It was 5:10 AM on Saturday, July 25, when Gabrielle Graham of Becket made her first cast into a local pond in Sherwood Forest in Becket. She was fishing with a large greenish worm imitation. On that first cast a large fish gobbled up that worm. According to Gabrielle, the fish was so strong that it towed her row boat, with two people in it, around the lake for several minutes.
When she finally managed to bring it to the side of the boat she saw that it was a huge largemouth bass. She did not have a net and had to grab it by its lower jaw and hoist it out of the water and onto the boat. She said that it was so big that she had trouble lifting it.
A friend took a picture of it and she immediately released it back into the water. She didn’t want to kill that fish after it gave her such a thrilling fight. Besides, she said, it is a catch and release lake. By 5:19 AM it was all over and the fish was happily swimming again.
She didn’t have scales with her to weigh the fish but, according to Gabrielle, some estimated it to be between 8 lbs and 14 lbs. She is no stranger to hooking and fighting large fish for she fishes the Salmon River in Pulaski, NY for steelhead and king salmon. She feels that its weight was on the upper end of the estimations.
Beginning this year, MassWildlife has a new Catch and Release category in its Sportfishing Awards Program and she could have probably received a pin. However; in order for a fish to be considered it must be measured at the site of capture and photographed against a standard measuring device. The photo must include the entire fish and the measurement must be clearly discernible. The clear, side view, close-up photograph of the fish must be included with an affidavit.
Too bad for Gabrielle, she’ll just have to go out and catch it again and this time bring a tape measure. *****
In my June 14 column, I had mentioned that the MA Fish & Wildlife Board had appointed Division of Fisheries & Wildlife Acting Director Jack Buckley as its new Director, replacing recently retired Director Wayne MacCallum. At the time, there was no press release as to Buckley’s bio or qualifications, but recently, the following information has been made available.
Buckley has been with MassWildlife since 1988 as Deputy Director of Administration, directly involved with the development of fisheries and wildlife management and policy initiatives. He has provided general management and research guidance to the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program; represented the Division’s interest to the legislature; worked with various constituent groups to implement agency initiatives; supervised the Federal Aid Program; provided supervision and guidance to the Information and Education staff; and coordinated programs with the Department of Fish and Game, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and other conservation partners.
In addition, Buckley served on several committees with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, including Legislative Affairs, Federal Budget, and International Affairs. He serves as the regional representative for the Northeastern states to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Technical Working Group.
Prior to working for the Division, Buckley was the Chief of Fisheries Management in Washington D.C. for the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. He was also a Project Leader at the Massachusetts Cooperative Fishery Research Unit at UMASS where he directed a multi-agency funded research project on the behavioral ecology and population dynamics of the endangered Shortnose Sturgeon. He earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Fisheries Biology from UMASS and a Bachelor’s degree in History from Ripon College in Wisconsin.
“I am very grateful to the Board for giving me this extraordinary opportunity,” said Buckley. “While there are challenges ahead, I believe the future looks bright, and I look forward to working with hunters, anglers, trappers, environmentalists, and all citizens to fulfill our public trust responsibility to the people and natural resources of the Commonwealth”. *****
As you know, former Berkshire Eagle Sports Editor Brian Sullivan recently passed away. His passing occurred when I was away and this is my first opportunity to write a few words about him.
It was Brian who interviewed me for this column back in February, 2004. He was friendly and made me feel very comfortable during the interview. He then introduced me to his boss, then had Ben Garver take my photograph and I left the Eagle Building that day with a new job. I was very appreciative of the fact that he took a chance on hiring this retired, old bank auditor who happened to love to hunt and fish. Thereafter, each week when I dropped off my column, he always greeted me with a friendly smile (a rare sight for an auditor) and words of encouragement.
A year or so after that, Brian asked me to appear as his guest on his sports program which was aired on Southern Berkshire Cable TV. Anyone who knows me knows that I would rather be water boarded than to speak in public, much less on TV. But this was Brian, whom I owed so much, asking and I said yes. The filming went well and once again he made me feel comfortable during the interview.
He was my boss for the next seven or eight years and we had a very good relationship. Even after he had left the editor position and was in ill health, we would meet here or there and he still had that friendly smile and kind words.
Brian Sullivan was a good man and he will be missed. *****