What are Lake Norman fish thinking?
Here we are, grown men tying to trick little fish into biting something attached to a hook. All the while, we continue to do things that make fish very suspicious, like stirring up the river bottom when wading downstream to catch trout. One has to wonder what the fish are thinking with all that mud drifting their way. Maybe … “Here he comes again. Let’s hide under a rock.”
Have you ever wondered why you do not catch fish at a boat ramp on a Saturday or Sunday? The easy answer is that fish are scared away by all the activity. The real reason might be that the bass do not have time to bite, because they are laughing so hard at the funny things people do – like backing their boat trailer into the water so crooked that it rolls off the ramp and gets stuck. Or remembering the parking brake was not set just as the truck, boat and trailer roll back and sink into the lake!
Then there are the anglers who believe that large hooks are needed to catch big fish. They use hooks the size of boat anchors that are so heavy that baitfish attached can not swim naturally. A white perch watching a bait sink at lightning speed probably thinks, “Bombs-away!” That must be the same guy we heard about wading in the trout stream.
How about the guy who doesn’t allow the fish time to swallow the bait? He sets the hook as soon he feels a little nibble. Then, he snatches and jerks so hard that the bait flies out of the water and hits him in the head. Could it be that the fish are playing games with him, like grabbing the tail end of the bait, only long enough to make the hasty angler think he’s getting a real bite?
And then there is the guy on that television show that kisses every bass he catches before releasing it. What the heck must the fish think when this happens? Maybe … “I’m a boy fish. Why is he kissing me?”
Fish can be pretty devilish, particularly when they get close to the boat. That’s when they pull the hardest and the hook slips from its mouth while it swims away. Or at times, it simply changes course and breaks the line just before being netted. Some suspect that fish are playing games with the anglers, and each time one gets away, it brags about it to its fellow schoolmates.
Talk about getting away, the very best tricksters allow themselves to be caught, unhooked and held, only to slip from the hands of the proud angler, as he waits to have his picture taken. This escape act happens so frequently that we should know the fish are messing with us!
• Jake Bussollini and I will conduct a free fishing seminar, “How to Catch White Perch,” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 16 at Gander Mountain, 236 Norman Station Blvd. Details: 704-658-0822.
• The Lake Norman Sail & Power Squadron holds a boater safety class at 8 a.m. June 2 at the Mount Mourne VFD, 1577 Mecklenburg Hwy. The class costs $45 and includes student manual and lunch. Register in advance. Details: Bob Yannacci, 704-660-5568 or www.usps.org/lakenorman.
Tips from Capt. Gus
Sprinkle a cup or two of dog food around the dock every day. Not only will it feed the ducks, but it also acts as chum to attract fish. To prevent it from floating away, first allow it to soak in water for a few minutes.
Hot spot of the week
White perch are schooling with spotted bass on deep points and coves. Jigging spoons, small minnows and Sabiki rigs are baits of choice.
Largemouth and spots are hitting top water lures at daylight on points and in shallow stump fields. Small channel catfish are hitting stink baits, and flatheads are hitting live bream and white perch.
The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the 70s and 80s in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 2.8 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.