A Mind of Fishing

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It’s a daily journey for me that starts with one thought  “where are the fish today”.  It leads me places I only dreamed of and fills me up with knowledge of things I had no idea existed.  This wonderful, beautiful world and life we all walk though with so much going on around us.  I invite you to stop a bit and consider if  and when you leave makes no difference as nature continues to exists on its own terms.

It’s often by accident I am studying one thing with great conviction  that I stumble upon another great discovery  that makes me look at everything differently. My recent reads have been about the New York Bight and the Apex facts and findings, Ben Franklin mapping the Gulf and his cod eating habit’s and lastly Men’s Lives: The Surfmen and Baymen of the South Fork  by Peter Matthiessen .

Some days I have to stop and take it all in.. because we walk on sandy beaches as did people in our past on the same quest but for different reasons.  It leads me to the thoughts of such a vast difference in the way we handle technology and publication now.  People of  past worked so hard to catch fish to provide a meal for their families.  If you think there were not cyclical years please do some reading.  They relied upon  fish to sustain them. And now for the majority it is for internet notoriety or to be best among peers – a different kind of personal thing to feed.  Years from now I often wonder how will this blip in history will tell our generations story… and stories of the simple fishing trips. The kind you keep close to your heart, family and friends that mean the most.

 

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 A Simple Fishing Trip

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My morning alarm is set to lull me out of sleep with the voice of Jeremy Wade screaming “Fish On” over and over.  I am ready Mr. Wade.  In the morning shuffle I pick and chose to throw a couple bucktails that have always given me success into the pouch. Feathers all dried I run my finger tips down them to make sure all is intact.  These are my favorites, my go to’s, try as I may with other things I just love fishing bucktails.

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Step outside to see the moon still up and bit of a glimmer of light towards the water.  The night crew will be leaving, I’ll see them packing it in and heading home. Most will have no fish with them. The surf fisherman I know almost never take a fish. It’s often not because they would not like to share a meal of them – it’s because of stocks and also the stigma of someone seeing you take home a legal fish for your family. It’s 2016 and you’re damned if you do or don’t. Greed still runs rampant. But for many people, most of us we are more conservation minded when it comes to this beloved fish – Morone saxatilis.

It is still the most exciting feeling to me to load up the gear and leave knowing what my destination is. A thousand things go through my mind as I am checking off again the –  do I have everything – water and sunblock included.  Upon reaching the destination for the first few minutes I am an observer of the display nature is putting on.  Waders on and my heart starts to pump a little faster those first few steps. Some days I feel like I am almost running when I get on the water although I know I am not.  Just as the sun makes direct contact I am throwing into it with hopes of presenting perfectly to a passer-by in the water. Living so close to this is where I find myself and the world melts away.  For now until this time ends I am myself at the apex of happiness.

So often now when I have a bite I wade into the water to let it go there. Trying to be so careful as not to stress the fish I almost panic if it is not quick enough on my terms.  I am not keeping it, not today.  I get to do this everyday as long as fish are around.  For that I am grateful.  For that I respect this fish. What you do is your own business. I stopped looking. Looking at the same thing over and over of fish held high above heads like trophy’s.  It took me this long to realize that we are different. We fish for different reasons.   Technology pushes hard on ego’s and some look to the path of least resistance.  I needed to quiet my own mind before I got caught up in what the internet deems me a good fishermen and come into my own. When I sopped looking at all those reports online I set myself free to experience this on my terms in this pace in my heart.

Happy for you – happier for me.

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The whole time I am walking I watching, learning, filled with wonder.  With miles under my feel having walked I start to head back.

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Usually some kind person will stop me and share their love along my journey of fishing, surfing, the sea… whatever it is that calls our hearts here.

Packing my gear back in the truck with grateful intention I know God willing, I’ll be back again tomorrow.

For  I  bring home with me the greatest gift – a heart filled with so much love for this life and fishing.

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To go fishing is the chance to wash one’s soul with pure air, with the rush of the brook, or with the shimmer of sun on blue water. It brings meekness and inspiration from the decency of nature, charity toward tackle-makers, patience toward fish, a mockery of profits and egos, a quieting of hate, a rejoicing that you do not have to decide a darned thing until next week. And it is discipline in the equality of men – for all men are equal before fish.- Herbert Hoover

 

My Gravitational Pull

Fishing.

