Dec 10th, 2018

Greetings! On this page you will find our tournament reviews written by our very own illustrious Vice-President, Mr. John Mayo. Within his words you will find "nuggets" of wisdom, interesting points, facts and ideas that you may use on your next trip. This is John's Corner! Sometimes you may even find a bit of humor in the mix.

The last 20+ tournaments that we have fished are displayed below. Or, you may choose search all reviews to find specific lakes or information. Either way, you will find Mr. Mayo's articles very useful. Enjoy!

Points are awarded based on the position one may finish in a tournament plus the weight of the fish caught and points earned for the attendance of meetings and/or events. These points accumulate for awards at the end of the year.


Dr lashonce

Monday, October 9th, 2017 at 1:00 am through Monday, October 9th, 2017 at 2:00 am

We launched from


Lake Norman

Friday, July 8th, 2016 at 11:00 pm through Saturday, July 8th, 2016 at 8:00 am

We launched from 35.538557,-80.980795 (Little Creek Access Area)

The heat is on. It has been over 90 degrees every day for the last 7 days and it is predicted to reach 90 for at least the next 10 days. The water temps are in the mid to upper 80s and the only time it is comfortable to fish is at night. We decided to fish this tournament from 11pm till 8am on Friday night. I can’t imagine how hot it would have been out there if we had tried to fish a day time tournament. Luckily, we missed the storms that passed through about 9:00pm but had cleared out before we blasted off.

Our turnout was good with 15 members and 5 guests. I was glad to see some of our members that have not been able to fish much were able to come out for this one. Of our 15 members, 13 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 48 keepers and 75.85 pounds. 6 of our members were able to bring 5 fish limits to the scales.

Congratulations to Chris Martin for the win with a limit weighing 9.76 pounds and for having big fish with a 3.80lber.

Congratulations to Jesse West for placing 2nd with a limit weighing 9.19 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I decided to start up the lake around Midway Marine. This is not an area we have fished very often but we had caught several fish there a few weeks earlier. We did not plan to stay long but we hoped we could catch a few fish on some boat docks. We started off great and had 4 keepers between us with in the first 30 minutes but both of us got antsy to get to our planned area so we decided to leave. Mistake!! I am almost certain we could have caught more fish if we had stayed for an hour longer. We were seeing lots of bait on the downscan and there seemed to be a good number of fish in the area. It is a perfect example of “not keeping an open mind” about tournament fishing. We had a plan and knew where we wanted to fish but we did not let the fish tell us what to do. We got in way too big of a hurry to get to the places we had planned to fish without taking the time to think.

We spent the next 6-7 hours trying to make the fish bite. It was really tough. I was able to catch a few more keepers to finish my limit but we went for long periods of time with out getting any bites at all. We kept saying that as soon as the sun comes up we will catch a bunch on topwater…..didn’t happen.

Finally at about 6:15 we decided to run back up the lake to where we started. Of course by then it was full daylight and the sun was shinning right on the area where we had caught them before. Even with that, Angela managed to catch her 2nd keeper before we ran out of time.

When I look back on this tournament, I have to think to myself that even after all these years and all the time I have spent fishing tournaments I still make really dumb mistakes. I still try to make the fish do what I want them to do instead of letting them tell me what I should be doing. You don’t leave biting fish to go fish where you think they should be biting. I think that is one of the most important things any new angler can learn. Listen to the FISH!!!!


High Rock Lake

Saturday, June 4th, 2016 at 6:30 am through Saturday, June 4th, 2016 at 3:30 pm

We launched from 35.609092,-80.309104 (Tamarac Access Area)

Well, it is officially summer. It was hot (90+ degrees) and sunny all day and the boat traffic was insane. The morning started out pretty nice and quiet but as the day wore on, it got pretty crazy. I think it is time to start night fishing. The water was pretty clear (except for the mud lines created by the boat wakes) and about 83 degrees. It took an extremely long time to get the boats out of the water due to long lines at the ramp and I am sure everyone was ready for the day to be over.

Our turnout was very good considering the distance many of our competitors have to drive to reach High Rock. We had 17 club members and 2 guests. Of the 17 club members, 13 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 40 keepers and 80.72 pounds. Three of our members were able to bring limits to the scales. Due to the heat and the fish being in the live wells extra time, we had 6 dead fish.

Congratulations to Billy Scoggings for the win with a really nice limit of 14.26 pounds. I told Angela on the way to the lake that Billy was going to be hard to beat. He has fished High Rock a good bit and knows it pretty well but he did not have a good tournament there a few weeks ago at the Western Qualifier, so I figured he would be pretty mad at them and wouldn’t have 2 bad tournaments in a row. He was able to put it together during a tough day. Congratulations.

Congratulations to Jesse West for 2nd place with 4 fish weighing 11.61 pounds. His bag also contained the big fish of the tournament at 5.32 pounds. Jesse is doing well so far this year. He missed one tournament so he is currently in 9th place but when we start dropping tournaments, he will jump up and be in contention for AOY.

Note: I always find it interesting to notice the point system as the year progresses. We have fished 8 of our 14 tournament schedule. As of now we have 4 members with over 60 pounds of fish. Chris Martin has 70.66 and Brian Brewster is a close 2nd with 68.89 pounds. We have 3 other members with over 50 pounds. This is far above the level we were at this same time last year, or any previous year. To my knowledge, during the last 8 years that I have been in the club, 116 pounds is the most any one has ever caught during a year. All 7 of these club members are on track to exceed that weight.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I had not been to High Rock (other than Dad and I came over one day 3 weeks ago for him to practice for the Western Qualifier) before this tournament. We really struggled but I guess we should be proud that we were able to put 9 keepers in the boat. Most of my fish were caught on a shakeyhead and hers were caught on a wacky rig. The heat really seemed to bother her and she became slightly nauseated and I took her back to the Tamerac to get her out of the sun for a while. Of course, it wasn’t long till she was calling saying she wanted to come back out and she did fine the rest of the day.


Lake Hickory

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 at 7:00 am through Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 35.7958583608,-81.3496539232 (Lovelady Access)

The weather was really nice. It was sunny with very little wind. It was however very crowded with a open tournament going out of Whittenburg Landing and a lot of people practicing for next week’s CBC.

Our turnout was good with 25 members and 2 guests. Of the 25 club members, 22 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 63 keepers and 141.02 pounds. 6 of our members were able to bring 5 fish limits to the scales.

Congratulations to Jody Wright for the win with a really nice limit weighing 17.52 pounds.

Congratulations to Chris Martin for 2nd place with another nice limit weighing 13.86 pounds.

Congratulations to Greg Lovelace for 3rd place with yet another nice limit weighing 13.51 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: For some reason Angela and my decision making has been really bad lately. We had very few bites all day. It seemed we went the wrong way (down) early and couldn’t get bit so we moved back up and couldn’t get bit. I talked to some people that said they got bit early up the lake and late down the lake………so we missed both bites. We both need to settle down and start putting some fish in the boat.


Lake Wylie

Saturday, April 9th, 2016 at 7:30 am through Saturday, April 9th, 2016 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 35.107718 -81.039861 (Buster Boyd Access)

(I would like to apologize for taking so long to write up this summary but Angela and I left the next morning for her LBAA Tournament on Hartwell).

The weather was cool and windy. Mostly sunny but with 20-25mph wind gust it felt cold all day. However, the fishing was excellent and we set new records for our club with both numbers of keepers and total weight.

Our turnout was good with 25 members and 2 guests. Of the 25 members 23 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 92 keepers and 180.24 pounds. We had 12 (almost ½) of our members bring a five fish limit to the scales. These numbers reflect a new record for total number of fish weighed, total weight and total number of limits.

Congratulations to Jesse West for the win with 5 bass weighing 12.02 pounds. This is Jesse’s 2nd win for the year.

Congratulations to Brian Brewster for placing 2nd with 5 bass weighing 11.48 pounds.

Congratulations to Brian Anderson for placing 3rd with a limit weighing 11.48 pounds.

Congratulations to Stephen Ellis for having big fish with a nice 3.46 pounder.

Personal Tournament Summary: Wow……we really struggled. We had several places we felt could produce fish for us but it seemed they all fell apart. Not a lot to say.


Lake Hartwell

Saturday, March 26th, 2016 at 7:30 am through Saturday, March 26th, 2016 at 4:30 pm

We launched from 34.514337,-82.830523 (Broyles Landing)

The weather was much cooler on Hartwell than most of us expected. It was cloudy all day and we even had a little rain on some parts of the lake. The clouds kept the air temperature and the water temperature down compared to the past few days. Between the clouds and the extreme amounts of pollen on the water, the sight fishing was pretty tough. I am sure that most of our anglers were aware that the FLW Tour had a tournament on Hartwell the weekend before we did. During the FLW tournament there were a lot of fish caught off beds, however, things had changed during the week and it seemed that most of the females had left the beds. What was left was a lot of male bass and that was reflected in our catch. I personally believe that the larger spawn wave has not occurred yet. I think that in the next few weeks another wave of big females will move up on to the spawning flats.

Congratulations to Jody Wright for the win with a limit weighing 11.85 pounds. He also had big fish with a 4.22 pound largemouth. Jody is a new member of our club but has been around our club for many years. He is friends with a lot of our members and has fished as a guest several times over the years. His reputation as an excellent fisherman is very well known. He missed our first tournament at Mtn. Island so his AOY ranking is still low, but he has done well since then and is well on his way to be in contention for AOY.

Congratulations to Brian Brewster for 2nd place with a limit weighing 10.32 pounds. Brian is doing well this year. He struggled in the first 2 events but has come on strong in the last 3 and is now in 2nd place for AOY. Brian is an excellent fisherman and his win at Murray (day 2) was very impressive. I believe he will be another angler that will be in contention at for AOY.

I was third with a limit weighing 8.89 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: We decided to drive down on Thursday evening so we could pre fish on Friday. Angela and I fished really hard Friday with very little results. We only had 3 keepers between us and very few bites. I really did not have any idea what we were going to do on Saturday. We decided to start in a creek where Angela caught her only keeper on Friday. After about an hour with out a bite we realized that we were just going to have to go find new water so we ran about 5 miles to an area that I fished about 5 years ago. I was not sure what we were going to find but it had to be better than what we did on Friday so we just started junk fishing. We caught some of our fish off beds but mostly we caught them “just fishing” in places that looked like spawning areas. Dad and Ben had a much better day on Friday and were able to find enough fish for both to have limits Saturday. They caught all of their fish on Saturday (15 keepers) in one cove.


Lake Murray (2 Days of Tournaments)

Sunday, March 6th, 2016 at 7:00 am through Sunday, March 6th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

We launched from 849 Marina Way, Prosperity, SC 29127(Buffalo Creek Marina)

Spring has begun to show itself in the Carolinas but is not quite in full swing yet. The weather was still quite cool on Saturday morning and the wind and clouds kept the temps down all day. The water was stained through out the entire lake and the water temps were mostly in the lower 50s. There were a few places where the surface temp reached 58-59 late in the afternoon.

On Saturday, we had an excellent turnout with 26 members and 7 guests. Of the 26 members 19 were able the bring fish to the scales for a total of 52 keepers and 118.41 pounds. 3 of our members were able to bring 5 fish limits to the scales.

Congratulations to Alan Cooke for the win with a limit weighing 13.51 pounds.

I was able to place 2nd with a limit weighing 11.86 pounds.

Jody Wright placed 3rd with a limit weighing 11.46 pounds.

Big fish was 5.46 pounds caught by (then guest , now member) Greg Lovelace.

On Sunday the weather warmed some and the sun felt good. The wind did blow in the mid-morning but seemed to lay by the afternoon and the temps rose to the point of wearing short sleeves.

Our turnout lowered some with 22 members and 2 guests. Of the 22 members 13 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 28 keepers and 73.23 pounds. 2 members were able to bring 5 fish limits to the scales.

Congratulations to Brian Brewster for the win with 4 fish weighing 13.71 pounds.

Jody Wright placed 2nd with a limit weighing 12.81 pounds.

Angela was 3rd with a limit weighing 11.35 pounds.

Big fish was 5.38 pounds caught by me (John K. Mayo).

Personal Tournament Summary: Over all I have to say I was disappointed with the fishing. I really thought we would be able to get a lot more bites than we did, especially on Sunday afternoon, when the sun warmed the water up to almost 60 degrees. The bites seem to be separated by long periods of time and it was very easy to get frustrated. We tried to find some fish on some grassy points at the mouths of spawning pockets but could not get the bites we needed so we spent most of out time in the upper sections of creeks where the water was a little warmer. We caught most of our fish on a texas rig worm on hard bottom areas along the banks. We were never really able to get many bites off one area and we had to continue moving to string together enough bites. On Sunday morning Angela caught her limit early and I did not have a single fish until about 1:30. I really struggled to get bit through out the entire event.


