Alabama Road Trip
by Tim Huffman
You’ll see a few pieces about Alabama fishing, conservation and recreation in this issue of CrappieNow. A Crappie Masters tournament followed by a media event in early May resulted in both fishing and a taste of the hospitality in the Elmore County/ Prattville area.
The Alabama River in Elmore County offers great crappie fishing. Tournament results reveal the quality of fish there. Our events took place out of Cooters Pond Park in Prattville, a spot with two launch ramps, pavilions, restrooms, tables and more.
Visiting fishermen should know that the river offers great fishing but also many challenges due to rising/falling waters, current, different water colors and other factors. Putting the pieces together isn’t difficult when the fish are biting. When fishing is tough it can make you work to find them. Two-plus pounders are common with good year classes of fish available right now.
Local fishermen often recommend that a newcomer start out in some of the creeks off of the main river. These are a little easier to fish. Look for drops, ledges and flats. Always look for wood cover and pay attention to your sonar for depths, contours and the depth of the fish.
The river offers big crappie. Talk to locals to learn about the habits of the river, current and how to adjust to less or more current. Start your crappie search in mid-depths and deep wood in the main river and in eddies at the end of sandbars. You’ll soon learn the areas holding active fish.
Most of us have been to lakes and towns where it’s obvious that everything needs to be locked up and we sleep with one eye open. The town of Prattville is nice, clean and has a great atmosphere. My stay included nights at both the Howard Johnson and Hampton Inn, both very clean with good service.
I love to eat. There are many places to choose. Jim & Nicks Bar-B-Que, Outback Steakhouse and other chain restaurants offer good foods. My favorite stop on the trip was in the old part of town. Fat Boys Bar-B-Que Ranch has a good ring to it (never eat at a place with a skinny cook!) and the atmosphere there is relaxing. I can recommend both the brisket and pulled pork but I was too full to try their homemade fried blackberry pie.
A trip to old town Prattville is worth your time. Old brick mill buildings and waterfalls make a great setting, view and photo. While there, visit the Chamber of Commerce building for maps and brochures.
If a 100+ hole world-class golf course sounds good, the Robert Trent Jones course is available. The LPGA was there in early May expecting up to 40,000 visitors.
There’s plenty more in Elmore County. For information, contact: Prattville.gov and Elmoreco.org.