UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Lanier

Norris Lake Top 10 Patterns

Norris Lake Top 10 Patterns
James Watson

James Watson of Nixa, Mo., won the Walmart FLW Tour Invitational presented by Quaker State on Norris Lake with topwaters – mostly buzzbaits and River2Sea Whopper Ploppers. But Watson wasn’t the only one who dialed in the buzzing bite at Norris. More than half of the pros in the top 10 had a buzzbait figured into their game plan. Here is how other pros fished to make the cut at Norris.

Watson’s winning pattern

Complete results

 

Jason Lambert

2. Lambert cranks, finishes runner-up

Jason Lambert of Pickwick Dam, Tenn., gave James Watson a last-minute scare for the Norris Lake title, coming within 3 ounces of raining on Watson’s victory parade. He ended up second with 36-7.

Lambert fished Norris “Tennessee River style,” dredging a crankbait on deep structure.

“In practice I spent a lot of time graphing for schools,” Lambert says. “I found one pretty good group of fish located on a little drain running through a flat. The flats were 6 or 7 feet on top, and the ditch bottomed out in about 18 feet. There was a big rock pile on the edge in about 12 feet, and that was ‘the juice.’”

Lambert dredged the ditch with a Strike King 6XD in the mornings to score quick limits and then spent the rest of the day throwing a 1/4-ounce V&M buzzbait to cull up. On the last day, his fish on the hot spot wised up to his crankbait, and he had to resort to a V&M J-Mag Worm on a 5/8-ounce homemade shaky head to coax them into biting.

 

Tracy Adams

3. Adams scares a win on docks

Tracy Adams of Wilkesboro, N.C., turned in stronger limits each day, weighing in his best limit on the final day – 13 pounds, 8 ounces – to finish third and come within a pound of victory with a total of 35 pounds, 10 ounces.

Adams’ approach for the week was simple and efficient: pitch a jig to docks up the Clinch River.

“I was fishing the shallowest shade I could find,” Adams says. “And that meant fishing the backsides of floating docks up the river.”

His dock-fishing weapon of choice was a 7/16-ounce Jewel Finesse Jig teamed with a YUM Mighty Bug on 17-pound-test fluorocarbon.

Adams notes that he had to bump up his line from 14-pound test to 17-pound test due to the dock cables and zebra mussels costing him some fish on the first day.

 

Derrick Blake

4. Blake buzzes Norris for fourth

Derrick Blake of Rockwood, Tenn., parlayed his familiarity with Norris Lake into double-digit limits every day to score a fourth-place finish with 33 pounds, 14 ounces for the week.

Blake’s program was to hit as many visible targets in a day as possible. Such targets included laydowns, docks, rocks and stumps. His lure lineup consisted of a 1/2-ounce jig teamed with a Zoom Fat Albert Twin Tail Grub trailer and pitched on 25-pound-test fluorocarbon, as well as a 1/2-ounce Strikezone Grinder buzzbait teamed with a Stanley Ribbit and fished on 50-pound test braid.

“The first day, when it was hot and slick, I mostly flipped,” Blake says. “But once the clouds and colder weather moved in with the front on day two, I switched to a buzzbait.”

 

Wesley Strader

5. Strader staked claim in Clinch for fifth

Local favorite Wesley Strader was consistent at Norris Lake – almost too consistent. After posting almost identical weights of 10-11, 11-2 and 11-2, he spent all three days of the tournament in fifth place, finishing with a total of 32 pounds, 15 ounces.

Strader staked his claim in the upper reaches of the Clinch where he focused his efforts on intermittent rock piles and seams along the river’s edge.

“I was trying to get up the river where there was a little more current and color in the water,” Strader says. “Most of the riverbanks were mud, so any rock along the bank was key.”

Strader’s two best lures were a Stan Sloan’s Zorro Head Knocker buzzbait tied to 50-pound-test braid and fished on a Powell CB Max 3D rod and a Zoom Z-Hog Jr. tied to 16-pound-test Gamma Edge and fished on a Powell 795.

Strader worked parallel to the riverbank, trying to make contact with his buzzbait against the rocks.

“The fish were set up on any little vertical surface created by rock along the bank,” Strader says. “The first day I caught them on the buzzbait. But the last two days I did better pitching the Z-Hog Jr. up to those little rock faces.”

 

Michael Neal

6. Neal shimmied up shallow for sixth

Michael Neal ran his boat some 45 miles far up the Clinch River to get to its shallowest point and posted a sixth-place finish with a three-day total of 29 pounds, 1 ounce.

Once far up the river, Neal targeted mostly steep, flat rock and some isolated wood with buzzbaits, vibrating jigs and spinnerbaits.

