Capt. Gus: How to catch more fish

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 15, 2011

Often I am asked if fishing isn’t the same everywhere. That is simply not true. Each body of water has its own characteristics and every fish population reacts differently. In fact, in many ways, it is more difficult on Lake Norman to tempt fish to strike baits. If you’re having issues, try the following.
• Down size: It is a fact that Lake Norman’s baitfish population is small, so use lighter fishing outfits and smaller terminal tackle.
• Fish slowly: Most of the time, bass and other species prefer a slow moving bait. Shaky heads and other soft plastic rigs fished on the bottom are the most effective. Be quiet when approaching and fishing an area. Lake Norman’s clear water makes fish leery, particularly when they sense noise.
• Ambush points: Concentrate your efforts near structure that affords predator fish a place to ambush their prey. Best bets are around boat docks, piers, brush, rock piles and pilings.
• Thoroughly fish a spot: One or two casts in a likely area might not be enough to tempt a fish to strike. Fan cast the entire area, and try several lures before moving on.
• Live bait: If you can’t catch fish on artificial lures, try live bait. Worms, minnows and crickets are proven winners.
• Best times to fish: As a rule, fish bite best during low light conditions. Dawn, dusk and cloudy days seem to produce the largest stringers. For the more adventurous angler, night fishing is also an option.
• Chumming: Fishermen know that chumming always attracts fish. Chum with dog and cat food around boat docks, or use cut pieces of fish or live shad and herring in open water.
• One more cast: Regardless of how or when you fish, there are days when the bite is slow. Be patient and determined; you never know when the next bite will occur.
Spring is a great time to fish. If you haven’t been this season, dust off your gear and give it a try. I’m looking forward to seeing you out there.
Upcoming events
Boater Safety Training: The Lake Norman Sail and Power Squadron is conducting Boater Safety Training at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Denver VFD. The cost is $45. Pre-Registration is required. For additional information visit: or call Bob Yannacci at 704-660-5568.
Free Fishing Seminar: “How to Catch Spring and Summer Catfish” will be held at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, Mooresville, at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27. This session will be conducted by Lake Norman catfish guide, Mac Byrum and author, Jake Bussollini. For more information, call 704- 658-0822.
Tips from Capt. Gus
Green, blue and yellow lures are colors of choice for spring casting on Lake Norman.
Hot Spot of the Week
Bass fishing continues to be good to excellent. Largemouth bass are prevalent above the N.C. 150 Bridge. Look for them around fallen trees and in pockets with overhanging cover. Down lake, spotted bass are holding around brush piles and chasing shad in coves and boat basins.
The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the 60s in open waters not affected by the power plants. The water level is about 2.2 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and also 3.2 feet below on Mountain Island Lake.
Capt. Gus Gustafson of Lake Norman Ventures is an outdoor columnist and a full time professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. Visit his website or call 704-617-6812. For additional information, email him at