UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Lake Norman Top 5 Patterns Day 1

Lake Norman Top 5 Patterns Day 1
Wesley Strader

When the Walmart FLW Tour Invitational presented by Lowrance on Lake Norman was first announced, it was assumed locals would dominate the top of the field. Indeed, George Hirapetian of Charlotte, N.C., is holding the top spot but just behind him a few outsiders have snuck up in the top five, representing Tennessee, Florida and Georgia and proving that local advantage is not always an ace card.

One thing is for sure, the field weights are stacked tight: only a pound and a half separates 2nd through 10th. If anyone so much as flinches tomorrow, they could drop 20 spots in a hurry.

Here is a look at how some of the others in the top five fared after day one.

Hirapetian's leading pattern

Complete results

Wesley Strader

2. Wesley Strader - Spring City, Tenn. - 13-0 (5)

Wesley Strader tapped a short-lived shallow bank bite this morning to score two doozie largemouths - including one weighing 4 pounds, 12 ounces - to anchor his day one weight of 13 pounds for second place.

"We're still in late, late summer, right on the cusp of fall," Strader says. "They want to be up there feeding on those bluegills in the morning, but we're just not quite there yet. I can run the bank in the morning and maybe get a bonus bite or two, but after that I have to go find some current or deeper brushpiles to get bit."

"I think if the water temperature would cool off maybe five or six degrees it would help keep that shallow bite going longer in the morning," he adds. "But now it's just too dicey to commit to it all day when I have other options."

John Cox

3. John Cox - DeBary, Fla. - 12-12 (5)

Reigning Forrest Wood Cup Champion John Cox reeled in the third place spot with 12 pounds, 12 ounces.

Cox, once again, ran his aluminum as far as it would go up a river until he found current where he capitalized on a couple of better bites.

"It got crowded up there pretty quick," Cox says. "I don't know how much longer fishing up the river will hold up. I do have one little place that I got into during practice where I got a few bites, but I didn't go in there today. I wanted to see what I could catch just fishing around in the river. I might try to get in there tomorrow, but it's pretty hard to get into - especially with this lower water."

Jason Meninger

4. Jason Meninger - Gainesville, Ga. - 12-3 (5)

Jason Meninger came to Norman hoping to catch spotted bass out deep like he does on his home lake at Lanier, but he ended up running shallow water, hoping to connect with random wolf packs.

"I'm running a lot of shallow banks with a topwater and then skipping a few docks as well," Meninger says. "I thought I could come here and fish this place like Lanier, but instead it reminds me more of fishing Lake Ouachita in Arkansas where those fish will wolf pack on the bank in the heat of the summer."

Scott Beattie

5. Scott Beattie - Lincolnton, N.C. - 12-0

Local pro Scott Beattie rounds out the top five with 12 pounds even.

Beattie has fished Norman since he was 8 years old and literally knows hundreds of offshore spots. Today he hit between 90 and 100 of those offshore spots to catch his fish.

"It's amazing how many fish I had to weed through to catch 12 pounds," Beattie says. "I probably went through 35 fish to get my weight today."

Beattie says he fishes his offshore sweet spots in a typical Lake Norman run and gun fashion: pulling up, making two to ten casts and then zipping off to the next one.

"A lot of those places are small brushpiles and rockpiles that I can cover in just a few casts," he says. "I fished one today that was 33 feet deep, which produced a few fish. But the strange part is I never caught a single largemouth today. It's like those spots have taken everything over out there. But, fortunately I caught two 3-pounders that helped big time."

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2016-09-15-lake-norman 

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