Fishing brings out the best in children

by Gus Gustafson

When it comes to fishing, kids say and do the darndest things.

Like the three children, two boys and a girl, who were so proud of their catch that they filled the master bathtub with water.

And yes, they stocked it with the two white perch and one largemouth bass they had caught. Next, they added a carton of worms, dirt and all, plus a bag of crumbled chocolate chip cookies in case the fish got hungry. When dad came upon the scene, he laughed and helped remove the fish and clean up the mess before their mom got home.

There was the father and son who were fishing early one summer morning. Apparently they were up much earlier than normal, because when the boy saw the bright red sun rising over the horizon, he turned and asked, “What is that, Dad? Saturn?” The uncertain father turned to the boat captain, who replied, “No son, Saturn has a ring around it. That’s the sun. It comes up every morning about this time.”

Have you ever wondered why carp jump out of the water, only to fall back and make a big splash? Well, many of us have also been searching for the answer. Even two biologists were asked the lingering question. One said, “Because they can,” while the other replied, “I have no idea.” A third answer came while fishing with a 6-year-old boy. “What kind of fish is it that jumps out of the water while it’s laying its eggs?” So there you have it!

Kids will use anything for fish bait, including pizza crust, macaroni, bread balls, strawberries and a host of other table foods.  But the next episode went a little too far. It seems that mom had just put white icing on a freshly baked cake, when her sons decided it might be just the bait to lure a big catfish from under the boat dock. The boys took the cake to the water and broke off pieces to attach to their fish hooks. Of course, as soon as the cake hit the water, it washed away. Realizing that cake wasn’t going to be as good for bait as they thought, they put down their fishing rods and ate what was left. Their next challenge was to explain the mystery of the missing cake to mom.

The following nautical comments were collected from kids. The first is from Kevin, age 6: “If you are surrounded by the sea, you are an island. If you don’t have the sea all around you, you are incontinent.”

Another, from 8-year-old Julie: “Sharks are ugly and mean, and have big teeth, just like Emily.”

Finally, a fourth-grader, Christopher said, “Some fish are dangerous. Jellyfish can sting. Electric eels can give you a shock. That is why they live in caves under the water where I think they have to plug themselves into battery chargers.”

Tips from Capt. Gus

Children fishing from the shoreline, piers and docks should be required to wear a personal floatation device (life vest), just as they do when boating.

Hot spots of the week

Fishing for bass, particularly spotted bass, has been very good. Anglers fishing the rip-rap on either side of the N.C. 150 bridge, the docks at Queens Landing and the rocks directly in front of the launch ramp at Pinnacle Access are reporting nice catches.

Striper fishing is spotty, but the best places to try are upriver and in Mountain, Reeds and Davidson creeks.

White perch are suspending in schools along the edges of most major creek runs.

Cat fishing is best from docks for those who use stink baits and fresh cut perch and bream.

The lake level is 95.8 feet, or 4.2 feet below full pond. The water surface temperature is in the 50s and 60s depending on location and time of day.

Capt. Gus Gustafson of Lake Norman Ventures is an outdoor columnist and a full-time professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. His website is www.lake
normanstriperfishing.com. Contact him at 704-617-6812 or Gus@LakeNorman.com.

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