Lake Norman

Saturday, February 20th, 2016 at 8:00 am through Saturday, February 20th, 2016 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 4906 Burton Ln, Denver, NC 28037 (Little Creek Access Area)

Our 2nd tournament of 2016 went very well. We had a huge turnout and the weather was much warmer. They were predicting it to be 65 degrees and cloudy and although it did not make quite that warm it was still in the mid 50’s. The water temperature was in the upper 40s and it was clear in and around Little Creek. We had very little wind and no rain. However, we did have an extremely high number of boats on the lake. I do not believe I have ever seen as many bass boats on Lake Norman before. I know there were several tournaments taking place, including a large Ram Truck event out of Pinnacle Landing, plus a lot of boats practicing for the BFL scheduled for next weekend.

Our turnout was very good with 25 club members and 4 guests. Of the 25 club members 20 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 64 keepers and 107.77 pounds. 7 of our members were able to bring 5 fish limits to the scales.

Congratulations to Jesse West for winning with a 5 fish limit that weighed 10.93 pounds.

Jesse is one of our newer members (although he fished several tournaments as a guest last year) and has done very well so far. He is an example of a change we are seeing in our club demographics. We are starting to see several “young guns” do well at our tournaments and I believe it is a sign of growth. It is good to see younger guys out there fishing club tournaments when so many of them only want to fish money trails. Jesse is an example of the kind of fisherman that is the future of the club, The Federation and the sport. Keep up the good work Jesse.

Congratulations to Chris Martin for 2nd place with a 5 fish limit weighing 10.38 pounds.

Chris is always a force to be reckoned with at our tournaments. He is very consistent. He has placed 2nd in both our tournaments this year and is in 1st place in AOY standings. His consistency is what always puts him in position at the end of the year to challenge for AOY.

Congratulations to Ben Mayo for 3rd place with a 5 fish limit weighing 10.37 pounds.

Ben is a very good fisherman. I have watched him develop over the years and he has excellent mechanics. I believe I am starting to see him grow in the mental side of the sport. His decision making and preparation are areas that he has begun to improve. As they continue to improve his tournament results will begin to reflect the effort. I am very proud of him and look forward to watching his success during the rest of the year.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I planned to start this tournament in the same area we normally start winter tournaments. However, there were 2 boats sitting on our 1st spot when we arrived. We had to make some changes and wait for them to leave. Luckily they did not stay long and we were able to move in to our starting area about 30 minutes late. Once we got there Angela quickly caught 2 nice keepers and lost a third on a swimbait. I finally caught 1 on a crankbait. We moved to our 2nd spot where Angela finished her limit on a jerkbait. So she had 5 and I had only had 1 bite. It took me the rest of the day to finish my limit. I could not get bit on a jerkbait and had to catch my fish on a shakeyhead or Texas rig. I can’t help be feel like I was holding her back because we fished a lot of places where we normally catch “keeper” size fish (so I could get 5) instead of looking for bigger fish for her. She ended up with 8 keepers but was not able to cull to increase her weight.


Mountain Island Lake

Saturday, February 13th, 2016 at 8:00 am through Saturday, February 13th, 2016 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 35.353759, -80.97282 (Riverbend Public Access)

Well the Thermal Belt Bassmasters 2016 tournament schedule is underway. Our first scheduled tournament (January 23rd) was postponed due to snow and rescheduled for February 13th. The weather was cold (high of 32) and breezy but the overall fishing was pretty good. It was mostly sunny with a 10 mph wind blowing from the North. The water temperatures ranged from 46-49 degrees and the water was clear through out lake. Our turnout was pretty good with 16 club members braving the cold. Of the 16 members, 13 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 39 keepers and 76.81 pounds. We had 3 members that were able to bring 5 fish limits to the scales.

Congratulations to Brian Anderson for having an exceptional day with 5 fish weighing 21.66 pounds. His bag also included the big fish of 6.22 pounds.

As far as I know this is the biggest bag ever weighed in during the history of Thermalbelt Bassmasters. It is really amazing to have it caught on such a cold day, and in a lake that is not as well known for producing big fish as some of the other fisheries. Brian should be very proud of this accomplishment and deserves to be congratulated by every club member. Brian had an excellent day at Mt. Island last year in our March tournament with 16.02 pounds. (This is the 3rd year in a row that Mt. Island has produced a 6+ pound fish during our tournament.)

Congratulations to Chris Martin for 2nd place with 5 fish weighing 10.50 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Wow….we really struggled. We had very few bites and were not able to find any concentration of fish. We were both finally able to catch a few


Lake James

Saturday, November 7th, 2015 at 7:30 am through Saturday, November 7th, 2015 at 3:30 pm

We launched from 35.74828, -81.96721 (Black Bear Access)

Ever since I can remember I have heard people say that bass fishing (like all other types of fishing) is all about luck. People always ask “did you have any luck today?” Or they may say “I have a lot of luck fishing a purple worm”. I will the first to admit that “luck” is a part of fishing. However, I have noticed over the years that the harder you work at bass fishing the luckier you become. The more time you spend on the water - and sometimes even off the water - getting prepared for a tournament increases your chances of getting lucky. Sure, you can get lucky and stumble on a big fish, but your experience often is what puts you in the position to contact that big fish. Your decisions to fish a certain area or even a certain bait is based on your experience. This experience is what makes us better fishermen. I can remember many people over the years that would decide that they wanted to become a bass fishermen. They would go out and buy a nice boat and spend thousands of dollars on equipment. They would wear clothes that matched their boat and jerseys with patches all over them. However, at the end of the day, their livewell was often empty. They thought that having the best equipment and the prettiest boat would make them good fishermen. What they didn’t have is the one thing in bass fishing that you can’t buy…..time on the water. So after a few years of not having any “luck” they decided that they really didn’t like bass fishing any way and start playing golf or bowling or what ever. That is one reason you see so many boats that never seem to leave their garage. It takes a special type of person to really love this sport.

Lake James can be a tough fishery. Its clear water and deep rocky banks are difficult for many fishermen to figure out. However, it can also be a great fishery. It is very rare for anyone to be able to catch 13+ pounds of smallmouth. It takes dedication and commitment and the ability to recognize when you have found a pattern. After you find them, you have to be able to execute and get the bites. After you get bit, you have to be able to put them in the boat. When all these things come together, it adds up to an excellent day. For all these things to happen, there is much more involved than just “luck”. So Alan, when someone asked if you had any “luck” on Saturday you can just smile and say yes but realize that it wasn’t all about “luck”.

Our turnout was down a little with 13 members and 2 guests. Of the 13 members, 8 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 21 keepers and 47.64 pounds. We had 2 members that were able to bring 5 fish limits to the scales.

Congratulations to Alan Cooke for the win with a limit of smallmouth that weighed 13.19 pounds. Alan had an excellent day. He has not finished as well this year as he has the past few years but days like this are what tournament fishing is all about.

Congratulations to John W. Mayo for 2nd place with a limit of largemouth that weighed 8.04 pounds. Dad (John) broke in to the top 6 with this tournament. He struggled at Santee Cooper but has turned his year around and has done well since.

Congratulations to Ben Mayo for having big fish with a 4.01 pound largemouth. Ben has struggled this year. I am super glad to see him start to get on the right track. Hopefully this will give him the motivation to have much better year in 2016.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I really struggled. We had boat problems again and it really hurt our ability to catch fish. We didn’t have very much luck.


Lake Murray

Sunday, October 25th, 2015 at 6:00 am through Sunday, October 25th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

We launched from 849 Marina Way, Prosperity, SC 29127(Buffalo Creek Marina)

Ever since I was a kid I have always enjoyed fishing Lake Murray. It has so many different types of water and different patterns that can produce fish. There is a lot of off shore structure and also a lot of shallow water fishing.

Our weather for this tournament was excellent. We had a little wind on Saturday but not to much, and I believe we had the prettiest sunrises I have ever seen. The sun got a little hot on Sunday but it was still very nice. I am writing this on Tuesday after the tournament and it is cold and raining at my house. I am really glad we didn’t have this weather during the tournament.

With our season winding down, the point race is heating up. There are several anglers fighting for top 6 positions and the AOY race is far from being decided.

One the first day we had 22 club members. Of those 22 members, 19 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 44 keepers and 90.49 pounds. We had 3 members with limits.

Congratulations to me….John K. Mayo for 1st place with 4 bass that weighed 10.63 pounds. I also had big fish with a 3.84 pounder.

Congratulations to Richard Young for 2nd with 5 fish weighing 10.21 pounds.

Congratulations to Terry Horn for 3rd with 5 fish weighing 9.98 pounds.

On the second day we had 21 club members. Of those 21 members, 13 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 31 keepers and 51.19 pounds. We had 3 members with limits.

Congratulations to Chris Martin for 1st place with 9.54 pounds.

Congratulations to Steve Deaton for 2nd place with 9.37 pounds. (Steve’s best tournament so far.)

Congratulations to John K. Mayo for 3rd place with 9.35 pounds.

Congratulations to Richard Young for having big fish with a nice 4.74 pounder.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I drove down on Thursday evening so we could get an early start on Friday morning. Of course it was so foggy Friday morning, we couldn’t run and ended up staying near the ramp for the first couple of hours. We had already planned what we indented to do on Saturday so we just wanted to look around and see if we could find a back up plan. We had very little action until we found a few points with some grass growing out in about 6ft of water. We started catching nice fish out of the grass. Each point only seemed to produce 1 fish until we hit the right point and we caught 3 in 3 casts. We decided that is where we would start Saturday morning. So when we got there Saturday morning Angela caught her best fish of the day on about her 3rd cast and I really thought we were going to have an excellent day. However, we did not get another bite until 11:30. I was really getting frustrated but then it seemed the fish turned on and we caught several quickly. All of them were on points in 2-8 ft of water. Since our point fish did not seem to bite until later in the day we decided to fish our original plan on Sunday morning and hit the points about 10:00. We caught 3 keepers each up in the end of a creek and then headed out to our points. I caught 1 on the first 2 points we fished and Angela missed several. They were not as aggressive with out the wind blowing. Angela caught her 4th fish off a boatdock about 1:30. Overall we had a great weekend. We made good decisions and both of us fish pretty clean.


Lake Wateree

Saturday, September 19th, 2015 at 7:00 am through Saturday, September 19th, 2015 at 3:00 pm

We launched from 881 State Park Rd, Winnsboro, SC 29180, USA

Due to the low water conditions at Lake Wylie, Duke Power closed all the ramps on the lake and we had to change our tournament location to Lake Wateree. It had been several years since most of our club members had been to Lake Wateree. I know it had been at least 25 years since I had been there. The lake was full and reminded me a little of Lake Murray.

The weather was hot and sunny with some light wind. It was 92 degrees and would have been pretty unbearable without the wind and the occasional passing cloud. September is always a tough month to catch fish and this tournament was no different. We did have some nice fish caught but not many of them.

Our turnout was pretty good for our 10th tournament of the year with 19 club members in attendance. Of the 19 members 13 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 24 keepers and 54.33 pounds. We did not have any angler that was able to weigh a limit. With our tenth tournament in the books, the point race will begin to get extremely tight from now until the end of the season. Everyone will be battling to make the top 6 and as we begin to drop tournaments, the competition always intensifies. This is when all the hard work pays off.

Congratulations to Billy for winning with 4 bass weighing 10.00 pounds even. Billy has had an excellent year so far. He has won 3 times and has over 80 pounds of bass weighed in only 9 tournaments. He is well on his way to having over 100 pounds for the year, which to my knowledge has never been done before and he is in perfect position to win the AOY Title.

Congratulations to Chris Martin for 2nd place with 4 bass weighting 8.07 pounds. Chris is, as always, right in the mist of battling for the top position. He stumbled in the dark of Lake James, but as soon as we start dropping tournaments, he will be right back in the fight.

Congratulations to Tiger for big fish with a nice 4.09 pound bass. Tiger has only fished 5 of our 10 tournaments but has scored well in the ones he has attended. He is always competitive at every event.

Personal Tournament Summary: With almost no experience at Lake Wateree, Dad and I decided at the last minute to go down on Thursday before the tournament and at least look around a little. I was not surprised to see several other of our club members there trying to do the same thing. We fished several different areas of the lake and found a few fish up shallow in the back of a creek and some others out on main lake banks. So we decided Dad and Ben would start in the back of the creek and Angela and I would start on the main lake. Angela and I caught fish all day and had 20-30 fish but could only find 3 keepers between us. Dad and Ben did not catch anything after 9:30 and did not catch very many fish, but dad did have better fish from the back of the creek. It is tough to go find fish on a new lake but it is really tough to go find enough fish for 4 people.


Lake James

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 at 12:00 am through Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 at 8:00 am

We launched from 35.74828, -81.96721 (Black Bear Access)

It was Dark….. Very Dark. The fishing was Slow….Very Slow.

Our turnout was down with only 12 members. Of the 12 members, only 6 brought fish to the scales for a total of 13 keepers and 24 pounds.

Congratulations to John W. Mayo for the win with 5.98lbs and for having big fish with a 3.04 Lunker.

I was able to place 2nd with 5.75lbs.

Billy was 3rd (4th time in a row) with 4.99 lbs.

