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Last weekend, Susan and I enjoyed a rainy, weekend camping on Kerr Lake at the Rudds Creek campground near Boydton, Virginia to celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary. It was great to spend time cruising around the lake fishing, swimming, and sunning like we’ve done since we were 17 years ol…

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It’s been fun fishing up in the northern United States on Lake Champlain. One day I was catching big smallmouth bass on a Carolina rig (how appropriate) while fishing in Vermont within eyesight of Canada. Another day while fishing in New York I found a spot that was packed with big fish. Whe…

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Walt Bowen with a huge northern pike he caught Friday while fishing in Lake Champlain.Courtesy of Walt Bowen

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Susan and I had a ball camping with our family and friends at the Nutbush No. 3 campground on Kerr Lake last week. We enjoyed hot dogs on the grill and homemade ice cream on the Fourth of July, a striper and shrimp fry using Moss’s seafood breader and peanut oil on Friday, and a low country …

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This week I had dinner with an old friend that I’d not seen in many years. Macy Wilson of Kittrell and I were best of friends in high school where we were on the wrestling team together. Back then Macy had an MG Midget convertible with a radiator that leaked water almost as fast as you could…

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This summer has surely started off hot. And I recall summers were hot 50 years ago when I was a little boy, too. Last Monday my grandson John II and I spent the afternoon on Belews Lake near Winston-Salem. Swimming there is kind of like taking a warm bath, except there’s no soap and the wate…

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For the second bass tournament in a row Joseph Sharpe and I finished in the money. And yet again, it was my partner who caught the fish that got us paid. Sitting in 69th place after day one of the two-day cumulative total event, we moved up to 28th place on day two with a 14.38 pound limit t…

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 After spending the better part of three weeks on Lake Norman preparing for last week’s Bassmaster Eastern Open bass tournament, I felt confident that I’d have a good finish and maybe even have a shot at a win. Fishing had been great most days and I’d located a lot of areas where I could cat…

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Have you ever been driving a boat down the Catawba River and had a small plane buzz over your head flying sideways? Well I hadn’t either until this past week when one came up behind me unexpectedly and flew right over me. I’d been fishing in the tail races of the Lookout Shoals dam that empt…

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I’ve spent most of the last three weeks getting prepared for the Bassmaster Eastern Open tournament on Lake Norman that starts this coming Thursday, May 10. I’ve been catching a lot of fish and can get between 11 to 13 pounds a day regularly, which should be enough for a decent finish in thi…

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I’ve been a lucky person all my life. At around 8 years of age I was lucky that Charles Sidney Macon was fast, strong and sitting close enough to grab my leg and pull me back into the bed of a moving pickup truck or I would have been bouncing down Highway 39 at around 60 miles an hour. And t…

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Hopefully after this weekend's Carolinas Bass Challenge tournament on Lake Hickory near Hickory, N.C., my thermal underwear can stay in the dresser drawer until sometime this fall. The weather has been all over the place this spring and winter, and I’m not as young as I used to be. My finger…

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After spending a couple of days this week on Lake Norman near Charlotte I have a renewed appreciation for the lake we have in Vance County. Over 70 percent of the shoreline property on Kerr Lake is undeveloped and never will be as it’s owned by the Corp of Engineers. It’s nothing like that o…

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Many thanks to my long-time tournament fishing sponsor, Vance County’s Carolina Country Snacks, for their years of support. It’s been a great honor to be a brand ambassador for this local snack producer. Thanks tremendously to Dwight Frazier and Angie Jacobs for not only their support but fo…

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What do you do when your nine-year-old grandson says he wants to plant trees during his spring break? You buy some trees and get digging. My grandson John Walter II, my dad Johnny and myself (John Walter I) planted grapes and hydrangeas, which aren’t really trees but they were what we picked…

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The plan was to go bass fishing on Kerr Lake this coming week to get ready for next Saturday’s tournament, but then I read the rules and realized the lake was off limits until Friday for contestants competing in the Collins Marine Boys and Girls Club of North Central North Carolina bonus pot…

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Folks, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s not Christmas, though between the snow on the ground and the feeling of glee welling up in my heart, it’s hard to tell the difference. No, this is better. This is March Madness.

