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Fishing with Capt. Gus: Catching stripers easier this time of year at Lake Norman

In November, stripers settle into an early winter pattern. They concentrate in a particular area for days at a time and then follow the bait to other locations.
Catching them is easy ó the trick is finding them, particularly for those who use basic live-bait fishing techniques. The most popular technique is a combination of down lines, flat lines and planer boards, baited with live shad, herring or shiners. The baits can be drifted or pulled slowly with an electric trolling motor. To assure that the entire water column is covered, multiple rods should be used. Fishermen who double anchor and fish with a combination of cut and live baits might use up to 30 rods at one time.
As November comes to a close, shallow flats and coves will be the areas to fish at sunrise and just before sunset. When fish move deeper during midday, strategies change and knowledgeable fishermen move with the fish. In deeper water, fish will feed around points, humps, and turns in river and creek channels.
Live bait becomes much easier to find and keep alive in cool water.
The back ends of creeks and coves will hold shad, while herring can be caught around lighted docks after dark. If you’re not handy with a cast net, area bait shops will have plenty of big shiners and rainbow trout for sale.
Shiners are sold by the dozen. The price varies by size. Expect to pay $4 to $8 a dozen. Trout sell for $12 to $15 a dozen, or a dollar or so each, depending on the size. Trout are hardy baits and will live in an aerated live well or bait bucket.
Tournament anglers prefer 10-inch or larger gizzard shad, crappie, bream and trout. White perch are also a preferred meal for large stripers.
Thanksgiving week is a favorite time for striper fishermen. Hicks, Stumpy and Hagars creeks will be filled with boats. Stripers become leery and more difficult to entice when boat traffic is heavy. Fishermen who escape the holiday crowd of boats are more likely to catch limits than those who congregate in tight areas
November’s conditions are right for fish and fishermen. Dress for the day and enjoy the cool air and the last of the fall colors.
Upcoming events
A free fishing seminar is scheduled at Gander Mountain, Interstate 77 Exit 36, Mooresville, on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. The topic for discussion will be “The Best Places to Catch Winter Bass, Crappie, Perch, Stripers and Catfish on Lake Norman”. This informative session will be conducted by Jake Bussolini and Capt. Gus. For additional information call 704-658-0822.
The Hot Spot of the week is the area in and around the Lake Norman State Park. Stripers are taking live baits suspended 20 to 30 feet below the surface. Spotted bass are surface feeding on shallow points throughout the day and are schooling with the much larger striped bass. During the past week, stripers and cats were hitting good to very good. Bass and white perch fishing was also good.
The lake level is 97.7 or 2.3 feet below full pond. Lake waters are generally clear with surface temperatures in the 60s. The fishing forecast is excellent for those lucky enough to cast a lure this week.
Tips from Gus: Top water baits cast toward rocky points at daylight will entice bass and stripers. Buzz baits and lures with propellers are attracting the attention of both species.
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Visit www.lakenormanstriperfishing. com or call Gus Gustafson at 704-617-6812. E-mail him at Gus@LakeNorman.com.

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