Personal Tournament Summary: As I think back over my life, I realize how lucky I have been to be able to do what I love to do….fish. So many people go through their entire lives without ever finding what they truly love to do. They change hobbies every few years and seem to never really have a passion for any one thing. I have always known what I wanted to do. I am told that my first “all day” fishing trip was when I was about 5 years old. That would have been about 1970. My father took me about 30 miles north of my home town to Point Pleasant, WV, to fish the Ohio River. Point Pleasant is the place where the Kanawha River empties into the Ohio River. (It is also the site of a battlefield where the Colonial Army fought the Shawnee Indians under Chief Cornstalk in October 1774. Because the Indians were supported by the British, many historians consider this battle the first battle of the American Revolution.) I only really remember a few things about the trip. I caught nothing. I do remember hooking a fish or two on a Heddon Hellbender crankbait, but I did not catch any at all. We fished from daylight until dark, and at the end of the day I remember being very upset that it was time to go home. I think I cried. I think after that my father realized I had a passion for fishing that most kids did not. My father would have been about 32 years old when he took me on that trip. It was the first of 1000s of days we would spend fishing together. After that day, he took me with him on almost every fishing trip he went on. Looking back on it now, I realize that he could have gone with someone that could have paid ½ the cost but he didn’t. He always took me. I remember those days like they were just a few years ago…..it is hard to believe they were close to 40 years ago. My father taught me so many things about fishing and about life in general during all those days on the water. I still learn from him every time we go. Sure, he has slowed down a little, but he still out fishes me quite often. I am proud of him for winning. I am not at all surprised that he won, but I am still proud of him. Mostly, I am thankful to him for taking me all those times. He is the reason I am a bass fisherman.


Lake Norman

Saturday, July 11th, 2015 at 12:00 am through Saturday, July 11th, 2015 at 8:00 am

We launched from 4906 Burton Ln, Denver, NC 28037 (Little Creek Access Area)

The dog days of summer have arrived and we have had several days over 100 degrees. It seems like every time I see the 7 day forecast it is the same, 95-100 every day with a low of 70-75 every night, with a chance of thunderstorms. It’s really a depressing thing to look at. I hate to wish time away but I am really looking forward to October!

Our season is half over and it looks like we are going to have another close race for the top 6 places. I am glad to see we have several anglers who are paying close attention to the points race. I believe that friendly competitiveness makes the club stronger and each angler fish as hard as they can. I wish everyone good luck.

We decided to fish this tournament from 12 midnight to 8 am. I am so glad we did because by it was already getting hot and I was soaked from sweat and fish water by the time I finished weighing the fish.

The fishing was really pretty tough and a lot of our anglers struggled. We had a pretty good turn out for a night tournament with 22 club members and 1 guest. Of the 22 members 20 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 61 keepers and 96.82 pounds.

Congratulations to Richard Young for the win with 9.57 pounds. Richard had some nice fish. He won this tournament with only 3 fish including the big fish for the tournament at 4.51 pounds. This is Richard’s first win for the year but, just like every year, he has been very consistent and is in 2nd place and closing the gap. It is Richard’s consistency that makes him a top contender every year and it is the best measurement of a good fishermen.

Congratulations to Tyger Elton for 2nd place with 8.89 pounds. Tyger has only been able to fish four of our tournaments this season and that has him lower in the rankings but he has done well in the tournaments he has fished. When we start dropping tournaments at the end of the year he will move up in the rankings quickly.

Congratulations to Billy Scoggins for 3rd place with 7.79 pounds. Billy missed our first tournament of the year due to illness. Since then he has done the same thing he seems to do every year. He has been consistent and has already won twice. He is in 5th place for the year but is in excellent position to move up quickly. He will be a close contender for the top place again this year.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I really struggled to get bites. At about 5:00am I did not have a single fish and she only had 1 13-1/2 inch fish that had died. I had only had 2-3 bites all night and I have to admit that I felt like there was an excellent chance I was going to blank. Finally, about daylight, we started to catch a few fish and I was able to catch a very small limit on a texas rig. Angela had 3 keepers and missed a few key bites. Overall, it was a bad tournament for us but I have to admit that I was kind of proud to be able to catch a limit after such a long night with so little action.


Lake Hickory

Saturday, June 13th, 2015 at 4:00 am through Saturday, June 13th, 2015 at 12:00 pm

We launched from 35.7958583608,-81.3496539232 (Lovelady Access)

Summer in the Carolinas is upon us. It’s been well above 90 degrees. The water temp is in the 80s and the fish have moved into their summer haunts. We fished from 4am-12 noon to get away from the heat and the boaters. I am super glad we did cause by noon it was getting hot and a little crazy out there. We had a little cloud cover but over all it was sunny, hot and there was very little wind. However it was a beautiful dawn and watching the sun come up on the lake is always a remarkable sight.

We had a good turnout with 24 club members and 4 guests. Of the 24 club members, 21 brought fish to the scales for a total of 52 keepers and 113.79 pounds. The fishing was pretty tough with only 1 limit weighed in by a club member.

Congratulations to…..me. I won with 16.86 pounds and had big fish with a 5.50 pound kicker

.

Congratulations to Brian Brewster for 2nd with 9.32 pounds.

Congratulations to Billy Scoggins for 3rd with 8.90 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I fished the lower end of the lake on the Saturday before the tournament and we found some good fish on a few points. We fished about a dozen other points to establish a pattern but we found that the fish were only located on a few main lake points with long slopping drops. We had found 3 places that held fish so the night before the tournament we decided to simply rotate through those 3 spots. When we arrived at out first spot, there was a boat sitting right on our place so we had to go to our 2nd spot. We did not get a bite on our 2nd spot so we rotated to our 3rd spot. I quickly caught my biggest fish (5.50lbs) on a spinnerbait. I then was able to add 2 more keepers to the live well on a worm so we fished the area again. On our 2nd pass we did not have a single bite so we ran back to our original starting place and the boat had left. I caught 2 more keepers and had my limit. We continued to rotate through our spots and I was able to cull a few times. We then decided to run back up the lake and fish some wood. I was able to cull again and Angela was able to catch her keeper out of some trees in the upper end of a creek. I do not understand why Angela was not able to catch more fish than she did. She was throwing exactly the same bait as I was. I do know she did not get much sleep the night before the tournament and I believe that may have caused her to miss a few fish. Overall I was very happy with my day. I was able to fish very clean and other than having a deep hooked fish die on me it was an excellent day.


Lake Wylie

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 at 6:00 am through Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 at 2:00 pm

We launched from 199 Boat Launch Rd, Belmont, NC 28012 (South Point Access)

It seems like Lake Wylie has really turned around since last year. In fact, as far as I can tell, in this tournament we had the best total weight in Thermal Belt B/M history with 138.99 pounds. Last year we had 3 tournaments on Lake Wylie and all 3 were won with less than 8.5 pounds. I am not sure why the fishing was so slow last year but I am really glad to see it has improved.

We fished from 6am-2pm due to the holiday weekend and it is good we did. It was really starting to get crazy out there during the last few hours and I am sure it got worse after we quit. I am glad we did not have any major problems. I was hopping for a little rain to help reduce the boat traffic but the weather was pretty nice with mostly sunny skies and temps in the mid 80s. We had very little wind and I think that may have made the fishing a little tougher.

We had a good turnout with 25 members and 3 guests. Of the 25 members, 23 brought fish to the scales for a total of 72 keepers and 138.99 pounds. We had 5 limits weighed in and only 3 dead fish.

Congratulations to Billy for winning with 5 fish weighing 15.37 pounds and for having big fish of 4.26lbs.

Congratulations to Brian Anderson for 2nd place with 5 fish weighing 11.65 pounds and to Chris Martin for placing 3rd with 5 fish weighing 10.45 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: I could not have asked for a better looking morning. The water was slick and the weather was perfect. Angela and I started down the lake and were able to catch a few keepers early but then things slowed down for us. We fished the Saturday before the tournament and we had found a point below the Buster Boyd bridge that had some brush piles out in 10-15ft. We had caught some nice fish there and marked a lot of others so we both were really confident we could catch some good keeper fish there. It did not turn out that way and Angela caught the only keeper the point produced (except for a 6lb flathead catfish) so we had to adjust and make some changes. Angela lost 2 different keepers and that hurt her from weighing in her limit. Over all it was a pretty good day but I do believe I would have spent more time throwing topwater early if I could do it again.


Santee Cooper Lake(s) (Day 2)

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 at 7:00 am through Sunday, April 12th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

We launched from 320 Harrys Camp Road, Pineville, SC 29468, United States (Harry's Fish Camp)

Our 1st trip to Santee Cooper as a club (at least in last 7 years) was successful. The fishing was tough and I know that many of our anglers blanked at least 1 day and several blanked both days but, as far as I know, nobody did any major damage to their boat and everyone arrived home safe. We stayed at Harry’s Fish Camp and the accommodations were adequate. We got a chance to sit around and talk and get to know some of our newer members. It always is good for everyone to have a chance to spend some time together. It helps us grow as club.

The fishing was very tough. I was really surprised at how hard it was to get bites. Some of our anglers reported finding fish on beds but I believe most of the fish were post spawn. It seems that most of the fish were caught in lilly pad fields on either frogs or worms. There were some fish caught around cypress trees but most were either in pads or some other type of vegetation.

We had some big fish caught with several over 4 pounds and two over 6 pounds including our new big fish for the year a 7.23 pounder caught by Brian Anderson.

Our turnout was good for such a long trip with 24 members and 2 guests on the first day and 20 members and 2 guests on day 2. On day 1 we had 17 fish weighed in for a total of 47.67pounds.

Congratulations to Billy Scoggins for the win on day 1 with a nice sack of 15.55 pounds and for big fish of 6.83 pounds. Congratulations to Brian Brewster for 2nd place with 5.59 pounds and to Justin McCluney for 3rd with 5.42 pounds.

On day 2 we had 20 fish weighed in for a total of 56.75 pounds.

Congratulations to Brian Anderson for the win with 9.24 pounds and for big fish of 7.23 pounds (New big fish for the year). Congratulations to Michael Mace for 2nd place with 8.62 pounds (the only 5 fish limit of the entire weekend). I was able to place 3rd with 7.00 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: I have to admit that I was really shocked at how tough the fishing was. We drove down Thursday evening and started fishing Friday morning and we had very little action. We decided to take out and trailer to another area of the lake and finally did catch a few small fish and Angela did catch 1 keeper on floating worms. So with almost no action on Friday we decided to run to Wyboo Creek on Saturday morning (thanks Casey for letting us follow you) because the last time I fished Santee I caught some fish around the boat docks. We had only 2-3 bites all morning and finally I caught 1 fish about 10 inches long. We ran back to the area around Harry’s about 2:00 and finally did manage to catch 1 keeper fish each on a floating worm. Then we had to decide what to do on Sunday. We had so little action that I did not feel confident we could catch fish any where. We decided to return to the only place we had any action at all on Friday. We were expecting to have the place to ourselves but we were wrong. There were 7 different boats in the area and they kept us confined to one small arm of the cove. I finally had a blow up and miss on a topwater bait and Angela was able to follow up with a worm to catch her 3lber. I started throwing a worm and pulling it across the pads. I managed to catch my 3 fish just as the worm reached the edge of the pads. We moved around a little but mostly we stayed it the same area all day because it was the only place we could get bites. We caught approximately 6-8 fish all day with a total of only 4 keepers. It was very tough and frustrating to fish so many great looking places with so few bites.


Santee Cooper Lake(s) (Day 1)

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 at 7:30 am through Saturday, April 11th, 2015 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 320 Harrys Camp Road, Pineville, SC 29468, United States (Harry's Fish Camp)

Our 1st trip to Santee Cooper as a club (at least in last 7 years) was successful. The fishing was tough and I know that many of our anglers blanked at least 1 day and several blanked both days but, as far as I know, nobody did any major damage to their boat and everyone arrived home safe. We stayed at Harry’s Fish Camp and the accommodations were adequate. We got a chance to sit around and talk and get to know some of our newer members. It always is good for everyone to have a chance to spend some time together. It helps us grow as club.

The fishing was very tough. I was really surprised at how hard it was to get bites. Some of our anglers reported finding fish on beds but I believe most of the fish were post spawn. It seems that most of the fish were caught in lilly pad fields on either frogs or worms. There were some fish caught around cypress trees but most were either in pads or some other type of vegetation.

We had some big fish caught with several over 4 pounds and two over 6 pounds including our new big fish for the year a 7.23 pounder caught by Brian Anderson.

Our turnout was good for such a long trip with 24 members and 2 guests on the first day and 20 members and 2 guests on day 2. On day 1 we had 17 fish weighed in for a total of 47.67pounds.

Congratulations to Billy Scoggins for the win on day 1 with a nice sack of 15.55 pounds and for big fish of 6.83 pounds. Congratulations to Brian Brewster for 2nd place with 5.59 pounds and to Justin McCluney for 3rd with 5.42 pounds.

On day 2 we had 20 fish weighed in for a total of 56.75 pounds.

