A simple way to catch bass from any boat - even a pleasure boat - is to troll.
Trolling is pulling a lure behind the boat at a slow speed. If the boat is equipped with rod holders, it's possible to fish with multiple rods. If not, each angler can hold his or her rod and wait for a bite.
Trolling for bass is fun and easy, especially now, since most bass are holding near the shoreline. If you aren't sure what depth to fish, zigzag in water from 8 to 15 feet deep.
Boat speed is crucial to catching fish. Slow is better. Trolling between 1.75 and 2.75 miles per hour will usually attract strikes.
Crank baits from 21/2 to 41/2 inches that dive to depths of 3 to 8 feet below the surface are baits of choice in the spring. Best colors are chartreuse, blue, crayfish, gray, silver, white and black. When in doubt, use chartreuse. Lake Norman bass seem to see it better than other colors.
A 7-foot-long spinning outfit, loaded with 10-pound-test line, is good for trolling. Begin by casting the lure about 30 feet off the stern, and either hold the rod or place it in a rod holder.
As the boat moves, you will notice a bend in the rod tip and a slight bouncing motion. Any sudden backward bend is the indication that a fish has struck the lure. Begin reeling immediately. Keep a bend in the rod and the line taut.
A bass will more than likely jump several times before it gets close enough to the boat to either pull in or net. To reduce the chances of losing the fish, it is best to use a net. Many fish are lost when the line breaks as the fish is being lifted into the boat.
Circle back around so the lures go over the same spot where the fish was caught. Often more than one bass are at the same location. Passing over the area again and again is often more productive than searching for a new spot.
Bass make excellent table fare, even though the majority are released to fight another day. If you decide to keep a few to eat, remember that the creel limit is a combination of five 14-inch largemouth and/or 12-inch spotted bass.
Light House Marine Services will offer a 21/2-hour class titled "How to Safely Navigate Lake Norman" starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Gander Mountain, off Interstate 77 Exit 36, Mooresville. Topics to be discussed will include "Understanding LKN's Marker and Buoy System," "Identifying and Learning How to Avoid LKN's Most Dangerous Shoals" and "How to Use and Interpret Lake Maps." Registration fee is $25. To register or for details, call Lt. Scott Spivey, 704-587-0325, or visit www.lmservice.org.
Time is running out!
Beginning May 1, anyone 25 or younger must complete an approved boater safety course in order to operate a vessel powered by 10 horsepower or greater, on all public waters.
On most days, the warmer weather has bass, perch, crappie and stripers feeding aggressively. Best places to fish are Reed, Mountain and Hicks creeks and the river area near Long Island Marina.
The water surface temperature is in the 50s and 60s. The lake level is about 3 feet below full pond.