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Casting the net is just the bait for fishing

The net left his hands and sailed over the front of the boat, spreading out to a big circle as it hit the water.

David Clubb gathered the rope back into his hands and pulled the 10-foot bait net out of the water and up into the front of the boat. The bottom third or fourth of the net glistened with small threadfin shad.

He shook them into his bait tank, and we knew we had plenty of bait for a morning of fishing. He made it look so easy.

I had joined Clubb and two anglers for a morning of white perch fishing. The weather was perfect, fishing was great and we all had a good time.

The first stop was the old spillway in Lake Norman State Park to catch fresh bait; then on to a likely spot to start fishing.

When we reached the first spot, Clubb slowed the boat to survey the fish on the fishfinder screen. When he was satisfied with the quantity of fish he threw out a weighted marker.

At times the screen showed schools of bait 20- to 25-feet thick with big fish close to the bottom under the bait. We caught fish as fast as we could bait the hooks.

When the action slowed we moved to a new spot.

We caught well over 100 white perch, one catfish, some short juvenile stripers and several bass before we quit. Fried perch are really great with slaw and hush puppies.

Clubb is one of the best fishermen and fishing guides on Lake Norman, and he should be.

Clubb was born in the old Lowrance Hospital in Mooresville 43 years ago and has always lived in the area. He was a young boy when Lake Norman was created and has fished the lake his entire life. He really enjoyed fishing for catfish until he got the bug for striped bass that were stocked in the lake.

Clubb fished for fun and fillets, then got into tournament fishing, and that led to being a fishing guide. Clubb also likes to fish Lake Hickory and Lookout Shoals north of Mooresville. He does not fish for stripers during the summer months.

The Harbor Fishing Club likes to book Clubb several times a year for a fun day of fishing.

He enjoys showing the anglers what to look for on his fishfinder and even has a trick to entice curious fish to the bait. He taps a stick on the floor of the boat, and for some reason the fish are attracted.

Clubb teachs kids to be better anglers and always has a big smile when showing folks how to bait their hook and handle fish.

"Fresh natural bait is always the key to good fishing," said Clubb. He is one of the best net throwers in the area. He supplies the Midway Bait and Tackle Shop in Terrell with fresh bait. We have blueback herring, threadfin shad and alewives in the lake.

I have fished on Clubb's boat four or five times and always got my limit.

Being on the water almost every day of every week, Clubb knows where the fish are.

Clubb also owns and operates Race City Roofing in Mooresville.

Clubb's other passion is making and keeping Lake Norman a great fishery. He has been the president of the Norman Fishery Alliance (NFA) since its inception years ago. The organization is a striper fishing club but has an active agenda to keep the lake healthy and improve fishing.

"The Norman Fishery Alliance is a fishing organization dedicated to the promotion of Lake Norman and the betterment of the entire Norman fishery," said Clubb.

The current thrust of the NFA is to convince Duke Power, North Carolina Wildlife and the federal government that installing oxygen injection systems in Lake Norman would prevent the large fish kills during the summer months.

In 2010, 7,000 to 10,000 striped bass were killed due to low oxygen levels.