My Latest New Book

My Latest New Book
Fishing Different

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Lets try this photo

 See if this one works

This is the official photo of the creek chub.

We Discovered a New Bait That Works Well

 A few weeks ago a friend of mine was working in Mooresville near a small creek that looks like it might eventually run into Lake Norman. During the summer and fall this dried up source of water was nothing more than a puddle but he (Kenny) saw that it contained small fish about the size of the bait that he saw me using. He got himself a bait trap and caught a dozen or so of these fish. At first glance I didn't recognize the species of the fish but we did use them for bait and they worked wonders. The bass seemed to love them and the new bait stayed live forever when on the hook.

Kenny supplied me several times during the Fall and we always caught fish with them. I got a little inquisitive about the species because I didn't want to be introducing a new species into the lake so I contacted the Wildlife commission for a species identification. They immediately recognized my photos of the fish as Creek Chub, indication that they are very common in small creeks and ponds in our area. A photo of the Chub is shown below. For some reason the computer would not permit me to add the official photo.


Friday, December 31, 2021

Biggest Catfish so Far

 Usually, I don't expect to catch many big catfish this time of the year but last week things got interesting. I had a guest from Penn. visit me for a day of fishing. This guy is a fairly experienced angler and I have fished with him before so we talked regularly about the little things that I pick up when on the lake. We actually had a terrible day of fishing with only one bass caught in a four hour time period. I was about to call it a day when one of the back lines started to do a little bouncing, sort of like a perch was nibbling on the bait. I had cautioned him about the pesty perch but he kept getting nervous when the rod tip jiggled.

I told him that sometimes when a predator is hanging around a bait fish, the bait will try to swim away and that makes the rod tip move like that. I suggested that he pick up he rod and take up just a little line to make it look like the bait was swimming away from whatever was chasing it. He followed my instructions and suddenly the rod tip went down and hit the water. Shocked as he was, he said that he had snagged a log but he soon realized that the rod was jumping as it pulled away from him. I said, "looks like you got a big fish" and big fish it was.


Fortunately I had checked all the drag settings before we left the dock and I told him to make sure he let the fish run if it wanted to because he was using a 10 pound line test and the only way he could land this fish was to tire it out. He took my advice and fought the monster for more than 20 minutes. Each time the fish came close enough to the surface to see the boat, it took a deep dive for the bottom. When he finally tired the fish, I tried to get it in my net, but it was so fat that it wouldn't go into the net.

I grabbed my hand grabber to try and grab it by the mouth and lift it into the boat but the fish was so heavy that it broke the grabber in half. He finally maneuvered the fish so its head went straight into the net and the two of us were able to life the fish into the boat with great difficulty. I grabbed my scale and after some effort we weighed it at 40 pounds and got it back into the water.

The lesson learned from tis experience is that when the bite looks very light like a perch, take the rod and let the bait move like it is getting away. You may be surprised at the results. Also make sure your drag is set so a big fish can run. Thats the only way you can tire a big fish to the point that you can boat it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Fall Fishing is Picking Up

 Despite the number of anglers that were on the lake last week-end in the Bass Masters tournament, I believe that most of that activity was at the upper areas of the lake. The larger bass seem to be in those waters where there is a little current and a higher concentration of nutrients so the areas at the south end of the lake were relatively un-disturbed. I fished with my son-in-law yesterday for a couple of hours and he caught 12 fish. The bass, with one exception were this years yearlings but he did land one that was in the 2 pound range


As the afternoon got closer to dusk, he landed four mid-sized catfish, two blues and two channels. One of those fish is shown here.


The most encouraging part of the short trip was the number of shad that I saw. One school shown here, kind of hung in one area so trolling around the school produced fish on every run. Good news that the shad are finally visible in fair numbers. This school, by my estimate contained more than 25,000 shad.

When you see a school of shad like tis, my technique is to try and continue to circle the school, the predators are sure to be close by and feeding. Good luck guys and gals, the good fall fishing has begun.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Even on Holidays, the Fishing was OK

 The lake was covered with boats of all types and jet ski's that churned up the water, but there was still room for a little fishing on Labor Day weekend. Since the occasion presented itself, I took out my Grand Son and his Son for a couple hours of fishing. When I finally found a quiet cove that the boaters had not discovered, we did find some bass and perch. Anthony scored his biggest bass over 5 pounds and Gio participated in catching some other nice fish.


The rough water was difficult for Gio so he managed to close his eyes on the trip home.

This is the kind of stuff that makes you love the little ones.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Large or Small Bait, Which is Better

 Over the last couple of years we have seen several oscillations in the supply of live bait. At the start of the Pandemic supplies of live bait were low because of the increased number of anglers that were out of work and took up fishing again, using larger quantities of live bait than the suppliers had anticipated. This summer as the Covid craze lessened and people went back to work, retail suppliers couldn't make a profit on bait because stores were not ordering large quantities. During these periods when supplies were low, I was constantly being asked the question about what size live bait is best for the local species of fish. Some weeks the larger baits were available and at other times only the smaller bait was in the stores.

Actually the same question is consistently asked with regard to lures. Will a 14 inch bass attack a 4 inch lure? Like just about every subject related to fishing, there are many answers to these questions depending on who you ask and no answer is really wrong because there are many variables that effect the answer.

First let me say that if a Lake Norman fish is hungry, regardless of its species, it will attack almost anything that swims by as long as it is smaller than itself. The phots below was sent to me by a reader who caught this trout that was digesting this smaller trout half its size. While the fish was being digested, the trout actually attacked the anglers lure. That was a hungry trout.

We don't have trout in our lake but a bass, if hungry enough will attack nearly any fish that is smaller than itself. I have found that during the spring and early summer months when the water temperature is in the comfortable range between 60 and 80 degrees, every species in this lake prefers medium sized bait between 3 and 4 inches. As the water warms and when it gets very cold, bass will tend to want a larger bait knowing that they don't like to exert a lot of energy attacking their prey. Size of course is only one issue for the predators. Any bait or lure that acts like it is wounded or otherwise unable to swim away, will be a preferred meal for a bass.
Catfish also have a preference regarding live bait. Channel cats will attack smaller bait and often will like something that smells. Blue cats prefer larger baits with the really big ones wanting a sizeable chunk of bait. Flatheads like their food to be alive, no matter what size it is

With the situation being as it is these days when we never know what's available, I say take what you can get. Its better to be on the lake with the wrong size bait than sitting at home waiting for the right size to come along.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Channel Catfish are Growing in Lake Norman

 We are all aware of the existence of Channel Catfish in Lake Norman. For years these small fish (less than 4 pounds) have been considered a nuisance to anglers because they bite at any live bait and often a lure, they are not big enough to be considered good to eat, they seem to be everywhere, even where the bass should be located. During these warm water periods, the small channels have always been a nuisance.

For some reason the size of the channels are getting much bigger. I have been catching channels regularly that are 5 pounds and bigger and they fight like mad, no longer considered a nuisance. There seems to be no known reason for this sudden growth. It is not unusual in other southern lakes to catch large channels, 5 pounds and up. Years ago I fished in the red river in North Dakota for channels and got one that was close to 50 pounds. But here in Norman they have always been small. 

I have discussed this situation with the Wildlife Commission personnel and they don't tend to agree with me and cannot provide a reason why it might occur. This might be because they don't regularly fish this lake and they really don't care about the catfish population or its conditions. If readers have noticed the same situation, please let me know because despite the Commission, the situation does exist.

This photo is a 30 inch channel cat, weighing more than 7 pounds. It was an exciting catch and fought as good as most stripers. There was actually enough meat on this fish for a couple good filets if that was my objective.