Fishin’ With Capt. Gus!
Photo Credit – Capt. Gus
Covered boat dock with ample cover to hold bass
So many boat docks and so little time to fish all of them!
Boat docks and piers are havens for largemouth and spotted bass. But with so many to choose from, it’s a daunting task to figure out which ones hold the most fish. In fact, novice fishermen are often intimidated by the thousands of private, community and commercial docks that dot Lake Norman’s shoreline. If you are one of many who feel as though they’re looking for a needle in a hay stack, here’s a primer, of sorts, that might help you catch more “Dock Bass”.
To begin, fish the first dock on either side as you enter a cove. Bass typically stage on the outside docks before moving into or out of the cove. Next, fish the two docks on either side at the very back of a cove. Finally, fish docks in between that are isolated from the others or show evidence of sunken brush or submerged fish attractors.
Lighted docks, those with very bright lights that shine into the water after dark, are prime targets for night bass fishermen. But, don’t overlook them during the day, since bass never stray far and are likely to feed nearby during daylight hours as well. When submerged brush and other woody debris are found beneath a lighted dock, once again the chances of catching bass improves dramatically.
Covered docks and piers, especially those with lots of pilings and cross members, provide shade and cover needed for bass to hide from the sunlight and ambush prey. Some of the very best covered boat docks are at the marinas and restaurants in the vicinity of the Highway 150 Bridge. In addition, covered boat houses, particularly those with open doors and automated fish feeders, are also favorite haunts for trophy bass.
Other highly productive docks are adjacent to private cement launch ramps. Many older ramps show evidence of erosion that has caused the cement surface to crack and even break apart. This makes an ideal habitat for forage and crayfish. The larger crevices and broken sections also provide ample cover for bass and flathead catfish.
Docks in the vicinity of deep water are preferred by bass when water temperatures are extremely warm or cold, and when the sun is high in the sky. Docks adjacent to shallow water are more likely to be populated in the spring and fall when water temperatures are moderate and on days when clouds shroud the sky.
Bass are likely to suspend between the rungs of ladders and over steps attached to boat docks. Wooden ladders seem to gather more fish than those made of metal, but regardless of material, the more ladders and steps you find; the more likely you’ll catch fish.
Tips from Capt. Gus! Anglers who can skip cast soft plastics under docks and piers often catch more fish than those who fish the outer edges.
Hot Spots of the Week: Bass are hitting jerk baits off windy points and spinner baits in back coves. Those fishing for bedding bass are catching bigger than average fish on football head jigs and other soft plastic bottom bumping combinations. Crappies are on the banks near exposed brush and fallen timber. Perch have moved to shallower water where shad are present and predator fish are spawning.
The 35th Annual Lake Norman Shrine Club – Dogwood Bass Tournament – April 5, 2014 at Midway Marina, 8693 Hwy.150, Terrell, NC. For more information, call William Cork @ 704-516-0506.
“How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night” is a free safe boating class to be held at Morning Star Marina at Kings Point, Exit 28, Cornelius, NC on April 9th at 6:30 p.m. Becky Johnson and I will cover topics that include “Understanding LKN’s Channel Marker and Buoy System”, “How to Avoid Shallow Water”,” The Ten Most Dangerous Spots”, and “Interpreting Lake Maps”. For more information, call Ashley at 704 892 7575.
Norman’s water level is about 1.9’ below full pond and 2.5’ below full on Mountain Island Lake. The surface water temperature is in the fifties and sixties in water not affected by the power generation on Lake Norman.
Capt. Gus Gustafson of Lake Norman Ventures, Inc. is an Outdoor Columnist and a full time Professional Fishing Guide on Lake Norman, NC. Visit his website www.FishingWithGus.com or call 704-617-6812