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Fishing was sort of slow last Saturday for Duke Dennison and I in the Carolinas Bass Challenge bass tournament on Lake Wylie. Actually it was really slow for me and Duke had two bites. Those two were the right class of fish and weighed a total of 8.68 pounds, good enough for 69th place out o…

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While out fishing on Lake Wylie on the North Carolina/South Carolina border near Charlotte last Sunday, I mentioned to my team partner Duke Dennison that I thought Jason Quinn had a house on the lake. Jason Quinn doesn’t get much press these days, but 12 years ago he was competing in the 200…

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Local football fans still had a bad taste in their mouth about the Page Pirates. The Greensboro school had ended the Vikings 1980 season in the western title game with a massive fourth quarter comeback. Now it was time for the schools to face off again. But while Page and Vance had the state…

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Players celebrate during the final seconds of the 1988 4A state championship game as Vance County High's women's basketball team defeated Freedom. It was the first and only women's basketball title by any school in the county.

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My team partner Duke Dennison weighed in a five fish limit in the Carolinas Bass Challenge tournament on Lake Norman near Charlotte last weekend. Duke and I planned to compete as a team in this popular trails first tournament for a lot of money but due to a death in the family I was unable t…

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I may have had my 15 minutes of fame last weekend when I found myself sitting in second place after Day 2 in the Bassmaster Eastern Open bass tournament on Lake Toho in central Florida. Beating out 198 of 209 pro anglers to fish the top 12 finals last Saturday was a goal I’d been aiming at f…

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At the end of the second week of a three week trip to Lake Tohopekaliga in central Florida I’d say that I’ve explored a good part of the four connected lakes that we’ll be permitted to fish on during the tournament that starts this coming Thursday. I’ve been bass fishing just about every day…

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Apparently there was a significant winter storm in NC, based on all the photos of yard sticks measuring snow, snow cream and car wrecks folks back home have been posting on the internet. Getting away from the cold was one of the reasons I came to central Florida for a few weeks. I know its b…

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It’s warm and sunny here in St. Cloud, Florida at the Lake Toho RV Resort on the shores of beautiful Lake Tohopekaliga. Commonly known as Lake Toho or sometimes West Lake Toho to distinguish it from its sister lake to the east, East Lake Toho. I plan to spend the next three weeks fishing and…

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I’d planned to talk about plans for fishing in Florida in this weeks column, and how excited I am to be heading down later this month. Regretfully I have a report of a boating accident that occurred this past week at the FLW Costa Series Bass Tournament on Lake Okeechobee in southern Florida…

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As time passes my “take on life” takes on different definitions. Things that were so very important to me just a few short years ago don’t quite hold the luster, while things I’d not considered so much have now taken on quite a shine. Falling down the list slightly were fishing so much and w…

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The aroma of low tide permeated the cold morning air as we headed out toward the open Chesapeake Bay in Mike Breedlove’s Grady-White boat early last Friday morning. This was the second day of the 15th annual Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout, and Mike, Randy Owen, Kevin Cheatham (we could do an…

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Randy Owen stands with another huge Bay striper. Henderson native Walt Bowen and friends Owen, Mike Breedlove and Kevin Cheatham are in sixth place as of the time of publication in the Mid Atlantic Rockfish Shootout.

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Henderson native Walt Bowen competed in the Mid Atlantic Rockfish Shootout last weekend during his stay with Mike Breedlove of Chesapeake Bay, pictured here with a striped bass weighing nearly 50 pounds he caught the weekend before. Bowen and his other friends placed sixth in the tournament …

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This was a week of first for me. The first time I’ve fished in a Rockfish tournament, and the first time I’ve eaten good seafood at a place that also sold gas. Thinking back it was probably the only seafood I’ve ever eaten at a gas station. In fact it was so good I went back to eat there a s…

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Bass fishing was slow for me this week on Kerr Lake. A 3-pound bass bit a #6 crawfish colored Fat Free Shad crankbait as I retrieved it along the rocks at Nutbush Bridge on Thursday afternoon. Then on Friday I spent the day trying to locate bass in deeper water but only landed one small one,…

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My 8-year-old grandson John II and I were planning to head to the coast for some surf fishing this week while he was out of school for a couple of days. We’d planned to head out to either Cape Lookout on Davis Island or to Cape Hatteras on the Outer Banks.

