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"DC Rally in retrospect" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/26/10
 

The DC Rally was a heck of an experience. Often we choose not to get involved because we fear that committing our time and effort will not make a difference. We choose to stand on the side line and watch, thinking that if there's a chance anything can be done, you alone will not make the difference. I too had these concerns when dedicating my time and the Ocean Isle Fishing Center's money to arrange for a bus to take a group up to the DC Fishing Rights Rally. I could just picture us showing up and being the large part of a very small crowd. However, that could not have been the farthest from the truth. Everyone that rode our bus agreed that this was a worthwhile effort and the general sense was that we might actually make a difference.

I crossed the bridge to Ocean Isle at 3:55am and looked down on a packed OIFC parking lot. Commercial fishermen, For-Hire fishermen and recreational fishermen all mingled in the parking lot. The bus showed up minutes later and after loading up our "I FISH, I VOTE" pickets (supplied by Charter Lakes Insurance), we were out of the parking lot at 4:15am sharp. The ride up was uneventful and seemed to go by pretty fast. We made a stop at McDonalds for breakfast, and I was impressed with how well they handled getting a bus load of 50+ hungry fishermen dropped on them. We missed most of the traffic and at 11:30am we were standing in between Union Station and the State Capitol. The Rally had begun to form as a stage and large banner were set up on the lawn in front of the State Capitol. Fisheremen were pouring in from all directions, most toting signs and some wearing bibs, fish hats, rubber boots..... Our group made a plan to meet back together at 3:15pm and headed into the Rally crowd. The Rally started at 12pm sharp and the crowd continued to grow, 50 yards wide by a hundred yards deep at least- I heard them say maybe 4000-5000 in attendance. One after another Senators, Reps, Mayors, Governors, Lobbyists, Fishermen took the stage. It was a very well orchestrated event as each person had a different story. The Congressmen that showed were both Democrats and Republicans- notables that I recognized included Shumer, Frank, Scott Brown, McIntyre, Kaye Hagan and several others from the northeast, carolinas and Florida; all pledging their support for House Bill 1584 and Senate Bill 1255- providing for flexibility in fisheries reform. In between elected officials you'd get Fishermen and business owners who would tell their story. They were some of the most interesting speakers, many very impassioned, but surprisingly, all were very well behaved. The buzz word with elected officials seemed to be "jobs", as they were preaching the hot topic of job loss. Closing fisheries is increasing our unemployment as well as destroying much of Americas heritage. Save the fishermen, not just the fish. Also widely mentioned was that the best stewards of the sea were the fishermen, not the NMFS folks sitting behind a desk, using bad science to make their decisions.

It was much as I would have pictured a Rally. Big crowds, lots of pickets of all variety, a colorful crowd and lots of yelling and emotion. Points were made on stage and the crowd would roar; in between there was the constant single yell from a crowd member: "What about us? " or "Pew Sucks " or "Down with NMFS"...... At 1:15pm I looked down at my watch and wondered how on Earth they were going to keep this going until 3pm. But they did. Speakers continued to flow and it never got boring. At 2:15pm my wife and I decided to walk around the scene a bit to take it all in. I thought this may be the only Rally we ever attend in our life, so we should take in the experience. We shook hands and ran into friends from the SKA. We saw news crews interviewing and secret service standing by with a watchful eye. The crowd was diverse, but somehow you could tell they were all fishermen. Racoon eyes, sun baked skin, white beards, dread locks, flip flops, fishing shirts, rubber boots..... We continued toward the back of the crowd when it happened. Jim Donofrio with the RFA ( he organized the Rally ) and one of the event MC's called out from stage, "Is Brant McMullan here?" I froze; my eyes looked like those of a Grouper just pulled up from 200+ feet. Again, "Brant McMullan, you out there?" I ducked to hide for a second, my wife grabbing me to get up there. Again, "Brant are you here?" Then it hit me. When will I ever again get the chance to stand on the steps of the Capitol in front of a huge Rally crowd. I would regret missing the chance. So, just like Jenny did in Forest Gump, I threw my hands in the air and began shouting, "Here I am!" I was a good 100 yards from the stage, in the very back. The crowd around me starting yelling and parted all the way to the stage. It was surreal. I sprinted to the front, all eyes on me. A man reached down from the stage to grab my hand and help me jump right to the stage. I will confess, as I was running, one thought dominated my mind. I had recently seriously muffed the speech at my brother's wedding, "Don't mess up. Redeem yourself." I jumped on stage and turned to the crowd. There I was. I did not go into a rant about the NMFS or fish closures, but instead opted for recognizing all the folks who rode the bus up from Myrtle Beach to Wilmington- "We are here!" I thanked the RFA for their work and thanked all the fishermen from all walks for showing up. I was thinking, "I want this picture" -- so I concluded with a fist raise and "Hoorah." Mark that one off the bucket list.

