Fishing with Capt. Gus: Bass anglers use ‘run and gun’ strategy
Friday, May. 30, 2014

Fishing with Capt. Gus: Bass anglers use ‘run and gun’ strategy

Ever wonder why bass fishermen move around so much? The answer is simple: They’re attempting to catch as many fish as they can in a very short period of time. To do so, they target aggressive bass, the ones that hit as soon as the bait touches the water, and then they move on.

This “run and gun” style of fishing, while popular with tournament fishermen, is not for everyone. The majority of anglers are content to stay in a particular fishing hole as long as they get a bite every now and then. The bass crowd would rather reap the low-hanging fruit – the very hungry fish – and then hustle to another likely spot.

Watching bass fishermen zoom into a spot, jump out of their seat, lower the trolling motor, make a few casts and move on, is interesting to watch. To the casual observer, this helter-skelter method of fishing doesn’t make a lot of sense. At first glance, it appears to be more like a poker run than a fishing trip. However, each angler has a game plan mapped out in his mind in which he’s planning to fish a certain number of spots in an allotted amount of time. How many spots he fishes depends on conditions and circumstances, but 20 or more is not unusual for a day’s fishing.

The fishing day usually begins as the sun is rising, with a quick trip to a spot that has a history of producing fish. The angler then crisscrosses the lake multiple times, stopping to make a few casts in one spot and then another. It’s amusing to watch a bass boat streaking into a fishing hole, and then leaving in only a few minutes. What goes unnoticed is the accuracy of casts, the way the electric trolling motor helps maneuver the boat into a casting position, and the number and variety of lures cast at each stop.

To save time, 10 or more fishing rods are pre-rigged with different lures in a variety of colors. Rather than constantly retying a lure each time a different one is used, the angler simply uses another rod. That is why it is common to see 10 or more rods lying on the forward deck of a bass boat.

Some question whether all the running around at speeds up to 70 mph and constantly switching rods is worth the time, money and effort. You can find the answer almost any weekend at one of the bass tournament weigh-ins at Blythe, Pinnacle or McCrary lake access areas. There, you can see the bass boats up close and talk to the fishermen who weigh in limit after limit of trophy spotted and largemouth bass.

June events

“How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night” will be a free safe-boating class at The Peninsula Yacht Club, 18501 Harbor Light Blvd., Cornelius, on 6:30 p.m. June 11. Becky Johnson and I will cover topics that include “Understanding LKN’s Channel Marker and Buoy System,” “How to Avoid Shallow Water,” “The 10 Most Dangerous Spots” and “Interpreting Lake Maps.” For information, call Ashley at 704-892-7575.

“How to Catch Summer Bass, White Perch and Crappie,” a free fishing seminar 6:30-8 p.m. June 18 at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, Mooresville. For information, call 704-658-0822.

Hot Spots of the Week

Bass fishing has been amazingly good on windy points and for those fishing boat docks. Lots of yearling and 2- year-old bass are being taken on topwater, jerk baits and soft plastic worms. Summer-like conditions have white perch hitting Sabiki rigs in water to 30 feet deep and cat fishing is the best it’s been all year. Crappie fishing has slowed. Fish from deep holes are a nice size. Fishing guide Mac Byrum reported catching 28 catfish up to 12 pounds on Memorial Day weekend trip.

Surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the 70s and 80s in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 1.2 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and 2.9 feet below full on Mountain Island Lake.

Tip from Capt. Gus

Keeping minnows alive in a bait bucket is difficult during summer months. So keep them in the shade, change the water frequently and use an aeration device to inject air bubbles.

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

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