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Fishing club reels in members

Created date

August 5th, 2010

[caption id="attachment_13543" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Maris Grove s fishing club allows members to get into the sport as well as the freshwater pond on the 87-acre campus."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_13544" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Maris Grove s pond is home to 12 large-mouthed bass and 8 blue-gill sunfish."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_13539" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Fishing club members grill once a month by the gazebo nestled at the edge of Maris Grove s freshwater pond."][/caption] Walt Copper has been fishing since he was 12 years old, and when he moved to Maris Grove and noticed there wasn t a fishing club, he took the bait and started one. The purpose of the club was twofold: One was to connect likeminded neighbors. I just wanted people to buddy up and fish! Copper says. After he cast a net to gauge interest, 20 people signed up, including 6 women. According to club member Kathleen Maculaitis, fish don t discriminate based on sex They don t care how much your reel costs, what you re wearing, or who s holding the other end of the line! she quips. In fact, she has been fishing with her sister-in-law Helene Maculaitis for 45 years. They used to go on couples fishing dates together with the brothers Maculaitis. They prefer saltwater fishing Helene for the taste and Kathleen because she thinks saltwater fish are easier to catch since there are more of them but they can t always get down to the ocean. So they are happy to have the convenient opportunity to fish in the freshwater pond at Maris Grove.

The great outdoors

The second purpose of the fishing club was to work with theMaris Grovegrounds crew to restore the pond that we have on the property, Copper says. The half-acre pond is made from water runoff, and there s nothing circulating the still water, so it s up to the grounds crew and the residents to work together to keep the weeds and algae at bay. In addition to clearing out the pond periodically, since its inception in 2009, the fishing club has been introducing plants that will help aerate the water to make it more livable for the fish, says Helene Maculaitis. There s an abundance of fish because back whenMaris Grovefirst opened in 2006, some residents stocked the pond with a few freshwater fish; now, there are 12 large-mouthed bass and 8 blue-gill sunfish thriving in the pond. It s an ideal place to bring your grandkids on a summer day, says Copper. A gazebo is nestled at the edge where people can cast off from benches. At the request of the fishing club,Maris Groveinstalled a charcoal grill and picnic benches so people can cook out while they re fishing. Everyone brings a dish, and we have a great picnic once a month, says Helene Maculaitis. But fishing club members aren t cooking what they catch. Coming out of a water runoff pond, you wouldn t want to catch something and bring it to dinner, Copper laughs. The ladies appreciate that it s catch and release as well. I just don t want to hurt anything these days, says Kathleen Maculaitis. And there are no worries about the pond overpopulating; blue herons and white egrets hang around and do some fishing themselves.

Casting a wide net

Fishing is fun, economical, and what Copper calls exciting meditation. It even has the power to lower blood pressure, except, of course, if you get a bite and then the good kind of excitement ensues. Whether for the health benefits, the rush of reeling in a big one, or the lure of the outdoors, the fishing club keeps bringing in more members. It meets March through November on the second Wednesday of every month. During the club s first meeting in the spring, members wade in the water, raking out excess weeds and algae. If it s cold outside, they meet in a classroom to watch DVDs or discuss fishing techniques, and when the weather s nice, they take outings, either to theMaris Grovepond or somewhere off campus. The ultimate goal is to get out, cast away, and catch (and release) that big one!