a chair, and let me take you back to a simpler time. A time before Twitter, a time when life was slower, problems were simpler, and things were just generally fuzzy and warm, a time when paintings of Mike Shula graced the walls of many a room in the state of Alabama.
Dominance from the start
I am, of course, speaking of the ancient year of 2006.
On a late March evening, on the sofas in the Ferguson Center, the Crimson Tide Bass Anglers were formed by Hank Weldon and Jeff Aul. And, the newly-born club did not disappoint. In that first year, the top six anglers led by Aul, Weldon, Daniel Statum and Rusty Jones, led Alabama to the No. 1 ranking by the Collegiate Bass Rankings. Less than a year into existence the Crimson Tide had brought home its first national championship.
The 2007 season returned the same core team and advisor, UA professor Hobson Bryan. The season also brought another successful year in national tournaments. However, a disappointing finish in the Bassmaster College National Championship left the team hungry for 2008.
The 2008 Crimson Tide Bass Anglers had momentum heading into the 2008 season with veterans Weldon, Aul, Statum, Jones, Brent Frederick, and others coming back for their third season. The team was also bolstered by the emergence of freshmen Warren Hoffman, Ben Weldon, and newcomers Foster Bradley and David Rogers. In what was a rapidly emerging sport that was once small enough to hold meetings on the couches in the Ferg, the University of Alabama Bass Team was one of the brightest emergent teams in a sport also gaining popularity. At the end of the 2008 season, in the Bassmaster College Series National Championship, Aul and Bradley led day one, and ended up with a fourth place finish.
The sport changes at the Capstone, but (usually) not the results
As the original members graduated, college fishing at Alabama was changing. The Crimson Tide kept rolling with Ben Weldon and Bradley; that pair going to the Bassmaster College Series National Championship and finishing 6th in 2009. In 2010 Dustin Connell and Daniel Taylor went back and finished 3rd. After a down year in 2011, Connell and new partner Logan Johnson again qualified for the 2012 College Bassmaster National Championship and finished fourth - even leading the FLW National Championship for two days of the tourney.
The 2013 Alabama Fishing squad struggled, and for the first time, did not qualify for the Bassmaster College Series National Championship. However, 2014 saw the Tide return to the hunt. An outstanding performance on Lake Okeechobee in the Southern Regional, with Jake Gipson and Charlie Hurst finishing 2nd and John Davis and Payton McGinnis finishing 5th, sent both boats to the National Championship. Adam Neill and Logan Shaddix joined them at Young Harris, Georgia (site of the Bassmaster College National Championship each year,) after finishing 7th on Pickwick Lake in the Bassmaster College Wildcard. In the National Championship, Bama struggled, and did not land a boat in the top 40
The 2015 Season Begins
This year's boats are manned by fantastic freshmen, well-established transfers, and a solid group of veterans, all hungry (and still angry at the finish of last season.) Fortunately, redemption will not have long to wait.
This Saturday, February 14, the Crimson Tide Bass Anglers head to Lake Seminole, on the boarder of Florida and Georgia (not the "Line," please, no, not the "Florida-Georgia Line"), for the first stop of the FLW College Series Southeastern Trail.
Alabama is sending five boats, Frank Appaluccio & Logan Shaddix; John Davis & Payton McGinnis; Caiden Sinclair & Hunter Gibson; Charles Hurst & Ethan Flack; Anderson Aldag & Lee Mattox. With over 100 boats pre-registered, the Top 15 will advance to the Conference Championship, and we will recap the event for you Sunday.
Roll Tide (on gentle lake waves)