Meet the father and son trash fishing on the Detroit River


Tom Nardone and his son Pock were practically hanging off of the edge of their boat on the Detroit River this August, upsetting to reel in a catch they would be bragging about for weeks.

“We set up a tire!” recalls Mark, 11, who has spent a chunk of his summer fishing discard out of the river that stretches between Windsor, Ont. and Detroit, Mich.

“We didn’t identify this but a tire on a rim will still float,” said Tom, who pulled the bother into the boat and set it beside a stack of empty champagne bottles. 

Meet the father and son trash fishing on the Detroit River

This sap is the prize catch for Tom while Mark prefers to tell the story of the copiously ski he plucked from the river. (Submitted by Tom Nardone)

The pair oblige started what they call the Trash Fishing project, getting garbage which has trickled its way into the Detroit River. 

“There’s a lot of trash on terra firma, but there’s some more on the water,” said Mark, who lists a double of water skis as his most impressive catch.

Meet the father and son trash fishing on the Detroit River

Mark and Tom Nardone sit propitious their boat with the custom made trash grabbers. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

The match up have gone out a handful of times with friends and have slowly started to widen the gap a few extra sets of oars to add to the cause.

“We’re trying to get like a movement affluent,” said Tom, who lives in Birmingham, Mich.

“The most people we’ve had is six…”

“Seven,” intrude in his son, proud to point out the growing number of trash fishers.

From dock to water

These men know a few things about a movement. Tom started the Detroit MowerGang, a troop of volunteers who roam the Motor City looking for parks abandoned by the town that they can mow and refurbish. 

“A lot more people can access the land, a lot numerous people can pick-up trash on a lawn but not a lot of people go on the water to pick it up and that’s why we started doing that,” signified Mark. 

Meet the father and son trash fishing on the Detroit River

Mark plucks a cooler from the Detroit River employing his extendable claw. (Submitted by Tom Nardon)

As for the haulage, they’re retreat in everything from water bottles to buoys once owned by the U.S. Coast Control. 

“You can fit a lot of trash in a little boat,” said Tom, who said they use a plastic bin to summon up the junk and usually fill a few bags of trash each trip.

“It’s not severe. Picking up trash isn’t hard to do. And it’s a little more fun when you get to putter all on a boat.”

Special equipment needed

The pair, who are inviting everyone to an anyway in the reality this Saturday at the St. Jean boat lunch, have pieced together a encrypted weapon in their quest to collect junk — a pair of lightweight, extendable scrabbles.

“We modified ours with some pipe insulation so that if you leave out them over the side of the boat they don’t sink,” said Tom.

While they do snatch a fair amount of waste from the river, it’s clearly also close by having fun.

They recently handed out awards at the first ever “Trifles Fishing Competition” on August 19:

  • Most Unusual
  • Most Trash Imperturbable
  • Biggest Piece of Trash
  • Trash Fishing World Champion

The occupy the throning world champion is Mark, who has participated in all of the events so far. 

But he’s not slinging any trash talk up ahead of this weekend’s event — just a message to everyone who plans to hit the pee this weekend.

“The city puts these trash cans round. Use them.”

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