Fishing with Gus

Three simple things can help you catch more fish this fall. Fish in the right place, at the right time and with the right bait.

• The right places and best spots to begin fishing on Lake Norman are in and around points. Points are extensions of land masses that jut into the lake. The best places to fish on an early fall morning are points that gradually drop off into a deep channel. Shorter points that dip quickly from shallow to deep are best when the sun is high or on windy days when the surrounding water is rough and rippled. Channel markers identify many of the best points on Lake Norman.

• The right time is simple. The hard part is getting up early enough to be on the lake before sunrise. Most anglers agree that dawn and the hour or two after sunrise is the best time to catch fish. If getting up before breakfast is not for you, it’s not the end of the world.  Fish feed several times daily, but remember, the sunrise bite is comparable to missing the first inning of a baseball game. On many occasions, that’s the whole ball game.

• The right bait choice is sometimes complicated. The choices vary, so first decide between natural or artificial.  Live baits catch everything from stripers to bream. The live baits of choice are worms and crickets for bream, small minnows for crappie and perch, and medium to large shiners/shad for bass and stripers. Even though live baits are quite effective, many anglers prefer casting artificial lures. Bass anglers use a lot of soft plastic worm look-alikes along with spinner and buzz baits. They also throw hard plastic lures that mirror the images of small-bait fish in mid-water depths. Most will agree that the bait of choice among bass fishermen is a plastic worm fished slowly on the bottom of a shallow point.

Upcoming events

I’ll lead a free safety class, “How to Navigate Norman when the Lake is Low,” from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Nov. 9 at North Point Watersports, 112 Doolie Road. Details: 704-617-6812 or

Tips from Capt. Gus

Crappie fishermen have found that tipping their jigs with live minnows is an irresistible combination, especially for larger fish.

Hot spot of the week

Lower water temperatures have activated fish, particularly bass, crappie and perch.

Try top-water baits for spotted bass in the south hot hole, as well in back coves and boat basins at dawn and dusk. Jigs fished off points during the day and lighted docks at night are producing heavy limits.

Nice size crappie have moved to shallow water. Your best bets to catch them are bridge pilings and submerged brush in water less than 15 feet deep.

White perch are in coves to 30 feet and around lighted docks after dark.

The lake level on Lake Norman is down about 4.7 feet from full pond. The water surface temperature is in the high 60s and low 70s. q

Capt. Gus Gustafson is a full-time professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. Details: