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Former Dryden local, Troy Norman and his fishing buddy Andrew Carlson hit the jackpot at the Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament last month after setting a new tournament record for biggest fish.
The two, currently living in Fort Frances, traveled to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin and joined the other 199 boats for the two-day event. After enduring some rough weather in the pre-fish, the guys headed out to catch the big one.
Day one of fishing, the two brought in a good weight of 26.29 lbs after catching a fair amount of fish over the course of the day. The excitement, however, came on day two.
Norman says he was up at the front of the boat when he saw the fish swim by and told his partner not to move.
“The fish cruised out of sight so I casted out in front of it and walked to the back of the boat and let the bait dropped slow and it hit. I’m like ‘Yep! I got it! I got it, man! I got ‘er!”
Norman says his partner was looking out for the fish as he reeled it in and asked if it was a big fish. No sooner were the words out of his mouth, the fish came out of the water and Carlson jumped and lost his rod.
“He let out this little girlish scream, grabbed the net and he netted the fish and brought it into the boat. We were just screaming, just pumped up. I told him ‘Let’s do it man, let’s win this thing.”
The fish, a 7 lb. smallmouth, was the largest bass ever brought in to the weigh-in in the 20 years the tournament has been running.
Norman says the team knew they needed another big bass to seal the deal and earn a win so they casted again but they encountered a small problem.
“I started casting and Andy starts looking around and he’s like ‘Uh, where’s my rod?’ When he saw the fish come out, he was so excited, he threw his rod right into the lake. So we went back to the spot where we were and we ended finding the rod in about seven ft. of water.”
The two kept fishing and Norman brought in another bass just under 6 lbs. The team headed to weigh-in with a whopping 29.69 lbs worth of bass.
The team won top spot of a new bass boat, $10,000, $2,000 for big fish of the tournament and they each received 14 karat gold diamond bass tournament rings valued at $7,000 each. The retail value of the grand prize was set at $52,500.