Other Sports

Seasonal ‘fishing pox’ hits anglers

Staff Photographer

The cold, wind and snow has fishermen spending way too much time in the garage, basement or by the fireplace. Persistent winter weather has kept many off the lake since before Christmas. The fish don’t seem to mind.

The longer fishermen spend on the Internet, watching television or reading fishing catalogs, the more susceptible they become to the illness known as “fishing pox.”

What are the symptoms? In the beginning, the telltale signs are lying on the couch for extended periods of time, watching re-runs of Bill Dance fishing bloopers on TV, flipping the pages of fishing catalogs and spending hours on outdoors websites.

This is followed by a period of pining, despondency and a craving for Vienna sausage.

The final, and most expensive stage, is when the sufferer leaves the house to get away for a few minutes. The first stop is usually a sporting goods store. Because fishing pox has a deadening effect on common sense, money spent on tackle, marine electronics, and other gear doesn’t seem to matter.

It’s easy to rationalize by saying, “What the heck, I haven’t spent any money on fishing equipment all winter.”

In extreme cases, the pox victim skips the outdoor shops and goes instead to his favorite bass boat or truck dealership. There he is treated like an old fishing buddy, all the while, the salesperson is selling him a new bass boat or 4 X 4 truck.

Those who have had fishing pox know the only real cure is to go fishing. If it’s too cold, go anyway.

Tips from Capt. Gus

If engine or trolling motor batteries were installed in 2013 or earlier, they should be replaced before using your boat this spring.

Upcoming events

Free safe-boating class: “How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night” will be held at The Peninsula Yacht Club, 18501 Harbor Light Blvd., Cornelius, at 6:30 p.m. March 12. Becky Johnson and I will cover “Understanding LKN’s Channel Marker and Buoy System,” “How to Avoid Shallow Water,” “Ten Most Dangerous Spots” and “Interpreting Lake Maps.” For information, call Ashley at 704-892-7575.

Boater-safety class: The Lake Norman Sail & Power Squadron’s next boater-safety class will be 8 a.m. March, 14, 2015 at Huntersville United Methodist Church, 14005 Stumptown Road, Huntersville. The class fee is $45. To register, visit www.usps.org/lakenorman/courseboatsmart.htm. For information, email Bob Yannacci at sportscarguy@roadrunner.com or call 516-547-7737.

Free fishing Seminar: “Fun Fishing for White Perch and Crappie” is a 90-minute session I will conduct at 6:30 p.m. March 18 at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, Mooresville. For information, call 704-658-0822.

Hot Spot of the Week

Bass are moving out of deep water and staging for the spring spawn. Try fishing Ramsey and McCrary creeks where the water temperature is a few degrees warmer than other creeks. Anglers using the Alabama rig continue to boast about the quality and quantity of stripers, hybrids and bass. Large crappies are hitting minnows. White perch are being caught on Sabiki rigs in deep water.

The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the 40s in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 4.1 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and 3.1 feet below full on Mountain Island Lake.

Gus Gustafson is a freelance writer and a professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. Have a story idea for Gus? Email him at Gus@lakenorman.com.