It’s been a while and I apologize. My last post was entered in May and time just slipped through my fingers. Or line I should say.. line slipping through.

Not only have I learned a lot about surf fishing, marine biology, the history of the area and night sky (yes) I have grown to understand life more.

I’ve learned to forgive and have patience with myself on the water.

This journey, our journey each day gives us a chance to  make it right, safe,  and embrace what sets our souls on fire.

Try not to ever let anyone or thing take that away from you. ♥

JUNE 2015

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I am overflowing with words I do not have.”
— Adam Falkner

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JULY 2015

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“No one has it all figured out, especially not the people who are acting like they do and judging you because of it. Pretending to be something you aren’t because you’re trying to please a bunch of judgmental hypocrites and shitheads is not the way to be happy. Living the life you want to live is. It really is that simple.”-TM

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AUGUST 2015

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It is a basic human need that everyone wants to live a happy life. For this, one has to experience real happiness.
The so-called happiness that one experiences by having money, power, and indulging in sensual pleasures is not real happiness.
It is very fragile, unstable and fleeting.
For real happiness, for lasting stable happiness,
one has to make a journey deep within oneself and get rid of all the unhappiness stored in the deeper levels of the mind.
As long as there is misery at the depth of the mind all attempts to feel happy at the surface level of the mind prove futile.-S.N. Goenka
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SEPTEMBER 2015
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As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can. –  John Muir
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OCTOBER 2015
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You never know when a few sincere words can have an impact on a life. – Zig Ziglar
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NOVEMBER 2015
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Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.-Cheryl Strayed
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Troubles that may come and go
but good times they’re the gold.

Bucktails, Stripers and The Red Light Special

The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them-words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.” – Stephen King

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Staying up late to finish this as it has been in que for a while.  I was holding on for a bit because while I had this whole new write-up for Surf Fishing Beginners (which is what I am) I am myself immersed in the process of learning.

 I was doing a lot of thoughtful thinking. Walking the sand surf fishing challenges you one on one. I have come to realize how our lives are all connected each and everyone you encounter. Even you reading this.. something brought you to this page. The universe is always working to give us these gifts. When you get to the place in life when you can be quiet with yourself and accept them you find a freedom to honor yourself.  To pursue your passion that lies deep within you. It is the most complete feeling I have ever experienced.

If you told me just how wonderful it was going to feel to live in this place in your heart of surf fishing I would never have believed such happiness could be achieved. But I committed to it through perseverance, laughter and tears this past year. I made mistakes, – some big ones. I walked a million miles. My daily adventures to the sand through rain, snow, heat, bitter cold, ice and fog fulfilled a self-concordant goal. There was no deadline just personal on level so deep. To get a striper from the surf in one very particular area.

I was often told there were no fish there. I was asked to join people all over to “better holding” area’s. I was on bites in different, but close beaches and did not get anything but blue fish – but I kept going. The more I went I learned. I learned from the people who have become mentors and friends. I read everything and watched a lot of videos. At night I would often work on leaders, knots,  gear, plugs, metal, bags, belts, moon, tides and learning about the striper patterns for the area. If that was not enough I was also painting Morone saxatilis in my sleep. My life is fully immersed in this with great love for the passion – it’s not  sport. It’s something so deep within you. It’s a calling undiscovered until it embraces and takes hold of your every thought.

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Last week I stepped out onto the sand at high tide.  I packed my bag with SP minnows and one very special bucktail. I carried out the rod my dear friend had given to me. I just started walking like I do almost every day. There was a slight chill in the air and the clouds would have their way with the sun. I walked past one clammer to the long trek I have been watching when the tide was blown out and stated throwing out the SP.  My visual site markers behind me let me know I was off a bit, I readjusted and kept throwing. I was not looking for a blue fish. I knew the big ones were around. I also have caught so many and particularly in the last year – I wanted to get under them. I knew somewhere my beloved stripers would be.

And there they were. I almost could not believe the first one I reeled in. As I went to grab my phone to take a picture it popped off. I stood in the surf and the tears just came like a steady stream. I collected myself enough and called the people who have been along this journey cheering me on. I pulled myself together got the bucktail in the water and for the next hour and about  half had fish after fish after fish. All returned safely to keep going on their  journey.

