From the Helm . . .
December is rapidly winding down as this is written, and the Holidays will be on us before we know it. We have much to be thankful for. As Americans, we live in the greatest country in the world, and we must keep our service men and women in our prayers for preserving our freedom.
MCBA will close out 2013 in sound financial shape and with a membership of just under 600 captains and mates. Once again we awarded two $1000 scholarships to deserving Michigan State University fisheries students. We were also able to support several conservation-oriented youth groups. Getting youngsters excited and involved in all aspects of fishing is critical to the survival of our sport.
This year’s annual conference was held at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids. Over 80 members and their wives were in attendance. Next year, MCBA will hold the annual conference at the Double Tree Hotel in Grand Haven.
A new state hunting and fishing license structure is now in place that should generate enough revenue to keep the DNR from laying off personnel or closing hatcheries. Thanks to the support of our membership, we were able to hold the one-day license at $10 instead of the purposed $15.
Great Lakes water levels, thanks to plenty of snow, a wet spring, summer and late fall, experienced an unprecedented rise. Currently, all the Great Lakes are up 10-inches or more over this same time last year. Now if Lake Michigan’s salmon fishery will also recover as well in 2014. With only a couple of weak year classes of alewife to feed her hungry salmon, an uncertain future looms.
That said, we might want to rethink how we market our businesses. We aren’t fish markets. We can’t guarantee fish and shouldn’t apologize when limits can’t be caught. I’ve been on several big game hunts, and the only thing guaranteed was a hot meal at day’s end—period. The days were long and challenging. On some hunts, the trigger was never pulled. I’ve been cold, wet, and miserable. Did the outfitter give me a partial refund? Meat from his own freezer? Apologized for lack of game sighted? Not a chance! Hunting is hunting. Why should fishing be any different? Truth is, it isn’t. It’s an insult to the fishery to think differently. Clients need to understand that or buy their “limits” in a fish market.
The officers and board would like to welcome aboard our new Northern Lake Huron Director, Capt. Rick Konecke. Capt. Konecke is a long-time MCBA member and a regular attendee at our annual conferences. He hails from the port of Alpena and is responsible for the ports at Mackinaw City down to Tawas. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (989) 255-4524.
Finally, our first board meeting in 2014 is January 26 at the Doherty Hotel in Clare at 1000 hours.
Happy Holidays and God bless America and our troops.
Capt. Terry R. Walsh, President