The Rally ended promptly at 3pm and everyone made their way to the bus. We were on the road by 3:45pm. Traffic was a mess and south of DC it started raining. The ride home took forever as everyone was tired and ready to get home. We bombarded a Wendy's for dinner, which was not ready, throwing us later home. We pulled into the OIFC parking lot at 1:30am.

Everyone went their way and hopefully is telling their story of adventure. It is a memory that I likely will never forget, and well worth my time and effort.

Thanks to all those who volunteerd their time to ride up to DC with us. Thanks to Jim Donofrio and the RFA for hosting and organizing the Rally and thanks to all the elected officials for taking their time to show their support.

Now, the work must continue. You must contact your elected officials and ask that they support House Bill 1584 and Senate Bill 1255. The thing is that it can't just be our own elected officials. You need to call your relatives, friends.... from all states- whether its Kansas, Minnesota.... and have them to ask their reps to support the bills. Support from just the coastal states won't be enough. Visit

www.unitedwefish.com and www.joinrfa.org for details on the status of the bills and how you can help.
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"DC Rally" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/25/10
 

To read the newspaper account of the rally in Washington read today's Wilmington Star News, www.starnewsonline or simply follow this link.


- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"Star News' Report-DC Trip" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/24/10
 

The Starnewsonline (Wilmington) has an excellent article on the D. C. Ralley.  Follow this link...
- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

its been a long day. Almost home
- Capt. Amy McMullan
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

Guess who was the grand finale speaker? Look closely. I know how forrest gump felt as he addressed the masses. I am now an official activist. I spoke at a protest rally on the steps of the capitol.
- Capt. Amy McMullan
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

Senator scott brown from mass. Spoke as well. Big news.
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

Jack holmes with the ska takes the stage
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

Senator barnie frank takes the stage.
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

Mike mcintyre takes the stage!
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

Big crowds assembling
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

We are here. 7 hours. Watch out dc
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Multimedia message" | Real-Time Update | 02/24/10
 

Bus to dc fish rally is full and we are on the way. Mcdonalds survived our onslaught, hopefully dc will? Will keep you posted in real time. Wish us luck.
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Capt Jeff Williamson's Trip" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/24/10
 

We were all missing Captain Jeff Williamson until he sent this picture of a big red fish he caught will fishing in Charlotte Punta Gorda Fla..  Capt. Jeff said the water temperature dropped so low it killed the young tarpon and most of the snook.  He did find some red fish,  trout and a whole lot of sun while fishing with Captain Rhett Morris.

There was a big trout kill in Morehead City, N.C. due to the cold. there was even one of the biggest snow falls recorded in the recent past in Moscow and a fish kill due to the cold now in southern Fla.  Perhaps Captain Brant should invite Al Gore and some other global warms to speak at the Spring Kick off in March..

Also, it is with great regret that I am unable to make the trip to D.C.  I feel strongly about this issue, will miss the bus ride which ought to be a blast, and I love a good protest!  Someone get locked up for me.  Good luck, and I hope this will have the desired impact.


- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"DC Rally- couple of spots opened up" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/23/10
 

Have had a couple of calls this AM with folks who can't go.  If you want to go or know someone who does, have them to call me at 910 367-2945 -- Brant
- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"DC Trip- Tomorrow AM" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/23/10
 

Let the games begin.  The bus will leave the OIFC at 4:15am SHARP on Wednesday, February 24th.  If you have been in contact with me and I've saved a spot for you, you are committed to show.  The bus is full and many have been turned away who wanted to attend. 

The bus will leave the OIFC at 4:15am and make 2 stops on the way for food and leg stretching.  There is a bathroom on the bus, but for the sake of everyone's health and comfort, let's save those morning "duties" for the stops.  We should arrive in DC around 11am and the rally is scheduled from 12pm-3pm.  We will leave shortly after 3pm, make a couple of stops on the way home again and hopefully arrive back to the OIFC around 11pm.  I have a bunch of picket signs that were provided by Charter Lakes Insurance, so don't worry about signage.

Bus entertainment is up in the air.  We will have a wide range of characters on board and I'm looking forward to the trip.  If anyone has any DVD's, games, stories... bring them.

Again, tomorrow 4am at the OIFC the bus will be leaving.  Be there. 


- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Swansboro" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/22/10
 

Capt. Zach reported that while we were fishing the Georgetown Hole a friend went the opposite direction and fished off Swansboro on Sunday.  They caught a 45 lb wahoo and several black fin tuna.

We are 2 days and counting until the trip to D.C.


- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"Escaped !!" | OIFC 1- 36' | 02/20/10
 

OK..all rational thinking was that if we went out we wouldn't catch anything.  The temperature shot showed the warm water had moved out.  It was decision time..do we stay home and think about fishing, or do we take advantage of the excellent conditions and go fishing and not care what others think?

You know the answer!  Captain Zach Faulkner and his dad, Benji, Captain Jeff Beck with me and my camera in tow left the OIFC at 6:15 am. We went as far as the Georgetown Hole.Not suprisingly, the warmest water we found was 65 degrees.  But no problem..we had a couple of knockdowns by kings,  a strike that acted like a wahoo, and  one false albacore.  But we did get out on a beautiful sea with good friends aboard a marvelous boat the "Get Floored".  Any fish would have just been an added bonus.  You can't do that in the big city!

Also, a sigh of relief..Captain David Hooks and his wife were involved in an accident .Their vehicle flipped and landed upside down in a roadside ditch.Thank God.no one was hurt!!!


- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"Shallotte Inlet report" | OIFC 1- 36' | 02/19/10
 

With beautiful weather for this weekend, hopefully fishermen will be on the water. I rode out the Shallotte Inlet this afternoon at low tide and noted shallow water conditions everyone needs to be careful with. As you are running the intercoastal from Ocean Isle heading to inlet, line up with the red can in front of the campground and the red buoy toward Holden Beach. Any course to the mainland side will find ground as the bar that is at the crossroads has really grown this winter. Hug the beach along Ocean Isle from the red buoy in front of the campground until you make the turn out the inlet.  Traversing out the inlet, once you clear the last set of buoys seaward is where a bad bar has developed. The buoys appear to be in the correct places, however there is not much water at low tide. You may need to raise your props and go slow...careful. Water temp was 49 degrees at inlet. Good luck fishing to everyone this weekend.
- Rube McMullan
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"Robbie Dial and Friends" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 02/18/10
 

Robbie has been attempting to send me fishing pictures, but we've had a problem with the format.  Finally Robbie got through with a pic. of him and friends on a very recent trip..When he sends me more info I'll add it to the report.
- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"Could It Be?" | OIFC 2- 27' | 02/17/10
 

A check of Reef Cast, The National Weather Service and The Weather Channel ALL indicate that Saturday may be THE day !!!!!  10-15 winds, 1-2 ft seas and sunny..could it be true?  Find out!

Now is a good time to impart some of Captain Brant's weather knowledge on some who may not have been around the seas in our area long enough to understand reading the various weather reports.  For most this is a refresher.  The following is part of Brants's 5-20-09 report:

"We've had strong winds and the seas have been building over a long distance and are very large. The wind is forecast to drop to 5-10 knots by Saturday, and although the forecast isn't out I guarantee you it will say 6+ feet....DO NOT LET THIS KEEP YOU FROM FISHING.  A 5-10 kt wind makes 2 ft seas, 10-15 makes 3-4ft, 15-20 makes 3-5 ft, and after that it's too rough to worry about.  A swell is a residual sea created from rough conditions a  long way away, i.e. a hurricane, or from bad weather prior to the current conditions.  A swell is a long rolling sea that is spaced far apart and  besides sometimes making the run off shore a bit slower, it is hardly noticeable when fishing."

I've been around Captain Brant and other knowledgeable Captains long enough to find this a good rule to go by.  I hope it is helpful to you.  See you this weekend! 


- Capt. Rickey Beck
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