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Fishing with Capt. Gus: Night feels right as temperatures rise

The dog days of summer have arrived.
This is the time of year when the sun’s rays shine directly on the water and the water temperature becomes the hottest. The combination of heat and bright light makes it better to fish after dark for bass, crappie, cat and stripers. Popular fishing methods are to cast toward lighted docks or deep troll or drift using a light to attract the fish.
Depending on the depth of the water, boat docks attract a variety of fish after dark. For bass or stripers, try casting top water baits ó flukes, poppers and buzz baits are popular. Next, throw a few crank baits or a bottom bumping soft plastic or bucktail. Small minnows will attract crappie and perch. Cats will take a variety of live, cut and prepared baits around the same docks where bass and stripers are caught. Once the entire water column has been covered, move to another location.
Some anglers choose to tempt fish to the boat by using portable lights. Florescent glow lights are best, but Coleman gas lights have been used for decades. Lights attract plankton and bugs, which attract bait and small fish, followed by predator fish. The technique isn’t fool proof, but it works very well for anglers crappie fishing around bridges and over deep brush. Some drift with a light overboard on calm nights, or double anchor the boat and wait for the fish to come.
Stripers are the primary targets for those who fish the Cowan’s Ford Dam area after dark in July and August. One method is to slow troll artificial lures on down riggers and/or lead core line. Another, is to drift live or cut baits at depths to 70 feet. Some fishermen troll all the time, while others troll until concentrations of fish are located. Once over a school, lines are suspend just above the fish, and are entice to bite with live minnows, cut bait or jigging spoons.
Those new to night fishing at the dam shouldn’t be surprised if they hook a very large catfish on a suspended striper bait. Since blue cats spin and wrap themselves around the line when hooked, it is wise to use a heavy leader (50-pound test) to prevent cut-offs.
Pre-rig as many fishing outfits as possible before your next night fishing venture. It is easier to switch rods in the dark than it is to tie on a new rig.
Upcoming event: “How to Safely Navigate Lake Norman,” a two-hour class offered by Lighthouse Marine Services, will be conducted at Gander Mountain, Mooresville, Interstate 77 Exit 36, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. Capt. Scott Spivey will join Gus Gustafson in discussing how to safely navigate Lake Norman’s main channel, creek arms, danger spots and coves. Registration fee is $25. Call 704 587 0325 or e-mail uscgc17@bellsouth.org.
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You can visit www.lakenormanstriperfishing. com or call Gus Gustafson at 704-617-6812. E-mail him at Gus@LakeNorman.com.

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