Photo courtesy of Capt. Gus
David Godman of Cornelius, NC holds a Lake Norman hybrid striped bass.

Have you ever been on a discombobulated fishing trip – one where everything goes wrong from the very beginning and only gets worse?  Some call it the ripple affect when you forget one thing, don’t bring another, and before you know it, a storm catches you by surprise or a big fish gets away.

There are a host of reasons why fishing trips go awry. The biggest culprits are poor planning and a lack of organization, which is usually associated with spur of the moment trips. That is why fishing equipment should be stored in one place, routinely maintained, and a mental or written checklist should be reviewed before the trip.

Some of the most common pitfalls:

  • Forgetting to set the alarm
  • Not checking the weather
  • Underestimating the chill factor
  • Not wearing appropriate clothing for conditions
  • Expired fishing license
  • Locating an open bait shop at five in the morning

Don’t neglect items that require regular maintenance:

  • Clean and lubricate reels.
  • Replace line at least once a year, or when opaque, or the spool is low.
  • Maintain fluid levels in engine, and batteries.
  • Keep boat batteries fully charged.
  • Check boat trailer tire pressure.

Do Not Forget List:

  • Coast Guard approved safety equipment
  • Map, chart or GPS of fishing grounds
  • Hat, sun glasses, insect spray, suntan lotion
  • Rods, reels, tackle
  • Landing net
  • Cell phone, camera
  • Gas, oil, ice, food and drink
  • Keys
  • Boat trailer jack, spare tire and wheel bearings
  • Assure drain plug is secure

See ya out there!

Hot Spots of the Week: High water has pushed bass closer to shore, where they’re being caught on top water, jerk and spinner baits. Back coves and shallow water dock pilings are excellent places to catch them.  In addition, schoolie size spotted bass, hybrids and an occasional striper are surface feeding at dawn and dusk. Try fishing the mouth of Ramsey and Little Creeks, as well as, the main river channel adjacent to and north of the Lake Norman State Park. Best baits are Rat-L-Traps, Tackle Town Sure Spins and a variety of top water and jerk baits. Crappie and perch fishermen are getting their fair share on live minnows in water to forty feet deep.

Tips from Capt. Gus: NC fishing licenses can be obtained 24 hours a day online at , by telephone at 888-248-6834, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. or in person at select wildlife service agents (tackle shops, Gander Mountain, Bass Pro Shops, etc.).

Upcoming Events: Free Fishing Seminar: “Winter Fishing Techniques – How to Catch Bass, Stripers, Hybrids and White Perch” – Jake Bussolini, angler and author, will conduct this informative session on November 18th, 6:30 p.m. at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, Mooresville, NC.  For additional information, call 704 658 0822.

Lake Norman is about 0.6 feet below full pond, and 3.3 feet below on Mountain Island Lake. The water surface temperature on both lakes is in the mid to high sixties.

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, or call 704-617-6812.  For additional information, e-mail