Congratulations to Brian Anderson for the win with 9.24 pounds and for big fish of 7.23 pounds (New big fish for the year). Congratulations to Michael Mace for 2nd place with 8.62 pounds (the only 5 fish limit of the entire weekend). I was able to place 3rd with 7.00 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: I have to admit that I was really shocked at how tough the fishing was. We drove down Thursday evening and started fishing Friday morning and we had very little action. We decided to take out and trailer to another area of the lake and finally did catch a few small fish and Angela did catch 1 keeper on floating worms. So with almost no action on Friday we decided to run to Wyboo Creek on Saturday morning (thanks Casey for letting us follow you) because the last time I fished Santee I caught some fish around the boat docks. We had only 2-3 bites all morning and finally I caught 1 fish about 10 inches long. We ran back to the area around Harry’s about 2:00 and finally did manage to catch 1 keeper fish each on a floating worm. Then we had to decide what to do on Sunday. We had so little action that I did not feel confident we could catch fish any where. We decided to return to the only place we had any action at all on Friday. We were expecting to have the place to ourselves but we were wrong. There were 7 different boats in the area and they kept us confined to one small arm of the cove. I finally had a blow up and miss on a topwater bait and Angela was able to follow up with a worm to catch her 3lber. I started throwing a worm and pulling it across the pads. I managed to catch my 3 fish just as the worm reached the edge of the pads. We moved around a little but mostly we stayed it the same area all day because it was the only place we could get bites. We caught approximately 6-8 fish all day with a total of only 4 keepers. It was very tough and frustrating to fish so many great looking places with so few bites.


Mountain Island Lake

Saturday, March 7th, 2015 at 7:00 am through Saturday, March 7th, 2015 at 3:00 pm

We launched from 35.353759, -80.97282 (Riverbend Public Access)

Well…..The Thermal Belt Bass Masters have certainly grown over the past few years. We had the biggest turnout in club history at this tournament with 31 fishermen. Even with the cold morning temp of 25 degrees, we had 29 club members and 2 guests fishing out of 20 boats. I have to admit that I never dreamed we would have such a large turnout at Mt Island on a cold March morning. It is really great to see so many people involved and the club continuing to grow. Club fishing is and has been a big part of my lifetime fishing experience and I have hundreds of memories of days spent on the water at club events. Club tournaments will make you go fishing on days you want to stay home because the weather is bad and it will make you go to lakes that you would have never gone to. I have learned so much over the years fishing club tournaments and it is great to have a chance to pass on some of that knowledge and experience to other members. Club fishing is about giving all the members a chance to grow in both fishing knowledge and confidence. It gives us a chance to compete at level that challenges all of us. We have some excellent fishermen in our club and we are getting better all the time. It is hard to win tournaments in our club and with the increase in membership it is going to continue to get harder. This difficulty is what drives us to get better. We can no longer just show up on tournament morning and expect to win. We will have to work harder and put in more time and effort doing our “homework” before the tournament starts.

Although the weather started cold with some fog it was not long before the sun was up and the temps rose. It really felt like springtime by afternoon with temps in the 60s. The water temp rose 2-3 degrees in some areas and I saw 51 degree water for the first time since fall. The fish are just beginning to transition from winter to pre-spawn patterns. Some fish are still deep or suspended over deep points but there are some fish in shallow water at the mouths of spawning areas. I have noticed the slight change over the past few weeks and I have to admit that I am glad. I was getting tired of fishing deep and have been looking forward to catching some fish up in skinny water.

With our large turnout we were able to set records for the number of fish weighed and total weight. Of the 29 club members, 25 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 84 keepers and 120.66 pounds. 8 of our anglers were able to catch 5 fish limits.

Congratulations to Brian Anderson for the win and a really big limit of 16.03 pounds and for having the big fish of 6.02 pounds. He had an excellent day and should be proud of his results. (By the way, this is the 2nd year in a row that Mt. Island has produced a fish over 6lbs)

Congratulations to Tyger Elton for 2nd place with a very nice limit of 11.28 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I had prefished Mt. Island on the Saturday before the tournament and had a really good day. She had some really nice fish on a jerkbait and I caught some on a worm. We were both looking forward to this tournament and felt we had an excellent chance of doing well. We started on a point that had produced some nice fish in practice and I was able to catch a couple of fish there but they were small keepers. We then ran up the lake to our 2nd spot and I was able to finish my limit. Angela could not seem to get bites. She did catch a keeper on our 2nd spot but that was the only keeper she could catch. I had a total of 9 keepers through out the day but they were not any thing close to the size of the fish we caught the week before. It was quite crowded on the lake and our bites just died after about noon. If I could fish it again, I believe I would have spent more time fishing boat docks. I caught a couple of my keepers off of docks but we did not spend much time fishing them later in day.

We are leaving on Tuesday to drive to Louisiana for Angela to fish her first LBAA tournament of the year at Caddo Lake. I knew she was disappointed with her performance at Mt. Island and she needed a confidence boost before she fished next weekend so we went to Norman on Sunday after church. It was exactly what she needed and she had an excellent afternoon. She caught several really nice fish and we had a total of 25 in just a few hours. I hope it gives her the confidence she needs to do well at Caddo.


Lake Norman

Saturday, January 10th, 2015 at 8:00 am through Saturday, January 10th, 2015 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 4906 Burton Ln, Denver, NC 28037 (Little Creek Access Area)

Well, it’s a brand new season with the Thermal Belt BassMasters and our membership has continued to grow. We have 33 paid members and several others showing interest in joining. Our first tournament of 2015 is in the books and it went very well. The weather was cold. It was 17 degrees when we arrived at the ramp and, although the sun was bright all day, it never got above 36 degrees. There were several cold weather boat problems at blast off but most of them were minor and resolved themselves as the day wore on. Overall, it was an excellent tournament considering the cold weather. We fished Norman last year in January and the weather was much tougher with 40mph winds. It was cold this time but much more pleasant than last year.

We had 18 club members and 1 guest brave the cold. Of the 18 members, 17 were able to bring keepers to the scales for a total of 45 fish and 83.18 pounds. We had 4 members weigh in 5 fish limits.

Congratulations to Danny Holtsclaw for the win with a really nice sack of 13.07 pounds and for having big fish with a 5.04lb Largemouth.

I was able to place 2nd with 11.83lbs and Richard was a very close 3rd with 11.49lbs. Personal Tournament Summary: With the cold weather and the bluebird skies, I expected the fishing to be tough. I was surprised and glad we were able to do quite well as a club. Angela and I had some boat problems at blast off but we were able to get to our first stop and found the water temperature to be 44 degrees. It had come down 6 degrees over the past week. I made my first cast with a flutter spoon and the bait did not sink to the bottom before a 3lb fish hit it. It is normally bad luck to catch a fish on the first cast. Then Angela made her first cast and she caught her first keeper. So we both had keepers on the first cast and I have to admit that I thought that we may never get another bite all day.

However, it wasn’t long till Angela had 2 more keepers so then I thought…. “Maybe it’s just me that won’t get another bite all day”. Finally about 10:30 I was able to catch another fish and then we picked up one here and there over the next hour or so. We caught most of them on Texas-rigs and the key was fishing as slowly as possible. Several of the bites were extremely light and we both caught fish that we were not certain were even there when we set the hook. Overall, it was a pretty good day and we were able to put 9 keepers in the boat between us. Our motor problems kept us from fishing some of the places we planned to fish. Because we were not sure we would be able to make it back, we spent the last hour within sight of the ramp. We plan to see if we can get repairs completed before our next tournament.


Lake Hartwell (Day 2)

Sunday, November 16th, 2014 at 7:00 am through Sunday, November 16th, 2014 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 34.514337,-82.830523 (Broyles Landing)

I am writing this on Monday (11/17/14) as I listen to the cold rain pound on my roof. I am so glad this weather did not arrive until today. It would have been misery to have to fish in this stuff. We had a cold windy day on Saturday but at least it did not rain. We really got lucky on the weather. Saturday started cold and the wind was blowing 15-20 mph. It made for some tough conditions, but some of our anglers were able to make the “wind their friend” and used it to catch fish on wind blown banks

Our club has not been to Lake Hartwell for the past few years and the last time we did have a tournament there the fishing was extremely tough, so I was pleased with our overall catch. The fish were caught on a variety of baits but I believe the first day was dominated by spinnerbaits on rocky banks. I noticed that the shad seemed to be hard to find and had not moved back into the creeks as far as normal. I believe that was due to the water temp still being in the mid 60s

.

Our turnout was good on both days with 20 members on Saturday and 18 on Sunday. Of the 20 anglers on Saturday, 15 weighed fish for a total of 47 keepers and 77.07 pounds. On Sunday of the 18 anglers, 10 brought fish to the scales for a total of 43 keepers and 65.09 pounds.

Congratulations to Alan Cooke for the win on Saturday with a nice limit of 11.28 pounds and big fish of 4.22 pounds. Chris Martin placed 2nd with 9.88 pounds.

Congratulations to Jim Crowder for the win on Sunday with a nice limit of 11.83 pounds and for big fish of 4.8 pounds. I was 2nd with 8.45 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: It was quite cold on Saturday morning and the wind made it tough. Angela and I found a few big spots on a deep boat dock on Friday so we started there. We did not catch any on the dock but Angela did catch her limit of small keepers on the bank where the dock was located. I could not get a bite. She caught 6 keepers before I had the first bite and I missed it. We did catch a couple of nice strippers on shakyheads in the first few hours. We decided we needed to make a move and ran up in a creek to fish a row of boat docks where I had caught a few fish. She caught another nicer fish off the 2nd dock and culled a 12 incher but that was the only bite we had. There was a boat across from us fishing a bare bank. They were catching lots of fish and some good fish. The sun was shinning on the bare bank and they were fishing small dark colored worms. When we reached the end of the row of docks we crossed over and I caught my 2 small keepers on the bare bank. It was 1:30 before I ever put a fish in the boat. Angela caught 20-25 fish before that.

On Sunday we planned to run up the creek and fish the bare bank but I thought we needed to wait until the sun got on it. So we decided to fish a roadbed that I had found a few days earlier. When I found the roadbed I did not get a bite on it but it looked so good I knew there had to be fish on it. I was right. We had 9 keepers on it in the first 30 minutes. The fish were up on top of the road in 10-12ft of water and we positioned the boat in 20-25ft and cast worms up on the road. We found a sweet spot that was loaded with 12-14” fish. Then they just shut off. We left there and decided to run up a creek and fish some rock seams that I had caught a few fish off earlier but we did not catch any keepers. So we headed to the bare bank we fished Saturday. We caught several fish but they we all small. We then crossed over and fished the boat dock row and I caught my best fish. We then ran back to the deep dock, where we started Saturday, and Angela caught a nice spot off it. She had a huge fish follow her worm back to the boat so we decided to stay there for the remaining time. Overall it was pretty good weekend.

Year in Review: We look back at 2014 with sadness due to the loss of Chris Hoyle. Chris was an excellent fishermen and a good man and he is and will be missed.

It has been another year of growth for the Thermalbelt Bassmasters. We have grown in numbers and experience. The total weights for our top 6 finishers was much lower than in the past few years but the total for the club was much higher which indicates that our newer members are catching more fish. That is what club fishing is all about. We continue to deal with changes with the NC Bass Federation but the most important thing is that we continue to keep our club strong. That strength is the very thing that allows us to continue to grow when so many other clubs are shrinking. Once again I want to thank Chris Tate for his dedication and service to the club. He spends a lot of time and energy making things work as well as they do.


Lake Hartwell (Day 1)

Saturday, November 15th, 2014 at 7:00 am through Saturday, November 15th, 2014 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 34.514337,-82.830523 (Broyles Landing)

I am writing this on Monday (11/17/14) as I listen to the cold rain pound on my roof. I am so glad this weather did not arrive until today. It would have been misery to have to fish in this stuff. We had a cold windy day on Saturday but at least it did not rain. We really got lucky on the weather. Saturday started cold and the wind was blowing 15-20 mph. It made for some tough conditions, but some of our anglers were able to make the “wind their friend” and used it to catch fish on wind blown banks

Our club has not been to Lake Hartwell for the past few years and the last time we did have a tournament there the fishing was extremely tough, so I was pleased with our overall catch. The fish were caught on a variety of baits but I believe the first day was dominated by spinnerbaits on rocky banks. I noticed that the shad seemed to be hard to find and had not moved back into the creeks as far as normal. I believe that was due to the water temp still being in the mid 60s

.

Our turnout was good on both days with 20 members on Saturday and 18 on Sunday. Of the 20 anglers on Saturday, 15 weighed fish for a total of 47 keepers and 77.07 pounds. On Sunday of the 18 anglers, 10 brought fish to the scales for a total of 43 keepers and 65.09 pounds.

Congratulations to Alan Cooke for the win on Saturday with a nice limit of 11.28 pounds and big fish of 4.22 pounds. Chris Martin placed 2nd with 9.88 pounds.

Congratulations to Jim Crowder for the win on Sunday with a nice limit of 11.83 pounds and for big fish of 4.8 pounds. I was 2nd with 8.45 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: It was quite cold on Saturday morning and the wind made it tough. Angela and I found a few big spots on a deep boat dock on Friday so we started there. We did not catch any on the dock but Angela did catch her limit of small keepers on the bank where the dock was located. I could not get a bite. She caught 6 keepers before I had the first bite and I missed it. We did catch a couple of nice strippers on shakyheads in the first few hours. We decided we needed to make a move and ran up in a creek to fish a row of boat docks where I had caught a few fish. She caught another nicer fish off the 2nd dock and culled a 12 incher but that was the only bite we had. There was a boat across from us fishing a bare bank. They were catching lots of fish and some good fish. The sun was shinning on the bare bank and they were fishing small dark colored worms. When we reached the end of the row of docks we crossed over and I caught my 2 small keepers on the bare bank. It was 1:30 before I ever put a fish in the boat. Angela caught 20-25 fish before that.

