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Lake Norman Day 2 Coverage

Lake Norman Day 2 Coverage
Chris Gosselaar

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Tournament details

Hirapetian’s leading pattern

Top five patterns from day one

Complete results

Complete OTW estimates 

 

2:07 p.m.: We’re running out of time on moving day

With just 50 minutes before the first flight is due back to Blythe Landing for weigh-in, now is the time to make something happen before the final bell. From someone like Todd Auten (who needs to fill his limit to get into the top 20), to Wesley Strader (who is a decent cull away from the lead), there’s a lot of opportunity available in the last minutes of the day. One man who made the most of it is Wayne Hauser, who just filled his limit and is unofficially the last man in the top 20 as of now. 

For now, we’re closing things down before weigh-in. If you’re around Norman, feel free to come on down to Blythe Landing at 3 p.m. ET. If you aren’t in the area, make sure to watch live at flwfishing.com!

 

1:50 p.m.: Another lull has set in

After a flurry of catches across the board about a hour ago, the fish seem to have slowed down a bit. Sure, Billy Shelton has culled a bit to get near 10 pounds, and David Williams caught a 3-pounder to get his limit to about 9 pounds, but they’re some of the only pros making noise. We’ve seen plenty of lake-wide lulls in this derby, and the pros will probably just have to fish through it. With just over an hour remaining on the day, it’s time to buckle down and assure a spot in the top 20 or get in position to take the lead on the final day. 

 

Blake Nick

1:20 p.m.: Fishing the hot hole

You wouldn’t think that 97-degree water would be loaded with bass, but the warm water discharges from the power plants on Lake Norman seem to be holding quite a few fish. From Blake Nick to Luke Dunkin and Wesley Strader, a pretty solid contingent of pros are hanging out chasing breaking and schooling bass around the artificially generate heat and current. Today, though a number of pros are throwing topwaters at breaking bass, the deal seems to mostly be small swimbaits. It’s odd to see fish getting caught in the warmest water on the lake, but where there’s bait and current there are apparently bass. 

 

David Dudley

1:00 p.m.: Stephens, Beattie and Dudley are surging

As the afternoon wears on, the fishing seems to be getting better, either as the weather makes something happen or the pros simply dial things in just a bit more. Moments ago, David Dudley culled with a 3-pounder to move back into the top 10, and Scott Beattie and Michael Stephens are catching quality and moving up past the 11-pound mark. Currently, on the back of a big one earlier in the day and a few 2-pounder snow, Beattie has cruised to about 24 pounds total and is in the lead.

 

Luke Dunkin

12:50 p.m.: Top 20 weight estimates

Here’s a look at the leaders by total (unofficial) weight so far.

Michael Stephens – 23.1 (10)

Michael Neal – 22.3 (10)

George Hirapetian – 22.2 (10)

Scott Beattie – 21.7 (9)

Bryan Thrift – 21.7 (10)

Wesley Strader – 21.4 (10)

Tracy Adams – 21.2 (10)

Matt Arey – 20.9 (10)

Rodney Morrow – 20.9 (10)

Todd Hollowell – 20.75 (10)

John Cox – 20.7 (10)

Scott Canterbury – 19.9 (10)

Jason Meninger – 19.8 (10)

David Dudley – 19.2 (10)

Billy Shelton – 19.2 (10)

Chris Gosselaar – 19.1 (10)

Luke Dunkin – 18.8 (10)

Blake Nick – 18.5 (10)

Shane LeHew – 18.4 (10)

Jim Tutt – 18.1 (10)

You can find a running spreadsheet of all the weights here.

 

Jonathan Henry

12:10 p.m.: The bigs are starting to bite

All of a sudden, the fish have started to bite on Norman. Scott Beattie just caught a keeper for his fourth, and is really about one fish away from taking the lead. Meanwhile, Rodney Morrow is surging up the leaderboard after catching one that goes nearly 4 pounds to bring his total up to about 12 pounds. Meanwhile, Jonathan Henry’s third keeper is about 3 pounds and Luke Dunkin filled his limit to get to about 8 pounds.

