My Latest New Book

My Latest New Book
Fishing Different

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Strange Looking Bass Isn't Strange at All

A friend of my, Bob Curan, a Lake Norman guide, recently told me about a bass that he caught that had strange black blotches over its body. On first description, I thought it might be a Sauger, that has dark blotches on its body. Bob contacted the Wildlife Commission and determined that it was a condition called Melanosis, caused by over-exposure to the sun. The fish that Bob caught is shown below

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I did some additional research on the subject and found that the condition is relatively common among catfish and bass that have continued heavy exposure to sunlight. The photo shown in the research is shown below.
The two fish look quite similar. The condition is not an infection but a genetic condition that shows up in older mature bass and catfish. It is not transferable to humans and humans cannot get the condition. Fish with this condition are safe to eat as long as they are cooked to at least 145 degrees. The condition results from an overdose of Melanin in the skin, received from continued exposure to sunlight. The clear water on Lake Norman creates a situation where fish can develop the condition more easily than in waters that are less clear or even murky.
Since fish almost never like exposure to the sun. I decided that there is another condition that the bass have that might lend itself to this condition. it is call "stupid bass syndrome."

Friday, June 9, 2017

Crappie May Be Disappearing on Lake Norman

During the last three years or so, we have all been bragging about the large size to the crappie that we have been catching on Lake Norman. Both black and white crappie like the one shown below were being caught in the 12 to 16 in range which is not common for this sought-after fish.
Some of us were wondering why we were  not catching the smaller fish which were always predominant in the lake. The concern we had was that most anglers would tend to keep the bigger fish rather than returning them to the lake, and the fish that had matured to spawn size would eventually disappear resulting in poor annual spawns and the eventual vanishing of the species.

The educated consensus is that the crappie are disappearing in Lake Norman but not because we are keeping the bigger ones but because of the white perch invasion into the lake. I was informed by the experts from the State Wildlife Group who are experts on this lake, that there is repeated history on many Southern lakes, that when white perch invade a specific pattern appears. First the perch eat the eggs of the white bass and eventually eliminate them from a lake. That has already happen on Norman. After the white bass are gone the growing number of white perch compete with the crappie fry for food, eventually starving the small crappie out. We seem to be in that phase at this time. The experts feel that it is only a matter of time before all crappie disappear from Lake Norman and there seems to be nothing that can be done about it.

Nature is doing its thing, but it is unfortunate that we will soon see the demise of crappie in this great lake.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Another Fair Day on he Lake

It's getting better but still not up to par with past seasons. That's the way I find the Lake Norman fishing at this time. It seems to vary by the day,with some days producing nice fish but on other days, the fish are hard to find. One day last week Scott Vic and Richard Mayo got a few nice one on my boat as shown below.

Mayo is an old hand at catching big bass on the lake but for Vic, this was natures Birthday present to him, providing him with some nice bass and a very nice Hybrid Striper. All the fish were caught on live golden shiners. We also learned a lesson that day. When the clouds get black, get off the lake. We pulled up the lines about 5 minutes too late and got hit with that terrible wind and rain storm. Oh well, I got a nice natural rain shampoo.

Friday, June 2, 2017

When do Bass Stop Eating?

I often get this question when discussing different baits or lures to use. Actually under most conditions, bass never stop eating. When pulling in a bass, keep you eyes on the water and you might see several fish swimming up behind your hooked fish. These fish are there to grab the undigested bait fish that the bass throws out when being retrieved. These photos show clearly how much a bass will eat before attacking a bait or lure. The first photo shows a bass swallowing a bream.
One would think that this would be a sufficient meal for this bass but it is not. The photos below shows several other undigested fish in the throat of the bass while it has also been hooked by a lure. I suppose that if this fish is released, it will rest a minute or two before attacking a bait again.