Dean Clark caught his first striped bass in 1946 with a pole his dad gave him after returning from World War II. He was 5, wearing a life jacket and casting his rod into the rippling river off the end of his godfather's wooden dock.
"I thought I was such a hero. That kept my fire stoked all summer long. It really created a monster," said Clark, a Cape Cod homeowner and co-chairman of Stripers Forever Massachusetts, a conservation organization.
But now Clark's passion is in a deep sea of political dispute.
The Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture will hold a hearing at 11 a.m. Feb. 28 at the Statehouse in Boston on whether to ban commercial fishing of striped bass in Massachusetts and cut back recreational fishing by 50 percent.