Lake Norman, like many other reservoirs in North Carolina, has seen major changes in its fish species. Once filled with largemouth bass, catfish, crappie and bream, striped bass were added in the 1960s, followed by blueback herring, alewives and spotted bass – it’s assumed that fishermen brought in these non-natives –and finally, white perch. Fortunately, there’s one rig that will catch nearly every fish that Norman has to offer: the Sabiki rig.
“Sabiki rigs with a jig or spoon on the bottom are probably my most-effective lures for clients,” said Denver's Craig Price, who operates FishOn Lake Norman Guide Service (704-996-0946).
In many situations, especially in saltwater, Sabiki rigs are primarily used to catch live baitfish by vertically jigging around wrecks and rocks.at most places, especially in salt water, work well primarily to catch live baitfish, often a half-dozen at a time. They consist of a series of small hooks or tiny jigs, often dressed with hair or Mylar, tied on dropped loops up and down a length of line, with a weight at the bottom – often a spoon.
If you're interested in catching baitfish, try a No. 4 rig with fluorocarbon line. In freshwater, the Nos. 8 to 14 sizes will whack crappie, bluegills, white perch, spotted bass, largemouths, smallmouths and even catfish and stripers at times.
The little Mylar skirts on Sabikis usually will trigger bites, but it's not a bad idea when targeting gamefish to cut a minnow into three pieces and tip each hook.
Price eschews a weight at the bottom for a weighed spoon such as a 1/16- to 1/8-ounce Hopkins, depending on the depth he's fishing.
“The spoons get bites from bigger gamefish, such as spots, largemouths and even stripers,” Price said. “You'll usually catch perch on the smaller Sabiki hooks above the spoon.”