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Charlestown man shares his love of fishing with local adult learning center

Created date

September 21st, 2010

If there s no ice on the pond, it s a good day to fish that s Clyde King s creed. A lifelong fisherman, King has been casting his line out on small ponds and rivers across Maryland for the last 75 years. Now he s added Lake Charles, the three-acre, eight-foot-deep lake outside his front door at Charlestown, to his list. [caption id="attachment_14549" align="alignright" width="280" caption="St. Peter s Adult Learning Center clients learn the fine art of fishing from rod n reel man Clyde King. (Photo courtesy of Clyde King)"][/caption] I love it! says King, who has lived at the Catonsville community for five years. I fish at the lake year-round, including the winter as long as I can get a line over the ice. Over the years King has fished for everything from flounder and trout to striped bass and bluefish, but says mainly he likes to fish for bass. I don t care as much for deep sea fishing, he says. You re using heavy equipment and horsing the fish in. I like to play fish. I use very light tackle so when you get a bite it looks like there s a big fish on the line. King belongs to the Charlestown Fishing Club, a handful of friends and neighbors from the community who get together three times a week to fish and shoot the breeze. You don t have to be a member of the club to fish the lake, but you do have to have your own equipment, says King. The lake is stocked with bass, bluegill, and catfish. And we have a catch and release policy. We also ask everyone to use barbless hooks so you don t harm the fish. We encourage people to bring their grandchildren down and let them fish. The kids really get a kick out of it. Growing up, King says he learned to fish along the Youghiogheny River in western Pennsylvania. [caption id="attachment_14541" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Charlestown s fishing club teaches the joys of fishing on Lake Charles. (Photo courtesy of Clyde King)"][/caption] My uncle taught me most everything I know, and after that I just learned from trial and error, says King who owns a 14-foot bass fishing boat. You just go out there, drop a line, and see what happens.

Like shooting fish in a barrel

One warm summer afternoon, King, along withCharlestownFishing Club members Harper Griswold, Bill Minton, and Truman Schwab, held a fishing party atCharlestown slake for folks from St. Peter s Adult Learning Center, a program that serves developmentally disabled adults in Baltimore City. Twice a year we play in a Bocce tournament with a group from St. Peter s, says King. During one of our outings, Allison Merkle, the day program manager at St. Peter s, asked me if I knew of a place where they could fish. Well, everybody who knows me knows I love to fish! So I told her I would be happy to look into it and see if we could arrange something here atCharlestown. Merkle says many of St. Peter s clients participate in the Maryland Special Olympics and attend community outings to the mall, movies, fairs, museums, and bowling, but none of them had ever fished before. This was a great opportunity for them to experience something new and something they may otherwise have only seen on TV or in books and magazines, he adds. The looks on the faces on the St. Peter s clients were priceless as they reeled in fish after fish. We let them fish for bluegill, says King. Since this was their first time fishing we really wanted them to catch something and bluegills are easy to catch. You just put a worm on a hook and put it on a bobber and it s like shooting fish in a barrel. King and Merkle are working to make the fishing party an annual event atCharlestown. In the meantime, King continues to fish every chance he gets. It s a relaxing hobby, he says. Even if you don t catch fish, you re out in the open air and it s such a thrill when you get something on the line. When I get out on my boat, I m oblivious to anything else that s going on. For me, catching a pound and a half bass is the greatest thing in the world.