The first warm weather of the season has caused a tidal wave of largemouth bass to move into the shallows at Badin Lake, creating a bass bonanza for fishermen.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, except once at Hickory,” said Thomasville’s Marty Williams, CATT director of the Yadkin Division Spring Trail, whose March 14 and 15 tournaments took place during the sudden warmup that nudged water temperatures into the 50s.

In two days, Williams, serving as weigh-master, lifted nine 20-pound sacks of fish and checked seven bass weighing 6 pounds or more, four bass weighing 7 pounds or more, and one 8-pound bass. The yeoman effort may require him to see a chiropractor.

“I lost count of the number of 5-pound bass that hit the scales,” he said.

David Wright and Chris Brown, both of Lexington, brought in a stunning 5-fish haul of 28.15 pounds to win Saturday’s contest, catching their fish on jerkbaits.

“The cold weather kept the fish in check throughout February with few moving shallow,” Wright said. “The warm weather triggered a large number of fish to move shallow all at once.” 

Tony Waterhouse of Lexington and Justin Goodyear of Thomasville capitalized on the shallow bite to win Sunday’s CATT qualifier with 27.85 pounds, a stringer anchored with an 8.11-pound bass, the big fish of the day.

“We caught the 8-pounder at the first place we stopped,” Waterhouse said.

Waterhouse and Goodyear caught their fish with shallow-running crankbaits and jerkbaits in water 4 feet deep or less. They culled throughout the day.

“It didn’t matter if the terrain had rock or grass; the fish hit everywhere,” said Waterhouse.

The shallow-water explosion didn’t go unnoticed.

“It’s a good thing we practice catch-and-release, because I think we emptied out Badin today,” said one tournament angler in jest.

Thomasville's Justin Goodyear with an 8.11-pound bass from Badin. The fish was part of a 27.85-pound catch by Goodyear and Tony Waterhouse of Lexington.