On the Water

I spend a lot of time on the water. It is a place I have always felt comfortable. Unfortunately, growing, up my family did not have the money to buy a real boat, although we did make do with an inexpensive inflatable for a few years until we wore it out. My parents’ house was located less than a half-mile from the Sandusky Bay, and I passed by the water every day going to and from school on the bus. One day when I was in 4th or 5th grade, a spring storm blew a metal jon boat onto the rocky shore. Seeing that boat there on my ride home from school, I pestered my Dad to go down and have a look at it. It was badly dented, and partially submerged, but looked as if it could be made seaworthy with a little bit of work. Dad, however, was not convinced of this… and I suppose based on the fact that no one else tried to claim it he was right. Still, it broke my heart to pass that boat everyday and slowly see the wind and waves batter it to scrap metal.
Although I do occasionally take a motor boat out and have even done a little bit of sailing, I prefer kayaking. There is a certain sense of freedom and closeness to the water with kayaking that you just don’t get with any other type of boat. Kayak angling is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, and understandably so. It is relatively inexpensive to start and requires only modest skills and fitness. Located near Charlotte in the central Piedmont region of North Carolina, Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake offer unmatched natural beauty, as well as a wide variety of waterfowl, raptors and game fish, and are ideal locations for the North Carolina kayak angler.

I generally launch from one of three spots, depending on the time of year, water conditions and desired catch: Gar Creek Access on Mountain Island Lake is located within the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, ten minutes from historic downtown Huntersville; Blythe Landing is located on the southern end of Lake Norman, less than two miles from Birkdale Village; and Lake Norman State Park Public Boat Launch is located in the middle of a 1,350 acre park, just a few miles from the charming small town of Troutman.

Kayak angling is very hands on, and, yes, sometimes a little wet. But I prefer that to staring blankly at a rod sitting in a rod holder, smelling gasoline fumes or fighting for elbow room like the power boaters do. Kayak fishing is a far more exciting and rewarding approach, where you are as close to the action as you can be. Both Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake offer great fishing right next to shore. As soon as you’re on the water you’re on the fish. This makes kayak fishing a perfect fit. The sport can be enjoyed by anglers of all ages; short trips are not overly strenuous — so anyone who can walk 2 or 3 miles can have a great day of fishing — and longer trips to more remote coves offer a peaceful and relaxed experience.

I am not a professional guide and don’t claim to have any special knowledge or skills, but I am an experienced kayak angler who has spent hundreds of hours fishing these waters, and am always happy to help introduce new anglers to the sport. There are many kayak-specific techniques that will get your rod bent, and heart racing, as you fish for a variety of species including including large and small-mouth bass, striped bass, bluegill, catfish and crappie. Call or email me for more information.
Following are some of my favorite kayak angling/tours on Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake, including information about where I have taken fish on these waters.

Mountain Island Loop

  • Launch from Gar Creek Landing — Latta Plantation Park
  • Bluegill, Catfish, Largemouth Bass

Lake Norman Southern Basin

  • Launch from Blythe Landing
  • White Perch, Largemouth Bass,  Catfish
The Cove Trail (Mountain Island Lake)
  • Launch from Equestrian Center Landing — Latta Plantation Park
  • Bluegill, Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Walleye, Carp

Lake Norman State Park
  • Launch from Boat Ramp — Lake Norman State Park
  • White Perch, Largemouth Bass,  Catfish
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