THE KASTKING PRO SECRETS TO SECURE THE SUPREME PRIZE
The world’s best bass anglers gather in North Carolina for the Major League Fishing World Championship on Lake Norman March 8-12.
Veteran tournament bass pro James Elam of Oklahoma is one of the Top 40 anglers of the Bass Pro Tour 2022 season, competing for the REDCREST Championship trophy and $300,000 top prize.
The 36-year-old angler has never fished the 50-square-mile clear-water reservoir, but the experienced bass angler has explored the lake from his boat and has a solid plan to catch spotted bass and Norman largemouth bass.
“I like to fish in deeper water, offshore, but Norman has a lot of piers, and I think fishing them will be the key to winning the tournament, and that’s what I’m going to do,” he says. “The lake has a couple of power plants that discharge warm water into the lake, and while those spots may offer better early spring fishing, I plan to stay away from them because they will likely create a lot of pressure from other anglers. ”
Elam says that water temperature will be a big factor in focusing your tournament fishing efforts.
“I’ll be looking for 57 to 60 degree water near the docks for the bass to spawn in,” he says. “Docks with 3 to 5 feet of water should hold fish, and I’ll look for the deeper docks, which are generally the best.”
Elam says that due to Norman’s clear water, you should be able to see the deeper waters from the preferred docks, but there are other tips for the main spots as well.
“Many times, large powerboats or sailboats require deeper depth at the docks where they are moored than at other docks with small boats,” he explains. “Those locations could be an option for pre-breeding Lake Norman bass.”
While Elam will likely target smaller spotted bass early in the morning, it will go for largemouth bass primarily because they are larger on average, which is important for having a high five-fish limit during the tournament.
“As the water warms later in the day, largemouths should be more active and vulnerable,” he says. “And I have to catch a good number of larger mouths to win the event. I think the last two days of fishing it will take 28 to 32 pounds of bass to win first place, and largemouth bass will do that with a fish limit.”
Elam plans to skip hooks and tube lures below the docks to trigger bass strikes, preferring green and brown lures, some with trailers.
It’s not easy to skip lures to hang out with bass, and Elam says having the right gear is essential for success. She will primarily be using a 7-foot 3-inch KastKing Speed Demon Pro Series rod designed for jig and worm fishing. Installed on that rod will be a KastKing Speed Demon Elite bait casting reel with an ultra-fast 10.5 to 1 retrieve ratio. The reel will be spooled with 15 to 20 pound test fluorocarbon line.
“The ultra-fast retrieve on the Speed Demon Elite really comes in handy for working on the docks because I can cast, and if I don’t get bitten within five seconds, I can quickly retrieve the lure for another cast,” he explains. “Speed to retrieve lures quickly so another cast can be made to a dock target is important to winning tournaments.”
If Elam must work Senko lures or fancy rigs in clear water, he will use spinning rigs and a lighter line.
“If there’s no wind and I need to slow down my presentation to fish delicately in clear water, the spinning rig is the way to go,” he explains. “My 7ft 3 fast action KastKing Speed Demon Pro rod is perfect. I will be pairing it with a KastKing MegaJaws Elite spinning reel spooled with 20lb test braided line and a 10lb test fluorocarbon leader.”
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