What do sailing and fishing have in common? Both depend on the wind.Sailboats require wind to move, and to a point, the stronger it blows, the better the sailing. Wind also activates fish and makes it easier to lure them to a hook.Fish do not have eyelids, so they don’t squint like people do when the sun shines in their eyes. To shield their eyes from the brightness, fish seek shade and cover near objects above and below the surface, or they simply swim to deeper water on calm days. Conversely, on windy days, the ripples and waves help diffuse the sun’s rays and allow fish to see their prey much easier.Agitated water created by strong winds gets fish moving; particularly forage fish that get stressed in rough water. Sensing this, bass and other predator fish are attracted to the area, and they dine on the hapless victims, even when they’re not hungry. That’s why savvy anglers cast to the windward shore where the fish are active rather than to the calmer, leeward side of a body of water.Strong winds create waves that stir up the bottom and cloud the water. This turbulence makes an excellent place to hide from the sun and provides an ambush point from which forage fish can be snared. On days when the wind is high, mud lines form off clay points and often extend long distances offshore. In addition, the area around shoals becomes discolored, which provides another opportunity for fish to hide.There are lots of good reasons not to fish the windy side of a body of water. One is the difficulty in trying to keep your balance while casting and maneuvering the boat at the same time, not to mention dealing with backlashes, or constantly working the trolling motor and taking on spray and water.It is no wonder that so many opt to fish the calm side of the lake where fishing is easier, but catching them might not be quite as good.Tips for a windy day• For optimum boat control, run the trolling motor into the wind.• To prevent the propeller from cavitating, set the trolling motor lower in the water.• To minimize hang-ups on docks and other above water structures, make shorter and lower casts.• To keep the line tight and reduce bowing while retrieving line, position the rod tip low to the water.• Don’t let backlashes ruin your fishing trip. Use heavier lures and/or tighten the tension on the spool of a bait casting reel. If blacklashing (tangling) issues continue, switch to spinning tackle. • When practical, cast lures with the wind.• Wear your personal flotation device while fishing.When the wind begins to howl and causes the waves to rock the boat, keep telling yourself: “The wind is your friend.”Fishing reportWhat a difference a few degrees drop in water temperature makes. Bass are chasing bait to the surface, crappie have moved to shallower water and white perch are bunching up in big schools. Anglers who fish upriver find that bass are willing to hit everything from top-water lures to drop shot rigs.Best places to fish are the river channel above the state park, the upper end of Mountain Creek and any place where shad are seen shimmering on the surface or on your fish-finder screen. White perch are suspending in 20 to 30 feet of water and are hitting small spoons, jigs, flies and crappie minnows.Anglers are catching larger than normal flathead and blue catfish below schools of white perch by dropping live bream or small perch to the bottom. Upcoming events Free seminar: “How to Use Sonar and Down Scanning Electronics to Locate Fish and Under Water Structure:” Jake Bussolini and I will conduct this session at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 16 at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, Mooresville. For information, call 704-658-0822.Water conditionsThe water level on Lake Norman is approximately 2.3 feet below full pond. Mountain Island Lake is 3.7 feet below full. Surface water temperatures are in the low to mid-70s, depending on location or proximity to a power plant.
Saturday, Oct. 05, 2013
The wind is a friend to fishermen
Gus Gustafson is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Gus? Email him at Gus@LakeNorman.com.
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