UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

Snow show

Snow show
Snow covered much of the bank at Lake Norfolk Marina as Illinois angler Richard Stevens launches on what was to be the first day of the Stren Series event in Mountain Home, Ark.

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. - A pair of Canada geese had no trouble hearing one another's honking chatter at the Lake Norfolk Marina Ramp, as Wednesday morning traffic was much lighter than it would have been had the Stren Series Central Division event at Mountain Home, Ark. proceeded as scheduled.

The weather for what was to be day one actually turned out nicely with light winds and lots of sunshine. It was Mother Nature's little temper tantrum earlier in the week that caused all the problems.A pair of Canada geese seem curious about the activity at the Lake Norfolk Marina boat ramp.

A wicked winter storm pushing across the south Monday and Tuesday dropped as much as 10 inches of snow throughout northern Arkansas. No doubt, the Ozarks assumed a picturesque visage, but snow on the mountains and snow on mountain roads generates completely different feelings - especially for anglers trying to reach the tournament site.

After fielding numerous calls from competitors unable to traverse the challenging road conditions, tournament Director Ron Lappin decided to move the registration from Tuesday to Wednesday and thereby shorten the event from four days to three.

Snow plows cleared roads and parking lots, but thick blankets of snow remained well into midday."We cancelled Tuesday's registration because we couldn't get (all of the competitors) here," Lappin said. "There was more snow than predicted. I had guys stuck on the side of the road, so we made the decision to (adjust) the tournament schedule."

Illinois angler Richard Stevens arrived Friday evening and got in a couple days of practice before the tournament week's early surprise.

"I got caught in the rain and the cold on Monday when the temperature dropped (approximately 20 degrees) and I nearly froze," Stevens said. "I suffered big time. I stayed in yesterday to recuperate so I could go out today."

Stevens said he'll run to the Pigeon Creek area and target brush piles in 40-plus feet of water with jigs and Carolina rigs.

Gary Steiner of Osheleda, Oklahoma, pulled into Mountain Home a week before the tournament's scheduled start. On Wednesday morning, he fixed a trailer tire issue and then headed out to check a Accompanied by handful of productive spots he had located during practice.

When he first arrived, Steiner found fish in a pattern with 42-degree water. When the water warmed up to the 50s, he identified a new pattern in the backs of coves. On Tuesday, Steiner, returned to Lake Norfolk for the first time since the water temperature fell into the low 40's and found that the fish had returned to the original deep water pattern.

Steiner said he would prefer to fish soft plastics in the backs of creeks against sheer rock walls, but that pattern may fall victim to the week's weather. If so, he'll rely on his back-up tactics of jigging spoons and drop shots.

"My warm-water pattern appears to be off since the water temperature dropped," Steiner said. "The backs of the creeks are a good 5-8 degrees cooler than when I had a good bite. I'm hoping the fish will get to the warm-water pattern because that was a better pattern. The cold-water pattern is more dependable, but the warm water has bigger fish."

Morning sunlight illuminates the whitened face of a hill on the west end of the Hwy. 62 Bridge across Norfolk Lake.Steiner expects to find the most consistent action in 23-35 feet, but he won't rule out shallow opportunities. "I'm going to go out and try to prove that I can catch fish deep. As the days warm up, I'm going to go into the backs of creeks and see if the other pattern is on."

Steiner's 18-month-old German wire hair griffin "Zeke," joined him for Wednesday's practice. Zeke has to sit out the qualifying days but Steiner said he'll bring his pal along on Saturday if he makes the top-10 cut.

To reach that objective, competitors will have to gut it out during the second qualifying day, as another winter storm moves through the region. According to the National Weather Service, Thursday's 8 a.m. launch will see temperatures in the low 30s with daytime highs around 39 degrees. Winds will shift to the north-northeast at 10-15 mph and nighttime temperatures will fall below 30.

Rain showers are likely Thursday afternoon and snow should start falling before midnight. Snowfall isLike most businesses throughout Mountain Home, the local Wal-Mart saw mounds of plowed snow lining its parking lot. forecast for most of Friday with temperatures in the low 30s through noon. Afternoon highs will reach 35 degrees and north-northeast winds of 15 mph will continue.

Thursday could see some decent action in shallow water, but by the afternoon of day one, the bite will likely exist primarily in deep water. Friday and Saturday should see mostly a deep bite.

Logistics

The Stren Series event, which runs March 6-8, is the first of four regular-season Central Division events. Hosted by the Mountain Home Area Chamber of Commerce, the Lake Norfolk tournament offers a total purse of $275,225. The winning pro could earn as much as $65,000 in cash and prizes if contingencies are met, and the winning co-angler could earn as much as $35,000.

Anglers will take off from Henderson Point Park, located off Highway 62 East in Henderson, at 8 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Weigh-ins also will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Saturday's weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 65 Wal-Mart Drive in Mountain Home, Ark., beginning at 4 p.m.

The full field will compete Thursday and Friday and the top 10 pros and 10 co-anglers advance to Saturday's final round. Winners will be determined Saturday by the heaviest accumulated weight from all three days of competition.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2008-03-05-norfork-lake 

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