Muddy water from recent winter storms has slowed down fishing on bass fishing on lakes around North Carolina, but a couple of fishermen showed this past weekend just how good it can be – even when things look bad. Todd Massey of Chapel Hill and Brandon Gray of Bullock won the first Boats Unlimited tournament trail event of 2014 on Shearon Harris Lake near Sanford with a 5-fish limit that weighed a whopping 27.07 pounds, taking home $3,845

Phil McCarson, the tournament director, said water temperatures at Harris ranged from 50 to 57 degrees.

“We had a beautiful day. It was about 34 degrees that morning and 70 that afternoon with light winds,” he said. “Clear, warmer water was the secret to finding bass, but even then, it was a challenge to get ‘em to bite with all the shad in the lake.”

The key to the win for Massey and Gray was catching fish longer than 20 inches, because Harris is managed with a 16- to 20-inch slot limit. Fishermen could weigh in bass that measured between 14 and 16 inches and fish longer than 20 inches.

“We had plenty of bass over five pounds (weighed in) and all looked healthy,” McCarson said.

Showing the kind of bass that Shearon Harris is capable of producing, Stewart Adams and Scott Dunn of Four Oaks checked in with the day’s big fish, an 8.34-pound linker.