Anglers catching many white perch

Much has been written in recent weeks about Lake Norman's fabulous white perch fishing. The almost unbelievable reports of white perch being caught by the hundreds are not fictitious. Fishermen are reeling in so many that they stop fishing before the perch stop biting.

A boy fishing with his dad last week dropped his line into the water over and over for an hour and 15 minutes and never once came up without at least one perch. Asked why he didn't have a fish the last time, he answered, "I need something to eat!"

Whatever the reason, the white perch population of Lake Norman has exploded. That has made them easier and more fun to catch than ever before. And, yes, the bite lasts most of the day and into the night.

Since perch swim in large schools, it is not hard to find them. The best way is to watch for the images on a fish finder, or drift-fish until you begin to catch them.

White perch will hit worms, minnows and small pieces of dead bait attached to a weight and a small hook fished near the bottom. But with so many fish biting, it's easy to run out of bait, and rebaiting takes time. For that reason, many anglers use bucktail jigs, spoons and Sabiki flies.

White perch are perfect for introducing children to the sport. They fight very hard on light tackle.

By far the most successful lure combination is a string of six Sabiki flies attached to a bell sinker or a jigging spoon. The Sabiki rig does not need to be baited. Fish are attracted to the brightly colored flies tied on small gold hooks.

A rod rigged with six Sabiki flies may be too long for youngsters to handle comfortably. Consider cutting the pre-tied rigs in half, and use three instead of six. The others can be used on a second rod. Pre-tied Sabiki flies sell for $2 or $3 a package at area tackle shops.

There is no size or creel limit. The white meat is delicious when fried in your favorite fish batter.

Coming events

The Lake Norman Sail & Power Squadron will conduct a boater safety training class at 8 a.m. Saturday at Denver United Methodist Church, 3910 N.C. 16, Denver. The cost is $45. Advance registration is required. For details visit or call Bob Yannacci at 704-660-5568.