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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Come gather round people, wherever you roam

If boats had rear view mirrors, smack dab in the middle of 'em would be the '16 Northern Indiana Spring fishing season. As I reflect back, with the exception of the same few guys (and btw, isn't that always the case) most of us have struggled in the first third of this year. The remembrance of those bitter cold, rainy fishless days are all too vivid to fade, questioning our mettle as Muskie anglers. We couldn’t have asked for a more miserable day to host this year's GFAD if we held it in Warsaw, Poland.  It began to feel like the season was never going to change. But, we motor forward, putting our faith in the Farmer's Almanac, Solunar tables and Bob Dylan.
"Come gather round people, wherever you roam,
  admit that the waters around you have grown,
accept that soon you'll be drenched to the bone,
if your time to you is worth savin',
  you better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone.
For the times they are a changin'."

Change indeed had come, and it wasn't just the weather. As most of you know by now, WLMC was put on idle last fall. This was not an easy decision, since the remaining B.O.D were founders of WLMC. No one reason or no one group was responsible for the shut down. With these same few members shouldering almost all of the day to day operations of the club, frustration set in. Complications with fund raising, participation in outings and tournaments along with the threat of not having resources to continue stocking  (just to name a few) fueled the decision to start up a new independent Musky club. M.I. bylaws require all charters to maintain a proper Board of Directors with all positions filled. With the absence of a '15 December meeting, no election was held, ergo, none of the open positions were filled. Rumors of WLMC folding began to spread as the deadline to assemble a B.O.D. neared. The reality of Muskies Inc. not having a presence in such a valuable and plentiful muskie area like the Tippecanoe Watershed was not a scenario a handful members of Chapter #49 were willing to live with. News of propping  the 'MC back up again reached the ears of Scott Law and the rest of the B.O.D. of  Hoosier Musky Hunters Chapter #42. Shortly after, the line communication between the two chapters began, which I might add in the past was rarely a static free connection. Their support was a big shot in the arm for the group of members who were poised to keep the charter afloat and staying afloat we did. An emergency B.O.D was formed. The new Treasure, Sean Bergsma and Event Director Adam Wallace, began a campaign to bolster the bank account by putting together lures and other tackle to be auctioned off. Thanks to their unwavering commitment and many generous donations from our sponsors, the auction was a huge success, bringing in over $2500.00 in much needed revenue. Their effort meant much more than a financial gain. It unified a previously splintered group. Idled members began to participate again, in the auction as well as showing up at our first two events of the season. Support from members of HMH #42 continued as two of their members took clients out for GFAD, one of them even recruited two groups of clients. U.S. Route 31 between Warsaw and Indy have been repaved.

"Come Mothers and Fathers throughout the land,
and don't criticize what you don't understand.
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command.
Your old road is rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one if you can't lend a hand.
For these times they are a changin'."

The concept of lending a hand was catching on. After a profitable lure auction followed by a well-attended Iceout Challunge, the club was really starting to take shape. The B.O.D focus turned to whether or not WLMC would hold the annual Guide For A Day fundraiser. In the past, the club's P.R. department would attend 3 or 4 winter outdoor shows throughout Indiana with the objective to promote musky fishing and  gain new clients for GFAD.  With the club in idle mode, preparations were not made to attend any shows this past season. The odds of having a successful GFAD were pretty slim. The last minute decision to hold the event put the board under a lot of pressure. Thanks to the great job the club has done with this fundraiser in the past, we were able to contact previous clients and promote the event this way. To our surprise, we had more people clients than we had guides. Not wanting to turn clients away, the board scrambled to find members to fill the void. After the dust settled, we ended up with 10 members who stepped up to show the 22 clients the ins and outs of muskie fishing. Unfortunately, as mentioned before, the weather was miserable. Despite the weather, 3 fish were caught. Thanks to Ed Hamilton, Garrett Graham, Jeff Whitney, Eric Fleming, Rick Swain, Sean Bergsma, Bill Kopp, David Cates and Adam Wallace. Also to Mark Johnson for being in the bullpen in case we needed him. Efforts like these will surely carry the club safely into the future.

Plans and preparations continue in the organization of the Summer Picnic. It will be held Sunday August 7th at Lakeview Park in Syracuse.This will be a family event. The club, along with sponsors, will be providing a bounce house, cotton candy and snow cone machines. Typical picnic games will be held with prizes for the kids. So plan on attending this event. Invite your sons and daughters as well as the grandkids. More info can be found on the club website at If all goes well, we are planning on making the picnic an annual event. For these times they are a changin'.

Don't stop Believerin'
Jim Welsh

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