Fog wasn't a problem at the 7 o'clock takeoff this morning. In fact, what little there was appeared to be lifting in the first couple of hours. But it has suddenly fallen all over us.
I'm taking photos this week on Lake Norman and unlike most tournament venues this year, I know this lake well. Norman is one of my home lakes and one of my favorites.
It's not surprising to see anglers throwing swimbaits whether it's a single or with an umbrella rig. While that is popular, this lake is undoubtedly a shakey head/drop shot fishery. With as many docks as Lake Norman provides you can fish them for months without fishing the same dock.
Also, Hank Cherry made skipping a jig a popular tactic around these parts.
Maybe Carl Jocumsen's luck is changing for the better after the nightmare of a vehicle burglary he suffered during his travels to Lake Norman. We just pulled up on him as he boated a double caught on an umbrella rig. Only one met the 14-inch minimum length limit. It was his second keeper of the morning.
I'm cruising Lake Norman this week with a pair of Moores, not to be confused with the rock band Paramore or the (preferred) paramore. BASS employee Ronnie Moore is shooting photos and his father, Ron, is our boat driver. They are actually, Ron Moore III and Ron Moore Jr., respectively.
Ron has a landscaping business in Willow Spring, N.C., a suburb of Raleigh.
"It's going to be a long day, with my son as the boss," laughed Ron at takeoff this morning. "We're going to have to put a life jacket on his head before the day is over."
Actually, they interact almost like brothers. It's for sure a tight father-son bond. And they've spent many hours together on this Ranger Boat, a lot of them on Lake Norman.
Matt Lee is trying to join his brother Jordan as an Elite Series qualifier for next season. His boat was the first one we found on Lake Norman this morning.
Lee entered this event 6th in the Southern Open point standings, but Justin Lucas, who was in 2nd place, isn't fishing this event because he has already qualified for the Bassmaster Classic. So the door is slightly open for Lee.
I asked him if he would definitely fish the Elite Series next year, if he qualifies.
"Yes," Lee said. "Great question. No pressure or anything. I'll probably think about that all day."
I've known Matt since he and Jordan were the finalists in College BASS a few years back. He doesn't mind giving me a little grief, obviously.
Lee said he caught 14 bass in the first 30 minutes this morning, but only 3 meant the 14-inch minimum. That bite has died, and he is moving on.
Chad Morgenthaler was boat No. 1 of 146 in the field for opening day of the Bass Pro Shops Southern Open. Takeoff began at 7 o'clock under partly cloudy skies, very little wind and temperatures in the mid 60s.
It's supposed to be a beautiful day in the Charlotte area, with a high temperature in the mid 80s. Some anglers might be hoping for a little more wind than they're predicted to get today. It's supposed to be in the low single digits out of the south/southwest.
It will be interesting to see if the bass fishing at Lake Norman is as tough as predicted at last night's anglers' meeting, when 13 pounds a day was consistently forecast as a winning weight here.
Local favorite and Elite Series pro Hank Cherry is ready to go on Day 1 of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open presented by Allstate on Lake Norman. He has plenty of time to wait though, he is third from last in the launch order. He needs a win to make the 2015 Bassmaster Classic.
I hope the fish keep biting like they have all week. It's been a fun practice on Lake Norman but challenging weather. Let's get this tournament started!
Update from Bassmaster Championship....there is still a chance.....finishing 16th place, after weighing in 37.6 lbs...still one man out of the Classic....hopefully the next man in!
The Southern Open on Lake Norman is the last chance to get a Classic seat...if one of the top 39 Elite Anglers win, or if an angler fishing -that has not fished all 3 Southern Opens wins....I am in! If all goes right, THAT IS THE PLAN.