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Fishing In Bridgeport: Free Catch-And-Release Camp Comes To Palmisano Park

By Ed Komenda | August 18, 2016 6:03am
Ken "The Lakefront Lip" Schneider puts a blue gill in his mouth to make the kids laugh and squirm.
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DNAinfo/Ed Komenda

BRIDGEPORT — Colin Moy spent an hour casting his fishing line into the waters of the quarry pond at Palmisano Park with no luck.

Then Tom Palmisano showed up to help out the 11-year-old find a bite.

Tom Palmisano baits a line. [Photos by DNAinfo/Ed Komenda]

"We try to help save the day," said Palmisano, co-founder of Henry's Bait Shop and the Henry Palmisano Memorial Fishing Foundation.

In a matter of minutes, Colin pulled in a bluegill. He held his catch in the sky like a champion fisherman.

Colin Moy, 11, holds up a catch.

More than two dozen children from all over Chicago showed up to Palmisano Park, 2700 S. Halsted St., Wednesday to participate in the last day of a free catch-and-release fishing camp sponsored by the Henry Palmisano Memorial Fishing Foundation.

 Founded by brothers Tom and Steve Palmisano, co-owners of  Henry's Bait Shop  in Bridgeport, the  Henry Palmisano Memorial Fishing Foundation  brings more than a thousand kids each summer to the nature park at 2700 S. Halsted St., named after the Palmisano's late brother Henry.
Fishing At Palmisano Park
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"I would fish all day if I could," said Joshua Spencer, 11.

Many of the kids come from the Valentine Boys & Girls Club, but the camp drew families from as far as South Shore and Beverly, where Tom Brady loaded his 8-year-old twins, Mary-Kate and Patrick, in the car and drove to Bridgeport.

"They're loving it," Brady said.

Mary-Kate Brady, 8, fishes at Palmisano Park.

The nonprofit group brings more than a thousand kids each summer to the nature park, named after Henry Palmisano, late brother of Tom and Steve. The foundation also hosts fishing camps for the mentally disabled and the blind.

The pond is stocked with bluegill and largemouth bass through a program of the state's Department of Natural Resources that supplies fish to urban lagoons using money from the sale of fishing licenses.

"I love everything about fishing," said Isaiah Williams, 11. "I tried to catch a bass."

Steven Guy showed up and helped kids bait hooks with live maggots. The young fisherman's first hurdle is finding the courage to pinch the creepy crawlers from a plastic tub.

"They catch on pretty fast," Guy said. "They love it once they start doing it."

David Valentine, 11, holds up his bluegill catch.

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