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HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 15, 2016) – George Hirapetian of Charlotte, North Carolina, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 14 pounds, 7 ounces, Thursday to grab the early lead after Day One of the Walmart FLW Tour Invitational at Lake Norman presented by Lowrance. Right behind him in second place is Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tennessee, who weighed in five bass totaling 13-0. Hirapetian now brings a 1-pound, 7-ounce lead into Day Two of the three-day event that features competitors casting for huge cash payouts and a coveted spot in the world championship of bass fishing – the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup.

"Lake Norman is a lake that I’m confident on," said Hirapetian, who has two career wins – one on Lake Norman – in FLW competition. "It doesn’t matter what season it is, I can come here and catch a lot of fish.

"Right now I’m using a Texas-rigged worm and a drop-shot rig fishing short grass on the bottom," Hirapetian continued. "I’m also skipping the worm under docks. I didn’t catch a fish until 10:30 a.m., and then I started bringing in 2- and 3-pounders. I’m fishing very slowly. When I got my limit, I slowed down even more. That helped me catch more fish."

Hirapetian said his docks and grassy areas are scattered all over the lake, including stretches near Governor’s Island and Mountain Creek.

"I hit around 30 different docks today," said Hirapetian. "In practice I was looking for ones in 10 to 12 feet of water. If I saw brush, I would stop and catch one, and then I’d move on."

Hirapetian said he caught many of the same fish today that he had caught in practice. Of his ten keepers, his limit that he weighed in consisted of three largemouth and two spotted bass.

"I was able to catch five bass off of one dock," said Hirapetian. "I’m not sure what I’m going to do tomorrow – hopefully my docks replenish."

The top 10 pros after Day One on Lake Norman are:

1st: George Hirapetian, Charlotte, N.C., five bass, 14-7

2nd: Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., five bass, 13-0

3rd: John Cox, DeBary, Fla., five bass, 12-12

4th: Jason Meninger, Gainesville, Ga., five bass, 12-3

5th: Scott Beattie, Lincolnton, N.C., five bass, 12-0

6th: Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., five bass, 11-15

7th: Todd Hollowell, Fishers, Ind., five bass, 11-12

8th: Walmart pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 11-10

8th: Tracy Adams, Wilkesboro, N.C., five bass, 11-10

10th: Ronald Farrow, Rock Hill, S.C., five bass, 11-7

For a full list of results visit

Overall there were 296 bass weighing 561 pounds, 14 ounces caught by 73 pros Thursday. The catch included 46 five-bass limits.

Anglers will take off from Blythe Landing Park located at 15901 N.C. Highway 73 in Huntersville at 7 a.m. EDT Friday and Saturday. Weigh-in each day will be held at the park, beginning at 3 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

The Walmart FLW Tour Invitational at Lake Norman presented by Lowrance is being hosted by Visit Lake Norman, Visit Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation.

For complete details and updated information visit For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at

About FLW

FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2016 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 235 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat: @FLWFishing.