Lake Norman Fishing Report 05.16.11

Submitted by Lake Norman Ventures Inc.

Submitted on 05/16/2011
Fishin’ with Capt. Gus!
Boat Wakes
May 15, 2011
This past weekend’s steady stream of boats traveling up and down Lake Norman’s main river channel was a challenge, even to experienced mariners. In addition to navigating through a maze of boats at speed, the helmsmen had to safely maneuver through the large waves created by the wakes of passing vessels. Boat wakes come in all sizes, as do the boats that create them. To some who may not be aware, the V-shaped waves widen, swell and have a tsunami-like effect on passing vessels and eventually on the shoreline.
Wakes created by passing boats can take the fun out of an afternoon cruise, especially when the pounding gets so severe that it rattles teeth and spills drinks or knocks them from cup holders. Worst yet, very large wakes have swamped boats, done bodily harm to passengers and even separated cross-members from the hull of boats. So what can one do to minimize the negative effects of boat wakes?
When possible, avoid high traffic and wake prone areas similar to the main river channel between markers 6 and 11 during weekends and holidays. Regardless, sooner or later a large wave will appear. The first course of action is to warn the passengers and slow the vessel. Don’t stop the boat, since some forward momentum is needed to hold course when the wave hits. Avoid taking the wave head on. By approaching the wake at a slight angle, the jarring or rocking effect will be minimized, and crew and equipment will be less susceptible to harm.
In rough water situations, ask that passengers sit and face forward. Additionally, since the bow of the boat takes the brunt of the pounding, require that everyone sit amidships or as near the stern as practical. Regardless of water conditions, do not allow anyone to sit on the bow with legs and feet dangling over the side.
There are times when you come upon a slow moving vessel ahead of you that is pulling a large wake. To pass, lay back a safe distance, choose which side to pass and turn your boat at a 45 degree angle. Maintain speed until the wave is reached, then slow to a speed that slightly exceeds that of the wake you are crossing. As the bow passes its crest, increase speed slightly to avoid falling into the trough of the wave. Once the stern clears, increase speed and get back on course.
A plea to any vessel pulling a large wake! Remember the little boats. Norman is a lake, not an ocean. Most boaters are trying to relax and simply enjoy a leisurely family boat ride and are not out there to be rocked and rolled by another boat’s wake.
Upcoming events:
Free Seminar: “How to Safely Navigate Lake Norman Using Sonar and GPS.” Join me on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. at North Point Watersports, 112 Doolie Road, Mooresville, NC to learn the “Basics of Sonar and GPS.” Bring your questions and instruction booklets to this informative ninety minute boating safety session. Call 704-617 6812 for more information.
Free Fishing Seminar: “How to Catch White Perch” will be held at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, Mooresville, NC at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, 2011. Jake Bussollini and I will conduct the session. Bring the entire family to this informative and entertaining seminar. For more information, call 704- 658-0822.
Tips from Capt. Gus: Boat wakes travel long distances, so doesn’t be surprised when you encounter a rouge wave in open water. Also, be reminded that the shallow water increases wake size.
Hot Spot of the Week: Bass fishing is very good in boat basins at dawn and dusk and around docks and deep brush piles throughout the day. Blue cats are hitting fresh cut bait in coves and on shallow points. White perch are hitting shiny lures and small minnows at depths to thirty feet. Best bets for white perch are Reed, Mountain and Stumpy Creeks.
The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the sixties and seventies in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 2.2' below full pond on Lake Norman and 2.7' below full pond on Mountain Island Lake.
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 web site, or call 704-617-6812.
 Photo of a pleasure boat pulling a very large wake, courtesy of Capt. .Gus