Spring Fishing Tips

Spring has “sprung” and the fish are biting. Like many Piedmont residents, it may have been a long time since you wet a line.  Hopefully, these tips will help make your first fishing trip of the new season a productive one.
Get an early start.  Sunrise signals the first inning of a fishing day. Fish are particularly active from dawn until an hour or so after sunrise.  
Ice, gas and bait: Plan to be on the lake at first light. Load the boat with gas, ice, bait and tackle the night before.  Don’t forget to set the clock.
Sun glasses: Polarized glasses reduce the glare and make it easier to see through the water.  Fish swimming along the banks or tending their spawning beds are easy to catch.

Artificial Baits: Swimming lures that imitate the look and action of shad – Shad Raps, Rapalas, Rattle Traps and Swimbaits are popular with bass and hybrid striped bass anglers. Soft plastics, jigging spoons and deep diving lures are preferred when fish are deep and feeding near the bottom.
Live shad/ herring /minnows are particularly effective during the spring. They swim naturally when hooked through the nose or lips. To keep them active a bait tank, live well or a bait bucket with a battery-operated aerator is recommended.
Hooks, sinkers and bobbers: Match the size of the terminal tackle to the size of the bait for the type of fish you target.  When fishing slows, downsize bait, hooks, sinkers and bobbers.
Casting: Spring is a good time to re-spool reels with new line. A 6′ to 7′ medium action spinning rod and reel combination, loaded with ten pound test line is perfect for most fishing conditions on Piedmont lakes. Optimum performance is achieved when the spinning reel is filled to within 1/8th of an inch from the lip of the spool.  
Best places to fish: Boat docks are preferred for most species of fish on Lake Norman. Other prime targets include bridge pilings, downed trees, brush piles, channel markers and points of land.  
Nets: Be sure to have a landing net on board. Place the net in the water and lead the fish into it head first.  
Camera: Don’t forget to take a camera and share the pictures with those who didn’t go with you.  

Tips from Capt. Gus:

Using small corks and bobbers means more fish when live baiting,. Larger bobbers are easier to cast and see, but are more difficult for small or medium size fish to tug on.  In fact, if a fish detects too much resistance, it might drop the bait before swallowing it. 

April Hot Spots:

Warmer and rising lake waters have bass close to shore and in the backs of coves where they are spawning. Hybrids are upriver where they can be taken on live bait, clams, mussels and a variety of artificial lures.

See ya out there!

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 at www.FishingWithGus.com or call 704-617-6812.