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Fishing with Capt. Gus: Sabiki rigs an exciting way to reel in perch

A saltwater fishing technique is quickly gaining popularity with perch fishermen on Lake Norman and surrounding area lakes.
The same technique is used by anglers along the coast to catch up to six pilchards, or igoggle eyesî and pinfish on a single cast. If you havenít experienced the fun of catching multiple white perch on the same rod, try fishing with a iSabiki Rig.î
The Sabiki Rig consists of six brightly colored feathered flies connected by a 4- to 6-foot length of leader. The tiny jigs with glow heads, extra sharp hooks and fish skin dressing and feathers, are highly visible. They come packaged in a variety of colors and hook sizes. A No. 6 hook seems to work well on small perch and is also big enough to hold larger fish. Sabiki rigs are available at local tackle shops for $2 or $3, depending on the manufacturer.
When drifting for catfish, Lake Norman fishing guide Mac Byrum, attaches a 3/4 ounce slinky or eye-drop weight to a Sabiki and lets it bounce off the bottom. Rather than reeling when he feels a bite, he jiggles the rig to entice other schooling fish to the remaining empty hooks. When perch are feeding aggressively, he loads the rig with three to five on each drop. When fishing slows, he adds additional worms or small pieces of cut bait to the hooks.
The Sabiki is designed to catch all types of small schooling fish. They work particularly well on white perch, but also catch crappie, bream and herring, a popular baitfish with striper fishermen. Fish the Sabiki only in open water. The multi-line jig heads are easy to hang in brush or other obstructions.
On Lake Norman, white perch swim in large schools and range in size up to about a pound. They are also caught by conventional methods with small spinners, single jigs, live minnows, worms, cut bait and shiny spoons. The white meat is excellent. There is no size or creel limit for these tasty fan fish.
Upcoming event: On Thursday, Light House Marine Services will offer a boating course entitled, iHow to Safely Navigate Lake Norman.î Topics will include iUnderstanding LKNís Marker and Buoy System,î iIdentifying and Learning to Avoid the Ten Most Dangerous Shoals,î and iHow to Use and Interpret Lake Maps.î Registration fee is $25. The class begins at 6:30 p.m. at Gander Mountain in Mooresville. To register, or for more information, call Lt. Scott Spivey at 704-587-0325), or visit www.Lmservice.org.
The water level is currently 2.5 feet below full. Water surface temperature is in the mid-80s and low 90s.
Visit www.fishingwithgus.com or call Gus Gustafson at 704-489-0763, or e-mail him at Gus@LakeNorman.com.

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