Ambassador Profiles

BIO: David Clark

Part fish Dave was spawned in the chemical pollution of Hamilton Harbor then swam to the shore and crawled out…the event marked his de-evolution from fish to angler…a curse that he has lived with for 45 years. At 5 years of age after driving his Dad and Grandfather crazy with his excited fish talking for hours in a metal boat through a rain storm they let him try to fish…a 3lb largemouth bass was his first fish and his second was a 3 foot American eel.

th_DSCF1279 eel2
We all have our heroes, our Moms and Dads and then the ones that live extra ordinary adventures like Jacques Cousteau…a weekly Sunday TV escape into the unknown world beneath the oceans and seas. Dave’s childhood was a fascination with marine biology and exploration. First book he ever bought as a child was about sharks. Dave’s dreams of becoming a marine biologist never materialized but his love for the life aquatic has never been abandon.
Dave a successful nightclub manager for 22 years did not often have ample time for fishing regularly instead those excursions were his vacations…too few and far between. A career change to restaurants has allowed weekly fishing outings over the last 5 years.
Dave fishes the Toronto Shoreline less than a kilometer from his home and work and travels to and from the water by foot, bike or TTC. Often the process of fishing requires 10 plus kilometers of walking along the shoreline once the water is reached.
By fishing locally, Dave has more opportunity to fish and less travel time, thus more time on the water. Fishing locally allows Dave to closely follow the changes of the weather and season, lake water levels and temps, changes to habitat and structure and aquatic plants and their effects on fish patterns and behavior.
Dave enjoys shoreline fishing the most and prefers to sight fish the margins for his quarry. Species he has experience targeting include Bowfin, Carp, Pike, Bass, Perch, Bullhead, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout and Salmon.
Dave is a passionate and avid angler. He is a protector of shoreline access and fishing rights for anglers. He is an active steward of environmental cleanup of fish habitat and shorelines. He is also an engaged ambassador of the sport to others especially children in the local community. As an angler Dave promotes substainability of the fisheries by practicing catch and release of fish.
Dave believes that Toronto’s Lake Ontario fisheries are improving dramatically and will soon rival those of the legendary Kawarthas and Muskokas.
Favourite Target Fish: Bowfin
Favourite Bait: Worm
Favourite Lure: Cleo Spoon
Favourite Location: Toronto Islands


Meet David Kearney, David was born in Montreal, but since the age of 2 was raised in Toronto. David grew up along the shores of the Humber River, spending much of his early childhood exploring the Humber’s banks and forest, hunting frogs and snakes and fishing with friends. David has been fishing with family and friends for as long as he can remember. He has also had the fortune to fish for many different species in many fantastic locations throughout Canada and the United States.
Several years back while coming home from work David was seriously injured in an automobile accident. He was a passenger in a vehicle that rolled over on the highway. David received serious injuries to his right hand, wrist, elbow shoulder and neck. Thankfully no other person was injured in that life changing event.
Although fishing had always been a recreational activity throughout David life, it was now about to play a major part in David physical and mental recovery. As a form of physical therapy David began fishing Toronto’s accessible shorelines for one of his favourite species of fish, large mouth bass. David soon found out that Toronto’s waterways hold many different species of fish, from both large and small mouth bass, to pike, carp, perch, drum, salmon, trout and many others. What a treat to have such an amazing fishery just minutes from down town Toronto. David used fishing to help strengthen his hand, wrist, elbow and shoulders. Tying knots and working line also helped improve his dexterity, mobility and grip. Fishing also helped provide David the mental strength and stability needed to deal with everything this type of accident throws at you. Although David will never be 100%, his hard work and determination have helped him achieve some degree of success in his recovery, and much of that is thanks to fishing.

David is proud to be a Toronto Urban fishing Ambassador, and you will find David fishing along Toronto’s harbor front, the Toronto Island’s, The Don River and the Humber and their watersheds. If you see him, say hello, he is always ready to answer questions or just point you in the right direction.

Favourite Species: pike, large mouth bass
Favourite lure: Little Cleo Spoons red/gold
Favourite Bait: live worms
Favourite location: Toronto Islands


Meet Kenneth Tse – Ken was born in Hong Kong. At the age of 10, Ken moved to Ontario with his family. Growing up in Mississauga, Ken rode his bike and took the bus to fish many of the urban ponds, creeks and rivers where he refined his early fishing skills. Lake Aquitaine and the Etobicoke Creek were his childhood favourite places to fish.

