Atlantic City Boat Show Experience

by John Toth
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association April 2018 Newsletter)

I volunteered to work at the Atlantic City Boat Show on March 2nd to sell JCAA raffle tickets and pass out our newsletters to those who expressed interest in the JCAA and answer their questions. It was a stormy day with winds up to 70 mph and driving down to AC and back to my home was somewhat of a challenge and holding on tightly to the steering wheel was necessary! On that day, even an 18-wheeler overturned on the Tappan Zee because of the high winds! Because of this brutal weather, attendance was down at the show and that was to be expected.

Not expected by me was people coming up to our JCAA booth and saying “I like what the JCAA does, and I want to buy your book of raffle tickets.” Another person from the Village Harbor Fishing Club said, “I want to buy two of your raffle books to support what the JCAA does.” Others just said, “I want to help you on what you do and give me a book to buy.”

While it is a good thing that anglers buy our JCAA raffle books to help us financially pay our rent and other bills, but that it is also good for me and other JCAA staff to hear this type of affirmation occasionally. Quite honestly, I sometimes get the feeling that my volunteering my time and effort with the JCAA is not worth it since some anglers do not seem to appreciate what the JCAA does. That includes going to meetings on sand mining, beach access, and writing articles to the NOAA to designate the 13 artificial reefs in federal waters as “hook & line” only. Sometimes, I feel like I am leading a parade and that there is nobody marching behind me.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of apathy among recreational anglers and we see it in many ways with the lack of attendance at important meetings and in not being involved in issues that affect us. This is quite understandable since we all seem to be fighting the bureaucracy that manages our fisheries and they continually do things that make no sense, like reducing our sea bass quota while the stock is up by 230%. All of this contributes to a sense of malaise among us and our not being able to make the changes we need in our fisheries management. But, we need to keep the good fight going!

I am NOT looking for a pat on the back every minute and I don’t need it! But it is good to hear this occasionally and I heard more compliments about the JCAA at this AC boat show than I have heard for quite some time. When I finally got home, I even remarked to my wife on this positive experience that I had at this AC Boat Show. It helped me to reaffirm my commitment to the JCAA.

It is not my intention to make this a “woe is me” article and I have never written anything like it, but I thought that it was necessary to share it with you.

I have seen over the years with my involvement in the JCAA that many of you have supported the JCAA in so many ways and I want to Thank You for your continued contributions and support!

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