Fishing with Capt. Gus
Fishermen are frequently asked three questions:
– Catchin’ anything?
– Where did you get ’em?
– What were they hittin’?
The answer to the first question is usually, “Yes!”
The responses to the other two questions are often vague or somewhat elusive. Most anglers prefer to keep their fishing holes and the bait they use a secret but don’t hesitate to brag about their catch.
Some of the best live baits actually aren’t that much of a secret. Most have been catching fish for decades. However, if you are new to the sport, or haven’t 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.
Rainbow and golden trout, while not native to the area, are used during the winter months by striper and cat fishermen. They can be purchased at area bait shops and kept alive for long periods of time 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 “must have” live baits for cat fishermen. They account for a large number of big bass and stripers caught on Lake Norman. Whether they are kept for food or used as bait, they are considered game fish and must be caught on a hook and line and not in a cast net.
A live cricket, suspended below a red and white bobber, has taken tens of 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. Remember, since worms are very soft, they are easily nibbled from the hook. Small pieces result in a greater number of hookups.
Upcoming event: A free fishing seminar is scheduled at Gander Mountain, Mooresville, on Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m. For additional information call 704-658-0822.
Tip from Capt. Gus: To catch more fish, 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.
Hot spot of the week: Striper activity has increased, particularly in Mountain and Reeds creeks. Some surface feeding occurs at daylight, but most fish are caught on down lines with live bait. Spotted bass are hitting artificial and live baits in coves and over brush and rocks. White perch continue to hit small minnows and spoons at depths to 40 feet. The cooler water temperatures have improved fishing for all species this week. The lake water level is currently 2.8 feet below full pond. Water surface temperature is in the 60s and low 70s.
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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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