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Luck takes a turn for Lake Norman fisherman, who scores big

Luck takes a turn for Lake Norman fisherman

It seemed the spring fishing season had been expensively spoiled for Mark Holman of Cornelius.

In April the outboard motor blew up on his bass boat, which he used mainly for fishing on Lake Norman. Holman, 40, decided to order a completely new rig, a costly undertaking.

Then, Holman’s luck changed. The angler filed an entry for last weekend’s Oakley/Tony Stewart Big Bass Tour on his home lake.

According to Observer correspondent Lou Mintzer of Mooresville, 572 anglers paid either $100 to fish one day or $150 to compete both days. Holman beat everyone with a largemouth bass weighing 6.47 pounds.

His prize? A Nitro 27 bass boat/trailer rig valued at approximately $30,000.

Holman’s change of fortune is just one of the amusing fishing stories that took place in the Carolinas during the past few days. Among the others:

•  Grady Norton moseyed down to the pier in late afternoon at his home on the Lincoln County side of Lake Norman.

The retired founder of the Catawba Cricket Hatchery bait company baited his crappie-fishing rig with a minnow and dropped it around the pilings.

Within a minute he caught two huge crappie. Then a 2-pound largemouth. Then a 6-pound catfish. Then a 3 1/2-pound bass. Then a 5-pound bass.

All the catches, which were released, came within a 45-minute span.

Two fishermen who had watched the action from several yards away motored over in a fancy bass boat rig as Norton decided to head in. They had hooked nothing while casting lures worth several dollars each.

“Sir,” one of the men shouted. “What did you catch all those fish on?”

The reply: “Minnows and a little gold hook.”

Norton’s son Ronnie, who now runs Catawba Cricket with his brother Rick, chuckled while relating the story.

“Dad said the two guys left talking to themselves and almost foaming at their mouths,” Ronnie said.

•  Matt Lusk of Nags Head found himself in a “right place, right time” situation as he cast into the surf in the early morning not far from his Outer Banks home.

He happened to be on the spot when a school of good-sized speckled trout came swimming by.

In short order Lusk caught nine of the prized fish, which must be released due to a moratorium on their harvest. He was freeing the ninth when his wife, Annie, arrived on the scene.

“One more cast and then we’ll go for coffee,” said Matt.

Something big struck his soft plastic lure as he began the retrieve. It was the hardest hit of all. Even so, Matt thrust the fishing rod into Annie’s hands.

She gamely fought the big fish to the beach. It was a “gator-sized” speckled trout.

And probably a state record – maybe more – for a woman who is nine months pregnant.

•  It was going to be just a family fishing trip, one with young kids aboard the “Nonsense” for a day offshore of Georgetown, S.C.

However, it turned into something else when a mighty strike smashed the lure of Dr. Owen Johnson of Murrells Inlet. As a sizzling run made the drag scream, each youngster got a turn at the reel – Johnson’s son Cannon and nieces Anna Grace and Lauren.

Finally the fish was gaffed and brought aboard. It was an 80-pounder, among the largest wahoo reported from the South Carolina coast this year. Tom Higgins

Catches of the week

•  A 7 1/2-pound largemouth bass at Union County’s Lake Lee by Corey Love of Monroe.

•  Four Lake Lee largemouth totaling 20 pounds by Bill Sims of Monroe.

•  A 33.7-pound king mackerel at Ocean Crest Pier by John Gonto.

•  A 28-pound blackfin tuna off Hatteras Village by Jay Blatche of Concord.

•  A 49-inch red drum from Pamlico Sound near Hatteras Village by Russ Howard of Frisco.

•  Three Lake Wateree catfish weighing a combined 87.6 pounds by Mike Chandley and Phillip Thorne of Hickory. The catch enabled the duo to win the Catawba Catfish Club’s ninth and final tournament of the season.

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