When Ken studied at the University of Waterloo, he continued to rely on his bike to explore the many ponds and rivers surrounding Waterloo. Some of his fondest memories were these 20km bike rides he took after lectures to sample the fine bass and pike fishing in the area. It was also during this period that Ken discovered the joy of multispecies fishing through a co-worker who became his fishing Sensei (thanks Kazu!)

In order to target many of the freshwater species, Ken has to learn and adapt new methods of fishing. This led to his exploration into fly fishing, icefishing, trolling, float fishing, bottom bouncing and jigging. This greatly enriched Ken’s fishing experience and broadened his techniques.

Currently studying in graduate school, Ken has the opportunities to attended many research conferences and training course. This took him to many different regions of the world and allowed him to catch over 200 species of fish, ranging from the tiny 1” mosquitofish to the large 120lb yellowfin tuna!

When he is home in Toronto, Ken explores the biodiversity in many of the urban ponds and streams. His fishing adventures may include fishing for baitfish species such as River Chubs, Common Shiners and White Suckers, roughfish species such as Bowfin, Common Carp and Longnose Gar, and popular sportfish species such as Steelhead, Walleye and Muskenllunge.

Ken is an advocate of youth fishing. Before the start of the Toronto Urban Fishing Ambassador program, Ken was often found at the Toronto Islands sharing the joy of fishing with many children and their parents who were curious about the sport of fishing. Many of the virtues and values that help Ken in his research today, such as patience, perseverance, dedication, attentiveness and resourcefulness, were learned through his early fishing days. Ken would like to pass on his love for fishing, and more importantly these important life skills, to the future generation so they can succeed in life in whatever endeavours the children may pursue in the future.

Favourite Species inOntario: Too many! He likes them all!

Favourite lure: Plastic twister tail grub

Favourite Bait: Live worms

Favourite location:TorontoIslands

Motto: I am a FISHerman, therefore, I targetALL species of fish. Fish are created equal…do not discriminate between the species!

Blair A. Welsh (Hometown: Guelph Resides: North York)

Blair was born in Guelph Ontario in 1966.
By the time he was 2, a fishing rod could be found in his hand!

Both of Blair’s Parents were School Teachers, so many a wonderful summer was spent in Northern Ontario (Kirkland Lake, Cochrane) at the cottage and visiting with relatives. This helped develop Blair’s life-long passion for fishing, and his respect for both MULTI -SPECIES and MULTI -SET UPS.

By the Time Blair entered his teenage years, he was already introduced to “Bottom Bouncing” for Steelhead in the Mighty Niagara River. Fall Salmon Fishing also became a yearly ritual on the GTA TRIBUTARIES (Bronte, Credit, Humber, Port Hope).

Southern Ontario and up to Lake Huron -Georgian Bay became the “home away from home” in the pursuit of so many different angling opportunities.

Late 80′s saw Blair head out West to both Calgary & Vancouver. This helped develop his skills and appreciation of the wonderful Fly Fishing techniques and cold mountain water conditions. Many a large BULL TROUT and MIGRATORY STEELHEAD were subsequently caught. (and most were released!)

Returning back to Ontario (Early 2000) … brought back the wonderful diversity that Southern Ontario has to offer! Becoming an avid URBAN ANGLER was a successful strategy, keeping Blair out fishing 100′s of days of the year.

Each season has its runs and potential catches, each day brings new and exciting challenges.

If I could share some of many lessons learned it would be:
■KEEP it SIMPLE and FUN! – Use what you are most comfortable with, hold your head High
■Respect the environment and those who also enjoy the opportunities our beautiful country has to offer.
■Clean up your garbage and follow the rules.

I love fishing for all the multiple & diverse species that inhabit the waters of the GTA. Sometimes I am fortunate enough to be out on a boat, but mostly … I’m out and about shore fishing. Use the TTC, ride a bike…. make some great new and life-long friends.

FISHING is ABOUT the WHOLE PICTURE. Enjoy every single moment while we can!

Favourite Species: Every Single Beautiful Fish out there!
Favourite lure: Rapalas, Spinners & Jigs with soft plastics
Favourite Bait: WORMS (Greatest Bait of all time!), Roe, Minnows & Crayfish (Plus any and all “natural” baits ie: Insects, Grubs)
Favourite location: THE WORLD! anywhere that there is water, there SHOULD be fish!

