A couple weeks ago I wrote about the beginning angler, and I hope I gave you some good advice.
Now that you are ready to go fishing, where are you going to find or buy bait around the lake?
My grandkids love to dig up worms in my garden, and I showed them how to catch crickets with an old blanket.
I am going to give you a list of some stores and bait shops that sell bait. Let's start at the south end of the lake and then on the west side.
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You should always call ahead to make sure bait is available. It's no fun driving half way around the lake and not having your favorite bait.
Our first stop is the grocery store. Catfish anglers buy chicken livers, cheese, stew beef, shrimp, mackerel and even Ivory soap; they all work. Carp like bread and corn.
Along N.C. 73 west, if you stop at Beaches Store (704-827-2188) in Stanly, you can buy crappie minnows, bass shiners and big shiners as well as shrimp and worms.
On N.C. 16 there's Gene's Quick Shop (704-483-1781). They stock minnows, shiners, shrimp, chicken livers and even mussels.
Triangle Food Mart (704-483-3490) is next in Denver. Take a right on N.C. 150 and head east.
The General Store (704-483-2686) usually has bait.
Terrell Bait and Tackle (828-478-2024) is next on your left on N.C. 150 and Sherrill's Ford Road.
Keep going and on your right you will see Midway Bait and Tackle (828-478-2333) at Midway Marina right before you cross the N.C. 150 bridge.
Next, if you are going fishing at Lake Norman State Park or on the north part of the lake you should stop at Perth Bait and Tackle (704-528-4826) on Perth Road, halfway to Troutman.
In Mooresville, Gander Mountain (704-658-0822) has minnows, shiners, worms and other baits, but they aren't open early.
Over on west Brawley School Road, Carl Drye has live bait in his backyard (turn right at Drye Drive); and worms are in the refrigerator. He doesn't make change or take American Express so put your cash in the "honesty box."
Just a short distance past Drye's is Boater's Warehouse (704-664-2628); they open at 9 a.m., but you can buy shiners and trout at the convenience store that opens at 6 a.m. Other baits are available in the store during normal hours.
Always try to buy your live bait, such as minnows, as close as possible to your fishing hole. You might want to pick up a battery-operated aerator for your bait bucket.
If you live on the water or have access to a dock, you might want to buy large quantities of shiners or trout and keep them in a homemade container.
All you need to do is buy a big plastic trashcan, drill some quarter inch holes in the can and put it in the water. You might want to wrap a noodle float around the top of the can before you attach it to the dock. Add a brick or rock to keep it upright, use a bungee cord on the lid and you have a great bait tank.
Buy 5-10 dozen of your favorite shiners and you are good to go; you don't even to feed them. This works best in cool to cold weather.
Lots of local anglers catch and keep their own bait.
Buy a bait tank and learn to throw a cast net, and you will almost always have your own bait. There are good "how to" videos at Gander Mountain. Some fishermen drive over to High Rock Lake and catch bait and bring it back to Lake Norman. Shad and herring are the primary natural live bait.
Anglers that fish for stripers and catfish often catch bream, small catfish and white perch with a rod and reel. I used to pay my neighbor's boys to catch them for me. These are good for live bait and as cut bait.
I hope this gives you some ideas about where to find bait.
Don't forget to yell "Fish On" when you get a strike.