Hard day night

CORNELIUS, N.C. -- Tricky conditions will more than likely catch up with the field on Day Two of the second Bass Pro Shops Southern Open on Lake Norman.

Despite the lake's resiliency and extra-clear water, unusually high pressure and cold front conditions should all take their toll on weights today.

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Besides the 179-boat field the Open is putting on the lake, there are two local tournaments on Norman this weekend, which could add another 150 boats. Though the tournaments aren't until Saturday, plenty of anglers are practicing today.

Elite Series rookie Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., calls Lake Norman his home water. He has 15 years of knowledge on the water. While he wasn't shocked at the big bags yesterday (thanks to an active spawn), he says that weights will drop across the board today.

"You'll not see a 17 or 18 pound bag today. I guess you could, but it probably won't happen," he says. "This lake really showed itself because I had more than 20 pounds bite me in practice. I was super-excited about it, but I got a bad draw and someone got there before I did and picked them off."

Though disappoointing, he half expected the spot to be covered up with the number of boats on Norman.

To further complicate things, Montgomery says the lake is as clear as it has been in a long time. He said that he's never seen the water clearer than it is now. He said clear water hurts the largemouth bite, which account for the majority of kicker fish.

The clear water helped the sight bite on Day One, and slick-calm conditions on Day Two should help anglers catch the few bedding bass that are left on the beds. A cold front tore through the Charlotte area last night and dropped lows into the 30s, but crystal clear skies should heat the day into the 60s and the winds will die down to inbetween 5 and 10 mph.

With those conditions, Montgomery said he plans on "just fishing" around today.
"Just fishing" on Lake Norman means burning a lot of gas; nearly 40 gallons, according to Montgomery.

"I'll be running the whole lake looking for 'em," he said. "I like to fish a lot of single docks rather than lines of docks because I know where a lot of brushpiles are. But, I fished places yesterday that I've never fished before, just looking for spawners."

Montgomery says that unless sight fishermen have bedding bass saved for today that didn't get caught yesterday, they'd be wise to keep the big motor warm and just "go fish."

Another factor anglers were warned about was the no wake zones posted in every creek and on almost every dock. Water patrol officials issued warnings on Day One and said infractions on Friday would result in a citation, an offense that might also garner a disqualification from the Open.