His lure selection in the shallows included a 3/8-ounce True South Beater Buzz Buzzbait with a Big Bite Baits Suicide Shad, a 1/2-ounce True South Shimmy Jig with a Big Bite Baits Cane Thumper swimbait and a double willow-leaf spinnerbait.

“I was up there as far as you could go,” Neal says. “Any farther and you could wade the shoals.”

Neal’s strongest day was day two when he weighed in 12 pounds, 14 ounces after switching to a vibrating jig.

“I think I might have forced that buzzbait a little too much the first day,” he says. “On day two I picked up that Shimmy Jig and a spinnerbait and connected with a lot more bites.”

 

Matt Arey

7. Arey blades his way to seventh

Quaker State pro Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., finished seventh, catching 27 pounds, 9 ounces on the week.

Arey caught some fish on jigs around docks, but ended up doing most of his damage on a spinnerbait.

“I fished a spinnerbait here more this week than I have in the last five years,” Arey says. “I didn’t even have any with me. I had to borrow one from Blake Nick on the second day just to get by.”

Arey found the spinnerbait bite to be ultra-shallow, catching some of his keepers in less than a foot of water.

“Flatter mud banks were the ticket,” Arey adds. “I think after they pull a lake down like this and the water stabilizes, they get up there very shallow to feed.”

 

Ken Vicchio

8. Vicchio nails down eighth with one-two jig/buzzbait combo

Ken Vicchio of Bluff City, Tenn., finished the week in eighth place with a total of 26 pounds, 12 ounces.

Vicchio used a one-two punch of a 1/2-ounce flipping jig with a NetBait Paca Craw and a Lunker Lure Buzzbait to fish up in the Clinch River.

“It was a pretty simple tournament for me,” Vicchio says. “I fished the buzzbait in the mornings and then flipped a jig in the afternoons.”

 

William Campbell

9. Campbell uses one lure for top 10

William Campbell of Middlesboro, Ky., needed just one lure to amass a total of 24 pounds, 2 ounces for ninth place: a 1/2-ounce buzzbait with a Zoom Swimmin’ Super Fluke Jr. trailer.

“I was looking for points that had rocks, gravel and mud,” Davis says. “Having a little wind on those kinds of points helped, too. The fish sit down in the shadows of the rocks on those points, and when the buzzbait comes by overhead, they eat it.”

 

Scott Canterbury

10. Canterbury rounds out top 10 on flats

Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury of Springville, Ala., took the last spot in the top 10 with a total of 24 pounds.

“All I could really figure out about this lake is that the fish weren’t on the real good-looking stuff,” Canterbury says. “They were on the most nothing-looking stuff in the lake. The most consistent thing I could find was any little piece of wood up on a bare flat. Anytime I saw that, I’d cast a shaky head to it and catch a fish.”

Earlier in the week Canterbury covered a lot of water with his namesake Pro Buzz from Dirty Jigs Tackle teamed with a Zoom Horny Toad and a double willow-leaf spinnerbait, but mostly caught non-keepers. Once he slowed down and picked apart the wood targets with a Dirty Jigs Scott Canterbury Shakey Head with a NetBait T-Mac worm (scuppernong) he caught better quality fish.

Tags: norris-lake  top-10-patterns  james-watson  topwater  rob-newell  post-tournament  2016-10-20-norris-lake 

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

The top finishers in the recent Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn caught the lake when the shallow bite was just picking up. Sticking shallow around hydrilla with a wake bait, Aaron Johnson stayed consistent and won the event. Behind Johnson, there was a lot of room for pros to fish to their strengths, though there’s no doubt that shallow eventually won out. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake of the Ozarks

Top 10 Baits from Lake of the Ozarks

Jigs and topwaters – that’s pretty much all you need when it comes to fall in the Ozarks. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks

Top 10 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks

Five straight years of Lake of the Ozarks hosting a Toyota Series Plains Division event in October usually takes the guesswork out of what to expect. Anglers pretty much did what they’ve come to know as tried-and-true patterns on the historic fishery. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Norman

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Norman

Fall fishing in the southeast can be a challenge. Cold fronts, rainfall, rapidly cooling water and turnover can shake things up and make getting a bite much harder than normal. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Norman

Top 10 Baits from Lake Norman

The Toyota Series Eastern Division event on Lake Norman was a fall grinder. With the lake in fall transition and turnover occurring throughout the lake, some of the popular lure choices included shaky heads, jigs, buzzbaits and jerkbaits. Here is a closer look at the best baits of the top 10 pros. READ MORE »

