Fishing with Capt. Gus: Try these baits for hot-season fishing
Saturday, Jul. 26, 2014

Fishing with Capt. Gus: Try these baits for hot-season fishing

Don’t let the summer heat keep you from fishing. August is a good month for sunfish (bream), white perch and channel catfish. The fact that these fish can easily be taken from the shoreline makes them summer favorites. Better yet, they bite throughout the day and will hit a variety of baits, many of which can be found in the kitchen.

The preferred method of fishing for sunfish is to suspend a bread ball or piece of worm on a small hook a few feet below a red-and-white bobber. When the bobber bounces or goes under, a “sunny” has hit the line and it’s time to reel. The power that these tiny fighters display as they battle their way to the shoreline is amazing.

While sunfish roam in the shallows, white perch tend to locate farther offshore. So when perch fishing from land, try to find a bank or dock with deep water within a short casting distance. Better yet, fish areas with submerged brush or other types of fish attractors. Small minnows, worm pieces and cut baits catch a lot of perch when fished on or just off the bottom.

White perch are also tempted to hit a variety of artificial lures, including silver spoons, spinners, and jigs. But by far, the best and quickest way to catch a bunch of them is to use a Sabiki rig. The rig is usually made of four to six small flies tied in tandem a few inches apart on a leader. The swivel on the upper end of the rig is attached to the terminal end of the fishing line, and a weight or jigging spoon is connected to the other end. The Sabiki is then yo-yoed up and down, just above the bottom. Don’t be surprised if you hook a fish on every fly and sometimes the spoon as well. The Sabiki rig is ideal for vertically jigging off deep water piers, docks and boats.

Catfish enjoy summer heat and bite regularly throughout the day. Bank fishermen can expect to catch a lot of small channel and blue cats. Best baits to use are prepared stink baits fished on the bottom, but worms, chicken livers and leftover table scraps also catch their share. When fishing for catfish, most anglers will present a variety of baits by using several rods. An unattended rod should be placed in a rod holder to prevent a big fish from pulling it into the water. Care should also be taken while unhooking catfish. A sting by the sharp barbs on the dorsal (top fin) or the pectoral fins (side fins) can cause serious injury.

Catfish meat is delicious when fried in peanut oil and served with hush puppies, fries and slaw.

Tip from Gus

Bread balls, worms and cheese are the baits of choice for children fishing from the shore.

Upcoming events

Free safe-boating class: “How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night” will be the topic at The Peninsula Yacht Club, 18501 Harbor Light Blvd., Cornelius, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 13. 704-892-7575.

Free fishing seminar: “Bank and Dock Fishing for Sunfish, White Perch, Catfish and Bass” will be discussed at Gander Mountain, Exit 36 at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 20. Suggestions will be given for the best places to fish from shore and where the white perch are biting. 704-658-0822.

Hot spots of the week

A few stripers are hitting in deep water at the lower end of the lake. Four- to 6-pound fish are suspended at depths to 60 feet and can be caught while trolling Alabama rigs and roadrunners. Best bets are the edges of the channels south and east of Marker 3. White perch fishing continues to be excellent for those fishing with small minnows and Sabikis in water to 50 feet deep.

The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the 80s in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 1.5 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and 3.1 feet below full on Mountain Island Lake.

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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