Fishin’ with Capt. Gus! More Tips about Safe Boating 8/16/15

gusf                    Photo courtesy of Capt. Gus Gustafson

Life Vests (PFD’s) like the ones pictured at Beatty’s Ford Access Area are available for loan at participating marinas.

With the popularity of kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, rowboats and sailboats, it seems the size of many vessels is getting smaller. In case you haven’t seen a stand-up paddle board, it’s become a favorite with the fitness crowd. The board is designed for the rider to paddle in a standing position.

Smaller vessels have a lot in common. First, they’re relatively inexpensive to purchase and do not require gas to operate. They’re easy to transport from home to lake, are light-weight, and fit on car-top racks or in the back of a truck. They can be launched from almost anywhere on the shoreline that isn’t private property. Fun and exercise, however, do not come without risks.

The fact that these vessels have a low profile and are relatively small, compared to other vessels, makes them extremely difficult to see in open water. For that reason, brightly colored hulls, multi-colored paddles and sail patterns are a must. The prudent sailor should stay out of harm’s way by only plying the calmer waters of back coves and bays. Journeying in the main channels and other busy waterways is extremely risky and should be avoided, regardless of skill level.

Safety equipment is of utmost importance, regardless of state or federal regulations. The most important, of course, is a personal floatation device (PFD) that should be worn at all times by everyone onboard. Also, an often, and overlooked item, is a sound producing device (whistle of horn) used to signal your position and/or intentions.

As with larger vessels, in the event one should capsize or fall overboard, staying with the craft is considered safer than trying to swim ashore. It’s easier to see a hull on the water’s surface than it is to see a person floating or swimming to shore.

It is prudent and worth repeating to remind boaters that the skipper of any recreational vessel is responsible for his own safety and that of his passengers and crew. The USCG encourages everyone to wear a life vest (PFD), never drive under the influence, successfully complete a boating safety course, and have the vessel checked annually for safety.

Tips from Capt. Gus: Blue and green rafts, kayaks, canoes and other small vessels are difficult to see in open water. Orange, yellow, chartreuse and red are more visible and should be the colors of choice when renting or buying.

Hot Spots of the Week: White perch are schooling in twenty to thirty feet of water. Spoons, Sabiki rigs and crappie minnows are good baits to use. Low water levels have caused bass to congregate along deep banks with fallen trees or in areas where several boat docks are present. Catfishing is good, particularly for those targeting blue cats on cut bait near the dam, where a summer striped bass fish kill is progress. Night fishing for crappie is excellent around bridges and lighted boat docks.

Upcoming Events:
A free safe boating class on “How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night” will be held at The Peninsula Yacht Club, 18501 Harbor Light Blvd, Cornelius, NC at 6:30 p.m. on September 9th. Becky Johnson and I will cover “Understanding LKN’s Channel Marker and Buoy System”, “How to Avoid Shallow Water”, “Ten Most Dangerous Spots”, and “Interpreting Lake Maps”. For more information, call Ashley at 704 892 7575.

A free fishing seminar on “Interpreting Sonar and Down and Side Scan Images will be conducted by Jake Bussolini at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, Mooresville, NC at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 16th. This interactive session will also examine the best ways to catch fall hybrids, stripers and spotted bass. For more information, call 704- 658-0822.

The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the high eighties and low nineties in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 4.9 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and 3.7 feet below 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 website at http://www.Fishingwithgus.com or call 704-617-6812.the best ways to catch fall hybrids, stripers and spotted bass. For more information, call 704- 658-0822.
The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the high eighties and low nineties in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 4.9 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and 3.7 feet below 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 website at http://www.Fishingwithgus.com or call 704-617-6812.

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