Fishin’ with Capt. Gus! Fish Hooks August 23, 2015

gusPhoto Credit; Capt. Gus
Jacob and Jack Welborne hold a pair of Lake Norman spotted bass.

Have you ever been hooked while fishing? I hope not, but when fish hooks are handled in a careless manner, the danger of being hooked is real and there is the potential for serious injury to the eyes, body and limbs. Modern fish hooks are very sharp, so sharp, in fact, that little, if any, pressure is required to penetrate the hard mouth of a fish, or for that matter, any part of an angler’s body. When a hooking accident occurs, it’s a stressful and painful experience. To minimize the chances of getting hooked, consider the following.

▪ Keep hooks, lures and tackle boxes away from everyone’s reach – especially children.
▪ When casting, be sure the area is clear, particularly behind you.
▪ Do not allow hooks or lures to tangle or swing freely. Attach it securely to the hook holder near the fore-grip of the rod or to another convenient place on the rod or reel.
▪ When not in use, place rigged fishing outfits in rod holders or storage compartments. Never allow them to lie unattended in the boat or on the deck.
▪ Should a bad cast create a hang up, do not yank or pull. This can cause the hook or lure to fly back toward you like a missile. It’s best to work your way back to the hang up and free the hook by hand.
▪ When unhooking a fish, give yourself plenty of slack line before attempting to gain control of the fish. Hold the fish tightly, either by the mouth (if it doesn’t have teeth), or behind the gills, then attempt to remove the hook.
▪ While unhooking, expect the fish to wiggle and flip, so keep a tight grip on your catch.
▪ Needle nose pliers might be required to remove deeply embedded hooks.
▪ In the event you hook yourself, or someone else, remain calm. Cut the line away from the hook or lure. Stop any bleeding. Even if the hook can easily be removed, a tetanus shot may be required.
*Sometimes it’s not only the fish hook that stabs you, but the sharp fins, spines or teeth of the fish can also cause injury. Consult a doctor if sourness or swelling persists.

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.

Tips from Capt Gus: Wear glasses and shoes while fishing to help protect yourself from an accidental hooking accident.

Hot Spot of the Week: Spotted bass and hybrids are being caught along the edges of channels at depths to fifty feet. Jigging spoons, bucktails and live baits are best baits, but roadrunners and A-rigs trolled from down riggers are also effective. Arkansas blue cat fishing is excellent at the Cowans Ford Dam. Flathead catfish are hitting live baits fished near schooling white perch. The majority of larger perch are suspended at depths to fifty feet. Those fishing with live minnows and Sabiki rigs are having good results.

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 5.1 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and 3.0 feet 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 website at or call 704-617-6812. For additional information, e-mail him at


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