UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Final Invitational Set for Norris

Norris Lake

The final Walmart FLW Tour Invitational of the year is set for Norris Lake Oct. 20-22. A Forrest Wood Cup berth and cash prizes will be on the line at the event, which is hosted by the Anderson County Tourism Council and presented by Quaker State.

Winding through the hills of east Tennessee, Norris Lake is huge, seldom fished by major tournaments and home to some of the better smallmouth fishing in Tennessee. Though there are plenty of locals in the 103-boat field, Norris isn’t well known to many of the competitors. The FLW Tour has never before visited Norris Lake, and an FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) event in 2016 was the first FLW tournament ever held there. Though weights would certainly be higher later in the year or in the spring, we’re going to learn a lot about Norris when the Invitational gets underway.

 

Norris Lake

The layout

“Norris Lake is a fantastic fishery, but it’s going to be a little tricky in this tournament,” says Luke Dunkin of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., who finished in 16th place at the first FLW Tour Invitational last month at Lake Norman. “The lake is facing some major drawdowns. It can be close to 20 feet at times that the lake comes down. It’s also still been pretty warm here, and the fish are just starting to transition into their fall patterns. It’s going to be a typical early fall grinder-type tournament.”

Currently, Norris is about 20 feet below full pool, which is nothing out of the ordinary for Norris and many of the surrounding east Tennessee mountain reservoirs. As such, the bass are used to it, and low water conditions usually don’t hurt the fishing much.

“The lake isn’t very wide, but it’s huge,” Dunkin says. “It’s one of those deals where when you pick an area, you’re there. You can run well over an hour up each of the two rivers [Clinch and Powell] and still not be all the way up them. Decision-making is going to be huge, and this is going to be a very interesting tournament for the fans to follow because it’s a total unknown.”

 

Norris Lake

The fishing

The actual fishing on Norris figures to be very diverse. Not only because early fall tends to scatter fish, but also because of the variety of bass in the lake.

“We’re going to see all three species of bass weighed in, but I think the winner will likely have a majority of largemouths,” says Dunkin. “There are some giant smallmouths there, and there are some good spots [spotted bass], but it is very difficult to pattern them and catch five good ones, especially this time of year. Those east Tennessee smallmouths are so different than in any other place in the country. They like to move around, and they can break your heart.”

Dunkin says that topwater baits, jigs, square-bill crankbaits and swimbaits will all be popular baits for competitors in this tournament. Additionally, there’s a chance that some anglers will choose to focus in on smallmouths, and that might require finesse techniques.

“I think if a guy can put together 12 to 14 pounds each day, he’ll be right there at the end,” says Dunkin. “The way the weather has been as of late, we’re just in a grind. I’m going to say the winner will have a three-day total of 38 pounds. The potential for some big weights is there, though, and with the right conditions it could take a lot more.”

While mild late-summer temperatures have prevailed of late, the right conditions would be some rain, wind and cool weather. If fall decides to bear down in earnest on Norris while the tournament is underway we could be in for a smallmouth slugfest.

 

Tournament details

Format: FLW Tour Invitational events are pro-only tournaments. The entire field fishes on days one and two. The top 10 anglers based on cumulative two-day weight qualify to fish the final day. The winner is determined by the heaviest three-day cumulative weight.

A Cup berth: In addition to a cash prize, the winning pro earns a spot at the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup.

Takeoff: Anglers will take off at 7:30 a.m. ET from Anderson County Park, 2191 Park Lane, Andersonville, Tenn.

Weigh-in: Daily weigh-ins take place at Anderson County Park at 3 p.m. ET.

Tags: pre-tournament  2016-10-20-norris-lake 

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