If you make some or all of these resolutions for the New Year, fishing and boating may be more enjoyable:
I will take a kid fishing.
I will throw the small fish back and keep only the ones I intend to eat.
I will use "circle hooks" when fishing with live or cut baits. They tend to snag the fish in the mouth, not the belly.
I will replace my monofilament or cord-strung landing net with a fish-friendly net made of rubber webbing.
I will try to find a new fishing hole on each trip in 2010.
I will fish with different people throughout the year.
I will let my partner fish from the front seat and run the trolling motor half the trip.
I will slow the boat to a no-wake speed near bridges, docks and fishing boats.
I will make fishing more of a challenge by experimenting with lighter fishing tackle.
I will fish more in 2010 than I did in 2009. Life is too short not to fish as much as possible.
I will learn how to better interpret the images on my fish finder.
I will abide by the state's boating and fishing regulations.
Now is the time to take advantage of the 2009 clearance and closeout prices on tackle, boating accessories and electronics. Some of the best prices aren't advertised, so visit your favorite tackle shop before the best deals are sold out.
I will lead a free fishing seminar, "How to Find and Catch Winter Striped Bass on Lake Norman," at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at Gander Mountain, at I-77 Exit 36, Mooresville. Details: 704-658-0822.
Fishing is very good to excellent in most major creeks on both sides of the N.C. 150 bridge. Stripers are active on or near the surface when light is low, but most fish are gorging themselves on schools of herring in 30 to 60 feet of water. Large schools of spotted bass and perch are also deep-feeding. Best live baits for deep-water fishing are shad, herring, trout and shiners.
Anglers using artificial baits are finding bucktails, jigging spoons and "Little Fishies" to be productive. Cat fishing has slowed, but some big blues and flatheads are being caught under schools of feeding bass, perch and stripers.
If you fish Lake Norman this week, give Reed Creek at the lower end of the lake a try, or cast Terrapin Creek at the upper end. Both areas are producing nice catches of stripers.
The lake level is 96.5 feet, or 3.5 feet below full pond. The water temperature is in the 40s and 50s, depending on location.