NC anglers catching big bass despite cold weather

CorrespondentMarch 19, 2014 

A handful of fish are impressive in size. Now for the fish to be impressive in quantity.

The fishing has been tough in early-season Piedmont Bass Classics events, and no one will be happier than organizer Phil McCarson when winter releases its grip.

“Even though we have had some good catches since the end of February, the fishing has been somewhat tough and uncomfortable with the weather patterns,” McCarson said Monday night. “The pounds of fish weighed in have been less than normal due to the weather.”

The anglers who do manage good days have weighed in fish that leave McCarson marveling.

“What really is confusing is that we have had some of the biggest bass I have ever seen weighed in,” he said. “We had an 11.32-pounder weighed in at Jordan (Lake) and a 10.43 weighed in at Hyco Lake. These are the two biggest bass I have ever weighed in my 30 years of directing the tournaments.”

Most days, a 9.37-pounder weighed in by Keith Deal of Holly Springs and Ricky Kenworth of Cary would be a tournament’s big fish. But at the March 1 Team Bass Spring Mini Trail Qualifier No. 2 on Jordan at Farrington Point, the lunker was runner-up. The duo won with 27.80 pounds, worth $804, but the biggest fish was caught by Erwin’s Jesse Wise and Dennis Alexander and weighed a Piedmont Bass Classics record 11.32 pounds. The 21 teams were rewarded with 35 prespawn bass totaling 157 pounds.

The 10.43-pounder was the big fish of Saturday’s Hyco Lake Open, and it helped the Greensboro duo of Jimmy Wall and James Wall take $1,602 in winnings with a five-bass total of 31.72. The pleasant weather helped 34 teams catch 97 fish totaling 228 pounds.

On March 8, tough fishing meant it took just two fish for Todd Massey of Chapel Hill and Brandon Gray of Bullock to win the Boats Unlimited NC Team Tournament Bass Trail Qualifier No. 2 out of Farrington Point. Their 12.15 total, including a 7.69-pounder, earned $4,268 in prizes and bonuses, plus a $7,000 Triton Boats Gold Bonus for which Massey was eligible. Just 28 fish were weighed, but the 104-pound total included several fish topping 5 pounds, McCarson reported.

The Feb. 22 Boats Unlimited NC Team Tournament Bass Trail opener drew a record 94 boats on a beautiful day on Harris Lake. Massey and Gray won with one of two limits weighed.

McCarson looks forward to better days ahead.

“The lakes in this area never cease to amaze me with what they keep producing,” he said. “The good thing is it’s going to get even better with the weather getting warmer.”

The Mini Trail Qualifier No. 3 takes place Saturday at the Triple Springs ramp on Mayo Reservoir. Learn more at, or contact McCarson at 919-971-5042.

Banquet on Thursday night: The Wayne County chapter of Coastal Conservation Association North Carolina will hold a banquet Thursday night at Walnut Creek Country Club. Contact Cameron Wright, executive director, at or 919-781-3474.

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