It has been written that men would rather fish than work, as evidenced by a popular bumper sticker that reads, “Born to fish, forced to work.”

A quote on a plaque in a local restaurant says, “Work is for people who don’t know how to fish.”

“Old fishermen never die, they just smell that way” is a saying that seemed funny in my younger days. Now, it’s not so funny.

There are several versions of the next one: “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.” Similar versions are: “Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat all day and be late for dinner.”

And ladies, with this T-shirt message, beware of what you might find in the refrigerator. “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and you will find bait in the fridge.”

Recently, a sign along the highway got my attention. It read, “DANGER! - Men Fishing!” It seems that a group of fishermen under a bridge had temporarily placed the sign at the side of the road for their own protection. It probably wasn’t the legal thing to do, but it got a smile.

Fishermen know that a good place to get information is at tackle shops and other stores that sell bait and fishing supplies. But casual conversations overheard in these places should be taken with a grain of salt. A sign at a bait shop near Lake Norman warns visitors: “Caution! – Fishing and hunting stories in progress – Protective boots might be required.”

Fishermen arguably have extremely high standards. Some only fish on days that end with the letter Y. How about that for standing by your principles?

Wives might appreciate this one: “Gone fishing. Be back some day.”

The colder it gets, the more some fishermen will be “wishin’ they were fishin.’” Another thought for any day of the year, “Well stocked rivers, lakes and streams – these are a fisherman’s favorite dreams.”

Written on a chalkboard in a locker room, “Football is a game, but fishing is serious.”

Also, a person in financial despair professed; “I spent most of my money on fishing. The rest I wasted.”

Finally, an all time favorite! “To fish or not to fish … that’s a dumb question!”

Upcoming events

• I will conduct a free safe boating class, “How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night,” from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 14 at North Point Watersports, 112 Doolie Road. Learn to understand Lake Norman’s channel marker and buoy system, how to avoid dangerous spots and interpret lake maps. Details: 704-617-6812 or

• Jake Bussolini and I will answer your fishing questions at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 21, at Gander Mountain, 236 Norman Station Blvd. The session will be of great interest to those new to lake fishing and interested in catching bass, cats, crappie, perch and stripers. Bring your questions to this informative seminar. Details: 704-658-0822.

• The Lake Norman Sail & Power Squadron will conduct boater safety training at 8 a.m. Sept. 24 at the Duke Energy Environmental Center, Huntersville. The training costs $45. Advance registration is required. Details: Bob Yannacci, 704-660-5568, or

Tips from Gus

To return to a spot, mark it with a buoy. A buoy can be made with a plastic bottle, a length of cord and a weight. Buoys also can be purchased at tackle shops for a few bucks each.

Hot spots of the week

Hundreds of small perch can be caught in water from 20 to 30 feet deep.

Fish weighing up to a pound are off points in water to 50 feet deep. Bass fishing is surprisingly good, considering the heat. Try top water lures at dawn, dusk and after dark.

Catfish are moving back into the creeks, a sure sign that fall is not far away.

The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the high 80s in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 4.4 feet below full pond on Lake Norman.

Capt. Gus Gustafson, of Lake Norman Ventures, is an a full-time professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. Details: 704-617-6812 or