Outdoors: Glenn Hudson column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What a difference a big storm makes. Thanks to tropical storm Lee at the beginning of September, High Rock Lake has gained a few feet of water and come down several degrees in temperature.
The result is much better fishing conditions than we had in late August. That is good news for the huge field of anglers that is expected to come to High Rock Saturday and Sunday, for the final FLW Walmart Bass Fishing League tournament of the year for the North Carolina division.
Fall fishing is some of the best fishing of the year. Every species of fish is recovering from the high water temperatures and low dissolved oxygen levels that late summer brings. Further, the fish will feed up aggressively between now and when the water gets down below 50 degrees.
So the conditions for catching fish are dramatically improved. But there are other factors working in the favor of anglers this time of year as well.
First, sportsmen are often torn between hunting and fishing in the fall. Many trade their fishing rods for guns and bows.
The other factor that pulls anglers away from the water is college and professional football. For hardcore fishermen, that means area lakes are a bit less crowded this time of year, especially on the weekends.
Shallow-water fishing will be the dominant pattern for the fall. And that is exactly what the FLW anglers are expecting next weekend as well. ěI think the tournament will be won in 5 feet (of water) or less,î said veteran pro Doug Young, 53, of Salisbury. ěThe key will be finding rock and brush on shallow points.î
One of the unique aspects of the this level of competitive bass fishing is that there are two people fishing in each boat. But they are not a team. The owner and driver of each boat is competing as a, ěboater.î And he is only competing against the other boaters in the field. The angler in the back of each boat is competing as a, ěco-angler.î
Boaters and co-anglers do not compete against each other because only the boater gets to decide where to fish and when to move. Whereas the co-angler is forced to fish both the style and locations that the boater chooses. Boaters and co-anglers are paired up by the FLW by a blind draw. The boaters are competing for $9,000 in prize money, while the co-anglers can earn $4,500 for a victory.
ěIf it is a bank-beating tournament then it is anybodyís game,î said Ron Tuck, 45, of Fishermanís Friend in Kannapolis, who won the Bassmasters of Charlotte tournament on Lake Wylie, S.C., on Saturday. But, he added that if the offshore bite is hot then there are a couple of locals that will be hard to beat.
ěYou take Spence Bronson, heís won the BFL at High Rock before and heís an offshore structure fisherman,î said Tuck. ěAnd David Wright always does well. Thatís Davidís lake.î