Perch taken on a Sabiki Rig

Photos courtesy of Capt. Gus
Photo # 1 – Peter Leeke from Charlotte, NC with a Lake Norman striped bass caught on a November guide trip.
Photo # 2 – Perch taken on a Sabiki Rig

Readers frequently ask, “What is a Sabiki Rig?”

The rig is usually made of four to six small files tied in tandem a few inches apart on a leader. The swivel on the upper end of the rig is attached to the terminal end of the fishing line, and a weight or jigging spoon is connected to the other end. The Sabiki is then yo-yoed up and down just above the lake bottom. Don’t be surprised if you hook a fish on every fly and sometimes on the spoon as well. The Sabiki rig is ideal for vertically jigging off boats and deep water piers or docks.

Saltwater anglers have used Sabiki rigs for decades to catch baitfish. Some years back, Lake Norman fishermen discovered that in addition to hooking herring and other baitfish, the Sabiki flies would tempt crappie, perch, spotted bass, stripers and even flathead catfish. Sabiki rigs are popular with white perch fishermen too, because the multi-hook design allows several catches at the same time. Bass and flathead catfish eat the same forage as white perch, and the Sabiki flies mimic the small shad and herring that they feed on as well .

Some call the Sabiki a poor man’s Alabama rig, since it’s capable of hooking numerous fish at the same time. The Sabiki rig costs less than five dollars, compared to twenty dollars or more for an A-rig. Sabiki flies are made with fish skin dressing, brightly colored feathers and beads that glow in the dark.

A rod rigged with six Sabiki flies might be too long for a child to handle, so consider cutting the rig in half and fish with three flies instead of six. The remaining flies can be used on another rod. Give the Sabiki a try the next time you go fishing. Youngsters and adults alike enjoy catching multiple fish on the same cast!

Tips from Capt. Gus: Rather than reeling the Sabiki immediately when you feel a bite, jiggle the rig a few times to entice other fish to hit the remaining empty hooks. If the fish are feeding aggressively, the Sabiki will catch one to seven on a single drop. When fishing slows, add a small piece of worm, cut bait or crappie minnow to one of the hooks.

Holiday Fishing Forecast: Now that water levels have returned to normal, bass fishermen are again casting around docks and downed trees. Top water lures, jerk baits and soft plastics are the baits of choice. Another way to generate a limit is to fish deep diving lures, spoons and drop-shot rigs off the ends of deep water points. For those who enjoy catching surface feeding fish, keep an eye out for sea birds that dive for baitfish on the surface. The majority of surface feeding activity occurs at dawn and dusk.

Hybrid and striped bass are feeding with spotted bass, so don’t be surprised when your rod bends double and your drag spins loudly. If hybrids and stripers aren’t surface feeding, they can be caught by trolling roadrunners, A-rigs and and a variety of deep diving crank baits. For those who prefer to use live bait for stripers, try shad, herring, shiners and rainbow trout (when available).

Fish the deep docks and boat houses in Mountain, Little and Reed Creeks for crappie. If its white perch you’re after, drift small minnows and Sabiki rigs along the channel edges and over deep drop offs. The larger fish are suspended in water from thirty to sixty feet deep.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Lake Norman is less than one foot below full pond and 2.8 feet below on Mountain Island Lake. The water surface temperature is in the low to mid-sixties.