Guide Gus Gustafson said spotted bass are a hot ticket on North Carolina’s Lake Norman as the water cools off this month.

“The great thing about fishing for spotted bass in November at Lake Norman is that they can be caught in a variety of ways,” said Gustafson, who guides for Lake Norman Ventures. “It’s  one of the best months to catch spots because the cooler water temperatures translate into super aggressive fish, with the fish bulking up for the winter. Late November is the best time of all.”

Gustafson (www.fishingwithgus.com) said mornings and evenings provide exciting surface action.

“They’ll be shallow, schooling off points, and (they) will whack any small surface lure, buzzbait, shallow runner or jerkbait that’s tossed near them,” said Gustafson.

During the day, big concentrations of spots move as deep as 30 feet off points, channel drops, high spots and shoals where they can be taken vertically fishing with jigging spoons, tailspinners and shaky head jigs rigged with trick worms or by dropping live bait before their noses. 

Anglers slow-trolling with small bucktails, crankbaits, live-bait rigs and spoons catch their share of fish.

“For live-bait fishing, big bass minnows work best,” said Gustafson. “Spots hit them with reckless abandon.”

Gustafson points to the Duke Power State Park area, Mountain Creek and Reeds Creek as some of the best places for spots, because those locations attract plenty of forage in November.

“Find the forge, and you’ll find the fish,” Gustafson said. “Fishermen can’t miss viewing masses of fish on their depth finders, and I have photos of my sonar with the screen cluttered with huge concentrations of spots.”

Gustafson said to check out Norman’s hot-water discharges as well, especially in the morning. If shad are flickering about, a gang of spotted bass could be in the vicinity. Cast a small lure, spoon or jig into the baitfish, and odds are the bait won’t make it back to the boat

Most of Norman’s spots run from 1 to 2 pounds with an occasional 3- to 4-pound fish being caught.

“We now have largemouth bass and spotted bass mixes, and it’s difficult to tell one species from the other,” said Gustafson. “If you can’t tell what the fish is, and the fish looks  funny, it’s likely a (hybrid).”

Spots school with other species, so fishermen never know what they’ll catch. The next fish at the end of the line could be a white perch, hybrid bass, striper or largemouth.