Brown Tops Co-Anglers on Norman

Brown Tops Co-Anglers on Norman

Derek Brown of Charlottesville, Va., has fished the Toyota Series as a co-angler for about seven years and during that time has racked up five Toyota Series top-10’s. He has finished nearly everywhere in the top 10 except first. That all changed in a big way today when Brown won the Eastern Division event on Lake Norman with a three-day total of 20 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

Morrow Squeaks Out Norman Win

Morrow Squeaks Out Norman Win

Weighing 9 pounds, 7 ounces on the final day of the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on Lake Norman, Troy Morrow squeaked out the win by 4 ounces over Todd Walters. With a 32-3 total, Morrow earned the win on a super tough week and pocketed $24,795 for his efforts. The win is his fifth with FLW and his first since 2018. READ MORE »

Lake Norman Midday Update – Day 3

Lake Norman Midday Update – Day 3

It didn’t take the top 10 pros long to start catching fish on the third and final day of Toyota Series Eastern Division event on Lake Norman. Despite the coolest morning of the event at 44 degrees and a chilly northeast wind, the fish were biting. READ MORE »

Lake Norman Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Lake Norman Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

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. READ MORE »

Morrow Slips Ahead at Norman

Morrow Slips Ahead at Norman

Day two of the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on Lake Norman felt like fall all day, and it seemed to have the bass chewing. Improving from day one, Troy Morrow popped 12 pounds, 6 ounces on the scale for a 22-12 total and the lead. Going into the final day, Morrow is one of seven pros that have scraped over the 20-pound mark – essentially the entire top 10 is in the hunt for the win. READ MORE »

Lake Norman Midday Update – Day 2

Lake Norman Midday Update – Day 2

Anglers fishing the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on Lake Norman on day two were greeted with brisk north winds and temperatures in the high 40s this morning. The conditions seemed to spark up a better bite as many anglers were catching more fish than yesterday in the early morning hours. READ MORE »

Lake Norman Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Norman Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

It’s the time of year when bass can be in one foot of water or 40 feet of water. And nowhere is that more apparent than at the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on Lake Norman. READ MORE »

Stephens Sets the Pace at Norman

Stephens Sets the Pace at Norman

Fall fishing in the south is rarely easy. Cold fronts, rapidly cooling water, migrating shad and turnovers seem to scatter fish from top to bottom of the water column. Day one of the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on Lake Norman featured all of those challenging conditions and Michael Stephens of Gastonia, N.C. navigated them successfully to take the early lead with five spotted bass weighing 12 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

Lake Norman Midday Update – Day 1

Lake Norman Midday Update – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series on Lake Norman dawned bright and sunny this morning with a morning low of about 52 degrees. A light breeze had the schooling fish popping early and anglers were taking advantage of the fall feed. A lot of topwaters, swimbaits, jerkbaits and spy baits were being offered to the schoolers on main lake points. READ MORE »

Fall Junk Fishing Jam Starts at Norman

Fall Junk Fishing Jam Starts at Norman

The third and final Toyota Series Eastern Division event is off and rolling this morning on Lake Norman near Charlotte, N.C. While Norman has hosted a couple of past Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit events and is a popular stop for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League, this is the first time the Toyota Series has taken a crack at the large Carolina lake. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from the Detroit River

Top Patterns and Baits from the Detroit River

With the whole field boxed into the Detroit River for the first two days of the final Toyota Series Northern Division event, it’s natural that the main player was the river itself. But, on the final day, when folks could branch out, Scott Dobson actually ran to St. Clair and many of the other pros ventured into Lake Erie. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from Dardanelle

Top Patterns and Baits from Dardanelle

The beginning of the fall transition coupled with dirty water from end to end created difficult fishing conditions at the Toyota Series Plains Division opener at Lake Dardanelle presented by Fish-Intel, but anglers focused their attention to the backs of creeks and used a variety of baits to solve the riddle. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from Kentucky Lake

Top Patterns and Baits from Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake has the potential to churn out some big bags – look no further than the 2019 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open, when 21 teams weighed in more than 20 pounds on day one alone – but the 2020 iteration wasn’t as friendly to the college anglers who took to her waters this week. Here’s the skinny on how the top 10 teams caught their fish this week and what they caught them with. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac

Some of the top 10 pros chose a power approach to cover vast stretches of grass, while others slowed down with some of the finesse tactics that always seem to play on the Potomac. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Fort Gibson

Top 10 Patterns from Fort Gibson

The beginning of September helped mark the start of the fall transition in the south and that is exactly what the field faced in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Fort Gibson. From topwaters to soft plastics, the top 10 utilized a large chunk of Fort Gibson to catch their fish, with the Grand River paying the biggest role in the division’s second stop of the season. READ MORE »