Like most sports, fishing has many rules that aren't found in books. In case you haven't heard, here are a few you need to know about.
Never cast over another person's line. This happens frequently on fishing piers, from drift boats and from the shore when people cast at the "hot holes" (water warmed by clean water discharges from the McGuire nuclear station).
Never tell anyone where you catch fish. Give only vague answers, such as "Got it upriver," "across the lake" or simply "I don't remember."
If you are a guest fishing on someone else's boat, it is common courtesy to pay your share of the gas, ice and bait expenses. Don't ask; just give your partner the money. With gas at $4 a gallon, plus the price of oil, ice and bait, the cost of a fishing trip isn't cheap. A $5 bill will not cover your share of the trip.
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Be ready to go at the appointed time and place. The rest of the crew had to get up early to be on time as well.
When buying bait minnows, don't talk to the person counting them. Also, never make the bait man mad, or he will surely short-count you.
Be prepared for all weather situations. Wear proper clothing for rain, wind, snow and hot summer sun. Don't forget the sunscreen this time of year.
Reset the line drags on the reel before your first cast each trip.
Keep your rod tip up and your line tight while playing a fish.
Always net the fish head first.
Like the early bird, the early worm gets the fish. During summer, some of the best fishing is from dawn until 8 a.m.
Remember, it's not always the fish you are really after. Enjoy the day regardless of whether you catch fish. They don't always bite.
A free safe boating class, "How to Navigate Lake Norman, Day or Night," will be 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday at North Point Watersports, off I-77 at Exit 36, Mooresville. Topics include "Understanding Lake Norman's Channel Marker and Buoy System," "Identifying and Learning How to Avoid the 10 Most Dangerous Spots" and "Interpreting Lake Maps." Details: Call 704-617-6812 or email Gus@LakeNoman.com.
Jake Bussolini and I will lead a free seminar, "How to Catch More Fish This Summer Using Sonar and GPS," 6:30-8 p.m. June 22 at Gander Mountain, off I-77 at Exit 36, Mooresville. Bring your questions, fish finder and GPS instruction booklet. Details: 704-658-0822.
The summer heat is here, so stay hydrated by having plenty of ice and fluids on board.
Arkansas blue catfish are plentiful for those drifting cut baits. Many are in the 5- to 10-pound range, with an occasional 20-pounder for lucky anglers.
Spotted bass are suspending over river channel humps and are hitting shaky head rigs, other soft plastics and deep diving crank baits. White perch fishing is good to very good in water to 30 feet.
The surface water temperature varies by location but is mainly in the 80s in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 1.9 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and 3.0 feet below full pond on Mountain Island Lake.