On Sunday we planned to run up the creek and fish the bare bank but I thought we needed to wait until the sun got on it. So we decided to fish a roadbed that I had found a few days earlier. When I found the roadbed I did not get a bite on it but it looked so good I knew there had to be fish on it. I was right. We had 9 keepers on it in the first 30 minutes. The fish were up on top of the road in 10-12ft of water and we positioned the boat in 20-25ft and cast worms up on the road. We found a sweet spot that was loaded with 12-14” fish. Then they just shut off. We left there and decided to run up a creek and fish some rock seams that I had caught a few fish off earlier but we did not catch any keepers. So we headed to the bare bank we fished Saturday. We caught several fish but they we all small. We then crossed over and fished the boat dock row and I caught my best fish. We then ran back to the deep dock, where we started Saturday, and Angela caught a nice spot off it. She had a huge fish follow her worm back to the boat so we decided to stay there for the remaining time. Overall it was pretty good weekend.

Year in Review: We look back at 2014 with sadness due to the loss of Chris Hoyle. Chris was an excellent fishermen and a good man and he is and will be missed.

It has been another year of growth for the Thermalbelt Bassmasters. We have grown in numbers and experience. The total weights for our top 6 finishers was much lower than in the past few years but the total for the club was much higher which indicates that our newer members are catching more fish. That is what club fishing is all about. We continue to deal with changes with the NC Bass Federation but the most important thing is that we continue to keep our club strong. That strength is the very thing that allows us to continue to grow when so many other clubs are shrinking. Once again I want to thank Chris Tate for his dedication and service to the club. He spends a lot of time and energy making things work as well as they do.


Lake Norman

Saturday, October 4th, 2014 at 7:00 am through Saturday, October 4th, 2014 at 3:00 pm

We launched from 4906 Burton Ln, Denver, NC 28037 (Little Creek Access Area)

The weather has been nice this fall and the days have cooled off some. The leaves have just barely started to change and you have to look close to see any color.

Lake Norman can be tough during the fall transition period. The largemouth can be very hard to find and the Ky bass haven’t really started schooling yet. Sometimes the key is finding the shad. The shad will be starting to work their way back into the creeks but may not be all the way back yet. If you start about half way back and begin fishing boat docks, lay downs and secondary points as you work your way back you should find some fish. Pay close attention to how far back in the creek you are when you first make contact because it will clue you in to how far back you need to concentrate your efforts. As I stated before the key is the shad. You may have to check several creeks before you find significant schools of shad.

Our turn out was down again with 13 members and 2 guests. All of the 13 members brought fish to the scales with a total of 36 keepers and 53.17 pounds.

Congratulations to Brian Anderson (club member not yet fishing for points) for the win with a limit weighting 9.4 pounds.

Congratulations to Angela for 2nd place (again) with a limit weighting 8.89 pounds.

Congratulations to Terry Horn for big fish at 3.15 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Well…..Angela out fished me today. There have been several times when she has had more weight or more fish than me but today she caught several fish behind me in the very spots I had already cast. I am very proud of her. We caught most of our fish way up a creek fishing shallow water. She did not have a fish at 10:30 but keep her head down and by 2:30 she had culled a few times. I was never able to catch my 5th keeper. If this keeps up everyone better watch out for her because she will become a dominate force in the club very soon.

Note: The points race for AOY is going to be extremely close again this year. I am in 1st but Richard, Billy and Chris M. are very close behind me. We have 2 more tournaments left at Hartwell and any of us has an excellent chance to win AOY. Good Luck to all. I know I will be fishing as hard as I can.


Lake Wylie

Saturday, September 13th, 2014 at 7:00 am through Saturday, September 13th, 2014 at 3:00 pm

We launched from 35.107718 -81.039861 (Buster Boyd Access)

We are finally back to fishing during the day and I think everyone is glad. Night fishing can be good but it creates many challenges. The weather for today was pretty nice with some cloud cover early and sunny conditions later in the afternoon. It got a little hot but not nearly as bad as it has been. We fished from 7am-3pm and when we started, there was little boat traffic but as the day wore on, and the sun came out so did the boats. The fishing was tough as it has been each time we have fished Wylie this year.

Our turnout was still down a little with 14 members and 3 guests. Of the 14 members only 7 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 12 keepers and 22.15 pounds. That is indicative of a very tough bite. I would like to take this chance to congratulate Chris Hoyle for having a 5 fish limit. It is amazing when there are only 12 keepers weighed in and 1 person has 5 of them. That shows some really good skills and he should be very proud of his day. By the way, that makes 2 tournaments in row that he has won.

Congratulations to Chris Hoyle for the win with the only limit and 7.00 pounds.

Congratulations to Richard Young for 2nd place.

Congratulations to Billy and Richard for a tie on big fish on 3.11 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: We did not have a good day. We got to fish 1 spot before we spun our prop hub and were out of commission for the rest of the day. We got towed back to ramp and spent most of day fishing in front of ramp.


Lake James

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 at 6:00 pm through Sunday, August 23rd, 2014 at 2:00 am

We launched from 35.74828, -81.96721 (Black Bear Access)

We fished this tournament from 6pm until 2am. When we started, it was really hot and the boat traffic was heavy. The sun was beating down and my shirt was soaked with sweat with in the first few minutes. It was difficult to fish some areas because of the extreme boat wakes bouncing us all over the place. In fact, I came very close to falling overboard at one point due to a wake-boat pulling a skier past us. Even after the sun went down it remained hot but at least the boat traffic subsided and the lake became still. Other than the heat, it was a nice evening and we dodged several thunderstorms as lightning could be seen in the distance throughout the night. In fact, the stars were amazing. You could see millions of them. It is rare that you get a chance to see stars like that even if you fish a lot at night due to light pollution. Lake James is a very dark lake surrounded by some of the prettiest terrain in NC. I believe that the darkness of the lake and the remoteness of the area explain why there seems to be very light boat traffic after dark.

Summer seems to be winding down a little and although we have had a relatively mild summer, the water temperature is still in the mid 80s and the bite is still tough.

Our turnout was down a little with 14 club members and 2 guests. I don’t know if the turnout is down because of fishing at night or just due to it being hot, but I hope to see improvement as we move into fall. Of our 14 members, 8 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 24 keepers and 35.26 pounds.

Congratulations to Chris Hoyle for the win with the only limit and 8.79pounds.

Congratulations to Angela for 2nd place with 6.81pounds and for big fish at 3.54pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Once again we decided to run over to the Linville side of the lake and although it was a rough ride we arrived safely. We had almost zero action until dark. The boat traffic was pretty extreme and it was so hot and humid that it was pretty miserable. We started getting a few bites just before dark and although we caught 8 fish between us we had some long dry spells. Most of our fish came on a jig and few on spinner baits. We fished some new areas and caught 3 of our keepers on a bank neither of us had fished before. I had gone up a few weeks ago and looked around and found some good looking stuff. I had put waypoints on the banks so we could find them in the dark. It was dark…..very dark but we were able to see well enough to fish.


Lake Hickory

Saturday, July 26th, 2014 at 4:00 am through Saturday, July 26th, 2014 at 12:00 pm

We launched from 35.7958583608,-81.3496539232 (Lovelady Access)

We fished this tournament from 4am to 12noon. It has been pretty hot and we have had a lot of storms in the evenings so I think it was a good idea to pick these times. The weather was pretty nice with almost zero wind. It did get pretty foggy just after daylight but not so much as to keep people from being able to run.

Lake Hickory has been doing well this year and unlike the past few years it seems that the topwater bite has been really strong. I thought it was a perfect morning for topwater……the bass didn’t think so. Over all it was a tough tournament.

We had a good turnout with 15 members and 5 guests. Of the 15 members, 9 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 24 keepers and 44.84 pounds.

Congratulations to Alan Cooke for his first win and a nice limit of 10.83lbs.
Congratulations to Billy Scoggins for 2nd place finish with 8.43lbs. Congratulations to Angela for having big fish at 4.69lbs.

Personal Tournament Summary:Well……for the second time this year I managed to blank in a tournament. I had not had a blank since the last time we fished Jocassee in 2011 until this year when I blanked at Wylie in May. Now I have blanked again at Lake Hickory. I did not even have a single bite at Wylie and it was almost as bad at Hickory. I did manage to hook a fish before daylight on a jitterbug but lost it. Other than that I did not hook or catch any other fish for the rest of the tournament. I have to admit that I was more than a little……..unhappy. I really am not sure what went wrong. I have been catching some really nice fish on top water but I could not get a single bite. I am not sure where they went or why they did not seem to want to eat. It seemed like the perfect morning. I expected to catch a few fish before daylight but I told Angela that the first 30 minutes after daylight was the prime time for us to catch some 4-6 pounders on topwater just like I have done the last few trips I have made to Lake Hickory. It never happened. So we thought we could catch them on soft plastics after the sun was up…..she caught her only fish (big fish for tournament). That was it. We had a lot of bream bites but I do not believe we ever had another bass hit our baits. We obviously made some serious mistakes. If I could fish it again I believe I would run down to the lower section of the lake and fish a jig or texas rig. I really am not sure what I would do different but I do know we should have made some major adjustments. Our biggest mistake was trying to continue to fish the same area for too long. I kept thinking that I could fish deeper or change baits and get the fish to hit but it never worked. Like I said before…..I am more than a little unhappy about my performance and my decision making.


Lake James

Saturday, July 12th, 2014 at 6:30 pm through Sunday, July 12th, 2014 at 2:00 am

We launched from 35.74828, -81.96721 (Black Bear Access)

We decided to fish this tournament from 6:30 pm to 2:00 am. There was a lot of concern that we may get hit by a thunderstorm, which has been a quite common occurrence in the evenings, but the weather was pretty good. It was hot at blast off and the boat traffic was extremely heavy, but cooled off as the sun went down and for most of the evening, it was quite comfortable. The moon was full and very bright which really helped with running.

It seems to me that Lake James has been on an upswing over the past few years with lots of fish in the 4-6 pound class being caught. It has taken some pretty heavy sacks to win many of the local evening tournaments. We had an excellent turnout with 19 members and 3 guests. Of the 19 members, 18 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 41 keepers and 75.85 pounds.

I was able to win with a limit weighing 11.72 pounds. I also had big fish with a 4.38 pound small mouth.

Billy was 2nd with a nice limit of 9.32 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Once again, I have to admit that I was dreading going to Lake James. I have never felt confident about being able to catch fish up there and I have fished a couple of Tuesday evening tournament with Keith Morgan with horrible results. In fact, we have failed to weigh in a single keeper. So as I prepared for this tournament I was less than excited about our chances of doing well. My big goal was just not to blank. Angela and I talked about what we should do and decided that we should run to the Linville River side of the lake to start. I did not feel comfortable running over there in the dark so I wanted to get there while it was still daylight so I could follow my GPS trail coming back. We started on a deeper bank and I was swimming a jig through wood and rock. I got a strike on my 5th or 6th cast and although I missed the fish it followed my jig all the way back to the boat. It was small mouth about 14-16 inches. So from that point on we knew that we wanted to stay over on the Linville side since that first fish was an absolute feeding frenzy compared to my last few trips. I had a couple of other bites and hooked and lost a keeper over the next hour or so. I finally caught a 12-1/2 in. large mouth and I have to admit that I was thrilled since it meant that I was not going to blank. It was just getting dark and finally the boat traffic had calmed down some when I caught my 2nd keeper. It was a nice keeper small mouth and was quickly followed by my biggest fish. Both of these fish came on a jig off a deep rocky bank with the boat sitting in approximately 30 feet of water. We reached the end of the bank and decided to fish it again. Angela switched to a jig and caught her small mouth on the second pass. We fished the bank once more without any more action and then decided to move to a similar bank a little lower down the lake. I caught 2 more keepers on that bank (both on a jig) and had my 5. It was about 1 o’clock so we decided to head back over to the Catawba side and fish one more bank. We had several hits and I managed to catch 1 more Large mouth and culled one of my smaller fish. So by the end of the night I ended up with 3 small mouths and 2 large mouths, all caught on a jig off deep banks. Angela could not seem to get bit as much but did end up with a nice small mouth. Overall we had a good tournament, but I do wish she had been able to put a few more fish in the boat.


Lake Wylie

Saturday, May 31st, 2014 at 6:00 am through Saturday, May 31st, 2014 at 2:00 pm

We launched from 35.107718 -81.039861 (Buster Boyd Access)

It seems to me that this year Lake Wylie has not been producing any where close to the weights it has in the past. It makes me wonder if the heavy rain and flood conditions we had last fall has had a negative effect on the fishery.

