Sometimes, fishing stories are better than catching fish.
Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013

Sometimes, fishing stories are better than catching fish.

There is more to fishing than catching fish! Sometimes the stories are better than the catching.

As an example, while driving southwest along the Overseas Highway (U.S. 1) in the Florida Keys, I passed a group of tourists on the east side of the road with their cameras pointed toward the ocean.

It was getting late, so I assumed that they were setting up to photograph what would soon be a magnificent sunset. Knowing that they were facing the wrong direction, I stopped to chat. They told me that they were disappointed because this was the third day in a row that the sun didn’t set, and they had to fly back home the next morning.

I suggested they aim their cameras in the opposite direction where the sun was just begging to set on the western horizon of the Gulf of Mexico.

Then there was this guy who bought a new boat with a gas-saving four-stroke outboard motor. He was getting 10 to 15 trips before having to refill the gas tank. He couldn’t believe the money he was saving, so he bragged to everyone. Weeks went by, and the fuel savings kept adding up. But like everything else, good things never last forever. One evening he was looking out the window when he saw a friend filling his boat with gas. That’s when he realized he had been duped by his fishing club buddies, who were contributing money to perpetuate the fuel mileage hoax.

Everyone has heard about the big catfish at the dam. This next tale positively proves that those outrageous claims are reel: One day, a catfish guide hooked a big one and fought it for over an hour before the line got hung on something below the surface. His fishing buddy jumped overboard to see what was going on. He stayed down for a long time, but couldn’t free the line. When the guide asked what was wrong, his buddy replied, “The giant catfish you hooked swam inside a rusty car. I couldn’t get him out because it rolled up the windows and locked the doors.”


Both hybrid striped bass and white perch have similar profiles, which makes them hard to distinguish. Those with distinct and often broken lateral lines are hybrids. The creel limit is four in aggregate with striped bass and must be released if less than 16 inches in length. White perch do not have a size or creel limit, and are distinguished by their very faint straight lines running down either side.

Fishing report

Good news! There have been numerous reports of anglers catching hybrid striped bass 7 to 10 inches long above the N.C. 150 bridge. The schools are quite large, which bodes well for the future of this newly established fishery.

With cooling water temperatures, fish have begun to bulk up for the winter. Spotted bass fishing is excellent. Best bets are to fish river points and underwater humps. White perch are hitting minnows, worms and Sabiki flies in water from 20 to 30 feet deep.

The water level on Lake Norman is approximately 2.2 feet below full pond. Mountain Island Lake is 3.2 feet below full. Surface water temperatures are in the mid to high 70s, depending on time of day, location or proximity to a power plant on Lake Norman.

Gus Gustafson is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Gus? Email him at

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