Elvert Neal (top), Anthony Webster (left) and Jeff Webb (right)
All of Statesville, holding fish caught on a recent guide trip with Gus Gustafson on Lake Norman
Striper Fishin' With Gus!
December 19, 2004
Winter striper fishing has shifted to high gear with morning temperatures frequently below freezing. It is amazing how cool water temperatures stimulate the appetite of a striped bass. Good to excellent catches are being reported from both ends of Lake Norman
. Anglers pulling live baits behind planer boards are taking fish in all major creek arms. The morning bite is still preferred over midday and evening feeding periods.
In a very active school of feeding stripers, Von Herbert and Lou Mintzer, both of Mooresville, recently limited out in a matter of a few minutes. At one point, all six lines, baited with big shiners, went down at t he same time. The fish were reported to be healthy and between twenty and twenty-three inches in length. Lou capped the stack with a twenty-pound three-ounce blue catfish. The big skin head was fooled by a half-dead rainbow trout dangling in the water at the boat dock.
On a different trip, Jeff Webb and fishing buddies Anthony Webster and Elvert Neal of Statesville, N.C. caught a mixed bag of stripers, bass and white perch off creek points in water twenty five to forty feet deep. Anthony used a deep jigging spoon and at one point caught ten in a row. Elvert and Jeff joined the fun and snatched fish off the bottom with white and chartreuse jigging spoons.
Tips from Gus!
I heard this one while eating breakfast one morning at Stacey's Restaurant in Denver, NC. The pain from the sting of a catfish can be relieved by rubbing the slime of the catfish on the wound. Check with your doctor before trying this remedy.
This year's most wanted items on the striper fishermen's Christmas gift list include a global positioning system (GPS), depth/fish finder, electric knife, cast net, bait tank, Gore-Tex jacket/bib, a guided fishing trip and last but not least, a thirty pound striper tugging on his line.
See ya out there!
For hardy anglers, January is sublime
It's a time for good fishing, and for big tournaments
The first week of the new year has historically been one of the better weeks of the winter season for striper fishing.
If the weather is moderate, fish will appear in popular haunts, including the hot spots on favorite river and creek runs.
Should water temperatures fall into the mid- to high-40s, expect to find fish in the discharge chutes of Lake Norman
's Marshall Steam Plant and the Nuclear Power Station. January is for hardy anglers who dress appropriately.
Early morning anglers should look for diving birds at sunrise. Terns and gulls signal the presence of stripers feeding below the surface. Exercise caution when approaching the fray, as fish scatter when frightened by the noise of a boat. Casting spoons or bucktails to surface feeding fish should produce immediate strikes.
Once surface feeding action slows, switch to using shad, herring or trout for bait. Savvy anglers use live baits pulled from planner boards towed slowly behind the boat.
Boards come in various sizes and colors and are designed to spread baits to either side of the boat. The larger swath made by pulling the boards allows an angler to cover up to three times more water. Lines can be fished with or without weights.
Most action occurs early or late in the hot hole areas, but fish can be found throughout the day. The hot holes are a favorite location for spotted and largemouth bass. Hot water stripers tend to be smaller than those found in open water. They are lured to the discharge by the warm water and by millions of small forage fish.
Ice flies, crappie jigs, small spoons and bucktails are popular artificial baits. Drifting live baits also produce good results. People can fish without a boat, since bank fishing is permitted at both hot hole areas.
If history repeats itself, Ramsey, Mountain and Stumpy creeks will see a large number of fishermen throughout the month. Anglers can expect to catch stripers 20 to 24 inches in length, with an occasional fish of more than 6 pounds.
Should the creeks become crowded, plenty of open water fishing is available. Lake Norman
is the state's largest impoundment, with 32,000 acres of surface water.
January is an important month for Lake Norman
tournament fishermen. One of the biggest tournaments of the year is hosted annually by the Lake Norman
Striper Swipers. This year's event will be on Jan. 15 at a site to be determined.
Past winter Invitational Tournaments have drawn as many as 100 boats, with anglers from all over the Southeast. Proceeds will support the programs that benefit Lake Norman
's striper fishery. More information about this long-running event is available at www.lnssfishn.com/
A Striped Bass Fishing Seminar will be conducted at Bass Pro Shops in Concord Mills Mall in Concord on Jan. 18. The two-hour program, beginning at 6:30 p.m., is free. I and fellow Lake Norman
striper fishing guide Craig Price will demonstrate methods used to catch stripers on area lakes and rivers. Sessions will include ways to effectively use electronics, how to throw a cast net and how to rig live and artificial baits.
See ya out there!
Gus Gustafson of Lake Norman
Ventures Inc. is a full-time professional striper fishing guide on Lake Norman
. Visit his site, Striper Fishin' With Gus!, at www.lakenormanstriperfishing.com
, call (704)489-0763; or e-mail him at [email protected]
Gus is also a member here / backcountry
informational credits to the Charlotte Observer.