Ever wonder why you see so many people fishing near public boat ramps? It seems as though the busier the launch area is, the more fishing you see.
The biggest reasons are simple. Cement ramps are usually steep and afford fish easy access to the shade and cover from the floating docks. In addition, where the cement ramp meets the lake bottom, there is a hollowed-out deep spot called the "blow hole."
This underwater crater is made from the backwash of spinning boat propellers while the boat is being loaded on the trailer. A blow hole is the perfect place for bass and other predators to lie in wait for unsuspecting baitfish to swim by. Like private docks, not all boat ramps have fish, but each holds its share from time to time.
Arguably, the most productive local ramps are those at Pinnacle Access, largely due to the presence of very large rocks directly in front and slightly to the north of the launch area. In addition, the N.C. 150 bridge and causeway affords a lot of cover for all types of game fish.
On the south side of N.C. 150 is McCrary Creek Boat Access, with its steep ramp in the back of a cove. At times, particularly during the colder months, baitfish collect around its ramps. They, in turn, attract bass and an occasional striper.
Better yet, on the way out to the main channel and just beyond the docks at Queen's Landing, is a series of shoals latticed with deep finger channels.
Farther to the south, between channel markers 12 and 14, is Hager's Access. Because of its out-of-the way location, it is lightly used except for weekends. But the ramp area holds lots of bass, particularly early.
That's when a steady stream of fishermen cast everything from buzz-baits to bottom-bumping shaky-head jigs under the floating docks and on the rip-rap point just to the south.
Tips from Capt. Gus
The ramps at Blythe, McCrary, Pinnacle and the New Midway Marina are popular weigh-in sites for bass tournaments. After being weighed, the fish are released nearby, and most don't stray very far - another reason to fish near boat ramps.
Use Your Lowrance or Hummingbird Fish Finder to Catch Bass, White Perch and Stripers. Jake Bussolini, Bill Hassig and I will conduct this fish finder seminar at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 18 at Gander Mountain, Exit 36 in Mooresville. Bring questions and instruction booklets to this 90-minute seminar. Details: call 704-658-0822.
Hot Spots of the Week
The best way to locate fish in January is to watch for sea birds dipping into the water.
The larger fish below (spotted bass, white perch and stripers) have chased the baitfish to the surface, where the birds are feeding.
Best lures to use are buck tails, spoons, swim/vibrating baits and Sabiki or Alabama rigs.
The surface water temperature is in the 40s and low 50s. The lake level is about 2.5 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and around 3 feet below full on Mountain Island Lake.