In what has to be the most unusual occurrence in my career as a fishing guide and boat captain, I spent three days recently helping Capt. Gus Gustafson, Matt Myers and a film crew from Japan look for Normie, the Lake Norman Monster.
If you haven’t heard of Normie, the creature is described on the site www.lakenormanmonster.com as a large alligator-fish looking animal of indeterminate origin. No one seems to know for sure if Normie is real or imagined. The goal of our efforts was to prove Normie does exist.
The film crew consisted of Yuji Tokiwa and an associate from Global Photo Associates, based in Torrance, Calif. Tokiwa said the show on Normie will be aired in Japan on a hit TV program whose title translates in English as “What Is It Japan?” Matt Myers, creator and administrator of the Normie website, described the hostess of this show as “the Lady Gaga of Japan.” This was no bogus, underfunded expedition.
Day 1 was used to familiarize the film crew with the lake, plus record footage describing Normie’s background and various locations where he has been spotted. We spent some time catching bait in my cast net and fishing for larger “Normie snacks” in the forms of spotted bass and catfish.
Day 2’s goal was to actually catch Normie and prove to the world that he is real. No one really knows how large Normie is, but sightings have indicated that his length and girth are quite substantial, measured in tens of feet. To assure we had the right tackle and expertise to handle a sea monster, Capt. Tommy Adkins of Fish ‘N Frenzy Sports Fishing in Morehead City, was contracted to lend his equipment and big game fishing knowledge to the excursion.
Capt. Adkins is a commercial fisherman who specializes in catching huge Atlantic bluefin tuna. For fans of the hit tv show, “Wicked Tuna,” Capt. Tommy sold the big red boat Fishin’ Frenzy to its current owner. Adkins says his biggest tuna and payday this past winter was an 887-pound beast that sold to a Japanese buyer for more than $36,000! With Penn 130 series reels, custom rods, 250 pound line, and Capt. Tommy to guide us, we set out to hook and battle the Lake Norman Monster.
We deployed a combination of our fresh caught bait and several fresh whole chickens to entice Normie to bite. While trolling near mid-lake in the early afternoon, something really big hit one of the chickens and made a scorching run of several hundred yards before Capt. Adkins could begin the battle in earnest.
He cranked the huge reel for what seemed like a long time, gaining little line back and no advantage. Then the 250 pound line parted suddenly with a loud crack, and the fight was over. Unfortunately, that was the only shot we had on hook and line at what we all agreed was a creature much larger than any catfish that could exist in Lake Norman.
On Day 3, the services of Brandon Styers, an investigator for the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office and experienced scuba diver, were enlisted. After searching the deepest waters on the lower end of the lake with sonar equipment, Capt. Gus identified an unusually large signal. Brandon was deployed to see if he could get visual confirmation of the Lake Norman Monster. Normie’s wily and elusive nature, plus poor visibility at the depths of the sonar signals thwarted our efforts again.
In the end, time constraints finally prevented us from finding conclusive proof that Normie exists. But everyone on the search team made it home safely, which is never a given when targeting sea monsters. I have a feeling we’ll try again, but cries of Monster On! will have to wait until we do so.