MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Anglers have come from all over to take their best shot at Lake Norman during today’s Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks Owners Tournament. The competitors are fishing in a no-entry-fee tournament that pays down to the Top 30 team of two.
Among the pairs are father-son duos, long-time friends and club anglers — plus a father-daughter team and a husband-wife pairing. Competitors hail from as far north as New York and Pennsylvania and from as far west as Texas.
“We’ve never fished with each other before,” said Klaus Hadschin of his partner, Steve Miller. “We’ve always fished against each other in tournaments. And we’ve always told lies on each other.”
But today, the North Carolina angler is fishing in concert with Miller, of Virginia, after three to four decades of competing against each other in tournaments.
Lewis Bouhkris and his daughter, Cara, drove from nearby Hendersonville, N.C., to take on Lake Norman’s largemouth and spotted bass. “He’s taught me everything I know about fishing,” said Cara. We’ll see at today’s weigh-in if their years of father-daughter time on the water will pay off here.
Bill and Darlena Jones of Ponte Vedra, Fla., made the journey north for the tournament. “We’ve been married for 26 years,” said Darlena, “and we fish together when we can.”
A couple of names on today’s roster are very familiar. Hank Cherry and Carson Orellana, both of North Carolina, just won the 2012 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open on Alabama’s Smith Lake (Cherry in the pro division and Orellana in the co-angler division). Paul Ham of South Carolina, who took Carhartt Big Bass honors at the same Open, is also competing today.
Early reports from the water are that the bass are biting, but many have been too short or too wily to get fully hooked. Scott Dupree and his partner, Reggie Norflett, both of North Carolina, were fishing docks and had two keepers around 10 a.m. “If we caught what we missed, we would have a limit,” said Dupree.
Competitors will weigh in at 2 p.m. ET today at Queen’s Landing in Mooresville. Anglers can catch a limit of five bass per team, and the minimum size is 14 inches. To qualify to fish in this tournament, one member of each team must be a registered participant in the Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks program.