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I hope 2017 is finding everyone happy and healthy. 2016 is behind us all now and for me it was a pretty good year. I’ve fished the MSSA Spring Tournament every year in its history and finally placed in the money. Me and the crew of Top Dog took third place this past May and won over $17,000. I’m hoping to make this big win an annual affair but we’ll see how that works out for me! Later in the year after 10 years in pain I had my left knee replaced. It certainly took a toll on my fall fishing but look out in 2017. I’m back and ready to make up for lost time. Why not join me next year with a personal commitment to fish at least 30 days this year? 2017 will be a great year if we can all accomplish that.
If tournament fishing is high on your agenda then make plans to participate in the 2017 MSSA Tournament Series. We made some exciting changes in 2016 and plan to tweak the rules just a little more this year to try to level the playing field for everyone. Without going into a lot of details right now rest assured you’ll find the 2017 series more exciting than ever.
The MSSA office staff continues to be a valued part of the organization. Dave and Amy are working hard on ways to save money while raising even more revenue through advertising sales, procuring tournament sponsorships, and working to increase tournament participation. I thank them for all their hard work toward making MSSA great.
Our chapters are the lifeblood of the organization and they are stronger than ever. Many chapters hold their own fishing contests, kid’s events, and other fun events. The real “fishing club” activities take place at the chapter level. Early in my term as MSSA President I vowed to support the chapters whenever possible. We’ve offered tournament incentives to increase chapter show attendance, given each chapter one free tournament entry, and pay chapter membership incentives as promised. Chapters continue to get stronger and that goes hand in hand in making MSSA stronger.
The biggest single asset MSSA has is its volunteers. Volunteers are found at all levels of the organization making everything possible. It would be simply impossible to run MSSA without volunteers at all levels. I’d like to ask every member to take the time to thank an MSSA volunteer. Whether it’s a chapter officer, tournament weighmaster, or the guy selling the raffle tickets at your chapter meeting each one of them deserves your thanks. Next time you disagree with someone rather than criticizing them why not thank them for their efforts and offer the help instead? It’ll make everyone’s job more fun and certainly make that volunteer’s job just a little easier.
MSSA continues to monitor the Maryland State General Assembly, Maryland DNR, and other state and federal agencies to protect the rights and traditions of recreational fishing. At times we need the help of you-the rank and file MSSA member. The quickest and most effective we have to solicit your help is through Voter Voice. It’s a great tool we use to get the word out quick to our members. It’s free and easy to sign up-just go to our website www.MSSA.net and click on the Voter Voice link to sign up. We’ll not only use it to contact you with legislative concerns but also MSSA news and happenings in between the quarterly editions of Tidelines.
I look forward to meeting more of you in 2017. Together we can keep MSSA strong. I’d like to thank everyone who spends countless hours every single week to make that happen. Until next time, see you on the Bay.
I would like to take this opportunity to address the tragic loss of life on Saturday, November 19 after the conclusion of fishing hours in the MSSA Fall Tournament. One of the tournament boats with four MSSA members from the Southern Maryland Chapter sank while returning to port in rough seas in the Potomac River. This tragic event took the lives of Roger Grissom, Gregg Moore, and Keech Edelen. The fourth crew member, Jay Downing, was the lone survivor who was found the next morning still clinging to the boats hull. Words can never express the sorrow we all feel for the families and friends of these fellow anglers lost in this tragic accident. The MSSA is deeply saddened by this horrible accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends.
MSSA would like to express its gratitude to the US Coast Guard, Maryland DNR Police, St. Mary’s County Fire, search crews from NAS Patuxent River, and the Good Samaritan boats who participated in the search that resulted in saving one person and a helped provide some closure to the other families. These brave first responders were out there in terrible weather doing their jobs as professionals and we all rely of them every day to help keep us safe.
In conclusion on behalf of MSSA I’d like to again express my condolences to the families of the victims of this terrible accident. As we all know our safety while on the water is nothing we can ever take for granted and this time it took the lives of three of our fellow anglers. May they all rest in Peace.