Photo courtesy of Capt. Gus
Lee Johnson holds a five pound hybrid striped bass caught on an October guide trip.

Fishermen often give vague answers to avoid giving away their secret spots. The location of the fish they’re catching might be:
– “Above the bridge.”
– “Below the bridge.”
– “You know…that spot we fished a long time ago, remember?”
– “I fished with a buddy, but he told me not to tell anyone where we caught them.”
– “I couldn’t find that place again if I tried.”
– “The last time I told someone where the fish were, he told everybody, so I’m not telling anybody this time.”
– “Up the river.”
– “Down the river.”
– “Don’t ask me. It was dark.”
– “I can’t tell you, but the spot was only big enough for one boat.”
– “When I tried to find the spot again, I couldn’t.”

It’s also not surprising how many words are spoken about “the one that got away”. It seems that the time between when the fish was first seen and when it got off, are talked about forever. Following are some of the most mentioned scenarios:
– “I caught a big one, but it got off.”
– “I had him, but the line broke.”
– “The net was too small.”
– “I would have caught it if it hadn’t pulled so hard.”
– “The hook fell out of its mouth at the very last minute.”
– “I caught three, if you count the two that got away.”

How about the reasons and excuses made when fish aren’t biting? One of the simplest, yet most profound explanations is; “When they’re not biting, you can’t make them stop.” Below are a few others:
– “The only thing they’re hitting is a certain kind of minnow, but the bait shop can’t get them anymore.”
– “They were biting yesterday. Maybe we caught them all.”
– “The moon is too full.”
– “The moon is not full enough.”
– “It’s too hot (too cold, too windy, too calm, too bright, too dark, too wet, or too dry).”
– “The tide is high.”
– “The tide is low.”
– “The water is muddy.”
– “The water is too clear.”
– “There’s a jinx on board.”
– “They must be biting at night; they have to eat sometime.”
– “It’s a shame I lost my favorite lure. It was the only one I caught fish on.”
– “They never bite when I go fishing.”

Tips from Capt. Gus!
Forget the solunar charts and tide tables. The best time to fish is on any day that ends with a “Y”.

November Fishing Forecast: The good news is that lake levels are back to normal, gas prices are lower and fishing on Lake Norman is better than it’s been in some time. Anglers can expect to catch plenty of spotted bass along the banks and surface feeding fish under diving sea birds. As a bonus, hybrid striped bass, crappie and white perch fishing improves this month. November is one of the best months of fall to fish. Take some time to cast a few lines between football games and holiday shopping.

See ya out there!

The lake level on Lake Norman is 2.0 feet below full pond, and 3.4 feet below on Mountain Island Lake.
The water surface temperature on both lakes is in the mid to high sixties.

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, or call 704-617-6812. For additional information, e-mail