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As fall 2017 arrives so should some really great fishing. What started as a dismal spring really has turned into a pretty good year. Livelining was a good as it gets with consistent catches all over the bay. My apologies to the lower bay guys but the upper bay was red hot again this year. We never know when the tables will turn again and the fish come back south in the summer. Chumming and trolling were the keys to success. Bottom fishing has been consistent with White Perch and Catfish at about every lump and hump north of the bay bridge. We can only hope this fall has the same great fishing as we have had all summer long.
Speaking of fall the MSSA Fall Tournament is right around the corner on November 17-19. Now is a great time to get your crews together and make plans to fish this final gem of the MSSA Tournament Series. It’s a 3 day tournament when you can fish two days so if your vacation days are getting scarce you can still have the same chance as anyone else who can fish on Friday. Again this year there are two different divisions for amateurs and pros so you won’t need to compete against the pros. We hope to see you at the weigh stations. I’ll be weighmaster at Chesapeake Beach so stop by and let me weigh your winner. The 2016 winner took home $35,000 so come out and try your luck.
Many thanks to everyone who helped make the Summer Classic just a big success-especially the members who fished that day. We had 61 boats in this first annual event. The weather that day was probably the best I’ve ever seen on the bay in late summer and yielded some surprisingly large fish.
I hope by now many of you have received a letter sent to your homes detailing some financial challenges MSSA is now facing. The very last thing we ever wanted to do was to ask for financial help but 2017 has proven to be a tough for MSSA financially. Our spring tournament was down about $40,000 in profit and we have been working hard to overcome that obstacle the recent Summer Classic was a big help as was suspending chapter membership rebates. We decided to put this edition of Tidelines on line like the summer edition. These three items has erased almost half of that loss. So how about pulling out that letter and sending a few dollars our way? With over 4000 letters sent out just $20 a piece would yield huge results! I don’t expect everyone to contribute but how about helping us out? Anything helps and many of your fellow members have already answered the call and decided to help out. How about you? Don’t forget-$20 is just a start. No donation is ever too BIG! If you’d really like to cement your commitment to MSSA why not consider becoming a life member into MSSA. This is a one-time $500 membership that can be paid in quarterly instalments? It’s a great way to help out in a big way.
MSSA sends out bi-weekly e-mail blasts packed full of information about what’s happening in the next few weeks throughout MSSA. These are a great way for us to communicate with all our members in a bi-weekly basis. It’s free and very easy to register for these notifications. Just go to https://www.votervoice.net/MSSA/Register and fill out the registration information. Not only does this hook you up with the e-mail blasts but when the legislature meets in the winter it’s a quick easy way for you to contact your legislators and asked them to support recreational fisherman and our interests. Got a small business-there are very affordable advertising options on these e-mail blasts too!
In closing I’d like to thank everyone for what they do every single day to make MSSA strong. Many of you attend chapter meetings and may be involved in chapter activities. Strong chapters are the lifeblood of MSSA and your hard work makes MSSA the great organization. Keep up the good work everyone and I hope to see you on the bay.
The 2017 trophy season is in the books and boy was it ever a disappointment. What started out as a slow season just got worse as the weeks went on. Bad weather coupled with slow fishing made 2017 one of the worst trophy seasons I’ve personally ever had. I guess everyone, including me, was happy with warm winter temperatures and lack of snow. That really did backfire on us this year. The popular belief was that the big fish were gone before the season ever started. A lot of big fish made it through the year. We can only hope the anglers up north don’t hammer them too bad.
The 34TH Annual Championship on the Chesapeake was a great even despite the bad weather and slow fishing. The problems with planning a tournament a year in advance amplify themselves tenfold when the weather forecast calls for gale force winds and driving rain on day one coupled with small craft warnings the other two days. My hat goes off to all the anglers who slugged it out for two days trying to catch that big one. I’d also like to thank all the volunteers who made the tournament a success. Whether it’s running a weigh station, selling shirts at a Captains Meeting, or working a show booth in the winter our volunteers constantly answer the call to make this tournament a success. Dave and Amy do a great job organizing the whole thing and their work doesn’t end until every weigh tickets has been double checked, every angler has been contacted concerning prizes, and the final check is put into the mail. I used this analogy once before but it fits so good I need to say it one more time-“Running the MSSA Tournament is like a duck swimming in the water. While they look all calm on the surface that dedicated group of volunteers are paddling as hard as possible underneath to pull the whole thing off successfully.” We did have several suggestions about why MSSA we didn’t postpone the entire tournament 7 days. While on the surface that sounds like an easy task it’s really almost impossible to do because of the magnitude of a tournament of this size. Moving it back a week this year would not have been a better option anyway. The weekend after was actually windier than tournament weekend and the fishing just got worse. Come on 35TH Annual Championship in 2018-it’s going to be a good one!
MSSA lost a very dedicated member a few weeks ago. Bill Windley, former MSSA President and a founding member of the Norther Bay Chapter, passed away on May 3 in Florida just shy of his 71st birthday. . Bill served several terms as MSSA President and Northern Bay Chapter President. Bill was a commissioner on the Atlantic Coast Marine Fisheries Commission and served several terms on the Maryland DNR’s Sportfish Advisory Committee. For anyone who had the pleasure of knowing Bill he was one of MSSA’s most dedicated leaders totally dedicated to the recreational fisherman of Maryland. His presence is still felt today in many of the rules and regulations he helped craft while serving on those state and federal fishing boards.
As you fish this year don’t forget all the Maryland DNR Volunteer Angler Surveys available out there. Participation on volunteer surveys actually gives you the opportunity to make real contributions to fisheries management. MSSA has always wanted DNR to rely on the best scientific data available to make fisheries decisions. Actual catch data from actual anglers is about the best data available. Visit the DNR website for all the details.
As I put away the big stuff and get ready for summer I urge you to carefully Ande fish this summer. Warmer water temperatures tend to increase mortality so using circle hooks, quitting fishing when you’ve caught your limit, and carefully releasing undersized fish greatly increase mortality. Keep what you want to for the table and release the rest to fight another day. Until next time- see you on the bay.
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.