One man who’s catching a lot of fish is Bryan Thrift. He’s caught them all day, and is up to more than 10 pounds. That’ll put him at more than 20 pounds, and if you add a little for thrift magic, he’s threatening at the lead. 

 

David Dudley

11:25 a.m.: The front of the pack is making moves

While Matt Arey’s morning bite seems to have pretty much died, others are starting to fill in the gaps in the hunt for Hirapetian. Wesley Strader just added his fourth fish to the box, to bring his total of up about 20 pounds. Right on him, Scott Beattie is catching quality, but not quantity. So far, he’s got three in the box worth about 8 pounds and also has close to 20 total. Aditionally, Blake Nick could be making an argument for the lead in a bit as well. He's got the biggest bag of the day at 11 pounds, and is about 2 pounds away from that magic 20-pound mark. Right now, one more big bite for almost anyone could swing this thing in a big way. 

 

11:05 a.m.: The leader has a limit

George Hirapetian came into the day with a lead, and it looks like he’s hanging tough against the pack of FLW Tour pros surrounding him. He just caught his fifth keeper, bringing his limit up to more than 7 pounds. Now, our estimate puts his total at about 22 pounds, just a smidge ahead of Matt Arey. Even if he doesn’t catch another fish all day, he’s pretty much locked up a chance to fish on the weekend. 

 

Scott Beattie

10:55 a.m.: Morning weight estimates

Here’s a look at the leaders by total (unofficial) weight so far.

Matt Arey – 20.9 (10)

George Hirapetian – 20.8 (9)

Tracy Adams – 20.5 (10)

Scott Canterbury – 19.9 (10)

Michael Neal – 19.8 (9)

David Dudley – 19.2 (10)

Bryan Thrift – 19.2 (10)

Wesley Strader – 18.4 (7)

Shane LeHew – 18.4 (10)

Scott Beattie – 18 (7)

 

10:30 a.m.: Dudley is catching every bass in the lake

David Dudley loves catching bass, so it’s no surprise he loves Lake Norman. Over the last 30 minutes or so, he’s basically catching a bass on every cast. Skipping docks with a little worm, Dudley has a pretty good deal going. He says that the best way to catch a big one is to catch a lot of them, so he may be on track to a kicker in a bit. 

 

10:15 a.m.: The clouds are starting to break

So far today, the forecast has been pretty much right on. Though perhaps a tick cooler than expected in the morning, the clouds have stuck around about as long as forecast. Now, with the wind laying down, the sun is beginning to pop out in earnest all over the lake. On day one, there wasn’t much of a difference between the fishing early and late, but it does seem like the offshore bite fires up a bit as more sun comes into play. So, that’s something to watch. 

 

George Hirapetian

9:40 a.m. Hirapetian is putting it together and Tutt is coming on strong

After boxing his fourth keeper of the day, George Hirapetian has likely regained the lead by a smidge over Matt Arey. None of his fish are really big, but he started the day with enough cushion to catch back up pretty quickly. He was concerned about his docks being played out on day one, but that doesn’t seem to be the case now. Though he only has four, he did lose at least one quality fish and could easily have a good one or two in the boat with some better luck.

One of the pros who is steadily catching is Jim Tutt. Now, he’s got a limit for about 8 pounds, and we think he’s safely moved into the top five or so. Scott Canterbury is also slowly building up, and has a pair of keepers now. Fishing up the river with him, John Cox just caught his first keeper of the day. 

 

Wesley Strader catching on day one

 

8:55 a.m.: Early weight estimates

Without going too in-depth, here’s a look at the leaders by total (unofficial) weight so far.

