Friday, March 12, 2004
Fishing enthusiast Steve Kirk turns a pastime into a passion
Stephen Kirk has fished for the better part of the past five decades. Growing up in Baltimore, he joined his father in the fresh waters of the Potomac and the estuaries of Chesapeake Bay. So it was second nature to him to introduce the sport of fishing to his own three sons as they grew up in Carlisle. "It makes sense to me that my own kids like to fish," he says. "But what I've discovered is that there are plenty of other kids around here whose parents have no interest in fishing whatsoever, and those kids want to go fishing too."
Having realized this, Kirk, who lives on Westford Street with his wife Sue and their sons, has become something of a fishing mentor throughout Carlisle. When his sons were young, he introduced them and their friends to the finer points of the sport without traveling any farther afield than Bates Pond, whose cold depths harbor some surprisingly large bass. In more recent years, he has introduced many Carlisle families to the joy of recreational fishing everywhere from the Merrimac River to the waters off Cape Cod.
Besides providing good recreation and a chance to enjoy the outdoors, Kirk says that fishing has a profound impact on familial relationships. "I spent a disproportionate amount of time with my father when I was a kid because we were fishing," he explains. "Until I could drive, we spent every weekend together. It's the same thing with my oldest son, John. Had we not been fishing, we never would have spent as much time together as we did."
Favorite fishing destinations
"Like a lot of people, I go fishing to have an outlet, to have something I enjoy that's not business-related, to have a way to relax," Kirk says. "When you're fishing off of someplace like Martha's Vineyard or the Cape, you get a whole different perspective on the land from what you see in a car. It's absolutely beautiful and unspoiled."
Although Kirk's two younger sons have spent plenty of time on the water with him, it is his oldest son John, currently a freshman at the University of Vermont School of Agriculture, who follows most closely in his father's footsteps. Together, John and Steve have taken fishing trips to Florida, Pennsylvania, and Texas, where they pursue not only their interest in catching trophy fish but also in promulgating conservation of various fish species.
In fact, the two Kirks are collaborating on the formation of an online company, Captain Kirk Enterprises. The company "is dedicated to exchanging information on fishing and habitat conservation," Kirk explains. Although their aptly named web site, captainkirkenterprises.com, is still under construction, its eventual goal is "to provide anglers with information and tips about catching big bass." It is his hope that the company eventually will lead to a post-retirement career as a charter captain aboard his 27-foot boat, which he keeps in Falmouth.
A Carlisle fishing club
For many years, Kirk struggled with the inevitable downside of life in New England: long winters with not a fishing expedition in sight. This year, he is determined to make the off-season a little bit more interesting with the formation of a fishing club based in Carlisle. "Anyone of any age who has an interest in fishing — whether it's baitcasting, fly fishing, or whatever — is welcome to come," he says. "In the cold weather when you can't fish, it would be fun to get together and meet other people who like to fish. Exchange tips, talk about fishing vacations we've taken, learn about new methods and equipment."
Kirk urges anyone who is eager to get together with other fishing enthusiasts to give his new group a try. The first meeting of the Carlisle Fishing Discussion Group will be held on Monday, March 15, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in Union Hall at the First Religious Society. The agenda will include a brief review of the group's charter, announcements of spring fishing trips, tips on local fishing spots, creation of a web site, and a slide show by Dana Booth on a trip he and his son took to Costa Rica in pursuit of rooster and sailfish. Additionally, Kirk and Richard Ketchen will do presentations on saltwater fly-fishing and targeting trophy spring striped bass in New England. All are welcome.
© 2004 The Carlisle Mosquito