Did you get a guided fishing trip as a holiday gift? Aren't you lucky!
"The lake is big and full of fish. Why would anyone spend the money to hire a guide?"
I hear that question quite often. I also hear, "I have fished everywhere I can, and I don't think there are any fish in this lake."
I fish almost every week, and I think I catch a lot of fish, but I join my friends on guided trips at least once or twice every year.
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I always learn something new or at least some new spots to fish.
Recently, four of my friends and I went fishing with Craig Price. We decided to fish in and around Reeds Creek, close to home. Price picked us up at a neighborhood dock off of Isle of Pines Road.
The bait tank was full of big shiners and trout, great breakfast for stripers.
At the first spot, Price showed us how he rigs his planer boards and free lines. When we were over deep water, we used down lines with 1- or 2-ounce weights. We caught several stripers and spotted bass and had a great time.
There are many good reasons to hire a guide. The main reason is for education.
Even pro anglers hire guides when fishing a new lake or river.
A good guide will show you many important things to help you become a better angler.
Tip: All you have to do is ask; if you don't ask, you won't learn much.
Location, location, location: The guide knows where the fish were yesterday and where they should be today. You may want to take your map along and mark the fishing spots or even enter them into your GPS.
And most important: It is fun! Yelling "Fish On" is more exciting when you are with your kids, grandkids and friends.
And, if you don't catch many fish, you can blame it on the guide.
It's easy. All you need to do is show up with your favorite snacks and drinks. The boat is rigged for fishing; your guide will have the fishing rods rigged for the targeted fish. He will be more than willing to show you how he rigs the rods with the weights, hooks and leaders. He will show you how the fishfinder works and what he is looking for. There are even several ways to put the hook in the bait.
Every guide has his own way of fishing; you will learn something different and important from each one.
What kind of fish do you want to catch: stripers, bass, crappie, catfish? There are guides available for those species. Here's a partial list of Lake Norman fishing guides. I know all of them and have fished with most of them.
Mac Byrum - wwwfishingwithmac.com, 704-641-4727.
Byrum is the top catfish guide on Lake Norman. He is a charter member of the Carolinas Catfish Club andhas been fishing on Lake Norman since 1981. He's an accomplished striper and catfish guide.
David Clubb - www.fishclubb.com, 704-663-9441.
Clubb has been fishing the lakes of the Catawba River chain (including Lake Norman) for more than 20 years. He fishes the lake nearly seven days a weekand specializes in stripers, white perch and bass.
Gus Gustafson - www.lakenormanstriperfishing.com, 704-617-6812.
Fishing with Lake Norman Ventures, Gustafson can be fun and educational for the entire family. He is great with kids and loves to help them land their first fish. He fishes for stripers, bass, perch and catfish.
Ty Mathis - www.tyoneon.net, 828-308-7755.
Mathis began fishing on Lake Norman at age 4 and has been going strong ever since. He started a full-time guide business in 1982 and has the best reputation for catching a lot of fish, including the big ones. Mathis specializes in stripers.
Jerry Neeley - email@example.com, 704-629-9288.
Neeley will instruct you and help you in every way to ensure your best chance of hooking bass.
Craig Price - www.fishonlakenorman.com, 704-996-0946.
Price has more than 40 years of experience fishing the Catawba River lakes, plus other Carolina impoundments. He guides for stripers and other species on Lake Norman. Price also takes anglers to the N.C. coast in the fall for redfish.