The December edition of The Fisherman is the last one of 2017; that means subscribers get a 14-week break from the weekly deliveries (which my wife should appreciate from my own pile of USPS delivered reading material in the living room). Of course, the January, February and March monthly editions will arrive in timely fashion.
Before we get back into weekly printed overdrive for subscribers, I trust you’re signed up to receive our regularly bi-weekly email alerts; on Mondays we update our weekly fishing reports online, while on Thursdays at noon our weekly forecast video for the weekend ahead goes out; this continues 52 weeks a year and should carry folks through the colder months ahead.
Currently, we’re tabulating final results from the 2017 Dream Boat Fishing Challenge; there’s been quite a bit of jockeying for position in the final days between New England Fisherman (NEF) subscriber Chris Sottile and Long Island Fisherman subscribers Dave Wissemann and Andreas Brundler. As I’m sitting and writing this in early November, NEF’s Robert Deledda and LIF’s Sean Mullally were still making a strong push for the new Steiger Craft 21 DV Boat and Yamaha 200HP outboard, and other great prizes. Hopefully a few of those late season humpbacks and monster blues along the Jersey and Delaware coast find their way to the leaderboard before all is said and done.
It may sound cliché to say “here’s to looking to a better and brighter New Year,” but it’s sure been an interesting year. Politically, the polarization of opposing viewpoints has seemingly made open discussion and debate nearly impossible. As that relates to recreational fishing, the sometimes venomous, often ad-hominem attacks on social media has done little but stifle sensible fisheries management discussion.
I know a lot of folks with political viewpoints to the far right or the far left are pretty difficult to sway; and for the most part, I try to keep a relatively moderated balance when it comes to fisheries related political issues (though I tend to lean farther from patchouli and closer to panko crusted). While some might prefer to keep politics out of the recreational fishing discussion, like it or not, they’re pretty much what one would call intrinsically linked.
It’s a federal fisheries law (Magnuson Stevens Act) that governs our coastal fisheries, with coastal commissions and councils whose members are appointed by the elected. So, a governor or congressman may support every issue we believe in on the homefront (property taxes, public education, etc.), but if he/she doesn’t care much for recreational fishing, that of course could seriously affect our local fisheries.
We recently did an email survey of readers that generated over 3,000 responses; while a lot of that response helps us plan editorial to provide the info readers want most about the fishing they like the best, one rather astounding statistic came to light. Of those responding to the survey, 97% said fisheries management and marine conservation issues were “important” or “very important” reasons for reading The Fisherman versus 3% who said it wasn’t important at all.
That said, I’d personally like to see a little more open dialog and discussion in 2018 between varied viewpoints; and in terms of balancing conservation and access, I stand with the majority in saying it’s pretty darn important that we take into account all sides while covering these issues in a serious, in-depth and comprehensive manner. Fact is, The Fisherman has been doing that for over 50 years, and we’ll be doing it for another 50 (the good Lord willing!)
During the weeks ahead when not receiving a weekly printed copy of The Fisherman, I would encourage you to visit TheFisherman.com regularly for news and notifications of meetings and issues affecting us as anglers. Be sure to stop by our booth at the various boat and outdoor shows as well, as I’d love to meet face to face and hear first-hand what you would like to see in future editions; perhaps even debate and discuss a few of these fishy politically issues.
Mostly importantly, have a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukah, and the very best in the New Year!