CORNELIUS, N.C. — A big opening day followed by double-digit limits the next two days made a winner of Tracy Adams at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open on Lake Norman.
The Wilkesboro, N.C., angler set the pace the first day of the tournament with a 20-pound, 13-ounce limit and kept adding to his lead the next two rounds. Today, he bagged a 10-12 limit to finish with 45-6, which netted him the pro division top prize of a Triton bass boat/Mercury outboard rig valued at $45,000 and $7,360 in cash. The victory also ensured Adams a berth in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic provided he fishes all three Southern Opens.
Adams said he believes his heavy catch the first day clinched the win for him, especially when he caught a 4 1/2- and 6-pounder off the same bed. “Whoever got those fish was going to win the tournament, and luckily I got them,” he said.
“I had a good day yesterday,” said Adams, after adding a 13-13 limit on the second day. “I saw a couple of fish and they weren’t bedding. But I knew which docks they were under, so I caught them. It just worked out. When it is your time, it is your time.
“Today I knew I just had to go out and survive it and get 10 or 11 pounds. I thought that would be enough. And luckily I did.”
The North Carolina pro completed his limit by 9 a.m. today while fishing close to the take-off area and kept adding to his catch throughout the day. He caught most of his fish on a Reaction Innovations 4.95 Flirt Worm with a 1/8-ounce shaky jighead. His lures for the bedding fish were a Ki-Tech swimbait and Zoom Speed Craw.
Bassmaster Elite Series pro Bradley Roy of Kentucky took second place with 36-12. He caught all of his fish either jerking a Spro McStick stickbait for suspended fish or skipping a wacky rigged Berkley Bottom Hopper.
“A lot of my fish were guarding fry hanging around the shade of the docks,” said Roy. “I skipped that (Bottom Hopper) in there and it scared the fry, and the big fish came up and ate it,” he said.
The rest of the pro division’s Top 5 finishers were David Williams, North Carolina, third, 35-2; Allan Engelmeyer, Maryland, fourth, 34-6; and Clifford Pirch, Arizona, fifth, 34-2.
Taking home the top prize — a Nitro bass boat with a Mercury outboard worth $35,000 — for finishing first on the co-angler side was Glynn Goodwin of Ohio. The 30-year-old pipefitter had a three-day catch of 19-12. He was using a Carolina rigged Zoom Speed Craw and Strike King 3X worm on a shaky head.
“While my partners were looking for beds, I had a lot of success just throwing out and trying to catch the bigger females. That worked for me on the second day, but today I just caught smaller spots (spotted bass).”
Other co-anglers finishing in the Top 5 were C.J. Freeman, South Carolina, second, 17-11; Ethan Cox, North Carolina, third, 17-5; Tom McDermott, North Carolina, fourth, 16-14; and John Kunze, West Virginia, fifth, 16-7.
Winning the Carhartt Big Bass of the tournament was Matthew McBee of Concord, N.C., with a 6-pound, 5-ounce bass. He won $500 in prize money. Adams’ 20-13 catch won the Luck “E” Strike Heavyweight Award for the heaviest stringer of the tournament in the pro division, and Goodwin earned the award on the co-angler side with a 9-9 catch.