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Fishing with Capt. Gus: Choices for live bait vary wildly

Fishermen are frequently asked three questions.

Catchiní anything?
Where did you get ëem?
What are they hittiní?

The answer to the first question is usually, iYes!î
Response to the others is often vague or somewhat elusive. Most anglers prefer to keep their fishing holes and the bait they use a secret.
Some of the best live baits arenít that much of a secret. Most have been catching fish for decades. If, however, you are new to the sport, or havenít been fishing in a while, a rundown of the most popular live baits and what you can expect to catch with them might be helpful.
Shad and herring are popular with striper fishermen and account for many largemouth and spotted bass. These soft sided/silver forage fish are usually caught in a throw net, rather than sold at bait stores.
Rainbow and golden trout, while not native to the area, are used during the winter months by striper and those seeking catfish. They can be purchased at area bait shops and kept alive for long periods in a cool, well oxygenated bucket or tank.
The black salty, a cross between a carp and a goldfish, is a good bait to use throughout the summer, especially for flathead catfish. This bait thrives in the same hot water that causes shad and herring to stress and die. The goldfish, lighter in color than the black salty, works equally as well and not only tempts catfish, but bass and stripers as well.
White perch and bream (sunfish) are considered the imust haveî live baits for cat fishermen. They also account for a large number of big bass and stripers caught on Lake Norman. Since considered game fish, they must be caught on a hook and line and not in a cast net, whether they are kept for food or used as bait.
A live cricket suspended below a red and white bobber, has taken thousands of bream (sunfish) over the years. Not only are these insects an effective bait for pan fish, but in between catching fish, youngsters love to play with them!
The most versatile live bait of all time is probably the worm. At times, it catches everything that swims in Lake Norman. It can be used in a variety of ways at any water depth. Night crawlers and red wigglers are the most popular store bought varieties. If you prefer to find your own earth worms and night crawlers, they can be dug from most gardens. Remember, since worms are very soft, they are easily nibbled from the hook. Small pieces result in a greater number of hookups.
Experiment with a variety of live baits in different sizes. Be sure to match the size of the hook to the size of the bait. Oversized hooks prevent baitfish from swimming naturally and will reduce the number of bites.
Upcoming events
A free fishing seminar conduced by Capt. Gus Gustafson – iEverything You Want to Know About Tying Fishing Knots,î Gander Mountain, Exit 36, Mooresville, Tuesday, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m. Call 704 658 0822 for additional information.
Hot spots
Stripers are biting throughout the night and into the early morning hours at Cowanís Ford Dam and near the deeper water adjacent to Marker 3. Bass fishing continues to be good to very good, with soft plastics near shaded docks and deep cover. White perch are plentiful along drop-offs and over deep brush. Best results are achieved by vertically jigging spoons and sabiki rigs.
The lake water level is currently 3.3 feet below full. Water surface temperature is in the high 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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