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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there any way to reprogram "The Sustinance PB angler?? What you are about to read is much akin to the book "Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson.

Once considered one of the largest user groups in the PB industry is the now nearly extinct "Sustinence" fisherman. This was the user group that fished for Seafood. They measured success by how their freezer looked at the end of the trip. They fished for what was in season, or what they felt like eating.

Most were not suffisticated anglers. They held there own at the rail, they were not clowns, but, not considered sharpies. At the end of the day they had their fish processed into seafood... skinned , filleted, gutted, scaled ect and in the days when it was allowed they often were were lined up at the fish cleaning boards boats used to provide to clean your own catch.

Many dragged home drippy bags of fish on the D Train, or NYC buses. When they reached there destination, the neighbors came out with pots n pans to share the wealth. Often "milk runs" were made so that you made sure your "paisans" or aunts and uncles got fresh fish to eat.

Everyone got fish...after all even if you loved to fish the sustinence fisherman respected the resource and wouldn't go again until the freezer looked a little lean, so this helped you get out fishing more often!

This is what I remember PB fishing was about when I was a young boy, and I ached for the day I could join "The Men of the Family" in this primitive hunter/gatherer ritual.

Eventually I did and from my first trip aboard "The Whitby" in June of 1972 where Barry netted the first fish I ever caught all by myself (a fluke) I was hooked!

As a fisherman I grew up...eventually partaking in every form of SW angling there was...Inshore, offshore, Surf,Pier,Bridge, Fly, Skiff, Charter and PB angling. I started Building Rods and servicing reels at the age of 15 thanks to some coaching from Mike Maffai from the famed Mikes Tackle Shop on Emmons Ave. In my 20's I pulled on boats in the bay, finally graduating to fishing with Donald and Red in the back of Stella Maris for over a decade. I was no longer a sustinence angler, I rarely kept fish in my freezer eating an occasional fresh caught fish. I now measured my catches in boxes or barrels. Good days of fishing were called "Slaughters" or "Massacrations".

My Brother on the other hand stuck to his guns. To this day, he still fishes "For Seafood". I am saddened that every time we fish together now he is greatly dissapointed! I have tried to get him interested in other types of fishing, like surf or freshwater, but it just doesn't float his boat. Nothing makes him happier than catching enough of targeted species to be able to make "Milk Runs" again to my relatives, who probably think the fare is still 8 bucks! If they ever knew what it now costs to go offshore Seabass or Cod Fishing they would have us comitted to a mental institution!

I tried to explain that todays local PB fisheries are nothing more than 50-60 bucks worth of "fishing entertainment"....its a day out in fresh air n' sunshine and you get to yank on a few fish you have to predominately throw back some where in between if you hit the right day. Long Range, limited load trips are todays "Freezer Fillers" except on average it costs more to catch your own, than to buy fish outright from the market due to fishery regulations.

How do you reprogram and angler that grew up in an era that a 15 cent subway fare, a pitch fork (Used to gather your own bait, now illegal!), a shoe box(to hold said bait/contraband) and a drop line made from the cheapest blue mono you can find (Sea Hawk I belive was the brand) was all you needed to catch a pail of white chinned blackfish from the cement pilings of the City Island Bridge or the rockpiles in Pelham Bay Park? After all...Fish were a natural resource meant to be harvested. They were put on this earth as part of the food chain to nourish us!

Like one of the mice in "Who Moved My Cheese" he is awaiting the day when Cod and Whiting can be caught locally in catchable numbers or that the NMFS will realize the "Error of their Ways" and bring back the unlimited fisherys of yester year. Yes... the Cheese will one day return! For those who have read this book we know how it all ends.

This post edited by Prefessa 03:45 AM 06/17/2008

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Morning Joe, it is too late to reprogram the guys like myself to forget about the good old days and wild west type fishing we had here...most of all, how can you forget all the great captains and fishermen we fished alongside, made friends with and taught us the little tricks of the trade.

This is all about the next generation of fishermen who will live under these onerous regulations and restrictions on our fishing rights.

Save the old fishing pictures and stories, because within a few decades they will mostly be forgotten....

You brought back some good memories though of what we used to have down here in the Bay!


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Never forget the old days....BUT

Why Not Adapt to the new days???

