Fishing Pox Epidemic Hits Lake Norman

Cold, wind and snow, has had fishermen spending way too much time in the garage, basement or by the fireplace. The persistent winter weather has kept many off the lake since before Christmas even though the fish don’t seem to mind.

The longer fishermen spend on the internet, watching television and reading fishing catalogues, the more susceptible they become to catching “Fishing Pox”. In fact, some parts of the state are reporting the dreaded disease has reached epidemic proportions. In case you haven’t heard, Fishing Pox has been around since pre-historic times. That is why archeologists find so many drawings of fish on the walls of caves. Until recently, it wasn’t though to be a disease, so it’s not covered by health insurance or Medicare.

What are the symptoms, you might ask? In the beginning stages, the telltale signs are laying on the couch for extended periods of time, watching re-runs of Bill Dance Bloopers on television, flipping the pages of fishing catalogues and spending hours on outdoor websites. This is followed by periods of pining, despondency and a craving for Vienna sausage. The final stage, and the most expensive one, is when the sufferer leaves the house to get away for a few minutes. The first stop is usually a sporting goods store. Because Fishing Pox has a deadening effect on the senses (common sense), money spent on tackle, marine electronics, and other gear doesn’t seem to matter. Besides, it’s easy to rationalize just by saying; “What the heck, I haven’t spent any money on fishing equipment all winter.” In extreme cases, the Pox victim skips the outdoor shops and goes instead to his favorite bass boat or truck dealership. There he is greeted warmly and treated like an old fishing buddy, all the while the salesperson is selling him a new bass boat or 4 X 4 truck.

Those that have had the Fishing Pox, know the only real cure is to go fishing. If it’s too windy, cold or raining, so what, go anyway!

Tips from Capt. Gus – If engine and trolling motor batteries were installed in 3014 or earlier, they should be replaced before you use your boat this spring.

Upcoming events: Free Fishing Seminar – “How Marine Electronics Have Reshaped the Sport of Fishing”   will be presented by Jake Bussolini at Gander Mountain, Exit 36 on March 16, 2016 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Contact 704-658-0822 for additional information

Hot Spot of the Week:  Bass are moving out of deep water and staging for the spring spawn. Try fishing Ramsey and McCrary Creeks where the water temperature is a few degrees warmer than other creeks. Anglers, using the Alabama rig, continue to boast about the quality and quantity of stripers, hybrids and bass they are catching. Large crappie are hitting minnows, while white perch are being caught on Sabiki rigs in deepeer water.

The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the high fifties and low sixties in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 3.4 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and 2.5′ below full on Mountain Island Lake.

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 web site, or call 704-617-6812. For additional information, e-mail him at