Each year we take a few weeks to look back on not just the calendar but more significantly, the characters who make this weekly stew pot of news, predictions, sarcasm and marginally accurate reports occasionally readable. This week is no exception; we get to meet some of the coolest and finest people on the water. Thanks for reading and with all the advances we made in 2019, listening to the radio reports and watching the tv reports. If you didn’t know Fish Wrap was on TV, click here and check out the latest report on ABC6.
Lunchbreak Eddy. Where to start with a guy named Lunchbreak? His nickname comes from his passion, obsession even, to go fishing every day. That obviously includes his lunch break from his job as On The Water magazine’s Senior Graphic Designer where he bolts from his desk to chew a fast sandwich driving to any watering hole around Cape Cod, fresh or salt. Eddy is a man of considerable talent represented through his illustrations, photographs and flies. To clarify the latter, Lunchbreak tipped the fly tying world on his vise when he started creating flies with animal qualities, faces, outrageous patterns and colors. Anyone can tie red yarn around a hook for an instant worm hatch red wiggler but only Eddy thought to build one that absolutely resembles his dog, Mac, or one large enough to attract a red tailed hawk’s eye from three hundred yards and they both catch fish. He finds the same joy catching a small yellow perch or a thirty pound striped bass and his photography skills are simply astounding. Eddy lives with his lovely wife Linda, creating, enjoying, preparing perhaps the East’s finest gin and tonic, catching fish and releasing photographs we can all enjoy while we eat sandwiches at our desks, wishing we were fishing. You can discover more about him at www.stack9design.zenfolio.com.
Mandy and Jeff DeBuigne.
Here’s the thing.
Mandy is the President of Al’s Goldfish Lure Company and the fact that she is a company president and that she’s a she shouldn’t be newsworthy anymore but somehow it is.
Mandy can take control of any room or situation, lead a charge of women anglers to a beach full of stripers and then sit back on a front step with her husband, Jeff, and show us all what a loving couple they are. Jeff is a big dude who shakes your hand while leaning in to look you square in the eye. They are on the move to bring Al’s Goldfish back into the well deserved spotlight it had a few decades ago before everything went plastic and we grabbed for anything new. Al’s has survived generations of change for a good reason. Mandy and Jeff saw that glimmer when they left the corporate world for a small company in a small town. Can you imagine the stones it took to walk away from your well organized life for a trout lure? They are reminding the country how magical Al’s can be in fresh and salt water and all the while, there’s a woman at the helm. Imagine that.
They work every outdoors trade show they can manage, handle all the marketing, sales, packaging and distribution themselves and work tirelessly to not just build a brand but make time to be with their friends. Somehow, the two have surrounded themselves with a tight circle of good people who loved the lure then came to love them. Mandy and Jeff ensure that there are fishing weekends well past cell service and windy days catching pike through the ice. From a little shop in southern Maine, Jeff and Mandy are growing a company, a family of friends and a reputation for balancing work and play as they restore the shine to one of fishing’s greatest lures.
Bob Buscher. Bob is a household name by now, since he cast his way into our several Fish Wrap platforms on his mission to catch one thousand pounds of largemouth bass in one year. Who does that? Someone who is laser focused on catching fish but never forgets the genuine joy of catching them.
You can see Bob on TV right here!
As an example of his knowledge, we’ll offer you this. With an early November sunset cold on our heels, Bob kicked me out of his still moving Tundra with a rod, a bag and a promise he’d be back to a hole in a fence leading to a half-assed path to water where we could find big largemouth. “Stay out of sight, go to the left, be cool,” he told me, before speeding off. Within two minutes I had gone right so most of my gear was stuck in the briers but twenty minutes later he was hauling in bass, adding up weights to reach his goal.
His scratched and worn canoe rested against a bare silver maple, secured with a whisker thin, sun faded cable and dime store lock, camouflaged by woods flooding our eyes with muted Fall tones. His wooden paddle was more like a swollen branch and I loved every minute in his leaky boat. We caught fish because he knew where to find them and why they were there and how long they would likely stay, information gleaned from years of patient study and practice, which really is Bob’s story.
For a solid year, Bob Buscher balanced his family and work obligations to ensure he had enough boat time to catch and release his thousand pounds and he smiled all the way.
Cheers to Bob, Mandy, Lunchbreak and all the other sportsmen and women we met this year. Here’s to 2020 and my resolution to meet, talk and fish with more of you.
Todd Corayer is a lifelong fisherman who lives not far from Rhode Island’s Saugatucket River with his wife, who supports his fishing mainly to get him out of the house and a young son who had the pleasure of meeting Randy Julius.