Fishing with Gus

Everyone has read notices and plaques posted on the walls of tackle shops, fishing lodges and boat cabins that mention rules and slogans particular to fishing and boating.

Most are meant to bring a chuckle. Others might have an underlying meaning.

A few apply to the person at the helm:

• “The captain’s word is law.”

• “In calm water, every ship has a good captain.”

• “Compliment the captain on his sobriety.”

• “The captain is always right.”

Most fishing slogans bring a smile or add insight to the sport. The following do both:

• “Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught,”

• “I started the day with no fish, and I still have plenty left.”

• “Fishing is the sport of drowning worms.”

• “This day was a total waste of bait.”

• “There are two kinds of fishermen – the ones who fish for the sport and those who catch something.”

• “Life’s too short to only fish on weekends.”

Like other sports, fishing has rules:

•  Never touch my tackle.

•  Bait your own hook.

•  Take your own fish off the hook.

•  Clean your own fish.

•  Tell your own lies.

Then there are advisories and warnings, like this one posted on a charter boat: “Fish are monitored on closed circuit television.” Could the intent of this be to keep the angler from lying or to have a record of the catch?

Then there is the warning on a sign near the lake at a church summer camp: “No fishing allowed – Violators will be baptized.”

Others are funny or make a statement:

• “All men are equal before fish.”

• “A fish is too valuable to be caught only once.”

• “Happiness is a BIG BASS.”

• “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he might get a fishing show on the Discovery Channel.”

Finally, some free advice – “Fishing is like swimming, you can’t learn how to fish by reading about it.”

Upcoming events

• I’ll host a free safe boating class, How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night, 6:30-8 p.m. Aug. 8 at North Point Watersports, 112 Doolie Road, Mooresville. Topics for discussion will include understanding Lake Norman’s channel marker and buoy system, avoiding the 10 most dangerous spot and interpreting lake maps. Details: 704-617-6812 or

Hot spots of the week

White perch fishing is excellent, as it has been for weeks. Big perch have finally started showing up in water from 30 to 40 feet deep.

Jigging spoons, rigged in combination with a string of Sabiki flies, are the lures of choice.

The hot weather cool down has bass jumping in the boat. Not really, but it’s easy to find them chasing shad to the surface and then jumping from the water to catch them.

The best places to catch schooling bass are on shallow points with top-water lures.

Capt. Gus Gustafson, of Lake Norman Ventures, is an outdoor columnist and a professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. Details: 704-617-6812 or