Fishing with Gus

The forecast for August is hot with a very high likelihood of catching lots of spotted bass.

While summer heat might be bothersome to anglers, it doesn’t seem to keep the bass from biting. On most days, they feed as aggressively as they as they do during much cooler fall temperatures.

So, why wait? Go fishing now while they’re hitting.

Bass don’t mind the warm water half as much as the glare from the summer sun. When it shines in their eyes, they have difficulty seeing. And to make matters worse, they don’t have eyelids to squint or shield the rays. That’s why summer fishing is best during periods of low light (dawn, dusk and night) and on days when cloud cover shrouds the sun. The wind also plays a positive role, since ripples and waves help to defuse sunlight.

If you fish long enough, you’ll learn that fishing conditions are constantly changing and are seldom ideal. For that reason, when the sun is high in the sky, savvy summer anglers cast their baits along shady shorelines or to the dark side of floating docks, piers, boathouses and bridge pilings.

Bass also seek solace in deep water, where weighted lures can reach the bottom in 20-plus feet of water.  Soft plastic worms, lizards and grubs fished on Texas or drop-shot rigs are among the best deepwater summer lures.

It might seem paradoxical, but for whatever reason, not all bass shy away from the summer sun.

Schoolie bass, those up to 15 inches in length, feed throughout the day. The most consistent activity is on shallow points that touch the channel and over river humps. Top-water lures are best, particularly those that pop, gurgle or swish as they’re retrieved. When bass become picky, add an ice fly (a tiny spoon) as a trailer. It will tempt the most stubborn eater.

It goes without saying that air temperatures are more comfortable at night and that is when the big bass prowl. The best places to cast are around bridge pilings and lighted boat docks.

Regardless of the time, August bass fishing can be great. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Upcoming events

• I’ll host a free safe boating class, “How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night,” 6:30-8 p.m. Aug. 8 at North Point Watersports, 112 Doolie Road, Mooresville. Topics include understanding Lake Norman’s channel marker and buoy system, avoiding 10 most dangerous spots, and interpreting lake maps. Details: 704-617-6812 or

• I’ll host a free fishing seminar, “How to Tie Fishing Knots,” 6:30-8 p.m. Aug. 15 at Gander Mountain, 236 Norman Station Blvd., Mooresville. I’ll show participants how to tie several of the most popular fishing knots. Details: 704 658 0822.

• Family Fishing Day will take place 8-11:30 a.m. Aug. 25 at Camp Dogwood on Lake Norman. The event is free to ages 6-15 accompanied by an adult. Space is limited. Registration is required. Details: 910-603-4929 or

Tips from Capt. Gus

Lake Norman’s channel marker system primarily helps boaters navigate the lake safely and without grounding. The markers also help fishermen pinpoint areas where rocks, stumps and other habitat attract bass and other game fish.

Hot spots of the week

White perch fishing continues to be very good. Large schools can be found in major creeks on both sides of N.C. 150 at depths to 40 feet deep. Jigs used in combination with Sabiki flies and small hooks tipped with worms or crappie minnows are the best baits to use.

Cat fishing is very good day and night. Baits of choice are fresh-cut bream and white perch. Summer fishing for spotted bass is excellent. Your best bets are the river’s main channel points and humps near any of the lake’s four deepwater rock reefs.

The lake level on Lake Norman is about 2.4 feet below full pond. The surface water temperature is about 90 degrees in water not affected by power generation.

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