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Almost a week later and my heart still feels like it’s about to burst. My journey now expands to find bigger fish as they make their way here. I am hopeful but am also still a student of the sand. Everything in time.

With those words now written the very first part of my small contribution to starting off surf fishing is  going to be re-posting the valuable information I was given by members of the community.

At that start of this I had no idea of any of the terms used when it came to gear other than very basic knowledge.  So if you’re thinking this is something you are interested in here is a short list of the must have lures to start picking up. Next up on the write ups I’ll go over with the help of others Rod, Reel, and some basic things to have on you to get started other than  the lures. The future will be more in-depth about metal and touch on some bait also.

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10 MUST HAVE LURES THAT CATCH FISH

By JM Basile

   One of the biggest mistakes fisherman make myself included, is bringing to many lure choices to the surf. I have found that the fewer choices you have the more you can actually concentrate on the physical act of fishing.The key is to bring the right lures that will produce in most circumstances. When it comes down to it ,in most cases 10 lures should cover most surf conditions in New Jersey. When choosing lures keep in mind they should cover all water depths, top water,mid-water,and bottom. Always observe what the fish are feeding so you can pick a lure that best resembles the baits profile ( Match the Hatch). The 10 lures I would suggest for a Surf fisherman getting started would be the following:
Gibbs wood pencil popper ( white, yellow or Chartreuse)
Gibbs wood metal lip Danny swimmer (white or yellow)
Super Strike little neck popper (white or yellow)
Super Strike needle fish ( Yellow or black and purple)
SP Minnow floating ( Black back silver sides or bone)
Yozuri Mag Darter(Bunker or black)
Storm Shad (soft plastic bait)
Tsunami Eel ( soft plastic)
Cast Master (2oz metal)
Ava jig green tail (007 to 017)
   All of these lures produce and cover most bait profiles. If your going to fish nights I would darken up your color choices. Always watch the Sharpies to get a good idea on what to use.
Remember try to keep it simple!
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Beware: I have found my fire. Surf Fishing 101

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Simple definition:
Surf fishing is the sport of catching fish standing on the shoreline or wading in the surf. A general term, surf fishing may or may not include casting a lure or bait, and refers to all types of shore fishing – from sandy and rocky beaches, rock jetties, or even fishing piers.
When I arrived at the Atlantic last spring I immediately knew I would walk the sand everyday possible. The connection to water and fishing wherever I am is a constant. This is where I was supposed to be a ll along. What I did not know is it would also become one of my greatest challenges and in it I found home. My early days were a mix of major mistakes. I resisted asking for help because having fished in most other environments I thought “I could figure this out”. It doesn’t just happen that way.
My first mistake was to walk a bait rod casting out plugs and metal like a maniac. Often walking away with gym arms and a stretch of disappointment.  One day a good friend and accomplished angler said meet at the beach for a bit let me see what you have going on. That time gave me valuable information and a great starting point.  I made it a part of my daily life after that to get to the beach everyday possible and try, walk, move…. put time in – all different times of the day whenever I could. Up until a few weeks ago I was still out there trying to catch some time before the daylight saving sunset and cold.  The first thing was to lighten the gear and learn about metal, plugs, bags, surf, tides etc… It’s a wonderful journey I am on.
It is here I found my place in the world. It’s my beginning and it’s just baby steps. I still boat, fly, kayak, etc fish… but this is where I found out who I am. My one on one. It’s all you baby. Looking back every single time I picked up a rod and fished it brought me to this place. My only regret is not getting into it sooner.
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So let’s consider this the starting point. My how to 101.
There is so much on the web,book,etc.. regarding getting started.  It has been a habit of mine to get in up to my elbows before actually reading some how to. Let’s face it when you just start out you are holding some masterpiece in your hand from a plug builder and a book in the other and the plug is going to win. Gear always wins. Then you get to the beach and that plug is such a masterpiece you’re having second thoughts about even throwing it. Yeah you put it on the mantle and show it off – other surf fishing people admire it. But you know you should be fishing it.
My intention is only to share what I have learned as simple as possible.  I threw the question out to some of the best of the best out there and was overwhelmed by the response of how to’s and tips. So I am going to use the platform of this blog to share them. Each new post introducing an aspect important to the beginner with an interjection of my own experiences and that of others. The people at this a while are some of the most helpful, sharing people I have encountered.
If you feel you have something worthy, insightful and easy to share – reach me through twitter. Most of what I will refer to is for NJ/Atlantic Ocean fishing and the species we often encounter. The #1 being the Striped Bass. Having taken part in past Fall Run and the fever and passion is what dreams are made of.
Step 1 -Starting out keep  your cost within reason but good quality. Promote the gear as you advance and get more confident. Learn to tie a great knot – not a “good” knot a great knot. You’ll thank yourself. The very first thing you’re going to need though is a passion for fishing and a will to put some time in. Don’t listen to those people who talk down about surf fishing… if you like it get out there. Your soul will thank you for it.
Next up – basics to start – rods & what is in your bag.
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 “The heart surrenders everything to the moment. The mind judges and holds back.” -Ram Das