Would I love being able to once again go on my favorite headboat and pull fish until I crumpled over....sure! I would also love to have a 9 to 5 technical job like I did when I first got out of grad school instead of the jobs I do now that used to be done by 4 separate full time professionals. I would also like to pay a buck a gallon for gas again! But as we know those days are over and they are not coming back!

I rememberf fluke fishing and having 10 keepers after the first drift and a "Telephone Box" by the end of the day...and not the 14" fish either...solid 3 lb fluke that would make the current NJ regs.

Bluefishing with Donald was special, and the best days were when we spun the prop out trying to get 1500+#s back to the dock.

The Best was a jigging trip where Donald and Red caught 31 boxes of blues. Red said...."Hey these fish are getting easier to lift for some reason??" Thats when Donald noticed..."thats cause were sinking!!!" There was so much fish in the boat that the gunnels were getting closer to the water level!

I loved those days just like anyone else....but the issue is...I love to fish...and I am not going to let anyone stop me from doing it! And If I cant keep em...well that's what we have come to so be it....but I am not gonna let the regs stop me from doing what I enjoy doing. I just will do it differently and maybe fish for different things...But I am not about to give it up!

This post edited by Prefessa 11:29 AM 06/17/2008

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Prefessa wrote:

The Best was a jigging trip where Donald and Red caught 31 boxes of blues. Red said...."Hey these fish are getting easier to lift for some reason??" Thats when Donald noticed..."thats cause were sinking!!!" There was so much fish in the boat that the gunnels were getting closer to the water level!

Joe, Steve,

I was fishing with Donald and Chris on Saturday and we were recounting old times about great catchs and nearly sinking. We joked about the way our cars were parked, that back in the day our boats would be anchored this close at the jetty or 31 but in reality we were not in sheepshead bay, we were about 450 miles north fishing for carp in the St. Lawrence river about changes

This post edited by Rodwinder 02:05 PM 06/17/2008

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I remember (on a good day) catching a pail full of 15" fluke on a partyboat roughly around 1980. I could easily duplicate that catch from a Sheepshead Bay partyboat today, if only they chose to target that size of fish. The regs are killing the fluke industry.

I think that bluefishing today is better than ever. Half the boats in SHB would target blues and they would be full. I remember that, and then I remember years later the boats trying to selling blues with poor results. People stopped wanting to catch them, the fishery is still there if you want it. And no one has ever cared about how many you kept. Regs don't affect this at all.

Whiting (no one wanted ling) was a great loss. That kept the boats full all winter. And to some degree, macks in the spring. Again, a great freezer filler. The lack of fish is the problem here.

The porgy regs, and upcoming sea bass regs are a killer to the guys you speak of. A lot of them just drive to MA, like they have for 30 years. So they still fill their freezers, just not on NY boats. So, I don't think that the fishermen have stopped fishing, they just choose to drive further.

Blackfish and striper were never fisheries for those guys. So how good or bad it is, it just doesn't count.

Freshwater is where you want to be. Some guys will drive to FL, and fish for tilapia (snapper like trash fish) with crap tackle and still bring back 1000lbs of fillets. Freezes real well.

Gas prices probably don't help. I'm not sure why, but I blame Bush for them. I actually like the gas prices though as it will keep fishing pressure down.

This post edited by aFineCatch 01:39 PM 06/17/2008

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You can stock a freezer pretty well with blues and stripers these days on most local PB trips. Of course that doesn't matter to those who hold their nose at the mere mention of the word bluefish, no matter whether they ever actually have tasted any bluefish or not.

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I think a fresh SMALL bluefish, wrapped in foil, grilled w/white wine, bell peppers/onions, garlic, salt/pepper and whatever other seasonings floats your boat is not bad.

Fish has to be under 3 pounds, fresh, bled quickly, and iced down.

Don't think I want to be eating frozen bluefish

However, you can still take certain trips that are freezer fillers, for cod/seabass/ling/haddock...all of which freeze extremely well, even better now with the advent of vaccuum sealers. I've eaten haddock that I've frozen for 6 months, and of course not as good as fresh but still very palatable.