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It’s been a fall to remember for football in the area. For the first time since 1998, Warren County won seven regular season football games. Southern Vance entered the year with a 17-game losing streak, but went on to win six games for its best regular season record since 2011.

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Southern Vance senior quarterback Elijah Stewart (1) is chased down in the backfield by Northern Vance senior linebacker Abraham Wright (24). Southern Vance defeated Northern Vance 20-14 to finish the season 6-5, but still failed to make the playoffs. Special to The Daily Dispatch / KEN MARTIN

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Fishing was slow on Belew’s Creek Lake earlier this week when I got out for a few hours, but hunters are harvesting some big deer in the area. A family friend downed a huge 10 point buck using a bow and arrow, and another man killed a state record class buck, all within 10 miles of where we …

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After spending Friday and Saturday on Kerr Lake successfully locating schools of baitfish and the largemouth bass, stripers and big catfish that follow them toward shallow water every fall, I thought Richard Hinton and I might do good in Sundays CATT bass tournament. Although he’s an experie…

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Last Sunday my wife Susan, our grandson John II and I took a day trip to the NC / VA mountains. Our first stop was the Community Building in “Meadows of Dan”, a small town in southwestern Virginia, for the 52nd annual “Pancake Days” fundraiser breakfast. They serve some of the best pancakes …

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After not being on the water fishing for the last couple of weeks I’m looking forward to 4 days on Kerr Lake starting next Thursday. Joseph Sharpe and I will fish as a team in the CATT tournament on 10/22, launching from Occoneechee Landing in Clarksville. With the water low bass should be e…

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Fourteen year old Hamza Alashmli, son of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Alashmli of Williamsboro, holding a 4.5 pound largemouth bass he landed while fishing on Kerr Lake with a green pumpkin lizard. For more see Walt Bowen’s column on Page B3.

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What do you call a granddaddy that takes his 8 year old grandson on a long hike to the top of a mountain (Cooks Wall in NC) and then feeds him a US Military grade MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) for lunch? I’m not sure what you’d call me, but some of the names my wife used when John II told her abou…

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Well I did it again on Kerr Lake in last weekends BFL Piedmont division 2 day season finale tournament. What's was it? That's right, finished just short of the money again, all while guiding my co-angler to a top finish. The BFL tournament format pairs a boater / angler with a non-boater / c…

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Last weekend was the first time I’d been fishing with my son Jimmie in over a year. He, his son John II, and I spent a few hours Saturday on Kerr Lake. We found a few bass back in a mid lake creek where Jimmie and John both hooked and lost several nice fish. I guess it had been a while since…

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Local fishing reports and top tournament finishers – The Bojangles Championship bass tournament that I thought was last weekend is this one, so I’ll have those results next week. Kerr Lake remains low at around 297 feet above sea level. That’s always meant good fishing, probably since it red…

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Susan and I enjoyed our Labor Day weekend cookout and ice cream party with family and friends last Sunday afternoon. My dad Johnny, his sister Mary and her daughters Sharon and Twyla, Sharon's boyfriend Fred Carswell, my Uncle David Robertson, Cindy Hunt and her son Landon, our daughter Clai…

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A number of local anglers had top finishes in area bass tournaments last weekend, including Mark Robertson and Keith Joyce, winners of the CATT Kerr Gaston trail event on Saturday on Kerr Lake. They brought in a 5 fish limit weighing 17.80 pounds that also included the big fish of the day. M…

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So far in this life I’ve accomplished many goals, and things that were actually real challenges seemed almost too easy. Finishing in the money in one of these FLW Series tournaments ain't been one of them. My one keeper bass Thursday during day one of competition in the FLW Costa Series Nort…

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Susan and I spent part of our 36th wedding anniversary just like we’ve spent many days in the past (including a few anniversaries), fishing on Kerr Lake for schooling stripers and largemouth bass. It was a beautiful clear morning and we found some schooling fish chasing bait on shallow clay …

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This past week has been as nice a visit to the beach as there ever could be. Susan and I camped at Emerald Isle with our 8-year-old grandson John II and spent long lazy days under the beach umbrella reading and playing in the surf and sand.