The Politics of Striped Bass

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With just 5 days left to publicly let your voice be heard with regards to the ASMFC management of Striped Bass I find myself trying not to get caught up in the passion of a debate. Longstanding tension between recreational and commercial fishermen as they compete for the same fish. Pool your friends for their opinion. You will get a 100 different ideas on what option is best. You will also get a lengthy history  of why they support it, based on their OWN experience.

Striped bass stocks collapsed in the 1980s, but a series of regulations, including a harvest ban from 1985 to 1989, and cleaning up the rivers in which they breed, helped produce a comeback. The fishery was declared rebuilt in 1995.

I am late to this game as I don’t have the extended history of fishing striped bass. In me lies the passion for the fish. So without getting too political I’d like to address a few things I think are important to someone like myself, the mindful angler. I say this because I don’t keep most of what I catch. My passion is with the sport of the pursuit and take care to always release a fish as best I can. But I also think you have the right to keep what is legally yours daily. That is part of what is wonderful about living in this country… we have the right to do that.

Should you be mindful of the fish and it’s management? Absolutely. The most continuous monologue I hear is.. nothing works, the system doesn’t work, the management does not work, the politicians don’t fish, there is no problem, I used to care I don’t anymore. Which is really detrimental coming from people who have been in the sport long enough to have taken a bunch of fish over the years but do not see fit to want to help the next generation of anglers have that same experience.

I understand some of you believe that this might just be a few “off” years or that the decline in striped bass is a natural cycle that could help other species, such as weakfish and bluefish, competing in the same ecosystem. If it is why continue to go hard on them? I understand the structure has changed – Hurricane Sandy, Beach Replenishment, the removal of jetties all should be factored in to the equation.  Some people believe the fish may just be farther offshore. But the science is spawning stock biomass is decreasing! The recent stock assessment found a spawning stock biomass of 128 million pounds, only 1 million pounds higher than the threshold for problems. Marine biologists would like it to be at 159 million pounds. It’s a tinder box of frustration and finger-pointing as people fractured into groups with reasons why the numbers are down grow.

Policing people posting legal reports on the internet is not helping the fish. It turns people off to your agenda. Be knowledgeable and state your case. With that I walk delicately regarding my position on the issue publicly. The internet debates are not getting reviewed the public comments are. So make it count.

I’d really like to see future generations be able to experience fishing for this beloved fish. I know it changed my life. There was a time people talked about weakfish and how abundant they were. It was like listening to ghost stories. .. but that’s another fish for another day.

With all that you have a voice…I encourage you to go to  the ASMFC site and read up

http://www.asmfc.org/species/atlantic-striped-bass

PLEASE be sure to also state your comment on the Commercial Transfer.

ASMFC is  reviewing all public comment for consideration of final approval of the options and addendum at their October meetings. Any changes to the commercial and recreational harvest of striped bass will most likely start in 2015.  The public is encouraged to submit comments regarding this document at any time during the addendum process. The final date comments will be accepted is 5pm on September 30, 2014.  Comments may be submitted by mail, email, or fax. If you have any questions or would like to submit comment, please use the contact information below.

Mike Waine (mwaine@asmfc.org)

Fishery Management Plan Coordinator

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Subject: Draft Addendum IV)

 1050 North Highland Street Suite 200A-N Phone: (703) 842-0740

 Arlington, VA 22201 Fax: (703) 842-0741

Spring, The Valhalla Project and FLYERS!!!