But as EC mentions, that wild west fishing is over, probably for good, as skyrocketing fuel prices/strict regulations/and from what I've seen a lack of younger folks with the love of fishing that some many of our generation have is slowny but surely putting the end to the industry.

example, yesterday was a pretty nice day, Brooklyn didn't get out on it's Monday madness trip, my friend called me went to a boat in Captree to fish, he didn't get out and was walked to another boat which just barely got out.

If you would have told me this back in the 80's I would have said you were the mid 90's when I was flounder fishing is spots where we used to kill them and not even getting a bite, I opened my eyes and saw the writing on the wall.

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Gas costs are punishing everyone, by raising the cost of everything, and killing your party fund (fishing, booze, poker, etc). I just stopped by a farmer's market this am for a healthy grocery purchase. $7 for a pint of NJ strawberries. PASS! I'll just make do with a bag of Doritos.

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$7 for a pint of NJ strawberries.

Were they first dipped in Godiva Chocolate?

That will teach you to go shopping in a New York City Farmers Market! The last one I went to was the one near City Hall and I saw this beautiful baked though small in size for my taste, 'Home Baked' Cherry Pie. I looked at it, and saw it was baked in a Pyrex baking dish, and said, what the heck and told the guy to wrap it up....he said ok, but I want to tell you, its 20 dollars because of the dish we used...needless to say I will never look down on a store bought Entermanns high fructose, trans fat and gooey corn syrup made cherry pie again. I said forget it, and did not buy ONE THING at the market that day, nor have I ever been back to it.

aFineCatch, your right, fresh water is going to be the place where most fishermen will eventually gravate too as long as the costs continue to go through the roof for saltwater fishing. Just recently I spoke to one of our Noreast members who used to make a number of tuna trips during the years. I said knowing full well that he would cut down on these trips this year, 'so tell me how many this year'? His trips this year, I am using that money now to buy a few steaks off my buddies when they come in after a trip!

No one ever anticipated or expected the disastorous effects of high fuel prices to both the recreational and commercial fishing industry. More to the point is that we are not seeing any slow down in the rise of both gasoline and diesel prices for this summer, so that we can expect in the vicinity of around a 30 to 50 cent increase at the pump from now till Labor Day. Not a big deal to a small outboard boat owner, but for the guys who burn fuel like those with the high hp twin outboards and big diesels, it does matter.

My favorite bluefish dish is in a good sweet red sauce, with spanish olives, sweet onions, and light on the garlic cloves...pretty good dish when your hungry, and it really does not matter to me if it is a big or small bluefish when you make it this way.

We are all watching the demise of this industry, and you are going to see a number of people just get out of this business because their is no let up in the regulations, nor any let up in the spiraling-higher costs to run and mantain these vessels. It comes to the point, how much will fishermen spend to go out and catch maybe one or two keeper fluke, or one striped bass, or ten scup, or whatever amount of sea bass you are allowed to keep next season.

How can we bring younger people into this hobby when the costs of taking two or three kids on a party boat for a full day of fishing costs more then field level seats at Yankee Stadium? Can you blame kids today for saving there money to buy game cartridges for their Xbox or Playstation, instead of saving up to buy a fishing pole or reel?

The good old days are just that, the old days, never to be seen here again, and will eventually become more folklore then fact, about the people and boats in this industry that we used to have here on Long Island.


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More gloom and doom

Always the same old same old

Its not as good today as ...............

We did better back when...................

Ya know it was even better before Donald , Red , Bob, Steve and ..... fished too Just ask the dead guys that were here before

It was always better before . Before electronics , before makos , before "sharpies"

Its changed and will comtinue to change

Old time fishing and poaching operations will surly feel the pinch

As will guys who refuse to maintain or up grade there boats

As to this price comparing have you seen the new prices for seats at the local ball parks and the 7.00 hot dogs and beer
I bet I can get a family out for less than a day at the ball park

and while its free to fish the lakes and streams .
Well lets look at free

License or out of state lic 15 to 50
drive to lake or stream 20 100 staying within Ny Nj and Pa
bait and tackle 0 20 depening on tackle
Hotel and meals ??????????????

And then figuring out how to catch anything Priceless

Oh yea and there are limits on those trout and bass and crappies to

Just my rant I really hate these threads

Please do us all a favor take your old time stories and leave , scram , Blow off your no longer a benifit to the rest of us who would like to see something left for the next generation.