“Make all your Casts Long … and All your Fish Monsters”

Michael Verdirame

From the first time Michael watched Lake Ontario’s chinook salmon running up the Rouge River in Markham, he became bent on catching his own first “big fish”. Over the years, this mission snowballed into a lifelong passion for fishing.

It wasn’t until Michael became involved in several online fishing communities that he would discover the true potential of Ontario’s urban shore fishing opportunities. He did away with his assumption that one needs a boat in order to be successful angler. Through the coaching of many of other anglers, including other Toronto Urban Fishing Ambassadors, Michael continues to learn and expand his fishing horizons.

In early 2012, Michael’s desires to give back to the fishing community lead him to create the Ontario Shore Fishing online community.

This open-minded fishing community is dedicated to promoting local conservation efforts and providing a friendly learning atmosphere for beginner anglers. It’s now a community Michael wishes he could have begun learning from many years ago!

Michael is an advocate for multi-species angling and is always on the hunt for new species to add to his life list. From big to small, different kinds of fish all provide their own unique challenges worthy of undertaking. It’s not uncommon to find him on a tiny creek targeting a finicky new species of minnow he hasn’t caught yet!

Michael’s advice to beginner anglers is to always keep an open mind and ask detailed questions! Making assumptions is only detrimental to your potential to learn new things.

Fishing will provide you with a passion for exploration and adventure. It will also give you a rewarding, productive activity to partake in on your travels. It is thus, in Michael’s opinion, a very valuable hobby to pursue. Happy fishing!!

Favourite Species: The ones I haven’t learned about yet!

Favourite Bait: Live worms

Favourite Lure: 3” White Twister-tail grubs, nose-hooked

Favourite location: Rouge river

Meet Mike Harry.

I was born in South Wales in the U.K., and as a child I spent my weekends and summers fishing from the beaches, piers, harbour walls and cliffs along the South Wales shoreline. My first major fishing breakthrough was reaching the fish in deeper water by successfully learning how to pendulum cast, with an old 18ft French beachcasting rod, at the age of 10. Although I never understood it at the time, I can see now how ridiculous this must have looked to the older fishermen, and I hold no ill feeling to those who edged a bit further away, or ducked for cover every time I pitched that 4oz lead weight into a slow backswing, before firing it bullet-speed toward the horizon.

Throughout my adult life I am lucky enough to have travelled extensively for work purposes, and have become expert in finding the space to pack a good quality telescopic fishing rod into my bag. Among the highlights on my travels, I have fished for Stripers at the base of the Hoover Dam, jigged for Cod from the side of a lifeboat at Svalbard, and learned how to balloon fish the reef, “local style” in Aruba.

I first came to Canada in 1999 and I lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I spent my spare time fishing for Mackerel and Cod. When the opportunity arose, I moved out west to Alberta, and fished the short summer fishing season for big Lake Trout in Banff national park, before learning to Ice Fish on Spray lakes, Canmore.

I moved to Toronto in 2004, and since then I have extensively fished for Pike, Bass, Carp and Panfish along the Toronto shorefront and city parks using lures for open water and Dropshot rigs during the high weeds of summer.

I am proud to be part of the Toronto Urban fishing Ambassadors team. If you see me fishing somewhere on the waterfront, stop and say hello, I am always happy to chat about fishing in Toronto.

Favourite Species: Carp and Pike

Favourite lure: Mini-Cranks

Favourite setup: The adjustable Zig Rig

Favourite location: Harbour wall, Coronation Park, Toronto

Michael Heaney

   Michael was born in Toronto and has lived along the shores of the Humber and Credit Rivers, and now resides walking distance to his canoe at Harbourfront.

   I have fished with family and friends my whole life in the urban environment we grew up in, and continue to do so today. My love of travelling has led me to spearfish in the Carribbean, fish the surf in the Pacific with the locals, and dropping a line off the aft end of a tanker in the Atlantic.

   As an urban fisherman , i am continually amazed at the variety and quality of the species that can be caught in our waters. The protection of our right to fish the waterfront is the mandate that drew me to the Ambassadors, and i am very proud of the part we played in helping to protect that right.

   I have been learning new methods, targeting new species and continuing to explore our urban waters for a new challenge, and if you see my blue KLR motorcycle, there are fish nearby.

Favourite Species: Bass

Favourite Bait: Big Juicy Worm

Favourite Lure: Cleo

Favourite Location: Toronto Islands in a canoe.




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