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Fishin’ with Capt. Gus!: Fish Tales

GUS GUSTAFSON
Guest Columnist

The best thing about a fish tale is that no proof or documentation is required. Sometimes the very best tales occurred years ago on a far off body of water with few, if any, witnesses and no pictures.
It’s funny, but most fish stories are about “the one that got away” or about something “dumb” that happened either while fishing or during the trip to or from the water. Unlike the weather-man, who never takes responsibility for a bad forecast, fishermen tend to cast the blame for misfortune on themselves, the fish, faulty equipment, or their fishing partner(s). They, in turn, like to take all the credit for their successes!
Good fish stories are often short and to the point. For those with a “gift of gab” and the ability to embellish a tale about an insignificant event (catching small fish), a longer tale is just as fascinating. Since the best tales are usually about the fish that jumped off, it takes longer to make it sound bigger than it was. Other great stories might focus on losing a fishing outfit, breaking a line, or using a net that’s too small to land the big one. There are also those who tell about fish, bird, snake and gator attacks, boat groundings, ship wrecks, stormy seas and getting lost in the fog. Some of my favorites are about game wardens, motors that won’t crank, forgetting to put the drain plug in, and parking brakes that fail at the boat ramp.
The absolute very best of all are true stories about a child’s first trip or first fish and the pictures that go with it!
To help start your thinking process, there is a tale about a father and son who were fishing from a canoe. The boy lands a nice fish. As he unhooks it, he asks, “What are we going to do with it?” His Dad replies, “I don’t know. This has never happened before.”
Upcoming Events:
Free Catfish Seminar – Lake Norman catfish guide and author, Mac Byrum, will lead a question and answer session on “How to Catch Big Arkansas Blue and Flathead Catfish.” The session is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. on May 15th at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, Mooresville, NC. For additional information, call 704 658 0822.
Free Vessel Safety Check – The Lake Norman Sail & Power Squadron will conduct vessel safety checks on May 18th at Holiday Harbor Marina from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. For additional information, visit www.usps.org/lakenorman or call Monroe Cowan at 704 895 4994.
Tips from Capt. Gus! Channel catfish will eat anything that smells; the smellier, the better. Chicken livers and night crawlers are preferred baits.
Fishing Report: Big bass are being caught while bedding in back-coves. Since water temperatures are cooler than normal, the spawning season should continue into June. In addition, spotted bass are feeding on shallow points, around submerged brush piles and anywhere bait ball images are seen on the fish finder screen. White perch, while not as plentiful as they will be in June, are schooling along deep banks in water to twenty-five feet deep. Best baits are crappie minnows attached to Sabiki fly rigs. Catfish guide, Mac Byrum, reports that Arkansas Blue Catfishing is very good, with most cats in the five to ten pound range. Mac’s preferred bait is a quarter (coin) size piece of a chicken breast sprinkled lightly with garlic power.
The water level on Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake have been at or above full pond in recent days. The water levels are now receding. Surface water temperatures range from the mid-sixties to seventies, depending on location or proximity to a power plant.
Capt. Gus Gustafson of Lake Norman Ventures, Inc. is an Outdoor Columnist and a full-time Professional Fishing Guide on Lake Norman, NC. Visit his website www.FishingWithGus.com or call 704-617-6812.

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