And Yes there is a next generation I see them everyday . There young and hip and enjoy a day or evening out on the water .
They fish they party a little and they enjoy the company of their friends
The reside in neighborhoods far and away from SHB but they come for
The enjoyment . They even get into it not as u and I may have years ago But after there 1st trip they buy boots and maybe a rod , granted the boots are white whith rainbow spots but they are boots and they show an intent to continue fishing

Its not over yet it is changing

keep up with threads like this and you will end it prematurly

Keep touting poachers both past and current as the best thing since sliced bread and that to will bring the end faster

Get with the programe or Please just get

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"People Who Live In Glass Houses Should Not Throw Stones"

One thing I do respect is some of the great fishermen from the past...I know what they have done for me, and have done for others and many forget that....I don't....

By the way in talking about the past...I am just wondering about one of the captains from the past that YOU employed....Would this be the proper forum to bring up any 'history' here about that individual, whose reputation is well known among those from the Bay?

My archives are well fact checked on this subject.

Please let us also try to keep this civil and not disparage any of these great fishermen on this board. Sit back, take a deep breath and not go 'full nuclear' with the shock and awe comments about poaching...There is no need for that here...

Why don't 'WE' edit those comments about particular people you mentioned, since they are long retired from the industry.

Here on me:

Have a good night...


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Ah sites up agian

I full well know all the backrounds of all my captains and crews

Did you think you were hinting at or spilling something I wasnt fully aware of

I have said it many times on these boards That I pay more to discouage that behaviour on my boats.

All my Captains and crews know that if they do wrong on my vessel or get caught doing wrong else where . They will be fired . No matter how good a fisherman they are.

Yea EC remember that same guy works for one of your special friends and maybe hes not so watched over in that operation . While im not saying that the other operation does or allows wrong to be done Im saying that I watch over mine and have had many battles with and fired many crew over what gets caught and how it gets handled.

Now on to my original post

I wasnt knocking the old time guys
They did what the did in different times in a different world
The guys I mentioned were good fishernman one and all
never in my post did I knock them

I said fishing was better before them and befor electronics and before go strong go fast boats ect
and better before that
and better before that
when there are less preditors for a resources that resource is easier to get

My knock was against guys on these boards beating up what we have now in favor of whats gone . Gone is gone never to return
There are still people that want to access the ocean and will enjoy the resource as we have it today

When I was a kid I would go to Pa in summer and fish the lakes and streams with little or no regulation . Catch crappies and blue gil with abandon. Trout Bass ect.
Now all those species are regulated so what . i still go and enjoy my day at the lake when I get up there
Things change all over all the time
We need the old timers to help bring things along in the present not live in the past
Never forget the past or where you came from but do keep it in perspective

1 So As I said nothing wrong in my 1st post i will not edit it
2 We all live in glass houses. If one day one of these almight fisherman that you and some others rave about here ,and Im speaking in the present not the past, takes a hard pinch . what will you do then. Ive stated what i will do
how will you treat your friends then.

Im saying this
I try everyday to make something good and lasting out of what we have left
While I watch you use your forum to promote the old days and your friends .Many who live in houses made of far thinner glass than mine.
While creaming the very thing that keeps this site and this industry alive . The People both the industry insiders and consumers of Today

I have no problem whit you promoting your ideals or new found conservationism just be real about it . You know what goes on as well or better than I do .

I invite you to join us in the present
I have extended my hand before through a mutual friend and it was ignored
I offer it again here

Im not near as good a writer or typest as you, my thoughts do not come out as well in print as in person

Im around most everyday you pick the palce

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Well said Tony, and since we have traveled parrallel roads with our love for fishing and time spent in the Bay, there is no good reason to bring down the fishing industry in Sheepshead Bay by 'digging-up' the activities of certain individual fishermen we know of during the last three decades.

Tony, poaching was never the problem in destroying our fish stocks in the New York Bight, or off the shores of Long Island and New Jersey. It was a extremely small miniscule piece of the pie when we take a look at the bigger picture....and what was the bigger picture?

Simple, our own government giving away and allowing the rape of our resources from the sixties through the early seventies on till the politicos in Washington put into law the first Magnusson Act in the mid seventies.

