Bass seemed to be a bit more cooperative on day two of the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on Lake Norman, especially in the largemouth department. For whatever reason, largemouths made more of an appearance in weigh-in bags today. Oddly enough, there were three identical 4-pound, 4-ounce largemouths caught on the day that tied for big bass.
Anglers believe the wind helped a lot with getting some better quality bites. Despite the largemouth showing, Troy Morrow leads the event with all spotted bass out deep. But he is being pursued by pros who cashed in on largemouths today. Here is a closer look at how the second through fifth place contenders are fishing.
2. Martin Villa – Charlottesville, Va. – 22 – 5 (10)
Martin Villa backed up his 11-pound, 11-ounce limit from day one with a 10-pound, 10-ounce limit today for a two-day total of 22 pounds, 5 ounces to hold him in second place.
Villa continued to junk his way across Norman, bouncing between shallow docks and deeper shoals.
“I caught my best fish, a 4-pound largemouth, up in the mud and my second-best fish – an 18-inch spot – in 22 feet of water,” Villa says. “That explains how random my fishing is here.”
In fact, Villa’s 4-pounder actually weighed 4 pounds, 4 ounces and tied for the big bass honors of the day.
Villa says he crisscrosses Norman hitting shallow docks and laydowns and stops to check shoals to keep them honest.
“Sometimes I just ride out there to the shoals, stop and look to see if they’re schooling,” he says. “If I see some schooling on top, then I’ll fish the area, scanning around with my electronics to see what the fish are doing. If they are staying put and feeding, I’ll fish it. If nothing is happening on the shoals, I run back the bank and fish shallow.”
3. Todd Walters – Kernersville, N.C. – 21 – 11 (10)
Todd Walters jumped from eighth to third today on the strength of an 11-pound, 15-ounce limit.
Walters says wind helped his bite today with two solid largemouths for kickers to go with three spotted bass.
“I caught one of those largemouth in 2 feet of water and the other in 20 feet of water in a brush pile,” Walters says.
Walters is also bouncing back and forth between shallow docks and deeper shoals and brushpiles. He has fished Norman quite a bit over the years and has found about 30 “pet” docks sweetened with brush that always seem to hold fish. In between the dock running, he checks shoals out deep.
“I’ll stop out there on the deeper shoals occasionally to check the temperament of the fish with the LiveScope,” Walters says. “If they seem lethargic and inactive, I’ll just keep moving. But if they are active and chasing bait, I’ll stick around and try to catch some out there. I’m not sure what determines their mood. I know other boats are fishing some of the same shoals, so maybe that pressure makes them spooky. It just seems there are little windows when you find them active and circling around bait.”
4. David Williams – Maiden, N.C. – 21 – 8 (10)
David Williams made one of the largest jumps of the day, from 26th to fourth, thanks to his 13-pound, 6-ounce limit, which was the biggest limit of the tournament so far.
Amazingly, Williams caught two twin largemouths weighing 4-pounds, 4-ounces apiece to bolster his limit. He also had a third largemouth in his bag.
“I caught both those fish on the same bait, fishing the same kind of stuff, but they were about 10 miles apart,” Williams says. “I fooled around with those spots too much yesterday just trying to catch a limit. Today I decided to put a big bait in my hand and fish it all day. I only caught six keepers, but they weighed much better than what I caught yesterday.”
5. Michael Stephens – Gastonia, N.C. – 21 – 4 (10)
Day one leader Michael Stephens slipped to fifth place today after weighing a limit for 8 pounds, 11 ounces.
“I had to fish all new water today,” Stephens says. “Where I caught the bigger ones yesterday, I didn’t get a bite today. They move around a lot here. So I had to go to some stuff I was trying to save just get a few bites.”