After a long hot summer, fall is almost here, and fall fishing is great at Lake Norman.
Here are the basics you'll need to enjoy fishing after Labor Day.
If you are fishing with children, remember they have short attention spans, and if they aren't catching fish, they will enjoy splashing, wading and rock-throwing. Squishing worms and shiners seems to be fun, too.
Gander Mountain and Bass Pro Shops hold fishing clinics every month, and some local fishing clubs offer seminars and meetings to help you become a better angler.
Make sure to buy a fishing license if you are 16 or older. Check out the lifetime license if you plan to stay in North Carolina and fish for years.
Neighborhood docks, parks and the shoreline at Lake Norman are good for fishing. Some of the parks have fishing piers. Bank and pier anglers usually catch catfish, bream, white perch, carp and bass.
Look for places where the water is 2-3 feet deep and drops off deeper close to the shore. Bait the hook, attach a bobber about 2 feet above the bait, and you are ready. Now cast toward the lake. Hopefully, your bobber should be close to the spot you aimed for and not at your feet or behind you. If you don't get a bite, move the bobber up the line about a foot at a time until you get a bite.
Try to use live bait; lively shiners and wiggling worms can't be beat. But Berkley Gulp Baits has a variety of artificial baits for every kind of fish. They offer worms, leeches, minnows and even waxworms. The baits have a long shelf life and are perfect for the occasional angler.
If you have access to a boat, your options are endless. Check with other anglers and the local bait shop for some good spots to try. If you live near Mooresville, I would tell you to try near the Lake Norman Yacht Club, the mouth of Davidson Creek and the big long creek between Isle of Pines and the Peninsula (about halfway back). We have consistently caught bass and catfish in those spots. We used live shiners, shrimp, nightcrawlers and pieces of white perch.
The lake is full of spotted bass, and they are not in the same place and depth at the same time every day. They love to chase bait right out of the water. Largemouth will be hanging around docks, points and close to deep water.
Early mornings and evenings, topwater baits, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, stickbaits and floating worms and lizards should get some strikes. As the sun gets higher you want to fish deeper. Use the same plastics with a Carolina rig or a Texas rig. Crankbaits and drop-shot rigs also work in deep water. I learned to use shaky head jigs this year and they are great for fall.
If you find schools of white perch you are in for some fun. Almost any bait will work, and lots of fish are being caught on sabiki rigs. Some anglers add a jig to the end of the line to get the rig down deep. You may get three, four or more perch on one line.
As I get older, I am always looking for things to make my fishing easier. Several years ago, I added an anchor winch to my boat, and it is great to just push a button to bring up my anchor. The last time I needed to replace my batteries I switched to Optima batteries. These batteries are sealed, gel batteries. There is no maintenance at all and they weigh about a third less than traditional batteries. Both changes are much easier on my back
Now is also great time to clean and lubricate your reels, clean your rods and put new line on your reels. Sharpen or replace the hooks on your lures.
Now go wet a line and have some fun.