Do you have any idea what was removed off our shores during those you have any idea on the tonnage of migrating offshore fish such as cod/pollack/haddock/hake/whiting/fluke/scup/sea bass that was taken by various nations from 1960 through 1975?

Could all the so called saltwater poachers catch even ONE PERCENT of the landings made by say the Soviet fleet, or Spanish/Bulgarian and many of the other long distance fleets that plied our coast for years?

Here is a incredible book on this topic:

"Distant Water: The Fate of the North Atlantic Fisherman"

If you really want to be more informed on what happened to our fisheries, read this one book.

Tony, it is not about fancy writing or typing is about getting a idea or thought across that is as close to the facts as possible. What I personally write about on this site is unique and from my perspective, both as one who was involved in fishing and as a observer on fishing.

What I have made as my mission statement is that when I do write something, I want it to count and have some meaning and purpose. I call it as I see it, with fairness and with as much a balanced position that I can take on a issue. Yes, there is some bias to the people I fished alongside of, but what I am right now is in good part a result of what these fishermen showed me.

You have to be a realist and be aware that what is happening within the industry both commercial and recreational is that both will continue to experience a contraction of vessels and in fishermen. The future in fishing will be changed because less people will become fishermen because the opportunities within fishing are diminishing.

Our government will continue to pander to big businesses who do not care if one ounce of seafood comes off our shoreline, and that is readily apparent with the amount of imported seafood and aquaculture products on the shelves within the markets we shop at.

This same goverment is also in bed with enviro-nazis who will continue to push for no fishing zones (MPA's), gamefish status on many speices of fish, and the most stringent bag limit on saltwater fishermen.

Do you think any marine government agency will encourage more fishermen to get into fishing, or increase the amount of fish that we can take from our coastal waters?

It was the poor management by our government that allowed our waters to be pillaged and allowed a few powerful interest to make vast fortunes while the vast majority of small fishing businesses now suffer today.

You are only fooling yourself in beleiving that a abrupt change will occur that will increase the amount fishermen spend on fishing, or in your ability to purchase cheaper fuel, or being allowed to catch a few more fish for your customers in the near future. I have already pointed out a position being taken by NMFS that rebuilding targets on black seabass will be implemented as early as 2009, which means cuts in bag, and possible season and size limit changes. Do you honestly believe that YOU & YOUR BUSINESS WILL BE POSITIVELY EFFECTED next year with these changes?

For many, the past is what we have to look back on, both for the purpose of knowledge, and as much for self-pleasure since for many this was how we spent a good part of our time during our younger years. We also look at the past to examine the mistakes and the changes that we could of possibly made, to make positive changes in the future.

I will be around tomorrow, and if you leave a location and time to meet down the Bay at my Gmail account, I will try to make it a point to be there to talk.

As for my new found conservationism, it goes to show you that you can teach a old dog a few things. I promote it because I believe in it.

You cannot change the past Tony, but learn from it and hopefully evolve to positively effect others. That is what I write about here. I want this forum to be one of problem solving, looking towards and adjusting to the future and the realities, events and truths within the fishing industry. This is the reason why I call this forum IN THE WHEELHOUSE WITH EC & TOGMASTER.


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Fishing is still good. Just read the reports and look at the pictures on this site instead of living in the past. Business is down & expenses are up but that goes for most business's, not just fishing. I thought dinosaurs were extinct.

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It amazes me that a few people would say 'stop living in the past'...I doubt that was the intention of the person who started the thread, but we have breached a number of issues about the past that have brought about the changes within todays fishing industry.

One thing I will point out is that the two people in particular, Tony SMJC and Steamboat, seem to disregard the dynamics of the economy, or the changing demographics of people who are coming into fishing, or shall we call them 'our future fishermen'.

Steamboat, it does not matter if the fish are jumping right into the boat, because the regulations today will make you toss most of them out of the boat, no matter if they are of a legal size limit.

I want ou to read this article, because it continues a theme which I have been talking about non-stop on how the government is proactively implementing regulations that increasingly shortens fishing seasons, decreases bag limits, and closes off larger areas of the ocean to fishermen:

Ruling Would Tighten Gag Limits

By FRANK SARGEANT-The Tampa Tribune Published: June 18, 2008

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is moving toward cutting harvest of reef fish yet again, with recent preliminary approval of a ruling that would drop the overall Gulf grouper limit to four fish, only two of which could be gags. Two red grouper also would be allowed in the new limits, rather than the one currently permitted, and the season would be closed Feb. 1 to March 31 during the prime spawning season offshore.

