What is going on with the weather this year? When I saw this event on the schedule last fall I was excited, because I thought it would be dominated by sight fishing. When you think of the first week in April on Lake Norman that is what you expect to do. Well by the time we rolled into town the fish were basically finished spawning. They evidently started spawning there in early March due the warm spring we have had.
Practice The first day of practice I fished up the river because that was where the event was won last year. I caught some small fish, but nothing real big. I did see some spawners but just a few. The second practice day I fished the lower end by the dam and started catching a lot of keeper spots on a shaky head and found a lot of spawners, but most of them were not locked on and just cruising around the bed. The last day I fished the mid lake area and found a few spawners that seemed more locked on. The second half of that day I went back up the river to check the spawners I found the first day and they were all gone. So my game plan was to pick off the few spawning fish I thought that would be locked on and then go fishing and look for more as I fished.
Day 1 I went straight to a 3 lb largemouth and fished for it for a few minutes and I wasn’t sure if the fish was there so I went down the bank and caught a 2 lb largemouth that I just found that morning cruising around a bed. I went back to the 3 lber and this time I could see it was locked down and caught it after about 15 minutes. I went to check another 3 lber I saw in practice and it was gone. I then went to a couple of other spawners that I found in the mid lake area and caught a good spot off the bed and found another spot over 2 lbs and caught it pretty quick. During the middle of the day we had a dry spell. I tried to run to my other 30 something waypoints and basically all those fish had left. Later in the day I caught my 5th keeper on a shaky head. I ended the day in 22nd with 10-5.
Day 2 I went to an area in the midlake where my first day non-boater caught a lot on a shaky head and I caught 2 keepers pretty quick but they were barely keepers. Then I ran some points with a Duo Pencil 110 (walking topwater) and caught some non keepers and had a 2 ½ lber blow up on it twice, but missed it. Then I went to an area I thought I could find some spawners and caught a keeper spot off the bed. I saw a competitor fishing for a spawner nearby and I started looking around that area, but didn’t find anymore that would stay on. I went back around the corner and the competitor had left so I decided to see if the fish he was fishing for was still there. It was and it was a nice one around 3 lbs. I caught it after 10 minutes. The rest of the day I looked for spawners and threw a shaky head. I caught a lot on the shaky head, but the size wasn’t that great. The last stop of the day I went way back into a shallow pocket and as I was fishing I saw 6 bass all between 2 ½ – 3 lbs each just cruising by the boat. I threw my shaky head ahead of them and let it set there until they swam close to it. One almost ate it but just wouldn’t take it. It was one of my lasts casts of the day. Heartbreaking. I ended the day with 8-8 and finished 36th. I am now sitting in 19th in the points with one tournament to go. Some guys at the top will need to stumble at Smith Lake to help me climb up. We’ll see this fall.
Lake Norman Gear Notes:
>Sight fishing gear: 7’6”’ heavy action Diawa S-Series flipping/pitching rod, Shimano Curado (6.3:1 ratio), 15 or 25 pound Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon Line, 3/8 ounce Jethro Baits Tungsten Weight, Jethro Baits Rig-itz above sinker as peg, 5/0 Gamagaksu round bend hook, various small craws in green pumpkin
>Shaky Head Gear: 7’ medium action Quantum Tour spinning rod, Diawa Exceler 2500, Z Man Shaky Headz 1/8 when calm and 3/16 when windy Jethro Baits Karlie Finesse Worm in Green Pumpkin and other worms in green pumpkin or junebug