Quality fish were hard to come by for everyone, except Tracy Adams, during the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open at Lake Norman.
Considered a local favorite, Adams sacked a five-fish limit weighing 20 pounds, 13 ounces to take the pro division lead. His limit included a 6-1 largemouth, which was the pro division Carhartt Big Bass of the day. “I pretty well know every nook and cranny on this lake,” he said, “but that by far is the biggest bag I have ever caught on Lake Norman.
The former Bassmaster Classic qualifier from Wilkesboro, N.C., started out in the morning targeting bedding fish. “I just happened to go to the right bed,” said Adams. “Yesterday I saw a 1 1/2-pound fish and a 4 1/2-pounder on it. I didn’t actually start on that spot because I didn’t expect the 4 1/2 to be there. I went out and caught a couple more elsewhere, and then I went back and caught the little one. Then the 4 1/2 moved up, and about that time I saw another one, that 6-pounder, hanging around.”
“I kept throwing in there and got the 4 1/2. Five minutes later, the 6-pounder moved up, and it took me about an hour to catch her.”
After catching the heavyweight fish, Adams left the area and caught some more quality fish on a swimbait. “It was just one of those days,” he said. “I stopped over at another place and caught a good one on a jig. Every move we made was the right move.
“I was hoping to catch 12 to 14 pounds today,” he continued. “Catching those two big ones off that bed was totally unexpected.”
Moving into second place with a 15-7 limit was Kevin Hawk of Guntersville, Ala. “I did a lot of looking today,” he said. “I caught a few sight fish, and I think the fish are just using bedding areas. I am fishing slow and methodical with a Yamamoto Senko and a Roboworm Straight Tail.”
Rounding out the Top 5 in the pro division are Bassmaster Elite Series pro Jonathon VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., in third with 13-8; Pete Bejte, Charlotte, N.C., fourth, 12-8; and Elite Series competitor Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky., fifth, 12-7.
Adams’ partner for the day took over first place in the co-angler division. Tom McDermott, an insurance agent from Madison, N.C., caught a three-fish limit weighing 7-10. McDermott, 58, decided to throw a Senko because Adams was targeting spawning fish.
“I had two in the livewell by 8 o’clock, but I didn’t catch my third keeper until 11:30 on a shaky head,” said McDermott, who fishes Norman approximately three times a year. “Then I got my big one at 10 minutes to 3.” His big fish was the biggest of the day on the co-angler side a 4 pounds, 11 ounces.
The other top five co-anglers were Wesley Watson, Bracey, Va., in second place with 7-3; Preston Harris, State Road, N.C., and William Schwartz, Sheffield Village, Ohio, tied for third, 6-12; and Stephen Longobardi, Northford, Conn., fifth, 6-6.
The event is being hosted by Visit Lake Norman. Tomorrow’s launch, weigh-in and the final day launch will be held at Blythe Landing at 15901 NC Highway 73. The final day weigh-in will move to the Bass Pro Shops at 8181 Concord Mills Boulevard, in Concord.