Concord’s Maurice Freeze targeted the muddiest water he could find Saturday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament at Badin Lake. Freeze weighed in a five-fish limit, one of only 10 limits taken by the 98 boaters in the event, that totaled 19 ½ pounds, to take the first-place prize of $3,756. He also won manufacturer’s bonuses totaling $2,300.

With muddy water rolling throughout Badin’s 115 miles of shoreline, Freeze narrowed his fishing territory to an area near the Old Whitney Landing, a short distance from where the off-colored water comes pouring into Badin through the gates of Tuckertown Dam.  

“I looked for the muddiest water in the lake,” said Freeze, who never had a chance to practice for the event. “I knew the muddier the water, the shallower the fish would be.”

Freeze fished a Shooter jig in brown/red flake with a Zoom trailer at rocks, piers, and grass in four feet of water or less.  He worked his jig slowly to get bites.

“The bass are getting ready to spawn, and the fishing is about to break loose if it ever stops snowing,” said Freeze.

Freeze marched to the scales with the first flight of boaters. He waited anxiously as the other two flights brought in their bags of fish. Twice he held his breath as two fishermen came within ounces of his posted weight.

Greensboro’s David Farrington made the strongest run at Freeze with a limit catch weighing 19 ¼ pounds for second place and $1,878. Farrington used one of his own ¾-ounce Dave’s Tournament Tackle spinnerbaits with nickel and gold willow blades to take his fish from rocky points.

Todd Gibson of Archdale fished rocky corners with a spinnerbait to rank third with 19 pounds, two ounces, winning $1,253.

Greensboro’s Mark Inman had the big bass of the day with a fish weighing 7 ½ pounds that paid $490.

Robert Timms of Middletown, Conn., topped the co-anglers with 12 pounds, two ounces, and earned $1,878. He came to North Carolina, he said, because “Our lakes are frozen, and I wanted to go bass fishing.”