With spring-like weather finally warming, one of North Carolina's best lakes for bass fishing is ready to explode, according to a veteran guide.

"Harris Lake is ready to bust wide open," said Jeffrey Thomas of Broadway. "It's a ticking time bomb, about ready to explode."

Thomas and partner Dennis Reedy of Sanford fished a tournament last weekend at Harris and finished fifth out of 65 teams, coming away impressed.

"I hate to put more pressure on Harris…. But it I were going somewhere to fish for bass the next two weeks, I'd choose Harris," Thomas said, impressed by the number of fish caught in the tournament.

The 4,000-acre Duke Energy lake south of Raleigh has warmer water than nearby Jordan Lake, and a pair of early March warm spells have warmed the water, making bass more active.

 

"The big females are moving up," said Thomas, who along with Reedy weighed in two fish longer than 20 inches – the lake is managed with a 14- to 20-inch slot – and had to release three fish that were a shade under 20 inches. "We thought we could catch five 'overs.'

 

"The females are staging just off the spawning flats, and that's why the winning team caught their fish using Alabama rigs at the drop-offs near the flats."

 

Thomas said two fish weighing nine pounds or more were caught in the tournament, and the winning team weighed in an 8.02-pound fish on the way to a 25.14-pound catch.

 

Jigs and Senkos fished around the edges of grass lines have been very productive, Thomas said, especially in green pumpkin and watermelon colors.

 

Thomas expects some big stringers to be caught at Harris over the next two weeks. He advised, however, that weekdays will be the best times to fish, in part because the Cross Point boat ramp – one of only two on the lake – is under repair and not expected to re-open until April.