The council also moved to create added marine reserves in the Gulf, putting more spawning areas off limits to anglers. An area known as The Edges, at the 40-fathom contour, will be off limits January through April when the rule is finalized. Gags are known to gather in large numbers along the edge of the continental shelf, which is roughly along the 40-fathom line, during the spawning period, and biologists say too many of the adult males are being harvested to assure continued abundance of the species.

Angler observations seem to belie the estimate that gag numbers are in trouble, with many anglers reporting catches of up to 50 per trip. However, most of these fish are undersized, and it may well be that as soon as a fish reaches keeper size, it is harvested rather than continuing to mature to become one of the offshore spawners.

Just as importantly, biologists point out, the great numbers of gags that are released but do not survive have an impact on the overall population. When fish are cranked rapidly from the depths, air inside the body cavity expands and forces the stomach out the mouth. If the air is not released from the abdomen, the fish can't return to bottom and becomes prey to sharks and other predators.

Biologists say that in depths of less than 40 meters (around 130 feet), most fish that are deflated survive, though there's an estimated 10 percent mortality at this depth among recreationally caught fish.

Commercial fishermen, on the other hand, typically fish deeper water where survival after rapid decompression is less likely. Researchers have observed an immediate 20 percent mortality at depths beyond 40 meters, and project an added 25 percent because of injuries during capture. However, this is somewhat offset offshore because there are fewer undersized fish that have to be released.

Regulators also have pointed out that fishermen are much better at finding reef fish today than they were 20 years ago, thanks to far better electronics. With GPS and high-tech sonar to guide them, anglers are discovering fish that would have been passed over and remained as a stock reservoir in years past, council observers say. Some estimated that the "catchability" of reef fish might be increasing at a rate as high as 2 percent a year, thanks to improved technology and fishing knowledge.

However, some anglers have pointed out that there has been a dramatic decline in fishing pressure because of high fuel prices. Since many offshore boats get only about 1 to 2 miles per gallon, making a trip 50 to 60 miles offshore becomes a significant financial undertaking these days, and many fishermen are simply staying tied to the docks.

In any case, council members are hopeful the changes in harvest rules will cut the gag harvest about 25 percent from current levels. Though the rules apply throughout the Gulf of Mexico, by far the majority of gags are caught in Florida waters, most off the central west coast.

The important phrase within this article is cutting harvest of reef fish yet again.

How much can they take away from fishermen?

Yes that cannot take away the fun in going fishing, but they can limit where you may fish, or how you may fish, and what times of the year you can catch particular species.

Do you think todays children will be as attracted to becoming regular fishermen like 'we' were in the past, when most of our younger lives evolved around going fishing?

Also as Fish4Me brought up, for the average guy which encompasses most of us here, that 50-100 dollars to go fishing locally on a party boat which was our disposable income, is now being disposed of in our gas tanks. Everyone today talks about how that extra money is just spent at the pumps, instead of eating out with the family and so on.

I am not another 'talking-head' continually broadcasting 'doom and gloom' within this forum on the fishing industry. What is happening within the industry is a sign of the times, and the reality is that the U.S. economy will take years to adjust to higher fuel prices and higher food prices which are greater priorities then in spending money on and in going fishing.

We can talk about the good ole' days from the past, or the present realities of todays fishing. It does not matter to me which direction you guys want to take, but I do know that for many the past is something to be cheerished and remembered, and also to draw our experiences from.

By the way Steamboat for creatures that are extinct, they seem to have big influence on our lives...remember that every time you fill up at the gas station....


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Problem with regulations? If regs accomplish the goal of creating a sustainable fishery for future generations I'm all for them. The argument is creating regs that are fair & equal for all geographic areas. I went fishing yesterday & had just as much fun as I had 30 yrs ago & caught plenty of legal fish that stayed in my pail. Yes the business is contracting for many reasons but you're starting to sound like the weatherman that tells us days in advance about the terrible storm coming that never materializes but deters people from making outdoor plans.

This post edited by steamboat1 10:22 PM 06/21/2008
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