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In about 24 hours or so spring arrives. After this very long, cold, snowy winter I am going to embrace it like no other spring on record. Finding myself right there and ready. Not even looking at long-term projection on temperature .. blah blah blah this is it.. right where I want to be. All new and I am going to embrace every minute of it.

“But you’re wrong if you think that the joy of life comes principally from human relationships.

God’s placed it all around us.

It’s in every thing.

In anything we can experience. people just need to change the way they look at those things.”

— Into the Wild

These last couple years have given me the opportunity to find some peace and confidence in fishing, outdoors, life and most of all with people. Recently someone said to me .. “you remind me of the book Walden. You were in this place and had to be very quiet for so long and just trust yourself. And you made it and learned lessons, and you never let the light go out.” I thought about this for a while and reflected upon the inside. Started to think about how empowering it is for your heart and soul to be  with yourself for sometime. I took an extended amount of time… to find my way alone. On the water, in the woods, on a trail… just trusting myself. Eliminating much negativity and really being one on the water produced some of the best moments of the last few years of my life.  

You never need to apologize for how you chose to survive.- Clementine von Radics

There are days I wake up and  lay in bed a few extra minutes.  The sun is just peaking in and think to myself as always.. I am so grateful to be alive. I try and carry it with me and not let anyone take that thought away.  I walk around with a goofy smile the entire day. This is my story… and a thousand times over this fish has saved me…

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Ice has all melted…

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This spring starts a wonderful new chapter in my life and I will be sharing much of it right here and in the chapters of my book.

Reflecting on my world map of people who stop by to read this very simple blog – I am sincerely humbled by the number of countries filled in. My map is almost filled! Fishing is one of the most wonderful experiences in life. It continues to save, inspire and challenge me. It has also brought some of the very best people into my life the world has to offer.

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I thought I would share a very worth cause. Please take to the time to read more on the site and do what you can if possible.  Supporting our Veterans is something near to all of our hearts and this is a hands on  look and see where the support goes to place.

The Valhalla Project !

“This Valhalla Project has established a very special retreat and reintegration facility for post-911 combat Soldiers and war zone civilian workers transitioning back into the civilian world.”

You can check on the Critical List if you would like a direct connect.

The site:

http://www.valhalla-project.com/

Their Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/ValhallaProject

PLEASE spread the word, follow them, etc..

I can’t even complete this without mentioning something I rarely talk about on here BUT the excitement level is over the top

 LETS GO FLYERS!!!! 

Next blog a rod builder that has the attention of many anglers!

The Beautiful Green Flash

Civil, Astronomical and Nautical Twilight Magic

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Civil twilight is defined when the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon. In the morning this is known as dawn, in the evening it is called dusk.

Astronomical twilight is defined when the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon. Before the beginning of astronomical twilight in the morning and after the end of astronomical twilight in the evening the sun does not contribute to sky illumination; for a considerable interval after the beginning of morning twilight and before the end of evening twilight, sky illumination is so faint that it is practically imperceptible.

Nautical twilight is defined to begin in the morning, and to end in the evening, when the center of the sun is geometrically 12 degrees below the horizon. At the beginning or end of nautical twilight, under good atmospheric conditions and in the absence of other illumination, general outlines of ground objects may be distinguishable, but detailed outdoor operations are not possible. During nautical twilight the illumination level is such that the horizon is still visible even on a Moonless night allowing mariners to take reliable star sights for navigational purposes, hence the name.

My favorite * False dawn

During certain times of the year, the horizon near the rising sun will begin to glow unusually early. This early glow does not originate directly from the Sun, but rather from sunlight reflected by interplanetary dust. Called zodiac light, the glowing triangle of light may be mistaken, for a while, for a sunrise, and so may be called a false dawn.

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Most people just see it as a sunrise but for many of us who fish it is a magic time on the water. As you head out with the moon and stars  and that first glimmer of light your inside stirs with excitement. What will water the produce. It’s all magic.

Adrenaline is running seeing the boards on the water already–> dedication to the wave people! Beautiful to see!

I have thrown out the first cast already in an attempt to experience a glimmer of what I was able to do this past fall. Always the fish that saves me.

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Next blog… a fantastic Rod Builder and worthy cause!

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold;
when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade”
C. Dickens