Fishing with Gus: July 29
A lot has been written about how to catch fish. This column takes the opposite approach. It deals with the best ways not to catch them!
• Noise – Make lots of noise – the more the better! Slam a deck lid, bounce a drink bottle off the bottom of the boat and heave the anchor into the water with a big splash. Allow the kids to jump all over the boat.
• Big baits – Cast oversized lures near the shore, in small ponds or anywhere else in shallow water. Big splashes attract fish. Use heavy tackle so you don’t lose your oversized lures. Try to cast directly on top of the fish or just behind it.
• Fish fast – Retrieve the lure as fast as the reel handle will turn. It makes the fish think the bait is getting away. Don’t wait until the lure sinks. Retrieve it quickly so it doesn’t get caught on the bottom.
• Change lures frequently – Switch lures when the fish are really biting good. Never check your knot to be sure it will hold when a big fish hits. If you run out of lures to switch, buy more and get a larger tackle box.
• Don’t replace fishing line – Line is expensive, so use it until it rots. Don’t dispose of nicked or chaffed line. A spool with less line is more difficult to cast. Fishing line is all the same, so buy the cheapest you can find.
• Getting started – Sleep in so you miss the line of boats waiting to launch at daylight. The brighter the sun is, the better. Light helps the fish see the bait.
• Lose ‘em at the boat – The best time to lose a fish is when it’s at the boat – at least you can tell how big it is. When the fish gets close, tighten the drag so when it makes its final turn, the line will snap. Don’t net the fish head first. It’s a bigger challenge to land them tail first.
• Smell – Don’t remove the smell of suntan lotion or gasoline from your hands. It smells like a tasty morsel to a fish.
• Cast a shadow – When bank fishing or wading, keep the sun to your back, so you don’t have to squint. The fish can’t see your shadow anyway.
• Hold ‘em tight – Don’t hold your trophy fish real tight while unhooking it or taking pictures.
• The Lake Norman Sail & Power Squadron will conduct boater safety training at 8 a.m. Aug. 13 at Mount Mourne Volunteer Fire Department, 1577 Mecklenburg Hwy. The training costs $45. Advance registration is required. Details: 704-660-5568 or www.usps.org/lakenorman.com.
• I will conduct a free safe boating class, “How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night,” from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Aug 17 at North Point Watersports, 107 Doolie Road. Topics will include understanding Lake Norman’s channel marker and buoy system, avoiding the 10 most dangerous spots and interpreting lake maps. Details: 704-617-6812 or Gus@LakeNoman.com.
Tips from Capt. Gus
Most live bait fish are difficult to keep alive during the summer. Two preferred forms of bait for catfish that thrive are the black salty and the goldfish. Ask for them at your favorite bait and tackle shop.
Hot spots of the week
White perch are still feasting on forage fish in deep coves and at the edges of points to depth of 60 feet. Plenty of small perch swim in 20 feet of water, but the larger fish are suspending in deeper water.
Bass are hitting top water lures at dawn on rip-rapped points and around boat docks. Schools of spotted bass are chasing bait to the surface throughout the day on creek and river points. Some stripers and blue catfish are being caught from channel marker 3 south to the dam.
The surface water temperature varies by location but is mainly in the high 80s and low 90s in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 2.4 feet below full pond on Lake Norman.
Capt. Gus Gustafson, of Lake Norman Ventures, is a full-time professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. Details: 704-617-6812 or www.Fishingwithgus.com.