Today’s weather started a LITTLE on the damp side. At blast off it was raining heavily and we had light breeze blowing from the north. As we sat in our boats waiting for the fun to begin I began to feel the rain soak in to my shoes and trickle down the back of my neck. I knew it was supposed to clear up as the day went on but it was pretty miserable to be wet that early in the day.

We had a pretty good turnout with 17 members. Of the 17 members 14 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 45 keepers and 67.59 pounds.

Congratulations to Billy for the win and one of only 2 limits weighed in. He had 8.33 pounds. (Only other limit was from Jake). Billy managed to win this tournament while fishing reduced time. He had to leave early so he could attend the Southern Divisional Tournament which he qualified for last year at the NC State Tournament at Falls Lake.

Congratulations to Richard for 2nd place with 7.74 pounds. This was Richard’s 3rd time placing 2nd this year. He has one 1st place finish. His consistency is the reason he has moved into 1st place for the year.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I knew things were going to be pretty tough for us. The rain did not seem to help make things better. I told her it was going to be one of those days when you catch a fish here and there but never really feel like you have a pattern. I figured that if we fished hard, by the end of the day we may end up with 5 keepers but we would have to work hard for each of them. We started down the lake and after 2-3 hours we only had 1 keeper a piece. We then decided to run up the lake and fish some of my old stuff that has not been producing as well in the past few years. We were able to get some bites on some wood with Texas Rigs and I did catch my big fish on a spinnerbait. It went just about like I though it would and although we did not get a limit, we did have 4 keepers each. Wylie has been tough for us this year so I am not sure what I would change if we had it to fish over.


Lake Norman

Saturday, May 24th, 2014 at 6:00 am through Saturday, May 24th, 2014 at 2:00 pm

We launched from 4906 Burton Ln, Denver, NC 28037 (Little Creek Access Area)

The weather has been pretty nice for mid-May and the fish are almost completely post spawn. There are a few late spawners due to the cold winter but the majority of the fish are now relating to the shad spawn and cover. There seemed to be a lot of fish caught on topwater which is normal for post spawn. I am not sure exactly how we decided to fish on Memorial Day weekend but the boat traffic was extremely heavy by our 2pm quit time.

We had a good turnout with 17 members and 2 guests. Of the 17 members 16 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 61 keepers and 85.66 pounds.

We had a total of 8 limits weighed in.

Congratulations to Chris Martin for the win with a limit weighing 9.15 pounds.

Congratulations to Richard Young for 2nd place with a limit weighing 9.10 pounds.

Congratulations to Chris Hoyle for big fish at 2.89 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I decided we needed to make some changes if we were both going to be able to catch a limit. We had been catching some nice fish in our normal areas but we did not believe we both would be able to catch a limit so we decided to run to Davidson Creek. We knew we may be sacrificing size but we needed to be able to weigh a limit each to maintain our positions in the yearly points. Overall we had a good tournament and if we could have picked up a bigger bite we could have been in contention to win. We caught most of our fish on boat docks with Texas rig soft plastics.


Lake Murray (Day 2)

Sunday, April 27th, 2014 at 6:30 am through Sunday, April 27th, 2014 at 2:00 pm

We launched from 849 Marina Way, Prosperity, SC 29127(Buffalo Creek Marina)

The weather was much the same as yesterday, but perhaps a few degrees cooler at blast off because we started at 6:30am instead of 7:00. It wasn’t long before the SC sun was up and warm.

We had another excellent turnout with 21 members and 1 guest. Of the 21 members 16 were able to bring fish to scales for a total of 48 keepers and 97.24 pounds. We had 4 limits weighed in.

Congratulations to Chris Martin for the win and really nice sack of 16.94 pounds. Chris also had big fish with a 5.90 pounder.

Congratulations to Lee Hoyle for 2nd place and another really nice sack of 16.30 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I went down on Friday morning and fished up the river. We had very little action so we decided to move down the lake and we began catching some really nice fish in small pockets off the main lake. We had an excellent afternoon with several fish over 3 pounds and 1 about 6 pounds. We would simply pull in a cove and the first hit we got we would leave and move to another cove. I have to admit that I felt really confident that we could both have a nice limit on Saturday. We started Saturday in the best cove we had found and we caught several fish but they had shrunk. Where we were catching 3-5 pounders on Friday we caught 12-15 inchers on Saturday. I really can’t explain what happened but it was a little disappointing. I did end up with 7 over 14ins on Saturday and we seemed to do alright at weigh in with me placing 4th and her 10th so we thought we would attempt to repeat the same pattern and hope the bigger fish that had been there Friday would reappear. They did not. In fact they got even smaller. We both caught a lot of 12-131/2 inch fish on Sunday and really struggled to catch keepers. It was like all the females had left and we were only catching small bucks. With the day being shorter we really did not have enough time to find another pattern and ended up with a tough day. I feel like we need to improve on making adjustment when things go bad instead of attempting to force a pattern that is not working. We should have changed our tactics to attempt to contact the bigger fish that we knew had not moved far.


Lake Murray (Day 1)

Saturday, April 26th, 2014 at 7:00 am through Saturday, April 26th, 2014 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 849 Marina Way, Prosperity, SC 29127(Buffalo Creek Marina)

Well, it seems the long cold winter has finally lost its grip on the South and the fish have moved shallow with love on their minds. Some of them had already spawned out but others are still on beds and there are some that are still pre-spawn.

The weather was perfect for our tournament with clear skies and warm (almost hot) temps. The water temperature ranged from 62-63 in the morning to 71-72 in the afternoon. The water was very slightly stained in most places with a lot of pollen floating on the surface. As is often the case, there was dirtier water in the upper ends of the creeks and up the river, but it was clearer down the lake.

I heard several people talking about finding and catching fish off beds and others talked about catching fish that were guarding fry. I know that I caught a few fish that had moved out of the pockets and were in areas where I would expect to fish post spawn fish.

We had an excellent turn out with 21 members and 1 guest. Of the 21 members 18 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 51 keepers and 97.53 pounds. We had 4 limits weighed in.

Congratulations to Danny Holtsclaw for the win with 11.76 pounds.

Congratulations to Richard Young for big fish (5.27lbs) and 2nd place.


Lake Wylie

Sunday, March 9th, 2014 at 8:00 am through Sunday, March 9th, 2014 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 35.107718 -81.039861 (Buster Boyd Access)

The weather was super nice today with light winds and temps in the mid 70s. It was the type of day that makes people want to go fishing. It was the type of day we all were dreaming about back in January when we were fishing Norman and the ice was freezing in our rod eyes and the wind was chilling us to the bone. It was the type of day we expect waves of big female bass to move from their deep winter resting places and begin crushing baits in shallow water. It was a perfect day…..except for one problem. The fish did not know they were invited. They had not read the same magazine articles or watched the same fishing show that we do so they did not know they were suppose to attack our baits with reckless abandonment. In fact, for many of us, they did not know they were supposed to show up at all.

The reason for the lack of fish was really not hard to understand. Although the weather today was great, the winter has been harsh. We have had some very cold weather and the water temps have continued to remain in the 40’s. Just as the water temps had began to warm a little we had several inches of cold rain, sleet, and freezing rain on Wednesday-Thursday before this tournament. The icy precipitation really dropped the water temps and muddied up some of the lake. The south fork river was as muddy as I have ever seen it and the water temp was only in the upper 40s. The area around Buster Boyd was much clearer but still was stained and cold. As the day wore on the sun did warm the water some (mid 50s) and the fishing improved, but it was still extremely slow. Most of the fish that were caught hit an Alabama Rig. There were a few fish caught on crankbaits and Texas-rig soft plastics.

We had one of the best turnouts we have ever had with 26 members and 2 guests. Of the 26 members, only 14 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 19 bass and 33.07 pounds. Of the 14 members that weighed fish, only 3 were able to catch more than 1 keeper.

(These results do not include Billy’s fish. He had a limit that weighted 7.74 pounds but because of the time change the night before the tournament he was late returning to the ramp and was disqualified.)

Congratulations to Chris Martin for the win with 4 fish and 7.70 pounds.

Congratulations to Angela for 2nd place with 2 fish and 3.86 pounds.

Congratulations to Garrett for winning big fish with a 2.42 pound largemouth.

(I would also like to congratulate Landon Holtsclaw for weighing in his first keeper. I am sure it is the first of many in the future.)

Personal Tournament Summary: For me the summary is simple…….THAT SUCKED! I did not have a single bite. So I will write about Angela’s day. When the cold rain dropped the water temps, we knew the fish would move from where we caught them last Sunday afternoon. So we attempted to make some adjustments but struggled to get bites. Angela had 4-5 bites all day. She finally connected by “soaking” a beaver type bait in a tree. She was moving it very slowly or not at all. She would pitch her bait to very heart of the tree and leave it there as long as possible. The bait she was using (Zoom Super-hog) has very little action and I believe the lack of action was exactly what triggered her strikes. The fish she caught were not deep (2-3ft) but it took them a long time to commit to taking the bait. She impressed me with her ability to maintain her concentration and fish such a meticulous technique with so limited success. She has heard me say before that “some times when a spring cold front hits, the fish will remain shallow but will lock super tight to wood and you have to really slow down and soak your bait” and that is exactly what she did. She continues to improve and her commitment and enthusiasm for the sport impresses me every day.


Mountain Island Lake

Saturday, February 8th, 2014 at 8:00 am through Saturday, February 8th, 2014 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 35.353759, -80.97282 (Riverbend Public Access)

The weather was really nice. It started cloudy and remained cloudy until afternoon but the air temperatures rose into the 50s. When the sun did pop out, it felt like spring. The nicest thing about the weather was the fact that there was almost zero wind. The water was clear and much warmer than I expected it to be. There were some areas where the water was 49 degrees after the sun had been on it. That’s at least 10 degrees warmer than Norman was when we fished it 2 weeks ago. It has been a cold winter and although we haven’t had much snow, there have been several nights with temperatures in the single digits.

Several of our anglers fished up in the river and found the current to be stronger than expected. When this occurs, it seems to make the fish bite but it is very difficult to maintain boat control and it will drain trolling motor batteries very quickly. I understand that the current subsided about 1 o’clock. We had an excellent turnout with 21 anglers. Of the 21 members, 16 were able to bring keepers to the weigh in for a total of 45 bass and 72.16 pounds. We had 2 anglers weigh a limit of 5 bass.

I was able to win the tournament with 5 bass weighing 12.94lbs and I had big fish with a 6.12 pound largemouth.

Congratulations to Alan Cooke who placed 2nd with 2 fish weighing 6.25lbs.

Personal Tournament Summary: I have not fished Mt. Island (other than one day in December) since we had a club tournament there last January. I normally like to fish the river section of the lake, but when we ran up there and found the current to be so strong, we were not able to fish the places I wanted to so we did not stay long. I did catch one 14in keeper up in the river. We then went back down the lake and began fishing brush piles in approximately 12 ft of water. We had 8-10 bites that we could not seem to hook but we returned to the same area about an hour later and began to hook up much better. We caught most of our fish on Texas-rigs and a few on shakey heads. The water seemed to warm and the fish seemed to move a little shallower as the day wore on. The key element was brush. As soon as we felt our baits hit brush we would slow down and really stitch the bait in the brushpile. Often, just as we pulled the bait over a limb, the fish would grab it. Angela did really well but needed a few more 14 in fish. She did have the second biggest fish of the day.


Lake Norman

Saturday, January 25th, 2014 at 8:00 am through Saturday, January 25th, 2014 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 4906 Burton Ln, Denver, NC 28037 (Little Creek Access Area)

Wow…..that was cold and windy. We have fished under very windy conditions a few times, but I am not sure we have ever fished when it was that windy and also that cold. The air temperature was 22 on my truck thermometer on my way to the lake but the bigger problem was the wind. It blew 20-35 mph most of the day and although it warmed into the lower 40s in the afternoon, the wind made it feel super cold all day. The water temperature was between 37 and 42 in the areas we fished and there were some places where the water was pretty heavily stained. We had several boats with weather related problems before take off but by the time we actually started, everyone was able to get their boats running. One of the problems created by the low temperatures was ice forming in the eyes of our rods. The ice would cause casting problems and create backlashes if it was not removed. The wind was mainly blowing from the West which created some rough water in the mouth of Little Cheek and down the lake. Running in the rough water caused some,….… “uncomfortable conditions” when the spray would freeze before it hit you in the face. One thing about those who fished………they have a story to tell. We had 18 members brave the weather and 2 guests. Of the 18 members only 8 were able to bring keepers to the scales for a total of 12 keepers and 18.09 pounds.

Congratulations to Jeff Chapman (guest of Danny Holtsclaw) for winning the money portion of the tournament with 4 fish and 5.99 pounds.

Congratulations to Richard Young for winning the club (points) portion of the tournament with 2 fish and 4.17 pounds.

