Fishing with Gus
Bass fishermen spend considerable time casting around docks, piers and boathouses where large bass hang out. Some structures hold bass year-round, while others seem to repel them at times.
How does one sort through the maze without spending endless hours tossing lures under unproductive structures?
First, focus on the type of dock (fixed or floating), time of day, season, and anything else that distinguishes one experience from the other. Next, mark the most productive spots on your GPS or lake map.
Then, consider the following reminders:
• Bass are usually shallow in the spring and fall, so it’s better to cast around shallow water docks and the pilings closest to shore. Deep-water structures are better when water temperatures are extreme or when there is a lot of sunlight.
• Fixed piers and docks with multiple pilings, cross members, steps and ladders are generally more productive than floating docks.
• Docks with black polyethylene floatation radiate more heat and warm the surrounding water more than those made with Styrofoam billets. Savvy anglers shy away from black floatation during the heat of summer and search it out in cold weather.
• Structures located near submerged brush, boat ramps, rocks and drop-offs often produce more fish than those located along barren shorelines.
• Isolated docks and those at the end of a cove often hold more and bigger bass than the docks in-between.
• Night fishermen know that the best docks are those that have lights that shine directly into the water – the brighter, the better.
• A fish finder with side-view imaging makes it easier to locate fish under docks. All one has to do is slowly cruise a string of docks and note which ones are holding fish and which aren’t.
• The closer to the pilings and the farther under a dock one can cast, the higher the likelihood of catching bass.
Tips from Capt. Gus
From June 1 to the end of September, there is no size limit on striped or hybrid bass caught in Lake Norman. The creel limit of four in combination remains in effect.
• The Lake Norman Sail & Power Squadron’s next boater safety class will be held at 8 a.m. June 2 at the Mount Mourne Volunteer Fire Department, 1577 Mecklenburg Hwy. The class costs $45 and includes a student manual and lunch. Register in advance. Details: 704-660-5568 or www.usps.org/lakenorman.
• I’ll conduct a free boating class, “How to Safely Navigate Lake Norman,” at 6:30 p.m., June 13 at North Point Watersports, 112 Doolie Road. Topics will include understanding Lake Norman’s channel marker and buoy system, avoiding dangerous spots and navigating in low water conditions. Details: 704-617-6812 or Gus@LakeNorman.com.
Hot spots of the week
White perch fishing is improving as forage fish move to deeper water. Large schools are suspending over river humps, deep brush and in deep coves and sloughs.
Spotted bass and flathead catfish are also being caught in the same areas. Small bass are surface feeding in boat basins and narrow coves at daylight and dusk. Top water baits are preferred.
Cat-fishing for blues and flatheads continues to improve.
The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the 70s in the open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is almost at flood stage (0.6 feet below full pond) on Lake Norman.
Capt. Gus Gustafson of Lake Norman Ventures is a full-time professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. Visit his web site, www.Fishingwithgus.com.