My passion runs deep – deeper than the water I ply at night for a fish I’m infatuated with. Those stripes, the intoxicating environment – it owns your soul as it does mine. Whether you cast from a dock, a bank, sandy beach or you’re in a wetsuit pushing out to the furthest rock along the coast, it affects us the same. I push out into the darkness, out to a place that would terrify most, to tell the stories of some nights which I feel normal with. Often I feel like the “Tidy Bowl Man” but without the boat; waves and undertow spin me though a flush then a rinse cycle before I arrive breathless and pale atop my weed covered rock I call my friend. I’ve made it – my prized rock, pushing the limits of land into the sea. I wipe the salt water from my face with my wet gloves and regain my balance, my carbide spikes scratching a firm hold against the rising swell. Looking into the dark sky, the stars surround me, my audience of those who have passed on that shared our passion. I’m alive here, many times questioning why? It’s a question I know you have asked yourself as well. I set up and let my cast go out into the running tide with expectations of grandeur, but I’ll settle for a good hit or even a bump this first cast.
It’s the passion- that’s what it’s all about. Well, until I volunteered to pick up the torch formerly carried by Willy Young past President of The Montauk Surfcasters Association after his passing some two years ago, I continue that relay for fishing access. A relay that I pray continues and never ends.
My term after two years as President of the Montauk Surfcasters Association draws to a close. I now pass the torch to a new President of MSA. I learned quickly how to navigate the waters of politics and the policies of fishing access; the complexity of Village Township, County, State and Federal approach to access was incredible. Guided by a group of helpful attorneys specializing in the various Pattens, Trusts and Doctrines pertaining to our rights to access fishing along the shores of Long Island that lead the way to preserve what we have today. My passion for fishing drove my countless hours advocating. I’ve met some of the most sincere politicians as well as the worst when it comes to helping provide access for fishing. What I enjoyed most throughout my tenure was the relationships that Montauk Surfcasters Association has formed with those who are special and share our passion.
A great supporter of fishermen, maybe feeling our passion and our cause, has been a long time New York State Senator Kenneth Lavalle. Ken who is retiring after 40 years this year. Ken was always a phone call away when we needed him, always having time to listen and take action. Like myself he will be passing the torch to the next generations leaders.
Election time is here, time for us to step back and look at our choices. Like selecting the best lure, it’s time to select those in politics who actually have been there for us and those that have committed their support to the fishermen and access in the future, maybe even sharing the passion and actually being a fisherman. I know this blog reaches across the East Coast, across to Southern and Western Coastlines – but look long and hard at the choices this year, and do they believe in your passion? Will their policies and politics complement your view? Picture yourself standing on that rock gazing into the night sky. When I cast my vote, I’m I following those who stood on this rock long ago, and who would they vote for? Then vote with your heart for you will truly know the path that leads to great fishing. Most important – VOTE!