Photo: Capt. Gus with a Lake Norman hybrid striped bass.

“A Visit from Captain Gus”
December 2016

“A Visit from Captain Gus” is being reprinted upon demand from previous holidays. Enjoy!

“Twas the night before fishing, and all through the lake,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a snake;
The poles were stuck in the rod holders with care,
In hopes that a big fish would soon be there;
The kids were nestled all snug in the vessel,
While dreaming of fishes they soon would wrestle;
And mamma in her winter duds and I in my fishing hat,
Had just settled down on our watery mat,
When out on the lake there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
I flew to the stern where I saw a big splash, and
Before I knew it, I heard a big crash.
The moon on the breast of the water below
Gave a luster of silver and made everything glow,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature boat pulled by eight tiny fish, or were they reindeer?
With a tall old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be a trick.
More rapid than bonefish his coursers they came,
And he tooted and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Bass! Now, Trout! Now, Bream and Flathead, too!
On, Striper! On Perch! On Crappie and Blue!
To the top of the dam! To the head of the falls!
Now swim away! Swim away! Swim away all!
As waves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to our vessel the coursers they flew,
With a boat load of fish and Captain Gus, too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard with a swish
The flipping and flopping of each little fish.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the mast came Captain Gus with a bound.
He was dressed in Red Gore-Tex, from his head to his toe,
And his clothes were all smelly from scales and minnows;
A box full of tackle he carried on his back,
And he looked like a fish peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes—they looked fishy! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like redfish, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was bowed like a rod,
And the beard on his chin was as white as a cod (fish).
The end of a fishing line he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke from the motor encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a narrow face and a flat little belly,
It didn’t shake much like a bowl full of jelly.
He wasn’t chubby and plump, just a tall old elf,
That made me laugh when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A fishing rod in hand and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stringers; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the mast he rose;
He jumped in his boat, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all swam with the speed of a missile.
But I heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight,
“Merry Fishmas to all, and to all a good-night!”


Holiday Fishing Forecast: Don’t let the cold or low water levels ruin your holiday fishing. Fishing has been very good through mid-month. Those fishing deep-water are finding plenty of bass, perch and at times nice catches of hybrids. While there has been little surface feeding activity there are large schools of fish suspended under diving seabirds. How deep is deep? On 12/12/16 we caught fish on jigging spoons near the bottom in sixty-four feet of water. But not all fish are deep, anglers fishing the hot holes are doing quite well, as are bass fishermen casting to dredged docks, boat ramps and lay downs. Lastly, fish are biting throughout the day, not just at dawn and dusk.

The lake level is down about six feet from full pond, and the water surface temperature is in the fifties.

Captain 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, Fishing’ with Gus! at or call 704-617-6812. For additional information, email him at