Congratulations to Lee Hoyle for winning big fish with his 2.62 pound Ky Spotted bass.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I fished a small tournament last Saturday on Norman. We had a really good day and caught 12 keepers over 14ins. So our plan for this tournament was to fish the same areas. The problem was that since last Saturday, we have had several extremely cold days when the temperature did not get above 35 degrees. Most of the nights were below 10 degrees. The extreme cold lowered the water temperature 3-4 degrees and moved the fish. We caught fish last week in 10-15ft but they must have moved or developed severe lockjaw. I managed 4 bites all day and Angela did not get a single bite. I expected things to be very tough but I thought by the end of the day we would be able to put several keepers in the boat. I was wrong. We started in Mtn. Creek but quickly noticed that the water was stained and 37 degrees. If I had to fish super cold water, I at least wanted it to be clear so we moved back down to the main lake. I caught my first keeper on a texas rig and then missed 2 others. Then we decided to run to Davidson Creek. The run was……”interesting”. By the time we arrived I was wet and there was ice covering my coat. We fished the places where we caught several fish last week but could only manage one bite. Then we had to come back. We had to run directly into the wind and encountered 3-4 ft waves. Angela had never been in water that rough. Several of the waves crashed over our bow and there was 3 inches of water in the floor. Finally, we were able to turn right at the mouth of Davidson Ck and the lake calmed significantly. I was glad. Angela was REALLY glad.


Lake James

Saturday, November 9th, 2013 at 7:00 am through Saturday, November 9th, 2013 at 3:00 pm

We launched from 35.74828, -81.96721 (Black Bear Access)

The morning dawned cold and foggy. It was about 28 degrees and the fog was thick enough that it made running difficult. The water temp at Black Bear was approximately 56 degrees. As the day wore on, the sun came out and the fog disappeared, but it never did really warm up that much. The afternoon was pretty cloudy and we had some wind, but it was not too bad.

We had a good turnout with 15 club members and 4 guests. Of the 15 members 11 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 20 keepers and 31.99 pounds.

I was able to win with 5 fish that weighted 8.71 pounds and Gary Horn was second with 3 fish that weighted 5.65 pounds. Tater won big fish with a really nice smallmouth of 2.76 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I decided we had to do something different in this tournament than we had done in the past. We have always struggled at James and the best we had ever done was just a couple of keepers. So we decided that we would fish totally new places. We did start across from the ramp but that was the only water we fished that we had ever fished before in a tournament. We spent the majority of the day on the Linville River side of the lake fishing a jig on deeper banks. The fish were very spotty but I was able to catch 4 over there fishing 3 different banks repeatedly. We then returned to the Catawba River side with about an hour to go and I was able to catch my last fish out of a tree. I caught all my fish on a jig.

Year End Summary: It is hard to believe that 2013 is over. It has been a very good year for the club and we have grown in both numbers and fishing experience. It took over 10 pounds to win 10 of our 14 tournaments this year and that is an excellent improvement over that past. Our club members are becoming better fishermen and that is what club fishing is all about. The competition level has been intense at times. The points winner for the year was not decided until the final tournament with only 1 point separating 1st and 2nd. Chris Hoyle had an excellent year with 5 tournament wins and the year’s big fish (6.87lbs).

I enjoyed fishing with Angela and watching as she improves and becomes more competitive with the other fishermen in the club. She has really come a long way in a short time and I believe she will be a contender for the top place soon. I look forward to the coming year and the chance to get to know some of our new members. We have several excellent fishermen coming into the club this year and I am sure the level of fishing will continue to improve.

I would like to thank Tater and Justin for their hard work and dedication to the club. They both have spent a lot of time and effort improving and ensuring the club remains strong. We now have the largest club in the state and they both have had an influence in that growth.


Smith Mountain Lake

Sunday, October 27th, 2013 at 7:00 am through Sunday, October 27th, 2013 at 3:00 pm

We launched from Gills Creek Marina

The weather was much nicer today. The temp was warmer (approx. 38) at blast off and there was very little fog. The wind even laid down and was not near as big a problem all day. The improved weather improved the fishing for most of our members.

We had 12 members (Tater had to leave with knee problems) and 2 guest. Of the 12 members, 9 were able to bring fish to scales for a total of 24 keepers and 36.02 pounds. Two of our members were able to bring 5 fish limits to scales. (Chris H. and Josh J.)

Congratulations to Chris Hoyle (AGAIN) for the win (10.48 lbs) and for big fish (4.29lbs) and to Josh Johnson for second place (6.86 pounds).

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I decided to start in Gill’s Creek but we could not seem to get bit. I believe the shad that had been in the upper end earlier in the week had moved down the creek some due to the cooler temps and the fish seem to move with them. We stayed in Gill’s Creek for approx. 2 hours but only had 2 keepers, so we decided to run up the Blackwater to the area where we had been catching fish yesterday. We still just could not get bit. It was all I could do to catch the 2 small keepers that I had and Angela had much the same problems. If I could do this day over again I would have stayed in Gill’s Creek, moved back down the creek some, and fished a jig or worm on some deeper banks. I believe I could have caught some bigger fish that way and had a much better chance at doing well in the tournament.


Smith Mountain Lake

Saturday, October 26th, 2013 at 7:00 am through Saturday, October 26th, 2013 at 3:00 pm

We launched from Gills Creek Marina

For the first time the TB BassMasters went north, into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mts of Virginia. As I understand it, this was the first time several of the members had ever been across the state line. The leaves were in full color and it was very pretty. We managed to catch a tough weekend with cold, windy conditions, which had a major impact on the fishing. The temperature at blast off on day 1 was approximately 27 degrees with heavy frost and a pretty heavy fog. The water temperature was approximately 60 degrees. It had been cool all week and we had several days of winds in the 15-25mph range. The water was very clear around Gill’s Creek Marina, but there was some color in the head of Gill’s Creek and the upper sections of the Blackwater River.

We had a good turnout with 13 members and 2 guests. Of the 13 members, only 5 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 16 keepers and a total of 27.33 pounds.

Congratulations to Chris Hoyle for the win (9.99lbs) and for big fish (4.83lbs).

Personal Tournament Summary (Day 1): Angela and I decided to start in the upper section of the Blackwater River where we found a lot of shad. The fog made the long run….interesting, but we made it without incident. Angela hooked and lost a nice fish in the first tree we fished. She wasn’t happy. Then she caught a stripper about 10-12 pounds and that seem to brighten her mood some. We fished a line of boat docks in 4-5ft of water and it seemed every one of them had fish. We caught several, but most of them were small. We did end up with 4 keepers between us before we moved back down and went up a creek (no name) about ¼ way back down the river. The creek was another place we had found shad and once again we caught fish on boat docks. We caught 3 keepers off 1 dock. When we left that creek we headed up into Stanford Creek but were not able to catch any keepers. We returned to the first creek and I caught my 5th keeper. Almost all the fish we caught (approx 25) were on black worms around the poles of boat docks.


Lake Norman

Saturday, September 28th, 2013 at 7:00 am through Saturday, September 28th, 2013 at 3:00 pm

We launched from 4906 Burton Ln, Denver, NC 28037 (Little Creek Access Area)

The weather was really nice for this tournament. It was cool enough in the morning for long pants and sweatshirts but it warmed up enough during the day (mid 70s) to wear shorts and jerseys. There were just light wisps of fog on the water at blast off. The rainy summer seems to be over and we have had several weeks of dry weather. The lake levels are still full, but much lower than they had been earlier in the summer.

We had a good turnout with 14 club members and 3 guests. All club members brought fish to the scales for a total of 54 keepers and 77.57 pounds. Six of our members were able to bring 5 fish limits to the scales and we had several nice fish (2-3lbers) weighted in.

I was able to win the tournament (10.25lbs) and I had big fish (3.29lbs). Alan Cook was 2nd with a nice sack of 8.63lbs.

Personal Tournament Summery: Angela and I spent the last week at Lake Nickajack in Tenn fishing the ABA Couples Series National Championship. We did not do well and finished 41st. Angela did manage to catch the big fish on the second day (4.01lbs) and that was the only bright spot of the whole week. So after struggling all week over there, we were very happy to be back home and fishing familiar water. We had not been on Norman for almost a month so we just “went fishing”. We started on a bank we had been catching fish on last time we were on the water and I caught my first 2 keepers quickly on a spinnerbait. She then began fishing a spinnerbait and we both caught several fish in the next hour. By approximately 9am I had a limit and she had 4 keepers. We moved around some to other areas but could not seem to find fish, so we continued to return to the same stretch of bank several times. By the end of the day we had about 12 keepers from the same area. We decided to move further up the creek to see if we could find some bigger fish but, although we saw multiple large balls of bait, we could not get bit in the upper section of the creek. We moved back down to where we had approximately 10ft of water under the boat and started catching fish again. Our day showed a very strong pattern on boat ramps. We caught some fish off brush but the majority of our better fish we caught on boat ramps on either spinnerbaits or worms. Overall we had good day and it was nice to be “home”.


Lake Hickory

Saturday, August 10th, 2013 at 7:00 pm through Sunday, August 10th, 2013 at 3:00 am

We launched from 35.7958583608,-81.3496539232 (Lovelady Access)

We decided to fish this tournament from 7pm-3am. The weather was pretty good and we did not have any major storms. The summer continues to be much cooler than normal with an excessive amount of rain. Thunderstorms seem to occur each day and some places have received several inches of rain in a short time period. All the rain has kept the lakes from being as clear as they normally would be at this time of year. It has also kept the water temps much lower than normal.

We had an excellent turnout with 23 club members and 3 guests in attendance. Of the 23 members 15 were able to bring keepers to the scales for a total of 42 keepers and 85.96 pounds. Only 2 of our members were able to bring 5 fish limits to the scales.

Congratulations to Richard Young for a really nice sack of fish and the win with 15.21 pounds and also for having big fish of 4.31 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I decided to run up the lake and fish some places that we have been catching fish over the past few weeks. She caught her best fish quickly and then added a second keeper about 30 minutes later. From then on it was a real grind for us. We could only catch 1 fish on any of our places and then we had to move to get bit a second time. This continued for the rest of the night. By the end I had 5 and she had 4 but we still hadn’t really established a pattern.


Lake Wylie

Saturday, July 13th, 2013 at 11:00 pm through Sunday, July 13th, 2013 at 7:00 am

We launched from 35.107718 -81.039861 (Buster Boyd Access)

Night Tournament (11pm-8:00am)

We decided to fish a real night tournament this time. We started at 11pm and although there was a lot of concern about floating debris, everyone seemed to be able to run without incident. The weather was a little tough with periods of rain and warm temperatures throughout the night. The fishing was pretty good with very few anglers unable to bring keepers to the scales.

Our turn out was good with 20 club members and 3 guest. Of the 20 club members, 16 brought keepers to the scales for a total of 49 fish and a total weight of 94.18 pounds.

Congratulations to Eddie Parker for the win with 10.5 pounds and to Gary Horn for a nice 5.11 pounder for big fish.

Personal tournament Summary: Angela and I really struggled tonight. We ran up the South Fork early and found nothing happening on the areas we planned to fish. I am not sure if the dirty water affected our fish of if the hot water from the steam plant shut them down, but there was nothing going on. We moved back down toward the main lake and did manage to catch a few fish but never did get on the fish like we expected to. I caught my fish on spinner bait and she caught hers on a shaky-head but there didn’t seem to be any kind of a pattern.


Lake Hickory

Saturday, June 8th, 2013 at 6:00 am through Saturday, June 8th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

We launched from 35.7958583608,-81.3496539232 (Lovelady Access)

The summer has been wet and cool so far. Today was much the same. We had rain early and then it remained cloudy for a good part of the day. Lake Hickory has been pretty hot this year. The lake has been up and at least slightly muddy for most of the past few weeks. Today the lake was up at least 2 feet above normal.

We had 17 club members and 1 guest. Of the 17 members 13 were able to bring keepers to the scales for a total of 40 keepers and 91.21 pounds.

Congratulations to Chris Hoyle for a huge sack of 18.83 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I spent the entire tournament in 2 coves off the main lake. We had been catching fish on a floating worm but with the water up we decided to start pitching texas rigs into wood cover in shallow water. I got bit quickly and set the hook and managed to wrap up the fish in tree. I spent the next 15 mins attempting to get the fish loose. I tried everything, including sticking my head down in the water, in an attempt to reach the fish, which I could see, but even then I could not reach it. So finally I decided that I would have to break the fish off. I pulled directly at the fish to break the line and the line simply popped off the tree limb and the fish swam free and I was able to swing it into the boat. It ended up being the big fish for the day (4.22 lbs). The rest of the day went pretty well for me and I ended up with 8-9 keepers and culled several times. Angela struggled but did end with 3 nice fish. All of our fish were caught on wood in small coves off the main lake.


High Rock Lake

Saturday, May 18th, 2013 at 7:00 am through Saturday, May 18th, 2013 at 3:00 pm

We launched from 35.609092,-80.309104 (Tamarac Access Area)

This was the first time (at least since I’ve been around) Thermalbelt B/M fished a tournament on High Rock. I know there were several club members that had never been there before. Over all it was a tough day. The weather was pretty good but keeper fish seem hard or almost impossible to find. It was supposed to be hot and sunny but by afternoon we had a few minutes of rain and then cloudy conditions for the rest of the day. The weather should have had the post spawn fish biting but they did not seem to cooperate.

We had 13 club members and 1 guest. It was a long 2 hour drive for most of our club members and we started at 6:30am so I am sure most of us did not get much sleep.

Our 13 members were only able to bring 9 keepers to the scales for a total of 20.02 pounds.

