He lived far away from the nearest fishing hole and didn't own any tackle of his own. But Joey loved to fish.
His dad was away all of the time, and mom was always working. All the 8-year-old did was go to school and watch fishing shows on televisions.
It was the week before Christmas when he and a few friends went to the mall and took turns talking to Santa. Joey was in awe when it came his time to talk to the man dressed in red.
Undaunted, he jumped on his knee and began talking to Santa about fishing.
Santa told him he loved to fish, too, but it was too cold to fish at the North Pole. Eventually, Joey got the nerve to ask Santa for some fishing tackle and someone to take him fishing. The bearded one nodded, and Joey took it to mean yes. He thanked Santa, jumped from his knee and ran off with his friends.
On Christmas morning, Joey awoke early and wasted no time going to see what Santa had left him. To his dismay, there wasn't anything under the tree that resembled a rod, reel or any kind of fishing tackle. Tears filled his eyes, and he sadly returned to his room.
From the sounds of joy that awakened him, it seemed as if everyone else in the family got what they wanted for Christmas. But Joey was still disappointed, because he thought Santa hadn't kept the promise he had made at the mall. After breakfast, he returned to his room to watch his favorite fishing show on TV.
He must have fallen asleep and started to dream, he thought, because the next thing he knew, a man dressed in red was standing at the door.
The man looked a lot like Santa and a little like his dad, who had just returned from a business trip. In one hand he was holding a fishing rod outfit, and in the other, he held a bright red tackle box full of lures.
The man nodded, just like Santa had at the mall, and told Joey to get his coat because they were going fishing. Joey grabbed his coat and jumped in the big red truck parked outside.
The next thing he knew, he was catching big fish with his new presents. It must not have been a dream, either, because every weekend after that, his dad took him and his friends fishing.
Merry Christmas from Capt. Gus!
A free seminar, "How to Safely Navigate Lake Norman Using Sonar and GPS," will be at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 11 at North Point Watersports, 112 Doolie Road, Mooresville, to learn the basics of sonar and GPS. Bring your questions and instruction books to this informative boating safety session. Call 704-799-1994 for more information.
Tips from Capt. Gus
The week between Christmas and New Year's is a great time to take your little Joey fishing, even if it's only for an hour or two.
Hot Spots of the Week
Fishing for white perch and spotted bass has been excellent. For best results, try the river channel and deep water creeks in and around the Lake Norman State Park and from Mountain Creek to the south. Striper fishing is spotty. Anglers continue to report catches of small hybrid striped bass in creek runs on either side of the N.C. 150 bridge.
Crappie fishing is the best it has been in years. Fish crappie minnows around sunken brush piles in 25 to 35 feet of water.
The water level on Lake Norman is about 1.8 feet below full pond and down 3.0 feet on Mountain Island Lake. The water surface temperature is in the 50s.