Anglers’ pranks can get out of hand
Tuesday, Apr. 22, 2014

Anglers’ pranks can get out of hand

Matthew McGuinnes,6, of Mint Hill and Gus Gustafson holding a spotted bass caught while fishing on Lake Norman with his granddad Joe Picariello.

Anglers are always playing pranks on one another, particularly at the end of the day when they’re on a faraway fishing trip.

Most pranks are innocent enough and just for a laugh or two, but sometimes it can go a little too far.

On one trip, the regulars decided the newbie needed to be initiated. While he was away, they set 300 crickets loose in his motel room.

Upon his return, he saw a bug or two crawling around but thought little of it. Once the lights were turned off and he fell asleep, however, it was a different story. The chirping and crawling all over his body drove him crazy.

It wasn’t long before he called the front desk and made arrangements to change rooms.

When he awoke the next morning, he yelled aloud when he found dozens of minnows swimming in the sink, tub and commode. Not wanting to flush them down the drain, he left them where they were and checked out of the motel.

Then there was a guy who bragged all the way to the coast about what great gas mileage he was getting from his new four-stroke outboard motor. He bragged so much that his fishing buddies got tired of hearing about it.

To get even, they refilled the gas tank each night. That “fueled the fire,” so to speak, and by the end of the week, the bragging became worse than ever. The next weekend, while fishing alone, he ran out of gas because he was tricked into thinking the fuel mileage was many times better than it actually was.

Once when flounder fishing was slow, everyone split up to try different places on their own. Uncle Jimmy, being the shyster that he was, went to the fish market and purchased a 5-pounder. He put the fish on ice and brought it back to the rental house.

Everyone else returned with no fish, so Jimmy collected the big fish pot and never said a word about how he really got the fish.

At the end of the week, a couple of the guys stopped at the fish market to buy a few pounds of shrimp to take home. The fish peddler recognized the logo on the shirts they were wearing and asked how they enjoyed the flounder that Jimmy had bought.

You can only imagine the conversation the next time they saw their uncle.

Tip from Capt. Gus

Double the use of fishing line and save money, too: Reverse the line by reeling it onto a similar empty spool or a spool on a different reel. The unused line from the bottom of the old spool will be on top of the new one.

Hot spots of the week

It’s not too late to get in on some of the best crappie fishing Lake Norman has seen in years. The fish are hitting jigs and minnows in shallow water.

Bass are also shallow and hitting spinner, jerk and square-lipped crankbaits. Like crappies, the bass seem to be larger than in years past.

White perch are hitting minnows fished in water from 15 feet to 20 feet deep.

Coming events

Kids fishing tournament: 8 a.m.-noon May 3 at Jones Fish Camp, N.C. 16, Maiden. Sponsored by Mountain View Baptist Church. 704-634-3926.

Safe boating class: “How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night,” 6:30 p.m. May 14 at The Peninsula Yacht Club, 18501 Harbor Light Blvd., Cornelius. Free. Becky Johnson and I will cover topics including “Understanding Lake Norman’s Channel Marker and Buoy System,” “How to Avoid Shallow Water,” “The 10 Most Dangerous Spots” and “Interpreting Lake Maps.” 704-892-7575.

Water levels

Water levels are about 1.4 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and 2.4 feet below full on Mountain Island Lake. The surface water temperature is in the 60s in water not affected by power generation on Lake Norman.

Gus Gustafson is a freelance writer and a fishing guide on Lake Norman. Have a story idea for Gus? Email him at

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