According to Captain Will Price, it’s always a good time for fishing. We sat down with the seasoned angler and owner of Set’n Hooks to get an expert’s take on fishing Lake Norman, a favorite pastime of many StayLakeNorman guests!
What, in your opinion, is the best time of day to hit the lake?
Early in the morning. I can catch fish all day long, but there are these windows when the fish go into lulls – they don’t want to feed and are lazy. But low light conditions, like early morning or right before dark, are best.
Is there a certain season that produces the best conditions for fishing?
The springtime is always my favorite. That’s when the fish come out. When the water is cold in the winter, they get a little more lethargic. They still have to eat but their metabolism slows down greatly. So they’re not going to chase bait. They just don’t have the strength and they don’t want to waste the energy to chase after the food. They prefer an easier meal.
But once that water temperature starts warming up, they get excited and they’re like, well I’ve been missing out on a lot of food! So they really feed up in springtime. Also, their fight is better. They’re very, very energized at that time. So the fight of the fish is better in the spring.
How do you find your spots on the lake?
We have very little vegetation on Lake Norman. But what we have is a lot of contours, a lot of ditches, a lot of rocks and a lot of brush. So I use my electronics heavily. Even on my days off, I am out there idling around and just looking for new things. To me it’s like hunting, but I’m actually targeting objects under the water. These humps and these long points are where the fish will stop at, kind of like a rest area on the interstate. My boat is set up with the newest electronics and I try to keep it that way. It’s an expensive investment but it pays off in the end.
What kind of bait do you use?
I like to catch my own fresh bait every day before the trip. I’ll get up and get out there about two hours before the sun rises and I’ll catch my fresh bait with a casting net. I do use artificial – sometimes people want artificial because they like the challenge of it. But I tell them, it’s a whole lot easier to feed the fish than to trick the fish. If they want to use the artificial bait, that’s perfectly fine. I provide that as well. But if there’s someone on the boat fishing with live bait, and I’ve got a couple of clients fishing with artificial bait, the live bait always outperforms.
You talked a little bit about the equipment that you have on your boat. For the person who is not out on a guided tour with you, is there any equipment that you would recommend people have to increase their odds of success?
I would say if you take away everything off my boat, I would want a good map system. Especially for Lake Norman. Lake Norman is such a contoured lake – there’s so many drops and ditches. If I only had one thing, I would recommend a GPS map system.
Do you do anything specific or bring anything specific when you’re planning to travel for a trip? What do you bring with you or do to prepare?
Always make sure you check the out-of-state fishing regulations and guidelines. That’s the biggest thing because there is no excuse for ignorance. Everything’s out there online.
And then, always prepare for bad weather. Even if they’re calling for nice weather, always take rain gear. There can always be a shift. So number one thing: always be prepared.
Lastly, of course, consider seasonal necessities. You want to make sure you have the basic essentials like sunscreen, plenty of water. That’s one of the worst things to be offshore on a trip and you have nothing to drink. You can get dehydrated so fast.
About the Guide
Captain Will Price launched his business full time in 2021 after years of guiding part-time and a lifetime of loving to fish. Though it is not required for guides on Lake Norman, he went through the training to earn a U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s license. Being well educated and well prepared was important to him, and the hard work has paid off. Set’n Hooks won the Angler’s Choice award last year for best fishing guide on Lake Norman. Captain Will loves meeting and fishing with anglers of all ages and backgrounds – from the pros to young kids out on their first trip. He said that there is nothing quite like the smile of a child who’s just caught their first fish!
Luxury Waterfront Rentals
If you are now fully convinced that a guided fishing trip needs to be on your agenda during your next stay with StayLakeNorman, just let us know when you book your lakefront rental and we would be glad to connect you with Set’n Hooks!