The Carlisle Mosquito Online

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."

Steve Kirk holds a 42-pound striped bass caught by a friend on his boat "The Enterprise" off Martha's Vineyard.

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

The Tierney family of Lowell Street, Steve, Linda and their daughter Lauren, are shown in 1997 on Lauren's first day fishing at Lake Sunapee when she was four. That's Steve Kirk's hand in the photo holding the fish.

The social aspects of the sport extend beyond immediate family as well, he says. "A lot of people who don't even like fishing still like to get out on a boat. If you have some people who want to go fishing, there are always others who want to come along just to be out on the water." Kirk's favorite fishing destinations within New England include Lake Winnipesaukee, the Merrimac River, and the lakes of Cape Cod, as well as the saltwater inlets that surround the Cape and islands.

"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,, 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

John Kirk holds a 10-pound 11-ounce Largemouth Bass caught in Florida on January 5 of this year.
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.

A healthy addiction — 50 years of sport fishing

On Monday, April 5, the Carlisle Lunch Group will meet at Union Hall, First Religious Society, 27 School Street, Carlisle, to hear Steve Kirk talk about fishing. The meeting starts at 12:15 p.m. and the talk begins at 1 p.m. and is over by 2 p.m.RSVP by sending a $22 check (payable to Fontaine K. Richardson) for each lunch to Fontaine K. Richardson, 121 Skelton Road, Carlisle, MA 01741. Call 1-978-369-8223 or e-mail for more information.

Carlisle's own Steve Kirk will tell some true fishing stories to encourage thinking about spring and summer activities.Steve started fishing with his father at an early age and has been at it ever since. He will tell the location of some good fishing spots within one hour of Carlisle suitable for family fishing and opportunities for "world-class" fishing within three hours of Carlisle. Steve will show slides of the fish that he and his fellow fishermen have caught and will continue with pictures from a couple of fishing expeditions he and his son made to Florida in search of trophy largemouth bass.

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito