Stephens Takes Home $5750 at Lake Norman Event
Michael Stephens of Gastonia, NC won the North Carolina division Ram Truck Open Series opener at Lake Norman on February 20, 2016. His winning limit weighed 17.94 pounds earning himself a $5750 paycheck for the day. “I just targeted staging points on the main lake with brush on them. I was using a Tackle Town underspin in 15-25 feet of water. One largemouth did come a little bit shallow, but that was pretty random for Lake Norman. I was just fishing for five bites and I ran as many waypoints as I could. I ended up culling about six times, but I just couldn’t bit after 12:30 or so. The payout for this event is awesome and has really changed the game for ABA events in the North Carolina. It’s so nice to fish an event and have a chance to win a big paycheck,” said Stephens.
Brian Morgan of Newton, NC slid into the second place spot with a 17.29 pound limit to win $1756. “I fished the hardest that I’ve ever fished in my life today. I have some spots this time of year that I know the fish hold on. I ran around to all of those areas throwing a crankbait. They were stacked up on a couple of my spots. I had a two and a half pounder that I needed to cull, so I ran way up the river and caught two largemouth, one being a three and a half pounder. That really helped me out for the day. I would really like to thank Tracy Brown for helping me out this week. I really enjoyed the event,” said Morgan
Third place in the Lake Norman event went to Seth Ellis of Lillington, NC with 15.34 pounds of bass worth $1171. “It started out great. I caught one on the third cast with a red crankbait, but I couln’t get bit after that. I probably hit 35 or so spots throughout the day. On the last stop, there were a lot of baitfish. I saw a fish break, casted to it with a DT6 in a shad pattern, and caught it. I ended up finishing my limit and my co-angler caught two in that area. Those fish were really keyed in on those baitfish. I was in the right place at the right time,” said Ellis.
Boater Big Bass honors went to Gordon Smith of Lake Wylie, SC for bringing in a 5.51 pound largemouth to the scales. His Big Bass was worth $870 from the Big Bass Pot. Gordon used an Abu Garcia reel to catch his Big Bass and he was awarded an Abu Garcia Reo SX reel valued at $159.99 through the Abu Garcia Big Bass Bonus program. “The fish hit a jerkbait right at the boat, literally only a foot underwater. It was really exciting. My co-angler jumped up and grabbed the net. We had it in the boat within 8-10 seconds,” said Smith.
Top Five Boaters:
1. Michael Stephens 17.94 $5750
2. Brian Morgan 17.29 $1756
3. Seth Ellis 15.34 $1171
4. Kelly Johnson 14.99 $820
5. Kelly Logan 14.66 $703
There were 95 boaters registered for this Ram Truck Open Series event.
Complete results can be found at this link.
For more info on the North Carolina division of the Ram Truck Open Series call ABA tournament manager, Rodney Michael, at (256) 497-0967 or visit www.ramopenseries.com .
Ram Truck Open Series anglers can take advantage of the “no boat on boat draw” format along with huge payouts for the 2016 season. First place boaters can win a guaranteed $5000 first place, regardless of number of entries. Payouts will increase to $6000 for the first place boater with a 100 boat field. Over the course of four divisional events and the area championship, anglers will be competing for a spot in the 2017 Ray Scott Championship.
Lots of contingency money is up for grabs during the 2016 Ram Trucks Open Series Series season. Anglers participating in the Triton Gold program can earn up to $7,000 at 2016 divisional events and up to $50,000 at the 2017 Ray Scott Championship. Anglers can also take advantage of other programs such as T-H Marine Atlas Rewards, Power Pole Captain's Cash, Garmin Grand Giveaway, Livingston Lures Cash for Big Bass, Abu Garcia Revo Big Bass Bonus, Maui Jim Bonus, and Mercury/Motorguide bonus money.
American Bass Anglers, Inc. is supported by Ram Trucks, Triton Boats, Mercury Outboards, Carlisle Tires, GEICO, Berkley, Abu Garcia, T-H Marine, Hydrowave, Livingston Lures, Best Western Hotels, Maui Jim, Power Pole, Dr. Dan's, Garmin, and Simms Bass. American Bass Anglers, Inc. can be contacted at (256) 232-0406 or by visiting www.americanbassanglers.com .