I was able to win with 4 fish weighing 7.66 pounds. Chris Hoyle was 2nd and had big fish with 1 fish weighing 3.71 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I fished an ABA Couples Series Tournament on High Rock a few weeks ago. It was only the second time I had ever been on the lake. We did manage to win the event (Angela caught 4 of the 5 fish we weighted) with a little over 12 pounds. So we started today in the same area where we caught them before. They were not there. The water level had fallen approximately 9 inches and the spawn had mostly ended so the fish had moved out of the cove we had found them in 2 weeks earlier. We fished a few deeper banks and I did manage to catch 1 keeper on a shakeyhead. At about 1 o’clock we decided we had to do something different so we ran up the lake and back into a creek that I had fished on my only practice day before the Couples Tournament. Within about 10 minutes I had caught a second keeper on a floating worm. From then until we ran out of time we both caught a lot of fish. I was able to catch a total of 4 keepers and although Angela caught several fish that were close she was not able to catch one over 14ins. Most of the fish we caught were guarding fry around poles of boatdocks and when we cast a floating worm or shakeyhead next to the poles the fish would really hit it hard. I am sure if we had moved earlier we could have had several more keepers.


Lake Murray (Day 2)

Sunday, April 28th, 2013 at 7:00 am through Sunday, April 28th, 2013 at 3:00 pm

We launched from 849 Marina Way, Prosperity, SC 29127(Buffalo Creek Marina)

For the past few years, Lake Murray has been tough overall for our tournaments. Last year it only took 7.75 pounds to win on the first day and this year it was much the same with only 7.33 pounds winning. Keeper fish were hard to find last year and that was with a 12in size limit. With the increase to 14in, this year things were really tough. Lake Murray is one of the premier lakes on the East Coast so we must be doing something wrong with our timing. Last year it was cold and rainy on the second day and this year we had some rain but at least it was warmer. There were still a lot of fish on beds, but the ones I found were mostly bucks and did not seem to be locked on. I believe we have scheduled our tournaments for the past two years about 2 weeks late. Both times I think most of the fish had left the beds and were transitioning to main lake points for the herring spawn but had not really arrived there yet. On the second day last year Tiger was able to figure something out and found some fish on points, but I know other anglers had fished points heavily and had caught mostly strippers. He had 14.49 pounds to win it but most of our other anglers still struggled.

On the first day this year things were tough. Nobody was able to catch a limit. Chris Hoyle won with 4 fish weighing 7.33 pounds and Allen Cooke had big fish with a 4.12 pounder that he caught on a spinnerbait.

On the second day this year things did improve some but we still only had 3 limits. Chris Hoyle had an excellent day fishing a jig and ended up with a huge sack of 17.28 pounds with a 6.78 pound kicker. Angela had a good day with 11.37 pounds for 2nd place. Both Tiger and Allen Cooke were able to bring limits to the scales for 3rd and 4th places.

Congratulations to Chris Hoyle for winning both days and having big fish (6.78 lbs) on day 2. Congratulations to Allan Cooke for having big fish on day 1.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I fished the same general area we did last year and as we rode in after the first day I was sure we had made a mistake. Then when I saw there was so few fish caught and Angela placed 2nd, I was convinced we had been in the right place. We stayed in a rather small area and caught several fish, but most of them were 12-13ins. Angela managed to put 4 keepers in boat and with the super low weights everyone else had, I knew the area was as good or better than any. So the second day we returned to the same area. We saw some fish schooling on the first day but had not been able to reach them in time. I knew there were some really nice fish in the school and they seemed to be staying in the same general area. They would come up every hour or so and only stay up for a few seconds, but I could see some nice fish breaking. As the second day wore on, things were really slow. She had one keeper and I had only caught a few small fish. Then about 1:00, we just happen to be in the right place and the school of fish came up right beside us. Within the next 10 cast, Angela had 4 keepers (including her 5.03 pounder) and I had 2 keepers. In other words……we had a horrible day and a great 5 minutes.


Lake Murray (Day 1)

Saturday, April 27th, 2013 at 7:00 am through Saturday, April 27th, 2013 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 849 Marina Way, Prosperity, SC 29127(Buffalo Creek Marina)

For the past few years, Lake Murray has been tough overall for our tournaments. Last year it only took 7.75 pounds to win on the first day and this year it was much the same with only 7.33 pounds winning. Keeper fish were hard to find last year and that was with a 12in size limit. With the increase to 14in, this year things were really tough. Lake Murray is one of the premier lakes on the East Coast so we must be doing something wrong with our timing. Last year it was cold and rainy on the second day and this year we had some rain but at least it was warmer. There were still a lot of fish on beds, but the ones I found were mostly bucks and did not seem to be locked on. I believe we have scheduled our tournaments for the past two years about 2 weeks late. Both times I think most of the fish had left the beds and were transitioning to main lake points for the herring spawn but had not really arrived there yet. On the second day last year Tiger was able to figure something out and found some fish on points, but I know other anglers had fished points heavily and had caught mostly strippers. He had 14.49 pounds to win it but most of our other anglers still struggled.

On the first day this year things were tough. Nobody was able to catch a limit. Chris Hoyle won with 4 fish weighing 7.33 pounds and Allen Cooke had big fish with a 4.12 pounder that he caught on a spinnerbait.

On the second day this year things did improve some but we still only had 3 limits. Chris Hoyle had an excellent day fishing a jig and ended up with a huge sack of 17.28 pounds with a 6.78 pound kicker. Angela had a good day with 11.37 pounds for 2nd place. Both Tiger and Allen Cooke were able to bring limits to the scales for 3rd and 4th places.

Congratulations to Chris Hoyle for winning both days and having big fish (6.78 lbs) on day 2. Congratulations to Allan Cooke for having big fish on day 1.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I fished the same general area we did last year and as we rode in after the first day I was sure we had made a mistake. Then when I saw there was so few fish caught and Angela placed 2nd, I was convinced we had been in the right place. We stayed in a rather small area and caught several fish, but most of them were 12-13ins. Angela managed to put 4 keepers in boat and with the super low weights everyone else had, I knew the area was as good or better than any. So the second day we returned to the same area. We saw some fish schooling on the first day but had not been able to reach them in time. I knew there were some really nice fish in the school and they seemed to be staying in the same general area. They would come up every hour or so and only stay up for a few seconds, but I could see some nice fish breaking. As the second day wore on, things were really slow. She had one keeper and I had only caught a few small fish. Then about 1:00, we just happen to be in the right place and the school of fish came up right beside us. Within the next 10 cast, Angela had 4 keepers (including her 5.03 pounder) and I had 2 keepers. In other words……we had a horrible day and a great 5 minutes.


Lake James

Saturday, March 30th, 2013 at 7:00 am through Saturday, March 30th, 2013 at 3:00 pm

We launched from 35.74828, -81.96721 (Black Bear Access)

Ahhhh…..Lake James. The beautiful shimmering gem nestled in the NC foothills. On this day, it was surrounded by snow capped mountains and bathed in warm sunshine. Well…….maybe not. The weather was not too bad but the fishing was really tough for most of us.

We had a good turn out with 19 club members and 4 guest.

Our 19 members were only able to bring 16 keepers to the scales for a total of 42.61 pounds. Fish were caught on several different lures including jerkbaits and spinnerbaits but the Alabama Rig dominated the tournament.

Congratulations to Tiger for another win with 4 fish weighing 10.98 pounds and to Chris Martin for a really nice 4.62 pound largemouth to win big fish.

Personal Tournament Summary: I have to admit that most of the time I look at a Lake James tournament as one that I need to just survive. If I can catch a couple of keepers I feel like I have had a pretty good day. This was a typical Lake James day for me. I caught my fish on a jerkbait in about a 15 min period of time. I missed 2 others that may have kept in the same 15 min period. Other than that……nothing. Angela missed a fish on a rock pile on a shakyhead and then we went back approximately 30 minutes later and she caught it. That was her only keeper. Next weekend we have the Western Regional Tournament on James……….I can’t believe that means we have to fish it two weekends in a row. I don’t have much faith in doing well, but I will fish as hard as I can and see what happens.


Lake Norman

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013 at 8:00 am through Saturday, March 2nd, 2013 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 4906 Burton Ln, Denver, NC 28037 (Little Creek Access Area)

This day started cold and didn’t really warm up much. We had a pretty major snow storm in first hour or so and although it melted quickly it made the air feel much colder and it made running difficult. Through out the day we had just about every thing mother nature could throw at us. We had snow, rain, sleet, wind and even a little sun from time to time. Much of the lake was still a little off color due to rain several days ago. Water temperatures from 45-48 degrees were reported in most areas of the lake with 58-60 degrees in the hot water discharge areas.

Our turnout was pretty good with 14 club members and 1 guest.

(This number was reduced due to the accidental death of an Ellenboro Fire Department member. Several of our members were not able to attend the tournament due to preparations for his funeral. We all want to keep his family in our prayers. )

Even with the bad weather, all of our members were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 39 keepers and 66.23 pounds. Fish were caught on a variety of baits……the key was fishing them S..L..O..W.

Congratulations to Gary Thompson for the win on a tough day with 7.03 pounds and to Tiger for a nice largemouth to win big fish at 3.88 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I had decided we were going to run down to Davison Creek since we had been catching several fish down there on rocky banks. We first hit a bank in Little Creek where I caught 1 little 13” keeper. We then ran down to Davison Creek and totally struck out so we had to scramble to see if we could catch a few keepers before we ran out of time. On the way back up the lake we stopped at a dock that I had marked some fish on a few weeks ago and on the first cast I missed one and then Angela caught one. The fish she caught was in 35 feet on the bottom on a shaky head. We ran back up the lake and fished in the area around the Marshall Steam Plant to see if we could find some warmer water. We did pick up a few more keepers and we able to salvage the day but it was tough.


Lake Wylie

Saturday, February 9th, 2013 at 8:00 am through Saturday, February 9th, 2013 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 35.107718 -81.039861 (Buster Boyd Access)

Once again we got lucky on the weather. There have been several cold rainy days but tournament day dawned clear and nice. Since we had heavy rain several days ago the water had some color and as happens at Wylie, the dirty water had moved down the lake and I was told the lower lake was muddier than the upper lake. The water temperature was in the upper 40s at blast off and as everyone knows, cold dirty water is about as tough as it gets. As the day worn on the water did warm some but still the fishing was very tough. Most of our anglers struggled to catch keeper fish as the lower numbers at the weigh-in showed.

Our turnout was excellent again with 22 club members and 1 guest. How tough the fishing was is evident when you look at the weigh sheet. Of the 23 anglers fishing 17 had 1 keeper fish or less. Of the 14 anglers that were able to bring fish to the weigh-in only 2 limits were weigh in. We had a total of 28 keepers caught for a total of 54.62 pounds.

Congratulations to Tiger for a nice limit of 10.15 pounds and to Tater for a nice 3.05 pound big fish.

The fishing was tough overall but fish were still caught on a variety of baits. I heard several people say they caught fish on shakeyheads. I was somewhat surprised because I would not consider a shakey head as being good dirty water bait. Other fish were caught on crankbaits, jerkbaits, jigs and umbrella rigs.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I fished up the lake most of the day. We found some warmer water and began pitching soft plastics and jigs on rocky banks. Most of our fish were in shallow water we had to fish an area several times to get bit. We ended up with 8 keepers between us and Angela lost 1 keeper at the boat in the last 10 minutes. I always enjoy fishing when the water is not super clear because it fits my strengths and allows me to fish the lures and baits that are my favorite. I even went old school and fished a jig with a large pork (real pork) trailer. I caught several fish on it and it reminded me of growing up fishing the Ohio River. Overall we were pleased with our day. I do wish Angela had been able to convert a few more of her bites and put a few more keepers in the boat.


Mountain Island Lake

Saturday, January 12th, 2013 at 8:00 am through Saturday, January 12th, 2013 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 35.353759, -80.97282 (Riverbend Public Access)

The weather was amazingly nice for a mid-January day. We did have some heavy fog in the morning that hung on til mid-morning but then it got really warm. In fact, it was almost hot. I was down to just my jersey by noon. We had partly cloudy skies and even an occasional sprinkle, but over all we couldn’t have asked for nicer weather.

Our turn out was excellent with 22 (all members) members fishing. Of the 22 members 14 were able to bring keepers to the scales for a total of 40 keepers and 58.83 pounds.

Congratulations to Billy Scoggins for the win with a limit weighing 8.7 pounds. I had big fish with a 3.80 pound Kentucky bass.

Fish were caught on several different lures including a jerkbait, jig, and texas rig.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I fished on the Saturday before the tournament and found a few fish on places that I had fished a few years ago. I felt like if there was some current we would have an excellent shot at catching a limit during the tournament. However, there was almost zero current. I am not sure if it was because of the warm weather or whatever but I did not ever see any movement in the water all day. The lack of current made things tough and we had to change our tactics. I caught my fish on a jig fishing much deeper than we had caught them the previous week. We had three places we wanted to fish and we simply moved back and forth from one to another throughout the day. Each place produced a few fish but I am certain that all of them would have been better if we had some moving water.