’Twas the night before Christmas.… The stockings were hung and the dog was asleep. A tired, old captain had just settled down for a long winter’s nap, but not before he attached a note to the fishing rod he had left for Santa.“Dear Santa; When your work is all done,and you have time to play,give me a call, and we’ll fish for a day.I have the bait and the rods,the reels and the line.I can assure you a very good time!Merry Christmas from Captain Gus!”With this, he fell asleep and began to dream…Ol’ St. Nick was all dressed in fur and was in a roomful of noisy kids dressed in their finest fishing garb. Each one held a shiny new rod and tackle box.In the twinkling of an eye, Santa, the captain and the children were riding down the lake in a new Ranger Bass Boat. They hadn’t gone very far when what to their wandering eyes should appear but a lake full of fish jumping everywhere.There must have been some magic in an old silk hat that one of the boys was wearing, because every time he made a cast, he reeled in another bass. The others took turns wearing the hat, and everybody caught fish. Capt. Gus was so busy unhooking fish that he almost forgot about Santa being on board. That’s when he discovered that one of Santa’s elves was on the boat, and he had a camera. How he got on the boat is anybody’s guess. Magic, I guess, but he snapped pictures of the children sitting on Santa’s lap and all the fish they had caught. When the fish stopped biting, everybody was hungry, so Santa suggested that they go to Fishmas Island, a magical place in the middle of the lake. There they could cook and eat the fish. So, Capt. Gus gave a thrust to the engine, and away they flew, down the lake. They were greeted at the dock on Fishmas Island by dozens of elves, singing, “We wish you a Merry Fishmas!” (During this time, Santa and Capt. Gus disappeared, but in all the excitement, nobody noticed.)The island was covered in new-fallen snow, and the pine trees were decorated with red and green bobbers, lures and fish ornaments. The misfit elves were all playing games on their computers, while the good elves began to unload the boat and cook the fish. After the tasty meal, they gave bass-shaped cookies to all the children, and then they went outside and threw snowballs and made snow angels. None of them knew that the captain and Santa had sneaked off to do a little fishing on their own. Santa’s boat was powered by eight tiny reindeer that ran a course to Santa’s secret fishing hole. Here, only trophy fish would hit their Christmas-tree-shaped lures. With a boatload of fish and ol’ Santa too, the reindeer returned them to Fishmas Island, tired and cold. Their cheeks were like roses and their noses like cherries when they loaded the boat with the children and began their journey home. As Santa dropped everyone off, he shouted “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year.”That is when the captain awoke from his long winter nap. He sprang from his bed to see what was the matter. His dog was barking and ready to go outside. Tips from Capt. GusThe week between Christmas and New Year’s is a great time to take the family fishing, even if it’s for only an hour or two.Hot spots of the weekFishing for white perch and spotted bass has been excellent. For best results, look for low-flying and diving sea birds. Big bass and perch schools are feeding in water to 70 feet along the edge of the old river and major creek channels on both sides of the N.C. 150 bridge. When sea birds aren’t present, good starting places are the deep channels near Lake Norman State Park and along the edges of Mountain and Reeds creeks. A few stripers are being taken by those trolling Alabama rigs on down riggers and deep jigging with spoons or bucktails. The water level on Lake Norman is about 5 feet from full pond and down 4.3 feet on Mountain Island Lake. The water surface temperature is in the 50s.