Fishing is different from other sports in that the angler rarely gets a good look at his opponent (the fish) before he catches it. Worse yet, are the times when a fish takes the bait without getting hooked or swims away without ever being seen.
No wonder there is a lot of talk about the one that got away – and how big it might have been.
Estimating the size of any fish, particularly one that got away, isn’t easy, especially since water has a way of magnifying the size of objects below the surface. Surprisingly, it isn’t any easier to judge the weight of a fish if it jumps out of the water.
Some claim that they can tell the size of a fish by the way the rod bends or by how fast the line is pulled off the reel during the battle. Others are certain of the size because they think the fish is the same one they lost on a previous trip.
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Amusingly, anglers preface their tales of lost trophy fish with statements like this:
• “I’m glad it got away. It was going to break my rod if it didn’t.”
• “It was so big it wouldn’t fit in my net.”
• “It had to be big because my fishing partner said, ‘Its eyes were the size of beach balls.’ ”
• “I’ve caught big fish in my life, but none were bigger than the one I lost yesterday.”
• “It must have been old, because it was growing hair on its chest.”
It’s not just the ones that got away. Often, the size of a fish is overestimated to the point of exaggeration after it is caught. It’s a fishing fact that fish will continue to grow after being caught, cooked and eaten. This is particularly true when there are no witnesses, scales or photos to disprove the claim.
Tip from Capt. Gus
According to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the proper way to obtain the total length of a fish is to measure from the tip of the mouth to the tip of the pinched tail.
Free fishing seminar: “Top 10 Bass Lures for Catching Lake Norman Bass” will be discussed at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, on Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m. Jake Bussolini and I will cover the basics of lure selection and how and when to use them while casting or trolling. Call 704-658-0822 for information.
Free safe-boating class: “How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night” will be the topic at The Peninsula Yacht Club, 18501 Harbor Light Blvd, Cornelius, Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m. Becky Johnson and I will cover “Understanding LKN’s Channel Marker and Buoy System,” “How to Avoid Shallow Water,” “The 10 Most Dangerous Spots” and “Interpreting Lake Maps.” For information, call Ashley at 704-892-7575.
Hot Spots of the Week
Rising water levels and water temperatures in the 70s have activated bass and hybrids. Reports of quick limits of both are coming in from all areas of Lake Norman. Best bets are the river channel above Marker 20, as well as the deep channel points in Mountain, Reed and Davidson creeks.
Spotted bass are biting throughout the day, with a final flurry just before sunset in back coves where large schools of shad have assembled. Hybrids are more difficult to locate since they are constantly chasing bait schools. Many, however, are suspended at 10 to 40 feet along the edges of drops and channels.
Surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the high 70s and low 80s in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 1.7 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and 2.9 feet below full on Mountain Island Lake.