We had our annual Board of Director`s (BOD) meeting in Gananoque the weekend of February 20 to 22. There were almost 50 members in attendance from all 13 Chapters and the National Executive. On Friday evening, we had an informal dinner at Muskie Jakes, renewed and made new acquaintances, told a lot of lies, and consumed quite a few pops. The atmosphere was great. We then had meetings all day Saturday and Sunday morning. There were a lot of very quiet members, and stragglers, at the Sunday morning meeting. Some had not yet gone to bed when I got up to get ready for the meeting Sunday morning.
The dinner speaker Saturday was Dale MacNair (with the replica) who told us the story of how he caught the supertanker, with the assistance of his girlfriend Julie Cashaback and Sal Rotolo, and how it is changing his life. Muskies Canada has recognized Dale`s fish as "The Largest Catch and Release Muskie Ever Recorded" and the Gananoque Chapter has recorded its weight at 65 1/4 pounds on its Fish Board.
Several awards were also presented. Jim Kelly presented Paul Gasbarino with the "Paul Gasbarino Distinguished Service Trophy", named in his honour, to recognize his contributions over the first 15 years of our existence. Paul had been the only winner of a Distinguished Service award from Muskies Canada in its history. Paul then presented the trophy for 2009 to Jim Hutchings for his leadership and involvment in many research projects over the years. A plaque was presented to Steve Eldridge of the St-John River Chapter to recognize his noteworthy achievement of being the first fisherman to catch and release a 50 inch muskie in the history of New Brunswick.
Muskies Canada is in good financial shape, as are all thirteen Chapters. Chapters are engaged in lots of conservation, kids, etc initiatives.Our total membership ended 2008 at just under 600. We have major initiatives to build an inventory of KTD signs, replace and refurbish signs and put out many more signs, including small advertisements for sponsors. We have established a Youth membership for members under the age of 18 and plan to reintroduce the public recognition program. The Release Journal continues to improve and members will be given the choice of receiving either an electronic copy in colour or the black and white hard copy. The electronic copy is much cheaper to produce and savings will provide more funds for research and conservation. We have stepped up our spending on conservation; National is supporting Dr Cooke`s Catch and Release study with $5000, matched by Muskies Inc, $5000 to the Lake Simcoe Muskie Restoration Project and the individual Chapters also support many conservation activities.Our website will continue to improve over the next two years as we become more dynamic with membership, KTD sign and release log information on the web. We have established a Committee to review and update our Constitution. And we are setting up a Hall of Fame Committee to receive nominations for our Hall of Fame.
Preparations are complete for the 2009 Odyssey which is again being held in St Catherines on April 25. There are excellent speakers lined up, all of the booths and sponsorships have been sold, and there will be a great selection af tackle and equipment with lots of deals. Lets all get out to the Odyssey, support Muskies Canada, renew acquaintances, and replenish our tackle and equipment at deeply discounted prices.
Hope to see you soon.