It might be wishful thinking, but hopefully the 104-degree days we’ve experienced recently are the last we’ll see for a while. Surprisingly, and in spite of the heat, fishing for spotted bass, white perch and catfish has been unbelievably good.
While fishing is generally best at first light, this year it has been good throughout the day, particularly on cloudy afternoons when there is a ripple on the water. Bass and perch fishing has been so good that people are actually bragging about catching more and bigger fish than in summers past. So, if fishing is so good, why aren’t there more fishermen on the lake? The answer shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s because of the heat.
Life is too short to only fish during the spring and fall when air temperatures are moderate. So if you want to spend more days catching fish, here are a few tips to help beat the summer heat.
• Dress for the summer sun. Wear a hat designed to help keep your head cool. While fishing caps are popular, they don’t offer the same protection as a wide brim hat or a guide cap with an extra long bill and neck guard. When choosing summer fishing headgear, pick one that is waterproof, lightweight and has a chin strap.
• Shorts or pants? Short- or long-sleeve shirt? Which afford the most protection and comfort? As a rule, the less skin exposed to the sun, the better. That’s the reason many choose long over short. Regardless, wear shirts and pants made of lightweight material that wicks away moisture to keep you cool and shields the body from much of the UV radiation. However, if you prefer to wear shorts and go sleeveless, be sure to apply sunblock to the exposed skin.
• When fishing during the heat of the day, staying cool and hydrated is a challenge. If possible, take frequent breaks in the shade of the cabin, T-top or Bimini top. Water, grapes, melons and other fruits kept on ice help keep the body cool and replenish lost body fluids. Rub ice packs on the head, neck and back from time to time to refresh and help stay cool.
Tips from Capt. Gus
It’s a fact that ice melts quickly during summer months, so don’t be surprised when you open the cooler and find your drinks floating in water. Bring an extra bag or two of ice during summer outings.
Hot Spots of the Week
Spotted bass are chasing baitfish on the surface around points and humps throughout the day. Best baits are popping lures with ice fly trailers, rattle traps and swim baits.
White perch fishing is outstanding. Reports of individuals catching one hundred or more per trip are not uncommon.
While most are throwbacks, perch caught in 30 to 50 feet of water are big enough to filet.
Catfishing is excellent, Stink baits and table scraps are the baits of choice for channels, while live bream and perch are best for flatheads. Arkansas blue catfish are hitting fresh-cut bait and chicken parts on lines drifted in coves and along the shallower sections of the creek channels.
The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the 90s in waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 2.7 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and about 3 feet below on Mountain Island Lake.