Bass anglers saw a new kind of Lake Norman bass tournament aimed at amateurs.
Everybody had a chance to win some prize money and a good chance to win a new, fully-rigged Nitro Z8 bass boat, with a 200 horsepower Mercury Motor, worth about $33,000. The tournament was held May 15 and 16.
Largemouth and spotted bass were weighed in every hour and cash prizes were awarded for the heaviest bass. Where else do you get 14 chances to weigh-in fish during a tournament?
There were six prizes for the anglers every hour. First place was $400 and sixth place was an Oakley Big Bass Rod.
The Oakley Carolina Big Bass Classic came to Lake Norman for the first time and was hosted by Midtown Sundries, Cornelius.
I hope we see this event again next year.
But it takes a lot of work from local businesses and organizations as well as national sponsors to put on a big successful event.
The format of this event is big bass. Anglers got to weigh-in their big fish each hour and the largest bass of the tournament won the grand prize.
This open tournament series is designed for amateur anglers. Fishing guides that guided for money on Lake Norman within the past 30 days, were not is eligible to compete. Any angler who has fished three or more tournaments in the past 12 months with an entry fee of $1,500 or more could not compete. A lie detector test was administered to the big winners.
Hi-tech was the rule. Anglers received text messages every hour to let them know what size bass were weighed in each hour. The winners and weights of each hour were also sent.
About 150 anglers registered for the two-day tournament. On the first day, the youngest angler, Hunter Key, a 10-year-old from Pomaria, S.C., won $100 for fifth place with a 2-pound bass. His dad, Brian Key, won $100 and an Oakley Big Bass Rod.
Hank Cherry, from Maiden, won the inaugural tournament and took home the boat as well as $800 cash with a 5.14-pound bass.
"I caught the bass in Stumpy Creek with a big Silent Killer swim bait," said Cherry. Cherry was fishing with Craig Chambers.
Wiley Nifong, Winston-Salem, had the second largest bass 4.99 pounds and Larry Carpenter was third with a 4.93 pound bass. Maiden's Michael Smith and Statesville's Roger Pope each won a prize in six of the hourly weigh-ins and took home $800.
Another inaugural fishing tournament is planned for Aug. 12-14 at Lake Norman. If you are a fishing fan or a bass angler you will see a tournament with the best in the world fishing in the new Professional Anglers Association Bass Pro Shops Tournament Series.
Look for Kevin VanDam, the No. 1 bass angler in the world, to be on the lake Aug. 9 when the pros will begin practicing.