Prepare for spring trips during colder months
If you’re like other anglers, you can’t wait for the first signs of spring to arrive. Everyone knows you can’t rush the season, but you can prepare for it. With that thought in mind, January is a good month to prepare your fishing equipment for spring.
Be sure that your fishing licenses and boat registration are current before you embark on your first trip of the season. And while you’re at it, be sure that boat and automotive/trailer towing insurance is up to date.
On cold and windy January days, sit in front of the fireplace and sort through your tackle boxes. Remove anything that hasn’t been used in the last year or two to make room for new lures, terminal tackle and fishing gadgets that you might add before the season starts.
Also, inspect lures, clean and polish as needed. Check for missing, bent or dull hooks. Replace hooks that aren’t sharp and those with missing prongs.
After the inspection, make a list of lures, line and terminal tackle that need to be replaced or added in before spring.
Next, go to your favorite tackle shop to replenish the list and see what’s new for 2012.
Often overlooked items are the batteries for the boat and trolling motors. As a rule, a marine battery has a shelf life of two years. If you aren’t sure how old it is, check the date code on the top or side of the battery. It’s simple to interpret. The letter signifies the month (starting with A for January through L for December), and the number identifies the year it was manufactured. For example, a battery with the date code A9 was manufactured in January 2009.
Tips from Capt. Gus
January is a great month to take advantage of close-out savings on rods, reels, GPS and fish-finder units. Check the internet, newspapers and local tackle shops for the best deals.
• I will host a free seminar, “How to Safely Navigate Lake Norman Using Sonar and GPS,” at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 11 at North Point Watersports, 112 Doolie Road. Bring your questions and instruction booklets to this 90-minute boating safety session. Details: 704-799-1994.
• Jake Bussolini, Bill Hassig and I will conduct a free seminar, “Use Your Lowrance or Humminbird Fish Finder to Catch Bass, White Perch and Stripers,” at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 18 at Gander Mountain, 236 Norman Station Blvd. Bring your questions and instruction books to this 90-minute seminar. Details: 704-658-0822.
Hot spots of the week
Anglers tough enough to weather the cold are catching bass, white perch, crappie and stripers. Spotted bass are in major creeks. Some are biting along the banks, but large schools are feeding in deep coves and along the edges of river and creek channels. Colder water temperatures have also driven crappie and white perch to deep water. Look for them at 30 to 45 feet. Your best bets for spotted bass are the coves and fingers channels that feed McCrary and Reed creeks.
Surface water temperatures for Lake Norman are in the 50s and the lake level is about 1.9 feet below full pond.
Capt. Gus Gustafson is a full-time professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. Details: 704-617-6812 or www.FishingWithGus.com.