Card brothers team up for Norman Open

Brothers Brandon and Jordan Card have been entering the same tournaments since their early teens in their native Tennessee. Sometimes they are a team, mostly they entered separately, but they are never against each other.

They share information, from what water to eliminate to the location of what might be a winning bass.

An example: Last season in the final Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open on Douglas Lake, when Brandon was close to qualifying for the Bassmaster Elite Series, Jordan caught a 6-pounder and another keeper. Jordan pulled up his trolling motor, raced about a mile to his brother and told him about the spot. Brandon ran there, but didn’t catch a keeper that made a difference to his day’s weight.

Didn’t matter. What counted was that Jordan was there for him, said Brandon, who was successful in turning Elite pro for the 2012 season.

“That was pretty neat. It was like his only goal was to help me,” said Brandon, who at age 25 is two years younger than Jordan.

Monday while practicing on Lake Norman for this week’s Thursday-Saturday Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open, the Card brothers were at it again.

“We probably call each other at least once an hour,” Brandon said from the water. “He’ll take one creek, and I’ll take another; we can cover a lot more water that way.”

Their method works because their fishing styles are so similar. The benefit is more productive water to go to during a tournament, and faster elimination of water that isn’t yielding bites. It’s like having twice the practice time.

They have worked out how to handle potentially sticky situations. They communicate each morning of competition to be sure they won’t take each other’s water. If a spot is small, the brother who found it has first pick. If the water can hold two anglers, they fish side-by-side. They have agreed to not split winnings.

Being in the same tournament hasn’t been the norm lately. Jordan moved to Cary, N.C., some time ago with his wife, while Brandon finished college at the University of Kentucky and moved back to Caryville, Tenn., not far from Norris Lake, where the brothers learned how to fish. This season, Jordan has been entering FLW events, and Brandon is competing as an Elite Series pro.

What they’d like to do next season is travel and work together on the Elite Series trail.

“It’s my goal to qualify for the Elite Series,” Jordan said. “I figure with two more good (Southern Open) finishes this year, I can make it into the top five in points. Then I’ll be out there with Brandon.”

Jordan has a good start. He was 35th in the first Southern Open on Florida’s Harris Chain. For Lake Norman — stop No. 2 of 2012 in the Southern Opens — he’s hoping lake experience gained since he moved to North Carolina will give him an advantage.

“I have fished Lake Norman quite a bit,” said Jordan. “I have knowledge of the lake, but I haven’t seen it lately.”

Last year on Norman, Brandon finished in fourth place, and Jordan 25th.

Whatever happens this week in North Carolina, the Cards appreciate the time together.

“I’m by myself so much on the Elite Series, it’s good to travel together and fish together again,” Brandon said. “Being together in the Opens brings us back to old times.”