Matt Arey – 20.5 (10)

Michael Neal – 19.8 (9)

Wesley Strader – 18.4 (8)

Shane LeHew – 17.25 (9)

George Hirapetian – 17 (7)

Tracy Adams – 17 (10)

Jim Tutt – 17 (10)

Bryan Thrift – 16.5 (4)

 

Michael Neal

8:30 a.m.: More updates from around the field

While George Hirapetian is plugging away (and just got to his best stretch of docks), there’s a lot happening around him. The current leader (unofficially) is Matt Arey, who has four for about 8 pounds and had edged ahead of the rest of the field. Behind him, Brian Travis, Bryan Thrift, Tim Cales, Ron Farrow, Jim Tutt and Shane LeHew each have four keepers, but nothing of size. Wesley Strader and Luke Dunkin also each have a keeper in the boat.

Besides Arey, Michael Neal is also doing work this morning. He’s got a pretty heavy 3-pounder in the box already and a pair of 2-pounders to go with it. That’s absolutely the right quality to be on heading into the weekend. 

 

George Hirapetian

8:10 a.m.: Hirapetian has two

George Hirapetian had a slow start on day one, but today he’s on the board a bit faster. After nothing for a good bit, Hirapetian quickly boated a pair of small keepers to get his limit going. Today, he's fishing docks with a little Texas rig and between them is throwing a crankbait, spinnerbait or Whopper Plopper.

 

Matt Arey

7:40 a.m.: Arey strikes with a kicker

So far today, the biggest fish in the boat belongs to Matt Arey. He caught plenty of midrange quality on day one, but never really found a kicker. Today, he’s started thing off with a 3.25 that should set him up well for a run up the leaderboard considering he added a 1.25 shortly thereafter.

Around the field, Shane LeHew, Tracy Adams, David Dudley, Jonathan Henry and Greg Mansfield each have keepers in the boat now. Unsurprisingly, Bryan Thrift already has his second keeper in the box. 

 

7:20 a.m.: Lots of early action again

Like day one, the pros are catching quick on day two at Norman. Early on, Ron Farrow is up to his tricks again and has already netted a pair of keepers and a 3-pounder. Right up near the leader, Jason Meninger is on the boat with a keeper that goes somewhere between 1 and 2 pounds. Elsewhere, Bryan Thrift, David Williams, Todd Auten and Jim Tutt each have a fish in the boat to start things off. 

 

Wesley Strader

7:00 a.m.: Everyone is still in it on day two

Contrary to day one of the Walmart FLW Tour Invitational presented by Lowrance, the pros heading out this morning on Lake Norman will have a fairly autumnal start to the day. Though light winds and warm weather are in the forecast, there’s a little chill in the air at Blythe Landing Park today and a crisp breeze to go with it. Once the sun gets up, we’re expecting another beauty of a day, and plenty of fish just like day one.

George Hirapetian took the lead on day one with 14-7, but he’s got a pretty stout pack right behind him. A local from Charlotte, N.C., Hirapetian has a trio of FLW Tour pros hunting him down – Wesley Strader, John Cox and Jason Meninger have five top-10 Tour finishes between them on the year.  

While who holds the lead at the end of weigh-in is crucial, we’re also looking long and hard at the rest of the top 20 cut. With weights being as tight as they are, there’s a chance that almost anyone who makes the cut will have at least an outside shot at the win on Saturday. With $60,000 (or more if the winner is Ranger Cup qualified) and a Forrest Wood cup berth on the line, every fish counts.

 

Day one GoPro highlights 

 

Tournament details

Format: All pros will compete for the first two days. The top 20 pros based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7 a.m. ET

Takeoff Location: Blythe Landing Park, 15901 NC Highway 73, Huntersville, N.C. 28078

Weigh-In Time: 3 p.m. ET

Weigh-In Location: Blythe Landing Park

Complete details

 

Conditions - Five-Day Forecast

Temperature at takeoff: 68 degrees

Forecast high: 85 degrees

Sky: cloudy at takeoff; clearing throughout the day

Precipitation: 10 percent chance of showers

Wind: Northeast around 7 mph

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

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