Photo: Capt. Gus shows a limit of spotted bass before being released alive. 

It’s that time of year again, so here are a few gift suggestions for the fishermen on your holiday gift list.

Humminbird PiranhaMAX 197c Fishfinder – $99 

Powerful, reliable fishfinder with a 3.5″ color LCD 240 x 320 screen with accurate sonar performance to 600′ – Available at local fishing tackle outlets

Rapala Heavy Duty Electric Fillet Knife, 7.5″ Blade – $59.99 

Strong enough to cut through fish bones, 7.5″ reciprocating style blade, dishwasher safe – Available at local fishing tackle outlets

Gift Basket for Fly Fishermen – $59.99

A wicker fishing creel stuffed with a selection of tasty snacks, designed to give fisherman energy throughout a long day of angling.

Berkley- 7” Aluminum Fishing Pliers 49.99

A fishing tool, with a tether and sheath so you can keep it where it belongs: on you. They’re anodized aluminum, with corrosion-resistant steel jaw inserts and replaceable carbide cutters for mono or braided poly lines. Available at local fishing tackle outlets

Tackle Bags – Plano ( has a vast selection of soft sided tackle bags with plastic stowaway boxes for lure and tackle storage. These relatively inexpensive bags are easy to stow or carry from place to place. Prices begin at $19.99.

Fishing Marker Buoys – $ 7.99 up 

Comes complete with 75′ of nylon cord and a heavy lead weight (150 gram) for secure anchoring. Flat design resists wind and current drift. Fluorescent Colors.   Available at local fishing tackle outlets

Fishing Lure – An ideal stocking stuffer is the SR05 Shad-Rap fishing lure (  Its 2” balsa body resembles the size and shape of a baitfish (shad) found in Lake Norman. The diving lip design is available in a host of colors. Silver, fire tiger and silver fluorescent chartreuse are angler favorites.  Price is about $6.99.

Gift Card – When all else fails, a gift card is a great present for the angler who has everything.

Holiday Fishing Forecast – “Find the bait and you’ll find the fish” is true, especially when the water is cold. That is the reason anglers search for bait pods before fishing a given area. Likely places to find large concentrations of shad this month are the coves and finger channels that veer off major creek runs. Some of the best creeks to fish are Reed, Mountain and Terrapin. Should the weather turn extremely cold, try fishing the warmer waters of Ramsey and McCrary Creeks.

A sure way to catch bass is to skip-cast soft plastics under a dock. Deep diving crank baits and A-rigs cast off deep points will also produce good results. However, the most exciting way to catch bass, hybrids and stripers is to pitch top water baits under diving sea birds that are feeding on shad chased to the surface by schools of hungry fish.

December is also a good time to cast in the hot water discharge channels at the Marshall Steam Plant and the McGuire Nuclear Station. Fishing can be great at any time of the day in either hot hole. It’s worth a stop, even if you are only passing by.

Tips from Capt. Gus: Striped and hybrid striped bass on Lake Norman have a minimum size limit of sixteen inches and a creel limit of four in combination. The size limit for spotted and largemouth bass is fourteen inches (two may be lesser in size), and the creel limit is five in combination. For more information about size and creel limits, visit


Lake Norman is about 3.0 feet below full pond and 3.0 feet below at Mountain Island Lake. The water surface temperature is in the high fifties and low sixties depending on location .